Browsing Category: The Littles

Double Birthday Bash

It’s a double birthday! Given the girls’ birthdays are just one day apart we took advantage of having one big family party for their first and third birthdays. Or so I thought… I say “took advantage of,” but I really didn’t think through baking and icing cakes and cupcakes for an entire evening and morning. But, it’s so nice for the girls to share their day together and to have one big gathering.

We had a great day! We ate snacks, had cake, and enjoyed visiting with so many family and friends. The kids are young enough that we didn’t do a kids party and there are enough kids in our close friends and family circle to make it pass as a kids party anyways. I did a fun activity table that was SO easy and all of the kids loved it. I’m going to recycle this idea for all future kid events! All it entailed was a roll of white craft paper, a few mason jars of markers and crayons, some stickers, a couple of easy Halloween “crafts” and a jar full of play dough containers. The kids had a blast! And it involved zero adult participation. That’s a win in my books! I didn’t do goody bags, we just sent each child home with the play dough of their choice and some stickers.

As for decor I went with pink and gold, of course, because that’s what we already have on hand. And for the record, my decorating mainly consists of baked goods– that’s my strength 😉 Each of the girls had a two-tier rose cake piped with different shades of pink frosting, and I made large and small pink frosted cupcakes too. I truly love making their birthday cakes, along with cakes for my sweet nieces and nephews. I’m no pro, and sometimes my perfectionism makes it a bit crazy in the kitchen, but I love seeing them so happy with their cakes. Vienna blew out her candles at the start of happy birthday, and quietly watched us all sing to her. And Aria had zero interest in “smashing” her cake.

Besides baking my other favourite decoration to include is a photo line, where I string up photos of the girls from the past year. I’ve done this for each of Vienna’s birthdays already, and it’s one of the few times (some) of my massive amounts of photos get printed. I take the photos and put them in a mini album and tuck them away in a box for her. One of my favourite things as I grew up was looking through old photos from my childhood. We never seem to print photos these days and I want the girls to have some to look back on down the road.

I’ve done blogs celebrating each of the girls ages here  (Vienna) and here (Aria), since catching them sitting still at their birthday party is next to impossible! Here’s a quick photo recap on the details of the day, enjoy! AND how cute is that family pic with the girls in their birthday outfits by the talented Jennifer Harwood @ Blink Photography!?

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Wild ONE!

ONE whole year with our sweet little Aria Kate. I always like to call her Aria Kate because I really love both of those names. We debated on using either one as her first name– and Mike gave me a solid no when I tried to make both her first name– “but then she could pick! And how cute is it to have TWO first names?” I really tried there. I may have even used it for a bit. Of course a run-of-the-mill “Mike” wouldn’t agree to something so crazy. A Raina though? We’re up for ALL THE NAMES. The indecisiveness in me really shows when it comes to naming children. It’s permanent after all.

Aria arrived a full week early and just one day after her sister’s birthday. It is so amazing to have two girls so close– and close in terms of both being born around the same date, therefore hitting many of the baby milestones at the same time of year. But, they are such different kids and have been since day one. Despite what everyone told me to expect, Aria’s arrival was much slower than Vienna’s. By “much” I mean an hour, but that’s a lot in labour time. (People who were in labour for days will probably kill me now). I was warned over and over again that V’s arrival was so quick and so crazy that Aria would just shoot out of me. I was terrified of having the baby in the truck en route to the hospital. This made me trust myself far less in knowing when I was “ready” to go.

We arrived at 7 a.m. and Aria joined this world at 10:20 am weighing exactly 8lbs. Her delivery was chaotic to say the least. A staff change-over just as things were happening paired with a bat-shit-crazy nurse who not only forced me to have blood drawn during the worst possible time of labour (fellow moms know exactly what this moment is) but also made Mike leave me and go riffle through my purse looking for my care card to… prove it was me (??) made for a chaotic scene. But, Aria arrived safely and before long was in our arms. Ahhh. That moment. This entire paragraph may be TMI, but us Moms, we share birth stories like battle scars. We checked out of the hospital at three that afternoon, just five short hours after she was born. Whirlwind.

This past year has been amazing watching Aria grow. At 3 months Aria was diagnosed with torticollis (essentially tight neck muscles and in Aria’s case caused due to her position in the womb) causing her to have some issues with strength and head shape/growth early on. Around months 4 we started visiting doctors and specialists every few days and she was a total trooper through it all. She did amazing in all of her treatments and won over everyone with her sweet disposition. I’m so proud that together we figured things out and she now has full strength and no other issues related to it. It’s truly amazing how far things have come for her.

Aria is my girl to a T. I call her my judgy baby, as she is always carefully watching everything and everyone, and makes people work fairly hard for a smile. And, she’s often frowning or scowling, I always say “that’s just her face!” since she really is the happiest baby. She’s a fierce little monkey– she growls on the regular and when she hugs or kisses you it’s a full-body squeeze and a head-bang-kinda moment. Her and V can either be found fighting over a toy, fighting over me, or fiercely hugging each other. She sleeps like a champ and still loves her little Mrs. Mouse stuffy. She is curious and gets into anything she can. The faster she gets the more of a handful she’s becoming!

Aria has stayed such a baby to me. She seems so teeny and clings to me with her legs wrapped tightly and high around my waist. She’s a total hip baby, always with Mama. She’s crawling (since 10.5 months) and pulls to stand up  holding on to things, but doesn’t show signs of walking. And that’s o.k. by me!  One of my favourite things right now is when she discovers something new. Her eyes light up as she figures things out. I’ll be holding her and she’ll reach to open and close a cupboard door, and she’ll do it a few times and then look at me and a huge smile slowly spreads across her face. The. cutest. Aria has three words: Mama, Dada and shoe. Yep, shoe. I thought maybe it was just a coincidence, but it’s happened too many times for it to be possible. Like I said, her mother’s daughter. Plus, she looks exactly like I did when I was a baby.

Happy one year birthday to my spunky, happy, crazy-haired little Aria. We are so lucky to have you in our lives. xo

Scroll down to see a one year snap shot of Baby A. The first two pictures below are some newborn favourites taken by the talented Jennifer Harwood from Blink Photography. Thanks Jen!

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One Year Snapshot

I Weigh: 22 lbs

I Stand: 28 inches

I have: 5 teeth

Favourite foods: Grapes, cheese, bananas

Favourite things: extension cords, necklaces, shoes and hair brushes (Not even kidding here!)

Favourite stuffy: Mrs. Mouse

Favourite activity: Dancing, getting into things, Mommy carrying me

Words: Mama, Dada, shoe

Moves: Waving, dancing, peek-a-boo, clapping, climbing

I love: My sister, baths!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

California Dreamin’

Mike and I decided to take the girls on a last minute trip to San Diego for Thanksgiving. It’s totally not my style to book something last minute, and we even discussed a trip like this back in the summer but opted to not book anything, and then, well, here we are having gone anyways! Maybe it won’t kill me to be a little more spontaneous. Especially if it involves sunny destinations.

LOVE San Diego. What a beautiful city! Definitely a place we will go again. We took in some sites–a trip to the Zoo being our big day– and then chilled out at the pool and beach. I know Zoos don’t have the greatest reputation, but wow does San Diego Zoo do an amazing job! Filled with big, well-kept and beautiful spaces for the animals, from an (all-be-it limited knowledge) outsiders perspective, it was impressive. We didn’t take in any other “theme” parks– our kids are little and it’s really just kind of exhausting to go, go, go all day long. By the end of our Zoo day Miss V was requesting the hotel. #diva.  Continue Reading

Go the F to Sleep (Or: A Visit to the Lavender Farm)

The other day I took Vienna on a little day date with Mom. She hadn’t been acting like herself, and, well, Mom guilt. So I took her for a one-on-one morning. She may be playing me, but oh well. #momstruggles. We headed to the Farmer’s Market, one of our favourite regular stops, and the Okanagan Lavender Herb Farm. Truth be told, I had an ulterior motive (hence the title here– anyone else read that book?). Sure I wanted to visit the Lavender Farm and spend time with my girl, but more importantly, V “not acting like herself” included a bout of huge bedtime melt downs and I intended to purchase lavender oil and pump that shit discretely diffuse Lavender all over the house. Sweet, sweet bliss! (I’m starting to have an emoji addiction- I desperately want to put that cry/laughing face here).

We had a great time! They have already harvested the Lavender for the season, so it wasn’t the beautiful purple lavender fields that one would imagine, but when your audience is an almost three-year old, they don’t know the difference. It’s actually set up fairly well to accommodate kids: they provide a scavenger hunt in their garden trails (kids are rewarded with a freezie for completing!), there is a hedge maze to get lost in, a fish pond, a wishing tree to hang ‘wish ribbons’ on (although the aesthetics of the actual wishing tree are kind of, well, weird to me), and really just an all-around beautiful atmosphere.

V loved running through the garden trails and picking which path we would go on next. This may be in part due to the fact that she is obsessed with paths lately. There is a small museum on the property painted in bright colours, which Vienna was certain was an ice cream shop. So funny! “Mom, that has to be where they keep the ice cream!” She thinks every Okanagan tourist attraction sells Gelato (and she’s actually right).

At Christmas time they decorate the gardens with thousands of little lights for families to visit. Anyone who knows me well  knows that I am a sucker for Christmas anything…. so we’ll be back. Worth the visit, and yes, I purchased Lavender. 😉

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Preschool for V!

It’s back to school week and I can’t believe Miss V started Preschool this week! V doesn’t turn 3 until October, so it seems so young (well really, it is, isn’t it?!). She has been so excited about school, mostly because of her older buddies (she calls it ‘Isla school’ after her friend Isla, who went there last year). It’s the sweetest little school and V came out beaming today that she made new friends! Emphasis on new– I think perhaps she expected Isla to be there 😉 I’m curious as to whether her going to preschool will result in a more detailed/accurate game of “school”, which she always wants to play. One can hope– right now I spend an awful lot of time being a teacher at the whim of a bossy student.

Vienna picked out her own outfit out at the mall with me yesterday– adorable! It turns out if you wait for the week of back to school to hit the mall, you run a high risk of ending up with nothing at all or a very Christmas-appropriate dress. Luckily V set her eye on this right away, I think because she was excited to pick something out….or maybe because she wanted to go and get a bouncy ball, haha.

I asked V a few questions to get a snapshot of what she’s like these days. So cute!

  • How old are you? Two and a half
  • What is your favourite food? Chocolate!
  • What is your favourite toy? Elsa
  • What do you like to do for fun? Books
  • What is your favourite colour? Yellow
  • What do you love the most? YOU! (And jumps at me with open arms, going straight for Mama’s heart this girl)
  • Where is your favourite place to go? School
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? I going to drive one of Daddy’s boats! A little boat.

V isn’t really in to sitting still for pictures, so this mostly involved her pulling leaves and flowers off the trees and plants and me attempting to persuade/threaten her for a nice picture (our neighbours probably think I’m crazy). The expressions here are oh-so Vienna. This makes me laugh as I can’t imagine my Mom ever making this big of an ordeal out of three year old preschool. I blame Pinterest and Instagram.

In any case, happy first day of preschool, sweet girl!
V’s outfit: Shirt, Denim Jumper Dress and Backpack (last year)- The Gap; Riding Boots– Gymboree

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And That’s a Wrap

If Labour Day celebrates the achievements of workers, then there’s no better guy to celebrate it with than Mike at the end of a busy boat season! This is the only holiday in the summer that we get to take in some family time. And really, it’s one of the only (relatively) uninterrupted family days we have all summer long.

The weather in Kelowna is changing, and fast. Fall is here earlier than we’d like, but at the same time we are craving some of that routine-laden, jeans-and-boots kinda weather. So, we took in one last summer day and went to Bertram Creek Park for a picnic and to Carmelis Goat Cheese Farm, for Gelato, of course. Bertram is beautiful! It’s probably the furthest park in town from our house, but I’m glad we made the trip. With barely anyone there, it was the perfect picnic spot. And no play equipment needed– V was squealing from the time we arrived and literally ran around in the grass and trees the entire time we were there. The large trees proved the perfect spot to play hide and seek with Daddy– so flippin’ cute they were!

Next stop Carmelis. Sadly we didn’t even do the goat cheese tasting: when there are two lines– one for Gelato and one for Cheese– and you have small children in tow, naturally you end up in the Gelato line. The Gelato was tasty, although not as refreshing as it would be if summer weather had stuck around longer.

We ended the day with a long overdue BBQ with good friends. All in all a day well spent. And it seems that’s a wrap on summer! Sad to see it end but definitely looking forward to more family time this Fall.

Happy Fall everyone! xo

P.S. I can’t get enough of Aria’s scrunchy face smile and V’s little top knot. These girls though!
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Summer Staycation 2016

Nothing better than a little family time to wrap up summer! Mike’s business keeps him busy all summer long, which means no vacationing for this crew. Each year we’ve been taking a few nights to staycation, and it’s the best! It’s the perfect “reset” our family needs after a long few months of crazy schedules. Last year we ventured to Summerland, which was great, but if/when Mike needed to get to the boats it just meant less family time with him having to commute from Summerland. So this year we stayed a 5 min walk from the Marina at the Royal Private Residence Club at the Delta Grand. One word- amazing! Our unit was a waterfront 3 bedroom condo- the perfect place to watch our boats come and go and really appreciate how much our crazy business has grown in 5 years!

When we arrived we were greeted with a small toy pack for each of the kids and a bottle of wine for Mama. Whoever is running their hospitality department clearly has vacationed with children 😉 Our weekend included playing in parks and at the beach, lot’s of ice cream, walks on the waterfront, and swimming in the rooftop private pool. At one point Vienna asked “Mom, do we live here now?” I may have told her yes. In related news– we now need a downtown condo.

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Miss V’s Nursery

I’ve been wanting to capture Vienna’s nursery space in a blog post forever. There’s no time like the present- she’s outgrown her daybed (crib conversion) and her new bed is on order, so if I wanted it done it had to be now. I’m still learning how to get decent photos and these ones = no bueno. I ended up using my iphone for fear of driving myself crazy with my Canon. Our bedrooms also don’t have great natural light. Pair that with an awkward space to move around and I was getting no where fast- no wonder I put it off! I considered editing all the photos, but #aintnomamagottimeforthat. Now that I look at them on a desktop– eep. Maybe I’ll have someone help me redo this! 😉 (The walls in her room are white and the one behind her bed is a light grey). So, bear with me on the photos.

I have really enjoyed decorating the girls rooms. When it comes to the rest of my house I struggle with decisions and need a LOT of advice from friends, but the girls rooms have been my favorite projects 🙂

Vienna’s room is the perfect space for a sweet girl like her. When I was pregnant with V we didn’t find out the baby’s gender, so I decorated the room in white and grey and added in pink once she arrived. There’s still a little bit of grey left, but pink really took over that space, as it should! Some of my favorite features are her butterfly mobile- it gives the space such a whimsical feel; the blackout ruffle curtains- they make it feel so girly; and of course the teepee- ahhhhdorable!

Her room has a small built in bench under the window. It’s annoying in that it forces/limits the layout of the room, but we’ve been using it to rotate her books which she loves reading at bedtime in her teepee. The current stack is the BabyLit books- so cute! The picture framed on her dresser is from our maternity photo shoot with V- I love seeing this reminder of that time. I’m in love with the two tier shelf behind her teepee. I use this to put a few special items that have been passed on to her. Recent life happenings have reminded me that our generation seems particularly un-sentimental– so this is a nice place to save/feature a few keepsakes. And the Charlotte’s Web book on the shelf came from one of my cousin’s as a gift for V’s baby shower– it was my cousin’s when she was little– how sweet is that! I can’t wait to read it to V when she’s a bit older, she already asks about it all the time.

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Details:

  • Ruffle Panel Curtains: Pottery Barn
  • Decor Shelf; Pottery Barn
  • Teepee: Dexton Kids Great Plains Teepee
  • Owl Lamp: Urban Barn
  • Rug, pillows, jewelry box, lamp, hampers: Home Sense
  • Mobile: Pottery Barn Kids
  • Bedding: Aden + Anais (Dream Blanket)
  • Stuffies: Blabla Kids and Jelly Cat 
  • Crib: Graco Lauren Convertible (Target)
  • Prints: Custom- Etsy and Mae’s Paperie
  • Dresser: second hand purchase!

Miss V

Our Vienna. This girl has the biggest heart in the world. She is so kind and loving, especially towards her sister. Her nature is just so sweet and gentle.

One of my favorite things about Vienna lately is her talking; she is such a chatterbox. Some mornings, I’m just hoping for 5 quiet minutes with a cup of coffee. Those would be the mornings when she talks the most. She’s got a few specific little sentences and pronunciations that are adorable: gar-jibs (garbage); fug-fug-fight! (bed bugs bite!); what you talking about/what you say Mom; do like this; mem-jer? (remember). I really just can’t get enough of her talking.

V has a true love for birthday cake. At V’s first little friend’s birthday this year her hot little hand was into the cupcake pile before I could even react to tell her to wait her turn. On Mother’s Day she gave me a gift then said “maybe now we going to have some birthday cake?”She has also taken to loving presents lately and wraps anything and everything up in a washcloth and gives it away as a present at least 50 times a day. Birthday cake aside, Vienna is cautious and thoughtful. She takes her time to warm up to a situation, but once she knows that it is going to be o.k., she jumps in with a full heart. She is busy. Always playing and making up games and constantly at my side. And her memory? Unbelievable. She recognizes locations and remembers the oddest things that I would have trouble recalling.


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But this isn’t to say that life with a toddler is a breeze every day. Some days I find that I am repeating myself one million times and have to try very hard not to let frustration get the best of me when it comes to Miss V. I hope I’m not the only Mama in this boat! I read something recently along the lines of how it takes a toddler 30 seconds to process an instruction. By this time you are probably completely frustrated with them and have repeated the instruction multiple times. Yikes. That is me. I am trying my hardest to slow down, take my time, and let my kids lead the day. This is an especially helpful reminder as I am starting to see how V expresses herself and her frustrations.

My Vienna. The first baby that made me a Mama. She has shown me how fierce and all encompassing a mother’s love is. This girl, she too has my heart.
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