Friday, August 29, 2008

Vicarious Living

Jon and I enjoyed watching the Beijing Olympics this year and like everyone else was following closely Micheal Phelps, the swimming star who broke tons of records and won 14 gold medals. I also followed his mother closely in the crowd as she would get so overwhelmed with suspense that she had a little fan and a daughter on each side holding her up. She cried every time he won and I thought "that is one proud mother!" I think that I would like for Ben to win some Olympic gold medals. Jon agreed and we have been discussing at length which sport we should introduce him to in the next couple of months (from what I gather major athletic stars begun training very early). Our criteria is it has to be a safe sport (no diving or gymnastics), preferably a winter and summer trainable sport considering our climate, one we both like watching and one whose equipment and coaching won't require us to remortgage our house every few years, unless of course Ben shows some early natural and astounding ability and we get a NIKE sponsorship before he starts school (he could probably go on Ellen too!). We later read that Micheal Phelps has size 14 feet. Ben's uncle also has size 14 feet and with the way his tootsies won't stop growing (he is in size 5/6 now which most 2 year olds wear- he looks like a hobbit) he is well on his way. We think this is the swimming secret; gigantic hands and feet...they are like flippers. So needless to say I am signing Ben up for swimming lessons in the fall for him and Jon to take together. I think he will enjoy this as he really likes baths and he will stay in his grandparents pool until he is prunier then a prune, his lips are chattering and purple and I have to drag him out crying. Well see how this "living through our child" goes...if nothing else he will be a good swimmer and have fun summer jobs life guarding. If he doesn't win a gold for the best country in the world to dedicate to the best parents in the world it will be okay. I will be fanning myself and crying overwhelmed with pride the first time he rides a two wheeler as well.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Little Man

Because Ben is one I thought he was old enough for hair product. I gel his hair now in the mornings so it is wild, curly and adorable! His grandparents thought along the same lines that a boy old enough for hair product is old enough for his own lazy boy recliner. I love it because it also looks like it belongs to our living room set! Ben loves it because it is a perfect bottle drinking chair!

The Highchair Struggle Continues

Ben does not like to sit still in anything, including strollers, carts, the bath and most of all his highchair. He likes to eat although he prefers to stand up in the chair as he does it and if he gets away with it on top of the kitchen table. I have tried letting him sit on the kitchen floor with his bowl of food but he generally smears it rather then eat it. My mom and I lucked into finding great clip on highchairs that attach to the kitchen table (it supports his weight if it supported Jon hanging off of it when he didn't believe it would). We both got one and Ben will sit in it because his feet can touch the chair below it and thus gives him the thrill of standing at the table. He is for now back to eating well... and I have stopped, for now, pulling my hair out.

Friday, August 22, 2008

12 Facts for 12 Months!

And the grand finally!!!

1- Ben is now I am thrilled to say a GREAT sleeper! We put him in his bed at 7:30 and he wakes up at 7:30 on the other side of the clock! He also naps 2-3 hours every was a long time getting here!

2- Ben has temper tantrums. About 15-20 times a day his world ends. Every time I change his diaper, take him in the house, make him sit in a highchair or end a book in fact it crashes down. Ben would be most happy if he could spend his whole day naked in the backyard...mommy encroaches on his style!

3- He ADORES his grandparents, all of them!

4- He knows when Daddy is suppose to come home. At 5:30 he starts looking towards the door.

5- He will finally hold his own bottle. He always wanted me to do it for him.

6- He still loves apples most of all, although grapes are a close second. If I peel and core one he will eat the whole thing. If I dare cut it in pieces though he will throw it at me.

7- His loves to get into my plastic bag/ cling wrap drawer and take all the sandwich bags out of the box, then puts one on each hand and crawls around with them on his hands.

8- He loves bathtime, but will not sit down!

9-He gives sweet little kisses where he parts his lips and gently puts them on you and smooches his lips around on your cheek until you are appropriately slobbery.

10-When he gives hugs he ends them with 2 pats on the back, as I imagine he is used to getting.

11- He gets very upset when he feels he is being pressured to walk, in his own time he will and not a minute sooner!

12- He is pointing at everything and wants to know the name for everything he touches.

Whew! There is a lot to tell about such a little person! I can't wait to see what he gets up to in the next year!

365 days ago...

365 days ago the sun began to shine a little brighter, our days became longer and laughter louder. Our lives had new purpose, more meaning and our days became more fulfilling. Our love became larger and our bond strengthened. Ice cream got sweeter, flowers more vibrant and the grass grew greener. Moments became magical, time sped up and sleep lost importance. Bubbles were rediscovered and tiny achievements worth celebrating. 365 days ago you were born.

Happy Birthday our beautiful boy...we couldn't love you more.

Mommy and Daddy

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ben's 1st birthday party!

Ben celebrated his first birthday today with friends and family. In the future we may celebrate Ben's birthday in September however as we found out this year that most people are away at the end of reunions seem to top the list.
We were glad that many people were able to attend and help us celebrate the big 0-1 with our little boy, including 4 day old Henry!

Eric Traplin, a local children's entertainer preformed and Ben enjoyed the bubble machines he brought with him. Jon wore a rock star wig and was a bass player in the band which I am pretty certain full filled number 106 on his life's "to do" list.

I was so glad that Ben dove right into his cake and ate almost half of it on his own!!! It was a wheat, egg and dairy free cake with apple butter but it was his first taste of sugar and I think he is hooked!

I did not bawl during happy birthday as I anticipated I would as it was not his real birthday...come next week however the waterworks will begin. I am already feeling awfully nostalgic.

I think the party was a success...and we took a lot of pictures since Ben won't remember a thing!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

11 Facts for 11 Months

I did not forget, we were still in Nova Scotia when Ben turned 11 months old. Part of being on vacation was being as media free as we could. We did not watch tv or go on the computer ( I only checked my email three-five okay ten times but that was REALLY good for me!!!) so I couldn't blog while we were away.

1- Ben has a full head of hair finally. It is eerily perfect hair. Many babies have hair that grows in randomly or with one long piece that falls in their eyes or sticks straight up. Ben looks like he just came from a barber all the time. Each hair if perfect.

2- Ben has his 4 top teeth now and 2 bottom teeth. He has been a great teether for the most part and woke up only once crying in the night recently with them. After a trip to the dentist he sent me home with Ben's first little baby toothbrush. Very cute.

3- He is becoming a picky eater. Fortunately his diet is pretty healthy so it's not that he will only eat chicken nuggets, fruit punch and cheese slices but it's that he will only eat rice bread with apple butter, cheerios, pears and grapes. Anything else lately he will slap my hand away. I put some vegetables, chicken and rice in the food processor to see if maybe he didn't want more grown up food. One offering of the spoon and a quick splattering of my big boy meal made with love all over me later I had my answer. I guess is could be worse...I will let him have his rice toast and count my blessings.

4- he wears size 18 month clothes.

5- Ben was sitting at the picnic table eating his imitation cheerios (made with potato flour and cost a small fortune). I looked at him and he grinned up at me swinging his legs under the table. Where did my baby go?! He has grown up so quickly I am trying to savour the moments of babyhood that are now so fleeting. He will be running before we know it.

6- I wish Ben would walk! It is not a matter or can, it's will. Ben has been ready to walk for months now but is so busy climbing things that he has not put it on his to do list. I know my job will only get harder as he gets faster and more mobile but he is into everything as it is and if he could walk he could be put down at all the places he squirms to be free in like the park, stores, sidewalks etc that he can't always crawl around on.

7- Ben is extremely busy. From the moment his eyes open his body is moving. There are not many occasions where he will let me just sit and hold him anymore, except at bedtime. Our routine has always been either Daddy or I bath him, sing to him, read 3 books (although lately it's 10!) and say prayers then he gets a bottle and rocked to sleep. I will continue to rock him to sleep as his legs dangle down mine until he will not let me anymore. He relaxes his body so complete and wiggles in as closely as he can while watching me as he drifts of. It is my most treasured time of day and I will make no effort at hiding the tears the day he says "no mommy" to our nightly ritual.

8- Ben LOVES books. He especially loves books with flaps you can lift open and say "peekaboo" to. He will sit on a lap to look at books as long as someone is willing to read them. It is definitely something I am trying to encourage in him and am so pleased he, like his father and I, is a book lover. Recently he has started to take them down off the shelf and look at them himself. He will dare I risk saying it... sit quietly for up to 20 minutes flipping very gently through his books, smiling to himself and occasionally laughing out loud when something strikes him funny!

9- Ben loves to be outdoors, now that we have a fence in our backyard which is wonderful Ben can crawl around freely and he does exploring every inch.

10- Ben is communicating very effectively now. In between his shrieks, grunts and screams of displeasure he is slowly figuring out a more effective way of getting what he wants ( I try to walk away when he screams at me for something...a- because I don't want him to think that is how to get what he wants as he has other means of communicating his wants and b- because I don't want him to see me trying not to laugh...his tantrums are hilarious though! ...I know, mean Mommy!) Yesterday he crawled over to me and sweetly said "mum mum?" and pointed to the cupboard!!!! Oh my goodness what a breakthrough, I felt like Anne Sullivan!

11- Ben's Mommy thinks that she has the cutest, sweetest, smartest and funniest 11 month, soon to be 12 month old there ever was and wonders what on earth she did to deserve such a great little boy!

Here and There

I couldn't help but notice many of the differences between Ontario and Nova Scotia this time as I was seeing it through Jon's eyes and taking in more of the details I had maybe overlooked before or just chalked up to being a part of the experience.

Clothes Lines
- I have concluded there is nothing as fresh and tranquil as the sight of a line with freshly laundered shirts and shorts blowing in the salt air breeze. Most people in Nova Scotia have and use a clothesline...In Ontario most people have and use exclusively their dryer...I think we need to bring back the clothesline!

- Beaches in Ontario are plenty in the lake variety. They are nice and big enough that if the wind blows right there are waves that allow you to pretend it is an ocean beech. Some even have soft white sand flown in from California to complete your faux beach experience. The problem with these beaches is that they are measured for pollution each morning. Depending on that same wind and the amount of toxins in the water the beach could be closed three out of every seven days in the summer. My concern is how safe is the water on the other four days and what is my guarantee that I won't have diareah for a week after swimming. You are left with no choice then to join the other 20 000 people on the shore with your half a towel space of imported sand.

Beaches in Nova Scotia however are a different thing entirely. Firstly there are different kinds of beaches. If you don't feel like getting into a bathing suit and sitting in the sun all day you can put on a sweater and head up to the "shore" to cool off by the ocean breeze and walk along the rocks listening to the waves crashing up and hoping to come across a surprise crab or starfish (if this post goes unfinished it is because I am driving to the airport!!!). We discovered as well that some of the most beautiful beaches remained untouched virtually here when we went on a "busy" day and basically had a whole section to ourselves. Ben loved playing in the sand and letting the waves wash up on him. When we came back home I tried to recreate the experience for him by bringing him to one of our man made chlorine filled "beaches" where the water gets slowly deeper like a beach would. It is essentially a concrete hole and a little depressing considering where we had just come from.

Rush Hour
We were told on the day we were leaving to go a little early for our 6pm flight as we would hit rush hour...well we were pretty taken aback to see what rush hour was in Halifax... about 15 cars. When we drove home from Toronto that night at 9pm there were at one point 20 lanes of traffic full of cars. What we wouldn't do for a little of Halifax' rush hour!

In Ontario people always have somewhere more important to be then where they are and someone more important to talk to then the one they already are. If one is made to wait in line for too long in Ontario you will hear loud sighing, shuffling of impatient feet and the flip of cell phone opening to make an important call for the entertainment of the others around them to hear.
The occasion that best exemplifies the polar opposite attitude of the maritimer is when we stopped for our last ice cream cone (we had ice cream everywhere we went!) before heading back home. It was the ice cream experience of all ice cream experiences when we found a little corner store in Halifax. Here was a man who took pride in his ice cream that is for sure as he presented up with "ice cream art" piled high with different flavors and a little candy to top it off. We didn't order our ice cream from him..he created what his imagination led him to pile on a waffle cone. You can imagine how long he took to prepare one of these colossal picture worthy cones let alone one for Jon, my brother and I. When we left the line was out the door and I was shocked to see so many people patiently waiting for us and smiling at our excitement over the cones and our obviously "not for around hereness". I smiled and thanked them for waiting as they looked at me like "well what else would I do" I didn't want to corrupt the innocence of these gems of the earth by telling them that where we are from you would have long stomped out the door slamming it behind you, muttering about damn ice cream art and poor service! These are the savoured experiences of the trip...small but impressionable.

Such Tourists

I was excited to have Jon and Ben meet some family they had not met yet while in Nova Scotia and also play tour guide. I thought I knew my way around pretty well since I have gone most summers of my life. When flipping through the tourist magazine we ordered before we left I realized I had not been to some places I would be interested in seeing as an adult and ones I did see when I was too young to really remember. I jumped aboard the tourvan and let my parents lead the way! They did an awesome job at giving us a vacation to remember. With the generosity of my grandparents who let us use their home to stay in and my parents who took us everywhere, showed us lots of great sights, took us out for amazing food and gave us use of their car...AND a Nanny and Aunt who kept the food coming we were set! We also had some great weather thrown in for good measure even though the forecast was rain everyday. This is the recipe for a great vacation.

I don't think we could have packed more in a day if we tried! We went to Port George, Middleton, Greenwood, Kempville, Annapolis, Wolfville, Peggy's Cove, Halifax, Lunnenberg, Pictou, stellerton and more!

We had LOTS of fish and chips, Jon tried lobster...Drew finished it, we had our fill of pie, strawberry shortcake and warm buns (I just drooled on the keyboard!)

We went on horse drawn tours, shopped at adorable stores and Jon and Drew even went whale watching (where they mostly saw seals...this made Jon happy as he likes seals better anyhow!). Most importantly we saw lots of the rugged shoreline we came for.

10 days could not have gone by any faster. We blinked and it was time to say goodbye. We didn't do all the things we wanted to or see enough of the people we wanted to visit. There is then, only one solution... we have to go again next summer!!

Family Meet Ben...Ben Meet Family

It was very exciting to introduce Ben to his extended family that he had yet to meet. Ben is lucky to have 10 grandparents in total, including his great grandparents...Whew! That is a lot of Ben love to go around!
Ben seems to instinctively know when a relationship with someone is meant to be more then fleeting or short term. Friends of mine that he sees on a constant basis he is not that interested but have a grand parent show up at the door and he wiggles with happiness as he outstretches his arms and lets his mouth open with a happy grin. It didn't take long before Ben was giving his Great Grandparents the same reaction. He is definitely a fan of the grandparent!

Ben was also lucky enough to meet four great Aunts. Three of my Mother's sisters and one of my dad's sisters. He especially enjoyed his visits to their homes as they each offered something unique...a version of rocky (my grandparents dog who although sweet would potentially trample Ben in his excitement) who he could pet, chickens, (he has never seen these before!) flower garden's with an aunt and nanny who didn't mind if he popped some heads off the flowers and a lake. Ben took it all in and was always ready to meet the next person or place on our list.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Nova Scotia Vacation

I was nervous the days leading up to our flight. Ben does not love being in the car and he as of late hates anything that qualifies as a ride on toy- tractors, fourwheelers, rides at the mall, play bouncing horses at the park or his rocking cow. As soon as you sit him on one of these things the usual easy going and adventurous Ben howls until you take him off. I was very afraid he would classify the airplane as one of these huge ride on toys. My fears went unsubstantiated as he was wonderful and lucky for us our pride and joy was a dream traveller. He loved his great grandparents (loved my grandfather so much he couldn't help but yank his hair, grab his glasses and bite im everytime he got near one point he picked up his cane and whacked him with it...out of love of course...), the ocean, travelling to new places and being with mom and dad 100% of the time (he is now more of an attention adict then ever!) We went many places and thus spent many hours in the car. It seems if I am sitting beside him with books, snacks and an off key singing voice he is content to sit there as long as required. Who Knew?!
I am looking forward to travelling again soon now that I know he is so adaptable!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Other Woman...a Jelous Rant

I have as of late been forced to share my bed, date night and conversations with my husband and his other woman. She goes by the last name "phone", first name "I" Jon activly persued Iphone. It began the morning she was released and Jon darted out of bed at 5:45 am and ran out the door. If I didn't call him on his now worthless then beloved blackberry to know where he went I only needed to wait a few hours to catch him on the news...and then the radio. He was lining up to get his new love...Ms. Phone.

10 hours later Jon was the proud new owner of one of the first Iphones(I would like to add that it took less time then this for me to give birth!). He has since then spent countless hours bonding with her. He buys her whatever new accessory she could ever want and never lets her battery get too low. He downloads lots of useless applications that turn her into semi entertaining things like a zipo lighter flame (to use at a concert I may or may not be invited to accompany them to), a flashlight, and downloaded video console (this works at pacifying Ben in the car so she gets half a point for that...). When I ask Jon to stop playing with his toy at the dinner table-driving-church etc he shoots me a look and reminds me with less patience then before SHE came along that it is not an "TOY" but a vital business tool (that he is using to watch the top utube videos on). When I try to show interest in her Jon will hover over me like a nervous new parent while I fiddle with the gps application or the camera phone. After I do anything on it Jon quickly needs her back so he can try to either undo what I just did or try to do it better. It must be a loyalty thing...
Well I am happy that Jon is happy but not happy enough to let him get a blueray console...another new technology that will leave me another notch behind! If I could just figure out how to beam light through my fingertips, take a picture with my nose and have maps in my head then maybe I could even out the competition. Until then Ms. Phone until you develop applications for laundry services, meal preparation and toilet cleansing among other things I remain in the game!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Jenn...aka mommy

Ben is speaking more clearly now and has a few words he used frequently that are similar. "Mum mum" is his favorite snack, rice husks called "mum mum's". "Mo mo" is "more" and finally "ney ney" is is sounding more and more like "Jenn" and then it occurred to us that why would he call me anything else! Everyone calls me Jenn and all day long when I was doing daycare the other kids were calling me Jenn and I was referring to myself as Jenn... HA! I wonder how long this is going to last?

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Ben climbs everything...slides, shopping carts, couches, coffee tables you name it he climbs it! This means that I can't leave him alone for a second so when I need to use the washroom or run upstairs I put him in the highchair for a few moments and trust that he is safe there...until now! I came in the kitchen to find him standing up and rocking the back. I don't know how he managed to get out of the straps let alone the tray that was pushed up tight against him! What are we going to do with him now???
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