Activity Tower

Some time ago I came across the concept of an activity – or learning – tower. Which is effectively a raised and enclosed space that puts your little one at counter level so they can participate in the goings on in the kitchen.

I looked into buying one, but the cost was….expensive. And shipping was even more so. So I started looking into alternatives, and discovered a ton of people who’ve hacked the IKEA Bekväm step stool to create their very own (much more affordable) activity towers. After perusing a few of them, I decided it was totally do-able. Either with my dad or, ahem, for my dad!

I forwarded him an example (this one), and he said he was game!

So during our visit to Kemptville at the beginning of March, I brought along a Bekväm stool, we went to Home Depot to pick up some wood, and my wonderful dad made Boo an activity tower in time to bring it home with us!

Boo in his activity tower 1

Boo in his activity tower 2

It was immediately a HUGE hit. So much so, that I felt its absence when I took it apart and brought it downstairs to paint – which put it out of commission for 2 whole days.

I used an outdoor paint to ensure maximum protection against water – super important as I’ll often station my little man at the second sink with me as I do the dishes, and he’s prone to dumping cupfuls of water onto himself, the tower, and the floor. But that’s ok. As long as he’s having fun and keeping busy, and most importantly not crying and pulling on me to pick him up, I’m a happy mama.

Boo at the counter

So now, instead of struggling to get meals prepared, or do some cleaning in the kitchen, I can station him at the counter with me, and we “work” side-by-side (and by “work” I of course mean he empties the contents of the dish rack back into the sink, or on to the floor…but at least he does so peacefully!).

Boo examining the contents of the dish rack



My mother-in-law bought me these tulips last week, and now that they’re about ready to trash, I’m a little sad to see them go. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying them, and have been particularly impressed that they haven’t drooped at all. The trick? Ten copper pennies thrown into the vase.

Tulips before they fully opened

I took this shot before they’d fully opened – I think I was still skeptical that they’d remain upright long enough for me to get any other photos.


A day or two later, and they were just perfect….and not at all droopy.

Close up of tulips

Open tulips from above

So pretty!

Whenever we have fresh cut flowers they serve as a reminder of how much I love them…I really should treat myself and have them in the house more often.


What we’re reading in March

This month Boo has continued to adore The Very Hungry Caterpillar…it’s still a (several times) daily read, and is usually included among his bedtime stories. He loves it. What struck me about his (other) book selections this month, though, was that he’s added an old favourite of mine – The Monster at the End of This Book:

The Monster at the End of this Book

I’m not entirely certain that he “gets” it, but he certainly enjoys listening to me read it. Of course I get all frustrated as Grover gets frustrated. I whisper when Grover whispers. I raise my voice when Grover raises his voice. I include facial expressions and hand gestures. Reading it has become a whole “to do” which my Boo clearly enjoys.

I suspect he’s also made the connection between the Grover in the book to the Grover we listen to on Google Play (I almost always have a Sesame Street album playing in the background during meals, or when we’re playing indoors), adding an element of familiarity to the character (he’s already made these connections for Elmo, Oscar, Cookie Monster and Big Bird).

As for me…there’s a bit of background behind my March selection:

Not too long ago a friend of mine started reading the Fifty Shades trilogy – and was providing small progress updates on Facebook. One of her most memorable comments was something along the lines of “…every time I read it, I can’t wait for my husband to get home…” which I shared with my husband, thinking he’d get a laugh out of it. He did.

He also went ahead and ordered the trilogy for me.

Fifty Shades of Grey

So this past month I’ve been reading the first (and most famous) instalment – Fifty Shades of Grey – which I actually just finished last night. It was….not exactly what I expected. When I initially started reading my husband asked how it was, and I remember saying something like “…there’s not a lot of sex in this sex book.” * I was expecting more. A lot more. Instead there’s lots and lots of story that somewhat mirrors its inspiration, Twilight.

Like Twilight, the main character has absolutely no sense of self worth, and is always doubting and putting herself down. It gets tired. What also gets tired pretty quickly is the constant references to her subconscious and “inner goddess” (reflecting her super-ego and id?) as a way to describe how she’s feeling – which is generally always excited for sex (her id) or critical of herself (her super-ego). So yes…she has low self-esteem that is only ever elevated when she sees herself reflected through Christian Grey’s eyes.

So on to Christian Grey. What really struck me about his character was that he was…familiar. In fact, I’d venture to say that I made up an almost identical character when I was 12 (minus the BDSM tendencies). He is exactly how you’d expect a woman to create a fictional “perfect man with a terrible secret/past/whatever”. He is completely unrealistic. And his circumstances in the book are just preposterous. Just what a 12 year old girl would come up with.

That being said…I did finish reading the book. And since I already have the following two books from the trilogy, I expect I’ll read them as well. Just like the Twilight Saga (which I’m almost ashamed to admit I read in its entirety), it’s kind of like a car crash…you can’t help but look.

* Some of you may be wondering – have I found the book at all titillating, considering its reputation? Not overly. The sex scenes aren’t particularly graphic, focusing more on the heroine’s groaning and moaning and feelings of desire which constantly seem to be “washing over her” blah blah blah. My generally conclusion? She comes way too easily ;)

** Also, to anyone who has thoroughly enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey (especially my above-referenced friend – you know who you are) – I applaud your ability to escape into the book and to just enjoy the ride…I kinda wish I could jump on the bandwagon too and have fun with it. I think maybe because of all the hype surrounding it, or its similarities to Twilight (which I wasn’t that fond of) I’m not able to read it without a critical or comparative eye. Or, maybe it’s just not my thing.


My bathroom buddy

Ladies Restroom sign from a New Brunswick gas station

So yeah…I knew having a baby would change me. That things I’d previously never contemplated doing would become commonplace. You know, things like wiping someone else’s nose (with or without a tissue), cleaning someone else’s ears, cleaning up someone else’s poops, getting peed on, and eating random bits of that someone else’s meal that they’ve either just splattered on me (it’s so much easier to just lick it off your hand or arm than get up and go to the sink – obviously, I’m very lazy) or haven’t finished.

Not that I’d do these things with or for just anyone. Of course it’s only for my Boo that I’ll do any of it (I can just imagine the reaction I’d have if my husband asked me to pick his nose for him).

As Boo has gotten more mobile, the more concessions I’ve had to make. One day I realized that I had a permanent bathroom companion.* He’d follow me in, and sometimes even shut the door to give us a little more “privacy” (so considerate). At first I thought it wasn’t going to be a problem – there’ve always been lots of interesting items to be pulled out of the drawers to keep the little man busy. He’s a particular fan of the pink calamine lotion bottle. He’s also taken it upon himself to be the official toilet lid closer and toilet bowl flusher (such a helpful little guy).

Until one day last week when that just wasn’t enough. He didn’t care what was in the drawers. He’d already pulled the shower curtain aside and thrown a whole pile of random stuff into the tub. And he’d already shut the door so he was stuck with me.

And me? I was stuck on the toilet, if you catch my drift.

So when my little man started freaking out and came to find comfort from me? What else was I to do? I picked him up and did my business with my toddler sitting on my lap.**

I guess there’s a first time for everything….I’m willing to bet it’s not the last time, either.


* I should note that if someone else is home and I happen to shut the door with, God forbid, Boo excluded from my bathroom trip, I get to do my business to the accompaniment of wailing and crying and knocking on the door.

** I should also note that (thankfully!) once he’d calmed down and I put him down, he allowed me to wipe up unencumbered.


Lately No. 11

Last week I told you all about Boo’s first hair cut – but I skipped the part about me getting my hair cut too (my hair was looking as scraggly and dishevelled as Boo):

Mama's new hair

And about Boo’s recent obsession with the vacuum wand – with or without the hose attached and the vacuum sometimes actually turned on – hey…if he’s going to “pretend” to vacuum my kitchen, be might as well “actually” vacuum it:



And his constant requests to wear winter gear – hats, scarves, mittens, his soft-soled boots – inside the house:

Boo wearing a hat and scarf

We also spent some time in Kemptville with my folks. It was our longest visit since I started working part-time back in October. I got to really catch up with my parents, which was so so nice. Boo got to practice going up/down stairs on their new, ultra plush, carpeting (at home we’re in a bungalow, so not much opportunity to work on stair climbing, other than to the very child unfriendly basement). My mom put my sleep training to the test to see if someone other than myself could get the little man to sleep. (Success! he wasn’t particularly happy about it, but she got him to sleep THREE times!)

Boo practicing climbing the stairs

Boo snuggling with Nana

We built Legos.

Lego House

We went to Home Depot to buy a few supplies for a project I “assigned” my Dad – which I’ll show in a future post. While we were there, though, Boo kind of freaked out (is it wrong that I find pictures of my son crying so cute?).

Boo crying in Home Depot

We also entertained visitors!

One evening my aunt, uncle, cousin and his family came over for dinner. Of course Boo was ultra crabby when they arrived and didn’t want to let go of Mama. His cousin O was especially shy and didn’t want to let go of his Nanny (my aunt)….so their early arrival for “play time” didn’t really pan out until, of course, after supper when it was time to leave and THEN they got all happy and friendly:

Boo playing with his cousin O

Boo sprawling out over the Legos

Boo and O looking at each other through the gate

The next day we had my old school friend Ashley and her son J over for a quick catch-up and short play date. Again, Boo was crabby (in his defence, he did have a molar coming through). J, however, was all smiles, and such a cutie! He explored the house and Boo’s toys, he ate the Sesame Street crackers that Boo refuses to put in his mouth (this kid eats like a champ…sigh…Boo could learn a thing or two or three from him), and eventually won Boo over. Phew! This kid really is Mister Adorable.

Ashley and J in my parents' living room

Boo and J play with a toy together

All in all, it was a great visit!