Monday, 17 March 2014

Toddler Tuesday: Enjoying our painting session with some spongey friends!

Today we made a stop at the Dollarama (where a saint of person turned in my forgotten purse so it was safely waiting for us) to pick up some more supplies for painting, colouring, and stickering.  Of course the moment nap was over it was time for some serious arts and crafts therapy for both of us.  

I love Pinterest as a source of inspiration.  From just glancing at a thumbnail picture I feel inspired to do so many great things with Jack, Scott, our pets, food, our house, knitting and for my own personal well being.  But I also loathe Pinterest because it can give you unfair expectations of a situation.  You know what I'm talking about - those uber cute handprint paintings etc. Most often I pin cool things to do with Jack picturing the next perfect piece of artwork to frame and place in our house.  But the most important thing about art I often forget is that it is an expression from the artist, not a replica of the craft you set out to do.  So moms out there who struggle to enjoy art/craft time with your fiercely independent little one - read on :). 

And in our case, most often the crafts/paintings all resemble a complete mudpile of mess that most people wouldn't call art.  Even most mothers wouldn't call art. And that is a little frustrating as the person who is orchestrating the event - me!  But I think embracing the process has made this latest art project really fun.  Jack LOVES to paint but doesn't like to be told how to hold a brush or how to apply paint to his picture/canvas.  Who can blame him? 

Friday, 14 March 2014

Painting at the Clayground

This morning we ventured out to the Clayground in Wolfvillle for some fun painting adventures with friends! After what was amazing amount of effort (Damn winter!) we freed our car from the shell of ice and we were on our way. I'd also like to mention that while I was busily scraping the car, I witnessed 13 robins swooping and snacking on holly berries from our bush our front. They're back and they're hungry. All I can say is watch out worms when the snow melts haha. 

We got settled at the Clayground to get to work on a project. I thought Jack would take ages to pick from all the really cool animal figurines, but he immediately chose a "long neck dinosaur" and was happy with it. We chose a couple paint colours and got to work. In reality I would say it was a 60/40 split of Jack and I tag teaming the Dino to get it covered with paint. He used a sponge for a bit which was really fun, we will need to try out more sponge painting at home. 

I've been to the Clay Cafe in Fredericton several years ago now and we painted up two gnomes (pre-Jack) for our garden. Scott and I took ages to painstakingly coat them and they turned out vibrantly awesome. Based on our work today I believe our Dino will be much less of a work of art but I know Jack will still love him. 

His little friend Alfie chose another really cool item - a car! And flashed me an adorable grin to pose with his painted item :) I'm surprised that Jack didn't pick one for himself but his latest obsession with Harold and the Purple Crayon has him passionate about Dino's. 

And there was a really great play corner for the boys to enjoy while the Mommys got to finish painting the half completed projects. We will definitely have a Mommys night out there to get to work on our own creations, it was just so much fun :)!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Our Jack: A Photo Shoot

I can just gush and gush about how much I love this kid, but I know all (okay most I hope!) parents feel that way about their own children.  And in my absolute adoration of Jack I hope to always capture his most exciting moments (no matter how mundane to the non-mommy world) as a keepsake of his earlier years he is likely to not remember so clearly.

So my iPhone has been working like a fiend since his first hours after birth till now to capture his expressions as he yawned, meets friends, meets a goat, goes on a huge slide, is terrified of a bat picture, and sees himself in the camera and cheeses up. But we've never actually gotten professional photos taken of him.  Certainly because of the extra $$ associated with it, and deep down I was concerned that he wouldn't be charming or cooperative in any way. I mean really, I know my kid and when I WANT a good photo in a particular moment, he does something outrageous. Which makes for the most hilarious photos (see below), but not the kind I want taken in a studio. 

Perfect opportunity to get a snapshot of their first outing in the grocery car together.  How sweet! Oh wait - Jack has decided to pull his 'OMG WHAT IS THAT' face instead of smiling sweetly.  
But a couple weeks ago Jack spotted a stuffed zebra perched up high on a pallet of diapers in Walmart and insisted on a closer look. I wasn't going for it, until it struck me how odd it was that the zebra was obviously well loved and out of place in the store. When I pulled it down I noticed a little card that said "I'm lost! Return me to the Photo Centre where I live and claim your prize!" Jack was all too happy to accept the mission and we did bring it back to it's home. Jack won some stickers, and we also won a gift card to go towards a photo session. In reality Jack wanted to keep the zebra, but he settled on stickers and a promise we would return to come visit the zebra.

Jack patiently and excitedly waiting for his turn to go into the portrait studio :)!
Well today was that day :)! Jack has been fighting off a cold and so I had very low expectations of how this was going to go. Amazingly, it was not painful at all. Jack Brought his best buddy Fluffy Bear to the photoshoot and was awestruck by the photo studio.  The photographer was very sweet and read Jack like a book on how to make him laugh and smile.  Jack remembered that the zebra lived there but was so interested in other things I didn't have to worry about explaining (yet again) why the zebra can't come home with us.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Reptiles Rule: Visiting our slithery friends!

We had a great excursion to Greenwood yesterday to check on the cats while mom and dad were away, take in a reptile show with Jacks little friends, then have a play date lunch at the house.

Saying hello to the teeny crocodile :)!
The cages were filled with lots of great animals that Jack was all to eager to visit.  I'm not terrible squeamish about lizards and reptiles in general, but after seeing them in peoples hands and writhing around... I may be reforming my opinion on them.  Ewww. 

Hahaha, I LOVE that I got a picture of Jacks "watching the show" face because honestly this was him for 1% of the time.  He was much too set on actually getting to handle the creatures so he was seriously displeased to have to sit, watch and listen for 20 mins before getting to go see them.  That was my mistake since I pumped him up to see the animals and touch them without emphasizing the fact we would have to sit quietly and watch.   Ah well, in the end he really enjoyed visiting the animals.  

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Sunday Afternoon Skating!

We finally got to public skate this afternoon for some fun skating :)! We tried last weekend but it was cancelled so this weekend we made sure to double check. We drive by the arena at least weekly on our way to soccer so Jack was eager to go into the rink this time instead of driving by!

Going SKATING!!!!!
Jack hasn't ever gotten to go to public skating, only ever toddler skate which is nearly dead empty most days. Which is great for learning in a quiet environment, but this kid thrives on learning from example. Once he saw all the people skating, his excitement was just through the roof :)

Jack worships the mayhem of crows and groups of kids, so this was just so fun for him to watch all the older kids zooming around the ice.  Everyone was considerate of the "learning skaters" who would bumble around the arena, and even a little guy from the group of hockey enthusiast skaters (racing around in half gear and doing crazy wipeouts) brought Jack over a red thing at one point when his was left behind and taken by someone else.  Loves it!

Mugging for a selfie through the glass on Momma's phone. 
The other awesome thing is he had never been skating with Daddy before, so that was a fun adventure! Daddy is apparently much more fun on ice than Mommy haha (especially now when bending over to pick up a toy is an olympic feat for me) so they had oodles of fun exploring the ice and people watching.

One chocolate Latte and baby bump safely seated off the ice watching the action! Okay, not entirely true because I spent most of the time taking pictures and video through the glass and waving wildly like a moron. Its okay - I was THAT mom today, and I loved it ;).
Jack really got the hang of skating with Daddy out there coaching him, and letting him do his own thing.  They took in some people watching, laughed and skated over to see the car advertisements on the boards (Jack LOVES them). 

At first I was guessing this skating thing would last 15 mins or less before he got frustrated, but he insisted on "more skating" for nearly the full hour :) Even when it was time to get off there was much protesting (ah toddler life). 

After a while Jack did much more independent skating around with Daddy following.  I'm sure that the extra ice time surrounded by people not using the red thingy inspired him to try unassisted skating.  I'm hopeful next winter we're going to make our own little rink in the yard for lots of skating times!

There were many visits to say Gi to me, but I'm pleased to say he did not miss me on the ice at all. We had prepared him for the idea that Momma was just going to watch him skate while Daddy was out on the ice, and I think he really enjoyed that more.  I mean really, who doesn't love having someone to wave to and take your picture while you are rockin' it on the ice ;)

Thursday, 6 March 2014

These are a few of my favourite things...

"I simply remember my favourite things and then I don't feel so bad..." And that is just what we did today. After a night where Jack woke up a couple times from bad dreams, today was a day of rest and low-key fav activities. 

We've never had a real encounter with bad dreams, but after talking with Jack this morning about his might waking a I'm pretty sure he had some scary ones. Of course I immediately go into I'm-a-terrible-mother-for-letting-him-watch-the-Jungle-Book-so-young mode and begin picking the whole thing apart in my head for scary images, themes and ideas. Of course I did come to my senses  and realize that while he could have been scared of that, there are plenty of things that can cause bad dreams that are normal parts of life no matter how much I attempt to shelter him. Also, there are the other factors to consider like teething pain (darn molars!!) and a runny nose he's been fighting all week. 

Most importantly I think for Jack it's good to talk it out and let it go. We moved on from the nightmare discussion when he lost interest and we rearranged our days activities to suit his demeaner. We had planned on going swimming but I honestly believe he would have been way too overtired to enjoy a late morning swim. And I'm not in the mood to chase a slippery wet angry toddler around a change room of half naked people. Instead we tried some tried and true fav things at home. 

The other thing I know that will help Jack work through his nightmares is some solid coping mechanisms. Now this kid LOVES books so it is my main method to reinforce messages like "be a good friend" and new life changes "being a big brother". I picked up this book at Winners that was such a steal for 99 cents, has popup flaps AND a great message for disarming your "monsters" whatever they might be. 

After a wonderful relaxing day, we're hoping for a better nights sleep. Anyone out there dealing with nightmares? Welcoming helpful advice :) 

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Knitting up a Wonderful Wallaby

With getting so juiced about knitting projects for darling Phoebe, I realized that there are so many awesome toddler bit knitting projects available out there. I get most of my inspiration and patterns from Ravelry, an online knitting/crochet community. It's free to sign up and opens you up to a huge amount of projects, people and cool yarn. 

That is where I came across this Wonderful Wallaby knitting pattern. I mostly always buy my knitting patterns online through paypal on Ravelry and they arrive immediately in PDF form. So perfect. But this one I had to buy in print, but was so worth the wAit. :)

It's a really informative pattern and has sizes for everyone from baby to Adult L. I hadn't ever knit a sweater quite like this so it was a learning experience. Fortunately I could check in on Ravelry for hints and help if I needed it from other people who have knit from the pattern. 

It knit up fairly quickly and I'm I love with it. Jack knew I was working on it for him so this morning he was thrilled that it was all done and he could put it on. What a handsome little devil. 

I had to choose between a size 2 or size 4 so I went bigger knowing that he's going to keep growing and I want hi to be able to wear it for more than just a month. 

He wore it around all day and loved it :)! It makes me how happy he was to put it on and wear it knowing I've been working on it for him. Made all the challenges to knitting it totally worth it!

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Samosas and Stories!

Woosh and just like that again it is the weekend! Somehow I've just been filling up my spare time (the non-toddler filled moments) doing some extra hours for work in the evening, knitting up a storm on my latest project, reading a new book (more on that this week), and making a conscious effort to rest my body.  Chasing a toddler, packing him up into the car, dressing for winter, sitting on bathroom floors potty training are all things that are just a bit more exhausting when toting around a baby bump. Coupled with our outings to playgroups etc my hips and legs are just sore and achey.  I'm very much appreciating the downtime I have now to rest before baby Phoebe arrives, but also yearning for the days to come where I'm no longer battling all the pregnancy woes.  Fortunately Jack is taking really well to all the "extra" help Mommy needs picking things up etc that he's rising to the challenge in many cases to help.  As you all know, toddler "helping" can sometimes be more time consuming than helpful, but I appreciate the sentiment and I'm not discouraging any of it.  

This morning we headed out to Wolfville to return some books to the library and get out a few more :) Jack has his own library bag and about once a week or when we go for playgroup we pick out a few more to bring home.  So far so good no late fees or missing books which is what I was worried about when starting this.  It helps that going to the library is so much fun we rarely go a week without visiting.  We even brought Daddy this morning and Jack was eager to give him the tour of fish tank and train set. I had also ordered a book for me that had come in so we all walked away with something fun. 
Reading some of our new library books while lunch was cooking - killing himself laughing at the funny finger worms :)
Since we were RIGHT THERE, we headed over to the bustling market.  It was filled with great smells, friendly people and great products.  Seems like ages ago we went to the Fredericton market on most of our Saturday mornings and it looks like when we have the time we will add this market into our weekend routine because we found samosas that are just SO darn delicious.  Yes, a bit more expensive, but more deep fried and wonderful. We look forward to going back again soon because there was a juice bar that looked like it would be a great place to try out a juice drink to fulfill our traditional market visit.  I find the more you go to these things the more things you find you like. We also ran into friends from playgroup that had lots of great suggestions on things to try.  Anyone out there go to the Wolfville market and have suggestions on awesome things to try? 

Jack was so taken with all the displays, food and products on display he just walked along pretty chilled out holding my hand and window shopping.  We bought a "chocolate cookie" that turned out to taste nothing like chocolate, but Jack enjoyed it just the same. 

Wow. So much cool things to look at...
And we tried to get a little cute photo of him in the scarecrow face but apparently the sunshine had other plans.  Jack also wasn't feeling it because when we came in there was a dog tied up to the scarecrow patiently sunbathing waiting on its owner.  Jack was desperate to locate the pooch so the picture was a moot point, but I'm sharing it regardless because Scott climbed into a snowbank and ducked awkwardly to produce this picture haha. :)

"Where'd the doggy go?!"
Happy Weekend everyone :)!

Thanks for stopping by and enjoying another post about our Happily Hectic Household!