plus & minus

The past week has been really hectic and difficult, with some really high highs and some low lows.

It started last Tuesday when my full time childcare client gave notice that they were leaving, which is something that always sends me into a panic because I typically only have about a month to find someone new. After a lot of meetings I ended up booking a new full time family AND a part time client as well, which is a huge relief.

I was accepted into a local art market to sell my tiaras, and was offered a table at this past weekend’s show. I was very excited and realistically optimistic about it but unfortunately it ended up being a bust for me and I only made one sale, which was discouraging. I know that these types of event can be very hit and miss, and a lot of the other people around had a similarly disappointing day so it wasn’t just me, but working so hard to get ready for the event to have it be a flop… I mean there are better ways I could have spent seven weekend hours, you know?

While all this was going on we attended a wedding, which was super fun, but I also spent time at not one but TWO hospital emergency rooms. Last Friday from the early afternoon until very late at night at one hospital with my sister, and then again today at a different hospital with Gwen, who had been pushed off the back of the couch, hit her head on the floor and split her scalp open. Thankfully she was just able to have it glued shut, rather than get stitches, but like… can I get a break? I’m hoping that the rest of this week will be uneventful.

Aside- while dealing with everything in my life I was mostly offline & unaware of the events that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. I hope this goes without saying but for the record I absolutely abhor and condemn this racist, white supremacist terrorist attack and all the literal pieces of Nazi trash who participated in it. There is no place in my life for anyone who feels otherwise so if that’s you, kindly log off from my blog and re-examine your values.

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.

Life Lately


Nicky can stand!

I made some quartz crystal tiaras for my friend to sell at a music festival next month, and this week I’ve been working out how to package them. I settled on dyeing some muslin bags black and putting together some labels for them. I’m going to print the labels onto iron-on fabric and iron them onto the bags, which I think will work well. I’m like 90% sure I’m going to keep making these to sell in my shop soon, I just need to figure out the best way to ship them; they need to be protected but the way I was doing it before was really complicated and it actually took longer to pack them up than it did to make them!

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!

June

Hey my blog, long time no post.

I haven’t had much interest in blogging this month; I’ve had ideas for posts, but between life and parenting and work there just hasn’t been any time for it. Work has been especially difficult- for the last year one or the other of the kids I look after has always been part-time, but this month they’ve both been full-time and it’s been exhausting. One of the kids is leaving for a group daycare in July and I have a new one starting who will be part-time, thank goodness! I was thinking yesterday how it didn’t seem this hard when I had more kids in care, but of course that was all pre-2012, when I only had one kid of my own who was in school all day. Having two little kids of my own + two daycare kids is a LOT more work, somehow, than four daycare kids. Anyway. I’m taking next week off work and I’m going to just hang out and relax for nine days. I hope. I hope!

mercurial

The weather here has been so mercurial lately, it’s hard to plan our weekends because one day is all warm blue skies and the next is pouring rain. After all the weeks (and weekends) of packing, cleaning, moving, and unpacking Taylor and I really wanted to do something that would be fun for Gwen, especially since we basically had to skip Easter. On Saturday we wanted to take her to her favourite playground but as luck would have it, it started raining as soon as we let the house. Instead we went for a soggy walk and ran some errands, then treated her to a ridiculous pink & purple sparkly princess bathing suit from the Disney Store. She’s been wearing it non-stop since we brought it home so I guess it was a good value (plus it was on sale). The 5/6 fits her now so I think we’re going to have to get a 7/8 to last her through until the end of the summer, which is RIDICULOUS because she’s only 4 1/2! Sunday the weather actually was nice, so we took the little kids to the playground(s) at Second Beach. I also meant to do an Easter Egg hunt for Gwen with a bag of Shopkins eggs I got on Friday for $2 but like an idiot I forgot, so I guess we will postpone Easter yet another week. Thank goodness she has no concept of when holidays actually are yet!

floored

I’ve mentioned this on social media but we are finally, finally getting new floors in our apartment! I’m super excited about this because I hate the wall-to-wall carpet/linoleum combo we have going on now. The carpet is super impractical in a childcare environment as I always have at least one little kid here who is in the body fluids everywhere stage: spitting up, potty training accidents, barfing, bleeding noses from picking, etc. Five years ago they partially replaced the carpet (I begged them to put down any other kind of flooring but they refused, claiming there was no budget for it, and then less than a year later replaced my all my neighbour’s flooring, wth) and within a week a child had full on peed all over it! And while the linoleum isn’t 100% terrible it does have some pretty big dings, gouges and stains, plus it’s starting to peel up. So yeah. It’s all gotta go.

One corner of the carpet (where the carpeted playroom meets the linoleum dining room), had started disintegrating and pulling up from the little metal edge that holds it in place, so a few weeks ago I called the property manager about it. He came over and said he’d have his “carpet guy” come and repair it, and I was like NOPE NO UH-UH NO WAY and made a big fuss about it until they capitulated. I actually only asked to have the floor in the front half of the apartment (the living area) replaced but they are going to do the whole thing, the front and the back half. This is actually ideal because the hallway & bedrooms in the back half of the apartment have two different carpets from when they were partially replaced, so some of it is over 15 years old and quite grungy. I mean, I DO have the carpets cleaned (both professionally and by myself with a rented cleaner) but there is only so much that can be done, you know?

Since we found out we’ve been packing & decluttering like mad. I’ve gotten rid of SO MUCH STUFF already and I still have more (clothing, furniture, housewares) that I’m planning on donating, giving away or just tossing out. The contractors are starting work on Monday morning so I have three days left to get everything done. In the meantime they’ve already had all the flooring supplies delivered to my cleared-out dining room> I didn’t get to pick the colour of the flooring (boo) but thankfully I actually love it? It’s a very neutral medium grayish brown (the name of the colour is “Seadrift” so presumably they were going for a driftwoody vibe) faux wood vinyl plank flooring. I’m happy with having vinyl flooring for one very important reason: IT’S WATERPROOF. I’m very much looking forward to just wiping up spills or accidents rather than trying (and ultimately failing) to blot them out of the carpet with towels.

While this is all great and exactly what I wanted, it’s also a bit of a nightmare because. Well. We live here! The apartment is full of all our stuff! Initially I considered putting everything into storage for a week so they could do all the floors at once, but it just wasn’t practical. Instead they are doing half at a time: first, we have to move everything from the front half of the apartment to the back half while they do those floors, then come back and move everything from the back half of the apartment to the front half while they do THOSE floors. We can’t stay here while the work is happening so I had to make arrangements for somewhere for us to stay as well. I had hoped we could just take this opportunity to go out-of-town and visit family but having to come back mid-week to move everything made that impossible. It definitely makes me a little bitter that they didn’t do this when I begged them to five years ago when I only had ONE kid and much less furniture, but oh well. At least it’s finally happening now!

hello spring!

We took the kids to the playground yesterday and I think it was the first genuinely nice (ie NOT WET AND/OR FREEZING) day so far this year. Last year all the plum & cherry & apple trees in my neighborhood were flowering in February and this year I feel like they’ve just started to bud. It’s so nice to say goodbye to winter, it seems like it was so long this year, but I guess that just because I’m used to the more typical global warming winters. Were winters this long when I was a kid? This winter was snowy in Vancouver but I certainly remember there being much more snow back in the 80s.

Anyway. I have slacked on a bunch of the home projects I wanted to have done by this point (mostly painting related) but I’ve tackled a few other big projects, namely a massive craft closet declutter. I’m still not 100% finished with it but once it’s done I have big plans for decluttering the kitchen cupboards and the little kids’ room (THERE’S SO MANY TOYS), as well as possibly switching some of the living areas around. Plus all that painting I still need to do! It’s going to be a busy season.

five days & five faves


All my babies at 5-ish months old in 2002-2013-2017

It’s been a busy, bonkers week you guys. I actually only had to work on two days (Wednesday & Thursday) but my family (and the time change, ugh) has had me all over the place!

On Monday I took the little kids out to Chapters on West Broadway so I could pick up a new basket to store the dress up clothes in. Gwen got some new Peppa Pig books and Nicky got a teether shaped like a old school Nintendo controller, which was too expensive but also too cute to resist. That night Gwen developed a fever, which was not very fun but thankfully the next day she was fine.

On Tuesday Sym and her grandma dropped off a new desk for Gwen they’d picked up for me at Ikea. Gwen helped me to build it (like, she really helped, not “helped” the way little kids often do) and we put it right next to my desk in the office. It has a top that opens up and a nice big compartment inside, so now she has her own space to store all her drawing supplies and papers so they aren’t piled on MY desk anymore. I’m planning on putting a magnet board or magnet strips and maybe a small shelf on the wall above for her to display some of her fine arts.

On Wednesday I continued my quest to get this place decluttered and donated four huge bags of clothing to charity. That evening Nicky cut his first tooth and it was all very exciting, but later that night he developed a fever (I know some people believe teething causes fevers but I think he just had whatever Gwen had on Monday night).

On Thursday I was up until 3am with a poor sick baby, until Taylor came home from the office to relive me. Thankfully I was able to sleep in a little that morning because I was super tired and super crabby. Nicky still had a mild fever for most of the day, although it never reached the “seek medical attention” threshold (something I have a lot of anxiety about after his bout of meningitis last fall).

On Friday (today) I slept in until 10am, which was amazing, but when I got up Gwen informed me she had put beads in her nose. I sent her to get dressed to go to the hospital while I brushed my teeth, and I heard her sneeze and the sound of a bead pinging away across the room. My relief was short lived when she informed me there were still two more beads in the other nostril. After waiting for 2 1/2 hours in the emergency room and performing something called the “kiss technique” (where you blow into your kid’s mouth to try and blast any obstructions out of their nose) all I got was a faceful of snot because there weren’t any more beads up there! I’m not mad at her, obviously, but I definitely would have rather not spent the whole morning there!

A quick five faves for this week…

This is the basket I got for the dress up clothes, they are only available in store but they are on super sale if you can get to a Chapters!

Nicky’s Nintendo teether is available here.

This article on grey clothing is CLEARLY relevant to my interests.

Nicky has outgrown his basinet (HOW????) so while he was sick we used this folding portable mini crib in the living room. If you have a baby and a small space I super recommend it. It has a very small footprint, folds flat when not in use and can be easily rolled from room to room.

Since Nicky was tiny we’ve used the FeedBaby app to track his diapers & bottles, as well as growth and vaccinations. This week we also used it to keep track of his temperature and medicine. The apps syncs between our phones, which is great for us since Taylor and I live & work on opposite schedules and are also very often very tired and confused about the passage of time, haha. It’s available for Apple and Android.

Have a great weekend everyone!

worry & guilt

I’ve been struggling a lot with the worst mom feelings recently, worry and guilt. I worry about how Sym is doing in school and her social life. I feel guilty every time Gwen asks me to take her to the park and I can’t because of work or the baby, and I worry about her speech and whether or not she’ll be ready for school this fall. I feel guilty that my house is always such noisy chaos (also because of work) and not the peaceful, calm environment I want for Nicky’s first year. I worry that my kids are missing out on activities because I can’t easily fit them into my work schedule. You might be sensing a theme here, and it’s no secret that my dream is to “just” be a stay-at-home-mom to my own kids, rather than a work-at-home-mom with responsibilities to other people & their kids. I’ve been so stressed and anxious about what kind of parent I am that I actually started crying about it one night, like full-blown sobbing. I was crying so hard I couldn’t even say what I was so upset about and had to text Taylor, who was sitting right next to me. Not exactly my finest moment! I just…. I want to be a good mom, I want my kids to be happy and successful in life in whatever way they choose. I want to do everything for them but at the moment I feel like after working fifty hours a week looking after other people’s kids I just don’t have enough of myself left to give to my OWN kids. It’s hard, and I’m not sure what the solution is right now.

I initially drafted this post a couple of weeks ago and since then I’ve registered Sym for a summer animation program at the art school, met with her math teacher to discuss her grades, and encouraged her to invite friends over for our weekly “Riverdale Club” viewing parties on Friday nights. I’ve been making more of an effort to accommodate Gwen’s wishes to “go outside” all the time during the week (which becomes easier as the weather improves), have taken her on more “adventures” on the weekends, and after a successful drop-in visit I enrolled her in a gymnastics class starting next month. For Nicky, well, I’ve just been loving him extra (although I did also start an RESP for him, and Gwen as well (finally!).