by Karla ° Thursday, November 29, 2007
Even though Nate’s actual due date was January 7th, he was born on December 22nd. No matter which way he entered this world - planned or spontaneous labour, or through an opening that was once home to a place where coarse and granular scar tissue did not exist, there was no getting around birthing a baby during the season where homes are ablaze in the luminous glow of holiday shimmer and lights.

Personally, I love when he was born because I love Christmas. But with a Christmas baby comes the old adage that birthdays and Christmas will always end up getting rolled together into one celebration. Which, when you think about it, totally isn’t a fair from a pint-sized human’s point of view who thinks that the world revolves around his shape collection. I mean, let’s face it, I could preach to Nate until I am blue in the face that it’s not all about the presents, but until he is able to understand that it is not an economically wise decision to feed the dog all of his harvarti cheese and that there is more to life than an expansive and endless selection of toys, this will mean absolutely nothing to him.

So, to help ease him through those grubby-fingered years of toddlerhood self-entitlement, we’ve decided to start a tradition of celebrating his birthday on the last Saturday of November. It’s a pretty sweet deal if you ask me, especially the part about getting a pre-birthday cake and a birthday-birthday cake, and the fact that his birthday will always fall on a weekend. He will totally thank us when he comes of age and has the luxury of dealing with those pesky after-party hangovers on a Sunday.


I took Nate to the doctors yesterday for his monthly check up, and at 11 months, he weighs 17½ pounds. This means that he has put on almost 1½ pounds in a month. I credit this weight gain to lots and lots of yogurt and cheese, but considering the ratio of cheese that actual finds its way into his mouth versus the amount of cheese that finds its way into the mouth of our loyal cheese snatching vacuum cleaner, this also means that Samson must have put on at least 12 pounds this month.

Samson says,"Do you think all that cheese makes my shouders look fat?"

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Zoo House
by Karla ° Monday, November 26, 2007

Yes, yes it was a zoo in here. But it was a good, over crowded, big happy family kind of zoo.

More later when I catch up on some of the sleep that my little “I want boobs five times a night” baby has been robbing me of over the past three weeks.


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Party Preparations and First Steps
by Karla ° Friday, November 23, 2007
Dear god, my fridge is pulsing; it is so full of food and drink. And somehow, by tomorrow, all of these random things need to turn themselves into hors d’oeuvres that are actually edible and appetizing.

I did consider baking a cake, but after about three seconds of very serious contemplation, I realized that, WHO, EXACTLY, AM I KIDDING? There is a perfectly adequate Dairy Queen around the corner that sells perfectly adequate ice cream cake. We all have our weaknesses, and I am strong enough to recognize that mine is ice cream.

I am also up to my eyeballs in Windex and Mr. Clean trying to make my house sparkle. This, I know, is something that has been passed down from my mother over the years in a sepia tinged neurosis for an immaculately pristine home.

Stuffing this many people in the compact quarters of my living room will be interesting because after you factor in all of the room necessary to satisfy my need for personal space, and all of the room that Samson’s great big giant dog torso needs to chase his tail in concentric circles, this leaves my guests all of about seven square feet of floor space to mingle amongst themselves. I’m thinking a tight-knit huddle around the punch bowl should suffice.

I am also thinking that my little baby is not much of a baby anymore. They may be small steps today, but tomorrow, the unsteady pitter patter of his two small feet will be replaced with confident strides into a life of his very own.

This makes me feel sort of sad and extremely proud all at the same time.


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First Words
by Karla ° Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Nate and I are sick. Our chests are gurgly, our coughs are piercing and sharp, and our noses are damp and runny.

Nate is a real trooper though, and despite his congestion, he forges on, and continues to play with his shapes and bang the keys on his piano to the beat of his own soul warming music, determined not to let a drizzly nose interrupt his busy play schedule.

Because his birthday is so close to Christmas, and with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season upon us, his first birthday party is scheduled for this weekend. The invitations were sent weeks ago and I have been eagerly looking forward to celebrating his first year of life surrounded by the spirited laughter and comfortable glow of family.

But now I’m not sure what I should do.

There are a still a few days left for him to rest, but I don’t know if that will be long enough for his tiny body to heal and recover.

Should I just go ahead and cancel? Or should I take a wait and see approach? What would you do?

~ : ~

Also, Nate learned his first official word last week. He’s been stringing together random consonants and vowels for a while now, but I don’t think he understood what he was saying.

Until now that is.

I am positively glowing.

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A Chance Encounter
by Karla ° Monday, November 19, 2007
We travelled north again this weekend to celebrate my Father-in-Law’s 60th Birthday party, and no drive to Penetanguishene is complete without veering off of the bustling northbound highway and stopping to savour the comforting aroma of a Tim Horton’s coffee.

This is also where I stop and pee because my bladder is the size of a walnut.

I don’t know if it has something to do with sitting still for a length of time, or if it has something to do with the whole wanting what you can’t have mentality, which, um, EWW! But I cannot stress enough how bad my need for a toilet is whenever I am not near one.

Anyway, the place that we stop along the highway is ideal, because after I pee, I can pick up a coffee to help perpetuate the whole drinking and peeing cycle.

While making my way over to the lineup to order a cup of java, I happened to recognize someone I knew from college. He was standing just off to the side of the line with a friend, gaze shifted up at the printed menu items above his head.

As I approached the line, I tried to shrink away into the crowd of people, unnoticed, but I saw him glance in my direction, and before I could shift my gaze away, our eyes met and I saw a familiar spark of recognition sweep across his face.

We were both one of the 15 Mineral Engineering Technology students from the graduating class of 2000, and although we share a deep and common interest in Geology, and whether or not the bedrock beneath our feet contains orthoclase or plagioclase feldspar, I felt no desire to go over and say hello.

The easy excuse would be to say that I was in a hurry to get to a birthday party and that my husband and my baby were in the car waiting for me, but that would only have been half of the truth. The other half is that so much has changed since the good old college days. And part of me feels so entirely disconnected from the world after losing Ava, that I never quite know what to say when talking about my life.

I mean, first of all, how do you not sound like an asshole when you explain that you ditched your career in Geology once you realized that you could make more money as a secretary in a towering sky scraper wearing heels and a fitted skirt? And then once you discovered the glitzy allure of a good paying corporate job, you went back to school and studied technology and made really good money in web development and became the type of person who doesn’t even bat their mascara coated lashes at the price of a $14 glass of wine and who sighs heavily in long lineups to express their self-righteous impatience. And then how do you explain that tragedy struck, and you lost a baby and the entire Universe as you knew it suddenly tilted on its axis and nothing has ever been the same since?

Then again, it’s been over seven years since we've seen each other. Maybe he has also discovered there are more important things in life than being that impatient, sighing jackass in the lineup, too?

A simple, “Hi, how are you?” would have worked, I guess. But when the reciprocal, “So, what are you up these days?” question was asked, rather than telling some sort of polite fabrication about my life to keep things light and airy, I thought it would be easier to just say nothing at all.

So before he noticed the glimmer of recognition in my eyes too, I turned my shoulder to him, abrupt and cold in my hesitation, ordered a coffee and left.

I had a baby and a husband waiting in the car, after all.


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New Discoveries
by Karla ° Thursday, November 15, 2007
The chilled breath of winter has been twisting through these suburban hollows in the middle of the night, and in tow it carries a palette of brittle frost to paint intricate patterns of ice crystals and snow on the windshield of my car.

Winter is impatient like that. It always seems to be plotting an early arrival and furtively creeping across the boundary of the season and whispering songs of death to branches full of trembling leaves in the darkened shadows of the night.

For now, I am grateful that the warmth of the autumn sun is prevailing and keeping the shivery chill of winter at bay because Nate is really enjoying playing in the leaves.

One of the best things about having kids, I think, is watching them, in all of their unbridled joy and wonder, explore and discover the world in front of them.

Leaves included.

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by Karla ° Tuesday, November 13, 2007
I’m feeling a bit lost these days. And just like when I was feeling unsettled, I can’t quite put my finger on exactly what this feeling is.

I can’t focus, and I can’t sit still, and why is it that I can’t seem to find a floor lamp or silverware that I like?

All I know is that pomegranate seeds taste heavenly and that my words are temporarily lost in the vast Andromeda of space, which apparently, is where all the nice lamps and spoons must be, too.


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Pimps and a Promotion
by Karla ° Friday, November 9, 2007
One thing you must know about Mark and me is that we are notoriously sarcastic. The only difference between the two of us is that he can add satiric flair to his words that is actually funny, whereas I always end up sounding like an ignoramus.

Like the other day for example. I brought Nate to a playgroup and the group that was there before us had decorated and embellished a lawn chair with oversized buttons, unidentifiable paper shapes and flowing streamers. And you know how it goes with toddler crafts; you are not exactly sure what they are supposed to be, but you love them anyway because your kid made it. So although I had no idea what the purpose of the chair was, I do have to admit that it was totally pimped out. All that was missing was some crushed velour and purple neon plates.

I am never very comfortable in social situations with groups of people that I do not know and if I had to guess by the silence in the room, the rest of the moms felt the same way. Looking for a conversation starter, I blurted out, “Wow, that’s some pimped out chair other there, eh?”

Apparently, judging by the blank stares and continued awkward silence, everyone either thought that I was 12, or a complete ass for making reference to a pimp in room full of babies.

Note to self: Must remember to stick to boring topics like the weather and, oh my goodness, can you believe how high the Canadian dollar is?

Mark is much better at the whole being social with people and communicating thing and that is probably why he was recently promoted.

This is all very exciting news for our little family because this means that Samson can now afford more dog cookies.

Mark works in technology at a hospital, so while he has been transitioning into his new role, one of his team members jokingly asked how he’s been enjoying the executive limo service.

All serious like, Mark told him that he had to decline it because when he found out that he was getting a promotion, he went out and bought himself a brand new Escalade which he now parks in the ambulance parking zone.

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Doggy Heaven
by Karla ° Wednesday, November 7, 2007
My little brother is getting married soon. I guess that doesn’t make him so little anymore, but he will always be my little brother, even though he was born with the dimensions of a fully uniformed football player. Bless my mother and her poor battered body after that unmedicated birth.

Last weekend there was a celebration taking place for him and his fiancée back in my hometown of Penetanguishene, and this posed some problems around travelling with our great big giant dog, Samson.

Firstly, our ginormously tiny, two door Pontiac Sunfire simply cannot accommodate all of our gear, plus Samson. Plain and simple. Secondly, Samson is a diva and he refuses to contribute financially towards the purchase of a new car on the grounds that he is a spoiled dog. Also, he does not like to be left alone.

I know, I know, you’re thinking; Karla, he’s just a dog for pete's sake! The problem however, isn't so much that he's just a dog, it's that he is a dog with mighty dog teeth, and I have yet to recover from the time that he chewed a corner off of the quilt on my bed that cost almost as much as a mortgage payment.

It’s a good thing I love that dog, immensely, because the glue factory would have been a way cheaper.

Anyhow, Samson has separation anxiety and he deals with his stress by being destructive. This is why we must crate him whenever we leave the house. I don’t like it, but I also don’t like coming home and discovering that my portable phone battery is lost in the nether regions of his colon.

So, because we cannot fit his giant crate in our car, and because he would have been left alone while my entire family was out partying it up at my brother’s pre-wedding party, we decided to board Samson for the night.

Now, Samson likes to play. And I don’t just mean that he likes to run and run and run and act crazy ALL! DAY! LONG! I mean he likes to play, really, REALLY hard. Especially when he is around other dogs.

As soon as we pulled up the kennel, Samson sprouted himself some magic playing wings and from what we were told, his feet barely touch the ground the entire 24 hours that he was there because he was too busy leaping and pouncing and pirouetting in figure eights over, under and on top of the other dogs. And by the entire 24 hours, they meant the entire 24 hours, including the hours between the time that all of the dogs were ready to get some sleep to ALL THE DOGS BUT SAMSON WERE FINALLY READY TO GET SOME SLEEP.

If there is such thing as doggy heaven, then Samson found it.

When we went to pick him up the next day, he could barely move. Instead of his usual exuberant greeting of hopping in concentric circles around my person and pelting me with his hypersonically swift tail, he completely ignored me, made a beeline for the back door, went outside, had the biggest dump I have ever seen, and then collapsed in heap on the floor, where he remained for the rest of they day.

I guess the saying is right. A tired dog IS a good dog.


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by Karla ° Tuesday, November 6, 2007
There has been only a handful of times that I have witnessed the sun breathe life into the dawn a new day.

Last Sunday was one of them.

And my body is still recovering.

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First Halloween
by Karla ° Thursday, November 1, 2007
This was our fourth Halloween in this house. The first year that we lived here, I kind of figured that because we live in a subdivision, we would get hundreds and hundreds of kids Trick or Treating at our door. Naturally, hundreds and hundreds of chocolate bars marched into our home under the same assumption, too.

I think we got about 10 kids that year and because I was pregnant, which by default means that my will power was non-existent, I commanded the several hundred left over chocolate bars to march themselves back to the store. Except, who knew chocolate could be so defiant? They absolutely insisted that their final resting place be the comforting warmth of my belly. And besides, what kind of monster would I have been to deny chocolate its last dying wish, especially when it benefitted me and my cravings directly. It was a win-win situation.

The next two years played out the same, except I only bought one box of chocolate bars, which is a much more reasonable amount of chocolate to have lying around the house.

So this year, expecting the same sort of showmanship of Trick or Treaters at our door, I bought one box of chocolate bars. And all of a sudden those hundreds and hundreds of kids that I was expecting four years ago appeared out of nowhere and I was not equipped with enough candy to betreat them all. I’m not exactly sure where they all came from? Was it the daylights savings? The warm weather? A neighbourhood sex party that I wasn’t invited too?

~ : ~

Nate had fun trick or treating at the neighbours houses. We dressed him up in his pumpkin costume after dinner and showed him his candy bucket, which he immediately loaded with his shapes. He loves his shapes and he loves putting his shapes inside of things. Actually, he loves placing stuff inside of pretty much anything. I can’t tell you how many arrowroot cookies I have found jammed inside toy crevices, or how many have disappeared into Samson’s mouth.

Something tells me that when he finally gets a taste of chocolate, he won’t be as inclined to “share.”

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