Saturday, 31 March 2012

My Baby is Not a Baby Anymore

It's Levi's second birthday today. My baby little man is 2, and what an amazing two years it has been. Of course when I say amazing you know that's my mother-amnesia talking. I've selectively blocked out the trying times, you know you have them... the never sleeping, the teething, the fits in the grocery store, an uncanny ability to make the tidiest of rooms look like it's unfit for human habitation, and so on. But how easy it is to block out those trying times, because they are instantly over-written in my minds eye by his sweetest and simplest "Laa youu mama", or "welcome" where thank-you is most warranted, and his chubby little arms choking off my air supply.

As a third child Levi was supposed to be the "easy" one, right? I'd done this pregnancy, birth and baby thing twice, third time should be no sweat... but Levi had other ideas. Shall we take a trip down memory lane, destination 2010.
At some point late in the pregnancy we realized this baby was breech, and was going to do things his own way around. I tried everything I could to turn him the "right" way, but for Levi the other way was right for him. I had two ECV's where the doctor tried to turn him by pushing on my abdomen, but neither of these procedures were successful. So instead of the quick and easy L&D I was expecting he ended up being delivered by c-section. Not something I recommend, the good ole fashion way is waaaaaay easier to recover from. From then on he has refused to be the "easy" third child, and I love him for it. Some may say it's the firery redhead in him, could be, but whatever it may be one thing is for sure, the kid has got spunk!

Levi it has been an honour being your mother for these two short years, I can't wait to see what the future holds for you.
Happy Birthday!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Levi's 2nd Birthday Party

We celebrated Levi's second birthday this past weekend with a big group of our friends, I think there ended up being about 16 adults and 14 children at the event. Just imagine... 14 kids 6 years old and under, yep it was loud and crazy. But in my opinion that's what makes it fun! The party was for both Levi and our friend's little guy Tristan, and I think it's safe to say they both enjoyed themselves. I am eternally grateful to our fantastic friends for letting us crash their house with all our party guests. An at home party is always nice when the kids are young, however you wouldn't be able to cram all those people into our humble home.

The kids got to run wild and play, the adults got to actually have a few adult conversations, and everybody got to have pizza and cake. Fun, fun! It really hit me when I was looking through photos from the party how freakin' cute our friend's kids are, seriously freakin' cute. I didn't get the greatest photos of all those cute little party-goers, a few are blurry, but you get an idea of the fun we all had.

I remember only a few years ago my friends and I talking about how crazy it will be to get all our kids together when we have all of them! And as of right now they're not even all finished having their children (I sure am). We figure that amongst these close friends of mine there likely at least 4 more kids to come, yikes!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Finn McMissile Cake

We officially have started the festivities for Levi's birthday, and it's still almost 2 weeks until his big day. His real birthday is March 30th. In order to have a gathering of all our friends and their kids we decided to roll Levi's 2nd birthday and our friend's son Tristan's 1st birthday into one big ole bash. What  a great idea, it was a fantastic party. This post I'm dedicating solely to the cake I made for this big ole bash. For a couple reasons, first of all I'm very proud of how it turned out (both in look and in taste), and secondly because I have oodles of photos from making the cake and the party itself, and one post is just not enough space to display all the photos I want to show the world.

The story behind the choice of cake stems mainly from Levi's obsession with his Finn McMissile HotWheels car (and in part from Tristan, who is turning one, really not caring what kind of cake I made). Levi has spent the past 5 or 6 weeks quite attached to his Finn McMissile, he calls it "min-micmisso", he has even refused to go to bed without it, and of course has had numerous ownership battles with his brother over "min-micmisso". We have even gone out and bought a few more McMissiles to keep the fighting to a minimum, but for some reason they only seem to want the one that the other already has, hmm funny. Another reason for the cake choice is redemption, I had attempted (key word) to make a dump truck for Gavin's second birthday, which fell apart before it got to the party, and I wanted to prove that I could make a 3D cake of a vehicle.

The marathon cake baking started out Thursday, I stayed up to 3am baking red velvet cakes and making both buttercream and fondant icing. I found a fantastic recipe for red velvet cake that used beets to colour it red instead of dye, and it even tasted pretty great! Friday I worked a 12hour night, so the official cake decorating began after 3ish hours of sleep on Saturday morning. Good thing I started in the afternoon, and not later in the evening (like I usually do), because I realized that I hadn't baked enough cake or made enough icing to have Finn McMissile come out in the right proportions. I am super-unbelievably lucky to have the most supportive husband in the world, he ran to the grocery store for me and even printed up pictures of Finn so I could get the cake just right. And despite his feeling very unwell, he stayed up until 1am Saturday night helping me carve and ice the cake. I wasn't quite so lucky to go to bed that early, I was up until 4am creating my masterpiece, with National Lampoon's Vacation keeping me company/awake while I decorated.

The sleep deprivation was well worth it, Levi loved the cake! When he saw it in the morning he said "mic-misso, mic-misso!" And of course he couldn't keep his fingers off it, he even poked a little hole in the fondant before we left from home.

 Me Putting Together the Layers of the Cake

 Carved But Not Yet Iced, My Amazing Husband Helps, Buttercream Layer Done, Fondant Started

Tired But Happy, Me With a Finished Cake

My Baby Boy and His Cake

As Levi Would Say..."TaDa!"
The Finished Product

Cutting Into the Cake

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Mikayla's Birthday Questionnaire

Like most things around our household, this post has been delayed due to the busyness three children seems to bring upon us. Almost two weeks ago now we celebrated Mikayla's 6th birthday, and this is something I've wanted to start doing with each of the kids on their birthdays. I saw something similar pinned on Pinterest, a list of questions to ask your child each year on their birthday. It's a simple way to see how their likes and dislikes change over the years, to see how they grow, how they change, a little glimpse of who they are in their own words. I've actually found it hard to think of what questions I would like to ask in this questionnaire. I've seen a few different lists on line, but couldn't find one that I liked best. I wanted to try to do some of the simple things as well as some of the things that might be more relevant as they get older and are asked these same questions. So, this is what I've come up with, and Mikayla's answers as a 6 year old.

1. Favourite Colour? Pink and Purple
2. Favourite Food/Place to Eat? Popcorn, The mall
3. Favourite thing to do? Play with my brothers
4. Best Friend? Camryn and Danielle
5. Grade/Teacher? Kindergarten, Ms. Pitcher
6. What do you want to be when you grow up? An artist and a mom
7. Favourite Book? Books that we make together
8. Favourite Movie? Gnomeo and Juliet, and family videos
9. Favourite animal? Elephant (this really surprised me)
10. What makes you happy? Playing with my brothers
11. What are you really good at? Helping Mommy and Daddy
12. Where is your favourite place to go? The mall
13. What do you like to do with your brothers? Play hide and seek
14. If you could have a super-power what would it be? Be invisible Batgirl
15. What do Mom and Dad do that makes you happy? Take care of me
16. What is one thing you've done that you are most proud of? My work that I make at school and my letters
17. What do you like best about school? Playing with Mason
18. What would you like to learn to do better this year? Cartwheels
19. What is the scariest thing you've had to do? Well I had a dream that I had to walk a tight rope (she couldn't think of anything scary she has actually done)
20. What is you're biggest achievement/accomplishment to date? Ride my bike without training wheels

Friday, 9 March 2012

Zoo Crazy

It's totally fitting (since I practically live in a zoo, with 3 very sweet animals), that we enjoy visiting the zoo very much. Last week we actually went twice! I love seasons passes - so worth it. We had a little taste of warm weather (and by that I mean above Zero), so why not take advantage?
The zoo has a new exhibit called the "Penguin Plunge", and the kids have been excited to get there to see the new penguins. It's been under construction for forever it seems, but the completion of construction means one of Gavin's favourite things about the zoo is now gone - the "mighty machines!". Since they are new and novel, I've heard rumour that on weekends the line-up to see the penguins can be up to 2 hours! So, to avoid the wait we decided to make a Wednesday morning trip, and it worked out perfectly, we waited less than 5 minutes. However, our second trip was spur-of-the-moment, our friends called us up to see if we wanted to go on Saturday morning. Luckily we managed to get to the zoo right as it opened, so our wait to get into the Penguin Plunge was less than half an hour. On that second trip to see the penguins one of them actually managed to jump out of the pool, right onto the path we were all standing on!!! It totally freaked Mikayla out, but Gavin wasn't phased, and Levi just wanted to chase after the penguin.

Each of my three animals has their favourite we have to see. Sometimes it changes but pretty consistently Gavin wants to see Elephants, Levi wants to see Giraffes and Mikayla wants to see Otters. Bring on the warm weather, we're excited to get out and visit all our favourite animals often this spring and summer.

The Tooth Fairy Makes Her First Appearance

Mikayla lost her first tooth today. Just another example of how they grow up way too fast. Didn't she just grow those teeth? The tooth had been wiggly for a few days, and she was so excited about it. It came out at school, she says she took a bite of her plumb at snack time and, pop! Boy was she ever excited to show mommy and daddy, and brag about how it "didn't even hurt". That's my girl.
Bed time tonight was full of excitment too, "when's the tooth fairy going to come?", "what does the tooth fairy look like?", "how does the tooth fairy get into my room?"... and on and on.

It's so cute to see that little hole in her beautiful smile.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

I'm not Gavin I'm ...

Gavin is at a funny stage right now. He loves to role play various characters, mostly superheros and their villains. He and Mikayla will often role play together, he's Batman - she's Batgirl. He's Dash - she's Violet (from the Incredibles). But Gavin takes it one step further, he gets into character and then sticks with it for hours. He will not even respond if he's called by his real name. I can't tell you how many times a day I hear "I'm not Gavin I'm Batman" or "I'm not Gavin I'm Spiderman", my favourite one the other day was "I'm not Gavin I'm Catwoman". He shows no discrimination based on gender, good-guy or bad-guy, human or not. He's an equal opportunity role player.

He often pulls an unsuspecting Levi into his game as well. Usually it's when Gavin is Batman and he needs a sidekick, this is when I hear "He's not Levi, he's Robin". Levi really doesn't care either way if he's called Robin, he just loves getting to be involved in the big kids' game. He runs after them giggling, and loving every minute of inclusion he can get.

Nothing makes me happier than seeing my three little superheros chasing after each other and working together (in Gavin's words) "to fight crime and corruption".

Sunday, 4 March 2012

The Birthday Party Saga

Mikayla's birthday was a whole week ago now, but it has pretty much taken me that long to recover! Why does it seem that birthdays seem to take more than one day to celebrate? This year Mikayla's birthday took 5 full days to celebrate. In those 5 days I managed to bake almost 6 dozen cupcakes, 3 dozen cakepops and one cake.

Day 1 was cupcakes to school... but we got there with our beautiful cupcakes just to find out that it was one of her classmates' birthday and he had also brought cupcakes that day. I figured both Mikayla and her classmate deserved to have their "day in the spotlight", so I took those beautiful cupcakes home. Mikayla was only a little disappointed, but I think she understood why.

Day 2 was a family dinner at my sister-in-law's new house. We were celebrating Mikayla's birthday, as well as Jan's and his grandmother's. So, we brought with us cakepops (Jan's request) and a cake.

Day 3 was Mikayla's real birthday. No new baking for that day (thank goodness), we had all sorts of left overs to eat up. We woke the birthday girl in the morning singing "Happy Birthday" and bringing her presents in bed. Then off to the mall for a little birthday shopping trip. She is definitely in training for teenagerhood, going to the mall is one of her favourite things to do.

Day 4 was her big party with her friends. Mikayla had requested "Monster High" as the theme for this party. For those of you who haven't heard of Monster High, it's pretty much Barbie Dolls that are the kids of famous monsters. We had this party at a rec centre, the kids got an hour to play in the gym, and then we had an hour for food, cupcakes and presents. The best part about not having the party at our house... no clean up, hurray! I think everyone had a pretty good time, as far as birthday parties go it went pretty smoothly.

Day 5 was actually taking cupcakes to school. Of course, the original cupcakes had been eaten already so it was more baking for me. Don't tell anyone, I used a cake mix, shhhhh. But they turned out quite nice.

Overall, a pretty excellent birthday for a pretty excellent little girl.