Thursday, May 29, 2014

Happy 3rd Birthday Teagan and Quinn!

How can it be?! My baby girls are now three years old. It seems like just yesterday that I held them together for the very first time.

The challenges of the last three years have broken me, made me stronger and taught me to love more than I ever thought possible. Their contagious laughs, bright blue eyes and their witty and hilarious remarks never cease to amaze me.  "Don't blink. They'll be grown before you know it." I am starting to get it now. 

Happy 3rd Birthday Teagan and Quinn! Thank you for everything you've taught me over these last three years and for helping me become the best mommy that I can be. I love you both so much. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May 27th and pizza

When I was pregnant with the girls, I remember looking out the window one evening to see a Domin0s pizza guy delivering an order to our neighbours. I immediately told Jenn that I needed that pizza now. And so began my Domin0s pizza cravings. I know. It sounds strange coming from me, but pregnancy does weird things. I ate this pizza every couple of weeks for months. As soon as the girls were born, the cravings disappeared.

On May 27, 2011, I was scheduled to go into the hospital to be induced. Jenn and I arrived that evening, bags packed. Within a few hours, we were told to go home. The babies were doing fine. The L&D floor was packed. There probably wouldn't even be a room for me. I remember leaving the hospital disappointed and relieved at the same time. Jenn and I had one more night alone in our house. I was overcome with so many emotions -- excited for our twins' arrival, terrified at how our lives would change, sad to see pregnancy come to an end and overwhelmed and worried at my ability to handle it all.

And so at about 9:30pm that night (the time on my clock as I write), we grabbed Domin0s pizza and went home.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

"I've always looooved the idea of Summer!"

"…but sometimes I like to close my eyes, and imagine what it'd be like when summer does come…"

Nothing like a snowman talking about the joys of summer!

Summer (or more like Spring) has showed us its pretty face several times in the last couple of weeks. It. Was. Glorious. The weather snapped back to chillier conditions last Friday, just in time for the long weekend. Sweatshirts and even a light jacket were required. But fortunately, come Monday (a holiday in Canada!), the weather warmed up again and everyone was out and about.

We waited for a VERY long time this year for the snow to melt and the weather to escape sub-zero temps. It was rough. March looked like January. April saw snowstorms and temperatures barely reaching 0 degrees Celsius. Even early May reminded us a lot of a typical March. But here we are, one week before my not-so-little girls turn 3 and the weather has hit 20 degrees!

I think that I'm loving this weather even more after the winter we experienced. I love the long days -- playing in the park, forgetting that it is nearly 5:30pm and we need to get home for dinner.

I love the time spent in the backyard and the girls rushing to eat breakfast (lunch or dinner) in order to get out to play in the their new sandbox.

I love the farmer's markets! When the weather has been nice, the girls and I go to a market after they finish soccer. Last week, the sun was shining, the band was playing and the market looked far too inviting to not grab some food and enjoy it. We grabbed some salmon burgers from a local fish shop and sat down to enjoy the music.

I love the girls' constant desire to be outside and active (like their Mommy!). They ride their scooters nearly every day. 

And I love that they're never too busy scooting to stop and pick a flower for me :)

I even love that their clothes are so dirty from the dirt, mud and grass that a stain stick doesn't cut it. We're back to daily baths again too. During the winter, we usually switch to every other day since their skin gets dry. I'm sure the dirty clothes thing will lose its appeal in a few weeks ;)

And finally, I love that it is BBQ season! My sous-chef, Quinn, and I will be hard at work. Photos to come.

And with the warm weather, comes the need for a new 'do. I took Quinn to our salon yesterday for a trim and some layers.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

DIY Sandbox!

The girls love the sandboxes at the park. They'll spent ages shovelling, raking, dumping and loading sand into trucks. I looked at buying one of the name brand plastic ones, but with two almost 3-year olds, I was worried that it might not be big enough. So, I decided to build my own, with the help of my friend and her tools.

I decided on a 4' x 4' sandbox with little seats in the corners, that also provide a bit of extra stability to the sandbox.

What I used:

  • 1 16' x 10" x 2" board  (Home Dep0t cut into 4 4' boards for me)
  • 4 identical pieces of scrap wood that HD gave me for free!
  • Weed netting (I bought a 25' roll)
  • 24 2.5" wood screws (4 per side and 2 for each seat)
  • Power drill
  • Staple gun
  • Circular Saw
So, I should have taken pictures at each step of the process, but completely forgot. I got the idea for this sandbox from this blog. I did not use the metal brackets because the two extremely helpful and competent-looking gentlemen at HD said that 3-4 screws in each side would be plenty strong enough. Simple is better! 

We did not staple the weed netting all the way to the top either (see pictures on that other blog) because I thought it would look nicer if it was hidden. This is what ours looked like with the weed netting installed. We did two layers; one horizontal and then one vertical. Since we decided to put ours on the stone patio, the weed netting wasn't as critical as it would have been if we had put it on the grass. 

The little seats in the corner are a "nice to have". If my friend hadn't had a circular saw, I probably would have skipped that step. 

It took the two of us exactly 2 hours to build the sandbox. The box cost me $40 and the sand was about $60, BUT one of the kind HD gentlemen mentioned above gave me a sand discount. We used 12 20-kg bags of sand. I would HIGHLY recommend getting play sand. It feels like beach sand and is nice and clean. 

My brother, Michael, and his girlfriend, Paige, took the girls to the park and for gelato yesterday afternoon. They arrived home to the finished sandbox. Quinn sees it for the first time:

And it's a hit!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Some ramblings...

My Mom had surgery on her wrist this morning. Last Thursday night, a skater she was working with accidentally slew-footed her and she crashed awkwardly to the ice. The fall severely broke her wrist in a couple of places. During the operation, the surgeon made sure all the bones were put in place and, my mother is now the proud owner of an awesome fork-like metal plate in her lower arm.

The girls sent Atty a "feel better soon" video last Thursday after her fall:

My Mom was hoping that they'd give her the post-surgery x-ray. I asked and received a strange look with a "uhhh, I don't think so?" as the response. The nurse then thought that I was a little nuts for asking to take a photo of the x-ray. My mom and I think alike. How could you not want a copy of this?!

In other news, the girls started soccer class a few weeks ago. Due to a freak late-April snowstorm and a torrential rain storm, they've only gone twice so far. The guy who runs their class is fantastic with the little ones. He changes up the activities every few minutes and keeps them engaged and moving. I've been very impressed with the girls listening skills and their ability to follow instructions. Quinn is proving to be quite coordinated, impressively dribbling the ball.

(Those are leaves all over T's pants!)
When I picked the girls up at school today, I was handed four handmade cards. When you have two moms, this is a busy time of year ;) The girls promptly snatched the cards and gifts back wanting to hold them and inevitably open them. 

Their teachers had obviously asked each of the kids to tell them why they love their moms. I just about died laughing when I opened Teagan's card for me (the yellow one). She wrote, "I love you because you give me Mommy milk and I go to bed." I don't think that I'll be writing a self-weaning post about Teagan anytime soon. Jenn will often take Teagan to Star.bucks and buy her a Kiju apple juice. (Oops Jenn hasn't seen these cards yet…)

Quinny has proven to be quite helpful since she started walking. I didn't compare her to a Border Collie for nothing. In the last few months, she has started asking constantly if she can help me in the kitchen. Mealtime is usually a bit chaotic. At lunchtime, we are rushing home. They're often hungry and tired. At dinnertime, it is much of the same. A few months ago, I would dismiss her requests to help (and feel bad about it). During those hectic mealtimes, I felt that getting the meal on the table as fast as possible was priority number one. Then she started being more persistent. (No clue where she gets it from!) I made the decision to rarely say no to her offers of help. On most days, I now have my sous-chef next to me, propped up on a small chair. On the weekend, she chopped veggies and apples for a salad. It proved to be difficult with her horribly dull kiddie knife, but she didn't mind. 

I'm try to slow down and look at it differently. I see cooking becoming something special that we do together. While it might take a bit more time, that means nothing when I see the huge smile on her face. She is interested and constantly asks me what things are or how do it something. My little foodie in the making :)

Here she is happily making guacamole. Below that she is very focused while grating Cheddar onto poached eggs and asparagus. 

Jenn and I got away for a night on the weekend courtesy of the most amazing babysitters in the world, Rob and Kelly. We were both feeling a little burnt out, needing a bit of space from our little cherubs. We went down to Niagara-on-the-Lake and stayed at the Pillar and Post. This is proving to be the perfect location for a quick getaway from Toronto. There are some beautiful inns and B&Bs and great restaurants. There are shops, wineries and great trails along the lake. We had a fantastic meal and had a great time recharging. While walking around on Saturday, I commented on a couple who were there with their three very young children. "Not everyone has a Rob and Kelly," Jenn said. So true. So, to Rob and Kelly, when your triplets arrive, we will be your "Rob and Kelly".

Jenn had too much fun...

Just kidding…she's going to kill me. That photo and this one were staged. She drank responsibly. 

The spring weather seems to have finally arrived in Toronto. The girls and I are loving the outdoor time. They can spend ages flying around on their scooters. 

The scooting kamikaze
With two of them, I've been reluctant to take them out on the sidewalks. They aren't 100% trustworthy yet and I can't be in two places at once. I've enforced a very strict "If you don't listen to Mommy, the scooter is taken away immediately" rule. It seems to work. We spent 30 minutes going all the way to the end of our block and back, again and again this afternoon. They slowed down or stopped when I asked them to. We're getting there :)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Mommy vs. the Pink Eye

On Monday, Teagan woke from her nap with a crusty, red eye. I'll spare you the pictures. It was obvious. Pink eye.

Both viral and bacterial pink eye, as most parents know, is highly contagious. While it can be uncomfortable for the child, it generally doesn't set them back, unless it is accompanied by other issues, like a cold or sore throat. Apart from the redness, Teagan was otherwise ok so I  assembled my pink eye arsenal, some of which was used for prevention of pink eye in both Quinn and myself.

L-R: Breast milk (in bowl), pulsatilla and sulphur (homeopathic remedies),
coconut oil, vitamin C and echinacea tincture.
Breast milk:
- By far, the best remedy for pink eye is breast milk, but I know that this is not something that everyone can access easily! Fortunately, Teagan is still breastfeeding (as Quinn self-weans). I expressed a few drops into a bowl and put it directly on Teagan's closed eye. I gently held her head, while singing the Wheels on the Bus, allowing the breast milk to soak into the eye. I did this 3-4 times per day.

Coconut Oil:
- Coconut oil is "anti-everything". It is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial. It also contains lauric acid, which is found in breast milk. Lauric acid has fantastic disease-fighting properties. With clean hands, I put some coconut oil on her eye and wiped from the inside out.

Homeopathic remedies:
- I'm a huge fan of homeopathic remedies, especially for young children because they are safe and gentle. The catch is that there are a TON of them. You will need to do a bit of research or speak to a homeopathic doctor to figure out which remedy is best for you or your child. Pulsatilla turned out to be the perfect remedy for Teagan for a number of reasons. Usually, homeopathics should be dosed individually (although there are exceptions). I did not give her the other remedy (sulfur), but had it on hand as a back up if the eye continued to get worse.

Vitamin C:
- Pink eye is the result of a depressed immune system. To boost the immune systems of both girls, I gave them 500mg of vitamin C powder. This is good for both treatment and prevention.

Echinacea Tincture:
- Echinacea is a fantastic short-term immune system booster. I also gave this to both girls for a few days. Dosage depends on brand. St. Francis Herb Farm makes a fantastic children's immune system booster that I usually have on hand for acute usage.

Within two days, Teagan's pink eye was completely gone and her beautiful blue eyes are back at school today!

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. This blog is not meant to give medical advice. Always consult a naturopathic or homeopathic doctor before giving remedies to a child.