Sunday, June 29, 2008

Summer Days, Drifting Away …

We’ve been having some marvellous weather here. It has been a little too much on the hot and dry side of the equation for the plants but beautiful for any humans wanting to go outside. There has been a nice balance of humidity and lack of humidity days as well for, as you know, I do not like humidity. At. All.

On the humid days when I’m melting in my house, I really feel bad for Iain. By and large, he’s wearing a big diaper around and, even if that’s all he’s wearing, the child has got to be warm. Therefore, some days there is only one thing to do.

Go outside on the deck.

Have dishpan and water toys primed.

Grease said child down with sunscreen (or, better yet, put him in a sunsuit).

Let him at it.

Pray he is occupied long enough for me to sew up his sweater…

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sleepless in Nova Scotia

The past two weeks have been a bit more challenging since Mudder and Fadder left, and not just because I’m down to two helping hands during the day versus six! While my parents were here, I must have been letting Iain stay up later and later because, by the time they left and over the course of subsequent nights, his hours had been getting later and later. So late, in fact, that last weekend and Monday night, he was up until 10:00 PM.

What happens when my baby is up until 10:00 PM? Well, besides the fact that he is overtired, cranky and impossible to put down to sleep at night, he was also having very difficult and cranky days. Additionally, call me selfish, but late nights for Iain means he is going to bed when I do and I do not get to A) have a break, B) read my favourite blogs or write a blog post or C) knit or do anything else I am unable to do during the day. In essence, Mommy’s sanity time was going by the wayside. By Monday evening, I had had enough.
Anyone who knows us personally knows that it is not the feminine side of the equation who has the infinite patience in this household (stop laughing at the suggestion!). DH has always been much better than I am about holding Iain while he fights going to sleep. And fight he does. I’m not entirely sure how heavy he is now but my guess is about 27 pounds (we’re postponing his twelve month immunizations until after we get back from Newfoundland and I haven’t had him weighed since his nine month check up). That’s about 27 pounds of fighting sleep power that includes pinching, biting, pushing, squirming…you get the picture. Frankly, my arms get tired holding and fighting with him. But, I am not comfortable with the ‘let him cry himself to sleep’ concept. Frankly, I feel that that method is cruel. Besides, I have the luxury of a wonderful DH who is willing to hold Iain, as best he can, until Iain has fussed himself to sleep.

Tuesday night was different. I determined that Iain was going to bed between 7 and 7:30 PM (his usual, pre-grandparent time). That meant getting up earlier, as he’d been sleeping in later and later to make up for lost sleep time (nice though that was, I am a morning person and would rather be up at o’dark early than miss out on a couple of hours of me-time in the evenings), and seeing if he could do with one nap during the day versus two. He’s never been consistent at having an afternoon nap as it was and usually only had one three out of seven days anyway.

Well, after about 20 minutes of fussing, DH got him to sleep (it’s now down to ten minutes, with minimal fussing and an unfinished bottle at the end). I was confident my plan would work. So confident, in fact, that I decided to skip running that night and organise for us to eat like adults out on the deck where, for once, the humidity and bug visitations were low.

Here’s the prepped table.
Iain was asleep before 7:30. We had an enjoyable and relaxing meal without interruptions.

Quality sleep and more consistently happy days for Iain? Wonderful. A quiet meal without a cute almost one year old hanging off my leg (because he seems to prefer my leg for some reason) whining? Priceless.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Dark Spot

There’s a dark spot on the silver cloud that is this lovely province we’ve moved to. In a word: ticks. Not familiar with the little darlings? Check this out. I can wait…

I realise that, if you’re around farm animals a great deal, ticks might just be an annoyance to you. However, I don’t live on a farm. I live in a town. And I hauled six ticks off my dog last Thursday night. She had an accident waiting for me in the den on Friday morning and off to the vet we went, after pulling SIXTEEN ticks off her just from her morning ablutions. I was not impressed. I do not like ticks. At. All. Apart from Germany where we found an occasional tick on Para, our backyard in Middleton appears to be a breeding ground. I found one in my hair a few weeks ago (ew! I just happened to find it too; I hadn’t been checking before) and my father had two on him within the first two days of their visit.

The vet said that this has been a very bad year for ticks. The vet assistant thinks we have a nest in the back yard. Either way, I’ve re-dosed Para with Revolution and she is now wearing a preventive tick collar (a very, very safe one – I don’t like using harsh chemicals on our pets).

As for the accident in the den, the vet feels that Para is trying to tell me something. She isn’t getting enough attention. Bad Patty! I am trying to rectify that with lots of pats and more regular walks. I can certainly admit that she had not been receiving regular walks up until my parents arrived. Walking Para is coming back to being a priority so I guess her message worked. Poor little puppy.

My parents left us this past Tuesday. It was a very sad day for those of us left behind. Iain is too young to really understand that they’ve left. Para and I were very sad for the rest of the day because we do realise what their leaving means. Luckily, we will see them again in three weeks. It will be interesting to see if Iain remembers them or not!

While they were here, I managed to get much more organised for both Iain’s first birthday party and the family reunion. DH says he now needs a list to know what to help out with and it didn’t take me long to think of a few things! It will be a busy couple of weeks. I’ve booked an appointment to get a first year portrait done of Iain this coming week. Iain’s party is on his birthday, July 4th. We leave the next day to start heading East for our ferry trip on the 6th (we’re breaking the driving up over two days for Iain). We will then be away until, at least, July 22nd. And that list doesn’t even touch on what needs to be done between now and then!

On Father’s Day, we ‘treated’ the fathers in the house by going for a hike on Long Island, NS. This is another fun destination if you have lots of time while visiting Nova Scotia. Here are Fadder and DH on the 5 minute ferry (literally! Expensive though - $1 per minute of crossing...) ride from mainland Nova Scotia to Long Island:
It’s a little off the beaten track but the hike itself is just over 2 kms and well maintained.
There are, ahem, a few stairs to go down and up though. Like, over a hundred of them.
However, we all made it up and down just fine. Balancing Rock itself is a bit of a marvel.
Apparently it’s been this way for thousands of years.

It was a nice hike but, if you’re hoping for a final destination that makes a pretty picnic area, this isn’t it. The boardwalk is built on the side of the rocks and is, essentially, a viewing platform so no grassy knolls to sit upon for lunch.

Luckily, we ate our lunch before heading out (Mudder forgot her hat so she's borrowing Iain's. He didn't need it at the time. See next picture).

Here’s what Iain thought of the picnic. Again.

He did wake up for the hike, however, and is here to remind you of the importance of hydration when you're hiking in warm weather:

On the knitting front, Mudder wouldn’t leave until I turned Chase’s heel to her satisfaction (sorry, no pics of that). Now I have some stitches to pick up before carrying on. I also have Iain’s chevron sweater blocked, dried and in the sewing process (the photo looks so sparkly because I'd just sprayed it with water. Funny what the camera picks up sometimes).

Hopefully I can catch Iain before he’s grown out of it (if he hasn’t already!) so that he can model it for you. He is standing on his own for seconds at a time and cruising around the furniture rapidly so it's just a matter of time before my baby boy is walking.

I managed to get three of four runs in so far this week – not bad for a week without my parents here for baby-sitting assistance. My long run, a 9 km, will happen later today when it’s a little cooler. I’ve been running after DH comes home so I usually go out after 6:00 PM and before dark. Luckily it stays nice and light for running at this time of the year.

Now, before you get worried that I’ve disappeared off the face of the earth, remember how much I said we have to do before departing on July 5th. We will not be back until July 22nd, at the earliest (and I am considering staying longer) so blog posts may be scarce over the next month or so. For that I apologise but, remember, at least I WILL BE knitting! That’s what driving trips are for!

Monday, June 09, 2008

A Visit to Grand-Pré

Well, we didn’t go camping. In the end, I decided it was too stressful for me/us to get ready with everything else I had to do. Additionally, DH flew off to Ontario on Sunday morning so, by staying home, we got to spend as much time with him as possible.

We did enjoy a ‘mini-break’ (I love that UK term!) on Saturday though. Mudder, Fadder and DH had not been to Grand-Pré before (Iain and I enjoyed a visit there last fall when my in-laws were visiting). It was a gorgeous day for a picnic and the grounds at Grand-Pré are spectacular for that sort of thing so, off we went.

Iain Bean fell asleep in the car on our way there. We managed to arrive, eat a huge picnic lunch and on he slept! As I’d already been through the interpretive centre portion of Grand-Pré, I opted to stay and wait for Iain outside, feed him his lunch when he woke up, and then join the rest of the group when we were ready.

Here’s why I was so interested in staying behind.

Sleeve number two!
Done! It’s now awaiting blocking, as per the books instructions. I need to go out and buy a spray bottle for that. We need one for laundry anyways – my other one holds our vinegar and water cleaning mix.

With the thrill of a completed sleeve coursing through my veins, Iain and I finished our picnic and joined the others inside. I managed to catch the 20 minute movie which I’d missed during our first visit (Iain was fussy). If you get a chance to visit this area, I highly recommend this site. It is a spectacular tribute to a horrific time in history when the English expelled the Acadians from their homes.

It is also an absolutely beautiful location.

In running news, I fit in three runs this past week. That is a two run increase from the week before. I also got in my long run of 7 kms in yesterday and I’m not sore today (my long runs are comprised of 10 minutes of steady running with one minute of walking)! Yeah me! Now, let’s see if I can get four runs in this week. My parents have been amazing about taking Iain and ensuring I get my runs in. In fact, when I mentioned borrowing the jogging stroller from my friend to go for a run, my mother informed me that “…running is my opportunity to get away from it all.” She then took Iain for me so I could go. I’m really going to miss those two when they leave. Not as much as Iain though. He just loves them!

The smell of freshly picked (today) rhubarb crisp is in the air. It was a hot and humid day here today but I went out this morning to get some weeding and rhubarb harvesting done. Then I came back in for most of the day as it was really too hot and humid for me (or my mother for that matter). There was no way I was going to use the oven today but, with the fresh night breeze blowing through all of the open windows and a bowlful of rhubarb sitting on the counter, I had visions of rhubarb crisp for breakfast.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Who You Gonna Call?

A couple of weeks ago, it hit me. I may look like Supermom. I may even act like Supermom. However, being Supermom is hard work and, I was coming apart at the seams. There’s only one thing to do in times like those: call yer Mudder. And that’s exactly what I did.

At the moment, I have a beautiful 11 month old (Happy Eleven Month Birthday, Iain!) baby, which means a first birthday to plan. I am the main organiser for a family reunion to be held on the 12 and 13th of July for a fairly large family (one side of mine = ~ 60 people). I have also decided to run a half-marathon in the fall which means I have to, um, train. Not to mention I live on a street where the retirees are in competition to see who can have the trimmest lawn and most weeded garden and DH is working later and later. Yep, I cracked. I called Mudder and Fadder in tears and cried “Help!”

They are too good - they arrived on Monday. So far, Mudder has Iain charmed and Fadder has the lawn mowed and (his current pet project) the seats for his handmade cedar strip canoe drying in our garage. I just love these people.

In preparation for the half-marathon, last week was week one of 18 (I get two extra weeks before starting the 16 week training from John Stanton’s Running: Start to Finish book, which is the same program I followed with a Running Room clinic in Kanata when I ran the National Capital Half-Marathon in 2005). I managed to get out for a run once. That’s 100% better than the six weeks previous but not good enough to start counting miles for the half-marathon. However, it did turn out to be quite the run.

I have mentioned that a friend of mine has a jogging stroller that I can borrow. She’s a sweetie, too. She keeps calling me to let me know when it’s available – how cool is that?!? Anyways, we picked a suitable time and afternoon. It’s unfortunate that it was a really hot day but that’s going to happen in the summer months (I’m a bit allergic to heat). I beat it, in my running gear and with Iain in the stroller, to my friend’s house, which is about a kilometre away. I then switched Iain into the jogging stroller and, with some preparation, managed to get on the road. Earlier in the day, I’d looked at the running book and decided, “Yeah, I should probably run 6 K.” I mentioned this to DH and he laughed at me.

“Start at 2K. You’ve never run with a jogging stroller before and you’re probably going to feel it.”

I have three little words to describe my 2.5K running with a jogging stroller experience. Oh. My. God. I ran less than 3K and was puffing the whole way. I haven’t been that out of breath since, since, since I was in labour. I’m not kidding. I felt like my head was going to pop off! I wasn’t graceful. Heck, I was barely moving. And, to add insult to injury, I was sore the next day. Iain though? He fell asleep. Maybe I could learn to like that stroller…

Now that Mudder and Fadder are here, I’ve had two solo runs at 33 and 20 minutes, non-stop each. I’m hoping they’ll be here at least a couple of weeks which gives me two weeks to put in some running miles and, hopefully, become a little more fit. I’m going to need it for the ‘Return of the Jogging Stroller’.

In knitting, I’m still working on Iain’s wee sweater. I’m getting to the point where I’m going to be sad to see it finished. I really love it. I hope he hasn’t grown out of it yet…

If the weather cooperates, we’re hoping to go camping this weekend. I hope to have some blogworthy shots by the time we get back!