Sunday, September 30, 2012

good and bad

{new umbrella on a rainy day}
Should I start with the good or the bad?

The bad?

I swore in front of Violet today. It was a really bad word.

We were driving home in the pouring rain and someone pulled out right in front of us. It scared me. I swore.

As we continued home I asked Violet if she had heard what I said. She said no, but I wasn't convinced. I tried to justify myself to her by saying that I only use words like that when I am really scared. This seemed to make sense to her.

When we pulled in the driveway I was still worried that she had heard what I said so I asked her what the worst word she knew was.

"Stupid," she said, without a pause and then, in the exact tone I used when I explained my misstep to her she said, " but don't worry mummy, I only use that word when someone is really stupid."

This weekend I inadvertently taught Violet how to justify saying bad words.

And now for the good.

Violet participated in dance class! We practiced every night last week (hello stage mum) and it really paid off. Half an hour goes so much faster when your child is not hyperventilating.

I attribute the progress to our practicing, but it could have been all of the bribes I tried to entice her with. You see that umbrella? That is the direct result of being a "big girl" during dance class. I promised a number of other things too so I guess I can't really nail down what worked. All I know is stage mum tendencies + bribery = success.

Feel free to try out that recipe for parenting on your own children, so far so good over here.



Friday, September 28, 2012

damsel in distress

Photo by emilyandjeffrey 

You know those nights where you come home, get into comfy clothes, eat pizza and you're so tired you could either laugh or cry so you do both at the drop of a hat? If you answered yes, I should introduce you to Violet because that is totally her M.O. on Friday nights.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times -- within the same minute. I get like this when I am tired too. From the outside looking in, I have to admit it is kind of crazy and a little teeny bit scary.

Being dramatic is obviously exhausting; Violet fell into bed like a damsel in distress. 

Seriously, who sleeps like that (and is not named Aurora)?

I am almost ready to do the same, you?

Happy Friday everyone. Batten down the hatches Haligonians, it is going to be a wet one. 



Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Photo by emilyandjeffrey 

It all started with an attempt to add warmth to our front entrance. I've been admiring photo rails online for a while now and I thought our very own would make the perfect addition to our basic foyer (it is laughable to refer to our front hall as a foyer, but that won't stop me). 

While we were in Ontario a few weeks ago we did as all Nova Scotians "abroad" do -- we went to Ikea. We went for two things, just two I swear, but somehow a photo rail and an inordinate number of picture frames ended up in that cursed blue bag. Everything is so cheap -- I couldn't help myself. 

Anyhow, Jeff put up the rail and I printed a few photos at Blacks. We still have some empty frames to fill, but I have to say I am not digging the look. I feel like I have created a veritable shrine to Violet. We only have one kid and I'd rather have a shrine to her than a shrine to myself or Jeff, but I have a feeling it will be bordering on creepy for all who dare to enter.

Welcome to our home, we hope you love us as much as we love ourselves. Look how good looking our child is -- more is more, we always say. 

I'd be freaked out.

I'm hoping if I add a few older pictures, say of my grandparents wedding or engagement or even childhood pictures of my parents the effect will be more what I was going for. 

Why is nothing as easy as it looks on Pinterest?



ps -- as always advice is welcome (especially if you have exceptional taste -- come on, you know you do) 

Monday, September 24, 2012

dance moms

- this is how I feel something from: where else
I can't believe I forgot to tell you this yesterday. You won't believe what another mother said to me at dance class. 

Just when you thought you could get away without my weekly "Violet cries at dance class and I question my ability to parent" post...

Since you know the routine I'll stick to the basics. The tears started on the drive to class, by the time the teacher had to pry Vi's hands from my neck she was in full on hysterics. Hyperventilation by the child was followed by an "invitation" for me come into the studio. I reluctantly joined the class. Violet sat on my lap, a sobbing, sweating, but heartbreakingly cute ball of fury.

Just another Saturday morning.

For some reason other parents were in the classroom again, even though they are encouraged to wait outside. One mum leaned over to me and asked if this was Violet's first time at dance class. I explained that she had been in dance before, but that she seems to be in some sort of phase. The mum looked at me with sympathy (not real sympathy, condescending sympathy) and said, "poor girl, is there something going on at home?"


Those kind of comments kill me. If something was going on, which is isn't, would I tell a total stranger in my daughter's dance class? What a moron.

Of course in real life I said "no nothing" and smiled (really fakely).

I can't believe she said that, what a...wait, is something going on at home I wondered? Are we working too much? I never take Violet to the pool, good parents always seem to be in the pool, maybe that is the problem. Maybe we need to go to the park more -- does not going to the park everyday count as "something going on at home"? I let Vi eat sugar and use real butter on her toast, could that be it, that is borderline child abuse right? Maybe this is only-child behaviour, maybe if she had a sibling she would like dance class more?

Even though I know it is silly, I do worry that maybe Jeff and I are doing something wrong and that we are the reason Violet cries during dance class. I understand in my head that those thoughts are crazy and  toxic, but they creep up every time I see a room full of happy dancers and my little puddle of sweat and tears melts onto my lap.

Can I retire now? Being a grandparent looks like fun. I think I'd be good at that.

Oh gosh, imagine how much I am going to over analyze things once Vi gets to school, or worse, when she is a teenager.



Sunday, September 23, 2012

back to reality

{cuddles before breakfast and my new favourite picture}
This weekend really felt like fall. I don't mean the weather necessarily, but just the fact that we seemed busy from the moment we woke up until we fell into bed (at 8:00 pm if you must know). Other than a few milestones, Violet wants to be called Bingo from now on and a chickadee landed on her hand while we were at the park (she now believes she is Snow While incarnate), the weekend was pretty standard for this time of year. In fact, while we were standing outside Costco this afternoon I felt a wave of self-pity come over me. Why are we aways so busy? I just want to sleep...for two weeks. I let myself wallow for a few minutes, but then I snapped out it of. We are busy because we choose to be, we are so blessed to have Violet to take care of -- even the monotonous stuff is a really big gift. Some not so fun stuff has happened in our lives lately and the silver lining in all the sadness has been that I realize that now.

I can't always snap myself out of a mini-funk, but today I did. Could have been my new take on life, could have been all the jelly bean samples.

Here are a few pictures from our weekend that was full of laundry, dishwashing, chauffeuring and a healthy dose of toddler (little kid? cue weeping) attitude. Despite all that, or perhaps because of it, it was awesome.



{pumpkin muffins: before}

{story of my life -- you too?}

{the return of the bodum}

{first steel cut oats of the autumn}

{pumpkin muffins: after}

{be still my heart}

{new church shoes - thanks Nanny}

{keeping up with her mama}

{I have to stop myself from eating those cheeks}

{this photo is included and was taken at Violet's request}

Friday, September 21, 2012

pumpkin pancakes with apple compote for fall

{I'm going to open an IHOP}

Remember how I promised there would be no more pancake related posts? I don't know why I am so monomaniacal jazzed about pancakes these days, but it appears that I am. I hate meal planning on weeks when we miss the market so breakfast-for-supper was an obvious, easy addition to our menu. My friend Andrea is always making pumpkin pancakes and they look so good. I tried these on Wednesday night and since today is the first day of fall I thought it was a perfect time to share them with you.

Happy first day of fall! Don't drown on you way to work Haligonians. It is officially monsoon season.

I searched online for "healthy pumpkin pancakes" and I came across a recipe that had been modified from Heidi Swanson's blog 101 Cookbooks (an awesome source for heathy and delicious fare).

The maple apple compote adds just the right amount of sweetness to the dense, pumpkiny pancake. I don't bake with a lot of whole wheat flour so maybe that is why I could really taste the difference. These pancakes each weighted three times what my normal light and fluffy guys do. They are good, but they taste healthy.

I'd make these again, but maybe only use half the whole wheat flour. Any other ways to lighten them up?

Also, I have half a can of pumpkin puree left. Anyone have a good pumpkin loaf or muffin recipe? Maybe something healthy but that couldn't be used for weight training ;)



Get the recipe for these perfect for fall pancakes here:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


{Velma, Nancy, Emily & Jules aka aunt, mum, wife and sister}
Jeff's family live in a pretty little town outside Hamilton. It is so lovely there this time of year. The air has cooled off and the leaves are just starting to turn. Ancaster, where Jeff spent part of his childhood, is full of stately brick homes and perfectly manicured lawns. It is the perfect spot for a wedding.

I am biased, but you can't beat a September wedding. You get all the bright light and sunshine of summer with none of the oppressive humidity. We travelled to Ancaster on Friday to go to Jeff's cousin's wedding. I love seeing Jeff around his family. He laughed so hard he cried every day we were there. You know the sort of laughter that only people who have known you since you were little can evoke? That rang through Jeff's parents' house.

Violet was indulged beyond belief. Instead of two (or four) adults doting on her she had at least 6 sometimes 7 loving grown ups at her beckon call. She was hugged, kissed and fed from the moment she woke up until after she went to bed (no eating after bed, just hugs and kisses).

It is so lovely being taken care of for a weekend. Jeff's mum and sister are the type who would never let you see a dirty dish, they wash your towel before you notice it is gone and they slip little presents and cards in your room or suitcase. Dreamy.

When can we go back?!

Here are my favourite pictures from the weekend (Jeff's sister has the same camera and she is more diligent with photography) -- when I said I relaxed I meant it!



{Wes and Precious Jules}

{Em & Jeff}

{pretty cake}

{country wedding}

{Violet laughing so so hard}

{Emily Pond I or Emily Pond Jr}

{Em & Vi - cousinly love}

{another pretty blonde sister! Auntie Ang and her little minions} 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012



Well, one plus one.

(One year plus one day.)

One whole year. Only one year? What a year!

I love my hand-holding, early morning coffee making, Violet adoring, family loving, can put anything together like lego husband even more this morning than I did last year. (Even though he slept through our alarm. That is a lot of love.) He is the best late night fan-turner-offer I know.

I love being on your team Jeff.

As an aside -- do you like rooting for a winning team sweet pea? As a Leafs fan and also as a Saint Louis Rams fan this experience must feel foreign. Don't worry. You're doing great. Just keep it up.



ps -- back home late from our quick Ontario trip -- pictures to follow!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

a tall stack

I woke up early this morning and I peeked in on my sleeping babe. She looked so sweet in her footsie jam jams, all cozy in her favourite pink blanket. I will make you pancakes, I said to myself. And so I did. A tall stack for my small girl.

I always feel a little smug if I manage to squeeze something extra into my morning routine. I felt like super-mum, flipping pancakes, drinking milky tea all with a towel on my head. That is, I felt smug until we were scrambling and the September traffic almost made me late for work. At that point I felt like an idiot for thinking I could make a hot breakfast on a Thursday morning.

Perhaps pancakes are better weekend fare afterall.

Try Nigella's take on "American" pancakes: quick, easy and not without a healthy dose of butter. The recipe is here:, but I totally recommend her book How to Be A Domestic Goddess. Get yourself a scale and get baking!



{batter before the sun comes up}

{does anyone really eat pancakes this way?}

Monday, September 10, 2012

stormy weather

{Violet this morning in the dark of the storm -- "how can I embarrass my mum today"}

We know each other right? I feel comfortable with you and you feel comfortable with me? The reason I ask is because tonight's discussion will take a turn for the unladylike at around paragraph five. I'm talking about bathroom talk people. Well, you can't say you weren't warned.

Today did not start out so well. It was pitch dark an hour past my usual wake-up call and morning run so I couldn't go. I blame my dad. Not for the weather, although he is fairly attuned to the man in the sky so perhaps he could have done something about that too; I blame him for my paralyzing fear of being outside alone in the dark. We were never, I repeat never, allowed to walk home alone after dark -- and we basically lived in the safest place in the world. Every time I think about going for a run before dawn I hear my dad's voice -- "it just isn't worth it Em". But, Dad I really don't want cellulite. Argh, fine, point taken. Run missed.

Then there was the delightful walk to work in the rain. Rain doesn't even begin to cover magnitude of precipitation I experienced this morning. I had no umbrella (ask Jeff why, if I can't say anything nice I won't say anything at all. That is just the kind of wife I am). Luckily Susie (Violet's other mother) saved me by loaning me a longer raincoat then the one I arrived at her house in. I still got soaked. My skirt also bunched up so when I arrived at work it looked like all I had on were a jacket and boots, and not in a good way.

But later in the morning things were looking up. My friend bought me tea and a pastry. The tide seemed to be turning. My day was brightening.

Then the final blow came. When Violet and I got home from work/ school I told her I wasn't feeling that well. I wasn't. My stomach was a little off so I made myself some tea. A few hours later Violet was on the phone with my dad -- it was so cute to overhear their conversation: "How was your day....yeah, is Nana feeling...ohhh good." But then I heard this, "I think my mummy has diarrhea."


Oh dear. I tried to take the phone from her to explain to my dad I hadn't been feeling well, but it was too late, he was gone.

So embarrassing.

I'd like a do-over on today please. Scratch that, I'd like it to be Friday.



Sunday, September 9, 2012

it's the most wonderful time of the year

{so excited for dance class}
Dance class resumed this week! Yippee, an activity that is never rarely accompanied by tears. Violet has been waiting all summer for this, or wait, was that me? Violet was pretty pumped when I reminded her last night.

We had to switch studios this fall because the two available time slots for Vi's age group conflicted with the market and church. At her new studio dancers of all ages have to wear a "uniform". All the kids in creative movement (pre-pre-ballet) have to wear blue bodysuits and pink footless tights. This displeased Violet who much preferred her tulle embellished pink satin bodysuit and sparkly sweater she had become accustomed to wearing. There were tears. Threats were made. The blue bodysuit was donned. I swear if Red is Best hadn't already been written, I would have been inspired by Violet to write it (it would be called Pink is Best though).

Violet marched into her dance class gave me a kiss and I said goodbye. Parents were welcome to observe the first class but I knew if I was there Violet would want to sit with me so I opted to wait in the hall. I was there for at least 15 minutes. Then Ms. V (the teacher) came out, "is Violet's mum here?". Well, at least we lasted 15 minutes. There were live drums in the class and worse they were being played by a man. Couple that with scary parent observers and you'll have a very uncomfortable Violet. "I want my old dance class" she wailed. "We can quit church or stop going to the market," I thought to myself. Or we could give this more than a week and let her get comfortable -- that seems more rational than giving up our religious values, no?

So we are off to a slightly rocky start. Has anyone dealt with a child who was nervous in activities? Violet is great at daycare, loves Sunday school, has sleepovers with friends -- she just doesn't seem to like to perform alone in front of adults. If you met her you'd assume she'd love the attention.

I wish I was a child psychologist, although I would always have a hard time spelling my occupation which could be awkward...



{she calls this move "V for Violet"}

{the difference between running and  dancing is hard for the naked eye to observe}

{she has the diva thing down}

{a few of the girls trickling into class}

Friday, September 7, 2012

bad luck

{running on the beach just a few days ago}
On Wednesday night my mum fell down three steps while carrying a case of diet coke to her basement. Their house is old and the steps are steep, but it wasn't very far to fall. Being the ironwoman she is she got herself up with the help of my dad and entertained guests for the rest of the night. We were there and I really had no idea she had broken her hip. She seemed fine-ish -- in pain, but laughing it off. The details of the event are her story not mine, but the long and the short of it is that she is resting comfortably after having surgery on her hip yesterday afternoon. Needless to say we are all in a bit of shock. She is so young and healthy. Look at her frolicking on the beach in the picture -- that was this week. I guess these things happen occasionally -- flukes. I am so thankful she didn't hit her head, or do more damage to her body. We expect a full recovery and I won't cut her any slack on our future runs. She had just started really getting into it. I still see a 5K in our future.

The silver lining is that we can spend the first few months of the fall watching the Gilmore Girls, every Jane Austen series she owns (which is obviously all of them) and eating rice pudding. Oh and Downton Abbey starts soon too...bedroom parties every weekend until we get this woman up and running again.



Wednesday, September 5, 2012


I've mentioned this before, but I think it bears repeating (as in I want to say it again), I would like to be the type of person who can get away with using the word "terrific". Blame Woody Allen if you must, but I totally associate the word with New York literati. Don't you? I would love to be the type of person whose spoken language skills rival something written by Aaron Sorkin, but it just isn't me. I say the word "like" a lot. Not Clueless a lot, but more than Mr. Sorkin would approve of I am sure.

I've been thinking about words lately, about writing in general really. I am trying to read more and write less. More importantly, I am trying to really pay attention to writing while I am reading. Sounds easy, but when you get caught up in a story, which is the reason why I love reading, the mechanical details seem less important.

My efforts have not, however, been in vain. In the last few weeks I have come across three words that I really, really like. In addition to being the type of person who can pull off saying "terrific", I would like to use these particular words in conversation. Wanna hear 'em?

Thought so.

1. Inimitable

When I was feeling blue last week (see last post for details) my mum brought me custard and my dad brought me Roman Holiday starring the (in his words) "inimitable Audrey Hepburn". Have truer words be spoken? I like the way this word sounds -- so playful, almost like a one word tongue twister.

2. Imbecilic

I read this one. It was in reference to Todd Akin's infamous comment. Appropriate right? I feel like I could use this word all the time -- no offence family & friends. I may never say stupid again.

3. Doddering

Someone used this word to describe Clint Eastwood's performance at the Republican National Convention last week. I still love you Clint, but doddering is a hilarious word to describe the movement of the elderly specifically. I think it is the specificity I like. Young people can't dodder. Does this not strike anyone else as funny?

So this was a really edifying post that I bet you are stoked you read until the end. I just wanted to share these words with you. I've had in on my to do list for almost a week. Thank you for bearing with ;)



image via The New Yorker

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Oh September

Violet and I were planning on attending the wedding of a very dear friend this past weekend. It didn't happen. I was heartbroken. I would have been perfectly satisfied spending the long weekend moping, preferably in my pjs and definitely in my bed. Having a child is such an inconvenience when a good mope is in order. My sweet husband, hating to see his wife in distress, basically forced us to get in the car and head to PEI.

You're always happy in PEI, he said. I couldn't argue with that.

Although my heart was in Calgary this past weekend, my family members loaned me theirs in PEI. Isn't that a lovely image? I read something similar in a book I read recently, so I can't really take credit for it, but it does capture how I felt these past few days.

Despite my best intentions to wallow we had a great weekend complete with beach visits, my Pop's famous scrambled eggs and the making of "four generation" chow chow. Have you ever had chow chow? Green tomato chow? Oh my glory, it is delicious. Commonly served with salted fish, I like the stuff dumped on almost anything including all meat and most veggies. I don't want to make you jealous, but Jeff even cut up all the onions for us -- and we made a double batch. That is true love.

Jeff was right, I am always happy in PEI.

September is upon us. Bring on the fresh stationary and new beginnings.


{making chow in our jam jams}

{the final product}

{every day is a day at the beach with Pop}

{beach bum}

{the last cone of the summer, Papa made it a doozy with chocolate and sprinkles}