Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas x2!

Christmas came early with a trip down to Connecticut to visit Jenn's family. Jenn's sister, Chrissie, and her husband, Ryan, were fantastic hosts, as usual! For weeks, when the girls were asked what Santa was going to bring them, they would answer excitedly, "an orange!" Little did they know what was in store for them! We all had a blast celebrating Christmas. It was a total whirlwind with the girls opening up presents in record time. Jenn's family spoiled them with clothes, toys and even a fire station tent! 

We were lucky enough to be down in CT during the massive ice storm that hit Toronto. Apparently, our power was out for over 24 hours. We were lucky. I know a few people who still don't have power. Going on 6 days. An ice storm meant that our flight on December 23rd got canceled (although we weren't informed!). After getting the girls up at 5am, a 2 hour drive to the airport and then a 6 hour wait, we finally boarded a flight to Montreal. And after another 45 minute wait to get our scheduled 11:30pm flight to Toronto changed, we grabbed some dinner, waited a few more hours and then boarded our 8:30pm flight home. My brother was kind enough to pick us all up at the airport and we finally got the girls into bed at 11:15. 

Despite being up for about 18 hours with only a brief nap, they were fantastic. Jenn and I couldn't have been proud of the way they took it all in stride. Long, boring waits. Very long lines. Both girls even threw up all over the airport (Q in Toronto and T in Montreal). Despite it all, they never complained. They were my constant reminder to smile and know that we would get home eventually. It could have been worse. 

Christmas Eve began with a "sleep in". We were happy to roll over and see that it was past 7:30am when we heard little feet coming down the hall. Jenn and I divided and conquered to get the last few things that we needed before our family Christmas Eve dinner (that we were hosting). After a great dinner with the whole family, the last presents got wrapped and Santa asked for our help putting together some presents (Michael and Paige took on the challenge of the trampoline!). 

I was probably more excited for Christmas morning than the girls. After all, we could have put an orange under the tree and they would have been happy. Jenn rushed down to grab her camera. Once again, present opening was a whirlwind! While the girls played, we ate muffins and fruit. We eventually packed up and headed over to my parents place for brunch and more presents. After two rounds of present opening, the girls were old pros. Not surprisingly, Grandpa spoiled his girls. 3 hour naps were had. Party dresses donned and guests arrived. A delicious feast and superb wine was enjoyed by all. It was a fantastic Christmas. 

The girls were still buzzed from all of the Christmas excitement this morning. They played for hours and eventually passed out from the overstimulation for another 3+ hour nap. We headed out on a snowy walk with the dogs, had dinner and then spent ages settling the girls for bed. 

Nothing better than Christmas through the eyes of a child!

A few pictures from the last few days! 

What did Santa bring us?!
She spotted her bulldozer!
Getting air on the trampoline!
Name puzzles courtesy of an shop
Digging into the orange from Santa!
Happy kids!
Hugging Elmo
Miss Carlee
Hard at work composing!
A must watch every Christmas
My Sweet T and her Elmo
Pretty party girls

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


If you haven't heard, Toronto was hit by a massive ice storm. Hundreds of thousands of people lost power and many are going on day three without it. Limbs of trees smashed cars and damaged homes. We arrived home from visiting Jenn's family last night (post to follow!) to a warm house and minimal damage. While our power went out, it was only for about one day. We are incredibly lucky.

While I'm grateful for a warm house and electricity, we would be fine without it. It isn't what matters. More than anything, I'm incredibly grateful for the people in my life. For their health and happiness. And for my own. I have been so blessed with an incredible partner, Jenn, who loves me, flaws and all.

It isn't always the big things that cause gratitude to smack us in the face. It is often the teeny tiny things. I'm reminded every single day by my perfect little girls to stop and smell (and admire) the roses. It is often in those little moments that gratitude overwhelms me. It would take me hours to detail why I'm grateful for each and every one of my friends and family. And even then, I don't think that I could articulate those small, perfect moments that have meant more to me than anything. So instead, I will simply say thank you, although that is nowhere near enough.

This 6-minute video was introduced to me about 6 months ago. I watch it constantly. Enjoy :)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Don't worry, Mom...Your youngest is fine.

My mom always jokes that Carlee (their puppy) will be homesick when she comes to our house. Don't worry, Mom. I think your youngest is just fine :)

Carlee (L) and Finn (R)
A little kiss for his sister.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Year 3 of Santa….and Grandpa.

Oh and we've joined the screaming-in-a-Santa-picture club. Grandpa is hoping to retire next year!

Blast from the past. Santa 2012.

And their first visit to Santa!

A Christmas time weekend wrap-up

We had a great and busy first weekend of December. On Friday, we drove Jenn down to her office. Since I was already downtown, I decided to take advantage of the free parking (in Jenn's building) and hang out downtown with the girls.

Given the girls current train obsession, we started our morning out at Roundhouse Park at the Steam Whistle Brewery. We checked out the real life version of Tidmouth Sheds, the home of Thomas the train & his friends.  The historic locomotives were fascinating from afar. Teagan, in particular, was scared of them when we got up close. It took a little coercing for me to get her to stand next to it for a picture.

 The three of us became cold quite quickly so we crossed the street to check out the new aquarium. It is somewhere that we've been wanting to take the girls since it opened in September. The line ups have been crazy though - 30 minutes just to buy tickets! The aquarium had just opened for the day and was still quite empty. I asked the girls if they wanted to stay. With a resounding "yes!", we checked our coats and were inside in no time.

If you live in Toronto or plan on visiting, this is definitely worth checking out! There is one way in and one way out (from what I saw), so the girls and I made our way through it quicker than we would if Jenn had joined us. We were still kept entertained and thoroughly impressed. The moving sidewalk through the shark tank is truly incredible.

A bit overwhelming for my sensitive T.
With only my i.Phone in hand and two toddlers running around, I wasn't able to snap anymore decent photos. The jellyfish are mesmerizing. I could have watched them for an hour. A diver was swimming around in one of the aquarium's largest tanks. Part way through the exhibits, it opens up into a children's indoor playground and a cafe. Quinn showed off on the big twisty slide for a little while. Unknowingly, we popped our heads into a large peep hole which put us right in the middle of the shark tank. We could actually see others walking along the moving sidewalk. Very cool. 

After lunch and a nice long nap, the girls and I headed back downtown to pick up Jenn. I have very fond memories of family outings to see The Bay's Christmas windows and the elaborate displays of Christmas lights downtown. I wanted to make this a new tradition for our family. The windows are beautiful - so intricate and creative. The girls were in awe. As were we. 

We checked out more lights and ended with a few minutes to watch the skaters at Nathan Phillips Square. 

This polar bear got hugs and kisses from T.
Dying to get out there
Saturday was filled with a play date in the morning with the girls' good (twin) buddies, H&K, as well as their friend M. In the afternoon, a friend from our prenatal class brought her twin boys over for a visit. 

While Quinn had a marathon nap, Jenn, Teagan and I decorated the tree. Teagan had cut her nap very short. She must have known that the ornaments were coming out. She took her job seriously. Our tree looked fantastic, with most ornaments sitting at about 2.5 feet off the floor :)

Sunday included pretty dresses and some fun at Jenn's company's holiday party, followed by dinner with Atty and Grandpa!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Finally stopped in her tracks

On her 2 1/2 year birthday, Quinny finally slowed down. The kid is usually either asleep or running full speed. We have been lucky enough up until now to have only dealt with minor colds. On Friday, she woke very early from her nap. She had her first fever and was very tired. She and I cuddled under a blanket for two hours on the couch. She didn't move once. For the kid with endless energy, who usually can't sit still for more than a minute, this was unheard of! While I loved the cuddles, it was bittersweet. She drank loads of coconut water and eventually put herself to bed at 5pm. By the time I went to bed, her temperature had come down on its own.

Luckily, the colds that hit the girls and me seem to be on their way out. On the downside, it looks like Jenn is succumbing to it. Tis the season!

Miss Q: Not herself on Friday afternoon.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Things get difficult, things get easier

Things get difficult...After our fourth difficult night in a row, I woke up reliving exhaustion of the newborn twins days. When Jenn's alarm went off at the usual 5:30am for her daily workout at the gym (I know, impressive!), Teagan was already in our bed. She had been up around 1am as well. The previous night was the Quinn Show -- up every 1.5-2 hours like a newborn. I can't even remember the details of the two nights before that. They are congested, which is likely the cause of the wake ups. We've done it all, from elevating their beds to the humidifier to my homemade eucalyptus rub for their chests and feet. This too shall pass.

Despite our crankiness and exhaustion, I knew we had to get out. The morning would go quicker if we were kept busy. A little sunshine and fresh air never hurt anyone. So, we bundled up and walked through a very cold and quiet Riverdale Farm and actually had a fantastic time.

The animals were ultra-friendly today. We sang songs to a sheep while he happily let us pet him. Three little pigs (haha) actually took a break from their meal to check us out.

Look at that face!
Fighting over who gets to sniff Q's hand first
We then popped into the Brickworks, an environmental/sustainability centre that is the host of one of the most fantastic farmer's markets. They have a great cafe that serves local and organic foods, so the girls and I grabbed some soup.

Things get easier…When we walked into the cafe, I went up to the counter to order. It took me all of 30 seconds. When I turned around, the girls were sitting quietly on two chairs right behind me. Wow, you guys are being so good! I said impulsively.  A few months ago, I would have been holding one kid in my arms, while trying to put the other in a leg lock, otherwise they would terrorize the place. I got them a "treat" of a Kiju mini juice box and told them to go and grab a table. They did! We sat together eating soup and drinking juice (coffee for me) for at least 10 minutes. I had just read this post by K J and the Kids. With a daughter and two sets of twin boys, she talked about how things are finally tame enough to go out to a restaurant with the whole family. Her kids are much older than my girls and I am by no means at this stage yet, but I felt like today was a snip it of some things getting easier. Despite an exhausting night, the three of us managed to have a really nice morning together.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Nap-less T in Toronto

I'm currently blogging from the girls' room during nap time. This is what it has come to because I cannot stop Teagan from waking up Quinn.

Quinn has been in a toddler bed for a while. It is old news now, so she sleeps well. Teagan was forced into a toddler bed because she would not stop climbing out of her crib.

Quinn loves nap time and falls asleep within minutes. She unwinds quickly. Teagan is another story. She used to lie in her crib and happily chat to her animals before falling asleep. Quinn REALLY needs the nap. Without it, she's a nightmare. I understand. I'm the same way. Teagan needs a nap too, but perhaps not to Quinn's level.

I tried sitting outside the room, calmly entering and putting her back into bed when I heard her get up. She would get up quietly though. I couldn't hear her and walked in to find her waking up Quinn about almost an hour ago. The little punk knows what she shouldn't do too. She told me when I first put her down, "T stays in big girl bed." She followed with, "T doesn't wake Mini." So, now I am sitting here as she flops around her bed.

She didn't nap for the last two days. It was a disaster. On Tuesday, I had them in bed and asleep before 6pm. That bad.

Letting her nap in another room isn't an option. The playroom is next door, but it is full of toys and doesn't have curtains. I'd also need somewhere for her to sleep.

Hopefully the big girl bed will become old news to her soon. It is all a phase!

Any and all advice will be happily accepted.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


From the second I found out that I was having girls, I was anti-princess. There were going to be no "Mommy thinks that I'm a princess" onsies worn by my girls! While I am still not a huge fan of the princess obsession, I've certainly lightened up.

The girls adore their friend, S. She is a cool, "older" friend at almost 4 years old. She loves the girls as well, particularly because she gets to boss them around. S is a HUGE princess fan. The kid has a trunk full of dresses, tiaras and shoes. S's mom, like me, was not a fan of the whole princess thing before her little girl became totally obsessed. She too, lightened up.

Whenever we go over there for a play date, S has a plan. It usually involves princess dresses. I managed to snap a few photos today. It was WAY too cute to pass up!

Even in a princess dress, she moves at the
speed of light! :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Christmas Time and the Felt Tree

I LOVE Christmas time. I'm a total Christmas nut. I love the music, the decorations, the lights….

I now have Christmas mini-nuts in the making :) I already showed them part of the movie Elf. Since then, they'll randomly start saying, Buddy the elf! They are obsessed with Christmas lights and love pointing out Santa, reindeers, trees and snowflakes. They don't realize that Christmas also means presents yet. I love that.

The girls have recently gotten really into arts & crafts. They love to draw, but probably love using glue and stickers even more. I've picked up several little projects at the dollar store recently. They've decorated Christmas bags with felt, foam, stickers, sparkly pom poms, feathers etc. I have also seen the felt tree all over Facebook recently, so I decided to give it a whirl. They love it!

How to:
-- I grabbed the felt at a fabric store because I needed a very large piece of green.
-- I cut out the tree and glued it to some bristol board.
-- Using masking tape, the tree was secured to the wall.
-- Felt sticks to felt, so I cut out shapes and the girls started decorating!
-- Note: I have seen a few of these trees done with velcro, but my method seems to be working well!


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Liver Lovin'!

I remember being amazed by the liver when I learned about it at school several years ago. It has so many jobs in our bodies and does them all so well. Since we are entering into the season of overindulgence, I thought that our lovely livers should receive some attention and love.

The liver is the largest but also the most important organ in your body. Our livers work their butts off to keep our bodies functioning well. Here are just a few things that this organ does for us:

  • Eliminates toxins that we eat, drink, breathe in, put on our skin etc. 
  • Cleans and detoxifies our blood
  • Stores and distributes critical vitamins and minerals
  • Produces bile, which is essential for digestion of fats (Bile breaks up fats into small pieces so that they can be absorbed by the small intestines)
  • Controls the production and the elimination of cholesterol
  • Helps to prevent infection in the body by removing bacteria
  • Makes clotting factors to help prevent excessive bleeding after an injury. 
That is only a snapshot of the liver's job description, but I think it is probably pretty clear how important it is. 

The liver quietly works in the background. We often don't realize that some of the symptoms that we might be experiencing could be linked to a sluggish liver. 

Symptoms that can be linked to a sluggish liver: headaches, brain fogginess, poor caffeine or alcohol tolerance, difficulty losing weight, high cholesterol, constipation, indigestion, insomnia (particularly between 2-4am)

Lucky for us, our livers are forgiving. Even if you think of yourself as a healthy person, a little liver lovin' never hurts. 

Don't worry, I'm not going to suggest a juice cleanse or a cleanse of spinach and celery! 

This is a simple and quick way to give your liver (and the rest of your body) a little love each morning. It is something that I used to suggest to most of my clients. 
On an empty stomach, start your day with a large glass of warm water with the juice of half of a lemon in it.  (Must be fresh lemon! No limes and no lemon juice from a bottle) 
Drink it with a straw to protect your teeth. 
  • This will help detox your liver
  • It will stimulate your metabolism
  • Alkalinizes the digestive tract (disease cannot exist in an alkaline body)
  • Stimulates bile production, which helps eliminate toxins
  • Improves bowel function and regularity 
  • It will give your body a hit of vitamin C (good for everyone, especially with winter coming!)
For my clients who had limited time in the mornings, I would recommend that they make 2-3 days worth of lemon water at a time and store it in a jug in the fridge. Boil the kettle each morning and add a bit to warm it up to at least room temperature. 

Easy enough to do during the busy holiday season, right?! Give those livers some love! :)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Preschool Update

Preschool is going fantastically well for the girls. A tear has not been shed since early September. It makes drop-offs happy and quick. They walk in and head straight to their cubbies to grab their indoor shoes. Often without a goodbye, Teagan goes running into the lap of one particular teacher. They are reading a book together within seconds. I usually get a kiss and goodbye from Quinn, who is happy to be there, but doesn't throw herself into her teacher's lap.

The girls are some of the youngest in their class, as I've mentioned before. They are over a year younger than some of the other kids. There is a huge difference between a not quite 2.5 year old and a 3.5 year old, as many parents will tell you. Their teachers have told me that they play very well with the other children. Teagan is a bit more forward and makes friends more easily than Quinn. This is something that I've noticed on my own as well. I'm not too concerned though because Q will be playing with other children on many days when I pick them up.

I care less about the curriculum at school than I do about the socialization aspect. Sure, learning is important, but they're 2. They have years and years of school ahead of them. I'm just happy that they love being there and love their teachers. During those beautiful times when they're getting along and loving one another, they often play school. They will pretend to be their two teachers. Adorable!

While they're only at school for two mornings per week, I've noticed a few changes. In particular, they sing A LOT. During those rare quiet times when they're both looking at books or doing puzzles, they will be singing to themselves -- Twinkle, Twinkle, ABCs, Baa Baa Black Sheep. They continue to sing Happy Birthday to Uncle Rob as well, even though his birthday was a few weeks ago. Amazingly, they know most of the words.

It was picture day a few weeks ago. The photos are priceless, particularly the "married couple" one! I snapped a few photos of the proofs, since the real ones won't arrive for several weeks. Enjoy!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Halloween with MonkeyTiger

I realized yesterday that I never posted Halloween pictures! While shopping in early October, Quinn spotted her Halloween costume from across the store. I didn't even know the store sold Halloween costumes! She saw it and instantly loved it. She has worn the costume every day since…

Excited to show off her costume to
Rob and Kelly (October 4th)
Knowing that I couldn't arrive home without a costume for Teagan, I picked up a veterinarian costume. It was adorable - blue scrubs with puppy paws all over it. It included a stethoscope and a little hat. The kid adores animals and is the baby dog whisperer. I thought it was perfect. I was wrong. She freaked out and demanded a monkey of her own.

By the time I returned to the store the next day, the monkeys were gone. I did manage to get her an adorable tiger. And this is where "Monkey Tiger", as Quinn called it, began.

We took them to a Halloween party on the weekend before the big day. Despite the rain, we did take them out for a stroll around the neighbourhood on the 31st. They didn't understand the candy thing and I wasn't going to encourage it. It didn't matter though. They had a blast running through the rain taking in all of the lights and sounds of Halloween. 

The girls and I grabbed a quick picture in front of a house
in our neighbourhood. They thought the cat was very cool
and talk about it every time we pass this house now!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

"My Mom is totally awesome"

I know that I'm a good Mom. Being a Mom is the most challenging job that I'll ever had in my life. Even though I know that I'm a good Mom, I doubt myself. I doubt parenting decisions that I've made. I worry that I've done something to "screw them up." I constantly think about what I could do better. But then, I see the way that the girls look at me…

This video went viral recently. If you haven't seen it, it is worth the 3 minutes, especially if you are a Mom :)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Temporary Tantrum Stopper and Fall with the Furries

When I pick up the girls from preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays, they are usually whiny and cranky. It is likely from the stimulating 2 1/2 hours of playing and learning. I usually rush them home, quickly feed them lunch and get them down for their nap. Today's crankiness was particularly bad. It started within seconds of leaving the school's playground. By the time we got home, both of them were in full-on melt down mode. I needed to get lunch on the table, but because the double tantrum was so bad, I ended up sitting on the floor of the kitchen. I quickly grabbed the glitter bottles from the windowsill, stopping the tantrums in their tracks. 

I saw this Pin.trest-worthy idea on a blog a while back. The mom had made sparkly time-out bottles for her kids. They looked pretty cool and kind of hypnotic. Other bloggers have called them calming bottles. It is tough to tell from the pictures below, but they are filled with water and sparkle glue. Depending on the water to glue ratio, the sparkles can settle to the bottom in seconds or minutes. I grabbed some water bottles and sparkle glue this weekend and gave them a whirl.

This is what I did:
  • Fill a water bottle halfway with HOT water (hot will melt the glue). 
  • Add 1/3 of the bottle of sparkle glue (or less - better to start small since you can add but not take away).
  • Put top on and shake well.
  • Add more hot water and/or sparkle glue depending on how fast/slow you want the sparkles to settle.
  • Secure the top of the bottle if your kids are like mine and will try to remove it. 
She loves the sparkles but is equally proud
that she was able to balance it on its cap.
Still proud :)
Someone didn't want me to take a pic of
her bottle!
Riley, Finn, Carlee and I had a great walk in the Brick Works this morning. The fall colours are gorgeous and the temperature was just right for fall. Curious Carlee was off exploring which is why she isn't in the picture below, but you can check out my handsome boys! 

Riley and Finn