Our Shiloh

Anybody who has been a part of my life over the last 9 years, knows my puppy Shiloh.

Shiloh has been more than a puppy to me – she has been my best friend; my first baby. My confidant and my number one fan. She’s been around for my darkest of days and been my shoulder to cry on; and been around for my happiest of days, to see me fall in love.

She became Matt’s baby the day he met her. One of my favorite memories of when we started dating was when, after date night, we returned to my apartment on the 11th floor and he offered to take her downstairs to go to the bathroom. They were gone for over half an hour. I always joked that in the beginning he was only with me because of his adoration for Shy.

She’s lived with me in three very different homes and come with me on trips across provinces. She’s shared her home with other dogs, cats and birds, and seen those pets subsequently leave for various reasons and taken it all stride. Lastly, and most importantly, she has welcomed Matt and I’s babies with paws open wide, and become a true family dog.

This past week, our family has been dealing with the nightmare of discovering that our dear, sweet Shiloh, has cancer. It has been a week of vet appointments and various tests to determine the best way to approach this diagnosis. Yesterday, a decision was made that will best prolong Shiloh’s life and prevent her from ever having to suffer a minute from cancer, because it was luckily caught soon enough that she has yet to feel pain.

Next Friday, my sweet girl will undergo surgery and lose her front right leg. The emotions that come with this reality are all over the place. I am so happy for this second chance with Shiloh and look at this surgery as a way to prolong an otherwise happy healthy life. I am also sad that she has to suffer a single second of pain to get there. But it is, of course better than the alternative.

I ask you all today for prayers for our best friend. She is a strong pup and we all have no doubt that she will make it through this just fine and be the cutest little “tripawd” (yes, that is a thing) we ever did see. But we pray for a quick and successful surgery, and an easy recovery. She is our baby and a part of our family and I know that if any of you have had the pleasure of meeting my Shybum, Shybear, Shybaby, or Fluffmuffin, you too, have a place in your heart for her also.

I love you my girl. We will face the next adventure ahead as we have all of our adventures – together.

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McKenna is Three!

Our little family is about to embark on our first vacation as a foursome this Tuesday (along with some or our favorite people). Since we will be on a plane when McKenna celebrates her THIRD birthday (seriously?!?) I prepared her third year video early… and cried the whole time.

I love you my sweet, wild haired, stubborn, blue eyed girl. It is an absolute honor to be your Mama.

10 Things We Love About E

Here are a few things I know about you already, Emilia:

1. You love life. You make that perfectly clear when you smile 100 times a day.

2. You love your family. This is clear because the sweetest of your smiles are saved for McKenna, your Dad, and I.

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3. You are a mama’s girl, and I absolutely love it. I know it won’t last – soon you’ll be in on the big family secret – Daddy is waaay more fun – so I am soaking every second of it in.

4. You have a voice all of your own. You have no problems letting us know what it is you want, and you are bound and determined to get it. I used to think you’d be my  quiet child (because your sister can be VERY LOUD); but these wishful thoughts seem to be vanishing with every passing screech and loud babble. Your poor, poor father. Not only will he be surrounded by women for his entire life, but they will also be LOUD women.

5. You are strong. You are already rolling both ways and can hold your head up for super long periods. You have even attempted at CRAWLING and moved ahead a few inches (seriously – stop. Growing that is)!! You watch your sister with such fascination at all she does so I am pretty confident you’ll be an early mover and shaker.

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6. You are an old soul. Nothing calms you like when I play the Frank Sinatra channel on Pandora.

7. You like books. Just like your sister. We read at the very least 5 during the day and you sit in on one at your sister’s bedtime – only one because McKenna has a hard time focusing on anything when you are around. She would much rather play with your toes or squeeze your cheeks or scream happily in your ears than listen to any storybook. You on the other hand, listen closely and stare curiously at the pictures.

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8. You like to be snuggled. We have created another cuddle monster. During the day you will focus on an activity such as playing with a rattle or grabbing at a toy for a short period, and then demand to be held for a longer period. You would be happy if I could just hold and interact with you all day, but unfortunately it isnt quite possible, my love. I promise I do what I can :).

9. You love to sleep. Can I get a hallelujah? You are already miles ahead of your sister in the sleep department, and we have had more use of our crib in the past 4.5 months since you’ve came along than we ever did with McKenna. Thank you for that!!! 🙂

10. You are adored. I worried when I was pregnant that I wouldn’t attach as easily to you because I am so in love with your sister. I doubted that my heart could possibly love anymore. But you my dear, make all things possible, and I am quite positive that I could not love you anymore without my heart friggin’ exploding. Just ask your Dad about the bazillion texts I send him talking about how much I love you and your sister and how often it moves me to tears. You are so, so, deeply loved.

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Your First Birthday PARTY

On Sunday, December 15, 2013 our family and friends alike gathered at a small hall in Fort Saskatchewan to celebrate your first birthday!

Even though there had been freezing rain the night before, and some people chose not to brave the highways (it was outside of the city), we still had a great turn out and a fabulous time celebrating you, little one. About 30 people showed up, and we had a wonderful time!

We stuck with a simple theme – pink and green polka dots – and laid out a simple spread of snackin’ foods. There was a guestbook – one of my (many) favourite pictures of you blown up and surrounded by a frame for all to sign. There was a time capsule, filled with blank cards, for all your family and friends to fill out with wishes, advice, and kind words for you to read on your 18th birthday. Your Dad and I will keep this box safe for you.. but I cannot wait for you to read them!

There was a poem on each card (part that I wrote myself, part I found on.. you guessed it – Pinterest!) that read like so:

Please leave a note before you leave this place,

A note for our sweet McKenna Beryl Grace,

Into a time capsule we’ll slip them to hide,

Till she’s 10 & 8 years they’ll be locked up inside;

On her 18th birthday to her we will show,

All these great wishes for the places she’ll go!

 

Other than that, it was your usual birthday party – with a kids play area, treat bags, food, drinks, conversation, then of course, gifts (you were completely spoiled) and your second ever cupcake! You loved it as much if not more than the first, but once again you were such a lady! I was certain I would need to throw out your birthday outfit afterwards (sad face) but that was not the case. It is still in tact and hanging up in your closet, special memories kept (happy face)!

It was a great day filled with so much love. You are a special little girl, McKenna, and you are growing up surrounded by an amazing group of people that truly love you. We are such a blessed little family of three, and we were really feeling the love that day!

So without further ado, here are the (many) pictures from your very first birthday party! I have to thank your Auntie Lareina for once again capturing these wonderful memories on film! We are so lucky to have such a talented photographer in the family!! xoxo thank you Lareina!

McKenna's cousin, Marrah enjoying her treat bag!

McKenna’s cousin, Marrah enjoying her treat bag!


McKenna's cousin, Declan, enjoying the food!

McKenna’s cousin, Declan, enjoying the food!


McKenna's cousin Colton, enjoying a balloon :).

McKenna’s cousin Colton, enjoying a balloon :).


McKenna & her Nanny telling stories.

McKenna & her Nanny telling stories.


Family shot (starting far right) my cousin Daegan, my Auntie & Uncle, and cousins  Collin & Jenny, & McKenna's Papa.

Family shot (starting far right) my cousin Daegan, my Auntie & Uncle, and cousins Collin & Jenny, & McKenna’s Papa.


Enjoying her birthday balloons!

Enjoying her birthday balloons!


McKenna & cousin ZZ!

McKenna & cousin ZZ!


Present time! (McKenna with her Mum & Dad, of course)

Present time! (McKenna with her Mum & Dad, of course)


All images are © Unforgettable Images.Photographer: Lareina Di
All images are © Unforgettable Images.Photographer: Lareina Di
Love this shot!

Love this shot!


Cousin Marrah showing off her custom made wrapping paper :)

Cousin Marrah showing off her custom made wrapping paper 🙂


Helping hands :).

Helping hands :).


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Cupacake time! You were a little unsure about the sparkler...

Cupacake time! You were a little unsure about the sparkler…


But definitely not unsure about the cupcake!

But definitely not unsure about the cupcake!

All images are © Unforgettable Images. Photographer: Lareina DiAll images are © Unforgettable Images. Photographer: Lareina Di
All gone!

All gone!


With your cousins Daegan, Collin and Jenny.. reading them a story :)

With your cousins Daegan, Collin and Jenny.. reading them a story 🙂


All images are © Unforgettable Images.Photographer: Lareina Di

Your First Birthday (a recap)

Even though your birthday was nearly a month and a half ago, your Mum is waaay behind the times and has yet to post a recap from the fabulous day. This is just a recap of your birthDAY, not the wonderful party that followed on December 15th. I am hoping to get to that post this week too .. but to be honest, I just haven’t been in the writing mood! With our upcoming trip to Jamaica and the wedding 5 MONTHS TO THE DAY away, my mind has definitely been distracted. But these are important events that must be recorded for you to read in the future, so here I am, just for you :).

On December 1, 2013, I woke up at 7 AM so I could be sure to be awake before you (I never purposely do this .. it seems like cruel torture!). I started blowing balloons, and filled the hallway. You Dad and I had assembled your birthday present – an AWESOME play kitchen! – the night before. I wanted you to wake up, find the balloons in the hallway and make your way down to see your birthday surprise.

You woke up at 8:30, and that’s just what you did. Crawled out into the hallway and played with the many balloons. You were so enamoured with the balloons that you stayed in the hallway for close to half an hour before I grew impatient and moved them into the kitchen, so you would come that way. You finally did, and alas! There was your kitchen! You immediately crawled up to it and started playing with it, particularly fascinated with the buttons and all the different sounds they made.

I decided we would stay home that day. On most days, I bundle you up and we head out of the house to run errands or take part in an activity, but I thought you would like a home day to enjoy your presents. I was right, you played with them for the entire morning, had a special breakfast of smashed banana pancakes and then laid down for your late morning nap as usual.

After lunch, we had a visit from your Auntie Ethel & Uncle Emlyn, and your cousins Gillian, Collin and Jenny. Gifts were exchanged (a fancy new cash register to go along with your play kitchen!) and then we all sat and visited. We watched your One Year video together (and I cried) and shortly afterwards, they left.

The afternoon was spent once again playing with your toys while I baked cupcakes, and then I ordered pizza for our special dinner. Your Dad, your Papa, and your Auntie Vanessa all came over for your birthday dinner and you ate your first piece of pizza like it was nobodies business. We sang happy birthday (I cried again) and I presented you with your first ever cupcake, vanilla with chocolate frosting. You started eating the cupcake like such a lady, picking at the icing with your fingers. But that didn’t last long! Not a crumb was spared.

You went to bed (after a much needed bath) with a full belly and a smile on your face.

It was a relaxed, calm quiet kind of day.. just the kind of day I wanted to spend with you on your very first birthday. Even though December the first will always be a day celebrating your birth, and giving you presents, believe me when I say you are the best gift I have and will ever receive. December 1 will always be my favorite day, a day of reflection, celebration, happiness, and undoubtedly, more tears (the happy ones, of course).

One Year (a video)

McKenna turned 1 yesterday! A full birthday recap, along with an amazing cake smash video, will follow later on this week.

In the meantime, I made a little video to celebrate the occasion. It was rather hard to put the very best year of my life into a 3 1/2 minute video, but I did my best :).

McKenna, your father and I love you so much. Our biggest birthday wish for you on your first birthday is that you continue to enjoy this, your childhood. Be carefree, be curious. Explore the world with the comfort of knowing you have a mother and father who love you so, who will always be here with open arms.

Love you forever, our sweet sweet girl.

xoxo

Mum & Dad

They Say it Takes a Village…

They say it takes a village to raise a child. As we approach McKenna’s first birthday, I find no words that could be more true.

Today also marks the 100th post on A Little Baby Bean (hooray!). How very appropriate that I intend to use it by thanking our own village.

I contemplated writing personalized thank you’s, because I am just so terrified of missing someone. But if you have been a part of this past 12 months in any way, be it a visit, a phone call, a kind word on Facebook, a read of this blog, or a like of a photo on Instagram, thank you. Thank you for being our village.

Now, onto the sappy stuff!

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To our Auntie Ethel….. A million thank you’s. Thank you for always answering the phone. Thank you for the warm lunches, for the offering of supportive words, for Band-Aid deliveries well into the night, and above all: thank you for giving me advice ONLY when I ask for it! I wish there were more people who followed this philosophy (see last post re: unsolicited advice). Thank you for always being such a constant in my life.

To our Uncle Emlyn…. Thank you for being you. Another constant. For your calm voice, warm hugs, and secrets whispered during cuddles with McKenna. You will always be Uncle Lemlyn to me, but I am so happy to be able to share you with my own little girl now.

To Nanny…. For your support. For the offering of kind words when I was frustrated with sleeping arrangements, for reminding me that every baby is different. Thank you for all the presents you shower McKenna with, the lunch dates, the help running errands, and for just being there whenever we need you.

To Papa…. for being the calming gentle presence that all little girls need in a Papa. McKenna is so lucky to have you.

To Helen/Auntie Helen… my big sister. I know you are going to be an ever present figure in McKenna’s life, and I am so happy she will have such a great role model to look towards as she grows older. I hope McKenna one day will have or become a sister like you, that she can also call a friend. Uncle Michael too..  another great role model. I am so happy you are a part of our family!

To her Auntie Chrissy, Auntie Nikki, Uncle Mike, and all of her adorable cousins… for surrounding us with the love of a family. For quality time spent. I am so happy McKenna has such a large family to grow up with, cousins close to her age, and so many houses where she will always be welcome.

To my cousin (and McKenna’s third cousin) Gillian.. thank you for always responding to my messages, answering my questions, giving advice and just for being there. Thank you for the hand me downs that we have put to good use, and always thinking of our little family. You have been a role model to me for as long as I can remember of what great parenting looks like!

To Lareina/Auntie Lareina… my sister in law. The abundance of information. Thank you for responding to my gazillion text messages, at all times and on all days, even when I started to find myself annoying for asking SO MANY DAMN QUESTIONS. Thank you for sharing and supporting me with my parenting choices. I find comfort in knowing someone personally who has adopted so many of the decisions that I too have made for my own little love.

To Vanessa/Auntie V…… My bestest friend. I love you so.. thank you for all the words, support and gifts (but seriously, enough with the gifts!) you have provided us with over the past year. You are not just a friend to Matthew, McKenna and I.. you are family. And your Mama. God bless your Mama and her sweet soul.

To Kelsey/Auntie DB… my childhood friend. I only hope that McKenna can find someone as precious as you have been to me all these years. I know it has been quite an adjustment on our friendship this year (from talking all day, every day, and drinking our faces off each weekend) but thank you for being my childhood, and now adult best friend. Thank you for all the advice and wisdom, and for always giving it to me straight (even when I don’t want to hear it!). I look forward to sharing McKenna’s life with you.

To Leah/Auntie Leah…. my never judging friend. Thank you for never judging – for being the person who, when you know I am having a down day, will send me an article about the benefits of co-sleeping and nursing just to make me feel better. It’s people like you that make this parenting gig not feel so lonely.

To Mike/Uncle Mike….. for always making the effort. Be it our lunch dates, the rides when I am stranded in cold weather, our text messages, or the likes of photos on Facebook, you have made your presence known this past year in both McKenna and I’s life and taken a true interest as my friend! It’s so nice to always have someone like you to count on.

To Clarissa and Jayda….. thank you for the text messages, for always checking in to see how our little family is doing. Thank you for making yourselves available to babysit. I know the door is always open at your house, and I am thankful for that! It is so nice to have a select group of people we can rely on to watch our girl, and you two beautiful women absolutely top this list.

To Sarah, Molly, Michelle, Tia and all the other mothers I have met (or reconnected with) this past year.. some who don’t read this blog. But it has been so nice to connect with other mothers with babies the same age as McKenna who are going through the same experiences I am going through. Thanks for letting McKenna socialize (and sometimes antagonize) your beautiful babies this past year! I hope we can all keep in contact as our little babes grow up! 

Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts! We look forward to continuing to share McKenna’s life with each and every single one of you!

One Sunny Autumn Day…

On a sunny autumn day just before Halloween, we asked our close friend Dave to come and take some shots of our little family.

Dave normally specializes in nature photography, but we are so thankful he was able to come and take these beautiful pictures of us! Growing up, I would always drive by these trees and be in awe of their beauty in the autumn months. People would drive from all areas of the city just for the photo opportunities, and I am so happy that I now have photographs of my own little family surrounded by these stunning trees. We could not be more pleased with how they turned out! Thank you Dave!

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All photos are credited to Unique Light Photography. Check him out!