Sunday, 26 August 2012

Dear Mya

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      I bought you a new pair of tiny sunglasses today, just because I love the way that you point to your eyes right before we go outside as your sign that you want to wear your lost sunglasses. I love all of your little signs that you use to talk to us when you can't find the words. I love that you say "moo" whenever you want us to read your farm book to you and I love how you nod your head excessively right before you go to bed indicating that you want more songs sung to you as we cuddle in the rocking chair together. I love how you still want help climbing up to the top of the playground, but then push your hand out to us right before you go down the slide, telling us that you can do it on your own...wanting to feel the rush of independence that those few seconds of flying bring.


     I love how you throw your head back just before you laugh, because you already know at your tender age that if you're going to laugh you better soak up every second of it. I love how you always want to feed Meika and how you slowly, meticulously and carefully place each little piece of dog food into her bowl as she waits so ridiculously patiently for you to finish.


     I love how you love to cuddle so much and how your little head fits perfectly in the nook of my neck, as if we're both a perfect design for each other-because I know that we are.

     As I sit here in the quiet of the night, as you're fast asleep cuddled up to your blanket, still clutching your water bottle that you can't go to sleep without, I can't help but think about how your little life will be changed in only a few short weeks.



      I know that you will be thrilled to have a tiny baby to hold, cuddle, hug, kiss and pretend that he's all yours. I know that you will take on the role of big sister as proudly and confidently as anyone ever has. Your little heart will expand just as mine will when you meet him for the first time, and a new chapter of our lives will begin the moment that he is born. A new chapter, a great chapter. There will be days when it feels like nothing has changed...where our days filled with baking, trips to the park and splash pad, dancing in the living room and playing duets on the piano will still exist. I'll make sure of that.



     But there will undoubtedly be days when your mom will be exhausted, or when you decide that having a new baby brother was fun at first, but sometimes a difficult transition to get used to. But it's okay, because we're all in it together. It's the challenging parts of life that make us better in the end, and if there are challenges to come we'll get through them together. It's the difficult days that help us to grow, they teach us patience, they give us better perspective and they help shape us into the people we are meant to be. You've taught me that.

     Just the other day I had a million thoughts running through my head as I lay in bed having contraction after contraction for several hours. Knowing that your little brother had only been growing inside of me for 33 weeks, your dad and I quickly started packing our hospital bags, talking about how we didn't want this to be happening so soon.



     But you were on my mind just as much as your brother was. I started thinking about what you'd need while we were in the hospital, how much I'd miss you, what you'd be thinking having mom and dad gone for so long and how you'd react to coming into our hospital room for the first time and seeing a tiny baby wrapped up in my arms. Thankfully though, somehow the contractions settled down and dwindled to nothing, which gave us the greatest relief that you can even imagine and made me grateful for the few extra days or weeks that we were given with you as our smallest babe.

     To my girl, my love...I'll love you until the end of time and as the weeks to come will bring changes to our family, you'll still be our love, our baby, our heart.
 
   Love, your mama xox





    

Saturday, 18 August 2012

For the love of barrettes and bows...and organization

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      I love barrettes. I love bows. I love ribbons. I love anything cute that I can put in Mya's hair. I just keep willing her hair to grow even more so I can start doing braids, pig tails and pony tails..I just can't wait for that.
     In saying that, I've also realized that my original system of putting all of her hair accessories in a basket in her dresser drawer just isn't working anymore. I spend way too much time searching for the specific hair clip that I know is in that pile of clips somewhere and the basket is becoming a dumping ground for everything from hair bands to hair elastics, with no real order to it at all. It's really just a mess, and I know it will only get worse as I continue to find more and more cute hair clips that I'll continue to add to the bucket as she continues to get older.
     So I finally decided to actually do something about it. I created a cute little hair clip holder that literally cost me $1 and took no time at all to make. All of a sudden I can see each clip, pick the one that I want and there's no longer an overflow of hair clips everywhere. Perfect.



Here is how I did it:

1) I bought a sheet of artist canvas at the dollar store for $1 (thanks Jen and Attila for the gift card!) and picked some ribbon and scrapbook paper that I already had in my craft cupboard at home.


2) Use a glue stick and cover the canvas with glue, then wrap the scrapbook paper around it like a present.







3) Use a hot glue gun and place a dab of glue on the back of the canvas and attach the ribbon. Make sure you leave a little bit of slack on each ribbon so that the clips can snap onto them easily.



4) Add your clips, and you're done.
p.s. You can use sticky Velcro to attach your clip holder to the back of a door or a wall. This is hanging on the back of Mya's closet door.



So easy..so cute..so functional. I just love it.

*****

And on a completely different topic, here are two things I recently learned that I thought I'd pass along as good tips....

DID YOU KNOW??

1) You can freeze milk. Who knew? Maybe you did...but I had no idea. Thanks for the tip mom! You just have to be sure to shake it well after it thaws (before you snip the bag open!!).



    We'll now buy Mya's homo milk when it's on sale and stock up, throwing it right in our freezer and pulling out each bag individually to thaw whenever she drinks through the bag in the fridge. We're now not wasting any milk that she can't drink through fast enough before the due date, and we're saving a bunch of money when buying all of our milk on sale.

2) You can shred cooked chicken in your Kitchen Aid mixer. Just throw your fully cooked chicken in the mixer (with the specific mixing attachment shown in this pic below), put your mixer on low and watch as your chicken transforms into professionally shredded chicken in seconds. I use mine all of the time now for lots of different meal ideas.





Ok, that's it...have a good night!


Sunday, 12 August 2012

What she loves

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      As Mya continues to grow and develop into the little girl that she is becoming, it's amazing to see how her personality, sense of self and opinions are also steadily growing along with her. It feels like it was just yesterday that I was holding this tiny little being, only 6.7lbs, smelling that sweet newborn smell, carrying her cuddled up to my body in our sling, listening to her little heartbeat against my chest. Everyone always says to enjoy your children and to not take a minute of it for granted since time flies. But sometimes it's easy to forget to do this with the whirlwind of life that pushes us quickly along and the challenges of parenthood that are inevitably snuck into each and every day. It's definitely my goal though, and my priority.

      I don't want to forget a thing. I don't want to let life pass us by without purposely enjoying and appreciating all of the little moments of happiness and joy that Mya brings to us. I want to be able to look back on her childhood, close my eyes and actually remember what it was like. That's really one of the main reasons why I decided to keep a blog and to consequently document many of the moments in her childhood and in our lives. I write for Mya, for our future children and for Terry and I...so we don't forget. And although the reality of writing in a public forum comes with the additional consequences of opening yourself up to being vulnerable and having your words possibly misconstrued or judged..it's worth it for me since our kids will have something to look back on one day. It's my way of holding on to a little piece of their childhood and being able to bottle it up so that one day I can look back and re-live the moments...both the good and the challenging.

    In saying this, one of the things that I want to be able to remember about this exact stage in her life are all of the little things that she currently loves. She is starting to let us know what she likes (and certainly what she doesn't like) and I don't want to forget some of her most favourite things at this very moment. It changes almost weekly as she continues to explore and discover new and exciting things that our world has to offer. But as of now, these are a handful of the things that she loves.

 1) Water:
         A bucket of water, a few toys and some soap to create bubbles is all that she needs and she's absolutely thrilled.


Water coming out of a tap that she can control by turning it on and off herself is even better.


   And her baby doll is frequenting the dog bowl on a daily basis for a bath as well--only to be taken out, dried off with a tea towel ever-so-gently, then put back in the dog bowl for some more bath time. It's the cutest thing ever to watch.




2) Oliver : enough said. She's obsessed with him. Love isn't even a strong enough word..she adores him.



3) Big cardboard boxes. What kid doesn't love a good ol' cardboard box to play in? Jen and Jeff's wagon box turned into the best playground ever...and she made each and every one of us get in that box with her...
...even her very pregnant mama. I wish we had video of me getting out of that box...it was quite entertaining. Terry had to literally pull me out.



4) Her new playset:

My dad and Terry built this playset for her and her brother-to-be just a few weeks ago...and she LOVES it. After weeks and weeks of searching on Kijiji for swings, slides and other fun things to add onto it, we finally found what we wanted for a great price, bought some wood and the boys started building. Thanks dad and Terry!



Dad and Terry thought of everything...even adding little benches under the playset for the kiddos to sit on and hide out under.







5) Crossing her legs. It's her new thing. She finds a spot to hold onto and slowly crosses them until she's steady, then waits for everyone to laugh. It gets us every single time. She looks like a mini adult.


6) Watching for air planes in the sky. No matter where we are, if she notices an air plane in the sky she'll stop and watch it without taking her eyes off of it for even a minute...I'm sure she's probably wondering how and why that thing is so high and flying above her, but either way it's pretty cute.


So there you have it...a few of her favourite things. I'm sure by next month I'll have a whole new list...but that's the beauty of one's childhood--it changes so quickly, which also means that there are greater, more exciting things to come just around the corner.

Monday, 6 August 2012

To tell or not to tell...finally a name decided

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     We didn't tell anyone what Mya's name was before she was born. It's something that we decided to keep to ourselves, as many people do, for the obvious reason of name backlash. Even though we knew for months that the tiny baby in my belly would be named Mya, we worried that our decision would be hindered by the opinions of others. We worried, knowing that it was impossible to pick a name that literally everyone loved, that a snide remark or negative comment would make us question our decision or place us in an awkward position. Honestly, when I think about it now, I think it's terrible that this is how so many parents-to-be feel.


      So this time round, we changed our minds. We finally decided on a name that we both love and we decided to tell the world, regardless of our previous fears. Maybe it's our way of saying "We love it, and if you don't, that's okay". Or maybe it's a statement regarding our feelings on parenthood this time round...feeling that much more confident about the whole process of it all since we've been through it before. We also wanted to be able to talk to Mya openly about her brother and call him by name, without questioning who was around us, hearing us.

So, in saying this, here ya go...our little man will officially be named:


     I made this name sign the other week for his nursery, and it was so easy and cheap to make, I thought I'd pass along how I did it in case there were any others out there who wanted to make something similar. For another (more girly) version of this, you can click here to see what I made for Mya's room before she was born.

Here's how I did it:

     I bought the wooden letters at a dollar store near my parents house (for only $1.25 each!). I know they sell them at Walmart and Michaels too (Walmart is cheaper than Michaels though, but Michaels has a greater selection of letters, just FYI). I also bought small artist canvas' at Dollarama (which are supposed to be used to paint on, but work perfectly for this instead). They were two for $1. You'll also need scrapbook paper (I chose 3 different patterns), a glue gun and a glue stick.


1) Cover the one side of the artist canvas completely with glue.


2) Wrap it like a present with your scrapbook paper and glue the ends down as well. I even threw some tape down on it as well, just to be sure it stayed put.


3) Grab some paint and paint several coats onto your letters. I had some extra semi-gloss white paint in my basement that we use for our baseboards, so I just used that.



4) Once your letters are dry, use your glue gun and glue the letters down onto the front of your paper-covered canvas'.


5) Use your glue gun to glue some ribbon onto the back of each board, and hang.  Voila! So easy, so cheap, so cute.  



And there it is...our new little bundle of joy will be named Carter. I just can't wait to meet this sweet little boy and finally be able to whisper all the I love you's to him that I've been saying to my belly over the past 30 weeks. Sweet little Carter. I like the sound of that.   


Thursday, 2 August 2012

A hot mess

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     A hot mess. That's what this past week has been.

     One of the things that I've learned though from the past six days is that it's good to let go sometimes and just let life take it's course while not trying to plan too much for the unexpected, the unknown, the fear of the future. It's a hard pill though for me to swallow.

     With only about 8 weeks left before this little baby might make his grand entrance into the world and into my arms that are aching to hold him, I'm trying to get everything in order and in place. Nesting is certainly a huge part of that--I completed my challenge of 10 bags in 10 days...I think we even got rid of more than that actually, but I stopped counting after 10. But I'm also looking at Mya each and every day and trying to figure out how to prepare her for this life altering experience that will surely rock her world. We tell her all of the time that mommy has a baby in her belly, but she pulls up my shirt and looks at my growing belly, confused, as I'm sure she's thinking "I don't see any baby mom...nice try though".

Maternity photos courtesy of the amazing Amanda Sills Photography www.amandasillsphotography.com





      It's hard to explain to a little one how their life will change, how their schedule might be disrupted, how the attention will be now be shared and how the dynamics of the family structure might change. It's hard to explain the guilt that I already feel about all of the times that I know I will have to tell her "wait a minute" or "mommy can't hold you right now, I'm nursing your brother". We're about to embark on a huge new chapter of our lives and I'm starting to feel an unsettling sense of fear of the unknown. But in saying that, excitement and an incredible sense of gratitude and desperation to hold, snuggle and breathe in every inch of that little newborn smell fill me each and every day as well. It's a fine balance at this point.

     This fear of the unknown though got me thinking that I should get Mya potty trained before her new brother arrived. I started picturing me months from now, sleep deprived, nursing, trying to keep it all together while also trying to potty train a 2yr old. The thought of it still overwhelms me. So I declared to Terry that we should start now to avoid the chaos later. After hearing from several friends that there was this miraculous 3 Day Potty Training program (where your child is literally potty trained in 3 days...3 intense days, but 3 days regardless), we thought we'd give it a try. We read through the program, learning that by 22 months most kids are ready--Mya was 3 weeks shy of that, so we figured we'd have nothing to lose.

     Well...it turned out that we had a lot to lose. Our minds in particular.

     It's been 6 days (yes, 6...not 3 like we expected) of following this intense program and turning my parents house upside down. My wonderful parents graciously convinced us to stay with them for the week and potty train Mya at their house since we don't have a bathroom on our main floor. So to avoid me running up and down the stairs carrying a pee covered Mya a million times a day, along with heaving my large belly along with her, we packed our bags and moved in.








Towels became permanent fixtures on our laps and on all chairs.


   And after five days of being completely confined to the house, running her to the bathroom a million times a day, cleaning up accident after accident (while smiling through it all and telling her "Good try honey! We'll get to the toilet next time!"), constantly changing our pee covered clothes, waking her up to unsuccessfully get her to pee at nighttime and offering unsuccessful bribes of stickers and chocolate chips, she still completely refused to go anywhere near the toilet. Literally no where near it.

     We gave up yesterday. Yes...completely gave up. I put a diaper on her, packed up her bag and headed to the water park to meet some friends, wearing a big bright "failure" sign on my forehead.  


    That's the crazy thing about parenting--there's no handbook to tell you what to do or how to do it. This particular program guaranteed a fully potty trained kid after only 3 days (with the understanding that kids will of course have accidents in the future at times)...and everyone who I know who has used the program has had great success. However, for us, the beauty of parenthood is that life always provides us with another day to try again. And it's been the greatest lesson in patience for us and realizing that sometimes the best of plans or intentions are better off being left until your little one is ready.

     And you know what, she's happy. Happy in those darn little diapers. So we'll just try again when she's older and I'll try to let go of my fears of potty training with a newborn in arms.

 The big lesson in life, baby, is never be scared of anyone or anything.  Thanks Frank Sinatra.

    
       
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