November 20, 2014

snapshots of 2014...the year in pictures

Here in Southern Ontario we've experienced our first snow storm of the year, which means that 2014 must be drawing to a close. Judging from my obnoxiously long commute last night (a typically 30-minute round trip to pick up the girls took more than an 1 1/2 hours), the winter is undoubtedly upon us.

Though I never post on my blog as much as I intend to, I find myself taking pictures year round with stories in mind. As you've likely noticed, my kids faces never appear on here (or in any other online spot), so my phones are always filled with pictures of the backs of them! I have lots of pictures of their sweet faces too...but they're just not for internet consumption. :)

However, as I scrolled through my photos, I thought I'd share a pictorial retrospective to let you in on the little happenings that I never ended up sharing in full this year.

Here is a snapshot of 2014...with a little commentary along the way:

Braving the cold out on family walks...

Celebrating Father's Day with my Dad and Cal - the girls were practicing their golf swing. And if memory serves, Lady M crushed me. Future LPGA'er?

 Waterfall walks and bike rides...

First independent swimming lessons and fresh haircuts...

I experienced my first week away from my girls in their lifetime. I've never been terribly good at leaving them, but thankfully Calvin is an awesome daddy, and I got to head to Lake Tahoe, California for an incredible conference with some colleagues. And the hugs when I arrived back at the Toronto airport were priceless...

 No summer is complete without a packed truck, and a trip to camp. (My little dancer is getting her camp-rope bracelet put on by my friend Trishy, and one of our awesome counsellors).

Lady A experienced her first pedicure on our mother/daughter trip to the spa. Lady M is a seasoned pro, and declared this past weekend "Mummy, I really need another pedicure". Ahhh yes, an absolute 'need' for any 6-year-old. But, let's be honest, I'll take her to get some cute Christmas toes in a few weeks. :)

Lady A's colourful tootsies
Lady M's flowery piggies
Mummy/Daughter spa date!

Lady M started Grade 1 with her snazzy new Hello Kitty backpack, which was really just a 'filler' until we could locate a Frozen backpack (which were sold out EVERYWHERE!). Hello Kitty now belongs to Lady A, because I ended up locating a coveted Elsa & Anna bag shortly into the school year. The first picture is at home, before school...the second is of her holding her teacher's gladiolus - Lady M was quite nervous about starting at her new school, but when her teacher allowed her to come to the front of the line and hold her flowers, she was good to go!

We celebrated my mister's 36th birthday in September with his favourite - carrot cake! 

Having built up a little courage to go away for a week thanks to my time in Tahoe, I took another week away to head to Florida with my mum. We were there to celebrate the wedding of my cousin Casey, and his beautiful bride Alex. Wedding, family visits, outlet shopping, sunshine and sleeping in - a wonderful week away!

Halloween this year gave us one Queen Elsa and one squishy little monkey. Cuteness abounded!
Lady M's homemade Elsa wig!

And with our first snowfall this week, we are into the thick of it again...

So, there's a little glimpse into our year - it's been a great one!

November 14, 2014

three (and a half)

Lady A is now officially 3 and a half. If I had to select one word to describe this age for her, I would choose "big". 

Big is not the word I would have chosen for Lady M, but our younger daughter has never been one to blaze the same trail that her big sister has followed. Nope, this little lady is fiercely committed to her individuality. (This makes me very happy, of course)

However, the word 'big' brings different experiences...

Big laughs...Big stories...Big kindness, and Big reactions. 

Lady A is one of the funniest kids I've ever met. She recounts detailed stories that draw an even bigger laugh. Friday night at dinner the facial expressions that accompanied her supper time stories were amazing; she has so much character and expression packed into her wide brown eyes and chubby cheeks, and the way she expresses the tales of her day is priceless. 

But with this big character comes big reactions that are not always of the priceless variety. Lately she really likes to pitch her larger 3.5 year old fits in the morning when we are all trying to get ready. When I'm trying to make it to the office for 8am, and take her to daycare en route, a hissy fit is the last thing on my anticipated agenda. However, these big reactions seem to surface just then! Throwing herself on the floor because she doesn't want to get dressed/doesn't like the outfit I chose/is sleepy but won't admit it/isn't allowed to watch a show/just wants to be a monkey, etc. tends to set our routine back a few minutes, but we manage, and are always smiling on our drive to daycare together.

Lady A is also extremely lovable and caring. Where Lady M was never terribly into her dolls (preferring to pass them over for her various dinosaur toys at the age of 3), her little sister LOVES her dolls. Friday night at dinner (like many other meals) we were joined by her favourite doll whose high chair was lovingly set up right beside our kitchen table.

After dinner she rocked her and put her into her playpen, which was then carried up to her room so she could have a good night sleep. The way she cares for her dolls - and the real people around her - is so genuinely sweet. Somehow it makes up for the big tantrums that come our way! 

3 1/2 might be an age filled with big things, but Lady A also fills our days with huge hugs, enormous smiles and incredible love. 

so i got to do 'that mum thing'…

Sometimes you have to appreciate the little things in life.

Last week, the little girl who made me a mum – Lady M – turned 6. It’s hard to believe that six short years ago, as I was growing a little person, I had absolutely no idea what life would be like as a parent. Now that I have a little girl who needs two hands to show us her age, I have had so many incredible experiences.

Lady M is a truly sweet person. She cares very deeply about others, has a silly sense of humour, is a quick learner, and is beautiful inside and out. She’s been through a lot of change this fall as she adjusted to a new school, new friends, 100% French education and a new daycare too. That’s a lot to throw at a not-quite-six-year-old, and I must say, she’s adjusted beautifully. Sure, we’re still struggling with the bedtime fears (see Scooby Doo post) but that’s just a bump in the road.

As for celebrating the little things: on her actual birthday I was able to leave the office early and pick her up from school. Now, to many of you this may seem like a mundane, every day activity. For me, this was beyond exciting. I never get to pick her up from school (not until after work, when she’s been in the after-school program for almost 2 hours), so this was a rare treat for me – and for her. We talked about it for more than a week, as we counted down the days to her birthday, and the day mummy would be there after school.

Up until a year ago, Lady M and Lady A used to go to a different daycare that was down a country road. I recall, as I was phasing the girls into that daycare (and was finishing up maternity leave) I would drive down the country road at the same time as the local school bus each day. I vividly remember seeing all of the mums (and the odd dad) standing at the end of their country driveways, waiting to greet their bouncing children as they got off the bus. Working mum guilt would kick in strongly each day – wishing that I could be the mum at the end of the driveway, knowing that it’s just not the way things are going to happen for us at this point in time. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy my work, and can’t really see myself staying home, but there are some things that I sure would love to be able to do.

So having the opportunity to be ‘that mum’ for a day, and join the masses of sweatpant-wearing mums who were there getting their kiddos was a great moment. I didn't know anyone there, and couldn’t join in on their parent-to-parent conversations that had clearly been going for 2 months now, but I was elated when Lady M’s happy little face, and bouncing self came bounding out of the school door and she jumped up into my arms. Clearly she was just as excited for the change in routine as I was, and that tree-frog hug she gave me was just perfect.

It was nice to get to do that mum thing.
From there we got to go home, make icing and decorate her birthday cake in preparation for her birthday dinner that night. It’s also rare that we get to spend time together – just the two of us – so that was an added bonus on her special day.  

I suppose the novelty might wear off if I were able to pick her up every day, but maybe not. No matter what, I look forward to the next time I can be there when the bell rings…