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.


Smoothie Popsicles

With Rudy teething and nursing a sore throat, we decided to make some cold treats.  We're a big smoothie family (ever since they saved me during pregnancy) and when we dug up our old popsicle molds we decided to make smoothie popsicles.

Normally, we like to throw some leafy greens in our smoothies so we feel a little healthier, but for these popsicles, we just wanted them to taste yummy!

We popped some frozen strawberries, probiotic yogurt, milk and a splash of vanilla extract (we rarely measure amounts) into the blender and blended until smooth.  Then we poured the mixture into molds and added some chopped fresh strawberries for texture.

The result was yummy and a big hit!  Our popsicles were a little big and heavy for Rudy so I think we're going to buy these for next time.  When she's bigger, I can't wait to try these!

For some other yummy sounding popsicle recipes, check out these and these!

And check out this poor little sicky enjoying her treat while watching some Bubble Guppies.


Cricket's Nest

Now, I can't take credit for coming up with this idea.  Not only do these already exist for sale online, but I'd also heard of a similar (and probably more unique version) last year.  I helped my friends Jen and Peter buy a house last year and when I last visited them, they were planning an intricate series of perches for the cats on their living room wall.  They explained that, not only would the cats love it, but it would also be beautiful and serve as a living art installation of sorts.

My objectives were far simpler:  I wanted a place for Cricket (and his food) to be away from Rudy and the dogs and I wanted it to not be so hideous that it made me want to claw my own eyes out.  Since we adopted Cricket, he has fit right in with Rudy and the dogs, but we felt that he deserved a space of his own.  I also feel that his food may prove too tempting for Cheetah (or Rudy) and I prefer it to be out of reach.

Corey and I initially looked into cat trees.  Is there a law that says all cat trees need to be beige or brown?  We couldn't find a single one that wouldn't look hideous in our family room and then there was also the logistical nightmare of keeping Rudy from climbing it.  No thank you!

We researched wall-mounted units but they were all pretty $$$!  Being a pretty handy guy, Corey set out to make one himself.

He used:
  • shelves
  • brackets
  • carpet tiles
  • velcro
  • jute covered scratching post
  • colourful twine
  • hinges
  • hanging cat toy
  • food and water dishes
  • hole saw

The shelves and brackets were easy to find and we ensured that we chose shelves wide enough for kitty to stretch out.

Corey decided to secure carpet tiles to the shelves with velcro rather than glue, so they would be easy to clean or replace.

We bought a small scratching post made to be hung from a doorknob.  It was wrapped in jute and we thought we'd add it for kitty to use as a ramp.  We covered it in some colourful jute for aesthetic purposes.  Corey secured it to the shelves using hinges to allow for it to sit on an angle.

We bought a cat toy to dangle from a shelf.  Corey drilled two holes and threaded it through before tying it.  We can always change it if/when Cricket destroys it.

We bought metal dishes with a lip and Corey used a hole saw to drill holes in two of the shelves.  The dishes rest nicely and just slide out when we need to wash them.  You'll notice we skipped the carpet around the water dish because we didn't want spills making the carpet soggy.

We had to move the painting that hung above Rudy's magnetic board but we're thrilled with the result and Cricket loves his new nest!  Here's a before shot:

And here's the finished product:

Cricket accesses the lowest shelf from the top of Rudy's toy storage unit.  He knew it was his very own spot right away and he wasted no time making himself at home!

What do you think?  We like it better than a regular cat tree and we love that it doesn't take up any floor space and isn't accessible to Rudy!  Cricket certainly enjoys being king of the castle!


Happy Easter

Happy Easter!  Did you do anything fun to celebrate?  We're not religious but we love traditions and the Easter Bunny will probably start visiting Rudy at home next year.  I already have a stash of plastic eggs (I think it was wishful thinking that she might understand it this year.) and we'll probably fill them with stickers, bouncy balls, fun shoe laces and other treats.  

Do you try to recreate your own childhood traditions with your children?  I loved dying eggs (I loved crafts even back then) and I loved searching for eggs at home with my younger brother.  Our Easter Bunny labelled them with our initials to keep things fair and they were always filled with little treasures.

I remember one year, the Easter Bunny left me a small unicorn figurine.  It had a small heart tied around its neck and I treasured it because I felt that it meant the Easter Bunny loved me.  Another year, I remember spending it with my cousins at their cottage.  We collected clams and cracked them open, hoping to find pearls.  

While Rudy probably won't remember the things we do for the next year or so, I think it's never too early to begin making our own family traditions.  We took her to a farm today and she enjoyed collecting eggs, visiting the animals and riding on some of the bouncy toys.

Just in time for Easter, she seems to have discovered her giant rabbit toy that we bought for her before she was born.  Here are a few of our favourite photos from the past weekend.  Next stop: Passover!


My Favourite Baby Skin Care Products

Today I'm posting about my favourite line of baby products.  This is an unusual post for me because I never advertise products and have refused advertising opportunities in the past because Fresh Coat of Paint is just for fun! This is not a sponsored post but I am going to share my favourite products for Rudy's sensitive baby skin with you! 

I actually began this post months ago but work has been so busy lately that this post has been on the backburner.  I changed my mind today when I found myself chatting with a pregnant friend about Eco Chic Movement products.  I told her I'd write a blog post about them soon and with the recent headlines about the Johnson & Johnson and Honest Company lawsuits, this post feels timely.

Corey and I both tend to have sensitive skin and when Rudy was born, we assumed (correctly) that she would too.  We, like a lot of parents, researched almost every decision, wanting to give our child the best of everything and to shelter her from any discomfort.  With bath products and baby lotions especially, we wanted products that were mild and gentle and (obviously) not filled with irritants or carcinogens.

We tried several brands (were grossed out by some and just "meh" about others) and eventually found Eco Chic through a friend and have been using these Canadian made products ever since!  Why do we love them?  They are really gentle on Rudy's skin and have a very light, soothing scent.  After her bath, her skin feels clean with no residue, which is something that grossed me out about some of the other popular products we tried.  The baby wash/shampoo is castile soap based but it comes in a foaming dispenser so it forms a really good lather for a natural soap!  We also love the diaper cream and we actually get compliments from Rudy's daycare staff about the quality cream we send.  More importantly, she rarely experiences diaper rash since we started using it!  We use many of these products (like the baby lotion, baby face cream and the chest congestion rub) all the time but the baby wash and diaper cream are our absolute favourites!

I found myself recommending these products to friends so frequently that I reached out to the woman who started the line of products, Dr. Alexis Reid.  Dr. Reid is a naturopathic doctor based in Ottawa with a background in toxicology and chemical engineering.  She knows I love her products and I told her I was writing a blog post so she has sent me a discount code for my readers!

We love supporting Canadian companies and they're easy to order from the website.  If you're shopping for a line of natural baby products, check them out!

Bonus: Babies can be expensive so every little perk helps.  If any of my readers would like to try Eco Chic products, use discount code WELCOME3 at checkout for a 15% discount on your first purchase in 2016!  

You can also check out Eco Chic Movement at the Toronto Baby Show April 2 & 3!

And a special thanks to my friend Ana and her son Max for the bath toys, which coordinated beautifully!

Related Posts by Zemanta