Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ready to go

The new blog is up and running. If you want the address, send me a quick email to kwok.jaclynATgmail.com and I'll be happy to send the link.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Blank Slate

I've decided to delete this blog.

It's not what I'd originally intended it to be, nor is it what I'd like it to be. It's lacking focus and direction, and I think it's time to just start over.

I'm going to take a couple of weeks off, and then I'll be launching a new blog. If you would like to read the new blog, feel free to email me at kwokDOTjaclynATgmailDOTcom and I'd be happy to share the new address with you when there's something for you to read.

I'd like to thank those of you who have read my meager offerings and taken the time to comment. It's meant a lot to me to have you visit me here, and I hope that my new blog will have more to offer.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Seven Quick Things

No, I'm not really doing the Seven Quick Takes this week. Why? Well, if I call it that, then I feel obligated to formally take part by putting my link on Conversion Diary. And I don't wanna. So you're getting things instead of takes. (I'm going to just go ahead and assume nobody really cares either way.)

So here goes.

1. Since Simon celebrated his very first half-birthday a few days ago, I couldn't help but make him half a cake. But of course it wasn't really for him, since he's way too young to eat it. But his father, sister and I all enjoyed it on his behalf.

2. On Wednesday evening, I went out. Me. By myself. Alone. No kids. No husband. Just me. Sure, I met up with a girlfriend for coffee, but I went out by myself. As far as I can recall, this has not happened since Simon's birth six months ago. It felt good.

3. However, I arrived home (about 50 minutes later than I'd intended to) only to discover that both kids were awake. Simon had been up for about an hour, and Norah hadn't actually gone to sleep at all. This is highly unusual behaviour for both of them. Francis was a little frazzled, as this meant he hadn't even started his lesson plans at this point (it was nearly 10pm). Long story short, Simon conked out around 11pm, while his big sister managed to hold out until 12:30pm before finally dozing off. (She wasn't even upset - she was just lying in her bed, telling herself a story which involved Elmo and Pocoyo eating a great deal of ice cream. Her story was interrupted by occasional demands of reassurance that at least one of her parents were close by.)

4. Come Thursday morning, I was rough. I got out of bed and thought, "Man. I feel like a zombie." Then I logged in to Facebook (a.k.a. Crackbook) and saw that another mother on my list had declared in her status: "So-and-so is tired. She feels like a zomby!" Ugh. A friend had commented saying, "That's normal. Us mommy's feel like zomby's a lot." I logged out at that point and made some coffee.

5. My instinct on days when I feel like garbage is to let Norah watch waaaay too many episodes of Pocoyo, and drink waaaay too much caffeine. I made up my mind just after breakfast that I was going to have a better day than that, and I think I succeeded. Photographic evidence:
Norah helped me by finger-painting some homemade Christmas wrapping paper.
I made a double batch (2 dozen) homemade tortillas to go with the chicken tacos I made in the slow cooker for supper.

And I made a wreath out of wrapping paper that I could have just used instead of getting Norah to make some for me... Oops. But I'm pretty sure her grandparents would rather have Norah's creation than Ikea paper any day.
After all of that, I still managed to pack up Simon and get to a women's potluck supper, socialize for a while, then head back home in time for band practice at 8pm. Whew!

6. I chipped a tooth today. No, that's not quite accurate, actually. Today, part of my tooth fell off. I'm not kidding. I was eating lunch (leftover chicken tacos, very soft) and I suddenly bit into something hard. I discovered moments later that the hard thing was actually part of one of my bicuspids which, apparently, had decided to vacate the premises. Am I an old woman? Am I really falling apart already? I get lots of calcium, so I'm not really sure what this is about. I booked a dentist appointment for Tuesday so I can hopefully get to the root of the problem. (Get it? Root? Tooth? Hahaha.... Sorry.)
7. My sister sent me this link, and I've been using it to compile ideas for our family's very first Advent calendar. I'd thought about doing one last year, but the exhaustion was overwhelming. Norah was 10 months old and had just started sleeping more than an hour at a time at night, I was three and a half months pregnant, and we were still getting settled in our new home. This year I have two (generally) champion sleepers, I'm not pregnant (despite rumors to the contrary) and our home is as settled as it will ever be. I'm so looking forward to initiating new family traditions! Even though we'll have to transport the calendar to Halifax when we head out in the middle of December, it will be a wonderful part of our family's preparations for Christmas.
I am so very grateful it's Friday. I'm looking forward to some much-needed R & R this weekend - I hope you all get the same.

Friday, November 13, 2009

What happened?

Where's my little eight-pound baby? I swear, I just brought him home from the hospital a week or two ago. Have you seen him? He looks like this:He was just here! I only took my eyes off him for a moment, and when I looked back my wriggly little newborn was gone, and there's a 20+ pound, six month old baby in his place!

And this kid, well. He laughs:
He "runs":
He hovers when he's feeling kooky:
And he has the most sparkly eyes I've ever seen on a little boy:
Come to think of it, as much as I miss that helpless little bundle, I'm really very fond of this new big boy, too. He sits up all by himself. He loves to look at books and chew the toys on his exersaucer. He loves his Jolly Jumper (obviously!) and "big boy food". Veggies, fruits, rice cereal and even Baby Mum-Mums! But most of all he loves his mommy and daddy and his big sister. He always has kisses and giggles to share, and loves a good cuddle.

I know I need to let my babies grow up, but it's at milestones like this - half a year! - that I can't help but think time is passing too quickly. I guess it's a good reminder to enjoy every minute of every different stage - and to not get too bogged-down when the current stage is a little more challenging. It won't last forever!
Happy half-birthday, sweet Simon. I love you!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Because I always show you my cakes

There's not much to this post, other than photos - just a warning. It turns out that the cake Francis had booked for me has been cancelled. Apparently the birthday girl's father really wants to make her a cake this year. The mother is skeptical, but willing to let him try. On the upside, she does want me to make a bunch of elaborate cookies to give out as the party favors.
So, in order to cheer myself up, I whipped up a big ol' batch of modeling chocolate and made a swan. Then I made another swan. Followed by a couple of teddy bears, and a pair of starfish for good measure.
Sound random?
Well it was in the beginning. But then I decided they'd make great cake toppers. They're a little on the small side though, so I figured I'd go with mini cakes. Mini cakes are really just jumbo cupcakes, but with a whole lot more detailed decorating than you'd normally find on a cupcake. And so I present to you, my mini cakes:

The swan that started it all. I just thought a swan would be fun to shape - they're just so darned graceful. That one swan turned into a pair of "Swan Lake" cakes.
What's a lake without a lily pad? Nothing, I tell you. So I made a couple of water lilies out of some fondant I had leftover from another project I did last week.

I liked the way my "A Day at the Beach" mini cakes turned out. The graham cracker crumbs worked rather well as sand, and I just happen to like starfish. They remind me of that cliche story about the man who comes across hundreds of starfish washed up on the shore, and begins to throw them back into the water, one at a time. Another man sees what he's doing, and asks him why he's bothering to do it. "There are too many of them," he says. "It won't make a difference." The first man picks up a starfish, and before he throws it into the water he says, "It makes a difference to this one."
See? Wouldn't you throw this little guy back into the buttercream ocean? Or maybe you'd just eat him. He tastes a lot like a Tootsie Roll.
Finally, a pair of "Teddy Bears' Picnic" cakes. I think these could be cute for a kid's birthday party.
While I enjoyed all the modeling chocolate work, I also really enjoyed making the fondant pieces. And the teeny tiny food was the most fun of all. The apples are about the size of a pea, and if you look closely, you can see I even inserted a little chocolate stem. I tend to get a little obsessive about these things.

Now I have to touch up the photos (sorry, you just get the raw versions) and then add them to my website. Then, I have to start figuring out how to go about these "under the sea" themed cookies I have to make for this client. (I just really enjoy using that word!)

P.S. In case you've never seen this blog, my goal is to never end up here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I was sitting on the living room floor around 8pm last night, nursing Simon and enjoying the breeze coming in the window. Francis was outside mowing the lawn, and the rapid clicking of our push mower was the only sound I could hear, except for one or two cars driving past the house. It was quiet and lovely and sleepy and perfect.

And then...

"Mr. Kwok!! Mr. Kwok, is that you?"

Huh? That voice. It was so... adolescent.

"Guys, that's Mr. Kwok, behind the bushes!"

Is this actually happening?
"Hey Mr. Kwok! Are you mowing?"

No, definitely not happening. Oh wait, yes it is. Dang.

"Chit chat, yadda yadda, blah blah blah..."

I peeked out the window, and there were at least half a dozen teenagers in our driveway. I say at least because it was quite dark, but I counted six for sure. I'm fairly certain there were more, however. They stuck around for about five minutes, just shooting the breeze with my husband.

Now here's what I'm wondering: There are only about two weeks left until these kids go back to school (they start late here - the 8th). In what universe do teenagers go out of their way to chat with a teacher during the last two weeks of their precious summer vacation? I cannot imagine ever, ever, ever having done that in my youth. I cannot imagine even having the nerve to walk onto my teacher's property and strike up a casual conversation at any time.

So are things really so different now than they were 17 years ago? Or are things just so different here in our funny little village?

Or perhaps the difference is that I never had a teacher like Mr. Kwok. A.K.A. Mr. K-walk. The teacher who showed off his mad break-dancing, guitar-playing, song-writing and singing skills all in the same school talent show.

The guy who let his students style his hair and then take this picture while practicing for yearbook shots:

Okay, so maybe I would have walked into his driveway...

Monday, June 15, 2009

"Lord, I am not worthy"

It's my favourite part of the Mass. Gets me every time. We echo those centuries-old words when we pray, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed."

For a long time, I pondered exactly what word it is He would say. It's not like an "abracadabra" kind of magic word, I know. I assume it's probably The Word. You know, the Word who was made flesh and dwelt among us. The Word who was there in the beginning, who was with God and who is God. That makes sense to the logical part of my brain.

But the emotional, sentimental part of my brain thinks of it a different way. I think of the story of Easter, when Mary Magdalene didn't recognize the resurrected Jesus. She addressed him as the gardner at first, and only saw who he truly was when he spoke her name. She hears him say, "Mary" and immediately she knows him. For me, during Mass, that is the word that is spoken to heal me - Jaclyn.

I bet you're wondering why I bring this up.

If you read my last post, you know that Francis was out of town for a couple of days, and I was on my own with a toddler and a newborn. Thursday morning was great. Thursday afternoon was even better. As of 6pm on Thursday, it all went downhill. Fast.

Come Norah's bedime on Friday, I was done. Spent. Finished. Gonzo. I had nothing left to give, after getting only four hours of broken sleep on Thursday night, and having a rough day with two exceptionally cranky kids all day Friday. So when Norah threw a tantrum as I put her in bed, I wasn't in the best state to deal with it.

She was in her bed, crying. Simon was in my arms, crying. And I was sitting on the floor outside Norah's (open) bedroom door, crying. And trying to reason with her through my tears. She wasn't having any of it. Finally I gave in, and took Simon into her room, where the two of us sat on a chair and waited for her to fall asleep. At this point, I was feeling like an utter failure as a mother. I know that most of that was irrational, post-partum stuff. But that's how I felt. So I prayed.

I told God how unworthy I felt to be given the enormous blessing of raising these two (and any future) children. Desperately and completely unworthy. They're so perfect, so wonderful - and I'm so broken and flawed. I can't possibly be worthy to be their mother.

And then a song came on. We always have a CD playing in Norah's room while she sleeps - it helps to drown out the noise from the rest of the house, and having worship music playing while one sleeps is lovely. So it's Matt Redman in Norah's room, and one of the songs on this particular CD is called - get this - "You're Worthy".

Now obviously Mr. Redman wasn't singing about me. He was singing to the One who is truly worthy. And that's when it hit me:

"Lord, I am not worthy to receive these children. But only say the word, and I shall be healed."

And so He who is worthy has spoken the word - or the Word - and I am healed. I may not be worthy by my own merit, but He has made me so. And for that, I praise Him!