Wednesday, 26 June 2013


Dudes, I need your help. If you have a minute or two, can you please do me a favour? I am having a difficult time sorting out my commenting issue with Squarespace. I can't even figure out how to comment on my own blog but Squarespace is all "nope! No issue here!"

So. If you have a minute to spare, can you please head on over to and try to comment on my blog? If you manage to comment, awesome! If you can't comment, can you please email me ( or tweet me (@hillarywith2Ls) and tell me:

1 - what browser are you using?​

2 - how are you trying to comment? (logged with with Squarespace? Google? Twitter? etc)​

3 - what happens when you try to comment? (black screen of death? "you do not have permission" page? etc)​

Thank you so much! I am hopeless when it comes to this techy stuff and I'm tearing my hair out over here. ​

Thursday, 13 June 2013

New Home

I am very excited to point you in the direction of my new home.

I love this space that my friend Kyla designed for me but Blogger has been frustrating me for a while and it's time to move on. I can't interact with people the way I want to; Blogger doesn't give me access to commenters' email addresses so I can't reply to all comments (and that's if Blogger lets them comment at all - for the last 6 months or so it's been difficult - or impossible - for some people to leave comments and I can't figure out why.) 

So I'm muddling my way through Squarespace. I'm doing it on my own so things may be a bit wonky while I figure out what works for me. I'm not techy at all (understatement!) so your patience is appreciated.

And if you're into the whole Facebook thang, you can like me here.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Eating My Words

I used to be the person who would say (rather self-righteously might I add) that pets are family and you don't give away your family. 

And then I had a baby. And then I went crazy. And then I got better for a while. And then my baby turned into a toddler. And then I got cancer. 

Stella has gone to live with Shawn's mom. It really hurts. I miss her every day. I feel ashamed that I ever judged anyone for giving up their pet because I didn't know. I didn't know how hard the decision is. I didn't know how heartbreaking it is to love your pet but know that what's best for them is to live with someone else. 

There are a few bright spots. Shawn's mom's elderly dog passed away recently so Stella is doing her best to heal her heart. And Shawn's mom lives just 5 minutes down the road so we will still see her often. This isn't goodbye. It's just a change of scenery. 

Wolfgang is still with us. He misses his companion but it's a better situation for him too. I don't want to get into all the details because I will get defensive and sad but the last few months have been hard on everyone - including the monsterpups. We agonized over our decision and in the end this is what works best for our family. 

I deserve to be judged the way I've judged others. Just don't do it to my face, okay? 

Friday, 7 June 2013


I had this friend in high school - let's call her Sally. Sally had very large breasts. I don't remember exactly what size they were but they were definitely in the double G or double H size range. The biggest breasts in our high school is what I'm saying.

It didn't matter if it was a stranger meeting her for the first time or a friend who saw her every day, when people greeted Sally it was boobs first, face second. I didn't understand how hard it must have been to be Sally-boobs-face until I became Hillary-scar-face.

Sally was very vocal about her giant boobs. She oozed self confidence. I, in all my a-cup glory, didn't understand. I was all, "we get it. You have big boobs. You hate how people always comment on your boobs and yet you always talk about them." And now I kind of get it, I think. I have this unchangeable, physical trait that can't be hidden (yet - soon scarves won't make me want to claw off my own skin) that draws attention. I can either crumble or I can love it.

So I'm loving it. I'm talking about my scar and writing about my scar and posting ridiculous scar selfies on Instagram and Facebook. Because if I make you notice my hideous scar maybe it won't hurt so much that you did.

Thursday, 6 June 2013


I've been carrying around a lot of anger since my cancer diagnosis. It's not like me to sit and stew in anger. I'm more of a flashy quick rage type person.

I think I'm looking at it all wrong. I'm approaching it emotionally. I'm Hillary. I'm 30 years old. I have a toddler and a husband and a mortgage. I'm mad that I have cancer. I'm mad that throughout the entire process of finding out I have cancer I was told that I shouldn't worry because it likely wasn't cancer. 

I wasn't prepared to hear that my wonky thyroid was cancerous. I was blown away by my diagnosis. And it made me mad. 

The people who told me not to worry - the doctors and lab techs and my surgeon and even Dr. Google - they weren't approaching my situation emotionally. They weren't looking at me as Hillary the 30-year old with the toddler and husband and mortgage. They were looking at me as Hillary the thyroid with 5-10% chance of being cancerous. Of course they were telling me not to worry. It would be irresponsible for them to tell all of their patients they could have cancer when 90-95% end up having benign nodules. 

This realization hasn't wiped out my anger completely but it's softened my pointy bits. I'm still approaching my situation emotionally - it would be impossible not to - but I now know that I'm just a number to my medical team. And that's okay. I have family and friends and lovely internet peeps to support me as Hillary the person. I need my medical team to continue to treat me like Hillary the thyroid. And I need to stop being mad at them for doing so.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Round Two

I was supposed to check in for my second surgery at noon. I planned my morning down to the last minute. And then the hospital called me at 10:30 and asked me to come in asap. 

It was good because there was no time for me to sit and dwell in my worry but it was bad because things are supposed to go according to plan when you plan them down to the last minute. My goodbye with Shawn and Grady was rushed. I arrived at the hospital frazzled and anxious. My pre-op checkin was hurried. I started to get a bad feeling but it was too late to back out. I climbed up onto the the operating table and soon I was unconscious. 

I did not wake up gently like I did after the last surgery. I woke up retching and it continued for over two hours. The room spun and I had intense pain in one ear. My throat was swollen and raw from the breathing tube. I spoke to Shawn and we decided that Grady wouldn't come see me because I would be home the next morning and anyway, my body was so wrecked from the surgery and anesthesia that I had no milk (okay, so not entirely accurate but I'm going to file this one under tmi and just say that I could go the night without breastfeeding and leave it at that.) 

I fully expected to be at home Saturday morning but there have been a few complications from the surgery and here I am, Sunday night and still  stuck in the hospital. My first night ever away from Grady has extended into three consecutive nights away from Grady. Fortunately we live close to the hospital and Shawn has been bringing him by for cuddles and nursing. It has been rough, though. On everyone. 

I am keeping everything crossed that I get to go home tomorrow. I'm going crazy cooped up in this hospital room (even though I have the sweetest roommate.) I just want to be at home with my guys. 

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Party Hats On

There are certain advantages to having the exact same surgery twice within a short time frame. I know what to expect and I get to redo the things I did wrong the first time around. 

Like, say for example, you're someone who doesn't really like to wear underpants. You'll get over your undergarment dislike and you'll wear the biggest underpants you can find to your second surgery after finding out during your first that your underpants are the only item of clothing you wear into the hospital that you're allowed to keep wearing. 

Other wrongs I will right include asking for the relaxy drugs at the registration desk instead of waiting until I was on the operating table, and requesting that the anesthesia resident not be the one to do my IV or my breathing tube. I almost passed out during the IV and after my surgery I had the worst sore throat of my entire life (and I get throat rabies, like, four times a year. Minimum. I can handle throat pain. This was insane. I was coughing up scabs, you guys.) (You're welcome for that visual.)

Oh! Also! I now know that when a nurse asks you to rate your pain, if you say anything less than 4/10 you're not going to get the good drugs (unless you go on to qualify it by saying that your 10/10 is birthing an 8lb+ baby without an epidural. Easier to just say 6/10 to begin with.)

So. Trying to find the positive. Surgery starts around 2pm PST and all healthy hippie thoughts are appreciated. I will be celebrating so hard when I wake up from my surgery tomorrow. Maybe not with champagne but definitely with some form of narcotic. And ginger ale. And, possibly, some Barry Manilow. 

Monday, 27 May 2013


I found out that I was pregnant with Grady very early in my pregnancy. I walked around for weeks hiding my big secret. I felt horrible. Hot until I was cold. Nauseous until I was ravenous. Always on the verge of tears because everything was changing and I was scared and how dare that idiot cut me off in traffic when I was so clearly in such a fragile state? I felt so poorly and so different. Like there was a huge neon sign with flashy lights hovering above my head shouting "pregnant! Pregnant!" - everyone should have been able to tell that I was pregnant because I was feeling every second of my pregnancy. 

Cancer is the same way. I'm harbouring this secret while being irrationally angry that people can't just tell. It's not that I want any special treatment for having cancer. I just want people to be nice. I want people to not shoot me a dirty look when I'm walking through the veggie market and my kid is screeching "miiiiine" because he wants the orange I just put in my grocery basket and I'm ignoring him because if I open my mouth to tell him that actually that orange is not in fact his, I may vomit. I want people to not literally sigh and roll their eyes at me when they hold the elevator for me and I don't speed up because I'm exhausted. I want people to stop telling me to sleep when Grady sleeps (seriously, people, stop saying this. To everyone. Just stop.) Or I want a big neon Cancer sign with flashy Cancer lights so people will fuck right off and stop judging me. I am feeling every second of my cancer. 

I don't get a squishy newborn at the end of my cancer. I don't get a cancer shower with little cancer onesies and chocolate cancer cupcakes. I get something better (I hope.) At the end of my cancer I want to live like I have no time. No time for rage. No time for stupid fights or stubborn pride. I will suffer no fools. I will speak my mind and harbour no bad feelings. I will chase my dreams and I will tell people I love them. All the damn time. 

I will be my own neon sign with flashy lights shouting "happy! Happy! Happy!"

Sunday, 26 May 2013

The Magic Ring

I moved to England when I was 21. I was a nanny and I was a barmaid but mostly I was lonely.

I met my soon-to-be soul sisters at the pub where I worked. I was intimidated by both of them - one because she was wildly outgoing and the other because she was so glamorous. They were both so beautiful and had cute husbands and British accents and I felt so plain and mediocre next to them.

One was very good at collecting displaced Canadians and my shyness and anxiety were simply no match for her enthusiasm and her huge heart. I soon became the tagalong on their adventures. Drinking in the pub garden, camping out at the Isle of Wight music festival, running a 5km race through the hilliest park in London, Christmas dinner, birthday parties - I never felt like I was unwanted or a nuisance.

The night before I left England to move back to Canada, there was a party at the pub. There was a lot of champagne consumed. A lot. By the end of the night, I was in the middle of a hula hoop with my two soul sisters. We called it our magic ring. Nothing could break the magic ring. We stumbled down the street from the pub, hugging each other in our magic ring, determined that our friendship would remain intact. 

And here we are, nine years, one wedding, five babies, and multiple career changes later and our friendship is as strong as ever. I love these two ladies. I strive to be more like them every day. They are strong and they are brilliant and they are so kind. They are my family. 

Ladies, this was the least drunky photo I could find from that night! xx

Wednesday, 22 May 2013


Shawn bought me a fancy juicer for Mother's Day. I am in love with my fancy juicer. I know that juicing everything all the time is a bad plan but I am really enjoying my one daily juice (first person to tell me that juicing just concentrates calories / sugars and doesn't add anything to your diet gets a dickpunch.)

We juice everything. My current favourite is just a grapefruit / carrot combination but sometimes we go nuts and do 4, 5, 6-fruit(!) juice combos. Yeah, we're wild and crazy like that.

I've ordered some wheatgrass seeds so that I can grow and juice my own wheatgrass. Twenty-year old Hillary is so disappointed with thirty-year old Hillary (but to be fair, thirty-year old Hillary is pretty pissed with twenty-year old Hillary's questionable lifestyle choices that could have contributed to the bastard thyroid situation.)

Do you juice? What is your favourite combination? Do you masticate or are you all about the centrifugal? (Don't mind me, just a little juicer speak.) (Someone punch me, please.)

Tuesday, 21 May 2013


My little sister is due to give birth three days after my surgery. I saw her on Saturday and she is so pregnant and so beautiful. She is a glowy pregnant lady. She is skinny all over with this gorgeous big bump and I am so happy for her but I am also jealous.

Which is utterly and completely ridiculous.

I am nowhere near ready for another baby. Shawn and I don't even know if we want to (try to) add more kids to our family. Before this cancer thing hit, people had started asking when we were going to try for kid #2 (like it's a given - what is up with that?) and we would hem and haw and one of us would finally say, "2016? Ish?" And we would be serious.

But here I am, sad and jealous of pregnant ladies (because, umm, everyone is pregnant right now. Seriously. Have you seen Twitter lately? It's all pregnancy announcements and beautiful bumps and squishy newborns.)

So just to sum up: I don't want to be pregnant. I don't want a baby. I'm just mad that I can't get pregnant / have a baby (right now! Who knows what the future holds.)

I am crazy is what I'm saying.

(Also? I think it goes without saying but I'll say it anyway: I am so happy for my sister and all the pregnant ladies / squishy newborns. Honestly. And if I die from thyroid cancer I fully expect there to be at least one little Hillary - with 2 L's goddammit - running around next year because what good is dying from cancer if you don't get at least one squishy newborn named in your honour?)

(I don't think I'm going to die from thyroid cancer. I think I'm going to die of old lady disease when I am 97 years old.)

This should probably just stay in my drafts folder, hey?

Monday, 20 May 2013

Thank You Feels Inadequate But It's All I've Got

I have over 50 emails sitting in my drafts folder. I have started and abandoned more than 50 thank yous. I start off on the right track but my words quickly dissolve into cuss words. I don't want my thank yous to be vitriolic and laden with negativity.

I'm just ... I'm still mad. I think about how much time I have wasted and how much more I want to do - and how crappy I feel right now - and I'm mad. I think about my doctor, my endocrinologist, my surgeon, the lab techs and various doctors who performed my biopsies pre-surgery - who all said that the odds were in my favour - and I'm mad. I think about the people who put crappy, chemical-y food in their mouths and don't exercise - who don't have cancer - and I'm mad. I'm mad all the time. About everything.

When I try to dissect my anger, when I try to rationalize all this rage that is bubbling up in my chest, I can't breathe. I think about how Grady is going to be 22 months old next week. Too young to remember me. He can look at photographs and see that he has my eyes. People will tell him that he laughs like I laugh. Maybe in the future he will love to cook, or maybe he will have a laughably bad singing voice, or maybe odd numbers will make him uncomfortable and someone will say, "Oh! Your mom loved to cook / had a laughably bad singing voice / hated odd numbers too!" But he won't remember. I won't be the lady who started every morning with a dance party in the kitchen. I'll be the lady in the photograph with the pretty eyes and a crooked smile. And it makes me mad. I think that right now being mad is easier than being sad. If I let myself be sad I won't be able to get out of bed. I think my rage is my protective shell right now.

Your words of support - your comments and tweets and emails and text messages and cards - they're shiny little stones I'm collecting. They're reinforcing the tiny rage wall surrounding my broken heart and whenever I'm faced with something difficult - like, being told I have the good cancer, or being told that there are sicker people out there who have it worse than I do, or being asked what cancer means for my fertility (it means fuck you is what it means! I hadn't even thought of that layer of shite so thanks for bringing it to the forefront of my mind!) - I just pile up more of my shiny little stones and hope they hold. Because even though I'm a ball of fury, I have yet to explode. I came close today when I accidentally threw my car keys in the parkade garbage can and I had to dig through a weekend's worth of fast food wrappers and apple cores to find them, but fortunately I had my foul-mouthed little parrot with me so I just gritted my teeth and said a few "fudging fiddlesticks." There have been a lot of fudging fiddlesticks this week.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Well, shit.

So I've got thyroid cancer. Papillary/follicular cancer to be exact. My bastard thyroid is not content with only one type of cancer. Fucking overachiever grew two.

I don't know what to think. I don't know how to act. I fluctuate between numb and white-hot rage. I know I'm still processing. I know there will be other feelings but right now there is nothing or there is anger. I am SO pissed. I am the maddest. I ... don't even know why. Or at whom. I'm just ... angry. So angry.

The next step is to have the exact same surgery as I just had to grab the rest of my thyroid. Hopefully that will happen within the next month. For now I just wait. My doctors won't make a treatment plan until after the next surgery.

The good news is that thyroid cancer is extremely treatable. The bad news is that it's not all that reassuring to hear. I feel like I'm supposed to be fucking glad or something. People keep telling me it's the best cancer to have. So ... wheeee? I am trying to stay positive but it's exhausting. I'm so tired, you guys.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Awkward Exchanges, Inappropriate Touching, and Barry Manilow - or - My Surgery Recap

I met my surgeon once - briefly - before my surgery and I got a very intelligent and very awkward vibe from him. I feel a certain kinship with awkward people. I *get* socially awkward people. Socially awkward people are my people.

So when he walked into my pre-op room the morning of my surgery and cheerily announced he was ready to take the right side of my thyroid (when really he was supposed to be taking the left side) I couldn't tell if he was kidding or not. So I mirrored his smile and cheerily replied that nope, he was ready to take the left. Which led to an awkward exchange between us, and then some nurses joined in, and then so did the anesthesiologist, and then I panicked a little, and that's how I ended up with a giant checkmark on the left side of my neck. Also, our awkward exchange ended with him reaching out and stroking my cheek (which ... did not make things any less awkward.)

We were not off to an auspicious start but my nerves were calmed as soon as I walked into the operating room. (Sidebar: I was not expecting to walk into the operating room and climb up onto the operating table by myself. It was bizarre.) On the table right inside the door was a CD player with a Barry Manilow greatest hits CD sitting beside it. That's right, the soundtrack to my surgery was provided by "Ultimate Manilow." I couldn't help but laugh. And then they gave me the good drugs and I don't remember anything until I woke up in recovery.

The surgery went well and I was able to go home the same day. I felt so good that first day. It was bizarre how good I felt. There have been ups and downs but overall it's been much easier and less painful than I was expecting. They were unable to bandage my incision because of the location on my neck so it was tough to keep Grady's fingers off it for the first few days. He's fascinated by it. He calls it my owie and kisses it at least once a day.

I meet with my surgeon again on Friday. This is the big appointment. The definitely not cancer / definitely cancer appointment. I'm terrified but also relieved to finally be getting some answers. I'm also really excited to see my surgeon again. He fascinates me. I didn't take him for a Fanilow.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Tugging at My Heartstrings and a Giveaway

So let me just start this by saying that I was given a complimentary photo shoot and a pile of beautiful digital images for participating in this giveaway. With that being said, my thoughts and words are my own.

The lovely Amy Lee of The Connection We Share offered to take photos of me and Grady to promote a new photography session she is offering called Just: Be Portraits. The idea behind Just: Be Portraits is to give mothers or fathers an opportunity to connect one-on-one with their child and come away with a tangible expression of their love. Given that Grady is changing so much and every day he seems more like a kid instead of my teeny little baby, I jumped at the chance. (Real talk: I also - vainly - really wanted some photos done before my surgery marred my neck for life.)

Amy sent me a questionnaire so that she could design a personal session just for us. I loved going through the questions because it gave me time to really reflect on who Grady is right now (something I should be doing more often but it gets pushed to the side in our busy everyday life.) My favourite question was "if your child was a colour, what colour would he be?" I was initially stumped by this question but as soon as I started the thought process it became crystal clear. Grady is orange. Bright, vibrant, a little bit fiery, unstoppable orange.

The session itself was so fun. I was worried that Grady would be shy or uncooperative (he'd had a bad sleep the night before) but Amy was so patient with him. She got down on his level and really drew him out of his shell. I was so impressed by how comfortable she made both me and Grady feel. It didn't feel like we were posing for photographs. It felt like we were just hanging out and chatting with a friend (who happened to be snapping photos of us.)

I was surprised by how emotional I became when I first saw the images Amy captured. The image of me laughing with Grady is a perfect representation of what life with Grady is like right now: a cheeky grin, curls everywhere, a bit messy, and so many laughs. I'm so glad that I have these treasures to share with Grady when he's older.

Amy is generously offering a giveaway to one lucky reader. The winner will receive a Just: Be Session (one parent and one child) and one 8x10 print with the digital negative ($200 value.) To enter, all you have to do is subscribe to Amy's emails (which are super fun and include goodies like a free teeth brushing chart and a guide to writing letters to your children) and like her page on Facebook. Leave a comment here to tell me you've done both and let me know why you would like to win. I will pick a winner on Friday May 10th.

To sign up for Amy's emails, submit the form below:


To celebrate the launch of Just: Be Portraits, The Connection We Share is offering the first 5 readers who book a session a $100 credit towards any purchase. Just in time for Mother's Day! Click here to book a session and for more information.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Star Wars. No Really, I Get There Eventually.

I broke 2 ribs a few months ago. I was goofing around with Shawn and he was all "Dirty Dancing!" and I was all "the fuuuck?" and then he tried to lift me over his head but I panicked (because I've never seen Dirty Dancing) and I twisted awkwardly and 2 ribs snapped.

A few things:

Yes, really, I've never seen Dirty Dancing. We weren't allowed to watch a lot of tv when we were growing up. I had seen maybe half a dozen movies by the time I hit 13 years old. Our (only) television had faux wood panelling on the sides and no remote control until my grandparents took pity on us kids and bought us a "real" tv in the mid-90s.

No, Shawn didn't punch / hit / shove me. My bones are pretty small to begin with and I'm breastfeeding and osteoporosis runs in my family - it just happened and it *is* weird that the ribs broke just from being lifted awkwardly but they did. I don't know what to tell you.

Anyway. The ribs broke. I didn't go to the doctor for 10 days because I was worried they'd think I injured myself in some crazy sex accident. Which totally happens, by the way. Not to me (knock on wood) but to other people. When I lived in England there was this C-list celebrity who experienced a surge in popularity after she almost DIED because she caught some weird lung infection after she broke a rib during a sex accident.

So I didn't go to the doctor and then one morning I woke up and I couldn't breathe and I couldn't lift Grady so I went to the emergency room. The emergency room doctor was a total babe. He was kind of like an Anderson Cooper / tall Jon Stewart silver fox blend and he totally rolled his eyes at an annoying patient and called him an ass when he was out of earshot. I loved him.

He was examining my ribs and asking me how it happened and I got all flustered because a: he was a total babe and b: I had already had the "does your husband hit you?" conversation with the triage nurse. So I started trying to describe the Dirty Dancing lift move, having never seen Dirty Dancing. It was so bizarre and cringe-worthy and just laughably mortifying.

Some good did come from the situation though. I decided to finally watch all the movies I missed growing up. It's a daunting task (especially for someone who doesn't really like movies) but I'm up for the challenge. In the last two weeks I've watched all three of the original Star Wars movies. Pop culture is starting to make sense to me. Dudes, I understood this week's Parks & Rec.

But now I can't stop thinking about Star Wars. Have you guys seen these movies? What the eff is with this "The Force" business? You just know stuff because of The Force? Why didn't The Force tell you whatshername was your sister before you kissed her? And don't even get me started on the dead Ewoks. Shawn warned me that I wasn't emotionally ready for the third movie and I should have listened to him. I was not prepared to see dead Ewoks. Ewoks are like toddlers. Cute, cuddly toddlers who wrap their arms around your neck as tightly as possible and yell, "squeeeeeeze" in your ear, not the toddlers who scream holy hell and cry real tears for half an hour because you put the juice in the blue cup instead of the green cup.

So. I can't sleep. Broken ribs suck. I still haven't watched Dirty Dancing. Star Wars is blowing my mind. I want an Ewok.

What movie should I watch next? Suggest anything - there's, like, a 95% chance I haven't seen it yet.

Two Sleeps

I was told I would have two weeks' notice but Monday morning I got the call and this Friday I will be having my surgery.

I've reached the level of crazy where I can't sleep because I don't want to waste any time. Time that could be spent staring at my sleeping son and googling general anesthesia horror stories. So. Nothing good is happening here right now.

I'm excited for life to return to normal. If you could send some healthy juju vibes my way at 9:30am PST on Friday I'd appreciate it muchly. My little corner of the internet has been such a source of support - I don't think I can properly thank you all but I do appreciate the shit out of you guys.

Monday, 15 April 2013


I dressed up for something on Saturday. I did my hair and makeup and wore a dress. I was in a bit of a rush so while getting dressed I made a split second decision to forgo my manky old nursing bra for a lovely pre-pregnancy bra. It was a horrible decision but because of the rush I had no time to fix it. I spent the day pulling my bra back down and adjusting myself. It was rotten.

My body is so different post-Grady. I am still nursing so I know there are more changes to come when he weans. I'm surprised at how changed my breasts are though (which is ridiculous, I know. My breasts have fed my child for 20.5 months. Of course they've changed.)

Part of it is losing weight. The first place I lose weight is in my chest. I can tiptoe my fingers down the staircase that is my ribcage while still rocking thick hips and bum rolls. I am the definition of pear-shaped. So the loss of my ample Bs shouldn't surprise me. I no longer sit in front of a computer all day, snacking on yummy treats. I chase an active toddler all day and eat when he's asleep (which is never, oh my hell, why is there still no sleep?)

I know that a crazy high number of women wear the wrong bra size. And I don't want to be one of those women. I'm just flummoxed by the whole bra fitting scenario. Do I just ... go to the mall? Ask the lady what size to buy? Ask her to measure me? Do I get naked to be measured? I've never been professionally fitted before. Partly because I am a crazy lady who frets about situations like these (do I talk to her while she's fitting me? What if I accidentally make eye contact with her in the mirror?) and partly because I am cynical about having a bra fitting done at a store. Will I only be able to buy that specific store's bras? Stupid stores all have stupid different standards for sizing. It makes me ragey.

Did your breasts change after pregnancy? Have you ever had a professional bra fitting? Let's talk boobies!

Thursday, 11 April 2013


I seem to only be posting here when I'm down. I've been down a lot lately but there have been some really great ups too. Grady is hilarious right now. We spend a lot of time laughing together. Today I made him laugh so hard that he literally fell over. It was the best I've felt all week.

I'm kind of stuck in limbo while I wait for my surgery. I know (now) that it's silly to put my life on hold and not make any big plans until after I have my surgery, but I'm still finding it difficult to commit to anything. So I'm starting small. I won't plan our (August) anniversary trip yet but I will plan Shawn's (May) birthday dinner. I ordered the official Game of Thrones cookbook and I plan to make a feast to celebrate. I also ordered the books so I can read them and actually know what they're all about. Shawn is obsessed with the show. It takes a lot to get him excited about television so I'm trying to keep an open mind. I haven't watched any episodes yet because bone-crunchy noises make me physically ill (I have the weakest gore tolerance) but I reckon if I read the books I will be able to talk nerdy to Shawn and it will make him happy.

I'm trying to focus on the ups to stave off the downs. It helps that I'm surrounded by really good people. And chocolate shakes.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013


I was going to post a hilarious video of Grady swearing up a storm but my phone is being a dick and I cannot be arsed to figure it out.

I'm trying to come up with something I care less about than my stupid dickish phone, but I can't.

Meal planning. I care less about meal planning. I was going strong there for a while but then the wheels fell off the cart and I'm back to square one. We had takeout pizza for dinner last night is what I'm saying.

So to summarize: my phone is a dick, Grady says the F word now, and my feelings taste like extra cheesy pizza. How are you doing?

Thursday, 4 April 2013


What started off as a marble-sized nodule is now a baseball-sized mass in my neck. It doesn't protrude (small mercy) (I'm vain) but instead grows inwards. Three of the four main types of thyroid cancer have been ruled out. I am left with either a benign lump that needs to be removed before it damages the structure of my throat, or a very treatable form of thyroid cancer. It could be a lot worse is what I'm saying.

I met my surgeon yesterday. He was like a cross between Sheldon Cooper and Gregory House. I have a soft spot for awkward people. I wasn't put off at all, not even when he referred to me as a "girl" numerous times (it's one of my triggers - being called a girl makes me feel like I'm being chastised or belittled. I stopped being a girl a long time ago, thanks.)

I don't know when my surgery will be. I'll get a call and then two weeks later I'll have my surgery. It could be in a month. It could be in six months (I'm not complaining about my "free" Canadian healthcare but look, there's room for improvement, okay?) I feel like my life is on hold. Do Shawn and I go ahead and book our anniversary trip? Do we plan a big party for Grady's birthday? Does Shawn put the money down for his stupid annual stupid boys' stupid May long weekend trip? (I'm going to go with "no" on that last one.)

I'm feeling very twisty right now. It's good to have a plan. I always do better with a clear course of action. I just don't want this particular course of action. I want my wonky baseball thyroid to be gone, I just don't want to have surgery.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013


I was expecting to know a lot more after today's appointment with the endocrinologist. I was expecting a black or white answer but right now I'm left with more grey.

The good news is that one of the scarier types of thyroid cancer has been ruled out.

The bad news is that I have to have the left lobe of my thyroid and the nodule surgically removed.

I don't know a lot right now. I'm meeting the surgeon tomorrow afternoon so hopefully he can tell me more. I am trying to have a positive attitude but I just feel deflated.

Thank you so much for all the well wishes and love you guys have been sending. The emails and text messages and tweets and just general loveliness have really helped to put a smile on my face. You all rock, dudes.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Banana Muffins and I Broke the Baby

So Grady's fine but he's got his first stitch in his forehead and I am never sleeping again. There is some emotional eating going on at our house is what I'm saying (thyroid results tomorrow! All the feelings!)

I had some deliciously overripe bananas and a hankering for some baked goods (Shawn asks when do I not have a hankering for some baked goods. Harsh but fair, Shawn. Harsh but fair.)

I started with this recipe and went rogue. The result was amazing.

Hillary's Banana Muffins for Emotional Eating 

Makes 12 regular-sized muffins.

Preheat your oven to 350F. (Real talk: I used the convection setting and dark non-stick muffin pans so I went with 325F.)

Melt 1/3 cup butter (real butter, folks. Live a little.)

Whisk (or sift, whatever) together:
1.5 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
0.5 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
.25 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves

In a large bowl, mash three overripe bananas. We're talking brown spots on the skin overripe. Sickly sweet smelling overripe. Attracting fruit flies overripe.

1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
0.5 cup packed brown sugar
your melted butter

Whisk your banana mixture until everything is well incorporated.

Add your dry ingredients and mix just until combined (I like to use a rubber spatula for this - if you use a whisk it gets overworked quickly and you end up with rubbery muffins.)

Spoon into muffin tin (lined with papers or lightly greased with oil.)

Bake for 25 - 30 minutes.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Blurb (updated maximum discount)

The lovely folks at Blurb have given me a discount code to share with my (Canadian) readers:

Promo code for 25% off: BLOG25331

I have only recently started printing photo books from my digital photos but I've managed to try three different companies. In my (limited) experience, Blurb is the easiest to use and has the best end product. (Blurb gave me a code for a free photo book but that doesn't sway my opinion - it just is what it is.)

Have you tried printing photo books? Did you like the company you used?

Promo code fine print: * Offer valid through March 31, 2013 (11:59 p.m. local time). A 25% discount is applied toward your product total. Maximum discount is CAD $100 off product total. Valid for printed books only. This offer is good for one-time use, and cannot be combined with volume discounts, other promotional codes, gift cards, or used for adjustments on previous orders.

Sunday, 24 March 2013


I'm trying to be a better meal planner but I'm lacking in motivation. Shawn hates cooking so he's happy to eat whatever is put in front of him - whether it's a healthy, well-balanced meal or dirty takeout burgers. I'm hoping posting my meal plan will give me a modicum of accountability.

So! This is what we're eating this week:

Monday - crockpot stew (I have a really busy day tomorrow so I've already prepped my meat and veg to go into the crockpot tomorrow morning with a bottle of beer and some barley.) Served with roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes and maybe a green salad if I can be arsed to wash my lettuce.

Tuesday - tacos (because I can't stop thinking about tacos ever since it was suggested to me and I have some beautiful avocados that should be perfectly ripe for guacamole by then.)

Wednesday - leftovers

Thursday - something veggie because beef three days in a row is unusual and meat-heavy for us. Does anyone have any lighter suggestions? It doesn't have to be vegetarian, just pro-veggie. And Shawn won't eat tofu.

Friday - I think we're going to roadtrip out to Shawn's Dad's house because Shawn has the day off work so I'm not planning a Friday meal. If we do end up eating at home we can throw together a quick pizza or make grilled cheese sandwiches.

What are you eating this week?

Thursday, 21 March 2013


I once stayed solo in a "bed and breakfast" (I use that term oh so loosely here) in Cambridge that was so rundown, with a proprietor who was so creepy and a room lock that was so flimsy, that I concocted an alarm system of assorted empty bottles placed strategically in front of the door and slept fully clothed - shoes and all.

I once was drugged in a packed nightclub. My brain was alert but my body wouldn't function and my last clear thought was that something had been slipped into my drink and I was about to pass out. I woke up on Granville Street with a police officer pounding on my chest and my best friend supporting my head so that my face wasn't touching the concrete.

I once was on a flight that arched over the Italian Alps and circled around over the Mediterranean Sea before landing on the artificial peninsula that is the Genoa airport. That would have been enough to tweak my anxiety but I was treated to the addition of the worst turbulence I have ever experienced and an airplane full of elderly Italian women who clearly felt the same way I did and had no qualms about voicing their fear. Loudly.

I once walked home from a party alone, barefoot, crossing through the Downtown Eastside because it was Christmas party season and there were no cabs to be found. I may have also been inebriated (hence the removal of my high heels.)

I once lived on my own, in a sketchy area of town, in an apartment next to a man who kept his windows covered with foil.

I keep running through this list, like, I survived creepy aluminum foil neighbour man! I can survive a suspicious neck lump! I don't even have a scary diagnosis. I have a suspicious lump and some not-so-great blood test results. Suspicious lumps and not-so-great blood test results can be nothing. They can totally be nothing. I survived all of those scary (and arguably stupid) situations. I survived them even before I invested a whole lot of time and energy into therapy. A suspicious lump and not-so-great blood test results are not going to throw me for a loop.

(Except that they totally fucking are throwing me for a loop. I had another biopsy on Monday. Now all my tests and re-tests are complete and I just have to wait until I get the results on April 2nd. Bear with me - I know I'm a fretty mess. I'm trying not to be.)

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Meal Planning: My Nemesis

You guys, I really tried to plan my meals this week. I did a really good job with breakfast and lunch (giant pots of steel-cut oats and curried lentils that lasted the week) but dinners were a mess.

I'm going to blame it on Shawn's wonky schedule this week and try again next week.

Part of the problem is I'm feeling so uninspired in the kitchen. I'm in a rut. It might have something to do with the heavy rain and grey skies we've had all week (I need me some sunshine, pronto.) Or it might have something to do with stress-eating my weight in Oreos leading up to next week's repeat biopsy of my bastard thyroid. Probably it's a bit of both.

I need a spark. What's your go-to dinner when you're feeling blah? We're not talking fancy shmancy here folks, I want simple and easy. Preferably with cheese.

Oh! And before I forget, the winner of this week's (final) $50 Safeway card is Marianne! Email me your details and I'll mail it off to you this week.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

As in, the winner can make me a chicken dinner because she's won a $50 Safeway gift card AND because she's my neighbour! Emily, smiled upon you tonight and chose your comment as the lucky one.

But! Don't fret if you didn't win; I have another $50 Safeway gift card to give to a lucky BC reader. Just leave a comment telling me where you find quick, easy dinner recipes online and you'll be entered to win the second $50 Safeway gift card provided to me by HealthyFamilies BC as part of their Shopping Sense campaign.

I'll announce the winner on Friday. Thanks for playing!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Shopping Sense - Review and Giveaway

I was invited to join a group of bloggers at a HealthyFamilies BC event to celebrate National Nutrition Month (here's the boring part where I tell you that I was given a $100 grocery store gift card to attend but my thoughts / feelings / words expressed here are based on my experience and not on the swag.)

Shopping Sense is an online resource that was recently launched to help people make healthier, more budget-wise decisions while grocery shopping. I was excited to try it out because menu planning (and as an extension, grocery shopping) is something I've never been able to grasp, no matter what I try. I go through fits and bursts of inspiration - cooking an elaborate meal one night only to eat grilled cheese sandwiches for the following three nights.

I love the meal plan template. The grocery list (divided into grocery store departments, be still my type-A heart) on the side of the meal plan is perfect for jotting down ingredients. I'm actually excited to try meal planning again (and grocery planning! Lists! More lists! Ohh, talk wordy to me.)

The tour itself was a lot of fun. Dietitian Melodie Yong was engaging and informative - I was feeling a bit smug on my way in but I ended up learning a lot. Like, a lot a lot. I think that a big part of healthy eating is just common sense (eat more vegetables! eat less processed junk!) but it's really easy to fall into bad habits, especially when life gets busy. Shopping Sense is a great tool because it pools together all that common sense in an easy, accessible place. It's kind of like having a a concerned parent that you can access whenever you want (and, uhh, ignore whenever you want.)

Now! The fun part! I was given two $50 Safeway gift cards to give away to my readers. For a chance to win one of the gift cards, take a look at the Shopping Sense virtual tour and tell me what you liked about it (or tell me what you would change.)

Winner will be announced on Monday (and because this is a HealthyFamilies BC initiative I'm going to say this contest is open to residents of British Columbia only.) One comment per household please. Let's keep this fair, folks. I'll be posting another giveaway for the second $50 Safeway gift card next week.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Orange-y Crockpot Chicken

I'm a big fan of my crockpot. I throw a bunch of stuff in it while Grady eats lunch (i.e. strapped into his highchair so he can't destroy everything within reach) and 3-6 hours later (depending on the recipe) dinner is ready.

I made this last night and it was a hit. It's not the healthiest recipe (the sauce is sweet) but it's health adjacent. I will probably cut the sugar next time but I will definitely make it again.

Orange-y Crockpot Chicken

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/2 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Juice from 2 oranges (approx 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup soya sauce
1 tsp sriracha
1 tsp sesame oil

1/2 cup cold water
2 Tblsp cornstarch

Put chicken in bottom of crockpot. Mix together remaining ingredients (apart from water and cornstarch) and pour over chicken. Cook for 3 hours on high.

Remove chicken and slice / chunk / shred - whatever your preference.

Mix together water and cornstarch. Add a little of the hot cooking sauce to the water / cornstarch mixture so it doesn't just turn into a clump when you add it to the sauce. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the cooking sauce and leave on high for 10-ish minutes until it's thick.

I had a de-zested lemon from the broccoli slaw so I juiced it and threw it into the sauce with the cornstarch. It added a nice bit of zing to the sauce and it meant that I didn't have to keep a naked lemon in my fridge until it dried out and I could throw it out without feeling wasteful (which I realize is ridiculous because I would still be wasting the lemon. Look, I don't claim to be sane.)

Throw the chicken back in the sauce to stay warm.

I served it over carrot quinoa (1/2 onion - diced, 2 garlic cloves - minced, 3 carrots - diced, 1 cup quinoa, 2 cups water or stock: sauté veg in oil for 5-ish minutes, add quinoa and stock, heat to a boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, let sit for 5 minutes, fluff with a fork.)

I made broccoli slaw as a side because I'm kind of obsessed with broccoli slaw right now. I started with this Smitten Kitchen recipe a couple weeks ago and keep playing with it.

Broccoli Slaw (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

2 large heads of broccoli, chopped finely
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp dried dill
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash of Tobasco sauce

Mix up the dressing and then toss it all together. I like to make my slaw ahead of time so it's got at least a couple of hours to get nice and chilled in the fridge.

not the prettiest but definately yummy

Monday, 25 February 2013

Ignorance Is Bliss

So I had the scary biopsy and I waited anxiously for the results and then I got the results - good results! - and everything was fine and dandy.

Except that it wasn't exactly fine and dandy. I just didn't know any better.

I met with the endocrinologist last week. I was expecting her to tell me we'd monitor my wonky thyroid. I was not expecting her to tell me I needed to have every single test (including the biopsy!) repeated.

It's kind of a long (boring) story but basically what it boils down to is this: I thought the good biopsy results meant no cancer but what they really mean is I don't have the most common type of cancer. The endocrinologist is concerned about a few things so she wants to rule out the second-most and third-most common types of thyroid cancer before giving me the all-clear. (And if I do get the all-clear for the cancers, we still have to figure out what's going on and what the treatment plan will be.)

I don't mean to sound grim. She was very blunt and forthcoming (which I appreciate! I do!) but in a reassuring way. Like, she scared the crap out of me but at least she didn't tell me that thyroid cancer is "the cancer to have." (Actual thing that was said to me during the last round of testing. Actually, sir, NO cancer is the cancer to have. Fuck you very much.)

I'm getting a bit cancery here, I know. It's entirely possible that my wonky thyroid is not cancerous. There is a very good chance that it is not cancerous. I just ... I go there. When something scary or slightly bad happens I go to the worst possible place. I think it's a coping mechanism. If I'm expecting the absolute worst I won't be surprised when it happens.

I didn't say it was a healthy coping mechanism. Probably it's healthier than my other coping mechanism of eating all the things. Get ready for a lot of Instagrammed shots of cupcakes in the coming weeks is what I'm saying.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

On Blogging (Sorry)

Look, I know that blogging about blogging is, like, the lamest thing but I don't care. I'm curious about how you fit blogging into your life.

I used to have an office job that involved a lot of really intense work-heavy hours and a lot of fuck-around-on-the-internet hours. I fit my blog writing and blog reading into those hours.

Now that I work from home, when I'm working, I'm working. I try my best to stay connected through Facebook and Twitter but I'm doing a piss poor job of reading blogs and I miss it. I miss you.

So I'm curious: how do you fit blogging into your life? Do you have a set time where you schedule your blogging? Do you fit it in throughout the day using your smart phone? Do you sit in front of a computer all day and spend your breaks catching up on your blog reader? I'm struggling.

I use Google Reader but I'm not on my computer much (unless I'm working.) I tried using Feedly to access my reader on my iPhone but I couldn't figure out how to easily leave comments on blogs. Right now I'm pretty much only reading posts I come across in my Twitter stream. I feel like I spent years building up this really awesome community of people and now I'm losing it.

So please, help me out. Tell me how you fit blogging (reading and/or writing says the lady whose wrist is cramping as she types on a tiny phone screen) into your life.

Friday, 8 February 2013


You guys, my hair is driving me crazy. It has not been cut or coloured in a year. That is not an exaggeration. The last time I did anything to my hair was last February.

I need help.

Most days I just pull it up into a ponytail. I can't be arsed to do anything to it because a: I would rather spend my precious toddler-free minutes making coffee and b: I don't go out a lot. I mean, I go out. Grady and I go for a walk every day. I go to yoga. I grocery shop. But ... that's it.

Last night I went out with real adults. I took the time to do my hair. This is the result:

This is as good as my hair can possibly look. It does not get better than this. This needs to change.

I have always been pretty hopeless when it comes to hair. When I was mortgage and kid-free I used to spend hundreds of dollars every couple of months for a full head of foils and a style. Now I have neither the time nor budget for lengthy salon rituals (not judging those who do, I'm just trying to be clear. I know that my hair could be a lot better than it is now if I spent more time and more money on it.)

My last visit was a colour correction - I had been colouring my hair myself and I'd ended up way too dark. The stylist stripped the colour and added a few blonde highlights. I now have a year's worth of roots but they're not horrible. I mean, they're bad. Just not bad bad. I am kind of at a point in my life where I'm trying to be as chemical-free as possible so I'm trying to avoid colouring my hair (even though I totally have bastard grey hairs sprouting up all over the damn place.)

So I guess my question is this: should I continue to grow my roots out? Or should I get my stylist to colour my hair as close to my natural colour as possible? It feels like that could be a slippery slope - what if she can't match it and I end up with noticeable roots again in a few weeks? I will have undone a year of growing my colour out. I've been trying to pass my hair off as ombre (do people still do ombre hair? I am so old.)

Hello, awkward bathroom selfie

Adding to my anxiety is the fact that I don't actually have a stylist. I will be going to a new salon (excuse me while I panic.)

Look, I get it. It's hair. It's just hair. But it's also my hair. I want a new look. I want to like how I look. I want to be arsed to do something other than a ponytail every day.

When I look at myself, all I see is a giant forehead. I'm thinking bangs but I don't know ... are bangs a drastic step? I hate that I am spending so much time thinking about my stupid hair.

Tell me what to do! Please. Save me from thinking about this for one more second.

My hair is:
Fine (but I have a lot of it)
In between straight and wavy (with a few random curls thrown in to be maddening)
On the dry side of normal
Naturally dirty blonde / mousy light brown
Long (like, mid-back long)
Flat (because it's so long)
Fairly damaged on the ends (because nothing has been done to it in a year)

Please help me. I'm desperate. Like, so desperate I am considering just chopping it all off and starting fresh.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013


Grady is not a good sleeper. He has never been a good sleeper. Shawn and I learned very early on that we needed to make changes to accommodate our fussy sleeper or live in misery. So we did.

And now here we are with an 18-month old who is still not a great sleeper. Scratch that - he sleeps perfectly as long as he is sleeping with someone. Which isn't a problem at night. Grady sleeps in our bed with us. Yep. Not really interested in debating the merits of co-sleeping with anyone but just let me say it's what works for our family.

The problem is naps. Grady does not nap unless he's being held. He will not fall asleep without being cuddled. And once he does fall asleep? He sleeps so lightly that if the cuddler tries to escape, there's a pretty good chance he'll wake up and scream and most days it's just not worth risking forfeiting the nap for the sake of an hour or two of free time.

I know we're lucky. We're lucky that this is the worst problem we've had with Grady. We're lucky that we don't have to force a cry-it-out scenario because I'm able to work part-time from home on my own schedule. We're lucky that we have similar views on raising our child and having Grady sleeping in our bed isn't a source of resentment. I know we're lucky and I'm not complaining - really, I'm not - I am just curious: what is your family sleep situation? Did you bed-share with your little ones? If you did, when did you stop?

And how do I get Grady to nap solo? I can only play Candy Crush one-handed on my phone for so many hours before I go crazy, people.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Results: Non Cancery

Thank you so much for hanging in with me while I fretted. It's been a tough ride but I think the worst is over.

Yesterday I met with my doctor and she told me that all signs point to benign. My thyroid is still wonky and I need to have further testing done but I most likely do not have cancer (they won't give me the 100% all-clear without actually biopsying the entire thing, which obviously can't happen unless they remove the entire thing.) It isn't a surprise, this further testing; I knew going in that after my biopsy results I'd move on to either an oncologist or an endocrinologist. Not having to see an oncologist feels like a major victory.

And now, because it's all over and the results are all good, I can tell you that Shawn was also waiting for results to see if he had cancer. It has been a FUN couple of months in our home, let me tell you. He got the all-clear yesterday morning and I got mine a few hours later. We're going out to celebrate this weekend is what I'm saying.

The timing was so odd - Shawn got his ultrasound results and found out he needed a biopsy literally the same morning I was having my biopsy done. My dormant superstitious side hates coincidences so I was halfway convinced that the timing meant we'd be that couple - you know, the one that you marvel over their bad luck while thanking the heavens you aren't them. So, while I was fretting over leaving my baby alone in this big, bad world I was actually fretting over leaving my baby completely alone in this big, bad world. I owe my older sister a giant bottle of gin for listening to me fret (and for reassuring me they'd be there for Grady instead of telling me to shut up and stop being such a drama queen.)

I slept soundly last night for the first time in weeks. I have a giant grin on my face this morning. I feel so so lucky. Happy Friday indeed.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Goodbye, Hello, and More Food

I continue to wait (oh so patiently) for my biopsy results. The weather is matching my mood - cloudy and grey. My body is craving comfort foods. And so I eat.

Coconut Sweet Potato Steel Cut Oats

In a large pot, combine:

4 cups milk
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tblsp dark brown sugar
1 can (398ml) coconut milk
1 cup sweet potato (diced small)

Heat over medium/high heat until steaming. Add 1 cup steel cut oats.

Heat to a boil and then simmer for 30 - 40 minutes until mixture is thick and no longer soupy.

I've been eating these oats all week. I've topped them with coconut and chopped walnuts, dried cranberries and chopped almonds, and just plain banana. So tasty. So filling. So exactly what I need right now.

In other news, I'm saying goodbye over on Style Lush and hello on Snugabell.

What are you up to this dreary Thursday?

Saturday, 26 January 2013


Dear Grady,

Today you are eighteen months old. Eighteen! Tomorrow you will be closer to two years old than one year old. I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around that.

You are so much fun, buds. You love to laugh and your whole face lights up when you make others laugh. You laugh right from the bottom of your belly and sometimes you actually shake from all the joy you're feeling.

You chat all day long. You have long babbling conversations with me, your dad, the dogs, whoever you can rope into listening, really. You do have some words. You say no (always with the no,) mama, daddy, doggy, Stella, boots, cheese, apple, bird, baby, cookie, what is this, and good boy, so clearly. Less clear is "noo noo" for noodle, "nanana" for banana, "hop hop hop" for bunny, "Muddy" for your cousin Maddy, and, uhh, "go doe" for goddamn. You can blame me for that one. Sorry. You refer to both of the dogs as "go doe Stella!" Also my fault.

You love to "cheers!" If you have your cup and anyone else in the room has a drink you lure them in with your incessant "cheers! Cheers! Cheers!" until they succumb and clink glasses with you.

You have been waving "ba byeeeee" for months but you recently added "hi!" to your repertoire. You love to greet people on the street with a cheerful "hi! Hi! Hi!" People can't help but be charmed by you, Grady. You can make the grouchiest person smile. I hope you possess this gift forever.

You are so polite. You say thank you in the cutest sing-songy way. You love to share. You're very sensitive to other people's moods and feelings. I was upset and crying recently and you threw your arms around me and stroked my cheek while saying, "oh buddy, ohhhhh buddy."

I love you so much, Gus Gus. I cannot accurately describe how much happiness you have brought to my life. Happy one and a half, buddy!


Thursday, 24 January 2013


I am so bad at this waiting game. They told me it would be one to two weeks before I got my results so I have no reason to be impatient (tomorrow will be one week since my biopsy) but impatient I am. I'm trying to keep busy but my crazy is out in full force.

Things I have done / am planning to do to keep myself off Dr. Google:

Over on Snugabell I'm talking about losing weight while breastfeeding.

On Style Lush I'm admitting my love for hipster music. What are you currently listening to? We just got this newfangled Sonos contraption that lets me listen to any music I want without having to buy the album (I live in Canada, the land void of Spotify and Pandora.)

On Food Lush I detailed my fruit leather experiment (it's possible I have too much time on my hands.)

I saw Les Miserables with a girlfriend (and oh, how glad was I that I didn't force Shawn to go with me? He would have capital-H Hated it so hard.) I know musicals aren't for everyone but I can't stop recommending this movie. It was so well done and beautiful and I audibly sobbed through half of it.

I gave in and watched the Season 2 finale of Sherlock (I was saving it for a special occasion because Season 3 doesn't start for approximately 37 years.) And then I rewatched it. I have so many thoughts, you guys. SO MANY. I won't talk about them here because I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't watched the series yet (WHY HAVEN'T YOU WATCHED IT YET? IT'S SO GOOD. JENNIE) but I am totally down with discussing via email.

Cooked - and eaten - a lot of comfort food. Steel cut oats, hamburger soup, chicken curry, mac & cheese - if it's hot and tasty I've eaten it. I have probably gained five pounds already this week. I have big plans to bake an apple pie with cheddar cheese topping this weekend so next week doesn't look good for my January diet either. I cannot be arsed to watch my food intake this week. Or next week, apparently.

I'm taking Grady in for his 18-month checkup on Monday (how is my baby a year and a half already?) and I plan to subtly pressure my doctor into calling the hospital to check for my results if I don't hear anything tomorrow. I just need to know. One way or the other. This limbo is driving me nuts.

Comfort Poutine. I will not be shamed by this.

Saturday, 19 January 2013


It was the first thing I said when I met them. I'm terrified of needles. They were about to put multiple needles in my neck. We needed to be on the same page.

They were so kind to me. Reassuring and pleasant, they went about their task with quiet efficiency. They explained every step but refrained from doing so graphically. They patted my shoulder when I let out an involuntary cry at the first needle.

The entire procedure - all four needles - took under ten minutes. The anticipation was worse than the actual event (though the waiting for results is proving to be as much as a struggle as the anticipation.)

The good news is that we're on our way to figuring out what's wrong with my wonky thyroid. The bad news is that Dr. Google has scared the everloving crap out of me.

Now we wait. We should have some answers within two weeks. But for now, I'm stuck.

Monday, 14 January 2013

First World Problems and Feeling All the Feelings

I am in a foul mood. After a spectacularly bad weekend, I am throwing my hands up in the air and abandoning my attempts to smile my way out of my funk.

I will revel in my foul mood. I will pout and I will rant and I will think hateful thoughts (that will not be spoken as hateful words.) There will be tears.

I've participated in this trend recently, this "dismiss your problems because they're first world problems" trend and I'm beginning to realize that it's not working for me. I mean, to a certain extent it does. Sometimes I get a little too complainy about daily annoyance stuff and it's good to give myself a little reminder that I actually am really very lucky (Grady literally just peed on me as I wrote that. He fell asleep in my arms with a too-full diaper and there's been some sort of malfunction and now I am typing this with a sleeping child in my arms, covered in hot pee.)

Just because Shawn isn't out there picking up chicks and spending all of our money on hookers and blow doesn't mean that I can't be mad at him when he doesn't something assy. Just because Grady is healthy and happy doesn't mean that I can't be frustrated when he throws his entire lunch on the floor, or refuses to take off his boots until the smell emanating from his feet rivals that of a teenaged boy, or cries a heartbreaking cry when I try to pick him up because no one gives hugs quite like daddy (all things that happen multiple times a day, every day lately.) Just because Robin flew back to England to be with a man she loves (a man whom I've met and love for her) doesn't mean I have to be happy about her leaving.

I think that maybe by dismissing my first world problems, I've been giving myself permission to not feel all the feelings. Like, I shouldn't be sad that my best friend moved so far away because she's happy and in love, so I won't feel sad, I'll feel happy. Except that I am sad. I'm really sad.

I need to find the balance between feeling grateful for what I have and allowing myself to feel frustrated and sad and mad when those feelings arise. Because how I'm feeling today? This buildup of frustration and anger and sadness? It's not healthy. I don't want to feel like this. I am so blue. I don't feel even a little like myself.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Pumpkin Pancakes

It's Sunday and in our house a good Sunday starts with pancakes. Preferably pumpkin pancakes. I know - I know! - pumpkin has been shoved down our throats since day one of the holiday season but I won't fight my love. The Christmas decorations are down. The Christmas baking is almost gone. But I'm still hanging onto my pumpkin. I can't help it. I'm a Thanksgiving baby. Pumpkin is in my blood.

So! If you refuse to join ranks with the pumpkin haters, I think you'll enjoy these pancakes.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 cup of pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling,) 2.5 cups of buttermilk, 1 egg, and 3 tablespoons melted butter. You can use margarine if you want to but I don't know why you would.

In another large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until combined. You don't want to use your whisk or you'll end up with rubbery pancakes. A wooden spoon or a silicone spoontula does the trick nicely.

Heat your pancake frying surface (I use a non-stick electric grill heated to medium-high.) Scoop your pancake batter onto the grill (look, I'm not going to tell you how to live your life. Medallions? Ovals? Freeform? Teddy bears? Go where your heart guides you.)

At this point you can sprinkle chocolate chips on your pancakes. I'm not saying you should add chocolate chips, I'm just saying your life will never be the same if you do.

Cook your pancakes until bubbles form on the surface and begin to pop. The edges should look cooked and a little brown. Flip your pancakes and cook for another few minutes.

Enjoy! I like to spread a little butter on my pancakes (I'm a purist) but you can always go the maple syrup route. Or the peanut butter and bacon route if you're crazy (Shawn is crazy.)

Tuesday, 1 January 2013


I want to donate blood at least four times.

I want to find out what's wrong with my wonky thyroid.

I want to continue on my yoga journey.

I want to run more.

I want to celebrate five years of marriage with Shawn.

I want to run.

I want to learn how to make croissants from scratch.

I want to bake a black forest cake for my dad's birthday.

I want to throw a BBQ for Shawn's 35th birthday.

I want to cut my hair off so I'm forced to find a hairstyle I like instead of defaulting to a ponytail every damn day.

I want to attend my first birth as a doula-in-training.

I want to take more pictures and learn to use my camera better.

I want to write more letters and do a better job at letting people know how important they are to me.

I want to learn how to crochet.

I want to figure out how to meal plan for our family instead of trying to adopt solutions that aren't quite right for us and then failing after a week.

I want to learn how to be better with money. I'm bad at money. I just am. I'm 30 years old. I should not use "I just am" as an excuse to continue to be bad with money.

I want to write more.

I want to take Grady swimming.

I want to clean my oven. At least once. I've never cleaned an oven before. It's shameful.

I want to laugh more, fret less, watch my tone, use positive words, admit my faults, allow myself to fail, eat as much chocolate as I please, and teach my kid to be kind.