we’re basically superheroes

My husband has an affinity for superheroes and I, by proxy, have grown fond of them as well. Little does Zach know, several months ago he started living with a tried and true superhero of his very own.**

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Me, 36 weeks

Last year, on our 1 year anniversary honeymoon, I got pregnant and we welcomed our son into the world this past June. Motherhood has truly been a wild ride and one of the clear lessons I’ve learned is that mums are basically superheroes. I know, I know – veteran mums everywhere are thinking: “Duh, Rebecca.” But I have to admit that it wasn’t until I became a mum that I gained a new insight and appreciation into the true identity of mothers. So I thought long and hard about this mum-superhero comparison (initially at 3am and then again during regular day time hours) and I’m confident that it holds true. Here’s why:

1. Alter Egos. This one is obvious – Clark Kent is Superman , Tony Stark is Ironman, Rebecca Wallace is: carrier vessel, milk making feeder, diaper changer, developmental stimulator, baby researcher extraordinaire – the list goes on!
I’m not running a multi-billion dollar empire like Stark, but some days taking care of a baby, maintaining (I use that term very loosely) our home, caring for the cat, and being a functioning person in society makes it feel like I am. Alter ego names for your consideration – Mega Milker, Diaper Maven, The Breastfeeder.

2. We do some of our best work at night. We’re up all hours working like stealth ninjas to keep tiny humans alive. Our bat signal baby monitors call us to duty without limits and then, as dawn breaks,  we have to be prepared to operate during regular business hours as well. That’s some Bruce Wayne s%it, right there.

3. We always go back for more. Have you breastfed (or bottle fed) a baby all day, every day for at least a few months? Have you ever been scratched, pinched and/or bitten during the process? Have you ever used a breast pump? Have you ever used one every day? Have you ever cleaned up poop after poop, with an odd sense of pride that your milk is actually working?
Throw everything at us, no holds barred. We’ll take it on and keep coming back for more.

342h4. We have an abundance of special powers. Pregnancy, labour and delivery, breast milk. ‘Nuff said.

5. We’ve been known to become the Hulk. While pregnant or breastfeeding, if I suddenly became too tired, hungry, or overwhelmed I would become a different person. And, if you asked my poor husband, I’m sure I resembled the angry green guy more than once. Like the Hulk, I always feel terrible once the attack is over but it is truly something that I cannot help. Honey, I’ll try to eat, sleep, and let things go more…I promise.

6. We sacrifice ourselves, no matter the cost. You would do anything for your kid. I mean, their life starts with pushing them out/being cut open to meet them and somehow that’s only the beginning!
And, since I’m here anyway, I experienced a medical emergency 12 days postpartum and ended up having surgery. As I was being wheeled to the OR, 12 day old babe in my arms, I thought “this is madness – how am I ever going to survive?” I wasn’t even thinking about the surgery – I was thinking about parenting! I returned to my room, post surgery, and the first words out of my groggy dry mouth: “Did you have to give him any formula?”
My little story is very small potatoes compared to what some mums have experienced, but I think it shows that motherhood means that you are consumed by thoughts of someone else pretty much all the time, even when under anesthesia! Then, as time goes on, you realize that you’ve still got needs and you have to try to address those without be plagued by guilt. Neither task is easy and mums amazing at getting it done.

7. We work with other heroes. The Avengers are a bad ass hero team and every mum has their own posse. My husband, my mum, family members, friends, online forums that I scour in the middle of the night to find out why oh why (!!!) my child will not sleep – they all count! And trust me, if you’ve had someone bring you a coffee or a meal, let you shower or take a nap, or helped you through a scary surgery or worse, you know that you’ve got other heroes in your midst.

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my little Batman

I’ve had the pleasure of watching lots of special women bring babies into the world, with particular attention paid to those shared the experience with me this year. Each one of us has our own unique trials and tribulations, but there is a sameness among us as well. A connection that is super human and extraordinary, every minute of every day. So congratulations, mums! You’re kicking smooth little baby butt all the time and I think you’re (we’re) amazing.

(**Props to my Hubbs, he really does think I’m super)

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Ontario Open Road

I recently drove along highways 132, 41, 28 and 18, on the TransCanada highway, from Nepean (Ottawa, ON) to Horseshoe Valley Resort (Barrie, ON) and I was shocked. I mean, yes it took almost 6 hours (with stops), but more than that it was one of the loveliest drives I’ve taken…and I didn’t have to go far from home to do it!

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Here’s why I loved it:

  1. The scenery. Do you know how beautiful Ontario is? It has some seriously gorgeous spots! I can’t tell you how many times I drove around a bend and a perfect idyllic pond was just there – complete with animals, flowers, trees and untouched natural beauty.
  2. The singing. I was Rihanna, Sam Smith, the cast of Nashville, members of A Tribe Called Quest, and Serena Ryder over the course of 6 hours. I’m fairly certain that the few people who saw me appreciated my musicality.
  3. The air. It really is fresher, cleaner, and smoother outside of Metro Toronto.

    do you see the flag?

    do you see the flag?

  4. The Canadiana. I have never seen more Canadian flags in my life. There were flags situated in the middle of fields, on houses, and in store windows. My heart swelled with pride.
  5. The alone time. As life changes and the near constant pushes and pulls bring us further away from ourselves, it really is important to take some time to connect with yourself. Also, you also learn a lot about who you are when you are in the middle of God knows where and you lose signal on your phone/GPS.

I found myself smiling a lot on this trip – the sheer enjoyment of the open windows on the open road, and the beauty that surrounded me really was a powerful lesson in gratitude. My positionality in the world affords me the ability to drive a car, alone, in the middle of nowhere and feel safe and secure – to many, that would be a true gift. I loved spending this sacred time on my own and am grateful that I can recognize the value of these moments.

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Pasta & Advice

I learned about this recipe while listening to Katie Couric’s audio book, “The Best Advice I Ever Got.” After Katie’s introduction, Mario Batali opens the courage and self-confidence section  with “Life is not a recipe.” He tells readers that “Recipes are just descriptions of one person’s take on one moment in time. They’re not rules. People think they are. They look as if they are. They say, “Do this, not this. Add this, not that.” But, really, recipes are just suggestions that got written down.”

That being said, Mr. Batali continues to share an actual recipe – spaghetti all’aglio e olio. I don’t know if it was his description of the recipe or the heavy amounts of olive oil that drew me in, but I made it and it was delicious.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • 1 lb-1.5 lbs of spaghetti – regular, whole wheat, gluten-free, homemade (I adjust spaghetti amounts all the time based on sauce distribution)
  • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil + more for drizzling
  • 2-5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon of red chili flakes (Batali uses a tablespoon – if you like things super hot, go for it!)
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup of pickled  peperoncini peppers, sliced
  • Fresh parmesan, grated

?Here’s what you’ll do:

1. Boil a big pot of salted water. Heavy salt – it should taste briny. Add spaghetti and cook according to directions.

2. In a large skillet, add olive oil, garlic slices, red pepper flakes, and a tablespoon of the salted pasta water (Mario taught me that this prevents the garlic from burning!). Sauté on low-medium heat until garlic softens.

3. Strain pasta; add noodles to skillet with ½ cup fresh parsley. Add some more drizzles of olive oil. Stir, cover, sauté on low for a few more minutes.

4. Place final product in the biggest bowl you can find and add copious amounts of parmesan.

5. Grab a glass of wine and enjoy…grab white (or milk) if it’s spicy!

?If you review Batali’s actual recipe for this dish, he uses different pickled peppers, breadcrumbs not parmesan, and more chili flakes than I can stomach. True to Mario’s advice, and taking a page from Katie’s book, I modified the ingredients to make this my own – similar to the way I do in my every day life. Very clever, Mario Batali.

Now, this moment and this meal are yours for the taking. Give it a whirl and let me know how it goes!

Pets & why we need them

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Little Miss Gigi

My family got our first dog when I was about 10. From that day forward, I think I’ve only gone a cumulative 6 months without a dog or a cat in my life. If you’re thinking about becoming a dog/cat owner (referred to as pet owner for the purposes of this post) there are many why I’ll always recommend it.
Here are a few things that you’ll be grateful for when you have a pet:

1. They can be your excuse. 
When you want to leave early, show up late, or just stay home all together, you’ll always have a reason! “I’ve got to let the dog out” or “The cat has been having this hairball issue” are always relevant excuses that your friends and family won’t question.

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“Girls with Curls”

Wandering through a sea of smooth, sleek hair has always been hard for me. I have never, will never, be the girl who can wash and wear her hair without the manipulation of 3 tools, 7 products, and a lot of heart.

my face, when contemplating my curly hair...

my face, when contemplating my curly hair…

Over the years, I’ve been troubled by curls and in love with them. I was teased about my hair for many years and spent a long time wishing and hoping that it would change. It sounds so vain, but it was something that really bothered me. Now that I’m older and (sometimes) a little wiser, I’ve figured out some things that work for me, my locks, and my bank account. I’ve come to understand that sometimes I need to invest in products to make my hair work…and sometimes I’ve got to say no to the $50 hair gel.

Here are the items that help me get by when it comes to curls:

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Super Bowl

A couple of years ago I ate my first Super Bowl at Pickle Barrel. It was a healthy option but sounded downright delicious – it was a win-win scenario. It wasn’t until fairly recently that I recalled that yummy meal and decided we should make our own, vegetarian for some reason, version.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of uncooked quinoa
  • a box of cherry/grape tomatoes
  • an avocado (or two)
  • a can of black beans (drained and rinsed) or dry black beans for re-purposing
  • a can of corn kernels (drained)
  • marble cheddar
  • green onion
  • greek yogurt
  • spices: half a cube of vegetable stock, chipotle, garlic powder, cumin
  • chili garlic sauce 
those ingredients

the ingredients

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The Book Smell: Gratitude for the Toronto Public Library

My Gramma still tells the story of how she encouraged me to learn to read. She agreed to buy me a new book for every one that I finished – the deal quickly became quite expensive for her as I would read anywhere and everywhere, blowing through Judy Blume, Ronald Dahl and E.B. White like nobody’s business. So at the beginning of the year, I made a resolution to make more time for this beloved activity.

Now that I have to buy my own books, a friend suggested I get a library card and read for free. What a novel concept (who doesn’t love a good pun?)! Here’s what I’ve discovered about Toronto Public Libraries (and those in other municipaltiies) and why I’m grateful for them:

advertisement from the New York Public Library

advertisement from the New York Public Library

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