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Five Friday Favorites – May 18, 2018

Hi everybody, I’m up for the five Friday favorites post today! It’s been so fun to read what everyone else is into and I’m excited to share mine as well!

  1. Bath bombs. The boys have been loving these lately! It started when they saw me take out a Lush bath bomb to put in my bath later that night and they wanted one of their own. So I looked up Amazon’s recommended product and purchased them. This pack is vegan and well-priced at 20 dollars for 12 bath bombs. The boys take turns getting to pick one and drop it in to the bath. They love how the water changes color, the unique smells, and all the fizzing.

bath bombs

 

2. Magazines for kids. My sister gifted us Rick Ranger Jr. a year ago and my mom just gifted us National Geographic Kids. Both Crumb and Chip LOVE reading them, over and over again. In fact, I’d say my two year old pulls it out more often so you really can’t start them too young. They both get so excited when a new issue arrives in the mail and the whole family is learning a ton about animals and nature. Win win.

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The bittersweet of parenthood

Our son recently just turned 18 months! The second year has been interesting, and full of developments and changes. They’re still kind of babies, but also toddlers. I will fully admit that months 13-16 were not my favourite ones. I found that transition period of baby to toddler difficult. My son got 9 teeth in that time period, he screamed a lot as he tried to learn to communicate,  he learned to climb, walk and run and dropped to one nap. There was so much development happening, that it felt like a whirlwind. It was a whirlwind. Don’t get me wrong, there was so much magic and those developments were incredible to observe, but when I look back on the past 18 months, those were the months that felt like they challenged me (and him) the most.

One thing that is so incredibly bittersweet about parenthood is that each stage has something you want to hold onto forever. And something you are repeating “This too shall pass” on repeat.

And now, that we are in the 18-month zone, I find myself favouring this stage and wanting to hold on to so much of it! The explosion of words, the snuggles, the antics, the learning and exploring. It’s so fun!

IMG_3518

So at 18 months, what do I want to hold onto forever? What am I excited about moving past? What do I have a love-hate relationship with?

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Selling Our Home

As I mentioned in my last post, one of the biggest reasons why our lives have felt so crazy lately involved the selling of our condo. We put a lot of work and time into finishing our renovations, 90% of which we did ourselves. And by “we,” I mean Mr. Dolphin since I fractured my tailbone in January and was very little help. I’ll focus this post on why we sold and some tips on showing/selling with small children, with a future post dedicated to why/how we downsized plus the move itself.

Why We Decided to Sell

There are a number of reasons we decided to sell our condo. While we really did like the layout of our condo and location (including walking distance to a metro station and just over a mile to the kids’ daycare) and the timing wasn’t totally ideal since we had only been there for four years, there were several reasons supporting our decision to sell.

First, we had new neighbors move in below us about a year ago. The way our condo complex is set up is that there is the ground floor where the one bedrooms and two bedrooms are, then you can walk up one level which is where all the two bedrooms plus lofts are.  We lived on the second floor, in part because we didn’t want noise above us and appreciated the lofted space. Unfortunately, there is basically no insulation or soundproofing between the floors and I’ve heard a lot of complaints (from other parents who all seem to be on the second floor, as well) in our community about noise disruption. Several of our neighbors have kids Lion’s age and noted that their downstairs neighbors also made complaints, so I was happy to know that it’s not like our children were unnaturally loud. Even though we tried to mitigate the noise by discouraging any running or jumping, putting down foam mats in the living room, and trying to spend more time in the lofted space than on our main living level, we still got a lot of complaints from our new downstairs neighbors. Sometimes, they would use a broom to bang on the ceiling, other times they would text me to complain about the noise and they also left a somewhat nasty note on our doorstep. We felt like we were constantly walking on eggshells, even outside of community quiet hours which was stressful for us and for our kids. What really sealed the deal for me was when I got a text on Christmas Eve that basically said, “We know that this time of year can be exciting for children, but please try to keep the noise level down tomorrow” (we also got a similar text on Thanksgiving Eve). I felt like our kids weren’t being allowed to enjoy their own home and I hated being in our condo because I was constantly worried about the noise, even when they were just walking around.

While I do think we would have stayed in our condo longer if our new neighbors hadn’t made so many complaints, it wasn’t a forever home for us. I never liked how much we were paying in our monthly HOA fees ($400+/month) and we had talked for awhile about trying to get a house or a townhouse with a lower HOA, so that more of our monthly payment would go toward principal rather than to association fees.

Additionally, at some point we do want our kids to have access to a yard, if possible.

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A Prince at a Princess Party

It seems that Toddler Pencil was meant to be surrounded by females. That was one reason why I figured he would have a baby sister! For some reason in 2014, there was a wave of baby girls born and he seemed to be the only boy. So for most of his 4 year old life, he’s spent hanging out with my friends’ daughters. It worked out pretty well so far, since he’s not your typical rough and tough little boy. But I knew there would be a day when the whole gender thing might be an issue.

We were invited to our first princess party (Beauty & The Beast) and I suggested having Toddler Pencil come as a prince – the mother of the birthday girl loved the idea! So hence, began my first craft project in creating a prince costume.

beautybeast

Let me start by saying I don’t have a sewing machine or any experience sewing or making costumes. At all. So here begins the process! I’m more of a trial and error gal, even though there are wonderful instructions online. I basically went off of this Pinterest picture to create a prince costume from Beauty and the Beast. (The birthday girl was going to be Belle.)

I knew it was not going to look nearly as professional as this, but I realized that you can modify certain things and a pretty similar look! I gathered the following:

  • skinny black jeans
  • white collar shirt
  • a blue blazer (of mine)
  • 1 yard of gold fabric ($4.99 at Joann’s)
  • 1 yard of lace ($2.99 at Joann’s)
  • heat bond adhesive ($3.66 at Amazon)

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The Baby Keepsakes I Love

My little ones aren’t babies anymore, and I’m finding I miss some of those sweet baby moments. However, I had several different baby keepsakes that I love, and I’m glad I took the time to do.

Quilts –

Both my babies had quilts hanging up in their nurseries. A family member gifted one to my daughter, which makes it all the more special. We found someone on Etsy to make a quilt for my son’s nursery with a fishing theme. (My husband and daughter both love to fish, and they love taking him fishing now too). When we fully change their rooms to “big kid” rooms, I plan to store these for my kiddos to have as adults if they wish.

Baby Book –

Both my husband and I have large extended families. In the kids’ baby books I’ve included pictures of relatives and family friends holding them as babies. It’s been a difficult few years with family members passing away, some who were elderly, but two that were young and unexpected. I love that I have pictures of our babies with them — that their baby books double as a link to their family history. I also made our baby books “old school” by cutting out the pictures and arranging the background paper. BeBe loved helping me make the book for her baby brother. I didn’t realize it at the time, but now I love to look back on how her preschool self, cut out pictures and arranged parts of her brother’s baby book.

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Kid-Friendly Pom Pom Flowers

Kid-Friendly Pom Pom Flowers

Pom poms and pom pom flowers are so cute and fun, but they’re a little tricky for kids to make on their own. This wrapped style pom pom is easy enough for young children to create, and they offer good counting and motion practice.

They’re fun to make and play with, but they’re also a great decoration or gift for a teacher or grandma!

You may need to help your child with a few steps, so look through the instructions ahead of time to see which parts you need to prepare in advance.

Easy Pom Pom Flower Supplies

You will need:

Green Felt
Colorful Yarn
Green Pipe Cleaners
Scissors
1/8″ Hole Punch (or a large needle)
Marker (or similarly sized cylinder shape)

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Five Friday Favorites – May 11, 2018

Hi everyone! It’s been awhile… kindergarten, a one and a half year old tornado, freelance WAHM life, travel, and, well, life. It’s busy! Most of the time I am crashing into bed instead of doing anything fun like writing. But I love this Friday Favorites idea, and so I wanted to pop in and say hello while sharing some of my recent faves.

1/ Hand embroidery

I got into this hobby after being inspired by some crafty friends! I haven’t touched a hoop in probably a month now — it’s just not on the top of my priority list — but, when I get some more free time, I can’t wait to pick it up again. I’ve been learning as I go, and I love it because it’s more freeform than something like knitting or cross stitch. I have a hard time following numbers and patterns, but this I can just make up as I go along!

Hand Embroidery

2/ Not having any scheduled activities

M finished gymnastics a few weeks ago, and it is so nice to have our weekends back again. We had signed both kids up for a casual dance class and M for indoor soccer, and then we got super busy, had to travel down to Mac Daddy’s mom’s house unexpectedly, went on vacation… we literally attended one single soccer class and maybe four dance classes total between both kids.

I am learning my lesson and probably not signing M up for any major summer activities, though she is very interested in the idea of outdoor soccer. It’s nice to just go where we want to go, when we want to, and honestly, trying to get her to go along with the rules and structure of rec activities is about as fun as pulling teeth.

We’re going to a drop-in reading club once weekly until school is over, and then the library puts on a summer reading program that is also drop-in and casual. Hopefully that’s enough structure to keep her happy!

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