Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010, Quite the Year

As we come to the end of 2010, I can't believe how much has changed this year.

At the start of this year, we were feeling like we would be moving in August to whoever accepted Paul into a PhD program. He had applied at 10 different schools, so we were pretty optimistic. It was a difficult time as the rejection letters started coming in. We had heard from almost everyone and started making alternate plans - to stay in Winnipeg, to travel, for Paul to find some temporary work -  when we finally heard from Memorial University in May. We went from "we're likely staying" to "we're definitely moving to St. John's" within the span of a week. It was an overwhelming time!
In the midst of this, we decided we wanted to have another child - a sibling for G that was close to her age. I assumed that it might take some time, but pretty much the moment we even considered trying, I was pregnant. We were (and are) thrilled, but in the future, I may plan a bit better then December!

If I could choose a word to describe 2010, it would be bittersweet. Leaving our friends and our church in Winnipeg was incredibly hard and emotional. Selling all our stuff (except what would fit in 11 boxes and 5 suitcases) was very hard, but also very freeing. It was painful to let go of our books, and those are the possessions I miss the most. We had brought together our two libraries when we got married, and had built it up over the past 6 years to over 300 books. We kept about 60.
I left my job of the past seven years with the library to move to St. John's. It was difficult to do, but it was a decision I had made years earlier when Paul started to pursue graduate work - so it's not a decision I regret, but I do miss the work and my co-workers.

Of course, this year also had the death of my grandfather, which I wrote about on this blog. I continue to mourn him, especially at Christmastime. One of the Sufjan Stevens Christmas songs that we play often this season has a line "Call your Grandma on the phone, if she's living all alone" and this year it made me cry. I have gone from three living grandparents to one in a very short time. 

In the "sweet" part of bittersweet, the birth of M was a wonderful event and as I wrote earlier, ended up having perfect timing. Being pregnant and now having a newborn has helped in fostering new friendships in St. John's. I went to the drop-in gym last week and two moms were very excited to see me with the new baby.   It has also been sweet to see the temperature in the prairies dip below -20C, while we were still sitting at a balmy +10C!
We have also found that God has been amazing at providing for us - we were shorter on money then we expected when we moved here, and somehow there were multiple small blessings to get us through. From finding a perfect apartment to our caretaker suddenly showing up with heaps of clothing for G to unexpected funds from various sources to our new church being extremely welcoming and friendly, we are in awe of how God provides and gives us more then we need.

And now, on to 2011, hopefully more new friendships in our new city, raising two girls and hopefully buying a car (and some freedom) soon.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Tomorrow is Christmas! We are visiting (most of) Paul's family in Ontario and it is beautifully snowy here. We traveled at the perfect time - just missing big windy storms in St. John's.

As Paul wrote in the previous post, it's complicated to make our own traditions when we are always visiting someone else's house, but we are trying to be active about what we want Christmas to be. One of the things we do every Christmas day is go for a walk as a family, a fairly simple tradition, but a necessary one to help us be just our core family. Our other tradition (decided a few years ago on one of these walks) is starting this year. We love the church year and the feasting/fasting aspects of that, so we are making sure that Christmas does not end on Christmas day. There are 12 days of Christmas starting on the day and lasting till Epiphany (the visit of the Magi). So, our tradition for our children (starting with G this year) is that they will get a tiny gift in their shoe every morning for the 12 days of Christmas.
We're really excited to start that tradition this year! It will be really simple - just a chocolate or two, but it will be a reminder that Advent has come to an end, and the feasting season of  Christmas keeps going.

Anyway - from our family (now of four!!) to you, Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Since it's Christmas let's be glad, even if your life's been bad

Every year, Jan and I travel at Christmas.  We alternate between spending Christmas with Jan's parents in Saskatoon and with my parents in Ontario.  This year we're going to Ontario.  We're leaving tomorrow, and we're looking forward to it.

I love my family, and it's very good to see them when I do.  But there's something a little bit unsatisfying about this travel arrangement.  It's not unsatisfying enough that we are likely to change anytime soon, but there it is.  When we're in somebody else's home--even our own parents--we are having their Christmas.  It makes it hard to make our own Christmas, our own traditions, stressing what we think are the most important parts and de-stressing other parts of the holiday.  Even though we are both pushing 30, and have two children of our own, Christmas in our parents house makes it hard to feel like grown-ups.  Also, Christmas time is so steeped in nostaligia and tradition that each of us becomes acutely aware of how our families are different from each other.  One simple example of this is in Christmas music.  Jan and I each grew up with music around Christmas time, and it's not the same music.  So when we each think "Christmas music", we're thinking of different things.

We've been making our own Christmas playlists for the past few years, and Sufjan Stevens' Christmas music is featured prominently.  Part of why I like Sufjan Stevens' Christmas music so much is that he hits a really good balance between joy and melancholy.  There's just a touch of sadness in his Christmas music, but not enough to overwhelm the fact that Christmas is a happy time.  It's a common thing for Christmas to be tinged with melancholy.  For some people it's mostly melancholic, and for others it's just the barest touch.  But Christmas naturally has a touch of melancholy to it.  Partly this is because to the degree that it's a secular holiday it's a bittersweet one.  Firstly because of the nostalgia; Christmas is a reminder of what we used to have and don't anymore.  We miss the sentimental (fictional) childhood Christmas of pure excitement, but we can't recreate it.  We try to make it for our own children, but it's not always obvious how.  Commercial Christmas is ultimately unsatisfying, because you can't actually buy your childhood back.  And non-commercial secular Christmas is almost worse.  We try to make some kind of transcendental meaning out of imminent things like family and friends.  But that just emphasizes what we have lost or are going to lose.  Friendships and families change, and attaching a deep transcendental meaning to family can really add melancholy to the season, because on some level you know that these people are not going to be with you forever--and because your family is never what it should be.

Even religious Christmas is tinged with melancholy.  It's not the outright, straightforwardly happy holiday that Easter is.  That's why the magi bring Jesus myrrh.  Myrrh is an embalming spice.  There is a hint of sadness, of loss, right in the Christmas story.  This child comes with tidings of great joy for all people, but he is also a child born to die.  T.S. Eliot grasps this in his poem "Journey of the Magi":

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we lead all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I have seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

I can lose patience with the modernist tendency to make everything depressing--to act as though art isn't "real" unless it's forcing us to confront the sadness and brutality of our lives.  There's a lot of joy in real lives too.  I get annoyed when friends dismiss some styles of church worship as "happy-clappy", because though it's true that the Psalms show the whole range of human emotion, "bittersweet" isn't a range either, and we can sometimes rush through Joy to get back to modernist bittersweet melancholy.  But Christmas seems to me to be naturally bittersweet.  It's an emotionally complicated time, both as a secular holiday and as a religious Holy Day.

I think that part of what we need to do with Christmas is accept the bittersweet for what it is, like Sufjan Stevens does.

So this Christmas I'll be very glad to see my parents, and my brother J and his family, and my sister C and her family, but I'll be sad to miss my sister J and her family.  I'll eat lots of yummy treats, but I'll probably feel a little sick.  I'll enjoy the time off, but I'll probably feel a little stir-crazy.  We'll go to church on Christmas Eve, but not our home church.  We'll give and get presents, and we'll be glad.  We'll experience the nativity but not the second coming.  We'll celebrate the end of Advent, but we'll know that Lent is still coming.  And knowing all of that, maybe we'll be able to rejoice in Christmas more fully.

God bless us, everyone.
Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Early Days with a Yellowy Newborn

M's first days went fairly well.With G, I had trouble with breastfeeding after she was born and there was quite a bit of stress in the first week/month of her life, but with M, it has gone very smoothly.
Our only stress was that at 5 days old, she began to get a yellowish tint. She was jaundiced. It's fairly common in newborns and what had happened was that she was sleepy, so she wasn't waking up to eat, so she would sleep more because she was getting jaundiced, and it became a cycle of a sleepy, non-eaty baby. The public health nurse came to visit (SUCH an invaluable service!) and was a bit concerned, so I made sure to wake her to eat every 2-3 hours. The doctor checked her blood the next day, which made for a bit of stress.
But, by Monday, everything had cleared up and she was back up to her birth weight.

So far, she has been a very nice baby to us. She doesn't really cry much yet, and she sleeps in good chunks. I know this will change, but so far it's been great. It's amazing to have such a sleepy baby!

There are some things I really remembered about having a newborn - the lack of sleep, the constant feeding - but other things I had totally forgotten. I forgot about spit-up, pee that goes everywhere and dozens of diaper changes. I had also forgotten how teeny tiny they are, how they snuggle into you so nicely and how they stretch their arms out in an adorable way when stressed.

So far, so good.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Of Post-Partum wards, Breastfeeding and Newfoundland - a bit of a rant

Once again, a disclaimer to this post: I am an advocate of breastfeeding. I'm not a psycho-advocate and I'm not judging those who end up using formula. But I do have opinions and these are them. Also, some might not care at all about this stuff. Fair enough, feel free not to read this one either.

My birth story hospital experience was very positive. Aside from one pushy (literally) nurse, the doctors and nurses were really supportive of my choice to be natural. However, the post-partum stay was not quite as positive. For some reason, the hospital here is kinda stuck in the dark ages. In Winnipeg, they have these beautiful LDRP (Labour, Delivery, Recovery, Post-Partum) rooms, so you don't have to change rooms when you're in labour, rooming in with your baby is automatic (and the only option) and all of the nurses are trained lactation consultants who teach new moms how to breastfeed.
Here, not so much. I was in a room with four other beds - luckily only one roommate (there were three of us for a few hours at one point). There was quite a bit of pressure to put my baby in the nursery for the night, and the nurse in the morning was "shocked" that they let me keep her with me for the night. I am a strong believer in bonding after birth and there was no way I was going to let them take her away just to bring back every 3 hours to feed. I wanted to see my baby when I wasn't pressured to feed her! The best part was there was a big sign on the wall about how rooming in was the best way for mother and baby to bond and to get breastfeeding started. It's a shame the nurses don't read that sign!
Since I had breastfed G, I had very little trouble this time, so I didn't need much help from the nurses. I hated having to share a room and just wanted to get home, but I was okay in most respects.
However, the other woman in my room and the treatment she received made me realize why Newfoundland has the lowest rate in Canada of breastfeeding moms.
First of all, she was completely ignorant of breastfeeding to start with, so obviously the education needs to start prenatally. She assumed that since she didn't leak milk in pregnancy that she couldn't breastfeed at all (that's not how it works for 90% of women), so she was surprised when her daughter latched on and she was told she could breastfeed. However, she was not given any decent instruction in the hospital and by the time she left, she had fully decided to bottlefeed. I put the blame almost entirely on the nurses and the clear lack of education in the hospital.
The first nurse she had asked if she had "taken any classes" or "read any books" on breastfeeding, and when she hadn't, the nurse indicated that she might have missed the boat.
The overnight nurse offered to take her daughter to the nursery and she accepted, and when she brought her back to feed 3 hours later quickly asked "Should I just give her a bottle or do you want to nurse her?" Given these options, she asked "Oh, can I do both here?" and the nurse said she could, so she chose the bottle for the night.
In the morning, the next nurse asked her what she had decided, saying "Well, we don't pressure women either way, but if you bottlefeed we won't have to worry about bringing your baby to you every 3 hours and making sure you're properly feeding her." When the woman said she was thinking about bottlefeeding because her daughter was "so big" (at less then 8lbs) and "didn't seem like she was getting anything", the nurse made no effort to correct her about when milk comes in. The final nurse was the nail in the coffin of breastfeeding. She killed any chance of this woman choosing to breastfeed instead of giving formula.

It killed me to listen to these exchanges. I didn't have the guts to speak up, but I wonder if I should have. She went from "maybe I'll breastfeed after all" to "Heck no, formula is better" in the span of 24 hours.

I think this post is long enough, so... Coming Next: The First Days were Yellowy

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Birth Story

After a week and a day of having a newborn, I have some time to write out the birth story of M. If you don't want to read about dilation, contractions and a natural birth I suggest you don't read this. You have been warned.

So, I started having braxton hicks (false contractions) on Wednesday (Dec 1st) evening. I didn't have these at all with G's birth, so I thought it might be labour. However, they went away, only to return every evening for the next 3 nights. They were really irregular and didn't get worse, so I knew it wasn't labour.
On Saturday, my mom was due to arrive here in St. John's. Her flight was delayed from the 4:30pm to 12:30am. I went to bed at 10, then got up to greet my mom at 1am, thinking that the light contractions I felt were just more braxton hicks. With my mom settled in the living room, I went back to bed, only to find that I had trouble settling, as the contractions started to get more intense.

 [a slight digression] Actually, from here on out, I should mention that I didn't actually call them contractions. In (the wonderful) Ina May Gaskin's book on childbirth, she mentions that calling them rushes or waves can help in how we feel them. Contractions is a very medical and loaded term, and makes us think of pain. So, Paul and I were calling them rushes for most of the time I was in labour. [end of digression]

I drifted in and out of sleep, but had a hard time staying asleep, so by 5:30am, I got up and got into the bathtub. Paul was awake by this time and we spent some time timing the rushes and talking about how amazing it was that I was actually in labour - on my due date, and with perfect timing so my mom could take care of G for the maximum amount of time. By 7am, we had breakfast and called our doula and by 8:30 when she arrived, I was ready to go to the hospital, since I started feeling pressure.
I was checked at Triage in the hospital and was 5cm dilated. The doctor asked me about dealing with pain and when I mentioned I wanted to be as natural as possible, he was really supportive. We were sent immediately to a room, where I got in the bath again (yay for water!) and progressed fairly quickly to 8cm.
I mentioned early on that I was feeling pressure that might be to push, so the nurse kept asking me over and over if I wanted to push. It was frustrating. I finally, with the courage of my doula, had to just tell her to back off and that I would let her know when it was time to push.
Getting from 9 to 10cm dialted took me about an hour and it was the toughest part of my labour. The rushes were extremely intense and I could not find a position that would help. But, I took a short rest, laying down between contractions, which rejuvenated me to push. Pushing was a very different experience then my first birth. With G it had been a relief, but with M it was tougher. After about half an hour of pushing, little M had arrived at 1 in the afternoon on Dec 5th, her due date. She was perfect and beautiful (in that wrinkly, slimy newborn way) and both Paul and I cried. She weighed just 2oz more then her sister did.

I am so happy I got to have my natural birth again, and so amazed at the perfect timing of her arrival.

Coming next... the post-partum hospital stay (which was not nearly as good).

Friday, December 10, 2010


Wee little M has arrived! Sunday, Dec. 5th at 1pm. 6lbs, 3oz. 20 inches long. 12 hours of labour - 5 hours of active labour. Drug free!
She had amazing timing - she arrived on her due date and I went into labour just as my mom arrived in town.

More details to come when I'm not exhausted.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Life with a toddler, it is busy and exhausting. I would apologize for not posting more, but I'm too tired. G is both my joy and my frustration. Her laugh and constant chatter is hilarious, especially the things she says. It's funny to hear your words come out of a two year old's mouth. She likes very much to tell her stuffed animals "We will do [something] in FIVE minutes." or "Sit RIGHT there." Her favourite books (especially Mo Willem's Cat the Cat and Bill Martin Jr's Chicka Chicka Boom Boom) can be quoted verbatim.
But, there are the frustrations too. Toddlers have such strong ups and downs, and sometimes it feels like navigating a minefield. G's mantra these days is "I don't like it" - which she will say about just about anything she doesn't want at the moment, even things she does like. Some days I feel like if she says that one more time, I'll snap. But, I don't, somehow I find the patience to get through it, mostly, I think, because G is actually a really easy kid. She plays by herself well, eats almost anything and sleeps at night. What more could I ask for?

So, Boogaloo is due anytime now. Since we found out the gender, Paul and I have been much more indecisive about the name. We had narrowed it down to two and now it's been broadened again to 4 or 5. Maybe we'll just have to see a face to decide on a name! Every once and awhile we look at each other and go "So... what are we gonna name this kid?"

I am in the "GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT" phase. I would be very happy not to be pregnant anymore. The heartburn, leg cramps, lack of breath and all the other aches and pains are starting to get to me. Paul is frantically trying to make sure all his papers are done before I go into labour, so he's chanting "STAY IN STAY IN STAY IN" We'll see who Boogaloo listens to.

The transit strike continues - 21 days now, which is unbelievable to me. I can't imagine any other city where that would be acceptable. But, really, I don't have anywhere to go (besides the occasional doctors appointments) and Paul walks everywhere.

Friday, November 12, 2010

In Which I Do Not Reveal the Gender of Boogaloo

We've been living here in St. John's for three months now, and every once and awhile, G will look up and say "Where is [toy we had in Winnipeg]? Other house?" I'm amazed she remembers these things she barely played with. She had a black sock monkey that I think she touched maybe twice, but I'll be darned if she doesn't keep wondering where it is. She thinks they still live back in our apartment in Winnipeg, assuming it's all still there for us to return to someday.

In other news, we had an ultrasound on Monday and Boogaloo is healthy and snuggled in there, about 5.5lbs at this point, so it's likely to be another 6lb-ish baby. We also got a look at the gender, which was pretty exciting! We've told our families and some close friends, but I think we'll leave it as a surprise to the rest of the general public... plus there's always the chance that the tech was wrong.
I'm technically full-term, so the birth could be any time in the next month or so, but I'm guessing it'll be closer to the due date, since there's still some fattening up to do.

Life without buses or a car is frustrating, but not as bad as I thought. I've only had to take a cab twice (to Drs Appointments), other then that I just walk (really slowly) everywhere. I can accomplish exactly one outing a day. The hardest thing is missing my favourite playgroup on Wednesdays, but it's just a bit far, and the homeward walk would be all uphill.
I'm hoping the transit strike is resolved soon so I can get some more stuff for the baby, but if not, I'm just going to start ordering online!

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Catch-All Update

I didn't really post last week since life got kinda crazy. But here's a few pics of what we've been up to.

G was a Monkey for Halloween.
Little Monkey

She loved trick-or-treating. Going to people's houses, yelling "Trick-or-Treat" and "Thank-you", getting things in her bag, being dressed as a Monkey... everything was awesome to her. It was quite a nice night too, not the warmest of evenings, but not raining, which is a miracle around here!
We (very wisely) taught her before we went out that she was collecting candy to share with Mommy and Daddy, and she dutifully did. I'm sure that won't last more then a couple years, though.
All the candy is now gone. But it sure brings out the politeness in kids "Please, may I have some candy, please?" was the funniest thing she said all week.

We were also kept busy this week by the (too short) visit of Paul's parents. We finally got a chance to be tourists, with the benefit of a car to get us around.
It was amazing to see the real beauty of where we live. We went up to Signal Hill.
Leading into St. John's Harbour
The vast Atlantic Ocean

And looked out over the vast Atlantic Ocean. If the earth was flat, you'd be able to see Ireland from here. Paul's parents visit Ireland regularly (his dad is from there) and they were impressed by how similar Newfoundland looks to Ireland.

We took a drive to Portugal Cove, then along the coast. The most beautiful view was Middle Cove. The ocean swirled and crashed against the rocks, it was spectacular.

Beautiful Middle Cove

Paul and I were amazed that we really live here! This view is only about a 20 min drive from our apartment. It's so cool how close together things are.

With the benefit of grandparents to babysit, the two of us finally got a much, much needed date night. It was so nice to get out without a child. We went to a nice restaurant and took our time eating. It was such a yummy meal. I got mussels and steak - two of my favourite things - and they were cooked to perfection. It would have been really perfect to have a glass of wine, but C'est la vie.

Getting out and about in a car really solidified our decision to buy a car. That, and the next day the St. John's transit (Metrobus) went on strike. There are no busses running, which means we have to walk everywhere. Luckily, Paul was already walking to class, and most of my outings are within walking distance. But I hope it ends soon. Walking is a (literal) pain sometimes.

Friday, November 5, 2010


My Grandfather passed away last Thursday. Because I'm 35 weeks pregnant and we live 4000km away, I decided not to go the funeral. The stress of flying when I'm so close to giving birth was just too much of a risk. However, I really wanted to be there.  This is the first time I have lost someone this close to me. I've experienced other deaths in the past, but none have hit me as hard as this, because I didn't know any of those people as well as I knew Grandpa.
Grandpa was a farmer for much of his life. He was born in small-town Saskatchewan and died not far from that same town. He took over the family farm in the early 50's and gave it over to his youngest son in the early 80's. So I grew up visiting the farm, and him in the small town nearby for my entire childhood. We would see Grandma and Grandpa several times a year, since they only lived 2 hours away.
Grandpa's hobby was making rocks (especially curling stones) into clocks and jewelry. He liked to tell long, odd stories that sometimes entertained us and other times drove us crazy. He had an amazing memory - he could recall the names of people he went to school with in a one-room prairie schoolhouse 80 years ago.
When he would visit us, he would always fall asleep on the couch after dinner (something my dad does now). Sometimes he would just reach over and want to hold my hand. He was strong and opinionated and always fiercely proud of Canada, and especially of his hometown. He wasn't afraid to travel, but in the end, he strongly believed that there was no greater place then his home in Saskatchewan.

It's hard to imagine life without him. Even though visits were few and far between these days, knowing he was there was important, a grounding anchor for my life. Now, he's gone and I miss him, even more then I expected I would.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Wednesdays have become my favourite days. G and I go to this playgroup downtown. It's a short bus ride away and when we arrive, the staff greet both of us by name. We go into the room, which is filled with toys and crafts and lined on two sides with comfy benches. G is in LOVE with a stuffed dog and hippo that are bigger then her, so they always get first hugs. I am greeted by the smell of coffee and I pour myself a cup, heaping it full of sugar and cream, it's not that great quality, but it wakes me up and warms me. G happily plays - mostly by herself, sometimes interacting with other kids. I am free to chat with other caregivers (moms, dads, grandparents, nannies) and the staff. They ask me how I am, how the pregnancy is going. I am slowly getting to know names - kids names come easily, since they're always being said - other names are starting to become familiar too.
Many in this group are newcomers either to Canada, or just to St. John's like me. The room is warm and inviting, the talk casual and I never feel like I'm interrupting a friendship group's conversation by joining in. I'm always a little nervous at first, and tired from the lack of sleep the night before, but as more people become familiar, it is more and more comforting.
Making friends from scratch is hard and slow work. I am insecure that I'll come across as desperate, that I'll be forcing myself where I'm not wanted, that people have plenty of friends, so they won't need me. Those feelings are hard to fight. It's hard to say more then a simple "hi" sometimes - especially at the drop-in gym on Tuesdays.
But, on Wednesdays, I feel secure. I continue conversations that started last week, I remember faces and names and I am hopeful that I can build some friendships out of this.

Friday, October 22, 2010

This Has Gotten Out of Hand

G loves stuffed animals. She really, really loves them. In the beginning, there was one favourite- Lambert. He's a lamb, he's small and he was a perfect thing to drag around. Then, Bear (aka Edward Bear, aka Pooh Bear) joined the list of favourites, and she would be satisfied with either of those two at night, or when we went out.

Now, she has no less then ten animals that can be slept with, taken with her when we go places, lined up around the house, fed, diapered and dressed and most especially, demanded at any specific time. I'm a little nervous that she's going to be babysat one of these days and the sitter will have no clue which animal she is wanting to sleep with. Some of the names are obvious - Frog, Puppy, Dinosaur, Monkey - others are a bit more confusing.
"Boston" is a teddy, a very dilapidated and frankly, frightening teddy bear. He was Paul's childhood bear, actually originally belonging to his older brother. He has no eyes or features to speak of, is falling to bits, stuffing coming out everywhere, and is so worn, I can't even sew the holes without some very serious patchwork. I would love to throw him out, but he would be missed.
"Florence The Lamb" is not that confusing, but G tends to blend her name into "YawenceDaYam", which I don't expect anyone but me to understand.
The best of all is Octopus.
This is Octopus:

Yeah, he's a peacock. G knows he is bird, she knows he is a peacock. But his name is Octopus. I'm not even sure she knows what a real octopus looks like.

This stuffed animal thing has gotten out of hand.

But we don't have a baby doll. Or a cat. Or a bunny. And I want all those things for her.
So, perhaps it's me who has gotten out of hand.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

And Now For Your Listening Pleasure

G sings "The Wheels on the Bus"

For those who don't speak toddler: They go Round and Round. The horn goes beep, beep. The baby goes wah, wah. The parents go shh, shh.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Things nobody told me...

I wish there were more books out there for 2nd (and etc) time moms. I present to you, Things Nobody Told Me About a 2nd Pregnancy:
  • So tired all the time. There was no energetic 2nd Trimester for me, I'm just tired for the whole 9 months.
  • I just can't care as much about this time around. There are too many distractions.
  • It will not be exactly the same. I was much more sick this time in the beginning. Last time I was able to drink milk, this time, not so much.
  • No matter how hard I try to read pregnancy/birth books again, I can't help but feel like I know it all already.
  • Nobody else cares about kid #2 either - not in a bad way, just that there's very little literature/support for subsequent pregnancies.
  • It goes much, much faster. I can't believe I'm only 6-9 weeks from delivery! 
  • Did I mention the tiredness? I've yawned four times while writing this.
  • Things that are the same: The left side of my uterus is apparently the comfy side. Both G and Boogaloo have camped out there, the right side feel practically empty. Maybe that's where my organs should go. 
  • It's really hard to convince myself that the birth will go differently this time. It went so well last time that I assume it will be the same, but I should know better! My sister had a C-Section with #2 and not with #1.
That's enough. I need a nap.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Getting used to the SAHM Thing

While Paul struggles a bit with the working dad thing, I'm trying my best at the Stay-at-home Mom thing. My sister gave me a fabulous book called A Mother's Rule of Life. It has been really inspirational to me in making a routine, putting God first and sorting out exactly what staying at home means to me.
I try to have a set routine in the day: Mornings we go out (either to a playgroup or gym, the library, the mall or to get groceries), afternoons are naptime (sometimes for me as well) and I try to get cleaning done. After naptime, I make supper and spend my evenings with Paul.
A key part of my day (and I admit I don't always do it) is right after G goes down for her nap. I make myself a cup of coffee or tea and sit and read the bible. I've been following the Daily Office in the Book of Alternative Services, which includes and Old Testament, a New Testament and a Gospel reading. If you do it every day for 2 years (maybe 3 years?), you'll read the entire bible.

One of the results of growing up in the church is that you get to adulthood feeling like you "know" the bible. I know all the stories, I know the books and what they're about, I even have chunks memorized, but I actually don't read it. I have really found myself rediscovering the Bible this past month. The readings are in order within a book, so I am currently reading a little bit of the book of Acts every day as my NT reading. It feels like every day ends on this cliffhanger! What's going to happen to Paul this time? Will he be able to escape the hundreds of people wanting to kill him? It's enough to make me go back and read what I missed if I forget to read every day. Sometimes I don't get much insight, and I admit that the minor prophets feel pretty "doom and gloom and lightning bolts", but much of the time, I see the text with new eyes, discovering not only insight, but humour!
The day is better when I take time to pause, relax and read, and it gives me just that little boost I need to keep  going. And it's not just the caffeine.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I love thanksgiving food. Turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, stuffing, pumpkin pie, stuffing...and did I mention the stuffing? 
So, this year, even though it is just the three of us, I decided it would be good for my mental health to have thanksgiving dinner anyway. We usually have some sort of big meal, but often it's been chicken, since a turkey is pretty big for two people, plus we've always seemed to get turkey from some other source (church, friends houses, etc). This year I knew there would be no turkey for me if I didn't make it myself! 
Anyway, not to go on and on about the food, I took all of Monday to cook. I made a schedule beforehand so I could relax between making things and I wouldn't get overwhelmed. 
It worked out really, really well. 
G was my little "helper" for a little while:
You also get a sense of my 32-week baby bump. Oh, you can't see it? Yeah. I have tiny babies. It was the same way with G. I just don't get big. I know it's actually a blessing and that lots of women would like to be in my shoes, but... dangit! Nobody realizes that I'm... pretty darn close to giving birth. No sympathy for me. 

But I digress. 
Thanksgiving was great. We went for three family walks in the brisk fall weather and stuffed ourselves full of yummy food. G is a big turkey fan. She ate more turkey then I did! We told her that Thanksgiving was a time to say thank-you to God as well as to the people we love and about halfway through the meal, she spontaneously said "Thank you Mommy for making the food." 

That makes everything worthwhile. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Stay at Home (posts by paul)

For a long time before we moved to Newfoundland I was G's primary caregiver.  Ever since her maternity leave ended, Jan had to be at work regularly, and I was the one who was home the most. When I wasn't actually in class I was often home with her.  Now Jan is back on maternity leave as we are waiting for Baby 2: Electric Boogaloo to be born, and I'm struggling with the heavy workload of three Phd classes.  So I'm going to the school every day--whether I have classes or not--to work.

And although I've only been doing this for about a month, I'm finding it surprisingly difficult to go to work every day and leave my daughter.  It's hard to come home and ask Jan how G is doing, what she's been up to, what she did and learned to do, instead of seeing it all for myself.  I also find, surprisingly, that since I've stopped being the parent who spends the most time with G, I've also stopped being the more patient parent.  I used to secretly think that I was just a more patient person than Jan is, but now that I'm not spending all day with G anymore, it's harder to shift into a toddler's perspective--harder to be as patient with her as I would like to be.  I miss that.

With all of that said, there is something really wonderful about coming home every evening to enthusiastic shouts of "Daddy! Daddy's home! Daddy!  DADDY!".

Friday, October 8, 2010

Toys that Kill

This is a tiny metal pasta spoon. It came with an adorable set of pots for G. She loves her pots and pans and she leaves them everywhere.

Can you see where this is going? I stepped on it.

In bare feet.

%^*(0*%$ tiny pasta spoon.

Oh yes, I've also been tinkering with the prettiness of the blog. I'm not sure about the header yet, but I'm liking the pretty orange background.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Sick Week

What has life been like this past week in our household?
Oh, pardon me.

Yes, we all three of us had colds. G managed to confine hers to a couple of coughing sessions in the early morning, but both Paul and I were completely knocked out. The worst thing about being pregnant and sick is the lack of drugs. No, wait, it's the tiredness on top of the tiredness. No wait, it's the energetic toddler who wants to run circles around you. No wait, it's the husband who CAN take drugs, but still whines. No wait, it's the coughing that makes you want to lose your lunch. No wait... perhaps it's all of the above.
So, basically, whenever G slept this week, so did I - and that wasn't always true - sometimes I slept when she was awake as well.  I fell asleep on the couch with a puppy puppet on my hand and woke up when G tried to put a metal spoon in my mouth that she had been using to feed the puppy. There is nothing like waking up with a toddler's face inches from your own, unless it's waking up to the vacuum cleaner running and excited screaming two rooms away.
Because of all this sleeping, I did not accomplish much last week. My house is not in very good shape. But, this week I'm recovered and just feeling the regular tiredness of pregnancy (only 9 weeks to go!).

Other exciting news: I have found a great playgroup to go to once (or twice) a week. I have been going to a drop-in gym time once a week, but I've found it really difficult to meet people there. G loves it, but it is mostly just parents chasing after kids and it's a big echo-y space, which makes conversation hard. Couple that with my difficulty talking to new people, and it just doesn't make for the greatest introductory place.
So, I found another place to go to as well, a little community centre type playgroup with a small room, free coffee and snacks and moms who actually get a chance to talk to each other. I met and had several actual conversations with people this morning! Hooray! Hopefully I can start to build some friendships from this.

We've also started attending a different church. This one is a bit more family friendly, but may take some time to get noticed, as it is quite a bit larger then the first church we tried. We're still keeping an open mind about choosing a place, but I like this church and want to just throw myself in with getting involved/volunteering so I can meet people.

One Liners from G this week:
Talking to her crayons: "I love you green, I love you purple."
After being told to say sorry to mommy after throwing a chair: "I'm sorry chair. I love you."
Not a good parenting moment for me (repeating what she hears): "Oh dang, oh dang, oh dang, oh FRICK!"

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Life Marches On

So we survived Hurricane Igor with not even a power loss. It seemed like ours was one of the few streets that didn't have the power go out - most people lost it for at least a day! I feel pretty lucky.
Life continues to move on, with me staying at home and Paul going off to the school every day - he's trying to get all his schoolwork done on a 9-5 basis so that he can be home on evenings and weekends without worrying about papers and readings. We call it "work" to G, just so it's less confusing.

I am trying to be more organized with staying at home. It's so easy just to let the days get away from you and then the whole day is gone. One of my goals is to bake at least once or twice a week.

This week was one of my favourite Autumn recipes - Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins. I love the ones at Starbucks, but since the closest Starbucks is a good half hour walk and the muffins are expensive, I try to make my own. They're pretty similar.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

1 package of Cream Cheese
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar (I reduced this a bit to 1 1/2)
3 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp cloves
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups canned pumpkin
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
4 eggs

Oven: 350
Paper or grease 12 muffin cups (this recipe claims to make 24, but that must be small ones, cause I barely got 12 - I like big overflowy muffins, I think)

Stir together dry ingredients. Beat eggs and stir in pumpkin and oil. Stir into dry ingredients just till combined - cause they're muffins and you always do that with muffins.

For the cream cheese: You can either roll it into a big log and put it in the freezer, or you can just do it the lazy way like me and just take it straight out of the package .
Put a small spoonful of batter into each muffin cup, add a little chunk of cream cheese (like... half a tsp), then put more batter on top of that. Make another chunk of cream cheese (maybe a little bigger) and press it into the top of each muffin. This way you have cream cheese all the way to the bottom of the muffin, which is the best thing ever.
Bake for 20-25 min, or until a toothpick comes out clean, blah blah blah, just don't burn them.

My dream is to be able to put the candied pumpkin seeds on top like they do at Starbucks, but I haven't found them/haven't had the energy to make them.

Ginny enjoying her muffin

G gives it her seal of approval.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Weather, it is not good.

So, it's Hurricane season. Hurricane Igor has hit the Avalon Peninsula and while it seems like St. John's is not getting the brunt of it, we're certainly in the middle of a rainy windy Atlantic Storm. Out my window, the trees are  blowing and the rain is going sideways.  I spent most of the day inside yesterday and I was hoping to go to the drop-in gym this morning with G - as we do every Tuesday, but it was cancelled due to the crappy weather. I'm definitely not used to rain being a reason to cancel things. Snowstorms are the only reason anything ever gets called off in the prairies (and even then!).
So Paul decided to stay home and work today, since he doesn't have class. He's holed himself up in the bedroom working on school stuff. I have been coming up with my best toddler rainy day tricks. So far, I made playdough (which didn't turn out all that well without the cream of tartar or food colouring), we had a picnic on the floor for lunch, we played a "throw the sock ball in the bin" game and then G decided of her own accord to play dress-up.
She looks hilariously unhappy in this picture, but she was quite excited to be wearing layers and layers of clothes. She's wearing a t-shirt and overalls with another shirt over top, a dress that won't do up because of all the layers and two different coloured BabyLegs legwarmers on her arms.

That's a little more happy!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Funny things

Staying home with G means I'm privy to all of her funny sayings much more then I used to be. It's definitely a perk of staying at home.
Some recent examples:
G is obsessed with nudity. She refers to the state of being naked as "all noonies" (nudies). Lately, she's noticed that other random objects can be "all noonies" as well. When I took the paper off of her muffin the other day she said: "No more muffin pants! Muffin is all noonies!" She has also referred to a coffee cup without a lid as "noonies" as well. 

She has also really noticed that we pray before meals, and she has started to be able to say the grace as well. Her typical prayer is "Thank you God for tatoes (potatos), ham, water, that one and that one and plate and blue plate and... mommy and daddy and... AMEN." (I should note that all meat is called ham and anything that remotely resembles a potato is a potato). It's very cute that she prays, also that she rambles. 

One liners:
"Mama crazy!" - after I muttered to myself that cleaning the sticky stuff off a desk was driving me crazy.
"Not daddy, not daddy, not daddy, birdie, not daddy, doggie..." -naming all the things she sees out the window while waiting for daddy to come home.
"Come out! You can play with Puppy!" -to the baby in mommy''s tummy

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Church Seeking (a bit of a ramble)

It is so complicated to find a new church. We loved St. Margaret's so much and it is a very unique church that we are well aware we won't find another church like it.
Do we want to remain in the Anglican church? For now, I think the answer is yes. We love the liturgy and the church year and we are familiar with how it is structured. It's comforting for me. 
We have attended a church for the past two Sundays (and will tomorrow as well), our arrival at which was a complicated one. D&J, our friends from Winnipeg came here to St. John's 3 years ago for surgery on their daughter. They stayed near the cathedral with the people from that church. They put us in touch with him, but he had since moved away from St. John's. He gave us the email addresses of a few Anglican churches and we essentially chose one at random. We emailed the rector of St. Michael's and All Angels only to find out that they are currently without a building (they are constructing a new one). He mentioned they were meeting in a funeral chapel on Sunday mornings. When we moved here, we noticed there is a funeral chapel at the end of our street. We thought "Wouldn't it be neat if that was where they met?" Well, sure enough we found out it was! 
Tonight, Father Sam invited us to his house for dinner -along with another couple from the church. All of us have young kids (G was the youngest), so it was a bit chaotic at times, but luckily they had a basement the kids could escape to in order to play. It was great to be invited into someone's home so soon after moving here. Both couples were very friendly and so nice.

However, I just don't know if this church will become our church. The church has split a bit between generations. The family oriented service meets on Saturday afternoons and the regular service is on Sunday mornings. The Sunday service is entirely gray-haired- save for the rector and his young family. They were so excited to have us with them, but I don't know if it is the place for us. This is where it gets complicated. Is it better for us to find a church that fits all our needs (if such a place exists), and is catered to us, or is it better to go to a place where it's possible that we are the ones who are needed? Would this church benefit from having a young family attend not just the Saturday service, but Sunday as well? Because, no matter what, Paul and I just don't like not going to church on Sunday morning. It just feels...wrong somehow. Also, G's nap has moved to pretty late in the afternoon, so mornings actually work out quite well for us (though we'll see how we feel after Boogaloo is born). 
I am inclined to think we should go where we are needed, but it is a difficult choice to make. I dream of finding the perfect church for us, but I am also well aware that such a place does not exist, or that is does, but it is not a perfect church, it is just where we are most used by God. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Nightly Rituals

As Paul posted earlier, moving has been a good motivation to start some healthy habits. One of our new rituals is an after-dinner walk. G's bedtime has gradually moved to 8pm in the last couple of months, so we've ended up with this nice space of time between supper and bedtime to fill with a family walk.

The Zip-up

Our apartment building is part of a four building complex, surrounded by grassy hills, perfect for running and climbing (or in my case, huffing and puffing). G's latest favourite toy is her pull-toy T-Rex on wheels (creatively named Dinosaur) and it is very cute to watch her drag him all around the neighbourhood every night.
Going uphill

Our walk also tends to coincide with others in the neighbourhood walking their dogs, which always makes for much excitement. G is a huge fan of animals of all kinds - cats, dogs and birdies make her so happy.
So, as long as it's still light out and relatively warm, we plan to keep going for a walk after dinner. There is nothing like a worn-out toddler for falling asleep instantly!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

So, as we are waiting for some income to start flowing in from various sources for the upcoming year, we are living on a bit of a shoestring for a couple of weeks.
BUT! It is good for us. We tend to make bad habits of going out to eat ("Why, hello Extreme Pita just a block away! Yes, please."), but with a tight budget this month, there's no room for eating out on a whim.

So, we went to the farmer's market and stocked up on yummy veggies and I made a meal plan (which I try to do even in the best of times). Some highlights were a pot of fresh herbs to grow (parsley, thyme, rosemary and oregano), and multi-coloured tomatoes (which we made into salsa yesterday) Today I made a fantastic and very delicious meal that I totally invented, so I thought I'd share it.
I don't know how often I'll post recipes on here (a la The Mama), but I may post a few that I'm particularly proud of.

Summer Squash, stuffed with Split Peas 

I picked up some small round yellow summer squashes at the farmer's market, I'm still not sure what kind they are, but they're pretty similar to a yellow zucchini.

3 Summer Squashes
1/4 cup cooked rice
1/2 cup split peas (I used yellow, but I don't think green would make a difference)
2 tsp chicken bouillon
Bay Leaf
dash of oregano
sprigs of rosemary and thyme
2 Tbsp Sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp crumbs (bread or cracker)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cut the squashes in half scoop out the seeds  and discard and then scoop out the majority of the flesh and set aside, leaving barely a quarter-inch thick walls.  Lob off the bottom bit of each half so it sits flat.

Boil the peas in about 2 cups of water, add boullion and all other spices. Cook until the peas are fairly mushy and have absorbed most of the water. You may need to add more water if the peas get dry while boiling them.
Meanwhile, boil the flesh of the squash in some salted water until soft.

When everything is cooked, mix together rice, peas, squash flesh, sunflower seeds and some more salt and pepper - maybe a bit more spices as well. Scoop the filling into the squash shells and sprinkle on the crumbs.
Cooking in our (tiny) kitchen
(this is also a view of our tiny kitchen)
Bake at 350 for about 10-15 min, changing the oven to broil for a couple minutes at the end so the crumbs get toasted.

Serve and enjoy!
Eating Stuffed Squash

G loved it, she kept saying "Yummy!" and ended up eating two of the littlest ones (an entire squash!). She has gotten pickier lately, so it was great to have her love something so much that she ate every morsel.

Stuffed Squash and Beet Greens
I also cooked up some beet greens and made a peanut sauce to go on them. I don't think I've eaten the greens on beets before, but they were similar to chard, but maybe a bit more bitter. The peanut sauce really helped with the bitterness. We got a HUGE bunch of beets at the farmer's market for only $2. The greens were this meal, and I think the beets themselves might last at least two more meals. Pretty sweet deal!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

St. John's Paul and Winnipeg Paul

Moving to St. John's is a pretty extreme change, and I'm hoping to use it as a motivation to change some things about myself -- a new context to establish new habits.

Winnipeg Paul bought pop and a snack from the convenience store at least once a week, maybe more.
St. John's Paul doesn't drink pop at all, and when he wants a snack, he chooses fruit.
Winnipeg Paul stayed up late every night and slept in every morning.
St. John's Paul is in bed by 11 every night and up by 7:30 every morning.
Winnipeg Paul watched tv when he was bored.
St. John's Paul doesn't even have a tv.  He bakes something or tidies the apartment when he finds himself needing something to do.

St. John's Paul goes for a run once a week, and he's slowly gearing up to more.  He makes the bed every morning and he doesn't go to bed if the dishes are still dirty.  St. John's Paul will always be on top of his readings, and will plan ahead so that when final papers are due he's not in a crisis.  He'll bring lunch to school instead of buying it.  St. John's Paul does evening devotionals with St. John's Jan every evening, and he won't let that peter out the way Winnipeg Paul would.

Maybe it's naive to think that moving to a new city can really make me a better person.  But that kind of negative thinking is exactly what Winnipeg Paul would say.

Also, St. John's Paul looks like this: 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's the little things

When we actually get to know some Newfoundlanders, I will have a couple questions. One of the big ones is: What is the deal with the fitted sheets and/or nets over your garbage? Is it so the wind won't blow it away? I noticed when I was walking down the street not long after getting here that a couple of houses had a fitted bed sheet sitting on the lawn. I thought "Odd, but maybe just one escaped from the clothes line." Then a couple days later I noticed that practically every house on a block had one. Wait, what? Paul had noticed as well, but unlike me, had seen that people were putting them over their garbage, as well as sometimes people had a special green net (looks like a volleyball net) over their garbage.
What's the deal? Anyone else heard of this?

Another thing: there are buckets of navel beef in every grocery store. I have since found out that it's salted beef, based on what sailors ate. My question is: Do people buy this? It seems to be everywhere, so they must buy it. What do they do with it?  Should I buy some just to try?

Other little things that are different: there are lots of kinds of Crush pop here! Lime, Pineapple, Birch Beer... it's kinda cool. Lay's Fries and Gravy chips are also around and Paul seems to think that they offer gravy in more places (I don't agree). There has been nothing I can't find yet, but I'm sure that'll happen soon.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Trip Downtown

We finally took a trip downtown this weekend and were able to see the harbour and the sights of St. John's.
G fell in LOVE with these statues of a Newfoundland dog and a Labrador dog. She rode on them, fed them rocks (which is, of course, what a statue eats), pet them and generally refused to leave them. It took some convincing to move on with our day.

Statues of a Newfoundland and a Labrador

We walked around the downtown pretty much all day, stopping in a few of nice shops along the way. We debated going up to Signal Hill, but decided it was too far for that day. But we did see it from the harbour.
Signal Hill

The hills of downtown were amazing - I was reminded of White Rock, BC, but it is so distinctly East Coast as well. The houses are brightly coloured and the shore is so rocky.
Houses in downtown St. John's

It was a beautiful day and very sunny. I don't know what all this talk about rain is about - it's beautiful here! I've been reassured by several people, however, that the rain and the fog are coming!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New Toys - a wee video

G has been really into "cooking" lately, so her one of her birthday presents was a fun set of velcro fruit that cuts apart.
Here's a little video of her playing:

G's New Fruit Toys from Jan Moffett on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Familiar and the Unfamiliar

There is both the very familiar and the very unfamiliar in moving here. It is difficult to decide which we want to seek out. We have had fish twice, but we could have done that in Manitoba anytime - though it is an exciting novelty to eat something that was caught so nearby. The grocery store fish is similar in price (which is lame), but I'm sure we'll find some local place that sells cheaper stuff.
Mainly, the familiar stuff is a result of globalization and still being in Canada. There's a Tim Hortons on every corner, the nearby mall has practically all the same stores as Polo Park in Winnipeg and there is even a Chez Cora nearby (though not nearly as French as the one in St. Boniface!). Even in that, though, there are differences - Superstore is called Dominion (though it is exactly the same - save the fact that the carts aren't coin-op) and Safeway, the Bay and 7-Eleven are nowhere to be found.

Then there is the very unfamiliar- and I am talking, of course, about the accents. Some are stronger then others, naturally, but everyone talks so differently here! There are times when you just plain can't understand someone! It is really neat, though, and makes me so much more aware of the way I speak.
Also unfamiliar to this prairie girl are all the hills. I have spent quite a bit of time in BC as a kid and so it's not like I've never been around hills before, but they have never been such a part of daily life as they are now. Our apartment is situated right in the middle of a hill, so we are constantly going up or down it to get anywhere. It's exhausting, but I think my legs will just get stronger and stronger!

Lastly, as we discovered very early on while driving in our rental car - Winnipeg's confusion corner has nothing on this city. There are no straight roads. None. Look up St. John's on googlemaps and just try and find a grid. It's ridiculous for two people with such a crappy sense of direction!

So, there are these familiar and unfamiliar things as we try to adjust. I miss Winnipeg's Rye Bread and eating at Stella's, but we're making our way here and finding the local flavour here might be just as good (or better).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


So, we finally have internet a week after moving here. I have many thoughts, some of which I've written out longhand and some of which are still ruminating in my head.

So, the story of our arrival: We left Winnipeg on Tuesday afternoon and flew for hours and hours, stopping for awhile in Toronto and then landing in St. John's at 11:30 (their time). We experienced very quickly the friendliness of Newfoundland when our cab driver chatted with us about the city and was excited we were moving there. Our first night was spent in a hotel, and then on Wednesday we finally arrived at our new apartment.
Our new place is slightly smaller then our old one, but very new and nice. Since there was a gap between the previous tenants and us, they repainted everything and cleaned really well. A fantastic change, since we've moved into places in the past that required much in the way of cleaning. It is nearby to the major mall, a grocery store and other good things.
G had a bit of a hard time adjusting. She was really craving her own place and stuff after staying at other people's houses. She has had more breakdown/temper tantrums then usual, but it seems like those are getting fewer as she settles in. With her own toys and her own bed, she has declared this as "G's house" many times.
On our way here, we tried to teach her where she lived by saying that we are moving to St. John's, Newfoundland.
On the plane, Paul quizzed her: Where are we moving?
G: St. John's!
Paul: And where is St. John's?
G: Superman!
Well... they do have the same number of syllables.

We managed to buy our beds right away as well as a comfy chair, a kitchen table and a dresser for G. More furniture is still yet to come, but now that we can get online, checking kijiji will be much easier!

Up next: The Familiar and the Unfamiliar.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Out of Our Place, One Day to Go...

We actually did it! We managed to get all of our stuff sold and out of our apartment. What a frustrating experience, though. Selling things on kijiji seemed like a good idea at the time. We've sold things there before and not had trouble. However, selling so many things at once left us open for way more frustration. We had hoped to have practically no furniture by Saturday, but people didn't show up, didn't communicate and were generally just a pain on our last week. On Saturday morning we still had our table and chairs to get rid of, our microwave, our bed, a couch and recliner and a desk. Luckily, we still managed to get rid of everything, despite all the stress and last minute frustration. Everything was picked up on Saturday and we were out of our apartment by the evening.
Now, we are staying with some friends from church and heading out tomorrow! I can't believe it's so soon. I am full of mixed emotions and trying to be positive. Yesterday was our last church service and we were prayed for in front of the congregation at the end, except that there were very few people left in the congregation since the pews emptied out to come and lay hands on us. It was very touching, to say the least.

We spent last evening with friends (seeing Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, which was AWESOME) and this evening will be spent with friends as well. All our goodbyes have almost happened.

Next post will be from Newfoundland!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Okay. I am ready to move.


This move involves some serious downsizing.  Which is a surprisingly liberating experience.  I think it's fair to say that I have a complicated attitude toward stuff.  On one hand, I seriously covet stuff.  I want an iPad and a new computer, and a nicely decorated apartment, and beautiful copies of my books.  I want G to have all kinds of great toys, and I want to have kitchen stuff that is both beautiful and functional.  And much as I wish I didn't, a part of me really resents people who DO have all that stuff.

And that, really, is the problem.  I don't believe that having all the stuff I want would really make me happier, and even more, I don't believe that having it would make me better.  I don't believe having that stuff would make me a less resentful, more peaceful, more contented person.  But that is the person I want to be.  It's a cliche, but I think it's true -- stuff ends up owning you instead of the other way around, if you will let it.

So we're selling and giving away and throwing away a lot of our stuff, and I'm kind of happy about it. And when we get to St. John's, we're not going to replace most of it.  We're going to try to be minimalists, and buy only what we really need.  And of course, what we decide we "really need" will probably be a lot more than we ACTUALLY really need, but hopefully, it is a step in the right direction.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Boxes, Boxes...

Oh, Newfoundland, you crazy island. There is just no way to get to you.

So, we looked into all sorts of ways to get our stuff from the middle of the country to the edge of the country (4000 km away). U-Haul was insanely expensive (not to mention unsafe, by all reports I've heard) and most moving companies charged the same thing - $3000 to move. Every option kept coming up with that number-  $3000. There was no way we wanted to could pay that, so our option was to sell all our furniture and move everything else in boxes with Canada Post, and whatever we could take on the flight.
So, we shipped off 10 boxes of stuff. They were big boxes and took two trips in a very kind friend's car. The total to ship them? Just over $300. Not bad! So much less then sending them any other way.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hard Times

It's hard to move. I am trying to be very positive, because I know that saying "this year is going to suck" and "I'm going to be so lonely" is just a self-fulfilling prophesy. So, I'm trying to have confidence that I have the ability to make friends and find things to do.
But, I am sad to leave everyone. I've held back the tears thinking that I'll let them all out at the last minute, but I realized that I may have a total breakdown at the airport if I hold them back till then. So, I'm letting myself cry. Unfortunately, it still comes out at inopportune times. The other day, I was giving G a bath when Paul heard from the other room "Mommy sad". And sure enough, when he came, I was crying. It's a lethal combination - moving stress, leaving everyone, going somewhere where we don't know anyone and being pregnant with all the hormones that go along with that. So, giving G a bath in a tub that we'll never see again brought out the tears. Isn't that funny? It's not the big things, it's just the little routines of life that bring on the flood of emotions.

Paul tells me that I should post things like this. Be open and honest on this blog. And I think I will. I'm not going to sugar-coat the fact that this move is hard. But, I won't get bogged down by it. I will remain positive.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


This blog will mostly be by Jan, but this is Paul intruding to say:

We are having a party.  It was imagined as a massive-invite-everyone-we-know-in-Winnipeg-party, but it's shaping up to be more of an intimate affair.  Which is what we get for waiting until the week of to start inviting people.

Our apartment is getting emptier by the day, and by party time tonight we will have only one couch, one kitchen table and a few kitchen chairs left.  There's nothing on the walls, and what was once our living room is now empty save for boxes.  I'm hoping that is part of the theme of the party.  It's BYOS (bring your own seating).

I'd planned on baking a cake, but realized last night that we have no cake pans left.  So hopefully a friend will loan me hers.

The whole experience of planning this party is a little surreal.  It might be a little depressing to try to have a party in a mostly-empty apartment, especially if not many people turn up.  Which isn't any kind of insult to the lovely people who ARE coming -- it's not like they're not good enough.  But I was hoping for a sheer volume of people to make up for the lack of stuff in the place.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Clearing Out

Since it costs many, many (too many) dollars to use a moving truck to get to St. John's, we are selling all our stuff (especially furniture) and buying new used stuff when we arrive.
So, our apartment is slowly getting cleared out. This weekend was a grand purge. We took about 10 boxes of stuff to donate to Salvation Army, then the remaining (after selling about 200)100 books to a used bookstore.
Our deep freeze was sold, our comfy office chair is gone, our bookshelves have been taken away along with one of the desks and we no longer have a dresser or a nightstand. I have posted one of the couches up for sale and it will leave on Friday, but I'm nervous to put the other one up! What will we sit on?
My parents were here this past weekend and took a few things with them to live in Saskatoon for awhile. One of them was G's precious "beepbeep" - a ride on truck that was just too big to fit in. She watched it go with much confusion, but dealt with it very well when we told her it was going to live with her grandparents for awhile. Poor kid, I hope this doesn't traumatize her too much.

So, I sit here now in what used to be our office/library with no books, no office chair, and piles of boxes around me. This move is getting all too real.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Moving Tale

We are moving from Winnipeg to St. John’s Newfoundland in two weeks. This will be a blog to chronicle the story of our eastward move and adjusting to our new life on the East Coast. I am a quitting my job in the library to be a full-time mom of G, a two year old bundle of energy and I’m pregnant with Baby 2: Electric Boogaloo, due in early December. We’re moving because my husband is starting a PhD at Memorial University. 
We are both very geeky. Be warned.