A Brennyn Post

Brennyn wanted to say hi one last time in January.HI!This month (whatever that is) my Daddy is trying to take my su-su away. I am lucky my mommy likes my naps so much and lets me keep it!Mommy thinks you need muddybuddies (and coffee) to go outside to play in the rain but I don’t like muddybuddies so we haven’t been outside much. She hasn’t had coffee much either so she’s kind of grumpy. One grumpy day I made her laugh by wearing Kaya’s swim goggles outside while we played at the park. She laughed so much she forgot to try to wrestle a muddybuddy on me. I’m so smart! Another day the sun came out which made her forget to put on a muddybuddy, but when we got there the playground was one giant puddle. Mommy made me promise not to fall in so I jumped in instead!Being a little sister is not really fair. I have to go drop off Kaya at dance, at birthday parties, at playdates… Why can’t I go too? I could ski, I know I could, but we just drop her off there too. Oh well, Mommy thinks it’s funny that I’m learning the aprés part of aprés ski before the ski part. I don’t really know why she thinks this is funny but maybe I would if I got to drink the big drinks all the adults have that makes them laugh a lot.

When Kaya skis I get to do fun stuff too. Like swim in the lazy river with spitting bears. Mommy never swims with us so Kaya tells me I am a very lucky girl. I also get to play in the snow and go on Goblin rides! Goblin rides are my favourite because you go so high and up to more snow. Mommy and me even lay underneath the Goblins and sing them songs and have a picnic.After a snack (I always like to snack before doing anything) we roll and slide in the snow and giggle a lot. Mommy wants to take a picture (she always wants to take a picture) so after a couple pouty pictures, I finally let her have a smile.Then make her do a funny picture. We don’t say ‘Cheese’ because that’s really boring. Instead we say ‘Googoo gaga poopoo’ which is so much funnier and silly.Anyways, I guess January has been fun. Lots of sneaky time (moms note- Lil Sneakers play gym) with my best friend Hailey and gymnastics and hot chocolates. Lots of hanging out at home with mommy playing Baby and dollhouse. And reading. My mommy sure likes to read. Me too. My favourite book is Press Here cuz those yellow balls are so funny to press and move around and I get to shake the book all around which is fun because mommy always tells me to be gentle with books and so I like not being gentle with a book.

What? Su-su and bankie time? Gotta go!! Bye!

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Adventures in Reading

January has come and almost gone. Throughout it, I have been lusting for adventure. This is as close as I’ve come,

I’ve transitioned from pouting about being house-bound, to falling into the doldrums, to nestling in to a quieter sort of adventure. Where I am immersed in grand stories filled with explorations and discoveries, communicated to me by authors, my kids and even myself.

Oh, how thankful I am to read a really great book, one that sits with me, speaks to me long after the last page has been turned. I began searching for a ‘light’ read. Unfortunately, that led to Sophie Kinsella’s book An Undomestic Goddess which I had on hand. Light, my friends, does not have to mean dumb. Which this book was. To its core. I despised every moment that I was reading it, and in the end skipped to the end to see what happened.

My quest was on to find a smart, light read.

Which I found in Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Absolutely breathtaking, brilliant book. A story in words, and in pictures, part mystery, part character study. I truly was swept away into this world. I look forward to seeing the movie too once it’s out on DVD.

In other big reading news, Kaya is reading now. Whole books! Remember these?

Every time she begins to sound words out, putting letters together, forming words, then sentences, my heart literally clenches, my breath literally catching. Joyous pride mixing with shock at the passing of time.

My girl, she can read!

My girl, she can read?

My girl, well she’s also something of an artist. Taking her home-reading book & buddy, she draws what she read, then writes what she read too.

Yah, my girl she can also print…

Time for Daddy to put away his Tap that Ass Tshirt.

On Friday I asked Kaya what another Mommy helped out with in class that day. She told me they were writing their ‘favourites’ sentences. As in,

My favourite colour is __________.

My favourite food is __________.

My favourite song is ___________.

Kaya told me her answers. Pink, of course.

Bacon. Huh? I ask her why she said bacon. She tells me another girl did so she did. We have another talk about how she doesn’t need to copy everyone else and just to give her own honest answer. She tells me she wants to say rice. That’s my girl.

And favourite song? I ask her. She gets quiet. “Baby Beluga” she whispers. Hmmm, that hasn’t been your favourite song in forever, I suggest. How did you know to write Beluga? “I just wrote Baby” Which is when I knew. Her favourite song was not meant to be Baby Beluga as her teacher had assumed, it was Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’ that was her favourite, which Kaya confirms with a twinkle and a giggle. Hilarious.

Brennyn, as always, playing catch-up, reading me stories too, though I’d suggest it’s more in Beat Poet form, mixing wheels on the bus and rainbows everywhere with twinkling stars and oh yes, a little ‘Like baby, baby, baby oh…’ too.

This, actually, forms one of those truly great moments that will forever stay in my brain. Cozied up in bed finishing the last 30 pages of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (another great read though by no means ‘light’) Brennyn comes in wanting my attention. At first, I am annoyed as I just want to finish my book, but I see she just wants some Mamma cuddles so I suggest she goes to get books so she can read beside me too. She grins and toddles off to get some books, then crawls up and nestles in to read beside me. Of course, I get no reading of my own done at this point what with all her beat poet slamming. Then Kaya comes in, Hello Kitty headphones on and Justin Bieber blaring, cozying up amongst us.

I sink further into the pillows, blankets, and my two girls and just gaze at these two kooky, brilliant characters, knowing that I am immersed, this very moment, in the greatest adventure of all.

My family.

Dear Brennyn, (2.5 years)

“And I did it my way…” ~Frank Sinatra

Frank sang it and you personify it. Two and a half years old and doing it your way. Which, too often than not, is not the same way as your mom or dad. More in the general direction of your sister, though by way of bushwacking and scenic routes.

This can be an exasperating thing for parents trying to keep up with you, or plan for you. Like today I left the light on for your nap since when I don’t, you pitter patter over to turn it on anyways, but today you pitter patter to turn it off. Go figure.

Or eating. Don’t even get me started (or especially get your dad started) on your eating… It’s not that you won’t eat so we can be grateful for that, but you won’t eat in one sitting. You must graze. Bite and run, bite and watch TV, bite and somersault, bite and chase. Three hours later and your meal is done just as a new one is set to begin!

But just as often as I am exasperated, I am proud and filled with admiration too. The way you burst ahead, not really worried about consequences, just knowing that right now, this moment, it is good!This past 6 months has seen Kaya head to Kindergarten, meaning you and I have a lot of new-found one-on-one time together. This is both a gift, and a challenge. We have started parent and tot gymnastics,

done many a walk and river-side picnic,

and passed a lot of time outside riding bikes or playing ball.Lately though, the rain has come. Hard. Which probably wouldn’t stop you, but has me uninspired to get outside. As a result, there has been a lot more of “I miss Kaya” pouty lips protruding. I’ve done my best but sister-play is the best.We’ve tried arts and crafts. They work, in the very short term.

We’ve tried baking but that usually results either in no baking (you’ve poured an entire box of baking soda in the mix the millisecond I turn my back!) or flooding (as you wash the dishes or babies or any sharp object that you can get your hands on in that same millisecond I turn my back!)

You’re not really an indoor kid.

When I think of you at this, 2.5 years, I will always think of you in gumboots and tutus.

I will remember you always pushing the boundaries. (From escaping confines to trying to be a big kid to testing the limits…)

“Brennyn! NO throwing the ball at the TV. Brennyn! STOP!”

Stops. Looks at me. Looks at Kaya. Before I have a chance to intervene you respond,

“Oh. Okay. Just Kaya?”

Whereby you whip the ball straight at Kaya’s head, make contact, ball bouncing off her head, hits our insect trapper home thingy which falls crashing to the floor.

“Brennyn…” I threaten.

With a gleam in your eye, knowing you are testing me and loving every moment of it, you head towards Kaya to which I think a hug of apology is coming, but you dart towards the insect trapper instead, “Oh, Sorry bugs. You okay bugs? Sorry little bugs!” as you peer inside kissing and hugging the insects home. All I can do, Kaya too, is laugh then tickle you, our little Stinker, until you say sorry to your sister. Which you do.

I will remember the hugs and the pats and love given to your family and random inanimate objects.

I will remember the pouts,

“I’m sad.” pout, pout, whine, whine…

“Why are you sad?”

“Because I’m gwumpy!”

To which we usually read Grumpy Bird. We have read a lot of Grumpy Bird…

I will remember the contemplative moments fondly.And the ROARS just as fondly. (of Dinosaurs and Monsters who have always conveniently ate whatever it is that you have lost. “Maybe a monster ate it?” said innocently with that glimmer of mischievousness in your eye!)Musn’t forget the bankie and su-su. Never forget the bankie and su-su!Babies, dinosaur vitamins, snackies, slow, halting sentences surprisingly complete… There is so much to remember and treasure of this time. What will absolutely never be forgotten and carried on forever though, is this,With Love and Giggles and Tickly Squeezes,

Mommy

Cozy to Crazy

Ah the sweet glory of staying nestled in your pajamas all day by a roaring fire as everyone plays with new toys and grazes on the neverending supply of food.

Until you’re on day three never having left the house. Then it’s more lazy than cozy. Cabin fever strikes and you know that you need out of the house but you’re kind of this lump-a-lumpa that is finding it hard to move your butt from the perfectly contoured cushion you have created… Thank goodness for plans made before the three days and friends planning to meet you. Or we may never have left.

Fortunately we do. Off our butts, through the rain, to snow, sweet glorious snow and the great outdoors.

Oh hello fresh air! Nice to see you again. Apparently some of us needed an intake of oxygen as somebody (somebody named Daddy) dressed Brennyn in tights, pants, and snowpants but forgot one crucial layer… The diaper.

So poor B arrives to the great snowy outdoors, absolutely soaking wet. Which I only discover as I go to change her since the snowpants absorbed it from leaking outside. We get the diaper on, have a few giggles, and wait around while Daddy runs back to the car to get a change of clothes we were fortunate to remember what with our oxygen-deprived brains.After that, well, we have sleds, kids and snow. Life is good!Brennyn had no fear. Let me on, by myself, with someone, I don’t care, just on a sled and DOWN please!

Kaya too was jumping on her daddy’s back and her friends, backwards, frontwards upsidedownwards…

We all started politely enough. One at a time, sitting on our bums. But soon enough it turned into bumper sleds and pile-ups. When some whines arrive with some tears, we know it’s time to head to the lodge for lunch where we nibble on leftovers and our friends fudge. Mmmmm… Full of food and energy, we head back out for round two!Until we’re a good two hours past B’s naptime and though she wants to keep going, she looks like a Doctor Who Robot Santa (if you have not partaken in the Space channels Doctor Who marathon like I have, think mechanical and kinda crazy with a wee spark of Christmasy joy…) The big kids are fading too. And the biggest kids (aka adults) are dreaming of molded cushion lumps with beer and hockey. So it is that we end our fabulous day in the snow.

Since B asks me about once an hour to go ‘swedding pease!’ we will no doubt be back sooner rather than later. Looking forward to it!

Christmas Magic

It’s important for me to record here how magical Christmas was this year. Two giddy girls full of belief and anticipation. Crafting and dancing, stories and activities all glowing with wonder and awe.

But let me clarify too, that magical does not mean perfection. Perfect would mean there had been no family drama, no cooking mishaps and no sisterly battles. Which there most certainly was.

Fortunately, magic rises above all.

Sometimes magic is known by other names. Like giggles.

And the sillies.

Which is about when present #1 on Christmas Eve is opened.

Silly string, though messy and a wee bit stinky, is also brilliant at letting out the pent-up energy we call the crazies.

Magic comes along in other forms too. Like present shaking, sky watching and quietly whispering about our present to Santa so that he can’t hear us.

No doubt he did hear when my sweet, loving girl taps me on the leg and in a hushed tone tells me, “It’s okay if Santa thinks I was naughty this year because I already have enough presents under the tree.” Lessons in gratitude. And grace.

Sometimes magic is seen in quiet contemplation.

Other times, the joy of learning new things. Putting out food for Santa and the reindeer is very cool indeed!

The reindeer LOVED their waffle bowl of goodies.

Sneak-a-peeks are magic.Big giant wow presents too.Appreciation.

Content, happy play together.

And family moments.

All magic.

The brilliance of kids slays me. Why not wear your new fancy dress with your new cozy robe with your new pink earphones (that are not plugged in) to watch your new movie?

Oh, and we may as well throw in some afternoon popcorn too. Surely to become a new Christmas tradition in this household!After all that, I guess it is not magic at all is it? Magic implies mystery and the supernatural whereas this day is fully explainable. Joy, surprises, family, gratitude and novelty whirling and swirling together into Love.

Both nothing and everything magical about that.

Miscellaneous Christmasiness

Kaya came home from Kindergarten with a whole lot of crafts to decorate our house. This one was the classiest and made with help from her big buddy. We also got a whole lot of colourings, gingerbread cut outs and cotton ball Santa’s. After Kaya went for a playdate and saw all the girls ‘art’ dutifully put all over their tree, Kaya wanted to do the same. I already had this awesome one on,but couldn’t find room for any of the others what with our coveted Angry Birds and craft class (aka- GONG SHOW OF MISERY) decor taking over the tree. You wouldn’t be able to tell, but the following ornament is Brennyn’s handprint. I will keep it just so I can always treasure the dry heaving, crying fit she had while making it. Oh so many memories… Actually, what I mostly remember is our teacher telling me before I left that I could always fix it at home by outlining the smudgeprint, then painting gooey glitter all over B’s hand and reapplying. Is she freakin mad? Like I’m going to try it again, messing up my own house, with glue glitter? Madness I tell you. A blob it will remain.Speaking of blobs and madness and messing up my own house, Play-Doh makes an unprecedented entrance into our house. It must be Christmas.Kaya makes this:And Brennyn and I make this:Brennyn adding the eyes, the ears and the monster eating Santa’s beard. Her story, not mine.

We head outside too for a little GeoCaching Xmas gift depositing. Kaya bikes to the treasures while I run with B and it is very evident, before the new year even hits, that I am ready and willing to start exercising again!Last but not least, because I have no idea where this could ever fit seemlessly in a post, we have naked Santa showering. It just makes me laugh so hard. I may have posted about naked Santa last year as that is when he first arrived in the Lego advent. We are recycling Lego advent this year, and it came as just as much a shock, and delight, this time around.Both hilarious and disturbing. But mostly hilarious. Thank goodness for the black strip saving us from TMI.

No Better Day

I take it as a good sign in my life that I often want to declare,

‘There has been no better day in the history of days…’ projected Martin Luther King Jr. style.

This day was one of those days. When the skies are blue and the snow sparkles. When we are outdoors and collectively, our moods are great. Bonus that an entire day out and about in Whistler cost us just $15.

Bal got the day off and we headed to the new outdoor skating rink. Truly, it could have been disastrous what with me not skating in at least 20 years wearing my mom’s at least 20 year-old pair of skates, Brennyn never having been and Kaya kind-of-sort-of been a few times. Oh sure, there was no grace and beauty out there on the ice, but our effort made up for that. With smiles. Even a few giggles. Frustrated tears too but that didn’t deminish the overall fun factor.

Here’s Mommy pretending to help Kaya, though what is really happening is Kaya keeping Mommy upright. Just like riding a bike my ass…Before long, my girl ditched me though.Stranded, I wait for my next ride. She’s too determined to catch up to her big sis to give Mommy much notice however. Leaving me to screech at Bal to come take my camera so I don’t crush it in my impending crash. Which doesn’t happen but only because I grasp at will onto any person, fence or child within my flailing arms reach.

Fortunately, Brennyn is tired and hungry and I have an excuse to get off the ice. Though we narrowly escape the biggest fall of all when I try to lift her while still on skates to walk to our boots and my ankles collapse from under me. A tiny foreign woman saves the day but right then and there we plunk our bums down, take off our skates, and walk in our socks to our boots. Hilarious!

After skating and snacks, we head to the big snow mound for some sledding. Not put off by not actually having a sled, we make do with snowpants and bums. Old school style!Then just beyond the snow mound, the playground overlooking the skating and ski hill beyond.More snacks and we head indoors to the conference centre’s free play for kids. Could there be anything better than a giant room filled with bouncy castles? Only if it also has a giant bouncy slide.The adjoining room has mini golf.Next door to that, mini hockey.And when all those moments are filled inbetween with these kinda moments,there really is no better day in the history of days.

On the drive home, we get dessert,and a night cap when I am ID’d at the liquor store. It doesn’t even matter that I’m asked by a one-eyed teller (so my friends assure me!)

No better day I tell you.

Until the next no better day…