Saturday, 22 February 2014

The truth behind the letters--don't tell Mya

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One day I might tell her the truth. 

I might tell her one day when she's holding the little hand of her own son or daughter. 

Perhaps during a time when she feels like she has it all together and has everything under control--or perhaps during a moment when she feels like she's drowning in motherhood, just surviving some days and wondering if she will ever feel like herself again. 

On a day when she'll look at me and ask me how I did it--how I survived the sleepless nights, how I managed to get through those days when both of my little ones clung to my legs every moment of the day, endlessly needing every last bit of me. And I'll take her hand and tell her that sometimes it was those moments in motherhood when I would step back for a moment--step back and take a minute to purposely do something great to make my children happy--do something that they would remember and do something that would bring them ultimate joy. Do something to break up the ordinary days and make some amazing ones. Because through our children's happiness will come our happiness. 

Then I'll tell her the truth about what I did for her when she was little. 
I'll tell her what I did behind her back, without her knowing, which consequently brought so much joy to her that she literally jumped up and down each and every day. 

I sent out an email. That's it. 

This is what I wrote:

Hi family, 
    I just thought I'd send you a quick message to ask you a little favour on behalf of Mya--who has no idea that I'm sending this out. Every single day Mya goes to our mailbox to check for mail--it's the first thing that she does when she gets home--and she looks through every single piece of mail trying to find her name on something..anything (hoping that she has gotten a piece of mail delivered to her). Unfortunately though the majority of mail that she finds is either junk mail or mail for Terry and I and so she is always disappointed. So I started writing her name on pieces of mail when she wasn't looking and it worked for a while (and thrilled her), but she has caught onto me now so I'm at a loss. So, I just thought I'd let you know that if you'd like to make a little girls day, she would LOVE to get a piece of mail from you, with her name on it, especially for her. It doesn't even matter what you send her--a card, a couple stickers, anything really...all that she cares about is that a piece of mail has her name on it and she can open it and find out what is inside. She would just be beyond excited. 
      I know that everyone is super busy so I certainly understand if you just don't have time, but I just thought I'd ask in case anyone still likes to send out snail mail these days :). 
        Thanks so much!

Love Erica xox

The response was overwhelming. Overwhelming and thrilling. For all of us. 

Each day as she opened the mailbox to find a piece of mail with her name on it she literally jumped up and down, squealing, excited. 

" says!!" she would yell as she pointed to each letter of her name and discovered another card sent just for her.  

"It says it's for ME! M...Y..A !!"

 She would then quickly try to break into that glorious little envelope and listen carefully as I read each and every wonderful little word that it said.

She was thrilled.

Absolutely thrilled.

 And with one little email I made some ordinary days into extraordinary ones--all because of the wonderful people who played into my pleas and took some time to send this little girl some mail.

Thank you family for making her day and for bringing such joy to not only Mya, but all of us as we watched her experience this excitement each time that she read her name on the envelopes stacked in our mailbox. 

Who knew that one little email could have such a big impact on one little girl.
Thank you again!! 

Erica xo

p.s. If anyone else would like to send her a piece of mail she would be thrilled as she still checks the mailbox each and every day for something with her name on it--let me know and I will send you our address! :) 

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Just one little photo please

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"If you could send in a family photo of all of you for our family photo wall that would be great", said Mya's daycare teachers to me when I picked her up one afternoon. 

"Ok, problem" I told her. problem until you get home and look through your millions of pictures and realize that you have no recent pictures of all four of us together--not even one. I have no idea how this is even possible with the amount of pictures that are taken each day, but somehow it's the truth. So, let's just get a quick picture of all of us when we're at mom and dad's house next, I figured. 

So, here you go. 

Don't we look all happy and relaxed???    

Come on three year old and one year old, let's take a lovely family picture together!...

Well, it's apparently easier said than done. I thought that you'd get a kick out of our mission for one little family photo. The picture above is NOT reality...

but THIS certainly is....  

welcome to us trying to get just one picture of the four of us together:

Look! We did it. 

You're welcome daycare. You're welcome.

Happy Thursday everyone,

Erica xo

Friday, 14 February 2014

Growing up and tears

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As a parent you spend so much of the first few years of your kids life providing snuggles, kissing cheeks, wiping faces, teaching patience, setting boundaries, kissing scraped knees, tucking little bodies in at night, wiping tears (including your own), learning new ways to survive sleep deprivation, holding little hands, making mistakes, then getting it right, and all the while making memories that you hope will last forever. But then, just when you think that you're at the finish line...just when the sleep deprivation begins to ease up and the two-year old meltdowns at the grocery store become distant memories you look at your little girl and realize that this is it. You've done as much as you can, but it's time to help that little bird ease her way out of the nest and step into the big, unknown, complicated, wonderful world. A world that will bring both joy and heartache. A world where mom and dad will say goodbye and watch as the school doors close behind her, and just hope that she is okay. Hope that we've done enough. Taught her enough about being kind, loving and caring. Taught her enough about standing up for herself and being brave. Taught her enough about sharing and helping and about numbers and letters. Taught her enough about what she is about to walk into--taught her to be herself.

We registered Mya for Kindergarten this morning.

I wasn't prepared for the emotions that would sweep through me today. As I positioned her Valentine's day headband just so this morning, and hung up Valentine's day decorations with the last of our tape, I felt myself pretending that it was just like any other typical day.

But after asking Terry to do something and he said he couldn't right then, I all of a sudden had tears rolling down my face. He looked at me in shock and quickly tried to backtrack.

"Okay, problem", he said as he tried to hug me.

It wasn't about him. I knew that right away. It was like the accumulation of three years all of a sudden hit me in that very moment. Three years of love and hugs and memories that I want to bottle up and keep forever. Three years of trying to figure out how to be a mother, how to ease toddler emotions and wondering some days if I might just be doing this whole parenting thing completely wrong. Three years of your life completely changing and wishing some days that you could just be alone to have just a minute or two of peace...but then walking out the door to just get groceries and missing those two little souls so much that it hurts. Three years of loving someone so much that you'd give your life for them without even thinking about it and three years of feeling the breaking of your own heart through their little tears.

So as I wiped my tears away and got myself together, I put a smile on for our girl and told her how exciting it would be to meet some of her teachers today and visit her school for the first time.

She was ready.

Terry had taken a half day vacation day in order to come with Mya and I, so we piled into the car and drove off to this new stage in her little life. This new adventure for all of us that will be both wonderful and difficult. Both exciting and nerve racking.

So I'll snuggle her a bit tighter tonight, remember that she is as prepared as she can be and remind myself that growing pains are inevitable and will ultimately help her (and I) grow, learn and bring us to amazing places in this lifetime.

Our girl is growing up. And I kind of love it.

Happy love day everyone!
Erica xo



Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Morning mess

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What's the worst that can happen? 

It's the question that I always ask myself in those moments when I'm about to say "No". When my logical side tells me to stop them...but my let's make some childhood memories side says, "Sure, go for it". 
It reminds me to take a moment and really think about it...because really what is the worst that can happen? 

I ate my own words this past Sunday morning as these two got a hold of a bag of cotton balls. 

Just let it be, I've said before.

Let them make a mess.

Let them feel the joy of freedom. The joy of "Yes" instead of "No".

Let them know that childhood memories outweigh my need for a tidy house every moment of the day.

So when Terry walked into the living room, wide-eyed, to see all three of us giggling on the floor, surrounded by a million cotton balls, I looked at him smiling...

"Whaaaaat??" I said to him..."They're having fun".

And when you hand a purse to these two and tell them to go shopping for cotton balls, it's amazing how quickly they'll actually clean up this huge mess.

So here is to childhood messes...

and owing my sister a new bag of cotton balls. Sorry Jen.

Hope you enjoy some of the messes in your house this week.

Erica xo

Friday, 7 February 2014

Vanilla pudding cookies and a few loves

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I came into the living room the other morning to find these two snuggling.

And I don't only love this because it cracks me up that Carter is decked out in his big sisters old jammies (we'll be sure to bring these pics out when he's 16 and he'll love us for it I'm sure)...

but I love it because these are the moments that I live for.

Those unscripted moments when a little brother climbs up onto the couch to outstretched arms and snuggles right in...

awkwardly trying to get comfortable on a big sister who isn't much bigger than himself.

Some other things I've loved?

1) Little hands spilling a whole box of Cheerios on the floor.

Because it's these moments where Terry and I just look at each other, frozen in place, and smile--because you either laugh or cry. So we choose to laugh...and then watch as these two race to see who can eat the most little circles off the floor in the span of two minutes flat.

2) Sledding with cousins.

I'm completely over winter. OVER IT.

But when I see adult snow pants, sleds and little people squealing down the hill, it somehow makes me forgive winter. If just for a moment at least.

3) Flying across couches.

She kept saying "Take my picture mommy! got it? That was a good one!".

"Now I do it with pillows!" she called out to me.

This kid cracks me up.

4) Surprise visit to watch daddy ref hockey.

We might just have a little hockey player on our hands here.
Maybe Oliver too one day.

5) Making wedding invitations for a friends upcoming wedding.

There was something about this that I just loved. Maybe it was the cutting of the lace and the gluing of the sparkles...but it brought me back to my own wedding almost six years ago and made me happy. Sometimes it's these little moments that make me stop and remember all of the love and care that went into Terry's and my wedding, which I just love thinking about.

6) And last but not least...baking cookies with my boy.

Because my own childhood was full of treats baking in the oven, chairs pulled up to the kitchen counter for little feet to stand on, measuring ingredients, cracking eggs over bowls and licking it's what I now envision for my own kids.

So I took a morning and stole my boy away to help me.

So with everything but the kitchen sink pulled out of my cupboards, this little boy made a great mess and some great cookies.
And with tiny fingerprints plastered all over the oven door as delicious cookies baked slowly in the heat, childhood memories were made--and I was one happy girl. 

If you want to make these cookies yourself, this is the recipe that I used. I just chose to add peanut butter chips and Smarties as well--because, the more chocolate the better--obviously. And the best part of this recipe?..they're actually made with vanilla pudding (crazy eh?) means though that they're super soft with a hint of vanilla. Try them!  

And then be sure to give some away--because that's at least the rule in this family. Sharing is caring.
So my kindergarten teaching partners reaped the benefits as I tied up little bags with ribbon and handed out some yummy treats to make a cold Monday morning feel a little more enjoyable.

Happy Friday everyone!!

Erica xo
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