Monday, October 10, 2016


Today was Thanksgiving here in Canada. A holiday I enjoy, marking a season I enjoy even more. And this weekend was an absolutely perfect fall weekend. Sunny, crisp, leaves just starting to show their colours.

We spent Friday at the Zoo with one of the kids' new classmates and her Mama. They're also a two-mom  household. Their little girl and Sprout have become quite good friends in the past month, and I really enjoy chatting with L, who does most of the school pick ups and drop offs. I was a little worried The Bean would feel left out, not having his own friend there, but it was a non-issue; all three kids got along wonderfully. L and I laughed, because at the end of the day we really could have just taken them to a park. They spent more time climbing on rocks, playing with sticks, and jumping in leaf piles than they did looking at animals, but they were happy, which really was the main goal of spending the day out together.


Saturday started off a bit rainy and grey, but it cleared up by lunchtime and we were able to go to the apple farm, which is something we'd put off from last weekend when it was much to rainy to even consider going. We took a tractor ride out to the orchard and filled up a bag with apples, then headed back so the kids could play on the massive bales of hay. 

Our neighbours had us over for dinner that night. They are a lovely family with two girls, fairly close in age to our two kiddos. Our kids were overtired and bit more wild than I would have liked, but it was still a nice visit. I had an interesting conversation with the father, who is also an identical twin, but quite different from his brother. It feels good to know that there are other twins who aren't BFFs. (I haven't posted much about it here, but my sister and I have not been on speaking terms for nearly a year. I'm mostly okay with this as I am no longer willing to tolerate the was she was treating me or my family, but it can be hard to knowing that I'm/we're not meeting people's expectations in terms of what a twin relationship should look like.)

Sunday we had our usual running around --me tutoring in the morning followed by the kids' gymnastics lessons mid-day-- followed by getting ready for hosting Thanksgiving. It was our first time hosting a holiday. We got off pretty easy, as the only guest was my mom, but still, I was concerned about everything coming together. Jen managed the kids while I holed up in the kitchen. Everything turned out pretty much perfectly! The food was delicious and everything was on the table even before the time we're usually sitting down for dinner. I prepared turkey, stuffing, roasted potatoes and carrots, mashed sweet potato, and green beans, along with cranberry sauce and gravy. Oh, and pumpkin muffins for dessert! Yum! I'm looking forward to eating the leftovers this week.

Today was another gorgeous day. Just the four of us went to one of my favourite places in the city --The Brickworks. We did a walk through the quarry, along the railroad tracks, and then back to the Children's Garden for the kids to play. We could have stayed longer, I'm sure, but tomorrow we will have to get back to the regular routine, so it seemed best not to push it.

There are more substantial things that I'd like to write about, but it's getting late. Fluffy surface level will have to do for now. Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

A Season

This post has been in the works for literally months now. The summer was extremely busy, but I naively thought that I'd have all kinds of free time once both kids were in school. Turns out there's a lot to be done, even without the kids around. I hope to update on more of the recent-er stuff soon, but now flash back to July and August...

This summer was pretty fantastic. Completely exhausting most days, frustrating at times, but mostly lots and lots of fun.

We made a good dent in our Summer Bucket List. We didn't quite gotten to everything, but I think we've done a pretty good job. I envisioned writing several posts going into details on the different activities we've done, but that's not going to happen at this point. 

So, a quick recap and some photos to wrap up Summer 2016 so far...

The Two Moms to Be Summer Bucket List for 2016
1. Have a picnic on the front lawn. Bonus points for having friends join us.
We managed to have several picnics on our front lawn, and even a few with friends. There aren't many photos though because the above is what a picnic with a bunch of kids looks like. Haha! 

2. Paint rocks.
I think this is the second year I've put this on our list, and it's the second year that we haven't done it. We did however, do a similar art project that was pretty cool. We coloured shells we found at the beach with crayons and then baked them in the oven until the crayon melted. (It works even better to colour on the shells with crayon AFTER they've been baked, but that didn't seem as safe.)

3. Pick berries.

We went strawberry and raspberry picking with my mom in July. They were delicious, but neither kid would take a bite. They just don't like berries. Silly kids.

4. Grow vegetables in our front yard garden.
 I think we've harvested most of what we're going to get for the season, but I have to say, I'm pretty darn proud of how our little garden did! We got several small harvests of peas, which the kids usually ate before I could get them upstairs. Our beans and cucumbers also did well. We got one measly carrot and are just starting to get some broccoli now. Sprout's pumpkin vines totally took over, but there has only been one tiny pumpkin. Fortunately she's happy with HER one pumpkin. 

5. Plan a blogger meet-up. 
We actually met up with fellow bloggers a few times this summer, which was awesome! The above photo was taken at an impromptu meet-up at Family Pride. Many of us (not all pictured here) also got together at Riverdale Farm a few weeks later, which was a lot of fun. And, of course, there was Stacey and Angele's Annual Pride BBQ, but that's further down on the list. ;) 

6. Get the finishing touches on the kids' room done. 
I just got the last few (major) things done last week. I'm SOOOO happy to have it complete. I really like the way it's turned out. No photos yet, but I'll try to get some soon. 

7. Ride a roller coaster.
The kids got to ride several roller coasters this summer. The Bean LOVES them. Sprout, well, I think she likes them. She usually spends much of her time riding them snuggled into the armpit of the nearest adult, but would get on time and again. This summer we made it to both Centreville and Canada's Wonderland AND Grandma and Grandpa took the kids to Conneaut over Labour Day weekend. Lots of amusement park fun! (Photo is of the kids on the Frog Jumper, because I wasn't going to risk the camera trying to take a photo on a roller coaster!)

8. Brew sun tea using herbs we've grown.
All our herbs died before we got a chance to use them for much of anything. We did brew many pitchers of plain sun tea though.

9. Celebrate love.

In addition to Family Pride, we celebrated at Stacey and Angle's Annual BBQ which was AWESOME. Their daughter Riley planned a whole bunch of activities, which the kids just loved, in addition to swimming in their pool. Jen and I got to talk to many of the other families there, some that we had met before, and others that we met that day. 

We were supposed to attend two receptions this summer, but unfortunately the scheduling for one of them conflicted with our family vacation. The other, the reception of Jen's good friend who she has known since KINDERGARTEN, was over Labour Day weekend. They held a really fun, relaxed, picnic-style party just out back of Jen's parent's place. (It's actually the same place her parents threw us a reception many, many years ago.) It was so lovely to get to celebrate their marriage with them. They're both so smitten with each other and seem truly, truly happy. 

10. Go to the Farmer's Market.
We made it to a couple early on in the season. I do take pictures, I just can't find them.

11. Meet up with friends. Often.
 We did get to spend time with many of our friends, but summers are busy for everyone, and while we would have loved to coordinate more meet-ups, but it just didn't happen.

12. Collect shells at the beach.
See items 2 and 17. :)

13. Borrow books from the library.
We actually made it to the library far less often than I imagined we would. The weekly routine that we had during the school year was a bit lost over the summer. Most of our days were spent outside. We still went to the library often and read books a plenty. 

14. Be tourists in our own city.

I'd say we accomplished this. The library here will give out Museum and Art Passes, so we were able to get into some attractions that we might not have visited otherwise. The kids loved playing games from the "olden days" at Black Creek Pioneer Village (pictured above). 

15. Camp in Grandma and Grandpa's backyard --don't forget the s'mores!
Unfortunately we didn't get to this one. We had hoped to spend a week or two mid-summer at Grandma and Grandpa's, but they ended up having to go out West to watch the cousins. Next summer.

16. Listen to live music.
Surprisingly there was little live music enjoyed this summer. I did tune in to CBC for the "final" Tragically Hip show. It was quite emotional. Like so many other Canadians, I've grown up with their music. 

17. Take a family vacation.

Spending a week in Myrtle Beach was the highlight of the summer. The kids just LOVED it there. The place we stayed was right on the beach and also had several pools and splash pads on their grounds so we spent hours and hours in the water every day. Both kids became much more confident swimmers and The Bean REALLY took to boogie boarding. Not a surprise. They can't wait to go back again. 

18. Find some new splash pads to play at.

I think we only made it to one new splash pad, but we had lots of fun playing at ones we were familiar with and also just in our own front yard.

19. Go on at least two kid-free date nights with my wife.
We sorta'/kinda' managed this when we were in Myrtle Beach and had Grandma and Grandpa available for babysitting. (We did a LONG walk down the beach and drinks at a local place, and later in the week got out for some window shopping and ice cream.)

20. Bake a peach pie. 
Didn't happen. Turns out having one family member who can't eat wheat and another who can't eat dairy puts a damper on the whole pie-making thing. Probably for the best, though I'm sure Sprout and I would have enjoyed it. 

21. Donate toys, books and clothes that we're no longer using. 
Many bags have been dropped off at the donation bin near our house. Other have been passed along to friends and family. There's still a lot to go through, but I feel like we're putting a good dent in things. 

22. Go to the zoo.
We made it to the zoo several times. I love having a membership! This year the kids were able to walk around without the stroller and we explored some areas that we haven't spent much time at in the past. Of course, the zoomoblie, KidsZoo, the splash pad and the merry-go-round were also big draws.

23. Ride our bikes --try to get The Bean riding a two-wheeler with no training wheels.
This was almost a fail but then, on Labour Day, The Bean figured it out! We weren't even at home when it happened. Jen's parents had picked up a bike someone was getting rid of and The Bean wanted to practice riding it up and down the driveway. After a few tries with my running behind steadying him he got it! He's now able to zip up and down, turning on a dime and practicing various "stunts" like he's been doing it his whole life. 
Sprout also has graduated to a two-wheeler, but with training wheels on. She's surprisingly good on it, in a much more understated way than her brother, though I notice that she's also been trying out little stunts. Daredevils, the two of them.

24. Visit a new-to-us skateboarding park.
We managed to get to a few familiar skate parks, but no new ones. The Bean kept up with his lessons with the teenager from down the street. He's making slow, steady progress, which is good, but difficult for him, I think, as he wants to be able to do all kinds of tricks without having to master the basics first.

So, I think that about covers the long overdue update. There were many other things we did, to be sure: A Gatorade and Art sale (They sold out! Entrepreneurial kids!), long hikes and playing in the woods, the consumption of copious amounts of frozen desserts, to name a few. It really was a wonderful summer with these two little loves.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Bean is Five and a Half!

The Bean is five and a half!

Craziness I tell you. I can remember holding our teeny tiny little baby like it was yesterday. Perhaps that's because we've been retelling his birth story almost daily, but more likely it is because time really does fly with these not-so-little-anymore ones.

And while he has changed, he really is very much the same kid he's always been.

The second half of the school year went quite well. He became quite good buddies with two of the boys in his class, and developed some other more peripheral friendships. While "the three musketeers" may not have always been the greatest influence on each other, they did seem to really like each other and The Bean was much happier overall. They seemed to play a lot of superheros and StarWars. The Bean knows very little about either one, but talks about both a lot. Ha ha!

Academically he did very well this year. He still needs to work on self-regulation a bit, but overall his report card was glowing. He's a great helper and very caring towards others. His literacy, math, science, music, art, media and phys. ed. skills are all wonderful. My biggest concern for the second part of the year was that he wasn't challenged enough based on what I know he is capable of. Inquiry in the kindergarten classroom is student-driven, which I like, but I felt like he didn't walk away from the units with a lot of new knowledge or understanding. Fortunately I have a pretty good relationship with his teacher (who he will have again next year) so I think I'll just have to stay more on top of knowing what it is they're studying and reinforcing it at home.

That said, a few of his newer interests seem to have stemmed from things they were exploring at school --space and dinosaurs being the two standouts. There have been lots of solar systems and t-rexes drawn lately.

He's still super-social. I'm convinced that he knows 90% of the staff and students (and their parents!) at his school based on the greetings he both calls out and receives when walking through the school hallways. I've had more than a handful of teachers stop me to talk about how much they adore him. He also keeps up with the comings and goings of the neighbourhood, shouting out hellos to people on their way to work from our balcony most mornings.

We've seen him pushing the limits a little bit with his behaviour. I think a lot of what we're seeing is stemming from his desire to be more independent, but he's not necessarily ready for all the independence he (thinks he) wants. I've been pretty strict now that he's home for the summer and I think he's starting to understand that he needs to stay within our boundaries.

That said, he's mostly really cooperative and has become such a great helper and very independent in his day-to-day routines. He rarely complains about being asked to help tidy up. He has started doing little chores, like clearing his plate after a meal, without reminders. He wakes up, brushes his teeth and gets dressed, and heads into the kitchen for breakfast without being asked. We give him lots of acknowledgement and praise for being so helpful.

He continues to be a very loving, affectionate kid. It's not uncommon for him to say "I love you" or give you a big hug or kiss for no reason.

To describe The Bean as active would be an understatement. I think if he had his choice, he would be moving all the time. He is very interested in sports. He continued Gymnastics throughout the winter and spring, and as I know I've said before his body control is amazing. We've noticed that he's gotten stronger too. In the spring he also did swimming lessons and progressed from Preschool Swim 1 to Preschool Swim 2, which means he was able do things like jump into the water and bob back up, do assisted floats, glides, and kicks. He's still not a swimmer, but he's definitely more comfortable in the water than he was. I'm hoping he'll be able to continue in the fall. He also started skateboarding lessons with a teenager from down the street. It's only half and hour once a week and pretty casual at that, but he loves it. The guy teaching him is very calm and cool --a good influence, I think. Of course, he also still bike rides, scooters, climbs (EVERYTHING!), runs, jumps, etc.

He had his first ER visit this past Mothers' Day. He was, apparently, trying to use his pillow as a bobsled and overshot a little, landing on the wooden floor with his chin. It split right open and required four stitches. He was pretty stoic during the whole ordeal. (Which is how I would expect him to handle something like this. It's just his way.) He was pretty proud to show the stitches off at school and it really didn't slow him down any.

He's definitely become much more interested in fine motor skills like building, art and writing. He's into constructing things whether it be from Duplo or recyclables. He often wants to make signs or write notes. He's quite good at sounding out words, but usually asks for help. He likes to make things to send people in the mail.

Singing is another newer interest. He's always loved music, and learned a ton of new songs at school this year. He took the end of year performance very seriously. They sang three songs -Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Tomorrow, and Talk to the Animals. I was impressed that he was able to remember all of the words and carry a tune. He's got quite a sweet little singing voice.

He's also become much more interested in playing games. We have several; his favourites seem to be Go Fish, memory match, mancala, this one called Camelot Jr., and Jenga. He loves to play on the tablet and phone, but that's a treat reserved for weekends.

In all things, he still shows a tendency towards perfectionism and competitiveness. He wants to be able to do most things perfectly the first time, and we've been talking a lot about the need to practice and how it's okay not to be "the best" at everything. He was quite frustrated when he asked to take the training wheels off his bicycle, but then kept tipping over. We ended up putting them back on.

Food wise things are going well. He's started eating a much wider variety of foods. Even if something is not "his favourite" he knows he has to try it, and he usually eats it without complaining. Often he even remarks on how good something tastes and almost always says thank you for making dinner. It's so nice to be able to prepare one meal at dinner time rather than trying to make different things to accommodate everybody. He's still completely off dairy.

He weighs just over 37lbs. I'm not sure how tall he is, but he's typically wearing size 4 and 5 shirts and size 4 pants. (He can get away with smaller sizes in shorts. He's still a skinny mini.) Shoe size is a 10. Like with Sprout, I had his feet measured and found out I had been putting him in shoes that were much too small. Oops.

His sleep is pretty good. He recently went through a bit of a bed-wetting spell, but we started taking him to the washroom when we went to bed and that seems to have helped quite a bit. He occasionally has nightmares and will call out or cry for us to come and comfort him. Mostly though he falls asleep quickly at bedtime (7:30/8:00pm) and wakes up at a fairly reasonable time in the morning (6:00/7:00am).

He's a pretty terrific kid. I feel like we're on this cusp between him being a little kid and being a big kid, so I'm trying to make an effort to appreciate where he is right now. We love him so much!

-his favourite colour is red
-his "uniform" (according to him) is sweat pants/shorts and a superhero t-shirt