Pancakes, Pyjamas, and Preschoolers... Oh My!

Jun 18, 2018

On Friday, my sweet Briley turned 3 years old!  It seems like just yesterday I was holding her for the very first time, rubbing her bald head and staring in awe at the immense size of her cheeks.  Today, she is a crazy blonde ball of energy.  I can't imagine a world without the constant joy that she adds to it.  She makes us laugh, gives the very best hugs (she calls them unicorn hugs, because unicorns are superior to bears), and is as stubborn as they come.  

I love birthday party planning, but at 32 weeks pregnant I couldn't possibly pull off quite as elaborate of an event as previous years.  It would be a quieter party, with less decor and food and time invested.  That's what I told myself, but then my inner DIY addict took over. Before I knew it, I was in over my head with projects and baking.  
Every morning Briley climbs into our bed, bright and early. She snuggles for approximately 23 seconds before sitting up and declaring "I want breff-ist".  This girl lives for breakfast, it is without a doubt her favourite time of day.  It was decided, she would have a pancakes and pyjamas themed brunch party.  The pyjamas part might have been more for me, because these days I'll take any excuse to avoid getting dressed.  
We stocked up on cereal, made a huge batch of pancakes, several packs of bacon, and we were ready! It was time for a brunch party!

No party is complete without mass amounts of food and treats! 

The kids kept busy, colouring and making necklaces out of Fruit Loops.

The cake was a labour of love. It was my first time ever using fondant, so I fully anticipated that I might have to send Ryan to buy a grocery store cake last minute. Much to my surprise, it worked out! Briley absolutely loved her giant stack of pancakes!

One thing that really struck me this party was just how fast my girls and their friends are growing up.  Our guest list has remained pretty consistent over the years, so it is so fun to see the progression as the kids get older. This year, most of the kids went upstairs to play or did their own thing instead of constantly sticking to their parents. It was so much fun watching them all play together and truly enjoy the birthday party chaos.  
Briley had such a great day and was so spoiled with so many amazing gifts. She is so lucky to have so many amazing friends and family members that love her so much.  Thank you for making her special day so perfect! 

A Day in Our Life.

Apr 14, 2018

"The days are long, but the years are short." 

This quote often circulates on social media and seems to resonate with parents. The days ARE long.  I am a stay at home mom.  I spend almost every waking hour catering to my children's needs.  Most days, I love it, and other days I struggle to maintain my sanity.  Regardless of the outcome, when Briley climbs into my bed at 6:30 am, I know that I'm always in for another long day.  
And then suddenly, a photo pops up from a year ago, or even a few months ago, and I wonder where the time has gone. How do these long days accumulate and turn into months and years so quickly?
Our long days together are everything. They are their childhood, the memories that they'll carry into adulthood. 
I've always wanted to spend an entire day with my camera, capturing the simple moments that make up our days. The breakfasts, the routine, the chaos.  Our life, in this chapter, and a day in it. 
Today, I finally carried out this plan.   I missed some moments, like dinner, bath time, temper tantrums,  and car rides. I'm also not in any of the photos, which isn't an accurate representation of our days.  The photos aren't perfect and beautiful. 
I still love having these moments to look back on.  
These long, stressful days are filled with love, laughter, and the magic childhood.

This is a Saturday in the life of our family.  My favourite kind of day.  

break through those glass ceilings.

Mar 8, 2018

"Here's to strong women. May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them."

Today is International Women's Day. A day that used to pass by with little to no recognition on my part.  I've always felt proud to be female, but I never felt the urge to shout it from the rooftops or to fight for change or equality.  And then, I became a mother to daughters.  

A few months ago I was talking to Aaralee about what she might be when she grows up. I went through a list of possibilities, until she stopped me mid-sentence with "I can't be a pilot mom, I'm a girl."  
Pardon me?!
How, at only 4 years old, did my daughter already exclude herself from certain careers based solely on her gender? We had a long discussion about how she could do anything that boys can do, and in that moment I made it my mission to raise empowered, confident girls who will never grow up restricting themselves to certain roles.  If they want to be a stay at home mom, that's great. If they want to be an astronaut, a doctor, a pilot or the prime minister... that's okay too. 
Now that I'm pregnant with our third baby, I'm taking the opportunity to show my girls just how incredible women really are. We can travel the world, have careers and play sports. We can do anything that men can do, but we can also grow and birth babies.  We are strong, we are capable, and we are amazing. 

We don't know the sex of our baby yet, but I've lost count of how many people have wished us luck to have a baby boy this time, or assumed that that was the very reason we tried for a third.  To imply that we'd be anything less than thrilled to have another daughter is crazy. I'd consider myself incredibly fortunate to be given the opportunity to raise 3 girls, and there won't be even a hint of disappointment if that's the case.
And if it's a boy? That's just fine too.  We'll love him, be excited for the new adventure, and most importantly, teach him how to respect and treat women. 
We've come a long way as women, and we still have some obstacles to conquer. I hope that my daughters grow up to be fearless women who stand up for themselves and never hold themselves back or think less of themselves because they are females. I hope that they support and empower other women and know that they can do absolutely anything. 

The Monsters who make me crazy... in love.

Mar 2, 2018

If I were to say that I've loved every moment since returning home and that I'm so glad to be back... I'd be lying.  
These past 2 weeks have been exhausting, physically and mentally.  February always gets to me, and I am so glad to see March. Spring is on the horizon, if you ignore the fact that we are currently under a winter storm warning.  
We might have went on a vacation for 3 glorious weeks, but is it really a vacation if you're at a stay at home mom who is stuck in a van with your family?  Don't get me wrong, we had an amazing trip and I wouldn't change a thing.  However, after 3 weeks of sunshine, outdoors, and fun, we returned home to cold weather, responsibilities, and being stuck inside together trying to pass the days. I longed for a bit of alone time.  For a meal not interrupted with demands for more milk. For a shower not interrupted by "Mom, Briley is on the counter!" For a morning spent cozy under the blankets without hearing the sound of cereal spilling all over the floor.  These kids are my entire world, the reason I wake up every day, and the loves of my life... and they are driving me insane. 

The days are long. They are spent dishing out snacks, kissing owies, breaking up fights, and constantly cleaning. It's a thankless job, a job that I chose.  I feel terrible for ever complaining, but between sleep deprivation and pregnancy hormones, sometimes a mama just needs some space.
But then, they go to bed. Their sleepy little bodies cuddle up under the blankets, exhausted from a long day of refusing to nap.  We sing bedtime songs, give big bear hugs, and I close their door and breathe a sigh of relief. 
And then I miss them.
I sneak into their room every night to see them sleeping. They are always clutching their little blankets, snoring baby snores, and I fear that my heart might actually explode from loving them so much.  

These girls, who push me to the brink of losing sanity on a daily basis, are the most amazing little people I've ever known, and I can't believe that they are mine.  
Aaralee, my first born. She will be 4 1/2 on the 10th. She'll insist on a half birthday cake, and I'll likely oblige because I secretly love how birthday obsessed she is. She is already planning her 5th birthday party, which isn't until September.  She was crazy about the colour pink for as long as I can remember. We bought her pink clothes and pink bedding, and accepted that she would only eat off of pink plates.  Until she watched Frozen, and suddenly changed her mind. Now everything must be blue, and the pink torch has been passed on to her sister.  She loves preschool and can't wait for kindergarten. She asks approximately 5,256 questions per day, ranging from "Why do we get boogers?" to the ever-feared "How did our new baby get in your tummy?"   
She is a picky eater, who would prefer to survive on a diet of sugar and carbs.  She loves to help cook, even if she'll refuse to eat most meals. She is the self proclaimed queen of the household (Queen Elsa to be exact) and has the attitude to go with it. She can get her sister to do almost anything for her. You'll find her wearing a princess dress 6/7 days a week, and on the other day she'll be crying because they are in the wash. 

She can't wait to be a big sister again. She loves to rub my growing belly, and insists that we name the new baby "Flower" regardless of the gender.  She is happiest playing with her friends, and she makes new ones wherever we go.  She is petite, clumsy, serious, strong-willed, and no doubt will outsmart her mama one day.  She is my firstborn, the one who made me a mommy, and she'll forever be my baby girl.  

Briley, my baby, my wild child. She is fast approaching age 3, and she'll be off to preschool in the fall.  I'm not sure how either of those statements are real life. Without fail, she climbs into our bed every morning bright and early. We try to persuade her to go back to sleep, she tells us that she is "super, super hungry" and requests milk and Cheerios.  She is always making us laugh, with her goofy ways and her epic dance moves. She gives the best hugs ever, and will randomly tell me that she loves me.
She would be happy if we'd let her spend all day watching home videos of "Baby Aaralee". She loves her big sister, and loves to push her buttons.  She's will eat everything in her vicinity if given a chance, and is asking for a snack every 20 minutes.  

You'll usually find her running, throwing things, or jumping off of the couch. She was the first to land us in the emergency room and will likely give me many grey hairs.  She is the master of destruction and mess follows her wherever she goes. She loves our dog and requests that we get a new puppy instead of a new baby. 
She's shy, unless you are lucky to catch her in a silly mood, in which case you'll get her life story.  She clings to her blanket 24/7. She is my baby, my big, littlest girl. She has the personality to let everyone know that she is in the room, and being a middle child won't stop her from stealing the spotlight. 

I am so, so, lucky to call myself mommy to these girls, and even luckier that I have been given the opportunity to do it all over.  I might never regain my sanity or my energy, but it's a pretty good trade off for a heart as full as mine.