Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Holidays

So much news to share, and no time to share it - just yet.
Wishing all of you the best Holiday ever, and a very happy New Year.

Please check back again in the new year for the unveiling of some exciting projects!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Make your own Silly Snowman

I am so excited to be going to Greenley's books again this Saturday, this time for my book - In the Snow. Here is a fun activity you can do at home - build your own silly snowman!

So much has been going on, lots of exciting news... but not to share just yet... will keep you posted. In the meantime - enjoy these, and share with any teacher friends you may have. I am also now booking or school visits for 2011 - so email me today!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New art

New art for a Scholastic BIG book.... lots of fun.

Batman, Star Wars and catching frogs

We believe that a lot of movies - particularly the more violent ones - are not for little kids. Just a personal feeling that they are not really appropriate - ie. the ratings. Today, Mo came home talking about how he was playing at recess with the boys and they were playing Batman and Star Wars and he had no idea what they were. He played along for awhile, but the jig was soon up. Then, once again - he played by himself. Let me preface this and say - he JUST turned five.

Are we hampering his social development by making him the 'different' kid on the playground? Is his childhood going to be like mine? Amazing at home and terrible in the school yard? What are we to do? We read Roahl Dahl books (dark indeed), do not filter information about death and sickness, but explain it when asked. He watches the news with us, and we tell him the truth. He knows where his food comes from and where babies come from... and yet I feel like maybe, maybe we SHOULD let him watch these movies.

Then, this past weekend, we were at a beautiful wedding at Camp Wanakita. My Tent Sisters were there - fellow wild women of the woods (one was getting married), and my friends little guy - well - he is JUST LIKE mine. They played non-stop, in the sand, in the creek, in the trees. Not one mention of movies or superheroes, they talked bird calls and cool rocks. Too bad he lives all the way in Nelson, BC. They performed their made-up songs on the stage and ran themselves ragged at the party. SO neat to see, Mo has great friends - better than great friends, but this connection is was a rare jewel.

So, I guess, there has to be some sort of happy medium - but where is it exactly? In the meantime, well walk in the woods and enjoy some wholesome time - and let him just be a kid. Soon enough he will start arguing to watch things we don't agree with.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Scholastic Book Clubs and other good news

drumroll please...

In the Snow will be in the Scholastic Book Clubs Flyers this fall/winter. I also just go my copies of Moe and Malaya, from Inhabit Media - and they look great. Fantastic Printing job and so cool to see my name - and the story in Inuktitut. I should also be receiving my copies of Fatou Fetch the Water any time now - exciting times in this household!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Monkey Slug

We found this crazy looking caterpillar on one of our trees the other day. Careful research - OK - GOOGLE, has revealed it to be the Monkey Slug Caterpillar. MO is going to get a kick out of this one!

Big Boy party and a Village of friends...

We mulled over the idea of a big boy birthday for Mo this year - you know the kind - where the parents drop off the kids, the kids go wild for a few hours and then get picked up.

The mull was short.

Thing is where we live, for one, is prohibitive. And well, we also really like his friends parents too. Most importantly, so does Mo. It is amazing when you have friends that you know are looking out for your kids if you can't for a second, hour or even a day. It is even more amazing when all these people are in the same place. He would be devastated if we had said no other mommas and poppas.

I looked around this afternoon at one point to see Mo and his buddy playing chess in the grass with one of the daddies, while I lay in the grass with Zaley and another momma and got tickles from little Glenny.

Almost all the moms got to enjoy a glass of wine sans kids - while the dads played outside.

I can't help but think of the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child. And in the age where this is no longer the norm - we have it. It is amazing.

Oh yeah - we also had a monster truck drop by for a visit. Check out www.verticallychallenged.ca

Monday, September 13, 2010

On turning FIVE.

I never thought this day would come. Or rather, I just never thought it would come so FAST. But, here it is and here we are on the eve of our Son's fifth birthday.

I'm not sure why five seems a much bigger deal than four, but it does.

It is an entry to boydom – no more little toddler remains, replaced by lanky, sometimes cranky, impossibly smart and inquisitive, jumping off playground equipment, funny and serious boy. All arms and legs. Smelly feet. A companion, a pal. A very opinionated and passionate person. A pusher of boundaries. A kissing bandit. A cuddly, but NOW can I PLEASE play the ipod kind of kid. A kid who will drop anything to play cars, lego, chess or to make his sister laugh. A kid who breaks down into fits of tears for the strangest of reasons. A kid who prides himself on putting on his own bandages and has a very defined sense of fashion. A kid who once dreamed of taping his sister to the wall or giving her away to firemen - who now will not let anything bad happen to her - EVER.

Our son, who is growing fast, no matter how much we want him to slow down. Our beautiful child, soon to be handsome young man...

Happy Birthday Mo, you light up our lives.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Condensed thoughts

Yesterday I wrote a long and eloquent blog post... and it disappeared. So, here is the long and short of it - I am trying harder as a mom and a wife, finishing my deadlines on time as always and mourning the early death of a coworker and friend from breast cancer. My son, when finding out where ribs came from, refused to eat them and may well be on his way to becoming a vegetarian at age four. I've finished my fun job for Scholastic, but can't reveal it till October (which is too bad cause I am very proud of it). I am working on a whole new website for myself, as well as a very fun book for Fitzhenry and Whiteside and another book about Dinosaurs. My cousin had her beautiful baby girl. The summer is almost over and for the first time in my life I did not camp. Mostly due to the fact that our little girl was too little, but we ARE doing a canoe trip in September and I can't wait. Zaley is crawling, Mo is starting to read - albeit when he doesn't think he is. I have lived through my son's very first public tantrum and came out on top - not giving in AND remaining calm. I have also learned to save what I have written.

That's it. In a nutshell. Now I am off to bowl some zombies.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Baby-wearing Nod

My husband sports a beard every winter, and used to full-time. He has always said there is the bearded man nod, a look, a glance, a tip of the head to another who understands. Well, I am now experiencing the Baby-wearing nod, the look from other mommas like me, wearing their kiddies in places that are not our typical places to be. Like, lets say - the Napanee Fair, the Demolition Derby to be exact. I saw three other mommas with their little ones asleep in slings/wraps and carriers. We all got the nod and a smile. Moms, who like me, have little boys who love things like cars and smashing. We circled the perimeter - all of us, proudly wearing and nursing our babes among the crowd.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Metamorphosis and other miracles

There are times when you just have to pause and wonder at nature...

About two weeks ago Shawn came home with a box of caterpillars, very hungry ones in fact, from the people he is building for. We have a lot of Milkweed around here, so Mo and I fed them and within 2 days they had wrapped themselves up into a chrysalis. We have been watching the whole thing with wonder... and today, the first butterfly made its appearance. I was in the kitchen getting our stuff ready to go to the pool and Mo comes running in from the back room shouting, "mom, mom, the butterfly hatched and it is BEAUTIFUL!". SO we carefully removed it from the covered box and delivered it to the garden, where it flew from Mo's hand immediately.

It was amazing.

And then, I look at my children - in five months Zaley has become her own little girl - talk about metamorphosis -

from a purple, perfectly squished newborn to this beautiful child I cannot take my eyes off of.

Then there is Mo, who, just yesterday had his own special words for bugs, who was just learning to talk and walk...

is now a full-fledged boy. He will be FIVE soon, and I cannot believe it. I am not sure where the time goes, but it does.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Five months and a paddle!!

Today Zaley is five months old, and she went for her very first paddle. It was lovely, we went to Sheffield conservation area and paddled for a bit, found some nice rocks to picnic on, saw lots of birds and ended the day with a swim. She was great - but her lifejacket did not allow for finger munching - which is necessary now since she is cutting tooth #2 as we speak, but after nursing in the canoe, and whining a bit she fell asleep.... Mo was awesome - he swam and swam at the end and did not want to leave ( a seemingly common occurrence when there is water involved these days) he was so funny trying to catch sunfish with his bare hands. And now we have no camera to capture any of these moments. You forget how much you depend on technology... I guess we will just have to remember it the old fashioned way!

I also got my five covers finished tonight - now on to book thumbs and a double page spread!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

New teeth and other Milestones

Not sure if I was asleep, or time just went by slowly the first time around, but our little Z is flying through these milestones and getting big WAY too fast. Today - at almost five months old she got her very first tooth. The bottom on the left. She is almost crawling, but can get around even without that ability, she is starting to make all sorts if different noises, the most prevalent being the Mumumumummmaamaa sound I get all the time.

I am sure she is saying momma, at least I hope so.

She is a happy little bean and I am so blessed to be her momma.

The summer is flying by and we now have high speed internet, so life is improving. Renovations are coming along and the nights are getting cooler. Life is good and busy, I could not ask for more

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The days of summer

...are flying by. I am glad I made the decision to keep Mo home too, we've been having great fun. He has learned to swim, we've picked a googleplex (his words) of berries, beans and other treats, we've played with friends, visited with family and enjoyed many days of unstructured adventure.

He is an inventor - the latest invention being the AUTOMATIC BUG SWATTER. He sits down and draws a blueprint, then we use recycling, aluminum foil, old wires and random objects to make each one. Up until this point he hasn't minded that there is no 'real' motor, but now he is insistent that we build one. We have a lot of these 'inventions' around the house. You'll see this one has a ladybug dial so the machine knows not to swat those bugs.

Zaley is seriously the sweetest kid ever, and the happiest baby I have ever seen. I am not sure what we did to deserve this, but I feel very lucky. She is a riot, has started nibbling on baby mummums and is LOVING them. Naps are getting more predictable, I am getting a bit better at managing my time - which is good, cause I am BUSY!

Work with Scholastic again, another book and five book covers... and the brain cells are firing again because I am writing, I really really am...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Exciting news!

SO, I have just found out BOTH In the Garden and In the Snow are listed in the TOP books for 2010 by the Canadian Children's Book Centre. This is a huge honour for me and I am so thrilled.

Things are so busy these days, with both kids home, visiting family, working into the wee hours of the morning - but it is also fulfilling. My wish is everyone could be so lucky - never a dull moment and lots of people to share those moments with. Z is sitting up and starting to crawl a bit, more of a slither - but she can move, Mo and I are finding our groove, slowly. Our renovations are looking awesome, Shawn has been working his butt off and it looks so great we may not want to leave here when he is done...

Spent the weekend with family and BABIES. I got to cuddle my wee niece - Clara, she is soo sweet, I got to meet my new nephew and spend time with my step sister and her super sweet daughter who entertained Mo the entire time they were there... got to see my cousin - who is also due very soon and we had a very matriarchal party with almost all the women in our family. It was great.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hello to the Caymen Islands!

I remember my dad wanting to move to the Caymen Islands when we were kids... it was a lark, but it was fun to dream about living at the beach, and swimming with the turtles... so anyone who visits my site over 100 times should at least drop me a line - don't you think?

SO please say hi, or I am going to continue to be afraid that something strange is going on.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day!

Today is a day to celebrate all things Canadian... and so we took to Sandbanks with our buds despite the crummy weather forecast - it was lovely! We had lots of fun, it was restful, slower-paced and just really nice. We started out the day at the Napanee car show - complete with fire trucks and at least 150 classic cars. Mo was in heaven. Z was great the whole day and now we can't wait to go back again... have a feeling we'll be there a lot this summer.

More news -  Fatou Fetch the Water will be out soon, this is my fourth book with Red Robin Books UK and is set in Gambia. Here is the info sheet. Written by Neil Griffiths and a portion of all sales will go to Project Gambia to promote literacy.

We've started out our summer holidays at full tilt, Tuesday we went for a nature hike and met a family of these critters:
Then we got home and Mo felt sick - he slept for 3 hours and woke up with a fever, was listless for the whole day - then suddenly felt like playing and eating again - fever gone. Wierdest thing.

On Wednesday we headed to City Park in Kingston and to Murney Tower. Shawn took Mo there a few weeks ago and he'd been talking about it non-stop since, so we went with our buds. History and Architecture with 4-year olds is a whole other experience. It was awesome.

And today... Sandbanks. I think tomorrow we may just lay low and clean up a bit. Then again, maybe not.

Monday, June 21, 2010

4 more school days to go

Until Mo's last day of school. This year I have decided not to put him in daycare for the summer. Sometimes it feels foolhardy, but mostly it feels right. I am doing this for a variety of reasons - most of all though, is the fact that this may be the only time we get to do this - have the whole summer together, no camps, no 'work', no commitments, just open time for play and fun.

I have a few big contracts though, and this does concern me a bit. How will I get them done while looking after 2 kids full time? Well, Mo loves to paint and draw beside me. So the plan is to have him either do that with me for an allotted time every day - or have play time by himself in his room. The challenge will be to make sure this happens while Zaley is sleeping so I can actually work in this time. We shall see. I also have a lovely young woman up the road who is available to just come and play with mo for the afternoon if I need it. I also have great friends who happen to love my kid - and our kids get on so well together it is almost less work to have another around - so there may be some swapping happening. I always manage to get things done - so I am not too worried.

I am looking forward to it. I have plans, and I really happen to like my kids - and hey, my mom did it for YEARS, and so do lots of others. I will miss this quiet I have today though, sleeping baby, radio on - no chatter, just me and my cold coffee. It is only 8 weeks till Kindergarten starts - so I say YEAH for summer.

Bring it on.

Here is a character sketch for a new book I am working on... it is going to be FUN (and something Mo will be very happy to be drawing beside me!)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Just when you think your kid is a genius...

... that very same kid swallows a dime. Is really upset cause he swallowed a dime - so you call telehealth and they tell you it will either pass or will be stuck and to ask said Genius questions about how it feels. Genious then tell you it does in fact feel stuck. So you pack the whole family in the car and head to the emergency room and wait for 3 hours - finally get X-ray from very nice doctor saying there is nothing in there. Could have passed or was never there... Genius then says he swallowed it yesterday or maybe the day before but definitely swallowed the dime. Deciding whether to be a little bit angry, or just happy dime is gone.

Zaley rolled over today.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ripple - illustration friday

http://ripplesketches.blogspot.com/ check this out - what an awesome idea - this one has sold already, but I hope to do more... this is a place where illustrators get to help out the Gulf in a small way by... illustrating! So much great art and the spirit of sharing it is fantastic. Thanks to Charlotte for buying mine.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mowat tried to tape a seedling back together today... like a cast

... it broke. I thought he was ok, then he tried to replant the top. He was on his way to get some water and he broke down. He was so very sad. So, do we sneak out and put new seedlings there? Or do we let him deal with the reality - that the plant will not regenerate?

Friday, May 21, 2010


My little sister had her baby girl yesterday - Welcome little Clara Eleanor! Your cousins can't wait to meet you.

Friday, May 14, 2010

10 things every new momma should have

With the impending birth of my niece and second cousin any time now, I feel the urge to impart some hard-earned wisdom. I also know my sister and cousin would probably not like to hear any more advice right now - so I'm sending it out into the blogosphere instead. Here is a list of the top ten things I think are really wonderful - and necessary for any new mom to have. I have not been asked to review any of these things, in fact - my money has gone to these companies I mention.

Here goes - in no particular order:

A mattress on the floor of the baby's room at the very least. There is nothing better than the side-lying position for feeding late at night when you are exhausted and your back just can't take any more. Plus, lying beside your baby and watching them surrender to sleep is one of the most powerful experiences a mom can have. It's beauty is unparalleled. I have to say though - I am a co-sleeping mom, and I could never be anything but. There are also some great co-sleepers out there, and you can find the cheap on Kijiji.

Lululemon STILL pants - 2 pairs. These will be in heavy rotation while you do baby yoga, have a nap, run out to the grocery store, walk and until you get your body back. They ALWAYS look great and can get pretty dirty before you can see it! They are expensive, but they do not ever seem to wear out.

Baby Om Yoga book - amazing book to feel great and bond with your baby. Different session laid out for c-sections, regular births and everything in-between. Best of all - baby LOVES it, and it feels great.  My little one smiles and coos through the whole workout and always ends up falling asleep at the end - me too.

A sling - the wrap kind. There is no better way to soothe a fussy baby, walk, run errands etc. than with your little bundle. Plus there are a MILLION ways to wear it - and you can make it yourself and save a few bucks.

Lansinoh - Pure lanolin for your oh-so-sore nipples. Also works great for sore baby bottoms, rough elbows and much more.

A nursing tank. I strongly recommend the Bravado line of nursing wear. The tanks are super supportive and offer tummy coverage when you really don't want to share it. I had the Warner's nursing cami - and they were great, but they lost shape pretty quickly, the bravado ones wear and wear and wera without losing any fantastivc shape or support. I also recommend the Bravado nursing bra for big breasts - it makes your girls look great, the only drawback to Bravado is the cost... but they are worth every single penny.

A bug net - never underestimate the power of a car-seat. My little girl loves hers. Thankfully, because we use it a LOT. I wrap the bug net ($5) around the seat and she is perfectly portable - so I can play in the sandbox with my son, work in the garden and lots of other things. The stroller that is straps into is really useful too. I am a huge proponent of babywearing, but sometimes a stroller is necessary.

Good friends. People you can call on at any time of day, for advice, a shoulder to cry on, a laugh or a hug. Also strongly recommended is a good phone plan. One of my best pals lives in BC, and we have kids the same age... being able to chat during the day is priceless. You need friends who understand you may have to cut a convo short, and that you are completely distracted by a baby who isn't latching or because you are changing a diaper. People that do not stress you out are very important.

Telehealth - the babytalk line. In Canada we are lucky for many reasons, and Telehealth saved my bacon on so many occasions... I think they knew who I was after the first ten times I called. If nothing else they are a sane voice on the line when your baby does not stop crying all night long and you have no idea why. They also saved me many unnecessary trips to the doctor's office.

A Supportive Partner. You need someone who understands your need to sleep. Who does not harp at the fact that the dishes are not done - and who - for the first few months anyway - does not ask you what you do all day. A partner who gets that your breasts are not really up to fondling till you are ready, and that actually saw what happened when the baby was born and waits patiently until you initiate sex. Someone who is not afraid to change a diaper, supports your decisions and loves you even when you are a bit crazy.

And that is that. My list.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Just loosening up my hands again... with no real direction - just having fun... though about to start up some real projects again... with dinosaurs!

Typing and Rocking at the same time...

On a rainy day we set up a little tent in our living room. I went upstairs with Zaley and when I came down mo had moved all the craft stuff into the tent and was making a piggy bank.

... this is what we've been doing outside instead of gardening...

Dancing in puddles - need I say more?

So, it has been awhile. I have to say life is BUSY. But good. I've been working on a friends wedding invite package and my printer is so unbearably slow it is driving me nutty. I am sitting here, typing, rocking my babe with my foot and ignoring the dishes in the sink - though soon they will come to get me.

It is a beautiful day out - but the BLACKFLIES have started up already. This morning Mo and I were kicking the ball around and they were already biting. UGH. We have not yet started on the planting in the garden yet - and it seems late - though it is still only April - so I think I can take that one a bit slower. Things are a LOT harder to get around to with a busy 4 year old and a baby who can only tolerate being outside for so long... She is wonderful for sure, but at 7 weeks she spends an average of 2-4 hours outside a day... is that too much?

Thing is, I NEED to be out, right now it is killing me being inside, but I have work to do, so here I am. We will be going for a walk shortly though I think - and hopefully I will move fast enough to get away from the bugs.

As for cloth diapering - we are still at it! Though I must confess, I have switched to disposables at night... she sleeps much better, thus - so do I. Hopefully we can switch back again, but for now we are in survival mode and sleep is key. One thing I do have to say though is - cloth diapers never blow out. I think I have already saved several loads of laundry from blowouts that cover everything (including me) - so another point for cloth.

And, last night I actually got to sketch, only for 5 minutes, but it is a start. We are figuring out how to get both the kiddies down by 8:00... tricky, but we're getting there. Once that happens perhaps some of my brain will return home and I can think again!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A lovely weekend...

What a weekend, a bit cool - but sunny and lovely.

I started out on Saturday hanging my cloth diapers on the line - a lovely, satisfying sight.
I have to say I am in love with the Mother-ease one-size bamboo diapers. They are so soft and lovely. I like them much better than the Sandy's - which are great too, but the one-size ones fit better and feel better I think. I will be going back to Go Green Baby in Kingston for some more.

Then I took the kids to a friends place for a party - we stayed till 5pm. We flew kites, had a scavenger hunt, played trains, and I had lots of arms to hold my baby. Good times with great friends.

Today, my baby sister and her partner came to visit before they head back to Kenya with Free the Children. Jod has been there since January and won't be back again till October. Her visit home this time was a surprise and a real treat. She got to meet Azalea and hang out with Mo all last weekend and today. I am sad to see them go, but they will be back soon - and I am so proud of her. We went for a lovely walk and then they had to get back.

I will miss them very much.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

24 hours of cloth diapering

Cloth diapering is something I planned on doing with my first. Until our well dried up that fall, and doing any laundry consisted of trekking to a laundromat. So, when we got pregnant with our little girl I felt like it could be redemption time. So, I researched. I looked everywhere. I found my 'guru' in very close friend who has successfully, and consistently had both her boys in cloth diapers.

They loaned me some and I bought some used over the internet. All are in great shape and so soft. I have tried Kushies, and did not like them, and a few others - but these ones are the Sandy MotherEase model. They are awesome. So yesterday, knowing I would be home for the next 24 hours I thought I would give it a go. Up until now I had been using them, but only when convenient. Youknow, it got easier and easier throughout the day to use them. And then I ran out, I have about 16 diapers right now. Not enough for a newborn who pees and poops constantly. She seemed very comfortable in them, and once I got used to her having a giant bum - they looked really sweet. The only thing is, as soon as she goes, she freaks... she HATES being wet. Good for toddler potty training, not so great for a newborn, it made her slightly grumpy.

Anyway, suffice to say, I loved it - and I am proud of making it through the day. Not to mention I felt guilty whenI had to used the PC green Disposables again. I need a few more diapers, though I may go a size up, since at 5 weeks she is already 12 lbs. The bummis wraps are so sweet, but the small barely fits! So now I need to contact my diaper lady and see what she has for me now... I want to find the flowered bummi wraps...

My little boy is also so proud... he loves to help with the wraps and says every time - see mom, we just saved a garbage diaper : )

Thanks Elaine.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Brain Cells firing again.... I think.

It has been 5 weeks.

Our baby girl is growing like a weed, it is amazing, every single day is a new adventure. I could spend all my waking hours watching her... but I can't. Mo needs me too. Life is crazy and hectic and lovely all at the same time. We are settling into a groove, Mo is an awesome big brother, and Shawn is incredible. The second time around is really neat. There is so much less stress, expectation and anxiety... for both of us. It just is, and it is SO REFRESHING. Of course there are the usual worries that come along with parenting, but for me, I feel prepared for them this time.

I have also come to realize that after I had Mo, I was depressed. Very. I had a tramatic and scary and out of control birth with him, and it affected me much more than I realized. And now, after my medication - free VBAC, I feel great. Powerful. Strong. Like the woman I know I am. It is wonderful. Special thanks go out to Shawn, my partner with eight arms, my midwives, and the nurses at KGH.

And now, I feel like working again. Not the fever pitch I was in in January, but I do finally feel like painting and working on some of my projects. I do have to understand though, that my time is limited, much more now than it was - and just take it easy. AND, to only say yes to jobs I am really excited about... so, let's see where it all goes.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Life as 4...

Wow, what a whirlwind we are in.. nobody ever tells you how busy it gets with two kids! It is wonderful and amazing, a four year-old that NEVER (i mean never) stops... between morning and bedtime it is go, go, go. And baby Azalea, no real schedule yet, but seems to be figuring out her days and nights now. Managing to keep up the level of parenting for MO, the books, the love, the snuggles - is hard, but so worth it. They are awesome kids. I am looking forward to him going to school this week though, some time to nap, clean my house and be with Zaley. I also have some work I need to attend to - which has been impossible to get to with everyone home.

Looking forward to working on some of my book projects again... it feels like it has been too long (really only 2 months) but I feel a creative burst coming on, so I must take advantage of it!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

And here she is...

Little Azalea and big brother Mo, checking to see she has all her fingers and toes - for now - that is as close as he wants to get.

Still just checking things out...

the little pork chop...

Welcome to the world baby girl. She came in like a wildfire - and together we had a successful VBAC, au - naturel. Love this baby, can't wait to get her home.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Welcome to the World Baby Girl!

Our newest addition, Azalea, was born at 4:20 am on March first... like a hurricane - weighing in at 10lb 1oz.

More details later!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Down and Out

A mantra I am, and have been repeating to myself for it seems weeks now.

We have had two nights in a row of intense labour, not too painful, but regular and strong contractions for at least 3 hours at a time. Right in the middle of the night. It gets to a point where I am too tired to stay up anymore to count, and then they subside as I am sleeping and I wake up to nothing. I am grateful - I mean, I want this to be as natural as possible, and no chemical inductions leading to other procedures. I am grateful to my husband and midwives who have been amazing through this.

6 am this morning found me bawling my eyes out in the bathroom because things had stopped, AGAIN. It is frustrating. Last night I was sure it was going to happen - we even dropped Mo off at our amazing friends place for the night after dinner. I had been to the midwife earlier in the day to get my membranes stripped and things were starting already. And they went - good and strong from 8pm till about 130am... and then went on and off for the rest of the night.

Now, I need to curb my addiction to the stopwatch, and perhaps just let it be without fretting or worrying. I do know that my body is working hard to bring this baby into the world, and for that I am grateful and happy it knows how to do that. But i find it hard with all the well wishes and phone calls to not feel the pressure, from me - and from anyone else. Also knowing how things could go if we go past-due makes me quake in fear to be honest. I feel there is a time-line here.

Today we slept, a great sleep for most of the day, and I am ready again - to start. Perhaps this night will bring us a baby, or just another sleepless night - or maybe nothing - who knows.

Another thing I do know is - she WILL arrive, and we are ready for her whenever she does.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Day of Transitions

Today, our baby started 'real' school. You know, the kind where you as a parent don't get to see the teacher every day - you don't know what really goes on on the playground... you watch them walk into the classroom and all the gut wrenching feelings you had as a kid on your first day come back.

His old school is an amazing place. He learned so much and loved all his teachers - and was so loved in return. He was a toddler there, then a pre-preschooler, then a pre-schooler and then this past year he was in the JK/SK split class. I got to have him on campus with me nearby, I got to know all of his amazing teachers, cooks etc. I know his new school is a great place too, but the love and friendship we found at Loyalist is beyond measure.

In our last week his teachers gave us such wonderful gifts, and best wishes - and I know we will miss them terribly. This morning when I was making Mo's lunch he asked that I make his tuna sandwich just like Wendy did. He mentioned Leslie and Irene a few times and said, "I'll bet they are missing me." And you know what? I'll bet they are.

They let him be his quirky self... Mo is very much his own person now - able to stand up for himself if need be, to find friends and to love with a compassion I have never really seen before.

And me? I am home, enjoying a n ice quiet day to myself. Nesting. Resting. It is a transition time for me too... baby is due any day now, and I will be going from mom of an independent little boy, to mom of a tiny baby girl too. I am excited, and a bit scared. I am looking forward to the birth I envision - and to holding her in my arms. I am looking forward to the smell of her head, and to snuggling with two love-bugs in my bed. This morning Mo crawled in (as he does every day) for our morning snuggle, and told me it was his most important part of the day. Well, it is mine too.

I have finished up all of my outstanding work, and am going to spend the day getting baby's space ready... and then I will be ready.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fatou Fetch the Water

Here are some images I illustrated from a book called Fatou Fetch the Water, written by Neil Griffiths and published by Red Robin Books, UK. The illustrations are mixed media, gouache, ink, cut paper, acrylic and ink... It will be out later this year. I am very excited about this one, as my little sister is working in Africa again this year. Someday, we hope to go and lend a hand as well. This is my fourth book with this publisher - I just love working with them. Every book has been so different and this one was by far the most challenging and most fun at the same time.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

So much to say...

I have been a negligent blogger lately. Mostly because I have been so tired, and I have also been reveling in what 'NORMAL' people do on a nightly basis, without any of the crazy freelance work I've been doing. I have to be honest, it feels a bit empty. TV does not hold much stock for me, and so I've been shuffling around a bit lost. Don't get me wrong, I am glad to not have the added stress of extra work right now - with less than a month to go before our little one will arrive, I am trying to take advantage of the extra possibilities of sleep.

Anyway, this last week was an eventful one! Saturday started out with a lovely full page article in the Kingston Whig Standard about my books and family... and it just got better from there.

My students and coworkers from the Loyalist College PR post-grad program threw me a surprise baby shower, I went down for what I thought was going to be a serious meeting (and i was worried!!), and was greeted with a dark room and a wonderful surprise. It was a fantastic pot-luck, great games and such lovely unexpected gifts. The group brought in Children's books, and much to my suprise and great pleasure, many of them I do not have and/or had forgotten about how much I loved them. I have to confess though, they have not been saved for baby, Mo has been devouring them at a rapid rate. I know so many students are strapped for cash and I can't believe they did all of that, I am still smiling because of it!

This week so many things got done on the house too. Our dryer is back in working order after a lovely visit from our friend an electrician who pointed us to a separate fuse box where our dryer fuse was burnt out. Some history here - about 1.5 years ago we bought a new dryer, and it never worked. We thought it was because the squirrels we had had eaten through the wire. Anyway - long story short - there are some boxes that are scary to look into - and that was one for us... lol.

Also, we have have 3 of the 5 windows in our reno, and the new set of glass double doors (recycled), shawn took off the old wall inside that was crappy old particle board and pieces together (badly) to expose the gorgeous original siding of our house. It has some holes, but is otherwise pristine. So, it is coming, it is a long and laborious project, because Shawn has essentially had to do it all himself, I've been responsible for looking after mo and myself and baby, and he is doing a great job. It is so nice to walk out the back door and be greeted by our back yard - which we love so much. Cannot wait to sit back there with a nice glass of wine watching the stars.

On Saturday night we went to the Banff Film fest, my 9th year, Shawn's 10th. It was ok, there were a few great movies, but it seemed to really be lacking the environmental/humanitarian focus overall, awesome tricks and amazing footage of mind blowing athletes, but usually I am moved in one or two of the films and this time I just didn't feel it. However, the highlight was 'Finding Farley'. Lucky for us my sister works at the NFB and we have a copy of it at home... but it was a movie about a family canoeing through Canada following some of Farley Mowat's books. It was neat, their little guy was 2 at the time and so much like mo at that age it was crazy. Mo also started canoe tripping at 9 months... it was great. And well, we did not come up with the name Mowat out of nowhere, we do like Farley.

Anyway, life is good. It is busy, I am tired. But we have a roof, and food and the love of each other and friends and family. Who could ask for more?

Now we eagerly anticipate meeting our baby girl, sometime over the next month or so we will be holding her in our arms.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Some new art...

I have been working furiously to get two books and two magazine pieces
finished in time for me to have a little break before baby. I am so
happy to say that I am finally, totally, completely finished. Here is
a piece for the cover of the April 2010 Babybug. More to come soon!