Monday, December 12, 2011

According to a Toddler...

Verb conjugation:

"I cried her." (I made my sister cry)

"I squeeked her" (I stepped on the dog and she squeeked)

Other phrases:

"Look at my dressing!" (Look at my nice clothes!)

(I say something about students) "That's a bad word!"

Santa asked: "What would you like me to bring you for Christmas?"
Monkey replied: "Candy!"

Friday, December 9, 2011

Holiday Challenge: Day Ten

Fabulous Holiday Blog Challenge

Today is the last day of the Holiday Challenge with Amber and Neely, and the topic is New Years Memories.

I've never gone to fancy parties on New Years, but I do have some fun memories.

A tradition we had when I was a kid was ordering Kentucky Fried Chicken (so mom didn't have to cook) and playing the board game Clue.
Every time I play that game I remember New Years with my family.

I remember in high school I threw a slumber party for a few of my close friends. Since my birthday is the first day of December, the party was kind of to celebrate that.
memories of that night include:
-my dad offering alcohol to my friends, and one of them being really upset because we were all underage
-staying up most of the night talking
-having BOYS sleep over at my parents house

One other memory is of the big deal that was made in 1999 about how technology was going to stop working when it turned midnight. I remember sitting by the TV waiting for all the power to go out and being so disappointed that nothing even happened.

Every year since we've been married, I always have a New Years kiss with my husband. My best memory of New Years since we've been married was our year in Sweden. Our flight got back on New Years Eve, and the runway was really slippery. We all applauded our pilot for landing safely. When we got back to our little flat, we were exhausted and had forgotten that what day it was, so when people started shooting off fireworks outside, we had to really think hard about what was going on.

This year we don't have any plans (which is normal) but I do hope we can have a cheese fondue, make some oliebollen (a dutch treat) and play Clue!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday Challenge: Day Nine

Fabulous Holiday Blog Challenge

Today is day nine of the Blog Holiday Challenge with Amber and Neely, and it's all about our goals for 2012.

I don't normally have resolutions because I have a hard time sticking with them, but I think my problem is shooting a little too high.

Things like:
-lose (blank) number of pounds this year
-stop using our car and take public transportation and my bike everywhere!
-cut out caffeine and chocolate completely!
-do a picture/post/craft a day... or a week
-read the whole Bible cover to cover...
(and so on and so on...)
are not things I can really accomplish. I do want to lose weight, drive less, reduce my caffeine intake and take pictures of the kids regularly, but sticking with strict goals like those is not something I've found to work personally.

HOWEVER, there are a few things I really want to accomplish in 2012.

1. I want to actually celebrate my anniversary with my husband. It will be 5 years of marriage in August 2012, and we haven't taken a vacation together EVER. Not even a honeymoon (it got cancelled on account of the death of my uncle). I'm glad our anniversary is in the summer, because my mom is a teacher, and she has taken Monkey for a week each summer, so hopefully she can take both kids and Hubby and I can have a weekend together...

2. I want to make myself a priority. This does not mean I want to be the centre of the universe, just that I know I've been putting myself on the back burner and putting everyone (kids, friends, hubby, church obligations...) in front of myself. I realized that I spend HUGE amounts of time making sure the kids eat well, dress nicely and have fun things to enjoy each day, but I haven't watched what I eat, exercised, even showered daily, and FORGET about doing my hair or makeup... I need to take care of myself so I can continue to take care of others.

3. I want to get rid of the credit cards once and for all. Last year when we got our tax rebate, we paid off our credit cards completely. We then bought a bed (on credit and paid it off in 2 months), we bought a TV (on credit and paid it off in 3 months) and we made other purchases and didn't pay them off, so now we've got some not-so-nice balances on our cards (one is Hubby's, one is mine). I hate getting the bill each month and seeing that the interest is putting back on money that I just paid off! Credit cards are good for online purchases and for reserving hotels or flights... but since we almost never do either of those things, we should have NOTHING on the cards... this years rebate is going to eliminate them FOR GOOD! And then all we need to do is spend the next decade getting rid of our student debt....blah....

4. I want to work from home. I LOVE staying home with my kids. I never thought I would, but it is such a blessing to be present when Monkey learns something new, or says something that makes me wonder "what planet did you come from?!" So I want to keep staying home. I have an opportunity to teach cooking and crafting classes in my community, but since I've just had Annika, I haven't looked for any clients to teach. I love the idea of teaching these classes, but I have to do the hard work of networking. I also have been told that my cupcakes are great, so I'm hoping to have some people order cakes/cupcakes from me to bring in a few extra dollars a month. Every little bit helps us get out from the student debt monster, and towards the giant house-buying-mortgage monster...

5. I want to volunteer. There are so many places in the Kingston area that I would love to help with. Kingston Pregnancy Crisis Centre, the Salvation Army, Martha's Kitchen, Grow a Row, Big Sisters, my church nursery.... but I haven't made it a priority, so I haven't done it. This year I want to help. Even if it's once a month for only a couple hours, I want to be the hands and feet of Christ to someone other than my own family. I don't want credit, I just want to respond to the push I've been feeling for much too long.

These are my goals. I don't think they will change any time soon. These goals are the foundation of a life I want to live, and I want to start living it now. January 1, 2012 is just a date. It isn't more or less special than any other day of the year.
I want to make a change, and the calendar shouldn't determine when that change starts. Now that I've written these down, hopefully I'll look back often to keep myself accountable. And to remind myself of the goal. Not "size 4" or "book enthusiast" or "100 time blood donor" but that I want to be living each day passionately as an act of worship to the one who created me on this Earth.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Holiday Challenge: Day Seven

Fabulous Holiday Blog Challenge

Today with Amber and Neely, the challenge topic is How Do You Celebrate the Holidays (Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa...)

My family celebrates Christmas. We celebrate the birth of Jesus and think that Christmas cannot exist without the Christ child.

We don't do Santa, and I've never believed in him, but I have told my son about him. Not the whole "He'll give you everything you ask for" Santa, but the story of St. Nicholas about giving gifts to the poor.

One story about Santa in my house growing up was that he always forgot our house so he had to come while we were in church. Of course we all knew that the person sneaking those presents under the tree was my mom, but I still joke that Santa came to our house after everyone else.

We always put up the tree, and put up the stockings (which were the only things in the house we could open on Christmas morning).
The past few years my siblings and husband and I have been drawing names to decide who buys gifts for who. The names start out as secrets, but they can never stay that way.

Hubby's family has three different parts:
1. Hubby's Mom celebrates Christmas with the great big French Catholic family, and since we live far away, we do that Christmas every other year. Lots of food, lots of drinking, lots of french.... it's loud and happy.
2. Hubby's dad and his wife live close to my parents (45 minutes away) so we visit them in their apartment and open gifts. It's a quiet get together with just Hubby, myself, and the kids.
3. Hubby's Aunt and Uncle live in the same town as Mother-in-Law, and we have gone over there for an afternoon (because their house is more geared for adults). They have taken us out for dinner before as well.

We have the tendency to stay the longest with my parents because their house is the most child-proof, and they have enough room for all of us to sleep.

I love the holidays, and I love my family. I can't wait to celebrate with them this year!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Holiday Challenge: Favourite Recipe

Fabulous Holiday Blog Challenge

My first married year (or 8 months) was spent in Sweden, and since returning to Canada, I've wanted to go back. I especially want to go back around the Christmas holidays.

When I was thinking of my favourite recipe for today's challenge with Amber and Neely, I immediately thought of any of the Swedish traditions that I miss.

There are the delicious Pepparkakor (or Ginger snaps) in their traditional shapes of pigs, stars, men and ladies. Eating lots of ginger cookies is said to give you a kind demeanor... plus they taste amazing.

And THEN there is Glogg. The name doesn't give any hint to the deliciousness of this mulled wine. This would easily be my favourite holiday recipe, and it is simple to prepare. I have a few recipes for either an alcoholic or non-alcoholic version. Hubby and I came home for the holidays, and we brought 3 bottles of the stuff home with us.

I've used an alcoholic version and a non-alcoholic version in the past. The portion sizes when you drink it are small, so it's not something you're meant to get drunk from.
Glogg was originally made by adding all kinds of spices to cover up the bad taste of the alcohol, but now there are many different variations of non-alcoholic and alcoholic glogg.

Non-alcoholic Glogg:
10 whole cloves
7 cardamom pods, crushed
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 inch piece of ginger root
2 gallons apple juice or cider
1/3 cup sugar
sliced almonds

Put cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks and ginger into a piece of cheesecloth and tie it together.
Pour the juice or cider into a slow cooker, then add spices.
Cook on low for 4 hours, or high for 2 hours and serve with the sliced almonds.

I can't wait to make this again!


Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas DIY Overload

I'm not on Pinterest.

I waste too much time with facebook to find another website to get lost in.

However, I have managed to come accross enough ideas on my own to get overwhelmed with inspiration. So far, my list includes:

-Make your own Advent calendar (I'm a little behind, but I think I can make up lost time)
-Make Christmas ornaments
-Put together photo album/calendar for the grandparents
-Make Christmas cards (well on my way to completing this one)
-Make and send Birth announcements (EXTREMELY behind on this one)
-Make Christmas presents:
-scarf for mom is 90% done
-knight outfit for Monkey is 5% done
-scarf and hat for sister is completely done, but it turns out she doesn't like the colours...

Here are even more holiday ideas that I don't NEED, but my obsessive personality clung to when I saw the pictures.
-The Peaceful Mom. She has links for Candy Cane bath salt, Peppermint Cocoa, and other DIY gifts and links for a stress-free Christmas
-La Casa de Sweets amazing gingerbread cupcakes that I'm DROOLING to make...
-Confessions of a Homeschooler has a 12 Days of Christmas post, and these Monogram ornaments look simple and fun. I've got a jar of Mod Podge just waiting to get used up...

So even without Pinterest to fill my time, I've already overloaded my plate...

Any other exhausted crafters in the house?


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Challenge: Favourite Holiday Tradition

Fabulous Holiday Blog Challenge

Today in the Holiday Challenge with Amber and Neely, the topic is my favourite holiday tradition new or old.
This year is the first time we're not going to be making a crazy sport of travelling all over the province to see every family member at Christmas, and I'm really looking forward to having a quiet(er) holiday season.

That being said, since I've got a large extended family, I've got a lot of traditions.

My immediate family (siblings and parents) has a tradition of going to church Christmas day, and opening presents after we got back and ate lunch. As a child, I hated the waiting, but now I really like that we were forced to remember the real point of the day, and I think I'm going to continue this tradition, but with a slight change. Since hubby and I go to a church that doesn't do Christmas Day services, we're hoping to read the Christmas story from Luke to the kids in the morning, and then open presents after having a really great meal.

My extended family always gets together the day after Christmas (boxing day here in Canada) and since we're so large, we've had to rent a school for the past few years to host the event. This is the one time of the year that we ALL get together. There is a camping trip in the summer, but lately more and more people have had to miss it for many different reasons. At this Christmas get-together, we have a giant meal, we play games and sports (since there is a gym) and we watch the little ones open presents. It's an awesome day of family, fun and food, and I don't think it would feel like Christmas without it.

There are other traditions I've missed, especially the ones from hubby's family, but I'll save those for next week when I get to talk about how we celebrate the holiday season.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Holiday Challenge: Favourite Gift Received

Fabulous Holiday Blog Challenge

This is the first year I've been out of school in 2 decades, and since I've been home with my two kids, I've got all kinds of time to think about getting ready for Christmas.

I'm participating in the Holiday Challenge hosted by A Complete Waste of Makeup and Brunch with Amber. Each day I'm going to be posting about the topic they have chosen. Today is about my favourite gift I've ever received.

In thinking about this, I remember many gifts over the years that my parents have spoiled me with. The best Christmas present I've ever received has to be from last year.

I was in my last year of Culinary school, and I have always done a lot of baking, so I would always drool over the KitchenAid equipment my school had. I knew that even the most basic KitchenAid mixer was normally over $200, so I thought it was a crazy item to put on my list, however, come Christmas day there was a heavy box with my name on it, and before I even opened the wrapping paper, I knew that my mom had spoiled me more than ever before.

Now I may be a bit obsessed about baking (I've already admitted that cookbooks are my bedtime reading material), but this present tops anything I could ever ask for. I would be Popeye because of all the buttercream icing I make if I didn't have this machine.

Basically, after my kids, this would be the one thing I'd grab if my house was on fire...

And I think the only gift that could ever top that machine is the gift that Christmas is all about, the little baby boy born 2000 years ago in a stable.


Friday, November 25, 2011

It's not December, but it's Christmas Season already!

I can post about Christmas now, right? I mean once American Thanksgiving is over the Christmas season is in full swing...

We put up our tree on Thursday. My husband works for an American company that's here in Ontario, so they were closed. Bummer for the paycheck, but Yay!! for the help cleaning the house.

My little monkey was so thrilled with the tree that he hugged (and kissed) it goodnight. He keeps grabbing the ornaments and moving them around to different branches (we have all child-friendly ornaments on the tree so no worries about break-age.) His favourite is a snowman made from bells that he takes and shakes and sings "Jingle Bells, all the way. Jingle Bells, all the way..." until we tell him to stop.

We started watching Christmas movies and reading Christmas books this week as well.
I've got about 25 books that are winter or Christmas themed, and the PLAN was to wrap them each up, and then unwrap one a day to read, but when we took the tree out of our storage closet, the bag of (unwrapped) books came too, and Monkey immediately pulled them out and started looking at them. I gave up trying to take them away, so now they're sitting in a basket under the tree.

We've also started Christmas crafts.
So far we have finished some cards (that I'll post about when we've mailed them) and we've made a garland for the tree from construction paper. I've done a few other things on my own, but I'll post those pictures later.

The one thing that made it really seem like the Christmas season is started is the snow we got on Wednesday morning. Monkey woke up with a bad dream at about 4am, but when I saw the snow on the ground, I held him up to the window to look before I put him back to bed.
The first snow is always magical.

I'm excited for all the rest of the Christmas activities we are hoping to do this year! I'm still working on an advent calendar (hoping to finish before Thursday!), and hopefully we'll be able to do lots of fun things as a family in December!

happy crafting!

I'm Blank Because....

Found this cute post on Little Moments Like This (and she got it from Little Miss Momma)

I'm weird because...

-I hate the smell of baby powder, but love the smell of my baby's head.
-I like to organize my things alphabetically or by colour.
-I don't like my pencils and pens to live together.
-Dull pencil crayons drive me crazy.
-I use cookbooks as bedime reading.
-I know ALL the words to "The Lip Song" from VeggieTales, and met one of my best friends by singing that song.
-I check the mailbox multiple times daily, even after I get the mail.
-I own only 4 pairs of shoes: runners, winter boots, Crocs, and heels.
-I find folding laundry to be relaxing.
-I love making cakes and cupcakes, but don't like eating them.
-I've had dreams entirely in french (and understood every word).
-I have a pattern inventory of crocheted hats of almost 100, but I haven't made a single one.
-I can't sleep with my sheets untucked (and my husband can't sleep with them tucked in).
-When anyone says they are going to get a haircut, I immediately say "and a real job."
-I'm afraid of the movie Pinnochio.
-I listen to movies like people listen to CDs (but only ones I've seen before).
-My favourite number in french is 99, but in english it's 3,5,8,11, and 15 (and don't make me choose just one).
-I don't wear makeup or jewelery. EVER. Not even my wedding rings.

I'm a bad friend because...
-I will read emails, come up with a response, but not reply for a week (or more).
-I get jealous of things my friends have done or received (lost weight, bought a house, started a new business...)
-I go days or weeks without replying to messages, and then expect my friends to reply to me instantly.
-I forget birthdays.
-I'm one of those annoying facebook friends who sends game requests...

I'm a good friend because...
-I am a good listener and I keep conversations confidential.
-I encourage and build up my friends when they're down.
-I look for the good in my friends and want only the best for them.
-I laugh with them or cry with them.
-I forgive easily.
-I make awesome baked goods (if I remember birthdays).

I'm sad because...
-I've got a lot of weight to lose before I'm happy with my body.
-I yell at my son too often.
-I use the TV as a babysitter.
-I live far away from my best friends.
-I've barely taken any pictures of my daughter, and she's already a month old.
-My marriage is nowhere near as good as it looks on the outside.
-My husband has a problem that causes me more pain and stress than I can put into words.

I'm happy because...
-My daughter smiles at me and knows my face.
-My son will come up to me and say "I love you." or "I missed you." after I've only been gone a few minutes.
-People have told me that my cupcakes are better than the ones they bought at our local cupcake store.
-I have two amazing children who are happy and healthy.
-I have awesome friends who support me and pray for my family when we're in tough times.
-My mother has become one of my best friends and my biggest cheerleader.
-I have a business opportunity to teach cooking classes, which will let me stay home with the kids.
-I'm already down 30 pounds since baby girl was born (even though most of the weight was from her).
-My husband still shows me he loves me even when I'm a royal pain in the rear.

I'm excited for...
-Christmas baking
-Making and sending Christmas cards
-Getting Christmas cards in the mail!
-Seeing my brother who moved out east
-My birthday (happens on Thursday!!)
-The Good Lovelies concert in Kingston on December 14!
-Decorating the house for Christmas.
-Making a trip to North Bay (hopefully next week!)
-Introducing my little girl to my extended family on Boxing Day!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

We've been 4 for one month!

It's been one month since our precious little girl joined our family (technically it was one month on Sunday) and I can't believe how fast time has gone by!

We had a checkup today, and Annika Charlotte (named after my grandma and Hubby's grandma) now weighs 10 lbs 5 ounces. She's up 2 lbs 1 ounce since birth.

We've already made many trips with our little one, including Trick-or-Treating with her big brother. Of course, she slept through the whole thing, and she didn't get to eat any candy.

We all went to the Santa Clause Parade on November 19. Again she slept through most of it, and she didn't see Santa at all, but Monkey really enjoyed the parade! He climbed out of the stroller so he could dance to every marching band and float that had music.

The biggest trip was a weekend (Girls only) trip to Toronto to watch my sister's volleyball tournements. Once again, our little snoozer enjoyed the trip her own way.

But she did get to have her picture taken with the champions.

We love how peaceful you are little one. It's such a great change from the ball of energy your brother is. I know you're still small, but I can't believe how much you've already grown.

I love you.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Love - Multiplied

It's been a few months, but I'm linking up with Jamie again for What I Love Wednesday

1. I love that the weather lately has been more like September than November. I can barely tell that it's less than SIX weeks from Christmas. The grass is still green, and I can take the kids for walks without worrying about scarves, hats and mitts... It's wonderful!

2. I love all the little smiles that my girl has been giving me. She'll be 4 weeks old tomorrow, but she's been smiling for over a week now. This week she's started cooing, and those sounds make all the crying and sleepless nights seem like nothing.

3. I love the grammar of toddlers. My little Monkey has a way with words that makes me laugh. He said the other day that he didn't want daddy to forget his lunch. Or rather he told him to "forNOTget" it. He also told me that he didn't want to behave. He said "I want to beNOThave mommy." I'm not going to pick on it, he'll learn soon enough, and those little quirks make me laugh.

4. I love family, especially my sister and mother who I just got to spend the weekend with in Toronto. We enjoyed my sister's vollyeball tournament and her team won their first medal (Silver! Go Breakers!). We stayed at a hotel in Toronto and had fun with just the girls while my hubby spent the weekend with Monkey.

5. I love my TWO little ones. I love how they stare at each other, and I'm so glad that Monkey already adores his little sister. He says that she's a gecko (and he is either a monkey or an elephant). This morning he started calling her "Kiki" but I don't know if that's a nickname, or just a made up word.

6. Everyday I choose to love this man. And today I love that he writes me love notes and calls in the middle of the day to see how things are at home. He's really stepped up around the house now that my attention is separated between the two kids, and I don't thank him nearly enough.

Today and everyday I choose you.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Adventures in October

Some pictures of some of the fun we had in the last month.

Grandpa S. came for a visit to meet his new grand-daughter (and to celebrate Monkey's birthday)

Look at how proud he is!

Grandpa S. ALWAYS gives the best presents. Last year Monkey got a riding dump truck that makes noise, this year he got a giant car racing kit (you know, the noisy ones that send cars flying across the house...) Daddy had as much fun with this kit as Monkey did.

Cleaning out the pumpkin before the traditional "put our baby in a giant gourd" picture. Neither one of our kids has been a fan of this photo, but that hasn't stopped me and my mom from trying. I guess if we have any other kids, the only way they can avoid this picture is to be born in the spring or summer...

Monkey in a pumpkin (October 2008)

Baby Girl in a pumpkin (October 2011)
Coffee Break had a clothing exchange, so my mother and I went through all Monkey's old clothes to find items I wanted to donate. Of course, this meant that Monkey had to put on clothes as we were sorting them.

Splash pants, a golf hat and cowboy boot slippers make a perfectly acceptable outfit, right? And I'm not the only mom who takes pictures of the crazy outfits my kid comes up with...

My husband and kids on Halloween night. Monkey loved knocking on doors and saying "Trick-or-Treat!" And his basket was so small, he could only make it to 2 or 3 houses before emptying it. This made it really easy to prevent him from eating candy before we got back home.
October was an amazing month. We were blessed with great weather, fun visits from family, and of course, a wonderful little girl.

Here's hoping November brings even more smiles!


Friday, October 21, 2011

What would be week 42 is Day 1...

Last night (October 20th) at 6:46 pm, our little girl made her way into the world.

Me with my brand new daughter!

Daddy and his princess!

Grandma and big brother saying hello

Welcome to the world little one!


Monday, October 17, 2011

This month will end before the baby gets here... least that's how I'm feeling.

We're at 10 days post "due date" and other than 3.5 frustrating hours of false labour the other night (where contractions were coming 5 minutes apart and getting stronger) this baby has shown no sign that he/she wants to make their way out of the comfy little coccoon called my uterus.

I'm not happy.

In fact, I can't remember a time I've been this cranky with everyone around me.

Sure I've got the fake smile pasted on, and I've almost perfected the fake laugh for when the millionth person says:

1. Have you had that baby yet? (Or worse, WHY haven't you had that baby yet?)


2. Did you know that sex induces labour? (or any other labour-inducing tale)

NOTE: Just so you know, my sex life has NEVER been an acceptable public conversation topic, so why on EARTH should it be one now?!?

So here I sit, bored, tired, and extremely uncomfortable, just trying to find something to take my mind off the fact that I've still got a LOT of work to do before I can meet this baby. Except now, the only work that's left is getting the baby from inside to outside. And that's the least fun part.

However, I have found a few distractions.

1. Halloween Costumes.
We picked this up the other day at Old Navy for Monkey. He had seen it there before, and spent days asking for it, so when some birthday money came for him, we knew what to use it on.

We were really lucky that of the 2 left in store, 1 was his size.

This will be for the baby. I'll wear my chef jacket, and we'll find some way to dress up a red sleeper... I laughed so hard when I saw this, I only hope it's possible (and not too cold for a Canadian Halloween)

2. Ravelry

This site has almost 4000 free crochet patterns... and I'm sure I've downloaded about 100 into my "I'll make this someday" folder.

I have made a few, but mostly I look there to waste time.

Check out this awesome Beard Hat I made for Monkey!

3. Baby Names

Even though I've read every book and searched every site I could find, Hubby and I still can't agree on a name. We've got it narrowed to 2 possibles for girl first names (with no middle for either) and 1 possible first name for a boy, but since we still don't know what baby #2 is, we don't have either name set.

But as much as I fill my time up with all this stuff now, I am trying to make sure Monkey gets the best of me too, because when our next little one finally does show up, I'm sure I'll be giving our first the worst of me, or just whatever is leftover.

Here's to a short wait!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Three Years Ago...

...I met this little man, and he changed my life forever.

...I watched the sun rise on life as a mama.

...I was blessed beyond my wildest dreams.

And all because of my little monkey.

Happy 3rd Birthday little man!

I love you to the moon and back.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

40 Weeks (and STILL no baby)

There are so many different websites or apps that have weekly statistic updates on how big your baby is, or what exactly your baby can do each week, and I've subscribed to a few of them on facebook or by email, and I've read many of them, but the last few weeks I haven't read them at all.

Then this afternoon, I was checking my email, and by accident I clicked "next" or something, and one of these updates opened. What did it say?

"Welcome to the world, little one!"

And the evil angry pregnant monster who seems to be creeping up more and more regularly snarled at the computer,

"My baby isn't here yet!"

And while there is a large part of me (a very UNCOMFORTABLY large part of me) wishing that this baby would just magically appear outside my womb without any pain or hard work, I know that this baby is safe and healthy and will come whenever the time is right, even if my calendar says it's "late".

And I'm reminded that there have been so many blessings throughout this pregnancy, so I should focus on the things I'm grateful for, and stop thinking only about all the things I'm looking forward to being done with.

Here is a list (no particular order) of things I can be grateful for:

-This baby is full term. In the past few months, a few friends have had pregnancies end a lot earlier than expected. Some had healthy babies who were born much earlier than expected, but some had babies who didn't make it. I cannot complain about a healthy baby who is still living, even if it means I might wait longer than the normal 40 weeks to meet this little one.

-This pregnancy I haven't had any complications. With Monkey I was hospitalized for 4 nights with a severe infection that caused my face and eyes to swell so that I lost my ability to see for a few days. This time, the only swelling has been my feet, and even then, it's not anything more than a discomfort.

-This pregnancy I've been able to stay active and eat healthy, leading to a much lower weight gain than my first (I've gained less than half this time what I gained with my first)

-I have had amazing, consistent, supportive medical care all the way through this pregnancy, unlike the disjointed and sporadic medical care I had with Monkey, missing the first 4 months because I was overseas, and then being shipped around to 3 other doctors before he was born.

-I have been able to clean, organize, and even decorate my home for the arrival of this little one, unlike the last pregnancy when I didn't even have a place to call a home until 6 weeks before Monkey arrived.

-I have fantastic and supportive friends and family who are celebrating this little one already, and who already are thankful for the blessing we are soon to welcome to this world.

We are such a blessed family, I can't complain when I have so many things to be thankful for. And I'm thankful especially as this weekend approaches (Canadian Thanksgiving) for the many blessings that we have on top of this new baby.

There is still hope that we can meet the baby soon, but I know that God's timing is perfect, and whenever our little one arrives will be the perfect time.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

What a Baby Actually NEEDS

In these last couple weeks before Baby 2 comes, I've still got a HUGE list of things I'd like to do.

We've had a very productive week and most of the essential things are done.

I've been working on a NEED vs. WANT list for baby, and I've got 4 things I can think of that are actual needs, and everything else is just icing.

NEEDS for Baby 2:

1. Place for baby to sleep - - - - - - - - -CHECK! we put together the crib last night.

2. Something for baby to wear - - - - - CHECK! all the neutral items we own for babies under 6 months have been washed and dried and were nicely folded until Monkey's nap this afternoon.

3. A carseat for baby - - - - - - - - - - - (almost) CHECK! this is a gift from my parents, and is still living at their house. They have a pink cover for the carrier carseat, but we have a yellow cover here, so we're set boy or girl...

4. Diapers and wipes for baby - - - - - CHECK! I've got some cloth (some pre-folds, some all-in-ones...) and I've got a closet full of bags of disposable diapers which I'm sure we'll go through as well (I found some great deals on diapers, which combined with coupons to really nice prices)

WANTS for Baby 2:

1. A seat for baby - - - - - - - - - - - - - CHECK! (three times over) we found a brand new Exersaucer for 5 dollars that is staying with my parents. We also have a Bumbo seat that has been used by a friend for the past year, and we have a bouncy musical chair that vibrates (also $5, this time at a yard sale).

2. A basinette or playpen - - - - - - - - - CHECK! (on both items) we were given the playpen for Monkey's first Christmas, and we were given a Moses basket from Hubby's Aunt and got to bring it home when we visited a couple weeks ago.

3. A carrier - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -CHECK! We have a Snugglie (sp?) that we got back when Monkey was an infant, as well as one I picked up this summer from kijiji. I would love a wrap carrier, so that's on my "dream gift" list, but I'll be fine with what we have (that's why these are WANTS)

4. Toys/blankets/stuffed creatures - - - -These are items that we don't actually WANT (or need), but we have more than enough and have been trying to give them away since Monkey was born. I think the "go-to" gift for a baby when you don't know what to get is a stuffed toy or a blanket.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it goes to show how easily things pile up when there's a baby on the way. There are so many lists out there that have all kinds of extra things listed as "NEEDS" but really you don't need them. Other things I can think of include:

-Breast Pump... This could be moved to the NEED list if you are a mother who has to go back to work before Baby is weaned. I am fortunate to be staying home with the kids this time, so I will not need this item, but it is very important.

-Baby monitor....we have a 2 bedroom apartment... if the baby is crying you can hear it at the other end of our floor.

-Wipe warmer or bottle warmer... these are for the pampered baby... I never even considered getting one

-Matching bed spread set with bumper pads, curtains, sheets.... your baby will not die if he's got uncoordinated sheets... and usually if you get an expensive set, that's the set that will be ruined by explosive poop or vomit... stick with something that will keep baby warm and that fits your budget.

-SHOES for babies... while these are ridiculously cute, they serve NO purpose, so they are not at all essential.

-Mobiles... once again, it's cute, but not essential. When you're changing baby's diaper, the funny faces you make trying to hold your breath and not breathe in the poop smell will be entertaining enough to keep your baby's attention. It's actually better for the baby to look at your face than at some expensive plastic floating object... save the money and invest in your time instead.

-Swings/Jolly Jumpers... these are very useful for some "Me" time, but they are not NEEDS, especially in our case when we already have a vibrating chair, an exersaucer, AND a Bumbo...

-High chairs.... For the first 6 months of your baby's life, she doesn't even need to TRY solid food, so getting one of these chairs before a daily meal time is common will waste your money and your space. If you have a bouncy chair (or a Bumbo) these can be used instead of a high chair, and if you want to save even more space, try the chair that attatches to the table and folds up when dinner is done.

-A changing table... Not an essential piece of furniture. A baby can be changed on any solid surface (couch, the floor, counters, dressers...) and after baby is out of diapers, you can keep all the other surfaces for their intended purposes. We used a dresser when we didn't use the floor, and now it's still as useful as it was before Monkey came along. A very helpful thing might be a changing PAD, but you can always use receiving blankets or towels if you don't have a changing pad.

A baby does not need to break your budget. People who say babies cost thousands of dollars in their first year are insane. It is absolutely possible to spend your entire years salary to have the "perfect" supplies for your baby, but it is also very possible to stick to a budget of only a few hundred dollars and not compromise your baby's safety, and still have all the essentials.

The number one thing a baby needs is love, and as far as I know, you shouldn't have to spend a penny on that. Love your baby, and that will make up for any no-name, or second hand, or mismatched anything in their life...


Friday, September 16, 2011

Conversations with a 2 year old

Amusing moments with my toddler are all to common, it's hard to remember to write these things down, but here are a few things that made us laugh from this week.

This morning, before hubby left the house:

Monkey: Do you have your lunch Daddy?
Me: I must be a real nagging wife
Hubby (laughing)

Hubby: Arrgh!
Monkey: "R" is for Uncle Ryan

After poking my belly and asking when the baby was coming out, he walked over to the garbage can...
Me: What are you doing?
Monkey: I put the baby in the garbage.

This week at dinner:

Monkey: When the baby coming?
Me: Soon. Do you want the baby to hurry up?
Monkey: Yeah. Hurry up baby.
Me: You want to meet the baby?
Monkey: Hurry up baby! I want to beat you!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Link Loves on a Lazy Day

I'm thrilled to be back home after an amazing and relaxing vacation to Northern Ontario. We stayed with great friends, and got to see extended family, and we had enough time (4 days) to visit with everyone and yet still feel refreshed.

As wonderful as our vacation was, I'm so happy to be home. We SHOULD have about 4 weeks before this baby comes, although last night we had a little panicked phone call to the midwife because we thought this baby was in a hurry to show up. Things are back to normal, I'm just getting beat up constantly and wishing for the days before Monkey showed up when I could just nap if I was tired...

Today is a chilly day, so I don't think we'll be playing with bubbles or sidewalk chalk outside. However, I have found some fun activities to hopefully keep Monkey occupied.

Homemade goldfish crackers have only 5 ingredients and look really simple yet really yummy. The recipe uses a food processor, but I hope I could use my blender.

I started a craft box filled with things to do. Last week we made crayons from broken pieces of old crayons and we painted handprint flowers and dinosaurs with watercolour paint. We've got colouring books, old magazines and catalogues, markers, play dough, stickers and lots more. I'm trying to break the bad habit of letting him watch a movie while I get supper ready, so I'm hoping that this box can bring us lots of fun time together.

Activities that I'm drooling over but will likely never tackle include
-making a mobile for above the baby's crib
-making a garland to welcome the new baby, and another one for Monkey's birthday (coming up in a few weeks!)
-personalizing some onesies for the new baby (after our shopping trip this weekend we've now got plenty of neutral newborn sleepers and onesies)

Some great and encouraging posts I've read include:
- My Rules and Long Letter to a New Mom (both from Clover Lane)
- Scriptural Encouragement for Preparing & Giving Birth (from Passionate Homemaking)

This week my biggest project is organizing my freezer and putting together some easy meals that I can just throw in the oven once the baby is here. I've got some instant meals (pizzas, perogies, soups...) but I want to give myself a little more variety so that we don't get bored with the same thing and give in to the "get takeout" monster and mess up the budget.

Happy Wednesday everyone! And happy day 2 of school to all my Canadian friends!


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What I'm Loving: Nesting Edition

It's been months (not sure how many) since I posted a WILW, but I think I've been missing the weekly dose of focusing on things I'm thankful for instead of focusing on things I'd like to change.

I'm loving so many things, these are just a few:


I'm loving... cute all these tiny little sleepers and onesies are! I forgot someone could be so small. I've washed all the neutral clothes we have that are any size under 6 months. We're waiting on our dresser from my parents place, and we're picking up a "moses basket" and our car seat this weekend!


I'm loving...

...the suspense of not knowing if this baby is a boy or girl! It's a little nerve-wracking, and there are a few details that really make me second-guess myself on this choice (like the birth announcement, and the 'coming home' outfit) but I think the suspense makes me excited for labour!


I'm loving...

...nap time! I'm becoming more and more doubtful that Monkey will keep up with naps in the fall, but as for these past few weeks that I've been home, naps have happened most days. I'm enjoying them as much as I can right now, and I've even had a few myself while Monkey sleeps! It's been great!


I'm loving...

...completing projects that I've had on the go for months, or even years.

I've finished 2 large crochet blankets, one that I started before Monkey was 6 months, and the other probably 18+ months ago. I've also been able to make progress on Monkey's scrapbook (which I'm sure I'll never touch again once baby #2 shows up).

I'm also really loving being able to start new projects. Today I made new crayons out of melting old broken crayons for just a couple minutes in the oven.

Here they are straight out of the oven:

And here's the final product! I love that the green ones look camouflage. I hope Monkey has lots of fun with these, and they were super easy to make, so I'm sure I'll be doing this again.


I'm loving...

...that this is the first year that nobody in our house is preparing to go back to school. It's strange for me to see the "Back to School" Sales and to know that I'm not going to need any of that stuff. At the same time, I'm thrilled that I get to spend my whole energy focusing on being a mom this year. The past almost 3 years of being a mom I've also been a full-time student, so the concept of being able to focus on only the mom side without having to think about the school or work side of life is nice for a change. (And I know my time will very quickly be filled up once there are 2 kids, not just one)


I'm loving...

...supportive family and friends. We're making a trip this weekend to go see some amazing friends, and I'm thrilled to be (a) going on vacation, and (b) seeing great people I've missed for months. (Not to mention, we need to make sure Monkey doesn't forget his betrothed...)


I'm loving... husband. Sometimes the love is easier, and sometimes I need to really focus on choosing to love, but He's mine for the rest of my life, and I'm so glad that he's in my life.

Go over to Jamie's to see what she and (many) others are thankful for today!


Monday, August 29, 2011

A Toddler, A Stick, and a Hook

This past weekend was the 'young adult' camping trip for our church. Hubby had to work Saturday, and I didn't want to sleep on the ground when my bed was 10 minutes from the camp site, so while we spent the evenings (and Monkey and I spent Saturday afternoon) at the site, we slept at home.

Adam and Tom getting supper ready Saturday night

I have never experienced a more "gourmet" camping trip. It seemed that all the luxuries of every day life were present (can't forget your morning mocha with frothed milk and espresso...), but at the same time, every meal was cooked over the open flame and the best fishing award went to the least fancy pole.

Roasted potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic. Yummy!

The fishing was probably my most favourite moment, which is saying something, because I really see no point in catch and release, and before Saturday I thought it was quite possibly the most boring sport in the world.

Those thoughts came BEFORE I got to see Monkey experience the thrill of catching his first fish. We (adults) probably had more fun watching Connor play with the worms and touch the fish than we did doing the catching ourselves.

Abbie and Tom trying to tie the hook on the line while Monkey tries to run away with the pole

Tom fishing off the dock with Monkey. Almost as soon as the line was in the water they got their first bite. Tom probably caught about 10 fish with that stick (Monkey was only there for the first two)

Tom and Monkey with the first fish he ever caught! They are about to throw it back.

Monkey showing me his worm. He tried to throw this one in the water, but we put it on his hook.

I might enjoy fishing if it continues to be this fun to watch, but I'm still a bit squeamish about sticking the worms on the line.

I'm so glad to have great friends who make simple weekends like this amazing fun!