January 2007

January 03

Time for a break

As Bruce and I were driving home from Manitoulin Island, we agreed that we wouldn’t drive anywhere for a long time. 
We say this every time we come home from a long trip, so when, just this morning, I was contemplating driving out to Pembroke to look at a house, I didn’t even consider my previous pledge.  Somebody pinch me- I am talking craziness.  My house is a mess, the laundry is piled up on the floor (so you know it’s bad), and the Christmas tree is half unassembled in the living room.  Yet, I find myself drawn to MLS.com like a moth to a flame.  It is an addicting website.  For any of you who don’t know the premise- you can look at houses that are for sale, complete with descriptions and pictures!!
But back up a little.  Manitoulin Island?  Why were we so far away?  And why would I want to look at houses in Pembroke?  And why am I blogging, when I so clearly have housework (well that one is easy…I am lazy.)?  Well, Ben and Sarah’s wedding was on the Island (I feel I can call it “the Island” even in southern Ontario since it IS the largest freshwater island in the world).  They had a gorgeous ceremony and delicious dinner on New Year’s Eve.  That was all I saw though since somebody had to watch Brownyn.  Luckily there was another baby staying in our chalet (along with about 12-14 other people!!), who also had a mommy whose husband was in the wedding party, so we were able to swap during the evening.  This other baby was TOO cute (sorry Anne, Ryan, Jorgia, Jonah, Grace, Ava and Jade and any other under one year old babies I know).  She and Bryn had a great time trying to put each other in their respective mouths.  Mads is only about 2 1/2 months older but she is so much more active!  She loves to bounce and make loud raspberry noises.  Plus, she has tonnes of beautiful dark hair!  Yet I digress.  The point is that we stayed in this chalet for 2 nights while helping the Quackenbushes prepare for their nuptuals (pics to be posted sometime this year), and it was fun.  On the way to the Island though we stopped in Sudbury to see my parents and drop off the dogs with our favourite dog sitters (thanks fam); but, before THAT we came through Pembroke so as to meet up with our Real Estate Agent who agreed to show us some houses.  He was extremely nice and helpful (even had a fenced yard for the dogs to play in while we drove around, and a bin of toys for Bryn).  I am getting ahead of myself again though…we may move to Pembroke.  Bruce was offered a position as seniour planner in the county of Renfrew.  It is more money, but do we really want to up and move again?  I hear Jenn screaming a resounding YES (closer to her!), while Joan is shaking her head and wondering who she can coerce into going to the gym 5 days a week with her!  Just kidding, 6 days a week (or so it seems!). 
All in all Bruce and I are just trying to get back to some semblance of normal (but what is that really?).  I know Bronwyn appreciates being back in her crib with the familiar smells and familiar noises.  Hopefully we can just take it easy for awhile.  But, knowing us, that won’t happen.  There are Raptor’s games to attend, new board games to try, Christmas vacations to plan, and new babies being born that I need to visit!  Maybe I am just not cut out for the mundane life.  And is that so bad
January 05

Decision Made

Well, in case any of you haven’t heard, Bruce was offered a position as Senior Planner with the county of Renfrew.  We have agonized over the decision to pack everything up and leave our fledgling roots; but, at the end of the day, when have we ever hid in the face of adventure?  We didn’t want to look back in 5 years and have regrets over not trying.  So, Bruce handed in his resignation this morning.  I imagine he probably blind-sided his boss (like I am going to do), since no one had any inkling we weren’t happy here.  It isn’t like we ever were unhappy here.  We love it and always will, but when the job opportunity presented itself, we were both infatuated with the idea of living in Whitewater Country.  The increase in pay didn’t hurt either!
We have no idea where we will buy a new house, or even if it will be a house.  Bruce has always wanted a farm.  I have always wanted lots of space.  That fits, but farms are a lot of work and a lot of money.  We have seen a few houses and one we particularly like, but the search is far from over.  So, I imagine we will be MIA for the next few weeks as we practically live over there trying to find the “perfect” house.  No settling this time.  It is out there and we will find it!
So even though we don’t have any information for you, we will keep you posted.  I also apologize to anyone close to us that found out first here.  Marlys and Karolyn we haven’t called you yet, and Stef or Richard either.  Sorry for the lack of personalization, but you understand, we have just become REALLY busy!!!!  To all you who knew we were thinking it, this is the confirmation you have been expecting.  Hope everyone is having a great New Year!  Love you all!!
January 10


You know, I really don’t think I have much to say.  But, in order to maintain my readership, I feel I should jot down something.  Not that I am at all unaware of the fact that you all visit my site for my insightful and comic prose…sure Julie.  So for those of you who are more visually stimulated I added a new folder of pictures.  And, for those of you who don’t know the Quackenbushes, I have also included some more pictures of Bronwyn eating some puree that she has been led to believe is food.  She is not dumb though.  I think she is well aware that the stuff that she gets is no where close to the same as what Bruce and I are eating.  Luckily for her though, I have an inflated sense of my own competency with respect to infant CPR so she has had the luxury of trying such delectables as pizza crusts, carrot, celery and green/red pepper sticks (no dip though- she’s just a baby people!!), lemon slices, melon slices, fresh peaches and whatever else Bruce and I are eating that I think won’t easily break apart.  I am just so excited to introduce her to new foods, that I sometimes get ahead of myself and have to continually remind myself that she needs a few days in between foods.  I don’t anticipate allergies though, so I am, truthfully, quite lax.  She has been eating regularly for about 10 days now (since we came home from the Island).  And, except for the (probably too intensely flavoured) broccoli puree, has taken to food with gusto.  She is, however, also going through that dreaded distractable phase.  I hear it is a blessing when they are older and you are able to distract them to avoid tantrums and fights.  But, for now, it is positively painful to get anything done with her in any set amount of time.  Double that when Bruce is home, as he thinks it is a game to see how much he can distract her while I feed, change or otherwise care for her.  On the other hand, right now for instance, she is in her jolly jumper staring at the celing babbling away, completely oblivious to the fact that if she changed her tone just slightly I would be there to distract her with something fun.  Well, something I think is fun.  She seems to be awfully amused by the ceiling just now.  Can I say too that the jolly jumper was teh best $5 I ever spent?  We picked it up garage saleing last May and I brought it out about a month ago.  Bronwyn LOVES it.  I can hang it just about anywhere and she will happily play in it for…well…minutes, or even tens of minutes if I am lucky!
Well, that is a quick update on Bronwyn.  The move is going slowly as we haven’t found a house to move INTO yet.  Thank you for anyone who offered to help us pack, but we will hire movers this time, I think. 
And Bronwyn has now decided she wants another activity- oh the life of a five and a half month old!
January 11

New Book

Bronwyn and I read a new book yesterday.  It was called “My first ABC Book”.  It should have been called “My first book of Julie’s Favourite Things”.  Some examples include A is for avacado, abacus and ambulace; C is for crab, cactus, and so forth.  B wasn’t too interested, but I made her read it with me 3 times!!  “I like this book said the King of Spain, I think I’ll read it through again”.  Hopefully some of you will get most of these references.  If any of you don’t get any of them, please ask, we are not as good friends as I thought!
*edited to add Septmeber 2, 2009- this is Holly’s current favourite book, and we are appreciating “B” more now that it is Bronwyn’s favourite letter- OBVIOUSLY!
January 17

I know I know

I know I have been an abysmal blogger.  Practically on par with the Jakola gang I’d venture.  Bronwyn is going for her 6 month check-up on friday so I will blog after that (can you believe she is almost 6 months?!?) on her progress. 
What I am sure you have all been dying to know is whether or not we have bought a house yet.  Well, the answer is yes and no.  No, because we haven’t actually bought it yet (or even put an offer on it), but yes because in my mind we have a house.  I call it mine.  I visit it daily on MLS.  I have paint swatches and flooring ideas and I have redesigned each room in the house in my mind.  I know where each piece of furniture will go and I know exactly what we still need to make it my dream home (besides $100 000 worth of renovations!!).  However, I think that if we had an extra $100 000 lying around I could think up better ways to use it.  I won’t bore you all with the fine details of my new home except to tell you that it has been monikered “The Blue House” because, well, it is blue.  Neither of us are the creative ones in our respective families remember.  It has blue siding, a blue kitchen, blue bathroom and blue walls.  Some walls are dark blue, others are light blue.  There are blue curtains and blue counters.  Basically, someone really liked blue.  If you are still interested, you can click here for the link to the house.  Feel free to email me or comment what you think.  Any reno suggestions will be taken under consideration as well!
So, onto the point of the blog: friends.  When we moved to Bowmanville I was excited but nervous.  While living in Guelph we had the benefit of already knowing people.  Old friends who could be counted on to go to the movies or hang out at home and just generally provide some adult coversation that wasn’t work-related.  So, when we moved here and I realized I hadn’t made a new friend since grade 10, I was justifiably nervous. 
Not a real friend.  A tell anything to, is up for running errands with you, doesn’t care if you brushed your hair friend.  I just figured I was too old and out of practice to be making new friends.  Besides, it is hard.  So I prayed for a new friend.  Don’t get me wrong- I love my old friends.  I love the history and the comfortable nature of our conversations, and the ability to jump back in where we left off even if we haven’t spoken in months.  I have managed (although I don’t know how) to hold on to a few die-hard, salt of the earth friends that have gone the distance.  And even though our relationships have necessarily metamorphasized into “adult” friendships, they are valuable and important to me; but, I still missed the everyday interactions you get from a friend who lives in the same city.  Enter Joan. 
Joan was that friend I wanted.  When I first met her, I thought she was a little weird.  Her hair was in dreads, she had a child and was obviously expecting another (no children in our future I thought), and she didn’t have on any shoes.  I still am not quite sure how it happened, but soon, we were hanging out daily, and talking about the most mundane things.  She would feed me and I would give her baby a bottle outside on her swing while she got Elliot into bed.  I don’t know where our husbands were, but I was pregnant and needed someone who knew the ropes, and Joan was home all day and needed someone who wasn’t working.  So, lo and behold a friendship was sprouted. 
Joan and I have a lot in common, more than I would ever had thought possible judging from our first encounter.  I could regale you with stories about our antics, but I think they are only funny to us, so I won’t bore you.  I guess what I wanted to say is that even though I am leaving again, and am faced with the daunting task of finding yet a new friend, I don’t regret our pit stop in the Durham Region for a second.  God has shown me that He is capable of providing for my needs when I need them.  He gave me a better friend than I deserved and it is heartbreaking to leave (to quote Joan, “it is like we are breaking up” after discussing how to return all of our respective stuff!), but I have to trust Him that if we are following where He leads, He will provide for my need for a friend again. 


This week has been super busy so far.  And not just boring, hard, cleaning/packing busy, but fun, get-out-of-the-house, edible busy.  Tuesday night we met Bruce’s work folks at a local pub for an informal goodbye Bruce dinner.  Bronwyn was charming as usual and regaled anyone who would listen with stories of her life.  Seriously, she was working it like a shameless trick monkey.  She stood on the table to show everyone how strong she was, and she sat in a big girl’s high chair.  She “talked” and cooed and was just generally so loud we had trouble talking over her!  Finally she settled in her car seat for a nap and I was able to eat my entire meal (while partaking in some much needed adult conversation) without incident.  I am trying to eat healthier fare lately, so I even paired my delicious meatball sandwich (overladen with gooey cheeses and fried onions) with a salad.  I can’t hear the applause people! 
Last night we ventured out again.  This time with our Ultimate Frisbee team.  When we arrived only one other couple was there.  We were a little nervous that no one else was there yet, and I was wondering how to bow out gracefully if no one else showed.  I was already exhausted and feeling nauseated (probably because I hadn’t eaten all day in preparation for Montanas that night!!), and Bronwyn was showing signs that she didn’t appreciate being kept out past her bedtime two nights in a row.  But, no sooner had these uncharitable thoughts flitted through my mind, then a literal hoarde of people arrived.  Why was I worried?  No one loves to party like the DUC hunters!  I had every intention of eating something really savoury and bad for me since I had that salad the night before, but when Karina ordered the Cobb Salad I was intrigued.  Folks, this is not a salad, it is a MEAL.  It comes with turkey, ham, egg, tomatoes, onions, cheese…oh and I think I saw some lettuce.  It was so good in fact, that I forgot to even put dressing on it and didn’t realize my mistake until the end when I saw the still-full cup of gleaming golden topping.  Next time I won’t even get the dressing, it doesn’t need it.  It also came with melt-in-your-mouth corn bread.  Not as good as yours, Joan, but scrumptious nonetheless.  It was a great night of talking, laughing and catching up.  Bruce even got himself a date for tonight (playing volleyball with the team at the Y).  It is sad to think there won’t be any more sunday afternoon Ultimate Games (we haven’t found a new league yet), but I am convinced that it won’t be the last time we hear Sam crooning to Bronwyn, or see Dickie eat Montanas out of ribs!  There will be tournaments in our future.  It was supposed to be my comeback year, but maybe I’ll have another baby instead. 
January 18


I have discovered a new level of clean.  Worse than company over for supper clean.  Worse than mother-in-law clean.  It is realtor clean.  My house has never been so spotless.  I got rid of junk.  I scrubbed away dirt I didn’t know existed.  I gave to charity stuff I didn’t know I had nor yet remembered where I got it from.  And still, when that man came to take pictures of my home, I was given the “Look”.  The look that said, in the briefest of instances, that I am a lousy housekeeper, and an unfit mother, and not worthy of even OWNING a house.  Wait until he sees the basement!
January 19

6 Months

Where did the time go?  Bronwyn will be 6 months old on monday, and to commemerate such a monumental milestone, I took my beloved out for a morning on the town.  And what birthday celebration would be complete without 2 painful immunizations?  I should probably change my idea of fun before she gets old enough to remember these birthdays! 
So, the news from the good doctor is that she is FINE.  She now weighs in at 14.5 lbs, and is 24.5 in tall (we passed the 2 ft mark!!).  I heard a lot of “she’s so strong” and “she’s pretty advanced”.  This of course in conjunction with the usual “she’s so cute”!  The only things of note were that she vomited after trying yogourt the other day, so I am to experiment with hard cheese and yogourt again to see if it was a reaction or a fluke.  Also, since she has such good torso control and lower body strength, they are not concerned about her lack of interest in rolling over.  We demonstrated how Bronwyn can sit unassisted and I explained how she scooches on her back to reach toys out of her grasp and the doctor agreed that that is advanced for her age, but we could try to entice her to roll with a toy if we wanted. 
On a more depressing note, I came home to find the FOR SALE sign up.  I think before that moment, the move was all theory.  Now it is hitting me, with the weight of a pile of bricks, that this is actually going to happen.  We are going to move to a new place.  As I was processing all this, I walked upstairs to listen to the messages.  They have 2 interested parties so far that are coming tomorrow.  And so it begins.

For those of you…

For those of you who care about these things, almost immediately after I wrote the update for Bronwyn’s 6 month checkup, she rolled over (both ways) all by herself.  So, I want to put everyone’s minds at ease by informing you that she is perfectly capable of rolling over, she just chooses not to.  Unless there is appropriate motivation apparently.  Like her airplane toy (from Aunt Jan and Uncle John), or her Clifford toy (from Grandma Nat).  Both of which are favourites this week.  I have started putting a basket of toys out and letting her choose a few to play with.  She almost always chooses the roly airplane!  She spends most of her playtime upright now (sitting or bouncing in her exersaucer or jolly jumper).  If she is lying down she cranes her neck to try and sit up (her favourite way of telling me she has finished nursing!).  She can pass a toy from hand to hand with ease and she is eating solids with gusto.  She seems to prefer veggies over fruits and her favourites so far have been carrots and wax beans.  We bought her a new toy called a food catcher.  It is a little mesh bag that holds small pieces of fruits, veggies or meat.  The idea is that they can suck and chomp without risking choking on a bite.  So far we have tried frozen melon balls (a great treat and a balm to her gums too I am sure). 
Well, Bruce just got off the phone with the realtor…someone made an offer on the house!!  We will keep everyone posted.  Love you all, and thanks for praying. 
January 22


When my Whole Life seems to be slipping from My grasp, it is comforting to Know that I can still control MySpace!  So, I have changed the Look to Water.  I have always Loved the Water.  I don’t pretend not to have a Deep and Profound respect for it; however, when she is treated properly, and with the right amount of Fear, Water can be Comforting, Quenching, Riveting, and Useful.  And let’s not forget the Maker of All Things… Water included!  Praise God. 
January 28

Deep River

Well, we are here.  In Deep River that is.  It is about 40 minutes from Pembroke, but free rent is free rent!  Plus, Aunt Claire is an excellent cook, and both Hugh and Claire have been phenomenally helpful, from weeding out potential houses, to introducing us to people, to showing us where all the good swimming is, and the best place to get firewood, and pointing out other places of interest.  Invaluable.  Dude and Nevis are adjusting.  They are shedding like crazy to make room for a thicker, winter coat.  Although I doubt they will ever truly become acclimatized.  They can’t stay outside very long or the frost piles up on their faces, and their paws get cracked from the cold.  No doggie fights yet either, they are all getting along famously (running and playing and trying to show off for Sophie- the only female!). 
We went to church this morning and everyone was so friendly.  We had a delicious potluck (in true Brethren style!!) afterwards and everyone commented on how beautiful Brownyn was.  I haven’t been feeding her real food long enough yet to remember to bring her any, so she made do with a scrumptious meal of pumpernickel bread (no spinach dip!), and macaroni (no cheese).  She is getting quite proficient at drinking from a cup but refuses to have anything to do with a bottle or sippy cup, so it is always quite messy!  We were eating dinner friday night and the adults had this 10 veggie cocktail drink that she was interested in.  So I gave her a sip and she couldn’t get enough!!  I even mixed it with her cereal the next day and she ate it so well I made her a second serving!  I mixed her cereal like normal this morning and she looked at me like I had just fed her rotten wood chips. 
Since I knew we were going to be meeting new people at a church today, that we might potentially start going to, I decided to give Bronwyn a bath last night (plus she needs to be bathed apparently!).  As I was washing her up (she can sit unassisted in the tub now- makes it SO much easier), I noticed all these scratches and scrapes and rashes etc.  I have been watching Live with Regis and Kelly’s Beautiful Baby Search and noticed that all those babies look so good.  Not that Bronwyn isn’t beautiful, she is, my question is how do other parents keep their babies looking so new?

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