Rainy Daze (with kids)

What do you do on a rainy day?

For me, it used to mean making an entire pot of tea to myself, walking over to my stack of books, grabbing my favourite throw (and maybe a few cookies) before settling down to read the day away.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Oh, I’m so sorry. Doesn’t that sound idyllic and wonderful though?

Now, rainy days mean being trapped inside (my inner voice saying “you have no excuse not to do that chore you’ve been putting off!“) with a rambunctious little kid.

So what do I actually do on a rainy day?

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Rainy Day Activities

 

BECKRAAdotcom_rainydaze_icepaintingcotton-ball-painting-1Erupting Art for Kids (8)

Messy Crafts 
It seems counter intuitive to do messy crafts when you can’t make the mess outside (for easier cleanup) but hear me out. If you have a few old sheets or plastic table clothes, the cleanup from your kitchen table shouldn’t be any worse, and afterwards? A nice warm bath! You can even do this with your teeny tiny kids. N enjoyed splashing paint everywhere when she was only a few months old. ūüėČ Some ideas for babies, little kids, and¬†bigger kids.

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Build a Village 
This was technically a favourite activity of mine and my brother’s on rainy or sick days. It works for any sort of age group, and with any toys (and non toys!) you have. Use your megablocks/legos/to build basic structures or place a shoe-box on it’s side. Use your tiny kids meal toys, stuffed animals, action figures, or even salt and pepper shakers (ours were shaped like cats!). Half the fun is building up the village, the other half is destroying it! (Okay, and it might be fun to actually play with it too)

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Forts
I really don’t think this needs to be explained at all¬†but here are a few ideas if you’re looking for inspiration! Here are some¬†easy forts,¬†and sofa fort blueprints,¬†and you can always set up a tent inside. Try using an umbrella, and don’t forget all your stuffed animals, action figures, and of course, some twinkle lights!

Movie Marathon 
Pssssst. I have a confession. Sometimes we have rainy movie days. We sit around on our butts for hours, lazing about the couch (sometimes in our forts) cuddled up with blankets and popcorn. I have chronic pain that flares when it’s damp, so occasionally I don’t have the choice in letting myself and my daughter relax on a rainy day. Regardless of your health, there’s no reason to beat yourself up for not doing a ton of crazy activities. Sometimes unwinding is enough. Your kids will be happy to have a happy, chill mama. I promise. Becca wrote a list of rainy day movies, which includes some of my favourites to watch with little ones as well. E.T. anyone?

Video Games
On that similar note, rainy days are the perfect excuse for video games and TV. Especially if you get right in and join your kids! One¬†of my favourite memories is¬†of my mom joining my brother and I to play Need For Speed¬†during a thunderstorm when we thought the power was going to go out any second. Thrilling, exciting, and so fun to have her with us. I can’t wait to be able to teach N how to properly play Sims, or games on the Wii. She already loves taking the xbox remote (and can get to Netflix all by herself, which I’m not sure is a good thing?) so I’m happy to pass our passion right along.

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Fun Food 
When the weather is wet and cold, I love a good chili or soup to warm me up. Let your little one help in the kitchen! Even if it’s just playing with some of the chopped up veggies or beans ūüôā When they’re old enough, placing things in the pot, and having it be their job to “stir occasionally” is always rewarding.¬†Other fun rainy day foods that your kid will love helping with? Nachos, DIY personal pizzas (even just on naan is always a hit!), fresh baked cookies (I like these healthy ones that my 18 mo helps “stir”!) and air popped popcorn (with way too much butter and a “toppings bar” from my spice cupboard).¬†Never underestimate involving your kid in your “chores”. Being with you¬†and being a part of what you’re doing is often magical to them, and rewarding for us.

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Puddle Jumping
If it isn’t pouring or thundering out there, GO GET WET!¬†What else are rain boots good for? I found waterproof pants at Walmart for a steal, and with boots, and a raincoat N is good to splash and race leaves down the driveway till her hearts content (or until I’m too soggy to take it!) There’s a reason I placed this on my Spring To-Do List,¬†it’s a favourite family activity! Plus, similar to making a big mess in the kitchen, afterwards there’s nothing like a warm bath. Maybe followed by a movie, watched with some popcorn in your fort?

I hope these inspired you to enjoy your next rainy day.¬†Here’s to making the most of it!

  • xo, Kris

Writer’s Block

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Oh, “writer‚Äôs block.”

You’re not all that unfamiliar. I remember being in high school trying to write and not being able to get the words out, rolling my eyes and scratching out words so hard I ripped the page because nothing was right. Needing to get them to bring to band practice, to get edited by a boyfriend before a coffee house, there was a sense of urgency to complete my thoughts. Later too, in college, trying to get that great idea out on paper, put my thoughts into words with a deadline looming.

But what if there is no deadline? What if there is no set topic? What on earth am I even blocked from writing about? Writing for?

When I took away these things and really thought about it, I finally realised what my personal writer’s block has always come from.

I don’t have confidence in my own voice.

Why would anyone want to listen to what I have to say?

What makes me an expert, or even someone worth acknowledging, about anything at all?

Out of the blog posts I have written the ones that seem to get the most reads are those that peer into my personal life. Things focusing on my feelings. My feelings. Hunh. How about that?

So I need to get over myself and not take things so seriously. Write what I know, or at least what I pretend to, and that would be the inner dialogue running ramped in my head.

Alright! I can do that!

But wait!

It’s scary! I know that there are consequences of voicing an opinion online, where it can be subject to criticism I have no way of defending myself. I know that future employers will be able to see my opinions and make judgements based off that before interviewing me. I know that it will affect future clients, and even possibly could be manipulated to be used against me for a variety of other personal things. Not to mention the complete unknown future of the internet and how that will affect my daughter (or future children).

I’ve set boundaries. I will voice my opinion and discuss my life, but not my family, my significant other, or children directly. My feelings on motherhood are a journey all my own. Just as I may share a child, but the pregnancy was my own. I feel that motherhood, and all it encompasses, are mine to own and share.

OKAY COOL. I’ve got it sorted. Believe in yourself and write whatever you can, but make sure you stick to your boundaries.

WHOOPS ONE MORE THING

How do I justify taking that time away from the trillion other things I have to do? I mean, there are currently some pencil crayons on the ground that I really have no excuse to not have picked up before writing this. Some laundry I could be folding! Pre-making food for when I have a suddenly awake and starving little girl downstairs!

I don’t have to justify self-care. This is my self-care. Writing and taking a moment to have an identity outside of being a mother. That is a whole post unto itself, and a whole journey to struggle through. But I will prioritise this fun and relieving hobby to make sure I don’t lose myself.


So share I will. I look forward to babbling a lot more soon. But I am also not going to beat myself up if I need to disappear.  Luckily and happily I have the lovely Becca co-writing with me, sharing both our fun shared events, and her life as well.

Thanks for letting me be human!

xo. Kris

Spring Re-Fresh

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WordPress is updating, so I started typing this post in a sticky note. The intro to which I had been speculating would be something cute about how I’m not even sure if my baby monitor was going to die while I tried to write this, as I haven’t used it in two days. It’s been chaos and sickness and we haven’t had normal nap times or bed times or adult alone time in a while. (I just wanna write a blog post and play some sims, okay?)

Guess what? It died. That, in summary, is how things have been going lately.

April is normally the time I refresh. It’s never January. I read a study once upon a time (that was reiterated in a mental health seminar) that the idea of starting anew and trying to set goals mid-winter is very unrealistic. That’s actually the time to splurge, spoil yourself, and spend as much time with loved ones and doing fun things as possible. Because getting to the end of winter is HARD. Post-holiday happiness is HARD. Suddenly losing the prettiness of twinkly lights all around your home is HARD. (Okay, that last one might just be me.) So make yourself feel better! Start fresh when the world does, in Spring!

April is my GET THINGS GOING time. I have fresh bursts of energy, and I’m usually no longer in immense pain because the weather has warmed up. I had plans to start painting the house now that we can open the windows! I have birthday parties to plan! Easter is here! But alas, we’ve all been insanely sick, and when¬†A works 28 days straight, that means so do I.

But, I’m on the mend! I have lots of exciting things coming up, including being back to posting about my life endlessly. Here’s my vague¬†list of Spring/Summer Projects 2017. Maybe these will inspire you to start something new this spring.

House Stuff

  • Paint the house (especially the zebra stripes!)
  • Backsplash the kitchen
  • DIY lamps &¬†fireplace
  • Plant front garden &¬† honeybee seeds (get your free seeds here!)

Parenting Stuff

  • Join a stroller-group and attend once a month (half done!)
  • Puddle jump at least twice more
  • Kid friendly art projects, and DISPLAY them

Self-care Stuff

  • Play my first game of derby as a DRRD’y Farmer!
  • Have girl-dates with my best friends, minus my baby
  • Take 1hr a week for hygienic self-care.
    (Do a facemask, actually blowdry my hair all the way, paint my nails, whatever)

Blog More of course! 

A bit rambly, but it’s the vague outline I have for the upcoming months. Setting goals and refreshing my routine come spring-time is one of my favourite things. Thanks for checking in!

  • xo, Kris

How I Asked My Bridesmaids

 

 

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Getting to ask our wedding party to actually be our wedding party was such a fun part of this process for me! I spent a lot of time googling and thinking about how i wanted to ask them.

When it came down to it, my inspiration came from a bit of online shopping! When i was browsing a store online i came across these dainty, sweet little bracelets that were in the shape of knots. The symbolism was perfect and i decided to make the purchase! One for each of our moms and one for each bridesmaid. The “asking the brides maids” theme ended up being “will you help me tie the knot?”

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For each bridesmaid i wrote a personal letter, which for obvious reasons, i’ll keep private. I just talked a bit about our friendship and why i’m so proud to have them in my wedding party. I also wrote a longer letter and gave a copy of that to everyone. In the longer letter I outlined things like the planning process and the fun things coming up (bachelorette party – whoop!)

Lastly I made a little cover page for each of the girls. It was a simple sign actually asking them the “big” question!

will you help me tie the knot-

 

 


After everyone in the Bridal party had agreed to be a part of it i got to make a Facebook group for us, which is so fun to me! I love to have a place where we can all post our ideas and communicate with each other all at once. I even made a cute little header for the group, posted below!

Becca's Bridal Bitches

 


After all is said and done, I’m so happy with how my “bridesmaids proposal” turned out, and I’m so excited to have these amazing girls in my wedding party. My sister Laura, Ryan’s sisters Shannon and Danah and my girlfriends Danielle, Kris and Kristin are going to be amazing bridesmaids and i cant wait to really get into the wedding festivities!

my brides maids

 

  • xo, becca.

Birthdays and Turning 23

happy birthday to me!

 

Almost every other day of the year I’m someone who really doesn’t like attention… but my birthday is the one time¬†I’m cool with it, in fact i welcome it. I’m absolutely the girl wearing the plastic tiara to the club, I’m 100% the one with¬†the sash at the party and yes, you’d better bet i’ll¬†ask about the birthday freebie at the restaurant! My birthday is a time to celebrate and believe me, i do it all!

Personally, I love a themed party and this years theme was “Blackout.” Kris and i and my lovely friends Kristin and Danielle decorated my house with black balloons and black streamers and everyone dressed head to toe in all black. It ended up making for some really great pictures! (and i loved getting an excuse to wear a black lipstick!)

One of the reasons i like my birthday so much is because i always feel so loved! Its such a great feeling to have your favorite people come together, all at once, and spend that time with each other. And i want to make sure it’s known, so i don’t seem like a self centered narcissist, i also love other peoples birthdays – I’m always happy to plan or host a friends party! On the other hand, Ryan doesn’t care at all about his birthday. So when i want to make a big deal out of the day and treat him and buy him gifts, he really doesn’t want it. I always joke and say “you’re ruining your birthday for me!” because i really do like to celebrate other people just as much as i celebrate my own day!

This year i’ll take comfort in the fact that at 23, it’s still acceptable to not have your life together. lol As i slowly approach my mid 20’s i feel like the pressure gets higher and higher to be a full fledged adult, and i’m just not ready for that yet! I take solace in the age of 23. Sure, it’s not quite 22, but i can live with it…


 

Like i said above – give me all of the free birthday things! Not only am i girl on a budget, but it’s just fun to get to declare that it’s your birthday everywhere you go and get a little (eatable) gift! So i decided to compile a list of my favorite birthday freebie spots.

Enjoy and happy birthday!

  • Starbucks¬†– Starbucks is my favorite place to go on my birthday. You get a free drink (any size!) OR a free food item. Considering Starbucks is so delicious (and expensive), i love the birthday freebie! Am i going to get an EXTRA large Passion Tea lemonade? – Yes! Do i need an extra large? – Of course not. But it’s free so i’m going to get it anyway! (Shut up, it’s my birthday, don’t judge me.)
  • The Keg – At The Keg on your birthday you get a free Billy Minor Pie. Which, if you’ve never had the pleasure of trying it, is a delicious caramely, ice cream, cake thingy. (You also get this on your anniversary, for the record.)
  • Panera Bread – Panera is actually my favorite on-the-go breakfast spot. It’s tasty and much healthier then an Egg McMuffin. On your birthday you get a free pastry, and since this is another place that’s a bit on the expensive side, it’s worth a stop! I would recommend choosing the cinnamon bun as your free treat. Its huge and delicious! (You do have to have a membership card to redeem the treat, but the card alone is so worth it, it’s a great rewards program!)
  • Booster Juice – If you’re a juice or smoothie lover you have to stop at Booster Juice! They give you a free smoothie, which would normally cost you around $8. Definitely worth it.
  • Medieval Times – This is one I’ve never gotten the chance to redeem, but apparently you get a free “feast and tournament” on your birthday! And that’s awesome considering Medieval Times tickets usually cost something like $70! My¬†next birthday falls on a Saturday, so maybe i should take advantage of this one next year…
  • Casey’s – Casey’s isn’t my favorite restaurant, but i wanted to mention it because they’re one of the few places that still gives you a free entree. I’ve found most places these days do a free dessert or a free appetizer, but Casey’s is an OG and they give you a free meal and drink.

All in all, i think it’s obvious that my birthday is my favorite time of year. Partying, friends, food, free things (lol), the list goes on. Whats not to love?

 

  • xo, becca.

Becca’s Getting Married (Beginning to Plan)

becca-is-getting-married

I’m a plan-a-holic. I have my birthday parties planned months in advance, i plan my week by making lists and keeping an agenda, if I’m going on a trip i plan what to do and where to go. Something in having a plan (should we all take a shot every time i say plan?) is oddly a lot of fun to me. I like to take a second to dream and think about what lays ahead in order to make the most out of time. So I’m sure you can guess putting together a wedding has been a blast! I wanted to talk a bit about the (very) early planning stages. What i’ve loved, what i’ve hated and my advice so far, a couple of months in.(We’re at 7 shots, now if you’re keeping count. I hope you’re all good and drunk by the end of your read lol)


The Bad

I’ll start off with the bad, just to get it out of the way. The worst thing in these early stages, has been coming up with a budget.¬†It’s awkward to talk to our families about how much money they can give us, it’s upsetting to have to whittle down the guest list because we can’t afford to invite everyone we want to, its stressful thinking about how many thousands of dollars we’ll be spending on one damn day. It’s all just kind of awful really and there’s not too much else to say about it. I want to be real with you guys, and with the blog, and I’ll be real by saying that budgeting has been my main and only source of stress and upset-ness so far. In fact, i had my first wedding related cry about the budget the other night. (which, lol, i cry about 20 times a day so it wasn’t even a big deal.)


The Good

Once you come to terms with the budget, the fun begins!

The most exciting part of the early stages has been deciding on our wedding parties. Planning on how i’ll ask my future bridesmaids to actually be my bridesmaids is exciting and getting to look up ideas for the bridal shower and the bachelorette is so much fun! I know i have an awesome group of girls and Ryan has some great guys on his side as well, and i can’t wait until we get to make the wedding party “official!” I’m waiting until the engagement party in March to “pop the question” to them, because one of the girls lives hours away and that’s the next time i’ll be seeing everyone¬†together. (Though i may have already drunkenly asked her over Snapchat on new Years Eve, but we’ll pretend that didn’t happen…) I have a whole plan of how i’m going to ask the girls and you can expect a post all about it in the future!


My Tips

I wanted to speak on the resources that I’ve been using to help plan the wedding.

  • First off, screw any bridal magazine. I was excited to get to subscribe to one for the duration of the engagement, but when i picked up a copy of¬†Brides magazine i noticed it was almost totally advertisements. Sure, there’s pretty ads for¬†dresses and shoes, but a bunch of ads is just not helpful when trying to make real decisions. So if you’re getting married, don’t bother with magazines.
  • The next thing i tried was a wedding planning app, and unfortunately it also wasn’t helpful. I found that it wasn’t personalized at all. It had lots of pages and categories that didn’t matter to me and I found a lot of it to be useless.
  • So, that brings me to my most helpful piece of wedding planning info: make a wedding planning book or binder. This is exactly what it sounds like – a binder or a notebook filled with different lists, print outs, scratch pads and spaces to brain storm and keep organized. This way you can keep things totally personalized. I made some of my own print outs and found some templates online and it really has been an organization game changer! So go the old fashioned route with paper and pencil.

 

All in all, so far its been pretty fun! With the budgeting out of the way and some fun events ahead, i’m very excited to be moving forward!

  • xo, becca

 

One

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At 7:46 yesterday, we were headed to German dance, with our daughter. At 7:46 last year we were headed to the hospital, ready to meet our baby squidly. It didn’t go unnoticed, and it was a weird feeling; to so strongly have a sense of time passing.

She woke up at 00:01 and I went in to rock her back to sleep. I held her until 14 after, the minute she was born. I sang her happy birthday, and brought her to her Daddy to get a birthday kiss. I placed her back to sleep, snuck out of her room, and bawled my eyes out. Which of course woke her up completely, so I played with her a bit to soothe her. After all, it is her birthday. It was hearing her giggle, and then snuggle up to me with a book that put me at ease. She was doing okay. I was doing okay. We made it a whole year! We are raising a happy, loving, spunky, little human.

Happy Birthday Squidly. Mammi loves you.


This was written two days before my daughter’s actual birthday, when she officially turned 52 weeks. The above was written today, the day my daughter officially turned one year old.¬†

Okay, deep breath. You can do this.

52 Weeks. 364 Days Old. My daughter is one. year. old.

Cue tears. Let’s try again.

Even those numbers are correct as I’m writing this, she’s not OFFICIALLY one year old until her birthday. I have two more days. For now. I will revel in her being my almost¬†one year old. I can do this.

Deep breath.

People ask me, bluntly, often rudely, how it happened, and do I regret it? As if somehow it was even remotely possible to regret this amazing, sweet, mischievous, incredibly happy, bundle of joy that has entered my life. Plus, if it were, would I admit it to you, rude acquaintance? No. And no, I do not regret anything. I never will.

People ask me about how it was to have an accidental pregnancy. A friend who knows the situation well retorted once with “It was a spontaneous decision, not a planned accident.” I didn’t slip and fall on a banana peel, and we knew that if we moved forward I was almost certain to get pregnant. It was a year earlier than we planned. We changed the plan. Not an accident. So I don’t know how it feels to have an accidental pregnancy. Moving on.

I lived separate from A for the first 5 months of my pregnancy. It was interesting, it was tough, and it probably wasn’t the smartest decision for either of us. But it was the best decision for all of the people we shared homes with. It meant I wasn’t alone when he worked an 80 hour week. We didn’t get to figure out what it was like to live as a couple just as us. Maybe that would have made it easier, or maybe the change would have been even harder.¬†It was what we did, and it worked out. We lived together eventually. We bought a house together, recently. We share a house. We are building¬†our home.

My pregnancy itself wasn’t that difficult. I had another, still non-diagnosed, issue. It’s what allowed me to find out I was pregnant before 4 weeks. It’s also what stopped me from working enough to get mat. leave, and made it so I spontaneously couldn’t walk at times. I had a few breakdowns. I felt alone, as a young mother, but not a teen, I feel massively left out. My sister is 9 years older than me, and so her group of friends (some of whom were my “big sisters” growing up), mostly have and were having small children. That was a saving grace.¬†One of the midwives on my “team” was out to get me. She called a social worker on me for missing 2 appointments (I take a bus. It is hard to catch a bus while pregnant.) That does not mean I will be an unfit mother. I didn’t look pregnant for a long time and that bummed me out. I was happy to be pregnant. Proud of the journey I was on. I wore belts just to make my bump stand out. At 7 months I could still hide my belly with ease. There’s a lot more on my pregnancy, but that’s not what this post was going to be about.



Birth.

This is it’s own thing. It’s own long, emotional post. But:

Best day, worst 3 days.

Stupid midwives, worse nurse.

She looked up at me with the biggest navy blue eyes, moved her head right to my breast, and we were one again. I was a mother. The indescribable moment had arrived. I can’t describe it either. I was never the same again.


Looking Back

First 3 months РI remember nothing. Cluster-feeding. Never sleeping. Constant worry and fear. Content. Thankful for family and for freezer meals. No newborn clothes, but she was a newborn size, which suprised everyone. I took a picture everyday. I only left her for Star Wars. Of course I did.

I do remember the first time she wanted something. Not just eat/sleep/poo/repeat. She wanted a toy. She grabbed for it, a giraffe we named Polka. I thought – WOW – this is a human. This is a human with wants not just needs. A brain, and a heart. I created a human. I cried. I’ll never get rid of that giraffe.

4 months. She sings to Adele. I sing to her. Sitting up and big smiles. My big girl. 99% & 95.  Still and forever sleeping on my shoulder. A slightly flat head and a very full tummy.

6 months. A big change in personality. It’s here, and we can feel her spirit. She’s got it. So happy, all the time. We’re never not thankful for that. A first tooth, carrots and more carrots, swimming and Sudbury.

9 months. More teeth, more milestones. More food. I feel like I’m trying to pause everything so we can move and then life can continue. It doesn’t work like that. She just keeps growing. I start hobbies so I can remember what it feels like to be an adult again. To be by myself. In a large group of supportive, amazing, tough women. More on that eventually.

10 months. The last picture in the old house (for her month by month). Sad we had to leave on such a sour note. Wondering how she’ll adjust. She was just fine. There’s infinite room for her now. A whole house to explore. She regressed a bit in her amazing eating habits. These next teeth are taking a LONG time to surface. We try pouches, and she’s hooked. At least it’s nutrition.

11 months. Trying not to co-sleep. She’s in a crib for naps, and as much of the night as we can. Making her stand up by herself (she’s known how for months but is stubborn and won’t. In making her stand by herself I realize – she also knows how to walk. How did she hide that!?)

She can walk. She eats real food, and prefers a regular cup to anything “sippy”, but in a pinch she’ll steal your water bottle. Cookies are her best friend. She nods her head no! and then does whatever naughty thing you told her not to. But then she smiles, and laughs, and your heart is melted. She is smart. Too smart sometimes. She can WALK UP TO ME. She demands things. She will push you out of the way to see what you’re doing. She must be involved in every¬†conversation. She always wants to share whatever she can hold. But she always wants you to share too.¬†She tries to dress herself. She helps dress herself quite well. She LOVES books. She loves Daddy best. She loves me too. She cries when Omi (my mom) hangs up the phone. She is becoming a little person and I don’t know what to do with myself.

I have a one year old. In her, I can see my whole family. I see the smug faces of my brother, the unimpressed looks of my sister, the bounce in her step of my mom. She has the little crooked charm that belongs to her Daddy and his brother. The golden curls soon to straighten that we all share. She is so us. Our third little fire sign. Our little archer. Our Squidly.

I love her so much it legitimately takes my breath away. When she sleeps in my arms, the world stops just for a moment; When she nuzzles me, grabs hold of my legs and looks up to smile, when she runs away from her pants, when she holds up her books for me to read when she holds her hand out to offer whatever she has to you. My heart slows. Time feels as if it is standing still and I try my best to breathe it in.

It’s true that they grow up too fast. But each new stage holds something amazing and sweet. I lost her baby grunts and gurgles, but I gained some personality.

I’m a not-so-new first time mom. I have a one year old. Well, okay then.

  • xo, Kris