January 29th

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Weekends with toddler: twirling, watching Pee-Wee’s Playhouse (her new fave), wandering the city, eating waffles, napping hard, building train tracks with her big sister.

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Last week I was digging through Gwen’s basket of shoes by the front door in in the very bottom I found the first pair of boots I ever made. This soft, dark brown leather came in a bag of scraps and actually inspired me to make the boots, like as soon as I saw it I pictured this exact thing. These are where it all began! They don’t fit her anymore (although she tried to cram her feet into them), but I just finished a new pair for her in brown sheepskin that I can’t wait for her to try out.

January 28th

It’s only Wednesday but WOW has it been a cool week so far! On Monday I noticed that the views/faves on one particular banner in my shop were blowing up, but I never bothered to dig into the stats to find the source of the traffic- I’d recently been featured in a roundup on Candypunk.com so I assumed that was it. Then yesterday my friend posted on my facebook that my banner was on Salon’s tumblr? Say what? I found the post and traced it back to the Editor-in-chief of The Mary Sue, who I now love because people posting my stuff on tumblr with the proper source (ie a link to my shop) is something that rarely happens. Anyway she posted it and it was reblogged by tons of people, including Wil Wheaton (???) and the official Mary Sue tumblr as well.
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EDIT: now it’s been posted to BoingBoing as well? THIS IS MADNESS
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Then in the afternoon I got a message from someone letting me know that Jessica Valenti had posted a link to me on her facebook! She’s actually bought banners from me in the past and I specifically uploaded a quality image of one of my mini killjoy banners so she could use it as her twitter header, and now it’s on her facebook page as well. Amazing!

Sometimes I feel like kind of an ass bragging about this stuff but like… I work REALLY REALLY hard on my shop and it feels pretty great when people notice & appreciate what I do (and also buy things).

Speaking of working hard, my new snap setter arrived today so I can finally FINALLY finish the boots I made last week. I actually only have one more sample pair to make and then I will be photographing & listing them all for sale! Right now I’m aiming to launch in about a week (on my birthday, actually) and I’ll also be doing a giveaway on instagram so be sure to follow me so you don’t miss out!

January 23rd

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Earlier this week I wrote out a big long post whining and complaining about a bunch of things I’ve been whining and complaining about forever. Then I saved it as a draft and decided to not post it, and I’m really glad I didn’t because this turned out to be a great goddamn week.

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Spontaneous ramen date.
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Gwen loves pigeons and follows them around the park, holding her hand out like she does to the dogs.
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Normally I wouldn’t go for white pants on a toddler but these fleece ones were on clearance for TWO DOLLARS and at that price you really can’t go wrong.

Gwen had her followup appointment with the pediatrician who confirmed that we didn’t have anything to worry about re: her being a late talker and said Gwen was very smart. She really is talking a lot more nowadays anyway- she’s added “coh” (coat) and “kih” (kiss) to her vocabulary this week and she’s constantly asking us (by pointing) what things are called. She’s also started giving us spontaneous hugs, which I can’t get enough of.

I had an appointment with my endocrinologist to see where my thyroid was at after being off the medication for six weeks aaaaaaand my Graves’ Disease is in remission!
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This means I DON’T have to go back on medication, I DON’T have to have a thyroidectomy, I DON’T have to have a radioactive iodine treatment, and best of all, if (hopefully when) Taylor and I decide we want to try to have another baby we don’t have to wait- I would just ned to get my thyroid levels checked to make sure they are still normal. Of course, my Graves’ could come back, at which point I’d have to decide which treatment option I want to go with but for now I don’t even have to think about it.

Taylor and I went out last night to the Death From Above 1979 show, which was AMAZING. We hadn’t been OUT out together in a really long time. Honestly I hadn’t been out like that at all in about a million years, and being at the Commodore brought back a lot of memories (WOW what an old person thing to say). We didn’t get home until almost midnight (ON A WORKNIGHT????) and I am a lil bit hungover today. It was definitely worth it though; the show was great, I love spending time with Taylor and even drinking pints of Molson Canadian has a certain nostalgia to it.

January 19th

I hit a super irritating snag with cobbling on the weekend, and it was ALL MY OWN FAULT. After a lot of trial an error I’d finally figured out the easiest way to get boots done, and it involves sewing just two pieces together and then punching the holes & setting the snaps before sewing up the rest of the boot. On Saturday I had just started a new pair (kelly green leather) and after punching the holes I went to set the snaps and my snap setter is… gone? I use a 4-piece snap setting tool with a stand, two separate dies (one for setting the outside of the snap and one for setting the inside) and cylindrical setter. You can see it here…

Setting snaps by hand, this is so loud I can only do this during the day when everyone is awake (or should be awake, like teens sleeping until noon) #littlemountainbabyshoes #handmade #ABC #AlwaysBeCobbling
Those of you in the know might notice that I’m using the wrong die to set these inside snaps, oopsssss.

The setting tool was in a storage bin in my hall closet where I keep all sorts of leather crafting stuff,and when I went and got it I found the dies and the stand, but not the setter. After wracking my brain to try and remember the last time I used it I realized it had been almost two weeks earlier, and there was a couple days in those two weeks when CERTAIN TODDLER PERSONS may have gotten into the bin. Usually the gate in the hallway keeps that closet off limits, but most evenings before bathtime we take the gate down and I definitely left the bin lying open for a couple days. Stupid Tanie, stupid! Never leave anything open around sneaky toddlers!

The cat in the hat.
Cat burglar?

The setter is probably somewhere in the house still (unless it was thrown in the trash or recycling) but so far we haven’t been able to find it even after thoroughly searching most of the common areas of the house and Gwen’s bedroom. I had to order a new setter this morning and it’s shipped already BUT until it arrives I can’t finish any boots. I can still sew them up and punch the holes but it’s so much easier setting the snaps BEFORE sewing up the whole boot. This whole thing definitely threw me off on my goal to make a pair each week because last week’s pair was the kelly green ones I started on Saturday, haha. Luckily I made two pairs the week before so as long as I sew my little heart out (or my little fingers off) this week I should be back on track once the new setter gets here.

January 16th

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She is very into foxes and also buckling her toys into the stroller.
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Oceanside swings
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I thought geese were supposed to fly south for the winter? Is this evidence of global warming?
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As usual, at the end of 2014 Taylor had a great big surplus of unused vacation days. Once again he decided to take Fridays off, this year until mid-May. It’s great because it gives him more time to spend with Gwen, to sleep, and to get back on a regular sleep-schedule on the weekends. It’s not great because it makes me feel like I also have Fridays off, which I do not. Next month though, one of the families I work with is temporarily cutting back to 4 days/week so I’l only be working from 7:30 to 9 in the morning and 3 until 4:20 in the afternoons. Not a total day off, and I really am not in love with that early of a start, but I’ll take it!

Today was Taylor’s first Friday off and although it was supposed to rain the weather is fine so we took the little ones to the playground at Second Beach. It was clear and sunny but very windy, my favourite kind of day. The water was all churned up, with waves crashing against and even a little over the top of the Seawall. Gwen had so much fun at the playground she didn’t want to leave, and had a full-on screaming freakout when we tried to put her back in the stroller and was mad at us the whole way home. Once we got back here some books & snacks cheered her right up.

This afternoon I am getting my blood tested to see if I’m hyperthyroid again or if levels have stabilized. Then I’m looking forward (not really) to spending a super fun weekend cleaning & reorganizing the storage room, hopefully well enough that I can finally put the Christmas decorations away? Right now they are piled in bins in my foyer. Wish me luck!

And for your Friday afternoon, my current fave song…

January 12th

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Last night I had just about the worst sleep of my entire life. I fell asleep on the couch just before midnight, and then woke up at 12:15 and moved to the bedroom, where I couldn’t get back to sleep. Like AT ALL. I was up suuuuuuuuper late reading and today I’m so tired I just want to lie down forever. Last week when I was feeling sick I joked on twitter that I’d “taken to my bed” and like… why can’t that be a thing, I feel sick and/or exhausted and/or in pain almost every day of my life SO WHY CAN’T I JUST GO LAY DOWN???

I’ve actually had pretty crappy insomnia since just before Christmas and I’m a little worried that it’s my thyroid being hyper again. Or am I just worried that I’m hyperthyroid and the worry is causing the insomnia? WHO CAN SAY (I have my appointment with my endocrinologist in 10 days so I guess I’ll find out soon enough).

Gwen continues to amaze. Her latest trick is she will just take off her diaper, which is GREAT. Really. Great trick. I’ll be minding my own business and from the other room I’ll hear a velcro sound, and I’ll know she’s up to no good. Actually I can usually tell when she’s up to no good because she’ll run to her room and slam the door. You hear that door close and you know she’s got a bowl of candy, or a box of pins, or a half-sewn boot that is still mostly held together by a dozen carefully placed binder clips and has a great big sharp leather needle hanging off a very long and easily tangle-able piece of thread for good measure. Yesterday afternoon she kept going to her room and NOT closing the door and every time I checked on her she was just playing blocks, so I think it’s pretty clear that the door slam is indicative of TROUBLE.

Speaking of half-sewn boots, after posting last week that it is literally impossible for me to make more than one pair of boots a week with all my other responsibilities… well I made two pairs last week. ALMOST. I made almost two pairs, I have one boot still waiting to have its sole sewn on. But still! Almost two pairs in one week is a DRAMATIC increase from just one pair. I probably could have finished both but one pair is in this beautiful soft dove grey suede that is inexplicably hard to sew so it is taking longer than I expected to finish. What’s weird is I already made a pair of shoes with this suede and it was not this hard to sew before! IDGI.

I’ve been trying to get these stupid sippy lids for Gwen’s LifeFactory bottles for forever. Usually she has water & milk in regular sippy cups like she should at this age, but part of our bedtime routine is milk after her bath and for some reason regular sippy cups get her AMPED UP. idk why, if we give her one she will run all over the house with it, acting crazy, but with a bottle she’ll sit quietly on the couch, all snuggled in a blanket. Soooooo we’ve just been giving her bottles. I KNOW I KNOW IT’S TERRIBLE but at least we don’t put her to bed with a bottle, that would be worse.

Anyway it’s apparently just about fucking impossible to get these sippy lids here. On amazon.ca they are like THIRTY DOLLARS PLUS TWELVE DOLLARS SHIPPING. For just two sippy lids! Ridic. I tried to get them at the local store where I got the bottles but they are sold out AND YET STILL LISTED AS AVAILABLE ON THE WEBSITE LIKE OMG UPDATE UR INVENTORY, if something is out of stock I should not be able to add it to my cart and pay for it. I finally found them on well.ca for cheaper than anywhere else, with free shipping once I added a box of graham crackers* to my order to meet the $25 free shipping threshold. The lids were delivered today so hopefully I can finally, finally pack away** the last of the bottle tops & nipples.

* Annie’s bunny grahams in honey, chocolate chip and chocolate. They are so good but when I gave some to Gwen she THREW THEM ALL OVER THE FLOOR, what the heck. MORE FOR ME igss.

**We’ve been “packing away” all the baby stuff and tbh our storage room is just about ready to burst from it all. I tried to talk to Taylor about possibly going through Gwen’s old stuff and selling/donating it except for a few keepsakes, and he was all “THAT’S NOT FAIR, TINY BABIES, FEELINGS” but like… he’s the one who doesn’t want to have another baby?*** And it doesn’t make sense to keep our storage room crammed with all these things that we’re never ever ever going to use again. idk. I get really sad sometimes thinking about how I’m never going to get to have another baby. It’s not like I PLANNED for Gwen to be my last baby, it just worked out that way. It’s like when Danny DeVito is the old stripper at Phoebe’s bachelorette party in season 10 of Friends: “You never know when it’s gonna be your last dance.”

*** Taylor is actually supposed to give me his final answer on the baby/no baby question before my appointment with the endo next week so I can talk to the doctor about it, like if I am hyperthyroid again one of the options would be to go back on the meds, but one of the meds is not safe for fetuses so if we did want to try and get pregnant then surgery or radioactive iodine would be a better option, but how long do I have to wait after those treatments before starting TTC? Or even if I’m NOT hyperthyroid now, should I still wait? Also I think Graves’ makes conception more difficult? And tbh I’m not getting any younger. UGH I WASTED A DECADE NOT HAVING BABIES, SOMEONE GO BACK IN TIME AN SMACK ME.

January 9th

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Puddle jumpin’.
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It’s spring now igss.

Yesterday Gwen had her speech assessment, FINALLY. Of course she’s also finally started talking more (she says “poo,” remember?) so after all the waiting the verdict was yes, she is a delayed talker but everything else is fine. She’s making some progress with her speech so for now we should just keep on doing what we’re doing and in a few months they’ll call us to re-assess and see if she needs actual therapy.

Today we all played hooky from work & school to go up to Cypress to go snow tubing. Sym went with her class last year and said it was SO FUN and we should all go, but I figured it’d be better to go on a weekday when it was less busy. Gwen is too little for tubing so Taylor and I took turns tubing with Sym while one of us stayed in the sliding area with Gwen. She had little toddler fun in the snow and only fell out of her baby sled onto her face one time so I’d call the trip a success. Even more so because for once there was no whining or drama from certain teenaged members of the family.
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A raven flying over the tube runs. I actually saw this guy chillin down on the ground, I’d never seen a raven irl before so it was pretty cool.
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Sym spinning down in her tube.
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Maybe you’ll be tall enough next year.
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The sun came out just as we finished tubing.
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Gwen’s snowsuit, mitts (unfortunately sold out, they are the Toddler Cold Buster mittens and actually stayed on so I HIGHLY recommended them) and boots are all from L.L. Bean. I got the suit a size big AND it has ~grow cuffs~ so I’m hopping it’ll fit her next winter too, but that’s probably wishful thinking.
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My annual single wearing of my Sorels, lol.
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We stopped at a scenic overlook on the way down and DANG WAS IT SCENIC. Vancouver is so pretty.
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Taylor loves going on these little excursions, he grew up skiing and snowboarding but hasn’t been even once in the entire time I’ve known him. He said he felt so comfortable up on the mountain today and I think he should go more often! He actually has every Friday off until mid-May (he had a surplus of unused vacation days again) so he could go up one of the local hills every week. tbh I wouldn’t mind living up on the side of one of the mountains closer to the ski areas (not Cypress because it’s in a provincial park, but Grouse maybe). We could have the cozy mountain cabin vibe but only be 20 minutes from downtown! We’d be living the dream!
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January 5th

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Remember when her hair was dark?
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I tried to take pictures of more than just Gwen this past weekend but everything is gross rotten wet dead leaves outside and gloomy no more Christmas tree inside.
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Really feeling this silver/gold/pink metallic gradient manicure I did for NYE.
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At least she doesn’t put her elbows on the table…
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Taylor is all about Legos right now.
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Queen Gwendolyn.

I’ve been working hard on my goal of making at least one pair of boots per week. On the weekend I finished a beautiful royal blue pair that are actually a kickstarter reward (the backer wasn’t ready to choose her colour/size in the fall) and not for Gwen, and she’s not happy about it. She keeps trying to steal them but they are too small, something which frustrates her to no end (as does my stealing them back). I’ve also been thinking hard about boot-making. I’m so conflicted about what I want to do with regards to the business side of things. Sometimes I think I want to hustle-hustle-hustle and promote-promote-promote and see if I can’t turn this into a real, successful business. But then I think about how much WORK that would be and how much work I already have (between parenting and housework and banner orders and my actual real job that I do 50 hours a week) and I start to panic. Like the reason why I’ve been making just one pair of boots a week is because I only have the TIME to make one pair a week, if I want to make them properly. The other day I was in the bookstore with Sym, and in the baby gift section they had a new display of some little moccasin-style soft-soled shoes from a local company I’d never heard of before. Not to sound bitchy, but the shoes were SO BAD. Like the construction was just sloppy and awful, each shoe was shaped differently from its mate because proper care hadn’t been taken to ensure they actually matched and it was clear production had been rushed. Sym said “You could make better shoes than that!” and the fact is, I do. But what if I tried to make enough to sell them in stores? There’s no way I could have such careful attention to detail if I was trying to whip through dozens of orders a week! It’s been suggested that I could hire people to make the boots for me but again, how could I ensure the quality? When I was a kid my mom hired people to sew clothes for her doll business and I remember her picking up a batch of little red velour baby doll pants that the seamstress had just royally half-assed, wasting all the fabric my mom had supplied as well as the time it would take to remake them. I don’t think I would be able to deal with that, and let me tell you, leather hides cost a heck of a lot more than velour! My mom actually talked to me about it a lot and her advice was to do it only as much and as long as it was fun, and I think for me, that’s the right way to look at it, at least for now.

Now that Gwen has sort-of started talking it seems like she’s just less and less of a baby every day. I mean OBVIOUSLY she hasn’t been a baby for a long time (SOB) but the not-talking allowed us to keep thinking of her as one. No more though, she’s a big kid now. She’s very into helping around the house. She loves putting laundry in the washing machine and she’ll let us know when it’s time to put it in the dryer (although she won’t help with that because she doesn’t like touching wet laundry). She can put her own clean laundry away, almost always in the right drawers too. She’ll put her dirty dishes in the sink and loves helping to unload the dishwasher. She will wash her hands all by herself (and even asks to do it but saying “hah?” and rubbing her hands together) and sit on the potty every day (just sit though). She still has little interest in watching tv other than Yo Gabba Gabba, but she’s gotten REALLY into books recently. We read her faves (The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, The Dark, The Gruffalo) multiple times a day. I can ask her if she wants a hug and she’ll answer “yeh” or “nya” and if it’s the former she’ll ran over to to me to get said hug. She likes to give her toys lots of kisses and sometimes will even give one to me.

She’s also become even taller and effectively grew out of her stroller. It seemed kind of stupid to get a new stroller for a two-year-old but we don’t have a car and walk almost everywhere. She’s just not big enough to walk around for hours and hours but she’s too big to carry around for hours and hours so here we are. We ended up getting a BOB Revolution Flex, which has a height-adjustable handlebar (Taylor is very excited about this feature, being absurdly tall himself). Gwen loves it; as soon as we unboxed it and got the wheels on she clambered up into the seat and was content to stay there for the evening. Taylor tried to take her out so he could fold the stroller up and put it away and she had her biggest temper tantrum ever. I was like PICK YOUR BATTLES, MAN, WE CAN PUT IT AWAY AT BEDTIME. Unfortunately the day the stroller arrived was also the day it started raining again, and we had to order the raincover (“Weather Shield”) separately and it hasn’t even shipped yet. We were able to take her out for a couple quick strolls on Saturday but that’s all. Hopefully the cover will ship today and arrive soon because we are looking down the barrel of many months of rain here in Vancouver.

December 31st

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In 2014 I…
Quit drinking pop and eating potato chips almost completely, ran a successful kickstarter campaign that was fully funded AND on the front page (in spite of how many times I said “um” in the video), quit taking my thyroid medication (maybe forever!), and finally achieved adulthood by owning a proper dining room tale & chairs.

In 2015 I want to…
Launch my line of baby footwear, teach Gwen how to moonwalk, and cancel my gym membership.

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December 29th

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We are storing this Ovalia-style egg chair for Sym’s dad as he has no room in his apartment for it & it hasn’t sold yet. That’s right, it’s for sale! So if you are just starting your life of supervillainy and need to outfit your secret futuristic lair then have I got the chair for you! Seriously, email me if you want to buy this chair.

Gwen has been in fine form recently, expanding her vocabulary (she now says “nya” for no, or maybe she’s a Japanese cat? idk) and increasing her capacity for mischief exponentially by figuring out how to open the corner cupboard in the kitchen where most of the food is stored. All the cupboards have child locks on them, but the corner one opens at such an angle that she can slide it right off the lock. At first she would just take out her (empty) lunchbag and run around with it, but she soon discovered funner things, like bags of granola and Dutch-process cocoa powder and a whole entire package of blueberry muffin mix complete with little dehydrated blueberries. My vacuum cleaner has been getting quite the workout and I have to say I’ve never been happier that the property manager refused to replace the carpet in her room with laminate flooring (that is sarcasm).

Right now I’m working on getting sample pairs of boots made so I can finally launch Little Mountain! My goal is to make & photograph at least one pair each week and I’ll hopefully be ready in early- to mid-February. Of course all my samples are Gwen-sized so she reaps all the rewards: for Christmas she got a platinum leather pair and just yesterday I finished an AMAZING floral leather pair for her. I only have enough of the floral leather to make one more pair so I’m planning on doing a giveaway on my instagram in the upcoming weeks. I’m actually thinking I’ll do a bunch of giveaways of unique pairs, maybe every other month? So if you aren’t following me you should definitely start* because it’s gonna be great.
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*still tryna get my numbers back up after the great insta-purge last week**
**jk