unlikely lullabies

On Monday night Gwen put on a repeat performance of her refusing to sleep act from Saturday. After over an hour and a half of struggling to get her to stay in bed by changing her, redressing her, reading to her and laying down with her I finally tried singing to her. Why did I not try this sooner? It worked like a charm! Fifteen minutes of singing the non-Coca-Cola version of “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” (it’s been stuck in my head since Sunday night) over and over and she fell asleep and didn’t wake up until seven in the morning (a miracle!). While I’ve sung some traditional lullabies to my girls over the years I’ve had the best luck with regular songs, some of which might seem like odd choices. These have all worked for us though:


The New Seekers- I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing
I actually remember this song from when I was a kid, like I don’t think they were still airing the ad on tv at that time but I DEF heard this version. It works great as a lullaby: the sweet lyrics, folky melody and short, repetitive verses are overtired toddler Kryptonite. A song like this you can sing the verses over and over in any order which is perfect for soothing a frantic lil one to sleep.


The Ditty Bops- Because We Do
idk that the lyrics of this song are really lullaby material but other than that it has all the same positives as ILTTTWTS.


Depeche Mode- Enjoy the Silence
This is what I used to sing to Gwen when she was a tiny baby. Go ahead and laugh but “all I ever wanted, all I ever needed, is here in my arms” is just what I was feeling at the time.


Guns n Roses- Sweet Child o’ Mine
… and this is what I would sing to little Symmie. GO AHEAD AND LAUGH HARDER but this song is the best lullaby.

went away|came back

First of all, thank you everyone for the incredible response to the Sara M Lyons + Unicorn Parade banners that Sara and I released last week! I sold out of the Whatever Forever banner in about fifteen minutes, and Sara has just one left in her shop. We both have some Out of this World and Best Buds banners still available so please visit shop.unicornpara.de or shop.saramlyons.com to get one of your very own.

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Gwen’s flamingo swimsuit is from Old Navy

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I actually have a degree in taking pictures of scenery through the window of a moving car.

For the long weekend Taylor and I packed up Gwen and the little dogs and headed up to his moms’ place in Kelowna. Since both of us were off work Friday (I’d booked it as a vacation day but as it turned out I had no kids coming, what a waste!) we planned to leave early in the day and avoid traffic, but due to certain circumstances we didn’t actually leave the house until about 1pm. It took us two and a half hours just to get out of the city and across the Fraser Valley, ugh. After a quick visit to Hope to buy snacks and to enact a complicated standing-up diaper-changing maneuver on a screaming toddler in a truck-stop bathroom we made good time the rest of the way and arrived at dinnertime.

Saturday was beautiful and sunny and Gwen was up bright and early at 6am and ready to hit the backyard. She spent some quality time with the water table and then after breakfast we headed out to go hiking in Bear Creek Park. Back at the house Gwen had a very short nap (she’d fallen asleep in the car briefly and non-nap time sleeps always mess up her nap). She spent most of the rest of Saturday playing with water in the backyard and watching her fave shows with her grandmas while Taylor and I ran some errands.

At bedtime we started to have some problems. She’d gone down easily on Friday night but Saturday night it was a HUGE struggle to get her to sleep in her bed. In fact, I never did. At her grandmas’ she sleeps in a crib in a spare room but since she can climb out of cribs it only took about five seconds after we closed the door before she turned on the light and started knocking to be let out. Taylor had some work to do so I tried myself for an hour to get her to bed in her room, but it just wasn’t happening and I was so tired and stressed out that I was starting to get mad, so in the end I let her come lay down with me in the other bedroom. Of course, she still didn’t go to sleep- she stayed up goofing around for at least another hour before settling down to what would be a long, nearly-sleepless night for Taylor and I.

Sunday morning Taylor’s sister came over with her three kids for a little visit, and after they left we tried giving Gwen lunch and putting her down for a nap again but it was just more of the same as the night before, she wouldn’t stay in bed. We tried both the crib AND the actual bed in the room but there was no way. Taylor and I had already decided that if she wouldn’t nap we’d have to leave early because all of us were pretty much at the end of our ropes, emotionally. It sucked because leaving early meant missing out on more time with Taylor’s family and a barbecue I was really looking forward to, but the alternative was a toddler on the brink of a constant meltdown and two even more exhausted adults making the drive back the next day. So we quickly packed up all our stuff (forgetting only Taylor’s tablet and notebook) and headed out.

As soon as we put Gwen into her carseat she got MAJOR sleepy-eyes, and I think she fell asleep before we’d driven 50 feet. She slept all the way to Merritt, two hours away. After she woke up she was mostly good the rest of the way, only making a serious fuss when she needed her diaper changed, again in Hope and again a complicated standing-up endeavour, this time in the back seat because it was raining and I didn’t want to get out of the car. We drove through rain- and thunderstorms until we reached the sun in Metro Vancouver, again arriving just in time for dinner. We were a little worried that Gwen would be difficult to get to bed again but she went straight to sleep without a problem and didn’t wake until 7am.

Since we still had the rental car for another day we made a quick trip to Ikea this morning to snag a couple items we forgot on our last trip, a pair of waterproof mattress protectors and a second duvet for Gwen’s toddler bed. as well as a new sheepskin for her room. We had to chuck out her old one because SOMEONE’S little dog peed on it, and we ended up getting a fake (ie WASHABLE) one this time. Since we were saving money on the sheepskin ($15 vs $40) we also picked up a cute rack for Taylor’s hats, a frame for a poster he ordered last month and some 600lm LED lightbulbs for our bedroom. I’m OBSESSED with these bulbs; they last for basically ever and make CFLs look like the literal worthless trash bulbs they are. I buy a few every time I go to Ikea and plan on eventually replacing every CFL bulb in my house with them.

monday morning

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My hairdresser went on a month-long vacation and in that time my bangs grew OUT OF CONTROL. They got so long I had to start pinning them to the side and now I’m considering growing them out, oops. I just got them in December, and getting bangs once my hair reached a certain length was always the plan but idk you guys, I don’t love them this time. I guess we’ll see how it goes- failing at growing out my bangs was part of the reason I cut all my hair off two years ago.

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The other weekend I finally got around to weeding my terrible garden and seeing which of my plants have survived another year of my neglect, so now we’re in the part of the year when I pretend to care about it and buy some new plants and remember to water it every day. Last year I bought a ton of groundcover plants but lost interest in them too quickly and they all withered and died. This year I bought just one, a Corsican mint, as well as this cool-looking little fern. My upstairs neighbor also gave me a bunch of pansies that I planted in the worst spot in my garden, right under the foyer window where the roof overhang means no rain reaches the plants there (it’s where all my groundcovers died last year). Will I be able to keep any of these plants alive? ONLY TIME WILL TELL but probably not.

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This is not our cat, it belongs to some of our neighbors and sometimes they bring him down to the backyard so Gwen can pet him. She is absolutely obsessed with kitties right now, and when I hold him (his name is Theo) she climbs into my lap and lays there quietly, softly petting his little paws and ears. It also helps that he is the chillest cat in the world, but she is much nicer to him than she is to any of the dogs. Seeing her gently patting him and whispering “ki-y” is so sweet and really makes me want to get a cat even more.

I haven’t had much time to post lately because I’ve just been so busy with real work. I am mostly caught up on orders but so behind on other things, it’s ridiculous. I actually put my shop on vacation temporarily to try and give myself some time to catch up!

The thing I’m focussing on right now is finishing a pair of bunny boots. They were ordered by one of my kickstarter backers, and I SWEAR TO GOD THEY ARE CURSED. Little things keep going wrong with them so they are taking me forever to finish. First, when I went to attach the little black studs for the eyes, they would not set right and just crumpled and bent and eventually I had to pull the mangled remains out so many times that the leather of the vamp (the toe section of the boot) tore. I had to cut whole new vamps, but I’d already attached the muzzles & noses to the old ones so I had to unstitch them to put on the new vamps, but then I discovered I’d accidentally hit one of the noses with my mallet, ruining it (they are small triangular studs). I was so frustrated that I ended up doing a completely different face, with appliquéd features instead of the studs. Then, when I went to sew the first finished vamp onto it’s shaft, I sewed almost halfway across before realizing I’d forgotten to put the ears into the seam, so I had to unstitch that! And for the final curse, after finishing the upper of the first boot I went to assemble the second and discovered the other pair of ears was missing. Now, I’m 90% sure that I did make four ears, and in all likelihood Gwen got ahold of them and put them somewhere so clever I won’t find them for months. HOWEVER there is also a slight chance that I only ever made two ears, and any time spent searching for the allegedly missing pair would be a waste I can’t afford. So now I have to make another pair of ears, which I probably already made, making it also a waste of time.

It’s just really frustrating and exhausting and as a consequence I am at the end of my rope with everything in my life. I’m tired and have zero patience for nonsense from anyone. Last night I ended up so frustrated by little things Taylor and Sym and even Gwen said and did that after making and serving dinner for everyone I shut myself in the bedroom to read this supremely boring book I’ve been slogging through and didn’t have anything to eat myself until later. Not very mature or productive, I know. Also not productive is the work avoidance procrastination I’ve been doing: running errands with Taylor that I don’t need to go on, rearranging the foyer, deciding the most valuable use of my time is to take Gwen shoe shopping, gardening. NOT THE WAY TO GET THINGS DONE. Hopefully this week I’ll be able to get properly back on track, because lord knows right now I just want to go back to bed and pull the blankets over my head and go “LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU” to all my responsibilities.

rise & shine

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my jean jacket has a theme for spring; (sold out) pins by Sad Ghost Club & Sara M. Lyons

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Gwen is officially an early bird. She wakes up at 5:30 or 5 or 4:30 in the morning. For a few days the other week we tried putting her to bed later but it really made no difference to what time she woke up. The later bedtime also meant that by the time whatever housework was done and the dogs were walked and we’d both decompressed from parenting a rambunctious toddler, Taylor and I barely had any time to hang out together as grown-ups (ie fall asleep on the couch watching tv). Now we’re back to putting her to bed at around 7:30-8 and she’s still waking up in the pre-dawn hours.

Last Tuesday Gwen woke me up at 5:45 and I was like “this is a good thing.” I got her up and changed, gave her some milk and put on Pee-Wee for her to watch while I had a quick shower (something that never happens in the mornings) and it was GLORIOUS. Just for that one day though, and then I was back to hating it. I’m just really not a morning person. In the latter half of the week she started waking up even earlier (ARGH NO) so now if she wakes up earlier than 6 we put her back to bed and cross our fingers that she’ll actually let us sleep. This morning she was up at 5:45 again, but after a quick diaper change & reading one Olivia book she went back to sleep until 6:45. It was kind of a miracle.

• • •

I have so much work on the go right now. Last week I ran out of every single colour of glitter for (almost) every banner I needed to make, and had to wait until the weekend to get more. I was so dumb about it too, there was plenty of OTHER work I could have done instead of the banners (like sewing boots and making patches) but in my vast intelligence I decided to do nothing instead. SO STUPID UGH. So now while I’m not technically that behind on things… I am kind of behind on things. Then yesterday I accepted a rush order on a time-consuming banner AND an order for twenty banners. TWENTY. Like I didn’t already have enough on the go! So I have no time for slacking this week. This month, even. So if you see me slacking around on the internet STOP ME!

tip top

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Last week I had a lot of work to do so of course I thought it’d be smart to spend an entire day dismantling my desk. It needed to be cleaned off anyway and I was really sick to death of the yellow. I’ve been planning on repainting it for a while, but I figured I could enact a quick change by swapping out the old desktop of a couple spare white Ikea desk tops I had. They had previously been on top of the kitchen island (from before we got a real dining room table) so they aren’t in great condition, but then again, neither was the yellow top and did I mention I was sick of it? SO SICK.

Of course what I thought would be an easy breezy simple swap turned out to be anything but. After removing the old top I realized there was only one small board holding the two halves of the desk together, and that the seam between the two new desktops would fall over open space and bee all wobbly so I needed to first attach them to some sort of stabilizing piece. Luckily I had a big heavy piece of wood stashed behind my bed that worked perfectly, and after only a brief struggle I was able to get my new desk top on place. It’s much longer so I have space on it for the printer now without feeling crowded and even though it’s a little scratched up it still looks much cleaner than the yellow one. Eventually I’d like to replace the two cobbled-together 1 meter-long desktops with one 2-meter long desktop, but baby steps. I also still need to paint the base of the desk, which is still bright yellow. Did I mention I was sick of the yellow? I’m thinking of doing it either a black-brown or a dark grey.

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When I was screwing the new desktop into place from underneath I needed something to weigh it down so the screws would go in properly, and I made the mistake of sitting Gwen on it as my weight. It worked perfectly, and she was pretty thrilled with the experience. So thrilled that she’s added climbing onto my desk to her repertoire of things she knows she’s not supposed to do but does anyway. With the new desktop she can no longer get into my drawer full of pens and markers and scissors so I guess it’s kind of a trade off? Her climbing up on my desk was an inevitability anyway as she has great enthusiasm for climbing things.

Accidental Twins

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Can I just state for the record that I really don’t deliberately dress Gwen and I in matching outfits all the time. I buy most of her clothes though so OBVIOUSLY I get her things that are to my taste so yes, it does happen. Often. For example, on Sunday morning Taylor got up with her (at 5:30am , kill me pls) and dressed her in grey sweatpants and a green shirt. A few hours later when I got up I dressed myself in grey jeans and a green tank top. Sometimes our matching is more subtle- I’ll wear a blue-green plaid shirt, she’ll wear a blue AND green plaid shirt. Sometimes I’m even twinsies with Sym- on Friday we were both wearing grey jeans, denim jackets and black shoes with teal shirts (mine was a flannel and hers was a hoodie but still). The best though was on Saturday, Gwen was already dressed and ready to go to the Lego Store but when I put on my fringed black suede Minnetonka booties she ran and changed out of her sparkly pink Vans into her fringed black leather booties so she could be like me!

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This picture is actually from a couple of weeks ago when I deliberately matched our footwear, yes fine I admit it, sometimes I do it on purpose.

Gwen continues to be a suuuuuuuuuuper early riser. On Sunday night we tried putting her to bed a little later than normal but she was raring to go at 5:30 again this morning. Thankfully Taylor working from home so I didn’t have to get up myself, but I’m not looking forward to tomorrow. I’m going to have to start just changing her and putting her back to bed, because when she’s up and unsupervised (like in the instance that her very tired mother falls asleep on the couch watching Sesame Street) she goes around the house like a little whirlwind of destruction, using her chairs and ride-on toys as step stools to naughtiness, granting her access to things on our desks, the kitchen counters and even the windowsills. Nothing is safe!

Some other things…

Taylor and I were FINALLY able to see Furious 7 and it was as good as I’d imagined. I laughed, I cried, I’m pretty sure it literally bit my knuckles? Movie of the year, for sure.

While eating breakfast yesterday Gwen sneezed out a small snot-covered rock. Truly, a classic toddler move. We have no idea how long it was in her nose, but at least it came out on it’s own?

Sym had her braces tightened last week and it was the worst one yet I think. She said she couldn’t even eat popsicles. Poor Symmie :(

Also poor Symmie: her stupid Ikea bed slats are officially disintegrated to the point of no return, small wonder as they are ten years old. We can’t just get new slats because they’ve changed the configuration over the years- we’d have to get a whole new frame. Instead, I’ve opted to get her a mattress & boxspring (her old mattress was an atrocious mass of spranged-out springs) and just bypass the slats altogether. Her new bed is gonna be so comfy, and should last until she’s in college and it’s not my problem anymore (that’s how it works, right?).

Taylor has finally agreed that we (I) should get a new cat. Now I just need to find a rescue that will give me a cat when I have a house full of dogs and small children and who won’t try to check with the landlord if I’m allowed to have more pets. SHOULD BE A BREEZE. I’ve been trolling petfinder a lot, but it really only takes a few pages of cats that I definitely can’t have before I’m suddenly viewing pets in California, like this row of excellent cats in San Francisco.
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I mean… COME ON.

five in the morning

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On Saturday we made the trek to Ikea and bought Gwen her big-girl bed. After setting it up I’m really glad we went with a toddler bed (in spite of my previous reservations about them) as there is literally NO WAY a twin would have fit in her room. Hopefully she will fit the toddler bed until we move to a place with a bigger bedroom for her, or Symphony moves out in like five years. It’s okay for a 7-year-old to be in a toddler bed, right?

Anyway. So far the transition is going pretty smoothly. She has been going to bed well at nap- and bedtime, and although sometimes she gets up for silly reasons (for example to shove 500 books into her lil friend’s crib) other times it’s to let us know she needs a diaper change, which is good. Once the problem has been resolved she will generally go back to bed without a fuss.

The part that is going less well is the mornings. I’m REALLY not a morning person, and having to get up at 7 or 7:30 for work is pretty much the earliest I can do and remain functional & conscious for the entire day. Gwen was also waking up at 7 or 7:30, OR SO WE THOUGHT. But since moving to her big girl bed she’s been getting up earlier and earlier every day: 6:45, 6 and in a grand coup this morning, FIVE AM. Has she been waking up this early all along and just hanging out quietly in her crib? Or is this a new, special, big-girl-bed-only wake up time?

When she wakes up she gets out of bed, turns on the light and knocks on her door while yelling (not angrily/sadly, just LOUDLY) to be set free since she can’t open her door yet THANK GOODNESS. This morning after I changed her diaper and her jammies and her bedsheets (it was a very wet diaper) and read her a story and played “this little piggy,” I tried putting her back to bed. I could hear her playing quietly until about 5:50 and then it was knock knock, who’s there? A yelling toddler, so you better wake up. RIGHT NOW.

little fishies

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so many jellies

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sloth spotting

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On Friday Taylor, Gwen and I went to the aquarium. Ostensibly we were there with Taylor’s dad and sister & her husband & kids, but they have three kids younger than Gwen (a 2-year old boy and twin baby girls) so we didn’t actually spend too much time together. Those kids just need to keep moving! Gwen had a lot of fun climbing up to peer into all the tanks of fish and frogs and eels, and she LOVED the Amazon Gallery. She found a spot on the pathway near the hyacinth macaws, some scarlet ibis (ibises? ibisi?) and ringed teals and was happy to sit down and watch the “birs.”

big girl bed | coal harbour

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I hung up a disco ball in the living room window, the sun hits it between 11am & 1pm, aka PRIME DISCO HOURS.

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Gwen’s new sandals, she is O B S E S S E D with them (from Zara)

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The li’lest blackheart

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On Wednesday afternoon I went to go wake Gwen up from her nap and she greeted me at the door to her room. She’d never (to our knowledge) even attempted to climb out of her crib before so this was surprising, to say the least! In my experience, once kids realize they can climb out of their crib they want to do it all the time so I knew it was time to convert her crib to a toddler bed. She was horrified while I was taking the crib apart but pleased with the results. I was a little apprehensive about making the switch to a non-crib sleeping arrangement in the middle of the week (I have to get up early for work) but so far it’s been fine. She’s always been a good sleeper (KNOCK ON WOOD) so hopefully we won’t have any problems.

Obviously she is fine with the converted crib buuuuuuuut I reallyyyyyyyyyyyyy want to get her this adorable mini canopy toddler bed. Actual toddler beds are kind of ridic but like… her room isn’t really big enough for a twin bed (I have to have a second crib for her lil friend in there is why) so maybe I can justify it? It’s not on the Ikea Canada website anymore but it is available in stores (I confirmed with them via tweet) so maybeeeeeeeeeeee I can get it for her? I mean I DO have a new baby starting daycare next week and if Gwen is in a new bed, her lil friend can have her old crib and the new baby can use the mini crib. See, look? It’s practically a business expense!

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A few pics from a walk along the Coal Harbour Seawall. Gwen wants to get out and walk all the time now so it takes five-ever to get anywhere but she has fun. We all have fun, really.

Beach Bunny

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Growing up my family always had an Easter egg hunt, well really more of a general candy hunt. We each would get a basket of treats, a chocolate bunny, a paper egg filled with goodies, and one of those big chocolate eggs with Smarties inside (I’m talking Canadian Smarties here, not the candy that is called Smarties in the US, those are Rockets, NOT Smarties, get it together US tbh). They’d all be hidden around the house and to make sure it was fair my mom assigned colours to each of us. Our treats would be marked, usually with a ribbon in our colour- mine was blue.

With Sym I was never able to do that because when she was two we got Dougal, and big dumb dog = not hiding chocolate all over the house. Instead we’d just give her a basket full of treats, and for the past couple years that’s what we did with Gwen as well. This year Sym spent the weekend at her dad’s so it was just Gwen, and I decided to try doing a little Easter egg hunt with her. Sunday was so sunny and nice that instead of staying home we took everything down to Sunset Beach and had a little Easter celebration there.

Taylor went down to the edge of the beach near some rocks and hid everything while I took Gwen further along the seawall and then doubled back. We got there early enough that it wasn’t very busy yet so we didn’t have to worry about stranger kids finding Gwen’s stuff. She had a lot of fun searching for all the toys and candy hidden in the rocks and plants, especially once she realized just what was in the plastic eggs- Mini Eggs, aka her fave thing ever. She shoved about a hundred (actually more like eight) in her mouth at once and just drooled nasty chocolate drool all over herself. SO GROSS, GWEN.