four tens

This past Sunday was my birthday, and I turned forty. I’m not one of those people who FLIPS OUT over birthdays and aging, but it is definitely a weird feeling. Forty. Wow. So strange!

To make my birthday special, Taylor spent months planning a hotel stay for just us with no kids. D’you know, the only time I’ve been away from Gwen overnight was when I was in the hospital with Nicky (when he was born & when he had meningitis), and the only time I’ve been away from Nicky overnight was when he was in the hospital and I was home with Gwen. It was different when Sym was small, as her paternal grandparents live(d) close by and often had her for sleepovers, but I’d never been away from both of the two little ones at the same time.

So Taylor arranged for his mom to fly down and stay over on Saturday night to look after them, but his carefully laid plans hit a colossal snag when there was another snowstorm this weekend. A lot of flights were cancelled, including his mom’s. HMMMM, SNOW??? CANCELLED FLIGHTS??? DISRUPTED PLANS??? DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR??? LIKE THIS HAS HAPPENED TO US BEFORE??? OH YEAH ONLY OUR WEDDING IF YOU RECALL. Snow just wants to ruin my life, I guess, so it’s lucky it rarely snows here.

Thankfully, Symphony’s dad was able to step in and stay overnight with all the kids (and pets) while Taylor and I got a night out. We checked into the hotel on Saturday evening and were able to relax and drink champagne before going out for dinner, and that night I had the best sleep I’ve had in months, or probably years. It was just so blissful being able to sleep without having to keep an ear open for little kid sounds! We came home late Sunday morning and I got spoiled even more with loads of gifts and a dobos torte from the Transylvanian bakery (although Gwen had specified that I was to have a Rainbow Dash cake, what gives Taylor?).

It was such a great weekend and I feel so happy, relaxed and rejuvenated, and ready to dive back into real life. Thank you to everyone for the birthday wishes, all my friends and family and especially my husband who made my birthday weekend such a treat.

a fresh start

Happy Friday everyone! This week has been long and exhausting- we’ve had a couple room-sharing hiccups with Gwen & Nicky that have really interfered with me getting any sleep, including one night when Taylor forgot to put the hallway gate up when he went to work and Gwen snuck out and had herself a 3am juice & candy picnic. Several, actually. All over the house.

I’m heading into the weekend with 300 million projects on the go; my goal for this year is to reorganize, declutter and re/decorate the apartment, and I really dove into it this week. I got rid of the big shelf that held all the bins of daycare toys which opened up the dining room & playroom, however I don’t have any replacement storage yet so now there’s just a big pile of toy bins against the wall, oops. I did get myself a new desk, I was planning on waiting on that but then I found one I liked on sale so I scooped it up. The new desk is a lot smaller than my old one, and has less storage, so you would think it would make sense to clean out and organize everything on/in the old desk before setting up the new one, but NOPE. That is not what I did.


mom realness: the baby monitor parent unit hiding behind my calendar

The new desk arrived yesterday and I built it IMMEDIATELY, and just threw everything from my old desk in boxes and piled on windowsills. So now I need to sort out and organize everything! Since a lot of this stuff is probably going to end up in my craft closet I need to sort out and organize that as well, which is a super daunting task. I feel like I need to do a major de-stash but then I’m like… WHAT IF I NEED THIS STUFF IN A YEAR??? I have gotten rid of craft supplies before only to regret it later, but the closet is bursting so I think it’s really time.

I didn’t use a mousepad before but I need one for the new desk. I made my own by cutting a circle out of platinum leather, it’s a little creased right now but with some use it should smooth out & develop a nice patina. Another change to the office area is I took down the large canvases & corkboard that were hanging in the interior window above my desk, which had been there for probably close to 8 years? I’m not sure but they were SUPER dusty! Taking them down has LITERALLY opened up the space, but because it’s right opposite the front door Taylor says it’s very receptionist-y coming in when I’m at my computer, which I can see. I don’t want to fill it in too much but I feel like I should hang something else there now? I also decided to replace my somewhat janky Ikea-by-way-of-craigslist office chair with one of our dining room chairs, at least temporarily. We have four dining chairs but with Gwen using a junior chair we only really use three at any given time. I’ve ordered a chair cushion that I think will serve nicely for the time being.

make the most of it: goals for 2017


notebook // pen // tablecloth

This year I really want to get shit done. I had a lot of things I wanted to accomplish in 2016 and well, I didn’t accomplish any of them. I think I had a pretty good excuse though, as I was kind of distracted by being pregnant all year, and all my self-care and nesting energy went into that.

Get into some sort of shape. I KNOW I KNOW A TOTAL CLICHE. But this isn’t actually a new-years-lose-weight resolution, this is actually a post-pregnancy lose weight resolution. It was just unfortunately postponed by my c-section recovery, and then the discovery that at some point in the last few years of being pregnant, being sick with an autoimmune disease and being pregnant again, I threw out all my workout clothes. When decluttering goes wrong, y’all. So I had to get all new stuff and by the time it arrived it was full holiday season and I couldn’t find the time to get started, and now it’s resolution season at the gym which makes me disinclined to go because it’s gonna be so busy! I’ve figured out that the only time I can possibly go to the gym is Monday and Friday mornings at like… 6:30. I am in NO WAY a morning person so my ACTUAL fitness goal is training my body to get out of bed at 6 so I can get to the gym, work out, get home & shower in time to start work at 8. Then the other days I can work out at home I guess? My idea is to set an alarm for an earlier time each week and slowly ease myself into it, so this week I have it set for 6:45. Tuesday I managed to get up that early, but Wednesday I stayed in bed and dozed off until my regular alarm went off at seven and today to my hame I snoozed it until like… 8. IN MY DEFENSE Gwen woke me up at 3 on Wednesday morning and I woke myself up at 5 today so I was extra tired! Honestly I feel like this is my life rn…

I can’t not work and I’m not willing to give up time with my family so I’m going to have to sacrifice some sleep if I want to make this happen. I guess we’ll see how it goes.

Finish the half-done home decor projects around the house. The kitchen backsplash is half-tiled. The bathroom is half-painted. My side of the office is where unwanted furniture goes to die and the hallway has no storage so there are always bins and boxes piled in it.

Start some new home decor projects. I want to repaint the living room, dining room, hallway and half-bath. I should probably repaint the entryway (it’s the first room I painted in like… 2007? and it’s looking rough). I’ve never painted my bedroom at all in TEN YEARS and it looks just godawful, and I really want to get a headboard for my bed. I have windows that need curtains and closets I’ve taken the doors off that also need curtains.

Replace busted and/or janky furniture and appliances. Did you know I’ve never ever bought a desk for myself? It’s true. Before Taylor I shared a computer with Sym’s dad and he picked out & bought the desk. After we separated I had no desk for a while, and then had a hand-me-down desk from Sym’s room. The desk I have now I found in the trash (really). So yeah. A decent desk would be nice. We also need a new couch (ours has become basically unsittable) and the dishwasher hasn’t worked properly in years. YEARS.

Keep on top of like… basic housework. Fun fact: having a baby DRASTICALLY increases the amount AND frequency of laundry and dishes you have to do, and also cuts into the time you have to do them. It can quickly build up and spiral out of control, leaving me with even less time to do anything else. I’ve committed to getting back into using my to-do lists. I got out of the habit of making them last year but HONESTLY it help me a lot. I need to have a physical list to remind me of what I’m doing, the satisfaction of crossing things off as I complete them, and no option for things like “sit in front of Netflix for three hours while scrolling through instagram” :X I have a new notebook and pen and I’m doing monthly lists of large or irregular project as well as daily lists of everyday things. I also find it useful to break my most hated chores up into teeny-tiny daily increments; for example I don’t necessarily have the time or inclination to clean the whole of both bathrooms in one day, but cleaning one type of fixture a day is totally doable.

Reorganize & declutter. The kitchen cabinets. The bathroom cabinets & shelves. Almost every closet in the house but ESPECIALLY my craft closet. Our storage room! The entryway! It’s basically all a mess and needs serious looking into.

I know none of this follows the typical blogger new year goal list of mindfulness and personal growth (maybe that is the real cliche…), but after the total wash of last year I need to make practical choices. Maybe if I accomplish all this next year I will have goals that are more abstract (but probably not).

shark bait hoo ha ha

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01-bw-cat

02-nicky

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

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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.

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

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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

back home

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BC Children’s Hospital discharged Nicky this morning and he’s home now! It’s such a relief to have him back here. It has been seriously so scary and stressful, like his first car ride was in an ambulance and my first night away from him he was in the hospital with a mystery illness? NOT COOL, DO NOT RECOMMEND. After all the tests and he was diagnosed with parechovirus yesterday, and because the virus was found in his CSF he actually has meningitis. Viral meningitis usually isn’t very serious but because of his age there is a greater risk of serious complications. We have instructions to go back to Children’s right away if he gets sick again but hopefully he just continues to improve. He hasn’t had a fever in over 24 hours now and Taylor said his behaviour has been much more normal (he’s mostly just been sleeping since he got home, which is also normal behaviour for him). We have a few follow-up appointments in the coming weeks, including a hearing test (for the meningitis, it can cause hearing loss as well as other neurological problems, so keep your fingers crossed for us) this Friday afternoon, but the rest of the time I’m keeping him snuggled up right next to me, where he belongs.

how you can help

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If you follow me on social media you are prob caught up with what’s been going on in our lives, but if you missed it, Nicky is sick and is currently being treated for a high fever caused by a mystery illness at BC Children’s Hospital. The doctors think it’s a urinary tract infection but we don’t know for sure and we don’t know when he can come home. I’m really too exhausted (in every possible way) to type everything out again but you can catch up on my instagram. Also thank you so much to everyone who has reached out to us in the past couple days. While I can’t reply to every comment and message, I read them all and it really means so much to know you are all out there rooting for our family.

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I did want to make this post because a lot of people have asked if they can donate money or giftcards to help us out. While I am super appreciative of these offers it really isn’t necessary; the only help I actually needed was with transportation here in Vancouver, and my amazing friend Mark has offered to drive Gwen and I back and forth for visits every day while Taylor stays with Nicky in the hospital. We have universal healthcare that covers 100% of Nicky’s care, and I’m only missing two days of work; Gwen needs one of us here with her so after taking Monday and Tuesday off I’m going to start work again on Wednesday. It’s actually good for me to have things to do to stay busy, I start melting down when I’m not occupied by something; this afternoon I had my 6-week post c-section check up and I started crying in the obgyn’s waiting room because a Sarah McLachlan song was playing on the radio, and then John Legend came on and it was like GAME OVER, MAN.

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Anyway. If you would like to do something for me & my family, you can help us by helping others. Instead of donating to me, making a donation in honour of Nicky to a cause that helps children in need. Two suggestions I have are the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, because they are taking such good care of my little guy, and the Immigrant Defenders Law Center, an organization in Southern California that provides pro bono legal representation to unaccompanied immigrant children in removal proceedings. Thank you.

sick days

Gwen is mostly on the mend from her HF&M disease, but I keep getting sicker and sicker. I can’t stop coughing and sneezing and groaning horribly, and in a super weird twist no matter how many mugs of cinnamon tea with apple and/or honey whisky I drink I continue to feel awful. I JUST DON’T GET IT. Today I had to make the huge bummer decision of cancelling the girls’ birthday party on Saturday afternoon; I just don’t feel up to playing hostess, even to our families, this weekend At All. Instead we’re going to have a birthday pancake breakfast for Sym on Saturday morning and a birthday dinner for Gwen on Tuesday evening.

Hopefully I will get over this miserable cold soon and be able to enjoy what’s left of autumn in the weeks to come. I missed most of it; the rough end of my pregnancy followed by the last four weeks of c-section recovery didn’t afford a lot of opportunities for long walks in the forest to admire the foliage. I’ve definitely been getting a little stir crazy and will take any excuse to just get outside, like on Monday when I went and bought a new broom and spent an hour sweeping and scooping and spraying all the dirt and leaves off the stairs, a chore I normally avoid like the plague. In retrospect it probably wasn’t the best choice to make, health-wise, but the stairs look great!

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09-red-berries

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autumn

A few pictures from last weekend when we actually left the house…

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02-gwen

03-north-shore

04-nicky

05-shoes

06-gwen

07-tanie-gwen

I’m so busy with work and parenting and homemaking these days that I barely have any time to make anything, but I did put together some new stickers this week! These “Too Sleepy to Live… Too Lazy to Die” Sleepy Skull stickers are available in the shop now.
trio-of-skull-stickers

the grind

01-autumn-leaves

02-bed-bench
We’ve been looking for a storage bench to put at the end of our bed for LITERALLY YEARS and the other week Taylor found this one on the Best Buy website of all places? Weird. Anyway it’s pretty much exactly what I wanted and when we ordered it it was on sale & therefore cheaper than all the not-quite-perfect ones I’ve seen so it’s a win.

03-mark-fluffalo

04-sleeping-nicky

05-nickys-boots
On the weekend I was feeling a little ~inspired and made these tiny grey suede boots for Nicky. I need to adjust the pattern a little to get a better fit but I just love them, and the little appliquéd evergreen trees on the soles are so cute.

This is my first week back at work and it has been… busy? complicated? hard? chaotic? Our original plan (Taylor works nights from home & looks after the baby while I sleep, I work days from home and look after the baby while Taylor sleeps, ugh this was such a good plan!) went out the window with my emergency c section. Why? Well, if you’re not familiar, one of the ~rules~ for looking after yourself after a c section is that you aren’t supposed to lift anything that weighs more than your newborn baby for 6-8 weeks after the delivery. You know what weighs more than my newborn baby? The daycare kids! As I mentioned previously I can do almost all of our regular activities, but I can’t pick them up, and sometimes they need picking up.

This means I need to have someone here to help me for almost the entire day. I can’t afford to hire a full-time assistant so the task falls to Taylor in the morning/early afternoon and Sym in the late afternoon. Since Taylor is awake for the first half of the day it’s not possible for him to work his regular midnight to 8am shift, so instead he’s working 4am to noon, which means I’m tasked with getting up with the kids if they wake up between midnight and 4. This makes waking up at 7 to get ready for work pretty difficult. Taylor’s sleeping hours are split completely in half: he sleeps from about 1 until 5pm, and then midnight until 4. As a result we are BOTH tired and irritable, which is kind of the opposite of what we’d hoped for, and yet another reason to hate my c section. We are still working out the scheduling kinks, so hopefully over the next few weeks we’ll get our routines down a bit better and stop being so crabby with one another. And hey, it’s only for three to five more weeks, how hard can it be? (DON’T ANSWER THAT, UNIVERSE.)

The upside of this fairly cruddy situation is the kids themselves, which I guess is the part that makes it all worthwhile. Nicky is a pretty chill & easy-going baby, Gwen has mostly been well-behaved and helpful, and Sym has ALSO been well-behaved and helpful (almost more amazing in a teen than a preschooler). They really are the bright spot in this frustrating time.