This winter morning

When you are expecting for the second time, everyone tells you how crazy busy you will become, and how you will redefine the word ‘tired’. No one, not even one person gave me a clue of the biggest adjustment and emotional impact I would feel – how much I’d miss my first child!

This morning, Blake, my 5 year old had a dental appointment. I took him to the appointment and my husband took our toddler, Scarlett to daycare. I had that rare one-on-one time with my son again, although surrounded by chirpy dental professionals ready to compliment him on what a great job he has done by staying still.

Blake has matured; his progress more obvious in a social setting outside home. He checked out the surroundings and settled on a book he liked. He chose not to spend this time to converse with me. I felt a slight nudge inside of me: Blake has always been that kid who just won’t stop talking and here he is, growing out of it before that reputation has a chance to stick…

You see, when you have a second baby, usually the moms take the responsibilities of taking care of the younger one and the dads assume the roles to occupy the older kid. All that infant business takes so much time and before I knew it, I had missed a lot of Blake’s life in the past year. It sometimes pains me to realize that our mother-son relationship has evolved permanently as a result of it, that he is aware he isn’t the ‘needy baby’ and perhaps, daddy should be the default helper.

The dental appointment went well and we took the subway to his school. As we approached his school building, he sped up and ran towards his classroom. The school ground was covered in white snow, and by contrast, his colourful fire truck backpack gleamed in the winter sun, looking way too big on his little body. Underneath his furry hat with ear flaps, his cherub cheeks were turning red – I always marveled at how cute kids looked in these hats. He waited for me to catch up: “Mom, this is my class!” his smile revealed two missing bottom teeth.

All of sudden, I felt this lump in my throat – Blake is still little but not for long. How I wished this winter freeze could make this moment last forever! As I watched him disappear into the crowd of kids inside, I couldn’t help thinking about the beautiful words from C.Day Lewis’s Walking Away:

That hesitant figure, eddying away

Like a winged seed loosened from its parent stem,

Has something I never quite grasp to convey

About the nature’s give-and-take – the small, the scorching

Ordeals which fire one’s irresolute day.

I have had worse partings, but none that so

Gnaws at my mind still. Perhaps it is roughly

Saying what God alone could perfectly show –

How selfhood begins with a walking away,

And love is proved in the letting go.

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Moments like this

My 16 months old daughter has always been a poor night sleeper. I have had some really cranky moments since I haven’t slept through the night for 2 years (yes, it started when she was still in my belly!). This only gets exacerbated when she catches a cold, which is happening all the time now because of the winter/daycare combination.

We placed a rocking chair next to her crib and there were countless nights Ethan or I sat there rocking her for long periods of time; we took turns so we both could get some sleep.

This past weekend, she caught a bad cold with a fever and the rocking chair had once again become our default sleeping spot. Last night, after woken up by her crying during my deepest sleep, I got up, prepared a bottle, picked her up and sat rocking in the dark while my brain was wishing to go back to bed and finish that dream.

As she finished the bottle and seemed to calm down, I wiped her snots, felt her head to make sure the fever wasn’t coming back, I lay her down in her crib and started walking toward my bed. That’s when she started shrieking, so loud I worried she’d wake up her brother. I came back and put my hand on her back and she immediately stopped crying. I tried to walk away again, and the same thing happened again.

By this time, I had already forgotten the theme of my unfinished dream, my eyes adjusted and I could see the moonlight filtered through the blinds. There was only one thing left to do: I sat on that rocking chair next to her crib, one hand placed on her back.

She seemed to sense that I sat down – she turned around and looked at me. I saw a sense of relief in her eyes. I slouched into the chair thinking it was going to be a long night here, and just then, she gently grabbed my hand, separated my fingers to make sure I held her tiny hand and looked at me as if to say: mom, I really need you right now, stay with me…

I looked back and my heart suddenly felt full. I held her hand and gently stroked the back of her palm. She turned to the other side, getting ready to sleep, then she turned back again. Still holding my hand, she looked into my eyes and smiled. I smiled back reassuring her. Just like that, in a second, she fell into a deep sleep, breathing heavily and had let go of my hand.

You know the moments in life you feel like you are doing exactly what you are meant to do? That you are living your purpose and all the hard work is worth it? This was one of those moments for me! As I watched her angelic face in sound sleep, I sat in that rocking chair for a while longer – I didn’t care to finish that silly dream of mine anyway…

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A Look Back

Today was an ordinary day in my house, nobody’s birthday, not our anniversary. On our drive back from grocery shopping, we passed a restaurant we once dined in, before we even dated. Ethan exclaimed: “It has been 9 years since that night you tried to introduce me to one of your girlfriends!” In the midst of my afternoon energy crash, I tried to remember: “how did we end that night?” to which he wittily replied: “I married YOU”!

In our daily hustle and bustle, sometimes we really lose sight of the wonderful things we share in life, moments slipping through at lightning speed! Sometimes I wish I could capture all the images my brain fails to retain. So today, just an ordinary day, I took 5 minutes to take a look back and relive those moments…

First trip as a couple

First trip as a couple – 2005 Montreal

Paris! 2006

Paris! 2006

Wedding Day - 2008

Wedding Day – 2008

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Family shot -2010

Leslieville - 2011

Leslieville – 2011

Family complete - 2013

Family complete – 2013

Thanks honey for an amazing 9 years! So excited for many more (decades) to come!

My Week in Instagram

 

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I have a love/hate relationship with babywearing. My shoulders hate it (trust me, it is not that I am not doing it right, I think it has something with the shape of my upper back) but then there is the moment I look down and I see this…

 

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This past week was tough as my whole family caught stomach flu. My poor kid ended up in Sick Kids hooked to an IV for 24 hours. Finally by Friday, all the family members had been symptom free for 48 hours and my son wanted a treat. With Blake’s help, the milk chocolate chip cookie dough was all ready to be put into the oven.

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Really impressed with Joe Fresh’s children’s collection these days, not to mention a great price!

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Sunday morning skating with dad

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Finally, after a crazy week, my wonderful husband sent me to get a massage. How thoughtful!

By the way, did you watch Jerry Seinfeld on Jimmy Fallon? I miss this guy’s brutal honesty. His opinions on parenting? I absolutely agree and love the way he said it. Here is a little laugh for this snowy Monday:

Jerry Seinfeld on Parenting

Have a great week!

Tree Decorating Party

My favourite time of year is here! After Santa Clause parade, I can officially let my Christmas obsessions out in the open. I love everything about Christmas! I know, I know, it has become very commercial these days, but there is something about picking out gifts for others that just make me happy. Of course, the hot chocolate, the pastries, the decorations and family, friends get together are all what I look forward to every year; not to mention the expressions on kids’ faces when they open their gifts – priceless!

Inspired by a dear friend, I decided last minute to host a tree decorating party 2 weeks ago and here are some details of the fun we had.

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A wintry centre piece for the holiday season. I got this 3 years ago and it still looks pretty good. To make something like this, all you need is a pretty vase base, some Styrofoam in the centre to stick things into, some pretty balls/cinnamon sticks or whatever you like, some glue and sticks. You simply glue the sticks onto the balls and stick them into the Styrofoam the way you like it and it lasts for many years to come.

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For food, we bought some sandwiches from Bonjour Brioche and made red velvet pancakes with cream cheese butter. I also made a small goodie tin for the kids to take away.

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Inside the tin:

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All sorts of gourmet goodies from The Nutty Chocolatier.

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Blake waiting for his friends to come.

Now the tree decorating:

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Need dads’ help to reach the higher part of the tree.

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The boys are satisfied and then we saw our first snow of the winter, how timely!

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Snow on our deck…and finally,

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The finished tree bathing in the wintry afternoon sun. Notice how bottom heavy this tree is? I have a feeling that will change over the years along with the increase in their heights. I did hide one ornament from the kids…

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There is no way I was going to risk breaking this newly purchased cutie :).

My Week in Pictures

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Happy to be in baby circle.

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Because there are others my size…

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My mom is always obsessed with my little hands and feet!

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Having a conversation with mom. Thanks Auntie Elsie for the adorable top and the baby bouncer I am sitting on!

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The blackberries mom bought were too sour so she turned them into cobbler which my brother Blake devoured.

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Quiet Sunday morning – streets in my hood.

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Our morning walk.

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The final clean-up: good bye, glorious fall!

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Hello, Christmas Season!

Have a great week!

Moments of the Week

Lately, I am finding it really difficult to blog as caring for a newborn baby is taking up most of my time. With 2 kids, I know time will always be a constraint so I am starting this new section called Moments of My Week.

I am working on being more present in life currently, and instead of being bogged down by daily activities, I try to be aware, appreciate and enjoy the little moments of parenthood and life. This section will be pictures of these little moments that are quickly becoming fond memories of past.

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Seeing a newborn baby smile is one of the happiest moments of sleep-deprived parents. Here, the million dollar smile captured on camera. Scarlett loves to smile – at 2 months.

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At the Royal Winter Fair Sunday.

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Blake found his favourite toy.

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Baby wearing as usual.

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The Ex.

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Fun with daddy.

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Evidence of B’s morning play.

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A close-up of B’s creativity – Is this the reason for the fire truck near by?

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A rare instant of happiness – Scarlett in the car

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Finally, when the kids are napping…