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Nicole Ludwig

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The Approach of Two

I actually wrote this a couple of days ago. The weekend was sort of sucktastic, and then I found this post, which makes me happy.

The Poptart is 20 months old and is very much a toddler. The problem is, she’s the size of a 3 year old: 28lbs and almost a metre tall. She’s at that point where she can communicate what she wants, most of the time, and we can understand her, most of the time. Except when we can’t.

But god forbid you don’t give her what she asks for. Especially if it’s Smarties at 5:30am. Or that glass of wine you have because SERIOUSLY MOM WHY CAN’T I HAVE IT NOW??????

But if you won’t there’s always the option of flinging herself facedown on the kitchen tile and screeching about it. Or, you know, turning off the hot water tank (seriously. I know we’re doing the Four Hour Body thing, but I refuse to do cold showers)

She loves the Wiggles (I do not any more unfortunately) and will ask for “Wiggles! Tick tock!” (there’s a video that starts with a ticking clock) and she knows all the moves to “Rock a bye your bear” and “Quack Quack”.

She hates when I leave the room to go do laundry. The other week, she had a full out temper tantrum when I went downstairs. Then she threw her otter over the gate and down the stairs and got mad about that, so she threw her phone at it (an old cel phone we don’t use anymore) and then got mad about that. Then she slipped so her legs slipped under the gate at the top of the stairs and kind of got stuck so she got mad about that. And Darren extracted her from under the gate and she did that toddler thing where they get all limp and stiff at the same time and screeched. So he laid her gently on the floor and left her there. She got her otter and phone back when I came upstairs and we had a snuggle on the couch.

(ed. note: We’re very much of the “ignore it and it will go away” mentality when it comes to toddler antics. And when she’s mad, she needs to get over it. We make sure she’s not hurting herself or destroying things of value and keep an eye on her, but from a distance. Within a couple of minutes, she’ll calm down and come for a hug and snuggle. Yes, it takes an incredible amount of patience, but it’s worth it. We talk calmly to her while she’s working out whatever she needs to work out and make suggestions like “Lets get otter and have a snuggle” and will usually get a sniffly “Okaaaaaay” from her.)

If she doesn’t want something to eat, she’ll let you know by throwing it away from herself. But don’t you dare remove it because she WANTED THAT!

I think I understand why some toddlers bang their heads on walls and floors. I feel like that sometimes too when she’s constantly changing her mind about what she wants.

But wakes up and calls “Moooooom!” and it’s the second-best sound in the world. The best sound is her laughing (and I’m sure I’m not the only one who tickles their toddler just to hear them giggle). She gives the best hugs and kisses, and in the morning says, “Bye, Mom! Take care!” and blows kisses. When I get home in the evening she’ll come running to the door, cackling with laughter and yelling, “Mom! Mom! And Dad!” I’ll lay down on the floor and she’ll lay next to me and we’ll snuggle for a bit. Then she’ll roll over and poke me in the eye. “Eyes! And nose! And mouf! And teeth! And tongue!” and we’ll blow raspberries at each other.

I’ll tell her to call Dad for supper and she’ll stand at the top of the stairs and yell, “Dad! Supper!” and the other night after her bath she went to the top of the stairs and yelled “Dad! Upstairs!”

She loves to brush her teeth. We sing the tooth brushing song while she does after her shower or bath, and she dances on the bathroom counter. And she’s just so much FUN.

And at night before bed, she demands “Pegasus” (which is a book of fairytales with a Pegasus on the cover), and we’ll sit there and read a story or some nursery rhymes and she’ll start dozing in my arms. I’ll turn off the light and sing to her then ask her if she’s ready for bed. “Okaaaay,” she says. And gives me a long hug and a kiss.

And I’ll put her to bed and she reminds me to put a blanket on her so I do. I tell her goodnight and I’ll see her tomorrow, and she says, “Bye-bye!” and blows me a kiss. And there’s nothing better than that kind of end to the day.

On Wednesday, watch for a guest post from Katie while I’m off dealing with family stuff. And check out her blog for some awesome recipes too!

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BlogHer Bucket List

Since I plan things for a living, and I like having as much time as possible to plan, I bought a ticket for BlogHer 2011 in San Diego. So for the next year or so, I can hyperventilate and let my anxiety rage (thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for Zoloft). So I have about a year to get my ass in gear on planning what I want and need for BlogHer 11.

I get a real sense of satisfaction with planning things. Not necessarily executing, but planning them. In other words, I’m a lot of talk, and less do.

In the movie “The Bucket List”, Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson make a list of things they’d like to do before they kick the bucket. Some people call this a life list. While I have one of those, those are really long-term goals with no real time limits, and there are some things I want to do before BlogHer.

So I present to you, the BlogHer Bucket List:

1. Buy my BlogHer’11 Pass

2. Lose at least 2 dress sizes.

3. Renew my passport (it expires April 2011 so unless I do that I’m not going)

4. Find someone or a company to sponsor at least part of the costs OR start earning some sort of income from the blog to cover or partially cover the costs.

5. Get a smartphone. Better yet, find a US company to give a smartphone to use for the conference (Verizon? AT&T? you can email me ANYTIME) or find a Canadian company that’s willing to swallow the roaming charges (TELUS, I’m looking at you since I’ve been a customer for a long time. Anyone else – Wind, Virgin, Rogers? – email me, you might get a new customer).

6. Work four to seven extra contracts and save that money to spend there. This might mean doing a lot of 4 hour contracts, but it would be worth it. (To this end, I’ve arranged for two contracts already which are worth about $1100 each)

So are you planning on going to BlogHer? Are you making a BlogHer bucket list?

Once a month, I’ll provide you with an update on the BlogHer Bucket List. Will you do the same?


You can still enter my A&D Diaper Rash Products giveaway here

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Review and Giveaway: A&D Diaper Rash Products

When I was pregnant, I had no idea of what my “must haves” were for the baby. All I really knew was that I needed diapers and some clothes of some sort. I lucked out on the clothing end and was given bags and bags of clothes by a friend who had had two daughters. I was also given a bouncy chair by the same friend (who had three of them) and that turned out to be one of the most essential things. The Poptart napped in there most days while I was in the living room or kitchen. As she got older, the bouncy chair turned into a Kick ‘n Play which let her build up her leg strength.

A year and a bit later, my top ten list of things to have when you have a baby is:

1. Bouncy chair (Best. Thing. Ever.)

2. Vaseline (especially for the first few days – the meconium poops are horrible to clean up)

3. Diapers (think of how many you’ll need, double it, and then buy twice as many as that number – that should last you a week or so)

4. Sleepers

5. Onesies

6. Receiving blankets (make excellent burp rags)

7. Ready access to a breastfeeding guru

8. A doctor I trusted (seriously, if you don’t have one, get another)

9. A travel system (carseat/stroller – so I could actually go out. I suppose this is only necessary if you have a car)

10. A supportive partner (seriously, I couldn’t have made it through the first few months without Darren)

(Sidenote: Strong legs + Busy baby = Early Walker. She started walking at 10.5 months and I’m not sure if this is a good thing)

As for the other end (ha! End! Diapers! Get it?), after a lot of research, we decided to use cloth diapers. For the first couple of months, I used a cloth diaper service. They’d come by every week, take the dirty diapers and drop off clean ones. It was great, it’s a family business and for starting out with cloth diapers I’d fully recommend them. Eventually though, I stopped using them and bought my own diapers which I found on sale from a local small online shop (which has sadly gone out of business). We stopped the service for a variety of reasons: cost (it wasn’t any less expensive than using disposables), my getting skeeved out at my daughter sharing diapers with other unknown babies, and there was a faint chemical smell to the diapers – like not all the detergent got out when they were cleaned. So I switched to my own diapers.

The problem with cloth diapers and diaper rashes is that you can’t use traditional diaper rash creams on them because the zinc oxide gets into the diapers and ruins them unless you use a liner. So when the Poptart was red and rashy all the time, I was kind of kicking myself for not considering that this might happen. We ended up using Vaseline, baking soda and fresh air – mainly because most diaper creams out there are zinc oxide based, and that will ruin cloth diapers unless you use a disposable liner.

So when I was contacted and asked to review A&D Diaper Rash Products, I jumped on it, hoping that there would be a solution.

And in a case of “Be Careful What You Wish For” the Poptart developed a bit of a rash right before I received the samples. Her timing is impeccable.

The A&D products are new to Canada and they look pretty good. There’s a cream (for treating rashes) and an ointment (for daily care and prevention).

(Oh and they’re called A&D because they both have vitamins A&D in them).


· Both products are paraben free

· You can use the ointment with cloth diapers as it is not zinc oxide based.

· The ointment can also be used for treating the results (i.e. – chafed skin) of diaper rash

· I used the ointment on the Poptart’s face rash (from teething) and it helped! I love multi-use products.

· The cream spreads well; I found other ZO based creams to be stiff. This one spread really easily and I ended up using a lot less for the same amount of coverage.

· Both are non-greasy.


· The cream is zinc oxide based and therefore not usable with cloth diapers unless you use a disposable liner.

So for me, the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

And I have a giveaway for you if you’re interested in winning 3 tubes of each of these products – that’s almost a year’s supply of diaper rash treatment products. All you have to do is answer the following question in the comment: what are your “must-haves” for new babies?

Contest closes August 30, 2010 and is open to Canadians (sorry US readers).

Disclaimer: I wrote this post while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central and received a Mom Central gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.

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A Sunshiney Distraction

I want you to know how much sunshine I have in my life.

Not only was February fantastic around here, and March hasn’t been too shabby either, but Sunshine commented on my last post, and I got a Sunshine Award from Denise related to this post.

So I’m supposed to pass this on to other bloggers that bring the light:

Karen, who for years and years has brought zen and light into my life.

Amber, whose dire warnings about $15 mangos and children getting into the baking cupboard make me laugh. And her tweets are pretty good, too.

Scatteredmom (AKA the other Karen) who has lots of yummy recipes and fights like a tiger for what’s important.

Princess Jenn, because she’s awesome, and also a fighter.

And really, if you’d like more, then please feel free to peruse my sidebar. Most of those bloggers, in their own way, bring the light. Because to limit this to just 5 people is too much (and I know I only did 4, but the combination of having to choose and being really tired is just too much).

To the award winners, please share the sunshine! Here are the rules:

1. Put the logo on your blog or within your post
2. Pass the award on to five bloggers
3. Link the nominees within your post
4. Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog
5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

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(Annual) Open Letter to Vancouver Drivers during the Snow

I wrote this yesterday when we were supposed to get 20 cm (8 inches) of snow. We didn’t and everything is all melty, but it still holds true. Suggest you take number 1 to heart since we have a bit of reprieve right now.

Dear Drivers,

It’s that most wonderful time of the year when Vancouver gets it’s annual snowfall. I expect this year won’t be as bad as last year, but the rules are the same:

1. Get some goddamn snow tires already

For real. Just because “Vancouver doesn’t get that much snow” if you’re going to insist on going out in your car, in the snow, GET SNOW TIRES. You’ve had a year to save up since LAST YEAR’S snowfall. Buy the damn tires and another set of rims, keep them mounted and have them switched out every Thanksgiving and Valentines Day (or Easter if you tend to go on long drives to the interior).

2. If you park your car outside clear ALL of the snow off the windows, headlights, turn signals and the taillights before you get going

The windows are there so you can see when you drive. If there’s snow covering the windows, you can’t see. Duh.

Also, once you start moving, the snow falls off onto the (hopefully) cleared roads and messes them up, and flies onto the windshield of the car behind you. Really, really annoying. This morning, I drove Darren to the train, and the minivan in front of me had only cleared the windshield. With the wipers. The headlights were on but the taillights weren’t cleared off. I couldn’t tell if the driver was using signals when he/she turned because those were also covered. If it hadn’t been for the streetlights, I wouldn’t have been able to see the back of the car. With that in mind…

3. If you need to clear the white stuff off your car, give yourself extra time.

Get up 15 minutes earlier, assess and get your car ready. Better yet…

4. Take public transit or walk. Or both

I’m not even going to bother elaborating on this.

5. Stay calm and take your time


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New Years Quiz

Before we start on our snowy way back to Vancouver and as I’m drinking my coffee at the inlaws, before anyone else gets up, Linda has a few questions. I’ve always meant to participate in this questionnaire, but never took the time. Of course, now I know how to make a draft of an entry and come back to it later so this might be easier. Anyways, here are the questions and my answers (in italics):

 1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?

Um. Went to Chicago. Discovered Filene’s Basement. Oh, and yeah, got knocked up.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don’t generally make resolutions, except to be a little kinder and a little gentler with those around me. I think I did okay. This year, I plan to not be too hard on myself and to make time for myself once my baby arrives.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


4. Did anyone close to you die?

I think after having my cat for 20 years, she counts.

5. What countries did you visit?


6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?

A waistline. No, seriously. But that’ll have to wait til summer.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Well, November 4. Duh.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I would have to say getting knocked up.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Nothing really comes to mind. I’m pretty happy with my experiences this year.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Just the vile cold I had shortly before Christmas.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Hm. Probably the painters for the house.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?


13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Oh its the holidays. Goodwill towards men and women and all that. :) Besides, I’m a firm believer that this could return to bite me in the ass.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Bills, I believe. And computer equipment.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

This child.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?

“Right here, Right now” by Jesus Jones

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? – happier
b) thinner or fatter? – fatter (but knocked up)
c) richer or poorer? – about the same.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?


19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Sitting on my ass.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Parte the firste was at my parents’s place. Parte the seconde was at the inlaws.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?

Yes. All over again with Darren.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Um. Lost. Or Heroes (which is kind of jumping the shark, but still)

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?


24. What was the best book you read?

Hm. Good question.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

The new AC/DC – what I can I say? I am old school.

26. What did you want and get?

A baby (yes, it was mostly throwing caution to the wind, but still)

27. What did you want and not get?

A promotion.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?


29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was 32. I think I was sick but was taken out to dinner later.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Being gentler with myself.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?

Getting clothes that fit properly.

32. What kept you sane?

Besides wine? Meditation, I think.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I don’t think I did. They’re just people.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

The Prime Minister Proroguing Parliament (say that 5 times fast)

35. Who did you miss?

My mommy. Seriously, in tears at one point.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

The crazy guys at Pippin’s in Chicago. They were hilarious.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.

That in 15 days, [insert issue of choice] probably won’t matter.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Right here, right now, there is no other place I want to be – “Right here, right now” by Jesus Jones

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Bounty: the Farmer's Market

I just got  back from the Farmer’s Market that’s held every Saturday from May to October here. The end of July is usually a good time to go – crops are at their best around here, despite the cool-ish weather we’ve been having.

Today I picked up this bag of stuff:

Bag of goodies


Shall we see what’s inside?

(yes, yes, I know. There’s a mysterious paper bag in there – but I left one of my reusable produce bags in the fridge)

Raspberries: Local. Spray-free. Mmm.

I also got one of these cases of raspberries:

Hey, I just noticed that the box labelled “Fresh BC Berries is reflected in the window. Cool.

(Note to self: must learn how to use photoshop and deal with varying brightnesses. Or just learn to use the bazillion and three settings on my camera).

 Before moving onto the bag, lets get up close and personal with the berries:


Up close and personal with the raspberries. I think they might be embarazzed :)


So, back to the bag of bounty.

First I went to the Egg Lady and got some carrots and radishes. The radishes are big and plump, the carrots are a bright orange with long, leafy greens attached. They are also plump.


Plump radishes

I don’t have a picture of the carrots. They will be eaten soon. Or the potatos I got too. They will be mashed up for Shepherd’s Pie shortly.

Pattypan Squash

Pattypan Squash

Next door to the Egg Lady was another stand with pattypan squash. I grabbed a couple because I want to try this recipe from Robyn. I wonder if it can be done on the bbq instead? 


And the brown paper bag from above? That has campari tomatoes. On the vine.

There were numerous other yummy things there – beets and sweet onions and fresh garlic and artisan stuff too, from bread to handbags – all locally made.

So if you haven’t been this season, visit your local farmer’s market.

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Loss and Return; Principle and Faith

Edited to add: this post took a left turn on me.  Apologies if it rambles.

Aspeth is back! And you should read her post here.

When I recreated this blog after getting hacked, there was part of it I didn’t post. A very important part of my story.

Back in 2001,  I was sort-of-in-denial-dating Marty. Marty had been my first boyfriend about 10 years earlier, and we’d always been friends. Both of us had gone through rather bad breakups and found comfort in each other. He was my best friend, who knew me better than anyone else. Shortly after we got back together, he said to me, “You smell the same as you did 10 years ago” (and he didn’t mean a lack of deoderant – he associated people with smells).

Christmas 2001 was a bit mixed up. My parents came down and left on Boxing Day. I went shopping. Marty and I had planned to get together on New Years eve and do a Christmas/New Years celebration. We made the plans on December 26th. He was moving and told me he had given his barbeque away. I asked if he was okay and if he wanted me to come over. He declined.

That was the same day I found out a friend’s mother had passed away after a battle with cancer. The remembrance service was to be on December 28th at a funeral parlour next door to where I lived.

On December 28th I cleaned the house top to bottom, went grocery shopping and then next door to the funeral parlour where I attended the service. I remember Katie (who is a vegetarian) saying to me, “I touched MEAT to make these sandwiches.”

I went home after, flipped on the TV and poured myself a drink. A bit later, the phone rang. It was Marty’s mom. “Have you seen my son?” she asked.

Well, no, I hadn’t. And I wondered how she’d gotten my phone number. Apparently, she’d phoned my parents in the Cariboo and asked how to get in contact with me.

I tried to reassure her – saying Marty does this sometimes: he goes away and then comes back a day or two later and tells us about his travels. But something didn’t sit right.

I phoned his roommate, Dan, who was trying to pack up Marty’s waterbed. Marty had been in the midst of moving. I offered to go over to help – Dan declined as he’d just gotten the waterbed draining. Really, I was looking for some sort of contact with him.

The next morning my mom called to make sure I was okay. The fact she thought something was wrong was enough to set me off.

Sunshine called – she was in town from Japan and was returning a call I’d made asking if she’d heard from Marty. She hadn’t.

That afternoon, I called Maple Ridge RCMP and helped out with a missing persons report his mother had already filed.

That evening, I got a call from Marty’s mom saying they’d found his car at the Pitt Meadows Airport. My world shattered.

Sunshine came over on the 31st and dragged me out to New Years’ at the Wild Coyote. We left early and headed out early the next morning to the Pitt Meadows Airport. Dan came whizzing by in his car, pulled a screeching u-turn, leaped out and grabbed me. He told me we shouldn’t go wandering around the airport because they’re bringing out a dog later to look for him.

(Goddamn, this is still hard to write).

In the next 3 or 4 days, I lost 6 pounds. I suffered mood swings like you wouldn’t believe, I called in favours to people in various sectors. I took time off work. I raged and I cried. A lot.

To this day, Marty is still considered a missing person.

 I recovered. I moved along. Despite the fact I’m crying like a baby at the moment, I am happy. And I’d like to think that Marty would want me to be happy.

A couple of weeks ago, I came across an article on missing men in the Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley. I scanned it, but nothing jumped out at me. It was a bad memory – one I didn’t want to focus on.

I believe things happen for a reason. That when the Universe nudges you and you don’t respond, it begins screaming.

Aspeth’s post was the scream.

I sent her an email earlier today:

I have to say, about your friend, that really fucking sucks – because it does. I know when I’ve suffered loss the last thing I wanted anyone to say to me was “I’m sorry about…”; I just wanted them to agree with me that it sucks (and when I was being pitiful about it that it was unfair).

And that is why I didn’t post this before. I was tired of having to comfort when the grief was supposed to be my own. I tried to leave it behind. The whole thing sucked. I just wanted someone to come out and say that to me.

Yet, I believe there’s something in the Universe that prods us – whether you believe in God, Buddha, or the Wind in the Trees, it doesn’t matter. I think the Universe was trying to prod me with the “Missing” article. And I didn’t pay attention.

Today, I read Aspeth’s post on Loss. And then I did a google search for marty.

And I came across a Facebook group about him – with people I haven’t had contact with for years.

I deactivated my Facebook account awhile back for a reason based on principle.

Tonight, I reactivated it, for a reason based on faith.

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