Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

Just wanted to write a little note to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The most beautiful blanket

When I first found out I was pregnant with Gracie, I decided I wasn't going to tell anyone or buy anything until I hit my second trimester. At 32, I was no spring chicken to be having my first baby, and I just couldn't bear the thought of having to call my family and friends and face a room full of baby stuff if something bad should happen.

But it didn't stop me from perusing the baby sections of Wal-Mart and the Superstore every time I went shopping. I just couldn't help myself. I would wander down the aisles and look at all the cute clothes and gear, and wonder whether I needed to buy the blue stuff or the pink stuff, and all the usual things that pregnant women can't help but wonder about their unborn child.

And then one night, about a couple weeks until I reached the second trimester mark, I was daydreaming at Wal-Mart when I saw a blanket on the shelf. I'm not sure what it was about that blanket, but I was instantly drawn to it. It was a beautiful pale yellow, soft as soft can be, and had a little velvet Winnie-the-Pooh appliqued in the corner. There were prettier, fancier blankets on that same shelf; but something told me I needed to have another look at this particular blanket. I pulled it off the shelf to really feel it, and a Wal-Mart employee who was stocking the shelves nearby told me that if I liked it, I had better buy it now because the manufacturers weren't making it anymore.

I put it up to my face and rubbed it against my cheek. It was so soft and cozy. It was as if all my wanting and hoping and anticipation for this beautiful little person inside me was embodied in this blanket. I had to have it, second trimester pact be damned.

It was the very first thing I bought for Gracie.

Fast forward about 7 months. By then, we had our girl Gracie, and her room was jam-packed full of pink gifts from friends and relatives and various other well-wishers. And the booty of gifts included about a zillion baby blankets. Blankets that were better for swaddling, and that fit much better in her little bassinet that she slept in right next to my bed. I looked at the big and bulky yellow Winnie-the-Pooh blanket I had bought and put it aside in favor of the other smaller blankets.

Soon it was hot, hot summertime, and my little furnace was not interested in any blankets of any kind, except for maybe a light receiving blanket to cuddle with at night. Every once in awhile while I was putting away laundry, I would pick up the yellow blanket and snuggle it, then put it back. It was much too warm for those sweltering hot days.

Then as autumn fell upon us, and the nights grew colder, I pulled out that beautiful yellow blanket. When she went to bed that night, I put it on her and it fit just perfectly in her crib. She grabbed it with her little fist, rubbed it against her cheek just like I had done in the store over a year before, closed her eyes and went to sleep. When I went to get her in the morning, she was still clutching that blanket tight. When I picked her up, she wouldn't let go. We held onto it and took it downstairs with us. We snuggled in it while we had our morning bottle. It sat next to her on the floor while she played, and she dragged it behind her while she toodled around in her walker. That night, she wouldn't go to bed without it.

And it's been like that every day since.

It's her first favorite thing, that beautiful blanket that I picked out for her. And I get a little tiny lump in my throat whenever I see her give it a little snuggle. I knew she would love it. I just knew it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Come quick! I've got baby pics!

Who wants to see cute pictures of new babies?
You do? I thought so.

This one is my sister Erin's new baby Ella, with her very proud big sister Olivia. She was born on November 4.

This one is my sister Angie's new baby Zoey, who was born on November 15. Don't you just want to take them all and squeeze 'em? And kiss their little heads? Maybe it's just me.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Um, my dog ate my blog…

So, did you ever have an entire two months where life just was so busy you didn't have time for anything extra? Like, say, writing your blog? Even though writing your blog is one of your very favorite things to do?

I'm sorry I've been gone for so long everybody. Life just got super crazy. First we got the plague. (Oh My God were we ever sick!) Then I decided that perhaps these extra post-pregnancy pounds really weren't going to magically disappear on their own, and I started exercising while Gracie naps -- which is when I used to blog. Then, we sold our newspaper and promptly bought two new-to-us vehicles, which takes up more of your time than you might think…

So, I'm five pounds thinner and in much better shape, and I now drive a 2005 Jeep Liberty (which I LOVE!!!!) - but other than that I guess I have nothing to show for my more than two-month blogging break.

If I post some cute pictures of Gracie tomorrow, will that make everything better?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Day 26

Goodbye crib, which was getting waaaay too small for me…

…Hello big girl bed, which gives me lots of room to stretch out!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Day 25

We got a sandbox for our back yard this week, and I think Gracie's in heaven. Playing in the sand outside in the sunshine, taking a break to eat some fresh peas -- how could the summer get any better?

Day 24

Gracie and her cousins went to Heritage Park last week. I tried to get a good photo, but nobody would pose for me and, well, it was absolutely baking outside and the little darlings were a wee bit cranky. This photo was taken in the train that goes around the park, which was actually a big hit.

Day 23

Look! Mommy bought me crayons! They're fat and triangular and fit in my little hand just perfectly. And thank goodness they're washable, because I also figured out that you CAN use them to write on anything you want, even though Mommy said they were just for paper!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Day 22

Look how great my peas are growing! I think we will be able to eat them in a few days. I've never grown peas before - I'm so excited!

Day 21


Thursday, July 31, 2008

Day 20

I love these shoes. Love, Love, LOVE them. They are cute and red and the most comfortable things I've ever put on my feet. And so I wear them a lot. Like, so often that the 3-year-old from two doors down has noticed.

"Why you wear dose shoes always?" he asked me the other day. "I don't ALWAYS wear them," I stammered. "Ya you do!" he yelled. "Well, they're my favorites and so I like to wear them a lot…" I tried to explain. (And later, I wondered why I was trying to justify myself to the neighbour's 3-year-old; but that's another post). "Um, okay…" said the 3-year-old.

The bottom line is: I'm 34 years old and I really like these shoes and I can wear them every day if I want to. :)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Day 20

Five years ago today, we said "I Do." And what a wonderful five years it's been.
(I guess I'm cheating a little bit. This picture was taken on July 26, 2003.)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Day 19

I call this one, "Hey Daddy…What's that?"

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Day 18

Isn't this picture amazing? Nate took it this afternoon while Gracie and I were in the back yard finger painting and blowing bubbles.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Day 17

Gracie loves rice. Plain, flavored, she doesn't care. Give her a fork and she'll shovel it in. Tonight, when she heard the noise the rice cooker makes when it's done, she immediately ran for her step stool and stood in front of it at the counter, pointing and yelling. When I finally came into the kitchen she gesticulated wildly at the rice cooker, rubbed her tummy very enthusiastically (her sign that she's hungry), then got off her stool and tried to climb into her high chair. I wasn't sure what time Nate would be home for supper, so I thought it wouldn't hurt if I fed her early.

By the time Nate got home she had already polished off a big bowl of rice and pork chops, so I let her out of her chair to run around while we ate supper. Well, she headed straight for her bookshelf, brought her Daddy her favorite book and installed herself on his lap. Daddy started reading, and the next thing he knew, Gracie had his fork and was eating his rice. I got him another fork :)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Day 16

This is Gracie's bathroom step stool that came with her potty seat. I keep it in the bathroom for her so she can wash her hands after she goes to the bathroom. But yesterday, while she was using it to wash her hands, she got this look on her face, and if she was a cartoon, a light bulb would have turned on over her head. "I can use this ANYWHERE!", she would have said if she could actually talk.

She picked up the stool, ran into the kitchen with it, and immediately climbed up to the kitchen counter. Then she moved it over to the other counter in front of the dishwasher, and grabbed her soother with a great big grin. Unfortunately, my picture missed the big grin.

Day 15

Have you heard about this cookbook yet? Every recipe in this book has some sort of pureed vegetable in it, so that if your children are refusing to eat their veggies, you can hide them in their favorite recipes like chicken nuggets and grilled cheese sandwiches. There was a huge debate when it came out - while some parents went YAY!!!, many other parents thought hiding veggies in their entrees was giving in to your picky children, and failing to teach them about proper nutrition.

Personally, I see it as good way to get a little extra nutrition in the recipes that maybe aren't so great for you. Especially in the dessert recipes.

So…I've been trying lots of recipes from this book lately, and pictured in the jar are the very yummy donuts - although I didn't have a donut mold to bake them in so I just baked them in my mini-muffin tin and made my own "Timbits" instead. They're made from pureed pumpkin, and are just about the yummiest things I've ever put in my mouth. (You also have to try the chocolate pudding made from pureed avocado. Heavenly!)

Day 14

This is both a cute picture and a thank you to Jody Spark and family for the lovely present, because Gracie LOVES this puzzle. When she was really little, I would bring the puzzle out, point to each letter and tell her that it spells Gracie. She would just give me this weird look, grab the puzzle pieces and play.

Now whenever I bring out the puzzle, before she flips it over to play with it, she points to each letter and makes me spell it out, and when I'm done she very enthusiastically points to herself with a great big smile.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Day 13

Poor Gracie had a nasty fall at the park. She was running and tripped over her own feet and landed on her head, right on the birthmark on her forehead, which makes it look worse than it actually is.

Day 12

This is Puppy, one of Gracie's beloved stuffed animals. It's not a very good picture, but the other night, Puppy needed surgery. The seam on his back was coming apart and he is now missing an ear. I had kept track of the ear until I had time to do the surgery, but when it was time to wheel him to the O.R., the ear was nowhere to be found. So I stitched him up the best I could, and the next morning I showed Puppy to Gracie and I asked her if she knew where his ear went. She put her two palms up in the air like "I don't know!" and started looking. I got distracted and headed to the kitchen to start making breakfast, and a few minutes later, Gracie came running to the kitchen with it in her hand. Her father and I looked EVERYWHERE for that ear the night before. I have absolutely no idea where she was hiding it.

Day 11

MMMMMMMM…my very first bite of corn on the cob!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Day 10

It was a rainy, thunder and lightning kind of day today; a day that mommy thought was perfectly suited to inside play. Gracie, for the most part, agreed. She puttered around and played happily all day -- until she found her sidewalk chalk. And after explaining that it was pouring down rain outside and that sidewalk chalk was most definitely an OUTSIDE TOY, it suddenly occurred to mommy that there was a chalk board upstairs.

Nate built Gracie a wonderful toy box that has her named engraved on the lid, and for the outsides, he found chalkboard spray and made her two chalk boards. So, I handed our girl some chalk and let her draw on the furniture. She had a ball!

Day 9

Sorry I've been so lax at my picture taking lately. First, I had to work at the City View and remember how to be a workaholic again, so I just didn't have time to take any pictures -- or have anything interesting to take a picture of, really. Then, when Gracie got home from Grandma & Grandpa's, she was pretty much attached to me for a few days. Which was nice, 'cause I missed her so much I can't even describe it, but made it hard to take a picture -- how do you hold a camera when you are also holding a 30-pound toddler who is refusing to be put down? And the 30-pound toddler is also usually your inspiration for the picture?

Then, just as I was starting to be able to put her down again, she got the stomach flu and spent three days throwing up on pretty much every available surface in our house. The poor kid was so miserable she just wanted to sit on my lap and be read to or watch some videos. Every time she would throw up I would sit her on the couch when she was finished so I could clean it up, and the poor thing would cry giant crocodile tears until I was finished and could come and cuddle with her again. So…again, not exactly easy to take a photo. And what to take a photo of, exactly?

Well, this morning she was on the mend and willing to sit on the couch by herself, so I snapped this picture. She was watching her very favorite movie, 101 Dalmations.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Day 8

So, what do you think of my Canada Day cake? I made it a day late, but I decided "who cares?" I've been working at our newspaper the last few days, 'cause the guy who has my old job needed a vacation. Gracie has been staying with my parents and since they were bringing her home today, I thought I would make the cake for everyone to enjoy when they got here. If you want to make one, the recipe is at It's WAAAAYYY easier than it looks!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Day 7

So, have I mentioned how much I love popcorn? And how much I love the sweet man who gave me this popcorn machine? Nate gave me this popcorn machine for Christmas, and it has been used nearly every night since. You buy these packages with the oil and the popcorn and the seasoning all in one, and you get popcorn that tastes EXACTLY LIKE MOVIE THEATRE POPCORN. I'm in heaven I tell you. Heaven!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Day 6

Gracie started doing this a few days ago. I take the tray away from the high chair and go to get something to wipe off her face and hands, and when I turn around, she's got her feet up in the air like she's auditioning for Cirque du Soleil.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Day 5

We live in a townhouse complex that is filled to the brim with young children. There are several buildings, each with 7 units, and they are built around a big U with a lawn in the middle. In our building of seven units alone, one family has six kids, one family has four kids, and another has three.

And if you take a drive around our big cul-de-sac you might think you've travelled back in time, because not one of those kids is sitting inside watching TV or playing video games. They are all outside playing with one another. Different ages, different families, different genders. Doesn't seem to matter to them: they just play. In the winter they make snowmen and snow angels and snow forts. In the summer they draw pictures with sidewalk chalk and have bike races down the sidewalk. Don't have a bike? That's okay, you can borrow mine. They share their toys, they take turns nicely -- I hardly ever hear them fight. I think it's the nicest part of living where we do.

When Gracie was small, she desperately wanted to go outside and play with those big kids. She would stand at the front door and watch them. And after awhile, those big kids started to notice her watching, and would come and make funny faces for her, or blow bubbles for her to look at. Then, when she got good enough at toddling around, I started taking her outside and holding her hand as she made a bee-line for those other kids. "Hi Baby!," they would yell when they saw her coming. The smile on her face was enormous.

Now that she can get around on her own, some of the younger kids have started showing up at my door, asking if Gracie and I can come out and play. It makes my heart soar.

Today, we went outside and these two kids came over to say hi. The girl, Kimberley, remembered that Gracie had enjoyed drawing with sidewalk chalk a few days ago, and went to her house to get some for us. Gracie grabbed the chalk and plunked right down on our sidewalk and had a wonderful time drawing with the big kids. The little boy is named Kale, and whenever Gracie and I go outside he follows us like a puppy and talks and talks and talks; although I have to admit I only understand about half of what he says.

(Kale has a little sister named Emerson who is about five months younger than Gracie, and has started standing at her front door, watching all the big kids. Yesterday, Gracie and I blew bubbles for her.)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Day 4

A few weeks ago I took the bottom shelf out of the upstairs linen closet so that I could put the vacuum and some other cleaning supplies there, and today, Gracie discovered that she could walk right in. After laughing about that for a few minutes, I showed her that there was a little place she could sit down, and I closed the door so we could play peek-a-boo. She thought that was SO MUCH FUN that I had to sit there for a good 20 minutes while she opened and closed the door. And as I sat there and said PEEK-A-BOO! every time she opened the door, I just kept thinking: "This is the best job I've ever had."

(There isn't much light in that part of the house so I had trouble getting a good picture. Of the 20 or so that I took, this one turned out the best. )

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Day 3

Nathan built me these wonderful planters last fall. In addition to being beautiful, he made them super deep so that I can try and grow some vegetables. I planted peas in these ones, and they are starting to grow quite nicely. He also built me some bigger ones that we have on the other side of the yard. I planted green onions, carrots and spinach in those. I absolutely can't wait until I can go out into the back yard and pick me some fresh ingredients for the night's supper.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Day 2

Gracie is a crazy sleeper, just like her Daddy. She rolls and kicks and rolls and kicks and rests her feet on top of the Ocean Wonders thingy and wedges her head into the corner of the crib. And is perfectly happy that way.

I used to stand next to her crib while she was falling asleep at night, putting her legs down from the bars, turning her so she was all nice and straight and safe in the middle of the crib. I would untwist her favorite blankie (the yellow one she's holding) and put it back on her, all nice and flat and perfectly covering her up. And she would immediately bunch the blanket up, twist herself around, and put her feet back up in the air. Going to sleep used to take a long, long, time.

Finally, I decided that I was the problem here, not her, and just started putting her in her crib, kissing her goodnight, and leaving the room. The child is now usually asleep in under ten minutes, always with the feet resting on top of the Ocean Wonders thingy. I usually re-position her after she goes to sleep, but I almost always find her this way again when I check her before I go to bed, and when I wake up in the morning.

This photo was taken this afternoon. I found her this way when she woke up from her nap -- like usual. :)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Day 1

Jody over at The Sparkling House has been doing this wonderful thing called 100 Pictures in 100 Days. Nearly every day she takes a picture of something her family has done, and posts it with a little explanation. Apparently, the only rule is that the picture has to have been taken that day.

Well, I'm enjoying it so much that I've decided that I'm going to shamelessly copy her idea. I never have time to write an actual post anymore, but this I think I could do. I also think you, my beloved readers, will probably like it better because instead of reading boring posts about the zit in my ear, you'll get to see cute pics of Gracie. Probably a lot of cute pics of Gracie, actually.

Plus, I've just figured out how to get our Hard Disk Camcorder to take still photos, and this will give me lots of great practice. (I also may post videos instead of photos some days. I hope that doesn't break the rules.)

So, for my very first day, I give you…a cute pic of Gracie AND a kitty!

Gracie and I went down to my parents farm in Vulcan on Saturday for a Father's Day dinner for my Dad. Gracie had a great time playing with her cousins, and I had a great time visiting with Dad and Mom, my sisters and their husbands. It was quite a house full. We stayed overnight, and this morning before we left Gracie and Olivia were outside playing with some new kittens. This picture was taken in the back yard playhouse. I just love the little kitty looking out the window beside Gracie.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

There’s No Face For Peeing

Hubby: I can’t believe you’re going to have the kid potty trained before she can talk.

Me: Oh, we’re a looooong way from being fully trained. Mostly, I just feed her her bottle, wait 20 or 30 minutes, then sit her on the potty and read stories to her until she pees. Anything she does in between I don’t catch. Although, she’s really good at pooping. She makes this face when she’s pooping, so when I see it I just say: “Gracie, are you pooping? Let’s go poop on the potty!” and she gets all excited and runs to the bathroom and we poop on the potty.

Peeing is harder though. It’s hard to tell when she’s peeing. There’s no face for peeing.

Hubby, (now laughing): There’s no face for peeing… There’s the title for your next blog post!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Would you believe my dog ate my blog post?

So, it's official. I am officially the worst blogger ever.

Has it really been more than 2 weeks since I wrote "I'll tell you tomorrow"?
Time is just flying by waaaaayyyyy too fast.

So for those of you who didn't email me or find out on Facebook, the big present was: a trip to New York City to see hubby's beloved Yankees play in Yankee Stadium. And yes, it went over very, very well.

Hubby, one of his very best buddies, and his father all hopped on a plane for a whirlwind weekend trip to the Big Apple, and by all accounts, a good time was had by all.

I'm sorry that it took me so long to post. I really love writing this blog, but between running after Gracie and now looking after my own home-based business, I usually fall into bed exhausted at the end of the day. Generally, there is a really great blog post floating around in my head as I fall asleep (and while I'm having a shower, and while I make dinner); but time to write it? Very hard to find these days. Very hard to find.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I think I finally got him something he will actually like…

Okay, so I don't look anything like Jessica Simpson when I use MY Swiffer. But I think I may just be up for Housewife of the Year when I give hubby his birthday present tomorrow. It's good. Really, really, really good. So good that I think it will make up for the disastrous Christmas of 2007 – he gave me an iPod Touch and I gave him a mini fridge shaped like a Coke can.

Oh yes I did.

I felt so badly about it that I set out to do better for his birthday. And since it's his 30th birthday, I wanted to give him something really big, and really special. So tomorrow (Thursday) is the big unveiling, and I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself.

And yes, I can hear you yelling "what is it?" into your computer screen, but I can't tell you because I want it to be a huge surprise, and hubby reads this blog from time to time. I'll tell you tomorrow.

He's gonna love it.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

mmmmm…spinach dip

Ritz Whole Grain Crackers
+ Tostitos Spinach Dip
= Denice not caring if she ever loses that last 10 pounds,
if it means she has to give up this scrumptious snack.

Seriously people! Life is too short to deprive yourself of this yumminess, just for the sake of looking a little better in a bathing suit.

That's what I'm telling myself, anyway, as I hoover down the entire jar.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Probably TMI…

Well friends, today is the day that I reveal to you what a sick, twisted, and self-centred individual I really am. Because out of all the pressing world matters that I could be writing about, today, I'm going to write about my zit. That's right, my zit.

I currently have the HUGEST zit I've ever had in my entire life – and that includes the really big one I had on my chin when I was about 15, and while attending some sort of school dance, a guy I was dancing with asked: "I'm sorry, I don't mean to be rude, but what's wrong with your chin?"

So what? You must be wondering. Why on God's Green Earth are you making us read about your stupid zit?


It's one of those ones that start about two miles beneath your skin and it now encompasses the entire inside part of my outer ear, and all I want to do is pop it. It's all I can think about. The pressure and the dull ache from the inside of my ear is driving me crazy, and I've spent every spare moment today looking in the mirror, trying to figure out how I can get at it.

Because here's my gross confession: I love to pop those giant disgusting zits. I don't know what it is, but there's something really satisfying to me in popping a zit. I think it's because I hate the thought that there's a deposit of disgusting pus just underneath my skin, and when I see it ooze out in one long squiggle, I know it's gone and I can feel better again. Or something like that. I don't really know.

But I can't get this one. It's in a spot where I physically can't get at it. And it hurts when I lay on it, it hurts when I touch it; it just generally hurts.

I suppose I should just wait for it to go away on it's own, but control freaks like me just aren't zen enough to let things just go away. We have to be pro-active! We have to take action to MAKE it go away!

I'm going back to the mirror.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Question of the Day

Is it wrong to purposely sit and cuddle on the couch with your nauseous child, secretly hoping that said couch might just get vomited on, thereby wrecking the wretchedly ugly old thing and speeding up the process of talking your husband into buying a new one?


Then I didn't do that today. Nope. Nosiree. And I definitely didn't let her lay there for a half hour and watch the Backyardigans either.

She didn't puke on it anyway.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Just what time is it?

This daylight savings time has really wrecked my time clock. It's 1:24 a.m. and I'm still awake. I put Gracie to bed at 11:30 p.m. because she had a miraculous 3 hour afternoon nap, then I cleaned the kitchen, made oatmeal muffins, cleaned the kitchen again, did some laundry, tidied up the living room, ate some muffins, folded some laundry, ate some muffins, read some blogs…and now here I am. Everybody went to bed hours ago and my body still thinks it should be awake.

How 'bout you? Did daylight savings time screw with your inner clock?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Bring a cup of coffee. I wrote a novel today…

One year ago today, I woke up to my alarm clock ringing at 5 a.m. I remember thinking that it was pretty rude to make a woman wake up at 5 a.m. in order to get to the hospital by 7 a.m. for a scheduled induction. Shouldn't you let the woman have one last morning of sleep if you are purposely going to send her into labour today? That was my thought as I drug my tired butt out of bed and got into the shower.

But once the water started pouring over me and I started to wake up a bit, the butterflies started in my stomach and the nervousness kicked in. Just how much was this going to hurt? I really, really wanted to avoid the epidural, but how do you know how you will feel in the moment while you're gripped with pain?

An hour later we were in the car, bags packed, headed to the hospital in Calgary. We arrived, parked, then wandered and wandered until we finally found the right room for the induction. I was the only woman scheduled that morning, so hubby and I had the room all to ourselves. I went to the bathroom, put on my gown, went back the room, heard they were going to strap me to the monitor and make me stay still for an hour -- so I went to the bathroom again.

She applied the gel to my cervix and I stayed put for an hour. "Come back at 2 p.m., whether you've started contractions or not," the nurse told us. If you haven't started yet, we'll give you more. Often, we have to do this a couple times for it to work."

I started having contractions in the car before we even made it out of the city. By the time we reached Airdrie, I could hardly sit in my seat. Hubby decided we should stop at Blockbuster and rent a movie so there would be something for me to take my mind off the pain until we went back to the hospital. I thought it was a good idea, but wasn't sure I'd be able to walk through the store. Turned out it wasn't open yet so we just went home…

I love the TV show Friends, and we own all 10 seasons on DVD, so hubby put one of the seasons in for me. I have no idea which one, because for the first time in my life, I couldn't care less. All I could do is kneel on the floor and put my head on the couch, because that was the only comfortable position I could find. Hubby went to McDonalds to get some lunch for me, but I just couldn't eat it.

Finally, at 12:30 p.m., Nate decided he better put me in the car before I started refusing to go. I thought we should wait a bit longer, 'cause I didn't want to drive all the way there and then find out it was too early and have to go back home again. Turns out hubby made a good decision. By the time we got the hospital again, the contractions were close enough together that I could only go about 10 steps before I had to stop. When we reached the labour and delivery ward, all I could do was drape myself over the front desk.

"I'm guessing you're in labour!" the sing-songy nurse trilled. I wanted to say something really nasty, but all I could get out was a very breathy "YES!" She helped me to a bed in a small dark room, gave me a gown to change into and pulled the curtains around me. As soon as I had changed into the gown and managed to get myself on the bed, my water broke. The contractions suddenly intensified about 10 times, and I found myself hardly able to breath through them.

I was trying to find new coping mechanisms for this new development, and I must not have been doing a very good job, because from the other side of the curtain, I could hear a nurse say to another woman: "I'm sorry honey, these are just Braxton-Hicks contractions. When you're really in labour, you'll sound like her!"

Soon after that, my nurse came back to check me and decided it was time to put me in a delivery room -- they were really slow that day so there were a bunch just sitting empty. Might as well put me in there where there was lots more room and Nathan could be a bit more comfy too.

And I must confess, after that, the events are a bit of a blur. I remember refusing the epidural and deciding to try the laughing gas, since that was the only pain relief option that wouldn't do any damage to Gracie. I don't think it worked all that well, but I did notice when I had sucked the whole tank dry. Mostly, it helped me with my breathing because I had to really concentrate and breathe correctly through the contractions -- if I started to hyperventilate a bit through a really bad one, the nurses would have a fit and come and make me slow my breathing down. Then I remember saying: "Maybe I will try a little morphine now…" about 12 times, and nobody making any move to get me some. Oh well.

After what hadn't seemed like a very long time to me, I started to feel that overwhelming need to push. A doctor checked me out and said that it was okay to start, so I did -- and Oh My God did that ever feel good! I have never felt such relief in my whole life.

And then a different doctor came to check and said I was only 9.5 centimetres dilated and that I would have to wait and stop pushing. I could have cried. I think I might have…I'll have to ask Nate. The next hour of trying not to push through each contraction when every single muscle in my body was trying to push that baby out was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I will never forget those muscles gripping my body, pushing, tightening, hardening -- and being told to try to relax them and do nothing. Like I had some kind of control over it or something.

Finally, FINALLY I was allowed to push again, and the relief was blissful. I remember that the pushing part was extremely hard physical work, but I don't really remember it being painful, to be honest. It was just such a relief to get to work with my body instead of trying to work against it, that it felt like heaven. I pushed for nearly an hour before I finally got Gracie's giant head out. Once her head was out, I remember thinking "Okay! I'm almost done! After the head, the shoulders are just a couple pushes and I'm done…right?"

Wrong. Oh so very wrong.

Gracie had her arms crossed in front of her, with her two little hands touching each shoulder. I pushed and I pushed and I pushed and I pushed and nothing was happening. Nobody would tell me what was going on -- just to push a little harder. Then suddenly, with the next contraction, I felt an absolute searing pain. I remember screaming that this hurt SO MUCH and the doctors saying I just had to keep pushing. I couldn't see what they were doing, but afterwards my Mom told me that the doctor had had to reach a hand in and first grab one of Gracie's arms and pull it out, then pull out her other arm with the next contraction because her face was starting to turn blue.

A few more pushes and she was out. They grabbed her and ran, and took her to a corner of the room where I think three different pediatricians were waiting to look at her. Which totally freaked me out -- and once again, nobody would tell me anything. "She's just fine, they're just checking her," is all the doctor still with me would say. Gracie wasn't making any noise, and Nate and I were getting really scared -- and then she finally started to cry. (Five days later, we would find out that the doctor had broken her collarbone while yanking her out of there, but that's another story…)

They let Nate and my Mom go over there and take pictures and hold her, but I was still in the bed. The doctor was stitching me up -- and stitching and stitching and stitching -- and everybody else had seen and held this beautiful girl but me. I WAS STARTING TO GET ANGRY. (As a side note - the doctor who was stitching me up didn't know I hadn't had an epidural or any painkillers of any kind, and just started stitching me up. And when I yelled, she looked up and said: "That hurt?")

Then eventually, when they were done stitching me up, I got to hold my sweet Gracie, and it was love at first sight.

Grace Amelia Elizabeth Anderson was born at 6:57 p.m., February 5, 2007. She was 8 lbs, 10.75 oz.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Goodbye Santana and Kaydance

I can't stop thinking about them, those two little girls from the Yellow Quill Reserve in Saskatchewan. They died on Tuesday night, outside in the bitter, bitter cold, wearing nothing but diapers and t-shirts, trying to follow their father.

One-year-old Santana and three-year-old Kaydance were following their drunk father to a neighbours house. They didn't have jackets. They didn't have mittens. They didn't even have pants or socks or shoes. They were outside, the wind chill dipping the temperature down to -50 C, trying to follow daddy.

And I can't stop crying. Because all I can think about are these two little girls, wandering around outside in the cold, first whimpering, then crying, then screaming, asking daddy to come and help them. And then I can see daddy getting further and further away, not turning around, not paying any attention to his babies, and the girls getting colder and colder. It would take only two or three minutes in those temperatures before those girls wouldn't be able to walk anymore. So they probably sat down in the snow, not able to move, not able to talk, not able to do anything but watch daddy walk away. They were probably terrified.

They died terrified, in horrific pain, all alone, in the bitter cold and the dark of night.

And all I can do is cry.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Proper Pronunciation

Gracie's been starting to talk a lot more lately. Lots of times, she's just repeating what I'm saying and she never says it again. But sometimes it sticks, and she says it often. And sometimes, it's not really a whole word, but the first syllable or two.

For instance, when she is hungry and wants her bottle, she'll give me the sign language I taught her for milk and say: BOT! She's said that so much lately that her father and I both have started calling it BOT! too. But you can't fool her. She knows the word is bottle…

Me, yesterday afternoon: "Are you hungry? Would you like a BOT?"

Gracie, looking me right in the face, very seriously: "BOT-L mum! BOT-L!"

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Thoughts for the Day…

1. Putting snow boots on a toddler is not for the faint of heart. It requires relentless perseverance, and should be attempted about 20 minutes before you need to leave the house. Trust me.

2. If you call Shaw Cable at 10:30 p.m. for assistance with uploading the temporary website you only spent five minutes creating because you have no idea what you are doing, the guy on the other end will actually be very nice. And you don't have to wait on hold for two hours before talking to real people either; the phone rang three times and then I actually got to speak to a real person! I'm going to start calling help lines at 10:30 p.m. from now on…

3. Working from home is GREAT! I spend my days with sweet Gracie, and my evenings in front of my Mac designing pretty ads and fancy-schmancy new logos. It's hard, but I think I made the right decision -- going back to work at the newspaper wouldn't have worked for me.

4. The Gracie Giggle is the world's sweetest sound. And the older she gets, the more I get to hear it.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Maybe I should stop checking my Sitemeter…

To all those who are here because you Googled "Pillsbury Gingerbread Cookie Dough", I'm very sorry. The only info you will get is my crazy ramblings about how much I love it.

I've written about lots of other things here at denice-isms but my traffic has gone up three-fold since I wrote those two posts, mostly because when you Google Pillsbury Gingerbread Cookie Dough, I'm like the third entry that comes up.

I'm trying hard not to think about what that means: like perhaps I should be worried that out of all the things I've done in my life, my love of Pillsbury Gingerbread Cookies is what I am now most known for.

But instead, I am just going to be flattered that I am known for anything at all, and invite all of you who arrived here by mistake to stay and read awhile. :)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Is there a Vogue for workout wear?

Clearly, I am not gym chic.

I went to the gym tonight, like all the other New Year's Resolutioners in Airdrie, to use the treadmill. It was 9 p.m. and the place was packed to the rafters. And every single one of them was dressed in a fancy-schmancy new workout outfit. Every single one of them! Apparently, when you make a New Year's Resolution to get in shape, you also must purchase fancy new workout clothes to make it a done deal.

I did not do this. I put on my favorite comfy yoga pants and a slightly baggy t-shirt, so as not to show my, um, less than perfect physique, and headed off the to gym. I knew I didn't exactly look great, but I figured there would be a couple more people like me there.

Nope. Not one. Just rows and rows of brand new lycra and co-ordinating water bottles. Oh well. Perhaps in a few weeks all those new outfits will be staying home and me and my baggy sweats will fit in just fine.