Tag Archives: family

Congratulations to my Sister!

My little sister is graduating from college today. This event makes me feel two things:

1. I am so old.
2. My sister is really amazing.

In terms of 1, I remember holding this tiny and slightly yellow baby in a hospital rocking chair for the first time. I remember her learning to walk and talk. I have long left behind the mental impression that she is somehow my junior, just a kid. She’s basically been a responsible adult to me for a very long time now, a peer, a grown-up. But while I could still say she was in college, I still had some flexibility as to my own age when I told new acquaintances about her. Society kind of stops thinking of you as “oh those crazy kids” when you’re done with college, so I really have an all-grown-up sister now. Sniff…

As for the second thing, what you need to know is that my sister is a fantastically organized person when she puts her mind and post-its to it. Only a person with her special skills and talents could have gone to college, done all that she did while in college, and graduated with excellent marks and without any bribery, delays, debilitating bodily damage, property damage in excess of $2,500, narcotic addiction, or diplomatic intervention.

All of this, to say, she spent here collegiate years being an athlete (on scholarship, no less) who practiced a pretty dangerous sport, in the freezing cold, at high altitudes, and on an aggressive schedule. Coupled with some time-consuming internships and insanely long-distance drives to and from school, it was a challenge not many could face. On top of this, there were work schedules, a ton of hours at the gym, AND, of course, her homework and classes and exams. All of this, for a girl who prefers to get a solid 15 hrs of sleep at night, wears up to 4 colors of eyeshadow on daily basis, and STILL finds time to go out to the club for the first half hour?? Unbelievable. I’m tired just writing it all down. No one that truly knows her is surprised that she can do all this stuff, but it’s amazing to watch her do it all with her great sense of humor and delightful collection of accessories.

So Congratulations, my darling sister, I’m SO proud of you. Even though you have the spelling skills of a 4th grader, you are the bright and shining future and I’m glad you’ve arrived.

My Favorite Babies Past

Little girls who are cute all over town

On this trip, you know we’ve been cute all over Target so far. We have also brought delight to a few restaurants (I missed you Panera!!), shops, a mall, an AT&T store, and one very special Obama for America campaign office.

My daughter got to see her great-auntie, our friends and their toddler, her grandfather, and her boompa’s (step-grampa) parents too. I am pretty sure they all think she’s completely adorable.

I’d post pictures but I didn’t really bring a camera with me and I haven’t tried to put any from my mother-in-law’s camera on my laptop. I should probably do that. We’ve just been busy playing in the yard and telling the dogs how bad they are (trust me, they’re bad). I feel like we wake up, get the day started and before I know it, it’s time for a nap. After naps, we get ready to go do something and by the time we head back, it’s time for dinner or bath, and then bed.

Anyway, my daughter has been charming many people in the past week. She even manages to convince her grandmother to pull her around the backyard in a wagon with a rake and a hoe and several balls in her wagon as well. I don’t think she does that for just *anybody.*

Tomorrow is our last day before we head home on Wednesday. We’ll try to cram in all the cuteness we can before we go.

Harper’s Index of our Holiday

Number of cities/towns visited: 6
Total number of cars in which I had to install the godforsaken car seat: 5
Quantity of beds I had to put the “oh what is this new blanket?” child to sleep in: 4
Number of airports I had to schlep a toddler, a huge suitcase (49.5 lbs, holla!), a carry on (possibly also 49.5 lbs), a diaperbag, and the aforementioned godforsaken car seat through: 4
Airports where I had the joy of only schlepping the toddler and her immediate affects: 1
Baked goods consumed: 506
Items on my sister and my “List of Holiday Activities” that remained undone versus done: 6:24
Activity am I saddest to have missed: “Make it into the Post-Journal”
Presents received by me: 15
Presents received by my toddler: 47
Presents given by my toddler: 5
Likelihood that I left something at each home/hotel I visited: 100%
Types of More cupcakes sampled: Chocolate Caramel, Salted Caramel, Margarita, Valrhona Chocolate, Gin and Juice, Lemon Meringue
Amount that was magically on my CTA pass that has been living in my wallet for god knows how long: $10
Quantity of toys at my daughter’s grandparents’ houses: 7.4 million
Toys at my house: 105
Estimated length of time before I want to “travel” again: 45 days

The Holiday Newsletter I Should Have Written

Dear Friends, Family, and Other:

This year was wonderful. By which we mean boring, and full of crap. We did absolutely nothing that you care about. Well, yes, we did go to the Caribbean, but I don’t want to rub it in. I guess I could mention something nice about how much our daughter has grown up and is walking and babbling like a little drunk person, but it’s not really a revelation to any of you that kids do that.

We are still in Canada. Yes. We will be there longer. Yes, I know. If you really want to know about my husband’s adventures in academic law, you may visit the Archives Nova Scotia. Tell them “Charlie sent me.”

Montreal has been interesting for the past year. It transitions from “holy mother of goats it’s cold out here” to “oh look, it’s raining again” to “why does the day-moon hate me?” back to “oh look, it’s raining” to be promptly followed by “does that bank sign say -19 C?” Summer was nice along our street with the PEOPLE and RESTAURANTS out in full force. I suspect that they go somewhere else for 9 months of the year because I sure as hell don’t see them in January when I’m making my 5th trip of the month to the drugstore to buy more tissue, baby tylenol, and poutine. Yes, you can get poutine at drugstores in Canada.

No, I’m just joking.

Anyway, we are all pretty unhealthy. One of us is teething, one of us has a death cough, and the other is just messed up in all sorts of ways PLUS death cough. You should probably not visit us for 6-12 months. Or ever. Seeing as how none of you do.

People. You really need to get passports.

For Christmas, we are visiting our families, starting with my mom’s house in Western New York. The traditional Christmas stockings were stuffed with chocolate and toothbrushes and a melange of other items. The child was gifted with an abundance of toys and achieved present saturation after about 2 hours of unwrapping. She liked her box of blueberries the best. In second place, an empty cardboard box. Her nap schedule has gone to hell in a handbasket. Which is obviously on fire. She is fueled by sugar cookie and attention.

We wish you all the very best for 2012 providing we aren’t all killed by some sort of apocalyptic meteor. In which case, we wish you the best meteor-death one could hope for. Like a movie or something.

Take care,

Shannon

PS. Our parents are still alive, and living in New York and Indiana with their pets. Would you like photos??? Or the pets?

Eating and shopping

That pretty much sums up the days preceding my body being overtaken by hostile sinus pressure and achey-ness. My mom and her husband came to visit for thanksgiving (read: to see the baby) and I made a vegetarian, dairy-free thanksgiving dinner. It was pretty tasty, if I do say so myself. This Butternut Squash Couscous dish was my favorite, besides the pumpkin pie. How I love pumpkin pie…

Anyway, my toddler sucked up the extra attention like we’ve never done anything with her in the history of ever. Toys that she had ignored suddenly became fascinating, books that she wandered off during were miraculously interesting, the mere act of running around the apartment gained a level of amusement not usually accorded to days when I just want to stay home.

I think you can safely say, my kid likes visitors, and especially likes it when those visitors are her grandmother whose patience and attention for her antics know no limits.

We went out shopping just a wee bit. Black Friday sales exist here in Canada, but aren’t as crazy as the States, since it’s a work day and all. We made crepes for dinner and also ate leftovers and sushi. It was very multicultural.

On Saturday, we checked out some local toy stores and took a long walk. For those of you who live in Montreal, our favorite toy stores/baby stores are:
Boutique Citrouille at 206 ave Laurier Ouest
La Jolie Boutique at 5623 ave du Parc
Bummis at 4302 boul St Laurent

Technically, Bummis is a cloth-diapering store, but it kind of has everything baby-related. Best of all, it has a small play area and a place to sit down and breathe as well as change diapers. It’s kind of my favorite store in Montreal because they are so nice and have saved me from some epic meltdowns by merely having a welcoming sofa.

After the shopping, my mom and I had a very late lunch at Crudessence, a raw-vegan place that is really very good. Their mango “lassi” made with cashew milk is kind of heavenly. My daughter is crazy about it.

When I got home that night, the sickness that had been only brewing descended in full force and the next morning my mom left so she could go back to work on Monday, which sucks, because I could really use a mommy to make me soup and bring me tissues about now.

And that’s the wrap-up.

My pumpkin did the painting, I did the cutting and letters.

Grateful

There are many days a year that I complain about everything. Merely being alive is sometimes stressful and requires some venting. I’m sure whining is a tradition of humanity as old as the capacity to speak. But on this one day a year, Thanksgiving, we are supposed to give our ranting a rest and put up with our family members and not scream at anyone. And most of us moms are probably required to cook. A lot.

That being said, if you have family coming over, you will probably scream at someone. You are just supposed to do it sotto voce and with as much gratitude as you can. Like “I know this kitchen is the most popular room of the house but could you get yourself and your adorable smug expression to another room?” This is what I say to the cat.

Canadians are like “Yawn, we did this over a month ago, lady. We are back to complaining and Christmas decorating.” I can’t believe there are already trees for sale here in Montreal. What do you people do? Get a second one on December 15th when all the needles have fallen off the first one?

Besides behaving yourselves, Thanksgiving is all about plenty. I like that word to describe the holiday because it implies that you don’t have too little nor does it suggest you need more. You have enough. You celebrate what you have. You thank your lucky stars that you have more than nothing. Even if you are eating alone, you appreciate that you don’t have someone yelling at you to get out of the kitchen. At my friends’ in Chicago, they go around the room and say what they are thankful is NOT happening because they are at this dinner and not with their families. It’s not always about loathing your family, it’s usually about enjoying where you are and sharing the amusing quirks of thanksgivings past. And that’s enough. There is plenty for which to be grateful. If you can’t think of something, you haven’t really looked.

And for the record, I am very grateful for my warm apartment, running water, means to buy food and rent movies from iTunes. I am thankful for my family and friends, near and far, who amuse me and do nice things for me all the time. I wish my sister were here because she makes any family holiday more sparkly. My husband once said about us (as he rolled his eyes) “they get like this when they’re together.” And my sister said, “if you mean more awesome, then yes.” And it’s true. But more than I can describe, I am thankful, every second, for my adorable, healthy, funny, happy little girl. (Was that plenty of commas or what?) She is my cornucopia of amazing plenty.

While I wish I could pull off a Lady Gaga Thanksgiving Special for this post, I can merely say something about being grateful, if for no other reason that to remind myself that I am. I hope you can find something to be thankful for and someone to share it with. And then get the hell out of the kitchen.