Hello, Finley

Aug 14, 2018

11 short days ago, we welcomed our newest member to the family. Finley Dianna was born on August 3, at 8:26 am. She came into this world screaming, with a head full of dark brown hair.  She was our smallest baby, weighing just 6 pounds and 7 ounces. 

Her birthday was a calm, peaceful day. We drove to the hospital at 6 in the morning, equally terrified and excited.  Since our first two babies were born via c-section, she was scheduled to arrive the same way at 39 weeks, and 1 day. If you recall my previous pregnancies, you'll know that this was weeks earlier than my other babies, and when the time came I couldn't believe that it was happening so soon.   
We parked and nervously made our way to the labour and delivery ward.  We were sent to a room to change, and before we knew it we were ushered into a pre-op room.  Soon, it was time to head into the OR.  I went in alone, and waited until Ryan was allowed to be by my side. Scheduled c-sections are a very surreal experience.  The rest was a blur of tugging and waiting, and then... a tiny, but loud cry.  Our sweet baby.  Our third perfect daughter.  Finley... our grand finale.  
She cuddled into her daddy as the doctors sewed me back together. We were so in love, so instantly.  

We had a few hours to soak up our brand new baby before we welcomed some of her family to meet her. First, and most importantly... her big sisters. My entire pregnancy, Aaralee had been excited about meeting her sister, while Briley seemed oblivious to the huge life change ahead.  I was shocked that from the moment they met, it was Briley who was obsessed. She constantly asks to hold her and can't get enough of her tiny toes. Aaralee is a bit more reluctant, and prefers her baby dolls. 

We spent a couple of days in the hospital before finally being set free to go home! We buckled Finley into her carseat, in awe of how tiny she looked.

And then, we were home. Home to start our lives as a family of 5. I remember the early days with Aaralee. They were filled with anxiety, overthinking and sleep deprivation. This third time around felt like a dream.  Having a 3 and 4 year old makes a newborn feel like a breeze. She is so content, so tiny, and she doesn't climb the furniture or talk back yet. 

We are all so in love, and she rarely gets set down because I can't resist the urge to constantly snuggle her and sniff her sweet newborn head.  When I do stop holding her, it's typically to pick up my camera so that I can capture these fleeting newborn moments.  

Welcome to our family, my sweet girl. We didn't realize that you were the missing piece of our puzzle until you arrived, and now I can't imagine a world without you.  

A Summer of Waiting.

Jul 23, 2018

Summer time is hands down my favourite time of year.  In our family, July and August are typically jam packed with fun adventures. We try to spend the least amount of time at home, opting to be outside. We camp, we swim, we stay up late, and we go on at least one long road trip each year.  By the time that September rolls around, we are suntanned, happy, and ready for the crisp autumn air.  

This year has been a bit different. With a baby due in August and a huge backyard to landscape, this summer has involved a whole lot of time at home.  Aside from a short mountain trip for my birthday, we haven't left the city.  Ryan has spent every dry day (and some rainy days) outside, slaving away at the seemingly endless job that is our backyard. He goes straight out after work and comes in when it's time to sleep.  The kids have had more screen time and fast food than I care to admit and my patience levels have reached a record low.  

 It's hard not to feel like we are missing out, and impossible to not feel guilty about our lack of fun. Both of my girls came long past their due dates and neither without medical intervention, so I feel like odds are this one won't make an early appearance. But I know that every pregnancy is different, so I do the responsible thing, and stick close to home, no matter how much I long to flee the city. 
I keep seeing a post on Facebook about how we only get 18 summers with our kids, and how we need to make them count. Meanwhile,  I'm turning on another movie and making peanut butter and jam sandwiches for lunch for the fourth day in a row. We spend most of our time in our air conditioned house for the sake of my swollen feet and lack of energy. Am I letting my kids down? Will they be sad when summer ends and we didn't do anything spectacular?  Will they remember how grumpy and lazy Mommy was? Am I ruining their childhood?  

No, of course not.  
I hope that when they think back upon this summer, they'll remember cuddling on the couch with their little hands firmly pressed upon my belly, feeling their baby sister move.  I hope they'll remember afternoons spent in the pool, and Mommy making giant splashes trying to climb into her inflatable donut. 

I know for a fact that they'll remember eating far more ice cream than they'd normally be allowed, because Mommy's cravings have been out of control. I hope they'll remember playing hopscotch and blowing bubbles on the driveway, because we don't yet have a yard for them to play in.  Most of all, I hope that they remember this summer as the summer that they met their baby sister.  All of these long, boring days spent cooped up indoors are going to be so very worth it in just a matter of weeks.  Aaralee talks about the baby every hour of the day, and Briley asks me every morning if she is still in my tummy.  They are going to be such good sisters. This baby is going to be loved so much.  

July has been pretty uneventful, but August will be here before we know it, and so will our brand new family member. Our summer adventure is only just beginning. 

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.