July 29, 2014

An Abundance of Authors

I can't remember the last time I did a meme, but after reading a few posts from some of my favourite book bloggers, I was inspired to participate this week. Plus really, I'll take any excuse to take pictures of my books. Today's prompt from The Broke and the Bookish is to list the top ten authors we own the most books of.  If you didn't already know, I own a lot of books, so I was immediately curious to see which authors would make the cut. Interestingly enough, it's not necessarily my favourite authors whose books I own the most of.

outlander and robert fulghum

1. Diana Gabaldon: 10 - I own 6 in hardcover and a few duplicates in paperback. Because who knows which format I'll want to read them in.

2. Robert Fulghum: 8 - I first discovered Fulghum's books when I was 14 and spent a good chunk of my summer vacation in Croatia on my grandparent's farm. Teenage me filled page after page in a journal reflecting on the wise words. Oh teenage me. 

JK Rowling and Wally Lamb

3. J.K. Rowling: 6 - All the Harry Potter books minus 1. Confession: I have yet to make my way through this entire series. Maybe when Sully is old enough to read the books with me?

4. Wally Lamb: 5 - The only one I haven't read is the collection of short stories by women from York Correctional Institution in Connecticut where Lamb taught (teaches?) a writing workshop. 

Amy Tan and Emily Giffin

5. Amy Tan: 5 - I love Amy Tan. Love her. Still keeping my eye out at thrift and second hand book stores for a hardcover copy of The Joy Luck Club. 

6. Emily Giffin: 5 - One of my guilty, chick-lit pleasures. 

I own 4 books of several other authors, so honourable mentions go to: Agatha Christie, Lori Lansens, Stephanie Meyer (I know, I know!), Christopher Paolini, Jenny Han, Nicholas Sparks (stop judging!), Jennifer Weiner, and Rebecca Wells. 

Tell me: Which authors dominate your bookshelves? Let me know in the comments! 

July 23, 2014

Date Night and Babysitters

This past Saturday, Jim and I had our first real "date" night since Sully was born. (Okay, this isn't entirely true as we did get out for a quick bite of pho on my birthday back in May, but we were barely gone for an hour and I was pretty anxious for the entire meal.) But this past weekend, my sister was in town and since we live only minutes from a movie theatre, I thought it would be nice for Jim and I to get out for a few hours. Going to the movies used to be our thing, and every time one of us gets an email from scene.ca notifying us of the hundreds of free movies we have accumulated we just laugh (or cry depending on the day) because when will we ever get out to see a movie again? So we enlisted my sister and my mom to babysit for us. I bought our tickets on line hours before the movie started so that there was no changing our minds.

It was great to get out of the house together, enjoy a movie, eat theatre junk food, enjoy an adult beverage (yes, our theatre serves alcohol and it's amazing), and even have time for dessert afterwards. I may have even turned my phone on silent for the entire movie, although I did check it once. Maybe twice. I never once felt panicked that we needed to rush home, knowing that Sully was in great hands.

date night

tutti fruitti

Anyway, after we got home that night and while I was laying in bed, I started thinking about a conversation I had had the other day while at a playdate with two of my good friends and their kiddos. We had gotten on the topic of babysitters, when one of my friends asked if we could ever imagine letting a 13 or 14 year old babysit our own child as that is around the age we all started babysitting (actually, I was even younger than that). The consensus was mutual - there's no way we would let a young teen babysit. Now that we're moms ourselves, it seems crazy to think that we used to be trusted to watch young children - even babies! - when we had barely even hit puberty! And we were hired by families that we didn't even really know that well. I used to canvas the surrounding neighbourhoods, handing out babysitting fliers and that is how I got the majority of my baby-watching gigs. It's kind of crazy to think about.

We decided that moms must have been way more trustful 20 years ago. Or perhaps there were less distractions for teens back then - no smart phones, no internet (barely), no social media. I think, for me, it's the distractions of today's world that scares me when I think about letting someone I don't know that well or fully trust, to babysit my baby. (On a side note, our own moms were pretty trustful too, letting us go into strangers homes alone for a few hours in the evening).

The fact of the matter is, there's very few people that I feel comfortable leaving Sully with for more than 20 minutes at a time: his dad and my mom (my in-laws, but none of them live in the same city…). And even then, I'm sure to have my cell phone with me at all times, and my own car (no car-pooling for this mom).

Do I feel this way because I'm a first time mom and my son is still so young? Will my feelings on this change as Sully gets older and I get more desperate to get out with my husband for alone time? What if my mom didn't live close by, would we never get a babysitter down the road? I think about these types of questions all the time, but I can't imagine ever feeling comfortable leaving Sully, at least not until he is able to talk on his own. Or is it a change in the times? With all the scary stuff out in the media today, are the times of hiring a babysitter from a friendly poster on your mailbox gone?

For you moms (and dads) out there - do you hire babysitters for your kiddos? (Day care/day homes aside). What age were your babies when you felt comfortable enough to do this? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

July 18, 2014

Watermelon Strawberry Smoothie

watermelon strawberry smoothie

Nothing says summer quite like fresh watermelon does! It's my favourite fruit this time of year and it definitely helps that it's a guilt free one. Low in calories, high in water content and an excellent source of vitamin A and C makes watermelon a welcome addition to your summer diet. 

With temperatures sky high this week, I found myself craving ice-cold drinks to quench my thirst. But water just wasn't cutting it anymore. So with a fridge full of cut up watermelon, I threw together this refreshing watermelon smoothie. Perfect for a mid-day pick me up or a cool desert!

Recipe (serves 1):

1 cup cubed watermelon
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 tsp of honey or sweetener of your choice (optional)

Blend all ingredients in a blender till smooth and enjoy!

watermelon strawberry smoothie

July 14, 2014

Summer Reading

summer reading list 

This post has been in the works for weeks now and I've contemplated not even posting it because the chances of me ever getting through a reading list now that I have a baby is pretty poor. But I love lists, especially reading ones. I was always so jealous of the kids in TV shows and books that got sent home with reading lists for the summer. I wanted one too! (Is this an American thing or did I just go to the wrong school?).  I'm hoping that if I have a bit of a plan on what I want to read over the next few months, I might be a bit more successful than if I didn't have a list at all. I find that a lot of time can pass in between books I read because I'm never sure what to read next and easily get overwhelmed by the pile shelves of unread books I own.

For the sake of trying to spend less money and not further overload my bookshelves with even more unread books, my reading list for this summer isn't going to feature any new releases or block busters. But I'm totally ok with that because I know there are a lot of great books out there that I've missed. Also, it goes without saying that a few of the books will be mommy/parenting related. There's just no getting away from it now that baby is here!

summer reading list

An Abundance of Katherines: This month's book club pick was A Fault in Our Stars (which I read a few years ago) and after our discussion that night, it got me wondering why I haven't read anything else by John Green. I already own An Abundance of Katherines, a novel about a boy named Colin who only dates girls named Katherine, despite always being dumped by them (19 times to be exact), and I'm thinking it's the perfect easy read for summer. 

Falling Together: I've loved all of Marisa de los Santos previous books, yet this one has been sitting unread on my shelf for a few years now. Falling together is a story of past meets present, where three friends from college reunite after 6 years apart and uncover truths about each other that they're not sure they wanted to know. 

Outlander: I read this book exactly 15 years ago when I spent the summer on my grandparent's farm in Croatia. I was 16 years old and fell in love with the story of Claire and Jamie. I never made it past the second book in the series, but now that the TV series is set to air this August, I feel it's finally time to reread this saga. 

Baby-led Weaning: It's hard to believe that Sully will be ready to start eating solids in less than 2 months, but the theory behind baby-led weaning has me really excited for this milestone. I've done some of my own research via the internet and friends, but am really looking forward to reading all about it in this book. 

Bringing Up Bebe: This book has been on my radar long before I even got pregnant. "One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting". I've always been fascinated by parenting in other cultures so I can't wait to dive into this one. 

Do you make summer reading lists? 
What books are you hoping to read this summer? 

July 13, 2014

Saigon Sundays: Watermelon Days

Saigon loves watermelon. Well, he pretty much loves all fruit, but I'd have to say he loves watermelon the most. One of our favourite things to do during watermelon season is have Saigon eat watermelon right off the rind like a human would. It's pretty entertaining (we don't get out much),  and he's got the technique down pat.

pit bull eating watermelon

The pictures don't do this cuteness justice though.

July 11, 2014

Short Hair, Don't Care

I've always been a long-haired kinda gal. Long, blonde hair, it was kind of my trademark. If you were to look back at pictures of me since childhood, it would be rare to see a photo of me with short hair. Of course, there were times throughout my life, where impulse took over and I would chop my hair off to my shoulders, instantly regretting the bold move. Luckily for me, my hair grows super fast.

ombre hair

In my mid-twenties, as the possibility of becoming a mom drew nearer, I never understood when women would chop off their hair as soon as they had children of their own, and I vowed I would never become "one of them". But I sit here now, 31 years old, with a 4 month old son, sporting a short hair cut (like above my shoulders short), and I laugh at my naive, younger self.

First of all*, until you have a baby of your own, you can never fully appreciate the extent to which your hair starts to fall out after said baby is born. And if you're anything like me, you secretly thought to yourself that this wouldn't happen to you, that your beautiful long hair would stay put where it belongs. But after months of my long hair falling out in clumps, and my bathroom floor covered in a constant rug of hair, it was time to do something about it. It was so bad that I started to dread showering as that is when the most hair seems to fall out.**

So I hired my mom to babysit and instructed my beloved hairstylist to chop it all off. I used to cry whenever I would impulsively chop off my hair, but I'm happy to report not anymore! I LOVE my short hair. Love it. I love that it's way quicker to wash, and way quicker to blow dry and style. No, I can't throw it up in a ponytail, but I was tired of ponytails. And my husband was tired of ponytails. I'm also not one of those women who can rock a nice topknot, I'm just not (this pains me to admit as I love topknots…on other women).

short bob

One of the things I've learnt in the past few months since becoming a mom is that I feel most put together if my hair is done for the day. Even if I'm rocking my yoga pants, as long as my hair is done and I've got some mascara on, I feel pretty good about myself. So while I may not get away with not washing my hair for 4 days now, at least it's quick to do when I do wash it. Becoming a mom has also made me value my time in a totally new way. I've decided that if I am gifted 30 minutes of hands free time from my baby because he can now play happily while on his play mat, I do not want to use it to wash and blow-dry my long hair.

What do you think is more work? Long hair or short hair?
Did you chop off your hair after having a baby?

*My husband says I constantly start conversations with "firstly...", but rarely have a "secondly…". He would be correct.
**Cutting your hair does not eliminate your hair falling out, but short strands is not nearly as gross as long ones.

July 07, 2014

Sullivan: 4 Months

4 months

Dear Sullivan,

On June 21st you turned 4 months old! You get more fun every single day and the changes in you this past month continue to astound your daddy and me.  One of the biggest changes is increase in hands free time I have now. You no longer demand to be held every minute of the day, and enjoy watching mommy in the kitchen from your vibrating chair, although you still have your limits for how long you will let me set you down for! I picked up a little wooden activity gym for you from IKEA and I am honestly surprised at how much fun you have under that thing. While you don't reach up to grab the parts hanging down all that much, you love to swing your legs up and down and knock them about that way. It only takes minutes for you to completely rotate yourself around on the floor at which point your head and legs get stuck against the gym. It's pretty funny! I often eat my lunch on the floor next to you while you kick and squeal away. You love to roll from side to side, but haven't figured out how to roll completely over yet as your little arm gets in the way.

IKEA gym
IKEA gym 

Last month you wanted to be held facing out, but this month you want to be held facing in as you can now hold yourself up and look over our shoulders, all while also keeping an eye on who's holding you. When daddy or someone else is holding you, you are always looking around the room for mommy, making sure I'm in sight. It's an indescribable feeling knowing that I am your everything. It fills me with so much love and joy and sometimes it makes me hug you a little too tightly and you are sure to squeal to let me know this! You've started making strange with Deda this month, and burst into tears when you see him. It must be his deep accent. I was feeling badly about this, but Deda just thinks it's hilarious.

summer hat
baby bear chair baby feet and baby flip-flops

We started our new mom's group at the beginning of June and we go once a week and you love to look at all the other babies. It will be neat to see which of the babies you become friends with down the road.   I was so nervous for the first class, worried that you'd be the only baby fussing and wanting to eat. Silly me, all the babies want to nurse within the first half hour of the class!

Sully, you are so much easier to run errands with now and I haven't put you in a wrap or carrier in awhile. You love to look around in the grocery store, taking in all the colours and lights on the ceiling and it's no longer a mad dash in and out to get whatever's on my list. You don't care for clothes shopping much though, and that's because the stroller or cart isn't moving fast enough for you. I try to keep those trips to a minimum right now. You no longer cry as soon as we hit a red light while in the car and you enjoy just staring quietly out the windows while we drive around. If you fall asleep, it's usually a few minutes from arriving home, in which case I will drive around to give you an extra 10-20 minutes of nap time as you always wake up as soon as I pull into the garage.

A few days shy of turning 4 months, you weighed in at 13 pounds and 12 ounces and were 25 inches long. You've really filled out this past month, most noticeably in your face and legs. You are still nursing like a champ, although you are much quicker about things now. You will take a bottle of expressed milk if needed (like when Mommy goes out), but you aren't as keen on it as you used to be and it takes several tries before you latch. You've graduated to size 2 diapers and are fitting all your 0-3 month clothes well. Some brands you've moved up to the 3-6 month sizes, mostly just for sleepers as you're too long for the smaller ones. You love when your sleeper comes off in the morning and you're just in your diaper. That's when your little legs start kicking the most. Luckily with this hot weather it's been easy to give you lots of play time in just your diaper.

honest diaper
sully 4 months
tummy time

Sully, you finally laughed your first real laugh this past month and it's one of the best sounds I've ever heard. I can usually get a good laugh out of you if I do squats while holding you. You're definitely much more vocal now, letting out happy shrieks and squeals all the time. It's so easy to make you smile and you have the cutest grin ever. You also love sticking your tongue out and will often mimic daddy when he sticks his tongue out at you. I think you are starting to teethe as you drooling more than normal and you always have your fingers and hands in your mouth. You'll take a soother, but only when you're tired and even then it gets spit out as soon as your fast asleep. You're not that interested in chewing on toys, preferring your hands or a blankie to suck on.

sticking tongue out
Sully 4 months
honest diaper

I am still sharing my bed with you, but you go down earlier than I do, usually around 9 or 9:30 p.m. I no longer swaddle you as you seem to prefer to be free when sleeping. Blankets are also out as you kick them off as soon as I place one on you. You've slept through the night once so far, but I'm pretty sure that was my worst night of sleeping! We've got the side nursing thing down pat, so it makes for very easy night feedings. We are both lazy risers and often stay in bed in the mornings until 10 a.m. if we don't have any plans that day. I love our morning snuggles and "conversations". There's nothing better than waking up to a happy, babbling baby. Napping on the other hand, is something we're still working on.

sully sleeping
Sully sleeping

Sully, your daddy and I love you so much and still marvel daily at the fact that we made you - this amazing little being - so adorable, so happy, so perfect.

Love you to the moon and back,
Your Mommy, xoxo