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”.

 

 

 

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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

Foster – Eleven months

Dear Foster,

February was a short month but it was jam-packed with activity. Now that you’re crawling you’re really interacting with the world around you. Exploring the world and showing us your interests by being able to move around and get to what you want. You’ve also shown us a few new tricks this month. You’re clapping, waving, cruising around the tables and couches and learning to push the walker toy. And your adventurous side is showing.  The first time we put you in front of the stairs, you just went for it and climbed up with only a little bit of help. We may have some baby-proofing to do in the near future!

And because you can move around and get to the toys that you want to play with it has become pretty obvious that you have a favourite. You love the 3 in 1 Zebra ride along/scooter toy. You love to sit up there, press the buttons and watch the lights. Your balance is getting really good just by sitting up there.

Your adventurous side is not limited just to what you can get into, but what you’ll eat. You’re easy to please which is making my life easy. This month you tried pizza and I couldn’t believe the speed with which you devoured it!

You happily cheered along with me for the Canadian athletes at the Olympics. Well, at least you tolerated me for those 16 days. More than once I startled you as you were playing with my um… enthusiastic cheers. You just seemed to roll your eyes and then went back to playing. During the Olympics we travelled to Cornwall to visit Nana and Poppa and you were once again a great travelling companion.

You were a bit fussy over the weekend, but it was all for a good reason. Your third tooth popped through on Family Day Monday, much to your and our relief. But there’s no rest for the wicked! By the end of the month your fourth tooth had cut through too. I hope you get a little break because although you really are a champ when it comes to teething, you’re a little more drooly, a little more runny-nosed, and you understandably lose some of your great appetite and you’re just not your regular happy self.

We also celebrated your brother’s birthday a little early and made a trip to the indoor pool. There was a great wading area that was a perfect height for you to just sit in the water and take in all the action going on around you. You loved it and just splashed and chilled out in the pool with everyone. You’re a little fish!

We’re entering our last full month together full-time and I’m planning to make the most of it. I can’t wait to see what adventures we get up to this month, and I’m just hoping I can keep up with you.

Love,

Mama

Foster at the party

Olympic ready

Foster bear

zebra rider

sleeping baby

pizza monster

crawl about

laundry helper

11 months

Absentee

Do you ever have one of those days or weeks that you feel super busy, and you’re running around getting things done, but you don’t really have much to show for it?

I’m having one of those weeks. I am getting caught up on the heaping mass of laundry that piled up during my Olympic coma.

Both boys have been fighting a cold and Harrison had to stay home on Monday so we went to Ikea. I picked up that “missing” basket and a few other things for the play room and we bought a bed (a story for another day). But between driving there and back (about an hour each way), shopping, playing in the play kitchen, checking out (35 minutes? seriously?!), coordinating delivery, and having lunch with my guys, that day was done.

I’m in party prepping mode for Harrison’s birthday party on Saturday. Honestly, that snuck up on me. I’m keeping it simple – ie: I’m letting Target do most of the work – but still, there are things to be done. I can’t believe he’ll be three!

After all that, I have less of a laundry pile, a bunch of furniture/stuff to assemble, and a group of bags full of party supplies, and still a house to clean!

See what I mean about not having much to show for ALL that effort?

Ah well… Some weeks that’s just how it goes.

And hey! Just for funsies I wanted to tell you that I’m loving the Waterlogue app I told you about a few Fridays ago. How sweet is this picture of Foster sleeping in the Boba last week?

Painted in Waterlogue

Valentine’s Day treats for the kids

I remember growing up and always having a little something for Valentine’s Day from my parents. It was always waiting for us at “our” spot at the table when we came down for breakfast. So I picked up a few things for the boys for this year.

Valentines day treats

Mostly it’s stuff that I picked up at the Dollar Spot at Target. They’ll each get a pack of stickers. Harrison will get some new crayons – how do we go through so many?! – the Mickey Mouse water bottle that he can use at his skating lessons, an activity pack and a new pair of pyjamas. Foster will be getting a new pair of pyjamas too. Mostly because they both needed new pyjamas so I took advantage of Old Navy’s Kids and Baby Sale recently and stashed them away for Friday.

Why no chocolate? I’m sure my parents will have that covered!

Do you get your kids stuff for Valentine’s Day? Or any other not-Christmas holiday?

Foster – Three months

Dear Foster,

You’re getting so big, buddy! So big, I’ve put away all the 0-3 month clothing. You’re just so long. I’m glad it’s summer so I can put you in shorts and not pants that look like flood pants and like I’m a bad mother.

You’re getting stronger too. You’ve got much better control of your head and are holding it up pretty well. Good thing too because we start swimming lessons in the first week of July. You’ve also found your hands. Aren’t they amazing?! And you’re starting to do things with real intention, like reaching out for toys and turning your head to look around. It’s pretty uncoordinated intention, but that’s what makes it so cute.

You are really loving your play mat. You could lie and swat at that lion and elephant all day. When you get a hold of the stars hanging from the elephant the two of you have a standoff. You don’t quite know how to let go yet, and eventually you get tired and let him win let go.

Your dad was away on business for a week this month so I packed us all up and we headed for Nana and Papa’s house so they could help me wrangle you and your brother. We stopped in at Aunt Brenda’s for a visit on either end of the trip too so the car rides weren’t so long. You’re a great traveller, but boy do you dislike when the car stops moving. If you like to be on the move, I can’t wait to see what you’re like when you start rolling.

You’ve also taught us that you like to lie flat rather than be in the bouncy chair or even being held sometimes. Bending at the hips to relax? No thank you, you say. We’ve clued in – I imagine you’re thinking “finally I got through to these people!” – that you like to lie flat to sleep even for short naps so we’ve started putting you down in the play pen or on a blanket on the floor. And you love to sleep with your right hand up by your forehead as if you’re weary with the world. Yeah… you have it tough, kid. And it’s just so adorable, and a sure sign that you’re sleepy. I’m glad we’re communicating like that.

We celebrated Dad’s first Father’s Day as a dad of two. We had a nice family day together and snapped a few pictures of you and Harry with Dad.

You’ve been a great companion to me this month as we’ve gotten out a bit more. You were a champ when I took your brother to the splash pad. You just hung out in the stroller and then happily lazed on the picnic blanket during lunch. We also did some shopping at Yorkdale mall together. I hardly got any shopping done because everyone wanted to chat me up so they could get a good look at you. You’re sometimes reluctant to offer that first smile, but then you look at me and I give you the nod and then you make people melt when you flash your… well your gums.

In the looks department you certainly are a stunner! You are going bald though, as most babies who are born with hair do at your age. You’ve been looking around so much that you’ve worn a bald patch right at the back. It’s such a straight line. It looks like Harry took the clippers to you and got caught before he could finish the job. Let’s hope that doesn’t ever happen for real!

In July, we’ll be celebrating your first Canada Day, start our stroller fit class, and have our first swimming lesson. I hope you’ll love the water as much as I do.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer has in store for us. I’m so glad you let me come along for the ride with you.

Love,

Mama

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Father's Day

Three months

Foster – Two months

Dear Foster,

This letter is overdue. But, if it makes you feel any better I walk around for the whole month just writing and re-writing these letters in my head until I can finally get around to writing them down. So technically, this letter was written a while ago.

As usual the weeks flew by. You’re growing by leaps and bounds. The month started off beautifully when you offered up your first smiles! What a welcome addition to your facial expressions – which are many.

You also got to meet your Grandma “At the Lake” this month. She flew in to snuggle you and help me out after Dad went back to work. Thank goodness for grandmas! And for family in general. Later in the month we packed up the car and headed to a McDonald family reunion where even more people got to snuggle you and love on you, including Auntie Amy and Uncy Stu who got to meet you for the first time. Later in the month you got to meet Great Grandma from Dartmouth as she came in to visit you and celebrate Grandma’s ordination. What a special day!

And all that snuggling and being looked at and cooed over must’ve tired you out because you had your first sleep all through the night while we were away at the family reunion for the weekend. That hotel must’ve made you feel right at home. Thanks for keeping that up when we got home. You’ve been sleeping well through the night ever since, with only a few growth spurts interrupting your usual full night’s sleep.

You love peek-a-boo and respond with smiles that start in the corner of your mouth or little squawks that just kill me with cuteness. You somehow make noise by inhaling, I think. It’s adorable. Sometimes I think you surprise yourself with the noise you make. Now that you’re giggling we often just laugh back and forth at each other. You laugh, then me, and that makes you laugh, and on it goes. (Your dad thinks we’re crazy).

In May we celebrated my first mother’s day as a mom of two. Thanks for making that happen. 🙂 I’m not going to lie, it’s not always easy. Somehow you and your brother must’ve worked out a special secret brother eye signal or have some kind of brotherly intuition because sometimes when it’s just the three of us, you start crying and then he starts crying and I’m forced to choose who to comfort first. How do you guys do that? I’m sure this is just the beginning of the conspiring the two of you will get up to.

I guess it’s only natural that people have been asking me how you and your brother are alike. Especially being that you’re both boys, how do I see similarities and differences in the two of you? Well, you’re definitely louder and just generally noisier than Harrison was at this age. You squawk and squeak even in your sleep. Maybe you’ve already figured out that as the smallest in this house, you better make your presence known.

You’re bigger and have most definitely outgrown your brother at this age. You and I have had a much easier time in the feeding/eating department and I’m so glad that you’re getting what you need and growing and developing well.

And you like you’re soother. Your brother was a thumb kinda guy.

But here’s the thing, buddy, you’re not your brother and I don’t want you to be. I kinda dread answering the question when it’s asked because comparing you boys is only just for fun and amusement. It’s amazing how one couple can make two beings that get to do their own thing and can sometimes be so different. Genetics is cool. But there’s nothing to live up to. There’s no yardstick to measure against. Your dad and I want you to be your own person. We love you because you’re you. We always will.

Love,

Mama

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Amy Stu and Foster

two months