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Sunday, 29 September 2013 21:44

Not What We Expected...

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In the last few weeks we have had some server issues in our house - this website is hosted in my basement :) - which is one of the downsides of hosting your own website, so the blog has been down for most of the past few weeks. 

I have a 'what you missed' blog post planned, but after this weekend, I'll move that to later this week and just explain why - after a 3-week break from blogging - I'm going to take just one more night...

We have been planning a kitchen renovation, and Saturday morning we got ready to head to our nearest IKEA - 5 hours away - for a day trip.  Our daughters were staying with their Grandparents, in case you were wondering...

At 6:30am, driving my in-laws truck, we hit a deer on the highway head-on. It was scary, but ultimately, there are so many things to be thankful for...

1. Our daughters were not with us - just less to worry about.

2. We were in a big truck, and so we were totally fine - not even whiplash. I can't speak for the deer, because it must have been able to walk at least far enough to pull itself off the road and out of our sight, but I don't expect it made it very far and I hope it died quickly.  But we were completely fine - Praise God! 

3. We had barely left the city, and were still not even as far as the city where our parents live.  We called them and despite having woken them up, my Father-in-law was able to meet us on the highway and follow us with the truck (which was still able to drive) back to the body shop and bring us back to their place for breakfast and to spend some time with our daughters - grateful to be safe and sound (and alive...)

4. We were on our way THERE, which meant the truck was not as laden as it would have been on the way back, and so when Brian braked to try to avoid the deer, although a smaller vehicle would have slowed faster - we were able to slow more quickly than if the truck had been packed with stuff.  

I was disappointed about not being able to spend the day at IKEA, and we felt absolutely terrible about totalling a vehicle that wasn't even ours - but there are so many things that could have made the situation so much worse that I really feel nothing but relief. 

More later. 

Tuesday, 10 September 2013 22:21

When Toddlers Stop Napping

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Just as Audrey is growing into a semi-regular routine when it comes to naptime, Clara is growing out of hers. I'm having a hard time with this... 

Clara's pattern was confusing at first, and I'm still not going to say with absolute certainty that all of her issues are sleep or nap related, but here is basically what has been happening:

About a month or two ago, I started noticing periods of time where Clara was excessively lethargic - more than I thought a 2-year-old should be.  But not all the time, just certain times of day.  She would also be considerably fussy and difficult but not with enough regularity that I could really pinpoint one specific cause. 

Without being extreme with our diet at home, I started paying attention to - and trying to limit - the amount of sugar and processed foods we all ate. This is a little bit difficult to do with a toddler who's favourite foods are bread and breakfast cereal, but we try. 

I had recently learned about how gluten sensitivity can affect energy levels, and I personally deal with a slight bit of anemia on a regular basis, so I tried to pay attention to these things as well. Nothing so far has really had a big enough - and consistent enough - effect on her behaviour, although I'll admit my research methods are lacking. 

Then we went a few days without giving Clara the opportunity to have an afternoon nap...

Suddenly, she was falling asleep at bedtime instead of staying up for 2 hours jabbering to herself and keeping Audrey awake. (Go figure) She also seemed to have more energy, not less - although this could also be because these days of naplessness were caused by full days of excitement where there just wasn't time for naps! 

Lately, I also discovered that the 'morning cartoon' concept is a really bad one for Clara. For a few mornings in a row, I was feeling quite exhausted and so instead of getting up and making Clara and myself breakfast, I pulled her into bed with me and put some cartoons on my laptop for her to watch in my room. Then, I fell back asleep while she watched cartoons for an hour.  I liked getting a bit of extra sleep, and I certainly wouldn't complain about the cuddle time with my least-cuddly daughter, but it affected both of us negatively.  It usually takes me about 6 hours to really 'wake up' each day (I wish I were joking), and in getting up at 9 instead of 7, I was delaying my 'wake up' time to past 3pm.

(By 'wake up', I mean beyond walking and talking and coffee-making. It typically takes me until early afternoon to be able to move quickly enough to actually get some house cleaning, etc. done between baby & toddler demands - that's when the coffee 'kicks in', methinks.)

Clara was similarly affected, and even worse. I suspected TV was at least partly to blame, so I tried a day with no TV in the morning. She was a completely different person - she whined for about 30 seconds about her lack of 'Dora' time, and then became distracted by her toys and happily played for most of the morning. 

Sigh. And so - there you have it - all of Mommy's 'quiet time' opportunities are gone. No morning TV watching, and no more naps. 

And to cement the theory, today Clara napped. It kind of happened accidentally - she spent some time lounging on the couch downstairs (not watching TV, because we had a fight - but that's another story...). And tonight, it took her a full two hours to settle down after going to bed, which was really miserable since it also kept Audrey from sleeping. 

I'm still not entirely sure how to keep Clara occupied and not let her get bored enough to fall asleep (like this afternoon) without being by her side all day long - I want her to learn to play independantly, and I also need some time to get things done during the day.  My thought right now is to have a 'quiet time' where Clara is allowed to watch TV downstairs between about 1 and 2:30pm when Audrey is napping, and then have both girls get up and play afterward. This worked for a couple of days, and starting tomorrow I want to try again. 

Wish me luck! How I want that nap back... 

I had 'one of those days' on Thursday, where all of the 'what ifs' were almost more than I could take. 

It started out typically, I was giving Clara breakfast and trying to decide what we should do that day when I received a Facebook message reminding me that I'd RSVP'd to a picnic for that day, but Brian had taken the car and so I would have to bus in order to go. I had spoken to my Grandma that morning, and we had discussed the weather for the next day - when I was planning to go to her house to help with some house cleaning - and how it was only supposed to be about 28 degrees celcius, which is relatively cool and reasonable considering some of the days we've had here recently. I think I unconsciously had it in my head that it would be 28 degrees on Thursday as well. 

I checked the bus schedule and realized that I had about 20 minutes to get to the stop - which gave me about 10 minutes to throw a picnic together, get the girls in the stroller with everything else we'd need, and then 10 minutes to walk to the bus stop.  I figured I could make it. 

I threw a really simple picnic together, made sure we all had water bottles and the girls had hats. I brought along the sunscreen to put on them on the bus and while we were waiting at random stops. We made it to our stop, but when the bus showed up, I almost turned and went home when I realized that I would be taking an older bus - one that is not wheelchair/stroller accessible, and I would have to maneuver the stroller up 3 steep steps onto the bus. I got over my hesitation, however, and decided to try it anyway - luckily someone else at the stop offered to help, so I only had to carry one end while he lifted the other. 

We made it to the picnic a little bit late, but considering Clara and I were both out of our element - we're both shy - and we were there to meet new people, it was a pretty good time. We left a bit early, because Clara seemed somewhat bored - most of the children there were older than she is, and so it was difficult for her to interact - and started walking back to our bus stop.  

This time I hadn't checked the schedule, and had just left as early as we could - not knowing how long we would have to wait for the first bus.

I was glad when the bus was scheduled to arrive at the stop in less than 10 minutes.  Audrey had emptied her water bottle and was fussing considerably, so I filled her bottle again with water from the bottle I had brought for myself and she seemed happier after this. Clara was happily playing on the sidewalk as we waited - so no concerns here. The girls had been heavily sunscreened on the way to the park, and we were on our way home, so I didn't worry about re-applying. 

We arrived at the university campus - where we would need to transfer to another bus - mid afternoon, probably nearly the hottest time of day.  The signs in this bus mall showed limited information - most of them gave the bus numbers for each stop (although some were so faded from the sun, it was nearly impossible to see) and only one (that I found) showed the direction the bus would be going.  As it happens, I was waiting at the same spot I used to wait - when I attended university - to go home on the bus I was familiar with.  When we arrived at the bus mall, I was expecting to catch the bus right away, but was annoyed to see the '80' already driving away. Due to the busy-ness of the campus bus mall at that time of day on a school day, I assumed it had left early because it was already full to capacity and didn't really question it. I simply went to that spot anyway to wait for the next bus. 

As I stood there, I started to feel uncomfortable in the heat. Audrey was sleeping, and her head was covered by the stroller sun-shade, but her legs were exposed so I tried to stand in a position to shade her from the sun.  This left Clara exposed, but she had her hat, and seemed happy enough, so I told myself that everything was fine and tried not to worry too much. 

Then, after almost 15 minutes of waiting in the heat, I realized that the bus that would stop where I was would be travelling in the opposite direction from where I wanted to go. The bus mall had been moved around, and suddenly I was completely lost. I asked one bus driver where to go if I wanted to head back to my end of the city, and he said "Somewhere over there [pointing], but it will say on the sign!"

The signs were not that clear. As I said before, they had the bus number, but not necessarily the direction. 

After a certain amount of near-panicked searching, I figured out where I would need to be and joined a huge group of University students who were waiting for the bus as well. I was worried I wouldn't be able to get a spot on the bus, and with the giant stroller I had, it would be difficult to sneak into the line - that, and when I got on the bus, we would take up the space of 3-4 adults and I wasn't sure there would be room. 

I was terrified of having to wait in the sun with the girls for another 20 minutes for another bus - and none of the University students around me noticed or cared that these babies should probably have first place on the bus. 

Luckily, the bus that stopped was a double length bus, and so there was lots of room - although I struggled to get the stroller onto the bus, and a few University girls seemed not to notice me at all and tried to rush right past me until the bus driver asked them to stop.  It was a really awkward display, and I was more than a little bit stressed, over heated, and exhausted. Audrey was still sleeping. 

When we finally got to our stop - about five blocks from home - Audrey woke up and looked around for a few minutes before falling back to sleep.  Now, her head was in the sun and there was no way to move the shade to block her. I told myself that the few minutes it would take to get home wouldn't hurt her, and just focused on getting home. 

I was exhuasted though, and my mind started wondering what would happen if I just collapsed right there...

I mentally gave myself a slap across the face, telling myself not to be such a melodramatic idiot, and made myself straighten up and stop whining (inwardly). And so, I made it home without passing out, and both girls seemed completely fine.

When we got home, I pushed the stroller into our garage and instead of unloading it - took both girls directly to their room, where I turned their fan on and collapsed on my bed for a few moments.  Audrey started fussing, so I took her into my room and fed her, and then put her back in her crib. 

I should note here, that our house gets almost as hot inside as it is outside on a hot day - so, if the temperature gets to about 32 or 33 outside, it will be about 31 or 32 inside the house. We don't have air conditioning, we just try to shut the windows in the heat and open them again when it is cool and breezy, and at night. The girls' room faces north - away from the sun - and there is a row of cedar trees that blocks their view from the street, so their room is quite sheltered, and since we bought a new ceiling fan for that room after Clara was born, it remains the coolest room in the house. 

Our bedroom faces south - toward the sun - and our ceiling fan does almost nothing. Since we painted a couple of our rooms, we also haven't put the curtains back up, so there is nothing to shade the room from direct sunlight.

I took a cold bath, and collapsed on my bed. I remember hearing one of the girls making noises, but I told myself that they were safe in their beds and the next thing I knew two hours had passed and my Mother in Law was ringing the doorbell to come and pick up the girls (who were spending the night away - which is a topic for another post)

Shortly after, I was feeling nauseous and was soon running to the bathroom, wretching. 

I was reminded of Clara's illness during the winter, when she became so dehydrated that she could no longer keep fluids down. I figured I must be dehydrated, and quickly chugged two large glasses of water. In about 20 minutes, they were violently propelling themselves back out of my body.

I called a friend of mine who is a nurse, and she told me to just keep cool and take only small sips of water every 15-20 minutes.

Right. Cool. 

So, I lay in front of the floor fan in our room and fell asleep again. 

After this second nap, I began to feel much better, but going over the events of the day made my mind spin. 

What if the girls had been affected? What if they had gotten heat stroke - or worse? 

I was mad at myself for not realizing how hot it was going to be that day - or how hot it was when I was already standing in the sun. I was mad at myself for not making more certain that Audrey's head was always in the shade (she won't keep a hat on), or simply for not leaving the house at all.  And I had forgotten a hat for myself, which probably had a lot to do with it...

In the end, I realized that it wasn't me who saved the girls - I felt like I had done everything wrong, and what I had done right I had done unknowingly. I gave Audrey the last of my water, not realizing how important it might be. I could have just thought she was sleeping (which I did) and tried to get her to sleep (which was, honestly, my initial reaction - I refilled her water without really thinking about it). Despite my rush, I made sure they both DID have hats, and the stroller had the sunshade attached - it doesn't always.  When I got home, despite allowing myself to collapse in a hot room, I made sure they were in the coolest place in the house, with the fan on them full strength. 

As I had been feeding Audrey, I heard Clara cry out that she wanted her water bottle, which I had left in the stroller in my rush. By the time I finished feeding Audrey and brougth Clara her water, she had already fallen asleep. Or maybe she had passed out, I don't know. But she woke up fine when I did two hours later. 

They were ok - but the possibility that they might not have been terrorized me, and despite how glad I was that I didn't have to watch the girls while I was feeling sick that evening - I missed them terribly, and even cried that night from missing them. I just wanted to hold them forever... 

This was one of those days, when I was reminded that God 'has my back'. I am not alone when it comes to taking care of my daughters, and sometimes God actively steps in and - despite my ignorance - makes sure that everything turns out ok. I was oblivious - but He wasn't. 

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;"  Proverbs 3:5

Because seriously - sometimes my own understanding isn't worth a whole lot... 

My symptoms from heat exhaustion were initially fatigue, excessive sweating, and headache - and later became confusion and vomiting. Stay safe in the heat - even in September! Drink lots of water, wear sunscreen and especially - wear a hat! 

Take care, all!

Wednesday, 04 September 2013 16:10

She's on the Move!

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Since last week - officially by Friday, August 30 - Audrey has had the ability to move around the house at her leasure by army crawling around on her belly.  She likes to be in the same room we are, and will follow her sister all over the place. 

I had forgotten what it meant to baby proof, and I have a suspicion that baby-proofing for Audrey will be a much more intensive procedure.  She seems to move more quickly, and get into more than Clara ever did, so I suspect she will keep us guessing and surprise us on more than one occasion. 

I confess that with Clara, we didn't do very much 'baby proofing' - we watched her pretty closely, and after awhile we realized that she really didn't get into much. When she was old enough to get into more shenanigans - like colouring on the walls - we would have one incident of each 'type', and after dealing with the incidents, they were never repeated. 

With Audrey, I suspect we will run into problems for two reasons - one, because she is our second child, and as such she will be out of my vision more frequently than Clara was, which goes with the territory of having another child to look out for and deal with, and two, because she has already shown us that she is much more interested in wreaking havoc than her sister ever was. She will get into more and different things than Clara did, so we won't see what is coming... 

Add to that the fact that we have many toys and books lying around now that are not exactly baby-friendly, but that Clara is too young to quite understand why and so we can't trust her to keep these things away from Audrey.  Audrey wants nothing more than to be involved in everything that is going on - and to be able to play with every one of her sister's toys.

So far, one rule I have tried to implement is that Clara avoid playing with toys that Audrey can't play with in reach of Audrey. If Clara is wanting to read a book with paper pages that Audrey would like to drool on and mush up, Clara can take that book to her bed and read it in there where Audrey can't reach her.  If Clara would like to do some sort of craft that Audrey is too young for, it is best for Clara to do it at the kitchen table where Audrey can't even see what is going on.  This will get more and more difficult as Audrey becomes more aware of what is going on, and I will have to get more creative, and find ways to include Audrey as much as possible. 

Audrey is beginning to pull herself up on her hands and knees, and will soon be crawling 'properly' I suspect. She will rock slightly back and forth in this position as if she knows that it would be a much quicker and more efficient way of getting around, so it appears as though she is just trying to figure out how it works and when she does - she'll be off! 

A few weeks ago, I was coaching her to start crawling and now I'm wondering how much I'll enjoy this stage after all :) Seriously, though - I'd love to hear any other thoughts about keeping toddler toys away from babies, or how baby proofing for #2 was different...  Parenting is so funny - just because I've 'done this before' doesn't mean I feel any more confident about what I'm doing! Audrey is so different than Clara!  

This must be part of God's plan to keep me humble... 

Tuesday, 03 September 2013 16:01

My My Little Ponies

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I think at one time or another, I had each 'My Little Pony' in this photo.  Sweetberry, in the top right, looks just like my first pony, which I received as an Easter gift when I was two... maybe three years old. Merry Go Round and Candy Cane, I had named 'Lois' and 'Sharon' from my favourite children's performer group - Sharon, Lois and Bram.  It's possible I was a bit too young, but I don't recall watching a TV show as a child, although I'm told there was one. I didn't know the 'correct' names of the ponies, nor would I have cared - I called them what I wanted, and loved playing with them! 

For a couple years in my childhood, my Dad would buy me one pony each month - as my 'allowance' of sorts. I can remember walking into the town drug store, where they kept a small collection of toys - just down the first aisle and to the right, and picking out a pony for that month. I have one single image of this event in my memory, although I've been told that it happened repeatedly. I also don't recall which ponies I received new, and which we found at garage sales (there were many), and unfortunately I no longer have most of them. 

As someone who grew up with the 'original' My Little Ponies, I can't seem to get used to what they look like now. Their eyes and ears are too big, and their legs are too thin.  They look less 'soft' than the ponies I grew up with, and I kind of miss that. 

Although I can't help but be a little bit excited by the fact that my daughter is now interested in My Little Ponies - just like I was at her age.  I wish I could call my Dad - who bought me all of the Ponies I had as a child, and tell him that Clara loves them now too. I think he might have gone to the store immediately to buy her one especially from him. 

I found this 25th Birthday collector set, and I kind of want to find it for myself Clara for Christmas. They're a little bit modernized, but they look a lot closer to the friendly Ponies I remember. 

Clara's not as interested in the My Little Pony TV show as she is in the toys, and maybe - like I was - she is just too young for that yet. As far as girls' toys go, though, I love My Little Ponies - even the new ones. 

So many of our childhood characters have 'come back' - My Little Pony is just one example. Some of the toys many of us knew and loved never really went away - like Barbies and Hot Wheels.  What were your favourite 'classic' toys, and have they returned, or do you hope they do for your own kids? Are there any toys from your childhood that you think should remain in the decade they came from (and not return)?

A few weeks ago, we spent a weekend at the lake with my family. On going for a walk one day, we decided to make it an adventure for Clara's Cinderella figurine, and started putting her in random locations to photograph. Clara enjoyed choosing places for her to 'hide' as well.

She wanted to take pictures next to every flower she saw...

Clara liked to pick a lot of the flowers she saw also.

I enjoyed the photography practice, and it was kind of a fun way to keep Clara entertained on what would normally have been a pretty average walk down a country road. 

This is what we got when we asked Clara to hold Cinderella up so we could take a picture of them together... 

This made me think about creating my own 'Eye Spy' book for Clara, using her own toys as things to search for. I might collect some of these photos to create a photo book of photos like this for her for Christmas.

At the end of the day, we had grilled sandwiches over the fire and Smores made with chocolate wafer cookies. Clara got very sticky...

Wednesday, 28 August 2013 07:00

Parenting Fly-Lady Style

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I'm lazy. 

There - I've said it. 

I have a really hard time getting my butt out of bed in the morning and becoming productive. I just don't want to... 

Actually, none of that is entirely true - I do know how to work hard, but I need circumstances to be conducive to getting things done, and constantly shifting gears to deal with the baby feeding, toddler potty time, playtime, naptime, cleaning time, poop explosion incidents that happen every 7.33 minutes does NOT help the productivity.  

So, I feel a little bit like I'm in Myst - something is happening or has happened, and I know I have to do something about it, and figure something out, but no one is giving me directions and I'm not quite sure where I am... And that makes me want to crawl under my bed and hide for the next 2-16 years. 

Lately I've been following the 'Fly Lady' House Cleaning system, and I am feeling as though my entire life could benefit from a similar structure.  Parenting - or more specifically, spending time with my children - doesn't come naturally to me. I don't really know how to play, and ideas for keeping them entertained and occupied don't naturally pop into my brain. I need to plan and research and make an honest effort for these things.

My concept at this moment is to create a 'Parenting Schedule' as it were - like the FlyLady cleaning schedule, which includes lists of items that should be done daily, weekly, and monthly, and some even less often.  

Here is an example of a daily 'To Do' list for myself - to do with my girls:

  • Get Clara out of bed by 8:30, get her dressed and give her breakfast
  • Help Clara make her bed
  • Go outside
  • Spend 15 minutes playing with the girls, and letting them lead
  • Spend 15 minutes in physical activity
  • Read a book
  • Go through the entire alphabet with Clara once
  • Do a creative activity
  • Coach and help Clara to clean up toys before supper

I could do all of these things in less than 2 hours each day, and as a Stay At Home Mom - I think that is a reasonable amount of time to expect to spend focusing on my kids.

The beauty of the way I have been following the Fly Lady routine is that each day starts fresh. If I didn't get something done yesterday - that's ok, I start over today. I don't keep track of any tasks that I was supposed to have done in the past but missed, even if they won't come around again for awhile, because then I will get overwhelmed and stop doing anything at all.  Each month, I focus on one small thing - this month's Fly Lady 'habit' is to do one load of laundry each day - so I would pick just one thing that I would try to make a habit in my life and make that my first priority every day.

I think I will start with 15 minutes of playing with the girls, or reading a book. 

I need to prove to myself that I can be somewhat disciplined in my daily kid's schedule, because at this point in time I think I will be homeschooling the girls, and I need to know that I can follow a routine for their sake, and be held responsible for their education. 

Are there any other parents out there who have to prompt themselves to play with their kids? 

Monday, 26 August 2013 21:30

Audrey at 10 months!

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It's hard to believe so much time has gone by, and yet - I remember feeling this way when Clara was about this age - it also feels as though Audrey has always been with us, and it's hard to imagine life before she was here. 

Dear Audrey,

      You still have no teeth, although you've been needing some tylenol to sleep every night and you have been soaking three shirts a day in drool so I'm expecting at least one tooth to come poking through your gums any day now.  

      You are eating more and more - it's no longer cost effective to just feed you store bought baby food anymore - and you're eating a much greater variety of things also. We try to feed you things with spices so that hopefully you'll be used to different flavours from the beginning.  You have been eating a lot of 'Baby Gourmet' brand foods, which include a lot of vegetables in your diet.  You've dealt with a bit of constipation, so we give you a Vegetable Lentil baby food meal every two or three days - hopefully it helps.  You're still breastfed about three times each day - first thing in the morning, at lunch time and right before bed, but even this doesn't always seem to be enough - often you will appear hungry again immediately after you've breastfed so I will also give you some formula or even cow's milk, which I've come to believe is probably fine for most babies to drink. 

Just have to point out those crazy long and curled baby eyelashes! Your Nana just informed me that she doesn't wear mascara because then she gets streaks on her glasses - man, that's gotta suck... :p

      You show a huge amount of emotion every day, and it strikes me particularly when you're experiencing one of your 'highs'. You don't really have 'lows', I guess, although you have learned how to complain when things aren't going quite your way, which usually only happens when we don't feed you fast enough.  Your 'highs' are hysterical, however.  You get so excited, your entire body convulses and you shreek and wiggle, and seem as though you're about to explode pure joy.  You still have this sadistic way of laughing whenever Clara cries, which still has me a bit concerned... 

       You are officially sleeping through the night!!! It's been long enough, I think I can really say that! A few weeks ago, Brian decided to rearrange our bedroom furniture so that the playpen no longer fit.  We went camping for a weekend, and you and Clara shared a room and when we got back, we just decided to have you continue to share a room - whatever happened. It took a few nights, but you seemed to be instantly more comfortable in your crib and right from the beginning you were waking up only two or three times a night (this was good for you!), and soon you were waking up only at about midnight and then again at about 3:30 or 4. After about a week of that, you started waking up only at midnight... and for the past few nights, you have been sleeping from about 8 or 9pm until about 8 or 9am. I could dance, I'm so happy... 

     Your nap pattern is also becoming more consistent. You are usually pretty sleeping first thing in the morning, and I just focus on feeding you as much as possible for breakfast before putting you down for an early morning nap. If I let you, you will sleep for about two hours and wake up again sometime before lunch. I have been trying to match your afternoon nap with Clara's, which doesn't always work and depends a lot on when you woke up from your morning nap and what we have going on that day. I'd love it if you would nap in the stroller, or lying on the floor at church, but you can't seem to sleep if there's anything going on around you. Although somehow you and Clara will sleep through each other's noises at night - if she wakes up screaming, you don't anymore, and if you cry before finally falling asleep, she will fall asleep anyway. 

You're still not crawling, but in the past few days you have started moving yourself forward.  You had been scooting backwards on your belly by pushing your arms out toward you and sliding yourself along the floor, and I've seen you scoot around on your bum, but you finally seem to be figuring out how to crawl.  You also push your bum up into the air with your feet on the floor (not your knees), and you'll hover there for a few seconds, so I think you know that you somehow have to lift your body up in order to move forward more efficiently.  I know I'll regret saying this, but I'm excited for you to actually start moving on your own!

It's possible I'm just driving people crazy with me, but I've had a number of people in the past week admit to seeing curls on the back of your head.  Your Dad had a stripe of curls along the back of his head when he was a baby - blonde hair too - and now he has a head full of thick dark curls. I hope for your sake that your hair isn't quite as thick or curly as his, but I'm excited for curls for you. I always wished my hair had some curl...  

     You have these creepy Monkey arms that always reach about a foot further away from you than I expect them to. The photo above is of you holding the Nikon camera that Brian has on loan from work, and I swear it was sitting on the center of the kitchen table - at least 2 feet away from you. I turned my back for a second, and you've got it on your lap in the high chair. I am unbelievably grateful that it didn't hit the floor between the table and high chair... I'm also really impressed that you were able to lift it - it weighs just about as much as you do...

     As much as I really want to help you avoid an excessive sweet tooth, I can't seem to stop myself sometimes from giving you (and Clara) sweets.  And you are getting things much earlier than she did, because you are old enough now to see what she is eating - and want it as well! 

     Despite having had a 10-month-old before, I can't help but be surprised at the amount of personality I am seeing in you lately. You are easy going and content most of the time, and although you are usually quiet, there are times when you jabber loudly to yourself or to us - too loud for anyone else to have a conversation around you. And your response to a 'Ssshhh!!!'? You just grin and keep on jabbering.  You are playful, and even a little mischevious, I think.  

     You handle being separated from anyone or everyone in your immediate family really well - but at the same time, you behave as though you are still physically a part of me - you butt your head up against me and nuzzle in - and you also act as though you know you belong with your sister. And your Daddy is still your favourite pop star. :)

Friday, 23 August 2013 08:56

Coming Home

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Last weekend, our girls each spent some quality time with family and friends while we spent our evening away.  Clara has demonstrated in the past how she doesn't mind being away from us over night, but I was especially pleased with how Audrey reacted.  She has become increasingly clingy - especially with me - so I wasn't sure how she would handle an entire night away.

She handled it beautifully, and although she seemed a little surprised in the morning when it wasn't me who came to get her from her crib, she didn't act out in any way because of it. 

It has become a bit of a tradition in my family to pick up a small souvenir or treat for your children when you go away for awhile, so we decided not to return to our daughters empty handed.  We walked past a cupcake shop and HAD to pick up a cupcake for each of the girls.

I'm pretty sure this was actually a happy face...

Pretty cupcake... 

I wish I'd taken a picture. We got Clara a regular sized cupcake with strawberry icing, and Audrey a mini cupcake also with strawberry icing.  Brian cut Audrey's cupcake into quarters and gave her one piece at a time, which was good because at least two of the pieces ended up hitting the floor. 

Audrey is old enough now that when Clara is given something, Audrey notices intently, and wants whatever her sister has also. This means Audrey has been introduced to things like ice cream and cupcakes much earlier than her sister was, because we don't have the heart to make her watch while her sister has a treat.  Sometimes this is sad, because whatever Clara is given is not always appropriate for Audrey, so we try to do or give her something to make her feel included.  

I think they were happy to be home. :)

Wednesday, 21 August 2013 07:00

Getting Away

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Saturday morning, I woke up to this:

The sun was shining through the window, Brian was still in bed next to me reading a book, and we had nowhere to be until after noon. No little girls were calling to us, we had 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep (which has only happened to me once before in the past 10 months), and we had one of the best views in the city. 

It was Brian's birthday last week, and to surprise him, I decided to splurge a little on a night in a hotel overlooking the river.  My first call was to the Radisson Hotel, which couldn't guarantee me a room with a river view (what's the point in being close to the river if you don't sell your river view rooms???) so I called the Sheraton Hotel instead. They did guarantee a river view room, and their prices were quite reasonable also.  

There is also a well known steak house in the hotel that Brian had been wanting to try, and so this hotel was a great choice for that reason also.

Our awesome Brian's-Birthday-Plan began on Friday morning, when we went out for brunch - just the two of us! We went to a casual place that we go to semi-regularly, and it was fun and relaxing to be able to enjoy each other's company without having two little girls making demands every few moments.  Then, we went golfing, which we hadn't done in about three years! We suck at golfing, but we both really enjoy it.  

To illustrate our horribleness (I'll use my husband's example - because I'm writing this blog, and he's not), by the 9th hole we had lost all of our extra balls and were left with only one each. Brian tee'd off first, and sent his ball flying right into a grove of trees that was so thick there was no possibility of finding it.  Since this was 'his day', I graciously (because I'm that awesome) handed over my ball and said that he could play the last hole and I would just keep him company.

He lost that ball at the tee off also, so neither of us were able to play the last hole. :)

It was seriously hot outside, though, so neither of us really minded having to leave a bit earlier than planned.

Then, because it was a bit too early to check into our hotel just yet, we went to Indigo, got ourselves each an Iced Green Tea Lemonade from Starbucks and wandered around the store - with no kids to keep track of!!!

After Indigo, we headed to the hotel, where we discovered that our room came with all sorts of perks like free underground parking and access to their Club Lounge which offered free evening appetizers and a continental breakfast.  We checked in and admired the view from our 2-room suite:

We felt a little bit like royalty. I felt a lot like I was pretending to be someone else... 

I now have a dream that includes a room like this - all by myself - for a week - and a laptop so that I can write! It's a dream, I know, but maybe someday...

As long as I had enough coffee... 

Anyway, we wandered around the hotel for a bit, then wandered around downtown Saskatoon - because we had nowhere to be until 7:30 that evening - and window shopped, because window shopping is something that just isn't very easy when you have a toddler and a baby in tow. 

Supper was excellent, except that someone who sounded suspiciously like Headmaster Charleston (and who we nicknamed such) was sitting at a table next to us, talking loudly about his theories on time travel, but after he left our dinner was great! 

We took advantage of the hotel swimming pool twice - after supper, and first thing the next morning. 

We had a great little holiday, and it was really nice to get away for a little while. Interestingly, however, when we returned home we didn't find that our trip had given us any extra patience with our girls. Instead of feeling rejuvenated, and happy to return to our somewhat overly demanding daughters, it was actually a little bit difficult.  Of course, we love our girls dearly, and we know that all of the trials and not-getting-to-sleep-ness of having a baby and a toddler will pass all too quickly, but I think our time away was maybe not long enough to really be 'rejuvenating'.  I'd still do it again in a second, but I'd be aware that only one night of 'freedom' would not be enough to make me crave the crazy of home quite yet... 

As a parent, do you find ways to 'get away' for the sake of yourselves or the sake of your relationships? Or even for the sake of your kids? How do you do it, and how long do you stay away? 

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