A Remembered Day

My morning started, early,  with sleepy cuddles in bed, my sweet Pepper curled below my chin as I grasped for just a few more minutes of sleep. Her deep breaths synced with mine, and, gently, she curled her fingers around my hair. And I was so, so grateful to have her in my life.

Today is a holiday in a Canada, Remembrance Day, a day to acknowledge our country’s veterans,  thus, a day off from school. A day I was lucky enough to spend with my baby.


But I found myself growing irritable.




You can try to get a 1 year old to hug you, but they’ll only do it on their terms,  not yours.

It took some time to click in to me that my mood may, in fact,  be an annual occurrence.  Today is my first, lost baby’s due date. She might have been two.

Leafing up to today,  I didn’t expect anxiety or pain, I was sure the hurt wouldn’t be lying in wait, eager to pounce. And, so, it caught me off guard.

I couldn’t shake my mood, and of course  felt guilty for my grief, all while I had my wonderful rainbow in front of me.

I felt a desperate need to be acknowledged, I needed someone to validate my pain, to say,  I remembered, too. I’m sorry it hurts,  and I understand that you’ll always think of it, today.


My husband was, and is, unaware of why I’m acting so strangely.  I couldn’t bring myself to remind him. If he wasn’t hurting, why hurt him? And, admittedly,  I worried he’d roll his eyes and shrug it off. And that would be so much worse than feeling alone.

I felt this great urge to shout it out. I had a baby, once, who’s gone, and today might have been her birthday. She was real, she was here, and she mattered. And I’m hurting.

I posted on a Facebook group I’m a member of, for loss moms.

And as the hours and hours went by, without reply, from the only venue literally set up for my comfort,  I began to feel seriously invalidated.

It’s been 2 years.

You never even met that baby.

You have another child.

It was ‘just’ a miscarriage.

You have nothing to complain about.  You have another daughter.

I let those imaginary comments,  that hateful inner voice grow louder and louder. Pepper, semi oblivious to my mood began to take note.  ‘Cry.’ She’d say, pointing to my eyes.

Then I got a text.

From the one friend who really did remember. She remembered that I would be remembering.

‘I’m thinking of you today.’

And that made all the difference.

Someone remembered that life,  not just me. The tiny ripples made by my first child made a connection with someone else on this earth, even if only through me.

And I realized that having a rainbow baby, while a blessing, a wonderful joy in my life, is not going to make my pain go away.

And it shouldn’t.

Because, while she’s healed my heart so much, it’s not Pepper’s job to carry me when my heart is heavy.  It’s not her job to erase the past.

Those hurts were real.

And they still are, sometimes.

And, on this Remembrance Day, someone remembered.

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Beat by Beat

I. Love. Halloween.


Always have. I love horror movies (yeah,  I’ve got a blog for that, too). I love dressing up. As a kid, I was drawn to Goosebumps and Fear Street novels, thriving on the gloom and doom, savoring the scares.  My costumes tended towards the gruesome, vampires, zombies, fake blood and wounds.  Even as an adult, I felt more comfortable covered in gore than I did attempting to pout and be coy with sexy animal ears and risqué necklines.

I love the parties, the buzz, the excitement; pumpkin carving,  handing out candy, the cheesy soundtracks featuring Monster Mash.

The husband proposed to me on Halloween. 

I love Halloween. 

Two years ago, on Halloween, I had my second ultrasound with Pep.

The first pegged her at 6 weeks.

This scan was just a few days past 12 weeks.

This scan had me anxious, shaking. This scan had me in tears on the way to the hospital.

This scan had me dredging up aching memories, had me hearing an echo, an eternal echo that will ring in my mind forever.  A distant echo, softly saying, ‘there’s no heartbeat. I’m so sorry.’

And with it, more than an echo of a hurt that still exists and still shocks me, even now.  A Fracture on the time line of my life, on my heart. That jolt that shuddered through me as I knew my baby was gone.

Two years ago, I waited. Tears pushed against my eyes, eager to burst forth and free. My breathing was shallow and staggered. 

I walked into that room, where my heart once shattered. I could hear that sharp crash resounding in the dim light,  the memories of joyous moments and devastating losses permeating the very walls, my own tragedy just one of a million.

My heart pounded furiously as I recalled that fateful scan at 17 weeks that revealed a child dead at 11w 6 days.  Heart breakingly shy of the proverbial safe zone of 12 weeks.

Dread hung over me, heavy like cement, as I lay waiting for information.  Trying not to be certain that this baby,  too, hadn’t made it to 12 weeks.

The silence of an ultrasound tech can be the loudest silence some of us will ever hear.

That Halloween,  two years ago,  is when I heard Pep’s steady, healthy heart,  beating strong,  healing my own, just a bit, with every tiny thud.

Two years, I saw the image of my sweet, strong girl,  alive. She had lived. She was living.

Somehow on this Halloween,  I believed that she could.


We floated home, giddy, on a cloud. We spied excited trick or treaters, and headed in to make popcorn and watch some cheesy horror as our little Pep carried on and on, right there with us.


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As Gourd As It Gets

It’s autumn, the pumpkin spice is in the air. Cinnamon, nutmeg, awkward orange dye. Pumpkin is in the spotlight as THE fall flavour.

I say, nuts to that, let’s get squashing!!!! (For reals though,  pumpkin overnight oats?! Yes ma’am! )

Ladies and gentlemen,  I think I’ve just created Butternut Squaffles. Patent pending.


There are times when breakfast deserves to be dinner. I love it, you love it, for goodness sake,  kids love it.

The bad news? It’s tough to make breakfast-dinner feel like it’s even a little good for you. You know, not dessert?

Enter, the butternut squaffle!

The way I see it, if you can make a pumpkin pancake,  a pumpkin donut, a pumpkin oreo, even, why not try adding a little velvety, sweet,  cinnamon spiced butternut squash?

By adding last night’s roasted squash puree to a fairly straightforward waffle batter,  adding a heavy dose of cinnamon, a splash of vanilla and a hint of nutmeg,  I’ve ended up with crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside, rich,  sweet and earthy waffles.

So they’re still waffles, but squash! So, at least we can feel a little better about waffles if vegetables are present.

Served with a huge pile of blackberries, a sprinkle of homemade pumpkin spice granola  (ok,OK,  I like pumpkin too ), a drizzle of honey and a spoonful of Greek yogurt,  butternut squaffles were a hit, and managed a bit of good for you too.

Butternut Squaffles

2 1/2 cups AP flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
Dash of salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (I probably doubled this. I never measure cinnamon and nobody ever complains )
Dash nutmeg

1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
I tsp vanilla (see :cinnamon )
3/4 cup butternut squash puree  (last night’s leftovers!)
1/4 cup sunflower oil

Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a large measuring cup, mix wet ingredients  (except squash)

Add wet to dry, then add squash. Whisk batter to break up and distribute the squash. Batter should be thick.

Spray waffle iron with cooking oil before using.


This made us a batch of 10 waffles, most of which will be frozen and reheated in the toaster.

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Every Leaf’s a Flower

My sahm immune system has no business being out of it’s bubble, let alone in a kindergarten full of runny noses. Good lord.


Two days spent back at work resulted in a cold that completely and utterly took me down.  On the brightside, I fell right back into the routine at work, and I’m feeling positive about challenging my little buddies to learn new skills in class.

My first week back was insane. Not only was I out of the house at work for two days, but every other day was booked with meetings and appointments, or essential mom naps (because I was barely functioning with this cold). To top it off, we got roped into hosting a very early thanksgiving  (skillfully prepped and prepared between naps ) at the end of the week. I pulled it off, I’m proud to say, though the jury’s still out on whether or not the pumpkin pie contained my cold germs.

But poor little Pep.

Dad did a great job and held his own at home, tidying up and prepping dinner. But after 15 months of mom’s routine, those little changes in the day left me with a rather cranky, clingy, angry creature who refused to sleep. Yikes.

A number of nighttime meltdowns and failed attempts to keep the girl in bed finally led me to see that she’s just not ready for one nap  a day. Or at least not in the midst of these changes. We jaunted back to one morning and one afternoon nap and what seemed like a crazy early bedtime of 7pm for a few days and, thank God,  we are back on track.

Why not just cosleep?  I’ve tried, and let me tell you, if Pep and I are sharing a bed, only one of us is sleeping while the other is getting pummeled in the face.

What I’m feeding my kid had dissolved for a time into a lot of leftovers and the dreaded chicken nugget. Turns out Pep has good taste, she wanted nothing to do with those breaded lumps of ‘chicken’. To be fair,  when I’ve made my own chicken strips from scratch,  she balks at the breading.  Eggs became a vehicle for vegetables,  and a means for mom to rest her congested head a little longer.

We will get back on track!


As for now,  being at work has been exhausting though enjoyable. I’ve missed it, but it does make me grateful to have days at home with my  girl. We’re soaking up the colours of autumn, bundling up against the wind.  We’re crunching leaves and listening for geese. Dad and I are enjoying the yearly ritual of trying to figure out where the mice are getting in, and now,  where to put the traps so they catch rodents and not kids. Or lazy cats.

I will find my groove. Autumn is brief,  I’m holding tight to these chilly days before the snow flies. Beyond that, Halloween and Christmas loom (we’ve got some exciting ideas for Pep’s gift this year).


I just need to stop, take a breath,  crunch some leaves and tackle my girl with tickles.  Her deep,  throaty giggles being me back and put things into perspective. She helps me see that the laundry can wait a little while. 

And if you’re wondering will I ever get back to kid friendly recipes? Eventually. In time, in time . We had some good successes with zucchini tuna taco boats. For now, check out http://hellolunchlady.com.au for a recipe for Puftaloons  (pan fried scones,  easy to personalize). I served them this morning with a pile of fresh berries, cinnamon and a drizzle of maple syrup.  No, they do not contain vegetables and are basically a socially acceptable donut, but they were made from scratch and with love,  and went over well at our table today.


Till next time, folks! 

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There’s Always the Lunch Break

Oh, sweet merciful pineapples, I’m going back to work tomorrow.

Alright, where have I been? Summering, my dear. Roadtrips, picnics, meticulously prepared muffins and veg and dip, caprese sandwiches and sneaky broccoli cheese quesadillas (as far as What I’m Feeding My Kid has been going). We’ve visited with family, and Pepper has spent time with her various cousins, older and younger. For that matter, she’s starting to learn what sharing is, and that she is SO not into it. Especially when the object to be shared is mom. As I held her month old cousin, she slowly lay down on the floor and sobbed. Dear me.

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When she isn’t practicing her dramatics, she colouring, painting, doodling, scribbling. She can while away at it literally for an hour, and I’m keen to encourage it! The quiet moments free of incessant climbing and inevitable head bonks are refreshing.

Our apple tree has been producing amazing fruit, and I’ve been creating batch after batch of fall scented treats; apple sauce, cider, apple cheddar scones, mini apple pies. I get a little in over my head, and thank god for colouring.

But this summer suddenly began to dwindle away. Darker in the mornings and evenings, cool and a threat of frost taunting us nightly. Slowly, we start to close windows about the house, and soon it will be time to pack up the flip flops.

Don’t make me think about it. Not just yet. Don’t get me wrong, I love fall, but where I live, it lasts about a month…..gah.

So, with fall comes my return to work, after 15 months of stay at home momming. I will return to school, to boogers, and untied laces, to snacktime, to centers, to first day tears and running to get slow pokes on the bus home. I won’t be working full time, but I worry.

I worry about relinquishing control of Pepper’s day, even to her dad.

I worry about coming home to a trainwreck of a house and being tired and cranky and not prepared to clean it.

I worry Pep will spend way too much time watching TV just so I can get the laundry done and the floor swept.

I worry I’ll catch every cold and share it with her.

I worry I’ll come home exhausted from chasing children around and not be happy to see my own.

i’m afraid, somehow, Pep will suffer.

I do have high hopes that the little breaks in my week (my days at school) will be a nice change of pace, leaving me refreshed and eager to play with Pepper. I do have fond memories of forming bonds with those chipper little kindergarteners, and of stickers and crafts and proud little faces. And, I mean, there ARE always designated lunch breaks…..

i do hope I am not making a mistake……..

To be continued, I suppose.

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This Sweltering Season

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The heat wave is still upon us, and it’s turning the once blissful summer season into a vengeful whore,much like her bitch of a sister, winter. Were living all the extremes around here. Last night a massive light show and house rattling thunder gave us a breath of air and a quick but serious downpour. It was lovely. That is, until the power went out and suddenly the cool brreze of the ceiling fan died down and became the stagnant sauna air that swamps our home. My kingdom for an air conditioner!


None the less, I am doing my best to be out and about and enjoying the brief though sweltering season. We’ve dipped our toes in the river, collected rocks and made huge splashes. We’ve picnicked and camped. We’ve gone swimming, enjoying a cool reprieve. We’ve run through the….hose (Peps loves the sprayer on the hose but is kinda over the sprinkler). We’ve watched too much tv, somehow, flat on the floor, tongues hanging out of our mouths like overheated dogs.

We’ve foraged and found fresh local produce, always at its most delicious peak right now. Huge, fresh strawberries from the local gardens, bursting with juice and an utter mess to consume, half of them eaten by the time we arrive home. Crisp mixed lettuce and spinach from our own greenhouse, cherry tomatoes (a coveted item, each time we pass, Pep reaches her little hands up for more) and soon enough, cabbage, carrots and green beans. Were lucky enough to have loads of saskatoon berries on our property, and our attempts to include Pepper in picking leads to a violet hued mouth and hands and possibly a lifelong love of summer. Jams and pies will abound, if ever the house cools enough. Soon we’ll be flooded with apples and crabapples, and liquer and syrups will be concocted, and sour cherries will come pouring in, later to be turned into pies and cherry lemonade.

This week at the local gardens, I couldn’t resist a lovely crisp bundle of rhubarb. Crunchy and tart, with a glorious fuschia color, I’m drawn to the flavours of rhubarb. I recall dipping raw stalks in sugar and chewing it until my jaw was sore, spitting out stringy pulp. The pounds would be turned into sweet and sour rhubarb pie, perfect topped with cold vanilla ice cream.

Well, as my husband points out, I’m a maniac, and I saw fit to turn the oven on in, what at the time, seemed like the cool morning hours. I gave Pep a bowl and a spoon, a butter knife and a stalk of rhubarb, sidled up her high chair and plunked her in to ‘help’. Together we built Cinnamon Rhubarb Muffins.

Spiced and moist, thanks to a hearty dose of cinnamon and a generous portion of greek yogurt, these muffins are hearty and satisfying, perfect for breakfast or on the side of a cup of tea. Maybe on the side of an iced coffee. The sharp bite of rhubarb is refreshing, and still the sweetness shines through.

Cinnamon Rhubarb Muffins

1 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped (toss with a sprinkling of granulated sugar and leave to sit while preparing batter)

2 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

cinnamon (add a lot or a little, to taste. I never measure cinnamon and no one ever complains)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup melted margarine

1 cup plain greek yogurt

2 eggs

a splash of vanilla (see my rules on cinnamon)

Preheat your oven to 400F ( fellow maniac)

chop rhubarb and toss lightly with sugar, allow to sit while prepping other ingredients

in large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Set aside.

in medium bowl, whisk together wet in gredients. Gently mix in rhubarb.

add wet to dry and gingerly combine just until flour is mixed in. Don’t go too crazy mixing, it toughens up the texture.

line or grease a muffin tin.

Spoon generous portions into each section. I piled my batter so it was mounded slightly over the top of the tin, you can make yours a little smaller if you like.

if you’re feeling crazy, mix together a few teaspoons of brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle atop the cupcakes.

bake about 20 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.My oven always needs a few extra minutes.

Let cool a few minutes in the pan and then remove to a wire rack.

enjoy warm! ( and store in refrigerator)

so it seemed, ‘what I’m feeding my kid today’ wasn’t particularly healthy, but I did get her involved! Pep loves to stir along with me and attempt at chopping ( with a butter knife). In my defense, for dinner we had cumin/ lime tilapia with garlic zucchini and coconut rice. Not too shabby.


here’s to maniacs heating up the kitchen in the name of deliciousness!

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Oh Canada or How I spent my 30th birthday

Fitting reminscence on this, the 148th birthday of my home country, the great white north. Happy Canada Day! Peps is having an early snooze in an effort to make the parade ( which generally consists of about fifteen kids wandering about throwing candy and a fire truck). We’re having reprieve in the form of a cool drizzly day in the midst of a sweltering heat wave ( have I mentioned before that most Northern Albertans live sans AC??), which means during this nap time I am able to actually sit under a light throw blanket ( gasp!) and peruse photos of our recent camping trip to the mountains.

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This trip fell on the weekend of my 30th birthday, and while I know such a milestone is a fearsomeone for many, I felt utterly lucky to be celebrating it with the two most importatnt people in my life, in a place surrounded by beauty.

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here’s to you, Canada, and your gorgeous scenery, free health care and ten years of legal same sex marriage ( nice try, everyone who complained ‘I’m moving to Canada’ without doing research #lovewins).

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