Father's Day

I know a lot of parents work their buns off between jobs and kiddos and my amazing husband is one of them!  Corey is a great example of what a tuned-in parent should be, but I know there are still a lot of people who feel that dads are secondary parents and it bugs me every time!  I constantly hear comments on parenting forums about dads not doing things as well as moms and it upsets me because my experience has been the opposite!  This Father's Day, I want to celebrate Corey and all the dads who are equal parenting partners and great role-models.

For those of you who don't know why Corey is such an incredible dad, I'll give you some of my top reasons.  Sometimes, he doesn't hear this enough from me because we're sort of trapped in the vortex of day-to-day life with a toddler but these things need to be said:
  • He does it all: diapers, bottles, baths... you name it, and Corey does it... usually better than me!  
  • He took full parental leave!  That's right- Corey took 13 months off (raising some eyebrows in his male-dominated field) from his own career in order to support my career and bond with Rudy.
  • He LOVES our daughter but he also respects her!  To him, she is not his "little princess"; she is his tornado, his queen and his BOSS!
  • He chases Rudy around the house pretending to be a T-Rex!
  • He plays rough with her!  That includes wrestling and tossing her (so high) in the air.  He encourages her to take risks and understands that a few bumps and bruises are part of the path to physical confidence.
  • He takes baths with her and doesn't get embarrassed or shy away from using correct names for body parts.  Bonus points for all the times when I'm working late and he texts me the most adorable bath selfies of the two of them!
  • He is a great role-model for how she should expect to be treated by her future partners and he promises not to try to intimidate her future dates, but to trust and respect her own choices.
  • Sometimes, he and Rudy wear onesies around the house and when I ask why, he says "We decided it was a pajama day!"
  • He gives THE BEST shoulder rides and he hops around like a crazy person (even in public) while Rudy squeals in delight.
  • He files her nails (so gently) and can't wait until they can get manis and pedis (no polish for him... probably) together!
  • Rudy loves him so much that as she's falling asleep, I often hear her softly mumbling "dada" to herself.

Cheers to all the great dads in the world!


Dinner Solution

Earlier this year, it became clear that busy schedules and an active toddler don't allow us to plan our meals as well as we'd like.  We ended up trying a couple of meal prep services and they were fine but we weren't in love and we found ourselves struggling to consume all the meals before the next delivery.

As many of you know, during my busiest markets (spring and fall) I am hardly ever home for dinner and it makes it tough to stay motivated to eat well and cook at home.  This year though, we had a really good reason to force ourselves to cook great meals: Rudy!  We kept thinking that this is the time when she's learning to try different foods and developing her palate so we really want her to experience different foods and spices from the start!

We discovered Chef's Plate after some research and have been boring our friends at parties by talking about how great it is for a couple of months now.  Each week, we choose from six meal options, which include prep time (all under 35 minutes) and difficulty level.  Then, once a week, we have an insulated box of ingredients (often portioned) and recipe cards dropped at our door.

While we still need to invest the time in preparing the meals, we look forward to our delivery each week.  We save all the recipe cards and often go back to make our favourites over and over.  So far, those favourites are often the fish dishes (consistently amazing) and the butter chicken tacos.

On nights when I'm working, Corey often has a mouth-watering dinner ready when I get home and on nights when I'm around, we get to cook together and drink wine while we talk about our days.  It's really fun and sort of reminds me of when we were dating and first started cooking together.

I didn't have the highest expectations when we started our subscription but the recipes are actually really amazing.  I was surprised to find that they actually tasted good.  Like, really and truly good and not just I-made-this-so-I'm-going-to-choke-it-down-and-pretend-it's-good good.

We tend to be lazy cooks and I'm so glad that we've subscribed because it's the kick in the pants we need to prepare real food for Rudy and ourselves.  Honestly, before we started making Chef's Plate meals, there were a lot (too many to count) of nights when we just threw some something from each food group on a plate and told Rudy to have at it.  Now, that only happens once a week, max!  ;)

Anyway, when I find a really great service, I have to shout it from the rooftops and I can't praise Chef's Plate highly enough!  If you like to cook but don't really know how to make more than a handful of dishes, this will up your cooking game BIG TIME!  As silly as it sounds, (and it DOES sound silly) we both feel so much more accomplished now that we have joined the ranks of people who make their own gnocchi from scratch.  Makes us feel fancy.

How do you handle meal prep with kids?  Have you tried Chef's Plate yet?  If you're interested in trying it, use code #3platesFromFreshCoatOfPaint - You will get 3 free meals with your subscription and I think we also get 2.  Win-Win!  Let me know what you think?


A Climbing Wall For Our Mountain Goat

You're going to think we're crazy but we've built a small climbing wall for our one-year-old.  Okay, so Rudy's one and a half now but we actually built this wall for her months ago when she was still crawling!  Let me provide some background so you can see that we conceived this idea in a very sane way.  Here goes...

Rudy loves to climb.  Don't blame me; She gets it from Corey!  There is something unsettling about a baby who can not yet walk but will climb on to the back of the couch and then attempt to get her foot up on the window sill before being pulled down by terrified parents.  It was in trying to keep her safe and direct her to safe activities that I came up with the idea for a climbing wall.  Corey amended it by suggesting a more horizontal, rather than vertical climb and our idea was born.

Corey knew that we would affix plywood to the wall and anchor the climbing holds (purchased on ebay) into the plywood for extra support.  I decided to paint an abstract mountain range on to the plywood.  We ended up choosing the three lighter greys from the photo below:  (lightest to darkest) Sherwin Williams "Icy Avalanche", "Modernist Gray", and "Perpetual Gray"

Over the course of a few nights, we prepared the plywood.

We measured the angles and "drew" our mountain range in tape.  Corey affixed it to the wall along the studs using a laser level (7) and we filled in the holes (8) before touching up the paint.

We used photoshop (10) to plan the positions of the holds.

We sorted the holds, since some were better for stepping on and others made better hand grips!  Each one was anchored deep into the wall through the plywood.

We eventually added a different type of hold as well, which was easier for Rudy to step on with shoes.  

For months, Rudy was indifferent but she loves her climbing wall now!  It's good exercise (especially on a rainy day) and it gives her a lot of confidence!  You should see her tackle the climbing wall at our local park!

Today, Corey was making dinner while I was at work.  He popped his head into the family room to check on Rudy and she had started climbing the wall on her own!  He snapped a pic to send me because we are both so proud!

This has to be one of my favourite DIYs!


My Crazy Cat Story

Those of you who know me in person, probably already know about my crazy cat story from last week.  If not, you can read about it below.  I don't know if it's the sheer ridiculousness of the scenario, or the fact that my clients actually bought the house, but something about this story seems to have entertained everyone who's heard it.  I thought I'd share it here:

So now my client and I are continuing treatment (a series of vaccinations) over the next couple of weeks but it looks like we are in the clear.  Rabies in humans is rare but lethal, and it has been a frightening and bizarre weekend but it's over now and we can resume normal life.

After a few days of being a little skittish around my own kitty, I am now over my fear.  Cricket is an amazing cat and is developing a great friendship with the dogs and especially with Rudy.  I thought I'd share some of my favourite photos of Rudy with her special kitty.

Final Update:


Mother's Day

Happy mother's day out there to all the moms, step-moms, foster moms, grandmothers, mentors, aunties, guardians and moms of fur babies!  It's my second Mother's Day as a mom (to a human child) and what an incredible journey it has been so far!  When they say that becoming a parent is like having your heart walk around outside of your body, they are right!  I'm as proud and joyful of Rudy's triumphs as if they were my own, and I feel the sting of her pain even more sharply than my own.  Motherhood has given me both the greatest courage and the greatest vulnerability of my life.

To those who celebrate Mother's Day: Are you doing anything special?  This is my busy time of year so we probably won't do much.  I am working all day and both my mother and mother-in-law understand the deal and know we'll make plans when I slow down a little.

Right now, all my non-work time goes to my family and that means spending time with Corey and Rudy.  Life with a toddler can be so overwhelming and Corey and I have felt like we've been treading water lately.  Sometimes I think of the other parents who either parent alone or face far more difficult challenges than we do and my heart aches for them.  I marvel at how strong some people are.

Last year, Corey gave me a sweet pair of earrings for my first Mother's Day.  This year, I truly feel as though I have everything I need so I asked him to help another mother in my honour.  Corey's donation helped to fund outings and craft supplies at SickKids in order to help a child who is in hospital show appreciation for their mother and spend some quality time with them today.  I know how much I looked forward to the Mother's Day craft that Rudy brought home from school on Friday and it was the sweetest gift to know that someone who is fighting a much harder motherhood battle may have a chance at a "normal" Mother's Day thanks to Corey's gift.

Finally, today I am thankful for the amazing little girl who made me a mom.  She is rough and tumble but also sweet and sharing.  She has a fantastic sense of humour and adventure.  She is far more fearless than I ever was and she has made the past year and a half so SO joyful!

For past Mother's Day posts, check out this one and this one.


Leaky Roof

Of course it would happen on a crazy busy day.  I had showings all evening and I was late to meet with some colleagues, my back hurt from sleeping funny and it was raining and damp and cold.  It was a chicken soup day and I was stressed about Corey getting stuck in traffic and being late to get Rudy and thinking about mile long list of things to do when I noticed a wet spot on the bed.

My first thought was that the cat was protesting his new litter and had peed on the bed.  Then I noticed with measured horror the drip, drip dripping that indicated an active leak.  Right.  Above.  OUR BED.  Ugh!

I love owning a home and, for us, the many joys of home ownership far outweigh the costs but eventually, the piper has to be paid.  We had done some necessary but "boring" renovations and updates when we first moved in, but we had since focused on spending our money where we would see a big impact.  I know they're necessary, but I hate paying for renos that I don't notice!  That sounded silly now that I've written it down and can go back to read it.  Obviously, we need a roof!  Without a roof, we're essentially living outside... which I'm sure would be far less romantic than it sounds!

We first noticed a small leak last winter while we had friends over for a games night.  It was a particularly bad storm and we only had a leak in the family room addition (which has no attic) so it didn't worry us much.  We considered it a warning and vowed to get the job done after tax time.  The puddle on the bed was far less subtle and we knew we needed to move fast!

It was expensive but worthwhile.  Bask in the beauty that is our new roof and ignore the old siding and gutters!

Pro Tips: 
  • We're saving the receipts as proof to show our buyers when we eventually list our house for sale!
  • We made sure our roofers had proper insurance.
  • We spoke to neighbours on both sides to tell them before the work was done and we double checked that our roofers picked up all the nails so that didn't need to worry about flat tires... or ouchy paws. ;)


Family Date

This time of year, work is so busy that I'm lucky if I get a couple of hours to play with Rudy in a week.  I can almost count on any weekend activity requiring heavy juggling and scheduling and there's always the possibility that I'll have to work last-minute.

Corey's a champ and handles house, pet and baby responsibilities but it can still be hard to find the time to be a mom and a wife while the market is so busy and my clients all need my time and attention.  I'm very grateful for my work and I love my job but Rudy grows so fast that I make an effort to make my time with her REALLY count!

Sometimes the stars align though and I had one of those rare weekends where all most of my work appointments sort of melted away and I ended up with a whole weekend (minus a very few appointments) to hang with my two favourite people!

It was heaven and we spent lots of time outdoors in the beautiful weather playing and chasing our shadows and exploring and just making good use of my time off!  It was one of the best weekends in recent memory and I think we're all feeling happy and exhausted!

I posted lots of photos from this weekend on my Instagram.  I'm making an effort to stop paying attention to all the social media "rules" (not posting too frequently, sticking to a theme and style, etc.) and so I'm just posting any photos that I like and would like to look back on later.  I'm not going to lie, it's mostly photos of Rudy.  ;)  There are also a few of the house, the dogs, food and other pretty things.  Here are some family photos from this weekend, if you'd like to see:

The weekend of fun ended after our final post-dinner walk tonight, when Rudy almost passed out and had to be carried home.

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