December 29, 2013

Saigon Sundays: Merry Christmas!

It's been a busy week, as I'm sure most of you can relate to, and I can't believe Christmas has come and gone in the blink of an eye! It's still hard to believe that our next Christmas will include a new, little member of our family. Christmas as we know it will never be the same and we can't wait! As for this year, we kept Christmas low-key while enjoying just how much fun Saigon truly has during gift opening. He's quite a hoot and he never fails to amuse us with how excited wrapping paper makes him. 

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones!
Love, Brie, Jim and Saigon xo

December 22, 2013

Saigon Sundays: Top Model

Sometimes, when we are taking  photos to document where I am in my pregnancy, Saigon feels the 
need to be centre stage. This dog loves the camera! I may be biased, but he'd be my top contender on Canada's Next Top Model: Pit Bull Edition! Plus, can this dog rock a mock turtleneck or what?

downward dog
Saigon kisses
Saigon sweater
how bout now?

December 06, 2013

Hey, Baby! It's A...

Before we ever got pregnant, I always thought I would want to be surprised by the baby's sex. But then, when we found out we were pregnant, I was convinced it was a girl and Jim was pretty confident Baby Fraser was a boy. I knew then, we needed (and wanted) to find out what we were having: Mini Brie or Mini Jim? And it seemed everyone in our family was eager to know boy or girl, so on our 18-week ultrasound, we decided to find out the sex of our little bun. 

{Baby Fraser at 18 weeks}

I had decided from the beginning that the nursery would be gender neutral (no all blue or all pink rooms for this mama), so that wasn't an issue, but my mom and I did find it challenging to buy much in the way of baby clothes when the sex is unknown. Newborn, sure. Lots of yellow and green gender neutral sleepers there. But when you start looking at 3-6 month clothing and older, it's pretty tough to stay neutral. Plus, come on - have you seen the baby clothes out there nowadays? That stuff, boy and girl, is just gosh-darn adorable! I didn't want to wait to start shopping for it! Of course, and I'm sure it's needless to say, but I'll say it anyway, all we really hope for is a healthy baby.

So with that being said...

And we couldn't be happier! Most days, I still can't believe we'll have a little son of our own in just a few short months. And I've accepted that the testosterone in our house will outnumber me 3 to 1. More boys to spoil this mommy, I figure! :)

November 27, 2013

Hey, Baby! 27 Weeks

When I originally found out I was pregnant, it seemed like it took forever to get to the 3 month mark, and now, here I am, 27 weeks pregnant! Where has the time gone?! It makes me both nervous and excited to think I only have 3 months left before we finally get to meet Baby Fraser.

{27 Weeks}

At 27 weeks...

*I'm feeling: great! I'm sleeping well at night for the most part, good energy levels, and I can still put on my own socks at shoes.
*I feel like my belly really popped this past week. For weeks I felt like I looked as if I had over eaten at the buffet, not necessarily pregnant. Now, I proudly flaunt by baby bump.
*Living in: leggings. Thyme maternity leggings are the best things ever. I have already sworn that I might just never wear regular leggings again!
*Baby's been a quiet one up until a week or so ago, but I can finally feel Baby moving around. Lots of flutters and little kicks, which never fails to bring a smile to my face.
*Loving: my bed, quiet evenings at home with Jim and Saigon, back massages (or hands, or feet, I'm not picky), Bio-Oil, long, healthy nails, and prenatal yoga.
*Eating: some days I can't get enough cereal (Oatmeal Crisp Triple Berry to be exact). I would happily eat it for breakfast, lunch and supper. And sometimes I do!

{27 weeks}

November 13, 2013

Two Years

Two years ago today, I married my best friend, the father-to-be of our bun in the oven, my partner in crime, and the love of my life.  

Wedding Day
{November 13, 2011 - Punta Cana, Dominican Republic}

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful husband. There is nothing in this world I would want to experience without you by my side. I'm thankful everyday that we found each other and held on.  Here's to another year full of more new beginnings and memories to be made!

Second Wedding Anniversary
{November 13, 2013 - Nokomis, Florida}

xoxo, Brie

November 08, 2013

Halloween When You're Pregnant

As I've gotten older, the novelty (and desire) to dress up for Halloween has worn off. For one thing, Halloween always seems to just sneak up on me, leaving me no time to get a costume together, and secondly, the thought of having to think of (and possibly make) a creative costume often feels like way too much pressure. And I'm not even going to get into the whole slutty costume epidemic that's out there. But this year, I knew I wanted to celebrate Halloween and incorporate my baby bump into my costume. Who knows, this could be the only time I'm ever pregnant (and showing) during Halloween.

At first, I wanted to order one of these baby bump skeleton shirts for my costume and one of these ones for Jim's costume. But then I decided I didn't want to spend $60+ dollars and still have to make skeleton pants. So this is what we came up with instead - (note: I honestly thought I had an original idea. Until a little search on google told me I am not original at all.) Original or not, I'm pretty proud of how well we executed the idea though!

{Mr. Baker and Mrs. Bun in the Oven}
I cannot remember ever having made a costume before, but I can say this won't be my last! Jim and I had so much fun making my little oven (even if it took us all day!).  Plus, I now have endless future Halloween costume options: microwave, Easy-Bake oven, Jack in the Box, time travel machine...

With a little craft run to Michaels, a shirt from Walmart, a cardboard box, white duct tape and some cooking props from home, we had the makings of our costumes.

And of course, we couldn't leave Saigon out of the fun.

Jim and I are already excited and brainstorming for Halloween next year, and can't wait to dress up Baby Fraser!

Tell me: What did you dress up as for Halloween this year? 
I'd love to know!

November 03, 2013

Hey, Baby!

My last blog post was almost 5 months ago. It was shortly before Jim and I went to Nova Scotia for a few weeks in July, and I remember having had big plans for blogging while I was away, thinking 3 weeks was plenty of time to catch up on posts not yet written. Well, clearly that never happened.

 The day before we left, I found out I was 6 weeks pregnant. To say we were shocked is an understatement. We hadn't been trying to get pregnant, (yes, I know how babies are made), so at first the news was hard to believe! But a quick trip to the doctor's and some blood work later, the little digital "yes" on my home pregnancy test was confirmed to be correct. Jim and I decided before we left that we would tell our immediate family of our news, but no one else until we had gotten to the 12-week "safe" point in my pregnancy. Because we found out so soon before our flight, I had to tell my mom on the drive to the airport. Not how I ever imagined telling her I was pregnant, but I'm pretty sure she didn't care. At the time, my dad was in Europe, so we waited until he got home so we could tell him in person.

The neat thing about being in Nova Scotia so soon after finding out the news was that we could actually tell Jim's parent's in person. Jim's sister was also in Nova Scotia at the time and the odds that all of us would be in one room, in person, at the same time is pretty slim, so it was more than awesome being able to tell them all together.

So what does this have to do with not blogging? Well, let me tell you: everyone always talks about morning sickness (which, thank goodness, I never had) when you're pregnant, but what everyone had failed to tell me about was the sheer and practically debilitating exhaustion you will experience. I had about a week left in my three week trip when said exhaustion hit and nothing could have prepared me for it. It was like waking up hungover everyday without the actual drinking part. At the time, it seemed impossible that I would ever get my energy back, but then, true to everyone's word, some time after my first trimester was over, I noticed that I was no longer exhausted. Tired? Sure. But who isn't most days?

So, blogging took a back-seat and catching up on shows on DVD took priority. My trip to Nova Scotia this summer is the first time I can ever remember not reading a book while on vacation. It was a little bit devastating, seeing as how I had taken 6 books with me. I was too tired to read, too tired to blog, too tired to read other people's blogs, too tired to care really. If I showered and actually blow dried my hair, it was a productive day. And then, when I started having more energy, I didn't know where to start blogging again. Writing just about books felt like too much work and I find myself wanting to write and talk about other things that I enjoy. So I've been brainstorming a lot about what direction I want to take this blog, and even renaming this blog, but we'll save that for another day.

This weekend I am 6 months pregnant. SIX months! That means I am more than halfway done cooking this baby. Baby Fraser's expected due date is February 22, 2014, and our little family of 3 cannot wait to become 4!

June 20, 2013

Moby-Dick Readalong Chapters 16-30: Where are the pictures?

Part II of the Moby-Dick readalong, hosted by Laura over at reading-in-bed, has come and gone, but I'm still in this for the long-haul, even if I'm reading at a snail's pace!

Thoughts on Chapters 16-30:
  • 'The Ship' Chapter was a total let-down. Just when I thought we were finally getting on the ship, we don't. In fact, it takes several more chapters after the chapter titled 'The Ship' to set sail. But I thought it was interesting that Ishmael visited three different ships before deciding that The Pequod was the ship for him and Queequeg.
  • This section dragged for me. There was a lot more talk and descriptions about technical stuff, like about the ship for example, and pictures/diagrams sure would have been nice! I mean, I've watched my share of old-school Pirate movies in my day, but the inner-workings of how a ship operates is beyond me and it's hard to visualize information that is foreign to you.
 photo michaelscott_zps2585c686.gif

  • Does anyone actually know how to pronounce "Queequeg"? 
"We must have Hedgehog there, I mean Quohog, in one of our boats." (p. 99)
I know I find myself saying his name in my head differently each time. Sometimes it's "Kwee-keg", sometimes it's "Kee-kwog". It bugs me when I don't know how to properly pronounce a name in a book.
  • New Word Learnt this section:
1. Footmanism:  It appears this word does not appear in the dictionary, but Footman is defined as a male servant, one who waits on the table, opens the carriage door, and runs various errands (probably on foot).
The spoiled prince would be lost without his Footman

So after much, MUCH anticipation, we finally meet the captain of The Pequod, Ahab, at the end of this section. I think it's too early to know what I think of him, but I do know this: Ahab owns a lot of things that are made out of Ivory (including his peg leg!). 

June 11, 2013

Moby-Dick Readalong Chapters 1-15: Touchés, Bromances and New Words

Oh dear. I really am no good at readalongs, am I? It feels like that time when I was in University and I started to fall behind in my Spanish class. I ended up dropping the class, knowing I could never catch up. It was not my proudest moment. BUT! This isn't University and I'm not being graded on my ability to keep up with my readalong readings of Moby-Dick. (Judged perhaps, but not graded!). So, I will not give-up!

I thought about just trying to catch up with the readings and do one big post, but then I worried that that would be too overwhelming of a post to write. So, instead, I'm going to do a few quick posts covering the required break-down of chapters.

Thoughts on Chapters 1-15:
  • After this first part, we are 15 chapters in and Ismael and Queequeg aren't even on the damn ship yet. I think what blows my mind most when reading big books like this is how little can actually happen in a LOT of pages. In comparison, I read The Great Gatsby before starting Moby-Dick, and at page 74 into The Great Gatsby, I was almost half-way done.
  • I admit I am pleasantly surprised to find the writing funny and witty. I'm constantly underlining lines while smiling to myself. Even the odd "touché" has been muttered:
"Again, I always go to sea as a sailor, because they make a point of paying me for my trouble, whereas they never pay passengers a single penny that I ever heard of. On the contrary, passengers themselves must pay. And there is all the difference in the world between paying and being paid." (p. 5)
 photo touche2_zpsa8d68f3f.gif
  •  Something I didn't see coming: the serious bromance going on: 
"We had lain thus in bed, chatting and napping at short intervals, and Queequeg now and then affectionately throwing his brown tattooed legs over mine, and then drawing them back; so entirely sociable and free and easy were we..." (p. 58)
I'm not sure this is ever acceptable behaviour between two heterosexual mean. Or, our society is just way more uptight now than back then.
 photo modernfamily2_zps7700eeca.gif
  • The chapter titles are amusing. For example, chapter 15 is entitled "Chowder" and then we proceed to read 4 pages on chowder. Kind of like "there's your sign!"  Either no thought at all went into naming the chapters, or Melville purposely went with the obvious.  
  • Classics always make me feel a little dumb by reminding me of just how many words I don't know the meaning of, or in this case, haven't even heard of before. 
New word learnt this section: 
1. Noisily and stubbornly defiant.
2. Aggressively boisterous.
The unruly drunkard obstreperously resisted arrest.
So here we are, at the end of Chapter 15 and Ishmael and Queequeg have just arrived in Nantucket and enjoyed some hearty chowder. I'm pretty confident they will get on a ship soon seeing as Chapter 16 is aptly titled, "The Ship".

June 09, 2013

Saigon Sundays: Couch Wars

When Jim and I got a new couch this past Christmas, we had a mutual agreement that Saigon would not be allowed up on it. This was easier than it sounds because Saigon is pretty much scared of anything, especially anything new. And not allowing him up on the couch from the beginning set a precedent, and this was much easier than trying to break the habit months down the road.

But then one morning, I came down the stairs and was greeted by this:

See how the pillows are all down? That used to be enough to deter him from going on the couch.

He was so unfazed by being caught in action that he made no effort to get off the couch, (thus allowing me the time to get out my phone to take a picture). 

Six months of Saigon staying off the couch and all of a sudden he decides it is the spot he wants to sleep! Clearly, the pillows weren't doing the trick anymore. 

So, then we resorted to doing this before we left him in the house alone:

Big, scary, books!

Did this work? Oh, for a few days, yes. But, then today, we came home to this:

DVD's pushed out of the way and drool on the pillows.

Seems Saigon is getting braver. Well then.

No more playing games, we'll hit him where it hurts:

Saigon is severely scared of the swiffer.

While I'd be pretty surprised if he tried to move the stool out of the way, I have a feeling we might come home to this one day:


May 28, 2013

Moby Dick Readalong: Let's Do This

So my friend and fellow Edmonton Book Blogger, Laura, is hosting a readalong of Moby Dick over the next two months. That's right: Moby Dick. That big whale of a book (pun clearly intended), that most people probably don't have a huge desire to pick up and read in their spare time. Well, unless you're Laura. And I guess me, since it didn't take much convincing for me to join this readalong (even if history reveals I don't have the best track record with keeping up or completing readalongs, *cough* Harry Potter readalong *cough*).  It's no surprise then, that this post should have been up last Monday - as in over a week ago - ha-ha! But Laura assures me this readalong is very casual and we're all here to have fun with this.

I really didn't know much about Moby Dick before going into this. Actually, I know less than I even thought I did. Turns out, the whale in Disney's Pinocchio, IS NOT Moby Dick.

Moby Dick is also really hard to find second-hand. It took numerous visits to several thrift stores, and then a trip to B.C. before I finally found a copy in a second-hand bookstore in Vancouver. But she's pretty, the print isn't too small, and the margins are big enough to write in, so the 12-hour drive was worth it.


Where all the used copies of Moby Dick go to die.

Also, the chapters, for the most part, are nice and short, which is helpful in a big book like this because you feel like you are actually making progress even if you feel like you aren't flying through the pages. This is an accurate description because I have actually started reading Moby Dick, and while I'm already at Chapter 11, goodreads tells me I'm only 9% along. Sigh.

But I will not be discouraged. My only goal for this readalong is to finish it. Oh, and to have fun! And in a few months I will hopefully be able to say that I have in fact read Moby Dick. You know, for when I run out of cooler things to talk about at social gatherings...

May 26, 2013

Saigon Sundays: Road Trippin'

Last weekend, Jim, Saigon and I packed into my car and hit the road to B.C. to visit my little sister, Vanessa. We dropped Saigon off at over-night camp in Aldergrove (his old kennel), where he got to 
play with all sorts of doggy friends. He was one happy and tired pup when he picked him up! And I gotta say, as hesitant as I was to bring Saigon along on a 12-hour road trip (and that was just one way!), he was 
such a good boy in the car.

Quick leg stretch in Edson

hour 11 in the car...

...and 5 minutes later

meeting up with Vanessa before getting dropped off at camp - he was SO happy to see her!

The trip back home...

just passed Hope, B.C. on our way back to Alberta

Saigon spent the majority of the car ride sleeping like this - as close to his people as possible

forever interested in what's going on in the front seat

I know it's a week late, but I hope you all had a wonderful May Long Weekend!

May 23, 2013

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Congratulations to Lori who won my Happy Birthday to Me Giveaway! And thank you to everyone who entered and for all the birthday wishes! I appreciated each and every one of them. 
Turning 30 ain't so bad after all!

May 17, 2013

NeWest Press Spring Spectacular: Let's Celebrate Local Literary Talent

Edmonton has quite the literary scene - you just have to know where to look for it. Or you just have to have the right friends to tell you about it (thanks to Laura for putting the buzz out about this one!) This is one thing I really love about living in a big city: there is a lot of intellectual and fun things (yes - at the same time even!) to do as an adult that does not include going to a nightclub and will still get you home in time for bed on a weeknight.

Last night, me and 3 other fellow book-bloggers (Laura, Rick and Elizabeth), met up at Roast Coffeehouse + Wine Bar for the NeWest Press Spring Spectacular event which celebrated the release of four of their new books.

Corinna Chong, Marguerite Pigeon, and Rebecca Campbell reading from their books.

I've been to my share of bookish events over the years, and I can honestly say that each one is always a little bit different - which I think adds to the appeal of attending these kinds of events. The casual, more laid back style of last night, in which a packed coffeehouse of book lovers gathered to hear four different authors brave the mic to read from their books, made for a very different experience than I'm used to, but ranks up there with one of my favourites. (But let's be honest - if you add coffee or wine to almost any situation, I'm a pretty happy camper).

So with our drinks in hand and our books anxiously waiting to be signed, we listened to each author read briefly from their book while I mentally added said books to my ever-growing TBR pile. The readings were short (which my fidgety self was thankful for), the MC (Chris Craddock) was funny and cut to the chase, and musician Tyler Butler added that musical ambiance that pairs well with coffee shops and books.

Singing about The North Saskatchewan River

The Books of the Night:
Half-Chinese, half-English teenager Grace (but she’d prefer it if you called her “Gray” instead) is not a perfect little supermom-in-the-making like her older sister Jessica, and would rather become a marine biologist than a mother—although she does understand how to take care of her special-needs kid brother Squid better than anyone else in her family. When her mother Belinda abruptly runs out on her family and flies across the Atlantic in order to study crop circles in the English countryside, Grace is left alone to puzzle out her life, the world, and her unique place within it. {Read a review of Belinda's Rings on Laura's blog here.}

El Salvador, 2005: a group of Canadian human-rights activists are taken hostage by a former revolutionary fighter who demands that a new gold mine stops production. For Danielle Byrd, the situation is all too familiar, as she was there twenty years previously as an embedded journalist with a guerrilla faction during the country's civil war. Now, her daughter Aida must herself travel to the scarred landscape and choose her allies carefully if she wants to see her mother alive once more.

While working to restore an historic theatre in a seedy part of the city, a graduate student named Anthea searches to find her best friend, lost to the rhetoric of an itinerant preacher and street mystic. Almost a century earlier, Liam, a tenth-rate tenor, visits the same theatre while eking out a career on the dying Vaudeville circuits of the day. In both eras, an apocalyptic strain of utopian mysticism threatens their existence: Anthea contends with a nascent New Age movement in the heart of the city while Liam encounters a radical theosophical commune in the deep country along the coast of British Columbia, who appear to be building ... something. {Read a review of The Paradise Engine on Laura's Blog here.}

 Seldom Seen Road is a collection of sharply observed and understated poems about the land and its people, specifically those who have made it grow. Full of wit, insight, and fine bare bones imagery, they make up a book carefully constructed around a striking vision of the Prairies and its slowly disappearing history. Butler illuminates an oft-hidden world of strong women spanning two centuries, focusing perhaps the most powerful sequence of the book, “Lepidopterists”, on them.