Monday, December 19, 2011

Big Spoon Solitude

In a rare and startling moment I find myself home alone.

Scott has taken the girls out for dinner and some last minute shopping so I can get some work done. I'm eating a gigantic pink grapefruit and sipping cherry green tea. And listening to this:

Ariel and I were friends in elementary school. We spent many seventh-grade summer days bouncing on her trampoline :)
Now she lives in Boston or New York (I'm not sure exactly), and as you can see and hear is a singer-songwriter at the beginning of what appears will be a very successful career if I'm any kind of judge of talent. I LOVE this song. If you do too, please pass this vid around and help spread Ariel's music!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A blog about a dog

A dog named Coco(nut) to be exact.

She is our dog, our gentle little whippet.

She came to us from Kamloops B.C., and I drove 5 hours there and 5 hours back to get her, with 9-month-old Sadie and my dad. On the ride home Coco lay curled in the tightest ball in the front seat, and didn't move a muscle. The car deck on the ferry rattled her. The first walk I took her on, she decided to turn into a statue at the halfway point. I had to carry her home while trying to steer the stroller. I received many a sideways glance.

Tomorrow she will be Cara and Darrell's dog.

I know there are a lot of animal lovers out there.....I am one of them. But I have something I am ashamed to admit about Coco the Dog:

She. Drives. Me. CRAZY.

And in order to be a fit mother and wife, I must retain my sanity. Therefore, we made the painstaking decision a few weeks ago to find a great home for our family pet.

No more checking the food and water dish several times a day. No more muddy paws scratching to be let in, let out. No more clicking nails pacing the floor. No more damp snout on the back of my leg, following me from room to room and back again. No more guilt for being gone for several hours while Coco is left in the laundry room (on a comfy bed of course). No more paws on the countertop. No more pee on the rug in the playroom. No more eating her own poop. No more hearing a raised, exasperated tone exit my mouth within earshot, always within earshot, of my girls. No more dog for the MacNeills.

A meteoric burden has been lifted.

I'm sorry, I just don't have the time for you right now Coco. You are a lovely animal and I know your life will be wonderful with your new owners.

Cara and Darrell are a couple with another whippet-cross (named Sara), and Cara is a dog trainer and owns a dog daycare where Coco and Sara will spend their days. Darrell is a runner and Coco will surely enjoy a daily jog. They don't have children; Coco will get all the attention she needs.

I wanted my children to grow up with a pet. But I don't want them to grow up with the impression that a pet is a nuissance, a chore. But, at this point in MY life, that is what this dog is for me. I am spread too thin. I don't have the time. I swore that if and when we brought a dog into our home, it would be for the duration of the dog's life and I acknowledged that commitment. Unfortunately, I underestimated the extent of Coco's neediness. Whippets are an affection-craving, highly sensitive breed. I've learned my lesson.

But tomorrow will be tough nonetheless. I take comfort in knowing that she will have a better life with Cara and Darrell, who love her already. In a way, I feel like they were always her owners, and that we have been serving as Coco's guardians until her perfect people came along.

Has anyone else ever had to give up a pet? I feel awful about this.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Adventures in Baking (kind of)

Unlike some, being a domestic goddess does not come naturally to me.

When Sadie and I attempted to make cupcakes from scratch, they came out looking like space rocks with the density of a shotput.

But they tasted not bad, and it was all about the decoration anyway, oink oink.

For our second attempt a week later, I picked up some confetti cup mix at the grocery store and decided that I would leave the true baking to the pros, at least for now.

Afterall, as long as they're pink, she's happy....

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Where in the World

Maps are awesome.

Don't you think?

I love some good map art.

Embelish a globe.

Monochrome neighbourhoods.

Highlight several special spots....

or maybe just one.

Copenhagen. Ink. Want to go there so badly.

But there's no place like....

Images via here, here and here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tubby Time

And after Tubby Time comes Bed Time of course. And after Bed Time comes a spontaneous lesson in vocabulary.....

She runs from her darkened room to the top of the stairs wearing nothing but a pull-up.

"MOMMY, DADDY!" she shrieks, "UMMMM.....what's a NEIGHBOURHOOD??"

Sunday, October 16, 2011

She comes by it honestly

Heard of Polyvore?

It's a highly addictive website for anyone who is....mmmm.....shall we say, sartorially inclined.
Basically you drag and drop any garment/accessory/shoe, etc. onto a white background (or a fancy one, 'cause they have those too). The point is to create "looks"/ideas for outfits that you can save on your own profile. You can browse other users' collages and when you hover over an item it pops up who the designer is, what it costs, etc. And if you CLICK on an item you are magically whisked to a spot on the web where that item is available for purchase. I know, it's crazy. Majestically, revolutionarily, prayer-answeringly CRAZY.

Here is an example of what I'm talking about:

september realized

me likes.
me owns the topshop cardigan. me dreams of the marc jacobs bag. me loves the boots, but if me gets one more pair of boots, me husband might divorce me.

Anyway, if it is just now news to you that I am apparel-obsessed then you don't know me very well and we should do something about that. BUT, that is not the point of today's post. The point of today's post is that I have somehow, someway, inadvertently spawned my own little mini me.

I will preface this photo by saying that Scott started this habit by encouraging her to lay her clothes out for the day ahead, and now it is a mainstay in the bedtime routine (nb: Sadie has no idea what Polyvore is. but she does know that to get Caillou to appear on screen "you haffa go to YouTube"):

Girl even accessorizes. Note the multiple hair bows and miniature handbag (which is actually a Christmas tree decoration that has zero storage capacity. All is not what it seems when it comes to fashion as we well know, friends. Kind of like those tops that are meant to APPEAR like they are a sweater vest over a blouse when really they are merely a tragic singular hybrid mess of a shirt. Psyche!!).

And shorts over leggings? Forecasting a trend, naturally.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Milly's Mobile

The theme of Amelia's nursery, which is yet to be completed, is vintage carnival/circus (minus the sideshow and the bearded lady. Might include the wolf brothers though. just kidding).
I love this mobile that I found on etsy by jacksbeanstalk. If I was a baby I know I would dig this eye candy. Alas, the shop owner is about to have a wee one herself so it's unavailable to order.

So I'm going to attempt to make it myself! I went to the wool shop yesterday for some wool and a felting needle. Because, you know, I don't already have enough projects on the go. I'm pretty sure that filling my plate with too many to-dos is a life sentence! At least I'm never bored.

As for the needle felting, I'm relying on the internet to teach me how to do it, although I don't think it can be that hard. Any experts out there? If anyone has any tips for me, please share!

p.s. what's that you ask? 2 blog posts in 2 days?? I KNOW. this shizzle is off the chain! My keyboard is hot to the touch....

Monday, September 26, 2011

Re-post: Barenaked in Toronto and Vancouver

*originally posted to the Papermouse blog on June 12, 2008. I am going to re-post some past entries to ever so slowly get back into the habit of regular writing and blogging. Do you think I have time to do things like organize my closet now that I have 2 kids?? Most definitely.....NOT.

I am fit to be crowned Worst Packer of this great wide land. Last night I was trying to fill a suitcase with necessities for a day in Vancouver and two days in Toronto. No matter the destination, the duration of the trip, the weather or the growing limitations as to what clothes can actually accomodate my bump these days, I stand motionless in front of my closet and stare vacantly at an abyss of clothes, shoes, bags, scarves. Scott has warned me that if I keep it up, he will need to refinish the floor at my feet.

I am a clothes sorter. I am a re-folder. I am an organize-my-closet-by-garment-colour-when-the-mood-strikes-me kind of gal. I banish spring clothes to storage in the fall, and fall clothes to storage in the spring. I like this kind of system. It keeps me calm, if not obsessive compulsive.

But packing is my wardrobial tragic flaw. Shoes especially. I usually take with me more pairs of shoes than days I am away. Add two different climates to the formula (a heat wave in Toronto and the perpetual winter of '08 on the West Coast) and I've really got a calculus problem to solve. Find: the derivative of white shorts raised to the power of two heels, multiplied by a maternity top, all divided by rain. I stand. I stare. Flies fluzz by. Chestnuts roast on an open fire.

And inevitably, the morning of my departure is an exercise in haphazardly adding last minute items to my suitcase (and purging four-legged stowaways). Boots. toothpaste. pjs. Shit! pjs!!!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Getting around to it

Yes, friends, I am still here!

And now she is too.

I am back from my blogcation and am delighted to announce the safe arrival of our little Amelia Munro. She was born on July 27th at 2:44 pm and weighed a wee 6 lbs 6oz. She was 5/10 when we left the hospital so you can imagine how ridiculously big her car seat seemed. She's packin' it on though, last week she weighed in at a whopping 7/3! :)

I checked into the hospital on Tuesday, July 26th, expecting my "scheduled" section at 2:30 that afternoon. I guess the term "scheduled C-section" is used loosely around here. I was bumped for a full 24 hours due to emergencies and what I suppose was a lack of available medical staff. Because I had to fast, I was S.T.A.R.V.I.N.G. But finally it was game time and I found myself in the O.R. getting prepped for the surgery. It was a much different experience this time around (when Sadie was born via C-section, I had already been in labour for about 6 hours, it was an emergency, and also 2 a.m. so it was all kind of a blur). But this time, it was just your typical Wednesday afternoon and I was completely coherent, and therefore taking in all the details of my strange surroundings.....overhead operation lights, a clock on the wall, heart monitors, surgical tools, an empty bassinet waiting for a baby, and at first 1.....2....then 3...4...5...6...7...8 masked people filing into the windowless room, prepping various stations. Just before I received the anesthetic, I had to focus on a spot on the wall in front of me to avoid panic setting in!

But I can't say enough good things about the team of people that were a part of Amelia's birth. I am so thankful to all of the doctors and nurses. Thank goodness there are people who choose this line of work and are excellent at what they do!

Scott videotaped the entire surgery and delivery. The first thing he said to me was "lots of dark hair!" Then I heard a tiny little cry and saw our second daughter being lifted out of my body. After she was checked over and brought over to me, the first thing I noticed about her was how perfect and fresh and new her skin was. And that newborn smell, OH that wonderful smell! She looks a little bit like her big sister, but also has some of her own unique features of course, like her "uni-dimple" ;)

And just TINY. Almost intimidatingly so. Has anyone seen the movie Babe Pig in the City? You know when the chimpanzees have those babies? That's kind of what she reminded me of....

Now she's 3 and a half weeks old and we're adjusting to life as a family of 4......more about that later. But I will say that it's joy and chaos all in the same moment!

p.s. Ellen is the winner of the K&P baby pool! you were very close, Elle!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Koo & Poppet Baby Pool!

7 weeks to go!

Here's how to enter the Koo & Poppet Baby Pool:

Leave a comment on this post, or on the Koo & Poppet Facebook Page with the following guesses:

1. Boy or girl
2. Weight
3. Date
4. Suggest a name

Whoever is closest will win a Koo & Poppet bunny......and there will be a bonus prize if we choose your name suggestion! (p.s. we have NO ideas for a boy's name)

Breakfast of Champions

A recipe on this blog? This is where I pretend that I actually know how to cook/bake.....

Sadie and I made some deliciously nutritious flourless quinoa bread for breakfast this morning.
It's a little bland, but very moist. I recommend toasting it and topping with butter and organic agave syrup. Popular with the little folk as well!

1 c quinoa
3/4 c buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/4 tbsp salt
2 c quick rolled oats
1/2 c ground flax
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp baking powder

wash quinoa, place in bowl, cover with 2 c water.
Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hrs (up to 10)
Preheat oven to 350. Drain quinoa into blender with buttermilk, eggs and salt. Puree until smooth.
Combine oats, flax, baking soda and baking powder. Add quinoa, mix and bland well.
Pour into 8x3 bread pan lined with parchment. bake one hour and cool. store in fridge/freezer.

Try it and let me know if you like it!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The 26 week belly

I promise one with a head next time.....

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pills to swallow and the April report

Uh oh. I can't believe it's been a month since I've written anything. Is anyone still out there?

You would think that now that I'm done work and am home full time with Sadie, there would be more time to blog and sew and paint and do all the things I planned on doing. But I haven't even started doing my taxes yet.

Well I guess the best thing to do would be a monthly re-cap.
On St. Patrick's day I was on my way to a site visit with my colleague and my cell phone rang. It was my doctor's office calling. The receptionist said I needed to come in right away and that there were a few issues on my 18 week ultrasound. I asked what kind of issues. She said that "things are just looking really thin down there. Also, you are done work as of today."
So I scrapped the site visit and was in the doctor's office by 1:00. The problem is that the scar from my C-Section with Sadie is very thin and they are not sure whether or not I will be able to carry this baby to term. So I was taken off work and told to take it as easy as possible and we'll just see how everything goes. There is a real possibility that the baby could be born very early!
Here is a photo at 24 weeks...

Then, amidst all this pregnancy stuff, we lost a beloved member of our household.
A few weeks ago, we suddenly noticed that our cat had lost a pile of weight. Then she pretty much stopped eating altogether. I took the poor girl in for a check-up and she wound up overnight in the animal hospital hooked up to an IV. CHA-CHING. They ran some tests but couldn't come up with a diagnosis. CHA-CHING, CHA-CHING. She was dying of an undetermined illness.
A couple hundred bucks, we figured - even without any firm answers.
Think again. Here is our vet bill:
(Allow me to choke on the pint of ice cream I am elbow deep in)

So we were sent packing with that pill to swallow as well as a bunch of white ones for the cat to swallow. Shaaa, RIGHT. Who has ever known a cat who will voluntarily take a little white antibiotic? So the experimentation began. At 11:00 one night, I heard Scott in the kitchen with what sounded like a power tool:

The assortment of scraps you see in this photo include ham, cheerios, white pills and cat treats. Nothing was working so he actually cut a cat treat in half, drilled a shallow pit in each side, and planted the pill flush inside the hole. How he accomplished this with such expert precision is a mystery to me. Then he stuck the two halves back together with some water and a couple of minutes in the freezer. I don't think we should try to cross the border with these anytime soon.
Yes I know.
You are speechless.
So was I.

Have You Ever Heard Of Such A Thing?

Did this experimental method work?

What do you think?

Of course not.

Someway, somehow Val still knew her meds were in there.

So poor kitty was running out of options to recover from whatever was ailing her. Could have been an infection, could have been thyroid problems, could have been cancer.
We gave her all the attention she could get in her last few days and when her eyesight started to fail, we knew it was time to let her go. We had to put her down on Saturday morning. It was so so sad. I miss her so much. Sadie said to me this morning: "You miss the kitty mommy?""Yes", I said. "Don't worry mommy, Daddy go and get her and bring her home to you." Gulp.

(Valentino in her kittenhood)

In Koo & Poppet news, I've shut down the etsy shop temporarily until after the baby is born. But I did squeak in a few last orders, like this "T" tulip pillow and a new piggy named Zoe:

And then of course, there are the on-going home is the current state of the family more week to go:

And one of a little "Rapunzel" (her favourite) for good measure:

And now, while my Rapunzel is still a Sleeping Beauty, I shall have more ice cream....

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award: For me? Why thank you!

Thank you so much to Jenn of the Blush and Bees Vancouver Island gardening blog for honouring me! I have known Jenn since we were seven years old. Many Easters were spent decorating eggs while listening to Paula Abdul, and during the summers we could be found in our Bocas and Vuarnets on the corner by the nearby beach selling fruit from the trees in our backyards. Ahhhh, early 90s....I will always remember you with fondness ;)

Acceptance of the Stylish Blogger Award requires me to list seven things about myself that most people don't know. Here goes:

1. I am a germaphobe. No part of my body ever comes into direct contact with any part of a public washroom. I can hardly handle it if my husband wipes any hard surface with anything other than a paper towel/clean dish cloth and disenfectant. I do not like sharing drinks.

2. My closest friends are my oldest friends. They are the girls I grew up with all throughout high school and, in some cases, even elementary school. As an only child myself, they are as close to being my family as friends can get. I'm referring to about a dozen people. At one point in our lives, we all wanted to be the same person. Same hair, same clothes, same taste in music, same everything. I love to look at everyone now and realize how different we've all become....and yet how close we still remain.

3. I love eavesdropping on lunch-hour business meetings at restaurants or coffee shops. I try to discern what profession or industry is the basis of the discussion. Who is the client, what is the product, how much money is involved, what kind of software is needed. Weird, I know.

4. In another life, one in which I was born with any kind of culinary skill, I might have been a pastry chef in New York City. Or maybe Paris.

5. I used to dream about having a pet pig. I must admit I'm very glad it never came true.
They are cute though.

6. If we're going to play a boardgame, you really want me on your team. We'll win.

7. I HATE listening to or reading instructions. I don't think I've ever read a manual in my life - especially one without pictures. I simply glaze over and become semi-catatonic. I will do it my way, thank you, and learn by trial and error.

And that is that!

So now I will pass this award on to 13 worthy recipients. I'd like to give mention to these people who are not only stylish, but also wonderful writers, artists, parents or friends.
In no order whatsoever...

1. To Beatriz of Lucky14Handmade - Knitter extraordinaire! No shortage of style here.
2. To Carine of Smallest Things - A stylish life in Paris with her wee bubs.
3. To Deborah of The Simonster - Not only a great friend and fellow mom, but Sadie's "second mommy" too! aka "Debwaa".
4. To Beth of Beth Campbell Creative - Beth is a multi-talented local designer with a blog that features the best in architecture, art and cuisine.
5. To Danielle of Momsicle Vibe - My Rocaine dealer and good friend, this girl will have you in stitches. Her writing is nothing short of AMAZING.
6. To Sarah of Sparked Philosophy - Mom to sweet Ember, Sarah is a fantastic writer and friend of Koo & Poppet.
7. To Andrea of Mama in the City - my bloggy friend across the strait, Andrea writes with a voice that is honest and captivating.
8. To Jennifer of A Merry Mishap - a mom with impeccable taste in fashion and interiors.
9. To Dionne of City of Dionne - her blog is a visual feast. Her illustrations are exquisite.
10. To Ivan of Meade Design Group - a great friend and colleague with an un-rivaled eye for the best in design.
11. To Margot of Margot Austin Blog - Senior Design Editor at Style at Home Magazine.
12. Nadine of Walter Helena Photography - a beautiful person inside and out, her writing and photography will leave you entirely inspired.
13. Michelle of Michelle Loewen Photography - I don't know what I'm more envious of - her photographic skills or her culinary skills :)

In other news, you may be seeing a lot more of me here in the months ahead. I've been put off work and on bedrest for the rest of my pregnancy (I'm only 20 weeks as it is!!) More on that one to come....

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Home Reno - halfway point...

When we moved into our house in October of 2009, we knew we had our work cut out for us. At first glance, it was difficult to see past the rustic wood siding, stained carpet and marbleized seashell sinks. The house was built in 1979 and it's not hard to tell.
Still, it had a comfortable layout and a great yard and Scott and I saw some potential in this split-level country house. We could picture ourselves living here and we could also imagine digging into some home improvements. We're about halfway there, and have been in construction mode for more than a year now. A lot of the work to date has been mainly cosmetic updates, but a few walls have been built or demolished here and there. We probably have another 2 years to go! But it's been a lot of fun to see the transformation this house is going through.

Most of you have seen the results of "Phase One", my Koo & Poppet World Headquarters ;-),

The office before:

and after:

Split stair before:

Stair after (not quite done yet):

Living room before (yikes!):

Living room after (what to do to add some more interest around the fireplace? any ideas?):

Living room and entry on the day we moved in:

and after:

Dining room before:

Dining room after - just needs some new chairs and a little more colour:

Now we are diving in to the family room downstairs. This room is in dire need of a makeover! The plan is to have this room ready by the time the baby is born this summer. I'll post photos of the finished result soon....

After this room is finished, it's on to the bedrooms upstairs.....I'm dreaming up a nursery design right now....details to follow!

And finally.....the big ticket items: KITCHEN AND BATHROOMS. And we have big 'ol plans for the kitchen. It's preeeetty bad right now. But fully functional, so one can't complain too much :) Sometimes I remind my self that there's no rush for all of this....we have walls, heat and a roof over our heads and really, I'm just grateful for that. And then I re-acquaint myself with those seashell sinks and I'm all OKAY SLEDGEHAMMER NOW, RETRO CHARM MY A$$.
and did I mention that Scott and my Dad have done all this work by themselves? They are superstars.