better

gwen & georgie x 5

Yesterday morning was ROUGH you guys. Gwen was tired and cranky, I was tired and cranky, and it was the morning with the whole day to get through yet. GROSS. In a weird miracle though, everything that happened later in the day was a total delight:

1. GWEN NAPPED. Yes, finally, blessedly, she napped for AT LEAST an hour and a half. I set up a little naptime cot for her in the living room with STRICT INSTRUCTIONS that she had to stay on it. Of course she didn’t, and ended up moving up onto the couch, which she promptly fell off of. Hopefully she learned a valuable lesson about staying on her cot and today will go even better, with a yes to napping and a no to falling off the couch. Because she napped she was in a much better mood in the evening, went to bed at the normal time and stayed in bed until 6am. Just an all-round win in the toddler sleeping department.

2. A shirt? dress? tunic? I ordered a billion years ago came in the mail and is totally perfect.

3. I had at least half a dozen people contact me about childcare! Maybe more! And I have three meetings set up! Hopefully a couple will work out! Fingers crossed!

4. Sara sent me some more elements for my redesign and I’m IN LUV, it’s so cute! The last time I redid my layout/branding I was MEGA depressed so it is all very bleak and it is definitely time for a change. I posted a lil sneak peak on my insta here.

5. My “I am a Wolf” print got a buncha reblogs on tumblr, I’m POSITIVE that eventually this will translate into money somehow.

6. I had wine and cake for dinner because I am an adult and I can do what I want.

rest

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This picture was 100% not staged, I actually asked her to smile at the camera and she did this instead.

I’ve been having a difficult time with Gwen & her naps recently. I thought I had found a groove where I’d take her for a walk in her stroller and she’d fall asleep, but she’s stopped falling asleep in her stroller unless we’ve been out for like… an hour, which just isn’t feasible. Also, when you are out walking around the city there are just so many things with the potential to be loud and wake her up. The other day there was a very loud cashier in a store, a barking dog tied up outside the store, a woman on a mobility scooter driving erratically all over the sidewalk and screaming into her cellphone, a person on a moped inexplicably blaring their horn, another dog barking in the park, and not one but TWO extremely noisy & smelly garbage trucks, all in the space of about 20 minutes while I was trying to get Gwen to sleep.

As a result she hasn’t had a proper afternoon nap in probably a week, and it is showing in her behaviour. She is cranky all the time, and in the late afternoons/early evening she descends into madness. She is so tired and grumpy by the time dinner rolls around, it’s almost impossible to get her to eat, and then make it through her bath without tears? SCOFF. Thankfully she’s been going to bed at night without any trouble, but the days are NOT EASY.

Yesterday she skipped her nap again, and since Taylor was at work so late I decided to let him sleep through the evening and give Gwen her dinner, bath and bedtime earlier than normal. I fed her as soon as I finished work and got her in bed and asleep by six, about an hour and a half earlier than normal. Everything seemed to be going well, until around 10pm, when she woke up. She’s recently learned how to work doorknobs, and won’t stay in her room. We let her get up, have some milk on the couch, then we brushed her teeth and put her back to bed.

Unfortunately she was way too awake to stay in bed and got up a couple more times, so I let her sleep in the bed with me, which was a literal nightmare and neither of us are rested today. I’m feeling very short-tempered and she has had half a dozen screaming meltdowns in as many hours. I’m really really hoping tonight is better, I’m going to go back to our regular schedule and just hope she doesn’t go too bananas this afternoon. We’ve ordered some doorknob covers that will hopefully thwart her from coming out of her room after bedtime, but they won’t get here until tomorrow and I don’t think either of us want another night like the last.

blackberries

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The last time Gwen went to the Island was back in October, and it was kind of cold and rainy. Even though there were a few showers on Saturday, it was mostly quite warm while we were there. Gwen had a lot of fun tramping around my mom’s property, exploring the forest and the garden and especially the blackberry brambles. Once she realized you could pick & eat them right off the branches it was like GAME OVER, MAN. She spent most of the weekend with purple staining her hands and face (and clothes…).

hometownward bound

Originally I’d planned just one post about this little getaway, but I have too many pictures and it would be obscene to cram them into one post. Like, you would all hate me & get a cramp in your scrolling finger. So while I settle back in to my regular life of cleaning the house and dishes and laundry (SO. MUCH. LAUNDY. I was so good at not overpacking this trip but between us Gwen and I had a full load of super-filthy clothes from just two and a half days away. How???) here are the pictures from Friday only.

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That little white cluster on the right of the horizon is Vancouver.

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The sky is so big over the water.

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With no Taylor on this trip I had to be my own photographer

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This past weekend Taylor and Sym were both going to be away so I decided to take Gwen over to Vancouver Island to visit my mom. Originally I’d planned a trip for the whole family later this month but my recent financial setback kind of scrapped that plan. I still really wanted to make it over there so I decided that rather than sit around my apartment alone all weekend, I’d get out of town.

Since I don’t have a car (or a driver’s license…) I had to walk on the ferry with the stroller and the little dogs, which was a super daunting prospect. I invited my sister Zoë and her boyfriend Chris to come with, to help and also because they are cool and fun. Taylor booked a zipcar and drove us out to the ferry terminal on Friday night and we were on our way! We actually almost missed the ferry because they didn’t have any sort of announcement for foot passengers with dogs boarding the ferry, so we missed our opportunity to board before the cars and had to wait until after all the big trucks and busses had loaded. It was a huge hassle because the vehicles park so close together there weren’t a lot of places where the stroller could fit through, so at times I actually had to lift the stroller, with Gwen in it and the carseat bungee-corded to the back, over people’s cars (with the help of a VERY nice BC Ferries worker, don’t think I could have lifted it by myself).

They have a creepy little pet area on the upper car deck (which is annoying since we had to walk onto the lower car deck) but it was tiny and there was a large, mean, VERY AGGRESSIVE dog in it already, so the helpful worker showed us some weird little seats on the other side of the car deck instead. Considering she’d had no real dinner and was up past her bedtime, Gwen was really well-behaved, which was a blessing (and was not repeated on the return trip).

I used to take the ferry back and forth so much, and would spend most of my time on the passenger deck, and I guess I got used to how beautiful the trip is. Being stuck on the car deck with the dogs (tbh I don’t see why they couldn’t have a pet area on the upper outdoor passenger deck, like don’t even get me started on this) kind of forced me to spend a lot of time gazing at scenery, because there wasn’t anything else to gaze at. It really is amazingly stunning here.

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rainy day

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A rained a bit over the weekend and Gwen took full advantage of it in her Newt Suit.

On Saturday I took Sym to her first real concert, 5 Seconds of Summer. She’d actually be quick to point out that her ACTUAL first concert was the White Stripes in Deer Lake Park, but she was like… five for that show. This was the first time seeing a band she loves, her favourite band, a band she really wanted to see live. It was also my first time seeing a concert where basically every person there was a screaming teenage girl and it was kind of amazing? Just WAY more screaming than any other concert I’ve ever been to. Teenage girls are amazing. Anyway I don’t have any pictures because Sym hates pics but after the show she said she could “die happy” so I think she had a good time.

Recently I’ve been writing myself to do lists each day. It helps me keep on top of all the crap I need to do each day, it’s really satisfying crossing things off AND it allows me to break everything down into tiny manageable pieces so I don’t get overwhelmed. Like previously with banner orders I’d be like “I have to make these banners this week so I’ll print out all the orders” and then I’d have this big stack of paper and I’d panic about how it was TOO MUCH and feel paralyzed and do nothing. Now I just put the one or two banners I need to make each day on my list, and if I do MORE than that I feel extra accomplished but if I don’t get it done it’s just like… one or two banners, not a whole stack. This system was a little derailed last week when I was sick and didn’t wanna do anything but this week I’m back to do listing.

more planes

Gwen fricking loves planes. I mean, I think EVERY toddler loves anything that flies in the sky: planes, helicopters, birds. Gwen is even a fan of flying bugs, ESPECIALLY bees. She points out every flying thing she sees or hears.

Last week I took her and her lil friend down to Jack Poole Plaza at the bottom of Thurlow Street (by the Olympic Cauldron) to watch the seaplanes take off from the Harbour Air terminal. It was pretty cloudy and threatening to rain but we lucked out and got to see a few planes taking off, and Gwen was thrilled. She kept pointing and shrieking “Plane! More plane!!!!” Taylor came and met us after he finished work and she was happy to tell him all about “more plane” as well.

01gwen by the cauldron

02tall towers

03 gwen

04 planes clouds mountain

06 gwen taylor
Plane!

05 more planes
More plane!

07 tanie
what am I doing here? I thought at first I was brushing my hair back but it looks more like I’m about to punch myself in the neck? WHO CAN SAY.

08 planes takeoff

09 tanie gwen

Funny story: when Taylor got to the plaza I said to Gwen “look, it’s your dadda!” and her lil friend turned to me very seriously and was like “No. It’s like a dadda, but it’s Gwennie’s Taylor.” Poor Taylor, destined to never be called dadda again.

let’s talk about: gwen sleeping

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It’s been a couple months since Gwen’s sleeping habits went off the rails, and I’m THRILLED to report things are finally almost back to normal, at night at least. We have our routine down and most of the time it’s a success. After dinner she has her bath, then drinks her milk while we watch youtube videos either on the couch or in our bed. Then she gets her nighttime diaper and pajamas on and brushes her teeth. We read one story in her bed and then tuck her in sitting up. She hugs us and hugs the dogs and then we turn on the Sleep Sheep and turn off the light. After we leave the room she lays down and probably 95% of the time goes straight to sleep and stays asleep through the night.

A few notes:

• She has her bedtime milk in a bottle, but with a sippy lid on it. I found that the sippy lid valves tend to collapse on themselves and make it hard to drink so I leave the valves out and keep my fingers crossed that she won’t spill milk all over herself/the couch/my bed (spoiler alert: she usually does).
• Her youtube faves: Yo Gabba Gabba clips, Vet Ranch, Demolition Ranch, and Cats 101.
• Either Taylor or myself or most often both of us have to brush our teeth while she brushes her teeth.
• I bought some little light switch clips to try and stop her from turning on the light on the rare nights she doesn’t stay in her bed, but she figured out how to work them, so we actually have to loosen the bulbs in her room every night.

HOWEVER one thing we don’t have back to normal yet is naps. Gwen still needs a nap, if she doesn’t have one she is ABSOLUTELY DEMENTED by about 5 o’clock. After a few failed naps where she made assorted messes in her room (clothes, books, poop D:) and kept her lil friend awake I stopped trying to get her to sleep in her bed in the afternoons. I found that the only way I could get her to take a nap was if she fell asleep in her stroller. Every day I take her for a walk around my block, and once she’s out I pray I can get her back to the house before some loud noise (sirens, construction, garbage trucks, just loud people or dogs) wakes her. Back at the house I very carefully roll her stroller down the stairs and into the foyer. She’ll sleep in her stroller for an hour or two, then wake up all sweaty and cranky.

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Sometimes she’s so grumpy and fussy after her nap I’d have to cuddle her on the couch for hours afterwards. I hate that she’ll only nap in the stroller because I just don’t think it’s that comfortable- she always has her head cranked way over to one side. Last week she started falling back to sleep once I moved her too the couch and napping for longer, and then yesterday she actually fell asleep on the couch before I even took her for a walk. She woke up from that nap without any fussing or crying at all, it was kind of amazing! I mean, it’d be MORE amazing if she would nap in her bed, but I’ll take what I can get.

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let’s talk about gwen talking

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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.

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

happy day

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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.

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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.