Sunday, April 27, 2008

Perfect day to test the bike trailer!

We took the bike trailer for its inaugural hitch on the back of Mark's bike today during a family Sunday ride. We were planning on spending a good hour outdoors, but it ended up being FIVE hours because of all the little pit-stops we made. :)

What beautiful weather today! It was our last sunny, hot day for a little while and you could tell everyone was out to enjoy it! We left at a leisurely pace while the kids relaxed in the trailer. Both of them fell asleep at some point during our ride. Wouldn't you if you were bumping along in the sunlight, with a light wind in your face? To be a baby again, without a care in the world...

You can see Mark and Kira in the above photo. Calvin's in there too, but I guess he's kind of slumped over to the side. Kira loves her new Elmo helmet. :)

First, we stopped at my friend Cara's to say hello and to pick up a couple of Epicure Selections catalogues. They have some really yummy stuff including dips and spreads, spices, hot chocolate, fondue chocolate, kitchenware, and environmentally-friendly cleaning solutions. Cara is a rep for ES, and is passionate about the products she sells. I'm looking forward to flipping through my catalogue before I drift off to sleep tonight!

As Mark led me through the bike paths in La Prairie, I wiped out while trying to bike up onto a sidewalk. Skinned myself all the way down the arm and face-planted on the landing. That's okay - no permanent damage. I ended up eating a bunch of gritty dirt, and the scrapes will disappear in no time. I'm actually more bummed that my beautiful bike is scratched.

Next stop, Cousin Ali. She heard us arrive, and she came over to greet us with her mom and baby Hunter, from the backyard. We hung out chatting for awhile all the while enjoying the fantastic weather that just wouldn't quit. Kira visited the 2 dogs in the backyard while I changed Calvin's diaper, a bit more chatting, and we were off again! (By the way, you can see Ali and Hunter in a past blog post - see April 10's "A New Cousin for Kira & Calvin")

Mark suggested we pass by Auntie Naomi's to see if she was home. She sure was, and we gave her a break from changing her tires and all the other spring chores she managed to complete before our arrival (she had already mowed her huge lawn and opened up the backyard pool!). Hopefully after we left, she took some time to relax into the evening. The above photo is of Auntie Naomi with the kids, on the swing. Kira had a blast going by the waterfront, singing songs, eating chips, and simply hangin' out. I didn't get a photo with Pattie, who was in and out during our visit as well. Naomi, Pattie and their kids just adore Kira and Calvin. We love visiting them!

Ah, welcome spring, and we'll be waiting during the coming rainy week, for your return!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Go Habs, Go!

Need I say more?

I'll tell you why we lost Game 2 against the Flyers tonight. I must apologize. You can blame my son Calvin, because he jinxed les Canadiens by pooing in his Habs onesie. We were so excited to have him wear it during Game 2, but about an hour before game-time, disaster struck. The Montreal Canadiens' cutest fan wasn't wearing his teams colours and logo. We're sorry, everyone! He'll be ready for Game 3, when our team will need our hometown energy from afar, as they'll be playing in Philadelphia Monday night.

I saw in the latest Jean Coutu flyer that Canadiens flags were on sale this week. Mark looked while he was there yesterday, but they were sold out. We passed by today, but of course the sale had already ended. No matter. We just HAD to have one, so here it is! We're so proud to be Habs fans and are ready to bring the Cup home this year!

And as for Habs gossip, it seems more and more of the Canadiens players are moving to Candiac! Why? Because their new practice rink will be at the Dix30, which is close by, and Candiac is developing and growing by leaps and bounds and is the currently trendy place to move. My newest mission will be to find out which players have kids the ages of my kids, and to send my kids to the same school. No, I'm not really that crazy! Or am I? Heheh...

Friday, April 25, 2008

lovin' shoppin'

Today, I went to 2 friperies - second-hand clothing stores. I can't believe the awesome purchases I made. Over a dozen outfits, a knapsack, a sunhat, a craft kit, and a gift set for new baby, all for under $100! I love second-hand clothing shopping for the kids. Honestly, they only wear their clothes for a season, so who can resist a bargain?

Here's a photo of Calvin taken just yesterday, in a cute outfit I got for him at a clothing swap:

I think I've been to pretty much all the friperies in this neck of the woods, and have picked my favourites according to not only price, but how child-friendly the shopping is (some have play areas for kids to hang out - Kira enjoys hanging out with the toys while I shop), and cleanliness not only of the store but of the clothes. My favourites are the stores where I can trust that without having to check, I can just KNOW that none of the clothes will have stains on them. Some store owners are vigilant about checking the merchandise and only selling top-quality clothes at great prices. You gotta love that!

If you live on the South Shore, check out these shops:
l'Univers des Petits: 55 rue St. Pierre, St. Constant. (450) 638-8787. This shop doesn't accept Interac. Cash and cheques (with ID) only, accepted.
Les Souricettes: 10-1 boul. Georges-Gagné, Delson. (450) 718-1881. New and used clothing for children 0 to 8 years. This shop is gorgeous, and lots of neat and affordable gift ideas.
Boutique Cocopelli: 392 Ste. Rose, La Prairie. This store has a little play space for kids, offers workshops, and even offers a scale to weigh your newborn.

Yesterday I also received a package in the mail that I had been waiting for. I just made my first purchase through, which I came to know of through a friend who sells her crafts there. Here's what I bought. I recently read an article that featured a carrier for a changing pad and diapers, and thought it was such a novel idea, because those are the basics that need to be carried, so why not do it in style? So, I checked on and found a seller who carried some that she's designed, in beautiful fabrics. See above, my old "system" (Ziploc bag with the essentials) versus my new diaper / changing pad carrier! I love it and can't wait to flaunt it!

If you want to check out these nifty diaper carriers and other products, visit the site of Oh Boy Designs. And while I'm mentioning, I'd like to mention my friend Tatsuko's store. She sells beautiful jewellery and paper goods with a Japanese touch.

Happy shopping! Hope you have as much fun as I did!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I need cooking help! SOS Cuisine to the rescue!

I started the 5/30 Health Challenge (sponsored by Santé et Services Sociaux Québec) at the beginning of March. It ended officially on Friday the 10th of April, and it entailed a commitment for Mark and I to eat a minimum of 5 to 10 servings of fruit and/or vegetable per day, and to participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day for 5 days a week. We started enthusiastically by logging our progress and posting it on the fridge. However, as with all new year resolutions (March 01st was my New Year - read why in my first blog post!) our enthusiasm quickly waned and we lost focus. However, all was not lost. We became much more aware of our eating habits and we have been putting a lot more effort into eating fruits and vegetables every day. 5 servings is really nothing! Oh, and I have to rave to you about this really cool website that we learned about while doing the Challenge. It's called SOS Cuisine. If you sign up, they'll send you weekly meal plans (5 meal plans for the week including desserts!), a grocery shopping list (that you can edit according to what you already have in your home), and tips on how to prepare for the coming week. Best of all, it's a Quebec organization so they promote Quebec-grown produce, and they even advise you of where items on your shopping list are currently on sale, including listings from 6 major Quebec grocery chains. Are you sold? Check it out!

As for the exercise, I must admit that I haven't been doing it as regularly as I would have liked, but this month I'm committing to focusing more on my physical activity. My cardio-poussette classes started with perfect timing (March 31st) to make this month's resolution easier to manage. I'll try to dedicate a blog post entirely to this class in the near future, because I think it's an amazing way to blast the post-baby gut while spending quality time with the kids outside. I'm also starting back into the swing of things with taiko practices. Taiko is a big passion of mine, and I'm so glad to have that activity and the people I play with, in my life. But again, more on that in another blog post! In the meantime, check out Arashi Daiko's website to read a bit about taiko and Montreal's very own taiko ensemble. :) The other night I even took 30 minutes to simply stretch after an active day. That's something that's rare for us to take the time to do, but I just felt so much better after a nice stretch, and proud that I took some time to do something for myself. I think my muscles were thanking me the next day too, because had I not taken the time to stretch I'm sure the following day they would have been sore and aching! Finally, we're still continuing with our periodic family strolls. Kira loves the outdoors and I sure hope Calvin will grow to love it, too!

So, wish me luck on my month of committing to regular physical activity! It's already almost halfway through the month!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A new cousin for Kira & Calvin

Last weekend we took a walk over to Mark’s cousin Ali’s home, to meet the newest addition to this large and continually growing Takeda family: Hunter Toshio Lacombe. Ali is Mark’s first cousin and she most recently moved here along with her partner Steve and their children Chase and Zachary. Hunter was born on Friday April 04th at 6 lbs. 12 oz. What a beautiful baby! Here’s Mark with Ali and Hunter. Sorry that I didn’t get shots of the rest of the family. But, doesn’t Ali look great? And this was only 2 days after giving birth! Ooh, and look at Hunter’s teeny little toes!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Calvin's sensitivity to bovine protein

I took my little Calvin to the gastroenterology clinic at the Children’s Hospital last Wednesday afternoon. After a month of exclusively breastfeeding him, I discovered green poo with little streaks of blood in his diaper in December. This sent me into a panic, and so Mark and I Googled the matter to see what we could find. We took Calvin to the CLSC the next morning, where the doctor informed us that it didn’t seem urgent. However, our web research suggested that it might be a sensitivity to cow protein commonly found in dairy products and beef, so we cut these immediately from my diet (well, I don’t eat meat anyway, so I really just cut dairy). Here are a couple of sites that were referred y a friend of mine. You might find them useful if this situation pertains to you or someone you know:

After meeting with Calvin’s regular doctor, we were advised to cut soy and eggs from the diet as well. This was really difficult, and believe me, you don’t miss certain things until they’re taken away from you! I suddenly got cravings for ice cream, croissants, tofu, and cream in my coffee! And of course, this affected Mark’s eating habits as well and resulted in a lot of creative cooking and label-reading. The good news is that I didn’t gain any weight over the Christmas / New Year holiday period, mostly because I couldn’t eat the great stuff at all the holiday feasts. L Every once in awhile a green poo would show up again and I’d have to think back to what I ate 24 hours before – inevitably it would be something that had dairy or soy in it that I inadvertently ingested. Then about 2 months ago, I ate something with eggs in the ingredients and no reaction. Hmm, let’s try more food with eggs as an ingredient. No reaction! A shopping trip to IKEA allowed the opportunity to have scrambled eggs (but no croissant yet!) with toast and a coffee for a buck! Last month as we were eating breakfast, Mark noticed that the peanut butter I had been spreading on my toast each morning for the past several weeks, contained soybean oil as the second ingredient! What! So for lunch that day I had a stir-fry with shoyu (soya sauce) all over it! No green poops from Calvin. Woohoo!

I’m currently off of dairy products still, and will continue to stay off of it for another 4 months as a result of the advice of the physician at the Children’s. I figure this is a small sacrifice to make for the health of my beautiful baby! He’s being followed up until the fall, and I have been assigned to a dietitian who will be following my progress as well. Here’s a photo of Calvin taken just today:

The appointment went well. It seems Calvin is getting over his sensitivities gradually, although his skin shows that he still has some sensitivities. Calvin has eczema, poor thing. I found this great line of products that works well with him, called Bug & Pickle. They make organic products for babies (and mommies), and they’re Canadian. I’m using the Baby Butter and the Head-to-Toe Baby Wash. Best of all, they smell so yummy!

I read somewhere that 5% of North American babies have bovine protein sensitivity, so this is actually a really common diagnosis that we don’t hear a lot about. It’s great having the support and counsel of the staff at the Children’s and I would highly recommend that any of you in the same situation get a referral from your doctor so you can consult this fantastic team!