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

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Yeses and Cleanses

My sister-in-law totally pissed me off yesterday when she said “Wow, you sure are starting the new year with a whole lot of ‘No’s’. Fortunately, I keep my bitchiness in check since time was all I needed to process that what she said was so totally true.

You see, too many glasses of wine for my birthday (and New Years) left me starting 2012 with nausea and a pounding headache. With the in-laws in town, there was no laying in bed for the entire day to recover (because at 36, one really needs the whole day to recover from even only a slight bit too much booze) No, we got up to go to Whistler for some skating and outdoor fun.

To which I said No to skating and playing on the snow mound. While they are ‘wowed’ at the Village and how cool it is, I begrudgingly walk along dreaming about my bed and more coffee.

Once we make it back home, I say No to Wii Just Dance 3 and playing our marble game with my nephew. I ditch out of half the movie we are watching and completely crash out in bed.

Yup, a whole lot of No’s indeed.

Not how a new year should begin for sure.

Several friends in the past few weeks have told me they are going to give something up for January. Whether it’s coffee, alcohol or sugar, I was pretty adamant in my belief that they were all INSANE.

But after my day of No’s and a particularly gluttonous month of food, drink and sweets, I am feeling so very bloated and blah. Thus the motivation to begin a cleanse. Clich├ęd perhaps, but also needed.

No sugar, alcohol, coffee, meat, dairy or gluten for me for 21 days. Hey, if you’re gonna cleanse, go big! Part of my brain is sing/yelling

INSANE IN DA MEMBRANE

INSANE IN DA BRAIN…

But mostly I’m just excited. I’m actually craving vegetables and excited to learn how to make green juices and smoothies. So I bought myself a boxing week deal on a juicer and once it arrives, I will begin Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Adventure Cleanse.

The ‘adventure’ part more intriguing then worrisome at this point, though ask me again on Day 3…

Reading through what it entails, I’m not so worried about lunch or dinner. Quinoa, beans, wild rice, salads and soups are regular meals in our home. It’s surviving the morning without coffee and PB on toast that is going to challenge me. And the after dinner wine or chocolate (or both!)

But it’s 21 days right? A chance to cleanse and adopt new habits and discover new loves. My goal is not to lose weight or become vegan or give up coffee forever (Lord NO!) My goal is to give my body 21 days to rejuvenate and adopt healthier habits that I can carry on at a more moderate level.

Wish me luck friends. Better yet, join me!

PS. If you’re a really good friend, please note that Bal may be calling. He is already lining up where he can camp out for 21 days of me without coffee… Depending on how scary it is, he may bring along the kids and the dog too! Screening your calls is totally justified.

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…

Party On

As if there is not enough going on and enough treats being eaten, I have to go and throw a fake birthday party. But it was for Rudolph and it allowed us to see a few friends we don’t get to see enough of and it was FUN!

So it was totally necessary.

The reindeer, of course, are quite busy preparing for their forthcoming journey so we celebrated on their behalf, Rudolph still head of the table. Rudolph’s friends then sent presents to help with the birthday bash.

Dasher brought some foam sticker crafts,

While Dancer brought beads and bells for ornament making.

Prancer hid stickers in garland balls.

And Vixen livens things up with Christmas Crackers placed in a stocking.Comet brings some much needed mid play snack in the form of festive rice krispie squares, giving us the energy to compile some of Cupid’s favourite reindeer treats to leave out on Christmas Eve.Donner provides rolled up Santa Search and Find posters and Blitzen, well he forgot, so it’s a good thing the kids brought an ornament each for a gift exchange.

After that, there was food and strawberry shortcake and kids playing upstairs while the mamma’s enjoyed a Bailey coffees and chit chat.

The only thing I had envisioned happening that did not, was a little living room dance party by all the kids. Good thing my girls partook before the party in all their anticipatory sillies!Then again after, though a giddy laying-down exhausted dance.Fake birthday or not, friends coming together is always reason to celebrate!