Baby gymnastics

It’s August and we’re up at my aunt & uncle’s lake house with the fam jam for some much needed R&R… or rather, “hey kids, run around and tire yourselves out with your cousins while Mummy & Auntie sit here and sip our tea while it’s still hot.” Hahaha, gotta love family!

It’s 3:50 am. Why am I awake? I decide that I’m too hot and get out of bed, stumble across the room in the dark and turn on the overhead fan. Climbing back into bed I can feel the cool air on me and instantly get some relief. Ah‚Ķ now to fall back asleep. Except that I’m so thirsty. Back out of bed, a little more stumbling to the bathroom for a glass of water and then back into bed. Baby decides that this is a great time to practice his new gymnastics routine. So I lie awake as baby somersaults and kicks and generally tires himself out. Gymnastics routine over, baby settles back to sleep. Finally. I can go to sleep too. Except that I can’t. A small voice pipes up in the darkness.
– “Mummy?” (It’s Bean.)
– Mmm?
– When is it going to be morning?
– Not for a few hours yet. It’s still dark out because it’s still nighttime. Try and get some more sleep sweetie.
– Ok.
And just like that, she rolls over and goes back to sleep. Soon I can hear the deep, slow breathing that confirms it.

More waiting for sleep that just doesn’t seem to come. I amuse myself by drafting creative titles to blog posts. Still no sleep. 4:30 am. Maybe I need to pee. So I get up and head to the bathroom. Wash hands, another glass of water and back into bed. And still sleep eludes me. I think about the consequences of getting up and waking up 3 dogs. Decide that I don’t want to deal with that, so I stay in bed.

5 am. This is just getting ridiculous now. By this point, my body is fully awake and I am under no misconceptions that I will get back to sleep. Maybe I can get something to eat without waking up the dogs. (Yes, I’ll wait while you dog-owners have a good chuckle at me.) I manage to sneak down the stairs without waking them up, only to notice that G. (one of the dogs) is sleeping on the couch (even though he knows that he’s not allowed up there). I don’t want to wake him up to chastise him, so I let him be. I’m almost in the kitchen when I hear one of the dogs shake her ears and the soft footfall as she comes to investigate. It’s Pips, the eldest. I give her some love, which somehow instantly brings G. over for pats too. Having said hello, they go back to their beds. Then the puppy wakes up. Oh dear. Now I’ve done it. Poor guy is whining in his crate, he just knows somebody is out there and not with him.

I’m the first to admit that I don’t know much about training puppies, but I do know that it’s important to be consistent. Having only just met the puppy last night, I have absolutely no idea what the routine is. (Apologies to my bro-in-law, who is puppy-sitting and probably cursing me from his sleep-deprived bed at the moment. Sorry!)

I have a morning round (breakfast pita) and some yogurt. My body’s asking for more. At least now I understand why this sleep-deprived momma was awake at 4am. I fell asleep with the girls last night and when Hubby came to wake me up, I just transferred to my bed and fell back asleep. No bedtime snack. Apparently at 4 months pregnant, that is no longer allowed. Ah well. I’ll plan that better next time. ūüėõ For now, time to eat some more food and then hopefully I can get a little more sleep before the girls wake up. Wishing you all sweet dreams!

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Three’s company too

Let me start this post with a disclaimer that it has nothing to do with the TV show by the same name. In fact, I’ve never even seen an episode of “Three’s Company Too”. I only know the theme song because Uncle Jesse and Uncle Joey used to sing it on “Full House”, haha. (I should also add that I initially drafted this post back in the summer‚Ķ life has just been so crazy that I haven’t had the time nor the energy to edit it until now. :S¬† Read on my friend and you’ll see why.)

Well, we’ve decided to take the plunge and grow our family; I’m currently pregnant with number 3! Friends of ours who only have 2 kids tend to react with either “Are you crazy?! You’ll be outnumbered!!!” or, like one of my sweet friends, “You’re doing what many of us have thought about but are too scared to try.” Comments from friends and colleagues with 3 kids are more like “Congratulations!” and “You’re going to love it! With 3 there’s more of everything: more love, more fun, more moments to cherish.” And then there was the surprising comment from my mother-in-law one night : “You know, if you’re going for three, you might as well go for four.” Since she is a mother-of-two, that comment rather surprised me at first. I never saw her as a woman who wished she had more kids. Then I remember that it wasn’t¬†her¬†she wanted to have four kids, it was me. Which means more grandkids for her.¬†Aha! That woman absolutely loves her grandkids and since her other son isn’t married yet, that leaves Hubby and I to provide them.

Not being a grand-parent, I’m not exactly sure how it works, but the old adage of¬†Grandchildren are the reward you get for not killing your kids¬†pops into mind. I know that both my parents and my in-laws absolutely adore their grandkids. What’s not to love? You can have all the snuggles and play-time you want, and then when you need a break, you send them home again. You can spoil them and give them second helpings of ice-cream (or dairy-free nice cream in the case of my kids) and then send them home again and let someone else deal with the sugar high, followed by the post-sugar-high crash, followed by the terrible bedtime because they’re so overtired, which usually leads into a bad night. (Makes me tired just thinking about it!)

I wonder if grandkids are some kind of status report for seniors. If you have them, that somehow gives you a one-up on your senior-friends who don’t. And then amongst those that¬†do¬†have them, how many you have can give you the one-up. Why just the other day my mother-in-law was telling me how her friend J. now has 8 grandkids!!!! (If she thinks that I’m going to have 8 kids, then let me be the first to pop that bubble. I have no desire (or time) for that many! Kudos to those of you who do; I don’t know how you do it!)

 
girl-baby-belly-blue-41271So as the excitement for #3 grows, so do the questions: Are you finding out the sex? (No.) Why not? (We like the surprise.) Don’t you want to know? (Not in advance, no.) We were team green for the first two, and we plan on being team green for the third too. As long as the baby is healthy, we don’t mind what gender we get. That being said, I fully support those of you who want to find out while pregnant. I know a few girls who need to have everything planned out (nursery decor, name, circumcision or not, etc.) and would find it too stressful to wait. I’m all for going with the option that causes you less stress. For me, that option is team green. I like the surprise. For both babies, it was Hubby who (in the delivery room) got to tell me the gender. To have that information coming from him was a moment so special that I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Not even for finding out 4-5 months earlier.

As busy as my life is now with 2.5 kids (I figure the baby will count as a 0,5 until he/she is born), I will try and blog a big about this pregnancy. Lord knows that there have been some funny blog-worthy moments! And then hopefully once I’m on mat-leave again, I can go back to my semi-regular postings. ūüôā

 

Something every parent needs to know

As a parent, it’s natural to worry about your kids… are they too hot? too cold? did they get enough to eat? are they making friends at school? are they the right friends? Apparently it gets worse as they get older (but seeing as how I’m years away from dealing with teenage angst (or perhaps it should be teenage-induced-parental-angst), I can’t comment on that just yet).

However, one thing I can comment on is water safety. I grew up in the water. Perhaps not literally, but as close to it as one can be. I remember spending entire days in a family friend’s backyard pool, even though it was only 68 degrees F. (You won’t see me doing that now… I like my swimming water at least in the 70s!) I don’t really remember learning how to swim, it was just always something I did. Sure, I remember taking swimming lessons, but they were about perfecting my strokes and learning various life-saving skills. I don’t remember a time when I couldn’t swim. (Although I¬†do¬†remember learning how to somersault into the water‚Ķ haha.) My extended family is much the same: we love lounging at the lake, whether in it, on it, or beside it. Water was as much a part of growing up as school was.

However, as I’ve gotten older and started moving cities, I realized that not everyone is a good swimmer. Some people only have basic swimming skills, and even some strong swimmers prefer to only use their skills in a pool (as opposed to a lake, which freaks them out). I’m still baffled as to why basic swimming skills are not a part of the curriculum (is it just me??? Most elementary schools I know have ski clubs, and they will teach your kid to ski if they don’t already know how. Skiing is fun, yes, but swimming is a life skill. Where are the after-school swim clubs???). But I digress.

Let me get to the point: kids drown. Lots of them do. Every year. And you know what? (As I just learned….) about half of them will drown within 25 yards (22.86 metres) of a parent or other adult. Half!!! Does that not scare you? And do you know why? Because most people don’t know what drowning really looks like. Oh sure, you might¬†think¬†you know what it looks like, but if what you’re picturing is the Hollywood-version (lots of splashing and calls for help), then you are sorely mistaken. The following article (sent to me by my aunt) is a must-read for every parent. EVERY parent. And I would include grand-parents and care-givers in that too. Read it. Digest it. Read it again. And then send it to everyone you know. Because if you know what drowning looks like, you might just be able to save a life.

Drowning doesn’t look like drowning. By Mario Vittone.

And if you only retain one thing from the entire (fantastic!) article, let it be Vittone’s ending thoughts: “And parents — children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you need to get to them and find out why.”

How to survive Easter with a dairy allergy

Had I written this post a year ago, or even a month ago, I would have entitled it “How to survive Easter without chocolate.” For a self-confessed-chocoholic, that alternate title sounds like a death sentence. How do you¬†not¬†have chocolate on¬†THE¬†chocolate holiday??? However, raising 2 girls with allergies had led to some creative alternatives, such as using candy, pastel-coloured-mini-marshmallows, and bunny-shaped-cookies (we buy the¬†Annie¬†brand, as they’re safe for our kids). Thankfully, my family is on board (especially my sister, whose kids are also denied chocolate, since we celebrate Easter together). However, this year my wonderful sister outdid Martha Stewart herself and found a way to bring back the chocolate.

First of all, she found these chocolate eggs (see below) at Bulk Barn. 3 cheers for a company making allergy-safe chocolate eggs!!! I didn’t even know such a thing existed, but this momma’s glad they do!Dairy-free Easter Chocolate

And for the¬†pi√®ce de r√©sistance…¬†home-made chocolate-peanut-butter-eggs. (Made with dairy-free chocolate and sun butter, since we also have a peanut allergy.) Ta-da! Dairy-free homemade chocolate eggsI admit to having tasted one or two… they are amazing!!! They taste almost exactly like the real thing! (Well, to me they DO taste like the real thing, but I don’t know that they would stand up to a side-by-side comparison tasting, but let’s be honest… who’s doing that?!?!) She used a mould to make them, and they look spectacular!

Bean might have been a little bit confused about where the usual candy and marshmallows went, but both of my girls were thrilled to be allowed to eat chocolate. (Not to mention me, since¬†someone¬†has to make sure that they don’t gorge themselves on chocolate, and the best way to do that is to hide some for myself, haha.)

Despite this post taking me a month to complete and finally get around to posting, I hope that everyone had a wonderful Easter, complete with the dessert (or treat) of your choosing! (And an extra-big thank-you to my wonderful sister who found a way to bring back the chocolate. xoxo )

Vomigeddon

It’s not everyday that you get to wake up to vomit spattering across your face. Although perhaps I should back up a bit…

One hour prior: I wake up to Bean crying from her room. Hubby offers to go, and although I know I won’t be able to sleep while she’s crying, at least I can lie here (in bed) in the dark with my eyes closed. Then I hear her (in between sobs) telling Hubby that she “throwed up” a bit. I can tell that he’s not awake enough to read the alarm in that as he’s asking her something about saliva. I stumble down the hall and warn them both before I turn on the light. Sure enough, there’s vomit on her pyjamas, all over her bed, and horror of horrors, on her lovey. Oh dear. Ok. It’s 3am; I don’t really want to deal with this right now. We get Bean into some clean pyjamas and the offer of snuggling with us (and a substitute buddy)¬†in our bed. Rookie mistake.

Fast forward to 4am… which is when I wake up to vomit spattering across my face. Of course, I don’t register that fact right away, as I hear Bean retching and I sit up to help her (she’s still lying down). I’ve never seen vomit like that before. It was as if she was a Parisian fountain. Except that instead of a beautifully sculpted woman, it’s my sick 4-year-old, and instead of quiet gurgling water, it’s an odd-coloured chunky red vomit. But it just keeps on coming… in waves almost. I can’t do anything other than stare in disbelief. The vomit finally stops and the poor kid starts crying. There is vomit all over her, in her hair,¬†on my pillow, the sheets, the duvet, me… it’s at that point that I realize there’s vomit on my face and down my arm. Oh joy.

 

Statue Water Angel Versailles Basin Fountain

One of the four seasons fountains at Versailles

 

I assess the situation and decide that Bean is top priority, followed by the bed, and then me. Hubby grabs a roll of paper towels and we try to pick up the red chunks and scoop as much of it as we can her from hair & the bed while almost simultaneously asking her What did you eat??? Obviously I’m not the only one puzzled at the red vomit.

We divide and conquer. Hubby cleans up Bean (bath time!) while I’m tasked with the bed. Both beds for that matter. Sigh. I wash the vomit off of my face¬†and find Bean a 3rd pair of warm clean pyjamas. I don’t even need to look at our bed to know that nobody’s going to sleep in that again tonight. I schlep several loads of laundry down to the basement and get the first load into the washer. Hubby & I decide that snuggles on the couch are in order.

But I’m learning. First, I put a thick blanket down on the couch (lest the Parisian fountain starts up again), then I get a large bowl and teach Bean how to vomit in the bucket. We bundle her up in blankets and are thinking about maybe getting some sleep when I look at the clock… it’s just after 5am by that point. Fairly sure that Bean’s going to vomit again soon, I suggest bracing for vomigeddon instead. Sure enough, it starts up again, but miraculously my little Parisian fountain is actually using the bowl. Sweet! I think it’s around 5:15 when we turn off the lights and try to fall asleep sitting up (Bean is stretched out on the couch). I don’t even have time to drift into dreamland before I hear El wake up… a quick glance at the clock confirms that she’s up for the day.

The rest of my day is spent in a strange cycle of snuggle Bean, change my shirt, snuggle El and keep her away from Bean, change my shirt, empty out and clean the vomit bowl, give Bean another quick snuggle, change my shirt, and on and on… (In case you’re wondering, I was changing my shirt (back and forth between 2) in an effort to prevent El from getting the flu… old wives tale? Perhaps. But I was willing to give it a try and it was much easier than getting El to eat a clove of garlic.)

Bean recovers and I think it’s a miracle that no one else caught it. Until 2 days later I’m not feeling so good… needless to say, the flu swept through our family. Thankfully though it was the week before Christmas, so by December 24th we’re all healthy again. And as far as I know, we didn’t infect any of my extended family either. ūüėČ

Despite being late in posting this, I hope that you all had Happy Holidays. Here’s to wishing you health & happiness in the New Year.

Trimming the tree

(So I logged in to finally edit my post about Christmas and I noticed that I had a draft awaiting my attention… from almost a¬†month ago. :S¬† Oops. Sorry for the excessive delay. On the plus side, this means that you’ll have two posts to read this week! Hoping that you’re all staying warm in this cold weather snap.)

Ho ho ho! It’s that time of year again folks, and for this momma, it’s one of the most wonderful, magical times of the year. I absolutely love Christmas and all of the merriment that comes with it. Getting¬†a real tree is one of the traditions I enjoy, and although it’s been years since I went to cut down a fresh tree, picking out one that someone else has cut is much easier and still gives the house that wonderful fresh-tree smell. ūüôā

We went as a family to pick out a tree (as per usual), and Bean and Hubby were most patient as I ix-nayed one suggestion after another. The tree I initially thought would be best looked to be about 10 feet, and since our ceilings are 10′, I had to reluctantly leave that one behind. We did, however, agree on a beautiful tree (which *might* have been the same tree that Hubby first picked out… it’s a good thing he’s patient with me. ūüėČ ).

Getting the tree up into the stand wasn’t much of an issue, but apparently I had decorating issues galore this year. The first night we had the tree, we had to wait for the branches to drop, so I told the girls we weren’t allowed to decorate it until the following night. Bean snuck 2 ornaments onto the tree anyways, haha.

Once the branches had dropped, and we could see how big and beautiful our tree was, it was time to put on the lights. I remembered to start at the top this year (since starting at the bottom always ends up with me having to redo everything to fix the spacing). I put up the first string of lights easily enough. It wasn’t until I went to attach the 2nd string that I noticed I had the wrong end for connecting… which meant taking off and redoing the entire first string of lights. Slight delay, but not a big deal. The 2nd string went up easily enough,¬†but when I went to attach the 3rd string¬†they wouldn’t go together. One string has a polarized plug and the other string doesn’t… sigh. I forgot that they were supposed to go in a certain order. So I had to undo the entire 2nd string of lights and then redo it afterwards. Poor Bean was dancing around SO eager to decorate and here I was making mistake after mistake and delaying the whole thing.

We decided to let Bean stay up late to help decorate the tree, but only if she got all ready for bed first.¬†I don’t think she’s ever gotten into her PJs that fast before (with the possible exception of Christmas Eve last year… that would definitely be a contender for quickest bedtime ever!). After El was in bed, Bean and I decorated the tree. Or at least we started to decorate the tree; I didn’t want her up until the wee hours of the morning.

Every day for an entire week Bean would want to decorate the tree again. So every day a few more ornaments went up. I thought we were done… but then when I went to get the Christmas placemats out of one of the Christmas bins, I found another box of decorations. Oh?! I guess we’ll have more fun tomorrow then. ūüôā

I’m happy to report that although El seems to scale everything in sight (stairs, couches, chairs, tables…) she has been pretty good with the tree. I warned her the night we brought it home that Christmas trees are for looking at, not for climbing. I also had to explain that the decorations were for looking at. (For a kid who loves balls (throwing & chasing them), she’s doing a pretty good job of leaving the Christmas balls ON the tree. Although she does like to “tickle” them, haha.

Christmas tree 2017

I love that¬†I come home to the smell of Christmas tree. I love the lights, especially when it’s still dark outside. (El has been getting up at 4:30 lately…) I love how warm and cozy it makes me feel to look at our decorated tree and hug my kids or my husband or just enjoy a rare 30 seconds of me-time. (ha! Who am I kidding! Those moments when I stare happily at the tree usually involve both kids pulling on my legs, trying to get my attention about something.) But you know what? I can still breathe in the sight of the tree before giving them a big bear hug and my attention. And sometimes, that 30 seconds of tree-love is all I need.

Wishing you all a Christmas full of love.

 

Meiya mouse — this momma’s review

Hello mommas! I’m really excited about today’s post: the first in a series that is going to be my own¬†version¬†of Feedback Friday. (Except that¬†it won’t happen every week… I don’t have that kind of time! And I would probably run out of products within the year, haha.)¬†¬†It’s a place for me to write my honest reviews about the baby and kid products that I use and like… or don’t like as the case might be.

I’m one of those people who researches things before I buy them — everything from hotel rooms to baby spoons — and it frustrates me when I find reviews like this: “5 stars! It looks exactly like it does in the picture on the box.” Seriously?!? In what world does a product that’s supposed to do something get 5 stars based entirely on looks? Granted, if I was buying an art piece, a comment like that would be fantastic. But when I’m buying baby gear (or a toy or a bread maker or something like that), I want to know how it works not how closely it matches the picture on the box. I trust that it will look like the picture on the box. What I want to know is if it does what the manufacturers claim it does. The other type of review that bothers me is the one that says something like “I’ve used it twice and it works great!” Again… if I wanted a disposable product, I would buy one that advertizes itself as such.

So my promise to you is this: when I review a product I will (a) review it based on how it works (although I might not hold back on how cute it is! We are talking baby stuff here folks), and (b) will have used it for at least a month (unless it breaks before that point, in which case I will let you know to save your money!!!).

 

Meija mouse

Meiya Mouse

 

So the subject of today’s Feedback Friday is Meiya Mouse. A super cute teether-toy that El got as a Christmas present last year. Now, I know that Sophie the giraffe is this decade’s be-all-and-end-all of teething toys, and yes, we have one of those — it was Bean’s back when she was a baby. But maybe you’ve seen the recent news spots about mold growing inside of the Sophie toy (Global News: Black mould found in popular teething toy) — needless to say I was a little grossed out. Is there mold inside of my Sophie toy? What if I cut it open and there’s no mold… then I’ll have wasted a $30 toy, which goes against my frugal nature. I was rather vigilant about cleaning Sophie between uses back when Bean was chewing on her, and although I didn’t ever submerge the toy (as per the instructions), what’s to say that some of Bean’s teething spit never made it down the torso into that hole? Sigh. What’s a momma to do? (Apparently the sniff test… and I’m happy to report that our Sophie passed that check.) Thankfully one of the awesome aunties got El a Meiya mouse for Christmas. It passes the cuteness test, but what about the baby test?

Well, let me tell you this: both El & I approve! Why? Well, from El’s point of view, the ears and face are great teething chewers (and unlike Sophie’s long legs, they¬†won’t make the baby gag accidently), the dress is fun to pull up and over Meiya’s face for a little game of peak-a-boo, the body is good to chew on too when you’re in the mood for something soft. (Please tell me that my kids aren’t the only ones who would prefer to chew on a stuffed animal rather than a teething toy!) In addition to that, my momma-approval is (metaphorically) stamped on Meiya because she is machine washable!¬†Granted, I have yet to put her through the washer, but that’s mostly because a spot clean with a damp cloth has been enough thus far.

In conclusion? This momma approves!

Here’s a summary:
PROS: cute, teething head & ears, soft body, machine washable, environmentally friendly (see below)
CONS: none!

In researching price-point for you mommas, I just found out that it’s a winner of the Dr. Toy Best Green Award for 2015. I am definitely pro-environment and a bit of a tree-hugger, so this is a major plus for me!!! And for price? Roughly $25 (I checked a few stores and they were all priced within a dollar of each other). So if you need a great gift for a baby shower or a teething tot, I highly recommend Meiya Mouse!

The dinner wars

Where did September go??? It feels like I blinked and the month has already gone by. I’ve adjusted well to back to work and as a family, we’re settling into a new routine. Of course, this new routine isn’t without its own share of bumps.

Bean has decided that she no longer wants to nap. Ok, fine. The problem is that she still needs to nap. This girl sails through her day on energy reserves, only to fall apart in the car on the way home from school every day. Every. Single. Day. My commute home, which used to be filled with chatter about Bean’s day, is now an exercise in mindful breathing (while still focusing on the road) and trying to¬†stay calm despite the screaming threenager in the back seat. I try to help, but she seems to lose it over the littlest things and, like any typical threenager, fails to grasp what is logical and what is just plain crazy. (For example, today she was convinced that I knew what class she would be in next year and screamed “YES YOU DO! YOU DO KNOW!!!” at me for ten minutes. I tried humouring her by randomly picking a teacher at her school, but she saw right through that ploy and wouldn’t have any of it.) Then we arrive home where I am treated to even more screaming as I try to get dinner ready to eat. Then she resists going to sleep with the art of a stubborn mule, while I usually pass out, only to be woken up at 10pm when Hubby gets home.

 

tantrum by Simon Kellogg 7991331428_843b87ed8d_b

Photo: “Tantrum” by Simon Kellogg

 

Today’s pre-dinner breakdown was so ridiculous I had to laugh. We were having pasta, easy enough, right? As I’m draining the pasta Bean insists she wants to eat some. Here’s how this went down:
Bean: I want some pasta.
Me: Ok, it just needs to cool a bit. Do you want your pasta in a bowl or on a plate?
Bean: No. I just want some pasta.
Me: Ok, let me put a piece on a fork for you.
Bean: I don’t want a fork, I want to eat it with my hands.
Me: Ok, take this one. (I offer her a piece of pasta on the wooden spoon I’d been stirring the pot with.)
Bean: No, I don’t want a spoon. I don’t want anything! I just want to eat with my hands! (Her voice is starting¬†to get louder and whiny.)
Me: ¬†Ok, I’ll just put a few pieces of plain pasta on your placemat and you can eat them with your hands.
Bean: Don’t put it on my placement! It will be dirty!
Me: Ok, I’ll eat the pasta from your placemat then.
Bean: Don’t eat it! I want to eat it! I’m hungry.
Me: I hear you; you’re hungry. Do you want your pasta in a bowl or on a plate?
Bean: NO! I DON’T WANT ANYTHING. I WANT TO EAT THE PASTA OFF OF MY DRESS! (I might have made a rather surprised face at that comment…)
Me: I see. Why don’t you sit down and I’ll put some plain pasta on your dress for you to eat.
Bean: I DON’T WANT TO SIT DOWN!!! I JUST WANT TO EAT THE PASTA OFF OF MY DRESS WITH MY FINGERS! (complete with fists punching the air and foot stomping)

Some days I just want to laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of it all. (I feel like I need to interject to say that we have never let Bean eat off of her clothes before, but some times you need to pick your battles, and I decided that plain pasta on a dress was not battle-worthy.)

I’m lucky that Bean is a good eater (normally), but the overtired threenager I have to bring home every day is¬†an ongoing exercise in¬†patience. I have learned that I don’t have time to make anything fancy or elaborate for dinner during the week, and that if it takes longer than 30 minutes from start-to-table, then it’s not an option. Anything make-ahead is fantastic in theory… except that it would involve me not falling asleep while putting the girls to bed, haha. With the onset of fall I can get back to casseroles and homemade soups (prepared on the weekend of course, and then frozen and reheated when needed). And of course, my darling husband cooks dinner a few times a week too, which is also a huge help.

If you have any great quick dinner recipes that you want to share, I would be more than happy to try them out! Wishing all of you a happy, tantrum-free dinner!

The Back-to-work Blues or Happy Dance?

Hard to believe, but the year is up and my maternity leave has come to an end. (My apologies for not having posted in a while, but the return to work has been crazy hectic! I wrote this post 2 weeks ago and only now have had the time to edit it… :S ) I had mixed feelings about going back to work… sad to be away from my girls, but happy to have a break from them too. Wanting to stay home but wanting to return to my career. I don’t think I have ever been so conflicted about a decision before… and this is coming from the girl who tried on 50 wedding dresses before her bridesmaids said “enough is enough, just pick one!” I’m still not sure I picked the right dress, but I definitely picked the right man, and in the end, that’s all that really matters. ūüôā

back to work 21791623482_5c4ed09940_b
After a week (and a short one at that!) of back at work, I’m still conflicted. I enjoy the fact that I can have adult conversation on a daily basis and¬†that I can go pee without an entourage, but I think I spent my first two days at work constantly thinking about and missing my girls. I have a photo of them on my desk, along with a foam purple unicorn that Bean made, and I smile every time I see them. It was a fairly easy first week back, so I can’t complain, and I am slowly readjusting to the working world — remembering where things are kept and how to do x, y and z.

However, this past week, my parents have been staying with us to help ease my transition — and thank heaven for that! They have dropped the girls off at school every day (and also gotten them ready in the morning), not to mention keeping the house clean, organizing the chaos that passes for storage in our unfinished basement and making dinner. I am so grateful for all of their help! However,¬†it has given me the illusion that I can do it all! The thought of trying to corral two kids out the door in the morning and still make it into work on time scares me a little. Not to mention racing out of work to get the kids before the dreaded “late” fees begin ($2/minute in case you were wondering), making it home in time to make dinner, feed the kids, bathe them, and get them into bed before they lose it from being overtired and the metaphorical poo hits the fan (6pm for El, 7 for Bean).

Three weeks in: I am proud to say that I have managed to make it into work AND¬†pick the kids up on time, somehow get dinner on the table and the kids into bed. (Admittedly with help most evenings…) Yes, I fall asleep with the kids on a daily basis, but I’m finding peace with my decision, and that makes this momma happy. Wishing you all peace with whatever major decisions you’re facing!

Cupcake surprise

One last vacation story: On Saturday, the kids were up at the crack of dawn (and in the summer, that equals mighty early in my books), and by 9am were driving me a little crazy as they had decided that¬†they were utterly incapable of doing something unless¬†I was no further away than 12 inches. (Which might have been doable if they had wanted to go in the same direction…) Despite having been up for several hours, I still looked like I’d rolled out of bed a few moments before (minus the well-rested look. I don’t even¬†think my body knows what that looks like anymore…)¬†I needed to shower and was trying to finagle 5 minutes alone to do that. Hubby offered to take the kids for a walk. Perfect. Thank you. 20 minutes is all I need and I will be ready to go when you get back.

So off they go on their walk while I shower, get dressed, make a tea, drink said cup of tea, clean up the toys and other kiddie paraphernalia,¬†read another chapter in my book, and begin to wonder where they got to… They came back an hour later, Bean traipsing into the house with a paper bag proudly clutched in her hand. “Mummy! We got a dairy-free cupcake that you and I can share!” Yummm. I won’t say no to that.

Hubby and El enter the house too and the kids present me with a gift they purchased on their walk: a cupcake apron. Too cute! I want to put it on and start making cupcakes straight away, except that we’re renting¬†the house and don’t have any flour, sugar, etc. Hugs all around! Is this why your walk took so long?

“Well…” Hubby starts to reply. Apparently Bean was running around on the nearby greenbelt and he remembered that he had forgotten her water bottle back at the house. Rather then go back¬†for it¬†and interrupt my alone-time,¬†they went down to the main street to a bakery he remembered seeing the other day to buy a bottle of water. Except that the bakery was a bit further away than he remembered. Then once they were there, Bean’s eyes grew wide as she saw all of the cupcakes, and he couldn’t say no when the owner said they had vegan ones (for our dairy-allergy kid). Then he realized that he couldn’t just get her a cupcake, so he got one for me too, along with another dozen (we were having lunch with family that day — otherwise I doubt he would have bought so many! (That would be something I would do, haha.)). And then they spied what is now my new apron… ‚̧

Hubby admitted that the cupcakes might be a little squished though, as the stroller basket wasn’t big enough to hold the box level and the bakery happened to be out of bags. We didn’t open the box until it was time for dessert. A little squished might be an understatement… of the dozen, there were maybe¬†3 that were¬†relatively unharmed. Half of them had tipped upside-down on top of the other half and were all squished on the one side of the box. It was rather comical. I wish I’d thought to take a picture, but at the time, I was too busy laughing about it. (Sidebar: While telling Hubby about this post, he informed me that he had managed to snap a quick pick of the sugary mess, so photo credits to him today!)¬†One of the cousins was assigned the role of “try to make sense of this” and deftly separated them with a knife, actually managing to keep the separate flavours separate. They might not have been pretty after their ride in the stroller, but boy oh boy, were they ever tasty!!! And really, who cares what it looks like, as long as it tastes great.

squished cupcakes

The cupcakes after a slightly bumpy ride in the stroller basket.