A’s 3rd Birthday

25 Jun

So there is really no confessional to go along with this post today. Well, maybe one. This was our last at home birthday party.There I said it. There are a lot of reasons behind that statement but it really just boils down to us needing more space to comfortable be able to host a party and keep all guests can be entertained and feel comfortable. There are just too many people and children to squeeze into a Toronto sized bungalow, and as A gets older and wants to actually invite more friends we just aren’t able to comfortably accommodate them and make sure everyone feels included. So next year it is off to an indoor playground. YAY! 

I love my parents and their willingness to host A’s parties thus far but I found myself stretched thin this past weekend trying to keep the children entertained in the basement while the adults ate and drank outside. I didn’t even realize I hadn’t eaten anything until after we had finished opening gifts and we were cleaning up in the kitchen.

Maybe its time i take a page out of the Canadian parent handbook and forgo the family bbq’s and opt into pizza parties at your local playground. I can still focus on a theme but someone else would be in charge of setting up and cleaning up and every other up in between! 

Ok. Enough about next year. Lets get to this years fun! Everyone had a blast (I hope) at least the children did, with the Eloise theme. A has been in love with Eloise since her auntie gave her the original Eloise cartoon movie for Christmas last year. Since then Eloise is watched at least once a week in our house and A has the Eloise dolls to go along with her obsession. 

I apologize for lack of pictures but i just didn’t get a chance to take more… 

 

The wall behind the desert table was decorated with some homemade pink poofs as well as the home made banner and Eloise word bubbles surrounding a pic of A.

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The cake was the highlight of the party and decorations. I took two cakes that i found on pinterest and combined the best of both worlds. It was made by a friend who has been making all of A’s cakes since she was born. It was a pound cake with a Dulce Leche filling and everything including Eloise, Weenie and Skipperdee was edible. ImageImageAt the front door as well as the side gate we had banners welcoming guests to the festivities. ImageImage

And the desert table had more sweets than you could have ever eaten…all Pink to boot! ImageImage

I had made place cards for the different food items but with the chaos of the day i completely forgot to put them out but everything still looked awesome. We also had pink balloons with white polka-dots surrounding the table.

It was a great theme to do and we even had one guest come dressed up as Eloise! 

Truly a magical third birthday. Thank you to all who came and helped us celebrate three amazing years! 

For those curious, here is the invite we made and sent out! 

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Confession #5: I am a planner…

30 May

So it doesn’t really come as shock to most of you to read that I suffer from anxiety. I always have but it didn’t really kick into high gear until I had A. Her birth and my mat leave brought with them several panic and anxiety attacks, not uncommon to first time moms. So it’s no surprise that I like to plan everything in advance; from birthday parties to appointments, my life needs to be organized in advance so that I feel like i have control over something especially since my diagnosis.

I carry around my trusty cute agenda (thank you Indigo) that keeps track of all appointments for me and A as well as it keeps my coupon collection organized (yup i’m a couponer).

A’s birthdays have always been a big family event which means planning begins well before the previous Christmas….wondering when her birthday is yet? June! Yup, 6 months of planning and still sometimes it’s just not enough. Like most parents the first birthday sneaks up on you. One minute you are celebrating milestones by months and the next you go to years!!! Yikes!

Her first birthday was my first crack at event planning. It was  backyard bbq with a butterfly garden theme. I will admit that I didn’t stress as much as I usually do over it, but that was mostly due to the fact that I was beyond stressing over the fact that I was going to go overseas with A within 2 weeks of her first birthday. Have you ever flown overnight with an infant…yup not so fun. Not only are you stressing over how they will feel, behave, sleep on the flight but what happens when you land in a new country. How will they adjust to the time change (in our case it was 5 hours ahead), how will they deal with the different climate, food etc…So really I wasn’t too creative in the decorations. I picked up most of it at Party Packagers (now Party City) and Dollarama (my fav. go to Store to stock up on crafty supplies and party decorations). It went off beautifully, although the weather wasn’t stellar and it gave me a realistic view of how much work goes into planning a party.

A's First Birthday Cake

I read once in a parenting magazine that your Child won’t remember the presents you gave them for their birthdays but they will remember the experience. After reading that, I knew that every party I would throw for A would be the best it could possibly be so that her memories of her birthdays would be amplified and hopefully FABULOUS! lol

Her second birthday was more thought out and more dare I say DIY. I picked the them before Christmas and placed the order for the cake and off I went. I spent my evening trolling Pinterest and Etsy looking for ideas that would fit around my theme. It’s amazing what you can find out there. Thank you parents for sharing you ideas with the world, is all i have to say!

The theme for last year was Under the Sea. A was totally into fishes and water at that point so what better theme than under the sea for a fun little two year old. Again we did a backyard bbq in the afternoon, but this time I set out play areas for the little ones and decorated the backyard….and oh the goodies there was to eat! Don’t take my word for it…drool a little over the pictures!06.23.2012 (27)270915_10100861413188350_2087573314_n

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So for this year we choose something she is sure to drool over. A discovered (well i discovered and introduced her to) Eloise. It’s a great story about a 6 year old girl who lives at the Plaza Hotel in New York and has a pet pug named Weenie and a pet turtle named Skiperdee and a nanny named Nanny. Not only is it a great book but they also have cartoon episodes as well as feature movies. Ever since she was given one of the movies last Christmas she has been hooked. So it was only natural that this years party be Eloise themed. I found so many great ideas on Pinterest and Etsy that I have taken and transformed to fit our party needs (and budget – gotta love Dollarama!). I can’t wait to share it with you all once it happens but for now here is a sneak peak of what is coming…

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Confession #4 – I’m a readaholic…always have been always will be.

8 Jan

It should come as no surprise to those of you that know me that I love to read. I have loved to read since I was in elementary school (middle school for the Americans amongst us). Back then it was weekly trips to the local library to satisfy my thirst for a new juicy romance novel. Of course back then it was Sweet Valley High and Sunset Beach instead of Fifty Shades of Grey that used to fill my bookshelves. Don’t get me wrong though, I still had a social life and enjoyed going out with friends but with money not growing from a tree in the backyard of our small 2 bedroom apartment, the library offerings made for a great way to pass the time when there was nothing fun to do outside.

This is one of the things I hope to pass along to A. As it is she loves to read; currently it’s Robert Munch’s Paper bag Princess and Mortimer that is on her must have list and all I can do for now is to keep encouraging her to pick up books and read them to her Dollies.

I used to read regularly until I gave birth to A almost 3 years ago. I had over 2 bookshelves backed to the brim with amazing chick-lit and romance novels that would be read and re-read when the mood would strike. I purged a lot of that when we moved, and by purged I mean I passed them along to my sister and they now reside on a bookshelf in my old bedroom at my parents. After I had A I barely had time to eat, never mind to read. My mind was all baby all the time and somewhere along the line I lost my will to read. 😦 And then I went back to work and I really had no time to read…my day would go something like this: wake-up, get A up and bring her to the sitters, go to work, pick up A from sitter, go home, feed and bathe A, feed and bathe myself, put A down, crash while attempting to watch the latest episode of Greys. That all changed this past year.

I joined an amazing team of women working on a new project at our company and there I met my book buddy Brandi. Brandi is an amazing mom to 3 amazing boys(although I have only met the youngest) and she loved reading. We started our book swapping with Fifty Shades of Grey. I had seen a post of Perez about this trilogy and how it was going to be the next big thing to sweep the country. I asked Brandi if she had heard of it and she hadn’t but then she ended up picking up the books and we were instantly hooked. After Fifty came Bared to you…again a Perez recommendation…hehehe and from there the rest is history. Where am I going with this again? oh ya! I discovered a new author these past few months that I absolutely had to share!!!

With my new-found book buddy I fell back in love with books and started to make time for myself and this renewed love. After my diagnosis, reading became my escape. It was a way to forget the outside world and my disease and escape into a world of fantasy and thrills. I’ll never forget lying in the hospital bed waiting for my diagnosis and trying to bribe my sister into stopping off at Indigo before going to pick up A from school to pick me up Fifty Shades of Darker. Nothing sucks more than a cliff hanger at the end of a book and not having the continuation…lol

So now I read almost every night and troll the internet for reviews of great books. There are A LOT of really good books that Brandi and I have discovered. She has introduced me to so many great authors and in those authors I have found that I LOVE LOVE LOVE any kind of plot line that involves SEALS, FBI, MARINES and SPECIAL OPS…oh my Lordy…any kind of bad boy out to rid the world of scum and take charge of “any” situation books. Oh and tattooed biker gods are also great 😉

Where was I again?? oh ya…the point of this post…my new favorite author…Kristen Ashley. I first discovered her when Brandi asked me if I had read Motorcycle Man. It had made the list of finalists for best romance novels of 2012 on Good Reads. I hadn’t read it but added it to my gotta read list. I was at a lull in my reading around November and downloaded the Dream Man Series on the iPad (Motorcycle Man is the 4th in the series) and I fell in love! Each book juicier than the last. Seriously go download them ladies because they are Fan-F$%king-Tabulous! It’s a shame they aren’t available in paperback yet…hopefully soon.

So this week I was hit with a nasty flu bug that has made its way through almost everyone in the family and was bedridden with only crappy tv to watch. Seriously…how do housewives do it? Daytime tv SUCKS! There is only so many episodes of ‘You are Not the father’  that I can watch before going comatose. So naturally I began trolling the internet for good reviews and recommendations of what to read. My usual searches of what to read after turned up nothing…well nothing that I hadn’t already read and then I decided to start googling past authors that I have previously read before….and that’s when I can upon Kristen’s Rock Chick Series! I didn’t think she could do better than the Dream Man Series but she has and boy are they good. So please…if you haven’t yet read her books…go out and grab one and hopefully fall in love with a new author just like I did.

There is nothing better than discovering a new author and crying and laughing along with the book. Reading is a magical journey that everyone should discover and take part in. So if you haven’t yet found a book that makes you want to not put it down…what is wrong with you?! Message me and I will get you on the right path!

The only upside to being sidelined with the flu? Being able to read amazing books in between fever induced cat naps.

’till next time

Confession #3: I am obsessed with baby gadgets!

13 Nov

I have always been an avid researcher. Looking for the best deal on the best product (hello Ebay and Kijiji!) and so when I got pregnant there were items I researched thoroughly and others that I didn’t pay much attention to. Boy was I wrong to do that! I found out very quickly that while some items were worth spending money on since you were going to be stuck with it for a very long time, others just weren’t worth it.

So after many, many, many trips to Babies ‘R Us and other baby stores around the GTA here are my must haves for babies.

Stroller – It is super important to think about whether or not you are planning on having a second little one shortly after your first. You do not want to buy a stroller that does not convert to a double if you are planning on having a second child while your first is still in the age range that they will want to also get into the stroller. The good news is there are plenty of stroller brands out there right now that offer conversion kits (Phil and Teds, Uppa Baby, Bugaboo, City Select) that you can purchase when your second one comes around. You will also want to look at customer service end of things.

We had an issue with our Uppa Baby stroller and when I reached out to the company and let them know of my issue, they sent me a replacement stroller without hesitation. It was the most unbelievable customer experience I have ever experienced. I now recommend Uppa Baby Strollers to all my mommy friends who are on the market for a new stroller.

Carrier – Because of my back pain issues I wanted to get the best possible baby carrier that would work well for A and for me as well. I was torn between the baby Trekker and the Ergo Baby. What finally sold me on the Ergo was that it was more readily available than the Baby Trekker. A wasn’t a very colicky baby, however when she was restless or gassy I would pop her into the Ergo and go about my day around the house. One of the many great features of the Ergo is that you could purchase a newborn insert which makes it more comfortable and ergonomic for newborns as opposed to the other popular brands out there. They also have removable organic teething pads that you can attach to the carrier and wash as required so that it is more hygienic for baby to be teething on. I used A’s carrier until she was just past 1 year old, although i could still use it if needed because it goes up to 45 lbs.

Car Seat – This was a no brainer in regards to research. I knew I wanted a convertible car seat because the stroller I bought had a bassinet which A would spend most of her time in while we were out but what I didn’t think about was ease of cleanliness. We originally purchased an Eddie Bauer 3 in 1 car seat which worked fabulously for 2 years. We had no problems with A being comfortable and secure as a newborn in a rear facing seat and she was just as comfortable in forward facing when we switched her at 9 months. What I didn’t account for was her newly developed motion sickness. A can’t go longer than 20 – 30 minutes span in the car without getting sick and while we don’t generally go on long drives, Toronto traffic makes it near impossible to go anywhere without encountering some kind of jam, which meant that I was removing the car seat to remove the cover and wash it out at least once a week if not more. This is also what prompted her early admission to preschool instead of remaining with her at home care giver that she had been with since 7 months old. Where am I going with this rant??? Well, we ended up buying a second car seat, the Britax Marathon because I wasn’t happy with having to remove the car seat multiple times a week to clean it out, especially since I had had it professionally installed in the first place.
We actually debated between the Britax and the Eddie Bauer when we were shopping and decided on the Eddie Bauer because it was slightly less expensive. Thinking back on it, I would have spent the money right from the get go on the Britax. Now it just means that we have the Eddie Bauer in my moms car in case she ever needs to pick up A from preschool. The Britax Marathon actually sits a bit higher up which has also reduced the amount of times she has gotten sick in the car.

Now for things you really don’t need to spend good money one, and if you can get them gently used … go for it!

Swing: Please do not go spending a lot of money on this. Not all babies enjoy swings…A was one of these babies. If that’s the case you are going to be posting the swing up for sale very quickly to free up some much needed space in your home. If you are going to buy a swing, look for one that does not have a plastic bar across the babies lap in case you have a chunky baby who’s little legs might get smushed with the bar (also A’s problem…maybe that’s why she hated it so much?)

Bouncy Chair: This is a must have for all mommies. Do not get the rocking ones…you want the vibrating ones! I always go back to the Sex in the City episode where Samantha watches baby Brady one night and the bouncy chair breaks and she ends up using a vibrator on top of the chair to keep the baby quiet. This chair will save your sanity on some days and just keep baby occupied and happy while you get some errands around the house done on others. But don’t go spending a lot of your hard earned money on this. You will  only use this for about 6 months if that and then it will just be another item taking up space in your home. Buy this used if possible…most run for about $10-$20 dollars on Kijiji and since the covers are all removable and washable you can ensure that it is clean and ready for your babies use. I received one as a hand me down and purchased one from a display at Toys ‘R Us so that way we had one at our home and the other at my moms.

High Chair: Again, another thing you can purchase used. I bought ours on Kijiji for less than half of the retail price and wiped it down with Vim and a pressure washer and Ta-Da you would never tell it was used.

Crib: Who are you kidding…you can not guarantee what condition this will be in once your little one gets through with it. We bought a crib that converts to a double bed and we thought we were set…no more furniture shopping for us. Well it turns out A loved to teeth on the crib when she woke up from her naps and by the time we noticed she was awake the damage was done. We now have to send the headboard and foot board out to be sanded and refinished so that you can’t see the bite marks on it…and really do you know how much people charge to do that? It is crazy…I might as well buy another bed! So now I have 2 options…buy another bed or refinish it myself…and really who has time for that?? Not me! grrr…So  save yourself some money if you purchase a good crib and buy the crib protectors they sell which prevent little teeth from ruining your furniture!

I am sure there is more..but that’s it for now! 🙂 If you have any questions please feel free to reach out 😀

 

Confession #2 – I worry…

9 Nov

A lot! I don’t mean that I worry about my illness, don’t get me wrong I do. I worry about how many more years I will have left with full mobility before I am forced to use a cane or wheelchair, and although I joke about being able to use the handicap parking spaces at Costco and by passing the lines at Disney World, I wish I didn’t even have to ponder a day when that would happen. I just hope to be able to give A many more years where she isn’t affected by the burden that I now carry with me daily, by my need to not overheat my body in fear of another relapse.

But I have also been consumed with worry since the moment that the pee stick showed a plus sign the morning after Halloween. The worry kept building and building until my family starting calling me paranoid and crazy….oh you gotta love European families, and i decided enough was enough and sought professional help. I am now on anti anxiety meds which make it so much easier to cope with everyday obstacles that many don’t view as obstacles. Now when A catches a cold or a stomach virus I don’t feel like my world is about to collapse and that A will somehow end up in the hospital with some weird virus that no one can detect until it’s too late. I’m now able to sleep through those nights…apart from when i am rocking her or soothing her back to sleep. I can not tell you all how important it is to reach out for help when you feel like you are coming undone and you are beginning to lose yourself. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help…I have had to do that more than i would have liked in the past 6 months since my diagnosis and I am eternally grateful for the support system I have in place that can step in to help us with A when we need an extra set up hands because mine just can’t handle to load.

Confession #1 – Mommy Porn

8 Nov

First of all I would like to dedicate this first post to my sister who so eloquently calls what I love to read: Mommy Porn.

 

If you’ve heard about the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomena but have yet to read it because you are afraid or embarrassed  Don’t Be! There is nothing wrong with a little light reading. Granted it is poorly written and has some flaws to the plot lines which question its credibility, it is very addictive and thrilling to read. So if you haven’t taken the deep dive yet, I suggest you start with something more vanillaesque; Bared to You by Sylvia Day and subsequently Reflected in You. You will undoubtedly fall in love with Gideon right from the get go. He is strong and powerful and rich but also so damaged that you want to take him in your arms and kiss away all of his nightmares. You will also feel for Eva and her past struggles and her relationship with Gideon. I don’t want to give anything away but you will cry at parts and curse at others and fall for these characters rather quickly and be left wanting more. The sex….it’s there and there is LOTS of it but its not as kinky as Fifty so its a great intro into the Erotica genre.

Once you have read these and you want more…because who are you kidding you WILL want more…then make your way to Fifty Shades of Grey. Ana and Christian are hot and always leave you wanting more….and here there is a lot of kinky fuckery as Ana would put it. Don’t worry since all three are out, you won’t be left in suspense for long and the story does wrap up quite nicely so you will left feeling satisfied.

Once you have read this and find you want more there are a lot of authors out there….mostly indie that will give you a lot of what you want…more of those confessions later 😉

A Formal Introduction…

8 Nov

After many attempts at this I figured why not just do it. So as I sit at my desk, on my lunch break (*cough, cough….well we could call it my lunch break), I figured now is as good a time as any to start. 

Many of you have asked for this mostly for my mommy expertise. I don’t think my opinions and reviews constitute as expertise, but what the hell. Here you will find product reviews and suggestions….keep in mind that what works/worked for me might not be what’s best for you…my reviews of my latest conquests (*I mean books you dirty minding pps) and some rantings about this stupid disease that has so intrusively invaded my life.

 Since I am HORRIBLE at formal introductions here goes nothing.

I am a 29 year old (YIKES…holy crap I am going to be 30 next year) mommy to a wonderful 2 year old, A. She is my pride and joy and although she can get under my skin sometimes with these pesky terrible twos, I wouldn’t trade her for the world. 

I was diagnosed with MS this past April and have been under treatment, which i will have to continue for the rest of my life, since June. 

Ok…so that’s about it. Hope you all enjoy 🙂