one year

Saturday was Nicky’s first birthday, and I honestly can’t believe how quickly the time has gone! It seems like the blink of an eye and my tiny little green bean burrito baby is a big boy who loves to eat steak, play with other kids and is thisclose to walking.

To celebrate we had a brunch party with some friends and family who were in town for a wedding. Taylor and I made food for fourteen people- seven adults (including Sym) and seven kids and amazingly enough it was not a disaster? We had fruit salad with strawberries, blueberries and butterscotch melon (SO GOOD), bacon, tater tots, and funfetti pancakes. Taylor and I were actually at the stove making pancakes at the same time; he was making everyone else’s food while I made Nicky’s smash cake: a stack of 12 silver dollar pancakes for his twelve months here. I used a tablespoon to measure out approximately the same amount of batter for each, spread a little cake frosting on top of each and stacked them up. I secured the whole stack with a wooden skewer that I pulled out just before serving to the birthday boy, and it was a hit.

After Gwen, after getting sick, and after Taylor’s and my very responsible decision to not have more kids (even though I REALLY REALLY wanted a baby) I thought I’d never get to experience pregnancy and childbirth again, and even though my third was my most physically uncomfortable pregnancy and the delivery was terrifying, I am so happy to have had Nicky. I’m so grateful and lucky to have three wonderful children who all love each other, and to watch them grow together is my greatest joy in life.

The Perils of Scrimping on Butter

One night last week we were stumped on what to give Gwen & Nicky for dinner. On Thursday Sym is at her dad’s and Taylor and I eat later in the evening, so it’s just the two little kids to cook for. We decided on a lazy classic: breakfast for dinner. Just some fried eggs & toast. Easy-peasy.

We’d run out of butter to fry the eggs so after he got home from work Taylor popped back out to the store to pick some up. The grocery store by our house is way too busy at that time of day so I directed him to the drugstore instead. They only had the cheapest cheap no name butter, but butter is butter right? APPARENTLY NOT. Like I’m not some fancy label buying butter connoisseur; I buy store-brand butter for the most part, so I figured this would be fine. And when the house filled up with smoke and the egg whites were overdone while the yolks were barely warm I assumed it was just Taylor messing up somehow (SORRY TAYLOR).

Then on Sunday I wanted pancakes for brunch. We only recently stopped using pancake mix and making them from scratch (we use this recipe, which is pretty much perfect IF you half the amount of salt), but they’ve turned out great each time we’ve made them. So imagine my surprise and consternation when the house filled with smoke AGAIN and the first two pancakes were still raw on the inside when they were BURNT on the outside.

It was at this point when we realized the problem: THE BUTTER. That cheap-ass bargain basement butter with its ludicrously low smoke point was ruining the pancakes like it has almost ruined the eggs! We quickly wiped out the cast irons and tried using vegetable oil instead, which worked a little better (no smoke at least) but it did not impart a nice flavour to the pancakes, and we were still having trouble cooking them through: they were still turning out raw on the inside even when the outside was seriously overcooked. We tried reducing the temperature and flipping them a few more times, but then Taylor had a revelation: there was butter in the batter! Three whole tablespoons of melted trash butter, rendering our pancake batter uncookable and inedible.

In the end we had no choice but to send both the pancakes and the remaining butter to the food waste bin, while we went out for brunch instead (which was a whole other comedy of errors), but in the end we learned a valuable lesson: Don’t. Scrimp. On the butter!

In other news, Taylor and I have found a solution to Gwen’s kindergarten drop-off/pick-up problem. Turns out getting Gwen to and from school with both Nicky & the daycare kids was actually not… physically possible for me to do. So now Taylor drops Gwen off in the morning and I pick her up in the afternoon. I’d hoped to avoid this because I feel like going in to work so late won’t be good for Taylor’s job, but at the end of the day I just cannot do both drop off and pick up. It would be different if we’d gotten a space at the school LITERALLY ACROSS THE STREET FROM OUR APARTMENT, but we didn’t (something I will be forever bitter about) so we’re doing it this way instead.

eleven

Two days late but OH WELL.

Nicky is now eleven months old, can you believe it’s been almost a year already??? I cannot.

At 11 months old Nicky is into e v e r y t h i n g. He’s pulling himself up into a standing position on everything her can reach, and he’s tall enough that when he does, he can get at things on our desks and the dining room table. We had to move everything off the sideboard in the dining room because he was thisclose to pulling my whole Lego Disney castle (that took forever to build) onto the floor.

He is also walking while assisted, and loves when we clap for him and loves to clap for us. He is finally taking a break from teething THANK GOODNESS. He’s a super eater, enjoys almost every food we give him, but given the option, will always eat meat over anything else. He hates diaper changes and sitting still to get dressed and wants to be on the go all the time. He’s got places to be, I guess.

Gwen & Ballet

On Monday Gwen had her last ballet class. It was a twice-weekly class at the community centre with 3-6 other little kids and oh my god did she love it. It was so adorable too, all these tiny kids concentrating and trying so hard to get the positions and movements right. I don’t think Gwen is ready for “real” ballet class at the dance school yet, but I’ve already picked out another community centre class for her to start in September.

And Then He was Ten (Months)

The closer Nicky gets to being one year old the more I’m surprised by how fast his first year is going. This is so silly but with the two girls born in early November in my mind that’s the “birthday month,” so September seems like too soon for him to be one!

July has been a pretty epic month for milestones with Nicky. He finally graduated from army crawling (on his belly) to crawling crawling (on his hands and knees). He still drops down to his belly when he gets tired or wants to put on a burst of speed (he’s so fast!). He also started pulling himself up into a standing position and can climb on top of low furniture (like my little mushroom table). We lowered the mattress support in his crib and have had to do another “layer” of baby-proofing for all the new things he can reach.

He’s growing in leaps and bounds and is now about 75cm tall and weighs a whopping 10kg (approximately). He’s unsurprisingly tall, so much so that I actually gave some of his old clothes as hand-me-downs to a friend’s baby who just turned one! Another friend gave me a big box of her one-year-old grandson’s hand-me-downs and almost everything was already too small.

The most progress he made this month though was with teeth. TEETH. SO many teeth. In his 9 month post I believe I said he was getting three new teeth, bring his total to five. Well, he did get those three, and another, and another, and then this past weekend, ANOTHER. This brings his total tooth count to eight, and getting six teeth in five weeks? Seems excessive.

Even with all the teething his personality continues to delight us. Nicky is such a happy, friendly baby, with smiles and giggles for everyone.

How does Gwen’s Garden Grow

At the end of June I was offered a raised garden box for myself & the kids. My neighbourhood had received a grant to build some for people who can’t access any of the community gardens for whatever reason, so it was totally free and even came with all the dirt it needed! I’m notoriously terrible at gardening but I figured WHAT THE HECK and said yes. The garden box was built and left in the part of the yard I’d specified, and over the long weekend Gwen and I went to pick out some plants. We got two tomato plants, a yellow pepper, a green pepper, one pumpkin, a strawberry, a blueberry, sage, parsley and chives. I put Gwen in charge of watering them and she’s very diligent about doing it every day.

We’ve had our garden for two weeks and amazingly, not only have I managed not to kill any, some are even starting to bear fruit! The pumpkin seems like it might not be long for this world, and I have my doubts about the blueberry (which is basically a single twig with some leaves that squirrels have dug up twice, but I dearly want it to live and grow because it is actually a PINK blueberry bush) but everything else is growing and thriving. The tomatoes especially, but the yellow pepper looks like it’s ready to blow up, and the sage and chives are doing well enough to use in meals already.

night & day

At the beginning of July, there was a huge change here at our house, and the difference has been like night and day… because it literally is! After fourteen years Taylor is no longer working nights. This was a change I pushed for, by which I mean I sent him a series of texts with all the awful health problems you incur from working night shifts. He put in a request to switch to days, and we were expecting it to take some time to get approved (we figured they’d need to find a new night person to replace him) but to our surprise the change was effective the very next week. He’s been on days for two weeks now and it’s been really great.

Now instead of being home alone with the kids in the mornings, he’s here so one of us can get up with the kids while the other sleeps in- or even goes for a run! That’s right, I FINALLY got some use out of all the new workout clothes & shoes I bought at the beginning of the year. We’ve been taking turns so I can go running Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and he goes Tuesday and Thursday. It’s also nice that one of us can take the dogs out while the other stays at home with the kids because me trying to get Gwen and Nicky dressed and fed and out to walk the dogs before I start work at 8am was NOT easy!

He’s working 8-4ish, so he usually gets home a little earlier than I would wake him up in the evenings, which means he has more time to spend with the kids then as well, or help with dinner. He no longer has to go to bed early Sunday afternoons before his Monday shift and can spend the whole weekend with us. And of course the best part is that instead of him leaving at 11pm to go to the office all night, he gets to sleep in the bed with me at night (which means he also gets more sleep). We’ve never slept in the bed at night together for more than two weeks in a row for the entire 10 1/2 years we’ve been together, so it’s pretty amazing.

Of course, such a big change coming so suddenly has not been without its upheavals as we get used to our new family schedule. Now instead of Taylor being home during the day to look after the daycare kids in a pinch when we have doctor’s appointments, dance classes, or speech therapy, I have to figure out how to do it by myself. Gwen has ballet class two afternoons a week, a class I chose specifically because it was during naptime so Taylor could easily supervise the sleeping children while I took Gwen alone. Now I have to take her, and Nicky, and the daycare kids with me. It’s not far, about a 15-20 minute walk, but when I have three or four kids under five with me instead of just one… it takes a bit of doing.

However, none of that matters if it means I get to spend time with my husband during NORMAL hours, and for years longer than I would have been able to if he kept working nights. Working nights for so long can increase your risk for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, mental illnesses, early onset dementia and certain cancers, so as I like to remind Taylor, by pushing for this change, I saved his life!

Nicky at Nine Months

Nicky is nine months old today! It’s also 39 weeks and 1 day since he was born, so he’s now existed in the world longer than he’s existed in my body, so good job, Nicky. Way to be alive 🙂

Nicky is very mobile and his army-crawling has reached incredible speed. He will pop up onto his hands and knees to rock back and forth but hasn’t yet mastered actual crawling yet. He can now getting into and out of a seated position on his own with no head bonking, and has started pulling himself up into a kneeling position on the couch and toy shelf, which he delights in emptying all over the floor.

He is definitely getting at least two teeth on the top, possibly three. It’s been slow going and while he continues to be mostly ok with teething his emotions are a little hair-trigger at the moment. He’s liable to go from happy and smiling to screaming and crying at the drop of a hat, and he’s been waking up at night more frequently.

His favourite toys are his foxy & dolly that he has in his crib. He is still loving every kind of solid food we give him; this month it’s been a lot of multigrain cheerios, grilled chicken, broccoli stems, cucumbers and bell peppers. And donuts, I guess!

(don’t worry, I didn’t let him have all of these)

crazy eights

I should have posted this yesterday but I forgot how many days there were in May? My brain is just straight up mush these days y’all.

Nicky is eight months old! At eight months he is a busy little buddy and army crawls around the house at great speeds and sits unassisted for long periods. He eats everything I give him with his two teeth, especially enjoying broccoli stems, chicken and sliced pears. After a few weeks of having a mixed-up schedule he is back to napping twice a day and sleeping through the night, although we have been putting him down a little later in the evenings. He loves spending time outside in the Ergo, in his stroller or on a blanket on the ground, but he HATES car trips and yells through them non-stop. He doesn’t have a favourite toy at the moment (any toy he can put in his mouth will do just fine) but loves playing Round and Round the Garden and being sung to.

it’s fair

Last year when we visited Taylor’s family over May long weekend we took Gwen to a small fair and since then she’s been obsessed. We usually go to the Fair at the PNE in the summer and go on a couple rides, but last August I was so pregnant & we were so busy we didn’t manage to do it, so Gwen has been waiting a whole year to go to a fair again. We went on Saturday and she was SO EXCITED. She’d been talking non-stop about going on a ferris wheel so I was happy to see they had one, and that she was tall enough! I took her on the ferris wheel and she went on a couple kiddie rides with her cousins and by herself and had a blast. She probably could have done more (and definitely wanted to try the bumper cars) but it was getting late so we had to leave. I’m happy that I will have someone brave enough to go on rides with me at the PNE this year though (Taylor and Sym are total chickens and literally will not go on a single ride with me).

Nicky did not go on any rides but it was incredibly hot that day so he very much enjoyed eating ice from my sno cone.