March 31, 2015

Candy and the Cankersaur & A Giveaway!

I rarely (okay, never) accept books for review anymore, but when Jason Sandberg contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing his children's book, Candy and the Cankersaur, I had a change of heart!

I love children's story books, and have been slowly collecting them for the past few years, well before I became a mom. Any opportunity to share the love of children's stories is one I will usually take! And lucky for five of you - there's a giveaway at the end for 5 copies of this e-book (readable on any electronic device!).

Candy and the Cankersaur

Candy and the Cankersaur is an e-book, and if you know me well, you know I have mixed feelings on e-books. I am a huge lover of physical books - I want to hold and feel a book in my hands while I'm reading it, I want to turn it's pages, heck, I probably will even smell it at some point (true story). I do not own an e-reader and I'm not sure I would ever invest in one. That being said, I can appreciate that e-readers are encouraging and allowing people to read books who might otherwise not. And how can I be against that? I can also appreciate that e-readers (and e-books) are practical for many settings, and with the influx of electronic devices at the palm of pretty much everyone's hand, it's easy to always have a book with you, which is something I always make sure I have.

At the end of the day, there are worse things children could be doing than reading books on a tablet, amiright?

With that, I present to you, Candy and the Cankersaur, a fun story about a rich, young girl who's father gives her a dinosaur for a gift. Candy wastes no time upon the arrival of her Cankersaurus Rex, whom Candy aptly names "Cank", and sets out to train him, starting with, "no biting!". Then one day, Cank disappears and Candy is in tears.  Where could he have disappeared to? Did he run away, or did someone steal him? Will Candy ever see Cank again?!

Full of colourful illustrations, not too many words on each page (key in my opinion at keeping attention at bay!), and importantly, a good moral, Candy and the Cankersaur is a story that both young boys and girls will enjoy. And for the mama's and papa's out there - you're sure to feel some nostalgia while reading this book as the author pays homage to Syd Hoff, author of Danny and the Dinosaur. Overall, a story the whole family will enjoy and one I'll be sure to read with Sully when he's a little bit older!

I have five copies, courtesy of the author to giveaway to my readers! All you have to do is enter via the rafflecopter below. Winners will be contacted via email in one week.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more information about the author and his books, you can visit his website. As well, Candy and the Cankersaur can be purchased on amazon, iTunes, Nook and Kobo.

I was gifted a copy of the book for review purposes in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

March 27, 2015

The Little Walker

You know how when you're baby starts learning to stand on their own, but it seems like it takes forever  for them to take that first step, let alone walk? And you can't even imagine that your baby will ever walk? (And a big part of you kind of hopes they don't, at least not for another few months!) But then those first few unsure steps suddenly turn into several more steps and then before you know it, your baby is walking everywhere, rarely crawling, and you swear you just blinked, swear that it was only yesterday they couldn't take a step without falling down on their padded bum. All of a sudden your baby is a walking toddler machine. That's what just happened over here.

Sully's been walking for about three weeks now, give or take. His first week of steps were painfully slow, and if he needed to get to something quickly, crawling was still the preferred mode of transportation. Slowly but surely, his walking increased and his crawling decreased. Now he rarely crawls and his little drunk toddler stagger is the cutest thing ever and it will be sad when he grows out of it.

Glenmore Reservoir Calgary 

Today was the first time we've been outside somewhere where Sully's had an opportunity to try walking. We met up with my aunt and her puppy Oliver to stroll around the Glenmore Reservoir. It was a windy, but absolutely gorgeous day out. I wouldn't have put Sully in his Tom's if I had thought he would be walking around (I prefer soft-soled shoes), but they were all I had brought with us. It took a few steps for him to get used to them, but he was rocking the walking in no time! The grass on the other hand…he was not a fan when he touched it with his hands! Silly baby.

Glenmore Reservoir Glenmore Reservoir walk Glenmore Reservoir walk Glenmore Reservoir walk Glenmore Reservoir Walk

I hope you all have a lovely weekend! Come back on Monday, I have a fun little giveaway to share with you all!

March 25, 2015


Life seems to be moving in slow motion lately. I'm not sure if it's because we are still living with one foot in Calgary and one foot in Edmonton, adjusting to day light savings (why is this so hard to adjust to?!), or just that time of year when spring seems so close yet still so far.

The good news is, we finally sold our house in Edmonton! Yay! We never imagined that it would take so long, and it has truly been the one thing that has been holding us back from fully embracing our move to Calgary. Now we can stop just looking at homes on MLS and actually go out and look at homes in person. Everything is finally coming together! There are still several more weeks of living in limbo in our future thanks to possession dates and house hunting, but at least now there's a light at the end of the tunnel.


With that being said, here's what I've been up to this past little while:

Thinking about: how unprepared I am for the Calgary Marathon 10K I'm running at the end of May. I know I have two months still to train, but I'm worried I won't get in the runs and training I need. For the first time in my life I wish I had a treadmill at home!

Reading: not to brag or anything, but I've been a reading machine lately! I'm working my way through the last Fifty Shades of Grey book (I know, I know! but you can read a little bit about why here) on my phone, and I'm also reading Covet by Tracey Garvis Graves. I read her first book, On the Island a few years ago and absolutely loved it. This one is a lot different, but an easy read. As soon as I'm done these, I'll be starting on The Bear by Claire Cameron, which I'm both terrified and excited to read.

What I'm Reading

Listening to: Alan Doyle's new solo album. If you're a fan of Great Big Sea, then you'll love Alan's new album. Sully loves when I pick him up and jig with him to the faster paced songs. Have I mentioned I had the honour of meeting Mr Doyle last year? No? I should blog about that. He's exactly like I imagined he'd be in person: kind, polite and funny. Here's one of my favourite songs from his new album, So Let's Go.

Watching: for the first time in years, we actually have cable! (Thanks, temporary accommodations!). So with that, our Netflix que has been neglected in exchange for home improvement shows. What is it about these shows that makes it hard to change the channel? We've also been watching Better Call Saul, and while at first we were really into it, we're finding the last few episodes to be quite slow. I'm not ready to throw in the towel yet, but I really hope it picks up! Another show that we used to absolutely love but kind of wish it would just end already? Revenge. The best characters have been killed off, the plot seems to be pulling at strings now, and if we hadn't already invested all the time in the previous episodes, we would probably pull the plug on this one. BUT…I really want to see how they decide to wrap this show up. That is, if they wrap it up soon. Maybe it's just me, but I would much prefer a show I love to end on a good note then to be dragged out for season after season.

 photo boring_zpsa20xkxcy.gif

Eating: ugh, next question! No seriously, my eating habits have been atrocious lately. I constantly blame the lack of kitchen space and kitchen appliances/tools on this, but really, I mostly have myself to blame. I'm not sure what it will take to kick my butt into gear, but it needs to happen sooner than later!

Looking forward to: buying a new house! It will be so wonderful to finally pack up our home in Edmonton, get settled in a new home in Calgary and get our life back on track. Then, everyone come visit me!

Tell me something you're looking forward to! 
Are you watching Better Call Saul? Revenge? Thoughts?! 
Let me know in the comments!

March 20, 2015

Texts From My Husband

My husband and I do a lot of communicating via text throughout the day. Often, his texts are pretty cryptic and I pride myself for being able to "read through the lines" or know what he is saying even when he is saying it with words I wouldn't have chosen to use. Jim says I can just read his mind.

Of course, there are some days that my husband texts me and I cannot for the life of me figure out what he is trying to say. This often ends in me in tears from laughing so hard once I see what his original message was trying to convey.

Take last night for example. I went out for the evening, leaving Jim in charge of supper and bedtime duty.

how my husband and I communicate via text message

What?! I anxiously racked my brain for a toy that has a green strip attached to it. And what the hell is a one triple 'Z'?! Sully has few toys in the apartment and none of them have Z's on them. (That I could think of anyway). And the leftovers I suggested they eat for dinner definitely didn't have a green strip that needed to be removed before reheating OR eating. But clearly it was important if it warranted a text to me while I was out, right?


And for the record, we usually perform really well at partner board games. Or at least we used to.

March 19, 2015

A Monthly Photo Collage: The End Result

Before Sullivan was even born, I knew I wanted to take monthly photos of him for the first year of his life. I loved seeing others do this on instagram, especially when the same props were used throughout the series. I am not much of a planner though, and before I knew it, Sully was one month old and I needed to take his picture or the whole project would be over before I even started! I put him in a white onesie because I knew this was an easy "outfit" that I would always have on hand. I couldn't decide if I wanted to do the photos lying down or sitting up. I went with sitting because I liked the idea of using the glider chair. As for a prop, I grabbed one of the owl pillows I had as nothing else I liked enough to be in eleven more photos. Clearly, I could have put a lot more thought into this!

Anyway, twelve months and twelve photos later, the project is done! Well, let's be honest, I probably took well over a hundred photos just to get one decent one each month. The first few months were the easiest as Sully would literally just sit in place wherever I propped him. My only challenge was getting him to smile. Month six was when things started to get more challenging. He wasn't moving, but he was more interested in playing with the owl pillow than posing for the camera. Months eight through twelve were the most challenging as by this point, Sully was on the move and would constantly try to stand up on the chair or go face-forward off the chair. I'd be lying if I said there weren't a few close calls!

Despite not putting a lot of forethought or planning into these photos, I'm so glad I did them and stuck with it! The end result (despite all the photos being slightly different colour tones - photographer I am not!), was worth it and I love seeing the change in him from month to month. I also included some of my favourite blooper photos from each month, because really, they are awesome and truly represent what mostly went on behind the camera!

Monthly Photo Collage:

monthly photo project

The Bloopers:

March 16, 2015

Sullivan: 12 Months

12 months old

My dearest Sullivan,

How is it possible that I am writing your 12 month love letter?? It doesn't feel very long ago that you were just this wrinkly little baby being held in my arms. Every month that passes seems to fly by quicker than the last, and I get it now when mom's say they blinked and their babies were off to college! The rate at which you changed in the first year or your life is amazing and wonderful and I didn't want to forget any of it. I don't plan to continue writing you monthly love letters, but I will still document moments of your life, both for my enjoyment and possibly yours when you're old enough to read these.

library fun 12 months old
12 months old
12 months old

This month was full of new skills! You are standing unassisted (and pretty darn proud of yourself), and walking well along furniture. You haven't showed any interest in walking on your own yet, but I'm not pushing it as I know you will walk one day (at which point I will pine for the crawling days!). You high-five when prompted and just started clapping. If I sing "if you're happy and you know it…" you immediately clap your hands together and it never fails to amuse me. Peekaboo is your favourite game to play and you initiate it all the time by either hiding your face behind your hands, pulling a blanket over your face or even by crouching down when you are standing at the couch. You love peekaboo so much, you even play it while skyping with Nanny and Papa! Your greatest discovery has been the toilet paper roll and once you're done unrolling it, you try and put the toilet paper back on the roll, which is pretty much the cutest and most clever thing ever.

12 months standing unassisted playing with the toilet paper roll bath time fun
12 months old
12 months old

I had you weighed at your first year appointment with your paediatrician and you were 19 pounds and 3 ounces, and 29 3/4 inches tall. Your appetite for solids has been great! Green peas still remain one of your favourite foods. Lately, you've been preferring to eat them out of a little bowl, rather than off your tray. You also always happily eat anything if it's off of mommy or daddy's fork. While you can't feed yourself very well (ok, at all) with a spoon or fork, I give you props for trying! Much to my delight, you are still nursing, although you can often go most of the day without it. But morning and bedtimes feeds are still going strong. As for clothing, you're still rocking the 6-12 months sizes in almost all brands, with the odd 3-6 month pant thrown in. Your itty bitty waist just can't fill those bigger waistbands!

baby led weaning

At night, you are sleeping well throughout the night, and I so very rarely have to go in to resettle you. Sometimes we do hear you wake slightly, but you usually are able to fall back asleep on your own. That being said, you still prefer to do all your napping either in the car or on my lap on the couch. It amazes me that you enjoy being held for so long while you nap, and it further amazes me how much space you take up on my lap now!

nap time stroller naps

The biggest thing that happened this month was our move to Calgary! We packed up my little car and headed south 3 hours so that your daddy could start a new job. We've spent the last few weeks living in an apartment downtown and exploring our new city a bit. You are having a blast living in the apartment as it's all one level and since there's not much for you to get into, I give you free reign of the place. I was worried that you would have trouble sleeping in a new place, especially since the temporary crib here is small like a playpen, but fortunately, you've been sleeping great! (It must be the black out curtains!) We had a playdate at the Calgary Zoo, and it was so fun to point out the different animals and have you actually acknowledge what we were seeing. The highlight was seeing the lions roar and then having you imitate them the rest of the afternoon.

exploring calgary +15 playing in the fridge roaring like a lion

And of course, we had party to celebrate your first birthday! We went back to Edmonton so we could have it in our house there and we were surrounded by our closest family and friends. It was a great afternoon, and you were in your element playing with all the other kids there. The cake, on the other hand, didn't impress you all that much!

first birthday cake smash first birthday

Sully, it feels like everyday of my life was just leading up to the moment you would finally be in it and I would become your mom. You've given me, and my life in general, a new purpose. Sometimes I think to myself, what did I do to deserve you?, because you are so perfect and special in every way possible. I know how lucky and honoured I feel to be your mom. Always remember that.

I love you to the moon and back,
Mommy, xoxo

You can see all your monthly updates and love letters here:

Month One
Month Two
Month Three
Month Four
Month Five
Month Six
Month Seven
Month Eight
Month Nine
Month Ten
Month Eleven

And in case you missed it, your first year slideshow.

March 03, 2015

The Books I've Been Reading

Last year I read a little over a book a month. So when I just realized I've already read six books this year, I felt a little surge of pride and if you thought a pat on the back was in order, you would be right.

A mix-mash of new and old, here are the six books I've plowed through these past two months:

1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: This book was, in one word, life-changing. While we haven't been able to put all of Kondo's suggestions into practice yet because of our state of limbo, we've made a good start. Some of the things she suggests, like unpacking your purse every single night, getting rid of your books, and drying your dishes out on the back porch, will never, ever happen in my life time, but the deeper message of this book really resonated with me. I strive to live a simpler life, to not be bogged down with stuff, and clutter, and junk, and Kondo has given me the courage and the confidence that I can achieve a more minimalist life and still be happy. Actually, she promises life will be better. Worthy of a read my friends! And probably worthy of it's own blog post since I could talk about this book all. day. long.

2. One More Thing (Stories and More Stories): My book club pick for this year. A quick, mostly witty, and humorous read, although I fear a lot of it would be lost on people who aren't fans of, or don't know who, BJ Novak is. Perfect before-bed reading as you can get in a short story or two before passing out.

3. Horns: Another book club read and definitely not a book I would have chosen to read on my own. I'm happy to report this book wasn't scary like I originally had anticipated. It was just the right amount of creepy, but there was also a lot of depth to the characters and some parts were quite sad. An unexpected read to say the least.

4. Where'd You Go, Bernadette: The best book out of this bunch. Written in the form of emails and letters, this book was all kinds of funny and my only regret is that I didn't read it sooner. Bernadette is a hoot and I wish we could be friends in real life. Actually, all the characters, even the more annoying ones, were great. If you haven't read this one yet, fix that asap!

5. Fifty Shades of Grey: I'm not even embarrassed to admit I'm reading this series right now. Also, late to the game is clearly my middle name. Buuuuuut, when these books first came out, I took a stand and said I would never read them. Never say never. There's nothing worse than an uneducated opinion, and that goes for classy books like this one too! How could I ever have an opinion on these books if I hadn't actually read them? So call it education, call it curiosity, I don't care, because guess what? I kind of enjoyed this book. Enough to be reading the second one right now. Haters gonna hate.

6. Wild: I probably wouldn't have read this book, but my mom gave it to me for Christmas and then all of a sudden the movie was out and I wanted to see the movie, but I have this thing where I have to read the book before the movie. Except, this book is a dense read and I ended up seeing the movie before I finished the book. Both, in my opinion, were excellent, but the book fills in all of the interesting details that the movie just can't include. Strayed's journey is worthy of telling and it's amazing and inspiring that she did what she did (that would be, hiked the PCT, in case you know nothing about this book), while also being a beautiful homage to her mother. Can you imagine, hiking as a young woman, all alone during a time when modern day conveniences weren't around: no cell phones, no internet, no computers, literally no connection to anyone or anything unless you physically crossed their path on the trail or were lucky enough to have a letter from someone waiting for you at one of the camps every few hundred miles?! I can't.

Up next:

Three Souls and Fifty Shades Darker.

What are you reading right now? What's the best book you've read so far this year? I never tire of hearing recommendations!

March 02, 2015

Sullivan's First Year

I knew well before Sully turned one that I wanted to compile some of my favourite photos of his first year into one slideshow. It's such a fun way to look back at a glance and see how quickly he grew from a little old man baby into the bright, beautiful and fun toddler he is today! I think I've already watched it a dozen times, and probably cried just as many.  I can't get over how fast this past year went, but I'm also looking forward to the next twelve months. Motherhood has been an amazing journey thus far and some days I'm still in awe that I get to be this little man's mother.

I fully expect only family to watch this video, but in case you need something to do for 10 minutes, here it is!

I have a few posts in the works to honour and celebrate Sully turning one last week, including his birth story, so bear with me!