you blockhead

New in the shop this week, three unique sets of hand-painted wooden blocks…

Each set includes twenty-one 3/4″ wooden blocks, hand-painted with water-based paint and sealed with a beeswax & jojoba oil polish. While their small size make them unsuitable for children under the age of three, these make a fun little gift for kids 3 and up. The cool colours and unique designs also make them a great decorative element, displayed in a bowl or stacked on a coffee table or shelf.

Night Sky
night sky blocks jumbled
Deep navy blue with stars, comets and galaxies in metallic gold and silver. No two blocks are alike.

Luxe
luxeblocks1
Every block has two sides each in metallic gold, silver and copper.

Beach House
beachhouseblocks1
Every side of each block is painted a different pastel colour, with varying combinations of blue, aqua, green, yellow, coral, pink, purple and a few with metallic gold.

let’s talk about gwen talking

gwentalking1

gwentalking2

gwentalking3

A few weeks ago the speech pathologist called to check on Gwen’s progress, and I asked her to go ahead and close the file. Gwen is talking more and more all the time, and I think it’s better to the speech pathology department to spend their time and resources on children with greater issues. Even though the file is closed, we don’t lose our “spot,” and if we have concerns about Gwen’s speech in the future the file can be reopened without us having to be on waiting list again.

Some of her Gwen’s favourite things to say…

Colours. When we read books she’ll point to things on the page and say “pink! blue! green!” She knows what purple is but she can’t quite say it yet so it gets “pink!” as well.

“More!” When she wants to watch another instalment of Demolition Ranch or eat another bowl of yogurt & berries.

“Too!” When she wants to go for a walk too, when she wants me to watch tv with her too, when she wants Taylor to come brush his teeth with her too. Speaking of teeth, when she wants to brush them she says “teeth” and rubs her finger on them like a brush.

“Poo-poo” or “poopy” or “pooooooooooo.” When we take Georgie for a walk and she does her business.

Recently she’s been adding longer words to her repertoire: kitty, pillow, tickle, and my personal fave, Taylor. Yes, she’s stopped calling Taylor “dadda” and started calling him by his first name, and it is HILARIOUS to me. This is obviously a habit she’s picked up from me, although when I’m speaking to her I call him “dadda” or “your dadda” (usually in the context of “let’s go wake up dadda!”) but when I’m talking to him I call him by his name and she copies everything I do.

daydreamin

forest and sky

gingko leaves

stream and ducks

blackberries
The blackberries are INTENSE this year.

The other week I FINALLY took the first step towards getting my childcare license again, and even though it’s prob gonna take forever to get it (I have to go through the whole process again, beginning with an orientation session that isn’t for another month) I can’t stop daydreaming about what I’m gonna do when I have money again. Pay off my credit card! Redecorate my side of the office! Start saving for Gwen’s education! Finish painting my apartment! I’ve even been pinning things I want to buy for the house- like I’m up to ELEVEN pins now, it’s out of control.

In the meantime I’m going to try and find another little kid to look after (I’m allowed two without a license) AND in spite of my recent post about how pointless my online existence is I feel somehow galvanized to try harder to make it successful? Funny how that works.

I have been working on some sample banners for a kind of exciting new collaboration, spent several hours organizing the listings in my shop AND added some new items (ok, ONE new item, but I have more in the works!), and am working with one of my fave illustrators on a complete redesign of my branding. I even changed my twitter & instagram usernames to be more ~on brand, although I couldn’t get the name “unicornparade” on instagram because it’s already registered by a totally unused account. I’m going to keep stalking it though, instagram periodically removes inactive accounts so if it becomes available I’m gonna scoop it up.

sunlight

Hmmm I like how I titled this post “daydreamin” but it’s actually mostly about working? Just shows my dedication to the hustle igss.

living with chronic neutral face

krisatomic-cheeruplove
Living with Chronic Bitch Face by Kris Atomic

Something I have really started to notice recently is whenever post a candid picture of Gwen with a neutral expression on her face, someone always has to make a comment about her mood based on her appearance. “She’s so grumpy!” “She must be tired/need a nap/have just woken up.” “Why is she so serious?” But like…. THAT’S JUST HER REGULAR FACE. THAT’S WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE. She’s not mad or sleepy or cranky (if she was you’d know because she’d probably be yelling), she’s just existing in the world as a girl.

19572039992_06591e8c74_o
THIS IS JUST HOW HER FACE LOOKS.

I say “girl” specifically because something I HAVEN’T noticed are these kind of comments directed at little boys. Obviously I don’t post pics of any little boys because I’m not a mom to any, BUT I have been looking after little boys professionally for close to a decade. I literally can’t ever remember anyone saying something about their mood in the same way (unless they are actively throwing a fit) and I get the same remarks about Gwen’s emotional state from acquaintances and strangers in public as I do on pictures. I’ve also seen similar comments on photos of other children with neutral expressions, saying they look “sad” or “miserable,” and it’s ALWAYS little girls. Who knows, maybe this DOES happen with little boys, but the fact that people go around telling women to smile but not men kind of makes me think it doesn’t, or at least it isn’t as common.

back_905
Stop Telling Women to Smile by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

So I’m curious: the people making these remarks: do you go around in your daily life with a maniacal grin plastered on your face 24 hours a day? Do you always look super cheerful no matter what you are doing: walking down the street, reading or watching tv, concentrating on a task, sitting quietly doing nothing? Do you never just allow your face to relax? If you do (of course you do; everyone does) does it bother you when people tell you to “smile” or “cheer up”? Can you live? Can Gwen? Why is it that little girls are supposed to look happy all the time? Is it because our society values women & girls only for their appearance, as decoration, as objects? Can we not start putting these expectations on children before they are even out of diapers? Can we stop telling girls to smile?

five things | seventeen

Gwen & Lola
My neighbour’s home-invading cat Lola welcomes you to this links post.

Hello Kitty, goodbye men! A 29-year-old woman who prioritizes her Hello Kitty collection over dating. “Not that Natasha really cares. She added, ‘If a man doesn’t like my kitty kingdom then I’m not interested.'”

Little Unicorn Summer Poppy swaddle blanket. I KNOW I KNOW this exact blanket is all over every popular blog & instagram account, and at 2 1/2 Gwen is a lil old for swaddling. Whenever we go out in her stroller these days she INSISTS on having a blanket on her lap, which I don’t mind as it shades her from the sun. However, since she was born in the winter, all her swaddles are flannel and it has been way too hot for that lately. This bright poppy printed muslin swaddle is lightweight, as well as cute and reasonably priced. I didn’t love their $20 shipping to Canada, but luckily I have a friend in Ohio who was willing to ship it to me.

More infographics on cheese than you thought was necessary. Just kidding, cheese is the best and we could all use more infographics on it (although I disagree with any pairing involving red wine because ew).

Date While You Wait This is pretty cute. I am very often cynical and dismissive about things like this but I’m trying not to be such a bitter betty.

Night Sky handpainted wooden blocks. Tacky to include something of my own but idc, I’m so happy with how these turned out! Next I’m making a set of blocks with each side painted a different metallic colour, which I think will look pretty cool. These are really fun to do, and I’m considering listing them for sale in the shop (yes I know I very recently said there was no point to me trying to sell things other than banner because they all flop but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ).

poolside

02 pool view

01 tanie & gwen

03 taylor & sky

05 taylor & gwen

06 trees & sky

Last Friday Taylor had the day off (he took that day instead of Canada Day, which was mid-week and would have messed up his sleep schedule too much) and I was still on vacation so in the morning we all went to the outdoor pool at Second Beach. Even Sym came*, which is kind of amazing. She’d actually been saying we should go to the pool but then when I told her we were going she was like “I can’t find my goggles I’M NOT GOING.” lol teens. Anyway her dad found her some she could wear and she actually hung out with us an had fun. Amazing.

Every summer I say we should go to the pool and every summer I can’t get my shit together to actually do it, so it was impressive that we made it at all. Although I’d walked by it many times I’d never checked the price and WOW is it ever cheap. The fees on the website are out of date but it’s about $6 for adults, $4.50 for youths, and free for babies & toddlers. There is also a family rate of $3.05 per person so it actually only cost $9.15 for us to get in.

I wanted to get there right when it opened at 10 but I’m super disorganized and didn’t sort anything out the night before. I had to go dig our beach towels out of the storage room and send Taylor to the store for snacks, so we got there at about 10:20. There was a small line at that time but it wasn’t crowded yet. On the weekends it gets SUPER busy though (which is why I wanted to go on Friday).

We stayed at the little kid end of the pool and had a blast, although it was super windy that day so we froze whenever we got out of the water. Gwen spent all her time out of the water curled up in my lap wrapped in multiple towels and my kimono (and she definitely peed on me at least once, dang you swim diapers!). If (when!) we go again I will definitely bring extra towels and really try to get there earlier.

*Sym is in just one of these pictures

lime & mint prosecco sangria

IMG_0115

IMG_0114

Since it’s been so hot lately all I want to do is drink cool, fizzy drinks with lots of ice. This prosecco sangria fits the bill admirably, with the refreshing lime and cooling mint flavours. It’s so easy to make and definitely easy to drink.

IMG_0107

ingredients
1 bottle of prosecco
1/3 cup mint simple syrup (instructions below)
juice of 1 lime
1 lime, sliced
10-12 mint leaves
ice

1. Make your mint simple syrup: in a small saucepan combine 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup mint leaves. Bring to a boil, stirring until all the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Strain into a container with a lid. Keep refrigerated for up to a month.

2. Gently roll the mint leaves between your hands to release the oils.

3. In a jug combine the mint simple syrup, lime juice, lime slices and mint leaves.

4. Add the prosecco and stir. Add as much ice as will fit. Serve immediately.

IMG_0118

burning

morningsuninsmokeTaylor
picture by Taylor

smokeandtrees2

smokeacrossNelsonPark

smokeandtrees1

sunsmokeandbird

There are a ton of wildfires in BC right now and on the weekend the smoke from some of them flumped down on the city. Sunday morning I woke up early with Gwen to find the sky covered in weird yellowish-brown clouds. At first I was like “Is this just what clouds look like? Has it been so long I don’t remember?” but after Taylor woke up he confirmed for me that it was from the fires. The clouds were so eerie, but even stranger was the sun: it was like a weird reddish pearl in the sky. You could look right at it and see clouds moving across it’s face. In the late morning/early afternoon the sky cleared up for a bit, but then the clouds flooded back and dropped even lower, blanketing the streets with smoky haze and filling the city with the smell of burning wood. It’s still like that today, although it seems a little cooler maybe? I just hope we get some rain soon.

eveningsuninsmokeTaylor
picture by Taylor

happy day

cd01redroses

cd02gwenrobea

cd04gwenrobeb
This is the most on-theme outfit I could get Gwen to wear; I said to Taylor the combination of robe-as-daywear and insane bedhead was giving me Baby Lebowski vibes and he replied that all she needed to complete the look was a virgin White Russian. So like. Milk.

cd03stream

cd05gwenbench

cd06buds

cd07gwenalley

cd08babyapples

Happy Canada Day! I’m off all this week so it kind of doesn’t feel like a holiday for me? Taylor is taking Friday off instead of today (or last night, since his shift starts at midnight) and Sym is spending the day at her dad’s, so it’s just me & the babe this afternoon. We might go to the fireworks tonight, it depends on Gwen since they will be starting well past her bedtime and if she’s grumpy we aren’t going to bother. My only real Canada Day plans are to make a couple different flavoured syrups, having tacos for dinner, and remaking the banner I was working on yesterday that Gwen cut in half at some point before I woke up this morning.

julycalendarsmall
My July calendar page is up now, you can download it here.