Sunday, 29 July 2012

Love and Blankets

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     There are times when I watch Mya and it makes my heart completely melt. It's the little moments when it's quiet and I get a chance to actually just sit back and watch her little soul take shape that I love the most.

     She is becoming such a little person...a real little girl with a personality, a mind of her own and a great sense each and every day of everything that is happening around her.

      I love how she is beginning to mimic everything that we do and say, which is a constant reminder for Terry and I that we need to be aware of every move that we make. We are essentially shaping this little girl into the person who she is going to be one day and she is learning from us how to live life, how to treat people, how to be a good person and how to properly handle everything that life will one day throw at her.

     As I sit back and watch this little life in progress, it's the times when she mimics our parenting that tug at my heart the most. To watch your own child act out the way that you treat them, the way that you soothe them and the way that you care for them is an incredible experience.

      One of her favourite things to do is to use blankets, tea towels or anything else that looks remotely like a blanket to mimic our bedtime routine that we do with her each and every night. As I watch her with babies especially, it makes me realize that at her tender little age, she is already learning how to be a mama, which I just love.

     She carefully places her blankets on any willing participant and arranges them just so, "shhhing" them and patting or rubbing their back, trying to put them to sleep.

     I watched carefully the other week as she patted the floor to tell her little friend Ayva to lay down on the carpet. And Ayva complied, trusting Mya, somehow understanding without words what Mya was trying to do. One playing the baby, the other the mama. Melted my heart.

    Terry and I play along so willingly, laying down, closing our eyes and pretending that she is actually putting us to sleep...which thrills her more than anything.

But Meika, our ever-so-patient dog, gets the pleasure of being put to sleep almost daily from our little munchkin.

Whenever Mya finds the dog sleeping anywhere around the house she'll start running towards her, saying "shhh...shhh" while quickly grabbing a blanket, tea towel, dish towel or anything that she can find.

    I watch so carefully as she rubs Meika's back, then brings books over to her and starts flipping the pages 'reading' to her, just as we do each night. And Meika will just lay there, patiently and gently letting her do whatever she wants, somehow understanding that Mya is little and means no harm.

     My heart beats for these moments. These moments that make me realize that our child is learning so much from us. That she is learning how to be gentle, kind, caring and loving...which is all that a mother can really ask for.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Vacuum seal new love

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     Let me tell you one thing that I discovered this week that has changed my life. Well maybe not changed my life...but pretty close.

      As I've been purging tons of stuff in our house and organizing room by room until I reach my goal of 10 garbage bags full of stuff (I'm already at 8!), I realized that we really needed to figure out how we were going to find the space to continue to store baby clothes. We don't want to get rid of Mya's girl clothes since we might (hopefully) continue to expand our family in the future...but with a boy on the way and inevitably more boy clothes now to be stored, the bins that we were using were taking up way too much space. So I discovered that Dollarama sells vacuum seal bags (for only $1.25 each!). We bought the Large ones and it turned out that approximately one bin fit into one bag. I can't tell you how excited I was about this.

This is what our wall of bins looked like BEFORE in our storage room...(bins right to the ceiling with no space for boy clothes to come).

     This is what it looks like now...leaving only Terry's hockey cards and DVDs in bins (which obviously can't be vacuum sealed). Look at all that space now--ready to be filled up now with cute little boy clothes.

     Jen and I bought out literally every bag at the Dollarama by our house and we spent the morning doing all of Oliver's clothes at Jen's house, then we came over to my house in the afternoon and did all of Mya's clothes. We used sticky notes to write the sizes (6-12 months, etc.) and used packing tape to tape them on the top of each bag.

     With a few play breaks, swing breaks and snack breaks in between,  Mya took on the job of squishing the bags as the vacuum sucked all of the air out, and Oliver just had fun crawling all over the mess of bags and clothes around us.

     I'd say it was quite a productive day.

With two more garbage bags to fill in order to fulfil my goal of purging and organizing our house, I'm almost at my goal of clearing out our space and creating a more peaceful, uncluttered, calm environment for all of us to live in.

Let me know how you're doing...has anyone else had any success in de-cluttering their house? What have you found works well? Tell me about it--I love to hear what others are doing so I can be inspired and steal your ideas!      

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

An overwhelming surprise

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     My head is still spinning from Sunday. It was a typical Sunday afternoon, nothing out of the ordinary...but when Terry drove me to my parents house for what I thought was going to be a family dinner, I got the shock of my life. As we pulled into the driveway I scanned the mass of people standing on my parents lawn and realized that everyone who I loved and cared about was waiting for me. I opened my car door to the sound of a chorus of "Happy Birthday" being sung to me and a ton of smiling faces staring at me. As I took it all in and walked towards the crowd in a daze, I was thankful that I was wearing my big sunglasses as I could hide the tears flowing down my cheeks. It was the most overwhelming, wonderful, incredible feeling in the world. I was shocked, surprised, overwhelmed, amazed...every emotion ran though me in a matter of a few seconds. And it only got better as I was ushered into the house to find beautiful decorations, an incredible array of delicious food all beautifully displayed, little favours perfectly placed and drinks already flowing.

     What a perfect surprise--I still have no idea how everyone kept it from me for so long. I'm only just finding out now about all of the little white lies that were told to me along the way in order to keep me from finding out about all of the plans. From convincing me that we were actually celebrating another family member's birthday that day to avoid me from going to a friend's party that sneaking away and having secret phone conversations outside...everyone did everything they could to ensure that I didn't find out. And it worked.

     The amount of planning, scheming, secret conversations, time, energy and love that was put into this party for me was amazing. Thank you to everyone who was able to come out and thank you to my wonderful family, hubby and mother-in-law for pulling off such an incredible surprise. It's something that I'll never forget.

Mya was mostly concerned about consuming as much ice cream cake as she could...
....making sure the babies were all taken care of...soothers in...

...and checking periodically to see if Oliver needed a diaper change. She's fully prepping for her new brother to be. 

Thanks again for an incredible day! It's something that I will look back on and remember forever. What a way to celebrate the big 30.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

10 bags in 10 days

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      I realize and fully admit that I'm completely nesting right now as I feel like I'm in a panic to clear out, clean out, organize and get our house ready for this new baby. However, regardless of being pregnant or not, I figured I can't be the only one who has this urge right now to clean out their living space...right?
    So, my challenge to you is to come along with me on a 10 day challenge. The deal is that you have to go from room to room, closet to closet, drawer to drawer and start clearing out your clutter (10 garbage bags full, in only 10 days). I got the inspiration for this when I read that people were doing 40 bags in 40 days..but really...I don't have the time for that, or the energy. So 10 seemed more reasonable for me. And when there are numbers and time lines involved, it keeps me motivated and focused. When I originally decided to do this, I quickly thought to myself "When on earth am I going to have time to do this when I'm running after a toddler all day long and getting so big that even getting off the couch without Terry's help is exhausting?"...but I actually started this morning on just one little section of our basement and I already have 2 bags filled and ready to go to Goodwill. I'll have to do most of the work once Mya is down for the night...but if you set out to tackle one space at a time you'll be surprised at how quickly you can get rid of the stuff that is suffocating your house.

     If I write it, I have to do it. So here it is in writing...this shall be done, and I will feel SO much better once I do it. A cluttered house creates a cluttered mind--so here is to clearing out the stuff you don't use anymore and creating a calm, clean, organized space to live in. I love it already.

   Here are a couple of tips that have helped me in the past:

1) If you haven't used it in a year, get rid of it.

2) If you have a million sentimental things that you can't bear to part with, ask yourself "which 3 things here would I grab if my house was on fire?"...and only keep those. You can also (as another option) take a pic of your kids holding their artwork that you've been storing for years and frame it (which turns into a sweet little keepsake then the size of a photo, instead of an entire bin). I'm already learning how easy it is to keep everything little thing that Mya makes me I get how hard it is sometimes.

3) Start with 2 garbage bags: one for garbage, one for donations/selling...and start filling them.

4) Make quick decisions--if you think things over too much, you'll keep everything.

5) Start in one room and finish that room completely before moving on to the next space. It`ll be less overwhelming that way.

    Tell me about how it's going for you and please feel free to provide some extra tips along the way...I love learning more about how to do these kinds of things and what other people do in their own homes. Feel free to post a comment on my blog so I can refer back to this specific post when I need some inspiration --- if you`re new to posting on blogs, just scroll down to the bottom of this post where it says "comments". If you have a blog or website you can fill in the URL, but if not, just leave that part blank and fill in your name where it says 'name' and tell me all about what you're doing to stay organized and how you're de-cluttering your life. Easy as pie. I'd love to hear from you as I'm sure it'll keep me motivated over the next 10 days. Good luck!!


Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Sweet Marie Bars and summer bliss

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       I've been feeling the urge to bake up something delicious over the past few weeks, but it's been so hot out that I can't bring myself to turn on my oven. So Mya and I spent some time yesterday afternoon baking up some delicious Sweet Marie Bars (no need to turn on the oven and honestly the easiest dessert that you'll ever make...and the yummiest, I promise). Recipe to follow below.

With the start of summer underway, we've been trying to purposely find ways to soak up this time with Mya and seek out ways to find joy and fun throughout each day for all of us. Summer time in this household has definitely begun.

A few of the things that we've been enjoying over the past couple of weeks:

1) I'm officially a mom. We bought a van.

     My practical side always wanted a van--the space is incredible, it's perfect for packing in lots of people and stuff, and with our double stroller and another baby on the way, it's the best vehicle for our family. It wasn't a quick decision though--and since our rule is that we never buy anything that we can't pay for in cash (vehicles included), we saved for a while before finally taking the plunge. But I'm loving every minute of driving this beast around town--finally we have space!

2) Dad's birthday! And oh my goodness..cute little Oliver giggles.

3) Swing bought off of Kijiji for $5.

BEST money I've ever spent. We're in the process of getting a complete play set for our kiddos--pics to come soon! It's all part of my master plan to provide our kids with a magical childhood full of laughter, fun and memories. But in the meantime, my dad put up a swing on our back deck to keep her entertained until the play set is completely ready. She just can't get enough of it.

Oliver loves our swing too. So I bought him a swing as well off of Kijiji for our play set-to-be so he and Mya can swing together when it's built. 

4) Morning sunrise from our backyard. This is the beauty that we miss every morning happening right outside our door as we sleep. However, we've been so lucky to have a little munchkin who has decided to wake up between 4:30-4:45am for the past two weeks for some reason to allow us the luxury of sunrises. It really is quite beautiful though.   

5) Ayva's birthday party:

Little Ayva turned 2 (and also became a big sister as her mama just gave birth to another little girl). Congrats Alex and Russ!

The party location (and even a splash pad for the kids too!).

5) BBQ with friends--(complete with delicious food and kiddie pool fun). Thanks Kim and Jason!!

Summer time has definitely begun!! Hope you're finding ways to enjoy it too.


And now for those delicious Sweet Marie ya go. Easy peasy to make:

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup corn syrup
2 cups rice krispies
1/2 cup of icing (chocolate)

1) Mix sugar, peanut butter and syrup in pot on stove

2) Stir in rice krispies

3) Press into 8" baking pan (use parchment paper for easy removal)

p.s. I doubled this recipe, so my pan is larger in this pic.

4) Spread with icing while still warm

Let cool before cutting into squares (and putting them in the fridge when they're all cut up makes them even tastier!). Enjoy!!  

Happy summer time!!!

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