Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Any Day Now.

I have officially entered the stage of pregnancy where I just want the kid to vacate.

I'm up all night running to the bathroom. I'm uncomfortable and unwieldy. I'm too tired to do much of anything, and I'm getting super cranky. Luckily, my girls are old enough to make themselves a sandwich, and Husband is being very understanding.

There have been many predictions about when this baby would decide to come out, and we've already passed all of them. Except mine. I figure Valentine's day, because that's 10 days after my due date, as well as our anniversary. Both my girls kept me waiting to meet them for two weeks past their due dates, so if past experience holds up, I'll win the pool.

Still, I was holding out hope because a couple of the predictions were made by my midwife team. You can imagine my disappointment when they found absolutely no signs of impending labour at my last visit. This baby has no intention of being born this week.

So now all I can do is sit around waiting. Clean things. Wait. Knit. Wait. Clean again. Wait. Fold and re-fold the tiny clothes. Wait.

I've realised something about this whole "nesting" phenomenon. It's not so much about making sure you're ready for the baby as it is making sure that you don't go completely insane before you get to meet the baby.

I'll be vacuuming the ceiling and dusting the insides of all the light fixtures if anyone needs me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A Super Easy Gift to Make.

Along with all the knitting I did leading up to the holidays, I also made a few other things, of the non-yarn variety. One super easy project that comes out looking great is a nameplate for a kid's door. 

1. Pick up a of wooden plaque from your favourite craft store. Make sure that it's big enough for the child's name in a readable font. Lightly sand the plaque so that you don't have any little bumps or slivers (I skipped this step, and wish I hadn't). Paint the plaque whatever colour you'd like to use as a background. Let it dry, and maybe do a second coat.

I left the middle of the black one blank because I was planning on using a light colour for the name and didn't want to have to paint it again and again. Upon reflection, that might have been easier, as I had to go in with a tiny brush with the background colour after the name was dry. But I enjoy that kind of detail work - if you don't, just paint the whole thing and be prepared to go over the letters a few times.

2. Find a font that you like, that will be easily readable, and fit nicely in the middle of the board. Print it out, and make sure that it fits the way you want it. (You could also pick up some stickers or stencils while you're at the craft store if you want.) You could also go the freehand route. These are going to be hanging in the same hallway, I wanted some uniformity.

3. Cut out your stencils. Since this is just printer paper, I put strips of packing tape on both sides of the paper before I started cutting to reinforce the stencil. Make sure to leave some of the original stencil intact to stabilise any wobbly bits, and make sure that the centers of the letters stay in place. *Make sure that you start out with a sharp blade in your craft knife!

Those little black bits are what I'm talking about.
4. Time to paint the names! If you want the name centered, make sure to find the center of the stencil, and the center of the plaque and align them before you begin. If you've got some stencil spray adhesive handy, you could use that... I just held it down and hoped for the best.

5. You're going to want to leave this to dry for a while. So this is a great time to think about how you want to decorate these things. I already had an idea in mind for both, but there are also great inspirational images all over the internet.

The best thing about making your own is that you can decorate them any way you want. I did most of mine free hand, but it's also a great idea to draw out your design on a piece of paper so that you can check positioning. I wasn't sure about monkey placement, so I drew a couple and moved them around until I was happy with their positioning before painting. (Again, if you're more comfortable, you can get stencils and stickers from the craft store.) Fiddle around with placement until you're happy, then draw your design lightly onto the plaque with a pencil. Then paint away! 

6. Once your designs are final and completely dry, make sure to put on  a couple of coats of a sealant over the whole plaque.

Et Voila! A lovely, handmade gift that looks like it was way harder to do than it was!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Night Terrors... and a Netflix Giveaway.

As you probably know, we're expecting a baby over here. Any time now really... if the baby feels like being convenient enough to actually be born on his/her due date, I'll be up to my eyeballs in diapers and onsies in 24 days.

I'm not a first time mum, I've obviously done this before, but for some reason, I'm kind of terrified this time around. I forget everything. Well, almost everything.

I distinctly remember how hard it was having a baby and a toddler at the same time. I was up all day with Beege, and all night with Kee. I had been entirely spoiled by what a great sleeper Beege was. Kee was a cheerful, charming baby... we just couldn't seem to work out the all important sleep thing.

I wasn't expecting a baby who would scream from 9:00 to 2:00 every night. She wouldn't/couldn't sleep anywhere but tucked up against my chest, so even when we did manage to sleep at the same time, I wasn't fully asleep and it barely took the edge off my exhaustion. I felt physically terrible, I wasn't getting any sleep at all, and it was making me crazy. Nursing in the middle of the night became a bit frightening because I actually started hallucinating -- mostly big black bug-like things swarming up my walls -- but I found that I could distract myself by running an episode of Gilmore Girls on my little travel DVD player. I got through all 7 seasons while holding her through the night so she could sleep.

I have high hopes that this time around things will be different. The older girls are old enough to help out a bit (or at least let me nap if I need to). If the baby is up all night, I will have the opportunity to sleep during the day while the older kids are at school -- and believe me, I will take it.

But when I do find myself up in the middle of the night, I will definitely be binge (re)watching some of my favourite shows on Netflix. Anything to recommend? I'm looking for comedies, I think... nothing with gore or big black bug-like things.

Care to binge watch with me?

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win 6 months of free streaming from Netflix! If you're new to Netflix, this is a great time to try it out, with old favourites and new being added all the time. If you're a long time subscriber like me, don't worry it's applicable to your current account - you can enter too! There will be 2 winners, selected by random draw and contacted by email. The winners will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is drawn. Contest closes January 22, 2016. This contest is only open to Canadians 18+. 

Good luck!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 21, 2015

How've You Been?

Hey! Long time no see! Sorry about that... you know how it is.

Anyhoo... what have you all been up to? I've basically been knitting. That's pretty much it. Every year I vow I'm only going to give handmade gifts, and every year I realise about a week before Christmas that there is no way on earth that I will actually be able to do it.

This year, largely due to the fact that I haven't been feeling very well and I find it easier to justify sitting on the couch all day if I 'm doing something else as well (and binge watching Netflix doesn't count), I think I'm actually going to do it!

I started in November this year, and that probably helped. I managed to do something for Beege's birthday too, which pleased us both.

Beege's new "Pikachu inspired" Electric Mouse hat*.

Then I got started on Christmas. While my intentions are good, it's hard to make something personal for everyone when you've got a whole raft of kids to make things for. So everyone's getting mittens! Everyone needs warm hands, right? I've been sitting on the couch gestating and knitting mittens ever since.

This is just the beginning... I've made at least five more pairs since then.

I actually got so involved with making mittens that I forgot to do anything else. And here it is, *less* than a week before Christmas with a few important people to make things for, who I'm pretty sure don't want mittens. Wish me luck!

How about you? All done your holiday gifts? Do you make or buy?

BTW - Keep an eye out for the next post - I'm going to be running a giveaway for a 6 month subscription to Netflix! (I promise, it'll be later this week, not next month.)

*In case you're interested, here's the pattern I followed on Ravelry, by KGuz.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Sometimes You Need a Little Glama.

Have I ever mentioned that I'm a "Glam-bassador"? That means that every once in a while, the girls get to go to a cool event at a Glama Gals Tween Spa, which in all it's sparkly pink splendour is one of Kee's very favourite places ever. As a place that caters to girls who are just entering that awkward phase where they're trying to figure out where they fit in the world, and focuses on encouraging them to be themselves, I'm pretty fond of it too.

Just last weekend, they got to go to the Newmarket location and experience the "My First Time at the Spa" package.

My girls were made to feel special from the minute they walked through the door. They traded in their coats and runners for robes and slippers, and were led to the back where, after a snack of cupcakes and pinkatinis, they each got to choose their own scent of foaming foot bath before their pedicures.

Pedicures done, polish applied, they moved over to the manicure bar to soak their hands and get their nails done. Kee chose her favourite classic sparkly pink, while Beege went for purple and green (with a solitary yellow nail), with sparkles over top of everything.

Then they finished it all up with a relaxing chocolate facial while listening to some calming music.

When I asked them what their favourite part of the experience had been, I got a very enthusiastic "everything!" in response.

My kids know how wonderful I think they are. I tell them that they're smart, and brave, and kind, and beautiful every chance I get. Now that they are older, and spend the bulk of their time out in the world, they're starting to get different messages. They are constantly being bombarded by the media, as well as their peers, with someone else's ideas of what they "should" look like, wear, and do.

I do my best to counteract it; I tell them that the only people who really need to like them are themselves, because that's the only person who will be with them forever, and that changing for anyone but themselves is a really good way to be unhappy. I also realise that no matter how true my words are, there will always be a niggling little doubt in their minds that I'm only saying these things because I'm their mum.

So it's nice to have some backup for my "be true to yourself" message from outside sources.

Especially cool, sparkly, pink ones.

This post is sponsored by Glama Gals Tween Spas, and my girls received some super fun spa services for the purposes of writing this article. As always, all opinions are entirely my own.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Dear Daughter,

You know I love you, right? I tell you that all the time. I tell you in words, and I tell you with my hugs, with bedtime snuggles, with my kisses on your scraped knees, and my holding your hand when we cross a street.

You may not recognise it, but I also tell you how much I love you when I nag you about eating your carrots, or make you take a bath. I tell you every time I force you to get in your bed when you'd rather be playing, or encourage you to clean up after yourself, or make you think about why what you've done has made your sister cry and whether you should apologise.

It may seem to you, at times, like I don't think you're good enough; like I'm always trying to "fix" you. I want you to know that I love you just the way you are.

I love your stubborn little pout, and the way you can be fiercely loyal to a pair of socks. I love that you express yourself through cartoons. I love the perseverance that makes you smuggle books into the bathroom after lights out to get in a few more minutes reading (even though I really wish you wouldn't, because you need your sleep). I love the way you cover me with Blankie when you know I'm not feeling well. I even love the way you throw your whole being into an argument when you think you're right (although I hope you will eventually learn to save your energy for the things that are actually important to you, instead of digging your heels in just for the sake of it).

When I am asking you to eat vegetables, have a bath, or go to bed, it's because I hope you will grow up strong and healthy. When I ask you to clean up after yourself, it's because I know how much smoother things will go when you don't have to spend half your time looking for things. When I ask you to consider your actions and your treatment of other people, it's because I want you to realise that you have an impact, and that all of these small choices you make determine what that impact is.

You may not know this, but there are days when I cry after putting you to bed. On bad days, when we've fought over every little thing, from pants to homework, or not leaving your backpack on the stairs, I feel like a failure. When our nighttime routine deteriorates into you yelling that you need your bed *this* way before you can possibly get in it, and me yelling at you to just get in your damn bed already, I'm not really angry at you, I'm angry at me. (Okay, I'm a little angry at you.)

I can only hope that you know so deep down how much I love you, that things like me yelling or not snuggling you after you've screamed in my face don't make you feel that I don't.

Let me assure you, while neither of us is angry and no one is upset, that I love you no matter what. It doesn't matter what path you end up taking, or where your life lands; I will always, always love you. Even when I'm mad.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Last year, I somehow managed to knock out 50,000 words and successfully "win" NaNoWriMo*. I was even pretty pleased with the characters and story I had created; although, as a true Pantser**, it was nothing like what I started out to write.

Then I did nothing. It's still sitting there, on a dusty USB drive, all alone and abandoned.

This year, I am once again going to give it a go. With one major difference; I'm going to keep going when it's over. I am going to actually edit the thing, and attempt to find a home for it. That's what authors do, I hear... write things and then attempt to have them published.

With that said, of course I haven't started yet.

But I'm on it. I just found a French Vanilla coffee that some lovely coffee fairy (yay for thoughtful husband type people!) left in the fridge for me, I've dug out my clunky old laptop, and today I begin. I've got a blank page, and three and a half empty hours in front of me.

Wish me luck!

*National Novel Writing Month. Interested? Check it out here! Maybe sign up to write your own novel!
**Pantser. n. colloq. One who begins without a premeditated plan. (One who writes "by the seat of one's pants").