Welcome, Fall.

Sep 22, 2016

It's official: Autumn has commenced.  Just like that, summer 2016 is over and done with.   Of course, if you live in Alberta, you're well aware of the fact that summer has already been gone for quite some time. The leaves are falling, the temperatures are dropping, and everything in the vicinity is pumpkin flavoured.  
To celebrate the last day of summer, I took my girls on a spontaneous day trip yesterday. Just east of the city lies Elk Island National Park, a little gem that is beautiful and rarely busy on weekdays.  I always want to go on little road-trips but rarely actually go.  All of my kid-free friends work during the week, and my parent friends typically prefer to plan ahead. It dawned on me that there is absolutely no reason why I'd need another adult to accompany me.  My girls are all the company that I need! 
I'd be lying if I said that we've had a great week. Between a nasty cold and teething, Briley has been a miserable, sad, sleep-refusing baby.  As a result, we were all rather exhausted and maybe a tiny bit grumpy. Perhaps a little bit of fresh air was the remedy that we needed.  
I packed a picnic, and away we went! The weather was perfect.  It was just cool enough outside that I could dress the girls in adorable fall sweaters and justify accessorizing them with unnecessary (yet adorable) infinity scarves and tiny boots.   

There were a few families and a school group, but for the most part the parking lot was empty and we had plenty of room to roam and explore.  Aaralee ran down the paths, crushing every single leaf that stood in her way.  We watched the birds and wandered the boardwalk by the water.  The girls absolutely loved exploring the teepee, running in and out and around in circles.  

My girls even sat miraculously for approximately 3 seconds... long enough for me to snap a photo of them both, looking at the camera, together.  All of you moms of 2 or more can appreciate my sense of accomplishment in that feat.


The highlight of the day was when we came across a big pile of leaves.  Despite her usual aversion to anything messy, Aaralee was happy to throw the leaves in the air and roll around listening to them crunch beneath her back.

  She showered Briley with leaves, which left them both laughing hysterically.  

After such a busy few weeks it was so nice to take a little break with my kids to let them just have fun and be kids.  Seeing the world through their eyes is my favourite thing in life. 

After plenty of running around and playing, we had a snack and then packed up the car. There was some serious eye rubbing occurring and I could tell that it was going to be a peaceful car ride home with 2 kids asleep in the backseat. 

We'd had so much fun, and we even spotted a bison on our way out of the park, much to Aaralee's excitement.  As predicted, they slept the entire ride home as I sang along to the radio and snacked on cookies.  
Saying goodbye to summer is never an easy task, but days like these make it better. When you have tiny, fun loving little people in your world it doesn't seem to matter what season it is. Every day is an adventure, and I can't wait for all that autumn has to offer. I feel like we have more day trips in our future, as long as the snow holds off for awhile longer. 

First Day of School!

Sep 13, 2016

Today was a big day in our household. It was exciting, emotional, and one of the toughest days I've experienced in my parenting journey thus far. Today, my daughter started preschool.  It reaffirmed what I already knew...  I am the biggest, most clingy, emotional wreck of a mama.  
Last week we went to her orientation day. She met her teacher, played with toys, read some books, and reluctantly greeted her soon-to-be classmates. She loved it, and didn't want to leave when it was time to go.  Of course, I was by her side the entire time.  I've been by her side for almost every moment of her 3 years on this planet, so the thought of dropping her off with brand new people and leaving the premises weighed heavy on my mind.  I wasn't sure that I'd have the strength to go through with it. In my defence, she just turned 3 a few days ago so this was a lot of growing up for me to embrace in such a short amount of time. 
 I had to remind myself of my reasons for sending her to pre-school in the first place.  The social interaction with kids her age and the new experiences would be great for my busy little girl.  A bit of one-on-one time for Briley and I was just an added bonus.  

She had her pink backpack, her running shoes labeled with her name, and her brand new outfit that she picked out herself on a special trip to the mall.  She was ready, even if I wasn't.  

We talked about how much fun she'd have, and that Mommy would be back after she was all done playing. We arrived early and I took some photos while we waited for Ryan to show up for moral support.  We each held one of her hands, went inside, hung up her backpack and put on her indoor shoes that she'd been waiting 2 weeks to wear.  

I was a nervous wreck as I waited for the classroom door to open, and when it did I led her inside.  I turned around to realize that all of the other parents had said goodbye at the door, so I gave her a kiss, told her that Mommy had to go, and bolted for the door. I didn't look back, because my daughter happens to posses the biggest, saddest, puppy dog eyes and one glimpse of them would have me scooping her up and taking her home.  As I walked back into the hallway, I heard her start to cry and fought back my own tears. It didn't take long for her to stop crying, and when we peeked in the door on our way back to the car, she was already distracted and playing.  
It was the strangest feeling, getting into my car and driving away without her.  Ryan, Briley and I went for lunch so that I could drown my sorrows in pizza and an affogato.  After lunch, Ryan returned to work while Briley and I did a bit of retail therapy. Before I knew it, it was almost time to pick Aaralee up!  

While waiting for class to finish, I checked her mail slot to find my first newsletter and her first preschool craft... cue fighting back more tears.  I was so relieved that she'd made it through the day all by herself.

The door opened, and I rushed to greet her.  She glanced up, saw me at the door, and then carried on playing.  All of my stress and worrying was for nothing, Aaralee loved her first day of school and I am so, so proud of her.  She said goodbye to her teacher, we collected her things, and headed home. She had so much to tell me! She'd played, sang, made crafts, and her favourite part of the day was snack time... obviously.   
When we got home, we went for a walk and she quickly fell asleep. School is tiring!  

Here's hoping that drop offs get easier from here on out.  I can't believe that my sweet, tiny little girl is already in preschool. 


I Scream, You Scream, All of the Kids Scream at Aaralee's Birthday!

Sep 11, 2016

As soon as Briley's first birthday party was over, it was time to start planning for Aaralee's September birthday. Yes, I am that mom. I've said it before, but I feel the need to reiterate it and justify it each time, so I'll just admit to it. I am the Pinterest inspired, over the top, no detail overlooked party planning mom.  I love my daughters, I love birthdays (or any special occasion, if we're being honest...) and I really, really love planning parties.  If my girls ever ask for a low-key party at a Chuck-E-Cheese, I'll happily honour that request, but until that day comes I will continue to decorate, bake, and go DIY crazy for these parties. 
When it comes to deciding the theme for Aaralee's birthdays, I try to think of her favourite things in life and plan around it. It didn't take long at all to settle on an ice cream theme for my tiny little sugar junkie.  I was so excited about this party, because ice cream happens to be high on my list of favourite things as well. Like Mother, like daughter.  

This was probably one of my favourite parties yet.  There were sweet treats everywhere. Giant tissue paper ice cream cones were strung from the ceiling, the kids dove into a sundae bar, and Aaralee was in her glory indulging in ice cream, Grandma's cookies, mama's macarons, and cake. 

Speaking of cake... I managed to pull this one off with no major catastrophes. Okay... I may have dropped the first one into the oven and had to bake another... but given my history of cake baking, I'm still calling it a win. Aaralee was so excited about her giant melted ice cream cone!  

After a few tries, Aaralee successfully blew out all of her candles! We may or may not have been practicing over the past week so to avoid her spitting all over the cake.

It was a 3 layer cake, because it obviously needed to be neopolitan coloured on the inside.  

Even little sister Briley got in on the sugar high, scoring her first ever ice cream cone! 

Aaralee was spoiled with so many great gifts... including her brand new kitchen! With my crazy ideas and Ryan's help, we bought a plain old toy IKEA kitchen and transformed it into her special, pretty blue kitchen, complete with (fake) granite and a tile backsplash. She was pretty excited, and I can't wait to watch my girls cook fancy meals out of plastic food together.  

At the end of the day, we were all tired, the house was a mess, and the kids were having epic tantrums as they came off of their sugar highs.  All signs of a successful birthday party! The guests went home (with ice cream bubbles, of course) and we spent the rest of the evening playing with our birthday girl before tucking her into bed with her brand new dolls. It was another great party for an greater little girl. She is so lucky to be loved by so many people! Thank you so much to everyone who came and made her birthday such a special day! 


I have a 3 year old!

Sep 10, 2016

Aaralee, my sweet, beautiful firstborn.  Nobody in this world makes me laugh like you do. Nobody tests my patience like you do. Nobody has taught me more about love than you have. You made me a Mommy, and I'm forever grateful for that privilege.  Today, you turn 3 years old! 
I remember it like it was yesterday; the day that we met.  You were so tiny, with dark hair and big brown eyes and I'd never seen anything more perfect.  I had no idea what I was doing, and some days I feel like I still don't, but here we are 3 years later! 

As you grow older and become your own little person, you amaze me each and every day.  You are so independent, determined, and smart.  You are so loving, carrying your baby dolls with you wherever you go and giving hugs and kisses to your sister... even though she doesn't quite appreciate the affection.  You love to engineer new uses for everything, just like your Daddy.  When you talk, you sound just like Mommy.  You without a doubt inherited our love of food and our stubborn ways. 
You've changed my life in more ways than I thought possible, and I love you more than words can describe.   I burst with pride watching you navigate life and can't wait to see the adventures that the next year will bring. 

 Happy birthday to you, my big girl... my 3 year old... my preschooler! We have a big day of celebrating ahead of us! 
"I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always... as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be."