Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!!!

The end of 2012 has arrived and I am thinking about how it went for my family.  This past year has been fun but low key – which after how crazy 2011 was for us (moving and having a new baby) that was just what we wanted.  There were a few big events – Leah turned one, Grace starting school and swallowing a star (not on the same day) but it was pretty boring.  I have been thinking about what my resolution for 2013 will be. I normally make resolutions every year – I think it’s a good way to improve yourself or your life, unless you don’t need improving.  I can’t remember what my resolution was for last year but over the years I have resolve to get fit (mostly when I was younger, it has now changed to stay healthy and love my body – I realize I will never have 6 pack abs unless I work them out for hours every day), to stress less, to enjoy each day, to stop controlling things that I can’t control and to avoid toxic / overly dramatic people.  I have stuck with some of the resolutions – most of the time.  Now that I am older, my outlook on life has changed, I try not to be too serious about it, I try to enjoy each day, to laugh each day, I try to be healthy – to move and eat right.  I think because of losing my mom at a young age, I want to enjoy my life – as much as I can because I know how quickly things can change, life can change.
So this year I resolve to continue some of my past resolutions such as to move at some point during the day and not just from the couch to the kitchen, to laugh and have fun with my children at least six times week and to be patient with them and to try and speak kindly to them first instead of using my grumpy voice with them.  This year I should try to stop eating my daughter’s leftovers.  I should try to watch something of substance when I exercise instead of just The Real Housewives series or re-runs of Newlyweds- Nick and Jessica, at least once a week, ok more like once a month.  I should try to read something of substance, a classic literary novel at least once this year.  I should go on dates with my husband more and by that actually leave the house.  I want to try to run (I should note that I have said this pretty much every year and I have never got into running, I love the idea of it but have no inner motivation).  I resolve to write more and to try to get published again somewhere.  I should put more effort into my writing and expand it.  I resolve to use something other than ‘Facebook’ all the time to get in touch with friends or family – anything like emails, snail mail or eeek even the telephone!  I resolve to cook a full meal using my cookbooks at least once a week.  I resolve to finish my scrapbooks that are seriously piling up in my closet.  I resolve to re-read my resolutions at some point throughout the year to remind myself of what I said I would change this year instead of trying to remember.  I resolve to not be hard on myself if any of my resolutions fail and will try it again next year, or the year after that, or the year after that.  I resolve next year to pick a simple resolution like my husband has instead of creating a shopping list.
Happy New Year Everyone!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Post Christmas Reflection

So I am sitting here with Grace watching the movie 'Brave' for the millionth time, alright we haven't had that many viewings of it but we have watched the movie pretty much every day since Christmas.  It is fast becoming my oldest daughter's favourite movie.  I assume any day now Grace would insist on being called Merida (the lead female in the movie).  I'm getting off track.  Alright, so I am sitting here watching a movie with Grace and am thinking about this past Christmas - it was probably one of my favourite ones - so far.  I think mostly because Grace is old enough- she was really into the holiday and all that comes with it this year.  She enjoyed watching the classic holiday movies, learning the songs, baking cookies and making crafts.  Grace was really into Santa as well (is it wrong that I got a kick out of going along with Santa?  Even though we all know lying is wrong?)  On a side note, my husband wonders how long until Santa isn't front and centre for Grace at Christmas?  I think we have at least four more years - hopefully more than that though.
Leah still has a few years before reaching full Christmas fun age, but she was a lot more fun than she was last year, when she was only a few weeks old and pretty much slept the whole day.  But with all the fun and memories of my own childhood coming back to me - mostly from when we watch the Christmas shows, I think my favourite memory from this year is from Christmas morning and when we were opening gifts.  Grace was excited to have everyone open up the gifts from her that she wanted to hand them out first thing.  She was so proud with what she helped  pick out for myself, her father and her sister.  I felt proud that she was excited to give something instead of being excited to just receive.  I hope in the future it continues and having fun together as a family becomes the best part of Christmas, not just getting stuff.  I wonder if my hope will be a reality though, already this year Grace began the 'I want's' such as 'I want that, no I want that....'  I thought I had a few more years until the 'I want's' started.  They really came out in full force when she watched a certain TV channel aimed at kids ( cough - cough YTV) or when Grace got hold of the Sears Wish Book (which now has pretty much all the toys circled - expect any boys toys hmmmm).  I see the millions of dollars into advertising aimed at kids does work, it did on me when I was a kid and wanted all the toys that looked cool on TV.  They never seemed as cool if I got to play with them though.....

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

After months of list making, planning, researching and spending, the day has finally arrived!  There is a lull in our house and I have a few minutes to blog about how the holiday has been for us. Christmas in our house actually started over the weekend when we paid a visit to family where we got to open up our gifts - the girls were pleased with what they received- ok Leah was happy with the wrapping paper while Grace loved all of her and Leah's gifts.  I have given up trying to keep the girl's toys separate. 
Christmas Eve day was spent trying to get Grace to burn as much of her energy as possible and trying to keep her calm as well - there were a few mini tantrums, something that has been happening more often than I would like but I can't really be upset with her - especially since she has been in Christmas mode since the second week of December.  Yesterday there was sledding (both with parents and attempts on Grace's own), there was ornament making, continuous updates on the NORAD website on where Santa was, there was a viewing of now one of Grace's favourite movies 'A Christmas Story' and then finally dinner.  The tradition in our house is new PJ's, which we don't change out of until Boxing Day.  After a reading of 'The night before Christmas', it was finally bed time ( at least for the kids).  My husband and I waited until Grace was surely sleeping, something I'm sure happened as soon as we closed her door, before eating (aka putting back) Santa's cookies, drinking his milk, forging a note to the girls from him, eating (aka putting back) the carrot and apple left for the reindeer, putting out the gifts and filling the stockings.  Then it was finally bed for my husband and I.  But I couldn't sleep.  I was excited for the day to come.  I was anxious on when Grace would wake up (hopefully after the tree was lit and music was playing) and I wondered if everyone would like their gifts.  So I napped off and on throughout the night.  Then the day finally arrived and my husband woke me up.  He got up, before Grace and Leah, lit the tree and turned on some festive music and ran back to bed.  And we waited for Grace to bound into our room.  Nothing.  We opened her door a bit more and then waited.  Nothing.  My husband coughed loudly and we waited for our oldest to daughter to bounce into our room.  Nothing.  Come on Grace, it's Christmas!!  Geesh for someone excited for Christmas, you would think she would be up before the sun was, but no.  My husband nudged her bed (I think he was more excited than she was) and we waited.  Finally she bounded into our room, to my side of the bed and loudly said in my face (morning breath and all) "Wake up!  It's Christmas!!!"  And that was worth the wait.  Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Holidays

Christmas break has started and as soon as Grace came home, I started to wonder when she would be headed back to school - so cranky!  Too many treats and too much fun I guess.  This is my first Christmas with a school age child and so I don't really know the whole gift etiquette yet and felt completely off the ball today.  I only gave my daughter's teachers cards but I didn't feel that was enough for all that they do and put up with every day - so I think I will do something unexpected come the end of the school year.  Well it depends on how well she does come the end of the school year.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Santa on the Shelf

So I had this brillant idea and yes, I honestly stole the idea from Elf on the Shelf.  I had heard many moms talk about this whole Elf on a shelf and how he watches the kids but only if they are behaving themselves and then reports it back to Santa.  At first I didn't like the idea too much, I guess the whole actually having someone watching you all the time would be kind of creepy but then one day I thought- eh this might be fun.  So, instead of buying the Elf on a Shelf, I thought I would just use one of the Santa decorations that are around the house - like I said Brilliant idea!!
One night, I moved this Santa into Grace's bathroom and the next morning Grace just casually asked 'why is Santa in the bathroom?"  Ahh, here is my chance to start having some fun, start building traditions, get into this whole Elf/Shelf craze!  "Maybe he is watching you," I told her.  She just kind of gave me this look and then said "Do you move him?"  I told a white lie - 'nope, I think he moved on his own."  "Did Daddy move him?" (My husband had no idea that I was starting this game by the way).  After both my husband and I claimed that we in fact did not move Santa, Grace seemed satisfied and went on with her day.  That evening I forgot to move him to another place and Grace woke up with Santa in her bathroom again.  The following night, I moved him to her bedroom.  Grace didn't notice him until I asked where he was.  I was starting to feel that this game wasn't going to be much fun, maybe Grace isn't old enough yet for it.  When Grace finally found Santa in her room, she again asked if I had moved him (as if I had time pfft!)  That night I forgot to move the big guy again and he stayed in Grace's room until the next afternoon when I casually moved him (in the day) into Leah's room.  Grace didn't seem to notice that her roommate was missing until she was in her sister's room that evening.  "Did you move Santa into Leah's room?" she asked.  I don't think she is buying the whole Santa decoration is moving thing.  I should mention here that pretty much every time Grace has found Santa she has re-located him to the kitchen table.  I moved him again last night, trying to be a bit more fun and had Santa just hanging out in Leah's playset.  Grace found him this morning, asked if I had put him there and then put him back on the kitchen table.  I am wondering if I should continue this game or is my daughter just to smart for this type of thing?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Should she stay or should she go?

On Friday, my daughter's school called me to come get Grace who had been complaining that her ear was bothering her.  It wasn't a surprise to me, Grace had complaining that her ear had been bothering her the day before but after some Tylenol everything was much better.  I had wondered that morning if Grace should even go to school but she insisted that she was fine and so here I was a few hours later coming to pick her up because she was now sick.  Or was she.  When I walked into the office to get her, she jumped off the chair and started to quickly tell me about her day and asked if she could eat her cookie that she had made in class (not really how she acts when she is sick.)  She did have a fever and spent the rest of the afternoon on the couch.  Grace was her old self on Saturday but then was back on the couch Sunday so when Monday rolled around I really questioned on if she should go to school.  Sure she's stuffed up but has no fever.  I asked how she was and Grace told me she felt better than yesterday.  I asked if she wanted to stay home and was quickly told "NO! I want to go to school!".  (I should be offended that she can't wait to get away from me, but I won't).  So what do I do- one part of me thinks she should stay home, even if she feels a bit better, so that she can completely get better but then the other part of me thinks she should go - especially since she wants to.  As an adult, if I'm not feeling well, I stay home until I am 100% better- one to get better that much quicker and two so that I don't get others sick (you're welcome).  But what do you do when it's your child who claims to be ok.  This is one part of being a parent that I don't like - when I don't know what to do and there is no answer.  I know she won't infect her whole class since most are home sick anyways and the others well I'm sure it was only a matter of time before they got sick too.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Thoughts and Prayers

My husband called me this afternoon and asked if I had heard about the school shooting.  My first thought of course went to Grace's school but then I logged on to the computer and was a bit relieved when I read that this horrible, senseless, cowardly act had taken place in Connecticut.  My feeling of relief for my own child's safety was replaced by sadness - for all those parents who took their children to school this morning, thinking that they are safe, that they are learning, that at the end of the day they would be able to have a fun weekend, maybe preparing for Christmas, who knows and now many of them will never have that.  The dreams are over, their presents will always remain wrapped under the tree.  Their lives are forever changed because of one stupid, selfish man.  I thought of the children who will never grow up, who will never be adults, who will never have a full life, who will never be parents themselves.  I thought of the other children who survived this massacre - the ones who lost a friend, who witnessed this violence in a place where they are taught to be kind to each other, where they are suppose to be safe.
When I went to pick up my daughter from her school, I hugged her extra hard and I know she and her sister will be getting extra, triple, zillions of kisses - for all those children who are no longer with us.
I never intended this blog to have serious entries but this, hopefully, is an exception.  One that I hope I won't have to make again.  Violence against any child - regardless of age is never, ever ok.  My thoughts are with all those mommy's and daddy's who are beyond sad today.  I am so so sorry for your loss.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

This Christmas I really should.....

Every year when I think about Christmas I have these great ideas: I should knit or sew some new stockings, I should make a new advent calendar, I should have my husband build gingerbread houses out of wood and then the girls and I can paint them and keep them forever, I should bake all these cookies that I see in the magazines.  And then December comes and we celebrate Leah, who is the youngest' birthday and then before you know it it's 2 weeks before Christmas and I wonder what drugs was I on when I thought I would have all this time to do all these wonderful crafty things.
I do bake cookies every year - although this year I still have to bake gingerbread and few other types and hand them out before I fall into a diabetic coma.  I do knit the girls, my husband and myself some new socks every year - although I haven't gotten around to knitting my husband his socks, maybe after Christmas.
I have finished my shopping but I still have to wrap and I thought this year I would make the gift tags - I'm sure I will just write who they are to and from on the actual wrapping paper.
The house is decorated but my husband isn't interested in building gingerbread houses out of wood - doesn't matter I think that craft would have ended with an argument between my oldest daughter Grace and myself when I try to sway her not to paint the whole thing pink (yes I can be a control freak).
I see all these cool interesting craft ideas on magazine websites and 'Pinterest' and think, like many other moms out there I am sure, 'what a cool idea, I can totally do that, I should do that, that doesn't look very hard'  And maybe one day I will get around to knitting those Christmas stockings, or finishing up my scrapbooks that I am 3, no 4 years behind on, or making all the latest cookies from my ladies magazines.  And maybe one year I will be able to do all these things with my daughters and we will sing Christmas carols while drinking eggnog while the snow falls outside.  And maybe that will never happen and I think I am ok with that.  I should write that down somewhere- 'I am ok with not being that mom who does everything'.  Maybe I should put it in a fancy frame and hang it on my wall where I can remind myself.....

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

You Better Watch Out

I love this time of year.  Not because of the amazing cheesy movies that the W network plays all month, which for some reason makes a little part of me want to be a better person.  And it's not because this time of year you are allowed to eat chocolate non stop, and bake, and eat - it's encouraged.  And it's not because this is the time of year when I completely feel like a kid again - how can you not what with all the crafts, baking and traditional Christmas cartoons on.  Nope, I don't like this time of year for any of those reasons - I use to but then I had kids.  No, I love this time of year because I can pawn off being the bad cop to the jolly old fat man.  Yes, I use the whole 'you better behave or Santa won't stop here' ploy as much as I can - especially now that Christmas is what about 2 weeks away.  I don't do the whole Elf on a shelf thing, maybe when my girls are older, I use the big man himself.  My girls are not terrible, well Leah is only a year so she kind of doesn't count, and Grace my oldest isn't bad either - she just acts like your typical 4 year old.  She is very jumpy (not in the scared easily way she is physically jumping pretty much all of the time) and gets excited really easily and talks a lot but I wouldn't consider her bad - she just needs guiding and some days a lot of reminding which is why I love to bring in St. Nick.  Grace understands about Santa, she gets the whole concept and I am finding it working....sometimes a bit too easily.

Me: Grace have you gotten dressed yet (this is me asking for the third time)
Grace: Not yet.
Me: Santa's watching
Grace quickly gets dressed.

Me: Grace can you please stop talking and eat
Grace: I just have to say one more thing
Me: You said the last thing was your one more thing and by the way Santa is watching.
Grace has just finished her dinner in about 2 mouthfuls.

I know it sounds creepy, as if this old man is constantly watching my daughter and I didn't think I would be that type of parent who would use Santa in this sort of negative way but it works and it gives me a break.  And I have come to realize that when you are dealing with kids and you find something that works, no matter how odd it may seem, you stick with it.  Is it strange to use the Easter Bunny in the same way??

Thursday, December 6, 2012

eeeek Needles!

I hate needles, all types - well actually except sewing needles or knitting needles but those are different.  Those are good needles.  The ones I loathe are the ones that are painful, even for just a moment.  It took me until I had my first daughter to finally find a way to deal with getting pricked - to just exhale, look the other way, and to squeeze something.  This method of course doesn't work for children, especially those who just turned one. Can you figure out where I am going with all this needle talk??  Leah got her one year shots the other day and while I am all for vaccines I do hate those pesky needles.  I knew what was going to happen, I came prepared- packed the tempra, some extra goldfish crackers and even her new Grover remote (a birthday gift from Grace) but I still felt horrible for my little baby.  Everything was going great, she was enjoying her doctor's visit, playing with the paper covering the exam table or with her remote and smiling at the nurse.  But then I had to help hold her down while needle number one went into her leg.  Leah got upset but quickly calmed down.  Then came needle number two into her other leg.  That one was a bit more painful - mostly because I think she knew what was going one and really isn't any needle after the first one more painful?  I picked up my crying daughter and tried to soothe her before the last needle.  With my daughter in my arms, I sat down and tried to hold her while the nurse gave her the last needle in her arm.  And that was the one that hurt me, I know it's for her own good but it's still a horrible thing to watch your daughter in pain.  Thankfully, the nurse we had thought ahead a gave Leah her first cookie which made any pain she just went through a distant memory.  Now, I wonder how Grace is going to deal with getting her booster next year- she's actually looking forward it.  I wonder if I should be worried about that?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Letter to Leah

Today is Leah's first birthday and while the birthday girl is having her nap I thought that I would post a letter from me to her....

Dear Leah,
Around this time last year you joined our family and we became a family of four.  After arriving a bit early and a lot faster than your older sister, I got to hold you.  After months of wondering what you looked like, I got to see you and kiss your big cheeks that you unfortunately got from me (don’t worry, they sort of go away when you get older).  I got to touch those feet that had kicked me so many times during the night.  I was so happy that day, the day I became a mom of two beautiful girls and you make me happy every day.  And now you are a year old.  You are no longer that little tiny human who slept most of the day, who sometimes would look at me, who only cried a little when you were hungry.  You are no longer that baby who I would take wrapped in many blankets into the living room during all hours of the day to feed – just you and me.  Now, you are a big girl, well you are on your way to becoming a big girl like your sister and I am full of mixed feelings. I am sad at how fast your first year has gone but I am excited to get to know more about who you are.  I sometimes wish we could go back to those very early mornings sitting on the couch just you and me when we could snuggle.
This past year you have learned so much and have made me smile and laugh at how silly you are.  I am amazed at what you have learned on your own like how you figured out how to crawl first by pulling your body across the floor when you tried to get a book from your sister and me.  Then you taught yourself how to crawl on your hands and knees and while sometimes I ask you stay still, inside I love watching you crawl all over the house (I could do without you trying to get into the toilet though).
I love watching you flip through the many books in our house and I hope that you will become an avid reader; actually you kind of don’t have a choice in that.
I love that you love playing peek a boo, especially when you want to play when you are supposed to be going to bed or when you call me into your room at the middle of the night to play.  I love how right now you learned to cover your whole face with your hands especially when I can sometimes still see one of your eyes.
I love how you laugh at anything, mostly at your sister but its hard not to laugh at her isn’t it?  I love watching you and her play with each other and how much you love her and how much she loves you.
I love how curious you are about the world and how you love looking outside your window. You don’t even wait for daddy or I to lift the blinds for you either.
I hope that the years to come don’t fly by as fast as your first year did, but if they do, I want you to know how much Daddy and I love you, how important you are to the family, and how we will always be there for you- no matter what.  As I tell you every night, I love you to the moon and back. With everything that you have learned this year, from saying “momma” to cruising around the same coffee table that I and your sister both learned to walk with, I am excited to see what you will learn next.  Happy Birthday Leah!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Final Formula Countdown

The last can of formula for Leah was opened today.  I don't know how many cans over the last year we have gone through, but I'm sure it's been a lot.  Leah has been on formula pretty much since she was born and yes I know breast is best.  Just like with Grace, I wanted to, I hoped to breast feed my daughters but it didn't happen that way and since I love them and wanted to keep them around I figure I better feed them something.
Anyway, today the last can was opened and in a weird way I am sad about it.  It's just another reminder that Leah is getting older.  And to sound like every other mommy out there, I remember when Leah was first born and I was stressed over feeding - first trying with the breast then going to bottle.  I remember writing everything down- how much she had, when she had her bottles and what she left in her diapers.  I remember the days of constantly washing and sterilizing bottles, boiling water, measuring and trying to remember the ratio of scoops to water and then trying to remember how many scoops were put into the bottles.  I remember waiting until the time when Leah would only need about three bottles a day and then finally none.  Like everything else that happens in life, I look back and wonder what I was so stressed about, so worried about - washing, sterilizing, measuring seem like no big deal (of course I am now sleeping compared to almost 12 months ago).  Sometimes I do wish though that I could go back in time and live through it again.
Don't get me wrong, there is a part of me that is a little excited for Leah to fully be on regular food and to no longer have to deal with bottles (well at least not having to deal with more than one a day) but I think a part of me will still miss the closeness of feeding my children, even though I did it with a bottle.  I will miss Leah getting excited when she sees her bottle and cuddling on my lap at the end of the day.  Actually, I will still get to do that for another year or so, just minus the formula.