29 Nov 2013

Pregnancy #2: Week 32

week 32

How Far Along: 32 Weeks

Size of Baby: Squash

Total Weight Gain: 0lbs, still very strange

Stretch Marks: Yep, from last pregnancy!

Maternity Clothes: Just a few pieces, I’m still wearing most of my pre-pregnancy clothes, like the jeans and top in the photo above, in fact the top I’m wearing is small  

Gender: Boy

Movement: I believe that as well as feeling the baby movements I’m getting Braxton Hicks

Sleep: Sleeping through the night again

What I miss: still working out, having a toddler is more difficult to workouts

Food Cravings: No particular cravings

Food Aversions: None

Symptoms: The heartburn is gone and now I have the worse back pain

What I'm Looking Forward To: meeting baby boy, I’m counting the weeks

28 Nov 2013

Sunday Perfect Roast Beef

IMG_2615Last Sunday hubby wanted to eat a roast beef after church. I don’t like standing in the kitchen for too long so the idea of preparing a roast meal seemed taunting. As soon as he said roast beef I imaged myself standing in the kitchen sweating for hours. It was already two o’clock by the time we got home after food shopping.

Luckily he offered to cook so I just went in the basement to supervise AOI as she played with her train and farm set. One hour and some minutes later he called out “Lunch is served.”

What I found surprised me. He had made this delicious roast and he told me it was easy to cook so I couldn’t resist sharing the recipe on my blog.

He adapted the recipe from Jamie Oliver’s websiteIMG_2616

  • 1.5 kg quality topside of beef

  • 2 medium onions

  • 2 carrots

  • 2 sticks celery

  • 1 bulb garlic

  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme, rosemary, bay or sage, or a mixture

  • olive oil

  • sea salt

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 1/2 cups potatoes

  • bunch of broccoli

To prepare your beef:
We bought the beef fresh. Preheat your oven to 240°C/475°F/ gas 9. Peel the vegetables and roughly chop them. Break the peeled garlic bulb into cloves.
Pile all the veg, garlic and herbs into the middle of a large roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil. Drizzle the beef with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper, rubbing it all over the meat. Place the beef on top of the vegetables.

To cook your beef:
Place the roasting tray in the preheated oven. Turn the heat down to 200°C/400°F/gas 6 and cook for 1 hour for medium beef. If you prefer it medium-rare, take it out 5 to 10 minutes earlier. For well done, leave it in for another 10 to 15 minutes. You can place your roast potatoes and veggies into the oven for the last 45 minutes of cooking.

Baste the beef halfway through cooking and if the veg look dry, add a splash of water to the tray to stop them burning.

When the beef is cooked to your liking, take the tray out of the oven and transfer the beef to a board to rest for 15 minutes or so.

Steam your broccoli, once tender serve with the roast beef and veggies.

Buon appetito!

27 Nov 2013

Wednesday On Writing: My Writing in This Province

fieldAs an emerging author, I always battle with my good instincts. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed, that I turn into an insignificant seed in the deep blue ocean.

Back in 2006 I decided that I really wanted to take my writing journey seriously. I enrolled in an evening Creative Writing course. I loved it but I always felt like my writing was not as powerful as some of the writers in the course. For this reason that summer I hid my young adult story in a drawer to focus on my everyday work.

However, I kept writing poetry when the inspiration found its way into my heart. I never put into practice what great writers advice: write everyday even when you don't have anything to say. Writing was really not my number one priority.

Also, sometimes I don't consider myself a real writer because I haven't seen my name on a printed book. As much as that thought is predominant in my mind I always forget my achievements as a writer. I've had articles published in online magazines and have some of my poems published in my university Creative writing anthologies.
The year I started to believe, a little bit, in my abilities as a writer was 2008. That was the year one of my poems won a prize at my university creative writing competition.

That year I decided to follow my good instincts and sign up for the Creative Writing Competition. Inside I thought I wasn’t good enough so I didn’t tell anyone of my plan. The night before the deadline I selected three of my favourite poems – one of which was new and written thinking polemically about prince Harry. I dropped them at the tutor's office and just forgot about them.

The previous month I sent in a poem dedicated to my great-grandmother and I got a reply saying my poem has been selected and included in an anthology. I was happy about this, and even though up to date I have not seen this anthology, knowing that someone appreciated my work boosted my confidence and made me believe in my creativity. Now I am glad I listened to my instincts both times.

But, the place that changed my perspective on my writing career forever is Saskatchewan. Until I moved here I've never heard of this Canadian province, a hidden gem of great writers. My father in law knew about the place because he had read Life of Pi by Yann Martel.

Coming here felt like a new chapter for my personal growth. I could choose any career I wanted to pursue and my journey as a writer was surely going to be it. Jokingly I said this place might be the place I need to let free the spirit of the writer within me.

From the moment we moved to this province, I decided to be the published author I've always wanted to become. I attended as many free workshops hosted by the library as I could.

The first workshop I attended was by the writer in residence at the time. During the workshop she commented that she likes my character of my first young adult novel. She also suggested some websites that could help me write the story I wanted to tell. That boosted my confidence. From that day on I researched and wrote even when I wasn't inspired.

The following year thanks to another writer in residence I completed the final draft of my novel. I was one proud woman. Last year I worked with another writer in residence and my novel went through final edited version I wanted it to be. He also helped me find a professional editor to work on my manuscript.

I don't know if self doubt with ever leave my mind but one thing I am sure of, since moving to Saskatchewan and finding a supportive writer's group, my writing is getting to the level I've always dreamt it to be at. Also, I believe that everyone has a story to tell which can inspire others.

I can sincerely say Saskatchewan is proving to be my writing saviour.

WUW Winter Holly 1

Now unto What’s Up Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jaime and Erin. I think is fun and a great way to meet other wonderful writers on this writing journey.

  • WHAT I'M READING

Today I took two young adult novels from the library Envy by Elizabeth Miles and Pivot Point by Kasie West. I can’t wait to start reading one tonight. I hope I get hook.

  • WHAT I'M WRITING

Still revising my novel. I want to start re-working on my synopsis again but I want to give time to time.

  • WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT

I’m so inspired the Christmas feel in the air and I want do some craft. On my agenda is to do an advent calendar.

  • NOW WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO

Last week was very important to us because my daughter celebrated her second birthday. We feel so blessed. Apart from that nothing much is happening over this end.

____________________

That’s me for this Wednesday, what’s up with you?

26 Nov 2013

Letters To AOI #7: Two

AOI loves books

 Constellations by Darwin Deez on Grooveshark

Amore mio,

I smile as I write this letter to you. I can’t believe I’m a mother of such a sweet lovely two-year-old girl, but I’m. You are two years and nine days, and your smell reminds me of honey coated popcorn and vintage perfume {open one of my old Vanity Fair magazines and smell the sample perfume on a page and you will understand what I mean}.

Though the years are slipping by and a part of me long to see your personality bloom into a little girl, you’re timeless to me. You are still my baby, I would love bottle up your babyhood and stored but I can’t. For this reason I try to document our everyday life. I love photography and words and through both medium I capture our everyday life together for when my memory begins to fade, I would like to remember the little moments that we share very day together.

I want to keep you close to my heart as much as possible but as I get closer to having your brother in couple of months my energy level is dropping and I find it difficult to lift you, but I still hold you tight in my arms whenever I can. I give you soft kisses on your soft toddler cheeks. I’m scared that one day I will blink and you will be too old to want me to hold you tight in my arms. I love the way you snuggle me back, you old my neck tight and rest your cheek on my cheek. You melt my heart.

AOI reading 1

Nowadays, is you and I most hours of the day and most days of the week. However, on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturday I leave you for some hours. Mondays I tutor Italian to a seven year old boy, Tuesdays {until 26th November 2013} I go to evening classes for French, Thursdays I have my writer’s group and Saturday mornings I tutor Italian to another woman.

Every time I leave the house for those hours guilt wash over me. I want to be with you 24/7 but I have to go because it’s good for both of us to take a break from each other. In fact you don’t mind me going out. You simply blow me a kiss and say “See you later.” I come to you more than once to give you a goodbye kiss and hug.

When I come back, sometimes, you are already in dreamland. Last Saturday morning, after my Italian tutorial, we went to the swimming pool with C and her mom. When we walked into the swimming pool you girls were so happy to see each other. You give each a kiss and carry on with whatever you are doing.

C is shorter than you and so I notice more than ever how you are getting so tall for your age. You are so athletic and natural yogist, sometimes you do a yoga pose and I wonder where you learnt that particular yoga pose.

AOI yoga pose

One thing you’ve been saying lately is “I’m a toddler.” We told you that some weeks ago since then you tell us when you want to make sure we know who you are; even when we say your surname you say “No, I’m AOI toddler.” it’s so cute to hear you say that.

You are such a polite little girl. Whenever I do something for you you say “Thank you very much, mama.” That’s makes me so proud. However, sometimes when you want something urgently you forget your politeness but when I remind you to be polite you say “Mama, Papa/Dada or Daddy can I please have acqua?” of course that makes me over the moon happy.

Music is part of you. You love the guitar and piano. Daddy makes you listen to some quirky indie music. I love to play vintage music {70s, 80s and 90s}. One morning daddy or dada or papa’, the many nouns you use to call your father, played Constellations by Darwin Deez and since then you request it any time you remember this funky version of twinkle little star. I think you are going to have a very dandy and diverse music taste, because that’s how we love our music in this household.

Your vocabulary is impressive. You can compose sentences, you love to read books and you have such a wonderful memory because sometimes you repeat phrases from your stories by heart. You carry a book with you and read in your toddler ways, I love to see you read. I hope you keep this passion for life. You can sing, and you’ve been doing that since eighteen or so months old.

Also you love languages, you understand Italian and you’ve started combining Italian words together with English, for instance you can say “Prendi tu shoes. {You take shoes}” or “Andiamo upstairs {let’s go upstairs}” or “Cavallo wants to eat something {Horse wants to eat something}. I can see that if I keep talking to you in Italian, you will be very good. Also you’ve started practicing how to say how are you and I’m fine in French. I’m so proud of you.

AOI reading

You’re fun to be around and you like to see smile on people’s faces. I can see you doing stand up comedy to bright up people’s lives. Your laugh is contagious and I love to laugh with you.

You like to be neat and every time we are at the table I have to use half of the tissue box to clean every little bite or liquid that falls out from your plate. Sometimes you freak out because a drop of latte {milk} has fallen out from your porridge bowl. Talking about porridge, you love it. You spontaneously say “I love porridge.” I love porridge too and it’s nice to share a bowl in the morning with you. Normally daddy prepares it and we enjoy our warm porridge while he eats cherrios or something cold. 

Lately you don’t mind me or daddy coming to pick you from your crib. Few weeks ago you had a funny way to show your appreciation. Every morning, the first name that you called was the parent who puts you to bed the night before and if the right one doesn’t come to pick you freak out. But now, I can pick you up and if you want daddy I take you in our bedroom and you can cuddle to him. And viceversa. We love having your morning cuddles. I love it when you ask to cuddle belly and you ask belly what he is doing.

Each time you give tender kisses to your brother in my belly, I feel so bless to have you as the big sister to this little sweet child. You have such a big heart and I know he’s going to be showered by your love every day. I’m so happy to be carrying your best friend in my womb.

Thank you for being you, I love you more than I can share through a few words,

Always my deepest love,

Mummy.

25 Nov 2013

Week 47: Two Years

cakeThis week the most important thing was celebrating our daughter’s second birthday.

Monday morning she woke up in a good mood. She didn’t mind having both of us in her room. The first thing we did, after I lifted her from her crib, was singing happy birthday. She was so shy about the whole deal. She kept her head down and gave us a shy smile. We showered her with kisses and proclaiming our love to her.

Her daddy stayed home from work for his daughter’s special day.

After we changed her into a day outfit, we took her in the basement to show her surprise major gift, an island daddy built for her. On it we placed a train track and a farm. farm and train

She was over the moon to see that. We then skyped some family members to show them what AOI got for her birthday.

For breakfast daddy prepared a special English breakfast.

birthday breakfastAfter breakfast we spent the rest of the morning in the basement playing with the train track. She wore her dragon costume her auntie J and cousin K bought her. dragon on the island

After lunch we sung happy birthday and surprised her with a birthday cake I baked the night before. I blew the candles and we told her to make a wish. I’m sure she didn’t know what that meant but she looks as if she is making a wish. She was so happy, she had a few bites of the cake but was more into the raspberries. birthday cake

birthday cake 2

The rest of week was spent reminding ourselves how blessed we are to have such a darling girl in our lives. We love her so much is impossible to describe such love.

Tuesday was the usual French playgroup and AOI is getting some French words. She knows how to answer commet tu t’appelles? {What is your name? informal}

Thursday was so cold but we made our way to the playgroup just to find ourselves locked out because for some strange reason the lift was not working.

Friday we received a box full of toys from my mum to AOI. Since then she won’t stop playing her little piano toy. She knows her alphabet so she started playing the the letters on the keyboard.

Saturday was C’s second birthday party. We kept celebrating the wonders of life. Sunday we went to church and after that hubby cooked a delicious roast, I will share the receipt soon.

In the meantime have a wonderful week 48

AOI reading 1

23 Nov 2013

Portrait of My Child #12

Week 42
autumn-style-2_thumb2her comic self
Week 43
AOI-day-trip_thumb2a day trip in Medicine Hut, Alberta {walking in daddy’s research field}
Week 44
halloween_thumb2“every elephant I suppose learns to cope with its nose, in its element as its grows trumpety trump.”
Week 45
AOI-2013-first-winter-snow_thumb2first winter 2013 snow

portrait-a-week4

22 Nov 2013

Pregnancy #2: Week 31–8 +/-Weeks to go

Dear Mango boy,

Yesterday we had our midwife appointment. Everything is on the right track, you are the right size. Your sister loves to helps when we have to hear your heartbeat. Yesterday while the midwife was cleaning the belly she asked for a tissue to clean the belly too. The midwife said you are in the right range. We talked about the birth and we have to start thinking about what and how we want some things arranged on the day.

I’m sleeping well again, that means I sleep through the night without the need to visit the bathroom.

However, part of this week I felt drained. Completely out of shape. Mentally I couldn’t form right sentences, okay I’m exaggerating here but you get the picture. I wanted to do so much but my body was limiting me. I didn’t feel comfortable sitting down. I couldn’t stand up for too long because then I felt tired. I really wanted to shout at my body for how it was taking the power out of my hands.

Last night you might have felt me laughing hysterically. Between heartburn and wanting to throw up due to the heartburn I was laughing so much due to a scene on Le Iene, an Italian satirical news show. There is a new dance called tweak {or something like that} and one of the presenters has made a joke out of it. He goes around celebrities and dances to them. I couldn’t stop laughing for how silly funny he was.

You were moving and nudging me as if you wanted to be out from the belly.

As much as you are not finding enough space in my belly to move, I want you to be out so I can hold you in my arms. You have to wait about 8 weeks, if you come out around the same time as your sister did two years ago.

week 31

How Far Along: 31 Weeks

Size of Baby: Pineapple

Total Weight Gain: 0lbs, this is so strange to me. Yesterday I had to weigh myself about five times because I can’t believe I haven’t gained weight during this pregnancy. I guess my body is using up all the weight I gained after baby #1.

Stretch Marks: Yep, from last pregnancy!

Maternity Clothes: Just a few pieces, I’m still wearing most of my pre-pregnancy clothes, like the jeans and top in the photo above. 

Gender: Boy

Movement: I believe that as well as feeling the baby movements I’m getting Braxton Hicks

Sleep: Sleeping through the night again

What I miss: working out, having a toddler is more difficult to workouts (or am I just finding excuses)

Food Cravings: No particular cravings

Food Aversions: None

Symptoms: Still tired and since Wednesday I’m having heartburns. It’s awful

What I'm Looking Forward To: organising the nursery but I wonder if I’ll do anything before the baby is due, time is going so fast.

20 Nov 2013

Wednesday On Writing: Quick Edition

I would love to write a long winded post about my writing journey but I can’t bring my energy level high enough to do so. For this reason I’m doing a quick edition of…WUW_thumb[2]

WHAT I'M READING

As I mentioned above, lately I feel more tired and this is affecting my concentration. I haven’t found the book that keeps me awake at the night because it’s so good I can’t put down. 

WHAT I'M WRITING

Still revising my novel.

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW

I feel so deflated nothing seems to inspire me right now.

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO

Monday was my daughter’s birthday so we’ve been busy getting few things together to celebrate her second year since we welcomed her into this world. We didn’t do a party this year, just a party for three of us. It was such a joy to see her happy and she does understand that it was her birthday.

That’s me for this Wednesday, what’s up with you?

How To Save Money This Christmas

In few weeks many of us will start Christmas gift shopping and I glad to have this guest post sharing how we can save money this Christmas.
holiday-sponsored-post_thumb5
It’s not easy in the run up to Christmas, no matter how much spare money you have to squander. The planning and preparation to ensure that everything runs smoothly is enough to drive some people crazy, while financial issues will just add to the strain. Despite the economy being the way it is, the media continues to turn Christmas into a gift-giving frenzy, which, depending on budgets and disposable income, is just not feasible for some people to achieve. Why do we feel like we have to keep up with the Joneses anyway? Christmas can be special, no matter how much we spend – here are some fab ways in which you can save money during this festive season.
Use Clubcard Vouchers
If you shop at Tesco, and have been collecting Clubcard vouchers throughout the year, now would be the time to use them. Check online to see if you have any unclaimed ones and use them towards your shopping – not just the food shopping, but any gifts that you need to buy too. It’s surprising what the supermarkets can provide by way of clothing, gift ideas and toys; plus, keep an eye out for any double points or use the current Clubcard Boost for some outstanding deals on some top gift ideas. boost-stamp1.36_thumb8
Make Things
Why spend a fortune on gifts for family and friends when they’d be over the moon to receive something handmade? Spare an afternoon or two and get a little crafty with the kids as you create some personalised treats for your loved ones. Whether it’s little gingerbread men or homemade Fimo clay baubles and jewellery, the possibilities are endless if you dip into your creative flair.
Buy a Family Present
This would be particularly handy if you have a lot of children to buy for. While you could keep an eye out for fabulous offers on toys, such as the 3 for 2 deals that can be found in Argos on top brand toys such as the Fisher-price Say Please Tea Set, you could also choose to buy one big family present rather than spending a fortune on all the children – perhaps a new games console or a couple of fun family board games?
toys_thumb2
Second Hand Bargains
You don’t have to buy brand new if you don’t want to. Children grow out of things so quickly that at children’s sales at this time of year, you can find some barely played with toys for next to nothing.
Christmas doesn’t have to cost a fortune – be a little sensible and stay organised and you (and your purse) will be laughing your way to the New Year.











18 Nov 2013

Week 46: Baby Brain

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         a toddler enjoying a cup of hot chocolate after playing outside in the snow

We often went for small strolls around the block.

I was happy when I organised AOI’s toys. I want us to start my ideal Christmas tradition from this year. Our church is going to collect toy for those less fortunate and I want AOI to give away some of her toys.

I never believed when people say that they have baby brain. I don’t think I experienced that during my first pregnancy.

On Wednesday I realised baby brain does exist.

My nesting mood kicked in. I’m kinda desperately looking for a toddler bed for AOI. Wednesday evening I declared to my husband "I'm going shopping tomorrow!" The following afternoon when I got there I bought gifts for AOI’s birthday and nothing for the nursery/toddler bedroom.

Also, I’ve been looking for a set of keys I need for the indoor playgroup elevator when is time for the monthly toy wash – this year, I’m the toy wash coordinator – since October. Wednesday I found them them in the pocket of a jacket I haven’t worn since September. I felt so embarrassed when I had to phone back the president and tell her that after all the noise I made about not having the keys, I found them in my jacket.

I phoned her and she was glad I found them.

Thursday after our indoor playgroup I went to the French school to ask for information on registering AOI at their daycare/preschool.

As most of you know I'm learning French but I'm not fluent, I can understand about 40% and speak 25% of French. I'm fascinated by the language and living in Canada I feel it's the best second language for my children to learn, because as much as I would love them to speak Italian, they will be more exposed to French language than Italian.

So I went to the reception of the preschool and the lady I know kindly took me to the school reception where I had to sign a form which is requested if the applicant is not a French native. The receptionist started talking to me and my 25% of comprehension was working fine until she asked me about my residence status. I did understand the question but I got stuck when I had to respond that I have a working visa. In panic, I switched back to English.

“You want your child to go to a French school but you don’t want to speak to me in French ”

I felt so bad when I heard the receptionist say that. I wanted to speak to her in French so much. I wanted to be fluent and tell her that I would love my daughter to learn French because it will be good for her in the future. I was embarrassed but I’m not going to give up that easy. The easiest thing to do in cases like this is to give up, because really there is no need for her to learn a different language but I believe it will be beneficial for us as a family if we learn a different. I love languages and the more I know the happier I’m.

One of my goals for 2014 is to be able to speak French without switch back and forth in English.

Friday we went to visit the orthopaedic department in our city. Everything they offer is free. So we can ask them to design a gadget that can help AOI balance her hands on the bicycle and support herself when ice skating this winter. 

Saturday after my Italian tutorial I took AOI to the swimming pool where we met with C and her mother. Having our girls close in age is awesome. We can relate in so many levels. The girls we happy to see each other.

In the meantime AMI designed and built a shelf for the xbox and wifi console for the basement. He also finished painting AOI’s major birthday gift.

Sunday we went to church and after that we invited our friends D and S to come have a pizza with us in celebration of AOI’s birthday coming up on November 18th. In the afternoon, to help AOI sleep, we drove to ToysRus to buy her birthday gift and the we went to Indigo to take a gift her aunt M (from Scotland) bought online.

Before we went to bed I baked a cake for AOI. In the meantime AMI organised the basement and wrapped up all the birthday gifts for AOI.

Now some stills from our week 46morning hair

a toddler’s concentration while watching Dora the explorer

luncheon

eating white pasta and green olives

mirrored

making funny faces in the mirror after bathtime

Wishing you all a happy week 47

15 Nov 2013

Pregnancy #2: 29-30 Weeks Update

Sweet little Mango,

Two weeks ago I dreamt of you. In the dream you were freshly born and I was wearing the same outfit I wore the day after I had your sister. A mini jeans dress. You had lot of curls, cherry lips like your sister’s and lovely olive skin.

I fell in love with you instantly, your sister and your daddy too.

Now, I can’t wait to see your face, hold you in my arms and smell your sweet baby smell. In about two months and some days I will have the privilege to kiss your soft cheeks. Your sister keeps telling you how much she loves you. She shares her teddies with and want to play with you.

Every morning when we wake up your sister wants to be picked up from her cot by daddy and once they come in our bedroom she kisses the belly to say good morning. I love those moments. I really can’t wait to see you and hug you in about two months.

The other day daddy felt your movements for the first time. I was hugging him and you moved so strong he felt you. he said “Oh, baby. You’ve been trying to catch my attention for so long now you got it.” Now he can’t stop coming over to the belly to say hello.

All my love,

Mummy.

week 29

week 30How Far Along: 29-30 Weeks

Size of Baby: acorn squash and an cucumber

Total Weight Gain: I don't know, will find out next week at my midwife appointment

Stretch Marks: Yep, from last pregnancy!

Maternity Clothes: Just a few pieces, I’m still wearing most of my pre-pregnancy clothes, like all the ones above

Gender: Boy

Movement: I believe that as well as feeling the baby movements I’m getting Braxton Hicks

Sleep: Starting to sleep through the night again

What I miss: working out, having a toddler is more difficult to workouts (or am I just finding excuses)

Food Cravings: No particular cravings

Food Aversions: None

Symptoms: More tired as the weeks get closer to 40

What I'm Looking Forward To: buying things for the nursery

 

don’t forget to link up your pregnancy and new motherhood updates! Grab a button to spread the word.

 

Life of TOI

13 Nov 2013

Wednesday On Writing: Why I Write

I write to breath. I write to inspire, I write to encourage.

Writing has always being part of me for as long as I can remember. Even before I could spell my name, I would spent time hiding away from the eyes of mankind to trying to write. Or I would invent stories and play with my imaginary friends.

Last week at my writers’ group we agreed that we don’t write to become rich. Fortune can knock at some writers’ door during their writing journey but one can’t have passion for writing only because they want to be famous and rich.

Also, last week I resolved to take a different approach to getting published. I believe in my story and I can’t wait until somebody pat on my shoulder and say “Well done!” to know that I can get my story into the world. My novel has to be out there because it might encourage and inspire at least one person.

I stopped querying because I was losing perspective about why I write. Querying was sucking up my creative flow. I was querying because I like the idea of traditional publishing and I wanted to be represented by an agent. I forgot that I can still find an agent even if I decide to self-publish my first book but right now my priority is my novel.

If, in the end, I choose to self-publish it will be because I have a deadline to follow and going the traditional route of publishing might take longer that my plans allow me. 

And the more I think and read about publishing, the more I think I shouldn’t be discouraged or be scared of self-publishing because Wasting Away is a story that people need to read sooner than later.

Now onto What’s up Wednesday

WHAT I'M READING

One More Day by Fabio VoloOne More Day by Fabio Volo. This is the first English translated book by the Italian TV personality, actor, comedian and author. I grew up loving Volo his good looks and jokes on one of the popular TV shows in Italy.

Normally, I’m picky when it comes to reading contemporary Italian writers because while growing up and reading the wonderful Italian great author I have built up biases and the contemporary Italian writers felt like diluted coffee. 

I’ve never read Volo novels but I must say I’m enjoying this one. I believe I like it due to its cosmopolitan flair. It takes the reader through the beautiful cities of Milan, London, New York and Paris.

One More Day is tells the story of Giacomo, a successful publisher whose monotonous lifestyle is forever changed when he encounters a girl, Michela, on a London tram.

For months, in his mind, he builds up a relationship with her. It only when Michela invites him for a coffee that Giacomo takes the chance to get to know her better, but not without difficulty. Michela has to leave London for New York.

This is a love story between two different people who through all their weaknesses and fear, they allow hope and love to survive.

WHAT I'M WRITING

I’m re-editing my novel. Editing is never over until the book is out into the world and you can’t do anything but live with what you did in the time you had with it.

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW

Snow, I have to get something out of it and it inspires me.first frosty trees

 Make You Feel My Love by Adele on Grooveshark

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO

Saying goodbyes to our friends who are returning to Israel after two years in Canada. It’s such a bittersweet moment. Yesterday we went to stay with them until half eleven. AOI didn’t want to sleep because she wanted to play with her R. We were all tired because it was late yet we wanted to stay a little bit longer to make them feel our love. We are going to miss them so much but we will keep our friendship alive, that’s for sure.

That’s me for this Wednesday, what’s up with you?

12 Nov 2013

DIY Maternity Photo-shoot

I’m thinking about maternity photos, again.
When I was pregnant with AOI I thought about hiring a professional photographer to capture my beautiful growing belly. However, hubby was not on the same page as me, so he resolved to take the pictures himself. He took all the outdoor pictures {obviously, without following my guidelines} and I took the indoor pictures.
I had pinned what I wanted to try to achieve. that inspired me to capture this self portrait mathernityshoot
following are some pictures of the end result of my DIY maternity photo bookDolce Attesa Photo Book
DIYmaternityphotos1
DIYmaternityphotos2
DIYmaternityphotos
Question: Did you do maternity photos? Would you? If yes, was it professional or did/would you DIY?

11 Nov 2013

Week 45: First Winter Snow

AOI 2013 first winter snowUntil the first signs of the cold weather, back in October, I had this romantic vision of snow and winter in Saskatchewan. I smelled the fresh icy snow in the air, bright sun shining, ice skating, cross country skiing and my daughter playing happily in the cold wet snow. All wrapped up warm in our heavy coats.

For some reason the downside of having snow was totally wiped out of my mind like the chilly sensation I felt after giving birth naturally to my daughter.

When it snows car windows get frosted inside and outside. We have to scrap the snow off and defrost the ice. I drive with my shoulders raised like a dog on the edge, because I have to be careful with the brakes and the other drivers around on the icy roads. Our car needs snow tires, I have to wrap up warm my toddler who doesn't care about warm jackets and kicks off the snow boots and wouldn't mind wearing canvas trainers. Yet we manage to do it and get out of the house.

As annoying as snowy winters can be, the frosted trees are pretty and romantic to view from afar.

first frosty trees

The first proper winter snow, the one that stays on the ground, started to fall on Sunday night. When we woke up we found snow everywhere. So AOI and I stayed indoors, also people had a little temperature. Tuesday we ventured out to the French playgroup. On Wednesday we stayed indoors again because AOI had her nose congested and was coughing a little.

Thursday we went to our local indoor playground. After that we had lunch and took AOI to do an ultrasound to check if her kidney are alright. Her orthopaedist advised us to that due to her left hand. The ultrasound showed that there is nothing wrong with her kidney.

Friday afternoon we went to play in the backyard and clean the snow off the car with AOI’s help. AOI playing in the snow

AOI scraping snow off the car

In the evening we went to AMI's colleague's house for dinner. He and his family are going back to Israel after two years in Canada. If you follow me for some time you may remember that back in 2012 they found out that their first born had leukaemia. The little boy went through his therapy successfully and now he is doing very well.

It's sad to think that they are leaving Canada but we are happy for them. I'm going to try to keep up our friendship with them.

Saturday I went to have Italian conversation with the lady who wants to improve hers. AMI was supposed to take AOI to story time at the library but she fell asleep so he tried to go buy something at Home Depot but he couldn’t because she was fast asleep. So he came to wait for me. When I finished the tutorial we went to Walmart and Home Depot to buy the items he needs to build something for AOI’s birthday present. I want to wait to see the end result.

Sunday after church we went to lunch together with some friends. It was the birthday lunch for UN, my husband colleague who is leaving for Israel. AOI was so sleepy she couldn’t keep her pre-sleep moody state at bay. It’s hard to witness but we couldn’t do much about it until we left the restaurant. She fell asleep as soon as we set our feet out the door. She had one of those long naps. In the meantime we catch up with Breaking Bad. I can’t wait to find out who wins between Hank and Walt.

Enjoy week 46

playing in the snow

8 Nov 2013

Pregnancy #2: Gender Reveal

If you want, you can try to guess the gender here before you watch this video
 

the reveal from toi on Vimeo.

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don’t forget to link up your pregnancy and new motherhood updates! Grab a button to spread the word.

 

Life of TOI


7 Nov 2013

The Gender Game

I’m excited.

I can’t even tell you how much. Tomorrow I’ll reveal baby Mango’s gender. Waiting for that I thought we could play a little game.

I found a gender prediction quiz on babymed and I thought it would be fun to provide the questions and some information related to both of my pregnancies. I hope based on the information you’re interested to guess the gender of baby #2. And tomorrow you will find out if you guessed right.

comparing week 27

1. How pointy is my bump?

MYTH: carrying high means it’s a GIRL and carrying low means it’s a BOY

TOI: What do you think based on the picture above?

2. How did you skin change?

MYTH: BOYs make the mother look better, GIRLs make the mother look worse

In both pregnancies my skin looked/look better.

3. Did you have nausea?

MYTH: GIRLs give more nausea, BOYs give less nausea.

TOI: In both pregnancies I didn’t/don’t have much nausea.

4. Do you have any cravings?

MYTH: craving sweet means it’s a GIRL and craving salt or sour means it’s a BOY

TOI: In both pregnancies I didn’t/don’t have any particular cravings

5. Did your legs get very hairy during this pregnancy?

MYTH: growing less hair on legs could mean it’s a GIRL and growing more hair on legs could it’s a BOY

TOI: I don’t have much hair on my legs, similar situation during the first pregnancy

6. Does your husband have more brothers or sisters?

FACT: Girl come from his X-chromosomes and boys from his Y-chromosome sperm.

TOI: My husband has two sisters

comparing week 20

7. What is the shape of your pregnant abdomen?

MYTH: if the weight is more on the front means it’s BOY and if the weight is on hips and below means it’s a GIRL

TOI: What do you think based on the picture above ?

8. Did your face change a lot during this pregnancy?

MYTH: If your face is full means it’s a GIRL, if it’s square means it’s a BOY

TOI: I don’t know think my face has changed much

9. My chest during pregnancy:

MYTH: BOYs make the chest grow bigger. So a chest that's not been growing sounds more like it's a GIRL.

TOI: I don’t think my chest has grown much. I’m wearing the same bra size after I had baby #1

10. My nose has been increasing in size:

MYTH: BOYs have been associated with an increased nose size, so no increased nose size sounds more like a GIRL.

TOI: My nose is the same size as I have always known it

I did the quiz from babymed

5 Nov 2013

From Africa To Europe To Canada

italy

Hello friends, today I am at The Bradleys sharing my view on living in Europe and Canada. Sharing my journey from Ghana to Italy to the UK and now to Saskatchewan, Canada. Hope you stop by to read

4 Nov 2013

Week 44: Halloween

halloweenThis week I was tired. Okay, not the whole week but the couple of days I felt tired seemed like weeks. Though AOI started sleeping through the night again, I wasn’t sleeping well. I guess my body got used to waking up during the night to comfort AOI and use the bathroom.

Anyways, enough blah blah blah.

Monday, we had first snow of the year but it didn't attach the ground. Stayed in, and after a long hiatus from sewing craft, I sewed a cover for the changing mat. I'm proud of my hard work, poor quality but still fun to do. Every time AOI sees the cover she says “Mummy made it for me.” It makes me happy to hear her say that.

diaper change cover
The whole of last week AOI kept on saying that for Halloween she wanted to wear pajamas, of course I believed her because she is a little person with her opinions or can I say it convenient for me to believe that. Anyway for the French playgroup we all agreed to dress the children in their costumes.

Tuesday I asked AOI what she wants to wear.

"Pajamas" was her answer. I really thought it was fun idea because she would be a character from Peter Pan. So we get ready for the Halloween theme playgroup. As we are about to leave the house she complains "I want to wear a shirt" I changed her to pajamas into ordinary outfit. Before putting her jacket on I asked her if she wanted to do pee-pee, but she didn’t want to. So because we are in the phase of potty training I took the risk to not put her diaper on. As I was getting the keys and my hand bag said “Pee-pee”, but it was too late. She had an accident and I had to change her again. Ah, the beautiful of motherhood.

Wednesday I was tired. I was sad that we decided to not use the child minder. So, in the morning I had the great idea to reorganise my clothes for autumn/winter. By eleven thirty I was so tired. Soon after snack I read to AOI and while I was dozing off she took all her Sesame Street alphabet books out the shelf. After a while she came to curl next to me to sleep, but not without complaining couple of times saying "I don't want to sleep". After which she fell asleep straight away. Gosh, it's so easy for her to sleep completely within seconds.

Thursday, at the playgroup all the children wore their Halloween costume. In the morning I drove to Walmart to buy a costume for AOI. Initially she wanted a ladybird costume but she changed her mind when she saw an elephant costume. The whole day she didn't want to take the costume off. I had my writers' group, so hubby said he would take her to trick or treat with some friends but when he got back home from work it was raining so they didn't go. Well, maybe next year because she is still young anyway.

AOI

AOI supervising daddy make her booster chair

Friday we were supposed to go visit a friend but she was busy so we didn't. We did the usual routine we do when we don’t go out. I tried to relax as much as possible. The whole week AMI was going work early because he had to do some field work. Friday afternoon he got home early and he decided to do a booster chair for AOI. In the afternoon, after AOI’s nap she painted her chair.

booster chair

Saturday AMI and AOI went to storytime at the library. I went to tutor in Italian. After that we went to lunch organised for RN and his parents. They are going back to Israel on November 13th. We are going to miss them so much. It was wonderful to see many other friends.

Sunday when we woke up AOI had the temperature so we decided to not go to church. AMI decided to clean the house and when a man decides to do something he really gets things done properly. The kitchen is so organise and he decided to organise the basement because he bought AppleTV and this winter our plan is spend many hours in the basement.

The first proper winter snow started falling Sunday evening. Few months ago I was wishing for winter but right now I’m not too sure.

Have a happy week 45

linking with The Bradleys and This Analog Adventure

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