February 20, 2015

Home Sweet Temporary Home

We've been in Calgary now for almost exactly three weeks. Some days it feels like we just got here yesterday, and some days I feel like we've been here for months already. Our current living situation finds us in an 800-square foot, two bedroom, furnished apartment right downtown. The plus side of this is Jim can walk to work in under 15 minutes, which maximizes his time at home with us. The downside is, 800 square feet. It's not that we are spoiled and need more living space to be happy (OK, we're a little spoiled), it's the way the space is utilized in this apartment. For one thing, there is way too much furniture in the little family room area. Throw in a few of Sully's toys and his stroller and highchair and it's no wonder it always looks like a crime scene when Jim comes home from work. The kitchen is a mere 5 feet by 2 feet area, and counter space is sparse, as is the tools needed to cook dinner.

I apologize. This is starting to sound like I'm complaining. And I promise, I'm not.

downtown Calgary skyline

Being downtown, albeit in a small space, means within a minute out the door, Sully and I can walk along the river. Or meet Jim for lunch. Or get a cup of coffee at any street corner. I rarely have to drive anywhere, unless I'm getting groceries, or just want to drive somewhere because I can. Urban living is pretty cool, but I do miss suburbia.

It's always a bit of a culture shock when you move somewhere new, even if it's only a few hours away. While I consider myself a pretty outgoing person, I always struggle initially at forcing myself to get out and explore. I hate the feeling of not knowing exactly where I'm going or standing out as someone who doesn't know where she is going. And when the sidewalks are full of people in a hurry to get places downtown, I feel at most out of my comfort zone and in people's way. They all know I'm not from around here. But I push on, truly knowing that no one is actually considering the girl with the stroller, because everyone is just trying to get where they are going. And that moment of desperation to be back in suburbia passes.

When we were day-dreaming about where we would live in Calgary, we talked about forgoing the comforts of a detached home and imagined us living a "New York lifestyle in downtown Calgary". Wouldn't it be fun to live in a high-rise, downsize our possessions, live more simply? When our house didn't sell before we moved, we decided to opt for temporary accommodations. It made the most sense: we didn't have to move our stuff, we would be within walking distance of Jim's place of work and it would fulfill our desire to live downtown.

welcome basket

We tried to bring as little as we could with us: clothes, highchair, stroller, some toys, and our vitamix. While I don't feel strongly that I'm missing any one particular thing from home, I do miss the comforts of our home. Of knowing that something is in the cupboard if I need it, like my favourite bowl to eat salad out of, my favourite coffee mug, my favourite paring knife. I don't need those things to survive, (we have bowls, mugs and knives here), but it feels a little less like home without them.

Three weeks into our living downtown has taught us a lot about what we want for our future home in Calgary. While I love the idea of downtown living, it's not as dreamy with a baby. Could I make it work if we had no choice? Sure, I'm pretty adaptable that way. Would it feel more like home if we had all our belongings? Probably. But if we don't have to make it work long term, then we know we would prefer to eventually be in a house. So thank you, life, for the learning lesson.

Unfortunately, it's a terrible time to try and sell your home in Edmonton. We never imagined it would take so long to sell ours, and because of this, we find ourselves in this state of limbo: we can't fully move forward with our relocation to Calgary because we still have a house to pay for in Edmonton. One foot in, one foot out. It's not an ideal situation, but it is what it is. Next month, we will move to another temporary accommodation, out of downtown, but still in a busy part of the city. Jim will take the train to work and Sully and I will get to know a new part of the city. We will do what we have to do to stick together as a family while we pray that our house sells soon.

Home, sweet, temporary home.

February 18, 2015

Sullivan: 11 Months

Dear Sullivan,

This is it. The countdown to your first birthday is on! When I look at you, busily playing with your toys and figuring out how things work, I can't believe you were just this little thing in my belly a year ago. You have such a personality now and not a day goes by where I'm not in awe of you. You make my heart beam and my whole face smile. I am incredibly grateful for you. Don't ever forget that.

eleven months old eleven months old

This past month we've really noticed an increase in your playing with intention. Toys are no longer just to toss around or chew on. Now you look at your toys, and you love putting them into buckets and then taking them all out. You often carry a toy around with you in your hand, your favourite being a little wooden peg from a hammer/peg toy you received. That peg goes everywhere with you and you love to find new places you can fit or hide that peg. You even like to hold it in your hand while you are crawling up the stairs or while you are nursing. Your daddy and I laugh because we can't get you to show any interest in a stuffed animal, but you would gladly take a wooden peg to bed if we let you!

baby and books baby and books eleven months old play date fun

Your favourite game to play is peekaboo and "chase me". Daddy or I yell "I'm gonna getchyou!", and you take off shrieking while looking back to make sure we are chasing you. I think it's safe to say we all equally enjoy this game! And of course, knocking down towers we build for you is another favourite of yours.

You're still not walking, and not showing much interest in walking, but you do like to walk along furniture. You've started letting go of things while standing up and are able to stand unassisted for a good 3-4 seconds before falling back on your butt.

standing eleven months

This month we celebrated your very first Christmas, and Christmas day also marked one of your worst days of teething yet. Thankfully, that stubborn second top tooth finally broke through on boxing day and you were back to your happy self.

first christmas http://i1354.photobucket.com/albums/q699/eat_books/Sully%20Month%2010/Sully%20Month%2011/IMG_4803_zpsch1i2l2l.jpg
new years eve
{New Year's Eve shenanigans with your best bud, Harrison}

In the new year, we took a day trip out to your great grandma's farm. This was your first long car ride in your new big boy carseat and you loved it! You have a lot more room now and you can see out the windows a lot easier. Thankfully, you still fall asleep in the car like a champ. Out at great grandma's farm, you got quite the kick out of her walker and insisted on pulling out all the things she keeps in her walker basket. You also found her kitchen linoleum quite interesting, and happily sat on it while swishing your legs open and closed. You were definitely the entertainment of the day!

clek foonf carseat sully and grandma on the farm

With the busyness of Christmas this past month, we never made it into the health clinic to weigh you, so I'm anxious to see what you will weigh on your first birthday! You're still mostly in 6-12 month clothing and still rocking the size 3 diapers. Your appetite continues to be fantastic, with green peas, smoothies, and sausage being your favourite foods. In fact, some days I feel all you want is green peas! They have been amazing for helping you develop great pincher grip and hand-eye coordination. You can pick those peas up one at a time and put them into your mouth so fast, Sully! Your daddy can't stand green peas so he finds this whole fascination of yours with them pretty comical.

foodie baby green smoothie
{smoothie monster}
bonus pea
{eating the "bonus" pea}

As for sleeping at night, we went through a rough few weeks where it seemed like you were waking up every 2-3 hours and wouldn't go back to sleep unless I nursed you. This was becoming both difficult and frustrating and just when I couldn't remember the last time you slept through the night, everything changed. One night we decided to not rush into the room so quickly when you stirred, and wouldn't you know it, you put yourself right back to sleep and we didn't hear from you until the morning! Around this exact same time, I also started dressing your warmer for bed, worried that your room got the coldest at night. Since then, you've been sleeping through the night, 10-12 hours most every night and everyone is happy again! You're still a great non-napper, unless of course I resign to holding you on the couch or drive your sleeping self around in the car.

My dearest baby boy, I can't believe the next letter I write to you will be on your first birthday! This stage is so much fun, but I truly am looking forward to the little toddler that you are growing into. Everything we do with you is becoming more and more fun and your daddy and I will never tire of seeing your enjoyment and delight in the new things you see and learn. But for one more month, you're still our wee little baby and we will hold on tight to that, and you!

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

February 12, 2015

A Reading Rainbow

It has always been a dream of mine to have my own personal library. Built-in bookshelves, a ladder, a comfy reading chair and an abundance of natural lighting, those would be the makings of my perfect home library. When we moved into our home in Edmonton almost three years ago, there was a small room at the front of the house that was perfect for setting up my little library. Of course, built-ins and a ladder weren't really in the budget, but I did have a comfy reading chair and there was a nice big window in the room. A girl will take what she can get.

I had originally organized my books alphabetically by author last name, not paying attention to genre. Over time, my bookshelves became one hot mess as new books were placed haphazardly onto the shelves wherever they could fit. The shelves also became a dumping ground for knickknack's that otherwise had no home.

building bookshelves

When we started to declutter, organize and clean up our home to put it on the market, I got to work on my library. It's the first room you see when you enter our home and the room is also visible from the front porch. I wanted to do something I've been talking about doing for a long time: shelve my books by the colours of the rainbow. This proved to be a much more difficult and time consuming task than I ever imagined! Book spines aren't just primary colours, they are all different shades of colours. I don't know how many times I asked my mom, "is this book yellow, brown, or beige?!"? Once all the books were back on the shelf, I realized that within the colours of the rainbow I could further organize them by their shade of colour, and as I started to do this, it seemed like an impossible task so I just let it be.

a reading rainbow

A few things I learned from this project: I have way more books with red spines and black spines than I  thought. I assumed white and blue would be the most abundant. Trade paper back books make it difficult to have a seamless flow of colours, another reason I love hard covers more.

I am in love with the final result. The lighting in this room makes it difficult to take good pictures and the effect is much more dramatic in person, but you get the idea. I often found myself in this room before me moved, staring at my bookshelves, mesmerized by the peacefulness they radiated. One day I may even go one step further and remove the dust jackets on my hardcovers for an even bolder look.

a reading rainbow

How do you organize your books at home? Use the hashtag #theshelfieproject on instagram if you want to show me your bookshelves! I'd love to see them.

February 09, 2015

Sullivan: 10 Months

Sullivan 10 months

Dear Sullivan,

One day, when you're hopefully reading these love letters to you, you may notice and wonder why they've been written and posted so inconsistently. I'm not really sure why I put off writing these letters. I take notes on my phone so as not to forget anything important (it's all important!) and the pictures are already taken. Maybe I don't like confronting the fact that you are growing up much more quickly than I would prefer. Maybe it's because in some weird way, I feel like writing these letters admits that time is passing at such a quick speed that it scares me. Either way, I love you more than I could ever convey in these letters, and I hope that's the one thing you will take away from this.

sully month ten
tasting oranges tasting oranges

Ten months! And I swear you get busier with each month. From the moment you wake up, it's go-go-go! You have toys to play with, rooms to explore and stairs to climb. You love coming downstairs in the morning and checking out all your toys. I joke you are inspecting to make sure they are all still there. You are a crawling machine and are pulling yourself up on anything and everything. You love to do the stairs, and will often insist on having a small toy in your hand while doing so. Of course we are right behind you because you still haven't fully grasped that if you look back to see if we are cheering you on, you lose your balance. Pulling anything within sight out of drawers or baskets is another one of your favourite activities, especially the basket of books in your bedroom. You are very methodical about this task, pulling each book (or item) out of the basket at the same speed until said basket is empty. Once it's done, you happily move on to the next basket or toy.

toy basket laundry day laundry day laundry basket fun

All of our organized programs wrapped up this month - music class, barre class and dance class. I'd be lying if I didn't say I was looking forward to having some down time at home instead of being on the go so much during the week, especially as the days get colder. But we still made sure to have play dates with all your little friends, including a painting day, which if we're being honest, you weren't really all that into. We also had a sleepover at your cousin's house in Red Deer. While I wish you were closer in age to them, I can already see you will still have so much fun with them as you get older.

last day of music class babies painting baby painting cousins 

We never popped into the health clinic to weigh you this month, but your daddy weighed you on our home scale and you weighed 20 pounds, which sure feels about right! Your still wearing some 3-6 month clothing depending on the brand and some 6-12 month items. Pants continue to be a struggle as you're so slim through the waist but your legs are getting longer. We may just have to invest in some suspenders! Your appetite is excellent and you are a fantastic little eater. You're still nursing every 3-4 hours, but your favourite foods are mini mandarin oranges (seriously, you start flailing you arms when you see these come out), green peas and green smoothies. Your first top tooth also finally came in, and your second top one doesn't look too far behind. We finally purchased your new big-boy carseat and while we haven't installed it yet, you've been having a lot of fun crawling all over it and practicing sitting in it!

baby led weaning baby led weaning baby led weaning clek foonf

Your personality develops more and more everyday and this past month you've really demonstrated how much you like to entertain your daddy and me. When you want our attention you will grunt and it is adorable. You also "talk" a lot, and love to say "dada, dada", much to your fathers delight! When daddy comes home from work, he always comes in through the front door and your face lights up, you drop whatever it is you are doing and make a beeline for him. You also love to interact with other babies and kids and will often grunt or shriek when we are in public and you want to get their attention. We are working on being more "gentle" when you are playing with other babies as you like to whack them on the head when you get too excited.

This past month we took you to see the Leduc Christmas lights. You were in awe the entire time, barely making a peep! We also went to the water park at West Edmonton Mall for daddy's kids Christmas party. The best part about that was your best bud Harrison was also there with his parents. We took you into the wave pool, but you preferred the less scary kiddy pool. And of course, your first Christmas wouldn't have been complete if we hadn't taken you to see Santa! Unfortunately, you were not a fan of Santa at all. Hopefully next year you will feel differently!

leduc christmas lights first time meeting santa 

Sully, I'm going to say it every month, but that's because it's the truth: every month with you is more delightful than the last one. Your curiosity and joy in the tiniest little things is both humbling and beautiful. And your laugh! It's the best sound in the whole wide world and never fails to put a smile on my face.

discovering christmas 

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

February 02, 2015


Just when I felt I was getting my blogging momentum back, the preparation for our move to Calgary seemed to suck up all of my free time. There were so many last minute errands to run, play dates to have, and multiple cleaning frenzies to show our house, that I feel like life has been moving in warp speed these past two weeks. We made it to our new (temporary home) Saturday evening, and I finally feel like I have time to breathe. It's a weird feeling not having a to-do list a mile long! Since I haven't done a Currently post since October of last year, I thought now would be a good time to do one before I delve in to the other posts I have in the works.


So amongst the chaos of the past few weeks, I'm currently…

Thinking about: My families future. When we decided to make the move from Edmonton to Calgary, we never really thought about what would we do if our house didn't sell in time. We just assumed it would sell, but unfortunately, that isn't the case yet. January is historically the slowest month in real estate, so while we aren't surprised our home hasn't sold, it has made the transition tough. Instead of packing up our whole life and moving in one go, we've had to leave most of our stuff and our home behind and move into temporary accommodations while we wait and see what happens. Our house selling or not selling will predict where we go from here.

Reading: Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I started it last weekend in preparation for seeing the movie last Wednesday with my mom, but I was only able to get 60 pages in. I was worried that I wouldn't want to finish the book after seeing the movie, but actually, the film left me dying to finish the book! The movie was great, my mom and I both thoroughly enjoyed it, but the book just has so much more detail.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Listening to: A lot of radio. The CD player in my car broke about a month ago and I don't have an auxiliary port to listen to an iPod, so the radio it is! I've been hearing this song quite a bit lately and I just love it!

Watching: We are late to the game as per usual, but HELLO Sons of Anarchy! Why did we wait so long to watch this?! We just finished season two, and while we had to put the starting of season three on hold while we prepared for our move, we are dying to jump back into it. Have you watched it? It took us a good 4-5 episodes to really fall in love with it, but now we are hooked.

Eating:  Oh dear lord, fast food has been my best friend lately and I'm not proud of it. We are still drinking smoothies regularly, although not every single day like I had resolved to back at the beginning of the year. I know there are a million excuses I could make for why I am making unhealthy food choices, so I'll spare you. My goal for me and my family this month is to get us back on track with cooking and eating more wholesome foods!

Looking forward to: Settling into our new life in a new city! I'm not going to lie and say I'm not a little bit scared of feeling overwhelmed or lonely as I figure out a new city, but I'm definitely excited for this next adventure. Moving with a baby is tough, but they also force you to get out of the house and do things. I'm also starting to plan Sully's first birthday which is in less than a month! I vow I will not fall victim to the pressures of Pinterest perfect parties though. I fully accept that this party is all for me and not for him. How do I have an almost one year old? It's crazy to think that this time last year I was super pregnant.

What book are you reading? TV show you can't get enough of right now? 
Let me know in the comments!