Dutch Creek Photo Recap

25 May

Oh man, I love camping.  I never feel more relaxed than I do in the mountains, surrounded by beautiful scenery and great friends.  This weekend was no exception.

We went to a slightly different spot this time and I loved it.  We were right on a creek bed, and there were no other campers to be seen.  We were even able to make a fire pit far enough away from our trailers that we didn’t come home with absolutely everything reeking of smoke!

We did…

A lot of creek sitting

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A lot of playing in the sand and mud

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Some pretend fishing

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Some quading (please note that helmets were worn outside of the campsite.  I literally tooled around at about 2 km an hour within the campsite when they were on).

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Some arts and crafts

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Some not so healthy eating

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Freezie time

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Banana boat

Some late night block rocking

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Sad but true, these girls went to bed at 11 pm

Some bubble blowing

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Amber bought the best bubble blowers ever and pinwheels for the kids. Such a sweet friend!

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And some overall relaxing.  We had a slight hiccup when Molly (the dog) took a 6 hour field trip, but luckily she was found safe and sound.  We seriously have such good friends that they all took off to look for her at multiple times during the day. We had people out on quads, on foot and in trucks looking all over Dutch Creek!

One of the things that I like best about camping is how much my kids are just kids. They were so happy just running around, digging in the mud, and playing.
Sometimes I worry that I let my kids have too much time on the tablet, but being away and seeing how easily they can keep themselves amused with nothing more than a stick in the mud reassures me that they are still able to let their imaginations take the lead.

It is always bittersweet coming home, but we kicked off this week with a bang by heading out on a few playdates at a picnic. I hope this nice weather holds out so we can keep enjoying the beautiful sunshine!

Life is….

15 May

Life right now is as it will never be again.  Gone are the days of my cuddling sweet newborn, or planning my outings around nursing sessions.  Although I loved those days, I can’t wish myself backwards one bit, because every day just gets sweeter.

Right now, life is:

-The clickclack of princess shoes across the floor.
-The words “I’m hungry” being uttered 35 times a day.
-Impromptu flying hugs
-The world’s worst knock knock jokes on repeat
-Disney Sing Along channel on Songza
-Listening to peals of laughter across the house and shrieks of joy.
-Sharing a smile, a muffled laugh or a headshake over the latest thing to come out of the girls’ mouths with my husband.
-Endless rounds of the puppy game, or the baby game
-Buckling and unbuckling car seats
-Sleepy snuggles on the couch
-Songs sung with a sweet little voice joining in.
-Earnest prayers of thanks for things such as stuffed animals and purple walls
-Repeating the words “be kind to your sister”
-Smiling over sweet moments shared between sisters.
-Counting down days to special events on calendars.
-Negotiating outfits and hairstyles
-Trying to explain life’s mysteries, like why a fox is called a Fox
-Knowing the names of every Monster High character
– Knowing every word to books like Time for a Hug, and Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You.
-Feeling so content in the way things are right now, and being thankful for it.

People are keen to remind Tyler and I that we will have two teenagers in the house before we know it.  While I am not ignorant to that, and the challenges it might present, I hope to always remember these days.  I am so, so lucky to have this little family.

Mother’s Day Weekend and a Trip to Whitefish

12 May

When we decided not to do Disney this summer, Ty and I made a pact to do a few smaller getaways with the kids, sticking closer to home. When I saw a Facebook ad for an exhibition about dinosaurs (Abby’s current obsession in her quest to become a scientist), we decided to take a trip to Whitefish and check it out.

Normally when we go, we stay in Meadow Lake, in a neighboring town.  We have always had our eye on a KAO campground, so after checking it out online we booked in to a cabin.  Our trailer is old and we weren’t too thrilled with the idea of taking it across the border, so we thought a rustic cabin would be the next best thing.

My wonderful coworkers let me leave a bit early on Friday, so after grabbing some cupcakes for Tyler’s birthday (it was on Friday), I raced home, changed, and we hit the road.  The girls were so excited! 

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Sister made herself comfy for the ride down

I have said it before and I will say it again, I am so thankful that our girls travel well.  Both usually sleep, read books or daydream out the window.  Less than 4 hours later, we checked in to our cozy little cabin.

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The cabin was perfectly tiny, and to my surprise had an electric outlet, space heater and a light!  Although it consisted of nothing more than a bed, bunk bed, shelf seat and small desk, you might have thought we had rented a penthouse suite.  The girls were thrilled with the accomodations, and it made my heart pretty happy that a barren cabin could bring forth such a reaction.

We quickly headed out to Famous Dave’s so Tyler could get a birthday meal of ribs.  It was after 9 when we ate, but the girls held up well and were happy to be there.  When we arrived, Abby declared “this is a fancy restaurant…We should have dressed up!”.  I nearly peed myself laughing.  Girl has low standards!

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Ready to dig in!

We put the girls to bed and capped off the night with beers and a fire. 

The next morning we did a little shopping after breakfast and then set out for Jurassic Quest.  It did not disappoint!  There were probably 35-45 huge, animatronic dinosaurs that were very realistic (some were even bleeding fake blood after a simulated attack!).  The girls rode dinosaurs, went on bouncy houses, dug for fossils, made their own fossils, met and pet baby dinos and got their faces painted.  They had a great time and Ty and I thought it was pretty cool as well!

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After we had seen all there was to see, we grabbed some dinner supplies and headed back to the cabin.  To our delight, the girls made quick friends with a few little girls and they spent most of their free time playing hide and go seek and making mud pies together.

We were having such a good time that we decided to stay just one more night.
Mother’s day started with breakfast for me at the cabin, and a day of relaxing.  We played mini golf, tried to bikes, played basketball and investigated the petting zoo, all at the KAO.  We also went to the girls and my favourite place to eat, HuHot (I am so fancy). Ty then cooked me dinner back at the cabin, and we enjoyed a fire and the mountain air for the rest of the night.  I couldn’t have asked for a better Mother’s day.  I like getting to sit back during potty duty and not cook, but I want to spend my day with my family.  Doing it up in the mountains, reading while my kids played with a cold beer beside me was just the cherry on top!

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This has to be the best feeling in the world, leaning back, staring at the sky and feeling like you are flying

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Such a monkey

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The girls capped off their evening by examining a dead bird (and scrubbing the sh%t out of their hands after admiting to “trying to wake it up” by touching it), catching bugs and relaxing in their lawn chairs. Ty and I had another fire that night and the weather was perfect .

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We sadly packed up today and arrived home in the late afternoon.  It was a great little mini vacation!

Happy mother’s day to all the Mamas out there, whether your babes were born from your womb or from you heart.  An extra special wish for the one I call my own :-). I feel so blessed to have been given the honor of mothering my two little ones, and can’t imagine a greater pleasure in this world.

A Day In the Life

3 May

I haven’t done a day in the life recap in a few years, so here we go!  I like to have these posts as little snap shots for my ladies to look back at when they get older.

Our days look different depending on work and if it is a school day, but here is a fairly typical Friday!

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Wake up to one or both of these little monkeys climbing into my bed.  It is usually Abby who is up first and comes for a snuggle, and Gracie joins us soon after.  We read, play, I get used as a jungle gym and inevitably we end up doing tickle fights.

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Tickle Fight!

Once we finally get up, I get us breakfast.  This morning Gracie wanted to bake blueberry muffins, so we did that while Abby elected to have cereal and fruit (she was “too starving”).

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We usually listen to the Disney Sing Along station on Songza when we are indoors.

I cleaned the kitchen while the girls played

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…and then after getting them potties, teeth brushed, hair done and dressed (no small task!) they played outside and caught lady bugs while I got dressed.

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We then headed out to take back the recycling, and despite the wind, the girls were actually a big help!

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They had some money burning a hole in their pocket, so they packed up $5 each and we went to the dollar store for a little shopping trip.  I love how they come to the decisions that they do.  Abby is so like me, in that she weighs all of her options so that she can maximize her money.  Gracelyn, like her father, goes for the bigger ticket item and is fine with just that.  Both girls were thrilled with their decisions, and felt so grown up paying for their own purchases.

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Their little purses kill me

Home for some more outdoor play.  We rarely eat inside during the day if it is nice, so my go-to is to load a platter with choices and let them pick away as they play.

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Gracelyn then had to go down for her nap, but insisted her bed “wasn’t comfortable”. I whipped up a two second tent for her, and she slept like a log until it was time for me to wake her up.

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We met Jana, her kids, and our friends’ little guys at their church because the wind was just too brutal to play at the park.  The kids were a sweaty mess after running and climbing, and had a blast.  I always love catching up with one of my best girls over coffee too, and some baby snuggles with sweet Lucia didn’t hurt either!

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Poor Abby got her fingers slammed in the car door by the vicious wind, but thankfully was only bruised.  We iced them on the way home with a frozen lemonade, and she seemed to recover quickly 😋.  We then went out for sushi with my sister in law, her boyfriend and my gorgeous baby niece. 

Dinner was surprisingly a little disappointing service wise, but we left stuffed.  We put the girls to bed and Ty and I capped off the night with a few drinks and some Netflix movies. 

And that is that!  A pretty laid back day, but full of all of my favourite things :-)

Body Talk

30 Apr

The same theme has been rolling around casual conversation with my girlfriends lately.  I am not sure if it is because our kids are getting older, but lately the talk has centered heavily on body positivity.

The responsibility is great, as parents, to model body pride to our little ones.  Both boys and girls need to be exposed to this, but as my experience is just with girls, this is what I will touch on.

My girls are little bohemians.  They love to run around bare foot with hair swinging in their eyes.  Both girls get a serious case of the wiggles once their clothes come off, and run around shrieking and laughing, doing their “naked dance”.  They swirl their hips, hands high in the air and shake their little naked booties and could not look any happier doing it. 

While they are both fully aware that their private parts are their own property, and shouldn’t be touched or shown off to others, they also know that they aren’t taboo.  They are comfortable talking about all parts of their body, and as such, it is kind of not a big deal.

I feel like the days that they feel so good, so free and so beautiful in their own skin are sadly numbered, so I encourage them to do what makes them feel good.  It is beyond frustrating to have to take a 2.5 and 4.5 year old who picked their own clothing, punctuated with a bazillion accessories, out in public, but that frustration melts when I see how tall they walk, or catch them stealing a glance at a mirror and smiling. 

I sadly don’t remember the last time I felt at home in my own skin.  It is very rare that I look in the mirror and like what I see looking back at me.  I don’t feel good in a lot of clothes, and am generally hyper aware of my body in space. I am constantly thinking about how my body looks to others.

My daughters don’t feel that way.  They wake up each morning feeling perfect, and furthermore, they tell me I look beautiful too.  They exclaim over the freckles on my nose, and take pleasure lying on my soft tummy.  Abby raves about the curls I straighten out of my hair each day, and Gracelyn feels safe in my less than toned arms.

So, every day I do my best to swallow down the negative feelings, and combat them with positive talk.  We talk about wearing what makes you feel good (not about rejecting things that make me look fat).  We discuss that make up is a tool to make the features on my face I like best stand out (not to blur or disguise the ones I don’t).  We focus on what makes us the best (not what we need to improve).

I am fully aware that I cannot protect my daughters fully from the stark reality that most girls face.  That said, I can definitely try my hardest to give them the greatest number of weapons to combat it in the future. 

And, hopefully, I will take a few cues from them and start loving the skin I am in, even a little bit at a time.

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Please note the number of accessories Abby is wearing!

Spring has Sprung

13 Apr

Today was set up to be a bit of a stinker.  I got a 2 am text from my day home provider that her son was sick, meaning that I couldn’t go to a course that I was really looking forward to.  On top of that, for the first time since graduating from overnight diapers about a month ago, Gracelyn peed her bed…and then later peed ours.  Brutal.

But, after an early morning nap on the couch while my mattress dried, the girls and I woke up to the sun shining.  We decided to make the most out of the beautiful day.

We opened all the windows, and whipped up some fresh berry oatmeal muffins.  Mixed with some hot coffee (for me…and maybe a bit for Gracelyn…judge me not, she loves it), it was a great start to the day.

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While I tidied up the kitchen, the girls cleaned the living room (seriously, the $5/week each for allowence is the best money I could spend). I got dressed as the girls raced around the backyard chasing the dog with a brush, squealing and errupting into peals of laughter.  Music to my ears.  We rounded up the recycling and the dog and head out.

We recycled a million boxes and washed the dog and rewarded ourselves with some frozen yogurt. The girls kindly shared theirs with Ellie.

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After lunch, the girls napped while I did a bit of tidying.  It was actually refreshing with the sun shining in and the wind ruffling the curtains.  After lunch, we met up with my mom.  She wanted to buy the girls their birthday presents now so that they could use them all summer.  Abrielle was thrilled to get a new bike and rode it to the till and out of the store :-)

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Gracelyn got a new go-kart, but unfortunately after it was almost all assembled Ty realized it was defective and is back getting a new one now.  The girls soaked up the sun biking, scooting and going for walks.  Abby even asked Ty to take her training wheels off, but lost her nerve after a few wobbles.  I grabbed my cruiser, but I have a flat, and wasn’t keen on riding my road bike.  Another day!

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For a day that I didn’t have high hopes for, it turned out to be pretty perfect!

The River Bottom Mamahood

11 Apr

I am beyond fortunate to have many different circles of friends.  I have old school friends, nursing school friends, running friends, work friends, past work friends, and everything in between.  Some of us have kids, are having kids,  don’t want kids, or are in a season of our lives where that is a future goal.  Some of us work, some of us stay home, some of us travel the world. 

Some circles intersect, some never meet.  What they all have in common is that they are amazing people who support and lift me up at different times of need in my life.  One group doesn’t trump the other, they just float in and out at the best times it seems.

The group I didn’t know I was needing last night was my River Bottom Mamahood.  It all starts with a group “who is up for it?” message, generally with very little notice, and the wheels are put into motion, always to the same place.  Vans, trucks, cars and bikes are loaded up.  Mamas and Daddies arrive with kiddos in tow, some running, some toddling, some crawling, some in carriers, others still in utero.  All hands pitch in to tie shoes, push swings, set out food and wipe dirty hands. 

Everyone parents, no one polices.  What’s mine is yours.  We all keep them safe, we all let them be kids.  You feed the child that tells you they are hungry.  You roast an extra hotdog or marshmallow, because someone is going to eat it.  No one judges the parent who’s child is on round 3 of cheesies and cookies.  It is just one night. 

We talk about our struggles, we talk about our summer plans.  We share funny stories, and stories of things that should have never happened.  We marvel how teensie a new babe is, and how big others have gotten in the blink of an eye. 

We pass babies, we pass baby wipes, we pass the chips.  We pass on judging choices that our different than ours, because we know what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the other.  We pass on social filters.

We pack up leftovers, round up empty juice boxes and put out the fire.  We hug goodbye, just as we hugged hello, and make loose future plans.  We give the kids one last swing, one last slide and then buckle carseats as the sun goes down over the coulees.  One more hug, one more goodbye, even though we might see each other tomorrow.

I leave feeling tired, but uplifted and energized by these beautiful souls I am lucky enough to count as friends. And await the next “who’s up for it?” message.

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