May 14, 2012

mothers day in pictures

I had a wonderful Mother's Day weekend; it was low-key and relaxed. We had nothing major planned, just time with my little family of four (and the dog). After being back to work for three weeks now, I'm reminded how special the weekends are, and how I savour every moment with my little ladies.

On Saturday morning, I decided to have a little 'mummy & me' time with Lady M. She and I have made a tradition out of going to the garden centre, choosing the flowers, and planting the front garden at our house. Its not a large garden; just the right size for a three year old and I to work on. (Truth be told, I only like maintaining a small garden, as I am no green thumb, as you can read here!)

So off we set for the garden centre. We decided to try a new one this year that we hadn't been to before. Imagine Lady M's excitement when she stumbled upon this water feature when we were there...

She was so happy to stare at the beautiful fish pond, but eventually we made our way back to the flowers and chose this years winning blooms. After one more visit to the pond, we paid and were on our way home to tend to our little garden. First things first, we pulled all the weeds and prepped the space...

With her trusty little watering can, and specially designed kids gardening tools, she's a fabulous helper! Soon enough, our garden looked like this:

Is she a green thumb, or what?! (FYI: Just the flowers are ours. The overgrown plants belong to the neighbour). We also planted flowers all around our tree in the front yard, and everything looked great. My sweet little helper was awesome, and would be out there constantly watering her lovely plants if she could!

That afternoon, I got some time with just Lady A, as we took a little trip to the grocery store. Once home, she was my trusty little sidekick as I slaved away in the kitchen...

Ok, so she pretty much played with Tupperware while I worked, but she was happy to be at my feet, and I am always happy to have her right there with me.

On Sunday, Mother's Day, I got to sleep in (all the way to 7am!), and awoke to Lady M running up to me with a lovely handmade card, and handpainted picture frame with a picture of the girls in it. Is there anything sweeter than homemade crafts from your kids? I don't think so. (Apparently my parents don't think so either - my Dad still has a giant paper tie hanging in his closet that my brother made for him as a kid. My brother is now 33). I plan to have my kids crafts around for that long too...

To make my morning even sweeter, Cal made me a cup of tea in my very favourite mug as soon as I woke up...

Lady M chose this mug for my 30th birthday last year...its she and I on the front, and she tells me the little one in the second picture is Lady A. Makes me smile every time I drink from it.

So, all in all, a great mother's day weekend, and I got to see my mum too. :)

May 9, 2012

birthday girl

My littlest pumpkin is one. Seriously, how is that possible? I remember the first year of Lady M’s life going by in a blink, and now Lady A’s has too. I’m the mum of a 3 ½ year old, and a 1 year old. Wow.
I suppose I could have lamented on the fact that the time passed by so quickly, but instead we decided to party! We had a large party for Lady M when she turned one, and decided to do the same for little Lady A. We struggled over where we should have it, trying to ensure we had something for both kids and grown-ups to enjoy, and ended up settling on renting a room at our local rec centre.
We set up a baby area, kids colouring station, game table, food and sweets tables, and it seemed to do the trick. I tried to harness my inner Martha Stewart (sans fraud), and decided to get a little crafty. A friend from work lent me her cake pop maker, and I spent about 4 hours making about six dozen of these fussy, yet trendy, little things, decorating them with a variety of sprinkles and brightly coloured nonpareils. Along with some homemade tissue paper decorations, pictures of the birthday girl, and anything else that was themed in hot pink and lime green, we brought a little beige rec room to life. 

But, truth be told, it wasn’t the decorations that brought it to life; it was all the kids. So many sweet little faces around the room, playing, chatting, eating, and smiling. I commented to Cal that there were a lot more kids to invite this time than there were back when Lady M turned one. Lots of friends have had children since then, and seeing them altogether was a blast.
Lady A turned on her charm, eating like a champ, smiling, giggling, and picking up her paper plate to lick the icing off it once she had finished her piece of cake. Priceless.

Lady M was more than happy to jump right in, and assist with the present opening, and of course, was willing to test them all out when we returned home. Such a good big sister she is!
The likelihood of Lady A remembering her special day is quite slim, but I know I’ll remember the bright little faces around the room, and the feeling of happiness that came along with it.

May 7, 2012

week one

It’s incredible to me how 55 weeks can pass by in a blink. Even when you’re in the new baby haze, sleeping minimally, lacking your usual capacities, and trying to manage everything that is happening at once, the time flies by. Just when you think you’ll never sleep again, never sit down to eat a proper meal, or wear a shirt unadorned with spit-up, the time comes. You’re rested, can eat like a human, and are wearing a clean shirt.
I know I’m fortunate to live in a place where I can spend every minute of my baby’s first year with her. When you add a couple weeks of vacation to the end, you can even extend that little luxury, which is exactly what I did. But, two weeks ago, my year-long maternity leave came to an end, and it was time to return to professional life. 
I hadn’t remained completely disconnected from working, or thinking beyond diapers and naptime though. I went back to school when Lady A was about 9 weeks old to continue plugging away at my Master’s degree, and then in January (when she was 8 months old), I started teaching one College night class per week. These two adventures kept my mind sharp (well, sharp-ish), and allowed me to have much needed adult conversation and interaction that I think many mums lack when they’re off on mat leave. Having to leave them a couple times a week, made all the time I spent with my girls just a little sweeter.
When it was time to go back to work, I felt myself growing increasingly anxious. Though I know I felt the anxiety when I returned to work when Lady M turned one, I think it all felt a little different this time around, because I believe Lady A will be our last little munchkin. Last time I knew that I planned to have another child, and that another mat leave would be on the horizon, but following baby #2, the story is a little different. However, it helped to know they were headed to a wonderfully loving home daycare, and that I was headed back to a familiar place.
To really jump further back into the working world, the spring semester at the College started on the same day that I went back to work. That meant I worked from 8:30am until 9:30pm, teaching after I’d completed my first regular work day in a year. Leaving so early for work in the morning, neither of the girls was awake, and by the time I got home that night they were both slumbering happily.
Me? I just wanted to pull them out of bed for cuddles, but I knew better.
The next morning Lady A woke up before I left for work, but Lady M didn’t. That means I went from Sunday night until Tuesday after work without really seeing her. Of course I crept into her room to give her a kiss goodnight, but that’s not like spending the day with her, listening to her stories, and sharing little moments as we go through the day. It was a bit of a reality check, but we managed. I was beyond excited to get home Tuesday night and see my sweet girls.
Unfortunately, the traffic pattern of the Greater Toronto Area had different plans for me that night, as I sat on the QEW in ridiculous traffic that made we want to scream with road rage, burst into tears, or both. Arriving home after 6pm didn’t work for me, so the next day I took the toll highway, deciding the bill was well worth it, and was home just after 5pm. That was better. I felt like I might actually have the opportunity to see my girls a little more each night.
By the end of week one, we were all exhausted from our new routine and I had tried four different rush-hour routes, but it sure made the weekend so much more enjoyable. I savoured every moment of my 55 weeks off, and it makes me appreciate, even more, the time I get to spend with them now that ‘real life’ has reared its head.
So, week one has come and gone, and we made it. We’re all trying to create our new normal, and so far, it all seems to be going pretty well..