Oliver

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So, my wee little baby is going to be the big first digit next month! I can’t believe how fast this year has gone by, everyone said that (time will fly) and at first it seemed to be moving slower than molasses but, now everything is so blended together and I can’t believe how many “firsts” I’ve already forgotten. There are some that have ingrained their memories into my mind, perfect pictures left etched there forever, like: the first time he rolled over, sat up or took his first steps. Every day I smell his perfect scent, bury my nose in his little neck and tell him how much I love him. Some days I just want the world to stop, for the hands on the clock to slow right down, so I can remember these moments forever. Every night when I put him to sleep, I think about all the perfect minutes that happened that day, I want to save them all in a big jar and replay them forever in my mind. That sweet, little giggle, those big eyes, that curious look and that precious finger always pointing at everything.

Becoming a parent changes you in ways you didn’t even fathom beforehand. It changes the way you look at your own parents. They always said you can’t be selfish if you want children but you can’t really understand a statement like that until it’s 3am in the morning, you haven’t slept in 4 days and you’re literally pulling your hair out because all you want to is to make that tiny, precious bundle be content, safe and happy. Being a parent has made me think about how easy it is to become a parent, really all it takes is one moment, one (quick for some of us) moment. You could roll out of bed one day and decide let’s make another human being (and if you’re lucky it’s that easy). I think about all the people out there who try and try and to no avail. I think about the women you see on the streets with a beer bottle and bloated belly and I wonder how the world works. I wonder how some women with no future and no desire for a baby can get pregnant at a drop of a hat and the women who would be an amazing mother remains barren. Why is it that we need a license to drive, we need to be a certain age to vote but to a be a parent, well just knock someone up and 40 weeks later ta da you now have the keys to someone else’s life? Why aren’t we mandated to take parenting courses the second we walk into a dr’s office? Being a parent has changed the way I think.

Every day, I am grateful for Ollie and all his wonderfulness. I am grateful that he is healthy and happy. I don’t have answers to how the world works but, maybe by the time Ollie starts asking those questions I will have come up with something clever. In the mean time I will learn from him every day and be grateful for what I have in life. Family, health and happiness.

Here’s a letter I wrote to Ollie when he was about 1 week old. I feel like now is a good time to share it, reminds me of just how crazy those first few weeks are, such a blur.

My dearest Oliver,

You certainly didn’t want to come out, you were content and happy as ever to stay dancing around in Mama’s tummy but, boy were you getting big and the clock was ticking and Mama just couldn’t wait to meet you! So we forced you out, gave Mama fancy medicine and then we eagerly awaited for you to give us a sign. 12 hours, we waited patiently (Mama not so much, Daddy though, did a fabulous job). Then low and behold around 8pm on Saturday August 18th, you gave us the first sign that you were perhaps interested in what was going on beyond Mama’s womb. We were out on a walk and the pain started so quickly, the walk that was meant to be short to begin with ended with Mama turning around and limping home. We waited it out at home, tried different positions, moved around and then at 11:30pm on the dot we returned to the hospital.

The pain was growing and growing in my belly. Once at the hospital the nurse said to me: “Would you like an epidural?” Would I like some sort of miracle drug that will take away this strong desire I have to cut the bottom half of my body off? Sure, I’ll take ten of that!! The epidural is magic, for those women that go au natural I salute you, I praise you, you amaze me beyond all. 17 hours, Mama tried to get you out, and you were trying too, pushing your little head but you were just too big! Which is sort of ironic given the size of Mama to begin with! At 5cm, and a new team of Dr’s and nurses on call we were presented with the option of a c-section since it seemed we weren’t progressing. At first the tears flowed and flowed and even more so when the Dr explained all the risks involved. Everyone was tired though and anxious and there were too many “what if” factors involved. So we said yes and thankfully we did as you came out weighting 9.6 lbs, the Dr’s said there was no way you would have ever come out naturally! Daddy was the first to hold you, Mama was pretty drugged up and truthfully isn’t entirely clear on all the details (the down side of drugs). I was desperate for water, my jaw felt very strange and I was awfully tired.

You on the other hand though were beautiful. You latched on immediately and you were ferociously hungry. We stayed in the hospital for 2 days, you were bathed and fed and slept and were just content as long as there was something for you to vigorously suck on.

Coming home was surreal; adjusting to our new life is definitely taking time. There are days when I’m over the moon with joy and others where I’m lying far beneath it. I can spend hours upon hours just starring at you, wondering about what sports you’ll like (if any) will you look like me or Daddy, will you be tall like your grandpa or tiny like your Mama?

I think about how wonderful your father has been through all this and decide that if you grow up to be half the man your Daddy is I’ll be happy! When your little eyes are darting around trying to focus I like to pretend we’re having conversations. I want to hold you forever (but I know, all the books say I shouldn’t). I want to protect you from all the dangers in the world, teach you about right and wrong. Everyone says “enjoy these moments” and I’m definitely trying but there are moments when I’m too tired, when I feel like my breasts are no longer part of my body, when I feel like a cow with the breast pump attached to me. There are moments when I’m crying and I can’t tell whether they are tears of joy or sadness (which sort of makes for an interesting cry). I think about all the things I want for you in life and wonder what you’ll want for yourself. There are days I feel like superwoman, leaping over laundry piles in a single bound and other days I want to melt into the floor, not leave the bed. It’s all part of the course we’ve been told over and over again. The adventure thus far has been truly extraordinary! I have a son (that is the strangest four words I’ve ever written). A son I love with every inch of my being, every inch of my heart, right down to every freckle.

Summer Camp at Seasons!

We have been so busy running camps for the past month that I haven’t had a moment to blog. I’ve been saving up so many photos though, so this post will promise to entertain and give you plenty of crafting/baking ideas to do with your little ones. We have done a variety of themes over the past couple weeks and these are just some highlights. If you would like instructions/recipes for any of the ideas please feel to email me: nikki@seasonsfamilycentre.com

Candy Land

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We played a life size version of Candy Land and then the kids got to make their own board games. For the baking activity we made graham cracker houses.

Wizards
ImageImageThe children made wizard hats out of rice krispie treats and then we made little wizards out of a paper cup and a styrofoam ball. We used non-toxic paints, googly eyes, sparkly stars and cotton balls to add the details for our cute wizards!

Outer Space

ImageImageThe kids made aliens out of a hard boiled egg and a toilet paper roll. We then made outer space cupcakes, which was lots of fun.

Circus

ImageImageWe went to the circus for the day (well not really, but it sure felt like it). The clowns are made of Fondant and Ice Cream Cones, they’re decorated with edible paints and a cinnamon heart for a red nose. For our craft, we used a template of a circus tent and then glued them down on boards. The kids got to make circus animals and other details out of model magic.

Under the Sea

ImageImageWe made mini aquariums inside treasure chests and then we made beach cupcakes with royal icing, brown sugar and fondant.

Robots

ImageImageThis was a great craft because we used recycled tin cans and lots of odds and ends found around a house, including scouring pads and washers. For our robot cakes we made mini cakes and then iced them with butter cream icing and covered them with fondant.

Monsters

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For the monster puppets we used a lot of recycled materials, including paper towel rolls. The monster cupcakes were made with a mini cupcake placed upside down on a regular sized cupcake and then covered in royal icing. We put lollipop sticks through fuzzy peach slices and decorated them with smarties for eyes.

Pirates

ImageImageOur pirate puppets were made out of a brown paper bag, felt and paint. For the pirate cookies we made sugar cookies and then painted them using edible paints.

Alice in Wonderland

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This was my favourite day! We made mini Mad Hatter Tea party tables, using a wooden thimble and balsa wood. Then we cut fabric for table clothes and painted doilies. We cut out mini cards and made top hats out of felt. For the baking activity we made the guards for the Queen of Hearts out of rice krispie treats and royal icing.

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We’ve had so much fun so at camp, so far! Just to let you all know we’ll be closed for August but we’ll be back in September with our Preschool Program and lots of other classes! Our Fall schedule will be up soon! Stay tuned for more details 🙂

Sesame Street Cupcakes!

ImageA very special little boy we know turned 1 recently and we decided to make these cute little cupcakes for him. There were so many Sesame street characters to choose from but personally I really like these three in particular. In order to make these delicious cupcakes, first pick a recipe and make 12 cupcakes, I used chocolate as you can never go wrong with chocolate cupcakes, simple yet yummy!

ImageHere’s a list of the other supplies you’ll need:

Wilton Tips: #3 (for black icing) #17 (for yellow icing) #233 (for blue and green icing)

Icing Gels: Golden Yellow, Sky Blue, Moss Green and Black

Food Paintbrush

Water

Marshmallows (8 mini ones or 4 regular size ones)

1 batch of Royal Icing (divided into 3 bowls plus some extra leftover)

Fondant: red, brown and pink (about the size of a golf ball of each)

To make the right colours I used Wilton Icing Gels. I used Moss Green, Sky Blue and Golden Yellow. For Cookie Monster and Oscar I used the Wilton Icing Tip #233 to cover the cupcake in “hair”. For big bird it was a little bit more complicated than that (but not much, I promise).

I used two mini marshmallows to make his beak, you could also cut one big marshmallow in half. I used the royal icing like glue to affix the marshmallow to the cupcake and then with Wilton tip #17 I covered the marshmallow in yellow “stars”. Image

 I left the inside of the beak white and mixed a couple drops of water and Wilton Icing Gel “red” together. I used a paintbrush specifically for food and I painted the inside of the beak red. Once everything had set, I covered the entire cupcake in yellow “stars” to look like “hair”. Then using fondant I made a tiny pink tongue and his eyeballs, I made his eyelids out of pink and blue and simply placed them on top of the eyeballs.

ImageCookie Monster and Oscar were done with very similar techniques. Cookie monster was first covered in “hair” with Wilton Tip #233 and then I made two large circle for his eyes, I added black dots using Wilton Tip #3 and drew on a mouth. I broke some mini cookies into smaller pieces and stuck them in his mouth.

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For Oscar, I covered him in “hair” just like Cookie Monster and then made his eyes out of fondant. I used the black icing to make his eyes and mouth. I made his eyebrows out of brown fondant and his tongue out of red.

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Voila! Not only were they yummy but they’re also fun to make and even more fun to give away!Image