Saturday, December 3, 2011

And so we come to the end...

I started this challenge on June 28, 2011 as a means to help me spend more quality time with the LP. I fully admit, I had my doubts that I would see it to the end...hence why I started this blog. And while there were many days when a New Thing didn't happen or everything kind of went to hell in a handbasket, I think we did end up doing more New Things than not.

We certainly did lots of different things together...some big, some small. There are things I wish we had done and things I wish we hadn't. I don't regret any of it, though. Spending time with our little people and doing different things was all I wanted. And I feel like we had some adventures along the way. I feel like this brought us closer together and gave us different experiences.

On Monday, I will go back to work. This will be a big change for our family. I took a medical leave from work before LP2 was born due to complications from pregnancy. I have been a stay-at-home mom for the past 14 months. As of Monday, our children will be in daycare and I will be a working mom. Many women have done this before me and many will after me. Somehow they all make it work. Somehow, we will make it work.

I will miss being home and able to just roll with the day with the LP...zipping out to the library, playing at the Early Years Centre or making messy art. We won't have that luxury. What I do think will happen is that the time we have together will become that much more special and valuable. We'll have new adventures and try new things.

As long as the LP know they are unconditionally loved, that they feel supported, encouraged and nurtured and that we continue to strive to give them the very best that we can, I think it will all work out. I don't know yet what I will do in terms of this blog. I need to think about it. I'm sure I will miss it. Maybe I'll update on weekends. I don't know yet.

Thank you for sticking with us, for reading about our adventures and for giving me a voice. I truly appreciate the support...especially when I posted sporadically.

This is not the end. This is just the start of a new beginning. Thank you for sharing the journey with us.

Mommy and the Little People xoxo

New Thing #79: A Friday of Many Surprises and Fun!

Friday marked a very, very big day, both for our family and this blog. It was the last day of maternity leave. On Monday I will return to work. I think I'll write more about that in a different post. This one is just about what we got into on our last day.

I had thought of doing something big and grand to commemorate the end. Due to a scheduling switch, the LP ended up doing a 3/4 day at daycare on Friday instead of Thursday. This isn't the worst thing in the world because it will help in their adjustment to next week. I knew it would be too much to pick them up and go gallivanting all over the place. Fortunately, things came to us.

The mailman delivered us a large parcel and two letters. More on that in a moment. Sometimes I bring our daycare provider a tea when I pick up the LP. As I was getting her tea today, I noticed gingerbread timbits are available right now. I thought this would be a treat the LP would enjoy. I bought two of them and once we were home, they each had a timbit with a cup of milk as their after-daycare snack. They thoroughly enjoyed them, too. I wasn't sure if I had scarred them for life after Gingerbread House Debacle '11 but it appears that they do still have an affinity for it.

Once the snacks were finished and they were getting antsy, we opened the parcel. Their Great-Auntie P and Great-Uncle D live out West and they are two of the sweetest, most thoughtful people we know. I wish they lived closer because I always enjoy them and I love it when they visit. They are two very interesting, insightful people. They send the LP gifts and they are always well-chosen, lovely things that we know they put much thought and generosity into selecting. Truly, they spoil our LP. And this parcel was no exception. Last Christmas, they adopted a symbolic animal for each of the children from the World Wildlife Fund. They received a soft, plush animal and a certificate of adoption. I thought it was a great idea. This year, they have done it again. I wasn't sure if these were intended for Christmas presents and should be set aside but given that they came on our last day at home together and I knew the LP would absolutely love them, it felt right to give them to them now. A snowy owl was adopted for LP1. As soon as she saw it, she took it immediately, gave it an enormous hug and declared "IT'S SO CUTE! I JUST LOVE IT!" She named her owl "Nobi" (I have no idea why) and promptly began loving it up. The owl was taken all over the house, tucked into soft blankets, pushed in a stroller, sat down beside her for dinner and shown all of her favourite things. It probably comes as no surprise that Nobi was snuggled with her in bed all night and is with her now during her nap.

A baby jaguar was adopted for LP2. His eyes lit up when he saw his and he reached for it to give it a big, slobbery kiss. He tucked it under his arm as he did his Frankenstein toddle across the kitchen. He would sit down, touch its eyes and whiskers and giggle when I ran the tail over his face. LP1 also took a liking to it, but I had to explain that this was LP2's. When asked what we should name it, she decided that "Baby Jaguar" was the perfect name. Baby Jaguar has also been given the loving treatment. Once again, Great-Auntie P and Great-Uncle D have brought much joy to the LP. There will be a picture and a note on the way to them soon.

After the excitement over the parcel had faded a bit, I showed the LP the two letters that had come in the mail for them. Do you remember how we wrote to Santa last week? Well, Santa wrote back!!!!! We sat down and I read their letters to them. I won't go into all the details, but LP1 was impressed by some of the things Santa said in her letter and was definitely delighted. LP2 didn't really understand his letter, but enjoyed the pictures on the stationary. I am proud to note that both LP have made the "good" list and have even been invited to the North Pole to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoy some cookies and, if they are gentle, give Rudolph a pat on his red nose. I don't think we'll have time to take them up on their kind offer this year, but maybe we'll go see Santa and thank him.

After some pizza for dinner, we all played together as a family before it was time for the LP to have their baths. Snuggles and night-night soon followed. It felt to me like it was a great end to a Friday where we were all showered with love and some Christmas joy.

New Thing #78: The Gingerbread House of Shoddy Construction

*note: I started this much earlier and then was interrupted by a bout of screaming-due-to-teething, so I'm finally able to finish this now. Late, late, late. Story of my life.*

I've come to conclusion that I am much like Clark Griswold, the Chevy Chase character in one of my all-time favourite movies, "Christmas Vacation". Clark just wants to have his family together for Christmas to have fun and do various activities together. Of course, it all happens with predictably disastrous results. I, I know that I do the same. I make these big expectations and want everything to be perfect, failing to factor in that sometimes I lack the talent to make it happen and that the LP are still very young. They have limited attention spans and their agenda doesn't always coincide with mine. And that's okay. I suspect if you were to go back and re-read this blog, you'll see that this has happened many, many times...and that I always say it's the effort that counts. Because I think that it does.

In my Clark Griswoldian fashion, I had a vision of the three of us making a gorgeous gingerbread house. Christmas music on the radio, sitting together in the warm kitchen, laughing and working together as we started a family tradition. Because, you know, I never seem to learn. As I tucked LP1 into bed on Wednesday night, I told her we would be making a gingerbread house the next day. I like to tell her something to look forward to in the morning so she will settle down and go to sleep. Oh, she looked forward to it. So much so that on Thursday morning, it was the only thing she could think of. No breakfast. No doing other things. We. Must. Make. That. House. She even found the kit Daddy and I had purchased and took it upon herself to drag her chair over to the counter, pull it down and bring it to me.

Based on this box, you would think we would be capable of reproducing a house that looks like this, right? Ding dong, you're wrong.

I should mention that I've never actually made a gingerbread house on my own. Or with two squirmy little people, either. We had to take the pieces out, separate them and apply icing like glue so they would all somehow stick together. We managed to get the pieces of the house pulled apart but while we were doing Santa's sleigh and the reindeer that were supposed to accompany the house, LP1 broke a reindeer in half, rendering it unusable. Somehow it got decided that we should just eat the pieces of the sleigh instead. And that's how we all ended up having gingerbread for breakfast.

Making the gingerbread house was difficult, to say the least. Getting the pieces to stay together was next to impossible. The icing was horrible to put on and I should have put it into a decorator bag and used a tip, instead of trying to squeeze it out of the bag it came in and spreading it on with a spatula. The LP were much more interested in eating the candy, rather than placing it on the house. And that is how we all ended up having some candy to go with our gingerbread. I should probably get us all tested for diabetes.

We finally got the house together and I got some of the candy to stick. Naturally, at this point, the roof caved in on one side.

The first-time buyers of this Gingertown estate had been facing delay after delay in construction. To add insult to injury, the roof collapsed on their move-in day. A lawsuit is forthcoming against the builders. They also suspect the builders were hoarding materials for themselves. A very un-Merry Christmas, indeed.

I said many bad words in my head and sent Daddy a message, saying I didn't think this house would qualify for insurance. He suggested going to a high-risk insurance market. Insurance brokers are hilarious. Actually, it did make me laugh and I was able to continue.

We had put candy sticks on the edge of the roof. LP1 decided she needed to eat one, so we lost a candy eavestrough. It was at this point that I gave up the dream of a magazine-worthy gingerbread house and just started putting things wherever I could. As Santa had lost his sleigh, he got stuck with icing glue next to the door. He kind of looks like he's about to burgle the joint. This appeals to me.

The LP began to get restless and it was evident they had had enough. I now know that I should listen to them and stop trying to force something. We finished up the house and went on to other things. They were very proud to show it off later in the day and I think we might take it to Cousin B's birthday party this weekend. Hey, it may not be the most gorgeous house, but it was one we made together. And really? When it comes time to eat a house of gingerbread, nobody really cares how it looks. 

Is Santa fleeing the scene of his crime?!

Yes, the wall on the right is bowing out and the window trim is crooked. But I do hope this is the start of a Christmas tradition for us. And that maybe each year, our house surpasses the one from the year before. If not...well, that's okay. It's all in the doing, right? But we certainly can't get much worse than this!

Friday, December 2, 2011

New Thing #77: A big catch-up of our comings & goings

*more a-blog-ogies for this late post. Suck it up, buttercup*

I'm going to cram a whole buncha days into this post because I'm already so late in posting and I kinda sorta can't remember what we did. Insert usual excuse about being too tired/busy to blog.

Last Friday was a bit of a non-starter is terms of a New Thing. I think I have previously mentioned that Daddy and I had a work dinner on Saturday. Well, this was a lie I told only because I knew Grammy was reading and I wanted to throw her off. The truth is that Grandpa, the aunties, uncles, Daddy and I had been planning a surprise party to celebrate both Grammy's birthday and her retirement. Most of Friday was spent baking in preparation for the party. Auntie K and Auntie J did an incredible job of making food for the party that looked like something from a very exclusive restaurant. Seriously, everyone commented on how well done it all was. My job was the baking. I pulled out some old standbys and tried out a few new recipes. By the end of Friday I felt like I had diabetes from all the sugar I had ingested. do have to sample everything, right? I think it all went well, though. On Friday night we went to see our friends, the D family, for dinner. Their youngest daughter is just a few months younger than LP1. Their two older children have always taken an interest in our little people and were happy to entertain them. Despite the fact that they didn't get my full attention during the day, I know both LP had a great time Friday night.

The weekend was a bit of a blur. Saturday was the party, so the LP had a sleepover and Auntie S and Uncle J's house. Daddy and I picked them up Sunday morning and we all had some family time. I think all of us were exhausted.

The LP had a full day at daycare on Monday to help them transition to going full-time. We've had some problems getting the rest of our bedroom furniture delivered and after the latest setback, Daddy and I decided to just go to two different cities to fetch the rest of it, rather than wait the week and a half it would take for our mattress and foundation to be reunited and delivered, even though they were less than 30 km apart from one another. Don't get me started on this. We asked Grandpa if we could borrow his trailer to put it all in. To help persuade him, we offered a visit from the LP. Done and done. We dropped them off while we went furniture fetching. As it was Grammy's actual birthday, the LP stayed for dinner and birthday cake. I think everyone had a good night.

On Tuesday, we kept LP2 home from daycare because he had been up half the night. We think he's teething and his sleeping patterns have been all over the map lately. This was definitely a first for the LP; LP1 went to daycare on her own while LP2 came shopping with Auntie K and I. As we were all very worn out, we didn't do much once everyone was home together. I snuggled with the LP on our very big new bed and watched children's television. There are worse ways to spend your day.

Wednesday was moving day for Uncle V and Auntie A. Daddy and I went to help them while the LP were at daycare. Again, it was a very tiring day and I have no idea what the LP and I did when we were all back it home. Let's just assume it was Best Thing Ever.

...and that catches you up...almost. Two more posts to go. Not the greatest New Thing week, I guess.

New Thing #76: HAPPY BIRTHDAY LP2!!!

*note: this post is over a week late. Yes, I am terrible. Please accept my a-blog-ogies. Get it? Apology + blog to express my sentiments? It's pretty funn...okay, fine. I'll stop. Let's just get on with it*

It wasn't until I became a parent that I began to understand why my mother always said something about the day I was born on my birthdays. I'm starting to suspect that I will do the same thing. I don't think you can help it. It is such a momentous day that it imprints on your mind forever. I can tell you exactly what time I went into labour with both of our children and what I was wearing. On their birthdays, I automatically think about their Birth Day.

Don't worry, I'm not going to tell you some horrible story involving labour pains and pushing and too much information. You don't need to read that and really, LP2 doesn't need his whole birth story out there on the internet. So don't fear. I will, however, tell you a bit about his Birth Day.

Like his sister, LP2 decided to make a late entrance into the world. And also like his sister, he also chose to be born on a Wednesday. Daddy and I decided that there are very few true surprises in life and we had elected to not find out what we were having. It was tempting, though. I have to say that I am so glad we held out because it made all the hard work it took to bring him into the world that much sweeter and it truly was a wonderful surprise. When I heard "it's a boy!", I burst into immediate, happy tears. I did the same thing with LP1, but this is not her story. We were just so thrilled both times.

From the very beginning, LP2 was a happy guy. He remains that way today and I hope that he will continue to have that sunshiney personality, although we'll love him regardless. I used to just stare at his little hands and face and toes and marvel at him...okay, fine, I still do and was even doing it tonight. Children are a miracle.

When LP2 joined our family, he made it complete. I didn't have much experience with little boys, growing up in a family of all girls, but I'm learning along the way. I've learned that they like to hammer things and take things apart and think climbing onto things is cool and not heart-stoppingly terrifying. They pull the lids off of things like garbage cans and try to drink the dog's water and think it is hilarious to throw things in the toilet. Maybe this is true of all kids; I don't know. What I do know is that there is nothing like it when LP2 toddles over and gives me a big, sloppy kiss and throws his arms around me. Or when I pick them up from daycare and he is literally bouncing up and down with excitement at seeing me. Or when he finishes his bottle, turns his head towards me and snuggles close before falling asleep at night.

My life before the LP seems a distant memory. Our family before LP2 is also very dim. It feels like he has always been with us. It has been an absolute joy, watching him grow and learn and develop. Our little tree frog who lived to cuddle has become a tiny person, walking and trying to talk and melting our hearts with his smile.

Life may not always be easy but my wish for LP2 is that he knows his father and I will always be his safe place to land. We will always love him just as he is. We may make mistakes along the way but we will make them because we're just trying to do our very best. I hope he always knows how very loved and special he is. And not just on his birthday...but every day.

He might not have known it was his birthday, but I'm pretty sure LP2 had a great day. When he woke up, I brought him into our room, where his birthday present was waiting. He lost no time in playing with that.

This is some kind of construction toy that detaches from the orange base so you can ride around on it. It makes noise, has tools and says all kinds of things. Aside from the hard hat, he loves it.

After breakfast, Grandpa came by because Daddy was taking him to an appointment. He had a wonderful time playing with Grandpa and showing off his new toy. After a long nap, he was rarin' to go...just in time for a visit from Nan and Grandad, who came armed with Timbits and love. We all enjoyed the visits! After Nan and Grandad left, LP1 and I decided to make a special birthday treat for LP2.

Rice Krispies...marshmallows...what kind of laborious, exotic treat could we be making?!

I made LP2 food I know he likes for dinner. We skipped birthday cake because we had just finished the last of his cake from his birthday party the weekend before and instead...we had Rice Krispie squares! A sticky, sweet mess that everyone got right into and the perfect end to dinner. LP1 was only too happy to dim the lights and lead us all in a rendition of "Happy Birthday". And since he didn't get the whole make-a-wish-and-blow-out-the-candle thing, she was also happy to assist.

The first birthday is a major milestone but all your birthdays will be to your Daddy and I, LP2. I can't believe how one year can both go by so fast and feel like it has taken forever. We are so proud of you and love you to the point that our hearts will burst. You will ALWAYS be our favourite little boy in the whole entire world, even when you are as ancient as we are! xoxoxoxo