Monday, December 31, 2012

Passport Artwork

I've been wanting to make a piece of artwork from old passport stamps ever since I saw Brooklyn Limestone do it here. It's actually been on my 36 in 365 list for the last two years. And I'm happy to report, I have finally gotten around to doing it! 

(click to enlarge)
The first piece on the left has stamps from Ireland, France, and USA. The middle has France, the chunnel in England, and Colombia. The piece on the right includes Japan, Portugal, and Thailand.

It was really quite simple so I shouldn't have waited so long to do it. I basically followed the instructions in the blog post that I linked to above. I bought three wooden rectangles and sawtooth picture hangers from Joann Fabrics and spray adhesive from Target. This cost me around $10 if I remember correctly, and the spray adhesive was much more expensive than anything else. M scanned our passports for me and I fiddled around with them on iPhoto to make them a proper size. I printed the pictures out on our home computer and then after realizing I didn't have a sharp enough exacto knife, just cut the proper size paper with scissors. I sprayed the adhesive onto the paper then plopped it onto the wood and voila, there you have it. The hardest part was finding a good place to hang them. I finally decided on a spot in our staircase.
I love walking down the stairs and being reminded of some of the cool places we've traveled to and the fun times we've had. For someone who is rarely crafty, I am so proud of myself, and happy to cross this off the list! 

Friday, December 28, 2012

WEverb Days 11 - 14

WEverb Day 11: spend/save [LIVE]
Are you richer or poorer this year compared to last?

Technically we are poorer this year than last year, mostly because we bought a house plus I'm a stay at home mom and haven't worked a "real" job in two and a half years. Everyone asks if I miss teaching and the answer is simple - no! I feel so fortunate to be able to stay at home with Little m, I wouldn't trade it for the world, even if this means watching our money a little closer. So while technically we are poorer, I feel 100 times richer because I get to spend my days with the world's best baby.

WEverb Day 12: toss [GROW]
2012 was the last time for ___________.

Living in Lincoln Park. Sharing laundry facilities with crazy people. Being woken in the middle of the night by wind chimes. Dealing with street parking (hallelujah). Waking up for midnight feedings -not me, baby. iPhone 3GS. One Tree Hill.

WEverb Day 13: associate [LISTEN]
What blog/book/article spoke to you the most in 2012?

Emily at Oh! Apostrophe wrote a blog post about breastfeeding a toddler and oh my, she could have taken the words right out of my mouth. When Little m turned one year old, I felt almost embarrassed saying yes when people asked me if I was still nursing. I don't know why but I got the vibe from a number of people that as soon as a child turns one, it's weird to continue breastfeeding. Well I got over that quickly, especially after reading Emily's post on this very matter. She has a child a few months older than Little m and every blog post I read of hers I want to bookmark. She also has great info about cloth diapering and toy recommendations.

WEverb Day 14: walk [LIVE]
Describe the path to a favourite place of yours to walk in 2012. What's meaningful about the place or the journey?

Little m started walking right around her first birthday in August. Once she got steady enough, I started letting her walk on her own, instead of sitting in her stroller, when we take our dog out. Even if we just go up and down our block, I get so much joy out of watching her walk around because it makes her so happy. It's like she just wants to yell "FREEDOM" with every step she takes. Once the Halloween decorations came out, it was even more fun and now that the Christmas lights are out, she's loving every moment of walking around our hood. She also likes to make pit stops to sit on everyone's front steps, which is ultra cute.

A Day in the Life of Little Miss M (at 15 months)

I really enjoyed documenting a day with Little m last month so I decided to do it again! Here's what a typical day looks like with the little munchkin at 15 months of age.

6:45am Little m is up, and ready and raring to go. I go into her bedroom and nurse her so that M can continue sleeping in our room. Usually I pull her into our room so that I can stay cozy in bed for a few more minutes, but I know M's been working a lot lately and needs the extra sleep.

7:00am Diaper change number one. I decide to change the babe into her clothes. Usually I wait until after breakfast because she often makes a mess and ends up staining her clothes, even while wearing a bib. We are both feeling under the weather today and I know we won't be going anywhere fancy.

7:15am We head downstairs and sit in the window and play one of Little m's favourite games - dress up Pooh Bear with hair clips and elastics. This can be a very time consuming game and Little m will pass me each individual clip or elastic, which I put on Pooh's ears, nose, and paws. Afterwards, Little m takes them all off, then we repeat the game. Over and over again. It's cute.

8:00am Time for breakfast. Little m runs over to her drawer and pulls out a bib. Smart cookie. We're heading out of town so the cupboards are looking bare, but I round up some homemade banana coconut bread and some dehydrated strawberries. She loves the bread - I'll have to remember to make it again soon. The husband is working from home today so he visits for a bit and then heads downstairs to  take a call.

8:30am Bamalamadingdong is waiting patiently to go for a walk. M takes the dog for his morning walk, but is busy all morning with calls, so we bundle up and take him ourselves. Here's what Little m thinks about that idea:
Apparently I take too long getting ready. Little m is working on developing some patience but once we get outside she's happy to look around and point at the birds and Christmas decorations.

9:00am Back inside and it's time to read books. I sit on our bench and Little m runs back and forth to the bookshelf, bringing me books, one by one. She will sometimes sit through an entire book, but for the most part she looks at one or two pages and is ready for a new one.

9:30am We head upstairs so that I can get showered and dressed for the day. Little m is finally okay with letting me shower while she's awake. She used to freak out and pound on the glass door the entire time, but now she's happy to play and empty out the bathroom cupboards while I get ready.

10:30am It's time to head out and pick up the little boy that I babysit. Before that though, we make a super quick stop at the grocery store to pick up some necessities: chicken soup, cough drops, and orange juice. Blah.

11:15am Back at home and it's time for lunch. Little m has a peanut butter sandwich and some pieces of apple. I try to give her some chicken noodle soup but she wants nothing to do with it. So picky some days! She plays for a bit with the little guy and then it's mama's favourite time of the day - nap time. She'll sleep anywhere from 1.5 - 2.5 hours and today she's out cold from 12:30pm - 2:30pm.

2:30pm Little m is coming to the point where she can interact with other kids. She is in love with the little guy I watch and for the next hour they have fun with the toys and play kitchen. Little m pretends to make soup and we stir it and take turns having pretend bites. She thinks this is hilarious.

3:30pm The little guy gets picked up and we get ready to head outside to take the dog for another walk. Little m is happier this time because I mention Christmas lights. She is very helpful these days and I ask her to get her coat and hat out of our storage bench and she does. I tell her to get her shoes and she takes them and sits on our stairs and starts trying to put them on her feet. She's not quite there yet but that doesn't stop her from trying!

4:00pm We head inside and Little m proceeds to live up to her nickname, "The Destroyer".
She makes messes like this all day long but now I've become a bit wiser. If she makes a mess, she cleans it up, or at least helps me.

4:30pm I need to start thinking about making dinner so I plop Little m on the couch and turn to my best friend, Barney to keep her entertained for the next ten minutes. Yes, just ten. I wish it was thirty. Kidding, kidding. But jeez, why is tv so magical? Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
Here she is, her brain slowly turning to mush. She's so in love with Barney that she won't even look at me, trying to get her attention to take the picture.

5:00pm It's dinnertime and I've made us breakfast because that's all that's left in the fridge. Little m is overjoyed with her dinner, as you can see below. Sometimes this child drives me crazy and pushes her tray away before she's even tasted anything. She ends up eating a little and then I give up and let her down. The fight's not in me today.

5:30pm Little m's daddy is done work for the moment and comes upstairs to have dinner and give me some relief. Here's a video of Little m showing off her new word:
Oy, how is she growing up so quickly? Already telling her mom and dad nooooooooooooo. We do more hair styling and I can just eat her up, she's so super cute in the evenings. When I ask her for a kiss and she actually gives me one - ugh, my heart melts.

6:00pm Bath time! Daddy joins us for family bath time and I guess I didn't give Little m enough liquids today because she drinks the bath water nonstop! We read a couple of books and get ready for sleeping. I nurse her for ten minutes or so before bed and she is out like a light.

6:45pm The babe is sleeping peacefully and I'm feeling like death so I bring a pillow to the couch and remain there in the horizontal position for the rest of the night.

10:00pm Goodnight!

See you next month for another day in the life of Little Miss M!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

WEverb Days 7 - 9

Slowly, very slowly, catching up on WEverb12

WEverb Day 7: enliven [GROW]
Was there a book or article that inspired you to make a change in your life this year? 

Surprise, surprise, all of the articles that "spoke" to me are mom related. I loved the recent "Why You're Never Failing as a Mother" article because it reminded me that I don't have to do it all. The video in "Move Over Barbie - You're Obsolete" made me cry and think about how I can raise my babe to be a super smart cookie who can play with barbies if she wants to, but also play with toys that require more brain power. "The Mom Stays in the Picture" encouraged me to take more pictures with Little m, no matter how I'm looking that day or how red my forehead zit is.
Kisses from my favourite munchkin.

WEverb Day 8: respond [LISTEN]
Do you actively listen to your inner voice/conscience? Describe a time this year you heard and responded to it.

I'm a big fan of going with your gut. I try to listen to my inner voice because when she speaks, she's usually right. Sometimes it's silly little things. Just this morning I was taking some clothes out of the dryer. I saw the husband's stinky hockey laundry sitting in the sink because when he got home last night my laundry was still in the wash. I walked right past it, thinking, oh he can take care of that later. I started up the stairs, trying to ignore my inner voice, who was telling me to go back and do something nice for my husband. I finally decided to listen and went back and started his laundry. Other times, the inner voice talks about more important things and encourages me to lock the doors and get the hell outta dodge. So yeah, I'm an active listener.

WEverb Day 9: triumph [CREATE]
How were you challenged by a project or goal this year? What did you learn from it?  

One of my goals this year was to take monthly pictures of Little m and blog about her developments. Well, I'm really pissed off at myself because I made it to the eighth month and then just stopped. I used to write down one thing on a calendar that happened each day and this would help me summarize the month. I also stopped doing that, so now I have no record of when she started crawling, walking, talking, etc. Is this really important? I don't know. It would be nice and in reality, would only take an extra minute or two at the end of each day. So anyway, now I've made a lot of extra work for myself because I'm determined to go through all of the pictures I took to fill in the blanks. What have I learned from all of this? Stop being a slacker!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

WEverb Days 2 - 6

Although very behind schedule, I'm still participating in WEverb12, which means that this blog post is made up of my responses to a series of prompts. Let's do this.

WEverb Day 2: watch [LIVE]
What movie did you see this year that you would recommend to a friend?

I'm having a really hard time remembering any great movies I've seen this year. I guess I would have to go with Ms. Katniss Everdeen and The Hunger Games. The books were awesome and I thought the movie was pretty great too. I was excited to finally see it a few months ago and I hope the next movies don't disappoint. 

WEverb Day 3: stay [LISTEN]
How did you stay in the moment this year?

Honestly, I struggled with this this year. Thanks a lot iPhone, you are such an addicting, pretty little thing. Staying in the moment is going to be a huge goal of mine in the future and while we're on an upcoming family vacation I'm going to challenge myself to go offline for an entire week. This actually makes me feel a little ill, which is disturbing and shows me just how far gone I am. It will definitely be a challenge, but I'm up for it! Also, in the new year I'm coming up with a few plans to help me stay more in the moment on a daily basis. This will include using my phone only when the bebe is asleep. 

WEverb Day 4: experiment [GROW]
What did you do in 2012 that you had never done before? Will you do it again?

This year I am pretty proud that I've put myself out there and made a good effort to meet new people. I am a naturally shy person, hate small talk, and feel so much more comfortable in a small group setting with people I've known forever. This year I've really forced myself to meet other moms and talk to my new neighbours. Of course I will do it again because sitting alone at home is not that fun. 

WEverb Day 5: fellowship [HOPE]
What community has engaged you most this year and what did you get out of your participation?

So, Chicago is a big city and bad things happen here. While we were house hunting we became interested in a home in a neighbourhood I knew nothing about. To learn more, I found a neighbourhood association group on facebook and joined it. Scarily, now I know every small and big crime that happens in my area, but the sense of community gained from this group is wonderful. Knowing that there are people who care about the community and are looking out for you is quite a nice feeling. I never felt any sense of community like this in the (much wealthier) neighbourhood I used to live in. It's great. 

WEverb Day 6: cook [LIVE]
What was your best recipe/dish of the year? Share it!

It's nothing fancy at all, but it's an incredibly tasty, quick, and delicious dinner option - found on Pinterest, of course. Here's the recipe for oven roasted peppers, onion, potatoes, and sausage. Sometimes I leave out the potatoes and I cut extra onions because Little m loves them. I don't use as much oil as the recipe calls for. Whatever you do, don't leave out the banana peppers. This recipe reminds me of something my mom used to make. Delicioso.
Okay, that's enough for tonight! Now I'm only ten days behind schedule :)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

WEverb Day One: compose [CREATE]

In the month of December I'll be participating in WEverb12, which means that my blog posts will be made up of my responses to a series of prompts. The first prompt is to create a Haiku for 2012 plus bonus points for creating one for 2013. The first thing I had to do was google how to write a haiku. It's been a while!

Here's what I came up with for 2012:

Eyes sparkle as she
explores the world around her.
The light of my life. 

This past year was all about watching Little m grow and learn and my oh my, it's been a wonderful experience being a stay at home mom. I am so thankful that I get to spend my days with her.

And here's what I came up with for 2013:

Regaining the me
who I once used to be - but  
only much better.

I finally feel as though I have a grasp on motherhood and next year I'm very excited to get a bit of the old me back. This means doing a bit of traveling, getting into better shape, and taking time to look after myself. Only, I can never return to the old person I used to be. Now that Little m is here, I find that I'm more patient, more loving, and I take time to enjoy the little things in life. It can only get better from here.

For me, the point of participating in REverb12 is to take the time to reflect on the year 2012. It was a great one and I'm excited to get some of my thoughts about it down on "paper". 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Turning Pics to Video with Animoto

This morning, the husband and I took Little m to Chicago's Thanksgiving day parade, and like usual I took a bunch of photos to commemorate the bebe's first parade.. well her second technically, but this was the first parade she was actually interested in and paid attention to! 

I take so many photos and videos on my iPhone these days, which is great, but I rarely have a chance to do anything with them - especially now that the business of the holiday season is upon us. I feel like I have a full calendar from now till January and definitely don't have the time to sit down and create a video. Well, that's what I thought until I heard about Animoto

If you've never heard of it, Animoto is a service that helps you make videos from photos that you upload from your computer, Facebook, Twitter, or photo sharing sites like Picasa. You can even download the Animoto iPhone or Android app to create videos with your phone's photos. This is something I'm definitely going to try in the future! Once your photos are uploaded, Animoto does the work in making the video. The video is fully customizable and you can choose to add your own music, text, and background style. Then you're free to share your video however you like.

Some things that I like about Animoto: 
- you can upload any song to set your video to
- there are tons of choices in background styles
- you end up with a cool video with very little effort

Some things that could be improved on: 
- the quality of the free video I received is not the best so it might be worth paying extra for HD
- my photos took longer than I thought to upload, about 10 minutes

But without further ado, take a look for yourself. Here's the video I made of Family Fun Day! Haha, that title's a bit of a joke with the hubs and I. He spent the last three months preparing for an exam and now that it's done we're free to have family fun days and it's awesome.

Overall, I really enjoyed trying out Animoto and can see myself using it again in the future. I am all for getting maximum output with minimum input! I love that I've found an easy way to actually do something with my pictures. If you're looking for other tips and tricks on taking awesome family holiday pics take a look at this Busy Parents' Guide video

Like my video? Make your own and enter to win a prize!

Animoto has graciously offered the code busyparents to my readers, which is good for a free video download. And that's not all! When you use that code to download a video between now and December 15, you'll automatically be entered to win a copy of "Capturing Life Through Better Photography" (MSRP $70) by Tamara Lackey, the woman featured in this episode of "Busy Parent' Guide: Photo & Video Tips for Parents for the Holidays." Additionally, you can use the code clever until December 15 to receive 20% off a year of Animoto service. All rules and requirements regarding this sweepstakes can be found here

I was selected for participation in this campaign as a member of Clever Girls Collective. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Method of my Madness

I'm really super duper excited because guess what? I've started exercising again. It's only been a week and a half, but I feel so proud for scheduling the time to take care of myself. It all started when one of the mom groups I belong to offered a free class at The Bar Method studio that's close to my house. I figured, why not?
Um, yes please.
Well, the class was super challenging but I really enjoyed it, so when they offered a huge discount on their 30 day unlimited pass, I said hells yes. And the kicker - they offer child care too! 

I feel like the studio has a great schedule and so far I've tried the 6am, 8:30am, 9:30am, and 6:30pm classes. There are pros and cons about each time - 6am comes early but at least M is at home to take care of Little m when she wakes up. The 8:30am class is a rush to get to because I always have things planned afterwards and have to be prepared with snacks, lunch, diapers, stroller, etc. The 9:30am class is more doable, but still, getting out of the house that early takes a lot of planning. And the evening class requires M to put the baby to bed, which is turning out to be just fine, but still requires planning and being certain that M can leave work at a decent hour. There are tons of excuses I could use (and have in the past) about why getting out to exercise is difficult but the point is, I'm doing it guys, I'm doing it! I haven't been excited about exercise.. ever.. so this feels really good! 

It's been nine days since I joined and I've made it to the studio seven of those days. Man oh man, I was feeling it today! It's probably a good idea that I'm taking an involuntary rest day tomorrow since the studio is closed for Thanksgiving. 

Now my only problem is figuring out to do once my 30 day pass is done. This regularly costs something like $180 and there's no way I can afford to pay that since I'm not working. Hmm, what to do, what to do. I guess I'll tackle that when the time comes and for now I'm going to ride the wave. Wish me luck and perseverance! 

Friday, November 2, 2012


Halloween has always been my least favourite holiday. My least favourite until this year, that is. I've had a change of heart because of this little one. 

This year I decorated the house, carved three pumpkins, attended numerous Halloween parties, bought candy to pass out, and even took Little m trick-or-treating around our block. Even though she's just over a year old and doesn't really understand what the heck is happening, Little m loved it all.   

During our daily dog walks, she would squeal with happiness and point at every pumpkin we passed by. I knew she would get a kick out of carving our own  and I was right. This girl was not afraid to get her hands dirty! Her dad took a break from his studying and came upstairs to find us with gooey hands and the table covered with seeds and guts. Messes are easy to clean up and seeing this cutie scoop out the inside of a pumpkin for the first time is a special memory that will not soon be forgetten. Afterwards, she even liked eating the roasted pumpkin seeds! Now the pumpkins are sitting on our patio, where Little m can see them from her highchair and she spends every meal time pointing and laughing. 
One of the parks nearby had a spectacular event the weekend before Halloween that I'm already looking forward to attending again next year. There were about twenty tables from local businesses offering special treats, crafts, candy, balloons, toys, etc., etc. There was a costume parade, a spooky maze, live entertainment, tons of games, and even a pumpkin patch! 

Yesterday, on actual Halloween night, I took Little m to a children's store nearby that was hosting a musician to play during their party. So much fun. Princess Leia had a blast dancing and clapping to the beats. Afterwards, we stole her daddy away from his books so that he could come trick-or-treating with us around the block. We met tons of our neighbours but the most delicious part, by far, was eating all the chocolate from Little m's treat bag. Shhh, don't tell.

In total, we had maybe 30 or 40 kids come to our door, which was good enough for me! While we were waiting for our visitors, Little m found a piece of green laffy taffy and happily chewed through the plastic to get to the goods. What a kid. All in all, it was the absolute best Halloween I've ever had. Remembering to see things through a child's eyes is sometimes the best reminder in life.  I can't wait for next year! 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Day in the Life of Little Miss m (at 14 months)

Every since having a baby, 1) I've become a total sap and want to remember every detail of every day because time passes so quickly, and 2) I forget everything.

In the past I've seen a few bloggers document their day with their children at different stages and ages, and I thought that by doing the same, it would be a good reminder of what life was like at this specific moment.

I woke up this morning and thought, okay, today is the day. It turned out to be an interesting day. Little m is teething and she was particularly clingy and quite grouchy, but also happy, laughing, and as usual, being the light of my life. You take the good with the bad and today was somewhere in between.

6:45am I got woken up by M's alarm and quickly hop into the shower, because these days, if I want to shower for longer than five minutes, I need to do so before Little m wakes up. I even have a couple of minutes to slip back into bed and read while I wait for the babe to wake.

7:10am She's up! I continue to read while I nurse Little m because my book is oh so good right now and I don't want to put it down. M is off to work early today so the monkey and I sit on the bed while he gets ready. We chit chat and Little m tries to figure out his blackberry password.

7:30am We say bye bye to daddy and it's time for a diaper change, which reminds me that I need to do diaper laundry today. We head downstairs to start the laundry. Little m is always so happy to see her big brother Bama in the mornings, and today is no different. There is squealing and general happiness.

7:45am I sit Little m on the counter so that she can "help" me make breakfast, or more so that she won't hold onto my legs and cry to be let up. She is so inquisitive and wants to be a part of everything.
Today I decide to make oatmeal since we haven't had it in a while and usually Little m eats it without a fuss. Oats, chia seeds, fig butter, a spoonful of greek yogurt, milk, and cinnamon, plus strawberries and raspberries to top it off. Yum. Little m is having fun playing with a bag of Halloween candy, so I set her down in the middle of the floor to play while the oatmeal cools. While she plays I wash dishes from last night. Ugh, dishes.

8am- Breakfast is served. Little m has a few bites and then throws all of the strawberries that I cut up for her onto the floor. I figure that she isn't hungry yet so I put her back down on the floor with the bag of candy. She is a big fan of sorting through objects, picking them up, and walking around the house while carrying them. With Little m being occupied, I figure this is a good time to vacuum. A little boy that I babysit is coming over today so I want to make sure the house is spic and span. After five minutes of vacuuming, Little m is pulling at my legs, so I pick her up and continue. I set her down so I can vacuum under the couches and a moment later she's at my legs holding out a book to read together. I quickly finish, then pull her into my lap to read the book she's been following me around with.

8:15am - I try offering breakfast again, this time giving her an Aussie bite (from Costco, so good), since the oatmeal and fruit is a no-go. These are one of her favourite foods but it goes directly onto the floor, which makes me very frustrated since I hate wasting food. It's really unusual that Little m won't eat, so I figure her teeth must be bothering her. I let Little m out of her chair and start to put the vacuum away. She runs into the closet and hightails it toward the dog food. She had her first taste of it last week and is now obsessed. Little m ignores me saying no and reaches in for a handful of kibble. I catch her just in time and she has a fit that I'm taking her beloved dog food away. She runs and hides in a corner and cries. After a minute she's over it and is on to the next thing. Little m finds Bama's medicine on the table (it's a whole new ballgame now that she can reach the tabletop) and when I say,"Give it to mama," she runs in the other direction. Another fit ensues when I take it away. 

For the next half hour, Little m has a fit about everything and anything. I won't let her play in the dishwasher - she run and cries into the couch. I won't let her empty out the fridge door - she runs away and cries some more. She's finally happy when she figures how to outsmart the child proofing and opens the kitchen cabinet. Into the garbage she goes and finds a real treasure.

When I take away the dirty diaper and close the cabinet she has another fit. Oh man. I think about the long day ahead of me.

A minute later she comes over and hugs me and I pull her into my lap. She just needs some TLC. I notice that she feels hot and because she's been acting so grumpy, I decide to take her temperature. Thankfully it's normal. I get Little m dressed for the day and bring her into my bathroom to brush her teeth while I blow dry my hair. Finally, she is happy! My my, this girl loves brushing her teeth plus it keeps her hands busy while I put a bow in her hair.  Success! For once, she doesn't rip the bow out immediately.

We head back downstairs and I sit in the living room and she brings book after book over for me to read to her. I love it, even if she will only let me read one or two pages before it's on to the next.

9am- I try again with breakfast and this time she gobbles up two Aussie Bites. While she eats, I sit at the kitchen table, cutting up grapes and depitting them. How did I not notice that I bought 5lbs of seeded grapes? Never again. I'm planning on having a picnic at the park today so I get lunch packed and ready to go in Little m's lunch bag.

9:30am- Little m continues to play while I get everything ready to leave the house. I want to attend a music class at 10am before picking up the boy I babysit at 11am. There's only one problem. I can't find my wallet. I run around like a crazy woman and decide to break the law and drive without my licence. I buckle Little m into the car, then change my mind and run back upstairs to take one last look. I find it under a box of recycling.

9:45am- Ahhh, a peaceful drive to Whole Foods, where the free music class takes place. Little m has a blast and gets comfortable enough near the end to go up on the stage with the other kids and dance stand around. Her little hands are too cute.
10:30am- Time to go pick up the little guy I babysit. We get to his school early, so I pull the monkey up to the front seat and she sits on my lap and eats grapes until it's time to go in.

11am- So the plan was to go to a nearby park to play and have lunch, but the little guy is so grumpy that we just head home.  So much for the beautiful October weather!

11:15am- We have lunch, play a little, then it's time to put Little m down for a nap at noon. She is exhausted. We're still getting used to the one nap a day schedule.

12pm- I spend the next two hours with the little guy, carving pumpkins, raking leaves and playing in the backyard.

2pm - I'm child free so I rush inside to make a few phone calls for a side job before Little m wakes up.

2:30pm- Little m is up and surprise, surprise - she's still tired and grumpy. I nurse her for a few minutes and that makes her a lot happier. Boobs are magic.

3pm- It looks like it's going to rain so I decide to take Bama for a walk. I forgo the stroller and let Little m walk on her own. I take a route where I know we will pass by a lot of Halloween decorations and the monkey girl absolutely loves it. Looking back, these are my favourite moments of the day. She is so extremely happy just to be standing, looking at pumpkins. We spend a good 15 minutes walking back and forth between the three houses that have the most decorations. One of the ladies comes out to chat for a few minutes.

3:30pm- We walk back to our house and go into the backyard to play some more while the skies are still clear. Little m loves playing with the leaves and swinging in her dolphin swing. I open up our empty turtle sandbox and sit on the edge. Little m has a blast stepping into the sandbox and then out of the sandbox.. into the sandbox and out of the sandbox. It's the little things in life.

4:00pm- I feel raindrops so we head inside. I am so happy that we have leftovers for tonight's dinner because the last thing I want to do is cook.

We play and read more books. I show Little m a new animal game app I downloaded onto my iPhone. M and I have been emailing back and forth and he's feeling pretty stressed out from a combo of work piling up and trying to study for his exam next week. I encourage him to stay late at work and study there so he can focus. This means he won't get to see his munchkin tonight, but such is life. We all can't wait until his exam is over.

5pm- I heat dinner up - leftover pasta with meat sauce and peas on the side. I strip off Little m's clothes because I know things are about to get messy. She loves the pasta and wants a second serving of peas!

5:20pm- We head straight for the bath tub. Little m plays in the tub while I go through the pictures I took on my iPhone today, deleting the blurry/bad ones. I look over and oh gawd, a floater. Gross me right out. This is the first time this has happened to us. I pluck Little m out of the tub, drain it, clean it out, and bath time continues.

Now I know why she looks so mischievous in this picture.

6:00pm Time for pj's. I get Little m lotioned up, disposable diaper on, and now it's time for a few last minutes of playing and reading. Little m loves carrying her bears to the bathtub and throwing them in. We take a goodnight picture and send it to daddy.

6:20pm Because this was an off day, and Little m's been yawning ever since she woke up from her nap, I decide that an early bedtime is necessary. Well, just ten minutes earlier than normal, but still. I nurse Little m and lay her down in bed. She's crying as soon as I shut the door, which is very out of the ordinary.

6:30pm- I run downstairs to make another phone call for my side job. Little m is still crying a bit and I go back upstairs and give her some ibuprofen. I can tell her teeth are hurting her, poor baby. She has been chewing on everything today, including her own wrist when she can't find anything else.

Again, the littlest monkey starts crying as soon as I close her door. It rarely happens that she makes a peep at bedtime and I hope the ibuprofen works quickly. I make my last phone call and sit down to write this blog post. Again at 7 and 7:15 I hear her cry out. My poor sweetie pie.

I was supposed to attend a yoga event tonight but since M is staying at work to study, it's just me and my boy Bama. I spend half an hour cleaning up the kitchen and putting away toys. I spend most nights either relaxing and watching tv, catching up on my emails, going grocery shopping or making Costco runs, or doing whatever else needs to be done. Tonight I spent a lot of time blogging (look at the size of this post) and as soon as I hit publish I'm going to get cozy on the couch!

Did you find anything surprising about my day with a 14 month old? Other than finding out that I'm still nursing her?! How was your day?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Little m's First Birthday Party!

I knew I wanted to make a rainbow cake ever since noticing one on the internet a few years ago. I just needed the right occasion. A first birthday party? Perfect! Thus, for Little m's birthday, a rainbow themed party was born! First on Pinterest, then in reality.

I knew I wanted to keep the party fairly small and invited only my immediate family members and best friend. I also knew I wanted it to be a pool party because, well, my parents have a pool and it was a hot day in August!

For decorations, I hit the dollar store and stocked up on balloons. I loved the balloon garland
I saw John and Sherry from Young House Love make, so I decided to give it a try. My dad is Mr. Handy and came up with a much easier way to knot the balloons on without feeding the super long string though each and every time. I think the garland turned out fabulously and I hung it between the pool and the house. So simple yet so pretty, blowing in the breeze.

Other than the garland, I hung a few balloons from the mailbox and decorated the table area a bit with what else, more balloons! In proper rainbow order, might I add.

I also filled a beer glass up with skittles and popped some pinwheels in for a centrepiece. 

I tried to make the food as rainbowy as possible as well. I made a rainbow fruit tray, rainbow veggie tray, rainbow fruit dip, rainbow jello (my mom's recipe), and for non-rainbow food - pulled pork, coleslaw, chips, and pickles! I sent the kids home with rainbow popcorn for their party favour.

For dessert I made rainbow cupcakes, a mini rainbow cake for the birthday girl, and a huge rainbow cake for everyone else. I wanted to use gel food colouring, as I read that it makes the colours more vivid, but I couldn't find any. I didn't really look too hard.
I got the idea of the mini cake from this blog and I love how it turned out. I went skimpy with the cream cheese frosting on Little m's cake because she'd never really eaten sugar before and I didn't want to have a wild animal on my hands. 

Little m was delighted with all of the attention and although she liked the cake, I think she liked the Happy Birthday singing more than anything else! We ended up taking away the bottom four layers of the cake to make it easier for Little m to eat smush it into her dress. 

The big cake was made from two boxes of mix, a whole lotta food colouring, and a double batch of my mom's cream cheese frosting. She was a labour of love, she was. Things would have been much quicker if I had more that two cake pans, but such is life. The end result was so worth it. It took four adults to cut the cake and hold it up so it wouldn't fall over, but hey, that was fun in and of itself. 

The day was absolutely perfect, Little m was her usual happy self, and I had so much fun planning and executing the rainbow party. Even though she's a year old, Little m is still my peanut and we are so thankful we had the opportunity to celebrate her first year with friends and family. Check out this super short video to see the cuteness in action!