Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Adventures with Bynny Volume 3

REPOST - This version actually has sound. Had to remove soundtrack due to copy write infringement.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

It's Christmas Eve and it's going to be Robyn's first Christmas tomorrow. We didn't decorate this year, but luckily Tara, mom and dad, Curtis and Joanne... and just about everyone else in the world did, so I don't feel so bad. At least Robyn won't remember how lazy we were this year... unless she reads this post when she's older.

Chris moved to Barrie a few months ago so he's missed spending as much time as he'd like with us. We are lucky that his new truck driving job allowed him to have this week off and he's in town visiting over Christmas. He sweetly asked to have a special play day with Robyn and suggested we go to Cosmic Adventure. We went this morning and it was so much fun. Robyn was a bit shy at first and not too sure where we brought her but she soon settled in by watching the other kids. She loved the ball pit and crawling all around the toddler jungle gym.



Well, I'm home waiting for Morgan, Jes and our secret guest to arrive for our own special second annual Auntie-Christmas night. We have wine, snacks and exchange small gifts. Robyn had to go to bed... if they don't get here soon, so will I.

At least It's a Wonderful Life is on. ("hey you look good, that's some dress you got on there") "Oh, this old thing? I only wear it when I don't care what I look like!" - great line.


Merry Christmas to all, and all a good night.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Rub a dub dub, baby in the... sink?

Morgan, with no guilt trip from me at all, decided to give Robyn her bath this evening. He's too big to get in the tub with her and our tub's too tall to lean over for an extended period of time, so I suggested he use the kitchen sink.

It was really sweet to watch, Morgan was singing washing-up songs and playing little games, Robyn was giggling and actually cooperating quite well.



Saturday, December 4, 2010

Not as witty as the one I lost but oh well...

A cup of coffee placed on a knee high book shelf...

A distracted mother turns her back for a moment to check Facebook...

A curious baby finds the coffee mug...

A frantic mother zooms to the other room to get a towel...

A free-range baby finds a basket full of diapers...

A kicking-herself mother reminds herself "not to cry over spilt (coffee) (diapers) (milk)"

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Adventures with Bynny Volume 2

Over the past couple months Bynny has taken great "strides" towards walking all on her own. From pulling herself up on the coffee table, where we had some control over what she could get her hands on, to keeping a constant eye on her to ensure she's not getting into too much trouble. This video is a compilation of snippets from our days playing together at our condo and a little nostalgic music for me and those of you who grew up listening to Raffi.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Yo chicka! Je t'aime.

I am so happy to have kept this friend close, even though we have lived some 3500 kilometres apart for a good chunk of our post high school years. She has been the most caring, supportive and inspirational friend I could ever ask for. During our dance years at DLS we had some wild times creating numbers and performing various choreographies... I still hear "Scoooop!" when I think of our "alien dance" - an inside joke that may be so far gone she wouldn't remember it. It's rare that you ever see her without her gorgeous and yes, luscious smile. She has the wildest imagination, that's got us into and out of trouble many, many times.

Always the open minded person, she tried AND ATE a fish dish I served her a few weeks ago - I've been told she would never touch the stuff. I have the picture to prove it:

Monday, November 22, 2010

I'd do this again, anytime!

The most fulfilling adventure Stargazing embarked on was in the winter of 2002 when she took the train from Toronto to Vancouver, solo. The circumstances were so that this trip was a compromise to keep her from taking an even bigger adventure with her dad to Croatia and to sate her need for excitement before moving back to Victoria and settling back into her same old routine.

To start off Stargazing, mom and dad drove to Toronto and stayed overnight at one of their most stylish and wonderfully welcoming friends' townhouse. It was walking distance to a great Greek restaurant where they dinned, drank wine, exchanged stories, laughed and stumbled back home.

Stargazing booked an upper berth on the train which included breakfast, dinner and a turndown service every night.  The first thing she realized when she got to her seat was there was no place to stash her guitar during the trip. She didn't want to have to lug it everywhere with her and was especially worried because she only had a soft case for it. The car attendant was a very sweet older gentleman and he took a liking to Stargazing. He waited until their car was empty, slyly stashed the case in the pillow compartment across from her berth and told her it would be their little secret. She had also mentioned that she would be very grateful for an extra pillow when he made up her bed and was surprised with 6 on her return from dinner her first night. That gesture was the icing on the cake and made her so happy. She read her books, listened to her portable CD player and was especially cozy in her little nest. She was rocked to sleep by the rhythmical swaying of the train... She was in heaven.


By day the berths are stowed away for regular seating. Stargazing spent most of her time reading and listening to her CD player in her seat but also explored the various cars and caboose. The caboose had a great view from above where you can see the train ahead and take great photos - there was a picture of this somewhere but it has been misplaced.  Breakfast and dinner were served in two seatings, early and late. Although she brought a book, it felt rude reading when you're seated with other people - limited seating, no one gets their own table.  Stargazing made friends with a few older couples who were interested in why such a young lady was travelling alone, what she would do once she arrived in Victoria, who was special in her life and so on. Stargazing got to hear some wonderful stories about all sorts of interesting adventures, grandchildren, pets, experiences and so on. She was truly content in their little moving world on the train. 

Your body gets so used to the swaying of the train that coming to a stop takes a little getting used to. Do they call it rail-legs, like sea-legs?

From the train station in Vancouver she boarded a Greyhound to Victoria via the ferry. Another 3 hour marvellous trip, quite beautiful.  If you're lucky you can spot dolphins jumping in the wake of the boat. Stargazing chose a bench on the top deck and enjoyed the sun and fresh air, reading but mostly people watching. 

Canada is a beautiful country and seeing it woosh by on the train is a wonderful experience. The different terrains, landscapes and weather from province to province, whistle stop to large train station, made for an unforgettable adventure.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Wait for it.... no, it's not true!

I'm a sucker for a good musical. I am partial to Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe but one of my all time favourites is The Sound of Music. I've been watching it in stages due to my limited amount of "me" time that I have but also because I'm savouring it in a way. Oddly, I didn't recall it being so political even though it is based during war time. When I was younger I guess the story line didn't matter so much as learning all the songs and dances that were featured. I also have found tears running down my face during the Austrian folk dance and when they sang "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens" with sad faces but then realized Maria was singing along with them and ran to meet her in the yard... oh, Emily.

Sweet Sue has leant me The Rogers and Hammerstein Collection box set. During the next few weeks I will be watching Carousel, The King and I (oh, yeah!), State Fair, South Pacific and Oklahoma!  I'm such a sap, listening to Raffi tonight I had to keep myself from bursting into tears from the lovely memories I have of his music from when I was a kid... you'd think I was pregnant or something. Oh no, writing that won't make it come true will it?! Eeek.

Tee hee! Just kidding.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Baby steps in the right direction

Well, it's been a great last week. Sending Robyn to daycare twice a week has given me the kick in the butt I needed to get onto a more structured routine.  We get up about 6am, I nurse Robyn and we get dressed. On Mondays and Wednesdays Robyn is at daycare from 7:30am to 4:00pm where she gets breakfast, goes for a walk rain or shine, has lunch, takes a nap and finds time to play and enjoy herself with the other kiddos in between. This week I've tried to mimmic her routine as best I could. Putting her down for a nap has been tough but I'm following Tara's example as best I can. I need to put together a good playlist to listen to during the put down period.

Robyn is actually eating more since starting daycare, she especially loves orange slices, pickles, mango and banana. Unfortunately, I was finding the highchair we had, a Graco brand deluxe style, to be too big for her even though it says it's for newborn and up. She generally seemed unhappy, uncomfortable and she always ended up in a  slouched position. Tara has the simple white plastic Ikea style chair, Robyn seems much happier in it so I've now switched and am bringing the Graco one to Boomerang, a kids consignment store.

Robyn is getting very close to walking on her own. She's pulling herself up using anything over 6" high as leverage and walks around with he aid of coffee tables, walls, cupboards, etc. She's pretty adventurous and has attempted gaps between coffee tables and couches. Here's a little demo:

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy 1st Halloween!

We went to Robyn's first Halloween party today at the new daycare's house.  Tara's place was nicely decorated and the other kids were all decked out. The 18 month old girl was a pirate, the 18 month old boy was a lion, the 5 year old girl was a mermaid and Robyn was a ladybug. Tara prepared pumpkin shaped cakes for the kids to decorate, pin the eye patch on the pirate, Halloween themed crafts and spooky music for ambiance. We had a nice snack of apple slices with cinnamon and a tea for me.

I had a little errand to run so I left Robyn with Tara for about 25 minutes. She played and was content for 20 minutes until she realized I was gone and started to cry. Tara wasn't fazed and is looking forward to Monday when we drop Robyn off for her first full day of care. (eeek!)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Nine months?!

How time flies when you're having fun... and raising a baby! Robyn turned 9 months on the 21st, I almost can't believe it.

Wasn't it just the other day that we brought her home all bundled and snuggly in her car seat, struggled with the first few diapers, tried desperately to get her to stay awake long enough to eat, worked hard at nursing and didn't give up even when one nipple was cut and was tremendously painful, recorded every action in a log book, ran our lives on 3 hour intervals in order to feed her, thought sleep was just some fantasy we created while we were dreaming and marvelled at the size of the little onesies and sleepers she wore?

Robyn is "just like a little person" now - as many people point out. She's eating pretty much anything I can liquify in a blender, including Thanksgiving turkey dinner. We've taken swimming and signing lessons. She's saying "mom", "dad", "bird" and "cat". She can practically walk - well, she's pulling herself up to standing and using the coffee table as an aid so she's close! She crawls like a champ. She loves music; she bops around and "sings" along when it's playing. She's a little explorer and gets her hands on anything she can, then puts it in her mouth.

She's still a Mommy's girl but we're working on her getting comfort from other people especially her Dad and Mina and Dave. Our biggest challenge is getting her to fall asleep on her own in her crib, this is the one thing I have procrastinated the most with because I'm worried about how upsetting it will be for her. Don't worry, I have a plan which I am starting tonight. Yes, tonight.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

To Revisit This Outfit

The past couple years has been an awkward mix of styles and sizes in my clothing wardrobe. Those of you who knew Stargazing will remember her as a whimsical, colourful, jewellery heavy girl with a sense of the eccentric artist who could pull off almost any outfit and hair style. With the combination of working at a cemetery where she really had to tone down the whimsicality but could keep the jewellery, working at a martial arts school where she was encouraged to be herself if not a "sexier, sportier" self and working at the museum as a professional assistant where she soon became pregnant and it all just went out the window, Stargazing's fun and flirty style got all jumbled.

There are still some remnants of the former persona left in her closet but only the core essentials and pieces that were impossible to get rid of remain. Unfortunately, most of them do not go together, even for the most hard core Stargazing moment. Luckily, her very fashionable mother has been a key component to keeping her wardrobe stylish and classy with extraordinary timing.

This outfit is a perfect example of the more sophisticated but classically Stargazing look. The jacket is by Jessica and is one of the fashionable pieces mom has contributed. The purse and slick grey heels were also contributed from my personal shopper. The gloves were my Nan's and have the sweet white pearl wrist buttons for my romantic hubby to steal kisses from. Pants, hair and make up by me...



Now that I'm in the best shape I've been in years, I'm working on rebuilding a stylish, classy wardrobe with the essence of Stargazing adding the fun and exciting feel that's been lacking for so long.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Toot-toot! All aboard the pity train!

I can't be the first mother to rely on breastfeeding as my baby's number one source for food in her 8th month but neither can I help but feel like I'm doing something wrong.  I've never spent too much effort on feeding myself well, so the ability to nurse Robyn instead of preparing something for her is pure laziness and disturbingly selfish. Now that I've found daycare for her that she will start part-time in November, this lack of preparedness must be reconciled.

I have the tools and the resources, now I need to put everything into action. I even know how easy it is to do, we manage to feed Robyn something at dinner time and breakfast time at Mina and Dave's. I allow myself to justify my lack of motivation due to the fact that Robyn and I are alone 3 nights a week but that's just ridiculous. Many moms are alone with babies and often more than one child and manage just fine. I can also prepare food when Morgan is home during the day. Like I said I know this - it's despicable how I've continued to put it off again and again.

My shoulder devil is saying "You tried to use the food mill today and it didn't work, don't be so hard on yourself!". This is true but what she isn't saying is "Did you even think to use the blender? No. You just cussed about it and decided to nurse her instead. Shame on you." - that would be my shoulder angel talking, I tend to ignore her too often.

I googled how to use a food mill this evening and will give it a whirl tomorrow. Tonight I'm indulging in letting the girl sleep on her nursing pillow, watching some sort of girly movie, reading Cosmo and perhaps even ordering in some Greek On Wheels.


On a different yet self loathing note, the most pitiful thing is how lonely I so often am. I have many friends, or acquaintances I guess, who are new moms or have babies Robyn's age but for someone so outgoing I seem to lack the skills to keep a close friend network. Blame it on "how strong and independent" I am, as I am described by many. Blame it on my lack of self-confidence that these people even like me. I could even blame it on laziness, it's easier to be alone than make an effort to stay close. But whatever the case may be, with all the people I know, I don't have many I can call close friends and that makes me sad.  At least I have an activity I enjoy doing three times a week that's out of the house and is kind of social. With everyone's lives being so busy, Facebook and texting seem to be our preferred means of communication. I miss human interaction - I am considering closing my account because waiting to see if anyone "likes" or "comments" on your status or links is depressing... but how else can I broadcast my new blog posts?

Oh, woe is me. Life could be so much harder; I really should not complain.

Monday, October 11, 2010

So did I learn something?

As you may know, the couch we bought for our condo is waaayyy too big for our living room. It's a really comfy sectional; beige microfiber top with a dark brown leather-looking base, a full size couch and a large left side chaise lounge in case anyone is interested in it. We bought it when we first took possession of the condo, so we had the opportunity to measure our space but being the instant gratification seekers we are and poor planners we seemed to be, we did not. As much as we love the couch, it was a silly mistake for our present living space.

We finally agreed we need to get other furniture for the living room/dinning room, especially since we have no room for a dinning table at the moment. I think it's important to teach Robyn that meals are to be eaten at a dinning table and not hunched over the coffee table in front of the TV, as we do now. Ideally, we should have a smaller couch, a nice chair and a small dinning set.

Thursday, mom and I took a day trip to Perth. There are some really beautiful gift shops there and we decided to get started on our Christmas shopping. There is also a Home Furniture Store in Perth, a sister store to Home Hardware. Mom has found some nice things in there on previous visits, so we thought we should take a peek to get some ideas for rectifying our furniture situation.

When we entered the store we were greeted and asked if we needed any help by a lovely sales lady, who we promptly told "No, we're just looking. Thank you." We continued to poke through the store commenting to each other on pieces we liked or disliked. Before we knew what was happening the sales lady had joined us, giving us the tour of the store, opening sofa-beds, insisting we try each model as they seat differently, patiently repeating herself about dimensions and fabric options, fashionably pairing wing chairs with condo sized sofas...

Did I leave with a couch and two wing chairs? You betcha!

So, did I learn something? If that I shouldn't go into a store where I might want to actually buy what's for sale but should really be less impulsive is the answer, then no. But we knew that already. I did however learn it's much more stylish to have coordinating fabrics but not matching ones when it comes to choosing sofa and chair coverings. You don't want to have the "furniture store" look in your living room.



I found a picture of the wing chair but not of the sofa. I can't wait to have a tea and read a book in it, it's really nice to sit in - not to mention classy.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Misadventures with Bynny

First of all to start the weekend off I had a stupid head cold, so I'm tired and all stuffed up. By late Friday afternoon I was in real need of a nap but Robyn just simply would not stay asleep for more than 10 minutes at a time. Luckily it was Friday, our standard sleepover night at Mina and Dave's, perhaps I would even get to take a long bath in their luxurious soaker tub. I packed up our swimsuits for our lessons Saturday morning, a basket of dirty laundry and our over night bag and off we went for what I was expecting would be a pleasantly uneventful evening.

As Mina and Robyn played happily on the living room floor, I put together Robyn's crib and the sheets on the day bed for myself. It was 6:30 pm but felt more like 9:30 pm.  We had a nice dinner and gave Robyn a bath, relaxing in the familiarity of our sleepover routine. 

As we've been doing all week, I got ready to give Robyn some cereal before settling in for bed. Last weekend Mina and I bought baby supplies for her place, including a new cereal that the Rose's enjoyed when they were babies and that looked yummy to me: Nestle Raspberry, Yogourt and Wheat Cereal. I mixed it with warm water and tasted it. Yep, it was yummy. I put Robyn in her chair wrapped a bib around her neck and gave her a spoonful of the pink mushy cereal. She was enjoying it, grabbing the spoon and getting covered in food as usual. With sticky fingers she rubbed at her eyes, I thought she was finally showing signs of getting tired. She still seemed to be enjoying the cereal as she was banging her little hands on her tray for what I assume means "more" so I continued to feed her. I started noticing little red marks on her cheeks , chin and around her eyes. Hummm, that's odd I thought. Now Robyn's eyes were quite irritated and she was franticly rubbing at them and the rest of her face, her hands still covered in cereal. Eeek! I grabbed her face cloth and cleaned her fingers and face hoping the rash would go away.

While I was feeding Robyn, Dave was having his dinner across the room and watching an action movie at top volume - the best way to watch these types of movies but not the best way to calm a baby. With a clean but fussy baby, Mina and I went to her room to watch something calmer while I nursed Robyn. In the living room lighting I thought her face was getting better. In the brighter bedroom lighting it seemed to be getting worse! There was not a single spot on her face that wasn't covered in a rash and it seemed her neck was getting swollen! "Mom, look at her face. Do you think we should be concerned?" I tried to say calmly but failed. (gasp!) "Just stay put a little minute" she says calmly but her panicked eyes deceive her. "Dave!" she calls "We have a situation with Robyn here please come quick!". Thankfully Dave has a keen sense of urgency in situations like this and keeps a level head to make rational and immediate decisions. He took one look at her and promptly got us strapped in the car and off to the ER we rode.  

Dave drops us at the door and goes to park the car. We're rushed through triage and promptly placed in room 6. A team of nurses surround us and get to work taking her pulse, checking her breathing, and strapping her up to a machine that monitors her vital signs. I repeat what happened and showed the cereal box to at least a half dozen nurses and doctors, all of who commented on the number of different ingredients that could have caused the reaction, so no definite conclusion was made. A nurse gave Robyn some liquid Benedryl and we stayed for observation for another hour and a half when they were satisfied she was okay, the rash and swelling completely gone. 

Robyn was a real trooper, and although she was surrounded by so many people she didn't fuss much. I think it's due to being at Locals so often, surrounded by servers and regulars who all dote on her. We picked up some Benedryl for home and got back to Mina and Dave's about 11:30 pm. Poor Mina, neither of us had called her and she was worried the whole time we were gone - I thought Dave had called her and he didn't think he needed to unless there were complications. 

Thank you Mina and Dave for being so helpful, loving and wonderful parents slash grandparents!




Friday, September 24, 2010

Adventures with Bynny Volume 1

Over the past few months I have been capturing our adventures and milestones with Robyn on video, as best I could. I've finally managed to complete a recent montage of such short films.

This episode includes a play date we attended with mommies from work who were also pregnant during the strike last year. Robyn was the only girl born in this group, all of the babies were born within a month of each other. It also features swimming and splashing with the Amazing Auntie Sue, a little jumping in the Jolly Jumper and some very close attempts at crawling. There is also a bonus episode included featuring a very special appearance by Rockin' Daddy.



Enjoy!

You can view the video on the YouTube - Spindillyrush Channel

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's that time of year again!

I'm so excited, it's finally here.  It's the time of year I look forward to for months.

No, it's not the cool weather that I love because layered clothing, hats, mitts and scarves are super cool. It's not the the long hikes in Gatineau Park to take in the fresh air and beautiful changing of the leaves. It's not even the hot apple cider, pumpkin pie and toasty warm fires. It's the new fall season for all my favourite TV shows!

So, what am I watching?

  • Dancing With The Stars - so far I'm enjoying it but don't have a favourite. I'm not too fond of Hasselhof or the guy from Jersey Shore though.
  • The Biggest Loser - oh crap, I've started watching this show again... it's so emotional and inspiring to watch but I really didn't think I'd get into it again this year, but here I am completely drawn into watching a group of severely overweight people trying to run a mile... oh my.
  • Castle - obviously! I still haven't watched my recorded season premier episode but I'm looking forward to the mystery, comedy, sexual tension... I love Castle.
  • The Middle - I'm glad I gave this show a chance because it's quite good. It's kind of a frantic comedy about an average income family with an odd baby brother, an awkward middle sister and a hot headed "all-American" older brother being raised by their struggling parents. Give it a shot if you've been avoiding it.
  • Modern Family - This is a genius comedy. I love the side interviews through out the episodes where the family members give us a more personal view of their lives. 
  • Parenthood - A heartwarming drama about an extended family with captivating people who deal with realistic issues. 
  • The Event - TBD we have it recorded but haven't yet watched it.
  • Fringe - Not until we watch the end of season one and season two but fully intend to watch it.
Good thing I'm working out 3 times a week or I could turn into a real couch potato!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The rant of a foul mood mommy

Next Thursday will be our 3rd year wedding anniversary. I'm looking forward to going out for dinner but I must say I'm a bit nervous as well. Robyn has been great with Morgan while I'm kickboxing 3 days a week but this is partly due to the routine they established where she goes down for a nap shortly after I leave and wakes up about the time I get back. We don't have the same routine in the evening. We don't really have a routine at all, although on a regular basis I tell myself we really should have something.... Perhaps we should do lunch instead but an anniversary lunch isn't as romantic as a dinner.

I'm really quite annoyed at myself for my inability to cook when I'm alone with Robyn. I haven't prepared myself supper in about 8 months - I eat left overs, Farm Boy entrees and take out. This is so frustrating because I know there are plenty of women out there with babies, who's husbands work nights and manage to cook for themselves and their families. Don't even get me started on my procrastination to start Robyn eating anything other than breast-milk and oatmeal. I've just started pumping once a day again, how did I fall out of that routine? I'm going to have to just be ok with giving her store bought baby food cause I can't get my act together to make it myself!

We're about 90% unpacked and organized in our condo. There are still boxes half hidden behind furniture; books on shelves in no particular order - which looks nice and got rid of the boxes they were in but doesn't help me when I'm looking for a particular one; coat hooks that need mounting; a front hall closet that needs to be put to better space usage; a vacuum that needs to find a home instead of living where my inexistent dinning table should be; a large box full of papers that need to be sorted, filed or shredded - mostly the latter; curtains need to replace the quilt covering half the window in Robyn's room; a dolly acting as a towel rack needs to be returned to my dad; and numerous items need to go to the storage area - which also needs to be organized.

Feeling exhausted just reading this? Me too.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

NFL season again!

Me, clad in my Pittsburg Steelers t-shirt, Robyn and Morgan, sporting their Green Bay Packers jerseys, met Shannon and Terry, head to toe in Chicago Bears gear, for our traditional Sunday brunch.  Sports fans speckled the restaurant with NFL jerseys and ball caps. The anticipation for the first Sunday Football games of the 2011 season was almost as palpable as the smell of bacon and eggs. 


After a decent enough breakfast we joined (Grandpa) Curtis and the Clyde Street gang at Local Heroes. As per usual, the head honchos are perched on their bar stools in their VIP spot next to the pool tables - Lacall on the left, ZZ on the right. The key detail to this location is that there are two TV's mounted right next to each other above a high top table with three bar stools - this allows there to be 2 games on at all times, as soon as a commercial comes on they're in reach of the cable box to switch channels to another game. This year we're in luck, the restaurant finally upgraded the televisions from box style to flat screen with HD!

Robyn was very well behaved and with the help of a nap lasted right through the early games without fussing. At this point she'd had enough of her introduction to life with a fanatical football family so we dropped Morgan at Bank Street LH and headed home for some quiet time.

So, as I'm sitting down to enjoy a nice Gilled Chicken Breast Platter from Greek On Wheels and Robyn plays in her exersaucer beside me, I can say today was fun and I look forward to 18 more (?) weeks of the same. 

GO STEELERS!


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Hooray for Andrew Fleck - Ontario Early Years Centre

On my quest to find day care for Robyn, I attended a Child Care Connection meeting last night. The meeting brought together parents looking for care and providers with spaces available to meet and exchange contact info - no on the spot interviews please. I'd already made contact online with two women in attendance who are available in January, so it was nice to put faces to the profiles I'd read. I found the meeting kind of intimidating because it was a bit like being wooed by everyone, even if I wasn't interested I felt the need to take their name and number to avoid hurting their feelings. There were a couple other women who I thought might be appropriate if needed but I'm going to set up meetings with the first two women and go from there. No men care givers were in attendance, not sure there are a lot of them out there.

The best thing that came out of attending this meeting was the location it was held in: The Andrew Fleck Child Care Services Centre. I had heard of Andrew Fleck only in relation to the centralized child care waiting list. I had no idea the services they actually provide: play groups everyday, circle time everyday, a book lending library, a toy lending library with tons of awesome toys we can borrow for up to 2 weeks, workshops and programs for parents and kids and information and referrals all for free to children ages 0 to 6 years and their parents/providers. I can't believe I hadn't known about this sooner but am so pleased to be able to take advantage of it in the future. I'm especially happy about the toy lending library, our condo is so limited in space that we don't have room to buy and store tons of toys but this way Robyn will have "new" toys every couple weeks!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Only 4 months left!

She slept on my lap, cozy on her nursing pillow, and she was the most beautiful darling girl I've ever seen. Her smooth chubby cheeks, full pouty lips and long red lashes glowed in the light of the t.v. while I watched Kate & Leopold. I love watching her sleep. I realize I am a very selfish mommy allowing her to fall asleep on me every night but she will only be an infant for such a short time that I can't help myself.

Robyn at 4 months, sleeping on my shoulder

There is so much I need to do to get us ready for me to go to work in January. Unfortunately, I am procrastinating feeding her solid foods because nursing her is easier and more enjoyable, for me. I'm procrastinating finding her a day care because deep down I want to stay home with her even though I know it's not possible. She naps when she's tired, or doesn't, because we just roll with whatever works for us that day... again, I know we should have a bit of a routine.

At least I've let go enough to go to kickboxing class 3 times a week. She's getting into a nice routine with her dad, so how come I feel a little disappointed? I want her to be independent of me enough to leave her with someone but it makes me sad she's actually doing it.

Deep sigh... time to get my act in gear. How do other mommies do this so well? I feel like I'm missing a piece of the puzzle.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hello Stargazing, this is your future calling...


Now, I don't want to change major life details because as they say "things happen for a reason". I wouldn't have my fantastic husband and wonderful daughter if I, let's say: finished high school & went to Concordia University to study dance or became a natural healer with a studio overlooking the ocean or went travelling through Europe or stayed in Victoria. I do however wish I had followed a few simple rules throughout my young adult years that I'm struggling to implement now:



  • Follow a budget: know how much you need for expenses, allow for spending cash and save 10% of your paycheque.
  • It's ok to love to own books, knick knacks and tons of craft supplies - but have "a place for everything and keep everything in it's place" (not at the bottom of the stairs, on the kitchen, coffee or dinning room table!)
  • Focus on completing one task before starting another - have a good plan on how to accomplish each one effectively
  • Spontaneity is fun for most things, but a well researched investment - be it money, a job or effort - saves stress, disappointment and cash. (but not always - this is a tricky one)
  • Eat more fruit and veggies, period.
  • Invest in quality face cleaning and moisturizing products, used twice daily - don't forget your neck!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I'd pull out my hair, but she already does!

The past few days Robyn has become very "vocal". I don't know what is going on, if it's that she's teething, testing her lungs, testing her parents... but she seems to be screaming - shrieking actually - almost all day.

Activities that used to distract her when she was upset just aren't cutting it. She hates getting dressed and her bum changed, this used to be my saviour when she was getting cranky. Nursing, another former magic solution, doesn't have it's same effect - she even pulls off to scream on occasion! Shushing, bouncing, rocking, singing work for a short spell then away she goes again!

Not only does she shriek, she is also scratching my face, pulling my hair and flailing her body around. She makes sucking actions with her mouth, sucks my hair, face and neck but doesn't stay on the boob. I try a soother or other chewing toy but they don't seem to help.

I love her to pieces so it's heartbreaking to be at a loss for what is wrong with her! But unfortunately I'm tired and cranky... what's going on?!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

We went to the farm

Last week Robyn and I went to the Canada Agriculture Museum, or as I was just calling it "the farm" with our Signing Start Meetup Group. What a great place to visit with kids, they have a wonderful park for them to run around and play in, a large picnic area with covered and exposed tables, barns with all sorts of farm animals, interesting exhibits on tractors and how bees live and make honey. I'm sure there are things we missed, we'll be returning for sure - Robyn will enjoy it even more when she's a bit older I think.

It was a great, informal way to practice our signs with Danielle, her two kids and our little ones. Robyn was happy to see her friend Sophia from class, they made sweet squeaky noises as they batted at each other's faces.

I think Robyn enjoyed the cows the most. I was glad to have asked if they got to go outside, as I was told they do from 5 to 6am... "oh, they're allowed out from 5 to 6am" I told Barbara, "at least they get outside for a bit". The guide quickly turned to me and said "Just to be clear, they're outside from 5pm to 6am.".  Thank goodness she cleared that up!



"It's a cow - can you sign cow?"

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Kicked that!

It's finally time to get in shape and to get some "me time", so back to the dojo for me! I started training at 100% Martial Arts & Fitness in 2004 - I actually got my green belt in Jiu Jitsu but then I let my party lifestyle take over, ended my membership and hid my head in shame for a while. This time will be different though; I'm going to work my ass off, literally, and become a model kickboxing student! I've dedicated myself to attend 3 classes a week. This means that I must leave Robyn with Morgan for a hour and a half while I train, something I was worried would be a bad experience for the both of them - she's a bit of a "mommy's girl" and cries when I'm just in the other room at times. Okay, I was also worried it would be hard on me too...

Wednesday, August 11th: 

Time to get going, it's 11:30am and class is at noon. Robyn can tell something is up, she's already crying. Mom is panicking, "I promised Brig I'd be there!" she thinks - how many times has she bailed on going to the gym in the past few months? Too many to let it happen again! 

"Ohhh Robyn, Mommy has to go. Please stop crying. You'll have a great time with your dad" she says without much conviction. Being the strong and confident father he is he says "Just go. If she cries for an hour, she cries for an hour, that's fine." So with a heavy heart she blows them kisses and scoots out the door with sounds of a crying baby following her to the elevator. (Good for you Mommy! Big step.)

Class was great! What a workout - warm up, spar with a top notch athlete and follow up with conditioning! Woo hoo!

Worried that Dad has had an awful time, Mom zooms home to discover the opposite is actually true. To ease her mind, Dad documented their time together in photographs:


After a few minutes she stopped crying and played in her exersaucer.


Read and chewed on her book.



Made coffee and Swiffered.


Cuddled...


And fell asleep with her Silky Queen and Snuggly Bear.

So, there you have it. Dad and Robyn have a nice routine going and Mom gets to attend class - can't use a crying baby as an excuse to skip now! 




Wednesday, August 11, 2010

On a whim... or two


Robyn was getting too big for her Graco bucket car seat and needed the next size up - a convertible back to front seat for infants to toddlers.  I had been researching which seat I was interested in for a few weeks but the one I really wanted was a bit pricy.

As I've been known to do on occasion, I hastily bought a second hand seat on Kijiji last week. It seemed fine but unfortunately Robyn's head flopped forward awkwardly when she fell asleep and I couldn't see her in the mirror because it sits so tall. Not only was this a second hand hasty purchase, I forgot to ask to see their receipt and it has no manual - I will have trouble reselling it if the next purchaser has more sense than me.

This Saturday I broke down and decided to buy the seat I originally wanted, the Sunshine Kids Radian Premier in the Sport colour. It's marvellous... just one thing, once installed Morgan's knees are right up against the dash. We decided to go to the Mazda dealership, no not to see if they had a seat to fit our car but a car to fit our seat!

Yes, you got it! That same afternoon we traded in our fun, sporty Mazda 3 for the bigger, sexier Mazda CX 7.  We're picking her up tomorrow! She looks like this:

Monday, August 9, 2010

Well, at least I tried

The result of my cloth diaper experiment is not as satisfactory as I had hoped. To be honest it failed for our family. The pro's are still the same for wanting to use them as I listed in my initial post, but unfortunately there was a real kicker I hadn't taken into account when I imagined the scenario in my head: the smell of opening a dirty diaper pail was absolutely nasty. Yes, there are measures I could take to reduce the smell, but I don't have the patience to deal with it on top of the cat litter, which is already driving me crazy in this small apartment. Note to curious people, the Diaper Genie has never failed us in keeping the smelly diapers out of sight, out of mind and sense of smell.

I do not want to discourage anyone from taking this route with their little ones. I'm a sucker for good marketing campaigns and the cloth diaper industry has nailed it. Suffice to say that the style and statement they make to fellow parents of "look at how cute and eco-friendly we are" really got my attention and the washing and smell aspect seemed like a walk in the park. Alas, I was snowed.

I must also say, my stress level has gone down significantly now that I'm no longer having to struggle with "to be or not to be" cloth diaper toting parents. I tried it out and it just wasn't for us.

Now, what, oh what will I do to compensate ecologically in stead?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Like father, like daughter

If you thought she looked like him - get a load of this picture, they even sleep the same.


In this picture Robyn was a month old. Morgan would take her when I'd finish nursing so I could nap, and then they'd fall asleep watching Sports Net.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ummm, Nag Champa!

Stargazing worked in a little imported gift store in the market selling silver jewellery, batik & indian print clothes and textiles, incense, essential oils and figurines of all sorts from animals to Indian Gods. In addition to owning a healing space, she dreamed of having a store like this - perhaps attached to the healing space - and this dream lives on in the back of her mind still to this day. Wow, does she ever dream...

She loved smelling of Nag Champa at the end of the day, having the ability to name off the properties of semi-precious stones and essential oils, creating strung jewellery of beads from around the world, being encouraged to wear the clothing while working and getting a great discount on stock. Obviously, she had a room similarly decorated, smelling and filled with "hippy" clothes - apart from their latest electronics, the Dillaboughs live in a home very similarly decorated.

Feeling Groovy at birthday party
Although Stargazing did not do much daydreaming about having a baby, she did make a few mental notes of what she thought would be the way she would be. She was especially affected by a young pregnant mother who shopped at the gift store one day: it was the summer, the mom-to-be was quite pregnant (I'd say 8 months) wearing a short cut tank top and sarong skirt that allowed her belly to be exposed. She had great dreadlocks, tattoos and chunky jewellery on her arms, neck and ears. THIS is how Stargazing would look as a pregnant woman, she thought. Well, not quite due to working in a professional environment and being more self-conscience about her body. There were a few times her true self surfaced, at these times she is genuinely happy with her image and should remember this in the future. Here is picture of one of those moments, taken at her 30th birthday party. I wanted to post a picture from Corinna's wedding when I was 2 months pregnant but the one I have I'm pulling a bad face.... well I guess I'll post both, it's the clothes style I want to show anyhow.

Flowy skirt, bangles, chunky jewellery... ahhhh, in my element. (don't mind the face)
Stargazing also would have wanted to be an Au Naturel Mama. She would have been very proud of giving birth without an epidural, coached and delivered by a midwife. She had considered being a doula for a very short time, the chances of witnessing dangerous or heart breaking births really discouraged her. She would have also been interested in the practice of raising a diaper free baby with Elimination Communication - or infant potty training or natural infant hygiene, whatever you may choose to call it. I think I will read up on this some more - it may go well with the cloth diaper experiment.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cloth diaper experiment update

I'm happy to say I found a diaper service in Perth that will deliver fresh, pick up and wash dirty cloth diapers every week. It's the best of both worlds for me - the ability to use cloth diapers but not have to wash them, hooray! I just have to purchase and wash my own covers and they provide everything else.

The owner of Sweet Peach, Casey, was a real pleasure to talk to on the phone. She was so patient with me and my round about questions, repeating things over and over... this happens when I'm nursing the babe and trying to communicate over the phone. I was also moved by her sincerity and commitment to the environment and well being of others - she kindly responded to my question about using Vaseline with cloth diapers by saying "there's no problem, but we don't usually endorse petroleum products, especially when olive oil works just as well and is much better for the environment".  Ahh, I never even thought about that before - I will be switching to olive oil when needed, thankfully Robyn hasn't had much problems in the way of diaper rashes.

I'm expecting our first delivery next Thursday! If you're in the market for this service, tell them I sent ya!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The cloth diaper experiment

I finally followed my conscience and bought a trial kit of cloth diapers. I've been debating with myself for the past 6 months whether this was the way to go or not and my eco-friendly side finally won. There are valid arguments for and against cloth diapers being the way to go, these are the reasons I finally chose to give it a whirl:
  • we're going through an overwhelmingly large amount of disposable, yet un-biodegredable diapers - a huge waste for our landfills
    • my plan is to keep some disposables on hand for times when I may need them but for the most part I will be sticking to cloth diapers.
  • if properly cared for they can be used for 2-3 babies - then I'm told they make excellent rags for cleaning
  • they're not like cloth diapers of the past with complicated folding and pining required - they're actually quite cute and not too bulky - using snaps and/or velcro
  • the amount of water and energy consumed in paper mills to produce disposable diapers is much greater than that used to clean cloth diapers
We started today with the 3 covers, 9 inserts and a travel bag provided in the kit. I can see we will need to have at least a 15 more inserts, a dozen covers, 2 dirty diaper bags and 1 travel bag to make using and washing efficient. The initial start-up cost is a bit steep so I will be building my collection over the next few weeks. We're using AppleCheeks (made in Canada) right now but I may try Mother-ease, or another brand if someone has a suggestion. The AppleCheeks system works with pre-fold liners and covers where Mother-ease uses one-size cloth diapers with covers. 

So far so good, although I haven't had to change a poopy diaper yet... can't be much different than a regular diaper, other than shaking off poop into the toilet when she starts eating solid foods; strictly breastmilk fed poop is water soluble. 

Feel free to give me your opinions. I will keep you posted on the result of changing.

Next step in meal time

Started feeding Robyn rice cereal for breakfast this week. She seems to enjoy it and it gives us a little routine in the morning which is nice. I'm thinking I will introduce a vegetable to her evening meal next week, carrots most likely as they are a bit sweet. Here's a little video of her eating cereal, just for fun.

video



Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Who's the man?!

When Stargazing fell for her true love she hadn't felt happiness as pure and lovely in years.

Dating him was like being a teenager all over again, not that she was old at the fine age of 24.  It was like dating the quarter back from an American high school - in that he was Mr. Popularity, ultra cool, sporty and very smooth.  Their first movie date was an afternoon showing of Saw, which turned into a yearly tradition. It doesn't sound romantic but was the perfect excuse to snuggle up to his chest, and take in his sexy Gillette Glacier scent. Still yum!

He's definitely a manly man; he loves his beer, can't get enough of sports especially football (Go Packers!) and must have meat with every meal - a variety from several animals is ideal. He is a sponge for sports and classic rock trivia. This comes in handy as a bartender in a sports bar; he often becomes the referee who calls the tie-breaker when the regulars go head to head on some sport related thingy... I have now become a true fan of watching golf, curling and especially football. No joke, last year I even declared, to the chagrin of my father-in-law, my team to be the Pittsburgh Steelers - Troy Polamalu baby!

He really knows how to keep a girl happy. One of the first dates we went on was to see Sarah McLachlan at Scotia Bank Place, in the 4th row from the stage. He tolerated So You Think You Can Dance for the first few episodes of season 1, then became a fan who accurately calls the choreographer of the opening number of the results shows every time - save last week when it was someone new to the show. He even suggests and pays for spa days... often!

Morgan is a super father, a loving husband and a great guy to hang out with. I love him ridiculously.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The shortest version of a long story

Any other person would learn from an experience like being lied to by a poster in a tattoo parlour, and would probably even be a bit jaded. Not me. I didn't learn from that mistake and proceeded to continue trusting the posters and people inhabiting those said parlours, not once but four more times for this one tattoo. I am naive to think most people are "helpers" like me and also a tad scared of large men, covered in ink, wielding a needle gun.

Mistake number 2: Although I knew the problem with the chinese character, I kept it and even incorporated it in the building of my half sleeve tattoo. Why? I didn't really know how to get cover ups at the time, and it still looked cool enough - how many people can read chinese anyhow?

Mistake number 3: I had a vision of the chinese symbol floating above a lotus flower in a blue mist... don't ask me why, I was 17, ok. That wasn't the problem, the problem was I only had limited funds so my choices of flowers on the poster were scarce. I live in the world of instant gratification so instead of waiting for more money I went with one that I thought was decent enough. **sigh**

Mistake number 4: The decent enough lotus actually looked more like a bond fire, especially because I wasn't able to describe the mist to the tattoo "artist" well enough - it looked like smoke. To top it off, when he asked me if it was okay I said yes because I didn't want to hurt his feelings.

Mistake number 5: I lived with this tat for about a year or so before I went back to get it modified. Again, I left it to the judgement of the tattoo "artist" to fix the mist and make the flower look less fire-like. The result was positive with the flower, he made the bottom petals larger which really helped. Unfortunately he added this odd graphic around the mist, in yellow and green no less, which was just weird. "Yeah, this is great, thanks!" I tell the Hell's Angel looking dude working on my arm.

A step in the right direction: In 2003, in Victoria, I added the faeries and stars to the upper portion of my arm, this took the focus away from the still butchered image below. What I really liked about this experience was the Artist took his time designing what I asked and used a west coast technique of watermarks for the stars - no black outlines and softer colours.

Although it was better, I still was not satisfied with the lotus and odd graphic, so in 2007 I had yet another Artist do a major overhaul of the flower and the results are... almost satisfactory. He was able to make the lotus look like a decent flower and added water around it for a nice effect but after 5 hours my arm was so swollen he couldn't quite fix everything we'd discussed. No problem, "Come back in a month or so and I'll finish it" he said. Well, my wedding was coming up soon after this so I didn't go, then time just kept passing and now we're 3 years later and I haven't been back. I think it's too late to take him up on the offer to fix it without having to fork over more cash, but I plan on doing so before returning to work.

What it looks like today:


The obvious lesson here is: take your time, really think through what it is you want to have permanently tattooed on your skin and choose your Artist wisely!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Do you know your chinese alphabet?

Take it from me - don't trust everything you read... especially if it's on a poster in a tattoo parlour. 

In 1997, I decided to get my second tattoo. It was very trendy to get a chinese symbol and although I wanted one I didn't want the everyday "love", "good luck" or "happiness" characters... that would have been too easy. I was drawn towards the chinese symbols for our alphabet and chose one for the letter "e". I had it tattooed on my left arm in the middle of my bicep about the size of a quarter. It looked cool, so I had no reason to think there should be anything wrong with it.

At the time I worked at Mail Boxes Etc., one day a young asian man was at the counter and asked me why I had chosen the symbol. I told him it was the symbol for the letter "e", my name is Emily - I thought it was neat. He informed me that there is no such thing but realized that the character when paired with other characters has the sound "e". It really didn't mean anything by itself, but thankfully is the power symbol when paired with others. EEEKKK! I thought to myself... why on earth would there be an entire poster for these letters if they did not exist? Was it someone's cruel joke? The joke was certainly on me, and that's not even the end of the story of this tattoo...

Friday, July 23, 2010

My name is Mommy, how do you do?

There are many things I wanted to do as a new mom; breastfeed - check, baby-wear using a carrier or sling as much as possible - check (more on this another time), join a mommy and me group - check and uncheck because it wasn't really for me, and among other things take swimming classes together - check.

What I didn't know I wanted to do, until I  heard a great interview on CBC with Danielle Gaylord of Signing Start, was take baby signing classes. Check! When Robyn was about 6 weeks old we went to an introductory class and although she was asleep through most of it, I thought it would be something we'd really enjoy. We started taking classes when Robyn was 2 1/2 months old, this is quite early, I really wanted to get out of the house and do something. The class taught us basic signs, using American Sign Language, that with practice and patience will enable us to communicate with our young ones before they are able to speak. Robyn has already demonstrated the ability to recognize, sign and react to "milk", "more" and "all done", how awesome is that! Danielle, our instructor, was so animated, patient, knowledgeable and fun. I would highly recommend this to everyone. To read more on her classes and FAQ's on signing with babies please check out her website: www.signingstart.com.

video
Here is a video I recorded of "Itsy Bitsy Spider" that we learned in class. We also learned "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "Three Little Monkeys". These songs are a great way to distract Robyn when she's getting fussy in her stroller or in the car.

I really miss our weekly classes, Danielle is taking the summer off. I'm looking forward to joining again in the fall.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stepping on your toes, or following in your shoes?

My first memory of creating art is with my mom, I couldn't have been much older than 4. We were sitting at the dinning room table with red construction paper, lace patterned paper doilies, scissors,  markers, glue and sparkles - come to think of it all her art project had something shiny or sparkly in it, but that would come as no surprise to anyone who knows her. We were making Valentine's Day cards, a simple but lovely design of a red paper heart covered by a doily decorated with sparkles and a VDay message.

My mom got me hooked on crafts of all kinds, sewing both by hand and machine, and beading.  She inspired me to try new things and always seemed so impressed with the creations I made. Always ahead of the newest trend, she even suggested I set up a henna tattoo stand in the market before it was the craze of 1998. As I so often think - I wish I'd listened to her. 

Do you remember FIMO? This moulding clay became popular in the mid 80's for sculpting figurines but my mom had a brilliant idea to use it to create jewellery. I'd help her roll it out, keep it warm (or it was terrible to work with), shape it and add sequins or rhinestones when needed. I made some of my own and happen to still have a pin we gave my Nan. Notice the use of silver rhinestones.

Stargazing created some beautiful pieces of jewellery. Hours were spent in bead shops combing every aisle, box, bottle, and tray for the ultimate combination of unique beads. She collected enough to fill two large tackle boxes full. One of her pieces was an experiment in green with a large glass disk as the focus point.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Who was she anyway?

Stargazing dreamed of owning a holistic healing clinic, specializing in massage therapy, reflexology and reiki, complemented harmoniously with personalized aromatherapy blends. She made unique jewellery with wire, leather, semi-precious stones, beads of all kinds and objects found at the beach. Art was her passion, be it dance, music or various projects dipping into any form that caught her attention. Eating out at a restaurant was a treat; home cooked meals were an important part of her life. She spent hours reading, loved poking around boutiques downtown and wandering around Beacon Hill Park and up and down Dallas Road. Her confidence in her sewing abilities never failed her.

Although she pursued her dream of being a healer far enough to become a Certified Aromatherapist, she simply did not have the drive to take it any further. Life throws obstacles, challenges and people at you for a reason and she surely had her share during her early 20's. We could blame it on the pot; it would be safe to say she did not smoke in moderation. We could blame it on money, or lack there of but that would be lame. We could blame it on love and the pursuit of someone else's dream... we could, but let's just say the combination of all these things and the lack of self confidence in her ability to make it happen, for real, was the downfall to completing this dream. It has never quite left her mind though. This is why she still has her portable massage table she bought in 2000 in her storage room and simply cannot part with it, no matter that it has not seen the light of a soothingly lit healing area for almost a decade.

Oh! Is that the baby I hear crying? Better put my mommy shoes back on... they're really great, I got them at the chiro on my last visit - Okabashi sandals actually.

She first appeared in 1999

In 1999 I was living the dream; I made the move to Victoria, in beautiful British Columbia, three long years after my first visit to the west coast where I fell in love with absolutely everything. 

Since I was a little girl, my folks have always said I was born in the wrong decade - my tendencies towards long flowing clothes, abundance of silver and stone jewellery, appreciation of folk and classic rock music, peace, love and alternative healing grew as I got into my teens and exploded in high school.

I spent my 16th summer in BC, two weeks in Vancouver and two weeks in Victoria, and it blew my mind. Vancouver was lush, green, excitingly hip. I hadn't expected the ocean and mountains to be so powerful. Athletic and artistic energy pulsed around me everywhere we went. I lived in a VW bus in my sister's backyard and thought I would do this for the rest of my life if I could! I honestly felt I had found my kindred spirit: the city.

To my delight, I discovered Victoria had all these things in a more relaxed, down to earth pace that resonated with me at a deeper level. My uncle and his wonderful family lived in an apartment unexpectedly situated above the rec centre in the middle of a park. I spent hours reading in and tending to the roof-top garden, biking and hiking with my uncle, drinking tea and having long chats with my aunt, playing all sorts of games outdoors with my cousins and eating the most delicious organic, locally grown food. Victoria felt like home; comforting, welcoming, grounded and peaceful. The ocean called my name everyday and I'd walk the path along Dallas road or through Beacon Hill Park, the two most gorgeous places I've ever been. Did you know there are peacocks in this park? Peacocks! I vowed to return someday, it was my destiny.

So there I was, in the internet cafe of the Chapters downtown, creating a new email address that would serve as my identity. I had to choose wisely, it must be creative, mystical, and very "Victoria". Stargazing was born.