Monday, 24 October 2016

my life at the moment . . . and yes, feel free to be jealous . . . NOT!

let's all go back to that warm, fuzzy moment leif and i shared last week when he pooped in the potty all by himself; we hugged, we kissed, we cried tears of joy and we were full of hope that this potty-training business was going to be a breeze. we saw the light at the end of the dark, smelly tunnel that is potty training and we were jubilant. hooray! we made it!

now, let's fast forward to one week later, where i am kneeling on all fours cleaning a poop land mine left behind in the bathroom by my adorable toddler, who was screaming;

i am scared to poop in the potty! i am scared . . .

while mr. level-headed, the love of my life, is cleaning poop off the sole's of his beloved, beautiful bride's feet.

insert wide-eyed emoji here

seriously. this is my life at the moment. both cushions have been removed from the couch because they need to be burned . . . er, cleaned and every pair of toddler underwear and pants we own are in the washing machine, along with socks and sneakers.

i guess you could say that potty-training is not going so well. yeah, not so well. i have decided tonight after cleaning up yet another poop bombshell off the living room floor that we are going back to diapers tomorrow, and he can toilet train himself when he is sixteen. i figure once he becomes interested in girls then it should be a breeze for him. this mama is done!

and since i am already airing out my dirty laundry (in more ways than one), let's share another warm, fuzzy story; yesterday, as my darling family was driving home from church, enlightened and uplifted after feasting upon the spiritual stories shared by those striving to live like jesus and feeling a burning desire in our own hearts to carry on, to not give up and to do all we can to be more like our beloved savior, jesus christ, the boys started fighting.

you're an idiot.

at least i'm an idiot with friends.

and so on and so on.

and then, since mr. level-headed and i were actively trying to ignore their foolishness and desperately trying to maintain some level of sabbath day reverence, leif took matters into this own hands;


mr. level-headed and i looked at each other in disbelief. he started laughing and i wanted to cry. 

leif! you don't talk like that!

but mom . . .

no . . . you ask the boys to be quiet.

but they are being loud.

i know they are being loud, but you do not talk like that.

but mom . . .

leif, you ask them to be quiet.

but mom . . .

what leif? 

i just really need them to shut up.

oh. my. land.

and there you have it folks: my life. 

he may not like using the potty, but he is definitely very comfortable with being a potty mouth.

i would love to end this post by saying: "at least he's smart", but since he is explaining to me how this boy cow makes milk for all the other animals at the farm in this picture, i guess i will just close with my usual;

thank heavens, he is cute.

. . . tee hee!

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

a tale of tears and poop . . . the best kind

the past few days have been rough.

 people always ask me how i do what i do, and they often refer to me as superwoman. let me set the record straight: i do not have super powers! but i do have a couple of secret weapons that help me appear to have it all together. the biggest secret to my success is that i am firm believer in doing what makes me happy. when i am happy, i have the energy i need to care for this family of mine.

the babies and i go on a lot of outings, and for some, that looks exhausting, but for me, it is a necessity. getting out each day and exposing them to lots of experiences, makes me feel like a good mom, and when i feel like a good mom, i am happy. being out of the house most of the day also means that i can do a quick clean up in the morning and the house stays that way until evening . . . woohoo!

i also know that i require a lot of sleep, so i go to bed early each night, often, with the babies. i do a quick thirty minute exercise video each day to get those endorphins flowing, and i drink a coke at lunch. i enjoy a date night each week with my hubby, even if it's just quick stop at perkins for half-priced perogies and pie, where i entertain my mr. level-headed with all the nonsensical stories and thoughts i have compiled over the week, and sometimes, if i am uber lucky, i get to write about those ideas on the ol' blog. i am a simple girl, but each of these things play a critical role in keeping me going.

but sometimes i can't get to these things, and when i don't, i feel it. this past week both the babies and i have been sick. i managed to kick the cold to the curb after only two days, but the babies have held on to it. no one is sleeping and with snot oozing from every nook and cranny of their face, the babies are not suitable to venture forth amongst the living. they are not a pretty sight and neither is their exhausted, cranky mama who has been housebound with them since friday.

to top it all off, leif has been showing signs of getting ready to potty train. on sunday, he woke up, took off his diaper and peed in the potty. he has done this numerous times over the past week, and since we are housebound anyway with the plague, i begrudgingly conceded:

yay. no more diapers.

and in case you were wondering, i purposely did not use exclamation marks.

truth be told, i am not one of those parents who look forward to potty training. diapers are easier, way easier. potty trained toddlers lead to one thing: public restrooms . . . excuse me while i throw up in my mouth. seriously, me, all by lonesome with the dastardly duo in a public restroom is a recipe for the flesh-eating disease. i just know it.

and not to mention, potty training is never an easy cheesy venture, especially with my headstrong leif. on sunday, he peed in the potty all day. on monday, he peed on the bathroom floor and the carpeted basement floor. today, he decided to just hold it, and if you have been reading carefully, you will notice that i have not mentioned anything about poop, and that is because there has been no poop. he will not poop. there is three days worth of poop being stored up in that little body of his, and as each diaperless moment passes, i grow more nervous.

i really wish blogger would allow you to access emojis. this is one of those times that calls for the wide-eyed yellow face, followed by the purple, screaming-in-terror face.

anyhoo . . .

all of this has taken its toll on me, and i hit my all-time low today after harriet decided she and i needed to play toys from 2am-5am last night. seriously. then, because life sucks (i am kidding . . . kind of) leif decided he did not need to nap. i am going to be quite honest and tell you that as soon as he got up from his bed and said:

i am out of here, mom!

i broke down and cried. i felt discouraged, exhausted and helpless. as i laid there, i began to imagine all of the things leif could get into without my supervision. so, as tempted as i was to just shut my eyes and doze off for a few minutes, i dragged my lifeless body out of bed and headed into the living room. it was quiet, too quiet. i quickly checked the front door to make sure he did not escape. seeing the door still shut and locked, i let out a sigh of relief, turned around and then froze on the spot: there in the dark, quiet living room, all by himself, leif was sitting on his potty with the diaper i had put on him for his not-happening-nap, around his ankles. i didn't say a word and tiptoed back to my room. i laid down on my bed and waited for him to finish. a few minutes later, leif sauntered into my room:

oh, mom. whatcha doing?

just lying down. what are you doing, leif?

me? i pooped.

i instantly started crying.

really, bud?

yep. can you wipe my bum?


seeing the pride beaming from his face as he proudly showed off the monstrous turd lying in his froggy potty, gave me a much-needed boost. the past few days i have felt like all my efforts are futile. if i clean up, there is a mess twenty seconds later. if i fall asleep, someone wakes up twenty minutes later. the television has been on for far longer than i like each day, and i have not even been able to squeeze in a shower, let alone a blog post or exercise video, but this . . .  this is huge. this is progress, and it has reminded me that raising littles may not be pretty and it is exhausting and frustrating and downright boring, at times, but . . . it is the most important job i have ever done, and even though i mess it up more times than not, i think i can say i am pretty good at it too.

yay, leif!

okay, so this is not leif . . . tee hee!

harriet is a firm believer in the notion that whatever boys can do, girls can do better, and she decided that potty training was going to be no exception. unfortunately, she was wrong . . . in this case . . . and in this moment. harriet, you are a baby. please, stay a baby for just a little longer. but be a sleeping baby . . . okay?


Friday, 7 October 2016

a whole lot of and's, what's, ugh's and anyhoos

you are going to have to forgive me for my lack of capital letters in this post, and quite possibly all posts from here on out, because leif, my adorable, cuddly, little monster, pitched a fit and picked off all the keys on my laptop and, although i was able to put all but two back on, my shift key is acting finicky. seriously. oh. my. land. what am i going to do with that kid?

anyhoo . . .

in spite of the toddler, today was a great day. i knew it was going to be a great day when i woke up, stepped on the floor grate and felt warm air blowing through it. i don't know why having our heat kick on for the first time since we moved in excited me, but it did. i think it helped me to feel like fall had finally arrived, and i love fall, even though this fall is completely different from any other fall i have experienced. first off, there are no apple orchards in winnipeg or the surrounding area . . . what? secondly, this weekend is thanksgiving and baby girl is not going to be home AND (thank you cap lock . . . tee hee!) we will not be celebrating the holiday with our families . . . boo!  it is going to feel so weird, but i am sure we will enjoy ourselves and hopefully, HOPEFULLY, i can make a good gravy. making gravy actually causes anxiety for me. seriously. my mom makes the best gravy, but in spite of the countless times she has tried to show me how to do it, i can only nail it about ten percent of the time. TEN PERCENT! those are not good odds. please, for the sake of my family, pray for me and my gravy-making ability this weekend. pretty please.

anyhoo . . .

i am going to apologize right now for this ridiculous post about everything. i honestly have a purpose, but i seem to have forgot it at the moment . . . oh, right . . . it was a good day. so, this morning, i actually woke up well-rested and then i stepped on the warm grate . . . yada yada yada .  . . right, now i remember where i was going with this post: leif has been obsessed with halloween lately, and he has been begging to buy a costume and decorate the house. i bought the babies their costumes earlier in the week - it was a struggle. i found four different costumes for leif, but he was not really into it because he was currently fixated on all the toys that were also in the vicinity.

what about this hamburger costume?

it has a crab in it.


what about this robot costume?

nope. it's too scary.

what about this blue, fuzzy monster costume.

way too scary.


i want to be a firefighter!


of course, the only firefighter costume i could find was way too big for him, but i figured i could roll up the sleeves, forget the pants and go with it. he was happy. that's all that mattered.

then, when we arrived home, i told elliot to ask leif what he was going to be for halloween.

what are you going to be for halloween, leif?

a ghost pirate.


insert eye roll here . . . toddlers . . . ugh!

BUT, that was the other day, and not today . . . tee hee . . . i really am all over the place tonight. back to today: with halloween on the brain, and warm air blowing through my house, i decided to unpack the halloween decorations and deck these halls . . . wrong holiday, but you know what i mean. leif was in heaven! we found old costumes that my sister and i had worn when we were little, costumes and decorations from when the big three were little, and all of our halloween books. sometimes i shake my head and wonder whatever possessed me to think that "starting over again" was such a great idea, especially when this forty-year old body of mine is nursing a baby numerous times throughout the night, but then there are these moments, like today, when i think that experiencing all of this again is the greatest blessing i have ever been given. seriously. raising littles is ridiculously difficult but it is also magical.

after the decorations were up, i was feeling all warm and fuzzy (it was probably the heat coming through the vents), and didn't want to end the good thing we had going, so i asked the babies if they wanted to make muffins.

i love making muffins, mommy.

i know, leif.

i have had this box of strawberries in my fridge for the past week and each day they were becoming more gooey and less appealing to the wee websters. i did not want to throw them out, and so making muffins seemed to be the perfect idea. i googled a recipe and found one called Smashed Berry Muffins. i have an aversion to baked fruit. i am weird, i know. i also hate all things pumpkin . .  even weirder, right? anyhoo . . . the idea that the strawberries would be mashed up instead of baked in chunks intrigued me, and since i had all the ingredients, we gave it a go.

leif and harriet got into position, and we started baking. i followed a few of the suggested adaptations to the recipes and added a few of my own. i mashed a banana along with the strawberries, replaced the oil with applesauce, used a whole-wheat/white flour mix, reduced the sugar by 1/3 and added a tablespoon of flax seed. we popped our pink muffins in the oven, and waited anxiously for them to be done.

are they done, mom?


are they done, mom?


are they done, mom?


and so on and so one for the longest twenty minutes of my life . . . toddlers . . . insert eye roll here . . . ugh! 

they were worth the wait, though, and here is another reason why today was so great: when elliot came home for lunch (have i mentioned this before? both my boys come home for lunch and often bring a friend or two with them . . . it is awesome! i no longer have to make lunches in the morning)  

ooops! off topic again . . . when elliot came home for lunch, he reluctantly tried a bite of one of the muffins.

this is weird.

and i immediately, thought;

yep, he does not like it.

but wait, he took another bite;

mom, i really like this.


here's the thing: elliot does not like most baked goods, especially not ones with baked fruit in them, which have been "healthified". this was definitely a happy day.

then, after elliot returned to school and leif massacred my laptop . . . ugh! . . . i decided we needed to get out of the house, but here's the thing: my heat turned on today because dang it! it was cold out there. we are talking -1' kind of cold . . . eeeek! seeing as on monday we were playing in 27' weather, our bodies are not acclimatized for this temperature just yet, so i decided to check and see if IKEA finally had the chairs i have been drooling over for the past two months but are never in stock, and guess what. you got it! the website said they were restocked.


this was my day.

and i don't think i have to go into any further detail because an afternoon at IKEA, followed up with their hotdogs and ice cream is the greatest afternoon of all time!

then,when i came home, there was postcard from avery's french teacher in the mail, extolling all of his virtues and exclaiming how much she loved having him in her class.

not that i don't think avery is a great kid, but what middle school teacher does this . . . awesome!

and THEN elliot's pre-calculus teacher called because he was worried that elliot is struggling and wanted to set up two afternoons a week for extra-help.


 i kid you not. he is lucky he called and did not tell me face-to-face because i seriously wanted to kiss that man. no, it is not happy news that elliot is having a rough go in that class, but it is awesome that he has a teacher who cares and is not going to give up on him.

and as i sit here in my new kitchen chair, eyeballing the postcard on my fridge, feeling the warm air blow through the floor vent onto my tootsies, and watching elliot finish up his pre-calc homework all on his own, i have to say it has been a pretty good day, even if i am struggling with a few finicky keys and they are calling for flurries tonight . . .


and now for the photos:

harriet gets just as excited as i do about an IKEA visit . . . tee hee! she may look like her daddy, but she is crazy like her mama.

because everyone needs a halloween, pimp hat. when leif put this on, he exclaimed;

this hat is awesome, mom. take my picture . . .

his enthusiasm for all things ridiculous makes up for this:

le sigh.

and this. how precious is she? here is harriet wearing the cat costume that my mom made for me and my sister, hilary. we both wore it, and i think even zoe wore it once.

and the muffins . . . which are almost gone. if you want the recipe, you can find it here.

and with that i will say . . . good night.

Mashed Berry, Banana Muffins

fyi: there was an incident with my toddler and my laptop today, sooooo . . . no capital letters . . .  sorry, but lots of yummy muffins instead.

mashed berry, banana muffins


1 2/3 cups of fresh strawberries
1/3 sugar (you can add 2/3 if you like a sweeter muffin)
1/3 cup apple sauce
2 eggs
 1 cup white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour 
(you can change this ratio according to your taste)
1 tbsp ground flax seed
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional - i left it out because i have a thing with cinnamon and baked fruit  - i know. weird)


preheat oven to 425'

mash strawberries and banana together in a large bowl.

stir in sugar, applesauce and eggs until mixed.

stir in other ingredients just until moistened.

i put it all in my kitchenaid mixer - easy cheesy!

spoon batter into muffin cups.

bake for 15 - 18 minutes. i got 16 muffins with this recipe.

they are done when you poke a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean.


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Reclaiming my Throne

I need to share this parenting gem I stole last week from @Jennaskitchen on Instagram. She stole it from some other genius mama, who probably stole it from someone else, and so on and so on, right down to Eve. I swear it is that good! With that being said, I am sure she will not mind me sharing this treasure with all of you. In fact, as mamas, I believe it is our responsibility to share tidbits of parenting ingenuity. It isn't fair if one mama is sitting there all queen-of-the-castle-like because she has the key to unlock the mysteries of the parenting universe while the rest of us are sludging our way through the day to day, making the same mistakes over and over again, while our little minions inch by precious inch take over our domain. Mamas, it is time to put down those chocolate almonds and Coca Colas (okay, keep them. Life is too short anyway and we need some joy in our day . . . tee hee!) and reclaim your throne. Here is the answer to all of your problems . . .  are you ready for it? I am so giddy; it is ridiculous!

Tokens for Screen!

Did you hear the angels herald? I sure did.

Don't roll your eyes. Hear me out. I promise; this will change your life!

Let me tell you how it works. First, put away your card stock and laminator because there is no need for either of them. I know you love them, but now is  not the time. The beauty of this parenting tip is that it requires no work on your part . . . no fancy charts, no check marks or stickers, and no preparation at all . . . hold your applause until the end, please.

Second, find a collection of little things that you have a lot of and do not have a use for. I have been dragging around a bag of plastic bread ties I used to use in my classroom for years, and they work perfectly.

Third, get a small container for each of your children and put their names on it. I simply taped their names onto small Mason jars I had stored in my cupboard.

Fourth, inform you angelic children that contrary to what they believe, they, in fact, are not entitled to watch TV or play video games all day long, and from here on out, they will be working for screen time.


The throne has been usurped once again and the rightful  ruler has returned. They will cry. They will argue. They may even tell you they hate you, but that is okay because after about thirty  minutes their screen addiction will kick in, they will start frothing at the mouth and  their body will  begin convulsing. Do not worry. This is a critical step because this is the point you have them. They are now putty in your hands.

Fifth, now that your minions are ready to listen, explain to them how the program works. They do odd jobs around the house for you - fold the laundry, walk the dog, mop the floor, vacuum, pick up toys, unload the dishwasher . . . you name it! For each job, they get a token, and that token can be traded in for 30 minutes of screen OR saved until the end of the week and traded in for $1. You take care of allowance, entitlement issues, and screen time dilemmas with one easy cheesy routine. 

I bet you hear the angels now . . . huh?

Now, I know some people have strong feelings about allowance over the fact that children should not be rewarded for every chore they do, and I agree completely. My boys are expected to keep their rooms clean, put away their clean clothes, watch the babies and clean up after themselves without any reward, other than the fact that I gave them life and continue to allow them to live . . . tee hee! But seriously, this is another reason why this token system works so well: you can choose what your child gets tokens for and it may change day to day, according to what you need done. It is brilliant!

And it works! Screen time has been drastically reduced in my house. I am currently writing this post, while supper is cooking, because I have nothing left to do. All the chores are done and my house is spotless, except for the toys that are spread out over my entire living room floor that Avery asked me to leave for him to clean up so that he could get a token . . . I kid you not! This has to be the ultimate parenting tool. I am once again the queen of my castle, and it feels so good!

And now because we all need more funny pictures of Harriet in our life, here you go:

I swear she did not learn how to text and drive from me. Harriet!

Check out the attitude! This was in response to my lame joke about her texting and driving. She is soooo much like her big sister . . . pray for me!

Oh, and Harriet is currently mopping my bathroom floors so that she can save up enough tokens to buy this pink car, that both she and her brother pitched a fit over having to leave behind at the store today . . . just kidding . . . about the bathroom . . . not the fit . . . ugh!

 . . . tee hee!

But, seriously, just try it.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Leif the Chief

Lately this kid is killing me. One minute I want to scoop him up and squeeze the stuffing out him because he is over-the-moon cute, and in the next minute, I want to stuff him into a box and ship him to the other side of the world. How can someone who is so naughty be so darn cute? My entire day consists of saying:

Leif, do not pee on the floor.

Leif, where did you find that marker?

Leif, where are your clothes?

Leif, why did you make that mess?

Leif, do not bother your sister.

Leif, do not wake up your sister.

Leif, STOP!

Leif . . .

Leif . . .

Leif . . .

 He, seriously, stretches my patience, and one of these days it is going to snap. Who am I kidding . . . I am going to snap, and I am getting old;  I may not be able to bounce back like I did once upon a time.

He goes from covering the walls in Zincofax to asking me to help him prepare a Peanut Butter Sandwich Party for his stuffies, complete with empty Rubbermaid containers filled with imaginary candy and instructing me on how to enjoy them:

Mom, you need to unwrap your candy and lick it. Like this!

He goes from walking Harriet on a leash and calling her Fluffy, while she trails behind him with the biggest grin on her face to pushing her down because he wants the toy she has in her hand.

He goes from pitching a fit in the YMCA because he is suddenly too scared to go into the gym (who does that sound like? Oh. My. Land . . .  insert screaming face emoji here) because he only wants to sit on the bench in the hall to splashing in the pool at the YMCA, exclaiming:

This is the best day ever, mom! Thank you, mommy, for bringing us.

He gives the best hugs.  He nearly knocks you over when he wraps those skinny little arms of his around your neck, and there is nothing more heart-warming than when he squeals:

I love you, mommy. 

He makes the biggest messes, and when he is caught on the brink of unleashing mass destruction, he will flash the most adorable, yet mischievous, grin and exclaim:

Nothing to see here, Mom. Just turn around.

He is the biggest help around the house - he cleans, he bakes, he makes supper, he vacuums and he rakes. I love hearing him ask:

I help too, mom?

He makes me laugh, cry, smile and cringe all at the same time, countless times a day, and more times than not, he leaves me feeling like the world's worst mother:

Why can't he just sleep?

Why must he always make a mess?

Why must he scream so loudly?

Why won't he listen?




But, when I am at my lowest, feeling exasperated and defeated by this two year old ball of energy and irrational behaviour, he will hold my face in between his two little hands, grin and whisper:

It's going to be okay, mom. It's going to be okay.

And for some strange reason, I actually believe him.

When will I learn to keep the Zincofax up and out of his reach? 

Seriously, he is the best!

A little snack we shared during one of his weekly 3am meetings with me. You know . . . to touch base and to discuss our dreams, goals and aspirations.

He is happiest in the kitchen, and has all of a sudden decided to stick out his tongue whenever I ask him to look at me.


Mr. Independent waits for no one, or anything as trivial as clothes, when he wants to do something . . . again with the tongue.

Our Monday morning Peanut Butter Sandwich Party

After sandwiches and imaginary candies, the guests all watched an episode of Paw Patrol with their hosts.

Caught, ya!

Leif, you bring me so much joy. Yes, you bring me to my knees, quite literally, with all your antics and mischief, but more times than not, I find myself on my knees, thanking Heavenly Father for the privilege of raising you and loving you. Thank you for choosing me to be your mama.