Archive for ‘weight loss’

March 1, 2013

Le plus ca change…

by Decemberbaby

Yes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

I’m on antibiotics. Again. For mastitis. Again.

I think I might also have a sinus infection, which would explain the feeling of *holycrappleasestopinflatingthatballooninmyheaditsabouttoburst!!!!!* I get every time I sit up. The doctor assured me that the Keflex I’m now taking for the mastitis should knock out any sinus infection as well.

In the meantime, I’m learning a few things:

1. I’m only fat because food tastes good. No, seriously. Right now I can’t smell anything at all, which means I can’t taste anything. And absent taste, food has no particular purpose, so why eat unless I’m feeling hungry? And is that why people gain weight when they stop smoking? Because suddenly they can actually taste their food?

2. I’m a very lucky woman to have so many friends and family to call on in times of need. I’d like to send a shout-out to L, who picked N up from school at lunchtime and drove him to my parents’ house; to M, who fed N lunch and got him settled for a nap; to my in-laws, whose devotion to our children is such that they didn’t even flinch when asked to pick up K from school and N from my parents’ house and then come here and babysit all three kids for 4 hours; and, of course, to Mr. December, who kept me supplied with hot packs and tea and blankets all through the feverish shivering hours of the evening and night.

3. Antibiotics are magical. I can imagine only too well what a week or more of this suffering would be like without them. A couple of hundred years ago a fever like this would have had my husband and children fearing my demise. Now it just means yet another visit to the doctor and a heart-to-heart conversation with my pharmacist. What a time to be alive.

4. We (as in Mr. December and I) need to teach the children to knock. Moreover, I think we need to repeat our lesson on what constitutes an emergency worth waking a sleeping parent (Hint: if there’s no fire and not more than a litre of blood, it’s not an emergency. Either fix it yourself or WAIT.)

5. We have finally established circumstances under which the phrases, “I want you to look at my breast” and “can you please massage the underside of my breast for me?” can in no way be construed as a come-on.

6. Shit happens. We all know that. But it only happens on the floor when mommy is very sick and just the act of bending over to wipe said floor makes her howl in pain. Well played, universe. Well played.

I’ll see you all when my sinuses clear.

November 17, 2012

The pit bull eventually lets go.

by Decemberbaby

That is the difference between a pit bull and a hoarder, isn’t it?

The next step in our process towards loving our small home – and continuing to live in it as our children get bigger – is getting rid of stuff. All kinds of stuff. Our basement hallway has become the repository for so much of it that it’s kind of hard to get to the laundry machines without stepping on things. It was hard, at any rate. It’s much easier now.

Today was the third day in a row that I spent an hour purging the basement of its clutter. I got rid of things like the half-empty box of grout, a box of brand new switch plates, and extra hardware pieces from our IKEA kitchen. In theory these things could be useful in the future. Then again, these sorts of things pile up and end up obscuring the things we really do want to use again, like the infant rainsuit that I hadn’t been able to find for two years and ended up replacing with a brand new one. If you take that example and monetize it, subtracting the cost of the grout and switch plates and hardware from the cost of the rainsuit (not to mention all the time I wasted looking for said rainsuit,) the clutter didn’t save me any money or time. In fact, it cost me.

Tonight Mr. December and I culled the stuffed animal collection. We’re getting rid of more than half of our stuffies, and even the number remaining seems excessive to me. It’s physically sickening at times, how many useful things are just idling in our basement – enough to clothe a whole family and provide toys for their children – while other people go without. Why is it so easy to just keep acquiring things we don’t need?

This is cathartic for me, this purge. I’d like to get us down to the necessities that we love and use. I’ve made peace with ruthless purging, accepting that when I needed different clothing sizes for the kids we had plenty of friends willing to lend or just give us their outgrown things. We’re not living in a post-apocalyptic world, and it’s time to accept that thinking as if we might be impoverished at any moment is actually robbing us of a peaceful, relaxing, calming home.

Children definitely complicate this process. For some reason they attract stuff (most of it tiny and plastic) the way a magnet dropped in Parry Sound will attract lots of tiny little pebbles. And the stuff hides everywhere and mates and has babies, until the room that was clutter-free two weeks ago is once again littered with collections of the Brattiest Pet Shop and dinosaurs from The Land Before Time-Warner Productions. I’m left to wonder whether any of the people who speak or write about conquering clutter actually were able to live that way with small children in the house.

It’s a huge pile, and as I remove one layer of stuff another is revealed. Every trash bag that leaves this house (6 so far) and every box of donated stuff (4 and counting) makes me feel lighter, more relaxed, and less stressed. It actually inspires me to get back on the weight-loss wagon, because how better to characterize my recent gain-back of almost everything I’ve lost than to compare it with decluttering my entire basement and then going on a huge shopping spree and filling it back up?

It’s definitely time to start considering food the way I consider a potential purchase. In the meantime, though, at least I get a surge of pleasure every time I head down to the basement.

Tags:
August 8, 2012

We interrupt this lull to bring you… my life.

by Decemberbaby

People keep asking me how I’m enjoying my summer vacation. It surprises me every time. I’m a mom. I don’t get summer vacation. Summer is my busy season – no school, later bedtime for the kids, earlier wake-ups (I have a love-hate relationship with the long summer days,) the garden, day trips… I’m busy. I can’t wait for school to start, not because I don’t enjoy my children’s company, but because I’ll actually have time do get things done in increments greater than ten minutes. Oh, and I might get enough time to myself to do something decadent, like going back to Weight Watchers (yes, I’ve fallen off the wagon and am crawling back on, shamefaced, seven pounds heavier.)

And yet, I get a fair number of things done. Without further ado, here’s my list of

THINGS THAT MADE ME FEEL GREAT TODAY

1. I fished N’s pyjama pants out of the kitchen wall vent. The vent has now been covered.

2. I managed a Lowe’s run in under 20 minutes. Also, everybody there greeted me by name and asked about my current projects.

3. The construction worker who stands at the end of our street to stop cars from entering told me that she always recognizes me (and therefore moves the pylons aside) because I always smile at her.

4. Our garage is now clean and empty of anything we’re not currently using.

5. I biked about 30 minutes today. So much better than driving.

 

I feel lonely out here in the big, cold internet. Leave me a comment:

What do you feel great about today?  And

If I have limited blogging time, what kinds of things would you rather I blogged about? Crafty stuff? My life? Deep thoughts?

June 6, 2012

Work-in-Progress Wednesday – mental health day edition

by Decemberbaby

I am severely sleep deprived, and it’s starting to show. This morning I woke up (that’s too strong a term for what happened, actually. Let’s say I achieved consciousness) and realized that my limbs felt heavy and my speech was really slow. I made Mr. December drive K to school (anyone who is sleep deprived has no business driving a car, in my opinion, although I understand the necessity of driving sometimes) and I went back to sleep. I just need to catch up before I really make a mess of things – for the past five days I’ve had a case of what I call “the stupids”, which means that I was aware that my decision making abilities were way, way off – or seriously yell at the kids for all the little things that are driving me nuts right now (why are there stickers on everything? Why does K need to hoard toys and then haul them all over the house? And so on.)

Right. So it’s “restore my mental health” day today, which seems fitting since yesterday I found this door while on my way to an appointment:

I definitely need to get my hands on that key. In the meantime, here’s my progress for the week:

In Progress: choosing my apps

I really, really like Remember the Milk. I like it enough that I bought the Pro version. It’s a bit like a hybrid between a calendar and a to-do list, and it lets you tag things, set priorities, schedule tasks, set deadlines, postpone… and to-do items can have notes attached, so if my to-do is to phone someone, I can have all my information right there – telephone number, what we need to talk about, reference numbers, etc. It’s really awesome. Even better is the fact that I can use it on my iPod and on my Mac, so I can organize lists and notes on my Mac so that the typing gets done faster, and then sync it with my iPod to be able to refer to it throughout the day.

Yesterday was the first day that I organized myself with RTM, and it went very, very smoothly. I got everything done. Even more amazingly, I was able to see that I really have no spare time in my day, and I could see how long it will be before all my items actually get done, and so I was much more able to say “no” to new commitments.

I’d still like a month-at-a-time calendar view. I think I should be able to sync it to my iCal, but I’m not sure. I’ll play around with that this week.

In Progress: weight watchin’

I’m up two pounds this week, and I know exactly why: when I’m exhausted but circumstances dictate that I can’t (or shouldn’t) sleep, I eat to keep myself awake. Also, I was exceptionally testy on Shabbat and so had Mr. December go out on Saturday night and get me some cookie dough and some ice cream. I ate all of it.

I’m hoping to make this week a better week, but there’s only one thing I can prioritize at a time, and right now it has to be sleep.

In Progress: Upcycling clothes!

I have a whole lot of t-shirts stashed in my workshop. In (seemingly) unrelated news, most of K’s stretchy play dresses have seen better days. This week I’m going to make her some play dresses (and matching bike shorts to wear under them) out of my old shirts. Wish me luck!

So nu, what are you up to this week?

May 30, 2012

Work-in-Progress Wednesday – The Giraffe Quilt edition.

by Decemberbaby

I’ve been busy figuring out exactly how to fit everything in. Biking K to school. Blogging. Sewing and crafting. Gardening. Cooking and laundry and housekeeping. Paying the bills and filing them. Losing weight. Visiting with family and friends. Developing our weekly Shabbat practice. Raising the kids.

It’s a lot. I’m convinced that I can keep at least most of those balls in the air as long as I get really, really organized – so that’s what I’ve been doing. I bought an iPod touch so that I can use apps to track all of my to-do’s and shopping lists, my contacts, Kids’ immunization info, and everything else a mom wants to have in her pocket at all times. The only issue is that a system like that takes time to set up, and I’m still at the stage of choosing the right apps. Still, it’s progress.

I finally accepted what Mr. December has been telling me all along – I need to remove myself from the main living areas if I ever want to be left alone to get things done. With my built-in sewing table/desk combo finally installed (if not yet sealed,) I’ve taken the laptop to my workshop. Soon I hope to move all my paperwork and bill-filing stuff to the basement as well, which will free up some of the kitchen clutter. I’m looking forward to it.

And now, in return for your patience, here’s what you’ve all been dying to see… The Giraffe Quilt!

My sister-in-law loves giraffes, and her favourite colours are blues and greens. Finding the giraffe fabrics was the hard part – they only seemed to be available in the U.S. Anyhow, all of the printed fabrics are cotton. The giraffe applique is white minky with a polka-dot texture.

The back is a turquoise tie-dye minky (and it’s so soft!) with a pieced strip near the top. The strip was practical, since I didn’t have a minky piece large enough, and it gave me the opportunity to use my favourite giraffe fabrics again.

I hand-finished the binding, by the way. It was oddly relaxing, and I’d definitely do it again if I were making a quilt for someone special. And wow, is this boy special! Honestly, I had no idea that I’d feel the love welling up like that just seeing a picture of my first nephew… but I did. And so, wanting him to always know how I felt at first, I printed a dedication and included it in the pieced strip on the back:

So that’s the quilt. A labour of love from start to finish.

Completed (sort of): Built-in sewing table and desk

This is where I’ll be working from now on:

I was actually a bit neglectful when taking the photo, and so you can’t see the whole corner desk (at the left edge of the picture.) It’s there, and it’s my computer workstation. The lovely large table you see is my sewing/cutting/crafting area, flanked by racks of thread on one side and spools of ribbon on another. Next to the corner desk I have another IKEA Trofast unit, whose drawers I use to store current projects.

I really do need to use some clear topcoat on it, since it’s natural wood and will eventually get damaged (ahem… I mean, it’ll develop quite the patina…) but that’s not a priority. I’m considering this job complete!

In Progress: Weight Watchin’

I’m down 1.8 pounds this week. Well, something like that. Anyhow, I’m not up and that’s good. I’m pretty sure that my saving grace this week was the fact that I biked at least an hour a day every day but one.

In Progress: choosing my apps

This week, I need to really decide on an app to use as a personal organizer, and I need to stick with it. So far Remember the Milk seems to be winning, but I need to spend some time using it in order to be sure.

In Progress: taming the closet monster

My kids have too many clothes. It’s the downside of Toronto weather: one day they need shorts and tank tops, the next it’s back to jeans and polar fleece. I think, though, that I can now legitimately pack away the winter stuff. I plan to do that tomorrow.

 

Well, that’s it for me. Off to bed now, so that I can bike K to school in the morning.

And what are you hoping to achieve this week?

Tags:
May 20, 2012

Just the facts, ma’am

by Decemberbaby

I’ve been gone from the blog a long, long time. Tonight I’ll give you the factual rundown on what I’ve been doing, and then I’ll do some other, more reflective, or maybe photographic, blogging this week.

Right. So when I left off, I was going to prioritize exercise and sleep, yes? I did that. Well, actually I prioritized exercise, but sleep suffered as a result. In response I increased my coffee intake and cemented my status as a newborn coffee addict. Anybody want to recommend a good coffee machine?

Next, everything happened, all at once. The designer fabrics for my nephew’s quilt finally arrived in my mailbox, the same day that my sister-in-law went into labour. I decided that I’d go to Vancouver for the bris, and from that moment on I was hell-bent on getting the quilt finished in time to take it with me (for those feeling clueless, the bris is held on the baby’s eighth day of life, which meant that I had just under a week to start and finish a quilt.) Every spare second was spent cutting, designing, sewing, ironing… I managed to finish it. What I didn’t manage to do was take a picture on my camera, so now I’m at the mercy of my brother and sis-in-law to send me the photos from their DSLR.

I traveled to Vancouver with a baby and a four-year-old, both of whom totally aced the flight. They were fabulous. We spent four days there and returned last night (this morning?) around 2:00 a.m. I didn’t fall asleep until after three.

That’s pretty much it, actually. A lot of quilting (and I discovered an awesome local quilt shop that makes me wish I could buy everything in it.) A lot of travel. Some touristy stuff, a bris, a lot of eating, and some cooing at a gorgeous baby boy – my first nephew.

And now I’m back, and my to-do list is several miles long. Let the fun begin!

May 2, 2012

Work-in-Progress Wednesday – Wednesday edition

by Decemberbaby

Wow, I’m posting this on Wednesday! Hooray for punctuality!

I’ve been getting stuff done and I have lots to show you.

Almost done: K’s shabbat dress

The bodice (top part) is white, because the kids at K’s school are supposed to all wear white on Fridays. K chose the skirt fabric, which I also used to finish the neck and arm holes. The sash colour was K’s choice, and the pattern was mine – the polka dots coordinate with the flowers’ dotted centres:

I think I’ve spent maybe four hours on this dress so far, and all I need to do now is hem the bottom and add a little invisible snap to the neck opening. This dress should be ready for its debut on Friday.

The best part was K’s reaction: “It’s pretty! It’s fancy! I love it! Can I try it on?”

In progress: workshop improvements

Today I bought a new desk (well, a tabletop) and mounted it on the walls in the corner where my sewing machine has always been. I also hauled out my old corner desk – the top only, since I cannibalized the legs and aprons for other projects over the years – and have started mounting it right beside the new tabletop to make one long, deep workspace. My hope is to have a desk large enough for cutting fabric, as well as space for my sewing machine and possibly even space to sit and work at my computer. I really need to stop using the living room as my base camp if I want to be able to work uninterrupted by the little people.

Oh, yeah. You want pictures, right? Here you go:

and one that includes the corner where the old corner desk will go:

So that’s moving along nicely. I hope that by tomorrow night the desk installation will be complete. That way I can sand and seal it and let it dry over Shabbat.

In Progress: Weight Watchin’

Holy cow, y’all. I gained four pounds this week. FOUR! I mean, yeah, I ate a fair bit of chocolate. And I developed a coffee habit, but I still hate the flavour, so I have to add chocolate syrup and lots of sugar, and milk… And Mr. December wanted to go to pancake-filled Golden Griddle for brunch instead of the salad-heavy Aroma. And we celebrated my brother’s birthday at an Italian restaurant. And I didn’t make time for exercise all week.

Hmm. I’m starting to see where I went wrong. This week I’m going to focus on drinking more water (because often I eat when I’m thirsty) and getting a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise every day (with the possible exception of Shabbat.) If four pounds can suddenly appear, surely they can disappear just as suddenly with the right effort. Right?

 

These are all ongoing projects, so I have no new ones to report. I do hope to start posting more frequently, but I need to prioritize exercise and sleep right now. Thanks for bearing with me.

… and what are you trying to accomplish this week?

April 26, 2012

Work-in-Progress Wednesday – Happy Birthday Israel edition

by Decemberbaby

Today was Yom Ha’atzma’ut, Israel’s independence day. K’s school had a huge party (crafts, games, prizes, and a falafel lunch) and she was asked to dress in blue and white. Our fabulous nanny (a native Israeli) dressed all the kids in blue and white, so I just had to take a picture:

Anyhow, I just realized that it’s been a long time since my last WIP Wednesday post, but I have plenty to fill you in on:

Still in Progress, but close to completion: Kids’ table

I ended up having to rebuild the entire bottom of the table (legs and apron) because the old legs (and their hardware) were just too unstable. On the upside, I got to make them a whole lot prettier. Can you guess what the legs are made of?

Yes, I bought balusters from Lowe’s and cut them down to size. I love these legs with a love that is deep and abiding and kind of obsessive.

I still want to add several more coats of stain to the top, and then a few coats of polyurethane, and then the table is done. And I get to be all proud and say, “Oh, that? it’s just a little something I threw together.” (I throw slowly. Like in slo-mo, and then some.)

Still in Progress: Weight Watchin’

Well, Passover was disastrous to my waistline, but the past two weeks have brought it back under control. I haven’t been eating wonderfully, but it’s not terrible. My real challenge is getting exercise. I’ve been so tired lately that napping has been a priority. I’d like to be biking more, but biking K to school means devoting an hour and a half of my day, and I’m just not able to do it most of the time. I’m committed to finding a way, though. I have to.

In the meantime, I’ve found a shortcut to some instant (albeit small) weight loss. I chopped off the bottom ten inches of my hair. That’s half a pound gone. Only forty more pounds to go.

In Progress: K’s Shabbat dress

K’s schools asks the kids to come dressed in a white shirt on Fridays, to emphasize that shabbat is a special day (shabbat doesn’t start until sundown on Friday, but the kids celebrate it at school during the day.) For the past two months, K has refused to wear a white shirt. She claims that white “isn’t pretty enough.” Finally, I’ve been able to convince her that I could make her a dress that has a white top, so she’s wearing white, but is very pretty and fancy as well. Yesterday we went to Fabricland and K chose a fabric she liked:

Just as I’m posting the photo now, I realize that the flowers have polka dots in their middles. I think I’ll use a polka-dotted fabric (white on pink, maybe?) to make a sash and other contrasting trims. The top will be made out of old white t-shirts that we got rid of in the great closet purge of ’12. I’m using a combination of tutorials from Make it and Love it, possibly the best online resource for those of us who want to sew stuff NOW, regardless of our lack of actual sewing knowledge.

In Progress: My workshop

I know I’ve done my workshop before, but it’s a mess again. I want it organized and pleasant so that I can go down there to do all my work – the blogging, the sewing, the woodworking – without being accosted from every angle by sticky hands and insistent voices that this! is the best! tiger! ever! and I have to tell you why!

I’m also thinking of upgrading my work surface a bit (possibly just by fitting a wooden worktop into the corner against the wall) so that I have a nice large table for cutting fabrics, and possibly even for ironing larger things. The freestanding ironing board that’s currently taking up space is just a bit less than ideal, I think.

 

So that’s it. Of course, that’s never really it. I still need to work on the photo book I started. And I want to get the garden cleaned up. And the car needs new all-season tires, and in any event it needs the snow tires swapped out, and we should check out what that screeching noise is that it makes when I start the engine. Oh, and we have houseguests coming on Wednesday, so we need to tidy up the playroom and turn it into the guest room.

Good thing I’ve recently taken up drinking coffee. Looks like I’ll be needing it.

Coffee? I knew the breastmilk tasted funny this week...

April 11, 2012

Work-in-Progress Wednesday – Passover edition

by Decemberbaby

It’s been quite a week. Quite honestly, I had to force myself to sit down and blog. Not because I’m out of ideas, or because I don’t have time to sit at the computer – if I can get a score of 82,000 in online Tetris then surely I can scrape together fifteen minutes for a blog post – but because… actually, I don’t know why. It feels vaguely like a depressive symptom, but it could be exhaustion instead.

You see, last week R decided to stop sleeping at night. I was up with her until 2 or 3 in the morning, three nights in a row. And yes, I still had to get up the next morning to take K to school. It was so bad that I actually started drinking coffee – the taste of which I still can’t stand – to get myself through the day in only a mild mental haze instead of the full-on fog in which I woke up.

On the upside, one of those sleepless nights led me to an amazing discovery regarding:

Passover Cleaning (complete!):

On night three of not sleeping I decided to put R into the ergo, strap her onto my back, and go for a walk. As I marched up and down Eglinton I pulled out my cellphone and kvetched (that’s “complained”, to those who don’t speak Yinglish (that’s a mix of Yiddish and English, for those who’ve never heard of Yinglish)) to a friend of mine about the Passover cleaning that wasn’t getting done because of R’s messed up sleep patterns. Since she’s more Jewishly observant than I am, I asked her my burning question:

“I understand that if there’s chametz in my house over Passover, I’m not allowed to use it or benefit from it after Passover. But what if I don’t want to use it or benefit from it? What if it’s a single Cheerio behind the piano?”

My friend asked her husband, an Orthodox rabbi, and a whole discussion of the situation ensued. The liberating upshot was that we are obligated to do our due diligence and check – visually – for chametz. If it’s smaller than an olive, it’s considered dust or dirt, but not chametz. And we’re not trying to get rid of dirt, we’re trying to get rid of chametz. Oh, and we have to get rid of chametz, but we can keep kitniyot (legumes) around even though we don’t eat them on Passover.

Wild, right? So the next day we pulled out the fridge and stove and checked for chametz under them; I checked the cabinets, removed chametz from the fridge, checked under the couch and behind the piano and in the playroom… and I was done. I did not scrub out all the cabinets. I did sand and oil the countertop, but that needed to be done anyhow and it felt vaguely therapeutic.

So. Passover cleaning was completed. And how fitting that on the festival of our liberation, I was finally liberated from such a crushingly difficult tradition.

In Progress: Weight Watchin’

Note to self: Matzo is not very filling. That’s why I can eat six or seven boards in one sitting. With butter. Also, don’t nosh on the candied almonds that Mum put out for the guests. Ten almonds are good – fifty are not better.

Yeah, I gained 2.6 pounds this week. But last week I lost 2, so I’m still at 17 pounds lost overall. I’m sure when my eating habits go back to normal I’ll drop it again.

Completed! Baby Quilt

Another fabulously liberating discovery: basting spray! It keeps all the layers of the quilt together as I’m sewing, so that none of the fabric shifts or bunches. It saved me tons of time and stress and made the quilting process very easy.

It’s a very simple design, but I love the flower shape that I quilted. See it?

It’s even clearer from the back, thanks to the minky-type fabric:

Doesn’t it look cozy? Just like with the last quilt I made, I seriously considered snuggling up with it and keeping it for myself.

Alas, it was a gift, so I had to send it on its way. First, though, I attached a label. This time I printed directly onto a piece of satin ribbon, then used the iron to set the ink.

Still in progress:Kids’ table

After a few weeks of use, we concluded that the way I attached the table legs, while clever and useful, was not particularly stable. This week I plan to change that. If I get a chance, I’ll also start working on the stain/paint. At any rate, I need to finish this project because I’ve got quite a backlog and I don’t want it to get forgotten in the shuffle. It’s really a neat little table.

In progress: Baby quilt for nephew

I don’t have a nephew… yet. But apparently there’s one in the works, and I have until mid-May to make him a quilt. I’ve ordered some of the fabrics for it, but I really want to find something nice for the back. This week I’ll go to some fabric shops and suss out my options.

 

… and that’s it. What are you up to this week?

April 1, 2012

Shabbat reality check

by Decemberbaby

First of all, I want to thank everyone who commented on my post about Shabbat observance. I haven’t had time to respond to comments this week, but every comment was read and appreciated. Keep the ideas coming!

So, you may ask, in the wake of that post, how was Shabbat for me this week?

I started off with the attitude that “Shabbat is our day of Yes.” All Friday afternoon I was running around cooking, quilting, cleaning, and generally trying to get absolutely everything done before Shabbat. As usual, my children were at my heels, begging for a scrap of attention. “Ima, will you read me this book?” “Ima, come watch our play!” “Book!” “Baff!” and so on. This time, though, instead of acting all frustrated with them, I told them, “I have to finish this work before Shabbat. As soon as Shabbat comes, I’m all yours.” This appeased them for 10 minutes at a time and got them very excited about Shabbat.

We eventually lit the candles, and so began our “Day of Yes.” We sang and danced. We allowed the kids unlimited grape juice refills. K requested that I sing one Passover song after another, and I obliged her without so much as an “Ima needs to eat too, you know.” We had dessert. After the kids’ bedtime I sat down with a glass of wine and a book. R sat on my lap and played with my fingers as I read.

Amazingly, I was able to get out of bed pretty swiftly on Shabbat morning – simply shifting my expectations allowed me to look forward to focusing on the kids instead of grumbling that I had to get up early on a weekend. Everything was luxuriously slow – we took our time getting dressed (we read books in between articles of clothing,) brushing our teeth (we sang songs,) choosing breakfast foods (rice pudding for K and “lalla” (challah) for N.)

The kids wanted to play “camping” and wanted me to watch – and I actually did. It was unexpectedly interesting. K was pretending to sleep in her “tent” (read: under the kiddie table) which involved her sucking her thumb with her eyes closed, and periodically peeking at me to make sure I was still watching. If it had been a TV pilot it would have been cancelled after the first broadcast, if it even made it that far. What it lacked in plot, character development, and acting skills, it made up for in opportunities to really look at my kid for the first time in a while. She’s beautiful, with delicate features and long eyelashes. I fell in love all over again.

Mr. December took the “big kids” (laughable because really, N isn’t even two years old) to his parents’ house. R and I got ready to go to shul and eventually made it there – just in time for the kiddush lunch.

(Side note: Kiddush lunch was really great this week, and very kid-friendly. Baked mac and cheese, tabbouli salad, banana bread, fruit. Maybe my kvetching helped after all!)

I discovered something: Nobody cares if you show up at shul just in time for the food. They’re just glad that you’re there. I used to feel like if we didn’t get there by 10:30 or 11:00 there was no point; yesterday I arrived at 12:45 and spent over an hour chatting, singing, and praying (grace after meals) with my community. It was lovely.

I took the subway up to the home of a friend who was having a baby shower (not a Jewish friend, obviously.) In my view, a party at someone’s home is the perfect Shabbat activity: food, folks, and fun, as the treyf fast-food giant’s commercials used to say. An afternoon spent with other women, wishing our friend well and sharing stories about our kids. The addition of cupcakes didn’t hurt either.

I walked home through the ravine, which took about 40 minutes… had to take care of those cupcake calories, so I walked pretty quickly. That was definitely out of tune with how I want to be on Shabbat: walking for the enjoyment of nature and to get somewhere in a relaxed manner? Great. Walking at a slightly uncomfortable pace in order to get my cardio in and burn extra calories? Not so Shabbos-y, in my opinion. I’ll remember that for next time.

The other not-so Shabbos-y thing was that I used my cellphone to make arrangements for my brother to come over as soon as I got home. I really prefer the Shabbat “go with the flow” feeling where you drop in on people, or arrange a time in advance and recognize that timing is approximate. I felt like the cellphone was taking me away from the present moment and focusing me on future plans, and that didn’t sit well with me.

Did I mention that my big brother was here from Vancouver? He came over to chat and ended up leaving with most of N’s newborn and 0-3 months clothing (his wife is very, very pregnant.)

And just like that, Shabbat was over.

I walked through about twenty minutes of this on my way home. Hard to believe it's right in the middle of the city, isn't it? I need to bring the kids here this summer to play in the creek.

Things I’d do again: Dedicate lots of time on Shabbat to just being with my kids, however they want me. Go for a nice long walk. Visit with friends and family.

Things I would change: No more exercising with a goal in mind. Turn off the cellphone and leave it at home. Make social plans either in advance or in person (i.e. arrange a Shabbat afternoon playdate in the morning at shul.)

All in all, I was reasonably happy with Shabbat this time. Tune in next week, where I’ll tell you how I managed the Shabbat right before the second seder (will we be setting up and preparing? I hope not!)

Shavua Tov! (have a good week!)