Wednesday, December 28, 2011

So this is Christmas

Milk and cookies for Santa

We had not one, not two, but three Christmas celebrations this year! The first was on the 23rd, as out little family of 3 before Alan headed to Australia the following day. Cale and I then drove to Fredericton for the Sprague and Jeffries family celebrations. We had an amazing time. Here are some highlights of our holiday week.

White Christmas and pinecone eyebrows!

Sitting on Santa's knee

Christmas Eve excitement!

New guitar

Gifts with Cousin Monica and Aunt Kathy

Matching hats

Boxing day sliding with Grammie!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas cheers

With only one week to go until the big day, I thought I should share some of Caleb's words of celebration.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Well, I didn't know when it would happen, but after 22 months, Caleb is finally weaned. It came to an end very gradually, and now that it has been well over 2 weeks since I last nursed, I think I can officially say that we are through. Weaning, however, didn’t directly translate into better sleep like I was hoping it might, and he does still occaissionally ask to 'touch them', which I hear is very normal! It does still feel like a big step towards independence (although I don’t think he’ll be ready to move out anytime soon!)

Wearing mom's homemade 'ugly Christmas sweater' (staff party theme). Caleb has never been so impressed with one of my outfits!

Watching Caleb grow has become one of the biggest pleasures of my entire life. Each day I'm blown away by how much more he understands and says. For awhile, talking with him was like a continuous game of 'I Spy' - we would point and say the name of everything we saw. Now he's moved beyond just the basic nouns and we are actually having conversations. He uses full sentences and understands concepts like next, other, I, later, tomorrow, hurry...which leads to Caleb's quote of the week 'Mom, I need a Kleenex QUICK!'. It is also quite hilarious when he uses words and sayings that he hears Alan and I say, like his new favorite 'what's happening?' or when he calls out to Alan 'Come here, honey! (or usually just hon), since he also loves to abbreviate - Linda is now Lin, Nina is Neen and the other night he picked up the telephone to call Santa Claus and said 'Hi San!!

He is also learning how to manipulate us, especially at bedtime. When he is all tucked in and the lights are off, he will inevitably pull out ‘Caleb need potty, mom! Pajamas off, diaper off!’ or ‘I need some water’, or if he is really desperate not to go to sleep he’ll try to trick us into thinking it is morning by saying ‘breakfast time’ or ‘not dark out anymore’. You’ll have to do better than that, Caleb!!

Making Christmas wrapping paper

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Spirit

Felt ornaments

This year we are taking Christmas by storm. It seems that once you have a child who is old enough to know who Santa Claus is, you need to fully embrace the holiday season and that is what we have done this year. I've been getting craft inspiration from Pinterest ( - visit this site if you haven't already) and whipping up Christmas decorations and gifts. Caleb has learned tons of Christmas songs at school so we are constantly singing carols, and several times a day he will call out 'Happy New Year', 'Merry Christmas' and his favourite by far - 'Happy Birthday' ! And I must say, it feels quite nice to be told it's your birthday every single day!

Homemade snow globes!

We topped off our Christmas cheer today by bringing home our very first Christmas tree. My work is selling organic trees and wreaths and since I've been helping out with the campaign, they gave me a little one to take home. Since Alan will be spending Christmas on tour in Australia (amazing), we are going to have our own family Christmas on the 23rd before he goes. Caleb won't know what hit him when he gets not one, but two Christmas celebrations. Three if you count both the Sprague and Jeffries family Christmases in Fredericton. We've got another 3 weeks of celebrating to do before the big day, and we are soaking up every minute of the holiday fun!

Time to decorate the tree!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pedal car restoration

We've been waiting for this weekend. For months, Alan and I had been hearing all about a major project that my dad and our good friend Eric had been working on - the restoration of a 1930's pedal car. My dad found the car for sale in an old garage in Zealand and it was just like one that he had when he was a kid. The car needed a lot of work - paint job, new tires, new apolstery, and more. After 8 months and many hours, the car was finally ready to be unveiled!


After! (this photo also shows what happens when you ask a one year old to smile for a photo)

We revealed the car to Cale at Eric's house on Friday night, just before a bunch of musicians showed up for a Grasse Circle jam. Caleb was so impressed with his new car, that he drove it tirelessly around Eric's house that evening and continued to drive it all weekend.

Love at first sight!

Thanks so much Greggy and Eric! Caleb will have some wonderful memories in his new car...if only we can get it home!! I think dad and Eric may be more attached to their little project than they are letting on. It stayed in Fredericton this weekend because apparently there is a bit more work to be done, like pinstriping!!

My dad as a child in his push pedal car!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Saying 'I love you'

Caleb's new words of the week are 'I love you'. It is incredibly heartwarming to hear 'I love you, mom.' coming out of his mouth. He'll say it as he runs past (as he no longer walks), he'll say it in the car, he'll sing it in a song, and last night at dinner it became a full on lovefest. Cale was saying, 'I love you, dad....I love you, mom' on repeat. Alan and I were smiling at each other, feeling content in the moment and lucky to have such a sweet little boy. The moment quickly lost some of it's sentimental value, however, when Caleb said with complete sincerity, 'I love you, spoon.' Followed by 'I love you, fork. I loooove you, pillow.' I guess love is a bit of a difficult concept for a one year old, but I'm still happy to be at least as important to him as his precious cutlery.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Early mornings

First school photo!

I seem to remember a time when setting the clocks back in the Fall meant an extra hour of sleep. These days it means that we've somehow lost an hour and have been waking up ridiculously early for the past couple of days. I'm talking in the 4 am hour. Today we made it until 5:30, which somehow seemed like a much more reasonable time to wake up. We got off to a good start when Caleb asked for a bowl of cereal and I said yes, he then patted me on the back and said 'good mom'! I laughed out loud and actually did feel like quite a good mom indeed!

Overall things are improving on the sleep front. He's adjusted to being in a bed instead of a crib and Alan's magic fingers are able to get him to sleep quite easily most nights. He still wakes up once in the night, but most times he'll fall back asleep after we pat him for a few minutes. Not all the time, but most of the time. We have also made progress on the weaning front. I've only nursed him 3 times this week. The first few days were a bit of a battle, but this morning he didn't make any indication of wanting to nurse, so I'm starting to have hope that he may actually be weaned before he is 7!!!

I discovered a great parenting tip this week. You can easily remove crayon markings on the wall with toothpaste! Who knew?!! I'm beginning to realize that for all the amazing, wonderful things a child learns, the parent is always learning something new, too.

Monday, October 31, 2011

My day as a giraffe

8 am: Still feeling sleepy on drive to school

8:30 am: Perking up for daycare party

5 pm: Milk break before hitting the road

6 pm: Trick or treating with neighbours

6:01 pm: Best buds

6:30: Loot inventory - chips, suckers and organic gummies and raisins. Not bad for only going to 3 houses! I love our neighbours!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Quotes of the week

Life essentials

I'm not quite sure where this one came from, but Caleb no longer uses the word no. Instead he opts for 'no way', in a drawn out sing-songy voice. No waaaay. All the time. Want to read a book? No waaay! Want to put on your slippers? No waaay! Ready for your bath? No waaay! Do you like your supper? No waaay!

The other new words he is experimenting? 'I need'. This really came out yesterday when he repeatedly said 'I need a pretzel.' Not I want, or I'd like...I NEED. First words this morning - ' I NEED a pretzel' We even sang a song about pretzels for about half an hour at 8 am. Thankfully the bag of pretzels is now gone, but I think in the future, Alan and I need to be a bit more sneaky with our snacks!

Sharing with mom

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sick days

After months of living in a healthy household, Caleb has been struck down with a virus.

Non stop runny nose.
Not sleeping well.
Not eating much.

The usual symptoms of a baby in need of some TLC, which Alan and I are more than happy to provide. The trouble is it is Wednesday and we both need to work! Deadlines are approaching and I'm sitting on the floor building lego castles instead of writing grant applications while Alan is working a day and night shift. Phewph...

Yesterday was what I would consider a fun sick day. Cousin Malcolm came over for a visit yesterday and Alan had a practice scheduled at the house, so both boys got to hear and join in on the jam. Today, is a bit more of a struggle, but we'll make it work. Thankfully I've found a coworker at work to watch Cale while I give a presentation at DAL this afternoon, and I'm hoping for a long nap so I can get a few hours of work in. It will probably be a late night for me, but this is the life of a working mom. You need to roll with the punches, put your child's needs first and enjoy this 'bonus' day together. Try to sneak in some productive time when you can but remember that everything that needs to get done will get done.

Future band mates?

Saturday, October 22, 2011


The circle is complete! (especially with Caleb's beach breeze blow over!)

Last weekend I had some much needed time with my two best friends. The three of us together is quite rare these days, so I was loving every minute of it. The sunshine, the beach and girl talk was just what I needed...and Caleb, of course, who is always up for some quality time with the girls! It seems amazing to me that it was just over 10 years ago that the girls and I returned home after our European and African adventure. Those memories are crystal clear in my mind and something I think about often. One of my biggest hopes for Cale is to find the kinds of lifelong friendships that I've been so lucky to have in my life. Thanks gals. Can't wait to see where we are in another 10 years.

In the ocean with Amy on Oct 15? Yes, please!

New winter hat handmade by Lydia. Amazing!

Playing in the leaves with mom.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cake budha

Caleb's watermelon

Over the past two weeks, Caleb has developed a new favourite word - MINE. He has started saying this to let everyone know that he owns everything he comes into contact with - socks - 'mine', fork - 'mine', couch - 'mine', car - 'mine'. Once in awhile he'll mix things up by saying 'Caleb's', but one way or another he is staking his claim. Apparently this is a normal, age appropriate behaviour. I usually respond by saying, 'This banana is mommy's, but I will share it with you.' I'm finding this stage more amusing than unsettling right now, especially since he still likes to share and he usually forgets what he has laid claim to as soon as it is out of his hand.

Fort- mine.

I finally figured out a mystery that has been boggling me for a couple of months. Caleb speaks very clearly, so when he started saying 'cake budha', I was not sure what he was trying to say. He would pull out the 'cake budha' once in awhile, but it didn't seem to make any sense until one day last week when we he was growing impatient in the backseat while I was driving. To distract him, I handed him a jar of coins and told him to shake them. He immediately started singing 'cake budha...cake budha' and it hit me - cake was shake and budha was booty. Oh yes, he has been saying 'shake your booty' all this time! Where did he learn this? I don't know. But I'm 99.9 percent sure that he's been shaking his booty all this time.

Cousin caterpillars. All photos were taken by Greggy during his Thanksgiving visit.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Giving thanks

Dancing to the Saturday afternoon bluegrass jam at Bearly's

This year I'm very thankful for my wonderful family. Even though we are on our own here in Halifax, I feel like we have an amazing amount of support. Cale has been lucky to have so much time with his grandparents, cousins and aunts and uncles. I love hearing him randomly say things like - 'What's Tommy doing?'... 'Hug Angela'... 'Grampie bike' (for every motorcycle)...or 'call Greggy Linda' when we are getting ready for one of our many skype calls. Knowing how much he loves his family makes me very happy.

I'm thankful for our many close friends. We feel much more connected to Halifax since we've moved closer to town and I love being able to have friends over for dinner or to have Lydia randomly stop by for tea. Time with friends is good for the soul.

I'm incredibly grateful for my wonderful son (I still get a kick out of saying I have a son). Watching him grow from a baby into an active and inquisitive toddler is the pride and joy of my life. Most days I am amazed by all that he knows, but I love the moments when he tries to pick up a picture of a hammer out of a book, or sits on a tiny lego wagon expecting it to be able to hold him, and I remember that he still has so much still to learn.

I'm also very thankful for Alan and how he is always there for me, even in the wee hours of the night. I'm also so happy that Alan is doing what he loves with his life, and I thought my niece Ava said it best when we were watching Alan play this weekend and she said, 'Caleb is so lucky that his dad is a rockstar.' I couldn't agree more. and on top of that, he comes up with great family fun adventures, like today when we walked to the bus stop and rode 3 stops for Caleb's first ever bus ride.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Musical interlude

Cale playing with his new toy at Grammie and Grampie's

It has been a busy week for our family. Alan is on tour in the UK with David. I had a conference in Saint John, so that put Caleb in Fredericton to spend time with Grammie and Grampie Jeffries while we were away. Caleb had a great time. He was very happy to find his 'wallpaper piano' again, a hilarious toy that he discovered last time he was home. He immediately pulled up his booster seat so he could start playing (enjoy the video below). The highlight of my conference was having a Delta hotel room all to myself - what a sleep I had!

Back at home, the two of us have had a very low key weekend. The pouring rain kept us inside so I had to pull out all the arts, crafts, toys and games I could think of. We built lego houses and wagons, painted egg carton caterpillars, made playdough animals, played in a blanket fort, had spontaneous dance parties and topped off this afternoon with a 3 hour nap. Now it is time to clean up, have a bath and say 'good night sun'.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Scenes from our new home


First dinner party (and a sneak peak of Caleb's Halloween costume!)

Hooray for puddles!

Post-bath jam

After school snack on the patio (or 'relaxin' as Caleb says)

New friends

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011


Checking out some tunes with Teresa and Dad

Thanks to the Jeffries/MacEachern team, all three of us had a wonderful Harvest Jazz and Blues weekend this year. Caleb was able to enjoy some of the afternoon shows and in the evenings he was well taken care of at the Jeffries' house, spending time with Aunt Teresa, Uncle Tommy and family friend Sue. I was a bit worried about how Cale would go to sleep, but I knew that after raising 5 kids, Grammie Jeffries would be able to handle any situation. Grammie tried to put Caleb down at 8:30, but after 45 minutes of talking and singing with no signs of falling to sleep, she let him come back down to join in on the family fun. Everyone was sitting in the kitchen chatting, and not wanting to miss out, Caleb grabbed his booster seat, dragged it into the circle, sat down, crossed his arms and legs and started gabbing right along with everyone! I wish I was there to see it, but Alan and I were out on the town enjoying Taj Mahal at the Playhouse. So much great music, family time, friend time and Alan time...can't wait to do it all again next year.

Having a dance with Cousin Monica at Officer's Square.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bedtime woes

New rock throwing grounds

The switch to our new house has gone very well in all aspects except for one...our dreaded sleep issues have returned. After being spoiled by several weeks of Caleb going to bed easily and sleeping through the night, we were once again faced with bedtime woes. The first few nights, Caleb woudl cry once we entered his room, tensing up with the anticipation of the bedtime routine. He didn't want to read books and he wanted to be put down in his crib even less. For 3 nights we sat with him for 3 hours, alternating shifts of patting and singing and trying not to loose patience as the exhaustion set in. Now that we have neighbours, I'm extremely conscious of Caleb crying for fear of keeping others up or worse yet, having someone think we are somehow torturing our child each night. So instead of opting to let him cry for 15 minutes, we stayed by his bedside desperately willing him to fall asleep. I was really feeling like Caleb's sleep issues were my biggest parenting failure. How did I ever let it get to this? I tried to consol myself by thinking that he had not only just moved into a new house, but also started daycare full time and switched to the toddler room - many changes for a young boy to take in all at once, but still I was feeling quite down about my parenting skills.

The next 3 nights Alan was away, so I had to face the battle on my own. I decided to take a new approach and try to make him feel safe and happy in his new room. I shamelessly enticed him into his room before bed by saying in an overly enthusiastic voice 'Let's have some chocolate in Caleb's new room!!'. He fell for it. We were in the room without tears. He then agreed, without much hesitation, to let me read a couple of new Dr. Seuss books I had picked up from Value Village earlier that day. Finally I asked if he was ready for bed. He said yes, followed by 'pat you' (since I often ask 'do you want me to pat you?' at bed time). So I patted away and quietly sang and magically, he fell asleep - after only about half an hour. A long time, yes, but a huge improvement from the previous nights 1.5 hours. The next night, it was the same (minus the chocolate bribery) and with no patting involved. After only 15 minutes, he was asleep and I only had to hold his hand through the crib slats. This seemed like a better option until I had to very, very slowly release each of my fingers from his grasp and then tiptoe ever so quietly out of the room so as not to wake him. Once I was out, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Last night was even better. Great time reading books, happily laid down and was asleep within minutes.
I think we are getting back on top of our sleeping least until we head home for Harvest this weekend...but I have 4 solid nights of sleep ahead of me before then AND I'm planning on pawning him off on the in-laws for a night or two while we're home!! If our sleep troubles reappear when we get home, I know we can get through it, as we always do, with patience, love and an emergency chocolate stash.

New cove we now call home