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!

Banana Pancakes

Sundays around here are meant for pancakes. Banana pancakes. We make them almost every Sunday. I love whipping up a batch of these and V loves to help, too. Sometimes it seems she randomly knows it is Sunday and will ask for pancakes! They are so easy I even make them the odd weekday if we are planning on being home for the morning. They also freeze really great– I stack them with parchment paper between them and pop them in a ziploc freezer bag to take out for easy breakfasts during the week. Win. And, the entire family loves them, right down to baby A– pictured below enjoying one.

Ingredients

  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 cup almond milk (We generally have/use almond milk over dairy in our house, but I tested it out with skim milk this morning and it worked the same)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup flour (I use Anita’s Organic Mill Whole Grain Sprouted Spelt Flour)

Directions

Mix everything together and ladle onto warm grill. So easy! (I usually start with the banana for ease of mashing).
Does this post make anyone else hum Jack Johnson? Happy Sunday!
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Soccer Cupcakes!

We’ve been busy around here lately, especially in the kitchen! It’s been a busy few weeks for Mike and the weather has gone from crazy hot to crazy rain, meaning the girls and I have spent a fair amount of time inside lately. On Friday it poured rain and we baked up some cupcakes for my friend’s daughter Kadence, who is like a niece to me. I love that I’ve been making her cakes since she was 5! I’m no professional, but I love trying my hand at decorating cakes and cupcakes, and the kids love them perfect or not 🙂

I wanted to do this post because I always look to Pinterest for decorating ideas after I get a theme from the kids. But, it’s annoying when you can’t find good sources for info on what to use to make them. These Soccer cupcakes were easy (although piping grass on 24 cupcakes is time consuming!) and the best part is the grass is meant to be messy, so for a perfectionist like me there is a bit of leeway where I won’t drive myself completely insane trying to perfect them– although I’ll confess that I did test out what it would take to make very even turf grass. Moving on…

Here’s the details:

  • Icing tint: Wilton’s Kelly Green concentrated paste- these paste’s work really great for colours.
  • Decorating tip: Wilton #233 Flower Center/ Grass
  • Soccer balls: This one is tricky (and what I searched all over Pinterest for how to make) They are edible sugar decorations. They are here on amazon, which will work for anyone who starts planning their projects sooner than 3 days before the event. Note to future self. Or, check with your local cake store, you might get lucky, I did!

Happy Birthday to the sweetest 11 year old we know! xo

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Family Dinner- Whole Bowls!

I am always looking on Pinterest for easy and good recipes. V seems to have boycotted all meat that isn’t a hot dog recently, and I am trying to find dinners that are healthy and appealing. This recipe is one that works for the entire family: Vienna, Mike and I all like this dinner- and even baby A can enjoy it too!

The base is brown rice. I usually throw it in the rice cooker when we are heading outside or for a walk before dinner so it’s good to go when we get home. For meat I cook 6 chicken breasts in the slow cooker and usually get two dinners worth– the second one being whole bowls/rice bowls. The slow cooker works best for whole bowl chicken because it can be chopped very fine and blends (ah-hem– hides) easily with the brown rice. I’ve also made them with ham for V which seems to go over good too. I usually mix in a small amount of sour cream to give it a bit of a creamy texture, especially because V is huge fan of “dip” these days.

Next I chop up a selection of toppings and put them all in smaller bowls and everyone adds their own toppings. This presentation and participation might even be the reason why V likes them so much! Topping ideas: shredded carrots, avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, black beans, salsa, cheese, and a few tortilla chips for texture!

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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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I Intend to Hold You for the Longest Time

Sweet, sweet baby Aria Kate. This girl, she has my heart.

When I was pregnant with Aria I would sing/hum (I’m a terrible singer) Billy Joel’s “For the Longest Time” to Vienna  as I put her to bed. Why this song? I have no idea. It has no prior meaning to me, it is not particularly my ‘type’ of music (honestly it’s probably Mike’s influence), and quite frankly I’m surprised I even know it enough to want to sing it (but I did make up a few of my own lyrics unknowingly, ha!). In any case this song stuck through the summer I was pregnant and, the most amazing thing has happened: Aria loves and responds to this song immediately. If she is fussy, I’ll start to sing it and she instantly calms. If I hum it when Aria is on my shoulder pushing her little legs up and down she will still. Baby A– she knows this song. I know I’ve read  that babies will recognize music/stories/voices heard in utero. But to experience it? That is a totally different feeling. Amazing.

I’ll write this post as a quick list/recap of things about Aria at this age:

At 6.5 months Aria is a sweet baby. She was diagnosed with Torticollis at 4 months old and she has done unbelievable with her treatments (I’ll save that for a future post). She is teeny, but strong willed. Despite being the second baby, I don’t foresee her crawling and walking early. Perhaps it’s a strength thing from her neck, or perhaps she just isn’t too interested in moving quite yet. Because of her torticollis we have had to keep her off of her back as much as possible, so of course, she loves laying on her back. She’s somewhat resistant to any extended tummy time and more often than not she will become incredibly pissed before she rolls over. Or she will just cozy in and lay on her stomach.
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After her nap or first thing in the morning  she will pull her feet in and out in her sleep sack and smile and coo, so excited to be picked up from her crib. When I put her to bed, she does the same thing. She only falls asleep in her bed or in her car seat and she sucks her left thumb to fall asleep. In the morning after Aria nurses she will sit and snuggle with me for as long as I have. These moments, I love. Aria has a little plush mouse toy- Meiya the Mouse that she absolutely loves. She puts it on her face while she sleeps. In the middle of the night she will wake up, pat around her crib for the mouse and put it back on her eyes. It’s hilarious to watch on the monitor.

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This Thing We Call Motherhood

With Mother’s Day this past weekend, I knew I should write a Mother’s Day post– but in all honesty I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write or if I wanted to write anything. Facebook showed me plenty of recounts of how others spent their Mother’s Day– lists of gifts received, activities checked off. Mother’s Day is a wonderful day with a beautiful sentiment, but writing a story about how I spent the day isn’t doing it for me.
Going back to why I am writing my blog– to leave a memory for myself and my girls for years to come–I’d rather tell them how I feel about being their Mom today than what we did or I received today. My own Mom passed away unexpectedly ten years ago. I wish I was so lucky to share this day with her and my two girls. I remember all the years growing up when I went to the grocery store’s bakery department and made my Mom a cake. What a cute idea! Who knows, maybe that is where my love of decorating cakes comes from. That is my memory to cherish. But what I wouldn’t give to have some of her memories.

 

So, to follow are two posts. One for Aria, and one for Vienna. A quick glimpse of life as it is today with each of them, as their Mama.

Back to Blogging

After V was born I really wanted to blog. I love reading fellow Mom blogs and I also love all things baby- baby gear, baby advice… I’m maybe a bit addicted to baby research in general (or certainly was with my first). At the time, I also really missed writing– my work and education background is in communications. So, I started blogging. But I hated my blog. It was a template design that I would get completely frustrated with every time I started writing. It didn’t look polished like the blogs I perused daily, and, as much as I tried to go with it and just stick to writing and ignore the design, it didn’t happen. (Cough, type A).  So here I am, a year later, another baby born, a more polished space, and perhaps a different tone in mind. This time round I really just hope to record the daily happenings of our family life, and have a memory of this time for when the girls I am older. “The days are long but the years are short” is a quote that is really starting to resonate with me. Life seems to be moving at rapid speed. When baby A came home, miss V instantly looked and seemed SO much older. I want to remember this time for all that it is, even if some days I’m drinking more coffee than water and counting down the minutes til bedtime 😉 And, if I’m being completely honest, after bedtime hits I always miss the girls and wish they were awake. Mom struggles.