Saturday, May 13, 2017

5 Year Anniversary

Yesterday Ryan and I celebrated the fact that we have put up with each other for 5 whole years....Kidding...Kind of. :) 

We did mark the occasion the weekend before with a trip to the Nordik, escape room, The Keg and a movie! A full day just the two of us! It was heavenly and a great way to mark the day that we were joined in marriage. 

Honestly, it hasn't been all roses. And anyone who thinks marriage is, needs not to get married. Because marriage is hard work! It's loving someone even when you don't want to at the moment, it's learning to forgive and it's about being there for someone at their lowest and trying to build them back up and always be "in their corner". 

No, it hasn't always been easy and I would say we have faced some of our saddest days as a married couple in the last couple of months. But we actually grew a lot stronger in our grief. I think having each other to cling to during these days of sadness has allowed us to truly know and trust that we are going to be there "for the good and the bad". 

Ry, I am glad to get to do life with you! xo 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Sam's Mickey Mouse 3rd Birthday Party!

I realized something the other day. Planning, executing and hosting a party at my house gives me great joy. I have really enjoyed planning Sam's birthday parties over the last three years. I remember being worried after Sam's first birthday that it wouldn't "acceptable" to plan a themed party anymore since birthdays until school age would be just immediate family. But my mother-in-law said that it doesn't matter and I should have a theme every year if I wanted. 

I had been feeling pretty sick from being pregnant and then exactly 1 month before Sam's birthday we lost our girl. Through all the sadness, I found some moments of joy while I got the decorations ready to celebrate Sam being 3! It was nice to keep mind busy and distracted. 

I decided on a Mickey Mouse themed party. Sam does really like Mickey and I figured it might be my last year for this theme option! Plus I am a HUGE Disney fan so I was super excited for this theme. While there are plenty of Mickey decorations I could have bought, I just love making my own instead. I did buy Mickey napkins and ears for everyone! 

Easiest project that I loved the way it turned out. Yellow dot stickers on red solo cups to make it look like Mickey shorts! 

The food I decided to keep REALLY simple! Hot dog bar with chips, fruit and veggies!

I was reminded the night before how much I hate streamers! I avoid them as part of decorating as much as possible! 

Since Sam's first birthday, one of the traditions I have is that I print Sam pictures from throughout the year and put them on the windows of the coat closet! I love this little job and I like to be able to show off pictures of Sam changing through the year. 

And a restroom sign! I found this great site that gave me "Disney" font for free that I could use for all of my homemade signs! 

And of course no birthday would be complete without a tinfoil number! :) 

I cut all the watermelon using a Mickey Mouse cookie cutter and that was a huge hit with the kids!

Simple vanilla and chocolate cupcakes for dessert made by me. 

The favors I made up for everyone was Mickey Mouse shaped rice crispy square. This was the most frustrating task! I thought it would be simple but it took me forever to do this. But they turned out cute. 

A thing the kids (and parents) also liked, Mickey Mouse on the T.V during lunch! ha ha! 

Sam HATED everyone singing "Happy Birthday" to him and he refused to blow out his candle and then proceeded to roar at everyone! ha ha! #threenager 

Littlest Minnie Mouse

Sam perked up when it was present time. I can take no credit for the fact that my boy actually reads all the birthday cards and then proceeds to give each person a hug for the present. That is all thanks to his amazing daycare! 

Sam was spoiled and was so excited for all of his new things! Although he's a little like me and hates attention, he loved the present part. Everything needed to be out of the box and played with/worn immediately. 

It was a great day celebrating our 3 year old and throwing him a little party in his honor! 

And a special thanks to Jilly for coming and taking pics for me! It is so nice to have beautiful pictures of the day and not have to worry about running around with a camera and hosting! 


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Sam at 3

It feels like a long time since I gave a long Sam update. While I continually talk about him in general about the every day happenings, I never really lay out any cold-hard facts like I use to when he was a baby. Maybe because there are less changes month to month.

Ryan calls Sam "Buck-A-Roo" and we both agree that he is absolutely a great sidekick. We literally love spending time with him. I think that's why Ryan and I don't do so many trips or dates away from Sam. We usually take him with us so we can experience that time with him doing the things we love.

Sam's interests change from day-to-day but for the most part you can guarantee he will be happiest outside exploring. He doesn't have wandering ways about him which we feel lucky about. We can do some of our own projects outside without having to be so close to Sam. Instead, he is good about doing his own thing around where we are. Going back and forth from where we are working to his sand box. His little imagination is really growing. Like when he pretends to be Spider-Man and gets the ghosts. Or on his "pirate ship" looking out for Captain Hook!

I am really lucky Sam is still an amazing eater! He isn't too picky but he definitely loves his sweets, cheese, bread and french fries. But whatever I put out for supper for the most part he eats!

He is still a great sleeper and pretty scheduled. I know the days of naps will be coming to an end within the next little while. Since he turned 3, naps have been a struggle at home. It's almost like he doesn't want to miss anything and he knows we will be doing stuff. I am still pushing back though and he does eventually go for a nap. With his nap, he is in bed for the night between 7-7:30 PM. I wake him up for daycare at 6:20 but on weekends if I leave him he will now sleep until at least 8!

Now that Sam is three there are so many great things we can do together it seems. His communication skills are awesome and it is nice being able to understand what is wrong or what he wants. The rough thing about that is that even though in his head something is "right" it is hard to teach him what is wrong. We are at a huge milestone time I feel in the discipline department. He has really figured out how to push our buttons. It seems like many things are a battle these days and the tantrums are difficult and more frequent. But we take it day-by-day and try to both stand firm in our boundaries and actions of discipline yet also try and figure our when to "pick our battles. He will do the same "bad" thing again within 24 hours to gauge our reaction I think.  I am going to get any future Mommy friends a bottle of wine on their kid's 3rd birthday! Ha ha!

Our boy is still tall and lanky! I can't believe how quickly he went through clothes in the last year. But the biggest surprise is his shoes! I sent Ryan once to grab a pair of boots for Sam when he was out. I told him to pick him up a pair of size 11's. He texted me from the store saying they looked massive and he wasn't going to buy them. I assured him that size 11 was his size but he still didn't get them. We went together the next week to have Sam try them on and sure enough, size 11! I am glad it is short season too because it is hard to find pants that are long enough for Sam yet small enough in the waist.

We went through some tough times in the last two months as a family, Sam included. He knew something was wrong with Mom and Dad but didn't understand what. So, he began acting out a little while things were upside down. He became almost fearful of me because I would spontaneously start crying so he began to insist Ryan get him ready for bath, read his stories and sit with him during movies. Thankfully, we all healed. He still talks about "baby sister" but also says how she is in heaven.

We are at a new point in eating out which is nice that we can go to restaurants occasionally now. Before his attention span would be so short and he would begin wanting to walk around and not sit and eat. Now, he is happy to sit and color, play a game or watch Paw Patrol on Ryan's ipad. Yes, we are totally those parents that let their kid have screen time at a restaurant! But it makes it so enjoyable for everyone (us and those around us).

Sam can count to 14, knows his colors and shapes. He is such a sponge right now. He is starting to understand the concepts of time like tomorrow and later for example. His french understanding is great and he knows a lot of words in both languages. He loves his friends and family and spending time with them. Although he acts shy ("Nope") when he first enters new situations and people, he eventually warms up. He has a kind heart, can be super silly, has one of the best smiles and already showing patience beyond his years. He is just an all around cool kid and I am so proud to call him mine! 


Friday, April 28, 2017

Maple Syrup 2017- Part 2

So I had this crazy idea, "Let's make maple syrup" and my Aunt Jemima loving husband just said, "Sure" and got to work on figuring out some of the details. 

When it was time to tap, we were so excited to finally get going on this adventure. My brother and Ryan loaded up the cans, got themselves a drink and then got stuck! ha ha! Great first start! 

But they did get all 50 buckets and taps in the trees and we were so excited for those first few drops! 

I was obsessive about checking them but I loved to see how much sap we had gotten. We decided to only tap trees that were close enough to walk to. It made for a fun activity with Sam to walk to check the buckets. When they got very full we would load up on the RTV and dump the sap into storage containers. 

Some of the trees were slow to start to flow some sap but others were MASS producers. Couldn't keep up with all the sap sometimes! 

About 3 full weekends and a few evenings we spent boiling with our new evaporator that we purchased from syrup hobbiest in Ontario. It's a small evaporator compared to some. It is good for about 150 taps which we figured would do for us as we just want to get enough for ourselves and as gifts.  

So how does sap become delicious maple syrup? You boil, boil, boil, boil and then when it's almost boil some more! 

We had Ryan's dad there every weekend giving us tips and tricks thankfully! He really gave us a crash course on sugaring! 

Our evaporator is run by wood heat and so we basically spend all day outside watching it and reloading the wood. Sam LOVED it. The weather was starting to get nice and anytime that he can spend tons of time outside, he is a happy boy! 

Ryan and I would stand around and visit with friends and family that would stop by. We look forward to the day that maybe we can have a little shack that protects us from the elements. 

There is nothing more satisfying then getting some "almost" ready syrup from the evaporator after hours/days of boiling. This almost ready syrup would then go onto a little propane stove to finish boiling it (outside). Ryan's dad taught us for to look for sheeting off the spoon and then you know the syrup is ready! 

We would then double filter it and after it has all dripped into the pot, I would bring it inside to test taste bottle.

The friends of ours (Hi Josh and Rebekka) that gave us the idea to get into maple sugaring gave us their syrup in a liquor bottle and said it was the best way to store it. We decided to do the same thing and also put some in smaller mason jars that we could give away to friends and family as gifts throughout the year. 

When we started out this year, we had no idea how much syrup we would get. Our hope was that this year we would do a lot of learning and get a little sweet stuff as our reward. But what surprised us is not only did we do a lot of learning but we got more maple syrup then we imagine! We were actually asking friends/family for empty liquor bottles because we had nothing left to store it into. 

In total this year we collected and boiled enough sap to get 23 Liters of maple syrup. Our ratio was about 50 gallons of sap to 1 gallon of syrup. That's a lot of boiling. 

I think the best thing about this hobby is that the season is short. Just as you are getting tired of collecting sap and boiling, the weather warms up and it's time to call it quits! While the buckets, taps and evaporators are put away, I am into my freezer constantly looking at our liquid gold, our maple syrup stash! I have yet to have to buy maple syrup or use regular sugar! Even our pizza dough and bread has syrup in it instead of sugar. 

The biggest thing this new endeavor brought us this year was a distraction, A project to keep our minds busy while our hearts healed after the loss of our baby girl. It was almost like a team building project as we worked together on our new hobby. 

Now that we have had a few weeks break, we thinking and talking about next year's sugaring season! We hope to move from 50 taps to 75 taps, improve our evening boilings and getting wood ready earlier in the year. I think we are hooked on our new hobby and hope it is something our family can do together for many years to come. 


Friday, April 21, 2017

Easter 2017

Easter has come and gone and it has been crazy at work and I am just getting around to document it until now! Geesh! But our Easter was full of chocolate, family and celebrating the risen Christ! It was so wonderful! Holidays are so fun with Sam as he is really understanding and getting excited! 

We had Friday off and the weather was gorgeous! We literally spent all day outside working away and playing! During Sam's nap I did a little chalk paint project. I made my own chalk paint to save some money and it was so easy! Ryan got me a Palm Bay to enjoy while painting and it was just a heavenly way to spend an afternoon! And I love the way it turned out! 

Our first Easter on Saturday at my parents with all his cousins! So much fun with a group of cousins to play with! Oh the bribery we had to do to get this picture! ha ha! 

My parents organized an egg hunt for the kids and each kid had either own egg color to find! It makes it so easy! 

And kites for each kid! The weather was perfect for kite flying! 

It was yucky afternoon/evening but we had a movie night together and then got to bed so the Easter Bunny could come! 

I have loved putting Sam's and Ryan's baskets together! In Sam's there were treats, a new baseball, spider-man bell for his bike, water bottle, John Deere gator and new sunglasses! Sam was literally vibrating with excitement and loved finding his eggs too!  

The day before I made some cinnamon buns and was smart this time! It makes about 2 dozen buns and so I got 6 ready for breakfast and froze the others for yummy and easy weekend breakfasts! Otherwise, they would go to waste! 

Easter Sunday always seems to fly by and we had to boogie to get ready for church! Another favorite parenting thing, getting Sam's Easter outfit every year. I am very careful with Sam's clothes. 99% are hand-me-downs (Thank you Stacy) and the others I find second hand. But for Easter and Christmas, he gets a new outfit picked out by me! I know I'll only be able to do this for so long! 

After church we all had a little nap and then headed to Ryan's parents for Easter supper and our boy was spoiled again by treats and Easter egg hunt! 

On the way home we decided to take a drive through town and got a flat tire! Boo!

We were all pretty tired from an exciting couple of days and on Monday got to work on putting away and cleaning the rest of the maple syrup supplies. It's actually a nice hobby because while it is a lot of work, it is a short season! And now we have some sweet syrup to enjoy for the rest of the year! 

How was your Easter?