Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

I'd love to say that our recent outing to the local pumpkin patch had everything to do with my Project: Happiness October resolutions... (it wasn't - well, I guess not technically, but I'm still counting it, as I'm failing miserably at this month's resolutions and I need to put a gold star up somewhere, y'know?). But the pumpkin patch trip in mid-October is our family tradition. It started waaaaay back when Miss Madds was only a teeny tiny year old, and I picked the coldest, drizzliest day of the month to rouse the Hubs up off the couch and head out to get our pumpkin. It was a grumpy start, but we all had such fun that day, 4 years ago, that it's now the Hubs that is bugging for us to go by the first weekend of October. And a tradition was born...

This year Katie did more than snooze in the baby carrier... she was all, "LOOKIT THIS STUFF! ZZZZOMG THIS! AND THIS! AND DID YOU KNOW THERE WAS A SANDBOX!?!?"

She would not.stop.moving from the moment we got there.

"Bowling" game with Daddy
Umm... dangerous spot for my toddler to be watching her big sister "bowling". 
There was a train. It was good fun.

She wanted to be just like her big sister - whatelseisnew.

Dirt. Yay, dirt.

Don't forget about the corn maze. Madds led us through to the end without one wrong turn. Methinks she's smart like Mommy.
Of course there was a tractor to drive...

And oh yeah, the pumpkin...

We had a great time and had great weather for it - so thank you Mother Nature, for letting us enjoy 2+ hours out in the crisp fall sun!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Dear Maddie,

Dude. You are four. FOUR! I don't even know how we got here.

As prosaic as it sounds, I still (and probably always will) think of you as my little baby girl. Except I have to squint extra hard to see it now. Especially when you stand, with your bony little arm perched on your hip, and whine your requests at me, "Moooooommm!" So apparently you're four, going on 14. Seriously - can I stay "Mommy" at least for one more year? Please?

So much change in just one year...

A year ago you used binkies. (Like all the time - it was quite annoying really. Good thing the Binky Fairy took care of that one.) Now it's like you never used them. I can't even imagine you with one now. (Thank god, right?)

A year ago you still had that toddler twang - lisping your "th's" and leaving words out of sentences. Now you pronunciate and articulate like a proper little lady. In fact, you may just mind your p's & q's better than your Daddy (don't tell him I said that).

A year ago you wanted to watch princess movies all the time, over and over and overandoverandover again. Now you ask for far less tv - more interested in doing, playing, creating.

A year ago you would argue and demand and tantrum. Now you reason, cajole, manipulate (in a good way) (usually).

A year ago you wouldn't try new foods (we're getting there).

A year ago you couldn't use the bathroom without help. Couldn't get dressed or undressed without help. Couldn't open the fridge. Find yourself a snack. Open the front door. Clean up your room. You are so self-sufficient now, I find myself asking if I can help you, please can I do that for you, all the time. "No Mom, I can do it. All by myself I will do it."

A year ago you couldn't swim. Couldn't ride a trike. Couldn't write your name, or any letters at all in fact. You draw pictures (of people! and other recognizable things!). You write your name, Katie's name, Mommy and Daddy. You're learning your last name. You have your address memorized.

You are getting fearless. More confident every day. Cutting those apron strings and becoming your own little person faster than I ever could imagine.

Four will be a doozy I think. So much learning for both of us - new skills and independence for you. Learning to let go, stand back, let you try on your own, for me.

So while I take a look forward, I also take a look back.

A year filled with dancing. Singing (you love to sing along to the radio now). A year of learning and practicing and playing and giggling and "Just teasing, Mom". A year spent watching you soak up everything around you like a sponge. And admiring how it still didn't change your sweetness, your generosity of spirit, or your humour.

You still wake up in the morning with a smile on your face and an eagerness or have funfunfun.

You are my libra. Here to teach me how to balance.

You bring us light and laughter and so so so much love.

Every year your birthday seems to hover around Thanksgiving. As if we needed to be reminded to be thankful.

Maddie's 4th birthday from Sara Vallier on Vimeo.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Project: Happiness - Sept update and Oct goals

Hey, remember when I said I was going to set all these lofty goals for myself and it would lead to happiness and zen for the whole famly, and, and, ahahhhhhhh (that is a frustrating laugh there my interweb friends)....... Yes. Okay. So let's catch up, shall we?

Project: Happiness - September Recap - The Month of Organization
- clean car (like, really, really clean the hell out of it) --> okay, I ACTUALLY did this very early in the month. And it's still (sort-of) clean. But I must admit - the floor mats are still sitting in the garage, waiting for me to lug up the vacuum and give them a solid clean. So, 7/8ths check?
- clean off dining room table (this is our junk/mail/bills/papers depository and just makes everything look messy on our main floor at all times) + keep it clear for entire month --> *cue insane laughter* This was a lofty goal. I did get it 98% cleared for approximately 3 hours one day. My dining room table is my fucking organizational nemesis. That is all I'm going to say about that.
- Kijiji/Freecycle/give away items in garage not returning to basement --> YAY! I kicked ass on this goal. of all the crazy clutter we had sitting in our garage, I have only a box of dishes and a bag of clothes destined for Goodwill. I also made +$250 selling all our crap, which is even more awesome.
- update Flickr + Facebook photo albums, organize and backup photo/videos on computer --> Hmmm, I give myself a B- on this. I did update the online albums, but my backups are (as always) horrendously out of date... ugh. I feel stressy just thinking about the fact that I didn't finish this one.
- pack away summer clothes, sort through winter clothes - make goodwill donations and reduce wardrobes by 30% --> Another B grade. I did go through and did make some donations - but not nearly enough to constitute a 30% reduction. I got bored somewhere between t-shirts and old holiday-themed pajama bottoms... In all fairness, while my wardrobe is not "capsule" in the least, it is pretty pared down already. Except for the shoes - and I will not submit to giving up a single pair. Nope.
- clear out email accounts, unsubscribe from unnecessary email lists and delete or respond to all incoming emails that day --> Oh I OWNED this one. I subscribe to so many blogs that tell me about deals and offers that I really did a major email purge and while I'm not sitting at Inbox Zero or anything, the influx has definitely lessened significantly. This is one of the more glorious results because for some reason, I always felt guilty deleting an email without reading it through - which was such a flipping time waster. Oh I recommend taking a few minutes every morning for a week or so and doing this yourself. It really is freeing.
- create remainder of monthly goals for Project: Happiness --> Bahahhhaaahha. Okay - so I've started, but nope, this isn't done yet.

Overall? I give myself a B+ - nothing was that major of an accomplishment on that list - but finding an hour a day (or more) to really push through some progress was tough. Probably because none of it was really "fun" - and for the start to a "Happiness Project" it really wasn't all that inspiring. BUT the legitimate head-space that got cleared out? End result = totally worth it. I feel far more focused. Less concerned by junky, unnecessary, niggly little thoughts of "Oh I need to do X, Y & Z sometime soon." Really - the organization was probably a lot more internal than external, and that was kind of the point of it, you know?

Which brings us to October....

Project: Happiness - October - Month of Family
Maddie's birthday, Thanksgiving, two weeks of school holidays upon us - I thought it only fitting that this month I focused on us...

- make a bigger effort to stay in contact with close family - appreciate time spent with them
- plan fun family outings every weekend
- make more crafts, play more actively, read more books with the girls
- get outside, play harder, limit screen time
- start gratitude journal for the month
- bite my tongue, practice more patience, be more forgiving - to everyone (well, immediate family at least - stoopid drivers may still incur my wrath)

Huh. That seems like a big, lofty list...