Would Peggy Hill Judge My Leggings?

Posted by on Dec 18, 2014

Every time I slip on a pair of leggings, I can hear the voice of Peggy Hill in my head.

It’s the episode in King of the Hill where Peggy enters a beauty pageant, confident that the judges will prefer her brains over the typical big-haired beauty that you’d normally find in a Texas show.

She is, of course, wrong.

As the episode goes on, we see Peggy’s normally unshakeable self-confidence slowly begin to erode. In one scene we watch her toss and turn, fretting about her frumpy appearance, until she finally she sits up to talk to her husband.

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Peggy:  Hank, do you think I’ll turn into of those women you see at the Mega Lo Mart who wears white stretch pants and doesn’t tuck in her shirt anymore?”

Hank: Not for many, many years.

Peggy: Oh, so you’ve thought about this.

That’s it – that’s the part I hear every time I pull a pair of leggings off the floor out from my dresser drawer, and each day as I get dressed, I wonder if I’m wearing the hip, new style of today’s youth or if in fact I’ve been tricked into embracing today’s version of the old-lady stretch pant that Peggy so despises.

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I guess it could really be either one.

But who cares, right? I say that leggings are a gift to us postpartum mothers. Leggings don’t care that you change shape on a daily basis. Leggings don’t care if you ever go back to your pre-pregnancy size. The pair I wore yesterday? That one pair fits size 2-10. That’s one forgiving pair of pants.

And right now I need that level of forgiveness because none of my other pants are giving me much help. My pre-pregnancy pants are just a little bit too tight – you know, when your pants have crossed over that fine line between stylish and overstuffed sausage? And my maternity pants are just a little bit too loose – they seem fine until I find myself running after The Pixie with one hand gripping the baby and the other hand desperately grasping at the enormous maternity waistband to stop the pants from falling down and flashing the world my ugly pre-pregnancy underwear (and, to be clear, that’s pre-first-pregnancy).

Leggings, though? Leggings stay up. Leggings stay on. And so I happily have five pairs now: black, black, grey, way-too-purple and ultra-luxurious-velour-reindeer.

And no shirts to go with any of them.

Ok, so that was an oversight on my part. You see, you need long shirts with leggings so that you don’t accidentally cross into that dangerous “leggings as pants” territory. And guess what – none of my nursing shirts are anywhere near long enough. Of course.

Rather than dragging my kids to the mall and then returning home in a huff to blog about about raising hooligans/the low quality of workmanship/the lack of natural fabrics/all of the above, I decided we’d all be better off if I just sewed something myself. Something that would be comfortable, work with leggings, and allow me to nurse the baby easily.

Sounds like a Wiksten Tova to me.



I love Tovas, and I especially like the cozy flannel ones that people have made, like this one here. Or this one here. This one here might be my favourite.

Once I decided on flannel,  I did what any sane person would do and I immediately drove to Fabricland to buy not one but three different flannel prints because it was all 50% off and I couldn’t make up my mind. Clearly flannel dresses are going to be part of my mom-uniform for the rest of the winter.

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Sigh. I love fabric. If I didn’t hoard yarn, I’d hoard fabric instead.

I’ve only had the chance to sew up one so far, but I love how it turned out and I’ve worn it far too many times already.

Flannel Wiksten Tova

This shirt is SOOOO soft. I like how the fabric is diagonal on the inset. Also, you can’t tell from the photo but the pattern on the left and the right side of the inset lines up perfectly – it took me a few attempts to get that right. And I like the length – it’s long enough to make me feel decently covered at all times but not so long that it resembles a grandmother’s night gown. I like the patch pockets too, which I added on a whim at 1:00 am when I was still nervous that the shirt resembled sleepwear. Pockets are the solution to any and all problems – at least, that’s apparently what I believe in the middle of the night.

I’m excited to sew another shirt. I’d like to try it in a linen too, but I’m not confident enough in my sewing to spend a lot of money on fabric yet.

But that’s okay – for now, we’ll stick with plaid. Lots of plaid. Which could be kind of country-western, when you think about it. Kind of “Texas” or “cowboy” inspired. Maybe even a bit King of the Hill, right? Maybe Peggy Hill would approve of my outfit after all.

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Relaxing at the Mall #AvionVIP

Posted by on Nov 30, 2014

Disclosure: I am part of the RBC Avion Holiday Boutique Blogger Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Last weekend the baby and I headed to Square One to check out the RBC Avion Holiday Boutique.

I know. Me – at a mall, on a Saturday just five weeks before Christmas, no less. But the boutique sounded really cool, with complimentary valet parking, coat and parcel check, VIP lounge and café, concierge services and gift wrapping services. I wanted to check it out, so off we went for an afternoon of people watching.

The day started off a bit chaotic. You know, like every day here. Both girls were going to spend the afternoon at my in-laws and then The Princess would be attending a Christmas event with my mother in the evening. I ran around frantically trying to get everyone ready, and for some unknown reason I told my mom I’d bake gluten-free brownies for The Princess to take along with her. That meant I’d need to be back from the mall sometime around 4. No problem.

Once both the girls were off, I packed up the baby and then left. And by “packed up the baby,” I mean that I changed the baby, fed the baby, removed the baby’s puke-covered clothing, put the baby in clean clothing, removed my own puke-covered shirt, put on a clean shirt, changed the baby again, packed six diapers, two diaper covers, three wash clothes, two disposable medical-grade plastic gloves, and two carriers, and then fed the baby and changed the baby. And then left.

First stop: Starbucks. I ordered a mocha and then I pulled into a parking spot and turned off the car. Time for those gloves.

One of the perks of the Avion Holiday Boutique is that Avion card holders  – or in my case, lucky bloggers with a guest pass – get to enjoy free valet parking. At the mall. Awesome.

But there was NO WAY I was going to pull up anywhere and expect someone to drive my car in its current state of ickiness – that meant I’d need to clean.

Do you have kids? Then you must be familiar with the layers of garbage that build up in the car. It’s like a lasagne, but with lego heads and candy wrappers instead of a delicious layer of mixed cheeses. Actually, in my car, finding cheese wouldn’t be all that shocking. Sigh.

First I attacked the top layer – discarded winter hats and gloves that the girls won’t keep on for longer than 3o seconds. The next layer was toys that had fallen down and been forgotten – doll house furniture and purses filled with race cars and finished Magic Treehouse books. All this was crammed in the trunk. Done.

Underneath the clothes and toys, I found a layer of paper napkins. For some reason, people at drive thru windows always give us a lot of paper napkins – it’s almost as if they can sense that we’ll need them eventually. Or maybe they just look through the window and stuff an extra handful in the bag when they see the three car seats in the back row. I don’t normally mind – they always come in handy. Today, however, I gathered them all up and threw them in a trash bag and moved on to the next layer. This was the gross part: fallen bunny crackers, cold french fries, two disgusting banana peels and – ewwww – a half-rotted apple. Hence the gloves.

Once the food was tossed in the garbage bag, I felt reasonably satisfied that my car was no longer a health hazard. I got in my car, promptly knocked over my mocha and realized that I no longer had any paper napkins. With a sigh (and a possibly a curse word) I used a diaper to mop up the mess and then we were finally on our way.

By the time we arrived at the mall it was dark out – a bit later than I was expecting. I wasn’t sure where I was going and I discovered that Square One is absolutely gigantic! I figured that valet parking would logically be near an entrance so I kept close to the mall and found the parking attendants almost immediately. Sweet.

I pulled up and got out of the car. With a baby in one arm and my diaper bag in the other, I handed over my keys and went inside.

Valet parking is the best. Thing. EVER.

I decided not to wrap the baby in the busy entrance, so I carried him in my arms while I looked for the Holiday Boutique. Instant regret. Being directionally challenged, it took me a few tries to find the boutique, and soon it felt like I was carrying a load of bricks in my arms – not to mention that my winter jacket was about to give me heat stroke as I wandered around in circles.

And then I finally found it.

RBC's Avion VIP Lounge

Whoa. Swanky.

As soon as I stepped through the door, the sounds of the busy mall behind me were replaced by lovely Christmas carols being played on a piano in the corner.

Piano Playing in Lounge

I stood still for a moment, a big sweaty mess. My arms were overflowing with baby and bags and I was suddenly aware that my ponytail had half fallen out. Regardless, the greeters came right over and welcomed me warmly. They took my guest pass, checked me in on an iPad, fawned over my baby and then pointed me towards coat check. I gratefully walked to back and handed over my oven of a coat. Once it was checked, I wrapped up the Baby and looked around.

The Holiday Boutique was a winter wonderland. Plush carpet covered the floors and large sparkling snowflakes hung from the fabric-covered ceiling. Scattered throughout the room were Christmas trees covered in hundreds of white lights and surrounded with stacks of brightly wrapped gifts.

It was so lovely. I didn’t want to go back out into the mall – I wanted to just stay there and knit Christmas gifts while enjoying the complimentary Starbucks beverages and listening to the piano music.

But that’s not why I went (and I didn’t bring my knitting), so out I went again into the bustling mall. I was excited to discover a Lush store – I’ve wanted to dye my hair with their henna for years but I haven’t brought myself to order it online yet. After speaking with a store employee, I decided I wasn’t quite ready to be a redhead. Next time? The baby and I wandered around the mall and I bought a few gifts while the baby charmed the pants off of pretty much everyone. Then we went back to Lush and I talked to another employee. I decided again that I wasn’t quite ready, so the baby and I left the store and headed out to find some supper. After we ate, I went back to Lush a third time and bought the dumb henna because I’ve been wanting to go red for five years now and what’s the worst that could happen? Hair always grows back. Right?

Once I had my henna, I returned to the Avion Holiday Boutique, this time with my arms full of packages. I brought them to the gift wrapping station and picked out the paper and ribbon for each one. I chose silver leopard print for my own stocking stuffers, because honestly – when else is that ever going to happen? They told me that it would take 20 – 25 minutes to do the wrapping and suggested I enjoy a complimentary Starbucks beverage over in the cafe area. You don’t have to ask me twice.

I headed over for a coffee and some cookies and then grabbed a seat in the VIP lounge.

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The lounge area was separated from the rest of the room by a wall, which made the space somewhat secluded and very relaxing. Big white chairs were placed throughout the room, which was filled with even more Christmas trees and dozens of poinsettias. I had my choice of magazines, children books and even a complimentary iPad rental to enjoy while I waited, but like everyone else in the room, I just took out my phone and checked my emails and then took selfies of myself and the baby (ok, we might have been the only people doing that).

The VIP Lounge

As I finished my coffee, I remembered the cookies and popped one in my mouth. The cookies made me think of The Princess and her gluten sensitivity. Which reminded me that I was supposed to be home by 4:00 to bake brownies for my mom. Who was probably at my house right at that very moment, picking up my daughter.

Uh oh.

I called the house. James answered and then passed the phone over to my mother.

“I’m so sorry mom, I totally forgot about the brownies – but I can bring you something else, anything, just tell me where exactly you’ll be and I’ll pick something up on the way home.”

My mom sounded a bit confused. “The brownies? Where are you? The brownies don’t matter, but we’re just wondering where the booster seat is.”

The booster seat? It’s in my ca– OH CRUD.

Time to go. I grabbed the baby and I rushed to the gift wrapping counter.

“I’m so sorry” I said to the young woman wrapping my gifts, “Can you finish that one and then just give me back the others? I have to leave right away.”

The woman quickly finished up the gift and then insisted on sending me home with enough wrapping paper and ribbon to wrap the other gifts myself. Then she put everything, including my bag from Lush, in a pair of reusable cloth bags so it would be easier to carry everything.

I thanked her profusely, retrieved my coat from coat check, and then headed for the front. On my way out, I asked for directions back to the valet area and one of the greeters kindly offered to walk me there himself. Off we went, walking quickly through the mall until we arrived at the doors. The parking attendant immediately brought me my car and loaded my bags in the front seat while I strapped the baby in the back. And we were on our way.

Again, I have to say – valet parking is the best. thing. EVER.

Actually, the whole boutique was the best idea ever. The RBC Avion Holiday Boutique is free for Avion card holders but the valet, coat check and gift wrapping services are available to everyone for a pre-set fee (and the fee from the coat check and gift wrapping is donated to charity). You can find Avion Holiday Boutiques at the Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto and Square One in Mississauga, as well as the Coquitlam Centre in BC and a mini Avion Holiday Boutique pop up at the Halifax Shopping Centre in Nova Scotia. If I end up at Square One again before Christmas, I’d happily pay to use the services again.

Now our presents are safely stashed away, waiting for Christmas morning. As for the henna, I totally chickened out and went to my hair dresser instead. What do you think? Be honest – does the red look okay with my beloved pink cowl or do I need to start knitting another one?

If only the yarn store had valet parking too.

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My Favourite New Thing (Work in Progress Wednesday)

Posted by on Nov 26, 2014

I finished this cowl a couple weeks ago. I love this cowl. I wear it every single day. I plan my outfits around it – in fact, I might as well just throw away any shirts that clash with the pink colour. (Which is really only one shirt. And I’m wearing that shirt right now. With the cowl.)

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Why is this cowl so great? Because it’s super pretty and it keeps my whole body about 5-10 degrees warmer – it’s like slippers for my neck. But more pink and less smelly. By some wonderful miracle, my beloved cowl has stayed out of the path of baby vomit so far – though I’m fairly certain that even if did get hit by projectile puke, I’d still be reluctant to take it off. Actually, now that I think about it, I’m not sure I could take it off without smearing baby puke all over my face in the process. Nope, better to keep it on. It appears that I wear this cowl so much that my children have embraced it as a symbol of my personhood. At least, I assume that’s why my three year old immediately cuddled this mannequin like a long lost mother when I put the cowl on for a quick photo.

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Should I be worried about this? Is this a middle-child thing, where The Pixie has accepted her lot in life and is now seeking out an alternative source of love and affection? Like a cast-away Tom Hanks and his beloved ball? Maybe we should name the mannequin “Wilson” and see what happens. At the very least, we should close the curtains before concerned neighbours report a love-starved child in need of a mother and a hair cut. Maybe I should just knit a matching cowl for her. I’ve been trying to make one for my mother as a Christmas gift. I can’t show you a picture because, well, it’s a Christmas gift. I have not made as much progress on it as I’d like because I’ve been too busy with the baby. It turns out he’s ticklish, so clearly that takes up a good chunk of my day.

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But I suppose I better get a move on with the knitting. Christmas is officially less than a month away. Ugh, I just got a chill while thinking about it – maybe I need to put on another cowl.



Part of Ginny’s Yarn Along and Frontier Dreams’ Keep Calm and Craft On.

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