busy, busy, there's so much to do!

May 27, 2014

(The title of this blog post is from a song on Aaralee's Fisher Price toy.  It's constantly in my head. You know that you are a mom when.... )

Spring is in the air! The grass is finally green, the days are getting longer, the trees are full of leaves, and on a few occasions the weather has been warm and sunny.  I've waited so long for this. I feel as though last summer was a bit of a write-off what with being heavily pregnant the entire time.  
This year, I'm back to my normal self with a new little person to spend the days with. We are eagerly awaiting swimming pools, evening walks, and virgin pina coladas. 

It's been a busy week at home.  Ryan is away working in Oklahoma again, so it's just the baby, the dog, and myself.  I never realize just how much help my husband is until he's gone away.  I don't have the usual sense of relief that I get at the end of the day. 5 pm rolls around and nobody comes home. I don't have a second parent to help with dinner while I get the baby ready for bed, or to bring me a towel when I forget to grab one before plopping her into the tub, or worst of all, to come for emergency backup when dealing with a diaper disaster and a baby that just wants to crawl away.  
I've upped my caffeine intake.  I know that there are single parents that do this all day, every day, and I give them props. 

Lately Aaralee has been making strange around men.  If they so much as look in her direction she'll lose her mind.  It doesn't matter if it's her uncle or a friendly old man... she wants nothing to do with them. Here's hoping that it stays that way until she's at least 30.  Because Ryan is gone away so long, he's a bit worried that she'll react the same way around him when he returns.  On previous shorter trips, she's taken a bit of time to warm up to him when he came home. Due to this and the fact that he loves and misses us oh so much, he went ahead and booked us flights to Tulsa. He bribed me with the fact that Walmart is walking distance from the hotel, although I would have came regardless. I am pretty excited about Walmart though... it's amazing in the States and I'll have endless hours of free time.
The thought of travelling alone with my baby and connections in unfamiliar airports is a bit (a lot) daunting, but if anyone can do it, it should be me. 
I don't know what we'll do in Oklahoma while Ryan works, but our hotel is nice and so is the southern weather.  I'm looking forward to seeing Ryan, wearing shorts, and persuading him to take me to Miranda Lambert's store.  
Until then, we'll be busy at home trying to pack and plan for a baby shower that we are hosting this weekend!  Fingers crossed for sunny weather, because it's going to get a bit squishy in this house! 
Rain, rain, go away... come back when we're away in Oklahoma.

may long for parents.

May 22, 2014

I've tried to write this post for 4 consecutive days now, typing out bits during that narrow window of time in which Aaralee goes to bed and I fall asleep myself.   My baby is now mobile, and my free time is gone... out the window... vanished as though it never existed.  As if crawling and standing on everything wasn't enough, today she decided to try out the elusive stairs.  If you want to stop by and visit, feel free... and bring coffee, please.  
I was fortunate enough to have a relaxing weekend with my family for the long weekend last week.  In my former life (A.K.A. six or seven years ago), May Long weekend was a pretty big deal.  Regardless of the weather, it meant packing up the tent and a diet consisting solely of hot dogs, marshmallows and an alcoholic beverage or two for 3 days.  There were sunburns and snowfalls and plenty of stories to be told.  May Long was a welcoming party for summer and a good riddance to winter... even when we woke up in snow covered tents.

Sometime between then and now, life got busy and between living overseas and working in the airline industry, I really haven't had much chance to celebrate the long weekend in a long time.  When May rolled around I was filled with excitement over the fact that I wouldn't be working this year, until it dawned on me that my former traditions really don't jive with my current lifestyle.
For the past couple of months I'd been subtly hinting (fine, begging) my husband for a weekend getaway in the mountains. We used to go on a regular basis but his busy job combined with poor weather and prior commitments have left us stuck in Edmonton and Red Deer every weekend.  I assumed that there would be no last minute hotel availability within our budget, but apparently people had opted to camp instead of stay in hotels and we found a room at our favourite hotel in gorgeous Canmore. I was so excited as we packed the car and hit the road for the weekend, bound for better scenery and family fun.

We made it to Canmore after a long day of driving and a couple of stops along the way.  After tucking the baby into bed it was time to relax and watch a movie with my husband.  Some unresolvable technical difficulties prevented us from watching the movie, but at least we had pizza, popcorn... and a little bit of a wine spritzer.  I don't get to enjoy wine much these days,  so I really enjoy it on the rare and special occasions.  

Aaralee had been battling a cold, teething, and had received her measles shot the evening prior.   Between that and sharing a room with her noisy little self, I didn't get much sleep that night.  After a breakfast of cold pizza we drove off to my favourite little coffee spot in Canmore to dose up on caffeine.  Sufficiently buzzed, we hit the highway.  Road trips are a great way to maintain a baby's nap schedule.  We headed towards Lake Louise, deciding to bypass it and instead visit Emerald Lake, just across the border in British Columbia. We've been to Lake Louise dozens of times and were excited to see a new spot.  It was still frozen, but a beautiful place nonetheless.  As it turns out, even our landscape photos can't be without our daughter.  She posed like the little pro that she is as we snapped away.  

I'm not sure how we ended up with such an adorable baby, but I can't get enough of her. 
We snuck in for a few shots as well, just to prove that we in fact had joined Aaralee on the trip.  

The rain began to fall as we walked the path around the lake. Aaralee kept warm and dry under the shelter of her stroller while Ryan and myself got soaked.  I didn't mind. It wasn't snowing, even at our high altitude. We took in the sights and vowed to one day stay at the gorgeous lodge.  
On our way back to Alberta we spotted a big black bear strolling along the train tracks. We pulled off to the side of the road and Ryan took photos while I used the opportunity to feed our hungry baby.  Once the rain hit he headed for shelter as we drove off towards Banff. 

I'd expected Banff to be overrun with tourists given the long weekend, but it was surprisingly quiet, by Banff standards. We found a great parking spot, I put the baby on my back, and we set off to enjoy the shops that we've been in time and time again.  

Once we'd walked up an appetite, we contemplated what to have for dinner.   We normally stick to our classic family restaurants, but our 5 year dating anniversary is right around the corner and Ryan won't be home for it. We decided to celebrate early, indulging in steak and crab legs at The Keg.  

And Aaralee, who is often loud and fussy in restaurants? She was an angel, happily sitting through the entire meal and munching bread rolls.  Ryan and I left stunned and thankful.  
Before heading back to Canmore for the evening, we stopped in the Christmas store, because despite it being May, no trip to Banff is complete without a quick circle around the festive store. 

Back to Canmore we went, putting the baby to bed and settling on a movie that actually worked in our DVD player.  We'd opted to head to Red Deer for the last day of our weekend to visit with both sets of parents and to celebrate Ryan's grandma's 85th birthday.  We spent some time with the family, ate some cake, and then headed back to my mom's house. 
Once Aaralee was tucked into bed, Ryan and I went on our very first movie date since August of last year.  Just us, on a real date, with no texting every 5 minutes to ask if my baby was okay.  I was reluctant to put down my phone, but I eventually sat back and enjoyed the movie with my husband.   It was a wonderful treat! Maybe we should ask grandma(s) to babysit more often! 

We headed back to Edmonton Monday after a quick visit with Ryan's other grandma. It had been a busy, fun filled weekend, but it is always good to get home. 
The long weekend is long over, and now I'm doing the parenting thing on my own for a couple of weeks while Ryan works down in Oklahoma yet again. I'm thankful for the weekend that we were able to spend as a family with absolutely no work interfering!  Now somebody come visit lonesome me and my adorable child...  and I'll take a half sweet caramel macchiato... iced or hot dependant on the weather. 

celebrating mama.

May 12, 2014

Yesterday was Mother's Day! For the first time ever I participated in the holiday not only as a daughter, but as a mother.  I have my gorgeous little girl to thank for such an honour.  I still can't get over how lucky I am that I get to spend all day, every day with such a sweet, silly, adorable little person.  We have so much fun together, and Mother's Day was no exception.  Although she's a bit too young to recognize the occasion, her daddy did a wonderful job of making me feel special.  

Because we were staying in Edmonton for the weekend, Aaralee and I made a surprise day trip to Red Deer on Friday to see both mine and Ryan's mom.  We brought flowers and cards, but as expected the highlight of both of their days was seeing their granddaughter. I've said in previous years how much I love and appreciate my mom, but now that I have my own child can I understand the true extent of all that she's done for me.  My mother-in-law did a great job at raising the man that I married, so of course I couldn't forget about her!

My first Mother's Day treat came a day early. After a great deal of persistence on my part, my husband went out to get me a Frappuccino. It was the last day of Starbucks's Happy Hour and I could definitely not miss out on half priced caffeinated bliss.  I had been upstairs getting ready, and found a cute, Starbucks toting surprise when I came back down. Fortunately, she's not quite at the age in which she gets angry when we take things from her.... 

We spent Saturday evening among friends at Kevin's birthday party. Aaralee slept through the noise until it was time to go home!  It was a later evening than we are used to, so what wonderful treat it was when our baby slept in later than normal the next morning. It's as if she realized that there was nothing I'd appreciate more on Mother's Day. My husband banned me from diaper changes or housecleaning for the duration of the day, so as he tidied the kitchen I indulged in some rare sleepy baby cuddles. 

I even had the opportunity to take a nice, long shower... long enough to wash my hair and shave my legs! If nothing else from that point forward, the day was a win.  However, since I'm such a lucky girl, our day was only beginning.  My one weekend request was that we have sushi, so for lunch we went to Japanese restaurant where I ordered whatever my heart desired. It had been so long since I'd enjoyed sushi, and my goodness, it was delicious.  

It was a beautiful sunny day (after snow the day prior) so after lunch we headed to a nearby park to play outside for a little while.  Aaralee loved the swings but was not too certain about sitting in the grass.  Since she was born in September the weather has been miserable the majority of her life. The outdoors will take some getting used to, but we'll make the most of our short summer.  

After a bit of playing we drove to Spruce Grove to meet up with our friends Alex and Chad and their kids.  They were going for a walk so we joined them and their giant dog Fezzik.  We walked the loop by the lake and stopped to let Fezzik go for a swim. Aaralee was content in her stroller as I pushed her around the bumpy trails.  

Our last adventure for the day made me extra excited for the fact that summer is on the way.  Back in Spruce Grove we went to the park to roast marshmallows! Aaralee sat in her baby tent while Ryan made a fire and I proceeded to make my first smore of the season.  Our lucky baby may or may not have had her first taste of roasted marshmallow... thanks to her daddy, of course. I can't wait for summer and camping and many, many meals cooked over the fire. 

It was getting late, so we headed home to get the baby to bed, stopping on the way to pick up supper. Ryan grabbed a pizza to share and I grabbed Subway... we all know how much I love my subs.

After we'd finished eating I relaxed while Ryan bathed the baby and got her into her pyjamas. I fed her, put her to bed, and came back downstairs to relax with a glass of wine after a great day with my amazing little family.  I don't know what I did to deserve this life, but I'm so blessed to be able to call myself "Mommy". Thank you, Aaralee... you make every single day so much fun! I know all of the words in the book "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and the lyrics to the obnoxious songs on your toys. I wake up at early o'clock and tote you around until my arms are numb.  I wouldn't trade this for anything in the whole wide world!