Sunday, October 23, 2011

Car Seats?

It's funny with car seats because, at home, when the babies are safely stowed in their's, crying their cute little faces off, I feel extremely irritated that I can't just take them out and give them a cuddle while my husband drives on if I so please. After all, that's how long journeys went when I was young - sitting in my mom's lap, bouncing around our Dodge Ram like it were gym class.

Now, in practise, passengering around with our kids as though they were already in highschool (isn't that about when they are free of them?) I am highly anxious and not-at-all a fan. I would actually give anything for a decent car seat right now!

Cabbies, by trade it seems, are a different breed and pretty much exempt from following the road rules of the average person in most countries, which is a concern being that taxis are our second main mode of transport currently (our feet being our first).

The two car seats we have used, which were so graciously provided by the only car rental agency visited by us on this trip thus far were, before our very eyes, disintegrating. Literally, by the end of the day, the entire back seat and floor were covered in a thick layer of fibrous dust that poor Levi's "safety" seat had shed.
Maybe I should have just held him?

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Discovering AND appreciating a new city as we all try and find our new daily "routines" while overcoming jetlag is no easy task. The strong dose of it I was dealt this trip seems to have been the most difficult.

Being a nursing mom means when I am finally tired, but my little guy decides it's breakfast, I can't argue. Then when he decides he wants to party for a couple hours post-brekky (this being 4am Portugal time), there is not much I can say about that either.

you wouldn't think this was 4 am...

We spent our first week so up and down (mentally and physically - man Lisbon is hilly!). From energized and ready to take it all on, to completely deflated, with short tempers.
Of course, we were never hungry at the "right" times. Tired at midnight, and wide awake at 1am.

We found through it all, as we have done before,that we just needed to embrace it. Sleep when sleepy, eat when hungry, play when play was necessary (colouring at 2am, playing "toos" (tools) at 4am) -whatever it took.

Thankfully, we found synchronicity or it found us, and by the end of the first week our body clocks were finally in concurrence with the rise and fall of the sun.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Airtime With Little Ones

Ah the airplane bassinet... What a beautiful little blessing. Flying to Italy with our hearty 11 month old being passed between us the entire 8 hours was a serious workout not to mention a strain on the old triceps, so thank the Lord that our 6 month old was a perfect fit. We had pre-booked the bulkhead in order to reap this benefit and it paid off. Thanks, in part, to our complete ignorance of attendants orders to pick him up every 10 minutes due to impending turbulence, he slept soundly for the duration. Please don't misunderstand this as total neglect for our baby's safety, our hands were within distance to hold him or touch him without strain at any moment, and let's be real, If you're peacefully sleeping away, would you like to be wakened so that you are both tired AND panicky? Personally, No thanks.

A Note About Leaving Canada

Leaving the Toronto airport I was struck with the fabulous idea of giving Levi a taste of home by bringing along a small bottle of pure maple syrup and making him pancakes one morning. Well, still being on Canadian soil, the idea was not just brilliant, but also entirely plausible so I popped into the duty free.
The lesson of the day: don't buy syrup at the airport.
11 bucks for a 100ml bottle?? He can have jam on his pancakes.
Part of travel is craving the flavours of home, right?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Crafty Lisbon

Browsing Lisbon for fabric was a fun adventure despite not really buying any.
I came across a few good shops, and had I not needed to be so discerning due to lack of space I probably would have left Portugal with more.

I didn't actually find any material that was so unique that I had to have it. Speaking with a gentleman at one of the shops, he told me that I wouldn't find any "Portugese" fabric per se, as it was only produced for clothes manufacturing. Likewise, when it comes to yarn there were a few Portugese spun yarns available, but all the wool is coming from elsewhere - mainly New Zealand.

My favourite shop was called Retrosaria - Rosa Pomar, found at Rua Do Loreto, 61 on the 2nd floor(the main floor counts as "0"). (If you happen to arrive there with your baby fast asleep in the stroller just head next door for a 'pasteis de nata' and a drink until he wakes up!).
This shop is just getting in to producing their own yarn and sells a wool they have spun from Portugese sheep - though it is quite a harsh wool. I was told they are working on another, spun from a Southern breed which is much softer.
They sell some great designer fabrics, of which I bought a small bundle of scraps. Unfortunately, I am in love with one of the fabrics in the bundle, but no one knew the designer, or name. Bummer... Maybe, I should post a pic and someone may know?...
The shop also sells a ton of Japanese pattern books for crochet, knitting, and sewing. They were tough to resist- so much so, that I bought one. Shhh, don't tell my hubby. Could there be a worse thing than books to buy when all you have is a backpack?? I suppose yes, maybe a lamp... I know because I wanted one when we were in Egypt but I suppose it made sense that I couldn't buy that one.

I also picked up a few Portugese knitting pins (Aha! something local!). They explained to me that they are the alternative to draping the yarn behind your neck while knitting, which I also was not familiar with. Now, I'll give both techniques a try and see where I'm at. Maybe, it'll all of a sudden make me a crazy, super fast knitter!! Ahhh, dreams...
A woman, who I believe may have been Rosa herself, warned me to use the pins while wearing a shawl or sweater - just something that it will easily pin to - as otherwise you will be left with a hole in your top.

Despite the lack of "local" fabrics, I did pick up a couple of "Portugal" tea towels from a tourist shop for 1 Euro each to use in sewing projects. I have also seen some great tablecloths that I would love to sew with at only 5 Euro a piece. Maybe. before I leave Portugal I should grab one of them too...
No matter what I do buy on a trip, I pretty much always end up kicking myself for what I didn't buy.

A few other shops:

Rua Da Conceicao in the Baixa Ciado area, had several "haberdashery" shops, of which I learned are shops selling pretty much all crafty bits - buttons, ribbons, knitting spools, embroidery floss, yarn, needles etc. Some specific ones I checked out were at #91, 93, 95, 115, and 121.

Rua De Aurea also in the Baixa Ciado area, had a very large multi-level fabric shop called Feira Dos Tecidos. Just down from that one was a 2 level fabric shop called Retrosaria (as so many are), with a nice selection (especially on the lower level).

A small fabric shop is located on the corner at Rua Dos Fanqueiros, 69.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Keeping Up

Just a brief intro to say my hubby, myself, and our 2 little boys are at the beginning of a 12 week backpacking trip through Portugal, Morocco, Spain, Germany, and finally Scotland where we will visit with family.

It is a lot more difficult to grab a moment at an internet cafe when there isn't one accessible to you post-baby bedtime, you have two jetlagged babies, and are a breastfeeding mom.

I finally grabbed some spare moments this past Saturday, mapped out an internet point, grabbed my nursing babe and headed off only to arrive at a locked door with no indication as to how long it would remain closed - even more of a kick in the butt because little Mr.Nevernaps had fallen asleep most conveniently right before arrival.

That same evening, I came upon another internet point and sat down thinking maybe, just maybe, the little baby boy on my knee would be cool with 20 minutes, okay 10 minutes of computer time.

2 seconds in, this event occurred:
In seemingly suspended motion I watched as he reached for his dummy clip (eg.paci, soother etc.), tore it from his shirt, thereby pulling the dummy from his unknowing happily soothed lips and threw it to the floor underneath the computer desk of our cubicle in a not-so-nice place.

There are many reasons why that is the grossest and saddest dummy falling disaster, but I most definitely will not get into it.

Anyway, his angry tears came on just moments later, so after the briefest of brief facebook scans, a short and sweet message to our mama's, and barely a glimpse at my email account, I was throwing down my 50 Euro cent and heading back out the door.

Four days have passed and we have since moved on from Lisbon, now chilling in the Algarve. Just down the road from us, a hotel is kindly letting us use their internet for free (or they possibly think we are guests, but I'm not sure and who am I to question such kindness?).

While I cleverly use Donald Duck episodes on YouTube as a tool of distraction for my 2 year old at the computer next to me (Don't judge..), I finally sit with a pocket of time ready to share a little with you and this excuse of a blog is all I've got because, basically, everything else demands photos and uploading is not a current possibility. So, until next time which is hopefully soon... xo