Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas... and the aftermath

'Twas the night before Christmas...
...stockings were hung on the mantel with care

Kids were dispatched to bed...

Mission Ho Ho Ho complete...

We waited and waited for Girl-chick and Tater to wake up (!) - it was 0830 before stirrings commenced and then the shredding began!

And today, this is what the back of the house looks like.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Season's Greetings!

Hello visitor!

You've come to this blog either because I have sent you a URL (99% of you) or you've somehow stumbled on it via somewhere else (1% of you). This is the Dawson family blog. In the last year, I have tried to capture moments in the days of our children - they are growing up too fast and I will never have this time back. I cannot say I have been entirely successful because I do it as time and energy permits but I figure a mere snippet could still give friends and family from far away a brief glimpse. No names are mentioned specifically in this blog but if you know us, you know whom we are referring to!
The 99% of you will already know that we have had a very busy year. We have just moved into our new house; it's been about a month and everything is mostly put away but things are still chaos! I have no earthly clue where anything non-essential is. Christmas cards are filed under "non-essential" despite what some people may think. I did get Da Man to go to Costco and buy me a huge roll of stamps though. Perhaps next year. We also didn't get a chance to get any nice Christmas pictures of the kiddos to send out (none that I would print in perpetuity). We do have a random selection of pics we would still like to share with you.
This year has been a good year to us.
Health-wise, we had a rocky start to 2009 with Girl-chick and Tater at CHEO with asthma and RSV.

We did manage to get the Tater out in time to attend her own christening!

Girl-chick's asthma is mostly under control with a strict regimen of Singulair, Ventolin and Flovent. She's had a flare-up or two but nothing too dramatic. In August, Tater had an ear infection which led to a nasty yeast diaper rash which led to said rash spreading all down her legs and then movin' on up. Our ped said (and I quote): "If this was a test in school and I had to guess, I would probably guess chicken pox".

Developmentally, Girl-chick has been moving at warp speed! From the initial random scratchings on pieces of paper, she can now trace, write letters and draw recognizable objects. Of course, just to be contrary, yesterday she told me that the (I swear) funny bear-like creature she was drawing was actually a kitty. O-Kay... Of course, this is the child who introduces herself to people as "Serafina the Princess Kitty" (yes, it's an obsession and I do nothing to discourage it). Tater learned to walk (Thank you to my True Blood watching mother's helper - you know who you are!!) around 10 or 11 months. By her birthday she was steadier on her feet than her sister had ever been at that age. She also had more teeth! Today, she runs around to catch up to her idol, wrassles with the best of 'em, and climbs her highchair! She has a decent working vocabulary of 15 or 25 words and is on the verge of a language explosion.

Da Man is doing well. He continues to be an on-loan Government schmoe. I think he enjoys it. I certainly have enjoyed him being around more. I applaud single parents everywhere who choose to go it alone. Me, I would have been the epicenter of a murder-suicide if Da Man had to go away for an extended period of time. The girls are not hard to manage solo for small periods of time but days at a time would stress the psyche. Da Man has decided to take up shooting as a hobby among other healthy changes to his lifestyle he has been making. I am very proud of him because he has quit smoking, given up on soda and started eating more veggies in this year!

I went back to work full-time after my maternity leave was over. I had been busy prior to that, exploring alternative forms of income-generation. Nothing concrete but now I know that I have an extra skillset that I can rely upon should the unexpected happen. Sewing gives me great pleasure especially when I can see on the faces of the recipients the appreciation for what I have made. I have been granted permission to carve out a sewing studio for myself in the new house and I am quite excited. Initial forays into selling dresses, skirts, etc have been promising. I do have an Etsy shop set up but there is nothing in it yet. For now, I am still relying on word-of-mouth and I just enjoy making gifts. I am also hoarding beautiful fabric for that "special project"...

That is as brief of an update as I can provide to you all. For all our friends and family from far away and even nearby, we wish you all the very best for the upcoming new year. We hope that 2009 has been good to you all and we hope that 2010 is a significant improvement!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Almost settled in...

Since the move two weeks ago we have mostly settled in. There's still lots of things in boxes and vacuum bags but we have the essentials (except for Da Man's hat... that's gone walkies). The kids' bedrooms are mostly squared away - three to five Rubbermaid tubs teetering by the side of the bed as a night stand. Tater got another new dresser yesterday - we stopped by IKEA on the way home from a cancelled swim class to pick up another pine dresser. It's cheap, solid wood and unfinished - I LIKE it! For now, things are getting bunged in. Once the basement is done and the garage can be tidied and the driveway paved and sod laid down, I'll take the dressers out and paint them and decorate. Perhaps by then we will have a better idea of what the Tater would like in terms of decoration because right now it is a melange of bugs and flowers and random miscellany. Girl-chick remains firm on a princess room and so far we have been able to appease her somewhat with a small purple princess mirror (dollar store, received as a prize at a birthday party two years ago)and a princess bed (cheap, lurid pink IKEA sheers draped over the head and foot of her bed and meeting in a giant rosette on the ceiling in the middle. Once the Christmas break comes around, I have a small mural with kittens and butterflies planned. As much as she is adamant on the whole princess thing, I remain steadfast on limiting the influx of the typical Disney icons. Strangely enough, while she has run the gamut of princesses (she has a "Sleeping Beauty" haircut and likes it tied up in "Jasmine" style, she really loves Ariel), Girl-chick more often than not is a CAT. She meows and mewls with the best of 'em. She introduces herself as Serafina, the princess cat. Perhaps the kitten mural can have a small crown thrown in.
I am quite excited about the upcoming Christmas break. Mum-in-law flies in on Wednesday which means we will have another set of willing adult hands to entertain the children and other necessary chores 'round the house. Tater is still in a needy phase, leading me to think that perhaps selling all those wonderful slings was a tad bit premature. I am either going to whip another one up tonight or learn to do things with only one hand. Christmas gifts are most probably all done with the exception of minor gifts. The plan is to wrap tonight and survey all that I have and fill in gaps as needed.
Poor little Tater is teething. She's a bucket of drool - if the front of her shirt is soaking, sopping wet then her sleeves are from playing in the toilet!. Yup, my little Tater has discovered the joys of swishing her hands in water which isn't so bad in and of itself. It's just that the only bodies of water that happen to be most convenient are the ones found in the toilets! Blick. Yuck. Bleh. To make things worse, her hands and fingers are the worst parts of her body in terms of her eczema. Her poor little fingers are always red and swollen and shiny-plasticky. I'm sure dipping them in bowls of standing water (and who knows what else (cos big sis does not always remember to flush)) is not helping. I've taken to rubbing in Penaten into her hands at bedtime. Da Man started doing it to his hands because of what the tin said and he says it has been working so at night, on top of greasing her up, we also do her fingers in Penaten. Never hurts to try.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Yeah right!

So, August, September and pretty much all of October has come by and buggered off and what have I done?

I returned to work is what!

Things have been hectic. Our daily routine consists mostly of waking up at the alarm, snoozing a couple times, grabbing sonic showers, waking and dressing the kids and then buckling them into car seats with breakfast in hand. By the time the workday ends, we're scrambling to pick up kids before daycare closes (our kids are the last ones), getting supper on the table with a clingy Tater hanging off my legs, baths and books and bed. By the time we've said the last prayers and tucked the kiddies in, we've been going going going for about 14 hours and we're just about knackered. But wait! There's more stuff to do... We have to clean the supper stuff, throw stuff into the laundry, pack boxes, tidy the main floor, and maybe even squeeze in some TV time.

The new house is moving along steadily. The brick and stonework is all done, there is a lock on the front door now so we can only peep in the windows, the drywall is complete and I think, with only another 5 weeks to go, they are putting in the cabinetry and floors. All the finish work has been delivered (we saw the trim truck backing into (and maybe over) the phone and cable posts sticking out of half our front yard.)

We have been clearing and tidying and piffing as we went along in the old house. Last night Girl-chick acknowledged that we would be moving our beds with us to the new house... otherwise, "where would we sleep mommy?". Arrangements have been made for moving day and beyond. We have a good plan, a better plan and a worst case plan. We can't find something called a Schedule B and neither can our lawyer or the builder! So the mortgage broker is going "Erm, where's the Schedule B folks?" and we're running around and panicking because we have no clue what the heck it even is!

Tater has SIX teeth now. Since she spouted one fang in August, she had two by the end of August and the other four crept along. No more that we can see right now but they will come. She babbles to herself and she can say "Mama", "Dada", "Nana" and "Lila"! Oh and she points to herself in the mirror and says "Baba".

Girl-chick is sprouting like the bad weed she is. She gets more and more adorable and developmentally, she is at the "Okay mommy/daddy" stage. She got into a stubborn rut a while back but as of the last two weeks, she had been 101% co-operative and introspective - a marvelous change! I'm sure that the next time the winds shift direction, we will be in for an eye-opener.

That's it!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I am ashamed...

But of course, I am the only one reading these posts and so it doesn't really matter. I think I shall be inviting the family and friends into this little nugget once things have settled away.

Girl-chick and Tater are growing in leaps and bounds. My little baby is going to be a year old in two weeks and I grow despondent. Byebye little baby potato, hello independent toddler and whoa-there-don't-eat-the-dirt...

Lots of stuff has happened since March or April.

1) We listed and sold our little townhouse
2) We bought a new house - the one fondly referred to as the big house
3) We walk by there almost every day to watch its progress
4) The Tater walks, nay, runs!
5) The Tater will be going to Lila during the day when I return to work
6) The Tater has one little fang that erupted three weeks ago (and not much else!)
7) Girl-chick can write in a 3-year-old sort of way
8) Girl-chick knows how to spell lots of words but won't let on
9) Girl-chick is generous with her kisses and hugs

I haven't made a lot of dresses as I had planned this summer. I did sell off a whole bunch to friends and family. I have lots of ideas and not much time PLUS a little Tater underfoot.

Da Man has taken up firing guns as a hobby. It gets him out of the house and in the fresh air, shooting at paper targets as opposed to in the dank basement, shooting at pixelated enemies.

So, I guess I am going to have to be better at this posting thing if I want to be able to not only capture moments in the kids' lives but to share them with doting family. I can but try.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wild thing

That's my tater!
Lately she's discovered rice cereal. And blowing raspberries. One happened because of the other actually. Can you even start to guess which came first?
So far, tater and cereal have been getting along. I give her organic rice for the fiber value and it doesn't seem to be too bad. After reading up on the new guidelines, I also introduced her to organic lamb and as dog-food-ish as it sounds, she likes it!
Blowing raspberries is her newest form of vocalization. She does it when she wakes up in the morning. She does it when she goes to sleep at night. She does it every moment in between!
While not quite getting the idea of motion yet (or rolling over),she knows she wants to get from HERE to THERE and gets frustrated when she cannot.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Today is Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras. Pancake Day!

We had pancakes for supper and it was confusing... Girl-chick did not touch her pancakes. She did gobble up the ham though.

Girl-chick finally had her birthday party. I felt it was long enough to gypp her (which is what she will feel happened even if we factor in the roller-coaster ride of illness over the last few weeks). We settled for nice boring cupcakes and basic hot dogs and fries for everyone. As 3-year-old birthday parties go, it went okay. There was a meltdown because she did not nap in the afternoon. We sent her to a timeout and let the other kids open her gifts. Incidentally, the other kids opening her gifts is what set off the meltdown.

We forgot to capture any pictures and I don't think anyone else had a camera going. Oh well.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Itchy itchy baby!

Yes, I've been remiss in even keeping my resolution of making weekly posts. It's not like anyone reads it anyway. It's more for the kids someday when we want to remind them of those special moments that may otherwise dissipate with the other mists of memory.
Tater has been itchy itchy. The eczema on her face has flared up and weeps and then get crusty. It's also been bleeding and she can't scratch her head to her satisfaction. I rub her forehead with my palsm once in a while to soothe her and she mewls with pleasure. We have an allergist appointment next Thursday and believe me, it cannot come fast enough! Girl-chick gets re-tested on the same day too so we can find out if we can challenge her with some different foods.
Tater has also been ultra-clingy. Like, I can't go upstairs without her pitching a fit. No one else can console her. No one else will try. If Daddy picks her up, she has her eyes on Mommy and her head will most likely swivel 540 degrees if I run loops around him.
Needless to say, we still have a third person in the bed. I have to admit that I love my tater in the bed still - another way for me to preserve my little baby. With girl-chick, naivete led us to believe that she had to get out of our bed or she would be in it forever. Sure, she stayed in full-time until she was about maybe 6 months old (where tater is now) and we didn't have her in her crib 100% until she was well past a year old, even now she's still welcome in our bed when she is sick or it's a weekend morning. Despite the naysayers, she loves her own bed, she respects the boundaries we have set and we enjoy the together moments we do share. If we didn't welcome the children in our bed, we wouldn't have bought a big bed.
What's happened in the last few days? Well, girl-chick is done with her antibiotics for the ear infections. The pink stuff reeks and she still drinks it down without complaint. Tater is getting better from the RSV. She still has some residual congestionbut I think we have moved on to the itchy allergy baby stage. We had a quiet Valentine's Day. Girl-chick made Daddy a card with some foam stickers. I got him a Mr Big bar while doing the groceries. Tater turned 6 months on Family Day which was also a nice quiet one. We went out to St. Hubert and met up with tater's god-parents for a late lunch. Nanny goes home tomorrow. Her help whenever she is here is always invaluable. It's just too bad she doesn't live closer.
Tater is whimpering. Gotta go.

Monday, February 9, 2009

It hardly rains...

...but it pours!

This past weekend is the fourth in a row we have had to schlepp a child to a walk-in or an emergency department. Fourth. Absolutely ridiculous.

Da Man shook his fists at the powers-that-be on Sunday as he loaded girl-chick into the car and drove to the walk-in nearby. With some foresight, I tossed him my DS but alas! girl-chick demanded to be cuddled the entire two hours they were there. Waiting. It was maggoty with kids and they were into all of Dr. Chan's toys. Girl-chick didn't want none of it. Of course alarm bells rang in my head when girl-chick opted out of a wonderful boiled dinner complete with salt meat on Saturday.

Within 6 hours of her first dose of Amoxicillin for her ears, she was back to being the chatterbox she normally is. Did I mention both her ears are rotten?? So at bedtime last night, not only was she back to the bla-bla-bla-ing, it was on a volume level we would call BUST.

Tater is still wheezy from the RSV but she's going to be that way for another week or two. We were forewarned. She's in better spirits and can sit up in a wobbly way now which is ultra cool. We've been baiting her with toys just out of reach to see what she would do. She would reach out, propped on one arm and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d out as far as she could go. And then, PLOP! she would tip over. And smile. Or gurgle. Aren't kids funny that way?

Da Man woke up in a sweat the other day because he dreamt that the Tater skipped rolling over, crawling and cruising to go straight to RUNNING. I pishposhed it right away and told him he was paranoid. I also asked if part of the dream involved girl-chick skipping school and going straight to University. Sadly, he admitted to be paranoid but not delusional.

Tater's latest obsession is with lifting both legs in the air and pounding them back on the floor again. Loud. I wish I had that much ab control.

Monday, February 2, 2009

We're baaaack!

I think it's shocking. The last post was probably two weeks ago. So much for using this as a vehicle for keeping in touch with family and friends.

We've had a rough two weeks. Girl-chick's birthday party had to be postponed, originally to be moved to the same day as the Tater's baptism. Both girls were sick with nasty colds. We thought for sure that Girl-chick would be destined to emerg. We kept that at bay with religious use of her puffers and kept her home a few days while the fever ran its course.

Tater didn't fare so well. We took her to the walk-in twice and to emerg at different hospitals twice. At the QCH, they swabbed her nose with this little feathery thing and confirmed RSV. We took her in for a follow-up on Tuesday past with our wonderful ped and he said, "Ummm... you should consider taking her into CHEO." And so it began.

We took the little Tater to the children's hospital. There was a line-up! The electronic doors were jammed open by the line-up. No worries. We weren't concerned or anything. We had a note and we were only going in to get her O2 sats measured. We doodled our way along the line and watched all these kids who were not very ill at all get through the triage desk and then on to the registration waiting room where we were destined to park for a while. Five minutes after hitting the triage nurse, we were done registration, we were in our own little isolation room and someone was in the room asking about insurance coverage for a semi-private room.

There goes my day...

Tater had bronchiolitis and dehydration as a result of RSV. She was all stuffed up and barely feeding. She was sucking in air so hard we could see her rib cage with every breath. So I had to camp out there with her for a few days while they poked and prodded. I looked up at the monitors every time it jangled. I held her down every time they needed to take her temp, suction all the mucous out, listen to her breathe and find a vein for the I.V. I cuddled and rocked in a chair that should have been provided along with a tube of Prep H. I barely slept (well,they came in every two hours!) in this couch thing that folded out into a Medieval torture device. I brought my Tater home four days later.

We did make it to her baptism.

Today, she has a lingering mistrust for anyone who is not Mummy or Daddy (it was touch-and-go for him!), no one can go near her face and beware anyone with a sharp poky thing.

She'll get over it. Or she'll have lots of therapist fodder.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy birthday to us!

Today is girl-chick's birthday. She's been bouncing off the walls waiting for her birthday. I've been bouncing off the walls waiting for the mythical three-year-old to appear. The one that doesn't want her way. All the time. The one that complies to all requests. Most of the time.
I think mine is lost in the mail.
We did family birthday tonight with a small cake for her. And she opened all the family gifts. I haven't checked but I have been told that the little camera we got for her is already filled with some interesting pictures. I can hardly wait for her to play with the light up Crayola thing. Maybe she'll let me play with it. The rainboots and raincoat will have to wait until the snow melts.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Rub my back!

A nice new layer of snow is accumulating outside in gentle, lazy spirals. The weather is supposed to get seriously frigid towards the end of the week but all I can think of right now is the good sliding we can get out of this. We're certainly set to hit the little hill this weekend with C and his family!

Most parents will identify with this: We normally rub girl-chick's back as part of her bedtime routine. We start counting down from 10 and once we hit zero, we stop and leave the room. She's seriously anal about it too. If we forget to say zero, she demands it. Over the weekend, we've "forgotten" to rub her back probably three days in a row and had a private chuckle over how she didn't notice. Or so we thought. Last night, we were punished - she not only recounted the three missed days, she also demanded reparation in the form of DOUBLE back-rubs!

Suffice to say, we ain't forgetting again! For a while anyway...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Oh my daisies!

Well. That's another New Year's resolution gone awry and it's only the 12th day.

Things have been awfully busy here at the Dawson shack. I've had to paint out the wallbed and tidy up the basement. DH's mom is supposed to come in on Thursday night. Girl-chick is just realizing she will be leaving the terrible twos and escalating to give us more "memories". Little tater has goop streaming out of her eye and smells of rot. Ewww.

Add to that a birthday party and a baptism the following weekend - a little too much maybe?

Girl-chick has been saying "Oh my daisies" a lot lately... everything is punctuated with it as in "Dotsy fell down the stairs oh my DAYzuz" and "We left Barley at daycare oh my DAYzus". Ultra-cute. DH says it as a kiddy-approved version of OMJ. I think everyone I know in the Dawson clan says it. Something about being Newfoundlanders maybe?

Oh and the other one is: "Lord LIPTON dines..." which I think is some version of "By the Lord lifting..." that took a wrong turn down another street.

For a special treat yesterday, I baked a chocolate cake from a box mix - mostly to try it and figure out the logistics of it. Girl-chick LOVED it. We haven't had much luck finding stuff that is gluten-free AND egg-free that she would like. The Glutino chocolate cake mix was good - nice and moist. I picked up a heart-shaped pan from the dollar store to use as butterfly wings and baked in that - mental note: the middle needs to cook longer. It was incredibly moist and delicious - even DH approved and he is such a picky eater. He thinks it is good enough that we could make the whole cake from it and the other kids would go for it too. That would allay another paranoia - crumbs everywhere... eeeek! Every time we go to a birthday party, we have to either keep her away from crumbs the best we can (whilst patting the Epipen case) and fix the ensuing rash or pre-emptively dope her up with Benadryl.

Today, while the crowd is away, me and tater are going to do the marshmallow fondant and color it. With the friggin' buses still on strike, nothing else to do...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The hide-a-bed is not hiding

We have finally - technically - finished the Murphy wall-bed. When we bought this house, we did not imagine that we would have guests that would stay for much longer than a week at a time. Since the kids have been born, both my mom and his have been here for stretches as long as 3 months! Once the tater arrived, the three bedroom house became simply too small. It's always been a five-year plan to be in this townhouse, we are getting close to it but things happening around us have thrown any firm plans we had into the tornado of economic uncertainty. If it we me, I'd have us a new house in a hot second - I even have the plot of land and house design picked out. DH on the other hand is more of a remorse buyer. He's just a ray of sunshine that way.

OK. Now that the background has been laid down, his mom is coming for a visit for a month. In winter. Can you envision the same cramped quarters getting even more so? I mean, God love her, she's a good woman - I don't have a bad thing to say about my mom-in-law. I've known her since I was a teenager and she's always been good to me. But the woman needs somewhere to sleep for one month. The air mattress keeps needing air and telling a guest to kip on the floor is a bit harsh. So we built her a bed in the basement. From scratch. Bits of wood and screws. I'm very impressed with it. I'm very impressed with DH for slapping the thing together. Mind you, it's over-engineered - there are more screws in it than a happy hooker house, it's got three different types of safeties (AND a couple of child safety latches to boot!) and it's anchored to several studs in the wall.

It's all good.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

My little tater

I thought I would have LOTS to say but strangely, I don't.

We have gone to C's birthday party - it was loads of fun for girl-chick and now she knows that her birthday party is next. The cake was absolutely gorgeous - three layers with buttercream fondant and Po from Kung-Fu Panda! (I'll post a pic as soon as I get one from C's mom).

Of course, this forces me to start looking into her cake and figuring out what to do. I promised myself I would as soon as things have settled down. With Christmas and Mrs Santa over, we only have little Christmas to get through and once Tuesday night rolls around and the stew is supped, the tree comes down, the furniture gets re-arranged to the way it was and the nitty-gritty of putting on a birthday party will begin. I have been planning in my head and it is time to carry out the experiments that will lead to the final result.

So, instead of yapping away and spoiling some surprises, here's a pic of my little tater.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Girl-chick glee

There's not much that happened today. We've just been to the neighbour's house for supper and then come back to plop the girls in bed. Tater is fast asleep and girl-chick is blabbing away upstairs. I think I just heard her say "I need space."

There's not much else.

I thought I'd share this photo though.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year, New Blog

So, the new year is upon us. I have decided to start a blog so that family and friends who choose to can read about our (almost) daily lives and catch those little nugglets of "wisdom" girl-chick (and eventually, tater) may spout. I find myself often repeating stuff girl-chick has said to others and thinking maybe she would like a record of it too - I can always whip it out in a moment of revenge 16 years or so from now.

We're just an average upper middle-class family in Kanata, a suburb Northwest of Ottawa. We do what I would presume are fairly normal things most people do. Not one of us are über-anything. My husband and I met in University about 16 years ago - teenagers with just a touch of naivetè, got married 7 years ago and have since had two offspring. Whenever possible, Dear Husband (DH) sidles away to "kill chumps" on his 360. I try to keep all the furry mammals in my zoo as clean and fed and happy as possible. Girl-chick is going on 3 going-on-36. Innocent little tater is four months old.

As of right now kids are in bed, we're down in the basement building a Murphy bed and laundry is going full-tilt. Typical day. Girl-chick is excited about going to a friend's birthday party on Saturday and we hold it against her. "If you want to go to C's birthday party on Saturday, you must ...".

And that's the start of our new year!