Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Photo challenge day 30: in motion

I accidentally left my camera outside overnight (and we watered the grass), so unfortunately I was not able to take a picture for today.  Hopefully once the camera is done drying out, everything will still work. :P  So, instead of just one "in motion" picture, I'm going share a bunch with you - the "motion" that's been happening in our backyard lately.  We got a playstructure!

Before and after (wow, the grass looks bad!)



The building process



Annika discovering what had been done after she went to bed



Swings and rings




Sliding and climbing


So that's the "motion" around here lately!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Photo challenge day 29: purchased


Went on a little "shopping spree" at Tiber River Naturals the other day.  I love their stuff - I love that the products are made with natural ingredients, and I love that the company was started by a local mom, making soap in her home!  Here's what I bought - can you guess what was on my list and what was an impulse buy?

(back - left to right)
Honey beer shampoo
Body butter - Naked (unscented)
Lavender essential oil
Tea tree oil
Body lotion - Naked (unscented)
(front - left to right)
Lip silk - Waikiki
Teething gel

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Photo challenge day 28: daily routine


Having 2 small children, most of my day is made up of routines - wake up routines, meal time routines, nap/quiet time routines, bed time routines.  Sometimes I like the fact that most of my days run on a fairly predictable schedule, but other times it does get to be a bit monotonous.  This is one of my almost-daily routines that I'm not very fond of - washing bottles.  However, I don't complain about having to do it, because although it's a bit of a pain, it's not physically painful (like breastfeeding was).  So I'm happy to have the alternative, even if it is more work.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Photo challenge day 27: after dark


Obviously my camera doesn't do so well "after dark".

Our little tummy sleeper.  
We always peek in on the kids before we go to bed.  I love seeing them asleep - so quiet and peaceful (as opposed to how they are during the day!).


Friday, August 26, 2011

Photo challenge day 26: something old



These wooden folding chairs are probably some of the oldest things in our house.  Not sure their actual age, but I inherited them after my grandparents passed away, and it looks like they've been around for a while (I love that they have my grandpa's initials written on them).  Usually they just stay in the basement and we pull them out when we have company and need some extra seating.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Blogging question

Since I'm still a relatively new blogger, I have a question for you veteran bloggers.  It's actually a question about questions.  What do you do when someone asks you a question in the comments?  Do you just post your reply in the comments as well (and hope that they check back for your response) or do you email them your reply so you know they see it (assuming you have their email address)?  Or both??  I'd like to hear what other people do, so I know if I'm doing things "right".  Thanks!

Photo challenge day 25: sunflare


Another tree picture. 
I seem to get stuck on certain subjects - first Emmett, now trees (this is the tree in our backyard pictured here and here as well!).

PS. had to look up what a "sunflare" was before I could take this picture! ;P


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Three

Why does no one warn you about age three?  Everyone knows about the "terrible twos" and you expect to have issues when they hit puberty/teen years, but what about three?  Three seems to be the age that no one tells you about (maybe because it's so traumatizing that no one can talk about it afterwards??), but it's deadly.  However, I know it's not just me that has a difficult three year old.  It seems whenever you bring it up with other moms, the answer is frequently the same - two was not a problem, three is the difficult year!  If you have children who are not three yet, consider yourself warned. 

So, if you haven't guessed by now, we've been having some behavioural issues lately with Annika.  A lot of issues, some days.  Some days the tantrums and tears start right after getting out of bed, and continue (with short breaks of sanity in between) right until bed time.  Anything (and everything) is cause for a meltdown.  This morning she lost it because she couldn't get herself undressed and needed help.  Then when I went to help her, she lost it again because she wanted to do it by herself.  :P  At moments like this, I find myself wanting to lose it as well.  I pray for patience every day.

As a parent I find this stage very frustrating.  It seems like there's nothing I can do that will help or make a difference.  I'm sure Annika finds it very frustrating too, as she's sort of caught in the middle (like the dilemma this morning) - not quite able to do everything she wants to, but still wanting her independence.  I try to remember that when I get frustrated with her, but I'll admit it's difficult.

I'm not sure why three is so much worse than two (Annika was actually a really good two year old - I thought we had gotten off easy!), but I have a few ideas for Annika's case.  One big difference between two and three is obviously the fact that now she has a little brother (Emmett was born about 4 months before she turned three).  I'm sure some of the tantruming is just to get attention, now that my attention is divided.  Another big difference is the fact that she no longer naps (she stopped right around the time Emmett was born).  She doesn't nap anymore, but she still gets quite tired in the afternoons.  If we drive anywhere after lunch time (even if it's just a short drive), she will likely fall asleep.  So maybe being over-tired also contributes to her moodiness (although that doesn't really explain why she throws tantrums first thing in the morning, after a good night's sleep).  Maybe I should start purposefully taking her for drives after lunch, just to get a little sleep in.  Drive around for 10-15 minutes to get her asleep, then park and sit in the car and read until she wakes up.  Sound like a good plan, eh? ;)

Anyways, I just needed to vent a little bit.  I'm sure that this too will pass.  Eventually, probably just in time for the next difficult stage to arrive.  If you have (or had) a "thundering three" (a term I heard from a friend) as well, feel free to leave your story in the comments - misery loves company!

Photo challenge day 24: a smile


I actually took this picture a few days ago, but I love it.  Annika is testing out her new swing on her new playstructure.  Needless to say, it passed the test. :)


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Photo challenge day 23: sunset


We don't really have a view of the sunset from our house.
This is about as good as it gets.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Photo challenge day 22: trees



This is my favorite tree in our backyard.  It's huge, so the backyard is shaded for most of the day, which has been so nice this summer when it's been so hot outside.  I love the way it grows outwards as well as upwards - I can imagine Annika and Emmett climbing it one day. 

 It's actually growing in sort of an awkward spot - it's basically at the corner of 4 properties (but I think it's mostly on our yard).  Luckily, so far no one's made an issue about it.  In fact, when we replaced the one fence a few summers ago, our neighbours sacrificed some of their yard, to build the fence around the tree, instead of insisting the fence go along the property line (and through the tree).  I hope it's never an issue - I couldn't imagine losing it.


1000 gifts: #41-50

kids that sleep through thunderstorms

reading a good book before bed

bare feet on the grass

big blue eyes that squint when smiling

a happy, content baby, even when it's way past his bedtime

healing

pure joy in the eyes of a 3 year old (a post will be coming soon about the source of that joy!)

a husband who is handy

a humbling moment of realization and understanding

THREE weeks without using Emmett's eczema prescription cream (sorry if this one is getting redundant, but every day that his skin is not red, itchy, irritated, weeping or bleeding is like a gift to me - and to him too I'm sure! It's also a gift to be able to treat his minor flare-ups with just natural means, and not steroids.)


    Sunday, August 21, 2011

    Photo challenge day 21: pretty pattern


    The tie-back for Annika's drapes (made by my mom).
    She has quite a bit of "princess" pink in her room, so I like the darker shades of pink and red in this fabric, as it keeps the room from looking like it's been "hosed down with Pepto-Bismol" (to quote Steel Magnolias). :)  She also has a little throw pillow covered with the same material.
    

    Saturday, August 20, 2011

    Photo challenge day 20: what I read


    On my night-table.
    I'm about half way through so far, and I'd definitely recommend this book!  I want to go see the movie after I finish reading it, and I'm hoping that the movie lives up to the book (PLEASE, NO SPOILERS about the book or the movie!!).

    Friday, August 19, 2011

    Photo challenge day 19: where I slept


    Our bedroom - probably the most neglected (decorating-wise) area of the house.  We really haven't done anything with the space yet.  My grandma passed away shortly before we got married, so we inherited her bedroom set (which is not really my style).  However, she had a double bed, and ours is a queen, so we don't have a headboard.  I dream about having a beautiful bedroom set one day, but I'm not sure when it will happen (if ever), because it's so low on the priority list.  I'll admit, last year when we bought Annika her "big girl" bedroom set, I was quite jealous.  It's a beautiful dark espresso set, with a sleigh-style headboard, like I've always wanted. 
    One thing that I like about our bedroom is our pot lights in the bulkhead over the bed.  It eliminates the need for bedside lamps, and we each have a switch controlling the light on our own side near the bed.  The other thing I like about our bedroom is the pillow shams on the bed - mostly just because Carey dislikes them so much!  I think decorative pillows are the bane of every man's existence.  Or perhaps it's just mine. ;)
    

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    Photo challenge day 18: in my bag


    Here's a peek inside my bag. 
    I've carried around a diaper bag for almost 3 and a half years now, except for a few brief months after Annika potty-trained and before Emmett came.  This is my third diaper bag - not because I wear them out, but just because a girl needs something different every now and then!  So what's inside?  Let's see:
    • bib
    • wet bag (a must-have for keeping wet stuff contained)
    • extra clothes for Emmett (and a "just-in-case" pair of panties for Annika)
    • diapers (I'll admit it - I carry around disposables because they're more compact)
    • green cosmetics bag with "mommy" stuff (kleenex, lip gloss, lotion, feminine products, etc) - I keep this stuff in the cosmetics bag to keep it more organized, and to make it easier on the rare occasions when I get to switch to just a purse
    • snacks
    • cell phone (which is usually on vibrate or dead most of the time, so it's kind of useless)
    • travel-size body butter from Rocky Mountain Soap Company (for Emmett's face)
    • over-stuffed wallet
    • plus more that you can't see!
    

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    Photo challenge day 17: on the shelf


    This is the little niche that we have near the front door.  I need to find something more interesting than these bamboo sticks to put there.  Whenever I get fresh flowers, I put them there, but that's not too often (hint, hint!).  Annika likes to help with making the space more interesting, thus the stray cow. ;)

    

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    Photo challenge day 16: what I ate


    Cheese and crackers for lunch.
    Not just any cheese though - cheese in a can!  Carey and I picked up a can when we went down to the States on Saturday.  It may not be the most nutritious, but it sure is fun.  Annika and I made cheese letters on our crackers today - I got an "M" for mommy.

    Monday, August 15, 2011

    Photo challenge day 15: my shoes


    This is about as close to flip flops as you'll ever catch me wearing.  I haven't worn flip flops in years - I don't like the thing between my toes and I need more arch support than they offer (wow, I sound like an old lady!).

    1000 gifts: #31-40

    the sound of long-awaited rain drops

    snuggles with a sleeping baby (hurray for babywearing!)

    friends that are genuine and open, and who forgive, encourage, challenge and support me

    my mother-in-law, who takes either one or both of the kids and gives me a "morning off" each week

    all of our immediate family members living within 10 minutes driving of us.  Not only does this provide us with lots of babysitters, but it gives our kids the opportunity to build relationships with their grandmas and grandpas, and aunts and uncle.

    a sleepover at grandma and grandpa's for the kids (Emmett's first!), which went well

    sleeping in 2 mornings in a row (apparently spending 24 hours with grandma and grandpa really tires the kids out!  Wonder what it did to grandma and grandpa... :P)

    a fun day trip with my hubby

    Annika doing "voices" while she plays with her Little People - a high, squeaky voice for the mom (is that what I sound like??), and a low (or as low as a 3 year old's voice can go), booming  voice for the dad :)

    TWO weeks without using Emmett's eczema prescription cream


    Sunday, August 14, 2011

    Photo challenge day 14: flowers


    I do not have a green thumb.  The extent of my "flowerbeds" are 2 whiskey barrel containers.  And with the heat this summer, and my neglect, they're not looking so great.  I'm actually kind of surprised that there's still something alive in there!

    Friday, August 12, 2011

    Photo challenge day 12: close up


    This is the shag area rug in our living room.  Looks kind of funny this close up, but it is heavenly.  We bought it at Costco, when we weren't even looking for a rug (but really needing one).  It's so soft and comfy, sometimes I lie on it even when I'm not playing with the kids.

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    Photo challenge day 11: something fun


    Emmett learned to clap yesterday!  It's so fun to see them learning and figuring out new things.  He is thisclose to crawling - what fun it will be when he figures that out! :P

    PS. I realize that a lot of my photos for this photo challenge have featured Emmett.  I guess I should start getting a little more creative!  At least he won't complain when he's older that there's no pictures of him (he's the second child). :)

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    Photo challenge day 8: technology

    Thinking about this post made me realize how much I love (most of the time) the technology we have available to us today.  There were so many things that I use on a daily (or almost-daily) basis that I could've picked - PVR, laptop, digital camera, microwave, dishwasher, baby monitor, remote-controlled ceiling fan in our bedroom, the list goes on and on.  In the end I settled on this baby.  I love it.



    I'm not exactly what to call it - a cordless vacuum?  A souped-up dustbuster??  Whatever you call it, it's a lifesaver.  I don't like sweeping (even with my fancy Norwex "dry mop"), and I find my central vac to be a bit cumbersome to drag out every time there's crumbs under the table.  The central vac stuff 'lives' upstairs, and I only bring it down when I need to vacuum the whole main floor.  So for the in-between times, the ever-present crumbs under the table, the dirt by the back door, I bring out this baby.  It's like a dustbuster (you can probably see that it actually has a dustbuster that snaps out of the handle), but the handle makes it so much easier to use - no need to bend down.  It really came in handy when I was pregnant with Emmett.  It's so light and easy to manoeuvre - I think if I didn't have it, I probably wouldn't have cleaned the floors at all during that time!

    1000 gifts: #21-30

    book club (aka 'dessert club') :)

    two nights out without the kids in one week

    a brother and sister-in-law willing to babysit (and tolerate my 'neurotic-mommy' instruction notes!)

    Jolly Jumper time

    a week without needing to use Emmett's eczema prescription cream (and he's even been having wheat every day!).

    the challenge of taking pictures every day and being creative with them

    the fun and excitement of planning and anticipation (no, I'm not announcing anything - it's not that kind of anticipation.  We've just been discussing a few get-aways for the fall and winter)

    strong arms & back to carry around our big, growing baby, who is now 21.5 lbs at 8 months!

    Annika twirling in her 'princess' dress

    free clothes from a friend who likes to purge



    Sunday, August 7, 2011

    Photo challenge day 7: something new

    Not much new and exciting around here.  This picture is of some new sheets that I bought for Annika the other day.  She's been dry at night (or wakes up to pee) almost every night for about 2 months now, but we still put her in a pull-up every night, just in case.  I think, though, that she's just about ready to go without the pull-up.  However, before we try it out, I had to buy an extra set of sheets, since I only have one set of sheets for her bed.  When we were at Walmart the other day, she picked out this pink set.  So the sheet are new, and when I get enough courage to let her go without the pull-up, that will be new too!



    Saturday, August 6, 2011

    Photo challenge day 6: childhood memory

    I wasn't quite sure how to take a picture of one of my own childhood memories, so here's a picture of something that may one day be a childhood memory for Annika - yesterday she got her very own library card.  I forgot to bring my camera along to the library, so this is when we got home.  She was very excited about it, although she doesn't quite fully understand the concept of a library and a library card yet (she keeps asking about paying for our books).


    Friday, August 5, 2011

    I love kiddie leashes

    Yup, I said it.  I'm not ashamed of it - I love my kiddie leash.

    What prompted this declaration?  Well, I was reading the paper this morning, and someone had written a letter to the advice column lady about how they had seen a mom with a toddler on a leash (or harness, if you prefer), and they thought that it was "disgusting," "abusive," and from the "Stone Age" (direct quotes).  Clearly this person is not a parent of a toddler!  So I felt the need to express my opinion on the subject (and it's my blog, so I'm allowed to do that!) ;)

    I'll admit, before I had kids, I too thought that leashes for children were a bit inhumane.  However, now I see them as a god-send.  We have one for Annika that looks like a puppy/backpack.  She likes wearing it, and it benefits both of us.  She gets to run around and have more freedom (as opposed to being stuck in a shopping cart or always having to hold my hand), and I have the peace of mind that she's not going to run away or get hurt.  Of course I still keep an eye on her that she's not getting into trouble (and I always take her by the hand when we're around traffic), but it definitely makes things a lot easier, especially now with another kid.  The leash has come in handy so many times - I'm glad that I got over my initial discomfort with it.

    I think what made me the most upset this morning when reading that letter is the harsh judgement of the writer towards the mom.  What business does she have judging someone else, especially someone that she doesn't know at all?  It's not like the mom was hurting her child - she was just trying to keep her child safe, and doing what she thought was best.  It reminds me of a quote I came across a while ago:
    There is always one fact more in every man’s case about which we know nothing.
    (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest)
    If we weren't so quick to judge, if we actually took the time to find out that "one fact more", who knows what we could learn about those around us.  We might even find out things about ourselves we didn't know before.  So this is my challenge - to myself and to you - try a little understanding first; don't be so quick to judge.  Because next time it might be me, with my kid on a leash, that you're judging.

    Photo challenge day 5: someone[s] I love

    I'm cheating a little today - I can't just pick one "someone", so here are my top 3. :)


    Another cheat - this is a picture I took 2 summers ago.  But it's one of my favs.



    <3

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    Photo challenge day 4: favorite color


    Green is my favorite color
    I love this diaper - it's called "Meadow"

    By the way, look what I learned to do in Photoshop!!  Nifty, eh? :)

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    Photo challenge: day 1-3

    I saw this on a friend's blog, and I've decided to join in on the fun with this 30-day photo challenge, even though I'm starting a few days late.  Here's the list of photos:



    Day 1 and 2 combined - a self-portrait and what I wore


    This is me, from a very flattering angle.  I'm loving how skinny this pic makes me look. ;)
    Nevermind the toilet in the background.

    What I wore:
    Green striped tank - Reitman's
    Denim skirt - clothing exchange
    Can't see my shoes, but I'm not wearing any so it doesn't really matter.


    Day 3 - clouds


    Nothing terribly interesting happening in the sky right now, but I saw these puff balls hanging out over our garage and thought they looked kind of pretty.

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    1000 gifts: #11-20

    a night of uninterrupted sleep (I haven't had too many of these lately, which reminds me of what a gift it is, and brings me to my next gift...)

    coffee

    time spent with a good friend

    the sound of a laughing baby

    our shady backyard

















    the amazing healing power of a mother's kiss

    running

    an impish grin
























    "I love you all the way up to the moon and back"

    toes peeking through a vintage baby blanket