December 2006

December 01

She did it again!

No I am not referring to Brittany Spears (who has recently left her husband Kevin Federline).  Now please understand that I do not condone divorce in any way; however, since neither are professed Christians, I say “run away little mommy”!
 
I am talking about my own little sweetheart who started crying in the middle of her nap.  I went in to see what was wrong, and found her bunched up in the headboard…again.  She was using the blankets as leverage to push her way up.  I watched her silently for a while as she wasn’t actually at the wood yet.  She is quite determined!  So then I thought, what is she determined about?!  Well, there is only one thing that she gets that worked up over, and that is lack of “sucky”.  So I glance around and lo and behold, “sucky” was wedged under the footstool that I keep in front of the rocking chair.  You have to understand, she must have tossed this thing…3 feet, maybe?  She was moving in the wrong direction and couldn’t have found it anyway, but it gives me hope to think she was trying to get it back herself (probably got impatient when I didn’t arrive post haste to retrieve this beloved source of comfort).  Impatience?  I wonder where she gets it…?!?!?
December 05

Sliding Doors

This weekend, Bruce, Bronwyn and I, along with Dude and Nevis, made the trek to Sudbury.  We left late friday night because Bruce’s work Christmas Dinner was that night.  Joan and Derek took Bronwyn and I made myself beautiful for the first time in a LONG time.  It was so much fun!  Bruce even won an award!  He won’t like me bragging, but I am too proud.  There must have been over 250 people there and it was at the Rec Centre near our house.  It was beautiful in the hall and the food was delicious.  Continuing….so we left Oshawa around 10pm with words of caution ringing in our ears from everyone who heard we were driving up.  There was a freezing rain warning, but we didn’t care- we had to be in Sudbury in time for Bruce to go to Ben’s bachelor party (the guys kidnapped him and drove to Ottawa to see the Senators vs Tampa Bay).  I suppose he could have driven to Ottawa himself but a chance to see my parents does not come often, so we drove to Sudbury in horrific conditions just because we could. 
 
Speaking of the drive, I slept for the first part because we knew Bruce wouldn’t be able to stay awake the whole trip, so the plan was for us to switch in Nobel (Melissa, I want you to say that aloud to someone, okay???!).  Bruce dropped me off to pick up coffee while he got gas.  While I was in line, the man in front of me found $5 on the ground.  He offered to buy my coffee- the world still has gentleman!  By the time I started driving, most of the snowing had subsided, and I was marvelling and the beauty of the night.  The sky was clear and the moon was so bright, shining down on the snow-capped trees.  The highway wasn’t plowed, so the road was just a large expanse of white.  There wasn’t any traffic, so I could drive wherever I felt most comfortable and that was smack dab in the middle of the highway.  I was just glancing at the latest sign showing the km left to Sudbury, when I noticed a deer standing in the other lane!  She was HUGE.  Her head was bigger than Bronwyn and she had the largest eyes.  I passed be her so quickly that I was only left with a fleeting impression, but she was close enough that I could have touched her had I stuck my hand out the wiondow.  My gasp woke Bruce and when he had assured himself that I was indeed alright (honestly, it was more beautiful than scary), he started kicking himself for not seeing it too!
 
The rest of the weekend was fairly mundane…shopping, visiting, eating- the usual.  I tried to help my mom out with the Christmas Pageant at the church, but Bronwyn wasn’t being terribly cooperative!  Luckily there was a never-ending supply of willing arms to hold, rock, and play with her. 
 
So, on to the reason for the title of the blog: Sliding Doors is a movie.  It is fairly old, and stars Gwyneth Paltrow as a woman who misses her train after being fired from her job.  Immediately after you see her miss the train though, the movie rewinds and an alternative is presented- she catches the train.  The story continues to unfold by showing both storylines and the subsequent reactions to this event.  I won’t ruin the fun or the ending, but the point of the story, and thus my blog, is that in both scenarios, she leaves her boyfriend, meets a  new man, and is hit by a car.  These three incidents in her life occured regardless of the choices she made.  They didn’t all happen at the same time for both scenarios.  In one she meets the new man at the beginning, and the other she meets him at the end.  But she still meets him.  This struck me as being very like predestination vs free-will.  Perhaps there are some things that we can’t change, but the stuff in between, the decisions that bring us to each crossroad, those are variable.  In one scenario she appears happy, but when you see the alternative you realize she is being duped.  Is that what our lives are like?  We think we have the best/worst lives, but without knowing the alternative, who can say?  Plus, in the movie, each story has it’s own good and bad situations.  How can we tell which life was really the “best” (fewest bad times vs most good times), until we see the whole thing?  I highly recommend this movie to anyone who has not seen it!
December 07

Brag Time

So Bronwyn has just been taking off in leaps and bounds this week, developmentally.  She is sleeping better, and is an over-all better rested baby.  The following are some cute things she has done recently…I hope I don’t forget any of them!
 
So, first, last night while I was giving her her bath, she started reaching for the washcloth!  Big deal you say, true, but is is getting harder and harder to wash her as it is because she doesn’t just lay there quietly anymore.  She kicks her feet and tries to roll from side to side!  Fun, yet challenging.  So I came up with the brilliant idea to give her another washcloth.  I just so happened to have an identical one washed and in the basket, so I wet it and handed it to her to play with.  As I draped it over her hand, she gives me this “look” (anyone who knew me as a baby- or even now, probably knows this look) and reaches for MY washcloth through hers!!  When I don’t concede and give mine up (I had just doused it with soap) she dropped hers in the water and begins to play with the seal thermometer toy, as if it say, “I didn’t want it anyway”!  What a character.
 
This morning was the 4th consecutive sleep period where I have had to make a thorough search and rescue for her soother.  She throws it every time!  I have found it in the clean diaper basket, under the stool, behind the crib (and Bruce once found it, after 10 minutes of searching, clenched in her hand!!).  I obviously can’t TIE the thing to the crib (which is what I am tempted to do every morning), but if anyone has any sugestions as to how to locate it quickly, please let me know!!
 
On a similar note, I cleaned the study from top to bottom, because she dropped her other soother while sitting on my lap.  I was in the middle of addressig Christmas Cards, so I didn’t immediately look to where it fell.  Needless to say, it is still missing.  It is like the proverbial sock in the dryer (thanks to Grandma Nat for the analogy). 
 
Um, other cute things…she sat up by herself, completely unsupported for about 20 seconds yesterday.  Bruce thinks I cheated becasue she was sitting on the bathroom counter and one leg was in the sink.  I, however, say that balancing is balancing and that it should count.  Comments?
 
So the cutest thing of all happened yesterday too.  Bruce was holding Bronwyn on his lap and I walked into the study.  Immediately, Bronwyn kind of stretched out and looked at me.  Bruce exclaimed. “look, she’s reaching for you”.  Whether she was or not, I couldn’t leave her hanging there, so I took her from Bruce and she settled right away.  I thought this was coincidence until she did the same thing 2 more times that night!  Always when Bruce was holding her and I entered the room.  I was starting to feel a little bad for Bruce after all this until this morning when he got up for work.  He came out of the bathroom and Bronwyn practically jumped out of my arms in an effort to stretch her arms as far as they would go towards him.  This leads me to believe that it may not be so much about the particular parent, but rather who is NOT there. 
 
On one final note, not about Bronwyn, I made a pork roast for dinner last night.  I had made pork chops the night before and was reminded by Bruce that he doesn’t like pork (bacon and ham are ok though!!).  But since I was the one making dinner, and buying the groceries, I made pork again last night.  When Bruce realized it was a roast and not a chop though, he got this kind of dreamy look on his face and said, “oh a roast, did you make it like your mom does?”.  I said I had no idea how my mother makes pork roast and maybe he should try mine.  After a bite or two, he said “well it is ok, but I like the way your mom does it better”!
December 10

Gross

I have now been inducted into motherhood, officially.  This morning, Bronwyn, Bruce and I were having a lazy sunday morning in bed.  I was dozing and Bronwyn was squirming, so I picked her up and laid her across my chest, thinking that maybe a change in position would give me a few more minutes of sleep.  I was awakened in full by a horrible, warm, sweet-smelling, liquid guiser that had erupted from Bronwyn’s perfect rosebud mouth.  It went everywhere.  It was in my hair, on my face, and running down my neck.  It pooled on the sheets and soaked the pillow.  I didn’t even rememeber FEEDING her that much!!  I quickly handed her off to Bruce before rushing to the shower, but not before I glimpsed something: a…smile?  Or maybe just gas.  She wouldn’t do that on purpose…would she?

Girls’ Night Out

Last week Joan had the brilliant idea to get some girls together for wings and pool (sans children of course).  This meant that the evening didn’t start until after 9pm, but all the better since Montanas has half price appetizers after that time.  We were commenting that whenever we get together we go to the gym, or grocery shopping, or we stay home and knit.  Although excellent uses of our time, not exactly in the fun category.  So last night we changed that.  We didn’t do anything special, just ate and talked and delved into each others’ pasts.  I only mention this last one because Natasha and I start talking about the North.  I mentioned I grew up in Sudbury and she says “I know Sudbury is not small, and it seems kinda weird, but do you happen to know…wait for it…the Jakiwchuks?!!).  I can practically hear the gasp of surprise from all you Lansingites.  So apprently she went to school with Jenny and Michael.  I told her I would resurrect some Colby photos for her when I come home next week! 
December 13

Just so you know

Just so you know, I added some pictures to existing folders.  Off the top of my head “Visit to Newmarket” and “Bath time”.  It is easier to add pics then make a new album each time, and it keeps them a bit more organized.  So have fun looking at old pictures, and you may just find some new ones too!
December 16

Christmas came early

Christmas came early at the Howarth house this year.  Bruce’s mom called and said she had bought us a Christmas present but that since it was rather large, could she bring it over friday night.  I didn’t realize how large she meant until the box was inside and I wondered (and still do) how she could have squashed it into her PT Cruiser!  She had good intentions of making the gift for both of us (and Bronwyn too I suppose), however, Bruce and she discussed it (with me out of the room), and decided that he would know the nature of the gift and I would be allowed the surprise.  So after some debate at the front hall, I convinced them that I should open it tonight so as not to be banned from the basement or garage for 10 days.  Also, but I didn’t say this, to save me from myself.  I love surprises but I just don’t have the willpower to stay away that long.  I would have tossed and turned for 9 nights, and poked and prodded the box looking for acidental tears in the packaging.  I know I’m weak.  I admit it.  But this time my weakness turned to my favour because I got to open the present early!  I told Joan about the impending visit on the elliptical that morning and we spent a fair bit of time comtemplating the nature of this gift that was “too big to bring to the Ghent’s”.  There were some good ideas, but none even compared to the reality.  These ideas paled next to the actual gift.  So, Bruce hands me the knife and I go to open the box and both Bruce and Natalie yell “NO”!  Bruce takes the knife and says “be gentle, you don’t want to scratch it”.  So by this point I figure it is a chest of some sort, although I can’t for the life of me think why Natalie would have gotten one so big.  I carefully unwrap the packaging, and staring up at me from the confines of its coffin-like box is the face of a grandfather clock.
 
I was speechless.  I have always wanted a grandfather clock.  I spent hours at the Ex this year looking at them with Bruce.  I like their quiet majesty.  I like their comforting chimes.  And I love their unfailing commitment to time.   After we had the clock set up in the front hall near the stairs and had positioned just right, and scouted out the whole house in search of a potentially better spot, we decided that it was perfect. 
 
I spent the night last night quietly waiting for its melodic chime to signal the beginning of each new hour (and half hour).  Thank you Natalie for a beautiful, thoughtful present this Christmas. 
 

Officially on the loose

Our bedtime routine varies quite a bit.  When I hear of people who have these strict bedtime routines that they swear by, I want to have them over and sit down with them and discuss the matter in great detail (preferably around 7 or 8 pm).  I suppose Bryn has a routine of sorts.  She always gets her diaper changed and her jammies on.  She gets fed then lies down with Baasley (her stuffed lamb), and her mobile is cranked and I tuck her in.  I turn off the lights and close the door with a click.  Usually by the time she hears that click the crying has stopped.  Pavlovian response?  Anyway, sometimes she gets a bath and sometimes she doesn’t.  Sometimes she gets fed in her room with the lights dimmed, and sometimes she gets fed on my lap in front of the computer.  And sometimes we play on the floor for 45 minutes, or not at all.  And her nap schedule is similar only after the tucking in with Baasley step.  I am rereading this blog and I am struck by how mundane and off-topic it is.  But I will keep it.  After all this blog was started so Bryn could have an account of her life before she is capable of keeping her own memories.  Besides, I recently watched an episode of ER that has stayed with me since it’s airing.  In it they highlighted moms and their babies/children and what would happen if Mom died.  Would anyone else know that Bronwyn needs to hear the door click?  Would they remember the lamb’s name is Baasley and that she likes her bathwater to be in the green numbers on the seal thermometer?  Would they know that you can always get a laugh out of her if you kiss her knees, or that she likes it when you sing the score of Annie to her?  Bruce knows a lot about Bronwyn, obviously, but I bet he didn’t know each and every one of those.  It is going to be hard to go back to work.
 
Moving on, the point of the whole bedtime routine thing is that we were just starting it last night.  I had her diaper off and we were playing on the floor, making faces in this little mirror she has there.  I like to give her some tummy/bare bum time every diaper change so we play and read books on a waterproof pad on the carpet.  Yesterday was no exception and we had been at it for about half an hour when Bronwyn lifted herself up onto her hands and then right over!!!  I, naturally, exclaimed loudly and excitedly that she was a “good girl” and called to Bruce that she had rolled over all by herself!  She just looked at me though.  No sense of pride in her eyes, but neither was there fear or frusteration.  She just looked at me with eyes that said “I can’t play in this position, turn me over mom!  My baby is officially on the loose.  When I left her on my bed this morning to use the bathroom I started to walk away, then went back and moved her over just a little closer to the middle…no point taking chances. 
December 18

Nursery Rhyme

There was a little girl
Who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
she was really really good
But when she was bad, she was horrid!
 
I found that rhyme while reading to Bryn from her Mother Goose book (thanks Lisa).  My mom used to tell it to Elaine and I (more Elaine though!!) when we were bad.  I think it fits Bronwyn perfectly.  Take today for instance.  She was fussy and whiny and cranky, but as soon as I distracted her with a song (Shake your Sillies out fyi), she got the biggest smile and starting vocalizing and chewing on the wrong end of her soother.  She also did something else I am proud of.  Since she was so cranky I went to change her diaper thinking that might be the problem, and I left her bare bum for about 45 minutes.  She was on her back and picture if she put her arms up in a Y.  About a foot from her fingertips was a toy.  She arched her back and noticed it and for the next half hour, wiggled and squirmed her way right over to it until she was close enough to grab it and put it in her mouth!  She also almost rolled onto her stomach, she was almost all the way over then she flipped herself back on her back.  Oh well.  Can’t reach all her milestones in a week!
December 26

Christmas musings

Well, I will warn you now- I have a lot to say.  Please bear with me.  As you all know it is Christmas.  Since it is Bronwyn’s first Christmas, we tried our best to accomodate as many people as possible who wanted to see her (and us by extension) this week.  It worked out pretty well, but I think we can all agree that the 3 junior Howarths are exhausted.  Dude and Nevis are pretty beat too actually. 
 
We started off the festivities when Bronwyn and I loaded up our car and drove to Pearson to pick up Elaine and Ryna who flew home for the holidays.  We met them with a sign that said Huisjes-  Favourite aunt Elaine and Uncle Ryan (that is an inclusionary and).  We then went to Brampton to see Ryan’s grandparents (who are extremely sweet down to earth people).  We didn’t leave there though until after 3 and it took us over 45 min to get out of Brampton!  We made it to North Bay though and with only a brief period of crying by Bronwyn at teh end (“I’m hugry NOW!!!”), it was an enjoyable trip.  There are some pics of Ryan and myself with the Bumbo chair on our heads like a viking helmet out there somewhere.  Except for the extreme discomfort caused by WAY too much stuff, we arrived in Sudbury in good spirits by 1030pm.  Elaine and Ryan may not agree since they had been awake for nearly 24 hours with the time change and all. 
 
Bryn and I slept like the dead and woke up for some Christmas fun.  Bruce was set to arrive that day, so my mom and I took advantage of his absence by hitting some stores with my beautiful offspring.  We met up with Stef at work then headed to Costco.  Bronwyn impressed everyone inteh store by sitting upright in the front of the cart.  But she was teh picture of cuteness when nap time arrived and she crashed at the bottom of the cart on a pile of purchases.  I heard comments like, “what aisle did you find that in?” and “where is the barcode?”.  One woman asked me if I was returning her and if so if she could have her.  People say that this time of year is stressful and full of angry, impatient people and too-long line-ups.  I disagree.  I found myself in conversations with complete strangers.  Having a baby is a better conversation starter than a puppy.  Little kids want to touch her, and old ladies want to stare at her with grandmotherly affection.  Women with babies stop to discuss the excellent stitching on Costco sleepers and the benefits of routine on children over the holidays.  Even guys start conversations that invariably end with “oh you’re married?”.  Bruce, I need a bigger diamond- they can’t see the one on my finger!!
 
When Bruce arrived I showed him how Bronwyn can sit by herself if she is propped up by her hands.  I call it her monkey pose.  She loves sitting by herself and will throw her hands up in excitement- then promptly fall over!
 
“Christmas” morning dawned darkly since Bronwyn was up pretty early, but I coaxed her back to bed for a few more hours of much needed sleep.  The day was fun with SO many presents.  Bronwyn received lots of books and clothes.  Some notable gifts include the Bronwyn plaque from Elaine and Ryan, the Cabbage Patch Kid from mom and dad and the silver-plated teddy bear ornament from Harrods that Elaine and Ryan gave us the night before.  Also, the “My dad can do anything” tee from Elaine and Ryan, and the Leafs dress from my parents.  As for Bruce and I, his big gift would have to be the Remington rifle my dad refinished for him and myself…probably the Grey’s Anatomy season 2 DVD.  All in all, a great morning, but it wasn’t over yet!  The guys (Ryan, Bruce and Tristan) peeled, chopped and boiled veggies in between rounds of video games.  And the girls cleaned up the mess from the morning.  Where was my dad in all this?  Stuck in the car wash line-up…sure dad…tell us another one!
 
Christmas dinner for 30 people was well under way when the family started to arrive.  The food was great (thanks mom) and there was even a visit from Santa!!  My cousin Nathan dressed up in the Santa suit, revising the role his dad (my uncle Bob) used to play when we were all little.  He walked through the laundry room though and NEvis and Dude went nuts!  They were growling and had their hackles up.  I guess they don’t teach puppies about Santa!
 
We left the next evening for Bowmanville since Elaine and Ryan had to fly to Vancouver early the next morning.  I was able to meet up with my bf Jenn, and show her parents Bronwyn.  She thought her dad was hilarious and rewarded his efforts by smiling and cooing at him.  When we arrived in Bowmanville, we took enough time to take off our shoes before falling into bed, knowing full well that the morning would be arriving soon.  I drove my sister to Pearson at 6am and didn’t wait around to make sure they got on the plane okay.  I figured if I hurried I could get ina few more hours sleep before church.
 
That night we packed up (again) and headed to Bruce’s mom’s house for Christmas Eve.  The girls cooked a wonderful meal and we…you guessed it…opened more presents!!  Bronwyn was the big winner again with lots of books, some clothes and an awesome toy set from Aunt Marlys that makes noises when you move the pieces.  She also got another Christmas dress from Grandpa (for 2 years from now) and some Mother Goose flashcards from Grandma.  Bruce and I received, among otehr things, a hand blender that we wanted, and a Magic Bullet.  I also got tonnes of great scrapbooking supplies and Bruce received a new pair of bball shorts.  We turned in shortly after that since it would be a short turnover to Christmas morning spent at Aunt Jan’s and Uncle John’s place. 
 
We arrived in Oakville at 930am right behind Grandma and Grandpa Howarth and John.  Presents, naturally, came only second to some oohing and ahhing over Bronwyn in her Christmas dress.  Aunt Jan made Bryn a sleeping bag for babies (so they don’t kick off their covers) and found and cleaned this awesome toy where the cars go round and round and the their are slides and things.  Bronwyn was mesmerized by the spinning!  We also got our favourite gift of all- the perennial jar of antipasto from the senior Howarths.  No joking, Bruce and I count the days till we get our jars and then hoard it and try to make it last as long as possible!
 
We then had lunch, dinner, snacks, games, a movie, naps and lots of fellowship with the family as well as some friends of the Ghent’s.  We left after 1130pm and with Marlys right behind us headed home.  I fell asleep promptly but was told when we arrived that there was a drunk driver racing down the DVP in front of us.  Scary.
 
We had a great day with Marlys today (she just left hence the blogging tonight).  I also posted some pics but it wouldn’t let me do them all as I have reached my quota for the month.  Check back in the new year for more.  We made wings and anchos and banana muffins.  She helped me bathe Bronwyn and we watched Mission Impossibe 3.  All in all a very relaxing day.  We even managed to sleep in till nearly noon!  So now Bronwyn is in bed, Marlys has gone home to pack for their trip to Chicago to see Natalie’s parents, and Bruce and I are catching up on our emails.  Our adventures start again in a few days when we head for Manitoulin Island to help celebrate Ben and Sarah’s wedding on New Year’s Eve.  But until then, I think we are just going to veg out for awhile and marvel at our good fortune and revel in God’s blessings in our lives. 
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