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Congratulations Allison!

random.org picked number 5, so Allison (one of my real-life blog-reading pals) wins the $25 Gift Certificate to the Grassroots Store.  They have some great stuff, so you should all check it out if you’re in the market for green alternatives to everyday products.

Sorry it took me so long to get this post up, today has been a crazy day.  It seems like every time I turn around there was another mess to clean up.  I was making baby food this morning too so I have done more dishes than I can count!  Man am I ever going to be excited to live in a house with a dishwasher one of these days!!

Thought you might also like to know how my Green Smoothie Challenge is going now that we’re heading into week 3.  I must admit, everyday is not happening.  I usually miss every third day.  When I make a batch of smoothie there is always enough for two days, and then somehow the third day I just don’t get around to making more.  But then on day four I get back into the groove.

I think part of my problem is that I just can’t give up my cereal and coffee in the morning, so it tends to be closer to 11am by the time I get around to making a smoothie.  So if Nate’s naps get at all out of whack I fall off track really easy.  But, I am certainly drinking them more frequently than I was before and anything is better than nothing.

I haven’t been very adventurous with regard to trying new recipes.  Because fruit isn’t in season around here, everything but the basics is pretty pricey right now, so I’ve been sticking to various combos of apples, pears, bananas, frozen strawberries (I already had a big bag in the freezer) and mostly using spinach.  I am going to try Reesh’s frozen banana recipe later this week though and I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes! (Although I’m sure it’ll be delicious).

I haven’t posted any 365 pics recently, but if you’re interested you can check the most recent ones out here.  I’m still having a lot of fun taking everyday type photos and playing with my new remote shutter release.  This is definitely a projec that anyone who likes photography should try at some point.

Hope you are all enjoying your weekend!


Alright, so hopefully you’ve read my 100 things. If not, you can check it out here. In honour of my 100th post, I’m doing a giveaway as a thank you to my faithful readers for sticking with me. I know I’m not the wittiest or the most original blog around, but I appreciate you taking the time to read along. And I really appreciate all the fabulous feedback you provide in the comments!If you “lurk” here, feel free to “de-lurk” for the giveaway, and then go back to lurkingIn order to be entered into the random draw to win a $25 Online Gift Certificate from the Grassroots Store, simply answer the following question in the comments:How old was I when Dale and I went on our first “date”?See, it’s a s simple as that! I’ll do the draw on Friday after 5pm PT and announce the winner Saturday.Good Luck and Happy Searching 🙂

In honour of my 100th post (Woohoo!) I figured 100 things was in order…and just cause I’m in the mood, I’m doing a bit of a giveaway too! But to make things a bit more fun, in order to get in on the giveaway, you actually need to read my 100 things. Tomorrow I’m going to post a question based on my 100 things…in order to be entered into the giveaway draw, simply answer the question in a comment. On Friday I’ll do a random draw for a $25 Gift Certificate to the Grassroots Store. (Unfortunately the draw is only open to residents of Canada and the USA…since the store won’t ship anywhere else).

So here goes!

  1. I was born March 13, 1979
  2. I was delivered by C-Section after my Mom had been in labour for over 48 hours
  3. I owe my Mom a lot just for being alive! LOL
  4. One of the highlights of my life was my year long exchange to Germany when I was 17
  5. It had a major influence on the person I am today
  6. Until I was 20 I had only lived in 2 houses about 3 km apart
  7. That’s if you don’t count the 4 houses I lived in Germany, which I don’t.
  8. Since I turned 20 I have lived in 4 houses
  9. I studied Linguistics at University
  10. And German
  11. I don’t use either Linguistics or German in my day-to-day life now
  12. I am a Logistics Officer in the Canadian Forces
  13. Logistics sounds kind of like Linguistics
  14. But they aren’t related at all
  15. My favourite food is sour cream
  16. Yes…sour cream is a food
  17. In German you capitalize nouns…I accidentally capitalize nouns in English a lot!
  18. I used to know the words to Dirty Dancing by heart
  19. My favourite scene was the one where you can see Patrick Swayze’s naked bum
  20. It was very exciting when we got a DVD player and you could pause the bum scene and not have the fuzzy lines over it like you do with a VCR
  21. My name was the most popular girls name in Canada for about 5 years around the time I was born
  22. There was always another Jennifer in my class growing up
  23. I still love my name
  24. I had a girls name picked out for my baby by about week 5 of the pregnancy
  25. We didn’t pick a boys’ name until our baby boy arrived
  26. It took be about 3 months to truly like Nate’s name
  27. I love it now…it suits him
  28. My middle name is Margaret
  29. I’m named after my paternal Grandmother
  30. I never met her because she died a few weeks before I was born
  31. My step Grandma’s name was Margaret too
  32. My Dad’s name is Bob
  33. He has two step brothers whose names are Bob as well
  34. My husband was my highschool sweetheart
  35. Our first date was December 18th, 1995
  36. We got married August 23rd, 2003
  37. I wore a strapless dress
  38. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t fit me now
  39. That makes me kind of sad
  40. We got pregnant with Nate on our first “try”
  41. I feel extremely lucky about that
  42. Growing up I was clumsy
  43. My Mom stopped letting me wear jogging pants in Grade 4
  44. Because I kept falling and putting holes in the knees
  45. Now I own a pair of Roots jogging pants that I bought about 10 years ago
  46. They don’t have any holes in the knees or elsewhere
  47. I’m still rather clumsy though
  48. When I was little I wanted to be a Vet when I grew up
  49. Now I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up
  50. I have trouble thinking of myself as a “grown up”
  51. I don’t have trouble thinking of myself as a “mom”
  52. I used to have an eyebrow ring
  53. I was the first person at my school to have one
  54. I got it in Prague while I was on my exchange
  55. My friend Katie won a prize in a photo contest for a picture she took of me having it pierced
  56. I had to get rid of it in order to get a summer job in the town I grew up in
  57. I used to sell Mary Kay
  58. I adore their make up, especially the foundation
  59. I used to wear make up every day
  60. Since Nate was born I’ve hardly worn it at all
  61. I have naturally curly hair
  62. It’s also easy to straighten
  63. When I was growing up, my hair was really short
  64. I decided to grow it out when I was 13 and was mistaken for a boy by a lady on my paper route
  65. I’ve needed glasses since I was in 7th grade
  66. But I almost always wear contacts
  67. I have never been good at competitive sports
  68. I played T-Ball for one year when I was about 6
  69. Our team didn’t win a game all season
  70. I did cross-country ski competitively in highschool
  71. I wasn’t great, but I loved my coach so I kept going
  72. I broke my wrist in training my first year on the team
  73. And competed in my first race without poles and cast on my arm!
  74. I was really bossy as a kid
  75. I’m still bossy now, but I try to hide it
  76. I was involved in everything in high school
  77. I was involved in nothing at University
  78. I loved both experiences because they were so different
  79. When I was little I wanted to be a Vet
  80. Then later I wanted to be a writer
  81. I can’t see myself doing either job now
  82. My parents got divorced when I was 22
  83. Sometimes I still forget that they’re not married
  84. I am a fiddler…but not in a play-the-violin way
  85. Although I can play the violin
  86. And I played cello in highschool
  87. But meaning I am always fiddling with things
  88. Especially with my rings and earrings
  89. My favourite chocolate is a dark chocolate vanilla caramel with Sea Salt from Hot Chocolates in Courtenay, BC
  90. When I was a kid I adored going to summer camp
  91. Nightly campfire was my favourite thing about camp
  92. I am totally addicted to Sour Patch Kids Candy, which are basically sour gummi bears
  93. I will eat them until I get canker sores…and then eat a few more for good measure
  94. Amazingly I don’t have a single cavity
  95. The first album I ever owned was Madonna’s True Blue
  96. My favourite track was “Papa Don’t Preach”
  97. I still love Madonna to this day
  98. I brush my dog’s teeth every night. Dogs need dental care too!
  99. It makes me feel better about letting him lick my baby 🙂
  100. I totally feel like my 100 things are more boring than everyone else’s!

There you have it! Everything you never wanted to know about Jen and probably a little more! Be sure to stop back tomorrow so that you can be entered in the draw!

I know that at least a few of my faithful readers use either a Diva Cup/Keeper and/or cloth pads.  I imagine many of you have also seen the ads about Proctor and Gamble (makers of Tampax and Always) donating pads to African girls, so that girls can stay in school.

On the surface this is a brilliant idea, yet the first time I saw the ad, the thought that immediately popped into my head was “Cloth pads would make so much more sense!”  Well, I wasn’t alone in my thinking. Beth over at Crunchy Chicken was WAY ahead of me…and much more thorough I might add!  She had similar thoughts and did some research into the matter and came up with this plan.  Basically, she has a set up a website (Goods 4 Girls) to collect donations of cloth pads (either hand sewn or purchased from a retailer – many of whom are offering discounts for the project!) and is liaising with various humanitarian organizations to arrange for the pads to be distributed to African girls primarily in Kenya and Uganda.  She has info on the Good 4 Girls site about how to sew your own pads (could be useful for personal use as well!) and a list of sites who will ship purchased pads directly to Beth for distribution.

I am not a sewer myself, so I’m going to purchase a few pads to donate.  If you’re not interested in donating…at least check out some of her writings on the subject.  This is a perfect example of why seemingly generous acts by large corporations sometimes come with hidden price tags, both financial and environmental. Definitely worth thinking about…

Thought you would all like to know a few things:

1.  Nate, although still barking like a seal pup at 2 am, is doing much better!

2. His also-sick-with-a-wicked-cold Mommy is feeling slightly more human, too.

3.  We are probably both feeling better because the Little Man has been sleeping better.  I was only up twice last night for the first time in weeks!

4.  Today is the day of the Big Bloggy Move over at Christy and Megan’s.  Check out their new digs and get in on some great giveaways.  If you moved or started your blog anytime since the beginning of Dec 2007, you can add yourself to the list of Big Bloggy Movers, too (Jackie and Gill…I think this applies to you!).

5.  I’ve started packing!  That’s right – only two more days till I’m home-sweet-home in Comox.

6.  Apparently there have been arguments over who gets to pick me up at the airport!  It’s nice to be loved!  (Although I’m guessing it’s really Nate that they’re after! LOL)

7.  Here are my last few days of 365 pics:

feb-6-grandma-and-nate.jpg

feb-7-nate-playing-with-nana.jpg

feb-8-cold-remedies.jpg

feb-9-croup.jpg

feb-10-storm-through-front-door.jpg

feb-11-mommy-nate-and-nana.jpg

I thinks that’s all the updates I can think of!  Happy Monday 🙂

My apologies if you subscribe to my blog in a feed reader and a whole bunch of new posts clogged up your inbox – I have been doing a bit of early spring cleaning by streamlining my Categories.  I set them up when I started the blog and have been itching to reorganize for a while but hadn’t had a chance to do it until today.  It’s done and I feel better already.

 And speaking of streamlining things.  I have a question for you all.  How do you streamline your weekly cleaning routines???

Here’s the deal.  I don’t like cleaning.  Not a huge surprise – not many people do.  Except Dale, who actually likes to clean.  In fact some people (Gill and Barb among them) might even say that he’s a little obsessed with it.  Problem is, I’m about to return to Comox with a 5 month old and no Dale to keep our house in some semblance of order.  So I’m thinking routine is the key here and I’d like to know what your routines are.  I’m not talking about having the most spotless house on the block, but I am hoping to at least keep up with laundry, vacuuming and dusting and keep the bathroom and kitchen sanitary.  I’m a little stoked about the batch of new environmentally friendly cleaning products that I have on order from Melaleuca (more on that another day), but I’m pretty sure that even the appeal of eco-friendly cleaning gear will soon lose its lustre! 

Despite the stress and frustration of the past two months, living at my in-laws has been fabulous in many ways – namely I haven’t had to clean a thing since I got here!  Besides poopy baby bum that is.  I’m  assuming that some kind of a schedule will be useful…but I’m not even sure where to start.  So…my ears are wide open.  How do you manage it all??

I have had such lovely comments from my readers lately that I thought I would give you all a public acknowledgement and a great big thank you!

I am overwhelmed by the response to my posts about the Story of Stuff (if you haven’t yet watched the video, you really must!) and my goals for more natural, sustainable living.  I have been super impressed with all the ideas that you put forward.  Since I posted, both Megan and Christy have posted about their struggles with “stuff” and their readers added even more info and ideas to my arsenal of strategies.   I highly suggest that if you haven’t done so already, go back and check out some of the comments on my goals post and then go check out Megan and Christy’s writings on the matter! 

My last challenge to you all for the day is to tell one other person you talk with today about ‘The Story of Stuff”.  Yesterday I chatted with two dear old friends – Heather and Sonya – about Stuff and sustainability.  I’m always a bit leery to reveal my crunchy ways (I’m not sure why) but it turns out both Sonya and Heather had great thoughts and ideas on the matter and I think we all came away from our conversation feeling better about stuff (no pun intended!)

Finally, I would also like to thank you for your truly kind comments on my booby blues post.  It’s so nice to know that I wasn’t alone, even though I felt very much alone at the time.  Sher asked me a question about how long I plan to breastfeed.  I don’t have a solid answer to that one at this point.  I would really, really like to breastfeed for at least a year, but I’m not sure how things will work once I go back to work in July.  I’ll only be working part time…but it could get a little complicated.  How frequently do babies breastfeed at 10 months?  I’m lucky because Nate will happily take a bottle and I am able to pump, but it is a lot of work.  Especially if I go back to work before Dale gets home from his course.  Whew!  I’ll save the rest of this discussion for another post!

Oh – and one last thing.  You need to go check out this Family Mini-album that my sister did.  It is absolutely gorgeous…and made me cry to boot.   I knew there was a reason I loved her so much! 

Wait…one more last thing.  Keep your fingers crossed that the weather eases up in Southern Ontario today.  Dale is supposed to coming home this weekend from Cornwall but we are in the midst of a blizzard at the moment and our last weekend together is looking more and more like a no-go by the minute!!

We woke up to a fresh load of snow this morning in South Western Ontario.  Much prettier than the dullness of the past week 🙂  So despite another somewhat sleepless night, I’m feeling rather refreshed.  Plus, when I opened my feed reader this morning all my favourite blogging buddies had already posted.  I love it when everyone has posted in time for my Nate’s-napping computer time!

From my reading this morning I have been inspired by Caseyto initiate a soup swap when I get back to Comox.  If you love soup and need some quick easy meals tucked away in the freezer, this is a great idea! And my real life friend Tanya over at The Unforgiving Minute shared a gentle reminder to take a breather.  Something I could really use right now.  Check out her post and then check out your view, too!

The my sister Gill, not only posted a funny layout of me (it’s good to remember to laugh at yourself now and then – and boy is this one laughable!!) but she also tagged me for a MEME.  I know, I know…they’re the easy way out.  But – ask anyone – it’s virtually impossible for me to say “no” to my sister.  Especially when she says such nice things about me!

So here goes nothing:  My Crazy 8’s

8 Passions in my Life

  • My Marriage
  • Being Nate’s Mom
  • My Fuzzy Labradoodle Turner 
  • Photography
  • Sour Cream
  • Fancy Dresses and Lingerie
  • Scrapbooking
  • Coffee

8 Things to do Before I Die:

  • Have a huge reunion with my Exchange Student friends
  • Complete a Triathlon
  • Sleep through the night again
  • Go to Australia
  • Win something in a photography contest
  • Speak German fluently again
  • Write a book
  • Live in an environmentally friendly home

8 Things I Often Say:

  • Seriously
  • I’m just tired
  • Just one more picture
  • Extra Sour Cream Please
  • I Love You Babe
  • …..I really can’t think of any more.  Maybe those of you who know me can come up with a few??

8 Things I’ve Read Recently (wait for it…it’s super exciting, I know!):

  • Snuggle Up Sleepy Ones
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear
  • Creating Keepsakes January Issue
  • Scrapbooks Etc. January Issue
  • Each Peach, Pear, Plum
  • My Camera Manual
  • What to Expect the First Year
  • Fortune’s Rocks
  • Scrapbooking With Patterned Paper by Ali Edwards

8 Songs that mean something to me:

  • Lover Lay Down, Dave Matthews Band (Dale’s and my song) 
  • Helpless, Niel Young (A song from my Rotary Exchange)
  • Queen of Hearts, Juice Newton (for my Dad)
  • Little GTO, Ronnie and the Daytonas (fond memories of childhood)
  • Unwell, Matchbox 20 (makes me think of my sister and how happy I am she’s better)
  • Pictures of You, The Cure (makes me think of an old friend)
  • Papa Don’t Preach, Madonna (the first song I ever loved)
  • Snow is falling on Douglas Mountain, Raffi (for my Mom)

8 Qualities I look for in a Friend:

  • honesty
  • compassion
  • loyalty
  • intelligence
  • humour
  • straightforwardness
  • geekiness
  • openmindedness

I really hate tagging people.  So I’ll just leave it at that.  Hope everyone had a great Monday!

Jackie’s Thursday Challenge this week has inspired me. I’ve had a small case of writers block this week. Everyone else seems to be posting such fabulous, relevant material and I just haven’t had much to say! For example, if you aren’t already checking out Megan’s daily posts for NaBloPoMo, you should do so! Her readers have asked her some deep, thought-provoking questions and her answers have been a treat to read.

Anyway, Jackie is challenging us to do something thoughtful and unexpected for our partners this week, and I’m thinking that Dale could definitely use a little extra kindness from me these days. What is it about sleep deprivation that makes generally happy, nice people do decidedly unhappy, not-very-nice things? And the worst part is that compared to many, many new parents we are hardly sleep deprived at all!

One of the things that I worried about most before we decided to try to get pregnant was how having a baby would effect my relationship with Dale. Obviously kids change things in a marriage and I wasn’t really sure I wanted anything to change. I mean, Dale and I have been together since we were 16 and things were going pretty darn well, why mess with it? But the lure of parenthood won out and now we have Nate, which we are thrilled about! And for the most part the change in our relationship has been good. Great even. It’s fabulous to watch Dale interact with our son. There is nothing sweeter than seeing the man you love cradling your baby in his arms, or singing him silly songs, or listening to him read books. I love it.

But….of course there is a “but”. I miss the endless hours we had to spend together and our relatively worry-free, stress-free life. Of course it didn’t seem stress-free at the time, but I realize now that we had it pretty easy. I find myself snapping at Dale for no good reason sometimes, or just being generally “touchy” about silly little things. And there really is not good reason. I am extremely lucky. Dale and I share the workload around the house, he has no problem taking care of Nate on his own so that I can go scrapbooking or for a run. On the other hand I have started cooking more since I’m at home during the day (and for those of you who don’t know me – me cooking is HUGE deal). But still, there is the reality that our relationship isn’t the same.

In 12 years, Dale and I have certainly weathered our fair share of changes. We made a huge adjustment from being a highschool couple, to being a college-age couple and then adjusted once again to married life and a move to the opposite end of the country. We have been separated for military reasons more times than I care to count, including a six-month deployment. Each time I think we came out the other side stronger and closer than ever. Yet none of those changes quite compare in my mind to the life changes we have faced over the past two months.

img_4480.jpgSo I find myself wondering where things go from here. I imagine we will just slowly adjust to our new family dynamics and eventually wonder that they were ever different. And I truly hope that as Nate grows older, our marriage will grown stronger. And it’s with that hope in mind that I approach Jackie’s challenge this week. I think right now it is more important than ever for me to do that extra little “something” to show Dale that I appreciate him as a person and as a husband – not just as a Dad (although the Dad part is rather amazing, too!).

I’d love to hear what some other peoples experiences have been in adjusting to life with kids – or any other life changing event for that matter. I also meant to post this pic of latest family walk yesterday for Wordless Wednesday; I think it’s quite appropriate for the topic of today’s discussion! And yes, that big blob of blue blanket strapped to Dale’s chest is Nate. It was rather chilly so we had him bundled up nice and warm in the Kelty Kangeroo (Thanks Kelly!) Finally, I hope that you too will take Jackie’s challenge.

Lydia of Little Toosk and Family. Very shortly I will be sending Lydia my giveaway prize of 20 Handmade Christmas cards to share with her family and friends. I want to thank everyone who put there name in the hat, and I would also like to thank you for all the kind words and wonderful compliments, but all the credit for the card design actually goes to my friend Barb of Stampin’ Up.  I just loved the design enough to share it with all of you.

I do promise, however, in the next day or so to share some scrapbook pages a la Jen from the Weekend Scrapbooking Escape my sister hosted this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  A dozen women all crammed into one living room doing nothing but gossiping, eating and of course scrapbooking ALL weekend long – what could be better than that?  Oh wait  – leaving the baby at home with Daddy for the weekend?  Yes.  That made it even better.  Although I must admit I was very happy to see the little man each evening.

So congrats Lydia! I’ll try to post the instructions for the card soon as well – in case any other non-card makers (or card-makers) are inspired by Barb’s lovely design!  Thanks again for stopping by and entering my giveaway.  I will definitely be jumping on this bandwagon again in the future.  It was a blast.