Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Learning to let go

Don’t worry, Caleb isn’t heading off to college just yet! This life lesson was brought on by a community yard sale in our neighbourhood and since we are moving two short months, this yard sale was the golden moment I had been waiting for to unload toys, books, clothes and general clutter from our lives.

I wasn’t sure how Caleb would handle the concept - yes, these toys are yours and yes, you are going to watch me give them away to strangers. I had a fleeting thought of just loading up a bag of toys and sneaking off to the yard sale on my own, but I decided that it was time for him to learn about letting go. I started off by giving him the talk – you are growing up and you don’t need all these baby toys anymore, but there are other little boys and girls who would really like to play with your old toys. I also added a touch of ‘we can’t take everything with us on the plane to Jamaica’! He seemed completely fine with that. I then let him decide which toys he would keep (his favorites) and which ones he would like to give to other kids (not his favorites).

I wasn’t sure if his positive attitude would change during the actual yard sale, but Caleb was completely fine with watching his toys go. He even came up with a sales pitch ‘You can have that, it’s not my favorite!’.
We visited Lawrencetown Beach this weekend, or as Caleb called it Lorax Town Beach!
Getting his feet wet
Pantless walk back to the car
On a different note, I thought I’d share this little DIY tip that I came up with. Caleb is now the perfect height to directly smash his head on the corner of the countertop. The loud thud (which makes me wince just thinking about it), followed by cries of ‘I bumped my noggin!”, had become all too familiar in our house. I needed to do something to solve this problem. I tried to think of what soft, protective items I had laying around the house. Unfortunately I’d just sold a bunch of teddy bears, so those wouldn’t work! Then it hit me – socks! I grabbed a couple of socks from the permanent pile of ones with no mates that I’ve held on to for years thinking the match would magically turn up. I added some flagging tape for extra visibility and voila! It may not be pretty, but I’d trade points in the style department for a safe noggin any day!

Friday, June 22, 2012


Our little tree  hugger
It has been a busy few weeks, but happily Alan is home and summer is here!

Cale seems to have transitioned out of the 'no to everything' stage and into the 'I want to do it all by myself' stage. There was even one extremely trying week where these two charming stages overlapped. The 'no' stage was a tough one, I have to admit. I consider myself quite laid back and level headed, but there were times when I lost my patience. Being constantly challenged and disagreed with was tough, and although I tried to stay calm, use reason and positivity, remind myself that this is just a phase, I found myself at the end of my rope at times with a raised voice and a crying child sitting in time out. Not fun. 

But now, the tears come if forget to let Caleb do something by himself. If he is in a determined mood, I can no longer pour milk in his cereal, get him dressed or undressed, carry him up the stairs, help him climb into his chair...you get the picture. It is great that he is coordinated enough to have all these new skills, but again it takes composure and patience (no more getting ready and out the door quickly in the morning). At least if things get tough these days I have Alan to help out. I find the best way to approach these trying  times is a tag-team effort. If I feel overwhelmed, one look at Alan and he immediately steps in to take over, and when he is worn down, I jump back in, feeling refreshed after a short break. 

All in all, if this is the worst that the 'terrible twos' will bring, I'll be happy, but expect that there will be more challenges in coming months and years. I still feel incredibly lucky to have such a smart, confident, funny, sweet, cuddly and kind little boy. I'm sure I'll remember more of the good moments, like giant bear hugs and whispers of 'I like you and I love you soooo much' in my ear, than the challenging ones.

And now for some adorable photos!

Fun times with friends!
I wonder where these two are hiding?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Crafts for a rainy day

This post is inspired by my sister in law Kathy, who mentioned that she was looking for activities to keep her toddler busy on rainy days. This weekend I had one of those rainy days, and I decided to try a few ideas I had bookmarked from various websites I had discovered on Pinterest. One site listed 120 activities for 1-4 year olds. I scanned through the list looking for things that were age appropriate for 2 year olds, and that used supplies I already had at home. Here are the two of the crafts we tried:

1. Mr. Squishy.

I used some old homemade playdough (that I made months ago and was still nice and soft from this recipe) and stuffed it into some balloons. Results - a homemade stress ball! Caleb has been happily playing with Mr. Squishy for the past two days. Poking his finger in it, throwing it, squeezing it. A super easy and fun craft. We'll definitely be making more of these in the future. You can find more detailed directions here.

Playdough filled balloon
Add a face with a sharpee and - presto, Mr. Squishy is born!
2. Baked cotton balls (or Squirrel Nuts, as Cale was calling them)

This one I was less sure about, but since it called for only flour, water and cotton balls, I decided to go for it. I've had a giant bag of cotton balls for at least the past 15 years, so I figured this would be a great way to finally use some of them up! You  take equal parts flour and water, add food coloring, dip in cotton balls and bake them at 300 for 45 minutes. The result is a hardened shell that kids can find different ways to break into. Smashing with a fork and giant spoon and stomping with his feet were big hits with Caleb. A little hammer would have been perfect. I think it would have worked better if my cotton balls weren't so squished from the many years of storage, but it was still a pretty good way to keep little hands busy for awhile.  Full directions here (for fluffier, more professional looking baked cotton balls)!

We had lots of fun making the ingredients together. 
Before going in the oven  
After being baked
Final result - cracked squirrel nuts

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Nieces, horses and trains, oh my!

On the shores of the Bay of Fundy (2 minutes before falling into the water!)
Alan has been away for almost 3 weeks, and last weekend, I needed a break. When my parents mentioned they would be taking Aly and Ava on an overnight trip to Broadleaf Farm, I jumped on the chance to come along. Cale and I packed our bags and hit the road on Saturday morning. I knew my parents wouldn't arrive until suppertime, but I was ready to get out of the house and figured it would be fun to do a Bay of Fundy roadtrip with Cale. 

The road between Riverview and Fundy National Park is one of my absolute favorites and it felt great to not be in a rush. We made our first stop at the Railroad Museum in Hillsborough. It turned out to be the opening day of the season, so we were greeted by extremely welcoming guides who insisted on giving us a personalized tour. Caleb loved being able to go inside the trains and would have happily stayed at the museum for hours.  

We arrived at Broadleaf just in time to meet my parents and the girls. Caleb could hardly contain his excitement at the thought of going horseback riding AND spending a night in a cabin with his grandparents and cousins. I was looking forward to a break, and possibly sneaking away for a little alone time, but it turned out that some family time was just what I needed. I had a great time playing and talking with Aly and Ava. They are such incredible girls (and wonderful babysitters) that I just wanted to spend all my time with them. I realized how lucky I am to not only get to be a part of Caleb's life as he grows up, but to also be a part of the lives of my nieces and nephew. I found myself beaming with pride when Ava rode the horse all by herself, laughing to the point of tears at Aly's jokes and ridiculous silly voices, relishing in our girl talk before falling asleep and happily agreeing to get out of bed at 7 am even though Caleb was still in bed. 

Greggy's # 1 fans
After our wonderful weekend was over, I had a chance to meet another new family member- my 8 week old niece, Amelia. It was amazing to see Mary and Jenn as parents and to get to hold a tiny little baby again. It was love at first sight for both Cale and I. It was my first time seeing him with a baby and I almost died when he held her and his first words were "Are you ok, sweetie?".  I'm so lucky to be surrounded by so many great children and the best part is, we are all family.

Proudly holding his new baby cousin Amelia