bluer skies


I tried to write a post earlier this week but I had to trash it because it was very depressing and I already feel like this blog is kind of becoming a misery blog? Like I was in a very Bad Place emotionally about the fact that I can’t afford to take what I consider a decent amount of time off work once the baby is born, and I am very sad and guilty about it. I actually had some incredibly thoughtful and generous friends offer to start a GoFundMe to raise some extra cash so I could take more time off but unfortunately the problem is that if I take the time off, I will lose all my clients and have no income when I go back to work, and will have to start all over again from zero rebuilding my clientele.

It’s a pretty big bummer of a situation all round and I have cried about it a lot, especially this week, but I don’t want anyone to think I’m regretting the pregnancy or not excited about it; in fact, I am SO excited to meet this baby in just 8 weeks if you can believe it! I’m now 32 weeks and 1 day pregnant, which is BONKERS to me. This pregnancy has really flown by, but at the same time I’m so ready for it to be done. It’s been hard; it’s still hard. But it’ll be worth it in the end, and I am trying my hardest to be more positive because like… what else am I gonna do?

I never had another ultrasound (in spite of my continuing to not gain significant weight, the baby keeps growing so it’s just like… eating me alive I guess) so we still don’t know the sex of the baby. Taylor is hoping for another girl, Gwen says the baby will be a girl baby (and we should name it Gwen), and when questioned Sym says the baby “can be anything it wants to be.” Sometimes I feel like it’s a boy, sometimes I feel like it’s a girl, but in what I consider a major success, Taylor and I actually have names picked out! Mostly. I think. A first & middle name for a boy, and just a first name for a girl. Considering we had Gwen home from the hospital for several days before picking her name this feels like an accomplishment.

In non-baby/pregnancy news…

It’s Taylor’s birthday in less than a week and I am totally unprepared. Normally by this point I’d have his gifts all ready or at least picked out but I still don’t even know what to get him! I know if it was MY birthday I would want these Vans but I can’t really buy myself shoes for his birthday, now can I? I only have this weekend to go shopping so hopefully I won’t be too sick or feeble.

Next Monday we are FINALLY getting screens installed in our stupid casement windows! I’m so excited as we are in the middle of a heatwave and seeing as how we can only open four windows in the entire apartment it gets very stuffy in here. We are only getting screens on five out of the seven casements but it’s better than nothing and I think I will even be able to get a cross-breeze in here. I CAN’T WAIT.

I’ve been in a major creative slump recently, like beyond having basically shuttered my etsy into permanent vacation mode. I just don’t have the time or energy to make stuff at all, but yesterday I started working out how to make some little tiaras with those crystals I ordered a few months ago. Gwen is wearing my first attempt in the picture above (and yes, I did take her outside just to stage a photo with it against the ivy wall for my instagram WHAT OF IT). I want to refine my wire-wrapping technique some more and have already made a second one which is a little tidier. I also dragged Taylor and Gwen to the craft store with me last night to buy a slightly thinner gauge wire that I think might be easier to work with, and I’m struggling very hard right now to try to stop myself from ordering more crystals. I still have a lot of these clear natural quartz but I have my eye on some in a shimmering blue-green that would make a pretty great mermaid crown. Also some silver and gold ones. And pink. And aurora borealis. Maybe purple? Huh, I will probably have to reopen my shop and start selling these to justify all the colours I want to buy.

get going

Symphony is a teen, and as a teen she is pretty disinclined to do a lot of the things I want her to do. Number one among these is basically anything that involves her leaving the house, like you don’t know how many times I have asked her “do you want to come to the beach/park/Ikea/craft store/mall with me? I’LL BUY YOU STUFF” and she’s just like “nahhh” and stays in her room. Like, I can MANDATE that she HAS to come out sometimes but it usually turns into a nightmare of crabbiness and complaining and it is exhausting and unsatisfying for everyone involved.

But now I’ve figured it out, the thing I can use to get her out of the house at any time, and that thing is Pokémon Go. It was finally officially made available in Canada just yesterday and as Taylor tweeted last night, we’ve caught the Poképox.

Go ahead and laugh but it is actually really fun to play (even for an old like me who has never been into Pokémon). Because we live in the middle of the city there are tons of Pokémon, Pokéstops and Gyms in our neighborhood- there is actually a Pokéstop in the park across the street that is close enough that when Pokémon are lured to it we can catch them from inside the house! Sym is having a blast playing it and I am having a blast with a shared activity my teen actually wants to do with me, outside, all the time. We went out twice last night and we’ve already made two excursions today- one this morning for a long walk and then a quick one just behind the house when I saw there was a lure at the Pokéstop in the alley- and we have plans to go down to a nearby fountain to look for water types after I finish work. We’ve met/had conversations with other players, traded tips and we have some new funny stories (like how when I realized I could catch Pokémon in my bedroom I plucked a Meowth right off my baby bump, and when we warned some people about the real, actual skunks in the park they asked “what kind of Pokémon is that?”).

Sym holding an Eevee in the eeveening.

I know a lot of people (boring people probably…) think it is stupid but like… how can I argue with a game that gets my kid out of her room and excited about something?

to sleep

01 grass shadows

02 gwen nap close

03 bee garden

04bark texture

05 gwen nap full

06 red dahlia

07 hawthorn sun

We’ve been having a bit of a struggle with getting Gwen to bed recently. Like she’ll get into her bed no problem (after a VERY EXTENDED bedtime ritual) but she always wants more hugs and to talk about what we’re gonna do tomorrow and sometimes she also needs to get up to check for firetrucks outside (???). Some nights we need to open her curtains to show her it’s getting dark outside, or what the weather is doing. And sometimes even when we do all these things she cries and cries and cries (literally she does not stop) until we come back and give her more hugs, more talk, more firetruck checks. One night she also turned on the light, got dressed and very very quietly took out her legos to play with. VERY SNEAKY.

Also, a few weeks ago she started regularly falling asleep int he late afternoon/early evening. Like 5 or 6. She’d fall asleep on the couch (or outside, apparently) and it would wreak havoc on our entire night. She’s really difficult to wake up, except for if we would try to move her to her room. These late naps pushed back dinnertime, bathtime, and bedtime and left Gwen (and by extension, me most nights) with a super interrupted sleep schedule with multiple middle-of-the-night wake-ups. And the days I managed to keep her awake she would be SO CRABBY and unreasonable in the evenings they were a huge struggle as well.

Gwen actually decided about a year ago that she didn’t need an afternoon nap anymore, and we’ve been getting along just fine with “quiet time,” but with these recent spontaneous evening naps I figured something needed to change. I started inserting a “quiet rest time” into her regular quiet time, when she could lie in the bed with Taylor and (hopefully) falls asleep. And it worked! I had to negotiate with her about it a lot but for the last week (even on the weekend!) I’ve been able to get her to take an afternoon nap. And while she would wake up grumpy, it would pass and she would be sweet and friendly throughout the evening. Success!

Except… although they didn’t interfere with the schedule for dinner, bath and bedtime, even the earlier afternoon naps made actually getting her to go to sleep (and stay asleep) a huge struggle! I even tried starting the naps earlier, waking her from them sooner, and no dice: she was still crying after we left her room and waking up throughout the night. Yesterday I decided to skip quiet rest time in favour of regular quiet time and at bedtime she fell asleep more quickly and only woke up once, but she was super crabby and argumentative all evening.

So now I’m stuck. Without a nap she is miserable all evening but with a nap she sleeps terribly all night. I can’t really change what time she wakes up in the morning (it’s usually around 7 anyway) and we don’t really have much wiggle room with her bedtime either? Like I finish work at 5:30 and make/finish making dinner, we eat, she has a bath, we do the bedtime things and then she goes to bed. She definitely tries to drag bedtime out but most days we are able to get her settled down by around 7:30 or 8. Now we’re thinking we’ll have to get her down by 7 but that really only gives us an hour and a half with her in the evening to do everything so idk. idk! How is sleep formed, basically.

Unrelated but sort of related: this morning I was putting one of the daycare kids, a 13-month old girl, down for her morning nap (remember morning naps? siiiiiiiiigh) and Gwen wanted to help. She found the little girl’s special sleepy-time toy that had fallen under the crib, brought her a special pillow from her own room to share, and gave her a big hug. Later she ran up to me with one of her special blankets that she wanted let the little girl use as well, but I explained that she was already asleep and we mustn’t wake her up because babies need a lot of sleep. But I asked her if she was going to help me put our new baby down for naps when she/he is born and she gave me a very enthusiastic “Yeah!!” and my heart exploded with love. EXPLODED. Oh also: I asked her recently what we should name our baby and she said “Wappy.” Wappy Laramie. I like it.

beach day

Gwen came running up to me this morning chanting “Beach day! Beach day! Beach day!” so I told her to go wake up her dad and she ran into the bedroom chanting “Beach day! Beach day! Beach day! Taylor wake up, beach day!” Normally I prefer to plan a little in advance so I have like, appropriate beach snacks in the house, although now that I think about it I never do and we end up stopping at the store on the way down the hill. So we sunscreened ourselves and Gwen and she changed into her beloved purple swimsuit and loaded up the stroller with beach towels and my Mexican blanket and a pop-up tent and a big bag of beach toys. We stopped so Taylor could get a coffee and to buy some buns to eat on the way, but didn’t bother getting any fruit or chips like we normally do. It was so windy everything would have gotten full of sand anyway.

It was mid-morning when we got to the beach and as I mentioned, very windy. The waves all had whitecaps on them and the beach itself wasn’t very busy yet even though the sky was clear and the sun was hot. We set up our tent and our blanket on the leeward side of a log, but left the towels in a bag and I ended up using them as a pillow. Gwen sat in the tent with me while she finished her bun and then she and Taylor moved around to the windward side of the log to bury their feet and legs in the hot sand. I lay in the tent and read and felt the baby kicking and watched the gulls and crows and flags flying in the wind.

The tide was out and there were cargo ships moored out in the bay with dozens of tiny sailboats flitting around them, their white sails looking like the wings of small white birds. I walked down to the water’s edge to photograph a flock of geese who were patrolling the sand and to dip my feet in the water, and later Taylor carried Gwen to the shore as well but she didn’t want him to put her down. Last year she loved the ocean and walked fearlessly straight out to sea at every beach we visited but this year she declared it “too wet” and “too scare.” Maybe it was the wind and the whitecapped waves? I hope if we go again on a calmer day she’ll love the ocean again.

01 BD daddy daughter 1

02 BD gwen full

03 BD geese

04 BD shells

05 BD daddy daughter 2

06 BD gull

07 BD gwen profile

08 BD skyline




messy bed

Later this summer the girls are switching bedrooms. Right now Sym has the bigger room and Gwen’s is quite small. Gwen will be sharing a room with the baby so Sym has very graciously accepted the smaller room. It’s kind of a huge production because Sym’s room is full of STUFF that all needs sorting out, and both rooms need to have all the wall-holes fixed and be repainted. Right now the plan is for Sym to slowly pack up everything over the next month, and then right before she goes to her dad’s for the last week of July we’ll move everything out, fix the walls and paint. Then we move Gwen into Sym’s old room, fix the walls and paint in Gwen’s old room, move Sym into it and there you have it! It would be easier if Taylor or I had that time off but OH WELL, we’ll figure it out.

Because Sym’s current room is so large she has a big desk, wide dresser and wide bookcase, and NONE of it will fit into the new space, so I have to get her new furniture. I was kind of dreading it because $$$, but what’re you gonna do? I’m still counting my lucky stars that we didn’t get rid of all Gwen’s baby stuff in January! Originally I’d planned to get Sym a daybed with drawers underneath to replace her dresser, but she didn’t really like any of the options so instead we’re just getting a simple underbed frame to use with her old headboard and installing a storage system in the closet with extra clothes rails and shelves. This is actually great because the simple frame & storage system are a lot less expensive than the daybed, so it’s cut my estimated cost by about 60%. To add to the savings Gwen and the baby will be inheriting Sym’s old wide dresser, and Gwen’s current small dresser is on the Ikea recall list so BACK IT GOES FOR A FULL REFUND. We’re also getting Sym a tall bookcase (to replace the wide one) and a small desk (to replace the large one) and the cost of these will be partially offset by the returned dresser, so everything’s coming up Milhouse!

In other good news, Sym is getting her braces off in just FOUR WEEKS! She is really looking forward to eating popcorn and caramel again, and I am looking forward to not having to remind her to put her elastics in. Also, she’s getting a new phone in July (I used her upgrade on my phone so she gets my upgrade) and I recently introduced her to the wonder that is cheap-ass iphone cases on ebay and she has a short list of about ten she wants to get. And in August she gets to take this great week-long course for teens at the art school! Truly, this will be the summer of Sym.

too much

fathers day

Gwen now has multiple excuses she uses for when she doesn’t want to do/try/eat something: “too hard,” “too scare,” and “too yuck.” I have been feeling too yuck myself recently, as over the weekend my pregnancy nausea stepped up its game to the point that EVEN THOUGH I am taking Diclectin (anti-nausea medication) yesterday I puked SO HARD I burst all the blood vessels in my face YET AGAIN and I also peed my pants. And not a little bit. A lotta bit. Sorry if that is Too Much Information but I think it’s important to share the realities of life and pregnancy on this blog, and not just a shiny sugar-coated version. The puke- and pee-coated version is what you’ll find here.

Thankfully yesterday was also the day of my monthly appointment with the doctor who very sympathetically wrote me yet another prescription for a second medication to aid digestion, with the theory being if I digest my food faster it won’t be in my stomach to get thrown up. I don’t know if it will help BUT I did take one last night that absolutely knocked me out so I guess maybe if I am sleeping I’m not puking?

Of course sleeping all day isn’t exactly conducive to eating enough (or working at my full-time job…) and I’ve lost two pounds since my last appointment when I should have gained four pounds which actually means a net loss of six pounds. The baby’s growth is still good (based on how my uterus is measuring), but if I don’t start gaining again that would not be cool. If I don’t I will have to get another ultrasound to check that everything is still developing normally, IN FACT my doctor (who I really like, have I mentioned I really like her?) offered to order me a not-really-medically-necessary ultrasound now, on account of we weren’t able to find out the baby’s sex from the last one. I declined because I’d rather not use up resources that other people might REALLY need and also it’s really hard to fit them into my full-time job work schedule, but talk to me again in four weeks and we’ll see.

Feeling so sick all weekend seriously cramped up my plans to celebrate Father’s Day with Taylor, mostly because I spent most of it in bed and had to ask him to clean the whole house, which seems pretty unfair to him. We did do a couple of fun things: on Saturday we booked a zipcar (because it was so rainy, normally we take the train) and took Gwen to the Lego store. We got her one of the new Duplo construction vehicle sets and as predicted SHE LOVES IT. Sunday we went out for brunch and Taylor got gifts: an electric griddle for making brunch at home, and a cool manly apron so he doesn’t have to wear my frilly polka dot one while griddling things. Hopefully these helped to make up for the rest of his weekend of cleaning, haha.

around here


Cake Pop Gwen

Pregnant Tanie

Swing Gwen

Taylor took these pictures a few weeks ago, when we took Gwen to the playground at the school and then to lunch and both got sunburned. Since then the weather has vacillated between super hot & sunny and super cold & rainy (a little while ago it was hailing and just as I was about to hit “publish” on this post a thunderstorm started!), often both in the same day so it’s almost impossible to make plans or dress yourself appropriately.

I haven’t been taking weekly pics this pregnancy like I did with Gwen, which I sometimes feel a little bad about but it kind makes the whole thing go more quickly. Like I’m 23 1/2 weeks pregnant already! Amazing! I did ask Taylor to take a few pics that day BUT unfortunately they are all obsolete now because I got bangs again. I KNOW I KNOW, I know what everyone is going to say: “Tanie you hate having bangs, why did you do this again, you are a fool, a FOOL!” But really I don’t hate having bangs, and the last time I had them my hair was too short (anything above my shoulders is reprehensible on me) so I hated all my hair, not just my bangs. And I grew them out! I grew them all out successfully so it’s really nbd.

I took Gwen to the salon with me so she could get a proper bang trim herself instead of one of my Lloyd Christmas butchering jobs, and brought Sym along to help wrangle Gwen during my cut. While we were there Sym spontaneously decided to get bangs as well, for the first time. So now we are all Twinsies, which is cool, it’s cool to match with your old mom, right? She’s never had bangs before and it took a little getting used to for all of us. She looks more mature with them somehow, like a really teen instead of a little kid. Weird how they make her look older and me look younger!

Lest you think the only thing going on around here is bangs, this weekend I was on the news. It was for a story they are doing about a motion being voted on by city council, to like… see if they want to consider possibly making my block a Heritage Conservation Area or something. Basically stop any terrible redevelopment in the block that doesn’t mesh well with the existing look of the heritage houses. I also stood out in the rain at the farmer’s market collecting signatures in support of the motion, which is being voted on today. Fingers crossed!

I didn’t actually watch the news story for which I was interviewed because Oh My God how embarrassing is it to watch yourself on video? I literally wanted to die the entire time I was making my stupid kickstarter video and I feel like this would be even worse because I had NO CONTROL. I did read the article and there is one quote from the city councillor who put forward the motion, one quote from the executive director of the organization that manages the block and TWO FROM ME. And OF COURSE the interview was outside on a drizzly day when my hair was in a frizz, this was actually the same day I had my hair done but the interview was in the morning and my hair appointment was in the afternoon! Oh well, at least if I had to look dumb hopefully I didn’t sound dumb.

Monster Gwen

All photos in this post by Taylor Laramie.

the answer

pink blue 1

When I was pregnant with Symphony I really wanted to have a girl. It was just a feeling I had and when I had my ultrasound I pestered the technician to tell me, which you could still do in those days, and eventually they reluctantly told me “well I can’t be 100% certain because the position of the fetus isn’t 100% optimal, but if I had to guess, which I’m doing, I would say it’s probably maybe a girl, but I’m not sure so don’t quote me on that.” So obviously I did quote them on that and told everyone I was having a girl. I just FELT like I was having a girl, I knew it in my heart.

With Gwen I really wanted a girl again, and when I found out that I’d have to wait (and wait and wait) for my doctor to get the results of the scan before finding out I was beyond frustrated. Of course it didn’t help that the family doctor I was still seeing at that time was super useless and never bothered to follow up with the ultrasound clinic on why she hadn’t received my results, and in fact I was the one who tweeted at and called the hospital to find out what was going on myself. I mean it’s not like there are serious conditions that can be detected via ultrasound which are more likely in a mother who is 35 years old or anything! Anyway, after something like six weeks of waiting I was happy to finally learn that the baby growing inside me was another girl, just like I wanted.

pink blue 3

This pregnancy was something of a surprise, seeing as how we had JUST decided we were done having babies, but a happy one nonetheless. It was also different from the very beginning as I had no strong feelings one way or the other about the sex of this baby. Another little girl would be cool but a tiny little mini Taylor would be great too! Before I had my ultrasound last week I had expressed to my doctor that I was interested in finding out the sex if it was possible, but tbh I kind of didn’t care? It wasn’t like my previous pregnancies where I think I would have needed to get “used to” the idea of having a boy (some people hate it when you say stuff like that and will tell you if you can’t handle the idea of your baby being a certain sex then you don’t even deserve to have a baby YOU MONSTER but like… you don’t know my life and you don’t control my feelings? So like shut up?). I just don’t have a preference this time and I think that’s pretty alright.

pink blue 2

As I mentioned in my last post I’ve kind of been considering not announcing the sex this time. I just… didn’t want to deal with it? I knew yesterday that my doctor had the results of my detailed ultrasound but I had to wait for her to call me. I kept my phone with me so I didn’t miss the call but when 5 o’clock came and went with no phone call I wasn’t even bent up about it? I figured she would call me today and this morning she did. Or rather, her receptionist did, and I’m super pleased to announce that the sex of the baby is I don’t fucking know. No one does! Because they couldn’t tell! And I kind of feel relieved about it! So I guess we will just find out in October when the baby is born, since my pregnancy has been super normal and all my test results and scan results are super normal so there’s no reason for additional ultrasounds. I mean, the only way we could find out would be if we paid to have one done at a private clinic, or for genetic testing, which ahaha no. If I had the extra money to spend on that I would put it on my credit card bill tbh.

mystery baby
Baby Laramie, everything TBD, giving everyone the thumbs up. I think. Is that a hand? Honestly who knows with this baby.

All gradient images from Colorful Gradients: 1 2 3







Even though I was sick with a pretty awful pregnancy prob all weekend (I got sick on Friday after I finished work early and didn’t start to feel better until this morning, talk about LIFE IS UNFAIR) I managed to have a really nice weekend. This is all thanks to my wonderful kids and sweet husband and I feel a lot of mushy, cheesy things about being so grateful to have them all but what’re you gonna do? Sorry not sorry, I’m pregnant and all my mushiest emotions are on overdrive.

For Mother’s Day everyone spoiled me with homemade cards & a delicious brunch, candy and presents and flowers. We spent a lot of time outside and Taylor very nicely played with Gwen at all the different playgrounds we went to which was a blessing because a) I was not physically well enough to join in and honestly probably shouldn’t have gone out at all, and b) after fourteen years of being a parent I really truly and honestly can’t stand playing at playgrounds. The last time I took Gwen to a playground by myself was over a month ago and I got into a yelling match with a woman because I told her rotten kid to stop trying to push Gwen down the metal stairs. I won’t get into it further than that except to say I WAS RIGHT AND SHE WAS WRONG. Anyway. I got to lie around on sun-dappled grass reading while he pushed her on swings and helped her navigate climbing structures and dig in sand and wood chips. Perfect division on labour imo.

Symphony didn’t come out with us because she is a teen who prefers to do teen things and I find it makes everyone’s life easier when I don’t force her into family togetherness events. I know when I was a teen I didn’t want to do that kind of stuff all the time, so I made a rule that once a month she had to come with us without complaining and the rest of the time she could choose whether to come with or stay home. We did stop by to see her at her dad’s on the way to and from one of our outings, mostly so Gwen could give her hugs but also so I could be all mushy at her too. Sym really is a great kid, smart and funny and sweet and creative, and I feel pretty lucky to be her mom.



short pants

01 blossoms

02 gwen at the waterfront

03 north shore & clouds

04 deskie

05 white hearts

06 baby stack

07 waiting at the window

Gwen is talking more and more all the time, and it’s very funny to me (and probably only me but what can you do, it’s my blog) the way she will put words together to describe things she doesn’t know the name of. Like it’s spring so I got out some of her shorts from last year that still fit, and bought her a couple new pairs. One of them is actually a skirt with built-in shorts, but she calls them all the same thing: “short pants.” OBVIOUSLY they are short pants, that’s where the name shorts even comes from, but now she feels she needs to put a modifier on non-short pants so she calls them “big pants.”

Today I am fifteen weeks pregnant and yesterday I had my second appointment with my new OB-GYN and I got to hear the baby’s heartbeat for the first time! I always love that sound, and I didn’t get to hear it at my last appointment because they* literally wouldn’t hold still long enough. Even yesterday it took the doctor several tries to listen for long enough to measure the heart because this baby has things to do and those things are CONSTANT FLIPS. I don’t feel any baby movement myself but anytime anyone tries to listen to or look at them it’s time to party, apparently.

My nausea levels have continued to decrease. Last Friday night/Saturday morning I actually forgot to take my medication, but I felt fine all day Saturday so I decided to try going without. I was okay until Sunday, when I started to feel ill again. I’m going to try quitting them again this week; I don’t want to try during the week because of work but I have been able to get a lot more stuff done during the day, like dishes and laundry and even on one triumphant occasion, taking out the food scraps to the smelly bin in the smelly garbage room without getting sick.

I think I’m starting to nest already, because I am more obsessed than ever with painting my apartment. Some rooms need repainting; some have never been painted at all. I need to wait until the summer to do most of the bigger jobs like repainting Sym’s room for Gwen & baby to move into, and finally painting my bedroom after being in this apartment for TEN YEARS. I will definitely require Taylor’s help for these projects as my bump will be very bumpy by then. There are a couple of things I can start before my bump gets too big, like repainting the BRIGHT ORANGE half bath and BRIGHT YELLOW hallway, and finishing painting the full bath (thankfully pale grey). I could probably even paint the whole kitchen since open plan apartment = the only walls in that room are between the top of the counter and the bottom of the cupboard (realistically a tiled backsplash would be better but I rent so NOPE). This is a good idea; I should start filling all the holes in all the rooms I can paint. And buy tape! Filling holes and taping is like 90% of painting anyway.

*I’ve been using the singular “they” as the baby’s pronoun but yesterday I started using male pronouns which is WEIRD. I never did it will either of my previous pregnancies so maybe my body is trying to tell me something?