August 20th

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white chocolate & salted caramel gelato
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spot the turtle
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the lagoon smelled like doody, it was intensely gross
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chipotle lime chicken tacos
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My kickstarter ends tomorrow! There are still plenty of good rewards left if you’d like to back it. I’m so excited about getting started on this new project, I think it’s going to be pretty cool. I’ll be putting my shop on vacation mode after this weekend so I can work on my backer rewards so if you would like to order a banner please do it asap as I don’t know how long I’ll be closed for.

August 15th

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Taylor backs the weirdest things on Kickstarter (this is a Game Frame btw).
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It seems weird that August is half over already, and seeing as how I’m on vacation for the next two weeks it’ll be September before I know it. I’m not one of those bloggers who waxes poetical about fall, it seemed to be particular egregious this year with people talking about how they couldn’t wait for fall in early July, and in one instance, on the first day of summer. Like… really? Why are you wishing your life away, just enjoy the now, geez. The worst is when grown women get all nostalgic about back-to-school and buying notebooks and new pencils and… Just stop. You’re an adult, if you want new pencils you can buy them any time you want. Hell, buy stock in Dixon Ticonderoga! Or don’t, I mean idk how they’re doing, please don’t take investment advice from this blog. Now that I think about it though, I do need new pencils. All of mine are little nubs.

I don’t even know if have to think about back to school for Sym any time soon, since the strike that started in June is still happening. I’m really lucky that I don’t have to worry about what to do with her if school doesn’t start in September like it’s supposed to! Although I guess I wouldn’t have that problem even if I did work outside of the home since she’s a high school* student now and can effectively fend for herself.

Even though the new school year is still up in the air, Sym’s grandma is taking her clothes shopping next week, so I’m making her go through her old clothes, getting rid of the too-small stuff and figuring out what new things she needs. She can be pretty reluctant to let go of her favourites; a couple months ago I found shirts in her laundry from when she was eight years old! She managed to be more ruthless this time and I didn’t have to fight her over anything, which was good. I also put a bunch of her too-small stuff aside to save for Gwen, which seems ridiculous since it won’t fit her until 2025 (yikes).

I’ve been slowly buying myself some fall stuff as well: two sweatshirts, a henley and MOST IMPORTANTLY, some high-waisted black skinny jeans. What else do I even need, really? I discovered my own personal jeans Holy Grail years ago, the Always Skinny from the Gap. I buy myself a new pair in a medium-blue wash every few years and when I saw they had a new high-waisted black version (that seems to be sold out now, here in Canada at least) I was ALL ABOUT IT (once I got myself a 40% off coupon). I get a lot of wear out of jeans, they have a very extended lifecycle with me: new jeans, jeans with holes, jeans with patched holes, jeans with too many holes to patch, and finally, cutoffs.

Yesterday I finally did something I’ve kind of been putting off, which was to make an appointment with the doctor to talk about Gwen’s apparent speech delay. I haven’t really discussed it much, but Gwen doesn’t talk. She says “mum-mum” for mommy and “MAH!!!” for mine (when she wants something) but those are her only words**. I tend to vacillate between being super worried about it and totally relaxed and chill about it. After I made the appointment I was so upset I almost cried, and then after I did more internet research I was totally fine (usually not how it goes with internet research, haha).

I mean, I know she can hear us, I know she understands us, and I know she’s learning new things every day. I also know it’s common for toddlers to have a speech delay and that most are completely caught up by the time they are two and a half. However, when I see her little friends in the same age group expanding their vocabularies and speaking lots of words and even sentences I can’t help but get a little anxious.

I am still struggling with her incessant climbing. She’s figured out that even if I have the dining room chairs secured, she can push the highchairs over to the bench and climb into them that way. She even straps herself in so it’d be very safe if it wasn’t for the climbing part! I’ve taken to shutting both highchairs in the half-bath when they aren’t in use, which is a little annoying but necessary. At mealtime I pull her chair out and put it next to the bench so she can climb up & strap herself in under supervision before I push her over to the table. It works well and keeps everyone safe and happy but JEEZ this kid makes things challenging at times! Would that she’d put a little of her climbing energy into talking…

*her high school is grades 8-12, still seems weird to be starting high school when you are only 12
**she also shakes her head “no” at us constantly, especially when I try and get her to speak

August 12th

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Georgie thinks all cats are her friends. Smoky disagrees.
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I wore those floral Doc Martens to a concert with a miniskirt & oversized tee and felt a lot of 90s feels about it.
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Quo by Orly in Femme Fatale.
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I liberated this soaker hose from across the alley to use in my garden, it was split open pretty badly but so far my electrical tape patch job seems to be holding well.
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I mentioned my love for First Aid Kit the other week but I have to bring them up again. I am so in love with this band and so sad I didn’t discover them earlier! I could have been listening to them for years, but it’s my own fault for living under a rock, musically.

Since I’ve been leaving the kitchen gate open, Gwen is in and out of her room all day long. It’s so funny to hear her little toddler feet slapping across the linoleum before she reaches the hallway carpet and then the bang of her door slamming shut. Sometimes when she realizes she’s trapped herself she cries and needs rescuing, but more often she uses the solitude as an opportunity for mischief. Yesterday she emptied out a whole bin of toys and at bedtime Taylor put them ALL in her crib. Like fifty* stuffies! It was crazy, but once she sees them in there you can’t take them out or she’ll freak out, so I’ll have to sneak them out while she’s not looking. Today I forgot to shut the closet doors after getting her dressed and she emptied out two of her dresser drawers before I realized what was up. I had a total flashback to when Sym was two and would empty her whole dresser AND wardrobe AND toybox every single day, and I thanked my lucky stars that Gwen’s room is so small I was forced to put her dresser in the closet and this will be a (hopefully) isolated incident.

When Gwen’s little friend was being dropped off this morning his mom reminded me that she wouldn’t see me until after Labour Day, as she’s out of town for work for the rest of this week and I’m off the last two weeks of August. I don’t have any vacation plans this year so I keep forgetting! All I have planned is a dentist appointment for Gwen and myself and a visit to the PNE next week. I should probably come up with some other activities so we don’t just spend all our time at home, doing nothing.

One thing that is happening during my time off is my kickstarter will be ending. I’m planning on putting my shop on vacation mode for a while (I’m not sure how long) so I can focus on making backer rewards, so if you have been debating getting a banner you should do it now!

*only a slight exaggeration

August 11th

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I mentioned recently how much I hate my apartment’s hallway, and how it’s just a garbage heap of random junk. I decided I’d had enough so over the past couple of weeks I’ve slowly been clearing it out. Taylor and I sorted through all the books and boxed them up (we’re getting rid of six boxes worth) and dismantled one of the busted, mismatched shelves. I have some craft supplies to sort through still and then one tall shelf that I have to decide if I’m going to get rid of it or move to Sym’s room, but it’s so much cleaner already! I also finally put all the childlocks back on the kitchen cabinets. Gwen’s bedroom is the first room off the hallway so my next goal is to put a set of gate hooks in the hallway just past her door so we can block her from the other bedrooms and the bathroom. This way she’ll be able to get to her room and her toys whenever she wants, but I don’t have to worry about her making a mess of everyone else’s things.

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My favourite dinner to make recently is vegetarian tacos. I haven’t been cooking a lot of meat these days because the texture while I’m prepping/cooking it tends to gross me out, and I’m not supposed to eat too much soy (thyroid probs) so most fake meat/meat substitutes are out as well. I like to make a bunch of different fillings and everyone can choose whatever combination that they want. It’s perfect because I don’t have to deal with any whining and complaining about “I don’t like this” because there’s so many different options. Sym chooses mostly plain veggies (tomatoes, lettuce) & cheese, and Gwen will only eat the filling, no tortilla. She’ll eat a lot of them though! Her favourite is roasted red peppers; the first time I made them I did four, thinking I’d have plenty of leftovers for her lunch the next day but she just kept shovelling them in her mouth and finished them all. I made them over the weekend and I had roasted red peppers, fried corn with jalapeños and garlic, black beans (I cook them with a little tomato sauce, garlic and pepper), and fried peaches with lemon juice, plus baby argula, salsa and cheese. I also had some amazing heirloom tomatoes I’d bought at the farmer’s market but I forgot to cut them up!

August 8th

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Hello, bumble friend!
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There is a mysterious dog in this picture.

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First things first… my kickstarter is now fully funded! Thank you so much to all my backers & everyone who shared/promoted the campaign, you guys are the ones who made this happen. The funding period doesn’t end until August 21st and there are still lots of rewards left so if you’ve been thinking of contributing there’s still time! I’m brainstorming stretch goals at the moment, I mean I think mostly I will just spend any extra money on more colours of leather, but I’d also really like to get a custom leather stamp made of the logo. And maybe actually register it as a real business? WHO KNOWS. It’s all very exciting.

Today Gwen is 21 months old. It seems crazy, the time has blown past so quickly, and she’s so tall and long-haired, she looks older than her age. Right now her favourite activities are:
-climbing into the high chair but also sometimes doing a bad job of this and falling from the highchair onto the floor, which is always fun
-refusing to allow me to help her put on clothes
-taking fifty stuffed toys to bed
-sitting in strollers, seriously she wants to be in a stroller and if you do not let her sit in a stroller then WOE BETIDE
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Today we went for a walk with the big yellow double stroller and as soon as we got back and I took her out she climbed right back in. I was like “It’s nice and sunny and not too hot, why don’t we play outside?” and she was like *sits in stroller*. So I took the big yellow double stroller away because I am mean and when I came back from putting it away at the bottom of the stairs I found she’d climbed into my neighbor’s daycare baby’s stroller instead.
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It’s also now less than three months until Sym’s 13th birthday, and like… how can I have a teenager already? It makes zero sense, wasn’t she just a tiny child herself?
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August 5th

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I’m now halfway through the funding period and my project is 90% funded! So incredible. To celebrate this today I added some new reward levels, that are for people who’d like to contribute but maybe aren’t in the market for baby shoes at the moment.
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With a $10 contribution you can get a custom made mini glitter banner of ten or fewer characters in the colour(s)/message of your choosing.

With a $15 contribution you can get a custom made mini glitter banner of ten or fewer characters in the colour(s)/message of your choosing, PLUS a pack of handmade stickers.

With a $20 contribution you can get a custom made full-size banner of ten or fewer characters in the colour(s)/message of your choosing.

With a $40 contribution you can get a custom made full-size banner of eleven to twenty characters in the colour(s)/message of your choosing.

… and every backer at every level also gets immortalized on my “Thank You” page on this very blog.

Thank you to everyone for your support so far! I really appreciate it. Please keep sharing this project, with your continued help I know I can make my goal (plus the sooner I make it the sooner I’ll shut up about it ^___^).

August 4th

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Technically a picture of the three of us.
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This weekend (which is still happening, as today is a holiday) was so good. Friday night we had movie night in the backyard and it was great, we’re already planning a second. Saturday Jenn came over for brunch and I made cherry pie-stuffed French toast*. Sunday we took Gwen for a walk on the Seawall near Coal Harbour. Today we blew bubbles in the backyard. Just quiet, nice things, which was funny because it was Pride weekend and we live in the city’s gay neighborhood so everyone around us was pretty much partying all weekend long. On Friday when we were watching the movie there was a huge, loud street party going on a block and a half away, and on Sunday I wanted to go to Stanley Park but the parade route effectively cut us off from it so Coal Harbour (where the above pictures were taken) was our second choice.
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A long time ago I asked Taylor if he would take the pictures for my blog, I mean he has tons of fancy camera equipment and enjoys photography, so why not, right? It never really works out though. Whenever I ask him to take pictures of anything he immediately starts listing all the extra equipment he’ll need to buy in order to be able to do it “right.” Like when we were making my embarrassing kickstarter video he was all “how will we record the sound?” and I was like “… the cameras have built in microphones?” and he was all fretful about how bad the sound quality would be. He’s also weirdly terrible at taking direction, like I’ll be like “take a picture of this object in this place from this angle,” and instead I get a weird picture of some of the object from a strange angle that’s unusable for my purposes. Also I think he gets too inside his head thinking about arty photography rules and so when I’m like “let’s take a family portrait!” he tries to figure out how to squeeze all of us into 1/3 of the frame because negative space and rule of thirds, and I’m just like… dude. Also it takes him FOREVER to upload pics, and since I usually blog a couple times a week I can’t be waiting three weeks for my pictures, guy. Anyway here are some pics he’s taken over the last few weeks.
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That tummy! I love it so.
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My hair ♥___♥
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*To make cherry pie-stuffed French toast, just make “sandwiches” using canned cherry pie filling and French toast them, easy-peasy.

August 1st

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In the summertime they have these outdoor movie nights around the city in various parks. I always want to go but it just never works out. Historically this has been due to Taylor’s work schedule: the shows are usually on weekdays so he’d have to leave before the movie ended (leading to one SUPER FUN night when I had to walk home carrying all our stuff by myself in the middle of the night through a forested part of Stanley Park and then up a giant hill). Nowadays it’s a combination of Gwen’s early bedtime and Taylor’s work schedule preventing us from going out during the week.

Because of this Taylor had the brilliant idea that we should have our own outdoor movie night, in the backyard. Originally we planned on renting a projector & screen but I remembered that one of our neighbors has a projector we could borrow. I found a cheap(ish) used screen online and Taylor picked it up on his way home from work. Last night we had a test run to figure out the logistics: what time it’ll be dark enough to start playing, where the screen should be set up in our sloping backyard, which media device to use, how to hook up the speakers. It involved a lot of wedging various Ikea fragments under things to level them out or raise them up, but in the end we got it sorted. Now tonight we’re going to have our first (of hopefully many!) backyard movie night!

Originally I wanted to show Wet Hot American Summer, buuuuut there’s a lot of little kids in my neighborhood that maybe their parents don’t want watching/hearing that? So Taylor picked Much Ado About Nothing for our first movie. It’s perfect because the Shakespearean language will just confuse and bore any children who might be about, haha.

PS This movie is on Netflix and I heartily recommend it. HEARTILY.

Quick update on my goals… since Taylor has now also quit drinking soda it’s been SO MUCH EASIER for me! I think I slipped maybe once all month? Awesome. I also have a new goal for August: use my shop earnings to pay off one of my credit cards! Lofty I know, but if sales are as steady as they were in July I can definitely do it.

July 29th

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Gwen is a baby again today (usually she is a toddler). She just wants to be picked up and carried around and cuddled, and WOE BETIDE if you try to put her down to try and get something done around the house. She willingly went for a nap early, which I think speaks volumes about the state of Gwen right now: she’s either overtired, growing, or teething. Maybe all three! (Although I don’t actually think she’s overtired as she slept well last night.)
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This pic is from yesterday, when she was happy and playing with the Pumpkinhead mask.

I myself AM overtired, since last night after Gwen went to bed I thought it’d be a great idea to spend two hours cutting back the prickle bushes behind the back fence. I’m nowhere near done BUT I have made a significant dent in the bushes. I was also able to get to one of the prickle trees, that happened to be dead, and tear that sucker out of the ground. It died a couple of years ago and was pretty spindly and dry but still, it was like 10 feet tall and I yanked it out with my bare (ok, gloved) hands.
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This gap is where the dead tree used to be.

Now I need to get to work on banners but please enjoy my new favourite band that I just discovered, First Aid Kit. I bought two of their albums yesterday (The Lion’s Roar and Stay Gold) and put them in a playlist with Jenny Lewis’s The Voyager, Minor Alp’s Get There and Lana Del Rey’s Ultraviolence and I thiiiiiiink it’s just about perfect.

(This video is pretty silly and reminiscent of The Mighty Boosh’s Call of the Yeti BUT the song is beautiful).

July 28th

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She found an old bus transfer and this is the face she made.
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On Saturday Taylor, Gwen and I were planning on going out for lunch but it didn’t work out that way. We made it about 20 feet down the alley when Gwen fell and skinned her knee. She’s pretty much the queen of skinned knees and usually it’s nbd, but this one was bad enough that it required a band-aid. You know how little kids love band-aids and will stick them everywhere? Not the case with Gwen. You seriously would have thought she was being lit on fire based on the screams I got when trying to put a band-aid on her knee. She had been wearing shorts but we had to change her into pants because every time she saw the band-aid on her knee she started howl-moaning like a cat getting a bath. She was so upset she certainly couldn’t go out for lunch; she couldn’t even eat her lunch at home. All we could do was give her milk and put her down for a nap and hope for the best.

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I tried to take a nice picture of the two of them but Gwen had other ideas.

Some better things from this weekend…

I finished the gold baby ballet flats I started working on the previous weekend. I have rules (that I made for myself) about what projects I work on during the week (banners) vs weekends (not banners) so I had to wait to get these done and it was very irritating.
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SPEAKING OF BANNERS, I made this banner last week and I’m pretty thrilled with it. The iridescent pearl banners are some of my faves and the pearl green is surprisingly beautiful (I wanted to get better pics but a certain baby had other ideas).
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SPEAKING OF SHOES my kickstarter is now at almost $700! I took a three-day break from promoting it but FAIR WARNING I’m going to start posting it on social media again this week.

We have a new property manager/executive director for my neighborhood and unlike the previous ones, they AREN’T obsessed with letting all the plants run wild. Over the past few weeks some people have been taking the intensely overgrown trees and bushes to task and on Saturday my upstairs neighbor finally cut back the way-to-big flowering quince bush in the backyard and OH MY GOD it’s like the yard is twice as big now! Next up is the horrible hawthorn tree.

SPEAKING OF GARDENING I was also inspired to do some work in my garden and cut back 2 1/2 overgrown bushes in my garden (I got tired before I could finish the third). I also finally got a hose! By which I mean I stole it from across the yard, haha oops. IN MY DEFENSE the hose in question wasn’t actually used in the yard, it just ran from the tap to a soaker hose outside the back fence, where there are a bunch of horrible prickle bushes, prickle trees and a seething mass of morning glories smothering everything. The soaker hose is a nightmare anyway and any time it gets turned on it causes a sinkhole to form in the backyard so I figure it’s in everyone’s best interest for it to never be used again. There is this dude down the block who planted a bunch of the prickle trees and put the soaker hose in place (I was like DUDE, go plant prickle trees outside your own house!) and he used to put it on all the time and every time he did I’d turn it off and two of the prickle trees died OOPS but not really. tbh I want to cut the third (and final) one down. Maybe I will. Anyway now I just need to get a new sprayer and I’ll be able to water my garden properly again.