Meet Josephine and her cousin Alice. Also known as Jo and Al, these two girls are hilarious together and I’m so happy my children have cousins to grow up with. My sisters and I grew up with no with no extended family, which meant no gaggle of cousins to play with or aunts and uncles to grow up with. It meant pretend aunties and uncles who were really wonderful at the time but weren’t necessarily around as we got older or now that we are adults.
You might remember the story about my niece Alice’s birth and entrance in this world. She is 5 months old now and it has been really lovely to be an auntie to another sweet babe. It is even sweeter knowing that Ben and Josie get a lot of joy having cousins around. I’m lucky my two sisters both live relatively close, in the same province, and we get to see each other every few weeks.
Today my youngest sister and baby Alice all walked the seawall together to fetch Ben from school. He was totally delighted to show off his auntie and baby cousin to his teacher and classmates. We walked together in the awesome sunshine and came home to make salt dough Christmas ornaments. Josie totally adored painting the ornaments along with the table and her belly. She also loved doting on her little cousin Alice and also just being silly.
Back when my husband and I first met he told me he had a dog named Jill that he rescued from a border collie rescue in Florida. I felt that a guy who loved dogs, especially rescue dogs, would be a good guy and it turns out I was right. My husband loves dogs, especially dogs who have been given up or who live in rescues. So, when his old border collie Jill got to the end of her 17 years, I knew it wouldn’t be very long until another dog joined our family.
Two weeks after the passing of Jill The Dog, my husband traveled around to different SPCA’s looking for a new family member to take home. It all happened very quickly and soon a new/old dog joined our family and our life in the city. Maggie was about 10 years old when she came to us and was found wandering around Burnaby with no ID, no chip and no one ever claimed her. She was black and white and looked very much like a border collie but was actually a miniature Australian shepherd who was trained and loving and so well behaved.
It took her awhile to adapt to living in the city but she was city girl in no time. The metal ramps that led down to the water along the seawall freaked her out and she would put on full breaks. All of the new sounds would make her howl and when a siren went by our downtown condo she would sit down and howl with it, I sort of loved that. When I was pregnant with Ben she always came and sat next to me while I had a bath and kept a close watch on me as I got bigger and bigger with the baby.
I totally believe the reason that Maggie lived as long as she did was because of my husbands love and care of her. In her last year she was a full on great grandma dog and slowed down to a snails pace. She was mostly blind and mostly deaf and would just chill out on the floor for a good part of the day. We had to stop taking her out for long walks and trips over to Granville Island on the water taxi with her stopped last Spring. On her last day it was obvious that she was just starting to suffer and so my husband scooped her up and brought her to the vet. He loves his dogs so much that I’m sure there will be a new dog in our home before too long.
Each year my family has this thing where we all write a Christmas wish list and submit it to the family. It doesn’t matter if you’re an adult or you have a bunch of kids, you still sit down and write a special Christmas list that gets handed out to all my family members. I sometimes think that because we have a small family, no aunties or uncles for me, that this is one of the driving factors behind the continuing of this tradition.
I know other families, with adult siblings, who draw names and buy one present and I know others who don’t do any present exchanges. This is not my family, we buy something for everyone. While it’s not necessarily an elaborate gift, sisters give to each sister, everyone gives to my mum and dad, the brother in laws are remembered, and all little cousins get taken care of.
Every year there are a few of the same things on my wish list, bath products are a huge must in my life and so I love getting a huge stash of them at Christmas. This year I have a few extra items on my wish list and only recently wrote out my special list and sent it to my family. If you don’t submit your wish list in a timely manner you start getting text messages and email reminders to get on it. I sort of love that.
This year my wish list looks like this:
- A modern sugar bowl (mine dropped and broke and my back up is all chipped!)
- Red Rose parfume from Jo Malone (love!)
- A coffee mug I can keep at work. Something fun and different. Maybe personalized so no one steals it!
- Bath bombs, milk bath, bubble bath (this is my annual staple)
- An oval crockpot with a timer (because of ALL your fab recommendations on my Facebook page, thank you!)
- Short socks for my Hunter boots.
I absolutely love buying Christmas pressies for my family! Even though I end up with all of the Christmas lists, I often seek out special gifts that might not be listed and use their list for inspiration and ideas. Sometimes it’s the process of things that is the important part; for me receiving all of the wish lists is a part of the start of the Christmas season.
Oh, lord! I have had the most annoying cold for over 2 weeks now and the whole nose blowing thing is getting rather old. The amount of tissues I’ve gone through is unreal. So, I sucked it up and headed to the doctors office to get a little check up. I was starting to feel sensitive about all the people giving me the evil eye when I blew my nose around them or the people pointing their fingers saying, ‘your sick!!!’. It turns out I have one of those glorious sinus infections that needs antibiotics and is not contagious but more of an inconvenience than anything.
I had to take Josie to the doctors office with me and, as you’d imagine, bringing a toddler into an appointment is a hilarious adventure. Our sweet girl is still charged up from her stay at Children’s hospital and wouldn’t stop saying, ‘hello doctor!’ every 20 seconds during my appointment. Luckily, the GP was very enamoured with Josie and didn’t mind the constant interruptions of ‘hello doctor!’ while she did a check up on me. There is absolutely no exaggeration with the every 20 seconds either, the girl was on it!
During my appointment I was very impressed with my GP who just assumed I was still nursing my nearly 2 year old girl when prescribing me drugs. While she was deciding what drugs to order me she was talking out loud and said, ‘hmm… no, that isn’t safe with breastfeeding..you are still breastfeeding right?’. Major kudos to a health care practitioner who is on the up and up with full term breastfeeding. I feel like one day full term nursing will be the norm and not the exception and a supportive health care provider is so important.
Recently I took an on line survey about my experience with support around my decision to keep breastfeeding past 12 months. The truth is, it wasn’t a doctor or a nurse educating me or encouraging me that got me past 12 months of age. Deciding to nurse my youngest till her 2nd birthday was from my own knowledge and my own drive. However, if I wasn’t a breastfeeding supporter my experience might have been different. I probably wouldn’t know that the World Health Organization recommends normal term breastfeeding as 24 months old and beyond. Which is why I was secretly thrilled when the GP I saw brought breastfeeding into our conversation as Josie toddled around her clinic saying hello.
Did you receive support around continuing to breastfeed past 12 months? Take the survey and help researchers collect information about breastfeeding toddlers and the support you received. http://www.breastfeedingtoddlers.org
We’re really really enjoying Josie’s age right now. At nearly 2 years old she is like the Betty White of toddlerhood and is hilarious, funny and likes to make you laugh. For me, one of the greatest parts of motherhood is watching my children’s personalities emerge and define and this girl is no exception. I have two children with totally different personalities and I love that.
Today in the quiet of the late morning she sat at the table playing with some play dough and just having a good time. I was busy bustling around making beds and wiping yogurt off the floor, again, when my husband snapped these shots. With Ben off at kindergarten Josie gets a chance to play on her own and she is just starting to get the concept of entertaining herself. For the longest time she always had her brother to lead her around.
‘Mama look! Dada look!’ (repeat times one hundred)
Just lately she has hit this stage where she does the classic ‘look what I can do!’ and she genuinely feels so much excitement. I will admit that today I used a bit of sarcasm on her, ‘WOW!! Look at that!!! You’re amazing!!’. The smile I got in return was so worth the fact that I used sarcasm on a toddler. All day long she wants to have us watch her do something. Put a bowl on her head, a Cheerio in her bellybutton, a whoopee cushion on the couch. It is a constant conversation of, ‘Mama! Look!’. She even stops by her sweet old dad’s office to show him what she can do. He’s always busy working but graciously stops and looks at what she can do. Wear a funny shirt, put her brother’s underwear on her head, shake her baby booty.
This clever girl thinks she is the first one to come up with the idea of pushing pencils and objects into play dough
We know that moments like these ones are short and go by quickly. Everyone ahead of us has already warned us about that and we listened. We know that one day she will tell us to STOP looking at her and to leave her alone. So, we choose to just embrace each one of her sweet shouts for us to look at what she can do. At the same time I try to press the record button in my brain and capture all her cute toddler antics… because seriously, so cute.
Josie at 22 months old. Look what she can do!
I won’t ever claim to be a domestic goddess in the kitchen. In fact, I openly admit that one of the big reasons I initially fell in love with my husband was that the man could cook. Oh, could he cook! In our first 6 months of dating I gained a good 10 pounds from all of his delicious cooking. If I was hungry, he would cook for me and it was a real love affair. In the early days, I started thinking about all of the perks there was to having a partner who was a good cook. Besides all of the delicious food I got to eat it also meant that I didn’t have to cook.
Then came marriage and babies in the carriage and life moved on, I persevered over the stove top and became a decent home cook. I am not so much of an inspired cook and do it more out of necessity and fulfilling the good enough mom role. It also turns out that children expect some kind of food multiple times every day. Didn’t I make dinner yesterday?
Is it okay if my kids eat sandwiches for dinner? Will you judge me if I told you that at dinnertime they had scrambled eggs or that they had pudding for dessert? I’m not much for advanced meal planning, mostly because I am out of the house random dinnertimes each week with work. My husband still does do some dinnertime cooking and can whip up something delicious and nutritious from the pantry, but the frequency is vastly different than our days before kids. I’m left with about 4-5 days each week that I need to make something for dinner and I am often left with a lack of inspiration. I can make a mean tomato sauce from scratch and homemade meatballs that are amazing, but that only works once a week or so. I need more ideas!
What’s on her face? Dinner! A tasty red pepper tomato sauce along with a bit of chocolate pudding
I’ve been reading your Tweets and your Facebook updates and there’s lots of talk about soups and chilli and delicious warm homemade meals. I need to know, what are you making for dinner?
There has always been the talk about how Vancouverites are down right unfriendly. Apparently people don’t talk to other people and no one’s asking how your day was. The sugar and spice vibe is gone resulting in a lack of friends with apartment neighbours, despite only being separated by a wall. I’ve always had the opposite experiences with my own apartment neighbours and have made friends with every apartment I have lived in. Sure, it is usually a pretty casual friendship but I’ve been given keys and watered plants of some of my previous apartment neighbours.
My husband is a much more friendlier neighbour than me and always finds out peoples names, especially if they have a dog. Well now, hat’s Colleen and Colin and their dog Rocket! Across the way is Sandra and Bernard and their dogs Spot and Hercules!’. Recently we’ve been having our neighbour’s dog Spot over for some playful fun. Our old dog Maggie is more at a great grandmother speed and Ben was really wanting to play with an active dog, so we invited Spot over to play.
Spot, ‘the neighbour dog’, has come over about 5 times in the last 2 weeks and there’s always a lot of excitement in our apartment with each visit. Spot even has his own toy when he comes to play and when he walks outside our front door he gives a little woof to say hello. Being in an apartment doesn’t have to be isolating and having the ability to connect with neighbours can be really awesome. Plus, Spot is such a welcomed guest to have over!
A house or an apartment or something in between… are you friendly with your neighbours?
***The contest is now closed. The winner by random draw is Jenn. Jenn said, “I attended last year for the first time since I became a “Vancouverite” 4 years ago. Was so much fun, and so much amazing, local treasure! Excited for all the cute baby things to discover and maybe get some early xmas shopping done this year while being pregnant!” Congratulations on the ticket win Jenn. Send me a message to email@example.com to claim your tickets!
If you’re a Vancouverite, or somewhere nearby, you might be aware that in a couple of weeks the annual Circle Craft Christmas Market will be happening downtown. This is an event I’ve been checking out for over the last 5 years and it never fails to get my Christmas juices flowing. Plus, I love a good reason to browse and shop and touch nice things.
A usual annual stop for me includes sampling some of the artisan foods such as Belgian chocolate from Abbotsford’s ChocolaTas (seriously, oh so delicious!). I have a mad love affair with chocolate and declare these chocolates to be very delicious. Last year I found Josie the cutest organic onesie and purple sweater from local company Zoolu Organics. I love supporting local business and the Circle Craft Christmas Market is full of vendors from around Canada.
This year the market runs from November 7-11th at the Vancouver Convention Centre West and tickets are available on line. I have two tickets up for grabs for you to win to attend! Entering is easy, just leave me a comment on this blog post about why you want to attend. A winner will be drawn by Monday November 4th. How simple is that? Good luck!
I am not going to lie, I’ve already given some thought to my annual tradition of sending out Christmas cards. While it still feels like the holidays are a long ways off, I have given a bit of thought about what I’d like our 2013 family card to look like. Last year we did our first photo card and had a terrific shot of us in Hawaii plastered on the front. I really enjoy the whole process of picking out the right card, writing messages and addressing envelopes. I might get a sense of gratification when I put all those cards in the mail box too. I guess I’m a total sucker for traditions and sending out Christmas cards ranks high on my lists of traditions to keep up.
For me, traditions help to symbolize family and that familiarity of special events makes me feel good. I love collecting our mail during December and pulling out the envelopes that look like cards. Each year I send off a good chunk of special cards to friends and family spanning across North America through to the UK. While, social media helps us keep up to date with day to day events much more than it did years ago, receiving a Christmas card just helps solidify connections and ultimately spread some holiday cheer.
It seemed completely perfect when indie card company Minted asked me to check out their goods. Minted offers so many choices for the consumer and allows you to play around with your selection before purchasing it. I love Minted’s interactive on line card options and also that it is so easy to use. Just upload your favourite photo of your cat, your cute baby, your family, your scenic holiday shot and GO!
In the olden days, and even very occasionally now, people would sit down and write out a letter telling all about the things they had been up to over the year. Remember those? I still get a couple of letters each Christmas but for the most part it just doesn’t happen anymore. When I saw this card I thought it was so suitable as a modern take on the annual newsletter. So perfect for a family who has had a few exciting things happen over the year or for someone who has traveled around.
Back when I was a single lady in the city I still sent out Christmas cards each year, the volume was less but the sentiment was the same. Once we had Ben I felt this excitement about including him in some of the traditions we grew up with and also creating our own family traditions. I think a new baby is a perfect feature for a family Christmas card and a baby jazzed up to look a little festive is pretty sweet in my opinion.
I am definitely a pre planner and I plan to have my Christmas cards in hand by mid November. Say what?? I know some of you are thinking that is way too early but a pre planner has a plan. Once I select my card and have everything ready to go, I do a bunch of cards each night that I have some down time. I’m usually watching a silly Christmas movie and burning a scented candle while I write little messages inside each card. I always like to have them ready to mail out by the first week of December, just to make sure that each card can get where it needs to go in the world.
Are you going to be sending out Christmas cards this year? Can I have a ‘oh yeah!’ for all the Christmas card pre planners like me. Check out Minted at their site minted.com or on their blog for fun creative DIY ideas.
I was compensated by Minted for this post, but my love of their cards is my own opinion.