Monday, January 12, 2015

Hey 30

It was dinnertime before it dawned on me that today was the final day of my 20s. I worked all day with Devon, hung with the kids, did several loads of laundry, prepped dinner as usual and was just sitting down to feed Eloise and Spencer when I received a text from a friend asking what I was doing to celebrate the final eve of my 20s. Well, absolutely nothing. So I poured a big glass of wine, cheersed Eloise and continued on with the evening.

Ah, 30. The past 10 years have been pretty flippin amazing and it's because of this that I am feeling okay about turning 30. Mostly. I do resent that age is responsible for the appearance of wrinkles, finding the odd *ahem* white hair and having to wear glasses to see distance, but these things were bound to happen. I am not pleased that my hangovers last doubly as long and that it is no longer appropriate to wear crop tops, yet I promise to embrace the changes that 30 brings anyway. Even though I'm still a bit miffed about the crop tops.

The thing that gets me about 30 is that it just sounds so grown up. I realize that I have been married for five years, have two children, own a business, blah blah blah, but there is something about being in your 20s that allows you to get away without being a full adult adult. Right? Or maybe I have just been telling myself that. 20 is so long ago now that when I go out with my friends we have become the 'older women' to a group of newly legal 19 year olds. Who were born in 1996, for the record.

One of my brother's hip friends (I'm not allowed to call them 'hipsters', it's not cool) told me that 30 is the new 24. Ya, I'm pretty sure Jay Z said 30 is the new 20, but I'll take it as a compliment anyway. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


You know how they say that training a dog is actually more about training the human? I feel like this same idea applies to Eloise and sleep. Not that Eloise is anything like a dog, it's just a similar scenario.

We are now just two stickers away from a full sleep chart and all it took was for Chris and I to train ourselves not to give in. It seems so silly now that we've been struggling with Eloise and sleep for as long as we have when all it took was perseverance. Eloise still occasionally wakes up but I just walk her back to bed and give her a kiss and that's it. Or I she wakes up mid-dream and puts herself back to sleep. It's remarkable and kind of ridiculous all at the same time how simple it is.

In other news I was only up with Spencer once last night, so perhaps his sleep regression this week was just a minor blip and we can get back to normal, whatever that is.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Shall We Downton?

{road to avonlea}

When I was a little girl my favourite, favourite television show was Road to Avonlea. It was MY show and on Sunday at 7pm it didn't matter if we were in the middle of dinner, there was a hockey game on, or even if I was in the middle of homework, when Road to Avonlea aired it was sacred time. Remember, this was pre-PVR so if you missed it, you missed it.

I still think that Road to Avonlea is one of the best tv shows ever created, certainly the best Canadian (hello, three Emmys!), and I watch the reruns whenever I can find them. I feel a strange sort of nostalgia for the show and if we do have any more children, Felix and Cecily will be on my list of baby names once again (I mean, Felix Wilkinson, could that be any cuter?).

{downton abbey}

Road to Avonlea was the beginning of my affection for historical fiction and Downton Abbey is my current obsession. I can't get enough! The story is engaging and mysterious, the scenery and costumes beautiful, and the acting is excellent. Downton Abbey season 5 started last night and once again, I'm totally hooked and eager to see what happens next (WHO will Lady Mary choose?). Lord help those who feel inclined to share spoilers, I can't even watch the season preview or read the episode synopsis, just like my Road to Avonlea, this is the kind of show that deserves to be savoured.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Why Sleep?

Is there some seven month sleep regression I should know about? Because in the span of just a few nights Spencer has gone from rockstar sleeper to little terror.

Spencer is still going down without issue but for three nights in a row he has woken up less than 30 minutes later and requires an hour of bouncing to put him back to sleep. If he was just fussing I'd leave him, but his cries are the full-on, wailing-coughing cries that Eloise used to do right before she barfed. It's on nights like these that I dream of separate rooms.

It is not surprising that Spencer started waking up at exactly the same time that Eloise started sleeping. It would be silly of me to expect easy when it comes to sleep around here, right?

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Spencer Sits!


Spencer sits! 

It's been a month in the making but Spencer can finally sit unassisted. It seems to me that many babies sit by about six months - Spencer is seven and a half months now - but he is also stabilizing a considerable amount of weight. He has even figured out how to catch himself before falling over!

Given his size I do wonder what Spencer's development we be like when it comes to crawling and walking. Will he bum schooch like Eloise or actually crawl? I don't see him as an early walker, which is a good thing, but I also don't want to be hauling all 30-ish pounds of him around until he is 17 months old. For now I'm good with sitting.

Friday, January 2, 2015

This is a Big Deal

Today marked the fourth in a row that Chris and I woke up in the morning for the first time since going to sleep. We were not woken up by children during the night and we did not have to share our bed either. I'm sure this sounds like any old morning to many of you, but if you have been reading this blog for a while then you know how much we have struggled with Eloise and sleep. Waking up after an uninterrupted sleep is a luxury that Chris and I have not enjoyed in almost two full years. This is a big deal.

Last week we reached a breaking point and even Eloise knew it. Her sleeping with us has gone from fine to unbearable. She used to just fit in and peacefully slumber but in the last few months her sleep has become restless and she aggressively kicks her legs on top of the covers, wakes up demanding things or nails one of us with a kick to the jaw. Chris and I have started getting more frustrated with her and each other, often arguing in the middle of the night or dealing with whining and tears. We are tired, Eloise is tired and the effect of her sleeping in our bed has gotten to be too much. 

Eloise asked the other day, "Mommy, why is it all dark under your eyes?" I explained that I have dark circles because I am really freaking exhausted (though not in those exact words...) and she noticed that it looked a little dark under her eyes too. We both agreed that the solution was sleep and Eloise suggested trying to stay in her bed all night. Great idea! The first night Eloise woke up four times and Chris and I took turns taking her back to bed. The second night it was only once and when I tucked her in again I surrounded her with peeps and dolls to keep her company. The third night she went to bed at eight and woke up at eight without so much as a peep. Same goes for the fourth night. Eloise is so ridiculously proud of herself, and we are too. 

Spencer has of course has been sleeping through all of this. He does occasionally fuss in the night but we leave him and he puts himself back to sleep. I wouldn't dream of bringing Spencer into our bed or even waking up to nurse him in the night. It might seem harsh, but this ridiculous sleep game needs to end with Eloise. 

Slowly the boxes of Eloise's sleep chart are filling up with stickers and we have promised a trip to Toys R Us for whatever she wants. Yesterday it was a monster truck and today a Frozen Anna doll, but honestly, Chris and I are so thankful to be the only people sharing our queen bed that if Eloise wants a ride-on Barbie jeep I might even consider it.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Duvet Roll

You guys, this is a life-changing trick:

You're welcome.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Best Christmas Ever

Our Christmas was all sorts of perfect. Eloise was full of Christmas delight and her sincere gratitude for each and every gift filled Chris and I with so much pride. She thanked the gift giver with a hug and a kiss and continuously proclaimed throughout the day, "This is the best Christmas ever!" And it was.

For months Eloise talked about the pink princess computer that she hoped Santa would bring. Her desire for this particular toy seemed to come from nowhere, then I pressed for why and it turned out she just wanted send emails like I do. Oh my little sponge! I was a bit reluctant to purchase a toy computer since cheap plastic, electronic, noise-making toys really aren't my jam, but Santa wishes trump parental objections. When Eloise saw her pink computer she did a little happy dance, clutched it to her chest, looked up to the ceiling (aka The North Pole) and said, "Oh Santa, thank you! It's my perfect pink computer!" I figured that the computer would have Eloise's undivided attention for the rest of the day but she opened up every gift with equal amounts of wonder and appreciation. Frozen was the other hit of the day and Eloise teetered around in light-up Elsa shoes from Unky T clutching her skating Elsa Barbie from my best friend, Di.

Christmas excitement proved to be too much for our youngest participant and Spencer didn't sleep for more than 30 minutes all day. But even without sleep he was his delightful self. Santa brought him a Manchester United ball (which, let's be honest, was also for Chris) and he was spoiled by our friends and family with awesome toys and adorable clothing (see navy polka dot bow tie above).

My parents - or Other Santas - surprised Spencer and Eloise with gorgeous wooden wagon that has big sturdy wheels and enough cargo space to cart two kids to and from the Papa park. We took the wagon for its inaugural journey to run errands, hauling a giant bag of dog food, diapers, baby supplies AND Eloise, no problem.

Our Christmas was lazy, fun and relaxing, filled with drinking, eating and playing with new toys. The kids were spoiled, we were spoiled and all of the prep required to get organized for the day was totally worth it. I can hardly wait for next year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Nook on POPSUGAR!


Living at our condo with Eloise as a baby seems like a hundred years ago but our creative solution to giving her her own space is still getting people's attention.

A month ago I was contacted by an editor at POPSUGAR who asked to feature our Closet-to-Nook conversion and it is so cool to see our little project this week on such a widely read website. The response to our Nook on POPSUGAR's Facebook page was quite fascinating. Some people loved loved the idea, some people hated it and one reader commented that we should be put in a closet for suggesting a baby sleep in there! Ha! The other thing I noticed was people's concern for safety, especially with infant dangers like SIDS. Like any other parent, I would never do anything to compromise my child's safety and the truth is, Eloise's Nook was more of a space solution for only a short period of time. Her crib wheeled out of the Nook for sleep - providing proper airflow - and tucked neatly away when not in use. We knew that we would not be living in our condo forever and I was confident that by the time Eloise was reaching and able to stand she would have a larger space; therefore things like pictures about the crib (which, for the record, were firmly affixed to the wall) and a drape would never pose danger or be a strangulation hazard.

Discussion aside, it is super cool to see that our project can open people's eyes to small space solutions with children. Even now, we manage quite nicely in under 1000 square feet as a family of four. Maximizing space is about being creative.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Lite

I didn't go over the top decorating for Christmas this year and I like it. Sometimes simple can be better. Our tree last year was just too full and too big and by Christmas day I felt claustrophobic with Christmas clutter. This year most everything is gold, silver and green which is perfect for our small house. I did the planters outside of our front door with cedar, pine and magnolia, adding some sprayed gold sprigs and glittered pinecones. Chris wrapped the posts in lights and I added a boxwood wreath to the front door. Inside, a few more wreaths, some lighted gold glittered tress, green garland, the new advent calendar and our Christmas tree. That's it.

Last weekend we trimmed our tree - a rather sparse Charlie Brown - and I swear the thing has more ornaments than branches. Lights are dripping off the boughs with three or four ornaments each but boy is it sparkly. For the first time ever I have wrapped all of my gifts, including stocking stuffers, with time to spare. I used kraft paper leftover from an event and tied the presents with organza ribbon in olive green or black and white stripe grosgrain. For tags I used mini chalkboard closepins I had in my candy bar supplies and not only do they look great, I can pat myself on the back for coming up with a pretty yet sustainable wrapping accoutrement. Matchy-matchy gifts also make my a-type personality awfully happy.

Christmas Lite, it's a good thing.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Snack Milk

Even though my use of "mommys mad face" has improved Eloise's whining slightly, she has her moments. Her whining is the worst when she is hungry, which seems to happen regardless of how organized I am. Seriously, staying ahead of Eloise's 'hang-ger' is a full time job. School days are especially bad and by the time we get home - and even if I feed Eloise snacks in the car - the whining turns into crying, which turns into me getting frustrated, which turns into Eloise and I having to take three deep breaths together.

After we both calm down nothing makes Eloise feel better than a snack milk, which is a small bottle (you read that correctly) of warm milk that she drinks lying on the couch, rubbing her eyebrow against the grain. Five minutes later all is well again, like the snack milk is the reset button. And then we eat lunch.

Santa Baby

I spent four hours at the mall with both kids one day last week so I could tackle some of my Christmas shopping. Four hours at the mall at Christmas time is bad enough, so I'm sure you can imagine how it was with a baby and three year old in a double wide stroller (which I love, for the record).

The stroller baskets were packed to the gills with snacks, toys to keep Spencer occupied, diapers & wipes, changes of clothing and on top of each hood I loaded our coats, shopping bags and an odd assortment of clothing items that Eloise insisted on peeling off. By hour three the kids were slightly cranky but I was so close to done that we had to push on. By hour four I was the cranky one and ready to go. But then Eloise noticed Santa, who we had walked past several times already, and insisted it was time to go see him.

I had planned to take Eloise and Spencer to see Santa, just not this day. I wanted them to be dressed in Christmas outfits, or at least have on clean clothing and clean faces, but opportunity knocked and Eloise decided that the time for Santa was now. I gave both kids a baby wipe wash, smoothed Spencer's hair, fixed Eloise's headband and that was that.

But, you know what, their Santa photo is absolutely perfect. Eloise was so excited to tell Santa her Christmas wish and introduce her little brother, and their faces say it all.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Seven Months

Spencer is seven months old and more joyful every day. He loves to eat, puts everything he can into his mouth and adores Eloise. Spencer gives sloppy, open mouthed kisses and giggles loudly when you kiss his nick or tickle his belly. He is pure happiness. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Our Advent Calendar

I did it, I showed that white felt who was boss and made a really amazing advent calendar just in time for ... December 3rd! Close enough to the first of the month, right?

The process was more complicated and labour intensive than it needed to be, but once I started I was not going to give up. First, I cut out the pockets and decoratively top stitched them before gluing them to the felt base. I carefully glued every (painstakingly) hand-cut number to the pockets and for a finishing touch added my favourite pom-pom fringe in red. Phew, done! Nope, the glue holding the pockets to the base failed so I had to stitch them on, which took hours. Then the calendar still needed 'something more' so I made a ruffle with a piece of tartan and affixed ribbons to a dowel for hanging. The finished product is just what I had hoped: a lovely keepsake for Eloise and Spencer to enjoy for years.

I didn't get as far as organizing what would use to fill each calendar day but I've been able to get by with found objects. Leftover halloween candy filled days three, four, five, a necklace from a recent wedding event was perfect for day six, I went with a candy cane for day seven, a Kinder Surprise snuck into the cart at the grocery store for day eight and Lindt truffles from my personal stash for day nine, ten and eleven. Except Eloise informed me today she doesn't like Lindt truffles... and would prefer Pez. Not up to her, but I also happen to have a Pez refill kicking around so she just might be onto something. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Size 5

That's not your imagination, his toes reach the bouncer base.

Spencer is wearing a size 5 disposable diaper these days. At the drug store that is as big as our preferred brand comes and at the rate he is growing I'll have to start ordering my diapers online. He has recently outgrown his 6-12 month sleepers and pants and is on his way to filling out all the 12-18 month size clothing I had stashed away. He is such a big baby that sometimes I can't believe he is ours. When Spencer rests his head on my shoulder his legs hang down to the tops of my thighs and he can now push off the ground (gleefully) when he bounces in the Bjorn Babysitter. Spencer has gotten so heavy that my back aches and my arms fall asleep when I cart him around. Chris and I are not very big people and then there is slight little Eloise, so his size is surprising. Spencer will be surpassing her in weight by his first birthday for sure.

I suppose a solution to the diaper thing would be to go to cloth full time, but I just can't make the commitment. I also cannot seem to figure out how to get Spencer's cloth diapers not to leak at night, so there's that. We are currently a little short on cloth diapers too due to a 20-diaper-high pile that require new elastic casing and velcro replacements. I have all the supplies, I just don't have the time (or desire) to tackle this project. Can't I just wave magic wand and have the diapers repair themselves?

Despite his large stature and diaper difficulty, dressing Spencer has been more fun than I anticipated. Although he cannot wear jeans or pants due to super squishy thighs, sweats and leggings are thankfully cool right now. Zara has all sorts of adorable printed leggings for boys (sorry, Chris, I mean 'pants') and there are a ton of indie brands that do slouchy pants and harems. Big bottom babies can rock those! Spency also has the gift of our friend Jude's hand me downs - and he is the best dressed kid I know - so we have no shortage of great tops and sweaters to layer. Add a beanie, a pair of fringed mocs and a denim shirt and Spencer is basically a hipster baby. He just can't do the skinny jeans.