About making plans as a parent

I had a long list of things that I wanted to accomplish today – the day before Foster’s birthday! How did that happen so quickly? After dropping both kids off at daycare I had a list that included prepping some items for Foster’s party, putting together a blog post for tomorrow, and maybe even getting a bunch of the trim and doors painted in the basement.

But, Harrison had other plans for me. He woke up in the middle of the night with the flu and so he and I are home today. Luckily it seems to have just been a short-lived bug, since he seems more like himself albeit a bit less hungry. He has been a real trooper and since the worst of his illness seems to have passed I was actually able to get a lot done today.

Harry was in need of a haircut and he actually suggested doing that today. So we kicked off our day with a haircut.

hair cut

Then a quick trip to the grocery store on the way home.

At home he just wanted to chill for a little while so he played with his trains, his Lego, and his peel and re-stick sticker book – all things he doesn’t get to play with uninterrupted when Foster is around. Then since he was feeling up for a change, together we baked a birthday cake for Foster’s birthday tomorrow. And also made a few egg nests for Foster’s celebration on Saturday. Harry was happy to help with putting the eggs in the nest. And licking the spoon of course.

egg nests

After lunch we hit up the Bulk Barn for a few items for Foster’s party. And if that wasn’t enough, we also stopped by the toy store so Harrison could pick out a gift to give to his brother. He had a great idea last week that Foster might like a construction helmet, so we went in search of one, and to my surprise we actually found one at the first store.

So, although what we accomplished today might not jive exactly with what I had planned we still had a full day, I got to hang out with Harry, and I crossed off a lot of items on my larger weekly to-do list.

If you want to keep up with all of Foster’s birthday party prep (or the rest of my life) follow me on Instagram “heatheroleary”.

 

 

 

Friday Finds and a Sneak Peek

Friday Finds is a little late today because I’m working my way around our basement with a paint brush in hand.

To make up for the delay, here’s a little sneak peek!

paint in progress

It’s a really dark day here today so all the lights are on in the basement. This photo makes the new colour look pretty dark, but it’s actually a lot lighter and brighter than the golden colour that I’m painting over. The colour on the left side of the door is closer to the true colour.

And now back to your regular Finds

The quality of 13 famous TV shows charted over time. Oh Dexter…

Speaking of paint, House Beautiful rounded up the best paint colours for your foyer.

This goalie gets into the groove. Literally.

Some beautiful photos from around the world from a bird’s eye view. Browsing through them made me feel very, very, very small. And made me want to travel again.

01-Niagara-Falls

Have a great weekend! I’ll likely have a paint brush in my hand. AGAIN.

All the trimmings

The other day my friend Courtney told me that she was reading the blog tour of my basement in the middle of the night while feeding her little baby. Although I’m glad she is reading, Courtney has been in my basement many, many times. So she knew her way around. The tour was not exactly the most interesting post for her. Well Courtney, this one’s… not that exciting either.

This is a post about one of those projects that takes a lot of time, and seems a little lopsided in the work to payoff ratio. But, if you didn’t do it, it would also be so noticeable. So you’ve gotta roll up your sleeves and just do it.

When I showed you around the basement  you may have noticed that there were a lot of doors. Here’s two closets and a door in just one photo. Just to the left of the mirror (that you can just see on the left of the photo) is another door for another cold storage.

all the doors

 

There’s also the bathroom door. And there’s a door that I don’t think I’ve shared a photo of that leads to another room in the house – our storage/furnace room.

doors oh my

And guess what? All those doors and all the trim around the room are painted cream.

And did I mention the stairs?

come on down

I really just wanted to get to the painting of the walls part because that’s the most rewarding. The change is so much more noticeable. But before I could get to any of the painting at all, I noticed that the trim around our stairs was looking a little worse for wear.

stair damage

The caulking was separating from the walls, so before I could get to the not-awesome part of painting the trim, I had to get to the even less awesome part. Prepping. I used a combination of utility knife and scraper and it did a pretty good job. Working by myself it took me an hour to do both sides of the staircase including clean up.

And that’s about as far as I’ve gotten, but I’m making progress bit by bit. I did learn a nifty little trick while removing the silicone, though.

Once the scraper and knife had worked their magic, the moulding around the stairs was still looking a little worse for wear.

cruddy remains

I read that using rubbing alcohol will help get the little leftover bits off and…

after rubbing alcohol

it worked like a charm! I just used a little rubbing alcohol on a paper towel and some light pressure. So now you know.

I hope that didn’t put you to sleep.(Courtney are you there?)  I think there was a little redemption there with the tip at the end. Hope it helps keep you around until tomorrow. I’m a master of suspense!

 

The rest of the room

As you know we’ve been sprucing up the play room in our basement for the boys. Well, I’ve never shown you the rest of the very large room. So, come on down and let me show you around, because it’s next on my hit list.

come on down

You enter the basement from the hallway near our back door/mud room and the whole room is fully carpeted.

bathroom door

At the bottom of the stairs to the right is a 3-piece bathroom. If you turn to the right (to where you can see past the wall) you’ll see that we have our treadmill down here along with two storage closets. I’ve got plans for those closets down the line, but right now they store extra dishes and glassware, some games and other odds and ends.

treadmill

The door that you see in the above picture leads to a cold storage area that runs behind the bathroom and is quite large.

desk area

Beyond the treadmill is our desk area. It is in desperate need of an organizing session. Nothing like having to move it around and paint to have an excuse to take everything out and start over!

couch

But the main use for the space (besides the play room that’s nearby) is to watch TV and movies and entertain friends.

couch with TV

You can see the wires hanging down running to the TV and to the speakers. We have a project in mind for hiding those. If you follow me on Instagram you might’ve seen that a few weeks ago we picked up a big piece of that project. A 4-8 sheet of maple. More details to come soon! You might have also noticed the large patch below the TV. We had a little shelf mishap in which a shelf that was supporting our centre speaker jumped off the wall and left a few really nice holes. So we’re in the process of repairing those in preparation for paint the walls and our TV cord-hiding project.

couch with coffee table

You can see above the chair on the right (that first lived upstairs in the family room) that while we were filling holes we filled a few more from where our TV used to be. When we first moved in we had a different couch that made the room make more sense oriented differently. But this is definitely a better layout and we have the right pieces to make it work.

fireplace

And here’s a closer shot of our fireplace. I love how large it is, but we’re not loving how it is just floating there on the wall. We’re undecided yet on what to do to help that situation but as our plans evolve we’ll keep you posted. There’s some stone on the mantle that we thought could work for facing. Our friends just did their fireplace in this stone and had some left over for us to test out. Turns out the colour of the stone that we love so much is almost a perfect match for the paint colour we chose. Sounds great, but we think it would actually be too close to look good.

The basement is large and it has taken as a long time to find a layout that we really like and that is really functional. That’s why after more than three years in the house we’re finally ready to take on this big guy. There’s the play room, the TV area, the “gym” and the office. And so many spaces need help. Where to start? The walls need hiding. The TV wires need hiding. The fireplace needs something. The office needs organizing. The window treatments have GOT to go!

But, one thing at a time. Painting’s up first. And now you’ve seen… the rest of the room. If you don’t get that reference you haven’t listened to enough talk radio. But don’t worry, that was really just for my dad, anyway.

 

Friday Finds

Hey! It’s Friday and the first full day of spring. What more could you ask for? Well… maybe some warm weather? But how about some awesomeness from around the web because it doesn’t look like the weather is planning to warm up any time soon – around here anyway!

modern_family_house_2

Hey, look! The Modern Family house is for sale. 

Yum! Brie and blackberry grilled chicken sandwiches

Pinterest is awesomely inspiring in so many ways. Sometimes it inspires us to bite off more than we can chew in the kitchen. Like these hilarious baking fails!

This guy on Wheel of Fortune gives new meaning to the phrase (haha) “lucky guess”. Wow! (video)

Funny-Ways-Dads-Dress-Children

Dads, we salute you. Sometimes you make the simple things, like getting the kids dressed, look really hard. Daddy dressing fails.

Hilarious blog post about what it would’ve been like if our great-grandmothers had had Twitter and Facebook when they were young mothers.

This dog is not allowed on the bed, but his owner had a hunch that maybe while he’s out the dog breaks the rules. The video evidence is adorable. 

I like me some decor, and I like me a deal. So I like this roundup of 10 Resources for Free Art

Have a great first weekend of spring! I hope it’s a good one.

A sign that anyone can draw

As you may have guessed, some of the chalkboard labels that I picked up at the Dollar Spot ended up in the play room.

The scallopped chalkboard labels were the perfect fit and perfect solution for labelling the bins on the bottom shelf in the play room.

baskets with chalk labels

This was so simple. Its just peel and stick. So that’s what I did.

closer view

Then came the part where I had to draw on the labels. I thought that drawing a picture would be the best route for now since Harrison and Foster can’t read yet. Harry is working on it, but for the sake of the boys and their playmates I opted to try my hand at illustrating what goes in each bin.

I put them through the trial last night and asked Harry what goes in each bin and he got them all right. Proving that anyone can do this, because my drawings are by no means complex, or very good for that matter. But they seem to have gotten the message across.

Chuck toys

For the Chuck toys I tried to do my best free-hand impression of the Chuck logo, since I was fairly certain no rendering of Chuck himself would do him justice.

duplo

tracks

A few of the labels are already a bit smudged, but I’m trying not to fuss about it. That’s what will happen, and the great thing is, I can just do it again.

trains

It was a little tricky to do any complicated drawings too because the label was relatively small and I was using an actual regular sized piece of chalk. I’m sure I could’ve been more precise with a chalk pen or some other tool. But like I said, Harrison got the picture. See what I did there?

cars

So that’s another little project off the list for the play room.

Here’s an updated play room to-do list:

  • Get another basket for that fifth spot on the second row next time I’m at Ikea
  • I’d like to replace the white open baskets (that you see overflowing with stuffed animals) and get a large basket to store stuffies and hard toys that don’t fit into one of the cubbies
  • Add a reading nook with some chairs. Maybe make some bean bag chairs myself? (That would be a test of my sewing skills!)
  • Add art to the space and a place to include the boys artwork
  • Add labels to the bins and baskets so that the boys know which bin to look in when they’re taking toys out and definitely so they know where to put them back! UPDATE: Not sure what I’m going to do about the baskets yet!
  • Change the light fixture. Husbandman wants something that looks like a spaceship. We’ll see.
  • Maybe include a table or an easel for doing artwork in the space?

PS: Spring? I’ll believe when I see it. The forecast here today has the F-word in it… light flurries.

Harrison – Three years old!

Dear Harrison,

It’s been about six months since your last newsletter. And a lot about you has changed, but at the same time so much seems the same. I guess it just feels like you’re growing into yourself more every day. You’re still a loveable, friendly, happy-go-lucky, dinosaur-loving, talkative munchkin.

Let’s talk milestones shall we? After September whenever anyone asked you how old you were you always said you were two and a half. You never forgot that extra half. It was very important to you. September had beautiful fall days and we got outside to play and go for walks quite a lot.

In October you started at a new preschool. It was a big adjustment for you. I must admit it took me by surprise that you had trouble going from a home daycare to preschool. Not because I didn’t recognizes the differences, but because you’ve always been so adaptable, and really quite brave when it comes to meeting new people, and visiting new places. It was completely heartbreaking dropping you off those October mornings. Every day I would hear back that after a short period of sadness you were happily playing and having a great time. But more than once, I wanted to just put your coat back on and take you home. Or not leave the house at all due to your pleading. More than once I went to the car and cried myself. Over time of course drop offs became routine and no problem. You were eager to see your friends and teachers in the morning. You continue to thrive at preschool and have made lots of friends. You’ve been able to explore so many new things in this environment too.

One of your favourite parts of going to preschool was a field trip that was planned for the pumpkin patch. You got to ride a school bus to the pumpkin patch. I think that might’ve been your favourite part. You also got to trek into the corn field, take a ride on a tractor-pulled wagon, and even got to pick out your own pumpkin in the patch. You were totally in your element. You still talk about various parts of that morning as you remember them. Sometimes you remember riding the bus, sometimes going into the corn and sometimes, picking a pumpkin the size of your head (as per the instructions)!

And your memory is absolutely amazing. You remember things like your field trip, the long names of dinosaurs, things people have said, past events, and the little details of every day. Sometimes you remember things that I’ve forgotten. And your ability to make associations is truly astounding to me. This morning we passed a cement mixer on the expressway. You pointed out that we had passed it. I told you it was because he was going “so slow, because he’s big and heavy”. You responded with “Yeah, like a stegosaurus”, because we’ve learned from your many dinosaur books that the stegosaurus was a slow moving animal, but we haven’t talked about that part of stegosaurus in a few weeks. Not to mention, you then added, “he has a walnut”. Which means he has a walnut-sized brain. Yep. You’re right. We’ve learned that in your books, too. I told you that he didn’t have a big brain like you, and you responded “Yeah, I know everything”. Some days it sure seems like you do.

So if you haven’t guessed, your love of dinosaurs has just expanded over the last six months. You love to read about them, you love reading through your dinosaur flash cards and rhyming off their multi-syllabic names like most adults can’t!

But your love of animals doesn’t stop just at dinosaurs, you still love all animals. In November we took a great family trip to the new aquarium in Toronto. You loved going through the tunnel and watching the sharks and other animals swim above us. After we returned you often talked about taking your favourite people to the aquarium, often promising friends and family that you would go together. You’re so kind!

You’re still loving your swimming lessons. You are always asking about when your next lesson is. I’m so glad you love to be in the water. And this winter you and I started skating lessons. You didn’t exactly love it at first. You did really well at the first lesson enjoying the newness of the experience. The few lessons after that included lots of yelling at me that you wanted to go home, and a few tears. You didn’t really like the falling part that comes with learning to skate. Of course, we kept with it and you were skating without my help in just 7 short weeks. You were getting up on your own, spinning around, hopping on the ice, and bending over and picking up toys. It was hard to see you struggle with it because you couldn’t see the great strides you were making each week. It was so hard to explain to you that you were a natural when you were sitting on your butt on the ice. I knew you had it in you though!

As far as the last few holidays go, they’ve all been great. We spent a beautiful Thanksgiving weekend at Nana and Poppa’s. You helped pull veggies in Poppa’s garden, and picked apples from his trees. It poured rain on Hallowe’en so we just hit up a few houses on our street before I decided that we were all too wet go any farther. It didn’t matter to you. You loved that everyone was handing out candy. And you loved being Buddy the Dinosaur from the TV show Dinosaur Train.

In the fall we hit up two parades, both the Oktoberfest parade and the Santa Claus parade to kick off the holiday season.

We spent Christmas as a family of four at home. Your dad and I want you and your brother to have memories of Christmas at home, just like we do. And maybe you won’t remember this Christmas (or maybe you will – your mind is like a vault), but I will always remember this very special Christmas, our first as a family of four. It was so fun to see you come downstairs on Christmas morning to find your train set that Santa brought you. You had all the joy and exuberance and excitement that I could’ve asked for. You were so fun to watch. You wanted to play with everything as you opened your gifts. The hardest part was trying to keep you focussed enough to keep opening presents before getting to play with everything. After the gift mayhem at our house we went to Gramma and Grampie’s house in London and had Christmas dinner with the family there.

You are a highly quotable child and I’ve been keeping a record of the awesome things you say in your quotable book, but one of your favourite catch phrases lately has been to say “Sure!” or “Sure is” or “Sure does”. You sound so grown up when you say that.

All in all, I’d say you have it pretty good, little buddy. Here’s a day in your life: In the morning you usually wake up by calling for me. Usually you say, “Mom, is it morning time?!” And repeat at increasing volume and urgency until I’m in your room. Then, if you’ve woken up at what we deem to be too early to get out of bed, you usually snuggle up between your dad and I and watch a show on our TV. Your favourites right now are Busytown Mysteries, My Big Big Friend, Dinosaur Train, Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood and Chuck the Truck. After a show (or two depending how early you woke up), we head downstairs for breakfast. Your favourite breakfasts lately are “circle toast” ie: toasted English muffins with PB and J, “sugar brown” aka instant oatmeal with brown sugar on top, and usually one day on the weekend we have pancakes. Your favourite is when I make banana chocolate chip. You’re also a fan of dad’s egg mcmuffins.

On school days we then scurry upstairs to get dressed and then out the door. Sometimes if I’m tending to Foster you get to play or watch a show before getting your gear on to get out the door.

After school seems to be a blur of 4 hours. I leave the house to pick you up and moments later it seems to be 8 o’clock! After school you and your brother usually play while I put dinner together. Your favourite dinners right now are make-your-own-pizza, chicken wings, shawarma with Greek salad – you LOVE Greek salad – and you’ve been known to like a chicken McNugget Happy Meal. You always, always, always, ask for dessert, so if you’ve had a good meal then you get a little dessert after dinner. At Christmas we invented a game called the M&M game in which everyone at the table picks a colour of M&M and then we pop them out of the bag one at a time. The person with the most of their colour is the winner. But you always get to eat them all!

After dinner we usually have a family dance party. Your favourite song for dance party time is the quirky “What does the fox say?” by Ylvis. You absolutely love it. You sing it all the time. I love watching you dance. Your dad has taught you the upside down turtle “move” which you love. You also love to make a penguin parade around the room, and during the Olympics we even created some sports-themed dance moves for the events. You’ll have to ask your dad to show you the ski jumper some time. You still sometimes ask us to do the bobsled.

After dance party you and I “race” up the stairs. Somehow you always win. Every night you ask “I wonder why I’m so fast?”.

Our bedtime routine consists of getting you into your pyjamas, reading a couple stories or reading through your dinosaur cards, and then a bathroom break/brush your teeth. After you climb back into bed we have a family “huggle” where your dad and I give you a hug after you’re tucked in. On a good night, you go right to sleep or talk to yourself a little before drifting off to sleep. Other nights you press your luck and call on us for every last thing in the book.

It’s a pretty good day. I love spending my days with you. And even though those last few hours seem to fly by they’re some of the best times. Our family dance parties are epic, if I do say so myself.

The last three years have been epic. I’m so looking forward to seeing you grow more into yourself each and every day.

Love,

Mama

blowing out my birthday candles

First day of preschool

thanksgiving parade

sums it up