Friday, 15 July 2016

Summer holidays with little people

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It's been a few weeks now, but summer holidays is officially in full swing. And I use the term "holiday" loosely...because everyone knows that a holiday consists of sleeping in, relaxing and lazing around with drinks in hand--and motherhood with 3 little people is obviously anything but that most days. BUT, we're still calling it summer holidays anyways, even if we still get 4:00am wake up calls some mornings, not a second to barely sit down during the day and even though kids will still cry and lose their marbles over the smallest of things. Because little people are still little--and so holidays just mean something a bit different. Still good, still fun...just a bit different. So instead of lazing around soaking up the rays all day with drinks in hand, we're searching our days for fun family events, eating lots of ice cream and freezies, going on day trips, hitting up every park in the city and spending hours outside. So making summer memories has officially begun.

And as I glide cute little summer outfits over baby legs and catch her watching and longing for her beloved bunny blanket to finish drying in the dryer, it reminds me to take a second to stop and breathe and watch for these moments--because sometimes summer and time can fly by without us even realizing it.

So as school came to an end, I finished piping icing and hand painting fondant flowers for Mya's wonderful teachers and then waited in anticipation for that very final day of school when we could surprise the kids as they got off of the school bus...

because we started off our 'holidays' with the kids stepping off the school bus to another 'Welcome To Summer!' party on our court, just as we had done for them last year. 

So we hung balloons and streamers from the trees, put the sprinkler on, filled up the kiddie pool, got the sidewalk chalk and water guns out and had music blasting from speakers on my wonderful neighbours driveway (thanks Steph!).

And the kids wasted no time finding the buckets of water balloons and blasting them at each other...

until there were absolutely none left.

And the water table? Well, it's pretty much the greatest summer invention ever. 

A few kitchen utensils, spoons and some toys frozen in layers of ice means hours of fun. 

Amazing what a few water toys, sprinklers, drinks and food can do for a bunch of kids who were excited that summer vacation had begun. 

And so we've been working on making summer holidays feel like holidays these days and not just the normal daily routines of diapers, face wipes, peanut butter sandwiches and bathroom breaks.  

So fun picnics in the parks with family have already happened...     

 where the kids turned into dinosaurs and butterflies right before our eyes...

and where kids got to meet cool turtles...

and smooth snakes.

And we had some Canada Day fun where we got to watch one of the kids favourite performers on stage and where I caught these two sneaking in a hug, mid song.

And we've hit up almost every splash pad in the city so far...

and had wild dance parties, with hot pink leg warmers and headbands, in the living room on hot afternoons.

And when the kids start to fight, scream and cry with no end in sight? Well, you scribble down some outdoor stuff for them to find on a piece of paper, hand them a bucket each and send them outside to work together to finish an on-the-fly scavenger hunt...and emphasize that it's a TEAM EFFORT--so helping each other find their stuff will win both of you a popsicle.

And the crying and fighting will end. I promise.

And when all else fails? Well, bedtime is just around the corner. Bedtime, I promise, will always come. So stories together, cuddles, songs and back rubs mean (once everyone is off to dream land) that summer nights are then reserved for just Terry and I.  

So happy summer everyone. Enjoy the fun times with your kids being home, breathe through the exhausting frustrating parts when siblings fight and kids are cranky, and enjoy the summer time heat. 

Have a great weekend!! Go do something fun. 
Erica xo

Friday, 1 July 2016

What a difference a few months can make..

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It's hard to believe that time has flown by so fast, but our little Carter has officially graduated from preschool. 

So I scrolled back through my old photos to see if I could find the pictures that I had taken of his very first day of preschool all those months ago. 

And seeing his little baby face and his tiny sister behind him took my breath away for a moment...

because thinking back to all of those months ago made me realize how fast time flies...

and it reminded me that having a three year old is designed to teach you patience and caring and love like you have never felt before. Because 3yr olds are sweet and loving and funny and silly, but they're also not always easy.

But now? Well, our little boy is growing up. And that busy little 3yr old has now turned into a hilarious, smart, sweet, caring, loving {almost} 4yr old. He is silly and funny and always up for a good time. He loves sports, sharks, tearing around on his bike and anything slightly dangerous. He is adorable and witty and kind and we are so madly in love with him. And yes, of course there are still moments when almost 4yr olds can be exhausting too...but the thing that I'll always remember about him at this point in his life is that he is obsessed with giving hugs and kisses. I mean obsessed. He is the best snuggler in the world, always up for a cuddle, can't get enough kisses and hugs and loves hard. Loves really hard. As my mom once said "Whoever he chooses to marry when he's older is going to be the most adored person in the world".

Truer words could not have been spoken.

And this almost 4yr old has now just graduated from preschool.  

So when I looked back to those pictures of his first day of preschool, it made my heart stop for a moment...

because that baby faced little boy has turned into a grown up, wonderful little pre- kindergartener who is so ready for school.

And it's not only our front steps and gardens that have changed since those first day pictures all those months ago--but our tiny little baby has turned into a one year old. So seeing how much she has grown takes my breath away too...

because even though some days can feel amazing and wonderful with little kids, and then other days can feel long and tiring--time really does fly.

So as the summer is now upon us, I'm going to soak in these last couple of months that I get to have with all three of our kids at home with me before I head back to work myself.

And as much as I can't wait to see my little kindergarten kids in September, I'll choose to live in a permanent state of denial for the entire summer about having to leave my own little monkeys at home...

otherwise, I'll just start to cry.

So in the meantime, in honor of my choice to live in denial here--I'll just take a look at my little graduate and pretend that I get to keep him with me forever...

because the reality is that this little boy is growing up...

and I just can't wait to see where life takes him.

Happy 1st week of summer holidays everyone.
Enjoy every loud, wonderful, frustrating, amazing, exhausting moment with your kids.
This moment in time will be gone before you know it.

Erica xo

Saturday, 18 June 2016

When everything has fallen apart, have a "Yes" day.

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Over the past few weeks, life in this household has been anything but easy.

A terrible terrible flu bug has swept through each and every person in our family and taken down every little person one by one, until it then hit Terry too.

So for 2 weeks straight I held buckets, held back hair, rubbed backs, handed out popsicles, checked temperatures, changed clothes, washed hair in the middle of the night, did millions of loads of laundry, disinfected every inch of the house, stripped bed linens at 3am, comforted whiny, worn out, horribly ill kids, and a horribly ill husband...and tried to keep this family and life together, when everything felt like it was starting to fall apart.

Because when the flu hits a household of kids, everyone goes down fast.

So late night bathroom chats, over the dim light of nightlights, were had by a mom and a poor little girl who was up sick literally all night long.

"It's going to be over soon, the morning is almost here, we're going to get through this together"...anything, anything at all that I could say to ease my poor girls aching body. Because when your kids are sick, a mom's heart breaks just a little every step of the way.

And just when Mya started feeling better, just when the last of the bed sheets were washed and the house was disinfected and we thought we were in the clear, it hit Carter, and then Sophia...and then, just when I thought it was over,  I heard the front door unexpectedly open at 2pm one afternoon, and my poor husband walked in from work looking white as a ghost, and we started up all over again.

So, with Terry's birthday falling in the midst of all of this chaos, and just days before he got sick himself, he came home to a wiped out wife, exhausted, hanging by a thread, sick little girl hanging off of her, cranky baby starting to get sick herself and a big rib dinner that I literally have no memory of putting together--but the cake? Well, easy was the key word here---so a donut cake he got. Thank you bakery. And thank you Terry for never expecting a thing, but being thrilled with some balloons, hand made Happy Birthday signs stuck to the walls, made with whatever white paper I could find and some Crayola scribbles, and cheap party tablecloths and some yummy food.  

So after he got hit days later with this bug, and went down hard, he finally peeled himself from his bed and got himself up and out and feeling better again. So I cleaned the entire house from top to bottom, declaring that the illness was officially done, and woke up the next morning and announced to the kids that it was a special day.

"Today is YES day!" I said to them, all it was pretty much Christmas morning.
And they looked at me like I had maybe lost my mind, but they smiled knowing it must be something good.

"Whatever you ask me today, the answer will be YES", I told them.

Their eyes lit up.

"So throughout the whole day, whatever you ask me, I'll have to say YES, so think carefully about what you ask for".

I saw them trying to figure this out in their heads.
Then Mya piped up and said "Can we have a cookie mom?".

I looked at her, and ignored that uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my mommy stomache that screamed "It's 7am! We haven't even eaten breakfast yet. Children can't have cookies at 7am!" and smiled at her and shouted "YES! Let's go pick one!".

And oh my goodness, the joy that this brought.

Beaming children, wide eyed, giggling to eachother as they ran to the kitchen to find their cookie. Because sometimes when it feels like everything has fallen apart, a day of simple joys like cookies at 7am, and kids feeling like this day is as exciting as some special holiday, is worth it.
And just after those big cookies were gone, and breakfast was served, Carter piped up and said "Can we go play outside in our pajamas?"

"YES!" I said. And off we went into the backyard.

Then just as we came in and got ourselves dressed for the day, we heard our front door open and there stood their cousin Oliver, beaming too--"I heard it's YES day here!".

And the kids then proceeded to explain exactly how exciting this was, and exactly how well it works "Ask her anything Oliver--she'll say YES!" Mya told him. "It's so fun--try it!".

And he looked at me all wide eyed--"Can we have a popsicle?!".

"YES! Go ahead!" I said, as I watched all three of them tear over to the freezer.

And the questions then continued...

"Can we play with the hose?" ...


And just as I was about to make lunch..."Can you do all my Barbie's hair with me mom?"

...{insert tired, just about to start something, mom here} "Of course I can Mya!".

"Can we play in the sandbox and pour lots and lots of water into the sand and make mud castles {and get ourselves completely and utterly covered in mud}?"

"Go for it!"

"Can we blow up balloons and draw on them?"

--"Sure thing".

"Can we go swimming 10minutes before dinner is ready?"....

"No problem! Dinner can wait".

"Can we have a dance party?"

"Sure thing--let's crank up that music".

Then Sophia joined in..."Can I have a nap?"

"You got it kiddo".

Anyone else want a nap??? My answer will be YES!

So here is the thing--a YES day can't happen every day. Of course it can't. The word "No" is just as important as the word "Yes".  But in a world where we can find ourselves saying "No" so often to our kids, it's fun to throw all caution to the wind for just one day and let them feel what it feels like to hear YES. And thankfully they're young enough that their requests remained pretty innocent--an extra popsicle and some playground dirt on their pajamas is just plain old fun.

And ultimately, what it did for us that very day was it brought us out of the funk of long days, cranky kids, tired mom, sick dad...and brought some joy to a bunch of little people who also needed a pick-me-up.

A little YES Day can go a long way.

Enjoy your weekend everyone. And happy (early) Father's Day dad and Terry! Love you both.

Erica xo
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