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.