Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It just came to me

What do you do when you have a lot of fresh raspberries (with too many already frozen in the freezer) and a bunch of spotty bananas? Why, you make a banana raspberry loaf!

I made the best of bridge banana bread recipe, but changed it a bit.... Coconut on the bottom of the buttered pan (thanks for that tip, AK). I halved the sugar, added some vanilla and molasses (a teaspoon each), and used 1/4 cup of quinoa flour (only because I ran out of unbleached flour). And then, the raspberries: I put half the batter in the pan, then put fresh raspberries over top and then covered them up with the remaining batter. Pretty delish, I'd say. Only problem is that a whole layer of raspberries doesn't bode well for the structural integrity of the loaf for either coming out of the pan or getting sliced up. Oh well, it still tastes good.

This was a success in terms of looking for things to put in banana bread other than chocolate chips. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE chocolate chips, but Hershey's is likely not at all considerate to fair trade or organic processes, and I swear they are laced with coke because they are so addictive. So, I buy the uber expensive Camino chips only for special occasions. Today? Not a special occasion. Happy Raspberry Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Motherhood: Part 1
I wrote a letter to a lovely friend of mine this morning, and realized it would be perfect for this blog: a concise description of my first five months with Little Bean.

When Little Bean first arrived, everything was fresh, new, raw and absolutely exhausting. I remember at times during that first week or two, I wondered if I was going to make it. I thought I might dry up and fall apart into dust. It was definitely not a sustainable way to be, to live. But, each day did get a little bit better, and before I knew it, six weeks had past and my iron levels, and subsequently my energy, returned to normal. I think my healing in that time was immense (physically, spiritually, etc. the works!), but also it was so intense learning how to be with this new little human. The first period is like becoming a baby again yourself - everything new, with the learning curve so steep you need climbing gear.

Now, suddenly, it's five months later and we've all worked ourselves into a lovely groove, but still learning, adapting, and watching each other change. I'm sure finding our new community and settling down has helped both Little Bean and me, and the rest of our little clan too.

When Little Bean was born, we were in a new, temporary space, which was a bit unsettling. We moved in three or four weeks before he was born, and had been somewhat 'homeless' for the previous six months. I hope never to do that again (while being pregnant). I would advise any new mom to have somewhere very comfortable to give birth; a place you know, a place just for you, surrounded by the comforts you have developed over the time of being pregnant. This wasn't the case for me, anyway. Sometimes I think it was meant to be so that I could leave that space with Ira and "forget" about how hard it was to give birth to him. To move on and start fresh. And conversely, sometimes, I think that place and our temporary status had something to do with how hard it was to give birth to Little Bean. Maybe he didn't want to leave his cushy, warm, waterbed lifestyle and enter this cold, strange space? I wouldn't either.

The day after Little Bean was born, Papa Bean got offered a temporary job located nearly two-hours drive south of our new home. Talk about shitty timing! So, he spent one week with us and then he spent four days working south of us, every week after that. Weekends went by far too quickly, and every time he left for another work week, I cried a lot. Good thing for family there to help me through. Whew!.... And then suddenly, it was a month and a half later and we decided living in separate places was stupid. Really stupid. So, even though Papa Bean's job was still classified as temporary, Little Bean and I moved down to be with him, and a few weeks later, he was re-offered the job with a permanent status. Smart move, and sweet result.

And now, as Little Bean has just turned five months old, we have bought a house, Papa Bean's work is going well, I'm meeting lots of friends (moms and babies), and this place feels like home...

We have finally settled down... for a while.

There's a first time for everything

These handkerchiefs are much nicer than ours...
Little Bean's first cold has been caught and the effects are here: snotty, dribbling nose, sneezes, coughs, and leaky eyes. It's kind of amazing. I know that's not the first descriptive word that most people would come up with to describe the common cold, but it's true. It's fascinating that someone so small can have exactly the same kind of physical 'hardships' as I do when I get a cold. He seems to be dealing with it fairly well, except he doesn't like it much when I wipe his nose with the handkerchief tied to my waist (for easy and frequent access).

Maybe cake-batter-smelling barf indicates a coming cold? I'll keep it under advisement.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cake Batter

"Little Bean, your barf smells like cake batter."

I actually said that out loud, mere minutes ago. Lately, I find there are a lot of things that just come out of my mouth that would make fantastic t-shirt designs.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Like Old Times

The visit from my family this weekend reminded me of old times when we were camping as kids, but with Baileys in our coffee! Such a lovely time spent being together, not having to do much, just being.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Giving it back

So, last night I was doing a bit of yoga in my living room. My favourite thing to do is let my body move spontaneously, as it wishes, as it needs, with little to no control or judgement from my ego brain. It's always amazing, and last night was no exception.

Somewhere in the midst of my yogic movement session, I began to move my hands in a way that felt like I was scooping the earth from below and pouring it down on top of me, literally swallowing it as it flowed. That materialized into a flow of movement where my hands were guiding the energetic womb from Ira back out to the universe. It was like it was okay for me to release it; it could go back "out there" for someone else to use.

Today, I feel lighter. And my old pre-preggo pants fit.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What did you say?

Little Bean has been voicing it up lately. Not saying anything we can comprehend, but making a real good effort at making some new noises. High ones. Low ones. Slobbery ones. He's also taken to blowing raspberries. So cute!

When I saw his horoscope online, I laughed at the irony:

Aquarius: You really need to tell your stories. It's not just a good idea; it's downright urgent. There's a backlog of unexpressed narratives clogging up your depths. It's like you have become too big of a secret to the world. The unvented pressure is building up, threatening to implode. So please find a graceful way to share the narratives that are smoldering inside you -- with the emphasis on the word "graceful." I don't want your tales to suddenly erupt like a volcano all over everything at the wrong time and place. You need a receptive audience and the proper setting.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Go Left or Right?

In the park, I found myself faced with the choice of going left or right at a trail junction. Right would have taken me the way I always go, and left would have taken me a new way. Pausing for a moment, my mind wanted to go the way I always go because I had an appointment to get to, but something deeper said, "Go the other way."

I tend to follow those deeper voices because they never let me down.

It's a good thing I went the other way because further down the trail, I came upon a woman who had just broken her ankle while trying to dance with her grandson down the dirt path. A few more helpful strangers and a cell phone call to 911 rescued this lovely lady from her agony. I didn't do much more than look after her grandsons and give her some water while we waited for the ambulance, but I feel like if I wasn't there, it could have been worse.

The instant warmth and sense of kinship between people helping people is one I will never forget.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Death by Salt or Magnifying Glass?

While harvesting more raspberries, Papa Bean and I were discussing things we did as children. This topic came up because my parents had a raspberry farm and I used to pick (eat) raspberries when I was small.

Aside from getting raspberry belly aches, I used to salt slugs. Ever done it? It's disgusting and fascinating all at once. I'm not sure if my mom condoned this behaviour. I remember the salt shaker we had was a ceramic one with really big holes so the salt poured out super fast. Those slugs were doomed. I'm pretty sure a bunch of good karma oozed away from me faster than those slugs cringed and shriveled up.

Papa Bean was not as grossed out as I expected, and in return actually surprised me with his childhood activity: "I burned ants with a magnifying glass." What?! That also sounds disgusting and fascinating. He said, "The sun was hot, so it literally took seconds for them to burn and smoke."

We are a couple of weirdos. I hope Little Bean knows who he has for parents. For what it's worth, I hope the buck stops here and Little Bean stays clear of finding disgusting and fascinating methods of killing small insects and the like.

Monday, July 11, 2011

No leaks!

It's been a terribly frustrating time attempting to perfect the cloth diaper situation here in our house. First, Little Bean was too small, so nothing fit = leaks. Then, we realized that using zinc-based cream makes diapers less absorbent = leaks. And then, we recognized that the free diapers given to us may have been through too many other children to provide a good seal around Little Bean's pelvis = leaks.

In a last ditch attempt to scope the internet for ideas and resources, I asked some moms what they use for cloth diapers and one response was Mother-ease. They claim they are leak-proof. Wha? Did I hear right? LEAK-PROOF? So, I ordered one to try out and see if they are what they say they are. I put it to the test: overnight on Little Bean and a poop in the early morning to boot. Result?.... Drum roll please... Success. It's nearly too good to be true. So, I'm going back online and ordering more.

Second best part about Mother-ease other than no leaks is that they are made in Canada with fair wages and health care for their employees. Hooray!

Want to check 'em out?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Red and Delicious

Freshly picked from our backyard. Drum roll please.... RASPBERRIES!! Oooh, so good. I'm sure by the end of their season, we'll be sick and tired of them, but for now, our taste buds are in love. Raspberries with ice cream, in smoothies, on our cereal, in our baking, and all by themselves. Plenty of options.

Our plan is to pick every day and keep freezing what we don't eat so we can eat them in the winter months. Plus we'll have a few jam-making sessions this summer so we have something tasty to put on our famous homemade waffles.

Hooray for free fruit!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Frig, why do you stop running?

No, I'm not accusing a friend of quitting a marathon, but I am asking my car why it stalls on the highway. Why?... We delivered Little Bean's aunt to the airport in Comox this morning, and on the way back home, Frig called it quits about 10km short of our destination.

I knew the drill, since I found myself in the same situation last month. With our cell phone, fully stocked with credit (lesson learned), I called BCAA for a tow for Frig and a cab for the rest of us. What turned our frown upside down was the lovely woman who stopped and asked us if she could give us a lift home. Step 1: Graciously accept sweet offer. Step 2: Cancel cab. Step 3: Stop bad-mouthing Nanaimo (it used to have a poor reputation).

Now we just have to wait to see what the garage thinks the problem is, and continue our serious discussions about becoming car-free.

Friday, July 8, 2011

And the little one said, "Roll over. Roll over."

Little Bean has suddenly mastered rolling over onto his belly. It is fantastic that he's got something new to show off. It feels like there has been a solid length of time of no newness to Little Bean's repertoire of skills. And then one morning, he looked like he was trying and then *poof!* he was over and now every time he gets placed on the floor or on the bed or on any surface, really, he's over within ten seconds. Atta boy!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Solo Sleeper

I wish this was my bed, but sadly it is not.
Little Bean has decided that sleeping on his own is totally okay for him now. This is progress. Not that it was a bad thing before when he could only sleep while in the carrier strapped to my chest, and only while I was moving (keeps a mom in shape and less stagnant). Now it's a little bit easier to do things that I need to do without a little one on me. Look at me talking as though this has been going on for weeks now - it's been just over 24 hours. All I can say is that I like what's happening here and I hope this new phase sticks around for a while.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Trip to the Islands

Denman and Hornby, to be exact.

It was a memorable adventure for many reasons, including Sheldon, the kind, gentle and talkative hostel owner, whose one eye drifted so far to one side that we weren't sure which eye to look at. Why is speaking to someone like this always so awkward? The hostel itself was quirky and old, like the kind of old where it was built before electricity was available on the island, and now has electrical wires duct taped to the walls and ceilings. The kind of old where Sheldon advises us that the water is safe, but smells really, really bad, so it's best to drink out of this here blue container only. The kind of old where the decor is nearly back in style again, after two or three rounds of being in and out of style already.

How quirky? Well, the cafe attached to the hostel had a homemade crokinole board (cool quirky), and the coffee they served was roasted in the barbeque in the backyard.

Add the heavy-footed Korean couple also staying at the hostel, who changed into their silk pyjamas at four in the afternoon and closed off the kitchen door so they couldn't hear my strumming on the cheap guitar.

Our time was also spent checking out the lives of painters, potters and other artists alike. We drove down long forested driveways not knowing what we were coming upon except what was indicated on the old, worn sign "Pottery: Open".

There were some interesting cafes and stores on both islands including the Cardboard House Cafe and The Koffee Klatsch Kafe, where we discovered our new favourite menu item of all time: The Squat and Gobble.

Fun trip, overall, except maybe the ride home, where Little Bean decided he didn't like the car seat again.