Dear Zoë at TWO

Dear Zoë,
Two years ago you came into the world upside down, and turned our lives the same way. Never could I have known what joy you would bring to our lives. This past year you have become a wonder to behold….you love making us laugh, you shout I LOVE YOU and are fast to hand out the most lovely hugs and kisses. Your fashion sense is unparalleled, and you are definitely cooler than your Mama. I can’t even put into words what you mean to me little girl. If I could go back and make you from scratch, I wouldn’t change a thing. Like Mary Poppins, you are practically perfect in every way.
Love always my girl,
Mama (who just has a little something in her eye right now)

Sunday Words and Photos (WITL 2015)

This was another morning that started so freaking early I thought I was dead.  4:30 Zo was up with night terrors, Garret tried to settle her, wasn’t working so she came into bed with us.  She dozed and cried and kicked about until 6:34 when she was completely awake “WAFFLES MAMA PLEASE”  who can say no to that….downstairs we went.  I was so tired I felt hungover so we played on the couch for a bit and I let her watch YouTube on my phone while I struggled to stay awake.  We also took some early morning selfies: 20150823_081729 20150823_081730 20150823_081735 20150823_093231At 8:15 we went upstairs.  Me to G “If you don’t get up right now I am going to divorce you”

Him “I’m up I’m up”  He told me to have a nap for a bit and he would play with Z.  It was a life changing nap.  I came down about an hour later to fresh coffee and played with my WITL journaling a bit. 20150823_10200310:20 dressed and brushing our teeth. We head to the nursing home to visit with GG.  She was sleeping, so we just had a quick visit then back home.  Garret and Kevin were doing reno work on the back room and Z wanted to watch “Let it gooooo” (she sings that part now and it is SO cute) 20150823_113245Put Frozen on for her and began the first of 50 loads of laundry.  We go away for only  4 days but some how return and everything we own is dirty? I do not understand the science behind this. 20150823_122706We had grilled cheese and hot dogs for lunch.  Go budget family dining!  Nap time was an ordeal and a half…I crept up at 12:40 as it was silent thinking I could get a pic of her asleep. Wrong. She was sitting up playing with her bunny “Oh HI MAMA” I was busted. Took another 20 mins to get her to settle for a nap.  3:05 I hear her stirring so I go to pick her up. 20150823_152916Greeted by this totally grumpy girl…Did not want to get up. So I went back downstairs and I could hear her singing to herself and playing.  Fifteen mins later she called me to come get her and we came downstairs happy as could be. 20150823_152937 The bedtime/nap time crew.20150823_170851 20150823_170858Came downstairs and we checked out what Daddy and Papa were up to in the back yard, kissed Daddy through the window and did more tidying. IMG_1451Kevin took us out to the Burger station for dinner, then home and a relatively early night (compared to lately) for Z.  Finally remembered to get a pic of my favourite part of bedtime routine.  Family Hug. We all go in for a big squeeze right before we head up to bed.IMG_1458Been a lovely long week…Kind of ready to get back to work next week and get back into our routine.  Early to bed for Garret and I (9:30pm)

Friday Words and Pictures (WITL 2015)

The story of this Friday morning was waking up mad early as per usual (thanks kid)  Packed up, wished Ashley a happy birthday and headed home…stopping at Timmies because come on people look at my face below. Coffee need is obvious.20150821_085428

We dropped Z off at daycare and did our daily selfie. Drop off was so hard.  I can see why it is the least favourite part of Garret’s day.  The girls at the daycare are so great and at least I know they take good care of my little ham.


Hustled back to the house, got prepared for our trip south of the border. This included turning the back of our mini van into a camper.  What to do when you are trying to travel on a budget?  Sleep in your vehicle like a hippie! One of the things I am thankful for in my marriage is that we always can laugh as we try to problem solve.  Below I am modelling all our couch cushions covered in quilts.  Sweet overnight accommodations.

IMG_1324 IMG_1327We head to the border. Garret is driving, he always drives.  Coffee stop, and we are off, traffic is smooth until we get to Lewiston crossing where we wait in line and people watch for a good 35 mins. IMG_1334IMG_1336Arrival at Darien Lake.  The trek down took us a bit longer than we thought as we had to make a few stops on the way….finding US cash, hitting a bathroom, and lunch.  We were surprised to find that the park was smaller than Wonderland (we expected epic theme park scale)  We went to the water park and had an absolute blast.  The story of today is to remember that we need to take time just the two of us.  It was really nice to relax and giggle and be together. Hand holding on waterslides for the win

IMG_1344Got  back to the van to change out of bathing suits and had a brief power down then ventured back into the park to grab a bite to eat before the concert. IMG_1361

Home run for this hunk in the batting cagesIMG_1375 IMG_1376We stopped for a beer and then really enjoyed the scenery walking over to the concert venue. IMG_1380 IMG_1382

We were both surprised by the size of “tall boys” in the States. Everything IS bigger down here. Also noticed all the smokers….things you don’t see in Ontario as much these days since you can’t smoke anywhere.IMG_1395 IMG_1403 IMG_1413We sang, danced, jived and had an all around amazing time.  Very good call on a birthday present Garret!  Darius Rucker put on a phenomenal show, Garret drank a few of those tall boys so I drove us off site to find somewhere to sleep. IMG_1427

Checking out the scenery while G pumps gas.  We found an EconoLodge on the way out of town so we pulled into the parking lot, parked towards the back and crawled into the back.  Taking a selfie under the covers.  We really are cool aren’t we?IMG_1429

Saturday Words and Pictures (WITL)

This particular Saturday was about waking up early in the back of our van in a hotel parking lot.  Dying to pee we ran over to Denny’s and had a relatively flavourless breakfast while planning out our day.  A google to show us where a Target was on the way back to Canada and we were set to go.  This Saturday was about remembering that even tho Target no longer exists in Canada it will always remain in my heart.  A good exercise in needs vs wants we did a perusal and just bought necessities…Comfy socks for Garret and rainbow themed birthday supplies for Zo cause yeah that is a need for sure.  We did some brief looking and then headed for the border.


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IMG_1432 IMG_1437 Me navigating “what are we looking for next?” (meaning a turn off/highway/whatever) him “Canada….we are looking for Canada Jules” After what seemed to take forever, including a fast food lunch and us swearing to eat healthier this coming week, we made it home around 2:30. Z was still asleeping at Mum’s so I went over to relieve Amelia of duty and wait for her to wake up.


A pillow fort on the couch. on a pile of clean laundry.  giggles giggles and giggles.20150822_171550

Cat in the Hat. Again.  We have to fast forward through the beginning until the Cat shows up, then we watch for about 20mins and then we are done.20150822_182711 20150822_183625 20150822_184656 20150822_184750Gorgeous afternoon so we went outside, ran around the back yard and played. G and I were exhausted. As much fun as sleeping in a van (down by the river) was, we were both pretty pooped from the drive.  Hoping to tire Z out.  She didn’t go down until about 8:30–this week has totally thrown her off her sleep schedule.  Didn’t want to get in her crib, wanted to cuddle in the glider for a bit. I was happy to oblige.  Garret, Kevin and I watched Paul Blart 2 on the TV and then in bed for 10:01.

Thursday Words and Pictures (WITL 2015)

The story of Thursday is getting slightly more sleep. WIN!  Mum got up with Z again and I slept til 7…lovely!

20150820_082243Jacob comes out “I am up because I could hear Zoë in my ear and I want to play”

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I wanted to make a special breakfast for Ashley’s birthday so we did it a day early before we lost more members of the cottage crew.  Zoë was still pretty clingy so we Macgyvered her into a side carrying position with the Ergo and some French Toast was made.20150820_121559 20150820_121901One thing Garret can be counted on to do in the kitchen: make coffee!

yes please

yes please

The story of today was rain rain rain.  Mum left around 10 and we were trapped in the cottage with two kids and lots of rain.  Z was still feeling quite snugly so we put on a movie. Cat in the Hat (again) and 8 Below.

Z napped on me and it was amazing, that rarely happens anymore

20150820_113221After a brief nap and some lunch we played for a while then Jacob (the super napper) went down.

IMG_1272We were getting a bit stir crazy in the cottage and with Jacob napping it was hard to keep Zoë quiet, so we went for a drive and ended up at Lay-Z Acres Trailer shop.  We had a blast checking out the trailers and EVERY ONE we went into was determined to be “MY Trailer” by Z.  We are thankful for the small trailer we have, but shopping always seems to give me the ‘gimmies’, wanting something more and something better.  We can’t afford an upgrade just yet.  A lesson in being thankful for what you HAVE.

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We got back to the cabin around 5 and played some more. Painted nails, ran around with pool toys on heads, got some minion tattoos, and ate some freezies. The sun was still out so we dragged the kids outside for some more running around.  G and Zo and I finally got to have a paddle boat adventure.  Jacob/Donnie Downer informed Garret while we were leaving “if you take the boat out there, you might die”  Kid takes his water safety to heart!  Kids had a bath and we thought that bedtime would be a snap after a busy day.IMG-20150820-WA0050 IMG-20150820-WA005120150820_210659Bedtime was NOT easy.  After 40mins of horsing around I brought Z down to the couch. Ashley and I had a glass of wine while the kids yelled back and forth at each other and demanded more “Kitty one”.  Feet were put down as there is only so much Cat in the Hat this mama can take!   9:45pm was finally bed time with me following around 10:30.  Goodnight!

Wednesday Words and Pictures (WITL 2015)

20150819_062641The story of Wednesday morning is that it isn’t really different from Tuesday night. The line blurred somewhere around 3am.  My Mum got up with her around 6:30-7am and I got to go back to sleep. It was glorious!

20150819_064945Me sleeping/dead….not seen: husband snoring away behind me.

9am–the whole cottage is up and Mum heads back to my house to pick up my bag.  I secretly think she was happy to leave so she could have a nice shower and a good cup of coffee.  Mum to the rescue.  The story of today is that even when I think I am super organized and on top of things….I am not.  Next time going to make sure I have clean undies packed in my purse. Then all set to face the world.

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We spent some time playing inside, Z still had a fever and was clingy and grumpy. So not like her.  We played outside for a little bit, but it was really hot and she just wanted to snuggle…back inside and watched “Kitty” (Cat in the Hat)  This movie will become an ongoing theme for this week.


Always coffee for this guy

Always coffee for this guy

20150819_100220 20150819_113604 20150819_120553Nana got back just before lunch/nap time and we STILL couldn’t get miss Z to nap.

Funny notes from today. Z calls Jacob “Jay-bib” And Jacob keeps singing the “Bo on the Go” theme song to her as “Zo on the go”

20150819_133354 20150819_141448(0) IMG_1255Naptime didnt go as originally planned so G settled Zo and ended up having a wee snooze with her as well. I was DYING a slow sleep deprived death so headed for a wee power down as well.

Post Nap she was still fevery and we started to worry it was an ear infection again.  Couldn’t get in to see our doctor and the walk in in Orillia wouldn’t take us so we went to Emerg just to make sure she was ok.

Emergency room family selfie!

Emergency room family selfie!

20150819_174731Apparently just a fever as she brightened up the Minute the doctor came to talk to her.  The story of today is being safe instead of sorry, and Murphy’s law re sick kids.

530pm–back to the cottage for some more family time and an amazing steak dinner.  We arrived to the news that my Aunt is quite sick and so Mum was leaving the cottage in the morning to head to Edmonton to be with her.   Not the news anyone wants to receive so it was quite upsetting for all of us.  We used this as a reminder to be thankful for what we have (family and health) and to let go of petty worries.

Threw the kids in the tub, got into their jammies and we headed down for a campfire

IMG-20150820-WA0016 IMG-20150820-WA0020 IMG-20150820-WA0023 IMG-20150820-WA0037 IMG-20150820-WA0041Bedtime, Z went down at 9 (late night for that girl) and I wasn’t too far behind her.  She woke up at 2 crying “our bed our bed”  ( I guess cause  G and I ask her if she wants to snuggle in our bed sometimes) Thankfully this time she just fell back asleep and I managed to pass out along with her.  The story of this week is the same as every week:  our daughters sleep patterns are insane.

Tuesday Words and Pictures (WITL 2015)

The story of Tuesday morning is that we sleep in with out our baby alarm clock.  Note that  there is light creeping through the blinds, check phone and spring right out of is 6:20am and we are late.


6:05am is a delectable sleep in for me….so getting up at 6:20 even without having to get Zo ready for daycare seems like a bit of a hurry.  Apparently I am the only one who feels rushed:

20150818_062024 My husband is many wonderful things, feeling compelled to spring out of bed ever…well that is not one of those things.

20150818_062347I get teeth brushed make up on and ready to face the day.  This drawer gets cleaned and organized every weekend, but as it is not a a child proof height things end up everywhere in short order.  I can’t find my concealer and have a mild panic about going to work with giant bags under my eyes.

20150823_123239Just need lipstick and I am ready to go….only to note later how badly this mirror needs cleaning. Yikes.

Just about to walk out the door and realize that that loud sound is not the shower upstairs but a really dramatic rain storm…the universe clearly realizes we are going to a cottage tonight.  These are the days I wish we had a garage.  As I hustle to the car I realized that I forgot to take pictures of Z’s chalk drawings from the weekend, and they are now all gone. boo.

20150818_063054Traffic wasnt too bad–surprise surprise. A win for all the commuters out there!


Got a coffee because we were early and I have NO self control when it comes to needing more and more and more coffee in the day. This is a habit I need to cut back on. Habits actually a) spending money and b) having 3-4 coffees a day

I stayed at my desk all morning, hitting the coffee room for our terrible work coffee, and got my files somewhat organized for a few days away.

12pm-Sushi farewell at lunch for one of our longterm co-op students.  I adore Sushi but find all you can eat so tricky…I never want to over eat but food keeps coming and it is so delicious.  (this might be the story of me never losing all my baby weight!)


Green tea apres sushi.  So yummy…and hoping for enough caffeine to carry me through the afternoon…I am so excited for 4:30 when I can scoot home and we can get to the family cottage adventure.

Chasing buster

Mum and Zo got up to the cottage around 10. She sent me this pic saying that Z has been chasing Buster (my Sister in law’s 2lb dog) around all day.  I think Z is missing Brooklyn who has been at my mother in laws for a few weeks.  Too cute!

4:30-5:45pm  The commute home.  Thankfully traffic is better than yesterday. Get home, go through all my “to pack” lists and load the car up.  Walshes are en route by 6:20pm


Lots of stuff!  Pay attention to the pink bag above it comes into play later…

20150818_181608 20150818_181620Thankful we have a van.

20150818_184602 20150818_182514He always drives and I always ride shotgun. It has just always been that way…no real reason, but I have to say I like it.  Side note this girl needs a pedicure.

We have to make a stop in Orillia, because we are nothing if not predictable in our forgetting something (Cough not me cough)  Pop into the LCBO and low and behold run into Elliott. Apparently the Shaw family needs some booze as well.  Force my boys to pose for a pic 20150818_190011and then we are on the home stretch for getting to the cottage. Finally some relaxing with the family…. (this is dramatic foreshadowing..)

Get to the cottage and Zo has a fever and is grumpy as all get out. Very clingy and unhappy…Mum says she just suddenly got all warm and moody. Oh great…Poor thing is late to bed, finally get her to settle around 8:45 and we all sit down in the living room with some drinks.  It is JUST after this that I go to get my comfy clothes on (as am still in a dress from work) and low and behold my pink bag is NO WHERE.  In my amazing Mum skills of getting myself and Z all organized, I somehow left my pink bag at the house.  Overly exhausted and pissed off with myself I have a brief mental breakdown and bawl my head off in the van.  Onward and upwards, my Mum has spare PJs (which were sized extra small so was like sleeping in a sausage casing)  I decide that I just need to go to bed. Clearly tired, we will just sort it out in the morning, the cottage is only 45 mins from home, and I can survive til the morning.  No more photos are taken at this point, as I am sleeping, BUT….1:30am has Z wake up with a poop and is WIDE awake….wants to sleep in the big bed with G and I (the three of us are sharing a room) and proceeds to sing to me, poke me in the eye, roll around and demand drinks and snacks.  3AM sees me head downstairs for some sort water for her and a bathroom break for me.  Mum is also awake and can hear the concert upstairs…..she said she will get up with Z in the morning (that woman is an angel in disguise I tell you) Back upstairs and the kid falls asleep….finally around 3:30 Wed morning