Archive for May, 2011

May 31, 2011

Not tonight, dear. I have a headache.

by Decemberbaby

Poor Mr. December. Every night he asks me to garden with him, just for a little bit. And every night I’m too tired, or my head hurts, or I’m having crazy round ligament pain. And so the plants that I bought a while back become more and more root-bound, and my longed-for rock garden (to replace the lawn which we hate caring for) is still a dream. Oh, and I still have a headache.

In other news, N has dropped drastically on the growth curve (he used to be on the 25th percentile, now he’s below the 5th) and this is the second month that the doctor has “given” him to fatten up before she starts some other investigations or referrals or diagnostic stuff or whatever it is doctors do when they decide your baby is too small. For the record, he’s developmentally on track, babbling and cruising, eating, laughing… you get the idea. He’s a healthy, active boy. Nevertheless, the words “failure to thrive” got thrown around a bit and then dismissed… temporarily.

We’re doing all the things parents do to fatten their kid up. We feed him full-fat yogurt and avocados, I make his oatmeal and mashed potatoes with heavy cream, and we’ve even taken to adding an extra scoop of formula when we mix up a bottle for him (my hatred of formula is a topic for another day, but if I haven’t mentioned it yet my milk supply disappeared early on in my pregnancy.) Still, he’ll eat what he wants and not a drop more. What’s a mom to do?

Folks, it’s too hot to blog, so I’ll end here. WIP Wednesday is tomorrow – are you ready to join me?

May 26, 2011

Plant swap, anyone?

by Decemberbaby

I need a plant swap.

I’m feeling too cheap to go and buy a whole bunch of groundcovers and tiny alpine plants, but I need some for the rock garden we want to put in. Yes, a rock garden. We’re just not lawn people, our neighbours are, and I think it would just be simpler if they had something pretty to look at instead of our poorly-tended lawn. Besides, I generally view lawns as a massive waste of resources. Put in some native plants, people!

Back to the plant swap…

I’m looking for some ferns, periwinkle, irish or scotch moss, alyssum, and anything else you think would look good among rocks and gravel. So… if any Toronto-area readers have these things and want to get rid of them, maybe in exchange for some roses or hydrangeas, let me know. I really need a plant fix.

May 24, 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday – May 25 edition

by Decemberbaby

I don’t know about you, but I work best under a deadline. I just finished my WIP Wednesday project from last week, 5 minutes before Wednesday. Hooray!

Before I get started, I want to give a shout-out to Orit, who cleaned up her desk last week. And I’ve been assured that Bookishima will be jumping back on the WIP Wednesday wagon today.

You can do it, too. Just tell us (on your blog, or in the comments below) what you’re going to achieve this week. It can be as small as changing the lightbulb that’s been dead for months, or as big as renovations or landscaping. Post a “before” pic if you can. Don’t forget to link back to this post so that your readers can be inspired by the rest of the WIP Wednesday crew.

And now, the big reveal…

Completed: Basement storage

This was a lot more labour-intensive than I thought. It turned out that I had to add a spacer on one end so that the drawers could open successfully. Then I discovered that I’d have to shim up the units since the floor slopes quite drastically (I don’t know why this surprised me; our house is 60 years old. Nothing is straight or level.) Finally, the cutouts to accommodate the water meter took a very long time and then needed to be disguised a bit. I also took the time to screw the units together so that the fronts were flush with no visible gaps, and I screwed each frame into the wall for safety. In the end, though, I have a wall unit I can feel proud of:

Note the spacer on the far left of the unit. I had to add that so the drawers wouldn’t bang into the countertop.

Here you can see the cutout I had to make in the end panel to accommodate the water meter. It allows room to open the top panel and read the meter. The electrical cord snaking through that hole is the charger for my cordless drill, which now lives in one of the drawers.

As you can see, I had to cut up the botttom panel to fit it around the main water pipe. I assembled this last unit in place so that I could fit it around the water meter without excessive loss of material or storage space. The door of this compartment is made of a shelf designed for this unit.

Major props go out to my cordless drill, jigsaw, carpenter’s square, and clamps, without which this project would have been impossible… or at least a whole lot uglier.

In Progress: the broken bed

Mr. December and I broke the bed.

It’s not what you think… I just get a kick out of saying it that way. Our bed has no box spring; the king size mattress sits directly on wooden slats, which are supported in the middle of the bed by really flimsy legs. We’ve been pushing the legs back into place for at least a year now, and it looks (and sounds) as if one of them has cracked. I’ve purchased lumber and plan to build three u-profile boxes to replace the three flimsy legs. This should be a pretty quick fix, but I’ll have to remember to take the 3-inch screws out of the car before Mr. December drives off with them again.

In Progress: the workshop

Now that I have a beautiful new wall unit in my workshop, I need to tidy up and organize all my stuff into those white tubs so that I can have my work surface back AND find all of the tools and doodads I know that I bought that one time…

Take a good look at this picture. This is the last time you’ll see this kind of chaos in my workshop!

That’s all for me. Go forth and be productive… and post about it!

May 24, 2011

Even the baby can bento!

by Decemberbaby

It’s been a while since I’ve been motivated enough to make cute lunches, but today seemed like the perfect opportunity: warm enough for a picnic, which of course necessitates packed lunches, which in our house means… bento time!

Since N is eating solid foods by himself now, I figured it was time for his first bento.

Here they are…

This was K's lunch. Clockwise from top left: flower-cut watermelon and leaf-cut honeydew (with a chive for a stem) on a cup of berries, orange pepper strips, round pretzels, grilled cheese wedges topped with butterfly-cut orange pepper.

N's first bento ever! Clockwise from top: blueberries in a bear-shaped cup, peeled orange pepper chunks, honeydew cubes, grilled cheese wedges.

As you can see, N was loving his lunch!

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a ton of work to do before tomorrow’s post. My jigsaw awaits…

May 22, 2011

Just a really great day

by Decemberbaby

It was one of those days when almost nothing was so special, and yet everything was.

Mr. December and the kids graciously let me sleep in until 10:15. When I woke up, I took both kids to the grocery store (in the bakfiets!) and shopped. K was so happy, so enthusiastic about everything she saw. We rode back home, an easy ride down a gradual slope. We unpacked groceries. We ate lunch.

(N was offered some delicious and fresh scrambled eggs made with cream. He categorically refused to eat them. Five minutes after I had put him on the floor to play, I heard him smacking his lips. There he sat under the table, happily munching on stale cheerios and pita from goodness-knows-when.)

The kids napped. I cleaned up the kitchen at a leisurely pace while Mr. December mowed the lawn. Since today was Lag B’omer, we set up some flagstones as a makeshift firepit for our playdate later on. I cleaned the backyard toys.

In Israel Lag B’omer is celebrated with bonfires, bows and arrows, and barbecues. At 4:30 some friends from shul joined us for a very small cookout. The kids collected sticks for the fire, we roasted hot dogs, we made s’mores, we taught them to use a bow and arrow (plastic with suction-cup tips, from the dollar store), and had a singalong. The 3-year-olds spent most of their time in the clubhouse, jumping up and down and shrieking. N played with another baby just a month older than he, and tried to eat every stick he discovered as he crawled across the grass. Everyone was sooty and filthy. We had a marvellous time.

Mr. December left to take the kids to the in-laws for a sleepover, and I settled into the hammock for a while. I called my mum. I cleared the patio table. I planted baby corn and potatoes. And now here I am, in a house that smells vaguely of campfire, blogging and making plans for a hot bath.

Too many words. Here are some of the highlights:

"Of course you can take your bows and arrows up into the tower. That's the best place to shoot from!"

"My shirt is stained, my overalls are half-undone, I'm eating a stick, and I have my very own fire. I feel like a real boy!"

It looks like a marshmallow exploded on K's face... sometimes things are exactly as they appear.

N looks like he's singing too.

I hope your day was beautiful too!

May 21, 2011

Definitely the meanest mommy

by Decemberbaby

Actual conversation on the way home from shul (synagogue) today:

K: I’m hungry.

Me: Really? There was so much food at the kiddush. I’m full of lunch. Why didn’t you eat if you were hungry?

K: Because… well, you should have brought a snack for me.

Me: I don’t bring snacks for people who ignore an entire lunch buffet. You get snack at the kids’ service, and there was a whole lunch. It was your choice to eat or not.

K: But I’m hungry!

Me: Then you can have something to eat when we get home.


So that we’re clear, Mr. December filled up a plate for her at shul. She was offered pita, hummus, grape tomatoes and baby carrots, pasta, fruit, and cookies. She chose to eat a bit of watermelon and some of a cookie. After some cajoling, and reminding her that this was lunch (i.e. Mummy isn’t cooking when we get home), we told her it was her choice… and here we have the consequences. Is she too young to learn from them?

May 19, 2011

To my composter

by Decemberbaby

Dear composter,

You’re not beautiful or fancy or German-engineered. My mother-in-law only had you because the City gave you away for free. But composter, you do a thing of beauty.

You accept all of our food scraps without judgment and ease my conscience about the rotten fruit I find in the back of the fridge. You swallow paper plates, popsicle sticks, and unwanted flyers. You saw us through the garbage strike of ’08 and turned us into some of the only folks on the block who didn’t have to go to the dump every week.

I never realized how much you would do for me, and how little you would ask in return. This spring I feared I had neglected you too long – your contents looked compacted and I wasn’t convinced they had actually broken down – but as I turned the soil and waited to be confronted with evidence of last year’s waste, I found… soil. Just soil, with maybe a few corn cobs (they just take forever to break down, don’t they?) and the printed edge of a Chinet plate as evidence of its origins. I was elated. You work! I throw rotten food into you and you give me back beautiful, nutrient-rich soil! For FREE!

I’m sorry I ever doubted you. I’m sorry about those blue plastic bags (they said they were biodegradable. They lied.) I’m sorry I stabbed a hole in your side with my garden claw (I was just so excited about the dirt I kept uncovering!)

Stick with me, baby. As of tonight, I’m not gonna feed the city’s green bin any more than absolutely necessary (I know you don’t do diapers). I’m gonna start feeding you again, and we’ll make beautiful dirt together.



May 18, 2011

Work-in-Progress Wednesday – May 18 edition

by Decemberbaby

It’s still Wednesday for a few more hours, right? Sorry to have kept you all waiting…

If you’re joining me for WIP Wednesdays, don’t forget to comment here with a link to your blog and link back from your blog post.

Let’s give a big sweet and crunchy welcome to in our small garden, who joined WIP Wednesday last week with a promise to start some seedlings and make English/Hebrew plant markers. She hasn’t posted yet today, but I hope she does soon.

And now for my contribution.

Completed: Half of my to-do list

Yes, it was uncreative, but I really really needed to knock off some of those items, and it was about time to stop putting them off in favour of more creative stuff. So this week I checked and re-installed all of our smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, did the info cards I promised for Beit Halochem, resolved the lawnmower issue, removed the data from my old iMac and set it up for K to use as a DVD player, and went grocery shopping. And then… I mounted the toilet paper.

I know you’re all dying to see where I mounted it, so here are some after pics:

Yes, I mounted the toilet paper in the drawer. It may not look this way in the photo, but it’s actually the perfect distance from the toilet and was the only possible mounting place that wouldn’t require major contortions in order to get some tp. Later we discovered that it works beautifully as a dispenser when the drawer is closed, too. The best thing about it? It won’t get wet, and the kids (especially N) can’t play with it and throw the whole roll down the toilet.

I made the mounting bracket out of a dowel and two scraps of wood using a spade bit, a countersink bit, and my jigsaw (oh, how I love my jigsaw… but that’s another post completely). I’m determined to do more woodworking – I really miss it.

In Progress: Basement storage

My workshop is in desperate need of storage. I have too many tools, screws, fabrics, and notions to mention, and right now they’re stashed wherever I could find space – meaning that I can never find my stuff when I need it. Today I went out and purchased a few Trofast units from IKEA. You know, these ones:

Well, like these ones except twice the height. I bought bins of various sizes and lids for most of them.

My goal for next week is to have all three assembled, filled with (organized) stuff, and labeled. This will involve a little woodworking because I have to do a cutout in the bottom and side of one unit to accommodate our main water line. More jigsaw fun… I can hardly wait.

And now I’ll sign off – it’s nearly bedtime, and I want to get this posted before Thursday.

What are you working on this week?

May 17, 2011

Anybody need a rooster?

by Decemberbaby

Okay, she doesn’t fertilize chicken eggs. But she does wake up at the crack of dawn, and she makes sure everybody knows about it.

Official transcript of this morning:

6:30 a.m.*

K: (humming loudly)

6:45 a.m.

K: It’s daytime. It’s daaaaytiiime. Mummy, it’s daytime. I think it’s time to get up!

N: Bah bah aaaaaah!

K: Yes, N, it’s daytime! Good morning!

6:55 a.m.

K: Mummy? Can I get up? It’s daytime!

Me: No.

K: but it’s daaaaytiiime.

Mr. D: I think you need to have a talk with her.

K: (humming loudly)

Well, we did have a talk this morning about how just because the sun is up doesn’t mean it’s time to wake up. I also emphasized that it’s not OK to wake mummy and daddy up unless there’s an emergency. Then we talked about what the word “emergency” means: need a freezie? not an emergency. Bleeding heavily? that’s an emergency. I don’t have high hopes, though, seeing as much of the adult population still can’t tell the difference between emergency and not.

I’m going back to sleep now.


*yes, I’m aware that some normal people wake up at 6:30 a.m. In our house, though, that’s not morning. 7:30 is our earliest acceptable wakeup time, and we’ll go to heroic lengths to keep it that way.

May 14, 2011

Scenes from a garden, take 1

by Decemberbaby

For the past week, Mr. December and I have been working diligently on our garden. It has finally, finally warmed up around here, and we’ve planted not only our cold weather crops (broccoli, carrots, spinach, potatoes, snap peas) but also some summer veggies as well. Here’s our lovely square foot vegetable garden:

(Please, don’t mind the milk crate. K uses it to put her “babies” in when she’s outside. I think she’s re-enacting some of the scenes from Charlotte’s Web where Fern keeps Wilbur in a crate in the yard.)

I noticed today that the snap peas have sprouted and are starting to grow, and that the potatoes need another layer of soil poured on them. I can’t wait to see everything growing! Everything except the weeds, that is.

Next time: pics of my beautiful spring bulbs and the new fruit trees!