Tag Archives: toddler

Protected: Lux – 2 Years Old

12 Mar

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Lux – 12 Months

15 Jan

She chose the tiara herself. It seems to be our traditional birthday tiara. ❤

I can hardly believe it. 12 months.

The best things Lux did during her 12th month were perfecting her walking/running/JUMPING(!!!)/climbing skills! (I swear she is part monkey.) And saying, “Wow.” when we set up the Christmas tree!

I’m amazed by how quickly she is learning and how fast my chubby little baby is turning into a full on, slender, constantly on the go toddler.

Well played, Lux. Well played.











They’re right behind me…aren’t they?


Summer 2013 Round-up

4 Sep


We have/are having a phenomenal summer. A bulleted recap for you, faithful readers:

  • Nova had a birthday party
  • She got some belated gifts
  • Tamara’s bridesmaids and I threw her a terrific nautical themed Stagette
  • Cale celebrated another year as a stellar Dad
  • Nova’s actual birthday rolled around and my Mom came to help us celebrate
  • Lux’s boyfriend Beckett came for a visit
  • Anthony and Jen had a beautiful baby named Hannah
  • Emery and Ashlyn started coming over for playdates
  • Tamara and Jerred got married
  • My sister came for a visit with her boyfriend Ross
  • I had a sleepover and went shopping in the Unites States with my BFF
  • Emery came over on her birthday and we had a pool party
  • Nova and Lux’s cousin CJ came to visit from Ontario
  • We watched a lot of movies
  • We went to the library
  • We spent a lot of time at the park
  • My family from Lloydminster came to Penticton and we went to hang out with them
  • Our family friends bought a house!

We also went camping and learned a lot of new skills, but those are posts for another day. For now…Summer-time collages.

Summer 2013 1



Summer 2013 2


Summer 2013 3


Summer 2013 4

Summer 2013 5


Summer 2013 6



24 Jul

“There is family you are born into, and family you choose. Tamara has always been a member of my chosen family…”

On July 13th my best friend married my brother in law. In some ways, my life is like a fairy tale. I fell in love and married a man I’d been secretly in love with since high school, and now my best friend, whom I’ve known and loved for 15 years, shares my last name and I get to call her “sister”. Does life get any better than this?


Tamara and Jerred were married at Gatzke Orchards in Oyama, BC. It was an incredible wedding with thousands of personal, beautiful DIY details.


The groom, my handsome brother.

Tamara has been a part of my life for so long that my family has amalgamated her into their lives like an honorary Kushniruk (yeah…my maiden name is a doozy.) and it was amazing to see them there on such a momentous occasion.


My younger brother.


The day before the wedding was vibrating with the excitement of the day to come and we were treated to an incredible feast by Tamara’s other bridesmaid Liz and her husband/chef. Just thinking about the food and set-up makes me drool. It was amazing.



This wedding deserves its own Pinterest board.


The day of!




Tamara looked so beautiful. I felt such pride and love being a part of such a huge moment for her. Getting to watch her transform from my gorgeous friend into a stunning bride. Yes…when she slipped into her dress and turned around, I cried…a lot.

There are so many things about the day that made me smile. The guests and the decor (that I knew first hand contained all of our blood, sweat and tears), Tamara’s excitement seeing everything come together, Jerred’s very obvious adoration for the woman he was marrying, being maid of honor and having my girls be flower girls, getting to spend time in the gorgeous Okanagan. So, so, so many delightful and memorable moments.


Bridesmaids and two flower girls. (Thanks for the photo Liz!)

Mom and Girls

My mom and my two girls! (Thanks for the photo Mom!)

4 Sisters and Nova

My younger sister and I, with Nova.

Flower Girls

Flower girls! (Thanks for the photo Liz!)

Crazy Nova

Crazy looking Nova at the end of the night. (Thanks for the photo Liz!)

This wedding and Jerred and Tamara’s marriage is so close to my heart. I’m so looking forward to family holidays and get-togethers and for our children to be cousins. I can’t wait to see where their lives are headed and how much happier they are going to make one another. I cannot believe my good luck. I get a sister, my children get to have my friend in their lives in an entirely new capacity, and my FAMILY has gotten so much bigger and better. The things I have to say are so overwhelming, but I think it’s safe to say that when I think about my life, I feel more than blessed, I feel incredibly full of love. Both love received, and love given. And there’s a whole lot more to go around.

For the photos of Jerred and Tamara’s incredible day, stay tuned on their AMAZING photographer’s page: Blush Photography by Angela Waterberg. You DEFINITELY want to see these.

Tamara has always been a member of my chosen family, but I am so happy that on July 13th, she joined my “you have no choice” family.

Walking with Tamara

Blush Photography

Only one left…Nova – 23 Months

23 Jun


I’m not sure what’s making me more wistful, the fact that my baby is growing up or the fact that we’re almost out of number badges for her monthly photos. Ha. Taking her picture every as a way to document the passage of time has sometimes been a hassle and sometimes been therapeutic and has always been great to look back on. I’m so happy that I have photos of her teeny tiny baby face to lament over at 2am when I can’t sleep, or to pop into a photo album for her to look at someday. I feel proud of myself when I think of her realizing that every month (with the exception of one) I set aside time to hang out with her, just us two, and the camera. Sometimes her Dad or sister will pop in our out depending on the day, but it’s a solid 30 minutes to an hour of Mom watching her play, interact with her toys and books and clothing, and just hanging out. I make an effort to get involved with whatever she is doing multiple times a day, but sometimes shutting her bedroom door and everyone and everything else out is really nice. I can’t wait until my ladies are old enough for “dates” with Mom. Movies, lunches out, tea-time, whatever they’re into. I hope that making it a tradition will mean that when they’re into the double digits and needing space that, even if our hang-outs are paused, they’ll have good memories of them and eventually they’ll kick up again.


But back to Nova. Nova and her awesome, hilarious, spectacular little self. I feel a little bad for her because her birthday will fall on Father’s Day every few years. It’s not a terrible thing, but it means that sometimes her friends won’t be able to attend her birthday party, and sometimes she’ll have to share the day with her Dad, who deserves a little recognition. Heh. But maybe she’ll think it’s cool that BOTH of them get breakfast in bed, and BOTH of them get to watch whatever shows they want, and BOTH of them get to collaborate and decide on our activity for the day. Sometimes we can plan to have big backyard barbecues for Father’s Day that serve as Nova’s birthday party as well! I hope we can make it fun for her and keep any resentment or jealousy to a minimum.



In a fit of crazy, we decided that our big girl was ready for a big girl bed. She was almost 2, after all, and listening to her read books all morning long made us think that maybe she’d like a little more freedom. She took to it like a champ. We had a few tricky transitional days but after she learned how to stay in it (after a few nights sleeping on the floor or sliding off her mattress slowly and waking up confused and irritated) she loves it! Now at nap-time she grabs our hands, all of her blankets, and a couple of favorite books and we all head in to “nay dun” (lie down), “rit stawy” (read stories) and “wok beebee” (rock baby). My over-full Mom heart loves being able to lie my head beside hers and run my fingers through her hair until her eyes get sleepy and she decides it’s time for me to go. “Buh-bye! Nay nay.”



She can say so many things now. She runs around the house babbling like a mad woman but I can UNDERSTAND what she is saying.  I know what book she is reading because of what she SAYS, I can tell what she wants because most of the time she will TELL me. I feel like a whole new world has opened up before us full of untold opportunities and adventures! I love knowing what she’d like to do and watching her little brain at work while I reason with her. “Sorry Nova. No milk right now, but you can have some after your nap.” Woe is the adult who forgets to follow through on a promise though!

I also love watching her form relationships with other children in her life. She knows to be gentle with ALL babies now, not just her own sister. On days when I put her to bed and say, “When you wake up, we get to go see your friend Emery!” She wakes up full of vigor squealing, “Enry! Enry!” and I get so excited by how excited she is to play with her friend!


Life as Nova’s Mom isn’t without it’s challenges, she’s willful, defiant, stubborn, and very good at ignoring me, but the rewards are incredible. When my introverted, independent little girl wants a hug or a cuddle I expect fanfare and choirs of angels to appear and have to calm myself before I give away how excited I am. When she says, “Mum mum Mom” (Love you Mom) all on her own I feel like melting into a giant puddle of goo. The moments where she reminds me that the tantrums are a good thing, and the struggles are just a part of parenting, and that she is infinitely more amazing than frustrating are what make this all worthwhile, and they’re why I was so excited to be a parent. Not because I think I can do it “right” or “better” than anyone else. Not because I can follow every book I read and turn out a cookie cutter kid who will make me proud. No. I have and will make mistakes. I have and will do the wrong thing. I recently read an article by Lea Grover about how no parent is perfect and we all get to parenthood in different ways but in the end we’re the perfect parent for our particular child and that’s definitely worth something.


I don’t always do the right thing, but I always do my best, and whether Nova is 2 or 10 or 25 that will always be true.

“Congratulations, Best Mom in the World. You’re not perfect.
You are as good as anybody can get.”

Only one more photo shoot to go.

What time is it? Time for Nova’s second birthday party!

10 Jun

I think that as Nova gets older my excitement for her birthday will increase until it reaches a peak (right around the time she stops wanting me to be involved in planning her birthday parties) and will hopefully dissipate into a dull thrum that only makes my body vibrate a little instead of sending me into fits of clapping and inexplicable glee.

Her favorite show is Bubble Guppies, thanks to that fateful first showing at the Langemann’s home, so we decided to go full throttle with the Bubble Guppies theme. There were TONS of awesome printables on the Nickelodeon website and I was inducted into the wide, wonderful world of children’s television programming. We don’t have cable so my exposure to these sorts of things is few and far between but I have a whole list of shows I now want to download and “preview” for Nova. (In case those quotations aren’t clear…I’m previewing them for myself…because I’m secretly a small child and I love cartoons.)

Janet came over on Friday so that we could celebrate a few crucial milestones involving school, work and life in general, and we set to work crafting away for the next day.

getting ready collage

When Cale got home we put him right to work, and proceeded to remain awake until well into the wee hours of the morning.

The next day, the birthday girl, in true diva fashion, slept in until 10am.  Her party was set to begin at 11, but hey…it was her day right? We didn’t wake her. It’s worth noting that Nova, like her Mother, is not a graceful riser. She’s usually shadowed by an enormous, cranky thunder cloud until after she gets some sort of sustenance in her (cereal for her, coffee for me) and then you can have what closely resembles a conversation. We decided that we wouldn’t push it. Thankfully we managed to get her up, the car packed and our show on the road and arrived at Confederation Park just after 11. Not too shabby. Cale’s Dad was just pulling up as well so we had some help with set-up.

There were already a few Mom’s and kids kicking around at the park and Nova bee-lined for the playground. I knew she’d be in good hands so her Dad and I started setting up. There were two picnic tables, a rain cover that the elder Mr. Boden had brought along, and some blankets for picnicking provided by Janet and Kristin. Thank goodness for the rain cover! Almost immediately after we arrived it started to drizzle! I held out hope in the rain forecast, which promised cloudy skies but no rain, and was rewarded for my optimism when the rain stopped a few moments later and we were in the clear for the rest of the afternoon.

blankets and tables collage

Nova had an amazing turn-out! There were a lot more kids and babies than at her first birthday, and so many of our loved ones showed their beautiful faces!

party guest collage

I can’t even begin to thank everyone who came, but don’t worry, you’ll all be getting mail sometime in the next year. (I’m terrible at sending out my Thank You’s, but they DO make it eventually!) theboys

It was so great to see Nova connecting with other kids (which is still a relatively new development) and ALSO to watch her come out of her shell a bit. She tends to be pretty bossy when she’s one on one with anyone else her age but in a large group she’s quite shy so it was neat to see her warm up to both the children and adults and show off how creative and…well…demanding she can be. Ha.




Nova’s beautiful Aunties made my heartstrings sing by totally taking the reigns and easing the load on Cale and I so that we were able to socialize a little and keep SOME semblance of “flow” to the day. There were no organized games or anything. While I love them dearly, I thought that trying to harness 8 children of various sizes and ages would be a task best left for someone stronger, louder and more patient than I am, so we mostly let the little ones amuse themselves!

I packed up goodie bags full of fun outdoor items and let them all go to town.



I even tried my hand at baking again. These are homemade Martha Stewart Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream icing. I’ve never made icing, let alone Buttercream, and this was the first time I’d iced a cupcake since the 8th grade. There was some trial and error but overall they turned out really well! What I lack in presentation I made up for by imitating brownies in cupcake form. Ha. Everyone was either VERY good at lying to me about how good they were, or they were actually not half bad! Either way, I may keep this up.


Nova was pretty excited by everyone singing Happy Birthday to her. At first she seemed confused and then when she realized she was the center of attention her eyes lit up and a little smile creept onto her adorable little face and you could tell she was soaking it all in. She even managed to blow out her own candles, with just a little help from Dad.


I’m so pleased that the day was a success! It was as low key and laid back as I hoped it would be. Our guests could feel free to come and go as they pleased, there were enough hot dogs for everyone, and all of the kids made off with some loot. I was so proud of Nova for being such a great playmate and sharer. There weren’t really any tantrums and if there were they were dealt with efficiently and humanely by the parents present. We have friends and family from all walks of life and it’s always such a pleasure to throw them all together and see them connect effortlessly and hilariously.

I can’t wait for her 3rd birthday when she’ll hopefully have some input! (Although I’m sure the inevitable reminder of the passage of time will have me waxing poetic on the internet for weeks before-hand.)


Thanks for this one T.


Mother’s Day

15 May

Mother’s Day 2013 was amazing.

At midnight Cale presented me with a beautiful, thoughtful card, a gift card hidden inside of it that I cannot wait to use. Then it was time for me to cozy into the covers and relax with Pinterest and Android games on my phone with Lux snuggled up next to me while he was off to make breakfast. When I finally dragged myself and our delightful baby out of bed we joined Nova on the couch for the tail end of Bubble Guppies and cute cuddles.

Playtime, playtime, playtime.


After naps, it was time to go to Miss Hanna P.’s 4th birthday party. My inner child had been excited for weeks. I was not at ALL disappointed. At most family gatherings and backyard barbecues, I am the weirdo hanging out with all the kids, listening to their crazy, made up stories, asking them questions about their days, playing with their toys, and hoping to form a very non-creepy but dancing along that line relationship with these little marvels. FINALLY…I was going to a child’s birthday party. (Something having children of my own has finally given me full license to do.)


Hanna is my friend Taryn‘s daughter. Taryn and I went to high school together. In fact, Taryn was my platonic prom date. I thought that I would have more fun with her than any of the super lame, gross boys we went to school with. I was 100% right. Taryn is the kind of friend that you desperately want to have. She’s kind, loving, soft-spoken, beautiful, and so open minded and accepting that it is difficult to do wrong by her. She will excuse even the most abhorrent of behavior and put an incredibly gentle twist on it, forgiving them with an understanding tilt of her head and some beautiful turn of phrase. Taryn makes me feel loved.

Although outwardly we seem so different, inwardly our lives have been running on a bizarre parallel and our paths seem to cross no matter what stage of life we’re in. Running into her in parks near where we grew up, finding her standing on my door step after I moved out, spending summers climbing trees and hanging out in kiddie pools, and then, the text, “Call me!!!”

I admit, I put off calling. I was about to get on the skytrain, it had been a long day, I was tired, I’m not good at talking on the phone on a good day. I called a few days later when I guiltily remembered that I hadn’t.

“I’m pregnant!!!”

There are no words to describe the absolute, unbridled JOY I felt for Taryn. I know how much love she has inside of her and I was sending up a silent ‘Thank you’ to whomever was listening that some lucky little baby was going to have her as a Mom. And from what she’d told me, Syx was going to be an incredible father. It’s tough to say if I’ve ever seen a couple more perfectly suited for one another than these two. They continuously amaze me and inspire me with their relationship and the relationship they have with their children.

I feel so lucky to have such a wonderful friend, and so privileged that it’s not one sided. She likes me too!!! I hope that I am able to be a part of her and her family’s lives for many, many wonderful years to come.

Hanna’s party was incredible. There was pin the cutie mark on the pony, a delightful array of food, delicious ice cream cake, and delectable babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers all over the place!!! I got to see the beautiful Phanie, who never ceases to amaze me with her honest, incredible blogging and parenting,  amazing, ring pop kisses on the cheek from Moses, played Peek-a-boo with Chloe, rubbed noses with Armenie, met Jackie’s beautiful, chubby little baby, who is just a week apart from Lux, and the birthday girl even wanted to sit with ME at the end of the day, which let’s face it, made my year. That’s a pretty special moment, yáll. It was a perfect afternoon.






Nova, in her princess party outfit, found a toy on wheels she liked and sticky fingered it into our car! (Not to worry, we were about to return it when it was graciously gifted to us. Ha!) Every time I see it I am reminded of what an awesome day we had.

And it only got better!

After the party we headed over to Cale’s Dad’s for tacos! I was honored when they asked ME to choose the menu! They were delicious, as usual, and I was absolutely touched and delighted by a giant bag full of goodies! Chocolates, tabloids and a pair of very sweet earrings that had been picked out for my graduation from Library Sciences. Since I’m not longer pursuing a literary avenue, I got them for mother’s day. Two adorable book earrings. I just love them and the thoughtful lady they came from.

Nova was being extra charming, playing with her toys, eating like a champ, and lying on the floor to watch The Fox and the Hound. She was so tired but really putting on a brave face for us. I just love her.

Then it was time to head home for a foot rub and some mindless tv for Mom. We just got into Suburgatory and I have to say, I’m loving it.



I’m sure that the gushy Mom posts are only going to get worse as we get closer to Nova’s second birthday, so you’ll have to forgive me for my emotions and bleeding heart when I say that I have been waiting my entire life to be a Mom, and I’m finding it to be the greatest experience of my life. Better than skydiving, or traveling, or the best book I’ve ever read. These beauties fill my heart and my life in a way I never even imagined was possible, and I thought it would be a lot. It’s not always easy, or fun, or even all that good. Sometimes I cry, and scream into a pillow, and curse my own body, and wonder what the hell I was thinking, and then I see their sweet faces and I can’t imagine not looking into their eyes every single day, or pressing my lips into their soft palms, or wiping away their crocodile tears.

They make it worth it, every time, and I’m so grateful and happy that I get to share this journey, and these emotions with other Mom’s and anyone who loves ANYONE or ANYTHING with their whole heart. It’s not easy to go outside of yourself and be thinking about the needs of another living thing to an infinite degree but these amazing men and women do it every single day, and they do it unquestioningly, because it’s unfathomable not to.

So here’s to all of you. Thank you for inspiring me and showing me how to be the best Mother I can be, and for supporting me on the days I feel like I can’t be.