Friday, January 30, 2015

Salt Dough Moulds

i finally got around to making these Salt Dough Molds for Malcolm

thank you to Taryn for coming up with this project that we did 4 years ago when we decided it would be a totally reasonable undertaking to host a Toddler Art Class in Vancouver once a week.  Click on the link and you will see a very young and chubby Moses…  Chloe was only about 2-4 months old.  i really do not know what we were thinking Taryn!  Click HERE to go back in time 4 years and see all the Toddler Art Class Posts when Chloe looked like this:

and Moses looked like this

HOLY SMOKES!  Taryn, we did a really amazing job with these art classes!  I would totally enroll my kids into these classes again!!!  We did AWESOME AWESOME projects!!!!  DIGRESSION.

back to salt moulds

Malcolm slept and Chloe assisted me… eagerly

i have never stopped loving my heart-shaped measuring cups

this is what Mom Brain does.  i cut the recipe to make a much smaller batch as the original supplied dough for 15 children.  it took me a long time to realize that in cutting this recipe, i completely cut out the salt and water and just had FLOUR.  to make matters worse, because i didn't realize i had written flour 3 times, i completely screwed up what is probably the easiest recipe on the face of this earth.  i added 2.5-3 cups of water instead of flour, despite the recipe suddenly requiring nothing but flour.

i dumped out the extra cups of water and added more flour

chloe enjoyed kneading the dough

no cookies cutters large enough, we used some bowls

Hello Monkey!
Chloe snapped these photos while i pressed Malcolm's little hand into the dough
i did not photoshop his baby acne this time

ack!  his little smile as he tries to fight me


et Voila!

hee hee even got a little bit of his jimmy-jams cuff texture

mmmmm delicious delicious cheeks!

brought out my tiny stamps to label the moulds

hee hee TINY FOOT!
ended up just doing the stamps for Chloe and Moses' moulds
the sun had gone down substantially by the time Moses got home from school to do his

bake these on parchment paper at 300 degrees for 20-30 minutes

chloe made a really crazy abstract sculpture with the leftover dough that i will post another day.  i think i'm going to buy some cheap flour so that the kids can create more sculptures and even paint them once they are done baking!

and before i sign off for the night
Malcolm received a very soft little gift in the mail today!


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

My first month as a mom of 3

it's hard to believe it's been only 4 weeks.  it feels a hell of a lot longer.
the time has gone fast as life has been a series of hoops with little time for rest.

i'm sure none of you will be surprised to hear that in this first month, i have done a smattering of little projects on top of my first two weeks desperately trying to cram as many newborn photos into my camera as possible.

school is kicking my ass, i already can't wait until summer.
there isn't a single morning that i wake up and don't feel eternally grateful that we live across the street from the school.  i don't know how else i would function…  actually, it hasn't occurred to me until now but if we were not walking distance to Momo's school, we actually couldn't function since the Jetta does not fit all three of the carseats!  we walk Moses to school and on days that Chloe has school, we walk back home and jump in the car to drive her up the hill to her school.  since they both start at 9am, and unless one of the lucky moms that have scored rock star parking in my driveway offers to walk Moses to school, Chloe is always late.  thankfully it's only preschool and the teacher knows the situation.

i am so thankful for these offers to walk Moses though i feel guilty.  i feel guilty not being the one to kiss him at the door.  Chloe also loves to hug him goodbye and wish him a good day.  i also love seeing other moms in the morning, all herding their gangs whether they are running from their cars or walking from the neighbourhood.  i gain my energy from social interaction so it's actually a positive thing to make it to drop-off no matter how wiped out i am feeling.  it's kind of like my cup of coffee, or rather my cup of tea, no i think i actually might start needing coffee!!!  i looked like a complete disaster that crawled out of Frankenstein's butt yesterday morning.  i hit the snooze button for an hour, from 7:30am until 8:30am.  my eyeballs were aching and red and my hair was matted down flat and parted in 5 different places.  sweats and ugg boots.  a few of the grandmas were concerned.  yes, many of the drop-off guardians are the sweet mothers of the mothers of the children attending school.  even in their old age, they are up early to take their grandchildren off to school and they are the sweetest ladies you'll ever meet.  i was so rough looking that i think i had 2-3 offers from people to pick up or drop off Moses…

back to needing coffee.  yesterday was tuesday.  tired as i was, i made it a point to go for a walk.  it was chloe's day off and i don't like to keep her cooped up all day, especially when the weather is fair.  it was easy convincing her.  i told her we could get a hot chocolate in town.  i ordered a mocha.  if you know me, you know i don't do caffeine well beyond tea.  this mocha was magic.  we'll see how the next month goes, i can't decide if it will be better or worse now that Malcolm has reached his one month milestone and is more wakeful.

today was his longest stretch of being awake which was 4-5 hours.  that being said, he did slept a lot from morning til evening.  i guess it was a fair trade-off since it allowed me to get a lot of things done throughout the day.  chloe was also off on a playmate after school, so i really was able to get more done than usual.


having three is the same but different.
you know what to expect, and knowing how bad it can be certainly helps to calm the overwhelming feelings of having no control of your life or schedule or amount of sleep or functionality.  the wonderful thing about excessive brain loss during these sleepless months is the laughter that kevin and i are able to share.  my mom brain is at a pretty severe level where forming simple sentences can be a major challenge and some of the things that come out of my mouth end up being utterly hilarious.  it's good to have laughter in between the frequent frustrated moody snapping at one another.  i'm so tired that i can hardly hear/process when people are speaking to me.  i can hear a voice speaking to me, but it takes extra effort for me to turn those sounds into words that create a sentence and even more effort to figure out what the sentence/question even means.  and still more effort to formulate a response.

i am thankful that Malcolm is not a crier or a screamer or a requires excessive amount of bouncing.  he's such an easy easy baby that i just can't get upset with him when he just needs to be held.  i am thankful every single night that he requires nothing other than a boob in his mouth  to fall back asleep, that kevin and i are not taking turns feeding, burping, rocking and bouncing him back to sleep the way we had to with moses.  HE JUST GOES BACK TO SLEEP!  I LOVE HIM.

sometimes i can feed him at 7:50am and he'll go back to sleep, allowing me to get up and have free hands to get both me and the kids dressed, fed, and their lunches packed.  i'll throw him in the carrier to walk across the street and then in the carseat  to chloe's school and back.  sometimes he'll sleep the entire time, other times i'll feed him once we get back home and he'll sleep then, allowing me to get some cleaning done.

chloe is doing well at school.  i have to constantly remind myself that she is doing well and not to compare her progress to Moses.  it scares me to think that she will be in Kindergarten in September.  for whatever reason, it feels like Moses is so much older, but that gap is really shrinking with each year.  it's very interesting to see how at such an early age the difference in which boys and girls hurt one another.  already, the girls are playing mind games while the boys are more physical.  on the girls front, there is exclusion and punishment by not playing with someone.  with the boys at Moses' school, there has been a lot of violent play happening which we have all been asked to discuss to avoid kids getting hurt.  Moses happened to "punch" one of his friends in the face the other day.  i was told by Moses that this boy was yanking Moses' hood repeatedly without stopping.  granted, i would also want to punch someone in the face and lucky for me, adults don't really do things like this.  honestly, i would totally punch someone in the face for disrespecting my clothes and then me, but i can't tell Moses it's ok to do. this was last week.  of course, they are friends again, like nothing ever happened.

today i received another note saying he has been increasingly more physical and that we need to discuss this with him and if this behaviour continues, further intervention will need to take place.


i wish i could say i don't know where to start, but the truth is, i know where it is coming from.  it's coming from me and it's coming from kevin.  we are exhausted.  we've been exhausted for months.  and as anyone can attest, being tired and stressed make for a perfect storm.  being spread thin makes a person impatient and easily irritated.  being in a state of constant tiredness makes a person cranky and very snappy.  and having three kids is… a challenge.  either Moses and Chloe are fighting and screaming/crying in another room while i am stuck on my butt feeding Malc or i'm making food or washing hair for Moses and Chloe while Malc is off in a corner crying.  at any given moment, someone is upset and wailing and in need AND I CAN ONLY BE IN ONE PLACE AT A TIME.

for the most part, the kids have been put on the back burner.  being sick for half my pregnancy and then exhausted and in the middle of renovations for the latter half, they have had more time on the iPad.  they have been neglected and we haven't had time or patience or energy to spend some good quality time with them.  they act out in response to their lack of attention and our response is to lose our cool, to snap and yell and threaten and bark mean things.  we haven't been good and it makes me feel like laughing and crying at the same time when i get messages from people saying what terrific parents they think we are.  i mean, my intentions are there 100% but the energy is lacking.

i'm sure it doesn't help that they have had to go through a series of changes.  new house and new baby and the house being in a state of constant repair.  as much as they like our new place, they have both expressed missing our old place a number of times.  god, i can't believe we have only been here for 2 months!  it feels like forever as well!  as if they weren't neglected enough throughout my pregnancy, baby is taking a lot of my time and energy and sleep and patience.  god, it is hard to believe that the newborn is the easiest one to take care of!  i don't know what the average fuse is, but perhaps the fuse kevin and i have is short in general and shorter with our full plate.  we have done away with spanking despite having grown up being spanked left right and centre throughout my entire childhood.  on the rare occasion it does still happen and i have realized it happens when i am the most angry and unable to control my emotions.  that in itself is a sign that it isn't the child's behaviour that is the problem, but my own inability to handle my emotions and if i am unable to handle them, i am passing down the same anger-management to them.  and i am very sure this is what is happening in terms of Moses being more physical at school…

i want to hold myself accountable.  i really really want to change.  i don't know how i will manage, but i need to make spending time with him a priority.  i need to demonstrate patience if i expect him to show the same patience for others.  i need to remind myself of this whenever i'm about to blow my top and i don't know how i am going to do it.  i am so insanely tired and with three children to contend with, it is asking a bit much.  however, i really have no choice if i want them to learn to be patient and control their temper.  i have no choice if i don't want to have more notes coming home.  i have no choice if i want to relinquish those horrible feelings of guilt that rise after yanking or pushing them around as i yell and yell and yell.  they are little mirrors, mini-me's, copying the only thing they know.

i am going to go buy stickers and reward myself for every time i don't lose my temper.
i will have this posted on our fridge so that the kids can see it as well and know that we are also working hard to improve our bad behaviour, to see that nobody is perfect but we all have to try our best to improve where we fall short.

and with 4 minutes to midnight, that is the giant load on my mind tonight.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Big Sibs

Moses protecting Malcolm within the shield of the Breast Friend
as the sneaky Snoogle comes oozing out of the crib...

Malc looks so different from Moses and Chloe, though I do see a bit of both in passing in certain facial expressions or in between his growing transitions.  i wonder how much he will resemble his older brother and can't wait to see them together when Malc has grown a little more into his face.  i have a feeling he is going to idolize his big brother.

though Moses isn't over the top in smothering his little brother, he certainly does do a great job when he does get to have time with him.  for the most part, Moses is in school the majority of the day and once he is back home, he and chloe trail off to play/fight in their room while i mind the baby or the baby sleeps and get dinner started.  he doesn't get a lot of time with him, but when he does, he shows so much patience and a love that is less shall we say romantic and more responsible…?  he certainly has shown zero signs of disdain or upset but he doesn't rush over to him a million times a day the way chloe does.

this girl is just a little mama.  
she completely smothers her poor little brother.
i can't decide how he is going to react to this as he gets older, but for now he's taking it pretty well.

i've already caught her carrying him while standing ONCE.

i will say, as nerve-wracking as it is to supervise her while she olds him, she is actually pretty damn good at manipulating her body and arms to switch holding positions.  i'm very impressed!  i will say the she is often overwhelming with her very very high pitched baby talking voice and her large paws all over him.  despite the aggravating tone and frequency of her smotherings, i am grateful she is so in love with him and doesn't resent him at all for the amount of time he takes from me.

i'd love to get some of these photos taken in a properly set up and well lit session but then it wouldn't convey the reality that is our life.  maybe on another day when i have more energy.

this is going to be one lucky guy

Monday, January 26, 2015

Happy 1 Month Malcolm!!!

we made it!

we survived the first month!  some way, some how we got through it!
and without further adieu, just in the knick of time, he has a name:


1.  we were looking for something distinct but not strange, much like Moses.

2.  Related to Colm which is Irish for Dove
Since we have O'Brien to contend with as a last name, Irish names work well
(part of me still feels like I should have named Chloe something else because of this…)
Kevin really liked Colm and I was looking for a name that had a peaceful meaning

3.  the one Malcolm we know of is talented, easy going and good company, not an asshole, has been best friends for ages with my girl Lindsay and is dating the hottest babe in all of Vancouver who also happens to be super multi-talented and oozing awesomeness.  

Middle names were between 
Patrick, Grey and Lee

to help try to settle a name, we decided to play with some Numerology.  kevin's sister jen always supplies us with a book with thorough Numerology and Astrology readings for each child 

due to a sudden influx of negative energy around Grey, it was sadly cut out
 so today it was between Patrick and Lee


Both our Dad's names are Patrick


English and Chinese at the same time
we both had Lee on our list when naming Moses

We ended up going with both because added up with O'Brien on the Numerology Chart
it came up with the very lucky #27

This is a good number and is symbolized as "the Sceptre."  It is a promise of authority, power and command.  It indicates that reward will come from the productive intellect; that the creative faculties have sown good seeds that will reap a harvest.  Person with this "command" number at their back should carry out their own ideas and plans.  It is a fortunate number if it appears in any connection with future events.

i'll take all the luck i can get

i love this little guy so much.  i'm pretty heartbroken that he is already so much bigger after only one month.  i took him to the Health Unit this morning to weight and measure him: 10 lbs 13oz and 23.5" from 8 lbs 14oz and 21.5" at birth.  i keep wishing i was back at the hospital with a fresh little bun, away from the world, away from the monotonous hoop jumping that has made this time pass all too quickly.  

Nicole, i think i'm going to have to start paying you a monthly fee since i have had this chair of yours for probably two years now.  i am going to attempt to do the monthly growth comparison photos that Pinterest has told me I NEED TO DO.  plus, i missed out on doing it with our sweet plush anchor which is really just the coolest prop to do it with.  have this guy dressed in in monochrome and we are set!  i already have onesies for months 2-6!  

his face has changed so much.  it seems to change from day to day and in the last week, i've really noticed how much he has grown, slight addition of meat to his chicken legs, his less witchy fingers and just an overall sturdiness all around.  his cry is a bit louder and demanding and meaningful.  i feel like it has taken me three times to speak "baby" and be able to discern what he needs when crying.

i'm in love with him.  it's going to be a wonderful first year and a very sad one as i truly say farewell to the last time i get to enjoy a brand new baby.  i love falling asleep and waking up beside his darling face.  i love that he allows me to do this, that he requires no getting out of bed to rock or bounce him to sleep.  we are bed buddies.  he feeds and sleeps and feeds and sleeps…  

i will, however, mention that he has started barfing in the last couple of days.  i don't think it is a virus as he has no other symptoms of a cold or flu.  it's rather shocking, exactly like the projectile vomitting that moses used to do.  SPLAT SPLAT SPLAT all over the floor all day and all night.  despite what these photos show, he has also started going through the baby acne phase.  yes, i totally photoshopped his baby acne.  

so that was month number one.

and i still haven't done the salt dough feet moulds.
ARGH.  and i totally know his feet were so much tinier and daintier.

oh well.  i should go do that now.

i'm so happy he was so well behaved today and let me do all these photos.


Girls I've Known

just a few snaps of the lovely visits i have had from girls that entered my life following my high school years.  there is something very special about these friendships because unlike high school, you choose to make time with these friends.  you aren't necessarily forced into seeing them everyday for 5 years so you know they must be good.  

i've known Bronwen since 2004, right after i transferred from Kwantlen into Emily Carr.  i was introduced to a very blonde girl with a wide brim hat at my best friend's (at the time…) apartment in Kits.  it blows my mind to think i've known this girl for 10 years now.  Mal joined Bronwen in a late night visit  last Sunday to finally meet Feather.  I've known Mal for almost as long, but hung out in different circles until more recently.

 super stoked ladies

another East Van lady and newly pregnant Shmoo drove out
to meet Feather Bob this afternoon

i've known Shmoo for about 10 years as well when she moved into The Crooked House with the same BFF that introduced my to Bronwen.  it is so surreal to find out every few months that so many of these girls i have partied with and grown up with are starting families of their own.  it is so exciting to watch them grow emotionally through the beautiful and terrifying stages of pregnancy, knowing that they will soon give birth to a tiny person of their very own.  after 5 years of blogging (and a few years of Livejournal prior to this blog), i am reassured about my honesty and feel good about the picture i have painted of my reality.  to have so many people confide in me and message me with gratitude for my honesty makes it worthwhile knowing i have struck a chord with them, that they feel comforted knowing there is some other crazy person on their same crazy level.

Bronwen came for a second visit today after Shmoo.  
Alex was supposed to join her but got roped into another job.

she arrived along with this incredible piece of crocheting that took her probably 30 hours as well as some delicious babganoush, hummus and a chocolate quinoa cake from Nuba

the two large pieces took her about 12 hours each

oh Feather
you are such a cutie pie

i have some truly wonderful friends

thank you guys for making the long drive out to visit
i look forward to many more years together