Thursday, April 28, 2016

April

Well, when did that happen? The days have been passing so quickly lately. We've all been keeping busy with programs (the kids), courses (me! What was I thinking?), work (Jen), and just life (all of us), but the days are slowly getting warmer and the sun is out and things are pretty good.

Honestly, I barely know what to say, it's been so long since I've been in this space.

Sprout has given up naps completely. She still does a "quiet time" in her room. Some days that goes better than others. She's been managing to hold herself together emotionally in the afternoon for the most part and crashing pretty hard at bedtime, which is a nice change. Her schedule is busy with Music on Mondays, Nature Camp on Tuesdays, Swimming on Wednesdays and Ballet on Saturdays, but it actually doesn't feel like too much. All but the Nature Camp are short drop off programs, so she's getting used to spending some time away from Mama, which is a good thing. She isn't very enthusiastic about starting school in the fall, but I'm hoping they'll place her and The Bean in the same class (with his current teacher) and that that will help with the transition.

The Bean is doing pretty well. He won't usually complain about going to school, but I know he rather be home most days. He did spoken to by his teacher the other week for getting carried away with his two best buddies, so now he's playing with some other kids, which isn't really a bad thing. I don't think he's being very challenged at school, so we've started doing a little bit of "homework" in the evenings. He seems to like it. At least for now. He's also taking Swimming on Wednesdays and keeping up with Gymnastic on Sundays and just last week started Skateboarding lessons with a young teenager from down the street which is is SUPER EXCITED about. He's such an athletic/agile kid. It's really quite incredible.

As for myself, I started some career counselling, but have kind of dropped the ball on it. It wasn't exactly what I was hoping for and the counselor isn't at all familiar with my field. Still, I know I should follow up... I also started taking a course which is keeping me pretty busy most evenings. It's a bit frustrating, because though not a requirement, most of the assignments seem to be written for teachers who are currently in a classroom. I addressed this with my prof, and her response was basically just to make shit up. Super useful. At least at the end of it I will have my Specialist qualifications (which may or may not help me in future job searching). Sunday I start a tutoring job for a little boy. It's only an hour or two a week, but at least it's something. I'm a little nervous about it and hope that he makes progress while I'm working with him.

Jen's doing well at her job. She seems really happy there and any doubts about her leaving the other place are long gone. After taking a bit of a hiatus over the winter she's also back to commuting on her bike, which is a good thing for her as she really seems to enjoy the physical activity. (Much like our son.)

Two weeks ago Jen and I took a weekend trip to Boston for our friends' wedding. We're both very happy that our long-time friend has found a wonderful person to be her partner. Their wedding was very nice with delicious food and lots to drink. We also got to see some friends of theirs that we're friendly with and it was nice to catch up with familliar faces. AND we got to meet some long-time blog friends in real life which was also very cool.  (Hi R! Hi S!)

And... a photo dump?  Because it's been forever? And a picture is worth a thousand words?  Well, why not...

FEBRUARY
Goofball.
Sweetheart.
My other sweetie.
Indoor snow play.
Playing dolls.
Hockey. He isn't happy that we won't sign him up for lessons. 
Creating.
Pirate.
Baker.
Princess. (Always.)

MARCH
Play "shoe store."
Skateboarder.
Rock climbers.
Tree climber. (Fearless!)
Nature lover.
Bookworm.
Bunk beds!
More bunk bed fun.
 APRIL
Botanical Gardens.
The four musketeers.
Ballerina.
At the Zoo.
Sprinkler in April.
Artist.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Family

Tomorrow we get back to our regular routine, after The Bean having a week off for March Break. We spent the first part of the week at Jen's parents'. We drove up Friday night, Jen left Sunday (she had to be back for work), and the kids and I stayed through Wednesday to get a couple of extra days with Grandma and Grandpa.

The kids just love it there. The Bean was so joy-filled on Saturday morning when he was outside playing he kept exclaiming, "I'm just so happy!" Goodness, how that made me wish we lived closer. Sprout, always Grandma's girl, took to her even more this visit to the point of rejecting me for her. What a strange feeling! Apart from a GORGEOUS Saturday, the weather was pretty soggy, so most of our days were spent indoors, but the kids did enjoyed themselves, regardless. We went to see Zootopia one day and another day went to the play area at the local mall to burn off some steam. It went quickly, as our trips there do.

I am so glad that our kids enjoy spending time with Jen's family. I enjoy spending time with them too. I really lucked out in the in-law department. It's not something that I take for granted.

Things have certainly improved over the years with my mom. I know that the adult relationships will never be quite as comfortable as the ones we have with Jen's parents though. The kids, however, love their Oma and are always very happy to spend time with her. She's surprised me twice recently --once by apologizing for kicking me out. I never, ever thought that day would come. She seemed genuinely remorseful and it felt good (though that's not quite the right word) to finally have the injustice of the situation acknowledged. The second surprise is that she agreed to watch the kids for two nights when we go to Boston for our friends' wedding in April. I don't think The Bean and Sprout have registered the fact that they aren't coming to the wedding yet (we originally thought it was going to be kid-friendly, but as plans progressed it turned out not to be) and they'll likely be a little disappointed when that realization sets in, but I think knowing that they're going to have a few days with Oma will help soften the blow. I just hope Oma can handle things here!

As I mentioned in my previous post, my sister and I are still not speaking. There are issues, like the holidays, that make me feel disappointed that this is where things have progressed to, but I feel like the decision to cut ties has been the right one. The upcoming holiday along with watching our two kids interact this week has had me thinking about how my mom must feel about our estrangement. Still, I think I would be absolutely heartbroken if The Bean and Sprout found themselves in a similar situation as adults. Witnessing their sibling bond is one of my greatest joys. They have their moments, but overall they are so good with each other and I am so grateful for their relationship. I hope they remain close as they grow up. (My sister and I have always had a volatile relationship, which I thought we had outgrown, but I suppose not. My brother and I, much like Jen and her brother, get along fine, but are not close.)

Overall we're really lucky with family. My aunt is almost like another grandparent to the kids, and my cousins are like aunts and uncles. The biggest complaint is that so much of our family lives far away and we don't get to see them nearly as much as we'd like to.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Spring

This afternoon the kids noticed that the bulbs we planted in the fall are beginning to sprout. While this week is forecast to be warm, I'm not counting on spring starting just yet. Still a new season is around the corner and with that come the awareness of time passing and the ever-pressing need to figure out a plan or at least pin down some firm possibilities for the coming year.

We registered Sprout for kindergarten a few weeks ago. It's a bit hard to believe that our three-year-old will be in full-time school in the fall. I also checked off the box indicating that we are interested in before and after school care for the kids. Not knowing what my work schedule will be, in seems prudent to get them on the wait list now and cancel the spots should we not need them rather than scramble to find care later.

There hasn't been any progress on the job front. A few weeks ago I did a big search and came up with a few new schools to apply to, but I still haven't updated my resume and sent out cover letters. (Well, I did for one that someone had told me might be hiring, but aside from that I have not.) I know it's important and I will do it, but it is a daunting task. I've been mulling over non-school teaching options --educational programming, tutoring and the like. Again, I need to search out all the possibilities, though there are a few I should get on sooner rather than later. Then there's the idea of going back to school. Tomorrow I'm hoping to finally make an appointment at a government office to see if I qualify for any assistance in going back to school. There's a program here that will job train for in-demand fields. I'm just not certain I want to work in any of those fields. It really is a mind shift. Hopefully after talking to someone I'll have a better sense as to whether that's something to pursue. I'd love to go back and get my Masters of Education or continue my Psychology Degree, but while potentially interesting, I don't see those as being something very practical options. It's hard to know.

Fortunately I'm feeling less crippled by this task than I did a month ago. The anti-depressants seem to be helping. I had some side effects -stomach pain the first week or two and then extreme fatigue for another week or two following that. I still feel like I'm more tired that I typically would be, but I seem to be adjusting. I find I'm a lot more patient with the kids and I have a more reasonable perspective on minor things that I was formerly getting upset about.

Not that everything is roses. My sister and I still are not speaking and I do not see a reconciliation in the near future. In fact, I have no interest in future contact with her unless she makes some indication that she is apologetic about the way she's treated us in the past and will try to show us more respect going forward. Fortunately we haven't had contact for several months now. Unfortunately Easter is coming up and my mom wants to get the family together. Jen and I agreed that we do not wish to join in the celebration if my sister will also be there. My regret is that this decision means that our kids are likely to miss out. It also brings into question how future celebrations will be handled. Thanksgiving. Christmas. I don't think it's fair that we'd always be the ones to bow out, but I also don't seeing her being compromising enough to take turns. I don't think it's fair: to us, to our kids, to my mom, but I also don't see another option. I guess we will see what the coming seasons hold.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Pneumonia, Pills and Parent/Teacher Interviews

So, somehow January is over and we're nearing the half-way mark of this shortest/longest month of the year.

I think winter has finally hit our part of the world. We've had a little bit of snow and some very cold days, with more in the forecast.

We've spent the better part of this week bunkered in. After being back and forth to the doctor for a bad cough several times, each time coming home with different medications to try out, The Bean was diagnosed with Pneumonia. He finished his antibiotics this morning and was back to school for just the one day this week as tomorrow is the first day of a four day weekend. Of course, now Sprout is coughing, but I'm hoping it doesn't develop into anything. She's also all but given up her mid-day nap, which is another thing all together, but to continue the theme from my last post: Tired Mama.

Thankfully before kid-sickness hit in full force I was able to get myself in for a few long-overdue doctor's appointments. One of those included a chat with my GP and the starting of some anti-depressants. It was time. I don't like the idea of them (for myself) and I resisted even considering them for so long, but the truth of it is that things have been getting worse rather than better. My mood has been impacting my interactions with both Jen and the kids in a negative way. Something needed to change. And, though it's only been a week, I feel like it's making a difference. I am so glad.

Tonight we had our first-ever parent/teacher interviews with The Bean's teachers. His report, which I only picked up this morning, was more or less what I expected. It's hard to read between the lines --the teachers mostly select comments from a drop-down menu so it doesn't say a whole lot and what it does say isn't neither very specific nor backed up by examples. Talking it through was good. We had requested the interview a while ago since he had been resisting going to school quite a bit before the break and we wanted to follow up on that. His teachers spent nearly 45 minutes with us, which is about three times what we were scheduled for. (They didn't have any interviews scheduled immediately following ours, so I guess they didn't feel rushed.) Most of what they had to say was about what a bright and social student he is, but they also seemed to have a pretty accurate insight into other things --his perfectionism and desire to please, his sense of social justice and his tendency to "police" others. We walked away with the feeling that they know our kid pretty well and are doing a good job supporting him. We also got some reassurance that they making efforts to challenge him academically despite him already meeting many of the curriculum expectations.

It's only 10:30pm, but it's been a long week. Tomorrow I will have both kids home again and with -20*C temperatures in the forecast I think it will be another long day spent indoors. I best rest up.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Tired

Tonight Jen and I were lying in bed talking. She commented on me yawning, and I said that I didn't lie down this afternoon and that I was a little tired. She sort of chuckled and said something about not understanding why I stayed up so late, so I replied that it's the only time I get to myself. She said that she doesn't get time to herself either, but that she rather sleep. And while I understood her comment, it still got to me.

Jen works very hard to support our family. She wakes up early and helps get the kids ready for the day, while she gets herself ready for work. She rides her bike to work most days, works at the office all day, and then rides home before coming in to help with dinner, bath, bedtime and all the other evening routines/chores. Most nights the two of us watch a show and chat a little bit before she heads in to read before bed and I veg on the couch, playing around on the computer, crocheting or reading.

That two or three hours in the evening, before I go to sleep, I need it. I need it to have a break from thinking about what needs to get done. I need it to connect with other people (via email or Facebook or reading and commenting on blogs). I often need it to feel like there's something tangible I've accomplished that day. A blog post written. A few pages in a photo book completed. An arm of a sweater finished. A chapter of a book read. Because what I've discovered, and probably one of my biggest hurdles of being a stay at home mom, is that there is very little to show for my days. I may have washed three sink fulls of dishes, but there will still be dishes in the sink.  I may have done all the laundry, but that night there will be dirty clothes in the hamper. Floors will always need to be cleaned. Groceries will always have to be shopped for.

I know (I know) that this is a privilege. To get to be home with our kids. To watch them learn and grow. To have the chance to connect with them. But I feel like it's viewed as doing nothing. And sometimes it does feel to me like I am doing nothing. This year will be another hole on my resume. This year, again, will see our savings remain stagnant.

I like working. Even when I am burnt out from it, I like it. I love the kids. I like planning and teaching and assessing and communicating. I miss having coworkers to talk to. I am interested in best practices and improving my teaching.

I feel like if I were working all the stuff I am doing currently would still get done. The dishes. The laundry and cleaning and groceries. The kids would still be learning and growing. I'd still have a strong relationship with them.

So what is the benefit of me being home right now? In all honesty the only reason I am home is because I haven't got a job. It's not a strategic decision we made to support our kids while they were young. It's because I can't get work. And I'll tell you what: That feels pretty shitty. And it feels pretty shitty to resent the fact that my wife gets to go pee by herself. My wife, who I love very much, but having been doing a pretty crap job of showing that to. My wife, who I've known for 15 years (as of tomorrow) and been married to for ten years (as of Thursday) and parenting with for five years (as of two weeks ago).

I'm just not sure what to do about any of this. Or how.

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Bean is Five Years Old!

Today The Bean is five years old!


FIVE. Can you believe it?

This kid. He has been trying to act very grown up lately, "practicing for when I am five", he says. I think he thinks it will make us happy and proud --he is very much a people pleaser-- and it does, but it also makes me want to squeeze him and kiss him all over and toss him up into the air and tickle him and read him a million books while he still enjoys it all.  

So, where to begin with our Bean? He really is a complex little person. The past few months have been kind of hard. There were some mixed emotions as he was about start school, and sadly he doesn't seem to be enjoying it as much as we had hoped he would. After the initial adjustment, he seemed happy. In October he was upset for a while because he wanted to be seen as a girl and he felt the other students weren't accepting of that. His teachers were very open and responsive though, and I felt like we had resolved things (meaning, he knew he could be whoever he wanted and the other students were seemingly understanding of that). Then in late November he got a cold, I kept him home for a half day, and after that he did not want to go back. As in crying at drop off many mornings a week, sulking, telling us he was sad/lonely/had a bad day at school etc. I talked to his teachers about it in passing before the break, but they assured me he seemed happy and engaged at school. It's been a bit of a mixed bag since school started up again last week, so I think we're going to ask for a meeting. As his pediatrician said at his well-check this week, he should be happy at school.

So, mood wise, I'd have to say he's been a bit glum, but not all the time. He still has many moments where he is happy and playful and full of giggles and jokes and jumping around. It's very hard as his parent to navigate this. While it's fine to feel sad, I would like to get to the root of it and make it more of an emotion that he only feels on occasion than something he's feeling on a regular basis.

Academically he seems to be doing very well. He comes home reciting many songs and rhymes he is learning at school. He LOOOOOVES visual art and his art teacher (though he is awfully hard on himself when his pictures don't turn out the way he would like). Phys. Ed. of course, is much enjoyed. He's counting to 100, doing some basic arithmetic. And his reading has taken off. I mean, shockingly so. I know he's among the eldest of the JKs, but even still, his ability is pretty remarkable. He can pretty much read any story book from our shelves. He stuggles with unfamiliar words and will still guess at things rather than really sound them out, but for a just-turned-five year old I'm thoroughly impressed. He is also showing an interest in writing and can often be found carrying around a notebook and pencil. He regularly proclaims his love of his teachers and several of his classmates, but does not see, to have a "best buddy" in the class.

For a while now he has been interested in distinguishing between "good" and "bad" (both people and behaviours). I get fairly regular reports over who in his class has misbehaved that day --fortunately he thrives on positive attention and tells me he is "never bad" at school. Before Christmas he became more concerned than we would have liked about whether his behaviour was "good" and what Santa would think. A bit heartbreaking when he would do something like spill a drink and ask right away whether Santa would be upset with him.

As I mentioned already, he is really a people pleaser which makes him pretty cooperative overall. He's been doing a lot that shows his growing independence --getting ready in the mornings, bathing himself and washing his own hair, wanting to help prepare snacks, tidying up after himself and his sister. He glows when given praise. It's a good thing, but we're also aware that it's something that could be taken advantage of. So far there haven't been any issues, but when he talks about friends telling him to do things, we're always a bit more alert than we might be if he weren't so eager to do what others ask/tell him to do.

Somewhat related, he is also very aware of other's expectations and preferences. He often refers to himself and Jen as the boys in the family and will occasionally call her dad. She never makes a big deal out of it, but one day asked why he never calls me dad. He told her it was because he didn't think I would like it if he did.

He loves girls. He especially loves older girls. If they're 10 or 11 and have long blonde hair, I would almost guarantee that he will be talking about them for days.

He's starting to ask more involved questions about why things are the way they are and how things work. He got some really interesting science kits and books along with a set of Magic School Bus DVDs for gifts recently, and I'm sure they'll spark more questions and investigations.

He loves rocket ships, robots and knights. He's just getting into more superheroes (his exposure is pretty limited). Board games are starting to be a semi-regularly requested activity --Camelot Jr. and Jenga are two recent favourites.

Mostly he loves being active. Skatergirl and Scootergirl continue to be two of his alter egos. He is always running, leaping, flipping... He zooms around on his bicycle, practices on his skateboard (doing all the coolest tricks in his mind, I am sure), and just got a very awesome scooter from his Grandma and Grandpa and a (kid's/intro) snowboard from my cousin and her son for his birthday. He took gymnastics lessons this fall which he will be continuing through the winter. While he is developing his skills, I have to say that his body awareness and control is pretty remarkable. He listens carefully to his coach's instructions and really does his best to do things the way they describe.

He still loves music. Living room dance parties have continued. Back in May I got to take him to his frist Whitehorse concert which he was just thrilled about. The lucky, lucky boy got a shout out from Luke Doucet during the encore and his requested song played, even though it was a song they haven't played live in nearly a decade. His new favourite band is Van Morrison. His favourite song: Gloria.

He still loves being read to and will choose tried-and-true favourites from the shelves before bed each night. He has recently shown an interest in the Magic Tree House series of books. We've read a couple and he got a few more for Christmas and Birthday gifts, so I imagine we'll be starting those soon. He and Sprout will pretend to be the characters from the story and go on adventures in our apartment.

He's really started experimenting with different phrases.  "Give me a break" "Get over it" "You're killing me" and  "I'm dead" are a few that come to mind. He also uses the phrase "You're sweating my paws!" which we're not really sure where he picked up but seems to mean he can't believe what you're saying.

Not much has changed for him in terms of his gastro health. We have had him off of dairy forever now, and it does seem to help, as does having him on a regular dose of fibre, but still there are issues. He does not have Celiac disease and we are not moving forward with a test for Crohns. We suspect he has IBS, as it runs in the family. It's a hard thing to diagnose, as it is really a diagnosis of exclusion. We go back for another specialist appointment in the spring.

His food preferences are about the same, but we're starting to insist that he take a few bites of the things Jen and I are having for dinner. He has a good appetite. He usually has two breakfasts -cereal, toast, cream of wheat, etc. I pack him a hardy lunch and it usually comes back about 3/4 eaten, though he's getting pickier about what he will eat at school. He eats his dinner (and a small dessert) nightly will follow it up with some cheese crackers and often a fruit. We wonder where he puts it all and fear for the teenage years!

He is currently in a growth spurt. He gets thicker looking in the trunk and then shoots up. He had his well check last week, but I forgot to ask for his stats. I know his somewhere in the 10th-25th percentile for both height and weight. A bit of a peanut. I think that's just him. He's consistently in size 4 tops now and moving into more size 4 pants because the 3s are just getting too short. He has tiny hands and feet. About the same size as Sprouts, who is nearly two years younger. His shoe size is a 7.5/8. Sometime mid-November he decided he wanted a haircut, so after months of growing it out he got a super-cute undercut, which we rarely style. Ha!


And while the past few months have had their difficult moments, when he is happy he just shines. The way his eyes light up and his smile radiates is contageous. While I am always happy to be his Mama, I can think of little that makes me feel happier than seeing him in these moments. I love him with my whole self. My baby.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Sprout is Three Years Old!

Today Sprout is three years old! (Yes, I was slow to get this typed out and have backdated it. ;) )


If I've learned anything about myself as a parent, it is that birthdays always come as a bit of a shock. Our round, pink, screaming newborn is now a little girl who will proudly say "When I was borned I was as cute as a ham!"

This girl, she is a character. Honestly, I'm not sure quite what to make of her. Jen says she is 1/2 completely me, and half my total opposite. We're also learning how she is such a different person from The Bean and figuring out what her needs and personality are versus her older brother.

She is such a silly kid. Her sense of humour continues to blossom. She loves making people laugh. Still faces, nonsensical rhymes, crazy dancing... Often times it's quite clear she is trying to get a reaction, but it's the times that she's not trying that I realize how funny she really is. Quirky in the most endearing of ways.

She is sweet. She will gently place a hand on your cheek and cock her head to the side, asking "Are you okay?" if she thinks something is wrong. She gives the best squeeze hugs ever and sweet little kisses. She likes holding hands and is super-snuggly. She definitely is a person uses touch and looks for physical closeness from those she loves.

Leading up to her birthday we talked a lot about how how three is big, and how three year olds don't need to nurse. She said when she was three that she would stop nursing. I was hopeful, but didn't really expect it to be that easy. Of course, she hasn't stopped. I have made the decision to eliminate her morning nursing session though. Things have been crazy with Christmas and traveling and our schedule being totally off, so maybe it's been a little easier... she isn't pleased about the situation, but I also think she realizes that fussing about it isn't going to make a difference. (Though it does make my heart ache and make me want to give in, just a little, when she seems sad.) We have replaced the nursing session with cuddling before getting out of bed.

She can be incredibly stubborn. I know all toddlers are stubborn, but she just digs in her heels and doesn't budge. The Bean was much more compliant, so figuring out how to navigate this stubborn streak has been a parenting challenge.

She can be a bit defiant and as typical of siblings, will tease her brother from time to time... most often when she gets the coveted pink spoon at mealtimes. For a long time this consisted of her taunting, "I have the pink spoon! Too bad, Bean." One day when Jen and I were out my cousin who had been watching the kids reported back that she had been asking to nurse, and when he told her she couldn't because I was out, she said to herself, "Too bad, Sprout." That made me chuckle.

She has started to occasionally push or hit when she's not getting her way. This is always dealt with by a short time out, followed up by a brief discussion about why she pushed/hit and how that hurts and is not acceptable behaviour. She knows it's not allowed and isn't ever very forceful, but we'd still like to nip it in the bud.

Sleep continues to be a bit of a struggle. If she doesn't nap in the afternoon she is an emotional mess by 4pm and crashes early. If she does nap, she really fights going to bed and will often be awake until close to 9pm. She usually falls asleep easily at nap time, but when she doesn't it's not worth trying to get her to. Fortunately she's pretty good about doing quiet time and will look at books for about a half hour or an hour before saying she's ready to come out of her room. She had started to get into an elaborate bedtime routine of asking for water... and pillows beside her bed... and to use the washroom... and to have  a gargoyle to protect her, etc. before we left for the holidays. Hopefully it does not resume when we get back home.

She loves books and LOVES being read to. She doesn't have any strong and true favourites. She likes fairy tales and other princess stories, but also enjoys funny books, adventure stories... anything really. She will sit and listen to stories being read for over an hour... I almost always am done before she is. She also really takes in what is being read and what the pictures show and asks a lot of questions about what words mean or what a character is doing.

Her favourite game is to pretend she is a baby. She and her brother can be quite creative in their play and often will play for a long time together... babies, but camping, Christmas, knights and princesses and Jack and Annie (from the Magic Tree House series of books) have been other recent themes. Her alter ego is still a ballerina princess. She loves to wear her "princess dress."

She loves playing with her babies and toy animals. Her only request for Christmas was a cradle for her babies. Santa did not disappoint. (On a side note: she was SO excited about Christmas. We let the kids pick out gifts for each other and she promptly told The Bean what she got him. She just couldn't wait!)

She was in three programs/classes during the fall.  An art program, a dance program and an outdoor education program. The outdoor education one was fantastic and a nice way to get outdoors and explore, as well as meet some new people. The art and dance classes were at the local library and we attended with my cousin's son who is becoming one of Sprout's best friends. They weren't stellar from an instructional standpoint, but she enjoyed them none the less. We have a music class and a program at a city farm lined up for the winter.

Her language skills continue to develop. She is a chatterbox, but can still be a bit hard to understand at times. When she's excited her voice goes up about three octaves and I joke that she's turned into a cartoon character. Some of our favourite of her misspoken words are "Absowootwe" "Vampirate" and "Snissors." We rarely correct her one these ones just because we love them so much. Other words/phrases that she uses regularly are "Perhaps", "I'm exhausted!", "I'm all puffeled up" (meaning she is full), and "Big thumbs up!" with her forefingers held in the air. She still mixes up pronouns and will say "What is her doing?" rather than "What is she doing?"

If she's not chattering away she will be singing. It could be a nursery rhyme, or Christmas carol or sometimes a little song that she has made up.

She has good manners, and will usually say "thank you" when you do something for her or give her something. Her appreciation was so sincere over Christmas. It was so sweet and made me feel quite proud.

She can count reasonably well and can hold up the correct number of fingers on one hand. She even will alter the ways she holds up three fingers.

She loves to run and jump and climb and skip. She is a little bit clumsy and will often call out "Just me!" when she falls. She's become much more bold recently, letting us toss and flip her around more and will often request that we "Please do that again?"

She's a bit fussy over clothes and also very observant over what others are wearing. If I grab Jen's socks or sweatshirt she always notices and calls me out on it. Funnily, when she wears clothing with pockets, she will put her hands into them and proclaim, "Me mama!" (She also loves pockets to carry money in. She goes nuts over coins. If you drop change she will literally run out from whatever room she is in, in the hopes that you will give her some.)

She's grown! She continues to be a big kid. We have her three year check up early in the new year, so I'll get her official stats then. She's now mostly in 3t clothing, though some smaller things still fit. Shoe size is holding steady at 7. She weighs somewhere in the low 30lbs range. She's definitely stretching out and though she has a nice round belly, she's lost most of her chubby baby rolls. People often comment on her hair, which despite a recent trim, is getting quite long. It's such a gorgeous colour. She doesn't like having it combed, but will tolerate it if I put a video on my phone for her. If she starts to fuss too much about it, I'll insist that it get cut shorter, but so far she does okay. She wants to have "Rapunzel hair".

Eating continues to be fine. She doesn't eat a huge variety of foods, but eats a reasonable number of things from each food group, so it's manageable. She loves dairy products and sweets. A recent favourite is croissants, which she calls "poissants".

Her favouite people still mostly consist of family members (me, Grandma, and my cousin, though Jen and Grandpa are in there too, whether she will admit it or not). Her best friends are The Bean, my cousin's son, and Teagan and Quinn. She will regularly say she is going to any one or several of these people. She also named her new doll Quinny. <3 p="">
She uses the potty/toilet consistently, but still needs reminders as she will wait until the very last second to go. She wears a diaper at naps and bedtime. Naps are hit or miss on whether she'll wake up dry, but she is always wet overnight. I feel like it's going to be a while before she's able to go through the night.

It's a wonder to see the many ways she has grown and changed over the past year(s), but also to see how she has stayed the same. She brings us such joy and we love her more than we could have ever imagined! 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Solstice

I'm not sure about everyone else, but the days certainly do feel short around here. Time is flying by. I can hardly believe it's December, let alone nearly Christmas. Nor can I believe that our little Bug is going to be THREE years old in three days. (Or that The Bean will be FIVE in just three weeks!) Where the time goes, I am really not sure.

The weather has been unseasonably warm. We've had only a dusting of snow. It's not what we're used to and certainly doesn't feel very Christmas-y. The kids are excited nonetheless. We've had our tree, stockings, and other seasonal decorations up since just after American Thanksgiving. There are a few gifts under the tree, taunting the children. The Bean legitimately fell onto one of his gifts and tore the paper open, though the reason he was close enough to fall onto the said gift is a little spotty. I made an effort to cut back on Christmas gifts for the kids this year. There is really very little that the need, and even their wish lists were fairly short because, really, they have most things they could want too. Being an one-income household and the crappy Canadian dollar also impacted things. That said, they will both get what they've asked for from Santa -A remote control car for The Bean (he also asked for a remote control airplane, but that is NOT happening) and a cradle for Sprout's babies (my sister mentioned a while ago that she was going to give her one, but we have since had a falling out, so I'm not sure if she will follow through. There is a back up, just in case, but if she does receive it from her Aunt she'll be getting a jewelry box from Santa, which she didn't ask for, but will be thrilled about).

We celebrated with my cousins' family on Sunday. Sprout and my one cousin's son have become quite close. They're only six months apart in age and did a few programs together this fall. Sprout often says she is going to marry him (as she says about all the people she loves most). While we don't condone incest, they are very cute together. And, as I know I've mentioned before, both our kids absolutely adore my other cousin. All that to say they enjoyed the get together. We stayed longer than we should have, and even though they were both in need of a nap, they stuck it out. We even got a cute photo of the exhausted and over-stimulated kids by the tree.



Aside from that we have been downtown to see the windows, visited Santa and had their photos taken, opened Advent calendars, been visited by St. Nicholas, done a little bit of Christmas baking (that has all been eaten) and made Christmas crafts. I don't think there's much more we've got planned in terms of Christmas activities. Mama and Mommy just have to wrap a few more gifts and get us packed up for our travels.


 




We're all looking forward to the holiday and to the return of longer days... even if they do sill fly by.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

November 2015 Photo Challenge Wrap-Up

So I'm pretty sure I mostly failed my own photo challenge.  The upside is that I did take more photos than I might have otherwise. 

So, without further ado, here are the photos from the last two weeks of the November 2015 Photo Challenge.

November 3:  Music
Didn't happen.
November 10: Colour
Ditto.

November 17: Creativity
Playing "Christmas."

November 18: Technology

November 19: Weather
Nun-uh.

November 20: Water

November 21: Family
Downtown with the in-laws.  Best family I could have become a part of.  

November 22: Nature
Surprisingly, no.

November 23: Love
<3 i="">

November 24: Kindness
I should post a photo of the tea Jen makes me every morning.  The gift of early-morning caffeination is a kind one, indeed.

November 25: Food

November 26: Tradition
Christmas windows downtown.


November 27: Home
I have one on my phone... not sure if I'll be able to figure out how to post it here or not.

November 28: Holidays
Would posting two photos here make up for all the ones I didn't get?  The first isn't stellar, but I can't resist. Pretend the girl-child is looking at the camera and the boy-child isn't talking. ;) 




November 29: Art

November 30: Warmth
I did say I thought I failed the challenge.  

Here's the full list, for anyone who is interested...
November 2015 Photo Challenge 
November 1: Shadows
November 2:  Routine
November 3:  Music
November 4: Comfort
November 5: Words
November 6: Change
November 7: Animals
November 8: Sky
November 9: Touch
November 10: Colour
November 11: Memories
November 12: Clothing
November 13: Rest
November 14: Friendship
November 15: Movement
November 16: Beauty
November 17: Creativity
November 18: Technology
November 19: Weather
November 20: Water
November 21: Family
November 22: Nature
November 23: Love
November 24: Kindness
November 25: Food
November 26: Tradition
November 27: Home
November 28: Holidays
November 29: Art
November 30: Warmth

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 2015 Photo Challenge, 9-16

As I've already said, I'm participating in a November Photo Challenge and anyone who cares to is welcome to participate.  Leave a link to your post in the comments!

Here is my second installment:

First catching up with...November 4: Comfort
I had to pick up The Bean from school early one day as he had thrown up.  He rarely naps anymore, but fell asleep in his "nest" during quiet time.


And onto this past week (or so)'s photos...
November 9: Touch
 The squirrels at the Public Garden were really bold.  They came right up to us looking for food.

November 10: Colour
I don't have a photo that really stands out for this one, so I'm putting it on my catch up list.
November 11: Memories
I am really drawn to ghost signs.  This was one we walked by in Boston.

November 12: Clothing
My suitcase all packed up for my trip. It was such a shocking realization that packing for only myself is SO easy. In fact, I could have gotten away with bringing much less than I did.

November 13: Rest
Admittedly, this is a bit morbid and not at all what I had in mind when I came up with the word "rest" on this list. But many of the gravestones in the Boston cemeteries had this image on them. I need to do some research to find out the history on it. 

November 14: Friendship
Taken by by best friend's fiancee. My best friend and I have both had some ups and downs the past few years that have indirectly impacted our friendship. It was good to spend time together this weekend. 

November 15: Movement
The Bean very rarely stops moving. This blurry photo is from a bedroom dance party.

November 16: Beauty
I know why they put the bench by this tree. I could have sat and started at it for ages. Gorgeous. 


And here's the full list for anyone who wants to join in...

November 2015 Photo Challenge November 1: ShadowsNovember 2:  RoutineNovember 3:  MusicNovember 4: ComfortNovember 5: WordsNovember 6: ChangeNovember 7: AnimalsNovember 8: SkyNovember 9: TouchNovember 10: ColourNovember 11: MemoriesNovember 12: ClothingNovember 13: RestNovember 14: FriendshipNovember 15: MovementNovember 16: BeautyNovember 17: CreativityNovember 18: TechnologyNovember 19: WeatherNovember 20: WaterNovember 21: FamilyNovember 22: NatureNovember 23: LoveNovember 24: KindnessNovember 25: FoodNovember 26: TraditionNovember 27: HomeNovember 28: HolidaysNovember 29: ArtNovember 30: Warmth