29 December 2011

Henry's Christmas

Henry had a great Christmas. Christmas day itself was a little overwhelming for him and I had to take him home from the celebrations at my in-laws early just to calm down. But subsequent parties were a little calmer and we were a little more aware of what he could handle so there were no other meltdowns.

His favourite part might have been eating lots of chocolate. I thought I was ok with him eating as much as he wanted at this one time of year but I grossly underestimated how much he would want to eat so there was some whining and some hiding of chocolate and no one was allowed to say the word around him.

And of course he loved unwrapping lots of new toys. He is now very good at saying "open present". He flipped out over all of his car toys that he unwrapped and opened some books that he immediately wanted to be read.

We are at my mum's for another week, enjoying even more family time.

23 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Our celebrating and family and friend visiting starts tomorrow and continues into the New Year. Just packing left to do now.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

20 December 2011

Baby #2

We will become a family of four in May with baby #2 due on the 11th. We had the ultrasound on Monday and yes there is a baby in there. I went through first trimester sickness, have a baby belly, have little aches and pains, and am always tired. But it still seems unbelievable that there is a baby in there. Even after we saw its little legs and face and spine.
Of course we have all those same regular worries about baby #2 as every family. Suddenly we notice how much attention Henry demands. We have already begun messing with our lovely sleep strategy of Henry and me falling asleep together after nursing at night. As much as any sleep book might tell us that this is a mistake and as much as we might have our work cut out for us over the next 4 1/2 months to get Henry just a little more independent and ready for the new baby, it has been a lovely and very easy almost two years. Nothing feels better than doing what feels right to you as a mother especially when it works. And we are making some slow progress in our quest to change things up a bit. Last night Kevin put Henry to sleep completely on his own just by telling him stories in bed for 20 minutes. Next we just have to hope this was not a fluke and then turn our attention to those night wakings.
And just this weekend I finished my first knitting project for the baby. I used a variation of the 5 hour baby sweater. A little yellow cotton cardigan.
We tell Henry all the time about the baby in Mommy's tummy and he will kiss my belly but he doesn't get it. He's too busy baking with Thomas anyway.

19 December 2011

Henry Loves the Snow

When Henry got up yesterday morning he noticed the snow out the window himself and soon he was asking to go outside for a walk. So sweet! So Kevin took him out. There was lots to do in the house before friends came over for lunch but how can you deny a toddler who wants to go out in one of the first snows of the year.
At first he wanted to stay in the stroller, was a bit weary of the snow. But then he toughened up and came out and liked making "train tracks" in the snow with Daddy and saying "choo choo". Of course he kept asking for his boots to be wiped but Kevin said he got over that eventually.
And then Kevin brought out the shovels and Henry loved that. He helped while Kevin did the driveway and then wanted to more so he walked along the sidewalk shovelling just a little as he went.
I can't get over how much fun this age is.

18 December 2011

Henry's Handmade Christmas 2

We gave Henry his 2nd Christmas present from us this morning. I made Henry a fabric dollhouse using this tutorial. And then from wooden dowels and balls, I made him our little family to go with it: Mommy, Daddy, and Henry. I also made a little table and chair to go with it. And on top of all that a car that fits the whole family. The people and car and furniture were all my own idea and I couldn't believe it when they actually turned out the way I had imagined!

First he took out the house with the people and furniture in it and he played with that. He immediately knew it was a little chair and put Henry in it at the table. He even got that the dolls were Mommy, Daddy, and Henry. We painted the people with regular acrylic paints but the rest was just finished with the beeswax polish that I made for Henry's natural wood blocks.

And then he took out the car and put the people in and has mostly been playing with that part of it. So awesome to see him play with toys we've made. And I always love it when he plays with little people, making them eat and walk and jump and lie down.

I borrowed a drill press to make the car so everything is lined up perfectly and it rolls really smoothly. I just copied the idea of making little cylindrical holes for the people to fit in from fisher price little people.

Some friends came over later in the day and gave him a Thomas the Tank Engine Toy so the little dollhouse is mostly forgotten for now but I think he will like it again.

16 December 2011

Lil Helper Diapers: a review

I was given some really nice cloth diapers to try out. And I'm supposed to write a little review about them on the blog. Like I'm a real blogger or something! I didn't lie about hoards of followers or anything, just had a connection through a relative. So I found myself with 3 brand new all-in-one lil helper diapers.
I've been using them for several weeks now and they are pretty great. My own diaper stash doesn't contain anything nearly so premium so I'm not sure how fair a comparison I can make. All I know is they are pretty awesome.

First off all-in-one is crazy nice. It's an expensive route to go but wow - if I had more of these I would use cloth diapers even for big day trips and the like where I usually turn to disposables. But they don't have long drying times like I had imagined all-in-ones to have because each has 2 snap in liners so once they're pulled apart they dry super fast. And putting them together is a breeze. Putting together my pocket diapers is a nightmare in comparison. (I have mostly homemade Rita's Rump Pocket Diapers which I love for their ease of making, cheapness, excellent absorbancy, fast drying times, and true "one size fits all" capability but I hate stuffing them.)

The lil helper absorbancy is pretty great. We are not frequent diaper changers around here. I figure as long as there's no poo, no rash, no leaks, and he's not complaining why would I change it. In fact we often go through just 4 cloth diapers during the day even now he's big and drinks a lot. And while the lil helpers maybe don't quite match the absorbancy of a pocket stuffed with a flat, they are definitely good enough for our lazy schedule.

And I had heard that all in ones are not as good at keeping in the poo as a separate cover. Since Henry spends most of the day sipping on fruit and veg packed smoothies, his poo is very similar in consistency to that runny newborn poo that is famous for diaper "blowouts". However since Henry is getting close to 2 years old now his poos are much much bigger. And I would say that technically the all-in-ones don't hold it in quite as well but the difference is very small and in my opinion not worth giving up the convenience and quick changes that all-in-ones offer. Even in the lil helpers, the poo has never reached his clothing in the past several weeks that I've been using them.
So the lil helper diapers are pretty great. I'm not sure if there are any more in my future. I'm not going to pretend I can't afford them. That is one of my big pet peeves - people complaining that they can't afford something when clearly they can, they just want to spend their money on something else. I particularly hate it when the person in question is wearing a giant diamond engagement ring while complaining of money woes, I have always been happy with my teensy ring so I feel justified in being judgemental in this one area.
So I think I'd rather spend my money on something else right now, maybe I will treat myself to a few more lil helper diapers when baby #2 comes along or something.

And as cute as Henry's bum is, I thought I'd add on a couple pictures that feature his sweet face. Here are some of the cute things Henry's been up to in the past few days.

Taking his trains for a ride (see they're resting on the steering wheel).

Making giant lego "trains" with Daddy.

13 December 2011


Henry just loves feeding those ducks. And they seem to be getting hungrier and bolder as the weather gets colder.

After a cold and windy weekend, Henry and I have been enjoying the milder weather these past two days. Yesterday we discovered a big ice patch and he thought it was so fun to be slipping and sliding and falling all over it. And it was so much fun for me to see him discover this completely brand new thing and to hear his giggles. All those clichés about reliving your childhood through your kids spring to mind.

Today we walked to downtown Waterloo (a walk that used to seem much shorter before I had a toddler). We had a nice time stopping in at a few shops and seeing the train and the animals that are in the park there. Henry was happy because we stopped at the health food store to stock up on raisins and I gave him the bag for the walk home. These days he loves raisins maybe even more than bread.
But he is happiest today playing around the big tree in our front yard. Here he is playing peekaboo.

07 December 2011

Soy-free Vegan Creamy Pasta Recipe

I want to share this new recipe that I've come up with and am quite proud of. It is delicious and super healthy - overflowing with vegetables. Oh and it's super easy to make too. I adapted it from this vegan alfredo recipe that I've been using for years. Since I'm cutting back on our soy consumption recently I wanted to try to make this recipe soy free. It tastes just as good as ever and now contains more veg! Makes a generous amount of sauce for one box of pasta.


1 1/2 cups cashews or almonds or a mix soaked in water for 4 hours or more
1 1/2 - 2 cups chopped cauliflower, steamed till soft
2 cloves garlic
1 cup almond milk
4 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt

~375 g of pasta

~1 lb mushrooms, chopped
a bunch of chopped spinach, fresh or frozen


Start sautéing the mushrooms in a large pan and cooking the spinach and cooking the pasta. While they're going make the sauce:
Drain the nuts. Place all sauce ingredients in a blender and blend well. When the mushrooms are done add the sauce and the spinach to the pan, mix and heat. You really just want to heat the sauce to warm. But heating it also mellows the raw garlic taste so you can heat for longer and taste as you go.

Since you don't really taste the spinach in it too much I like to serve it with another green such as steamed broccoli or asparagus on the side. It is also good with a side salad of course.

It is so good even Henry likes it usually. Just not this night for some reason. Actually I think this was because he wasn't in the mood for getting his hands dirty and he couldn't get his fork working. The next day he was a pro with the fork and ate lots of leftover pasta.

06 December 2011

Winter Wonderland

Finally the rain switched to snow and we woke up to a beautiful winter wonderland this morning.
I understand all the nasty bits about winter. I drive just enough to realize it is often unpleasant and less safe in the winter. I have a toddler who often puts up a fuss about getting dressed in his winter gear (and even when he isn't complaining it can still be a big production). But there are nice bits too like this beautiful scenery. As well as the cozy feeling of staying inside with tea and blankets.
It was a nice temperature with no wind this morning so Henry and I spent some time outside. We walked around in the park a bit but Henry didn't like walking through the snow too much because ... he didn't like getting snow on his boots. Seriously, he kept saying "wipe boots". He is a real priss these days. Last night he seemed to want to eat pasta but was struggling with his fork and didn't want to get his hands dirty by eating with his hands. Luckily he is now pretty good at painting with brushes because finger painting is out these days, he often prefers to use markers for this reason too! However, I should also mention that it is nice when he asks for his hands to be wiped before touching everything in the house with sticky hands. And he even tells you right away when he spills something and is almost always up for helping clean it up.

And here are some more duck feeding pictures. He's just so sweet when he feeds them I have to keep taking out the camera. And it seems to be his current favourite activity. This morning he said "no playground, no hike, duckies eat" and wanted to get into the stroller so we could go find the ducks. He is very clingy and exhausting at the moment but thank goodness he is also loads of fun.

05 December 2011

The Christmas Season so far

We are well into the swing of the Christmas season at this point.
We put up our tree and decorations a few weeks ago. I usually wait for December 1 but I bought a new tree this year and wanted to try it out. Every year I end up reading some sort of article about having a "green" Christmas and I always read about how bad the artificial ones are - full of phthalates and lead that will come off on little Henry's hands when he touches it. And I just couldn't get it out of my head, I knew I wouldn't be able to relax every time I saw Henry near the tree. And I have never had any desire for a real tree, seems like a real nuissance and just isn't part of my own Christmas tradition.
So I bought a vintage aluminum tree off ebay and I am quite in love with it. It is also just a bit smaller than our previous tree which I like now that we want Henry to have lots of room to run around. I was a bit upset that you can't put lights on aluminum trees but it catches the light so beautifully I love it even without lights.
And of course we also have our streamers and nativity scene up.
Above is Henry helping to decorate and below is Henry very gently touching the tree. The official rule is no touching but he is always gentle so we often let it slide.
This weekend we added some handmade decorations. This blog post on Michele Made Me inspired Kevin and I to make paper snowflakes for the first time in forever.
And we got Henry in on the decorating action again by getting him to paint this Christmas tree that Kevin made for him.
And then came the most exciting part! We had Henry open his first Christmas present of the year. We wanted to give him the wooden farm animals that Kevin and I made years ago along with a plastic barn I found. And we thought they were a pretty special gift that we didn't want to get lost in the pile of presents he'll likely be receiving on Christmas Day. So we gave them to him on Sunday. It was also perfect timing because he's been into animals for awhile and is just recently into making his toys "eat". So a couple weeks ago I quickly made some accessories for the farm: some hay, a pile of carrots, a bucket, and a trough. So now the animals can eat.
On Sunday morning he opened the present. And it was perfect! He really liked it. He took each thing out of the barn one by one, saying what it was and making the corresponding sound to go with it as he went. And he plays with it. He's been playing with the set a lot. Making the animals eat (sometimes eating each other!), making them kiss each other, and playing out who knows what other scenarios he has in his head. Sometimes some very exciting sounds accompany the play. I just love to see him doing this sort of play and even more so when it is with toys I made myself.
So far Christmas 2011 is pretty great, I am going to make sure to savour every minute of the rest of it.