Friday, January 27, 2012


I've put off writing about this for quite a while, mostly because I was hoping that the problem would resolve itself and would no longer be something to write about, but since nothing seems to be changing, I figured I'd put it out there and see if anyone has any advice for me.

The problem is that Annika is no longer dry at night.  In fact she's been wet almost every night since September.  Some of you may remember this post from the beginning of August last year, when we were just getting ready to start putting her to bed without a Pull-Up.  She had been either dry at night or waking up to pee for about 2 months at that point.  And before that, she was wet maybe once or twice a week.  So, we took the plunge, put an extra layer of sheets/waterproof protection on her bed (so we could quickly strip it in the middle of the night, if necessary), and she slept quite successfully without a Pull-Up for a few weeks.  Then September came.  She got sick (just a cold) at the beginning of the month, and after a night with 2 accidents, I decided to put her back in a Pull-Up until she was feeling better.  She also started preschool in September, a major change for her, but one that she seemed to adapt to quite well.

We planned to get rid of the Pull-Ups after her sickness passed, however, Carey and I were also planning to go away for a few days at the end of the month, and the kids would be staying with their grandparents, so we kept her in Pull-Ups until after we came back, so the grandparents wouldn't have to worry about wet sheets (and it wouldn't be a big deal about having to wear a Pull-Up at Grandma and Grandpa's house).  I figured after we all got settled back at home, we would make the switch back.  Except by then, she was wet almost every night again.  She'd have the occasional dry night, but it was the exception, not the rule.  And now I can't even remember the last time she was dry at night.  It's probably been at least a month or more.  Nothing has changed in her routine otherwise (she doesn't drink much after supper, and goes pee before going to bed; no other big "life" changes).

Just a side note - most of you know that we use cloth diapers, so you may be wondering why we buy Pull-Ups for Annika, and don't use cloth trainers.  There are several reasons for that.  One, she loves the princesses on them.  Two, initially I had a hard time finding a cloth trainer that fit well and didn't leak (if anyone can recommend one, let me know).  Three, before Emmett came along, I didn't want to worry about washing cloth trainers when I didn't have any other diaper laundry (I guess that excuse is no longer valid, now that I'm washing diapers twice a week :P).  I have been thinking about trying cloth trainers again lately, as I'm getting so sick of buying Pull-Ups each month, and I hate the stink of a wet Pull-Up.  Anyways, just wanted to address that.

So, now she'll be four in a few months, and she's still wet every night.  It feels a bit frustrating, because it seems like such a big step backwards.  I'm torn between trying to do something to "help" the situation (should we wake her and try to make her go pee before we go to bed?  Should we take her out of the Pull-Ups and let her wet the bed for a few nights??  Is there a different solution???), and just waiting for it to resolve on its own.  After all, we didn't do anything the first time around and her body figured it out.  Does she just need more time?  Anyone have any advice for us??

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My "old lady giving unwanted advice" moment

Today we were at the doctor's office.  I was worried that Emmett might have an ear infection, but turns out he's fine, just a cold - glad I had it checked out though.  Anyway, while we were sitting in the waiting room, waiting, waiting, waiting (our doctor is never on time), Emmett started making eyes at an old lady.  He's turning into quite the little flirt, which is kind of a nice change, considering how shy Annika is.  So this lady (who was quite old, she told me she had a great-grandson that was about Emmett's age) starts talking and playing with Emmett, and talking to me.  And I could tell it was coming... the "old lady giving unwanted advice" moment. 

If you're on Facebook, you may have seen this article being shared recently, talking about how people (usually old ladies), love to tell young mothers to "carpe diem, enjoy every moment because they grow so fast."  The author talks about how she hates being told that (especially while her kids are acting up), because honestly, there are some moments that are just not that enjoyable, and it's okay if we're not enjoying every moment.  We can still be good mothers and can still love and enjoy our children, even while admitting that it's not that fun to clean up 5 potty accidents in one day, or get only 3 hours of sleep at night (some of my personal experiences).  I know not everyone agreed with her article, but it definitely spoke to me (maybe because I read it after a particularly difficult week).  It was nice to know that there are other mothers out there like me, having days when they count down the minutes until bedtime.  Will my perspective change as my children grow up?  Will I regret not enjoying these moments more?  Maybe, I can't predict the future.  There will likely be moments (probably the good ones) that I'll look back on and miss, but hopefully it's with a clear memory that not every moment was like that.

So, back to the doctor's office, and the old lady.  With this article fresh in my mind, I suspected that an "enjoy every moment" statement would soon be coming from this lady.  And I was okay with that, since she seemed pretty nice and well-meaning, and my kids were actually being quite well-behaved at the moment.  But she said something a bit different, something that I really appreciated - she just said "love them, the years go by quickly."  A bit of a twist on the usual line.  I thought, that's so true - we don't need to enjoy every moment of parenthood (or even every moment of life in general), we just need to have love.  Really, that's what it all comes down to.

Thanks old lady.  Oh, and I hope your insurance problems got sorted out. :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dear new sewing machine...

I apologize for leaving you in the box for almost a full month after receiving you (except for one brief test run).  Thank you for waiting so patiently for me.  I have a long list of projects, just waiting to be created.  I even have a bunch of fabric ready to go.  Now I just need to find the time and energy.  Hopefully it will be soon.  In the meantime, thanks again for understanding and not judging me, as night after night I collapse on the couch to veg out in front of the TV (the TV gets very jealous, so I need to spend adequate time with it). ;)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Rookie mistake

I made a rookie parenting mistake yesterday.  I should've known better.  I should know this by now...

Never, EVER, brag about how well your child sleeps. 
They will inevitably have a terrible night after that.

Yup, yesterday I wrote about how Emmett hasn't had that many bad nights, and sure enough, he had a terrible night last night.  I'm not sure how he knew what I wrote (I'm guessing maybe his Fisher Price aquarium/music player in his crib picks up a wi-fi signal and he can check the internet through that :P), but he knew. 

I woke up around 3:30 to go to the bathroom.  This is nothing unusual - since being pregnant and then having to get up with little babies, I seem to have lost the ability to sleep through the night.  Most nights I can fall back to sleep pretty quickly, but last night I tossed and turned for a while.  Then Emmett started crying around 4:15.  I let him cry for a few minutes before going to check on him.  He felt a bit warm, so I took his temp and gave him some Tylenol.  I rocked him back to sleep and I was back in my bed by around 4:35.  Not bad.  But just as I was finally drifting off, he woke up again at 5:00.  This time he cried for a few minutes and went back to sleep on his own (I didn't have to get up, yay).  Again, almost back to sleep, and then he's crying again at 5:30.  This time I had to get up again.  I finally got him settled down and headed back to bed just in time to hear Carey's alarm going off, shortly after 6:00.  I think I finally fell asleep sometime after Carey left around 6:40.  Then Emmett woke up again at 7:00.  Luckily he went back to sleep after a few minutes (and on his own), and I got to sleep until 7:30, when my alarm went off.  I dragged my butt into the shower, and by 8:00 both the kids were awake and ready for the day (but no one was terribly happy about it - I think Emmett's crying must've disturbed Annika as well).

So now Annika is at Grandma's for the morning, and I was hoping Emmett would have a little morning nap (we got rid of morning naps this week because it was messing up his afternoon nap, but I figured he might need one today), but I can still hear him chatting in his crib.  Probably checking Facebook on his aquarium. :P  I'm looking forward to this afternoon when Annika will be at school and Emmett will be at Grandma's.  I was planning to do a bunch of errands, but now I think the number one priority will be a nap!  Can't wait for that blissful silence.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


It's been pretty quiet around here lately - I guess I don't have much to say.  Not much to say today either, but I felt that I should write something. 

We've been dealing with a bit of illness lately.  I wasn't feeling so good on Sunday evening and Monday and Annika was sick on Tuesday evening and yesterday.  She seems to be better today, though.  My first clue that something was off was when she took a nap on Tuesday while I was making supper.  She was playing upstairs and I suddenly realized that it was very, very quiet up there.  I went upstairs and she had fallen asleep in our bed.  She had a low fever, and a bit of a stomach bug (luckily it was just going down and not coming up - I don't do well with throwing up).  So we stayed home all day yesterday (she wasn't too impressed about missing school although I didn't really mind not going out in the freezing cold weather), and made many, many trips to the bathroom. :P  On the plus side, she made it each time, so there was no messes to clean up (I've done that once before, on Mother's Day of all days, and it ain't pretty!).  She slept well last night, and seems to be back to her regular self today.  She woke up this morning and started singing "ballet day, ballet day!"

This morning I woke up thinking "book club tonight, book club tonight!"  It seems like too long since I've had a girls' night out, and I'm really looking forward to going tonight (plus I really need to get out, after being cooped up all day yesterday dealing with a sick kid).  And I'm looking forward to dicussing the book too - we just read "Room" by Emma Donoghue.  A great read, but pretty intense!

I feel like I haven't said much about Emmett lately, so I should write something about him yet too.  When I look at the blog labels count, there are currently 70 posts for Annika and only 64 for Emmett (or at least while I'm writing this that's the count).  So what's new in Emmett's life?  Well he got 2 new teeth recently, so that brings him up to a grand total of 6 (at 13 months).  They are slow to come in, but at least they don't seem to bother him too much.  We've only had 2 or 3 bad nights with him (compared to many with Annika!).  He's not walking yet, but he loves to cruise around furniture, and loves doing stairs.  He's recently figured out how to go down stairs, but it's still not safe to leave the baby gates down.  We're going on vacation in a little while, and I'm a bit anxious as to how he's going to be on the plane (it will actually be 2 flights - 1.5 hours and 3.5 hours).  He does not like to sit still, so I'm not sure how he's going to handle sitting in our laps for so long.  I'm thinking a combination of Cheerios and baby Tylenol. ;)

Anyways, that's life right now.  Sorry that it's not terribly interesting!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Another tutu

Annika got a new doll for Christmas, and I couldn't resist making little "Belle" (Annika named her) a tutu to match.  It turned out great!  So cute, and Annika loves that she and her doll are both so "fancy" (Thanks Fancy Nancy :P).

I used a different technique for making the little tutu and I think I might actually redo Annika's tutu now with this technique.  With Annika's tutu I looped the tulle and just pulled it through (see here for a tutorial - or you can google "tutu tutorial," there are a million of them out there).  With this one, I just tied each piece on with a double knot.  It seems to be more secure, since some of the tulle is already starting to pull off Annika's tutu (she's not very gentle with it, which is fine - it's meant to be enjoyed and played with!). 

This little tutu was so easy to make and incredibly cheap too!  I used a metre of tulle (which was on sale for only $2!) and a little bit of skinny elastic.  I cut the tulle into 2''x8'' strips (you don't have to be too exact - once it's on the tutu all mistakes and wonky cutting are hidden!) and then tied them around the elastic (which I sewed together to make a waistband) and knotted them.  You can also use a long ribbon, instead of elastic, but then you have to tie it on each time, and I wanted something that Annika could put on and off by herself (both for her tutu and her doll's). 

I'm thinking that this little tutu would probably also be a nice size (or maybe just a bit bigger) for a little baby -- I think I may have found my new 'go-to' present for newborn girls!  Every little girl should have a tutu, right? ;)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Beautiful ballerina

Annika started her ballet class yesterday evening.  We put her in the same class as last spring, since it was at a convenient time and place.  A level 2 class was offered, but it didn't work as well with our schedule, so we figured it would be okay for her to do level 1 again.  She was so excited about it, and I was almost excited to see her new tutu in action. :)  Here are a few pics.

She actually picked out the black leotard - I was surprised, I thought she would've wanted pink everything!  I really like the contrast with the pink tutu and tights, though.

Her leotard was a bit big, so I sewed pink ribbon onto each side of the back at the neckline, to tie together and keep it from falling off her shoulders.

I love this picture - little ballerina in motion :)

I have to say, as much as I complain about Annika's behaviour at home, one thing she has going for her is that she is usually quite well-behaved in public (probably due to her shyness).  There were 10 little girls in the class (ages 3-5, but I'm guessing most of them were 3 or 4 - it didn't look like any were much older than Annika), and a few of the girls could not keep still and didn't listen to the teacher at all.  One family even took their girl out of the class early because she was so disruptive.  At least Annika will usually listen to others, even if she doesn't always listen to me!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A strong-willed child

If you're a regular reader of this blog (or know me in real life), you know that we've been struggling lately (or for quite a while) with Annika's behaviour.  I won't link back to all the posts I've written about it, but if you click on the label "challenges" on the side bar, I think almost all the posts are about her. :P  She's always been a strong-willed child, but it wasn't too much of a problem till she turned three (other than when she was 3 months old and I had to switch her from nursing to the bottle - probably the worst 3 weeks of my life.  Stubborn little girl).  Terrible twos - nope, not a problem.  She was a great two year old - I actually thought when she turned three, "that was easy".  Ha, little did I know what was in store....

I'm not usually one to read a lot of parenting advice books or magazines.  I learned pretty early on that usually I'd just end up feeling like I and/or my child was doing something wrong (or not developing properly, etc), if I paid too much attention to the "experts".  And with all the different schools of thought out there about parenting, how do you even make sense of their advice, when it's all so different?  So I usually just go with my gut, my faith, and a hope and a prayer that what I'm doing won't end up being the topic of discussion at a therapist's office some day.  Sure, I'll occasionally consult family/friends, the web or our family doctor for some specific advice, when I need a little reassurance, but that's about it. 

However, I was starting to get the feeling that I needed a bit more guidance with dealing with Annika's behaviour.  I wasn't confident with what we were doing, so I checked out a book from the library to get some advice - "The New Strong-Willed Child" by Dr. James Dobson.  I'm only a few chapters in, but I'm glad I'm reading it.  One thing that he has emphasized a lot so far is that, with a strong-willed child, you need to find a way to control their will (or teach them how to control it), without destroying their spirit.  I've already started to pray that for Annika every night - for her will to be controlled without her spirit being destroyed.  The goal is not to have an obedient little robot at your feet.  That strong will is an important part of the child, and hopefully some day it will serve them well (to stand up for their beliefs, etc), so you don't want to completely squash it.  And you don't want the child to feel belittled or that they're a bad person.  Dr. Dobson talks about parenting with a balance of love and control.  Kids need to know that they're loved, but they also need to know who's in charge.  It reminds me of some advice a friend passed along to me, shortly after Annika was born.  It was good advice, and I'm often reminded of it - "pick your battles, because when you battle with your child, you need to win."  Not everything is worth fighting over, but if you do choose to "fight", then you have to make sure that you're in it to win it, otherwise the kid will start to question your authority.

So, we'll see what other gems the book has to offer.  I'm looking forward to getting into some nitty-gritty, practical advice for discipline.  Already at this point in the book he has said that he advocates spanking, so I'm looking forward to the chapter where he discusses that more.  I always feel a bit conflicted about spanking.  We have spanked Annika (not often, it's usually a last resort), but I always feel like a bit of a hypocrite doing it, when we tell her that it's wrong to hit people.  So I'm interested to hear Dr. Dobson's views on it.  Or any of yours for that matter (although I may be opening up a can of worms saying that!).

Has anyone else read the book?  Did you find it helped?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

8 years

It's our wedding anniversary today - 8 years already!! 
Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the day.
(Sorry for the poor picture quality - I had to scan in the pictures.  Eventually I want to get all our negatives digitally scanned).

I've been so blessed to have this good man by my side for so many years.  Here's to many, many more.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A week without dresses

Sometimes, as a parent, you need to get creative with discipline in order to get through to your child.... which is how Annika ended up wearing sweat pants for the past week.

Christmas was rough on us.  It was good, but still, it was rough.  It was just too much of everything, and paired with a week of sickness afterwards, it really took its toll on Annika and it all came out in her behaviour.  We have been dealing with some really bad behaviour lately - tantrums, not listening, hitting, name-calling, whining, complaining, poor eating and bad table manners.  You name it, we've likely seen it in the past 2 weeks.  Finally, enough was enough.  I knew that the circumstances were partly to blame, but Annika also needed to take some responsibility and realize that this kind of behaviour is not acceptable.  So, when the usual forms of discipline weren't working, I threatened to take away something very near and dear to her - her dresses and skirts.  Annika loves wearing dresses and skirts - she wears them almost every day (or if not, then a long tunic shirt with leggings).  She never wants to wear pants or jeans anymore; she just wants to wear a dress.  So when her behaviour didn't change with the threat, we followed through with it, and last Sunday night we took every dress, skirt and fancy shirt out of her closet and put them away (I left her dress up clothes, though - I think those fall into a different category).

So, she's been wearing pants for the past week.  One day I even made her wear jeans (which she really dislikes, not sure why), but she changed out of them during her quiet time in the afternoon (sneaky girl).  I'd like to say that the punishment made an immediate and lasting change in her behaviour, but it didn't (that would've been too easy, right? :P).  The past week was still rough, but she has been getting better in the last few days (Friday and Saturday specifically).  When we took away the dresses, we didn't have a specific plan as to when or how she would get them back.  We thought about giving them back one at a time, after she did something good, but with the number of dresses and skirts she has, it would end up dragging on for quite some time.  So we decided to do it all at once, when her behaviour was showing signs of improvement.

Like I said, her behaviour was much better on Friday and Saturday, so we gave her everything back on Saturday evening, just before bedtime.  And just in time for church today (she loves church because she gets to wear her fanciest dresses to church). 

I found it very fitting that today in church the story for the kids talked about being beautiful not just on the outside, but on the inside too.  And how we needed to have good behaviour and good attitudes to be beautiful on the inside (using the example of the fruits of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control).  I'm hoping that it made some impact on Annika.  She's obsessed with the idea of outward beauty, which is why I think she likes wearing dresses and skirts so much - she thinks they make her beautiful, like a princess.  Now hopefully we can find a way to focus on inner beauty, as well.  I want to make a chart or poster or something to be a reminder to her that beauty starts on the inside.  If anyone has any ideas, let me know.

Friday, January 6, 2012


Fabricland had a sale earlier this week and I went on Tuesday to look for some fabric to make myself a casserole carrier.  So far I haven't actually sewn anything for myself, so I decided it was time to do something for me. 

The place was pretty busy since it was a really good sale (almost everything was at least half off or more), but I found some really cute fabric, as you can see...

And it was a great deal - normally $18/m, on sale for $5/m.  I only needed 1 metre for my project (I'm going to use some old, solid-color curtains for the backing, just needed a cute print for the front), but since it was such a great deal, and so cute, I couldn't resist getting an extra metre.  Now what to do with it???  I'm thinking maybe another jumper or a twirly skirt for Annika (the hearts would be great for Valentine's Day...)

Oh the possibilities. :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Yummy granola recipe

We've been making granola lately, and I wanted to share the recipe with you, because it's very simple and so delicious.

Honey Peaunt Granola (click to see the original recipe - we've made a few changes)

3 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup ground flaxseed (approx - I didn't measure exactly, just threw some in)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (also approx, see above)
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Raisins or other dried fruit
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchement paper.               
  2. In a large bowl, combine oats, peanuts, wheat germ, flaxseed and sunflower seeds (you can adapt this to your tastes - add what you like, take out what you don't like).               
  3. In a separate bowl, combine honey, brown sugar, vegetable oil, water, salt, and vanilla. Stir well; then pour into the oat mixture, and stir. Spread out on a cookie sheet.               
  4. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and cool before serving.  Add raisins after baking.  Enjoy!

As you can see, it's pretty easy to make (just make sure you don't lose track of how long you've been baking it!).  I've been enjoying it with yogurt and Carey likes to eat it with Cheerios and milk.  Maybe next time I'll make a small batch without nuts so I can give some to Emmett as well.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Handmade presents revealed

There were a few items that I made for Christmas presents that I couldn't share with you before Christmas (click here to see the gifts I made for the kids), because I didn't know if the recipients would be reading and I didn't want to spoil the surprise.  Well, now all the gifts have been given, and I can show you what I made.

Insulated Casserole Carrier

Made this for my sister-in-law, from the tutorials here and here.  It was the largest of all my projects,  but I think it turned out really well.  The first project on my list for my new sewing machine is making one of these for myself!

Reusable Coffee Cup Sleeve

Made from the tutorials here and here.  I put it around a Starbucks cup and put a Starbucks gift card inside the cup and gave it away at a family gift exchange.  This is another thing that I'd like to make for myself!  And the great thing about it is that it's a great scrap buster, because it doesn't require much fabric.  The fabric on the inside was leftover corduroy from the jumper I made for Annika.

"Emmett's First Year" photo book

This wasn't something I sewed, but I still count it as a handmade present, since it took quite a bit of my time and effort to put it together.  This is a proof of the front and back cover of the book.  Each set of grandparents received a copy of the book, which is made up of pictures from Emmett's first year (and I also did a copy for us).  This project was actually a year in the making, as I had been working on it throughout the year (I tried to do it as each month passed).  To get it done and printed by Christmas, I made sure that all the book was complete, except for the last page where I put a picture of Emmett with his birthday cake.  Then, after his party, I quickly finished off the book, and it arrived in time! 

All natural lip balm

Using this recipe, a good friend and I got together one afternoon in December and made homemade lip balm (which was sort of a gift in itself, just spending the time together). :)  I gave these cute little tins out to some friends and family.

So there you have it!  That's what kept me busy in December.  I had a lot of fun making everything, and hopefully the effort was well-received.  Now to start planning for next year.....  ;)