Let's Go Sledding

It was cold, cloudy and overcast but we hit the road anyway. I desperately needed to fill my lungs with some crisp mountain air even if I couldn't see much of my beloved Rockies. Fortunately, just as we were arriving, Mother Nature heard my prayer and the clouds began to break apart. 

The boys are all set to go! We did a couple 'test runs' back home earlier in the week to see if our squirmy boy could handle sitting in a sled. Luckily he was all for it.

Tromping through the white stuff. Everybody seemed to be having a pretty good time, cold noses and all.

My mountain boy(s).

Doubling up in the big sled with a sweet family friend. Can't wait to share these photos with the kids when they're thirteen, haha.

Thank you Rockies for providing us with another memorable experience. 

What a great way to cleanse the soul.


Ben's First Birthday Party

A couple weeks ago we celebrated Ben's first birthday party. It was something I looked forward to for quite a while. Coming in just one day after Christmas, however, I knew I would have to do a bit of advance prep. I wanted to create something special and non-Christmas-y if that makes any sense. I mean, it's not like Ben really understands or cares what's going on right now, but when he's bigger he might not love the idea of his birthday piggybacking one of the biggest Christian holidays of the year. I wanted to make it distinct and separate from the get go.

Like most things, I tried to keep it simple and achieve high impact with just a few pieces. Some streamers, a few balloons, and a small assortment of finger foods seemed to do the trick. I picked up some colourful plates and napkins a few weeks earlier. No elaborate themes, no child shrines posted on every wall, just family, friends, and of course, cupcakes.

We had a short afternoon soiree, just after lunch which seemed to accommodate most nap time schedules and we were really fortunate to have a great group of people come and support our little Ben turning 1!

Decorating for a kid's party is pretty darn fun if I do say so myself. The streamers were so dead simple - just looped them around a string and hung it up. I had a few requests about them so I guess they were a hit! Did't break the bank either.

The birthday boy and his mom - all smiles at this point. A big thanks to my great friend, Sarah for grabbing my camera and snapping a few pics. It's nice to be 'in' some of our photos once in a while too!

We had about thirty people gathered around to sing "Happy Birthday". This next sequence of photos should illustrate pretty well what happened next, ha!

So yeah, the poor kid was a bit overwhelmed by all the attention, especially after a few days of his normally quiet house now full of people visiting for the holidays. Ben usually loves the crowds but even he has a limit. Luckily cupcakes make things all better!

The jello was a huge hit for the under 2 crowd. You'll notice my attempt to get rid of some holiday baking - I think most people were already sick of it too, though, as not much of it was touched. Oh well!

Our much happier little Benji Bear.

Again, with the treat bags I wanted to keep it simple, simple, simple. I figured most houses had just been filled with an onslaught of toys and games and junk that would have to be reshuffled and stowed away in the already limited storage. I also didn't want to sugar up all the kids when they were most likely at their max. So after stewing over some ideas for a few days it hit me - board books! They're won't make a mess, they don't take up much space, they won't rot your teeth and perhaps they'll kill some time on the car ride home. As one parent aptly pointed out, the whole point of treat bags is to get the kids out of the door without whining about leaving a party - haha. Perhaps that is true!

I think overall the birthday party was a success. I tried not to take on too much but had my sister to help out with a lot of things too. It was fun, it was colourful and it was fresh. We had a great turn out of friends and family that made us feel so loved, and our Ben had a great time (except for that whole singing part - maybe we can skip that next year - haha).


First Haircut

Little Mister went in to get his locks clipped for the first time this week. Nothing too drastic; just a little trim around the edges. I was quite impressed with how long he sat in his big boy airplane (a whole five minutes!) and when he got squirmy the stylist was more than accommodating. 

Nobody cried and nobody was injured. We didn't have to finish with a buzz cut and everybody left happy.

First haircut success!


Holidays Unwrapped

There were hundreds, hundreds! of photos taken of all the fun adventures and activities we participated in over the holiday season. I could seriously dedicate an entire post to each of them, but life moves on quickly and I'd be posting well into February if I did that. So instead I'll share with you a few of my favourites that encapsulate (some) of our best moments.

Cousins - just five months apart - already getting into the rough and tumble that is little boys. I can only imagine what we'll be witnessing in a couple years' time!

More cousins, sharing a tender moment on Christmas morning. Heart melting.

Festive touches of real greenery. I could drink in that scent all year.

A house full of family, love, and good cheer. What more could I ask for? (This is turning into a bit of a 'unicorn' post isn't it?)

Ben opening some gifts during his first ever Christmas. Kid really hammed it up for all our company.

Wouldn't be a family Christmas without some Scrabble. Remember?

A little glam and glitz.

More board games. It's what we do.

Here's to a wonderful 2013!


12 Months: We Made It!

I'm writing this post with a coat of semi-obnoxious glittery nail polish drying as I type. It is the first quiet moment I've had in what has been a string of Christmas/Birthday/NewYear related activities over the past week or so. It was so wonderfully fulfilling and we created so many memories but quite frankly, I'm damn exhausted.

Hence the delay in our Benjamin's One-Year post...and I'm kind of kicking myself because I always make deadlines so how could I miss the very last one of the series?!? But I'm (slowly) learning to cut myself some slack and so here we go - a few days late - but that's okay too.

One Year. 365 days. It's so true what they say about the days being long but the years being short. I cannot begin to describe how enriched our lives have been since Ben arrived. But it has also been incredibly challenging and tiring and overwhelming year at times too. We've experienced many life lessons - some easy and some hard, had moments of self-doubt and over analysis, experienced immense joys and fits of laughter that left our cheeks sore and our bellies aching. I wouldn't have it any other way. (Well, maybe a bit more sleep).

Ben is such a little character and I love him to pieces. He's figured out all sorts of ways to get our attention whether it be banging his head against the bannister, 'faking' injuries, laughing loudly or squealing at the top of his lungs and then giving us a big goofy grin. He loves to be with people and is generally very cheerful and friendly around them but can happily entertain himself quite well in his playroom too. I love this stage (and the opportunity to take a decent shower).

Ben is a great eater and has taken to eating pretty much whatever we're eating with just a few of the normal exceptions. He still likes throwing his bottle or water cup on the floor as many times as he can. He had his first cupcake and ate the whole darn thing in fistfuls...fistfuls! Looks like he has a sweet tooth like his mommy. Uh oh. Doesn't explain why he bites everything he can though. Ouch! Trying really hard to extinguish that behaviour.

We weighed Ben this month and he's a sturdy 20lbs. People tell me he's got long legs too which isn't surprising as his pants are getting shorter and shorter. He's got 5 official teeth but I'm seriously tempted to type 8 because there are three more that have just cut through and like to make an appearance from time to time. Consequently sleep has really regressed. He seems to wake up screaming 2-3 times within the first couple hours of putting him down, followed by a 2am 'hunger' wake up and then the usual morning routine. He started waking up for the day at 4am a few times this week which scared the crap out of me (how did we survive this when he was little?) but had a decent wake up time this morning so I'm hoping that was just an anomaly. He's moving around and is very determined about where he wants to go but but still prefers to hold on to our hands. I'd guess his first solo steps are just a matter of weeks away.

We've done so much this past month that I'm finding myself having to look back at our calendar to remember all the different events. As mentioned earlier, we flew down to Phoenix and Las Vegas for a few days in late November/ early December. Ben caught Roseola when we returned so that put us out of commission for a week. We attended a couple birthday parties (when healthy again) and joined in on some play dates and holiday brunches. A Christmas Tree lot was visited, Christmas parties were attended and Grandma baby sat a couple times. We walked through the freezing cold to view the Zoo Lights holiday display and celebrated an early Christmas with Danny's family by going out for dim sum and then having a gift opening back at our place. My entire side of the family (20+ people) congregated in the city for Christmas. We enjoyed Christmas Eve at cousin Megan and Gary's place, hosted Christmas brunch and dinner at our place, and then celebrated Ben's official birthday at Uncle T's and Aunt C's. We were surrounded by many close friends and family as we celebrated Ben's first birthday party and had yet another family dinner here complete with a chocolate fondu the day after.

We're tired but we're happy, especially little Ben. When I look back at those photos of the early days I can't help but feel so blessed with the person we have the privilege of raising. Of course it isn't always bubble gum and rainbows - but boy is it ever worth it!

Love you so much Benji! Happy Birthday!