Monday, 25 August 2014

Get ready for Kindergarten

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I looked at the date of the last time that I actually sat down and wrote, and it was almost a month ago. A whole month where my fingers didn't hit these keys and where my brain and body have both been on complete over-drive. Because moving, renovations, cottaging and school starting in a few days means that life is moving faster than I can keep up with. But we're finally moved into our new house, the drywall dust is settling, the boxes are slowly getting unpacked and there are finally groceries stacked in our cupboards. But school? Well, all of a sudden this year is a million times harder...because it's not only me going to school in a few days. Mya is starting kindergarten.

It takes my breath away for a moment just writing that...because I just can't believe it.

I had a moment the other day at the cottage after getting home from the beach with the kids when it all just hit me. I finished wiping down sand covered feet, dried off slippery wet bodies and decided to randomly log online for just a moment--just to see what the rest of the world was doing...and you know what they were doing?


They were discussing the best lunch pails, backpacks and 'prepping your little ones for kindergarten' techniques. They were having picnic lunches to practice opening tiny Tupperware containers, and they were taking trips to the new school to scope out the kindergarten door and playground. They were practicing numbers and letters and how to zip up little coats. They were reading stories about the first day of school and organizing playgroups ahead of time with fellow classmates so that their little kindergartener would already have a friend at school who they knew. They were baking batches and batches of muffins and freezing them and carefully placing permanent labels on every single thing imaginable.

They were READY. They were totally prepared.


So I let myself have a moment. A moment to panic. A moment to feel like Mya and I both just might not even survive since I hadn't crossed off much of any of the to-do list things that I should have done by now. A moment to start making a list of all of the things that I needed to do--all of the things that WE needed to do, in order to make me feel like she would be READY. Because all of these things that all of these other moms are doing are exactly what they should be doing. As a kindergarten teacher, it's exactly what I tell any mom or any parent who asks me what they can do to get their little one ready for kindergarten. Because being prepared is definitely helpful.

But as I started to get my list together of all of the things that we would do when we got back from the cottage, I started to realize something that I had never really realized before that moment.

She's already ready. 

And so is yours.

Because prepping for kindergarten has been happening for years.

All of those times that you read bedtime stories and tucked her in at night? You were prepping.
All of those times that you hugged little bodies, kissed scraped knees and said "I love you" were prepping.
All of those times that you set boundaries, reminded her to use her manners and encouraged her to were prepping.
All of those times that you set up playdates, brought her to the park and told her to be kind and were prepping.
All of those times that you showed her that you loved her and held her little were prepping.

Because kindergarten is more than just numbers and counting and knowing how to properly write your name.

You've already done the work. You've been doing it for years. You've been raising a good little human being. And that's what really matters. The numbers, letters and reading? It will come. It will all come.

But a good little person? Well, that's the start to a lifetime of success.

So breathe, mama. You'll both be just fine.

And I'll remind myself of this as I let her go that first day and pretend that I'm not going to go sit in my car and cry. Because it's hard. It's just plain hard.

So sleep easy tonight. Know that you've done enough. Know that she's already good. She's already ready.

...And now excuse me while I go stick some Mabel's Labels on a million different things, pick out her first day of school outfit, bake up some muffins and get some snacks ready for us to take a trip to visit her schoolyard tomorrow--because some things still gotta get done.

Love to all the anxious parents out there. I feel you.

Erica xo



Saturday, 2 August 2014

Almost done

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It's interesting, this whole moving process.

We're almost at the finish line--almost done living out of cardboard boxes and eating random combinations of food from our freezer, trying to dwindle down the amount of food that has to be packed and moved. We're almost done kicking empty boxes out of our way as we bring dinner in to the kids and we're almost done living in a house that feels like it's caving in on us--box by box. We're almost done with the guilt of watching our kids try to play in a space that was once their own, but is now a tower of cardboard and packing tape. We're almost done with the stress and anxiety of all of the details, logistics, meetings, house visits and signing our names on a million different pieces of paper. It's almost ALL DONE. And we're getting excited...and getting sad.

The distraction of the details and the meetings and the packing and the new house renovations means that I can feel that sense of excitement of what's to come. But then, out of nowhere, in the rare moments of quiet, it hits me hard...every time.

Like when I'm driving in my car, windows down, radio cranked up...and Sam Smith's "Stay With Me" comes on, and I crank it up even louder because I love it...and then all of a sudden I'm wiping tears from my cheeks as I think about the reality of what is just about to happen.

Because what is just about to happen is huge.

We're moving away from a 2minute walk to my sister's house and we're moving away from a house that has become a home that we love. It all weighs heavy on my heart.

So with every box that we pack, and with every picture that comes down off the wall it's such a mixed sense of both excitement and complete sadness. Sadness that our family has grown out of our small little house and sadness that we're moving away from my sister, brother-in-law and niece and nephew (only 15minutes away--but still not just a quick walk to their house anymore). But then excitement for the space that our kids will now have, and the new playroom and yard that will hopefully become their childhood paradise.

Moving is definitely not easy.

So we've been trying to enjoy these last few weeks in our first home together.

We've run through the house trying to find raincoats and rain boots when the clouds randomly begin to part and the rain starts to pour down in the middle of the day...

...we've taken the kids on a train ride...

...and celebrated my old age...

(with the cutest and best little present that any girl could ask for!).

..and we've taken trips to the beach where little Scarlett took her very first steps. 

And so we'll now wait for the big day...only a few days away. And I'll cry, and be excited and be exhausted and be ready--because life is about to change.

Happy long weekend everyone,
Erica xo

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Fake-make a baby blanket

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See this blanket here?
Well this little boy is in love.

It was actually Terry's old  baby blanket. A baby blanket that was well loved by this boy's daddy once many years ago--and a blanket that came to us tattered and so well loved that I thought that it might be just something that we put away in our memory box and never use. But instead, Terry's mom brought it back to life by putting new satin ribbon around the edges and all of a sudden our little Carter couldn't do without it.

So as I watched this little boy fall in love with his daddy's old blanket, I also started to think about what on earth we were going to do come September when we needed to have one blanket left at daycare for nap time and one left at our own house as well. So I decided that I needed to have a backup option--and really, all that it needed to be was a quilt with that glorious silk ribbon on it...because the silk is what he loves the most. He'll fall asleep rubbing his fingers between it and drift off into dreamland all snuggled up.

So I headed off to the fabric store the other day, having no clue how to make a quilt, but assuming that I'd figure something out.
I just had no idea what.
It was the same feeling that I had when I decided that I wanted to make a bench cushion a little while ago...

I didn't know what I was doing, but I somehow figured it out. Because a wanna-be sewer is really what I am.

So I walked into the fabric store and searched through the mounds of fabric options until I found the fabric that I loved. And it was about to cost me a small fortune...

...until I headed over to the quilt batting section, where I was about to spend another mound of money

but instead found this amazing discovery.

A pre-made quilt!  Are you kidding me?? This thing is amazing. It has adorable fabric on the one side, quilt batting in the middle, and other cute fabric on the other side. And all I had to do was take the big spool over to the cutting table and ask the ladies to cut as much as I wanted...for a fraction of the price of all of the original fabric that I had in my hands only minutes before.  

Am I the only one who didn't even know that these things existed?? Apparently my mom and Jen have known this for years I found out...but this was news to me!

All of a sudden it went from a huge, difficult, expensive project to a super simple (and super cheap!) one. All that I had to do was sew the satin ribbon on and I was done.

And although it might not be as fancy as the beautiful quilts that others know how to make with all of the different squares cut out (although one day, when I'm not moving in a week, I really would love to learn how to do that) totally works for what I was looking for.

So, if you're a wanna-be-sewer like me and want to fake-make your own baby quilt...this just might be an option for you. And in the end, you'll have a sentimental, beautiful blanket--since you kinda made it. We'll let baby think that at least.

Here is all that you have to do:

Get your 3yr old to help you measure out with chalk marks how big or small you want your blanket to be. I bought extra fabric, so Mya will have her own little sewing project to do with the scraps.

Cut your fabric.

Get your mother-in-law to set up her sewing machine for you and thread the bobbin--since're a wanna-be-sewer...these things can be tricky friends.

Then Youtube "sewing satin ribbon onto baby blanket" --because you don't even know what that satin ribbon is called (*FYI, it's called binding apparently, says Youtube) and find this site here where a nice young lady will explain in detail how to do it.

Then follow the steps carefully and realize that doing the corners will make you want to pull your hair out..but you'll be able to do it.

Then voila!

Your handmade cute baby quilt is done--and all that it took was a little Youtube video and a bit of your time.

This entire quilt cost me about $15...instead of the almost $100 that I was originally going to have to spend (so P.S., if anyone ever gives you a quilt as a gift for your baby or yourself, thank them a million times over--because they spent a ton of money and a ton of their time making it)...which I learned first hand with my expensive original fabric draped over my arms.

And it was SO easy!

So this little guy just needs to now fall in love with his new blanket...which thankfully is already starting to happen. Gotta love that satin ribbon.  

 And when you're done your 20 minute quilt...what's there to do with all of this extra time that you have on your hands?

Well, you go to the beach with a pirate-loving girl and her crocodile little brother...

And you soak up the sun because you now don't have to spend days on end figuring out how to make a real baby quilt...

and that just makes me so darn happy.

Have a great weekend everyone,
Erica xo

Monday, 21 July 2014

An organized moving day

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As I sit here typing this I'm surrounded by a disaster.
A house that is being packed up.
Boxes shoved into every corner, and random new house stuff scattered throughout our dining room.

Don't we all have a new vanity and four new toilets sitting in our dining room?
Don't we???

Right now we have 4 beautifully ugly bathrooms, straight out of the 80's, waiting for us at our new house--but once we get our hands on them...I'm picturing marble, granite, sparkly lights, beautiful tile. In the meantime though, I'm unfortunately so used to our new vanity and toilets staring at me in our dining room that it somehow feels normal to me. It's normal that Carter's highchair is tucked up against the side of a ginormous double sink vanity box and it's normal for me to sit down to eat dinner and kick empty cardboard boxes out of the way as I sit all cozy up against four huge boxes of new toilets.

It's now normal for me to go digging through our Tupperware cardboard box for whatever container I need and it's normal for me to go downstairs and grab pasta out of our cardboard food boxes that we've been eating out of since we packed up our pantry and cupboards the other day.  

Because the move is a comin'.
And it feels like we're just barely surviving it.

From packing an entire house with a 1 and 3 year old underfoot, to planning renovations that are happening the day after we move in, to picking out hardwood flooring, organizing home visits, negotiating prices, getting permits (thanks mom and dad!), picking out trim and baseboards and paint colours and lighting, to reading a 3 page document on how to take care of a pool (because Lord knows we have no idea!)--we're a bit overwhelmed.

Oh, and if anyone is super excited about helping us pull up carpet the second weekend of August and/or put together the kids playset and gazebo outside, please let me know--we need help!

I must have looked a little weathered the other day, because Terry came up to me as I was pulling things out of my closet and throwing things into boxes.

"You okay?" he said.

"Okay? Yea." I said. "My mind is just spinning. Actually spinning. My closet is a disaster, I have too many clothes..I can't find anything that I need because everything is stacked into a pile of boxes somewhere, our house is a disaster, my health card is about to expire, I don't know if I took a shower today and I was up all night trying to plan out the exact shade of white paint that is going to go on our new baseboards...and have you checked the calendar? 'Cause don't forget we're trying to make a baby along with all of this!"

He paused for a moment--as he always does when I'm being a little too dramatic.
"Come give me a hug", he said with a little laugh. "We'll be fine. We're all organized, the house just looks chaotic because guess what?..we're moving in 2 weeks. Everything will come together, don't worry".

And so...

he's probably right.

But in the meantime, I knew that I wanted to bring a little organization to what could be a very chaotic, disorganized experience. So hence, the sticky note solution.

If you're moving and want a quick and easy way to stay organized especially on the actual day of your move, this might just be your ticket to success.

All you need is a ton of different coloured sticky notes (or pieces of paper), a marker and some tape. We had tons kicking around which we used, but you can always buy different colours at the dollarstore.

Anyways, the system is simple...but (I think) it will be incredibly effective on moving day.

All you do is give each room in your house a different colour. So Mya's room gets the pink sticky notes, the kitchen gets dark blue, the dining room gets white, the kids playroom gets yellow, the basement gets light blue, the garage gets red..etc etc.

Write it all out on a piece of paper so you know which room gets which colour (so you can reference it when you're packing up different things)...and then on the moving day, stick the appropriate coloured sticky notes on the doors (or walls) of each room. So on Mya's new bedroom door I'll have a pink sticky note that says Mya's bedroom and on the main wall in the playroom I'll have a yellow sticky note taped up saying playroom. This way, the movers (and others who are helping) don't have to take extra time finding and reading what each box says--they just have to follow the colours. And Terry and I know which room in the house is going to be Mya's room or Carter's room--but the movers don' having the rooms labeled once we get to the new house will hopefully speed up the process as well and avoid everyone asking us which room belongs to who or which room we'll be using as the living room, playroom, etc.

And when it comes to clothes? Well, we opted out of the expense of renting or buying those fancy boxes with the clothes hanger on them (since we've already spent a fortune on buying other big boxes), and we're going back to my University moving days of poking a little hole through the end of a garbage bag and feeding a few hangers through it...with each labelled of course, just with masking tape. This way the clothes stay clean during the move and you can easily pick them up and throw them in a car, then directly into a closet at the new house, with very little fuss.

Our plan is to move our clothes ourselves the night before the movers I'm hoping that my tried-and-true cheap University days garbage bag moving system will still hold up.

 So with that said...empty boxes are staring at me right now, which means that I need to get off of this computer.

Wish me luck...I think we're going to need it.

Erica xo

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