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Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Ready. Nesting.

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The moses basket, ready and waiting for a new little body.

So, today’s my due date. There aren’t many times in one’s life that when someone asks you “when’s your due date?,” you can say, “today.” In my case, two times. Once with my son Keaton (who I went 11 days overdue with, by the way), and now this one. After this, for a variety of reasons, we’re done.

Given that Keaton’s entry into the world took a while, I really have no idea how long it’ll take with this one. My husband and I find ourselves in that unique time, on the precipice. I kinda feel like it’s almost Christmas, except that I don’t know exactly when Christmas is. But that’s okay. We’ve been keeping ourselves busy around here, but in a relaxed, easy pace sort of way.

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The co-sleeper is set up and ready next to the bed…

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The dresser drawer is full of baby girl-type clothes…

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The soon-to-be big brother keeps himself occupied with puppet shows…

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My awesome husband and soon-to-be father of two has been a blur, cleaning the house…

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And today our kitchen was a Banana Bread Factory. 6 loaves. I do believe that’s the most baking I’ve ever done at one go. And it actually barely put a dent in all the brown bananas, frozen and waiting patiently in our freezer. In between baking, I also felt totally inspired to research literary agents and publishers to submit my latest manuscript. So I guess my that must be my version of nesting. That’s cool.

After all this getting-ready work, we had to get out of the house. We decided on a spontaneous drive to my hometown of Maple Ridge, where we popped in on my lovely sister, Chay, who’s also about to have a baby any day now!

So yes, I’m ready. Our little family is ready. Any time now, baby. Image

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I hereby announce that I am reviving my blog. So yup, it’s been more than seven months since I’ve updated here, for various reasons. Anyone who’s visited here during this time has been greeted by a glowing Christmas tree – so I guess it’s been Christmas on my blog all this time. That’s okay with me, I guess, being a total Christmas nut.

During that seven months, every time I considered doing a new post, I just ultimately wasn’t inspired. I didn’t really know what to write about. My blog felt like it had no focus, or that maybe I’d moved past its original intention, or a combination of the two. When I first started this blog almost three years ago, I was heavily influenced by lots of “mama”-type crafty blogs (i.e. the mother of them all, soulemama), and my blog was an attempt to chronicle my attempts to be more crafty and domestic during my first maternity leave with my son, who’s now almost three.The crafty experimentation was fun and all, as were the photos of all the food I cooked up during that mat leave, but ultimately that’s not what I want this blog to be about in the long term. And that’s because, well, I’m just really not all that crafty. Knitting annoys me, sewing gives me a kink in my neck, and I’m just not a natural housewife. That year of crafty/domestic experimentation helped me to realize these things about myself, and that’s helpful in and of itself. But glowbuggirl is not really a mama-type blog, and I wanted to find my new focus.

When I went to revive the ol’ blog, I thought about starting afresh – leaving this one behind, and starting a whole new one. But then I decided, no, I am Glowbug Girl, and I shall evolve! So, what has been occupying my life and body and brain for the past seven months?

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Two of my current “projects” – a baby in the belly and a freshly completed manuscript at the ready. The cat’s cute, too. It’s blurry because I took it with my iPhone. Sorry. 

1) I’ve been busy growing a new addition to our family of three. I’m 36 weeks along, and so ready to be done. With my son Keaton I could have kept on being pregnant, but this time it’s different. Something about chasing around a toddler while feeling like a galumphing elephant in the summer heat has taken some of the charm out of the late third trimester. When I was pregnant the last time I could just sit in front of a fan all day and have unlimited naps (when I was on mat leave, of course… although come to think of it I did close the door to my office more then a few times because I was “on deadline.”) Don’t mind me, I’m just feeling complainy today.

2) Just finished the first draft of my latest children’s novel, tentatively titled Mint Magic. I cannot express the relief that I felt when I typed “The End” last week. I started that book six years ago, and I’ve taken big breaks from it in the meantime while I wrote other stuff. It’s a totally different book than when I first started writing it, in my creative writing class during my MA program. But now it is done, at least.

3) Working on a very exciting digital children’s book project with a few other collaborators. I don’t want to say too much in these early-ish stages for fear of jinxing it, but let’s just say I’m super-stoked about where we’re headed with it. More later.

4) Taking courses toward the PIDP (Provincial Instructor Diploma Program), which nerdy me is loving. When I’m done the program I’ll go up a pay grade, which is nice, but just taking courses in curriculum development, evaluation of learning and instructional strategies get me all excited. Yes, I am a nerd. Yes, I love being in school. And for those reasons (and a few others that I’ll write about later) making the career shift from communications and marketing office slave to university instructor a couple of years ago was one of the best things I ever did. More on this later, too.

So there we go. And that’s where I want to head with this blog, too. Mama and baby/kid life is great, but that’s not the focus of Glowbug Girl. I go more than slightly nutty if I don’t have some sort of cerebral/creative outlet, so this blog will (hopefully) be one of my sanctuaries for the preservation of my sanity. I want to talk about creative writing. I want to discuss the intersection of traditional children’s book publishing and digital publishing. I want to talk about arts and culture. I want to talk about childhood nostalgia and my favourite movies and music, and random thoughts, and other things that have already found a place here. And so I shall continue.

Coming up in a future post: why I call this blog Glowbug Girl.

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Sometimes, when life swirls around you in a crazy blur, isn’t it important to take a moment to think about a few “right now”-type things that make you smile with glee?

1.) This fabulous ring, gift from best friend for my birthday. It’s impossible to have a bad day with a teensy teacup atop your finger, no?

2.) Two fresh and lovely jars of my Auntie Helen’s apricot plum jam (that woman makes the best jam in all the world, seriously). Bread, butter, jam and a slice of cheese? Snack heaven, I tell you. I could eat that every day for the rest of my life and not get sick of it.

3.) A stack of author copies of Farmed Out, ready and waiting to be inscribed for loved ones.

4.) Delicious, end-of-summer meals like grilled eggplant stacks (eggplant, tomato slices, fresh mozzarella and pesto). Okay, so yes, my happy things often revolve around food.

5.) Beautiful wooden bowls made by my dearly departed Grandpa Goerzen, saved from a “ceremonial burning” in my father’s chimea. I can’t believe he was about to burn some of my grandpa’s famous bowls. Said stack has now been distributed amongst me and my sisters!

6.) Gorgeous owl vase from my sister Chay, also a birthday present. Look, his brain grew roses! Seventh happy thing? My fabulous friends and family, who know that giving me perfect gifts like tiny teacup rings and owl vases will make me a happy gal indeed!

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Keaton turned the big two  years old on Saturday, so of course we just had to have a little celebration at his favourite playground with family and close friends. The photo second from the top was taken at Joe’s Grill, our favourite West End greasy spoon. Yeah, as you can see we’re pretty regular customers, as evidenced by the gift made for Keats by the cook, K.P. And the photo second from the bottom has got to be one of my favourite photos, ever.

Can’t believe my little guy is two. As Josh said, he may be two, but he really is still so little! Happy birthday, Keats.

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Sorry about the weird spacing of the photos. I can’t quite seem to fix it. 

So what do you do when you’re feeling a little stressed, overwhelmed, unbalanced and generally out of sorts? Well, you plan a spontaneous stateside road trip with your husband and almost-two-year-old, of course! We headed down the I-5 on Saturday morning and then gorgeous Chuckanut Drive in Washington State, and were in Birch Bay in time for breakfast, featuring the slowest. service. ever. And slightly watery eggs benedict served by a wacky waitress. All very entertaining.

We drove over to darling Whidbey Island, the site of many a dad-and-daughter motorcycle trip back when my sisters and I were kids. We stopped off at the Captain Whidbey Inn, and it was just as I remembered it in 1983.

And of course Keaton just wanted to go to the “BEACH!” and play with “WOCKS”!

 

Which he did, on several occasions, this photo being in Coupeville on Whidbey Island. Why enjoy beautiful food in a lovely little cafe (Knead & Feed) when you know there is a pebbly beach just down the stairs outside?

After a ferry ride back to the mainland, complete with entertaining stencilled cupboards, we went to two small town destinations that many of us know so well from the small screen: North Bend, where Twin Peaks was filmed back in the late 80s/early 90s, and where my husband Joshua also spent four formative years of his childhood life. How about that, eh? If I had known during all those early teenaged years while I obsessively watched Twin Peaks that my future husband was growing up in the very town that it was filmed…

Damn fine coffee.

And humungous portions. My god. This Veggie Mixer kept us going for three whole meals!

Keaton played in the playground of Josh’s old elementary school, North Bend Elementary.

And then Roslyn, home to my favourite TV show of all time, Northern Exposure, which I have mentioned more than a few times on this here blog. Is it possible to be starstruck by a town? Because I was. Seriously, it’s still just like it was in the show. As Josh said, that’s probably written into any possible development plan for the town that it can’t change. But really, check these photos out. Isn’t that Dr. Fleischman’s battered blue truck?

After exploring the town for a while we took Keats to the local playground, and I just keep smiling hugely to myself, thinking, “We’re at the playground. But not just any playground. A playground in Roslyn. Wow.” Yes, I know, ridiculous fan girl.

Then we visited the troll under the bridge in Fremont, Seattle, and had some yummy lunch at the Silence.Heart.Nest Cafe.

After all that excitement, it was time for some kickin’ back with Winnie the Pooh. Mixed into all this was one nice hotel, one sketchy one and one so-so one in North Seattle (yikes!), lots of grease on food action, a failed trip to the zoo, a flat tire, and much noticing of American accents/dialects.

Road trips are AWESOME. And now I am going to eat nothing but steamed vegetables and fish for two weeks. Erp.

P.S. Okay, so I know it’s been forever since my last post. Almost three months, to be somewhat exact. My lack of posts, not unsurprisingly, is directly tied to my three-month-long bout of writer’s block which now, thankfully, seems to have ended. Actually, it was writer’s block, but then I decided to just go with that, and turn it into a brief vacation from writing. But I’m ready to get back at it. Let’s see how it goes.

P.P.S. That was a long P.S.

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Fabulous family friend Meredith helping to prepare just one of our amazing feasts over the holidays. Seriously, check out all that chicken!

I estimate that during the past month (and much of this has been over the past ten days) I have consumed approximately four litres of eggnog, one dozen hot buttered rums, two dozen glasses of red wine, fifty rums and cokes, three litres of ruby red grapefruit cider (my new favourite – not really festive, I know, but anyway), and 376 Lindor chocolates. And you?

Oh, and one magnificent slice of turducken from the local “happy meat” butcher. It’s hard to capture the unparalleled majesty of a turducken, but here you go. (A turkey, stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken, all deboned and with stuffing in there, too, in case you’re not familiar.)

We also played about 85 games of Settlers of Catan, many of them consecutive. I was having total Catan withdrawal, and it’s still barely been satisfied. Fortunately there are more games to come this weekend.

Oh yes, Christmas is continuing in full force in my world. I still have two more Christmases to go, which I’m so looking forward to – we went to visit my husband’s family for actual Christmas this year (I’m 35, and this was my very first Christmas away from my family!), and so this weekend we’re having another Christmas at my mum’s, and then one at my dad’s. So this coming weekend, while the rest of the world is getting on with their lives, we’ll be watching ‘Christmas Vacation,’ singing along to the Roger Whittaker Christmas album (a beloved holiday staple in my family), exchanging presents, having a rockin’ good time with my sisters and eating more turkey. For this Christmas lover, the chance to extend the holidays a little further is incredibly exciting. (Let’s see, how many times can I write ‘Christmas’ in one paragraph. Ummm… nine.)

Can I also please add how amazing panettone French toast is? Just buy one of them cello-wrapped packages of the ubiquitous Italian Christmas bread from Safeway or where ever, slice it up in rounds, and make it as you would French toast. Yum.

Best photo of panettone ever, I thought. And, oddly, I found it on the blog of some guy who dislikes both panettone and Christmas. Well, hmpfh.

What an amazing holiday season it’s been so far with Josh’s family. As a born and bred coastal girl, I’m used to a whole lot of green Christmases. (For example, there was a snowblower at Josh’s dad’s house, and I had no idea what it was.) It was so cool, and so festive, to be in a place where snow and Christmastime go together. A few photos from our yuletide adventures (with a heavy emphasis on the cute baby shots):

Happy holidays, everyone! I’ll be back in the new year with renewed vim and vigour, more posts and some changes around here – stay tuned.

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Thankful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wanted to put a photo here of our Thanksgiving feast at my sister Chay’s, but I can’t find our camera at the moment. So I will put this ubiquitous Norman Rockwell photo here instead which, in spite of its white bread suburban middle America-ish-ness, brings tears to my eyes every time. I heart Norman Rockwell.

Happy Thanksgiving, all you Canadians! Joshua, Keaton & I have returned from a blissful family time at my dad and stepmum’s house in Chilliwack, where we feasted & drank & sat by the fire & drank coffee with Baileys & played Settlers of Catan & feasted & drank & repeated. And then we had another feast tonight at Chay’s place! Yummmmm.

And right now I’m feeling thankful for so much. For all of the above. For my wonderful family, my adorable son, and my fabulous hubby. The opportunity to live a creative life (as much as possible). For our fun and wacky neighbourhood, and our great building. For Keaton sleeping through the night sometimes now. For the chance to work part-time while Keaton is still so little. For so many things.

Hope your feasting & festivity is going splendidly, too!

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