Friday, July 18, 2014

{this moment} sibling storytime

A Friday ritual. A single photo  - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Nap Time

This summer has been so busy.  Good, but busy.  

Most days we find ourselves going on an outing in the morning, then coming home for lunch and naps, and doing something closer to home in the afternoons.  

I usually spend nap time doing dishes, cleaning up the dining room, throwing in a load of laundry, straightening up toys, messing around online, etc.  When the kids wake up I'm exhausted.  So, today, rather than trying to fit it all in, I decided to take a little break.  Once all the lunch stuff was cleaned up I put on the kettle and took out my book.  And for 25 glorious minutes I snuggled in on the couch with a cup of my favourite tea, some almonds and cranberries to snack on, and I read.  A book written for adults.  

I even almost made it through a whole chapter.

I think I'm going to have to do it again.  Soon.  Maybe even tomorrow.  The laundry can wait.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Another Project 52 Catch Up

Well, the good news is that I am taking the photos, the bad news is that I don't seem to be able to ever get them up in a timely fashion.

I made a mistake with The Bean's 23/52 photo, so I'll start with the correction there...


The Bean: Balancing.
Sprout: Spent the better part of four days in this puddle. (repost)


The Bean: Proud of the ant he found and caught. (repost)
The Bean: Doing his jungle gym tricks.
Sprout: Enjoying a quintessential summer experience.


The Bean: Hard at work.
Sprout: Cheeky smile.


The Bean: Rolling in the clover.
Sprout: Running through the sprinkler.


The Bean: Playing with his food.
Sprout: Proud of her pizza.


The Bean: Wanted to go for a walk in the rain.
Sprout: Enjoying the puddles.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Bean at Three and a Half Years Old

Somehow our little Bean isn't quite so little of a bean anymore.  As much as we still think of him as our baby, he is no longer a baby and not even really a toddler anymore.  He's a real and true kid.  A big kid, if you ask him.  (Though he really isn't that big.)

Size wise I'd guess that he's a bit over 30lbs and three feet and a few inches tall.   Clothes are anywhere from 24m-3T on top and 18m-2T on the bottom.  I'm glad it's summer and the clothes he's wearing are short sleeved and legged.  It makes dressing him easier.  Maybe by the fall he'll have filled out a bit and the sizes that are long enough also fit around his middle. Shoes are size 7ish.

What he lacks in size he makes up for in personality.  I never would have expected a child of ours to be so outgoing, but he is.  He has his moments of shyness, especially when around people he hasn't seen for a while, but he warms up quickly.  Then, well, he'll chat your ear off and isn't shy about telling you what he would like you to do with him.  He waves to people from the shopping cart in the grocery store, asking them about what they're buying, or (more likely) telling them about his day.  He says hello to pretty much every person we pass when we're out for walks and always seems a little heartbroken if they don't say hello back.

His vocabulary is impressive.  He also has a way of saying things that seems precocious for a child his age.  We often get comments about his language skills.  We know he's advanced in this regard, but it's hard for us to recognize.  Even with having taught kids this age, I can't really remember well enough to compare.  Sometimes when he's upset he has a hard time getting started saying something and will stutter over the first syllable, but usually the words flow pretty easily.

Yes, he's a chatty little "people person."  We've also noticed how much he wants to engage with us.  Though he'll have periods of content solo play, he definitely prefers Jen or I playing with him.  He can be pretty demanding about it, which is hard, because we cannot play with him all the time but we do not enjoy being yelled at.  We've been working a lot on "asking nicely" and "tone of voice."  Sometimes the reminders help, other times not so much.  (They usually seem to help more when he is getting what he wants, and not work so well when he is not.)  Alternately, he can also be incredibly sweet: cuddling, stroking our faces and giving compliments.

He is a pretty great big brother, we have, however, started to see some signs of jealousy.  He used to say that he was going to pretend to be "Baby Blah" but now he'll just say that he's Sprout outright.  He wants to be babied too.  (Not that we really baby Sprout, but you know.)  I think being home with me and Sprout full time has made this more of an issue, but he LOVES being home overall.

He usually wakes up with ideas about where he wants to go or what he wants to do that day.  We typically do an outing in the morning --the zoo, the farm, The Science Centre, an indoor playground, a park, etc.  In the afternoon we tend to stick closer to home, often playing in the yard or at a nearby park, though there were a few weeks when we were checking out splash pads on a regular basis.

So, yes, he is now home with me full time.  I'm not sure how much I have said here already, but after our daycare provider went through radiation she came to us and asked how we felt about her taking the rest of the summer off.  It was something we had discussed doing even if she had been feeling better, so we readily agreed.  With nothing yet lined up for the fall, we've decided that he'll stay home with me and Sprout for the rest of the year unless I happen to get a full time job, in which case we'll place them both in daycare.  (Hopefully the one he's been in, but we'll see if there are spaces available when/if that happens.)

The Bean is incredibly active.  Jen and I joke that he doesn't know how to walk, that he can only run.  He loves to play "sports", jump, climb, swing, slide, bike, scooter, swim, etc.  We've been spending a lot of time outside lately, which he loves.  Just in the past month or so he has taken to swimming with water wings or a life jacket on and riding both a tricycle and bike with training wheels.  He's also figured out how to do the fireman pole at the park and will climb and do "tricks" on most of the playground equipment.  I think we will sign him up for a gymnastics class this fall.

He loves princesses.  He also loves Spiderman.  His favourite colours are pink, brown and black.  He likes to play with balls, Hot Wheels cars, blocks, his doctor's kit, picnic basket, and Play-Doh.  His fine motor skills are improving.  He can write his name so that it's legible for someone who knows what they are looking at, he can also draw figures!  People with huge heads, arms, legs and faces!  So cute.

He loves being read to and has started asking us to teach him how to read.  His favourite books right now are series --Bearenstain Bears, Charlie and Lola, Curious George, and Little Critter.  He also likes fairy tales.  He'll "read" books to himself, and has quite good letter recognition and letter/sound association, but cannot actually connect the sounds read.  I have my doubts on whether he is actually ready, but we may pick up a few early phonics readers and I plan on scouring Pinterest for some fun sight word activities.

I've taken to letting the kids watch a show on my computer while I prepare their lunch.  SuperWhy and Octonauts are The Bean's favourites.  Paw Patrol is in there too but it's next to impossible to find on YouTube so he really only sees it when we're at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  He's watched the movie Frozen (and loved it) and also Finding Nemo and The Lorax (which he also loved).

He sometimes gets "tablet time" in the mornings or on long car rides.  He really enjoys many of the educational (and not-so-educational) apps we have downloaded for him.  We usually set a timer that automatically turns it off so that he doesn't get upset with us for telling him it's time to stop.

He loves music.  He'll often request certain songs to dance/ sing/ play instruments to.  Luke Doucet's Long Haul Driver is still a favourite song.  He knows most T&S songs off their most recent album and some of their older songs too (he's going to LOVE when we take him to their shows later this month).  He's also a big Beatles fan, which I love.  Yellow Submarine and I Want to Hold Your Hand are his favourite Beatles tunes.  He, of course, likes the songs from Frozen and many of the celebrity songs from Sesame Street (thanks YouTube).  He continues to make up his own songs, which I find adorable.  I mean, who doesn't love a three year old singing "It's a hot dog day!  It's a bun and ketchup day!" on the walk over to a barbeque at his cousins' house?

His memory and his attention to detail are incredible.  He will bring up things that happened a year ago as if they were yesterday.  I don't think he remembers much before the age of two, based solely on the fact that I ask him if he remembers before we had Sprout and he indicates that he doesn't.  (He says he remembers her being in my tummy, but I'm doubtful.)  He'll also talk about details of what someone said or did that I am often surprised he picked up on.  Very observant.

A related quirk of his that we've noticed is that when we are driving he will bring up topics of conversation that we've discussed on previous trips by the places we're passing.  For a while he always asked me to tell him the story of when I crashed my bicycle when we drove past a landmark on the way to Jen's office.  He'll also confirm that he knows what places are as we pass them --the cemetery where my grandparents are buried, where he used to take swimming lessons, the railway tracks, etc.

Food continues to be a challenge.  He is still quite picky but we've instituted a "you must try a bite of what we're having" rule at dinnertime which is helping ever so slightly.  We've eliminated all animal dairy from his diet, including foods that contain dairy.  He was having some pretty severe stomach/bowel issues of which dairy seems to have been the root, though we're not convinced that there isn't also another food sensitivity which we have yet to discover.  It's tough.  He's very good about asking if food has "cow milk" in it, but we know it slips in here and there and he pays the consequences.

No big update on the potty front.  We had started putting him in a Pull-Up overnight, then stopped because they were mostly dry, then started again because he was wetting the bed.  Most days he wakes up dry, but we're still putting him in the Pull-Ups.  I guess we'll decide whether to continue once this bag runs out.  (He mostly seems to wet the bed on nights when he is very tired.)

He's a pretty good sleeper.  Ideally bedtime is 7:30pm, but realistically he's usually not asleep until 8:00 or 8:30pm.  He typically wakes up around 6am, but surprises us by sleeping in until 7am on occasion.  Every once in a while he'll fight and/or skip his nap (which he still very much needs), but usually goes down for about 2-3 hours in the afternoon.  In fact, we often need to wake him up.

He's got a good group of people who love him and who he loves in return.  Family, including extended family --grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and others.  Friends --many of ours, but a few of his own from daycare or the neighbourhood, or children of our friends.

Smart, active, expressive and loving.  This kid keeps us busy, but of course, we wouldn't have it any other way.  It's amazing quickly three and a half years have gone by, and at the same time how we cannot imagine our lives without him.  We are so lucky to be his moms.  So much love for our little guy.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


This past week and a bit WorldPride celebrations have been going on in Toronto.

With bedtime and babysitters, it's not nearly as easy as it once was for us to go out, as I'm sure some of you can relate.  And honestly, Jen and I aren't big partiers, but we did want to take part in at least some of the festivities.  

We found out that one of our favourite bands was playing in the headlining spot the closing night of the event.  The show was advertised as starting at 7pm.  A bit of a stretch for the little ones, but surely doable to take them along.  The Bean was pretty excited about it.  

A few weeks ago a friend, who is a designer, posted that her company was designing all the official merch for the event and she was looking for people to march with her contingent in the parade.  Now, as I said before, I'm not really super into Pride, but this was WorldPride and we had the opportunity to march in it.  I mean, that's pretty frickin' cool.  I shot her a message to figure out details.  Unfortunately, the parade fell dead in the middle of nap time the same day as the concert. Jen and I agreed that trying to do both was probably pushing it.

So we made plans to go to Family Pride on Saturday morning and closing concert on Sunday evening.  Then we found out that the headliners for the closing concert weren't scheduled to take the stage until close to 10pm.  Change of plans.  Our go-to babysitters actually asked us to see if we wanted them to watch the kids so we could go to the concert when we told them.  Sounded good to us.  I got back in touch with our friend and asked if it'd be too late to join the parade.  She said that it wasn't and that she'd be happy to have us.  

Saturday morning we headed down to the family event.  The kids had a good time running around participating in a lot of what they had to offer --train rides, bouncy castles, games, etc.  (I remembered my camera, but forgot the SD card, so we have no photos.)  We also ran into Ashleigh and Teagan from 2moms2dogs2babies, Jessica and Sadie from MommaOak, and Alex from Half a Dozen of the Other.

Sunday after lunch we loaded the kids into their strollers and headed downtown.  We made it right at the scheduled time, then we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Sprout eventually fell asleep for a much-needed nap while The Bean made friends with the other people in our group.  Sprout woke up and The Bean started losing it just as we were ready to start the parade (many hours behind schedule).  

Though again things hadn't really gone as planned, both kids did remarkably well once we started walking.  They waved to people and blew kisses (adorable!) and seemed to enjoy watching the people in both the parade and the crowd.  

We finished marching and treated both kids to a huge popsicle before heading on the subway back home.  We were all exhausted.  Jen and I decided to forego the concert and instead finished up the second season of OITNB.  I sort of regret this decision (favourite band, WorldPride, a big rainbow over the whole event after a crazy cloudburst -seriously!) but I also know that we would have barely been able to function if we had gone.  

Nothing quite as planned, but a once in a lifetime opportunity and a fun celebration of Pride with the whole family.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Sprout is Eighteen Months Old!

Today Sprout is eighteen months old!

One and a half guys!  Can you believe it?  Though she'll point to herself and say "baby", she's really a full-fledged toddler now.

-We had her 18 month check up last Tuesday.  She's just shy of 24lbs and 33.5in.  That's over 90th percentile for height and holding nice and steady around the 72nd percentile for weight.  Such a difference from The Bean.  I've actually been asked a few times recently if they're twins.  I think it's a bit of a ridiculous question because anyone who pays any attention should be able to tell that he's older, but at the same time I realize that people don't always pay a whole lot of attention.

-At her check up, our pediatrician, who I quite like, asked her if he could check her heart, she said no.  He asked to check her eyes.  She said no.  He asked... well, you get the idea.  That garnered the comment that she is "right on track developmentally," which I got a chuckle out of.  We've been hearing a lot of "no" and a lot of "mine" lately.

-She continues to add words to her spoken vocabulary, but as I said last month, it seems to have slowed down.  She'll repeat almost anything when she's in the mood.  Still no two word combos.

-She's getting pretty active.  She's bold when we're out at the playground and wants to try everything her brother tries.  She goes down slides (on her belly, when no one is around to hold her hand),  climbs stairs and ladders and pretty much anything.  Loves to swing.  Runs, almost jumps, bounces, dances, spins, splashes, digs, etc. etc.  She also likes being pushed on the scooter and tricycle.  It's so nice to be able to spend so much time outdoors with them.

-Oh, and she LOVES swimming.  We met up with some fellow bloggers (Hi Little Monster, Boo and Mommies!) and a cabin near a lake and she went nuts over being in the water.  This bodes well for the swimming lessons I'd like to start her back at in the fall.

-Her favourite toys right now are her baby (actually, The Bean's baby is her favourite), the stroller and balls.  She also really likes playing with (moving around) the chairs in the dollhouse.

-I don't think there's been any big change on the sleep front.  Still going down between 7 and 8pm.  Usually waking around 4am to nurse, and then again at maybe 5:30am or so, waking up for the day by 6:00am or if I'm lucky sometimes closer to 7:00am.  Naps around 12:30pm most days (which is really to late for her, but it's hard for me to manage to get both kids fed and ready before then), usually waking once to nurse briefly and then wakes up by 2:30 or 3:00pm.

-Eating is about the same too.  We're slowly getting away from purees.  She's really been enjoying watermelon lately.  Other fruits are hit and miss.  Same with veggies.  She loves starches and meat though.  Cheese is also a hit, but not yogurt, which I find baffling.  I ate gallons of yogurt while I was pregnant with her.  Maybe she just had her fill?

-She is still pretty clingy and a "mama's girl."  She does love her mommy and brother though, and is comfortable around family that she sees often (my sister, Jen's parents, my cousins and Aunt).  I think if she were in daycare she'd be more outgoing, but since it's mostly me, Jen and The Bean she's around that's just what she's used to.

Even with her emerging toddler-ness she is a very sweet and happy baby.  Her silly faces and giggle are infectious.  We love her so.

Friday, June 27, 2014

{this moment} wagon ride

A Friday ritual. A single photo  - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Inspired by SouleMama.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summer Bucket List

Since all the cool kids are doing this...

1. Visit new parks.
2. Go on hikes.
3. Build a sandcastle at the beach.
4. Swim in a lake.
5. Catch (and release) bugs.
6. Bake a pie.
7. Read a book.
8. Have a picnic.
9. Visit animals.
10. Splash.
11. Play with bubbles.
12. Watch live music.

There are twelve week of summer, so 12 items on a bucket list seems reasonable.  Of course, we've already done a few of these things... a few of them may be a bit more challenging.  (I'm thinking of #7 in particular!)

What's on your list?

Thursday, June 19, 2014


A portrait of my children, every week for a year.

The Bean: Proud of the ant he found and caught.
Sprout: Spent the better part of four days in this puddle.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day

Today is Father's Day.

Overall it's a non-event in our two-mom household, but I have found myself thinking about fathers and other father-types the past few days.  

Yesterday afternoon Jen put on some music and we were dancing around the living room with the kids.  Paul Simon's You Can Call Me Al came on.  I'm sure this was intentional on Jen's part.  She knows the memories this song holds for me.  I'm six years old and standing on my dad's feet, curls tickling my back as I look up at his face.  Giggling as we both sing "I can call you Betty/ And Betty when you call me/ You can call me Al/ You can call me Al."  His name is Allan, aka "Al", and though no one ever calls me Al, I still like the joke of him being called Betty.  The Bean and Sprout don't yet know the words, but they giggle as I spin them around the living room, singing loudly and off key.  

Earlier this week Jen's dad reassured me that though things are difficult right now I will never regret  having this time with the kids.  He poured me a whiskey and put on a TV show I could laugh at.  

These men, they're good men.  Our fathers and father-in-laws.  Grandpas and Poppies.  We are lucky to have them.

And though he's not a father to us or our children, I've found myself thinking about our donor.  His reasons for doing what he did.  The gift that he's given us in these children that he will likely never know.  I wish I could thank him.  

While our kids will never have a father to give homemade cards that look like dress shirts with a tie to, there is certainly no shortage of good men in their lives.  Men to show our appreciation to on this day.  One day they might feel like they're missing something other kids have, but I hope it won't be long after that that they'll be able to recognize what they have that other kids might not:  Great grandfathers.  Generous strangers.  And a lot of other people who love them very, very much.