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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Birthmas and We're Off!

Yesterday we celebrated the kids birthday and Christmas. Hence the term "Birthmas".

The day started out with a visit from Mrs. Alice K. (a camp friend of Nanna's) and she brought a pink Gap sweatshirt (with ears) for Artemis and a Gap sweater with dinosaurs on it for Max. Adorable.

In the afternoon, Aunt Bib stopped by for a visit and gave the kids a card filled with green paper. Seeing as Aunt Bib follows the blog, we'll be sure to post what we get them (when we get back).

For dinner, Nanna put on a lovely affair of roast lamb leg, authentic latin rice (chez Abuela), salads, desserts and of course lots of appetizers. The De Diegos brought a lovely floral centerpiece and of course there were Christmas crackers. We were fortunate to have Uncle Fred and Tia Ilka come as well.

The kids were spoiled with all the presents! I'll post pictures later.

We're just finishing up our preparations; travel insurance, preparing some food to take, loading the van. If all goes according to plan, we'll be pulling out of here (with the entire zoo) early tomorrow morning.

Ed has done a ton of research and purchased equipment to ensure that we will have internet access at our place in Mexico. Once that happens, we'll let you know how we can be reached. In the meantime, please don't send us any emails unless they are urgent. We will likely have internet access for our three nights in the USA (Friday, Saturday and Sunday).

We'll be thinking of all of you. Until next year.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Where have Two Years Gone? Happy 2nd Birthday!

Two years ago today, the litter kids were born.

On that Friday, early in the morning (12:28am to be exact), Alexander was first, followed less than a minute later by Maximilian and rounded out with Artemis. Each child gets their "own minute" even though they were born in less than three.

Nipissing Developmental Checklist 24 Months
Since the beginning, we've been using the Nipissing Developmental Checklists to track their progress against predefined milestones.

I'm pleased to announce that they are right on track!

Click on the image to enlarge.

So much so that for breakfast, they ate their weight in pancakes (official weight to be determined at their doctor's appointment tomorrow).

Update: Max weighed 11.46kg, 25lbs2oz (up from 10.55kg, 23lbs2oz from July almost 5 months). Artemis weighed 10.66kg, 23lbs8oz (up from 9.15kg, 20lbs2oz lbs from July, almost 5 months). Max was 33.75" tall (up from 32" in July) and Artemis was 33" tall (up from 31" in July).

Then, we got all dressed up and went for a long walk with the dogs. On our way home we stopped off at Uncle Eric's for coffee and our first taste of chocolate (Artemis is a HUGE fan).

The afternoon was spent de-constructing the living room. The kids did an excellent job (they're naturals). They especially liked it when Ed put a hole in the wall with a hammer (we're having renos done while we're away).

All good things must come to an end (or so they say) and Poppa went home this evening.

We're in the home stretch now and are very very busy. The plan is to head to Toronto on Tuesday.

Check out our other Nipissing Developmental Checklist posts.

Where Has The Past Two Years Gone???

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Friday, December 9, 2011

Packing for Mexico and Max's Last Haircut

We're in the final stages of getting packed up for Mexico. Thankfully, we've had some help with babysitting.

Nanna left on Monday. Max had a cold was sad to see her go.

Poppa arrived on Tuesday and we all went to playgroup and had a great day.

On Thursday, I gave Max his first and last haircut. Seriously. He hated the sound of the scissors and wouldn't stay still. The last cut was, THE LAST CUT. And don't think that I'm letting anyone else cut his hair, EVER.


and After...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Uncle Andrew Was Here

I'm totally behind the eight ball.

Uncle Andrew was here but now he's gone. Before you know it (read: Thursday), Nanna will be here. And after that, Poppa. All of this within the next two weeks. Ed got a new contract last week that has to be completed before we leave (he has others but they'll be in "maintenance mode"). Needless to say, we've been busy.

As (bad) luck would have it, I don't have one picture of Andrew with the kids. Not one!? I do have a picture of his first dinner (priorities people) a chicken, tomato with vegetables "something" over penne with fresh parmesan. The boys say that they liked it. I liked it too because I got rid of a ton of stuff in the fridge/freezer.

On Sunday afternoon, Andrew and I went out for an early dinner (3pm to Swiss Chalet, yum!) and then to an Ottawa Senators game (it started at 5pm). We had great seats, right on the centre line and the place was almost packed (considering it was the Grey Cup). To top it off, Ottawa beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3!

I also have pictures of the kids playing in boxes.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


This post was originally called "In Search of the Phantom" as a reference to Inspector Clousseau. It's also one of our next marathons (11 movies in total) that we're gearing up for (read: looking for the movies). Speaking of which, does anyone have any Pink Panther movies (old/new, DVD/VHS)? Did I already ask that?

But then Nanna reminded me of Movember and we too want to lend our support to Prostate Cancer.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Week of November 17-23, 2011

Since I'm so far behind, I'm going to give you the week in pictures (with captions).

Nanna was here and then she left.

While she was here, we went to CHEO and gave presents in Alexander's name. We also donated a breast pump (that Carrie gave me) to the General. Christmas in November!

We visited with Ethan (Ed's grandson).

We hung out (literally).

It snowed last night (4 inches), we brought the snow inside.

Artemis on her soapbox.

We are anxiously awaiting Uncle Andrew's visit on Friday!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Another Post about Poo

First off, I can't believe that we've only been officially toilet training Artemis for one week. It feels like at least twenty two weeks.

Today started out as usual. Artemis tells me her diaper needs to be changed so we go into the bathroom and perform a big rigamarole change it. Except that today, for the second time, she told me that she NEEDED to go (not that she already HAD). And so the waiting game began.

She wasn't big on sitting on the toilet but was VERY interested in rummaging through the "everything" drawer with the condition that she could play with items IF she sat on the toilet. Five minutes and 28 items later, the game was still interesting (for one of us) and then she paused. I pounced like a person that wanted to avoid cleaning the floor a mother bear and made IT (and the intended target) just in time. Artemis had no idea that she'd just completed one of the greatest accomplishments of her short life, and seemed pretty surprised to find something in the bowl. However, she thought that it was awesome that everyone was jumping up and down and singing something about her and a toilet. She was beaming from ear to ear.

Not to be outdone, later on, for the first time, Max patted his bum and told me that he needed a diaper change. Sure enough, he was right!

Who knew that this toilet training thing was contagious.

My mother tells me that this is the reason why I don't have any friends without kids. I have no idea what she's talking about. Doesn't everyone love to brag about their kids bowel movements?

My poor kids.

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fun with Nanna

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Kraft and You can Help Food Banks like House of Lazarus

Kraft Foods Logo

Kraft Foods is supporting local food banks across Canada this holiday season. From November 3, 2011 to January 31, 2012, they are donating $1 (PER DAY, PER PERSON) to each person that enters their name.

One of the Food Banks on their support list is our local food bank the House of Lazarus.

House of Lazarus Food Bank Signage

This registered not-for-profit Canadian charity is a community outreach mission that offers food, clothing and pastoral care to those in need. Their Thrift Shop (for clothing) and Household Goods Shops are open to the public and The Zoo has been a weekly fixture for several years now.

We opened our doors in 1986 in Dundela to offer some relief to those experiencing poverty in the surrounding communities. In October 2000, we moved to our current location in Mountain, Ontario.

Our funding sources include; The United Church of Canada, Household Goods and Thrift Shop, Thoughtful Contributors, Caring Partners, Generous Donors and Recycling Programs (Electronics, Clothing, and Metal).​

Kraft has already given away $33,860 (out of $50,000) so enter your name, EVERY DAY and help my small town (population 32 horses, 53 sheep and 12 people) get some more of the pie.

Important Note. Once they reach the $50,000, DON'T stop voting. The food bank with the most votes receives an extra $10,000!

Tiz the season to give, especially when it costs you nothing. Thanks for your support.

Connect with the House of Lazarus via their Website or Facebook Page.

Have you Voted for the House of Lazarus?

Note that this campaign has ended and Kraft has removed the voting links on their website.

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Max's Favourite Shirt

Today, Max proudly showed me the two "Mr Potato Heads" that he'd made. Yes, everyone has a nose on top of their head.

But, that's not the point of this picture. With all the different coloured feet and noses (not to mention 40 other pieces), I like that he made them identical.

Kind of fitting as it was two years ago today that Alexander's water broke and I was admitted to the hospital (until the kids were born, 4 weeks 5 days later). November 8th is a hard day.

By the way, when the picture was taken, he was headed off to get an arm for Mr Potato Heads EYE.

Playing together.

Hey, this hat doesn't fit!

And now for the title of this post. Max has a favourite shirt.

He picks it out whenever I let him he can. He always picks it when the rest of his ensemble just won't work with said "favourite shirt". In turn, I usually have to change his undershirt and pants (and sometimes even his socks). Yes, I'm one of THOSE mother's.

Once, my mother called me in a panic asking me "what happened"? "what was wrong"? She'd seen this post (scroll down to the bottom, see what she was concerned about!) and wondered why Max wasn't colour coordinated. Seriously.

Thankfully, I like the shirt. I just wish that everything he had coordinated with it (smile).

And a picture of yesterday’s lunch, one of my favourites (only because I can't eat caviar EVERY day); falafels, whole-wheat mini pitas (not shown), couscous with onions, tomatoes, parsley, feta and kalamata olives and cucumber salad with yogurt and garlic. Yum!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Toilet Training 101. Don't Try This At Home

Note: This post is about poo. You've been warned.

Not sure if I told you but Artemis has been talking "Poo" for over a week now. If I didn't tell you it was because Ed told me that a post about poo would be embarrassing for him the kids so I didn't. I told him today's post was about avocados so he's none the wiser.

It's a good thing that we went to playgroup today because my ability to pick up on Artemis' toilet training readiness is much like my ability to detect labour. Everyone tells you, "Oh, you'll know, no doubt about it", "You can't miss it". While this is true, it took me several hours of labour to realize it. Back to the poo.

For the past week and a half, around noon, Artemis has been coming up to me, patting her bum and saying "poo" (except for that one time where she said "Max poo" and I went off in search of him and came back empty handed, it turns out that she was referring to herself). You'd think that would be enough notice but, alas, no. One day this week, she once again patted her bum and said "poo". I told her how much I appreciated her telling me, that next time maybe she'd like to go in the potty and that we'd go and change her diaper. And then, she poo'd. Crap (sorry for the pun)! I had a few minutes there where I could have got her on the potty.

Effective immediately (take note Nanna and Poppa), all of Artemis' diapers are being changed in the bathroom. I won't bore you with the rest of the details but we've decided to forgo the potty (at the suggestion of our child and youth care worker) as well as the "potty seat" (for the toilet) as we won't have either of these in Mexico. We reserve the right to change our opinions as Artemis sees fit.

Max could give a crap about giving a crap. Another pun, I'm on a roll tonight. We're fine with that. One bum at a time.

Let the good times roll.

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Back 40

Today we made our annual visit to the back of our property. It's not really in "the back 40" but it's pretty big and besides, I'm sure that you get the drift. If you don't get the drift or want to know the origin of the saying, ask Ed. He even knows how to make vinyl records...

The day was beautiful (have I already told you how much I like Fall, if not, I like Fall). It took us about an hour and a half to get there and back (wherever there and back are) but the entire Zoo had a great time.

The dogs foraged for whatever it is they forage for. The kids picked up anything and everything (and had their own personal sherpas carry it). Artemis found a half eaten corn cob (?) and both had their own personal walking sticks. They both needed it as Artemis walked over half the distance and Max only got carried for about 10 minutes longer. This was no small feat as there were tons of leaves, branches and logs to trip step over.

And two pictures from yesterday.

As a dinner sidedish, we had baked eggplant (Thanks for the recipe Amy). I preferred the chips although the thicker slices were also yummy. I'll definitely have them again (2 cups of olive oil is healthy, right!?).

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Public Service Announcement: Electricity Costs

This PSA is for those of you that don't know but do care, but even if you do know are interested, use electricity and/or are located in Ontario, Canada.

As of November 1, Hydro Ontario went and messed with us again (I'm being kind) by changing the "Time of Use Price Periods". Whatever your previous arrangements were (in order to save your wallets and the planet), you're screwed (sorry Dad but there just wasn't any other way to say it). You can no longer shower in the morning (well, you can but it will cost you), instead, you have to shower after 7pm (basically after you’ve gone to bed). Breakfast, lunch and dinner, think sandwiches or, if you want a hot meal, think after 7pm. Preferably after you've gone to bed. See what I was saying.

In turn, effective immediately, all Zoo members will be wearing "Sleep Sacks"(these ones are Made in Canada!) to save on heating costs.

P.S. I was going to include "Hydro" in the title but Ed informed me that only people from Ontario would know this as other people don't get their electricity from Hydro dams. This always gets me in Mexico because I use the Spanish word for "hydro" (which is actually hydro just pronounced differently) and they have no idea what I'm talking about as they call it "electricidad").

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Serving Table 7

For the past week, eating and sleeping has been a challenge.

Breakfast (usually our most successful meal) is still the most successful but with half the food consumed.

Lunch, I really don't bother anymore. Artemis doesn't even eat ONE bite of food (Max has been known to eat one or two bites).

Dinner, well dinner's really messed us up. For the past week, they haven't wanted any food at DINNER TIME. Unfortunately, they usually wake up at 9pm or later and want to be fed. Sometimes it happens, others times (if I know that they had a late snack), I don't bother.

But last night was bad. At 12:30pm, Artemis was up and (probably) hungry. I let her sooth herself to sleep (a few minutes). At 1am, Max woke up. I could hear him sucking on his soother. At 1:45am (yes, I was still up), I went in to check on him. Wrong move. He was in the same position (that he was at 1am), sitting, staring at the door, sucking on his soother. At 2:30am (you guessed it, I was still up), I went in to check on him and it was still the same. I figured I should do something or he and I weren't going to get any sleep. I put him in his high chair and filled him full of food and then put him back to bed where he (and I) quickly went to sleep.

It's not that the kids don't like to eat. In fact, they snack all day long (they're mooches). We don't want to deny them food and figure that we'll teach them about not mooching when they have better understanding and communication skills (in the next six months!?).

I don't mind that they eat all the time. I'm just happy that they ARE eating. It just makes me feel like (a waitress) serving Table 7

And, if I thought that eating was a problem, these kids never want to sleep. Their one nap is down to 45 minutes (for Artemis) and up to 1.5 hours (for Max). We're lucky if they're in bed by 8pm. Sleeping is highly overrated as it cuts into one's playtime.

The child and youth worker at playgroup says that this is totally normal for this age group. It's not a time where they are growing (significantly) and they'd much rather play. She's got that right, from the moment they get up until we make them go to bed because we're so exhausted they go to bed, all they want to do is play.

Yesterday we spent the afternoon playing outside. I love Fall. I'd be happy if it was Fall (or Spring) all year long.