Friday, March 8, 2013

Quick Takes (volume 16)

For my New Year's Resolution, I decided to write down one memory a day in a diary. I haven't been very good at memory-keeping in general recently (obviously not here, but not in other ways either--I've hardly even been taking pictures!), so I thought this would be a simple way to do it. And, I hope that next year, I can continue to use the same diary, adding a new 2014 entry below 2013's, so we will be able to look back and remember what was going on this year.

You can see where this is going, right? I have not been doing well keeping up with this goal. It took me almost a month to even buy a diary, then another week or two to remember to write in it for the first time. Now I usually remember to write in it every 4th day or so, and have to try and remember things that happened. :/

But, I am writing down memories, even if not every day, and I will be so glad that I did in years to come. So, glass half full, right?

The whole first take is a round-about way of saying, I am totally going to be plagiarising myself from my diary onto these here quick takes (and probably in the future as well) so that I have something to share with you all.  

My birthday is coming up this weekend. 30. Can. not. believe it. I'm pretty sure I am not yet an adult, despite the marriage and kid and house thing, so I'm not quite sure how I am turning 30. Mostly I'm not too concerned about the milestone-y-ness of it, although a little bit of me is freaking out inside. Not really sure why, as I am pretty happy with how these first three decades have turned out, but. You know. 30!?!

We're planning on going to London on Saturday, to see the Science Museum (as I have never been) and probably take Gus to see the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum as well. We'll see how long we spend in the first one, though, and how we're feeling before going into the dinosaurs. That is the awesome thing about museums in London--many of them are free, so you don't feel like you have to spend all day in there, to the point of exhaustion and crankiness, to get your money's worth. I think it will be good.

Plus, I am planning on getting lunch at the Real Food Market at Southbank Centre (mmm, posh street food) and dinner at Mildred's vegetarian restaurant in Soho.  It is going to be an awesome day :)

Gus is just excited because we will be going on a bus, a train, and an underground train on Saturday.

He has obviously heard me say (many times, probably) that he loves buses. One day last week I told someone that, and he added "And trains and tractors and trucks." Now he regularly tells me what he loves, whether those things, or certain books, or (kind of randomly) the orange fish on a blanket. Good that he knows what he likes!

building, with the machines in the background
I mentioned in my last post that Gus was playing trains non-stop. Well, since then, he has moved on to Bob the Builder. All day long, all I hear is "Let's fix something! Let's get to work! Can we fix it?" He's been watching (too much of) the show as well, so we are always repairing Mr Bentley's cottage or asking Farmer Pickles to help. It is quite amusing, although quite tiring to sit and watch / play with him for hours and hours is exhausting. He has spent the last couple weeks in a particularly needy phase. While I can acknowledge intellectually that it is just a phase and he needs me close for a particular reason of development or some such thing, emotionally, I just want to scream "Give me 5 minutes of peace!!!" Thankfully, he actually let me do things for short periods today while he played by himself, so we might be returning to a balance that is a bit easier for me.

Outside, Gus has been busy digging for bones everywhere we go. My goodness, can this boy get dirty! He lies down on the ground, just to get a really good look, and digs with his hands or a nearby stick. Luckily, he, and his clothes, wash clean (more or less). And really, we can't let a bit of dirt stand in the way of important discoveries, can we?
watching Bob the Builder with Dizzy

Hope you have a lovely weekend!  As always, check out Jen for more Quick Takes! 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Quick Takes (volume 15)


I'm probably going to jinx it by typing this, but I think Gus is potty trained. We started in November, and had some difficulties, but were doing pretty well by the time we went to the USA for Christmas. Then we had a bit of a disaster for three weeks, brought about by the combination of being out of our normal routine, jet lag and general tiredness, too much fun to be had, and probably an overly strict pottying schedule. So when we got back home in January (after the jet lag) we had a bit of a restart, where we let Gus actually experience what a full bladder felt like, and I really, really, tried to trust Gus when he said he did or did not have to pee. And within about 3 weeks, he was consistently asking to go potty, usually in time to actually get onto the potty. So glad we did it, but probably one of the hardest things we have done since becoming parents. Definitely wish we had done better at trusting and listening to Gus from the beginning of it, rather than just planning to do that, but it all came good in the end. And I don't think he is too scarred from the process!

Two of my favourite quotations from Gus during our potty learning adventure:
  • "Big boys do not use the potty!"
  • (As Jon is dressing Gus after Gus had an accident and did not want to sit on the potty) "I'm going to pee in the black trousers next." And sure enough, he peed in them less than five minutes later!
new haircut
Enough with the potty talk.  Next item in the "big boy" news category: we have cut Gus's hair! After the last time we tried to cut his hair (last May!) where he cried so much I had to stop the haircut after only a few minutes (and half done), I was too scared to take him again. We've cut his bangs (fringe) a couple of times since then, and that has been pretty much fine, so he has probably been ready for a while. And I actually did get up the courage to do it one day in the fall, and the salon I wanted to go to was closed for the day! So we went a few weeks ago. He climbed up on the chair, held a Percy train toy in one hand, ate a snack with the other, and looked out the window at the buses going past. And he was fine! He looked a bit unsure about it, but not upset, and I tried to stay really positive and upbeat about it. It was really not a big deal. We went out for lunch after, and two strangers called him a boy!  I generally didn't mind when people called him a girl (although it was beginning to bother Jon), but even I thought that getting called "Princess" multiple times on our journey to the US was a bit much. He also looks so much older now. Yikes!

It was Ash Wednesday this week. I noticed something while I was fasting this week. I cannot remember the last time I actually felt hungry and didn't immediately search out something to eat. We are so blessed to be able to have (mostly) nutritious food available at any time and place, but it is definitely something I take for granted. And really, the hunger that I felt was based on eating three small but adequate meals over the course of the day. A lot more than many people get. 

Also on the topic of food: I am taking an online course through on the American Food System and Public Health. It is so interesting. I am only halfway through the 6-week course, so there's a lot left to learn. But so far, I have been astonished by the amount of water and energy that it takes to grow our food, saddened by the deterioration of precious farmland that is happening due to intensive farming practices, and kind of grossed out by descriptions of industrial meat production. Of course, I'm already a vegetarian, so that last one is kind of to be expected. The real focus of this course is how the way our food is produced affects the health of the country, especially through "externalities" of the food production process, such as pesticide use affecting people living in rural communities, antibiotics in meat contributing towards antibiotic-resistance bacteria causing human illness, and how the health of future generations might be affected by the way we grow food now, among other things. However, our food and farming policy is not influenced by health concerns, although what we eat is intimately linked to our health. I hope that the next three weeks also include some solutions for how we can move toward a more sustainable system. I really do have a lot of thoughts on this topic--I should write a whole post about it!

just before his haircut, playing matching game
Gus seems to be playing trains all day every day at the moment. He still loves buses (loves them! one of his other favourite activities is to look at pictures on buses on Google images), but the main characters of his recent games are two engines that he calls James and Emily. He plays with Emily, and I usually have to be James. They travel all around the living room, pulling coaches, going through tunnels, meeting buses, resting in the shed, etc. It is so funny to listen to. As you might guess, he has also been watching Thomas and Friends, and sometimes I can hear lines from the show in his commentary, although often he makes his own stories as well. 

I'll leave you with a recent tidbit from Gus. When he was told it was time to get ready for bed, he responded,
The only option is to play!!

Have a happy weekend! And don't forget to check out Jen's for more quick takers.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

We recently returned from three weeks visiting family in the US (such a great trip!). On the way back, Gus got a chance to play airplane while waiting for our plane at Chicago (not international terminal--that is just rubbish. Termnals 2/3 are excellent, though.) We were lucky we arrived so early to the airport, as Gus played in the kids' area for a good hour and could have gone on longer. It was perfect preparation for our overnight flight (i.e. it wore him out!)

Gus and Pa in the play airplane
Gus and Mama flying a helicopter

working very hard to move the luggage from the cargo hold to the "bus"

the airplane. you could also pilot the plane, go up in the control tower, weight the luggage, and more!
Thank you O'Hare and the Children's Museum of Chicago for the great space to play!
Happy New Year!  (It's still January, so I can still say that, right?)