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.

The Best Big Sister Ever

It’s Monday morning. Okay –  well I at least know it’s Monday, because your Dad just returned to work after a nice quiet weekend, but I’m not entirely sure it’s morning anymore.

Emilia has been fussing for going on 30 minutes because she is tired, but she is refusing to nap. She’s drooling up a storm and flat out miserable because that tooth on the bottom left just won’t break through. I sing her lullabies, and walk a slow pace around the house with her in the carrier pressed against my chest. The only place she is somewhat calm.

I see you, McKenna, sitting on the living room floor, on your fourth episode of Paw Patrol, and notice the bag of goldfish crackers at your feet. “McKenna!” I say, “where did you get those? You know you are supposed to ask Mama.” You look at me with your big blue eyes and shrug your shoulders. “Sorry Mama”, and hand them to me. I then look at the clock on the oven and realize it’s not morning time at all, it’s 12:45 PM. It’s been hours since breakfast, and I haven’t even started preparing your lunch. I immediately hand back the crackers and give you a hug, that familiar feeling of mama guilt washing over me. I start preparing you your favorite – tomato soup and grilled cheese. You go back to your puppies, unphased by the whole thing.

These days are in the minority, McKenna, but they definitely exist. And I need you to know, that on these days… I see you. I see you sitting quietly on the floor while I nurse your sister, preoccuping yourself with whatever knick knack you can find because mama left the playroom (basement) door shut. I see you, sneaking in the pantry for snacks because your sister is crying and mama hasn’t made you breakfast just yet. I see you, playing quietly with your blocks while your sister is sleeping, even though we both know how much you hate being quiet.

You, my girl, have made me so proud these past 5.5 months. When I think about how much your life has changed and just how well you are adjusting to all of these changes, my mama heart swells to three times its size. Not only have you risen to the occasion of being an excellent big sister, providing endless cuddles and kisses, retrieving diapers and soothers when needed, and sharing your toys with E when she is crying, you have also managed to potty train, self wean, almost dress yourself, and navigate your way through Netflix. And even though you of course have your difficult days (and a span of about 10 days where you were just plain rotten), they too are in the minority.

I promise you, my wild haired, beautiful little girl, that I see you. I see you and I love you and am thankful and in awe of you every single day, even though I may not have the time to say it. Thank you for being the best big sister ever and a pretty damn great daughter as well.

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xo,

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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A Beautiful Life

I’ve talked on here about our miscarriage before – not ever in detail, because let’s be honest – it’s not something I like to talk about. But it is a story of grief all of it’s own, and that grief, the one of losing a child whom you never knew but imagined and dreamed and thought of and LOVED is as real as losing anyone else.

That’s why when yesterday, when a dear friend told me of a close family member losing her own baby, it was brought to the surface with that same rush of intense emotions. And then on top of that, social media was flooded with the classic “I’m pregnant!” April Fools jokes and all of a sudden, they really didn’t seem that funny.

The loss of an unborn but well thought of child is such a touchy subject. But I am pretty sure all of us can say we know someone effected by that loss, because it’s far too damn common. Whenever I hear of miscarriages and stillbirths it shakes my core because it comes with such a heavy handed “whyyyy”. Why the babies, why the innocents. It is a very real and true loss and to all you ladies out there who experience it, from one mama to another.. I feel you. I hear you. I respect and acknowledge that loss just as I would any other.

It was all this feeling yesterday that caused me to feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude all day then, and now today. These days come by every now and then, when I realize my blessings and the skies just seem a little bluer and the difficulties and personal struggles in my life are so diminished by the successes and gifts. I try to embrace these days for what they are worth because often times, the busyness of life and the to-dos overshadow the important things, and I don’t stop to take the time and admire my life for all it has given me.

I guess the whole point of this rambling is to save this for a later day – a post to remind me of this beautifully blessed, although imperfect life that I live. With the handsomest and most caring man, wonderful and solid family support, cozy and comfortable house, adorable fluffy pets, and of course – the cutest little bean that I get to spend the rest of my days loving, watching her grow and learn and thrive and flourish before my very eyes.

This; this life of mine, is a beautiful one.

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Fourteen Months

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It feels like these months are really starting to fly by. I ask again – weren’t you just born, like, yesterday? Anyways…

Sleep-wise, nothing much to report that wasn’t already covered this week. But now that you are sleeping like a rockstar, your nap schedule has become a little wonky. I think you are slowly transitioning to one nap and it’s kinda got you all messed up. You are exhausted by the time you take your usual morning nap but have SUCH a hard time falling asleep, so you stay awake until you are about ready to fall over at 1pm. I am letting you take the lead on this one because I feel with our upcoming vacation any routine that I may TRY and put in place will end in epic failure. So for now, you run the show.142

Food-wise, you eat anything we do and love MOST things. Things you won’t touch (a much shorter list than the stuff you will) include red peppers, strawberries, peas, and green beans.

We are down to nursing TWICE A DAY. You did this all on your own. You wake once at 5:30 AM(ish) and I nurse you then too.

The biggest news of this month is definitely that you are now WALKING. You can take upwards of 15 steps between rooms before settling down on your bum and crawling the rest of the way. I keep telling everyone that will listen that I’m sure you will take off running when you see the ocean next week (aka – give me a heart attack).

You know where your hair, nose, and bellybutton are. Three very random things, I know. But you are obsessed with the hair on my head (as in you love to pull it) and always reach up to yours when I ask where it is. Nose is a new development; until yesterday you were certain it was located on your ear. Bellybuttons are somewhat of an obsession around here.

You are still a little dancing machine, and love any upbeat songs that you can wiggle your bum too. You prefer when I have the radio on the pop station, but I can only listen to it for so long. You can handle alternative for a little bit, but my personal favorite, dubstep, does not seem to be a hit. Yet.

You LOVE dressup. If we leave ANY article of clothing on the floor you are trying to put it on your head, then you parade around as if you are doing a fashion show. You love to wear your Dad’s hat and my sunglasses most of all. Yesterday I witnessed you *trying* to put my boot on your foot. I look forward to many days spent playing dressup with you.144141

Your glockenspiel is still your favorite toy by far, and you bang on the keys until they fall off.

Still attached to your green fuzzy blankie, but thankfully any fuzzy blankie seems to do, as you quite often throw it on the floor outside causing it to be washed weekly. You also love pillows, and love being on your father and I’s bed and throwing yourself into them, laughing hysterically, until you are absolutely exhausted.

You are currently working on SIX TEETH at the moment, and who knows maybe more. You don’t let me get my fingers in far enough to feel if you are working on your molars yet, but we have definitely had a few difficult nights this month. Poor little bug.

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I’ll eat you up, I love you so. xo

Ten Lovely Little Things On A Friday

These are 10 things currently making me happy on this cold Alberta Friday night:

1. A WALKING BABY! That’s right. McKenna has now entered the half crawling/half WALKING stage. She walks anytime she’s currently in a standing position (cruising) and can get from one room to the other. It’s very exciting. A video will come soon, but I have been having a hard time capturing it thus far as I am generally clapping and cheering like a fool on the sidelines.

2. JAMAICA – it’s nearly here! We are just a few sleeps away! And as nervous as I am about the flight with McKenna, I am SUPER EXCITED for our first family vacation and to see two wonderful people get married! Any last minute tips? Send them my way, PLEASE in the comments section!!

3. This new dress I bought today! I bought it for the wedding until I realized, DUH, it’s white. Oh well! I will be just as content wearing it around town. (Seriously, love!!)

4. Wedding planning is going so well! I am really starting to get a vision for what the big picture will look like. We had a meeting with the venue this past weekend, and if possible, I love it more than ever.

5. Moments like these.

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And as always, these two in general. ❤

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5. This song. I think it will be my official “WE’RE GOING TO JAMAICA!” theme song (aka, the song I will be blasting in the car at 5:30 in the morning on our way to the airport as Matt shoots me dirty looks while sipping a gigantour Tim Horton’s coffee).

6. This movie trailer based on a favorite book. YOU MUST READ. BUT HAVE KLEENEX NEARBY. Don’t say I never warned you :).

7. This blog post from a favorite blog which inspired THIS blog post! 🙂

8. My yoga practice. I have been going consistently 3-4 times a week and I am just so in love with yoga. It doesn’t feel like work for me, it is truly just my number one hobby. It’s so good for me to have this time for me and the benefits for my health are not going unnoticed.

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Photo credit: http://100daysofhappy.wordpress.com/

9. My determination. Speaking of my health, I’ve been low carb for about 3 weeks. I feel great! I do have the occasional cheat now and then but overall it has been a successful journey thus far, and this paired with yoga really has me back on track. I am super proud of my focus!

10. McKenna’s continued sleep success – We had a rough night a few nights back due to teething, but that is of course to be expected. Other than that, we are still reaping the benefits of a great night’s sleep!

 

What’s making you all happy on this Friday night?

Recently *Destroyed* Things

One of my favorite blogs to read daily, ohdeardrea has a weekly *segment* if you will, called “Recently Enjoyed Things”. Pictures of all the wonderful things her and her little family have been enjoying recently. I always enjoy these posts, but as of late, every time I see this segment come up on my BlogLovin’ Account, I snicker to myself.

McKenna has recently been into ALL SORTS OF MISCHIEF around these parts. So much that we have now nicknamed her “McKenna the Destroyer“. It is truly amazing how quickly a one-year old can turn your house UPSIDE DOWN! So I have decided to start my own little segment on this blog called “Recently Destroyed Things”, and am happy to share the first batch of photographs with you today!

Toilet Paper, best toy ever. (This happens far more than I would like to admit)

Toilet Paper, best toy ever. (This happens far more than I would like to admit)


Play Area: Before Picture

Play Area: Before Picture


Play Area: Five Minutes Later (she HATES when we put her play mats down nicely)

Play Area: Five Minutes Later (she HATES when we put her play mats down nicely)


DVD rack

DVD rack


This happened on a day I made the rookie mistake of leaving McKenna in the living room for 5 minutes with my PILES of nice, clean, folded laundry.

This happened on a day I made the rookie mistake of leaving McKenna in the living room for 5 minutes with my PILES of nice, clean, folded laundry.

I see many more “Recently Destroyed Things” posts in our future. I have a feeling McKenna is just getting started, showing us all the mischief she can cause!

We Did It!

A LOT of big changes are happening around here these days, and all occurred in less than a month:

  1. We are no longer co-sleeping;
  2. McKenna is sleeping through the night consistently; and
  3. She is down to 3-5 nursing sessions per day.

Whew. Even officially writing that down took a lot of emotion out of me.

Nursing and co-sleeping were definitely two of the main attributes I used to describe our style of parenting that first year. It was great – I loved everything about it.

Co-sleeping was one of those things that worked, until all of a sudden it just didn’t. And in true McKenna fashion, she never does things slowly. Instead of doing a slow transition from co-sleeping to independent sleeping, one day it just STOPPED. I slept in my room and she slept in hers.

I mentioned we had a slight regression along the way – and after reading many words of advice on Facebook and speaking with other mothers, I blame that regression on poor timing. I strongly feel as though McKenna was going through a growth spurt at that time, and it had nothing to do with our new sleeping arrangement.

But now, DARE I say the words I at times I never thought I would? Dare I take it a step further, and write it down for the WHOLE WORLD TO SEE? That McKenna, is finally, consistently, sleeping through the night? ALL ON HER OWN?

Of all of the parenting challenges Matt and I faced in those first 365 days, sleeping was definitely the most difficult. It was SO up and down. We would have good months and bad months. Nights that had one or two wakeups and then nights that had sometimes upwards of 5. We struggled with what the books told us – that by 3 months, most children are fully capable of sleeping through the night (those children also likely fart rainbows). We struggled with what (some) of the experts said was the solution for those children who did not – the dreaded (in our household) cry it out method. We struggled with our own feelings of inadequacy anytime we faced a parent who spoke with pride about their babies who were in their own cribs, sleeping through the night at 6 months. It seemed nearly an impossible feat to accomplish, and as though it was nowhere in our near future.

But anytime the discussion was had, it was never decided upon that we should “Ferberize” McKenna. We do not judge those who choose this very effective sleep training method, because we are not in their houses when the sleep training occurs. We can only know what happened anytime we tried this method on our own baby – 3 or so times over the course of those twelve months in moments of severe desperation – and the result was terrified screams, shaking, and one dreadful, dreadful night when McKenna was ten months when she literally threw herself out of the crib. I thank God every day that our floor bed was beside to break her fall.

No, the Ferber method wasn’t for us. And thankfully, we were definitely on the same page when it came to that.

But yes, sleep. It was all over the place. I rarely complained – after all, I had an entire year off to nurture and care for her, and I had made a promise to myself that the first year would be all about McKenna. About establishing a comforting mother-daughter relationship wherein she felt secure and loved, and would truly trust me to take care of her needs. I still have no regrets about this decision, and fully intend to use this strategy with the next baby. And I honestly have to say I am amazed about how well I am able to function on broken up sleep. And Starbucks.

But at some point, that co-sleeping, nursing through the night relationship began to fail us. McKenna was no longer getting the quality sleep she needed, and instead of waking up and falling asleep immediately when nursed, she screamed and cried and reached for comfort, not milk, multiple times throughout the night.

That was when we knew it was time for the relationship to change.

I wish I could tell you an exact method we used to end co-sleeping, but there wasn’t really one. We simply stopped, and McKenna was ready. And trust me, we HAD definitely tried before, and she was NOT ready before. There was minimal crying (besides the growth spurt) and then there was just success. Continued success.

McKenna now goes to sleep every night at 7:30 PM after a consistent bedtime routine. She sleeps until 4:30-5:30 AM, awakes for a snack, and goes back to sleep until 8 AM. We are working at cutting out that last feeding, but if I’m being honest, I am in no rush.

Reason being is that although this is everything I wished, hoped and longed for.. I still miss those days. Those days where she was absolutely dependent on her Mama for sleep. I am really starting to think as motherhood as sort of a double-edged sword:  you are always wishing for something, and when that something comes true, you can’t help but long for those moments from before. In this particular situation, the moments I long for and will always miss are the late night cuddles. The nursing sessions, when it was just her and I awake in our quiet little household. Those moments of extreme bonding that I would never, EVER take back for ANYTHING.

But as I said before, my post about all of these FEELINGS (the feelings about the end of co-sleeping and the beginning of weaning) are to follow. They are too intense, and too important to not deserve their very own blog post.

But above all these feelings, I am so incredibly proud of my little. Proud of her father and I too, for never feeling forced to doing anything that was outside of our comfort zone. For sticking to our guns, listening to advice when necessary but only taking the particular parts of said advice and applying what we felt would work for our family to our real life situation.

Well done family. We did it :). Here is to many more nights of amazing sleep!

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