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.

mother’s day

Gwen woke me up this morning before my alarm went off, to ask me if it was still my special day. I told her no, Mother’s Day was just one day, but that we could still have a nice day today. She told me “yeah, we can build your new Lego together!” (I got the Lego Disney Castle this weekend and she really likes to help me build it, which is good because with over 4,000 pieces it’s going to take me FIVE-EVER to finish it).

My Mother’s Day was very nice and relaxing, I slept in a little (what a sorry state this world is when sleep is seen as a treat, though) and then watched Guardians of the Galaxy* with Gwen while Taylor made stuffed French Toast with strawberry compote for brunch. Later, after he’d gone to bed Gwen and I started building the Lego castle, and played in the backyard with Nicky. In the evening we got a babysitter (SUCH LUXURY) and went to the movies- to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Yes, I watched three movies this weekend; two were Guardians of the Galaxy and the third was its sequel.

* With Gwen’s speech therapy, we are working of F, S at the start of a word when followed by another consonant, S at the end of a word, and two-syllable words where she drops the middle consonant. Gwen gets bored/frustrated/overwhelmed if we do too much at a time so I’ve been incorporating it into all of our games and activities, including watching this movie (which she is obsessed with). Stuff like… “That’s Drax. Drak-ssssssssss. Drax says the Sakaaran are paper people. Pay-Per. Pee-Puhl. That’s Gamora, she has purple streaks in her hair. Pur-Puhl. Sssss-treak-sssss. Groot is drinking out of the fountain. Fffffff-ountain. That boy goes by the name of Starlord. Ssssss-tarlord.”

late easter


I ordered these dolls for Gwen & Nicky in NOVEMBER lol glad they arrived in time for something.

Because Easter weekend fell the week before we were having our floors replaced, we were able to celebrate with the kids. We had to finish packing and get out of the house on Sunday so any kind of special meal or Easter egg hunt just wasn’t happening. So instead, we did it this past weekend. I bought a bunch of Easter stuff on clearance (really to best part of the whole thing) and after brunch Taylor took the kids on a dog walk-slash-Pokemon hunt while I set up in the backyard. I laid out a blanket for Nicky to roll around on and hid candy, toys and other treats (the Easter Bunny brought Sym a giftcard to Forever 21, so modern) around the backyard. Gwen in particular had a BLAST hunting for all the candy-filled eggs hidden in the flower gardens.

Historically I haven’t done an Easter egg hunt for my kids (except for one year when we did one with a tiny Gwen at the beach), because hiding chocolate around a house full of idiot dogs is… not a great idea. Usually a basket of treats just appears in their rooms when they are sleeping. But It was so much fun I think from now on we’re going to do it every year.

hard candy mini christmas

I’m having a little trouble getting into the holiday spirit this year. Usually I take two weeks off at Christmas so I have time before the holiday to really get into it and time after to relax, but this year I had to use half of my vacation to you know, HAVE A BABY so I can only take a week off. I chose the week between Christmas and New Year’s, and I’m really really really looking forward to getting a little time off then, but I haven’t really been able to get as into Christmas as I normally do. Taylor has been off this week and has been a big help but working + looking after my own kids has left me exhausted and with no time to shower, let alone spread holiday frickin’ cheer.

Sym is spending Christmas with her dad this year so last weekend we had a little Mini Christmas celebration. On Friday night we opened our matching family Christmas pajamas and all the new holiday Lego sets. This year’s sets included a train and a couple small Santa-themed items, which we built that night. Saturday we had brunch and then that afternoon headed over to Enchant, the Christmas light maze. I’d bought the tickerts weeks in advance and was worried it would be raining, which it thankfully wasn’t, but unfortunately it was F R E E Z I N G instead, and Gwen was not dressed warmly enough which made her a little miserable. I ended up bailing out of the maze a little early so I could take Gwen and Nicky to the baby changing tent to hog the heater (and change the baby) while Taylor and Sym finished the maze. We all met back up for mini donuts and soft pretzels, which cheered Gwen up immensely, but when we got home she was still so chilled I ended up tucking her in on the couch with two blankets (faux fur AND wool) and a heating pad for her frozen little feet. I wasn’t planning on buying her a pair of winter snow boots this year (I figured her brown boots from the Gap and her Hunters would be enough) but after that experience I broke down and ordered her a pair after all.

Anyway. Today is my last day of work this year, THANK GOODNESS, so hopefully I can get myself out of this rut of grumpiness soon. Here are a few pics from our Mini Christmas night…

I couldn’t get a pic of all five of use together so you get a variety of groupings instead. This years pajamas are from Hanna Andersson, and while in the past I’ve said they are TOO UBIQUITOUS across the blogosphere I’m actually super impressed with them, and here’s why: I realized a few days AFTER these pictures were taken that Nicky’s sleeper has a huge printing flaw in the design. The fabric must have been folded or something during printing because there is a white wedge-shaped gap in the pattern about 15 inches long. It was obviously too late to replace them (even if they weren’t sold out, which they are), so I emailed asking if I could get a partial refund on the sleeper due to the flaw and they immediately responded, offering a FULL refund. Excellent customer service, so thank you Hanna Andersson! Oh also I know Taylor looks super not thrilled/long suffering in these pics but ACTUALLY he was the most adamant that we ALL had to match.

shark bait hoo ha ha

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01-bw-cat

02-nicky

03-new-ornaments
I swear I bought a new ornament this year that isn’t a deer.

04-bare-lighted-christmas-tree
A few years ago I bought a large wicker basket to use in lieu of a tree skirt. I really liked it; tree skirts are a pita imo; always getting mussed up by pets and kids and sucked into the vacuum cleaner. However, the basket somehow vanished from my storage room after just one Christmas so I had to go buy a new one this week because fuck a tree skirt, honestly. I needed something at least 21″ in diameter to accommodate the tree stand and all I could find was one that was one miserable inch too small, and this fricking enormous one, oops.

05-gwen

06-shelf-with-small-toys

08-gwen-picking-her-nose-at-the-door
Tried to get a nice picture of her with our Christmas wreath…

07-wreath-bird

09-serums
All I care about right now is my skincare regimen. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

10-shark-nicky
This is just beyond. I mean come on.

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Shark-shaped baby sleeping bag from AliExpress.

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the storm before the calm

nicky-in-grey

Right before Nicky falls asleep is when he tends to have his biggest fusses. You can’t do anything about it; he’s not wet, or hungry, or in need of cuddles. He’s a really good sleeper so he’s not even overtired. It doesn’t happen every time, but usually once a day he’ll cry and yell before passing out, hard, for a good long while.

• • •

Now that we’ve all mostly gotten back into our regular sleep/work/life routine after the drama of last week, I can focus on the holiday season! I had planned to make a spreadsheet to plan & organize the kids’ gifts but I have somehow managed to accidentally buy most of them already? With the combination of all my recent stress and being stuck in the house due to illness I’ve been doing quite a bit of online shopping, and as it turns out have gotten quite a few things for the kids. WHO KNEW. We still have to pick up a couple of things but it’s all pretty much planned out, so now I only need to decide what to get Taylor.

Sym is at her dad’s for actual Christmas this year so we’re doing Mini-Christmas with her in mid-December. My and Taylor’s Christmas pajamas haven’t arrived yet but the kids’ have (see below for a sneak peek…), so we’ll open those, and build all our holiday Lego sets (including maybe a NEW set…). We usually watch Elf on Mini Christmas but we have tickets to the Enchant Christmas light maze so we might not have time. The Christmas Elf may also stop by to leave candy in our shoes if everyone’s room is clean.

I’ll probably start setting up the Christmas tree this weekend; I like to stagger the set up and decoration over a few weeks (just tree; tree+lights; tree+lights+ornaments) to try to get the kids used to it so they are less likely to pull everything off of it. This technique has worked with every child I’ve had in my house EXCEPT for Gwen, but hopefully this year she will be a little less destructive? She’s been a little sassy lately with climbing the furniture, taking things she shouldn’t and making huge messes. Last year we couldn’t put any presents under the tree because she kept unwrapping them all, and just two weeks ago she did the same with her birthday presents so I guess we’ll just have to see how it goes.

gnome-hat-gnicky

halloweeeeeeen

halloween-2016-nicky-gwen

We are doing nothing for Halloween this year. Having a new baby made me too lazy to decorate, Gwen didn’t want to dress up, and to top it all off most of us are sick (Taylor and I have colds, and Gwen has been blessed with a visit from the hand, foot and mouth disease fairy) so we’re just staying home and taking it easy. Since we won’t be trick-or-treating, Taylor made an Easter basket-style Halloween basket for Gwen and got some extra candy for the rest of us to share.

halloween-2016-nicky

halloween-2016-gwen

Nicky’s ghost outfit is from Baby Gap circa 2001, Gwen’s cat jumpsuit is H&M.

christmas eve

01 eve tree

05 eve gwen

04 eve gwen

03 eve tree

06 eve gwen

I’ve been off work all week and working hard to finish as many orders as possible before the holiday. I actually got everything I wanted done and shipped off the last batch yesterday; all the open orders I have now we placed this week and I don’t need to worry about them until after Christmas.

Of course focussing on orders totally screwed me up; I’d originally wanted to make a bunch of gifts this year but I just didn’t have the time. The biggest thing I was planning on making was a roadway playmat for Gwen, and I bought all the supplies for it but never even started it! Oopsssss, especially since I’d coordinated with Sym and she painted a set of wooden trees, mountains and cabins SPECIFICALLY to go with my gift.

Luckily the missing gift doesn’t matter since this year we went crazy bananas on gifts. For the past few years Taylor and I have followed a three-gift rule: something to wear, something to read and something to play with. But this year we couldn’t decide what toy to get for Gwen (Duplo? A Play-Doh Fun Factory? The aforementioned hand-painted playmat that I never actually made?) and in the end we just got everything we wanted for both girls.

Symphony is with us for Christmas this year, so last night she went to her dad’s to celebrate Mini Christmas with him. After she left Taylor and I took Gwen up Grouse Mountain for the Peak of Christmas (this sounds mean to not include Sym but she didn’t want to go. TEENS). We didn’t go last year because there was literally zero snow up on the mountain (you can see it from downtown and last December 23rd I looked at it and was like… NOPE, NOT PAYING TO GO STAND AROUND IN THE MUD). This year there has been a bunch of snow and it was actually bonkers snowing while we were up there!

Because we went so late it was quite dark, even with all the lights in the trees. Combined with the tons of snow blowing around we didn’t take many pictures, which is a little disappointing. Taylor was originally going to bring his big camera, then downgraded to bringing his smaller camera (the one I usually use) and in the end it never made it out of our bag and we just used our phones.

ANYWAY. We still had a good time and I really like being able to get out of the city and up into the mountains to the snow so quickly… and I LOVE being able to get back out of the snow just as fast! Tonight we’ll open our Christmas pajamas, decorate cookies and watch Elf, so now I have a busy day ahead of me of cleaning, last minute gift wrapping (because somehow I’m not done? how), grocery shopping and baking. Happy holidays everyone!

02 eve tree