Life Artist

“Mommy…me artist!” my two year old bubbled with enthusiasm this morning at 5:00 am. He is just starting to put his words together. I stood in the doorway with one eye open as he jumped on his bed with rockstar bedhead pointing to a craft carefully brought home from his day home. I was at work when it was unveiled but his Daddy taped it to the wall in his bedroom, crooked and with green painter’s tape but proudly displayed.

By the time we left the house for our daily routines, he had been not only an artist but also a cowboy, a cleaner, a mechanic, a boat washer, a monkey and a Doodlebop using a flashlight as a microphone (i.e. the toddler version of old school Mini-pops with coloured hair and wild outfits).

I truly believe that we all try to teach our children the best that we can to set them up for a full, beautiful and authentic life. The reality is that I learn more from my little bundle of love and energy every single day than I could ever hope to pass down.

Today’s lessons: appreciate and find the love in every moment (even early morning ones), you can be anything you want, experiment and sometimes it is ok not to hear the word no. And the best part…the day, which I will look at as an adventure thanks to my little man, has just begun. I am going to give him another job description to try out, an inspirational Life Artist. I think he is more than qualified.

On a cowboy adventure this fall.

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Take a TWIRL

Long time, no type. We have been caught up in life and trying to be the happiest little family we can be but we’re back to share some of this joy with are friends and family.
 
Our little man is growing much faster than we would like and I am trying hard to tattoo each milestone on my heart in permanent ink – so I can revisit every single memory in the days ahead. At the rate time is flying, he will be in high school any day now. 
 
He will be 20 months old this month and is a running, tumbling, twirling ball of energy. His latest obsession is spinning until dizziness sets in and he stumbles happily into the nearest object grinning ear to ear. A poignant reminder to find pleasure in the simple things. Maybe I will go for a barefoot twirl in the grass later on today…he reminds me to choose joy. What a gift!
 
This past weekend we spent hours playing outside in the backyard. I feel so blessed to live in a home where our munchkin can run free and play. I felt a bit of my inner child return as we made castles in the sandbox, went for a wagon ride, blew bubbles with the neighbor girls and as I watched Lil’ L longingly eye-up water holes. Daddy was busy working on re-building our back deck so we can spend much of our time outdoors, while Grandma worked on getting the yard plant ready. We also put up a few brightly coloured birdhouses and watched intently as the birds tweeted sweet move-in songs and our resident squirrel ran around in a frenzy. I see some definite summertime bliss ahead, combined with many bubble baths to get the sand out of our babe’s curly locks. Gardening in the coming weeks will be a whole new adventure. Stay tuned.
 
Our toddler also learned to talk over the past few days – full clear words with intent meaning progressing right to short sentences. He woke up on Saturday morning like a little ray of sunshine and started to chatter away. There is such satisfaction and pride in discovery. My all time favorite was at bedtime on Sunday. After a busy day, he was exhausted but to prolong the arrival of Mr. Sandman, he tried every trick. “Mama, mama, mama.” “Dad-da, dad-da, dad-da.” There was a chorus of sugary sweet little calls slipping out under the bedroom door. Then came a new one…”Hey you guys!” The message was matter-of-fact, loud and clear – not to mention cute.
 
The May long weekend has come to an end now. I am happy to report that I didn’t get everything checked off our endless to-do-list but that I absolutely did concentrate on being more present in the moment with Lil’ L – something my CTI coaching courses have made me re-prioritize to the top of the list.
 
When I took a nectarine out of my purse for a snack this morning in my office, I found tiny toddler nibbles. So sneaky. My heart swells with love and what could have been grumpy morning suddenly became much brighter. He makes me see everyday with fresh eyes and an open heart.
 
Wishing you joy today!
 
 
 
 

Little Snapshots

I went to a palm reader the January before my munchkin was born. I was worried about having such a big dog with a little one. Funny how that came up in the reading…given it was so random. In any case, he said that my baby and dog would have an extra special relationship. So true. Today L was trying to figure out how to open the sliding door for Jazz to come in and play. He was putting all his weight into it.

Home Sweet Home

Howdy. Hello. Bonjour. Konichiwa. Remember me? Slightly crazy, temporarily homeless, fully sleep deprived and even a smidgit thinner. Yep, it is really me. No, I wasn’t lost or hiding under a rock in my backyard – even though there were days during the past six weeks of renovations when I wish I was anywhere else. I just realized it has been two months to the day since I last blogged. Turning this house into our family home has been an undertaking. Perhaps that is even a tiny bit of an understatement. I think it would be fair to say it was far more work than any of us anticipated. This was a total do-it-yourself project. My hopes of blogging the transformation quickly faded. Finding time to eat and sleep were even a challenge. This was my first experience managing a project with a babe in arms. Let me tell you…it is a whole new cup of tea. Heck, forget the tea, I believe something stronger would be more appropriate. Something I am sure is no secret to all the other mothers out there. Kudos to you.

When we were thinking about buying in May 2011…

That being said, we have been blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful people right from the beginning – friends who decided to sell this place and upgrade to a bigger house on the lake shore, my Dad’s willingness to take on this project with us, my Auntie’s thoughtfulness, old neighbors who lent their muscles, a good friend who offered her home (even her own bed) for several weeks and took Jazz for much needed walks, new neighbors who became our ray of sunshine more than once, my brother who flew to Yellowknife to share his expertise, decorating advice from the girls, a family friend supplying meat for work crew meals and friends that were just a phone call away. My Mom, like she usually does, went above and beyond doing anything and everything. Nothing like the love of a Mom, no matter how old you are.

Grandma playing drums with Mr. L.

Uncle Laine on baby duty.

He feeds babies pickles. L loves him!

We are forever indebted to my Dad who worked his magic – not even swearing too much most days (good thing Lyndon can’t talk yet though, just saying).  Without him, we might have some new paint and our stuff moved. Instead, we basically have new everything on the inside. He didn’t complain too much when I changed my mind a few times. As a Pisces, I do this. It is simply my nature but even he agreed the outcome is better because of it. Lyndon developed a special bond with his Grandpa who made him blocks out of trim and let him play with power tools (supervised, of course). I can just see his littlest helper hammering holes in the wall or something before too long. He watched Grandpa’s every move so intently.

It should be this long…

Who needs expensive toys!

Our baby is growing so quickly, I feel guilty at least once a day for not spending every second with him and capturing every moment here. I have to keep reminding myself that we are doing this for our family – that there is a big picture. He will be so happy with more room to crawl, walk, run, dance and play. In fact, his squeals of joy as he scoots across the floor are already proof that this was the right thing to do. I bet he will be walking very soon. We can’t wait to invite his buddies over for a visit.

Which box is next Mom?

Should we put it in here? I promise I won’t trouble it.

Or how about in here?

So much floor space!

So many decisions, so little time. We hadn’t been planning on buying a house, it sort of just happened. To be honest, I am shocked at how much we actually accomplished in six short weeks with only a few weeks of lead time. Who knew that paint choices would become my ultimate mind-numbing stress? Not to mention water leaks, mold, plumbing and electrical issues which were delegated to others who knew just how to save the day. Nothing major, just annoying setbacks which have all been fixed.

Mr. Fix-it himself.

There are still some decor decisions to be made and boxes to be unpacked but we are definitely on the tail end. We had our first dinner guests last night – Mom and Dad of course.

L helping set the dinner table. Placemats double as knee pads.

My Dad left town today for his regular life. He is a contractor in Alberta. I am pretty sure Lyndon said “Grandpa” or at least his own special version of it as we watched his tail lights disappear down our new street. He has given us the best gift ever – our home, it might not be the Ritz Carleton but it is just the way we like it, fixed with love.

Grandpa’s Littlest Helper

My boys

The outside may just have to wait until next year. We are officially pooped.

Kiss and Tell

There is nothing quite like your first kiss. I can remember mine like it was yesterday. Don’t be fooled, of course it wasn’t. Still it remains a snapshot etched in my now more selective memory. After having my baby, it seems there isn’t room for everything in there anymore. It went something like this…lights dim in a junior high gymnasium, Def Leopard blaring through the speakers, technically challenged slow dancing, big 80’s hair, a mixture of overpowering cheap cologne and sweat hanging in the air, cheerleading friends chanting their approval and so much anticipation. Romantic? Not really. The boy? Handsome. He is still a good friend all these 20+ years later.

Fast forward to today. My baby is kissed by a girl at a party. Somehow I don’t think he will remember her sweet soft baby lips or that she also kissed some of his buddies, however it is another ‘first’ in a lifetime of many things to experience. Plus, it was pretty darn cute. I couldn’t resist sharing the “love”.

Broken Window, Lucky Me

I am a “maybe girl”. If you have ever spent much time with me, you know this – probably too well. Earlier this week, I was invited out for dinner with a bunch of hometown ladies. I didn’t hesitate for a second. I’m not sure why…? Maybe this is the new me trying extra hard not to let housework and babytalk rule my life, or simply good timing. Regardless, it was exactly what I needed. We sat around my friend’s kitchen table eating take-out thai food and chatting about life – relationships, kids, education, careers, homes, margaritas, recipes, shopping, travel, sex and…broken windows.

My window lever has been broken since we moved in almost four years ago. Every time it has annoyed me enough to take action, there has been some reason the window remains inoperable (e.g. the old school part being unavailable in this little northern town). Right now, it is stuffed with a big fluffy towel to keep the chilling arctic temperatures out. In a way, I feel like this is a “blue” job and have learned to ignore the inconvenience most of the time.  That being said, the whole division of labour thing in our house is entirely random. Perhaps, I should have gotten off my “pink” tush a long time ago to fix it. Why my bedroom window made its way into our mile-a-minute conversation about so many more entertaining things, beats the heck out of me. I mean there were some real ‘wish you were a fly on the wall’ moments. I know some of you would have liked to be the fly.

Today I got an email from the host, an all-star mom and beautiful woman who I admire immensely, saying that she had an extra window lever. Another email followed shortly, this one from the witty, tool-wielding, kitchen goddess of the group, saying she had planned to stop by this afternoon to check out my window situation. I actually laughed out loud, not only because she suggested flashing neon signs may be appropriate for my yard but that they took the time to actually listen to my 30 second rant. When did I get so lucky to have friends like this? Seriously? They are in tune with even the smallest things. I am so fortunate.

Lucky, lucky me.

 

Reflections on 34

The 34th year of my life was bittersweet in so many ways. The past year has aged me much more than I’d like to admit. For this reason, I consider it more like a single stamp in my passport. The reminder of a vacation that didn’t quite live up to the expectations promised in tourist literature. The kind that when you walk back through your own familiar door, it is history. However, I have learned from experience that even on these trips, there are always a few images that remain etched in your memory for all time. Some of my incredible sunsets and unforgettable sightseeing attractions from 34 include:

  • An Easter road trip.
  • Reconnecting with an old friend from high school.
  • Sharing the news of my pregnancy.
  • Hearing my baby’s heartbeat for the first time.
  • Garage sales in Yellowknife.
  • Positive energy and love from friends.
  • Rose bushes.
  • Spending a special weekend with my Grandma.
  • Handmade blankets.
  • Designing my baby’s nursery with Mom and Auntie Peggy.
  • Bringing my baby home.
  • Others sharing in my excitement.
  • Newborn snuggles.
  • Generous hand-me-downs.
  • Playdates with other moms and babes.
  • My baby’s first smile.
  • A family Christmas.
  • Morning walks on a Caribbean beach.
  • Bonding with Bajan relatives.
  • Fireworks.
  • Discovering the world of blogging.

I am welcoming 35 with gusto. I see it more as wine tasting in California driving in a convertible with the wind blowing through my hair than a wax museum tour in Europe – carefree yet slightly sophisticated with much less grey hair. I can guarantee there won’t be any stops at fly-in fishing lodges or tickets to backyard tours. So long 34 – this is our last day together.

Looking forward to nothing but the sweetest icing on this year’s cake.

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