Wednesday, January 30, 2008

He ate a...

We struggle with fruit and veggies in our house. I know that many others do too. I feel like a bad mama sometimes for not pushing it more. I feel like a pushover sometimes for letting my 4 year old dictate what he will and will not eat. Today, I feel like a triumphant mama...he ate a green bean last night.

Owen had his annual physical with our beloved pediatrician Dr. Moss yesterday and one of the things we talked about was the lack of vegetables in Owen's diet. Owen proudly declared to Dr. Moss "I don't wike veg-e-ta-bles" (with that many syllables and a huge grin on his face) Dr. Moss then asked me to come in on another day without Owen to meet with the nutritionist...bad mama feelings coming on.

I feel like I have tried everything, bribery, rewards (are they the same thing?), loss of privilges, nutrition "talks"...and none of it worked. I am determined not to turn into the kind of mama who will force feed a child, so holding him down and putting the sweet potato into his mouth was not going to fly...and really where would that get us...he would be mad and still not liking vegetables. And frankly, the eat it for dinner or have nothing does not really work for me either...I then get a kid who will not eat (cause he really does not care about food - how is he my child?!) and then is cranky and unbearable.

So last night, on the heels of the doctor's visit, we talked about how important eating healty is. And I said we were having a new rule in our house. NEW VEGGIE RULE: I will make 3 veggies every night and you have to choose 2. I know how important choice and control is to Owen (and probably most people) and I felt that this would be the best option for all. I did not think about what I would do if he refused and thankfully we did not have to cross that road last night. (note to self - think of consequence in case this honeymoon period ends)

I made chicken (his fave), potatoes (his fave), corn on the cob (his you see the trend here?), sweet potato and green beans. Owen had to choose from corn, sweet potato and beans. He choose corn and sweet potato. I cut a piece of sweet potato the size of a kernel of corn and put it on his plate - he touched it to his lips and then put it back - "I don't like it" (but he felt like he had tried it so it was OK). "No way" I said "it has to be eaten. That means you have to chew it and swallow and it has to go into your belly" "HUMPH! OK, I will try the green bean" (with disgust in his voice) So I cut a tiny piece of green bean and he tried it and said "Hey, this is good. I like it" He then proceeded to eat a whole one. Then he and I had a contest to see who could eat one quicker...and he won!

Well...we called Nana and Papa...Grandma...Nana...Daddy...we celebrated and danced and did high-5s. He was so proud and so was all starts with baby steps.

He ate a green bean.

Monday, January 21, 2008


It was Logan's 4th Birthday Party on the weekend.

The party was at Chuck E Cheese...what a blast...all the kids had fun.

We love you!

Auntie Jen, Uncle Adrian, Owen & Isabelle

Friday, January 11, 2008

8 things you may not know about me...

I've been tagged so here goes...
1. I am neurotic about being on time...I absolutely hate to be late...and get especially cranky if other people are late...and the WORST is if other people make me late.

2. I am loving work! REALLY! I was not looking forward to coming back, I can admit this, and I am really enjoying is so nice to be happy at work! YEAH ME!

3. I learned to drive in a standard Hyundai Pony...that had a choke...just like a lawnmower. I am so thankful that I know how to drive stick shift.

4. I have been a nanny twice, once in between high school and college and again after college when I was trying to figure out what to do with my life.

5. I am trying really hard to "let go" a little these days and not be so "stressy" about everything. There is so much going on in our lives and I need to learn that everything will not be perfect...and that is OK.

6. I eat vanilla yogurt and Just Right cereal (mixed together...sometimes with sliced banana) every morning for breakfast...yumm! (except on weekends of course)

7. Adrian and I just bought a business, Ontario Acoustics, and we are excited...scared...overwhelmed...and thankful all at once.

8. My brother Jason, and his family just moved to Arizona...and I am thinking this will be a nice place to take a family vacation some day...have always wanted to see the Grand Canyon.

If you read this, consider yourself tagged!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

morning coffee.

I never thought that I would be writing a post about coffee. I have never been a coffee drinker. Always loved the smell, but never liked the taste...until now.

A die hard Diet Coke drinker I have never been fond of hot beverages and have always preferred to get my daily caffiene from a can. However all that has changed work there is a fancy shmancy new machine that does all sorts of fancy coffee. I have been experimenting and have come up with my fave! Low fat hot chocolate 1/2 package, cappuccino, french vanilla coffee = heaven at 8:30am.

I know some of you will still say that I am not a coffee drinker, and I suppose in the true sense of the word I am not. Whatever I am though, coffee drinker or wannabe...I sure am enjoying this steaming hot cup of goodness.

~enjoy your day~

Monday, January 7, 2008

Back at work

All good things must come to an end and my time at home is no excpetion. It was with a heavy heart that I left the house this morning to join the thousands of people making the commute to Toronto. I have been so blessed to have the time off with my children and I know that we all benefited from it.

It was a funny kind of morning because Adrian was home. He is travelling to the Boston area today and his car was not picking him up until after 9. It was nice for my first morning back to have some help with the kids. Adrian drove the kids to school and daycare and reported that they were both very happy...that makes it so much easier.

It really is culture shock to be back here after almost a year and a half. I had 3 months of bedrest before Isabelle was born, 12 months off on maternity leave with her, and 2 months of accrued vacation. There have been a million changes while I was gone and a million things have stayed the same. I always find it amazing how the sense of smell will bring me right back...I have heard that it is the sense most tied to memory. As I got in the elevator the same stale cigarette/coffee mixed with pine cleaner smell hit me like a wall, it was like I had never left. I have the strangest feeling of starting something brand new and coming home all together.

I have seen some friendly faces and after a few hours they have found me a desk and phone. I have a meeting today at 3:30 so I am all set...back at work.

~working mama~

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

30th Panto

My nephew Logan, mother-in-law Carole, Adrian, Owen and I went to see the pantomime Peter Pan at the Elgin Theatre. This has been a long standing tradition in the Gill Family, one which I was introduced to a few years back. Ross Petty starred as Captain Hook and Kurt Browning was Peter Pan. This was the first year we took the kids and they did better than expected. A lot of the humor went right over their heads and there were a few too many "serious" musical numbers, but the boys loved BOOing and HISSing whenever Hook came on stage.

After the play was over, we strolled around downtown looking at the wonderful Christmas window displays in the store windows and the lights set up everywhere...a truly magical night.

We're the Kings of the Castle...

26th Boxing Day

We headed to Newmarket to spend the afternoon with my mom. She hosted Christmas day at her house the day before for her family and so we were grateful that she was up to having another onslaught the very next day...I know what a lot of work it is so...THANKS MOM!

Owen went straight to the toy chest in her front hall and got out all of his favourites, I remember fondly the toys that my grandparents used to have and think it is so nice that my kids will have the same memories as they grow up.

We opened prezzies with mom and we all got well and truly spoiled. She bought an AMAZING teaching globe for Owen and he just loves it. Isabelle is loving her new books....and by loving I mean eating. And to top it off she gave another gift certificate for Adrian and I to "get away' for a weekend. We loved the last one in September and are so thrilled with this one too...we love you mom...thanks!!!

We gave my mom a joint gift with my brother's was from all her grandkids really. 6 frames with black and white photos of each grandchild...there are only 5 grandkids right now so I substituted an ultrasound photo for Jason and Bridget's baby due in Feb. Mom really was nice to give at Christmas...especially to someone who loves to give so much herself.

Isabelle feeding herself mashed a little messy but she enjoyed it.

Isabelle and daddy playing:

We ended the evening with mom reading to and dad started a love of books in me and Owen shares that happy to capture this peaceful moment.


25th - Christmas afternoon and evening

Adrian's side of the family came over in the afternoon and brought with them much excitement. There is nothing quite like 2 four year old boys and 2 toddler girls running around to remind you of the joy of Christmas.

Isabelle was all dressed up and looked perfect for about 5 minutes when she found a forgotton chocolate and had the treat of her life. YUM!

Many great prezzies all around. Nana knit the most wonderful hat and scarf sets for the girls, they both look so cute in them.

Steve commissioned an artist to create this beautiful piece for wonderful.

Santa arrived in the form of a dressed up Uncle Steve, this was sadly met with frustration on the part of both boys so I believe this is the last year for it. Logan asked why his dad was being Santa and Owen wanted to know why Santa came to our house when we were not sleeping. I think that to keep Santa alive for them we have to put away the costume... it is sad when they start to grow up and get wise.

It was a great time with family and made me remember how blessed we really are.

25th Christmas Morning + Naughty List

Owen managed to have a normal sleep despite all the excitement...we were completely geared up for a 4am wake-up call and were so thrilled when he did not call out to us until about 7:30. As we lay in bed, he ran to the family room and came right back announcing "there is something strange"
us "what is strange?"
owen "the carrots are all bitten and gone?"
us "what about the hot cocoa?"
---he runs back to family room and then back to us---
owen "it is lowered" (meaning that the liquid level in the mug has lowered or been drunk)
us "What about the cookies?"
---he runs off again to check---
owen "there are only little bits left"
us "what do you think happened?"
owen "I think Santa came"
owen "AND...the fireplace is open and the wood is all knocked over"

(we are just so thrilled and happy over his excitement)
---so we all come downstairs and read Santa's letter to Owen and Isabelle (who is still asleep)at the end of the note Santa writes that the presents are downstairs in the living room

Owen literally RUNS down stairs, stares at the stocking hanging on the fireplace and yells"I'm not on the naughty list!" it was all we could do not to laugh out loud...we did not know he thought he was that close to being on the naughty list...too funny!

Owen unwrapping. It was a little more frenetic this year than last...he was very eager to get to the next present and the next and the next instead of savouring the moment. I have to admit, part of me found it a little frustrating as it seemed greedy but in my heart I know it is just the age and the excitement. He was very keen on trying to read all the names on the tags and passing out presents.

This is a quick shot of our girl...totally in love with her bottle...just love those sleepy eyes.

While out shopping one day, Owen saw a little set of keys and cellphone that he wanted to give to Isabelle for Christmas. It warms my heart to know that in the midst of all those toys, he was thinking of his sister. In this photo, he is showing her how to play with them...sweet brother. And just look at the look on her face...pure adoration...she just loves her brother.

We had no specific plans for breakfast, just kind of grab what you want when you want and this is what Owen wanted...make your own pizza + yogurt + hot cocoa with marshmallows... Breakfast of Champions:

Adrian bought me a Nintendo DS gaming system for Christmas and also bought Owen a Deigo game that will play on he is showing Owen how to the closeness.
We had a wonderful morning opening presents, playing with new toys and just enjoying family time.

24th Christmas Eve + Wonderful Traditions

Due to our busy schedules leading up to Christmas we were still doing some shopping on the 24th but managed to be home at a decent time for our Night Before Christmas traditions. Owen is so into Santa and the reindeer this year, it was really exciting. After the kids were in bed, Adrian and I spent the night wrapping presents. We had planned on doing it the night before, but poor Adrian got the flu and was in no condition to be wrapping.

Owen sprinkling reindeer food on the front lawn. ..if you look closely you can see the sparkle:

Owen making hot cocoa for Santa. He made this mug at a local store a few days ago during their craft hour. He wanted to use his special mug for Santa:

Owen making his silly faces for the camera...what a ham:

I believe this was an attempt at a "nice smile":

Owen reading the note he wrote to Santa...I love those little toes:

All of Santa's goodies - a note, some hot cocoa, cookies and carrots for the reindeer:

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

22nd & 23rd - Family Parties and Christmas Celebrations Begin

Family Parties...We had both the Doughty and Duffy Christmas parties on one day this made it tough to visit with everyone as we had to leave one party early and show up at the other one a little late...but I would rather have a little time than no time at all. So nice to see my cousins and their children, we were all so close growing up and although we do not see one another very often it is nice to catch up over the holidays.

We usually spend Christmas Eve with dad, Barb and Kaitlin, but with them living up north now it is a little harder to organize. They spent the night on the 22nd at our place - dad and Barb in Owen's "spidey" bed and Kaitlin on a pull-out futon in the basement...apparently I snore too much...who knew?

In the morning we had a lovely breakfast/brunch and then opened prezzies. Kaitlin's first gift to Owen was a multi-pack of Skittles brand lip balm (Owie calles it lip stick) had to be the hit of the day for him...he kept opening the package, taking them out, lining them up on the floor by flavour and then by colour and putting them away again. Kaitlin's next gift to him was another hit...the board game Guess Who...he loves it and we have been playing it daily ever since...thanks Auntie K. My parents totally surprised us with a Gift Certificate to Great Wolf Lodge which is an amazing resort hotel in Niagara...we are totally excited and cannot wait to go...what a great family gift...THANKS!

Overall it was a nice lazy morning with multiple cups of tea, a bunch of chatting and lots and lots of love.

Owen helping Auntie K open her stocking:

Owen helping Papa with his presents:

Owen so thrilled with his lip stick:

The booze theme starts:

Kaitlin's booze...she is officially 19 now so only fitting that she get lots of booze:

Owen helping Nana with her presents:


December 16th - Making Gingerbread House

At the beginning of the month I had purchased a kit that would make a gingerbread train. A few days later Owen and I were in the grocery store and I pointed out the kit to him...thinking he would be so excited and then I could surprise him at home...not so...all did not go according to plan. He told me in no uncertain terms that he hoped no one got that for him because "we ALWAYS do a gingerbread HOUSE in our family and that is our TRAMDITIONS". Not wanting to be a mama who messes with tramditions, I bought the house kit and put the train one away and out of sight.

Each year this gets easier and easier. The kit came with icing already bagged, several types of candy, 3 gingerbread people, 1 gingerbread tree and a PRE-ASSEMBLED much easier could it get? I have got to say, as wonderful as home baking is, the pre-assembled house is the way to go with a 4 year old because we could get right to the decorating...which really is the best part.

The house has sat proudly as our table centerpiece for the last 2 weeks and today New Year's Day it was dis-assembled. Owen has removed most of the candy, given one of the people to his sister to eat and tried to gnaw off some of the icing icicles.
Getting started:

Isabelle taking it all in...she is at a dump and pour stage so we thought it best that she play more of an observer role than active participant...she was not bothered in the least by this.

Close to being finished. I realized that I did not get a final shot of it before it was eaten today...the final product had one gingerbread person straddling the roof...this was really looked great!

Only 9 more days until Christmas!

December 11th - Wilmot Creek Christmas Party

Nana Carole lives in a wonderful community called Wimot Creek and each year they host an amazing Christmas party for the residents and all of their families. Last year it was cancelled due to construction. This year we were so thrilled that it was back on.

Sadly, Logan and Alison could not attend as Logan was under the weather. Owen, Isabelle and Skylar certainly had fun though and Santa had a special treat to give to Logan to ensure his speedy recovery.

The organizers go above and beyond to ensure everyone has a wonderful time...a balloon for every child, hot dogs, popcorn, candy floss and much more, tattoos, clowns, magicians, and a band...and to top it off...SANTA!

Isabelle with her balloon on a very long string:

Owen being very brave and getting an airbrushed batman tatoo:

The kids with Santa:
Nana Carole, Steve and Skylar with Santa:

Merry Christmas!