My new camera (for taking pictures of the cats) (and other stuff too, I suppose)

Posted by on Jun 19, 2014 in Babies, Tails | 0 comments

This is a long overdue post about my cats.  Which is really a post about my new camera.  Someone pretty awesome (Sweetie) remembered me mentioning that I’d really like to own a good camera by the time we have the baby.  And so, on my recent birthday, he surprised me with a snazzy Canon Rebel T3i.  (I really have no idea what the random letters/numbers after the “Rebel” part mean, but thought I’d better include that info too, just in case that stuff is important.)

The verdict?  I love my new camera.  LOVE IT!  I feel very grown up having options to change aperture and focus and f-stops and such (although I don’t really understand what any of those words actually mean), and knowing that if I want to go all rogue I can switch off of auto mode and (gasp!) manually take charge of my settings (although, honestly, automatic mode seems to be working pretty well for me at the moment.)

And (most importantly) my snazzy new camera takes awesome pictures of the cats.

Gray and white cat with green eyes looking up

Which, I’m guessing, means that it’ll likely also take rather fantastic pictures of the baby.

Who could ask for anything more than that?  :)


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How we announced some really big news (about a teeny tiny little person)

Posted by on May 26, 2014 in Babies | 9 comments

Sweetie and I were pretty secretive when we first found out we were expecting (despite that I wanted to tell absolutely everyone – the mailman, random children, the lady behind the counter at the gas station, stray dogs, etc – about our very happy news.)  It had taken me quite a while to get pregnant (but that’s a whole other blog post for a whole other day) so we were both really cautious about spreading the news to too many people too quickly, before we were out of the scary anything-can-happen first trimester.  (Translation: there was a lot of breath-holding and positive thought-thinking going on around here during those first few months.)

But once we reached our comfort zone (shortly after our 12 week ultrasound showed that baby was perfect and squirmy and had a good strong heartbeat) we decided to finally tell the future grandparents.

Being a rather monumentous and life-changing announcement, this wasn’t something I wanted to simply blurt out over dinner, mid-french fry.  I wanted the announcement to be as special as the news itself.  Unfortunately, I’m not an overly creative person.  And while Pinterest showed me hundreds of amazing and elaborate and creative announcements, none of them felt like us.

Here’s the card I finally designed to spread the news…

Easy pregnancy announcement card for grandparents

Pregnancy or maternity card announcement for grandparents (really simple and easy!)

(Please don’t giggle too much at my obviously lacking graphic-design skills.  A graphic-design guru I most certainly am not, and the whole thing was put together using – gasp! – Microsoft Word.)

We printed the card on basic cream-coloured card stock that I had left over from some other random DIY project, and then I tied a ribbon around the card (so that the card wouldn’t accidentally flop open and ruin the surprise before the recipient had a chance to finish reading the cover.)

When the time came to hand out the cards, there were happy tears from one set of grandparents, high-fives from another (who apparently had speculated, a couple weeks prior at Christmas, that something baby-related might be up), and stunned silence from the third set of future grandparents we told (which quickly erupted into squeals of joy.)  All in all, the announcement (and this announcement method) was a huge success.  :)

And now, several months later, all of the grandparents are eagerly anticipating the arrival of this new little one.  Who is currently way bigger than a lime.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve got a happy little eggplant or butternut squash or watermelon rolling around in there now.  (A really, really, cute one!)


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Nursery natterings (part two: what we’ve planned so far) (aka: a whole lot of cuteness!)

Posted by on Apr 21, 2014 in Babies, Nursery | 2 comments

Little by little we’re starting to put a nursery plan in place.  With only fifteen-ish weeks to go until my due date (eek!) (seriously – where did my second trimester go?) we’re at the point where we need to start making decisions and purchases and moving forward with this space that’ll one day be home to someone so completely and utterly adored.

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that the nursery will be a light teal-ish colour (which I see as very gender neutral – once baby is born we can add a bit of coral and yellow if we have a little lady, or navy and green if the bump is currently housing a little gent.)  Here is our (ok, well, my – Sweetie has sorta given me free-reign on this whole nursery decorating project) inspiration pic (from The Farmer’s Nest)…

Pretty teal beige gray and green gender neutral nursery with bunting

Happy sigh.  Prettiest nursery ever.

And here’s what we I have planned to date…


Remember the rocker from our staged quasi-nursery at the last house?

Unisex yellow nursery with painted animals mural including a giraffe and elephant

This chair once belonged to my grandparents, and my mom (hi mom!) has sweetly offered to have it reupholstered for our nursery here.  The room that’ll be our nursery is quite a tiny little space, and this rocker is small but super comfy.  And I love that it once belonged to my grandparents who, while no longer here, were such an important part of my life growing up.  Having this rocker in the nursery is a little like having them be part of Baby’s life, and I absolutely love that.  :)


Have I ever mentioned that I love sheep?  I love sheep.  Weird?  Likely.  But there’s something so awesome and peaceful about those grass-munching field-frollicking balls of white fluff that makes me insanely happy.  So when I stumbled upon this mobile (courtesy of Etsy-seller GiftsDefine) I was sold.

White and beige sheep baby mobile for teal nursery

Oh, lamby sweetness.  I love everything about it.  I haven’t yet hit the purchase button, but I plan to very very soon.


Yep!  I may fall into the whole mobile-PLUS-bunting (how decadent for baby, eh?) category, mostly because (surprise surprise!) I can’t decide between the two.  The mobile will likely float above the crib, and the bunting will likely hang above the change area.

This one is my current fave for a little girl…

Yellow coral teal girl's nursery bunting flags

And I love this option should we have a little man…

Boys nursery bunting flags in green teal and mint

…both from the awesome Etsiers at The Spotted Barn.

Pretty little things

Have you ever noticed that Chapters has the absolute best stuffed animals?  They really do.  I’ve adored the super soft, squishy stuffed creatures from Chapters since way before Sweetie and I had baby-thoughts.

My favourites are the ridiculously adorable bashful lamb…

A lovely bashful lamb

And the ever so sweet bashful bunny…

A mighty bashful bunny

So much cuteness.  So much.  Like, an immense amount.  (I’m seriously swooning over here.)  Here’s hoping that Baby loves them as much as his mom does.

And then there’s all the other (far more important) stuff

And then there are the bigger, scarier, expensive-er, non-decorative purchases: the crib, the dresser (that’ll double as a change table), a bookshelf of some sort for stuffies and books and such…  THESE are the items that I need to make decisions about soon.  Very soon, in fact.  I have a couple of friends who’ve had their babies far earlier than their due dates over the last few weeks, and I’m starting to get a wee bit nervous.

Let the nursery decorating frenzy officially begin!  :)


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Why the paint ain’t a’flowin’ (a rather big important wonderful exciting and awesome announcement)

Posted by on Mar 17, 2014 in Babies | 2 comments

Once upon a time, not so long ago, Sweetie and I bought a house.  A rather sad-looking, old, mauve-coloured house.  This house had a whole lot of P (for “potential!”), but was, admittedly, darn ugly.  Sweetie and I, being the brave house-buying home-renovating troopers that we are, bought the sad little house knowing that we could one day, with a whole lot of work and a little bit of updating, make her pretty once again.  Being ambitious folk with two previous homes under our belts (both of which started as fixer-uppers) we had high hopes for all of the loveliness we’d instill upon this new house, our ugly duckling soon-to-be-turned swan.

And then Sweetie and I received a little news.  Good news.  Fantastic and exciting news.  Unbelievably joyous and wonderful and life-changing news, in fact.  We were going to be parents, with Baby expected in early August 2014.  The future grandparents were thrilled, friends were ecstatic, and Sweetie and I were elated at the thought of becoming a family of three (five, if you count the cats) (which, of course, we do.)

Simple pregnancy maternity pic at 18 weeks plus 6 days

However, what has this news all meant to the fate of our poor little house?

Renovations have hardly begun.  Like, nada.  Nothing.  Zilch.  The kind of non-eventfulness that cues lowly crickets chirping in the background and spiderwebs forming around paint cans.

Why?  I’m one of those crazy pregnant ladies who is afraid to paint.  Yup.  I used to make fun of those people.  “Of course they can paint – that’s what low/no-VOC paints are for!” I’d exclaim rather pompously.  Silly lazy pregnant ladies – they can paint, they’re just being stubborn, I’d think.  But now that it’s my turn, my turn, and it’s the health of my baby (who I adore so much already) that could be affected, I’m totally wimping out.  I have been paintbrush-free since October, and I could very well remain paintbrush free until at least August, and likely much longer (because, honestly, I’m not fooling myself into believing I’ll be particularly productive during the first weeks of mommy-dom.  I’ll have other, far greater (and far cuter) priorities to tend to.)

It’s been quite the struggle, I have to admit.  I’ve painted throughout every single winter for the past nine years (nine years!), since we purchased our very first (wallpaper-filled and salmon-coloured-trim adorned) house way back in 2004.  Painting is what I do – it’s my hobby on weekends.  Some people relax by cooking.  Others unwind by reading or doing crossword puzzles or scrapbooking.  Me?  I paint.  And it makes me feel amazingly accomplished and proud to see progress unfolding with each paint-roller roll across my walls.

I’ve toyed with the idea of bringing someone in to paint our main floor, just to feel like some paint-related progress has been made, even if not by me, even if just to have the living room and dining room painted – the green is so dark and so strong and just so not us.  Our house doesn’t really feel like our home yet, because it doesn’t look like us.  At all.  There’s the (awful) mossy-green walls in the living room and dining room.  There’s the gold-coloured kitchen and stairwell (oh how I despise the gold!)  There’s the rather offensive red family room at the back of the house.  (Yes, red.  Bright red.  So bright that that room makes me feel a little uncomfortable.)  Our furniture and cats and clothes and interactions are all contained by the old mauve-coloured siding and under our big gray roof, but the house doesn’t at all feel like our home.  Yet.

But, it’s worth it.  It’s completely worth it.  It’s only nine months (and, really, only five-ish at this point).  I’ve given up wine (oh, wine, how I miss you!) and deli meat (despite crazy intense Subway cravings) and coffee (well, most of it at least) and anything that could potentially bring harm to my little growing baby…  I can handle a few months sans paint.  It’s our child.  And nothing is more important than that.  Not even ugly moss-green walls and an awful gold-coloured kitchen.

So, until paint returns to our house once again, we’ll be making little changes here and there.  The cosmetic non-stinky-chemical sort of changes.  Lights are being swapped out, a few loo improvements are looming, appropriately long non-sheer curtains will soon be in place, and a nursery is slowly unfolding upstairs.

And, truthfully, I suppose that home is where your family lives.  And our home will soon contain Sweetie, me, Irwin, Erik, and someone little and new and perfect, regardless of whether the walls are green and gold and red.

I can’t wait.  :)


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Confessions of a really bad blogger (with really good intentions!)

Posted by on Dec 20, 2013 in Ramblings... | 0 comments

So…  I’ve been a bad blogger.

Call it the winter blahs (does anyone else want to take a four month nap?  OMG I could go for a four month nap.)  Call it the holiday hustling and bustling (I should really start my Christmas shopping soon eh?)  Call it still desperately trying to unpack and make sense of our new house (and deal with a couple surprise house guests [oh the mouse-ey joys of living in an old semi-rural farmhouse] in the mix).  Truthfully, I really have no real reasonable excuse for my quasi-absence lately.  I’ve just been a really bad blogger.

Which makes me sad!  I love my blog!  I love getting up early on a Saturday and sitting down with a cup of coffee and a big bowl of soup (yes, I love soup for breakfast.  Weird?  Sorta.  But so warm and tasty on an early winter morning!) and typing my (sometimes odd) little thoughts out somewhere that’s all mine.  I love wandering around my house with my rather amateur little point-and-shoot and capturing the projects we’re working on or recipes I’m trying or (in most recent history) plans we’re making to improve our currently rather sad-looking humble old mauve abode.

I love being a blogger.

So what to do?  I could quit my job and concentrate on blogging, however Sweetie and I aren’t really in a financial position where it’s reasonable for one of us to stay home full time (although there’s nothing I’d love more than to blog and cook and work on the house all day every day.)  (Oh, how I really should have been a little 1950’s housewife.)  (Wistful sigh…)  Or I could spend every non-working waking moment writing blog posts, but, honestly, I’m exhausted when I come home from work each day, and, sadly, a tired Melissa isn’t a particularly creative Melissa (and I much prefer to lovingly dedicate my weekend mornings to writing, laptop in lap, coffee in hand, and soup being all delicious and stuff on the coffeetable.)

Or I could keep humming along with one happy little post per week (sometimes two if I have a little extra time!) and hope that y’all understand that I’m doing what I can at the moment and would love to write more but just can’t seem to fit it in right now.  As much as I desperately yearn to write more (especially as we start working on this house and begin turning it into an amazing home), one post per week seems to be what’s manageable for me at the moment.

For now at least.  We’ll see what sort of blogging future 2014 holds.  :)


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We wish you a meow-y Christmas (and a happy mew year!) (again!)

Posted by on Nov 25, 2013 in Ramblings..., Tails | 2 comments

So I’m always that last person to send Christmas cards out.  I love the act of sending cards – I love writing happy little messages inside and putting stamps on envelopes and trekking out through the snow to the nearest post office to mail out my stack of holiday cheer.  But I truly suck at doing all of this well in advance of the holidays.  The mad scramble to get my cards out each year has become part of my Christmas tradition, and a ritual I’d really like to change.  Yep, this year I’m vowing to have my cards out by mid-December.  At the latest.  I hope.

Dear friends and family: for the first time ever, you’ll get your cards BEFORE Christmas.  No more Happy Belated Christmas cards from me!

But first I need to choose the cards I’ll be sending out.  As I mentioned last year in THIS post, I’m a bit OCD when it comes to my cards.  They must be cute.  They must be on the smaller size (to avoid needlessly long-winded handwritten Christmas greetings for the sake of filling up blank space.)  And they must involve cats somehow (it’s true – I’m a bit of a weirdo like that.)

So, because Christmas is quickly (really quickly!) approaching, I toured Etsy last night, and here are a few of my favourites…

There’s this simple (but super cute!) cat and mouse card from DeanPenn:

Handmade Christmas card with cat and mouse and gift

And this fun card (from LizzyClara) made me smile:

White cat with Christmas tree ornaments card

Then there’s this printable cat card design, courtesy of adoridesigns:

Red and white cat Christmas card with cat wearing a Santa hat courtesy of etsy

I would use my favourite ever photo of Irwin for the front of the card:

gray and white cat Irwin wearing little knitted Christmas reindeer anters

Adorable?  Oui!  I think he’d make an awesome little Christmas card cover cat.  :)

But, my three favourite Etsy-card-findings (shockingly!) didn’t include cats at all.  (Gasp! – I know!)

This simple (but lovely!) card from stationaryboutique:

Grey and white striped Christmas card Joy

These super cheerful holiday cards from DeLorenzoArt:

String wrapped colourful green and red Christmas cards from etsy

And, lastly (but certainly not leastly!) these adorable cards from Whimsipost:

Pink Christmas card with milk and cookies from etsy

Extreme (strangely non-cat-related) cuteness?  You betcha!

So could there be a break in my Christmas cat-card tradition?  Perhaps.  I do adore all three of the non-kitty-centric cards above.  And, if having particularly adorable cards helps me (in some weird unknown way) to get the cards out sooner (ie: on time and before Christmas), then I may consider those options.

Just don’t tell Erik and Irwin (they’re pretty sure cats are at the absolute centre of my universe) (which they sorta are) (except for maybe this one time.)  (Shhhhhh…)


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