Monday, May 4, 2015

We made a fairy garden

I love all things little girls. Don't get me wrong - I love how Lucas roars at us line a dinosaur all day and gets on his hands and knees to rhino us - I do. I also love his big snuggles and kisses. But when it comes to playtime, Lucas is "all boy" in the total sexist, stereotypical way. He likes dinosaurs. And when I try to play dinosaurs with him, his dinosaur (regardless of whether it's a stegosaurus or a t-rex) eats my dinosaur. Every single time. And when my dinosaur miraculously gets up and starts walking again, BAM - Lucas' dinosaur is right there ready to re-kill him. I don't even know where he learned this. I've never seen any ounce of death on Disney Junior and I know he's seen Finding Nemo a few times, but as far as he's concerned, nothing really happened to Nemo's mom. Soo.... maybe I should be sleeping with one eye open?

But when it comes to "girlie" things - in the total sexist, stereotypical way, I find my happy place. Princesses don't attack you and eat you. They say "hi, how are you? Would you like some tea?" and ask them to play their fake baby grande piano. This is much more my happy place. Unfortunately (not unfortunately - she can be whomever she wants to be!) Aryn is not that into Barbies or dolls or playing house or anything. She's a rough-and-tumble girl, much more interested in playing outside with her brother than playing with any kind of doll.

So when I read the May issue of The Newsy Neighbour (the awesome magazine I work at!) and saw the Family Pages article about Fairy Gardens, I knew I had to try this out with Aryn! And lo and behold, she loved the idea (yay!). So we bought a book on Amazon that ended up being the dumbest book ever, so we just went to good ol' (and free!) Pinterest to check out what we can do for our Fairy Garden.

The first thing we did was choose the perfect place to build our garden. We chose the front of the house because the locked gates can keep Lucas out. Apparently the chance of thieves and animals trumps Lucas' grubby little hands.

So we pulled out the plants we had there and cleared it off. Aryn was pretty pumped to be helping me.

She kept digging. We also found a huge hole in the bottom of the garden from a stupid gopher who took up residence until his timely and well-welcomed vacation to Mexico. Or was it the Dominican? Either way, he left as mysteriously as he arrived. I hope he's enjoying the sun.

Lucas had to help. It was not very much fun. 

 Next we started working on the Fairy's house. We went to the dollar store in town and bought a bird house. The house we chose was actually a piggy bank and it had a little door on the side. So instead of having the door on the front like it's supposed to be, we rotated the house and made it just as unique as my little red-head-with-blue eyes.

We painted the roof brown and the walls purple. Because, you know, fairies love purple. 

Next step was gluing rocks to the side of the house. "Where did you get all those awesome rocks?" you may ask. Well, I stole them from the park. Yup, these awesome rocks are covered with stray cat pee and most likely coyote poop. Nothing says "Fairies" like pee and poop. 

Whoever created the glue gun is amazing. I also like to think glue is made from melted plastic rather than... you know.... what glue is made from.

This is how the house looked when we finished the rocks. I also found some little pieces of wood at the school park and took it home for this craft. I don't even want to think about how disgusting this wood is. 

The next step, and very important stem, was stealing some branch from the neighbour's tree for some greenery on the house. Sshhhhhh don't tell them.

We also painted the rocks with glitter paint, which made all the rocks fall off. Did you know glue guns aren't that awesome afterall? *insert angry face here* After Aryn lost interest because I kept whispering in a nice, calming voice "BE CAREFUL!" eight thousand times, I got to fix the house - alone. Yes - I am just fine admitting I took control of the house. My nerves couldn't take it! 

I also used my strong calligraphy talents on the "Fairies Welcome" sign. Notice how "Fairies" is spelled nicely then "Welcome" is smooshed together? Yeah... that's what happens when you don't plan first. 

And then we added moss. This moss is just from the dollar store. I read on the back that it is a good protector so hopefully it keeps the Fairy house protected. We all know how great dollar store items are.

The next step for the house was to put it in the garden. And here it is! 

Next we painted some mini pots I got at a garage sale for $2. We painted them whatever colour Aryn wanted and then covered them in Mod Podge to protect them. 


Then we painted the bird house. Again, I should be the spokesperson for the Strathmore Dollarama because we really did buy everything there. They had these little houses. Aryn wanted a yellow birdhouse, which she painted all by herself. My crazy mom-zilla-ness was put to the side during this one. She did a great job. We covered it in Mod Podge again once it was dry. 

Look how much she's loving my guided, strict fun. 

Then I attached it to a stick I got from a super cool store (the dollar store) and voilĂ ! A bird house! 

Next, we decided to paint some rocks. In theory, this idea was awesome. BUT, the rocks were glued onto some sort of plastic bedding. I assumed I could just pull off the rocks easily. I mean, Dollar store items break just by looking at them half the time so these rocks should come off super easily. Right? WRONG. These rocks were glued onto that stupid plastic crap with PL4000 or some sort of super glue used to put together spaceships. 

But she had fun painting them with glitter glue! 

Unfortunately, upon trying to rip these stupid rocks off of the plastic, every little bit of glitter glue got all over my hands. So, we had to re-paint them. Outside. And the glue came off again so I have to go back and re-paint them when Aryn's not looking. Stupid rocks.

But the rocks were used as a little pathway for the fairies. And the fence? The (gross and dirty) sticks I found at the park tied together with wire. We're thinking of adding little flowers to the fence but it hasn't been done yet. 

The last part of the craft was making little pathway lights for the fairies. On the fairy websites, these little balls on top of a little stand were $14.99 EACH! So what's the thrifty, dollar-store-loving mom to do? Buy a bag of marbles ($1.25!) and some golf tees (we have a HUGE box full of them!) and glue them on. 

And we put them in the garden.

So then we went to the garden centre. We went to Garden Scents just outside of Chestermere for some of the plants, and Home Hardware in Strathmore for the rest. I just let Aryn pick out what she wanted. We found a little bush that shouldn't grow larger than 1-2 feet, and some little mossy plants and greenery. 

It was so much fun teaching Aryn about the dirt, and how to plant plants and flowers with ease and how to be careful. It was slightly frustrating when she was pouring the dirt onto the rocks (once again getting rid of said sparkly glue) but it was fun. 

Aryn even got her own gardening bucket! I have had mine for a few years and she was so proud of hers.

Here's my girl super proud of herself while planting the garden with me! I just love her!

And here's the final product!

I'll keep posting photos of our fairy garden to show how it's doing. We also found a little table and chairs and a water well (filled with blue rocks) at Garden Scents for the fairies. I think we'll continue to build on it as we go!

I highly recommend doing this with your little one! If your boy or girl isn't interested in fairies, you can make a gnome garden, or a super hero garden, or even a truck garden (you can plant flowers in the truck bed!!). Use your imagination and have fun with your little one!!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

It's been awhile

Blogging. Once upon a time, I LOVED blogging. It was everything. I looked forward to writing out about our entire lives!!

Then... life really happened. I mean, it REALLY happened. The kids took over. Work became something that took any "free time" I had. Now.... blogging is over.

And it's sad. I mean, I can look back at previous posts about Aryn and really remember things that happened! When Lucas was a baby, and I wanted to know what kind of baby Aryn was, I just went to a post when she was that age. And I'm sad that I'll never be able to do that with Lucas. I can't look back at previous posts about his life... because I didn't write anything down. I also forget to videotape. And take photos. And write things down.

He's 2 in almost a month. 2!!!! He's the most amazing little boy, who drives me CRAZY. He loves his mama, he will do everything and anything his sister does, he is trying SO HARD to talk. He's in a big boy bed (for the last 2 weeks!). He didn't even fight it or have any kind of transition period - he just took to it. And loved it. And sleeps better than he ever has before. He talks. He says "Uh huhhhhh" like it's the saddest thing in the world. He says "Nooooo" like I just asked him if he wanted me to kill a puppy. He screams. He yells. He roars. He loves being a puppy (complete with licking you). He loves being a dinosaur. His roars are loud and they pierce your ears. He screams at the top of his lungs ALL.EFFING.DAY. He and Aryn fight like cats and dogs - they fight over everything. And it ends up with Lucas screaming, and Aryn getting in trouble. And we all know she's not even doing something so awful to need that god-awful scream, but she still gets in trouble because NO ONE can stand that scream.

Lucas loves his Yampa ("Pa"). I mean, loves his Yampa. Lucas is obsessed with Bauer. He has to wipe Bauer's feet every time he comes in the house, even if they're not dirty (he brings me the towel and I have to give Lucas each one of Bauer's feet). Bauer hates Lucas. But Bauer seems to really like Aryn lately!

Lucas hates dogs. He's terrified of them. Bauer was attacked by 2 big dogs last week and ever since ANY kind of dog comes around him and he freaks out. It's sad, and it hurts my heart.

Lucas loves throwing things and hitting people. He is no longer allowed to have a hockey stick or any kind of long device, as he uses it as an attacking tool.

Lucas loves books. He will sit there and read books all the time. When he wakes up in the morning, he gets up, grabs a book, and lays down reading it. When it's bedtime, if he's not too tired yet, he grabs a book, lays down, and reads it. We find him everywhere in the house, sitting there, on his own, reading.

He also loves counting. He finds 2 of everything, then squeals with delight, "TWO!!!!" Two sippy cups. Two spoons (at EVERY meal). Two crackers. Two everything. My almost-2-year-old can count.

He wants to poop and pee on the potty. But sometimes he goes in his diaper, and he hates it. He also loves washing his hands after any kind of bathroom break. LOVES washing his tiny little hands.

He loves stickers.

He loves tractors and trucks. And dinosaurs. And birds. And animals at the zoo.

He loves watching movies in the car.

He loves Henry Hugglemonster... for about 7 minutes (as opposed to the 2 minutes we get with other shows!).

He loooooves hot dogs. I'm embarrassed to admit to how often I take advantage of that.

He runs around in circles, a little ball of energy.

He loves his mama. He gives me hugs and kisses all day. Mind you, many of those hugs and kisses are met with a big smack in the head but - I'll take the love. But at night... he will take my face with his hands, kiss my one cheek, then my other, then my forehead, then give me a big hug, turn over and go to sleep. Be still my heart.

At almost 2, he's in size 2T clothes, and many are too big for him. He's a scrawny, skinny little thing with an outty belly button and long torso. He loves wearing baseball hats and rubber boots and making sure he wears the perfect shoes. He picks out his clothes, and gets REALLY mad at me when I put him in something he doesn't approve of. He loves running around naked and dancing up a storm. He's a hilarious dancer. He loves twirling the hair on the back of his neck when he's tired and falling asleep. He is my snuggle bug, my spider destroyer, my little flirt.

4 has been a tough year for Aryn. She seems to have a lot of emotions and doesn't know how to express them. To be honest, I'm nervous about teenagehood. She is shy, but a mean shy. It's almost as if she doesn't want to be shy, so she lashes out at those who make her shy - and that's grandparents, us, friends, visitors, everyone. And she never.stops.talking. Ever. From the second she wakes up (at 6-ish) to the moment she goes to bed (7ish) she talks.

For the last 2 nights, she's woken up in the middle of the night complaining about something or other. This morning her scrape from 2 weeks earlier hurt.

She is the funniest kid I've ever met. The things she says throws us for such a surprised loop that all you can do is burst out laughing. From "Let's get this show on the road!" to "Are you freaking kidding me?!" to even "Lucas, be quiet. Can't you see I'm on the phone with Cinderella?"

We don't know what she's "into"... she likes Barbies, but doesn't play with them. She likes specific tv shows, but doesn't sit down to watch them. She doesn't seem to be really overly interested in anything other than playing with friends. She has a best friend, Dani, and if the two of them could be together 24/7, they'd both be happy. We have stopped buying the kids toys for holidays because, quite frankly, neither of them play with toys. In fact, I intend to have a garage sale in the next few weeks to get rid of all of our toys!

Aryn is a very sensitive little girl, whose whole existence will crumble if she's in trouble or if she gets told to do something she doesn't want to do. But she flourishes when you compliment her or rave about how smart she is or how good she is at doing something.

She LOVES gymnastics and does so well! I take Lucas at the same time as her so I'm normally more focussed on keeping him away from all the babies (he looooooves babies) and in line with everyone that I can't really watch everything she does in gymnastics but she's loving it and I'll keep sending her as long as she wants.

She is very black and white with Lucas... she protects him and hugs him and loves him so much and on the other side, she will whack him for no apparent reason. The two of them fight all the time! Then when I have to step in and get mad at one of them (often Lucas), Aryn is there to tell me how mean I am and how much she loves her little brother. I don't think I could win that argument if I tried.

She is very set on the puppies and babies she has in her bed (3 puppies, a lion, a cat, a tiny tiger... I'm sure I'm forgetting someone). They all have very specific names, and they need to be under her blanket so they don't get cold at night.

I have to go in and see her every single night.

Ryan is currently reading her "Charlotte's Web" - her first book with no photos, and they're almost done and she's loving it! As a surprise, we just bought her the movie to watch once she's done the book.

She's registered for Kindergarten. We're doing part-time.

She loves learning. She loves trying to spell her name and gets very frustrated when she messes up.

In some ways, she closes off when she doesn't perfect something right off the bat. In other ways, she continues practising until she gets it perfect.

Her hair. It's so beautiful and completely crazy. It's a fight to brush it so it ends up staying a mess. But my goodness, it's so beautiful. And SO thick!

She loves dancing at night. Oh my.... to videotape it would be difficult but something I'd love to remember forever.

All in all, we're loving these two kids and amazed at how much they make our lives so complete. From the running hugs at the door (even if I'm gone for 5 minutes!) to the nighttime snuggles and hugs.... Ryan and I are pretty lucky to have these two monsters.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Life With Lucas

Dear Lucas,

You are the sweetest, funniest, craziest, most insane little boy I've ever met in my entire life. Every day, you make us laugh from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep, yet you make us want to pull out our hair as well when you yell "Ba!" and "Da!" at the top of your lungs ALL.DAY.LONG.

You love to bug your sister. Whatever she has, you need to have. If she has a book, you need the book. If she has a pony, you need the pony. If she has a Barbie doll, you need the Barbie doll. No matter what.

With food, you eat a little of what's on your plate, then you laugh your evil laugh as you throw the rest of it to Bauer - even if you're enjoying the meal! Bauer appreciates you feeding him, but his waistline doesn't.

Speaking of your evil laugh, you laugh this evil laugh all the time. You honk our nose - evil laugh. You "tickle" us - evil laugh (FYI, your tickles are more like sharp painful pinches). Your evil laugh gets you out of trouble because it's so funny!

When you walk, you walk with this stomp... this attitude-filled walk and you march through the house with this walk and make us laugh!

You love hats, and you use hats as a way to charm everyone around you - including strangers - because you know you're adorable.

You love to honk people's noses.... including strangers. You reach your hand out, we put our nose down and we have to say the "honk" sound. Then you honk your own nose (which is a higher-pitched honk). You seem to enjoy doing this with strangers too, even though Mommy tries to refrain you... but your whine makes me give in.

Seriously. Your whine. I've never heard anything like it!!

You love to give the most amazing hugs. They are so heartfelt, with a big squeeze and snuggle. I crave your hugs!! Unfortunately, your kisses are needing some work. You give awesome little kisses, but sometimes you get inappropriate and try to make out with people... especially mom.

Recently, you learned to take off your own pyjamas. I keep finding you in your crib with no clothes on, which is terrifying because one of these times you're going to poop in your diaper and it's going to go everywhere!

Speaking of poop, you are potty training yourself. You sit on the toilet for anywhere from 10-40 minutes. You usually pee (and tell me when you have to pee), but sometimes even after sitting there for more than half an hour, when you finally get off, you instantly poop either in your diaper, or on the carpet in the middle of the living room, or on the carpet on our stairs. Sometimes, when you have a diaper on and mom isn't paying attention, you take your diaper off and poop in the middle of the living room carpet. You've done this twice in the last 2 days. It's awesome.

You are such an amazing little boy and whenever I get frustrated with you, I just have to give you a big hug and kiss because you are the light of everyone's life! You make your sister happier than she's ever been, and you make people want to be around you because of how happy you are; you're rarely in a bad mood, and the few times you are it's because you're tired or teething. How do we know you're tired? Because you snuggle in, you put your head on our shoulders, and you rub the back of our heads with your fingers.

Bedtime is one of my favourite times of the day with you, and not because it's finally bedtime! It's because of our rituals. You have a bath, and you're always so much fun in the bath. You love swimming and throwing water and laughing with Aryn. Then we go brush your teeth, and you love being such a big boy and brushing your teeth by yourself. Then we go get dressed and read as many books as you can possible fit in. Then you have to say goodnight to everyone who is over - Aryn, Daddy, Yammy, Yampa, Bauer, and mom. If we miss anyone, you freak out and cry until I bring you to give hugs and kisses goodnight to everyone.

Mornings are hilarious with you. You either sit in your bed and yell at me to come get you, "Mom! Mom! Mom!" or you make this weird noise that can only be described as "Mommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmmmmm". And then when you hear someone coming, you instantly drop and hide under the pillow with your feet sticking out, and then you laugh your evil little laugh from under the pillow. It's hilarious but I haven't been able to get a video of this yet!

To this day, Aryn has never thrown a big fit. No laying on the floor, crying, kicking, screaming, etc. You, on the other hand, have done this a few times now. You like to get your way. You don't like it when people take toys away from you, or something you really shouldn't be playing with. You are very set in your ways and it's game over when someone tries to change what you had in mind. This is all new territory for me, and I feel like I'm failing because I just stand there and laugh at you when you're being like this! I'm nervous for our first public tantrum.

You have this absolutely adorable little fake cry. You bring this out mostly when you're tired, or first thing in the morning. Lucas, it's so funny. You close your eyes so tight, turn your head to the sky, and let out this big fake cry. Sometimes you bring out the crocodile tears. Even Aryn knows you're faking it and she calls you out on it, to which you usually smile at.

Mom has taken on the enjoyment of dressing you up. You get dressed in skinny jeans and little trendy shirts and sweaters. I am loving it! I'd like to say I'm sorry but you really seem to enjoy it because when we come home, you instantly try to put on Aryn's fancy shoes or mom's boots or whatever is laying in the entryway.

Every time I take the camera out (digital or phone!) you instantly stop what you're doing and give me the cheesiest, biggest smile ever. I've been having to fight Aryn for a photo for awhile now, but after she sees you ham it up for the camera, she instantly wants her photo taken too.

You love yogurt. I mean, LOVE yogurt. You need to have one after every sleep. You are so excited to go downstairs, then you run to the fridge and point and "Uh! Uh! Uh!" at it until you get your yogurt, then you walk around drinking every last drop.

You have quite the sweet tooth. You love everything with sugar. Ketchup, ice cream, chocolate, marshmallows - you name it, you love it.

You know your animals and machinery! Trucks go "Brrm brrm". Ducks go "Maa maa maa". Dogs go "Bark bark bark". Cows go "mmmmmmmmm". Sheep go "Baaa baaa". Horses go "Beee beee". Reading books is also entertainment with you. You point at everything and we need to tell you what it is, or we ask you where something is and you point at it. You are so extremely smart, but you're also bossy. You point at something, like some guy who's driving the bulldozer (brrm brrm) and you want to know his name. I say "I don't know his name!" so you keep pointing at this guy and getting more and more mad at me until finally I yell, "Bill! His name is Bill!" which you accept and go to the next image. There are a lot of characters named Bill, George and Paul.

And one of my most favourite things about you is how you act when you get "hurt". I use quotation marks because you're the biggest faker. You slip on a book, you have this adorable little fake cry, and you point at the book as if to say "that book hurt me!" Then we have to give you a hug, kiss the boo boo (usually your foot) and then you're fine. Sometimes we're not around to kiss your boo boo or not able to kiss it, so you sit down and kiss the boo boo yourself. The funniest story is one time I was trying to put your diaper back on and you were having none of it, so I smacked your bum to make you stop trying to get away. You stopped, looked at me with these big blue eyes, pointed at me and yelled at me. It was so funny! You were so mad at me and it took a lot of snuggling to make you forgive me. Sorry baby boy!!

Lucas, we love you so much and it's been quite a ride with you the past 18 months!!!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Aryn's 4th Birthday

I think it's safe to say that I have fallen off the blogging bandwagon. This also means that, in 20 years, when Lucas comes up to me and says "Hey mom, when did I get all of my teeth?" I'm going to answer with "around 1." Not "Oh at # months, # days for your top two teeth, and # months, # days for your bottom" like I can do with Aryn. Nope. Did I even blog about Lucas walking? Yeah, he walks. And talks. And is hilarious.

But I digress.

On September 6, 2014, we had Aryn's big 4th birthday party. It. Was. AMAZING.

Over the past few months, Aryn has really jumped on the whole "princess" bandwagon. Everything is princesses. She's a princess, Daddy is a prince, Mommy is the queen, Lucas is the king... yes, I wrote that right. I used to wonder how 75 year old princess movies could still be loved by kids nowadays... I mean, Snow White is old school. And by 'old school', I mean it was made in 1937. It is literally 77 years old. And comparing it to hits like Frozen, how can you put Elsa in the same basket as Snow White? Yet there we are, in a bidding war with some stranger on the Strathmore Bidding Wars page for a Snow White dress for a meagre $12 while I'm also Googling for an Elsa doll.

This is my life.

So when I found on Kijiji an ad for a Princess rental, I jumped at it. I booked Elsa and Anna... and I am embarrassed to say I was extremely excited. I mean, come on. How awesome would this be? And about a week prior to the party, Elsa texted me (they must have a good phone plan in Russia) and asked if Princess Jasmine could come along as well. Hey, free travel on Carpet, right?

So I got working on giving my little Princess the party of the century.

I made a castle entrance... that didn't turn out as awesome as I had hoped, but hey... it's not too bad, right?


The Princess table.



The pink popcorn was just red food colouring added to butter. It was NOT a big hit... :/

I had to do something to entice the little boys, who were going to be knights at this party. I made Knight armour out of a cardboard box and black duct tape, and the swords are from the dollar store. Score for Halloween stuff out now!


I made a banner for my Princess with downloaded Princess characters from Etsy.

The water bottle labels are a must-have for every party. I've become the Group Water Bottle Label Maker!

And the gift bags. Every Princess got to take home a twirly straw, a Princess crown, and this bag that had a crown cookie in it made by Out Of Chaos Comes Cookies. Every Knight went home with a sword, their armour, and a cookie made into a frog.

And the cake. I used the same Out Of Chaos Comes Cookies for the cake. She's just fantastic. It was a last minute thing as I was extremely unorganized and she pulled through with flying colours. Too bad the photo isn't better quality... it's the only one I have!

My Princess...


The party kicked off with some fun in the trampoline... that proves we may need to upgrade next year...

And we got some photos of the other Princesses who were invited.


And we had to do some group shots...

And then the Princesses showed up!


They sang songs, talked to the girls, played games, told a story, and didn't get out of character for even a second. It was fantastic and the girls were in awe!



Lucas even had a good time! 



And I even got a family photo with everyone!

And my favourite photo of all time...

And the Baby & Me 2.0 generation got some photos done too, of course.


And then we did the cake.

And the Princesses gave Aryn a gift for her birthday...


The girls were all sad to see them go, but it was a great party! 


Thank you to everyone who made it so special! And we're officially into the 4's... and I'm loving every minute of it! Happy birthday my sweet girl. Your dad and I love you to the moon and back. You are so special, sweet, funny and beautiful. Thank you for being our little girl!!