Thirteen Months with Olive

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­­­­­Dear Olive,

Our lives, from how you have only known it, officially changed the day after your first birthday. Celebrating your first year was so bitter sweet for me. I was so excited to shower you with love and reminisce about the last year of our lives, but I was also reluctant to let myself fully understand what one year meant. One year meant it was time for me to go back to work… No more breakfast dates, no more day-time cuddles and Mommy-Olive naps… No more unplanned road trips into town… No more baby groups to attend. Celebrating a year was so special, but so hard.

PicMonkey Collage Before you were here I had no problem thinking that going back to work was going to be okay. I like my job. I just didn’t understand the connection I would have with you, the love I would have for you, and the incredible amount of daily joy you would have for me. As the day charged toward us, I often found myself wondering if I took my time with you for granted. Many people asked me how I had time to bake and create flowers and sew dresses when I had a little baby to look after. They made me feel like I wasn’t devoting every single second of my life to you… But then I realized that those people don’t understand you. They don’t understand our relationship. They didn’t understand that you were not like a “normal” baby who needed my attention during all waking hours of the day. They didn’t understand that we didn’t sit in front of the TV all day watching baby shows and playing with every single toy under the moon (you have yet to really watch a TV show and you are quite content with the few toys and gazillion books you have)! You are independent. You like to explore and discover things on your own. I can see that you have made my likes and interests your likes and interests. You already love to bake. I cannot put one cup of flour into the mixer without you demanding to sit on the counter to watch. You love to get creative – you painted your first painting the week before your birthday and now I proudly display it in my office at work. At first, you didn’t quite know what the paint was, but when I put your hand through it, that was the end of your wondering!  Over this past year I have really noticed how babies and their surroundings really influence each other. We are more of a hands on, go for walks, and spend time with each other without the TV on kind of people. I love that you are learning through books and not the TV. I love that your mood suddenly changes as soon as we walk outside. I love that every new thing you see or play with brings a cute little twinkle to your eye!

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IMG_4230 You had so much fun at your birthday party! Because you love books so much, we decided to have a book themed party and asked your guests to bring books instead of toys. You have such a big library for a little girl! It makes me smile every time I walk by the pile (which, as of this past weekend was organized on your new bookshelf that Daddy made you). Your party started at 10:29am on March 9 – the exact time you were born! You wore a pink confetti dress that I made for you complete with pearls and a cute party crown. Once everyone started to arrive, you slowly forgot about the awesome balloons and started making your rounds saying “hi” to everyone. You absolutely loved playing with cousin Avery and sitting on Great-Great-Aunt Shelia’s lap! You two make a good pair! After a little while, Daddy fired up the Barbeque and cooked some hamburgers and hot dogs to go with the yummy salads that both Granny and Grandma brought – everyone loves Grandma’s Caesar Salad! We all ate until we couldn’t eat anymore… and then we had dessert! Cake and French Macarons… A pairing you love just as much as Mommy. After putting off trying to make macarons all year, I decided to go full force and make a few dozen for your party. It really wasn’t as hard as every article or recipe says it was… And now I am kind of addicted to creating them in different flavours! I baked you a tiny cake just for you – but again, you didn’t want to smash it! I think you can appreciate beauty (haha)! We sang happy birthday, we all ate cake, and then it was on to your presents! Cousin Avery helped you open your gifts because you get distracted pretty easily! So many books!! Books everywhere! I cannot begin to describe how much you love flipping through the pages. You still haven’t quite let us finish reading a book – we must read too slow – you just keep flipping! You flip a page, your eyes light up, and your tiny mouth forms an “O” as you say “OHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”. This is one of my favourite sounds. After things started calming down and people started giving their goodbye kisses, you zonked! You were so pooped! It was probably about 2:30 when you went down to sleep, and I’m sure if I didn’t wake you up, you would have slept the entire night! You were such a good birthday girl! Mommy and Daddy are so proud. We cannot remember life without little Miss. Olive.  You are the one thing in my life that I am not ashamed to brag about!

IMG_4038-copy IMG_3995-copy IMG_3926-copy IMG_3932-copy IMG_3935-copy IMG_4069-copy Now that I am a month into commuting and working full time, I have realized that it isn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I think the anticipation of not knowing what was going to happen was worse than actually going back. We have fallen into a nice new routine — and I think you love it the most. It’s up to Mr. Mom in the mornings now. My mornings start around 4:30. Some days I get to see you, some days I don’t. For the most part you are still waking up between 5 and 5:30, therefore if you do wake up while I am still home I nurse you, and  then you go back to sleep with Daddy. Those days I love. I love seeing you two sound asleep together… Your arms and legs are sprawled out, taking up three quarters of the entire bed leaving Daddy is right on the edge (but I don’t think he minds)! I want to keep that imagine in my mind for as long as I can. It’s so comforting and peaceful knowing that you get to spend more time with Daddy now. I think he loves it too. (I love how you always cup your cheek when you sleep. ALWAYS!)

IMG_3753 Around 7:30 you are off to Daycare at Sara’s. The first three drop-offs that Daddy did, you cried… but you haven’t cried since! You LOVE going to Daycare to play with all the kids. Sara is so amazing with you. She really puts my mind at ease knowing you are in such good hands when I am so far away from you. You play, and sing songs, and eat, and nap, and play some more. All the kids are just crazy about you, and you them! One multiple occasions Sara has told me that she has found you in the corner kissing all the boys… Are you going to cause us a ton of problems in the future, Little Missy?? You officially had your first runny nose this past weekend so I think you may have learned your lesson! I have noticed such a huge change in you over the last month. You have learned so many new things at Sara’s – clapping, blowing kisses, a different style wave… Every day it seems like you come home with something new you learned. I am amazed! My favourite part of the day is when I get to pick you up (if I am home in time)! I sneak inside and watch you play until you notice that I am there. You sprint-bum-scoot over to me with the biggest smile and sometimes a kiss (but not always… You need to work on that). Sometimes you just kind of say “Hi Mom” and then go back to playing. Sometimes I don’t think you want to leave! You just love being with people your size! I am convinced you are bored at home now when you don’t have anyone to play with. You are so good. You have made this transition for me so much easier than I ever expected. How did we get so lucky to have such an amazing baby?

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Some notable things from this past month:

  • You are eating an even bigger variety: Madras soup, wiener schnitzel, hamburgers, chicken pasta enchiladas, homogenized milk, blueberry yogurt… the list just gets bigger and bigger!
  • You have started to dance (on your bum)! You have a few toys that make music when you press buttons. As soon as the music begins, you start to wiggle on your bum. Sometimes you get a good head banging action going! It is the cutest!
  • You got a little toy trumpet for your birthday. When I took it out of the package I quickly thought “thank goodness she will not know how to blow into this for a while”. Boy was I wrong! You scoot around the house with the trumpet hanging out of your mouth, blowing in it as hard as you can. I can’t believe how loud you can get it going!!
  • You went to Grandma and Grandpa’s for an evening while Momma and Daddy went to see a movie! You had so much fun playing and eating with Auntie Kara! You had a bath and then got your first official french braid – piggy tail style!! Unreal! I can’t believe you hair is long enough for french braids! We just skipped the pony tail entirely!

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  • Your favourite words: Da-Da, Ma-Ma, Uh-Oh (thanks Great Uncle Ben!), Babababa, and something that sounds like Puppy (but more like Bah-Pay)! — Candice, Uncle Kenney’s girlfriend said she thought you needed a Puppy for Easter… You looked right at her and said “Bah-Pay?” It was SO cute! You also still say “Mmmmmm” every time you eat something and you have started to say Bay-Bay (which sounds like Baby)! I love when you have full on conversations with yourself. It is one of the cutest things ever!
  • You have pulled yourself up a total of four times… All four times I didn’t see it! You have been trying for a while, but just haven’t been able to get up off your knees. You pulled yourself up in your crib while you were sitting playing (while Daddy was building your bookshelf) and then again at Granny’s house on her steps (2 times!) while Daddy and Mommy were test driving Granny’s new car! Just yesterday Sara sent me a picture of you standing at her house too! I think I have to start getting used to not seeing you do things for the first time.
  • You still aren’t walking… But I am still not concerned in the least. You are quite content and can get around the house far too easy on your bum. You can easily carry anything you want from room to room. With that said, you LOVE walking when you can hold on to our fingers – and your are getting pretty fast at it. Sometimes you get a little fussy – thats our cue that you want to walk… But still, you have no intent to do it alone. I love your little stomp. You bring your knees nice and high and then stomp your foot to the floor. Melts my heart!

  • The ice is still on the lake, and still pretty thick too! Daddy has started a new house on the other side of the lake, just at the bottom of the mountain. We decided to walk all the way across a few weeks ago to pick up his truck. You were sound asleep in your stroller, which was probably a good thing because it was fairly windy. I never thought I would be able to say that we walked to Westport, across the ice, at the end of March!

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  • You surprised me this past weekend when you stacked your MixMates Blocks almost higher than your head! I honestly didn’t think babies your size knew how to gentle stack a tower of blocks. You were so proud of yourself (and so was I). You had to chose which block was next. If I handed you one, you shook your head and grabbed the farthest block from you. Silly girl! Maybe you are going to be a builder like Daddy!

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  • You love wearing a painters tape roll as a bracelet. You found a roll on the floor the other day and you promptly put in on your wrist and scooted around the house with your arm held high as if saying “look at my diamonds… Aren’t they beautiful”. You were pretty proud!
  • We started up our nightly walks again now that the sidewalks in Westport are finally clear. Thank goodness. This past winter has been one of the longest I can ever remember… and I don’t think Westport was ready for it (in terms of snow removal). The sidewalks have been a disaster for months.
  • We were at Granny and Grandpa’s last week – you were hanging out on the counter with Grandpa with Granny’s jar of chocolate bars. You stuck your little hands in the jar, pulled out a “Crunch” bar and spent 15 minutes (at least!) playing with it until you OPENED IT! It decided to share some with Grandpa and then you played with the rest for a while… Putting it back in the jar, grabbing it back in your hands… and finally you decided to give it a try. Its safe to say that you officially had your first chocolate bar!
  • This past weekend we went up to Joey and Lyndsey’s cottage to see how their Maple Syrup season was going this year! You officially witness your first batch of syrup being made

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  • You have carried around your birthday balloons all month!! They JUST started to deflate! We may have to have a balloon in the house at all times!

IMG_3428 This has been one crazy month of changes, but it is all sliding into place, just as I had expected. I shouldn’t have ever doubted that you were going to love Daycare immediately. You just make everything so much easier. I keep wondering how we were so lucky to get the most perfect baby girl to slide right in to our lives without any troubles or any big life changes. It honestly feels like you have been a part of our lives forever. You take everything by stride, and nothing seems to upset you (for longer than 30 seconds)! Your rosy cheeks are still as big as ever, and your hair is growing by the inch! You are the cutest!!! Thank you for all that you are, and for all the joy you bring on a daily basis!

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Love you to the moon and back!

xoxoxox
-Momma

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One Year with Olive

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Dear my sweet one year old Olive,

I have such a surreal feeling as I write you this letter while watching you scoot around the living room on your bum, throwing everything out of your path. I won’t deny that I have tears rolling down my face as I look at you right now and think that just one short year ago you were so helpless… so tiny… so beautiful. You still are beautiful, but you have grown by leaps and bounds, and you are such an independent little girl. I never imagine how much our lives would change for the better once you arrived one year ago today. You have brought an overwhelming amount of joy and love to our family, Olive. I truly feel so incredibly lucky to have been given the chance to stay at home and watch you experience every new thing with each passing day. The things I used to think were so small and the things I took for granted are now at the forefront of my life because you have made me appreciate the small things. I cannot tell you how many times in the last week that I have let you fall asleep in my arms instead of putting you in your crib because I just wanted to watch you sleep. I just want to remember you fitting into my arms so perfectly. It is so peaceful. I never understood why Granny always said “I love you most when you are sleeping”, until now. It wasn’t because she didn’t want to play with us, or because she was tired of us running around the house, or because she didn’t want more toys strewn across the house, or because we were driving her crazy. No. It was because we were transformed back into that helpless, tiny and beautiful baby we once were. When you sleep in my arms, I am taken back to the day you were born. To the first moment Daddy and I finally got to see you. Olive, it feels like yesterday. It truly does. I have no idea where the time has gone!

IMG_3330 Just one year ago, at exactly 10:29am Daddy and Momma met their brand new little girl. You were no longer “Fernando” (Daddy’s nickname for you while you were in my tummy), but Miss. Olive Poole Blair, weighing in at a healthy 8 pounds, 4 ounces. Word got out fast that you had arrived. Not long after, we had a room full of new grandparents, new aunties, new uncles, new great aunts and new great uncles who were swooning over your beautiful locks and chubby cheeks. Since that oh-so-special day, you have taken the world by storm. You went from baby who slept 18 hours a day to a busy bum scooting floor cleaner. It is absolutely incredible how far we, as a family, have come. Because of you, our love is stronger than ever. I have seen a new side to Daddy that has made me fall in love with him all over again. You two have your own language. You bounce off of each other as soon as he walks in the door. The way you look at him, and the way he looks at you… It fills my heart as full as it can be. 

Olive-(6-days-old)-87-copy IMG_0782-copy Olive-(6-days-old)-10-copy Before you were here, Daddy only wanted a boy. He even had me convinced that we had a little mister on the way. He even went so far as to start painting your room blue one day while I was out. I came home to a big blue surprise and Daddy trying to convince me that blue was a “neutral” colour. Needless to say, another trip to Herlehy’s Home Hardware was needed, however we ran out of yellow and grey, so I caved and agreed to keep your ceiling blue. You have completely changed Daddy’s opinion of little girls. You are so good to humour him when he dresses you in boy clothes, or when he takes you out to the garage to do ” boy work” or when he straps you to his chest to go plow the driveway with the tractor. You love it. You will do anything as long as it is with Daddy.  You didn’t hear this from me, but he told me he would be happy with a few more girls! If I was told one year and one day ago that he would think that, I would have thought you were crazy! You have changed him, not in a bad way, but in an amazing way. 

IMG_3268 This month as been a whirlwind. You are now 29.5″ long and 19.5lbs. You safe still fighting that darn bladder infection, but that hasn’t stopped you from being mobile. Very mobile! Last month you figured out your bum scooting technique, and this month you perfected it. You are gone in a flash (or faster)! You LOVE opening doors, especially the TV cabinet. One swoosh of the arm and out comes all my (used to be) organized DVDs, and then in the next breath you are out the door and in the kitchen playing with you ABC fridge magnets. You love emptying your suitcase of toys. Grandpa cannot believe how fast you can mess up a room! I’m starting to get used to it, but I’m afraid I’ve inherited some Granny’s neat-freak traits so as soon as you leave the room, all your toys are back in the suitcase waiting for you to realize its time to scatter them again. You are keeping us on our toes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love watching you learn. Everything excites you… most of all – finding cheerios on the floor. Oh Cheerios! I don’t think our house will ever be the same! I found cheerios in a pair of shoes that I haven’t worn since the summer… They just show up everywhere!

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Now lets talk about Necklaces. I don’t know where your fascination with necklaces comes from because I’ve been wearing the same necklace and earrings since our honeymoon in 2011, but as soon as Granny walks in the door, you are grabbing at her neck to see which necklace she is sporting that day. Granny now has a special necklace at her house just for you to wear when you visit. You love necklaces, and have since the day you were born. You just can’t get enough. I just hope that your future husband is reading this so he can prepare himself!

IMG_3374-2 For the past few weeks you have been going to daycare at Sara’s a few days so you can get used to the new change that is happening tomorrow. After a year of morning cuddles, breakfast dates, playtime, road trips, naps, baking adventures, movie outings and daily walks, Momma is heading back to work. I was given the most amazing gift I could ever have asked for. Being able to stay home with you for a year is something I will forever cherish. Because of this, I was able to be there every morning to get you dressed and fed. I was there to read you stories when you wanted. I was there to help you feel better when you were sick. I was there when you just wanted to sit on my lap and talk. Because I was able to spend this past year at home with you, I was able to nurse you for a full year. I am so proud of myself for being able to do this. I was determined to give you the best start to your life as I could, and I truly believe that being able to nurse you (bottle free!) for 365 days did just that. We are starting a new Chapter tomorrow, and I really hope you will fall nicely into the new routine. No longer will I be here when you get up. Our breakfast dates will be saved for weekends only. I hope you will still want to nap with me during the day when I am home. I hope you won’t mind that I will not be here near as much as I have been. I know you will do just fine. You are already starting to spread your little wings. As excited as I am for you, my heart strings are feeling a little tug. It’s going to be hard these next few weeks, but I know you will be in good hands. I know this is what you need. I know you LOVE watching all the little girls and boys run circles around you. I just hope I don’t miss any firsts – walking, talking… I know you will always know that I am your Momma and that I love you so much, but it is just hard knowing that I am not going to be the one there for you 100% of the time. Just keep your smiles coming and kisses just as sloppy. That’s what Momma will need when she comes home at night.

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Some things from this month:

  • I have come to the conclusion that you will eat anything: mussels, omelettes, beets, cheese… If I let you, you would eat 24 hours a day!

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  • You caught on to daycare very fast – in the sense that you knew when we walked in the door at Sara’s that I was going to leave you. Immediate tears, but they went away 5 minutes after I left. Sara says you are doing amazing! Playing with the kids, eating, sleeping… A natural!
  • You have started walking with our help! You can’t stand up on your own yet, but if we hold on to your hands, you will walk everywhere! Watching you learn how to move you feet has been the cutest thing. You picked your knees up so high and then stomp your foot down. I love it. I don’t want it to change!
  • You have a pretty smile and a goofy smile. Your goofy smile makes me laugh every time. You scrunch your nose, squint your eyes, and raise your top lip so we see your two front teeth. Olive, it is priceless!
  • Just last night you started playing Peek-A-Boo on your own. I was putting you in your crib and you pulled the blanket over your eyes, then you quickly pulled it down and started laughing. I don’t know why, but this brought tears to my eyes. You are starting to understand how to play games.
  • You went to your first skating birthday party for Rubie this month! You loved being on the ice! We cannot wait to get a pair of skates on your, but I guess you have to learn how to walk first!! You might just be the youngest CanSkater Westport has ever seen. You are 2 for 2 for the end of the year ice show! Last year you made your debut appearance while you were in Mommy’s tummy (you arrived a week later), and this year you strolled out on during the finale (although you were sound asleep)!

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  • We watched the Olympics in Sochi, Russia. I couldn’t help but wonder if someday Momma and Daddy will be sitting in the stands cheering you on (no pressure)! I love playing the “I wonder” game about your future! I hope you don’t mind. You loved Patrick Chan! You watched him while eating breakfast. You would laugh and get so excited when he did a jump or a spin!

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  • We went for your first birthday photo shoot with Ruth a few days ago. You were so darn cute. Momma made you a smash cake, but you absolutely did not want to smash it. You used your tiny, dainty little fingers to pick little pieces of icing off the top. We had to cut into it, and you still were so neat. I guess Momma’s neat feeding habits are rubbing off on you!

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  • You still let Daddy put you in random objects. This month – the Crock Pot. I thought you’d hate it, but you lounged in there like it was a hot tub! You loved it! (Thanks for humouring your silly Daddy)!

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  • You absolutely love sharing your food. You prefer to feed yourself, but when you get full, you reach your hands up in the air to put whatever you are eating in our mouth. You are not satisfied until we finish the rest of your food. Silly girl. 

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  • You are in love with balloons! Ever since our photoshoot, you will not move unless you have a balloon in your hand. You eat with them, scoot with them, bath with them… and would sleep with them if I let you. It is so funny to watch you go behind the island while you are carrying one. The balloon goes bounce, bounce, bounce, as you slid across the floor. I’ve come to realize it is a great tracking device. Luckily they have not popped yet!

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Today we are having a little family birthday party for you. I am so excited to celebrate! We have cake, and french macarons, and hamburgers, and salads… You will be in seventh heaven! We decided to go with a “book” theme because that is what you are all about. Instead of toys, we asked our family to add to your book collection! You are going to be soooooooo happy!!!

I know I keep saying it, but Olive, you have no idea how much joy you have brought to our family. You are our little ray of sunshine in a world that wasn’t as bright as it should have been. A day does not go by without me wishing that your Great Popa could have met you. I cannot tell you how blessed I feel that I was able to tell him you were on your way. I keep remembering how he threw his head back in happy laughter, and I keep picturing him holding you on his lap trying to sneak you a little piece of chocolate. He was a proud man. A great man. A precious man. I know you two have already met. I can feel it. I can feel him here all the time. I believe that he picked you to be ours. He made you a little extra special. He gave you that little extra twinkle in your eye. I know he loves you and I know he is always watching over you. I say a little prayer to him every day asking him to keep you happy, healthy and safe. You have an amazing angel with you always, Olive. Please know that he is there whenever you need him.

You have opened my eyes to a whole new world, and I really cannot wait for our future. We cannot remember life without you. I have no idea what Daddy and I ever talked about before you were here. I am proud. I look at you in amazement. You truly are a miracle who has made our little family whole. Thank you Olive. Thank you for being a perfect baby… For making my job so easy… For loving me unconditionally… For making me a Momma. Thank you for the memories… Thank you for showing me this new kind of love that I never knew existed. 

We love you to the moon and back, Olive.  Happy First Birthday, my sweet Little Garlic Girl! 

xoxoxox
-Momma

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Roasted Red Beets with Quinoa and Feta

Now that Olive is eating more and more, I am having so much fun coming up with meal ideas that are fitting for her and I both. I love watching her face every time she gets to try something new. She will literally eat anything you give her, which is a great attribute to have in our family because we are pretty adventurous eaters. Today I made this very simple, but very delicious quinoa salad. I think it is definitely a make-again meal… and so does Olive!

Roasted Beets with Quinoa and Feta for Baby and Momma Ingredients

  • 3 medium red beets, scrubbed
  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 oz. fresh spinach, stems removed, shredded
  • 3 tablespoons raisins
  • 3 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

What’s next?

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Arrange the beets on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Roast the beets until they are tender when pierced with a fork (25-30 minutes). Let the beets stand until cool enough to handle, then use wet hands to slip the skins from the beets. Cut the beets into quarters.
  3. Meanwhile, in a 1 1/2 quart saucepan, bring 2 cups of salted water to boil. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid is absorbed (20 minutes). Fold in spinach and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, fold together the quinoa mixture, beets, raisins, and feta together and drizzle with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil and the lemon juice.
  5. Divide the entire recipe into both adult and child-friendly portions. For adults, serve as is. For baby, transfer to a food processor and puree or fork mash to desired consistency. 
  6. Recipe makes approximately 4 adult portions or 6 baby portions.

Roasted Beets with Quinoa and Feta for Baby and Momma Olive says “I LOVE WHEN MY SKIN TURNS RED!”

stacy

Eleven Months With Olive

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Dear Olive,

This has been a doozy of a month. Your little body has been through so much. A few weeks in to January your fever spiked. We assumed you were just teething because, lets face it, you had just popped through 4 teeth at the same time, but after 4 days of fevers, not eating, and vomiting, I decided it was time to get you checked. With out really even examining you, Dr. Laforty knew you had a bladder infection. What? This wasn’t even on my radar. We spent the next few days trying to get a urine sample while we prayed for you to eat something. You were in so much pain. Every scream was heartbreaking. Every time you turned your head when we tried to feed you made me worry. You were lethargic, hot, and all you wanted to do was sit in the window, naked, watching your birdies.

IMG_3081 Your entire attitude and demeanour was so different than what I was used to and I remember thinking “is my Olive ever going to come back?”. Dr. Laforty put you on antibiotics for 7 days. He said you should feel 100% better after 2 days… but you weren’t. In my opinion you were worse than ever. 72 hours after starting the medicine, your screaming was louder, you were only sleeping an hour at a time (if we were lucky), and you still weren’t eating. I made the call that it was time to go to the hospital. I thought that they would be able to settle my fears and help take some pain away… But I was wrong. We found ourselves sitting in a empty emergency room at 9:30 pm. Your fever was down and your heart rate was normal. These vitals made the doctor-on-call think that we were just wasting her time. She didn’t look at you at all, let alone examine you. She just came in, looked me in the eye and said “MOM, you need to give it time”. After listening to you scream at the top of your lungs in pain for the past 5 hours, and hearing the doctor talk down to me this way made me lose it emotionally. The doctor made us put a urine bag in your diaper and had us sit in the waiting room until you went pee. You screamed for at least 30 minutes while you tried, and no one came out to check on you. At this point I realized it was useless. The doctor wasn’t going to do anything for you. I took you to the bathroom, took the bag out of your diaper, and I cried. I cried because all I wanted was someone to tell me we were doing everything we were supposed to be doing. I wanted some reassurance that my sweet Olive, the incredibly happy, very independent baby that I know, was going to come back to us. I wanted the doctor to make me feel better about you feeling better. I cried. I cried and I cried and I cried. I was in the bathroom with you for so long that Daddy came to check on us. I handed him the pretty-much-empty bag and I told him to go tell the doctor that we were leaving. I wanted to get out of there as fast I could. I didn’t appreciate being treated like an idiot. No one would. I don’t consider us parents who run to the doctor after one sniffle. I knew something was wrong, and it wasn’t getting better, and the doctor just made me feel worse. I cried all night as I tried to comfort you. 

IMG_3104 The days went by. We kept giving your medicine and slowly you started to eat a little more, but you were still in pain that I couldn’t take away. Every day slowly got better, but not as fast as Dr. Laforty said. After a week, we went for a checkup. You had lost 4 pounds. You now weigh the same you did in September. 19lbs, and 28.5 inches long. By this time, you stopped screaming when you tried to pee. Your diapers were finally filling up more, and your appetite was back in full force. We thought you were all in the clear. Your smiles came back. Your giggles came back. Your curiosity came back. Miss Olive was back. We went for another week, assuming all infection was gone. We were to bring in another sample this past week just to make sure our assumptions were right. I had no doubt you were better… And then we received a call from Dr. Laforty himself. The infection is still there. Back on antibiotics for 10 more days this time. A different kind. A yucky kind. Now we fight 2 times a day for the next 10 days to get that medicine in your tummy. This morning you didn’t want to eat. I pray that it isn’t coming back. I hope we caught it early enough and that the yucky medicine will work this time. You are such a strong little girl. When Momma was melting you knew enough to give me a little smile or make your eyes sparkle just long enough for me to see you in there. It really is amazing how much you have changed me. Going through this past month has really made me realize just how much I love you and how much I will do to make sure you are happy and healthy. 

IMG_3114 As stressful as this month has been, it has also been an incredible growing month for you – but not in weight, you’ve gone backwards in that category! Remember how I said you weren’t going to crawl? Well, you still aren’t crawling… But you are butt scooting, and doing it with lots of strength! You are moving… and moving FAST! I cannot get over how fast you can disappear when we put you on the floor. Your scoot is so unique! I love watching it! I have no idea how you can move so fast with this “technique”, but you have certainly perfected it. It is a little complicated to describe, but I will give it my best go: You bend your right knee upwards so your foot is flat on the floor (as if trying to stand up), then place both hands in front of your body. You slide your left leg forward, in-between your hands and PUUULLLL!!!! All those warnings I have received up to this date are now all making sense! Soon Daddy will have to build a gate for the top of the stairs and the baby proofing will begin. You are also trying, with all your might, to pull yourself up. Right now you can get your little bum off the floor and all your weight on your outward facing knees, but you can’t pull yourself up fully just yet. I imagine you will be standing, and maybe even walking by this time next month. You are a very determined little girl, Olive. 

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3 You have also started doing some fun tricks like clicking your tongue. I have no idea how you figured out how to do this, but it is the cutest thing. I click my tongue, you look at me intrigued, slowly smile and then you slow motion click your tongue. Some mornings we have a tongue clicking competition and you ALWAYS win! You have also started clapping your hands – not often – but you still do it when you are incredibly excited. You have a new smile you’ve been trying out as well. You scrunch your eyes and nose and lift your top lip to show off your two big top teeth. Most often this smile appears while you are eating and it is following by “mum, mum, mum, mum” which I and starting to think you are actually saying “mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm”. A Momma can wish, can’t she? You now prefer to feed yourself. You sit in your Stokke highchair and quickly shovel the food in. You look at Momma with your scrunched smile and then promptly squish all the food into the table. You are quite proud of this! Lets just say the broom is out and the table is washed A LOT more than it used to be!

IMG_3122 1 You’ve graduated into the big girl bathtub and are loving it. So much more room for all your toys. You aren’t quite sure about floating on your back (with Momma’s help) just yet, but we are working on getting you more comfortable with it. You are a doll, Olive. You love to splash, and squeal, and pop bubbles!

IMG_3189 After a Thursday night skate, I came out of the rink and received a text message from Daddy. He decided to take you to Kingston to pick up supplies at Home Depot. Daddy then surprised you with your first official Daddy-Daughter date to Boston Pizza afterwards! I was so excited that he took you out for dinner. You both had big plates of spaghetti and you didn’t forget to ask Momma if she wanted anything. Daddy loves taking you places. You’ve gone on a lot of job meetings and supply runs. I think you like riding in Daddy’s big truck. You can easily see out the window as you watch everything fly by. Do you know your absolutely favourite place that Daddy takes you? You get all bundled up, get into Daddy’s truck and you drive out onto the ice to the ice shack! Daddy LOVES taking you ice fishing! You are such good girl when you are there. You sit there and play with the toys Daddy brings, or you munch down on a mum mum. Every so often you will hold on the rod and smile, not really knowing what you are doing. I don’t think Daddy has caught anything while you have been with him, but I can only imagine your face if he were to pull a big fish through the hole! Uncle Jordan has been fishing with you a fair bit too over the past month. I think he really enjoys when you are there. You provide some great entertainment when the fish aren’t biting!

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IMG_2144 Mommy finally got out for an afternoon girls day with Whitney last week. We went for manicures and hair cuts – My first hair cut since May! You and daddy spent the day together, playing in the snow and going for a walk in your sleigh. When I got home, I found an awesome surprise upstairs! You and Daddy went and bought Mommy a new dryer! Now one of your favourite things to do while I fold laundry is watching the clothes going around and around and around in circles!

IMG_3161 We are having so much fun in the snow now that the temperature isn’t as cold. We went for a family snowshoe back in the bush and lots of walks with granny. We walked around town in your sleigh and you loved trying to grab the snow from the tall snowbanks! You make me so happy. Every morning you greet me with a smile and at least 5 kisses. These past 11 months have been the best of my life. I know I keep saying it, but I never thought a baby could bring both Daddy and I so much joy. You have changed your Daddy in so many good ways. He has so much fun playing with you and coming up with hilarious photo ops while Momma isn’t home. I look forward to those photo texts while I’m away!

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2

IMG_3204 Some other things from this month:

  • You have 6 teeth
  • We made grandpa some cinnamon buns after a long day of plowing. The first thing he did when he saw the fresh buns was grab a piece and give it to you. He was quite excited to see your eyes light up! I think you probably ate an entire one by the end of the night. 
  • You are eating: blueberries, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, broccoli, carrots, barley, bananas, pasta, yogurt, chicken, venison, beef, baby mum-mums, cheerios, rice crispies, cinnamon buns (when Momma isn’t looking)!
  • You still cannot get enough birdie-watching!
  • You love the snow and our sleigh rides
  • You have learned how to sit up on your own (from lying on your back) while on the bed, but you haven’t been able to do it from the floor yet
  • Momma was asked to be a bridesmaid for her best friend Amy from Acadia! We made sugar cookies to send them in the mail and after two attempts, they finally got them!
  • You watched some of the opening ceremonies for the Olympics in Sochi. I couldn’t help but wonder if some day you might be there watching the torch light!

IMG_2852 We love you Miss Olive. Keep smiling and fighting that darn infection!

xoxoxox
Momma

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5 copy PicMonkey Collage

 

 

Tuesday Ten: Favourite Baby Instagrammers

It’s no secret that I am an avid Instagrammer. I didn’t really get this social media before Olive arrived, but after she was here I discovered all these awesome Momma’s doing awesome Momma things and sharing their world through pictures on this highly addictive social media network! I feel like I’ve gone on a real ride with some of these inspirational ladies without ever meeting them. I find myself getting excited for them as their due dates approaches, or if they celebrate another baby birthday!nToday I’m sharing my top ten favourites (which was very hard to narrow down)!

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  1. Freshly Picked - Susan is an entrepreneur’s inspiration! She built her baby moccasin business from the ground up and recently accepted a partnership deal with Daymond John on Shark Tank! Go Susan! Olive has a few pairs of her moccasins and she loves them!
  2. Kristin Rogers - Kristin is an awesome photographer based out of California and is also a home schoolin’ momma to her two beautiful girls!
  3. Ivie Baby - Elizabeth is a very talented seamstress who recently started working on her business full time! She makes amazing sheets and quilts for babies!
  4. Melanie Burk - Melanie is a huge inspiration to me. I took many (MANY) of her classes over at Nicoles Classes and have since had a chance to talk with her about a future collaboration! She is a momma to three beautiful girls!
  5. Candy Kirby Designs - Erin is amazing seamstress. She creates leggings, hats, dolls, blankets… you name it! She also has one of the cutest families I have ever seen! 
  6. Faas Design - Melanie broke into the Instagram world around the same time I really started obsessing with it. She has done so well over the last year selling her moccasins! It’s amazing to watch this beautiful Momma grow!
  7. Nicole Gerulat - Another Photographer Momma that taught me over at Nicoles Classes! Her instagram feed is drool-worthy! Her photos are so inspiring!
  8. The Rural Roost - Maggie is a rural momma to (almost) three beautiful babes. Her son was recently diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Watching her family go through the diagnosis was heart-wrenching and beautiful all at the same time. 
  9. Little Hip Squeaks - Another amazing seamstress whose business has has blossomed this last year! I think Olive has a mini-crush on her son Eli! Who can resist a blond haired-blue eyed handsome young fella?
  10. The Alison Show - An incredibly hilarious and wildly creative Momma! What more can I say? Every single photo she posts makes me literally laugh out loud! I love her!

Olive says “Ma is so addicted”!

stacy

My List for 2014

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Every year in January I like to make a list of goals for the year. Things that I hope to do, to continue doing, and things that I hope will happen. A few years ago Scott encouraged me to start setting goals for myself. He showed me that if you don’t write them down, you won’t hold yourself to them… So here I go – My list for 2014!

1. Spend more time with cake.

2. Shower more often than I did in 2013.

3. Go less insane when people say “melk” in stead of milk, and pronounce caramel “carmle.”

4. Eat more macaroni and cheese at midnight.

5. Not leave one square of toilet paper on the roll and then blame Scott for not changing the it.

6. Eat all the vegetables in the fridge before they spoil.

7. Be a good birdie momma to Olive’s birdies.

8. Read and try recipes in ALL my recipe books.

9. Splurge on stone ground chocolate, deep dish pie plates, and the good bacon.

10. Not splurge on silly, dumb or trendy things. 

11. Go to the library instead of Chapters.

12. Check my instagram less when I’m around other humans.

13. Read the chocolate chip cookie thing in its entirety and memorize it. There isn’t anything better than a perfect chocolate chip cookie.

14. Invite friends over for high tea, midnight supper, and snow picnics.

15. Be a vendor at Renegade Craft Fair and the One of a Kind Show with my new secret project.

16. I guess I better launch my secret project if I’m going to vend it!

17. Eat more chickpeas.

18. Expand my egg repertoire.

19. Travel overseas with the fan.

20. Teach Olive how to integrate (calculus, people! It’s important). 

Okay, so some won’t happen, but I’m sure Olive will pick up integrals really fast!

Olive says “I don’t even know how to count”!
stacy

 

Five Reasons Momma’s Don’t Care For Themselves

Since Olive arrived, I have noticed something that I had heard many mom’s before me talk about. Long before I was a mom, I thought that taking a shower was a necessity, changing clothes was a daily must, getting your hair cut regularly was a no-brainer, and eating meals at the right time of day just happened. Fast forward a few years and now I sit here writing this post, wearing the same clothes I have worn the last TWO days, hair an unshowered mess, no breakfast in my tummy, wondering did I brush my teeth? I think I did… But I’m not entirely sure. 

IMG_2555 It’s no surprise that life changes when a baby arrives. I’m not complaining at all. I could take pre-worn, unwashed yoga pants any day of the week, but reality starts to slowly trickle towards you and the idea of returning to work makes you realize it’s time to start taking care of YOURSELF as well. I admit… I haven’t had a hair cut since May, and I might shower every third day if Olive lets me. I rarely eat breakfast… If I do, it is usually around 11am when Olive naps. Over the last 10.5 months I’ve noticed that my life has changed and things that were important to me before, aren’t even on my radar now. I always make sure Olive is changed, and bathed, and fed, and sleeps on her schedule and my life fits in nicely around it. It’s not just me! I know you Momma’s who are reading this will agree with me. You stop taking care of yourself as soon as there are 10 little fingers and 10 little toes to watch. Why does this happen?

I made a New Years Resolution that seems like a typical one that most people to make every year. I will be the first to admit that I haven’t really taken care of myself as well as I should have since Olive arrived. Overall, my resolution is to live a healthier life. Not specifically to lose weight (of course, that would be a bonus!), but to eat healthier, to act healthier, to live healthier. I made a resolution to take care of myself… But to take care of myself, I had to understand why I haven’t been doing that. 

1. We Mommas don’t know what we need most. 

Sometimes our picture of balanced and normal self care feels crazy far away and wildly unattainable. For me, sometimes when I don’t know where to start – I don’t start at all. I just keep living with my flag flying at half mast. 

What I’ve found to be super helpful is to make a list starting with what would make me feel most normal and take baby steps from there. For me what I NEED most is 30 minutes to hour of my own time. When I first told Scott that I needed “Mommy time” I felt selfish. Why do I want time away from my sweet baby and husband? I didn’t approach this subject for many many months because I didn’t want to admit that sometimes I miss leaving the house without packing up a carseat, diaper bag, and snacks… But sometimes you just need this time to regroup… to feel independent… to re-energize yourself. I still haven’t had much “Mommy Time”, but that is why I made this resolution, right? Scott has been able to do many things while I stay home to watch Olive (ice fishing, snowmobiling, NHL games…), so I shouldn’t feel bad about asking Scott to stay home and watch Olive while I go for a much needed haircut and sushi date with my friend Whitney. I asked Scott to watch Olive last week while I had a nice, relaxing bath… I thought this would make my sore baby-carrying muscles feel better, but as soon as I stepped into the tub, I heard Olive screaming right outside the door. Instead of staying downstairs and trying to calm her down, Daddy decided she needed to be in the bedroom right outside the bathroom door the entire time. “Mommy Time” fail. We are still working on this!

In general, I need “Mommy Time” to feel like a normal person who eats health and exercises regularly to help me be a better mom and wife. I don’t need to wake up and be completely put together, but I need to know the cornerstones of the things that keep me from falling apart are there.  

2. We Mommas make other choices. 

There are seasons where we can’t spend hours and hours taking intense care of ourselves, it’s a fact. There are days where I can’t find the time to shower or nights where caring for a sick baby is more important than a full night’s sleep. BUT I am noticing that there are times when I say I don’t have time to shower… eat a healthy breakfast… or exercise… but what I mean is I’d RATHER do x, y, and z. I often choose working on a new project at night over taking a shower and going to bed early. Or maybe I choose browsing instagram and pinterest over taking ten minutes to put on makeup… Although I rarely wore makeup before Olive was here, so maybe makeup isn’t a good example! 

There may be days or hours where we genuinely don’t have time to take care of ourselves, but let’s be sure it’s not that we’re choosing to use our minutes to do something that may seem relaxing, but is not actually helping us. 

3. We Mommas don’t ask for help. 

Let’s cut to the chase. There is ALWAYS someone who will be on our team if we need help to really take care of ourselves. It’s to our everyone’s benefit (especially yours) that we look and feel like women who CARE and remember that we are women. I have a feeling that most husbands will genuinely want to help us – don’t you? After that – do you have a mom or mother in law nearby? A sister? There is always someone who will be willing to step in to help, you just have to get up the courage to ask. I know its hard. This past week has been a real doozy for both Scott and I. Olive is fighting a bladder infection that has kept us up all night long for a week (and counting). The poor little girl just cannot get comfortable and screams at the top of her lungs just when I thought we could finally get some sleep. We are in desperate need of sleep, and asking someone to watch her for a few hours would help so much… I just have to make myself realize that it is okay to admit that you need help sometimes. Trying to be the strong “I-can-do-anything” mom just isn’t always ideal.

4. We Mommas feel out of touch. 

Sometimes I don’t want to try to cute myself up because I feel like - womp, womp – I’m a mom. I have no idea about fashion (even if I was living in my old world – I still had no idea). I forget how to do my own makeup and I may have a grey root or two… Bad excuse though, right? Pinterest. For all the hate pinterest gets about making us all strivey and comparison-y, it can be a huge tool to help us feel checked in and knowledgeable about how to care for ourselves. If it’s not pinterest for you, grab a magazine, or plan a self-care-girl’s-night. Don’t feel silly that you’re out of touch. Just get back in as quick as you can, as much as you need to. 

5. Lastly, we Mommas knee jerk. 

I think the biggest thing I see in my heart and the women I’ve talked to is that we tend to do a massive knee jerk where taking care of ourselves is concerned. We’re worried we’re too selfish, so we replace selfless with a strange form of self abuse. We see other women abuse the ability to care for themselves, so we deem it all an unworthy cause. Or maybe we’ve been the women who abused the time and resources given us and we’re scared we’ll go off on an indulgent tangent again. 

I am really looking forward to the year ahead as I strive to live a healthier life. The first 24 days have gone fairly well and I already feel like a new person. Remember… You do have to put yourself first sometimes!

Olive says “GO MOMMA’S GO!”

stacy  

 

Etsy Love: Mittens

Isn’t this weather just ridiculous! From hot to cold in what seems like hours! I am a big advocate of winter, don’t get me wrong. I get really giddy when the white stuff starts falling. I’m really not complaining at all. Maybe because I wasn’t outside at 4:30am trying to get my car started in -40 degree weather (like I would have been last year), or maybe it is because it gave me the excuse to look for really cute gloves and mittens on Etsy!! Here’s my rundown of my favourites!
Etsy-Love \\ 1. Little Asia Girl \\ 2. Margret Maria \\ 3. Yastikizi \\ 4. Captured Imagination \\

Keep warm!

stacy

A Recipe for Brunch

Is there anything better than a yummy brunch with family? Okay, I’m sure you can name a few things that are better, but brunch definitely tops my list. It means a morning of sleeping or lounging around the house, not quite energetic enough to make breakfast, but far to hungry to wait until lunch. Today I was in the cinnamon bun baking mood, but I decided to a different route. I found this awesome idea from Sally’s Baking Addiction and thought it was the perfect recipe to make . I couldn’t wait to try it.. but decided to use my own cinnamon bun recipe because it is tried, tested, and happily approved (but Scott and his beer league hockey team)!

IMG_2202 Tonight we are having a (very) belated birthday dinner for my mom. I am now the designated dessert bringer, but I didn’t want to bring the usual chocolate cake. I thought this cinnamon bun “cake” would work just right with some cream cheese frosting to top it off! 

I think you should try this for your next brunch… or birthday!! A definite win for the recipe box! Warning – Not for those on a diet.. I think I just counted 18 (yes, EIGHTEEN!) tablespoons of butter in this recipe. Making Julia Child proud since 2013!

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (plus some for kneading and dusting)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active yeast (follow directions on bottle to activate)

Caramel Glaze (Pan Sauce) – from the Kitchen of my mom-in-law!

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Filling

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Frosting

  • 1 package cream cheese (softened)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

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What’s Next

  1. In a 4-cup measuring bowl, combine milk, butter, sugar, and salt. Microwave on high for 1 minute or until warm. Whisk in the eggs.
  2. Place the flour and active yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer (if you have one!) fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the liquid ingredients. Mix on low speed, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time, until the dough forms a soft mass and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl (5-6 minutes).
  3.  Remove the paddle attachment and switch to the dough hook. With the mixer on low, knead the dough with the dough hook. Sprinkle the dough with flour, a tablespoon at a time, if necessary, to keep it from sticking to the side sod the bowl. When the sough is smooth, not sticky, and springs back when you press it with your finger, you’ve kneaded enough (4-6 minutes). I like to finish kneading the old fashioned way – digging your hands in and doing some punches. I don’t know why, but my buns always turn out better when I do this!
  4. Place the dough in a large, oiled mixing bowl, cover with a tea towel, and let rise in a warm place for 45-60 minutes, or until almost doubled in size.
  5. While the dough is rising, cook your pan sauce by combining butter, sugar, corn syrup and heavy cream in a sauce pan on the stove. Whisk until combined and boiling. Place in the bottom of your bun pan right before you place your buns inside!
  6. Mix together brown sugar and cinnamon for the filling.
  7. When the dough has doubled in size, transfer to a floured surface and roll out to an approximate rectangle – 16×20 inches.
  8. Spread the dough with the soften butter (4 tablespoons) and then sprinkle the cinnamon mixture on top. Smooth out until entire dough surface is covered with the mixture. 
  9. slice the dough with a pizza cutter into 2″ stripes along the length of the dough. Loosely roll up one strip and place in the middle of your cake or deep dish pie plate. (Remember you add your pan sauce to the cake/pie plate before placing your first roll)!
  10. Coil the remaining 5 strips around the center roll, starting each strip at the end of the previous one to make one large rolled cake. (the photos below are courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction How-to-Make-a-Giant-Cinnamon-Roll-Cake-Step-by-step-instructions-on-sallysbakingaddiction.com_
  11. Once you have coiled your dough, cover with a tea towel and let the dough rise again – doubling in size. (60-90 minutes)
  12. Once double, preheat your over to 350F. Bake your cake for 30-45 minutes or until internal temperature reaches approximately 180F. 
  13. Remove from oven and let rest for as long as you can before giving in!

IMG_2204 Olive says “OUR HOUSE SMELLS SO GOOD”!

stacy

 

Ten Months with Olive

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Dear Olive,

I think I am in denial. I look at you and see a little girl, not a baby anymore. You are growing more and more beautiful every day, with your long wavy hair and beautiful blue eyes. (You get those beautiful eyes from your Daddy)! This has been one crazy month full of parties, and visits, and Santa and singing! You have grown by leaps and bounds over the past month. I can see you becoming more independent, more giggly, and more cheeky (in the physical sense). You look at Daddy and I and I can see how much you love us. You smile your gigantic smile whenever we walk into the room and then scream your high pitched scream (you have definitely found your voice) while waving your hands frantically. Waving is your new love. You wave at everything and anything. Granny, Grandma, K9, the Christmas tree… you don’t leave anyone out. It is the cutest thing. You really just started this over Christmas which was perfect timing as we were saying hello to so many people over the holiday. You raise your little hand, twist your wrist at a slightly strange angle, and start to wave with your mouth wide open. Did I mention that you mouth is barely ever closed now? Sometimes you look up, wave to the sky and in your gentle voice say “ga ga ga ga”. I am convinced you are waving to Popa, Great Grandma and all the other angels watching over you. Every day I pray to them and ask them to keep you safe and healthy. I think the fact that you have yet to get a cold or flu is a testament to those prayers.

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3 You love books. I never knew a baby who would choose to look through books rather than play with toys. You flip through every book, page by page, letting each picture bring a new toothy smile to you face. Sometimes you say “da da da da” or “ba ba ba ba” to the cow you see, other times you let out a high pitched squeal…. and sometimes you can’t get the page turned fast enough! Tonight you were sitting on my tummy flipping through an animal book. You are so independent. You do not like me turning the pages. You must do it on your own. I was trying hard to hold back the tears as I watched every page light up your face with delight. Your little mouth opens wide, and then turns to the cutest grin I have even seen. You look up to me to see if I see what you see (theres a tongue twister!) and then you bounce up and down with excitement. I love how little things like bright pictures bring so much joy to your life. 

IMG_1426-copy So many things happened this month! Christmas, New Years, Granny’s birthday, teeth growing, new food.. I think this letter is going to be a bit longer than normal! I have so much say. A day in the life of Olive is an eventful one (even without Christmas in the mix). Daddy took the last two weeks off work, so we were able to have morning snuggles with him every single day. I found myself turning on the fireplace channel and cuddling for an hour (at least) while the Christmas carols cycled and the fire stoker stoked. I think these were the best mornings we have had yet. You look from Momma to Daddy and then back to Momma and give her the best morning kisses anyone would ever ask for. My favourite are the wide open lip smacks, with a little secret tongue! I know when you are older you will say “awwww Ma! Thats gross!”, but I think they are they best! The way you look at me and know that I want a real kiss fills my heart as full as it can be. I never knew love the way I love you. The smallest things you do can bring a ray of sunshine to gloomiest of days. Who knew a slobbery baby kiss would make me so happy? We eventually decide it is time to get out of bed, get dressed, and have breakfast. Breakfast for you now consists of Apples, or Avocados, or Pears, or Oatmeal and your new favourite – Cheerios! I’m slowly getting over my fear of you choking… but not quite yet! 

IMG_2950-copy 1 Do you know your favourite place to sit? It is on Daddy’s shoulders. You get so excited, even if you were a little cranky. When he puts you up there you immediately giggle, and bounce, and pull Daddy’s hair (until he screams like a little girl), and then you grin from ear to ear. Daddy walks around the house and you scream your high pitched scream. Delight. Joy. Happiness. Love. 

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IMG_3695-copy I was so excited about this month, even before you were here. Christmas is my favourite time of year. I love how we all get together to spend time with our ever-growing family. We started some new traditions, and kept all our old. For the weeks leading up to Christmas you helped Daddy wrap all his presents. You thought this was the best thing since sliced bread! All this paper to play with… To crinkle… To eat… I even caught you and Daddy “sword” fighting with the empty wrapping paper tubes.  You would not stop giggling! We started off our Christmas spirit by going to meet Santa for the first time. You were such a good girl. We watch about 10 crying children sit on Jolly Old St. Nick’s lap before it was your turn. You strolled right up there in Mommy’s arms like it was nobodies business! You sat on his lap, gave him a huge smile and then, unexpected to all of us, gave his beard a real yank! You just wanted to make sure he was the real thing – and he was! You said “ba-ba-ba” which I think meant “sleigh” and opened your mouth wide for a perfect first picture with Santa.  This wasn’t the only time you had an encounter with Santa. You also went to breakfast with Santa and saw him again the Arnold family Christmas. You were quite fond of him every time.

IMG_0494 We spent Christmas Eve at Grandma and Grandpa Blair’s. The entire family (close to 30 people!) arrives for dinner around 5:00. We all sit at one loooong table, all wearing Santa hats, reading jokes and telling stories. It is such a fun evening and you loved every minute. You had your own little Santa hat to wear while sitting in between Grandma and Grandpa. You had your first taste of turkey and a hand full of cheerios. You were in seventh heaven! This is one of Mommy’s favourite traditions. It is so much fun sitting down with such a big group and looking down the table to a sea of Santa Hats!

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IMG_1963.JPG By 7:30 we had to quickly pack up and head to Elgin to attend Christmas Eve Mass at St. Columbanus. This is one of Mommy’s favourite Christmas traditions. Your Great Grandma Murray was the choir director at our church. I remember sitting in the pew, looking up to the choir loft and giving her a huge wave every Sunday. Christmas eve was always a little more magical, and the singing exquisite. Your Great Grandma passed away right before Christmas in 1993. I joined the adult choir right after and sang every Sunday and every Christmas eve until I went away to school. Christmas Eve mass is when I really feel Great Grandma Murray with us, that is why I love it so much. Not many people would say one of their favourite things about Christmas is Christmas Eve mass. But it is mine… And I hope someday you can say the same someday.

Following mass we go down to Granny’s to have a late night tortiere. You opened your first Christmas presents from Mommy and Daddy after we ate. A new set of PJ’s and the book “The Night Before Christmas” which Grandpa read to you while you sat on his lap. I think we started a new tradition! This year we decided to spend Christmas morning at home. It was the first year I have spent it away from my mom and dad. It was a little bittersweet because I absolutely love traditions, but it was time to start new ones for our new family.

IMG_1989.JPG I was so excited to see if Santa brought you presents… So excited that I had to wake both you and daddy up at 7:00! I think you knew something was happening because you (happy) screamed all the way down the stairs. We walked into the living room and saw that Jolly Old St. Nick definitely remembered Olive. Sitting right there on our floor, under the tree, was a beautiful brand new red sleigh with a stocking full of toys! We spent the next 2 hours slowing unwrapping all our presents. You preferred to sit in your sleigh, and were actually excited about the presents, not just the wrapping paper! I cannot begin to describe to you how much this day meant to me. Seeing your face light up, seeing you (trying) to open presents, seeing how much you love Mommy and Daddy made me completely forget that I wasn’t at home with my Mommy and Daddy. Olive, you are such an amazing baby. I know I say this every day, but you really are. I could see in your face that you were thankful for all the presents you received. 

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4 Granny, Grandpa and Uncle Kenney came to our house around 9:30 so you could show off your sleigh, Stokke high chair, and the collection of awesome books (including Brown Bear, Brown Bear and the Very Hungry Caterpillar), and toys that you found under our tree. You happily sat on the floor with Granny, showing her everything. Granny was just as excited as you were. You made her Christmas,  Olive. You really did. I have never seen Granny so happy!

IMG_2958-copy We spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon at Grandma and Grandpa’s with all your Auntie’s and uncles. It was a great morning of unwrapping more presents, eating the traditional Eggs Benedict (Mommy’s favourite!) and playing Auntie Kara’s new game – Just Dance 2014! You cuddled right up with Grandma all morning long and helped her open presents. Grandma and Grandpa bought you some new books, comfy jammies, and a high chair! Auntie Hilary bought you two new Christmas charms for your bracelet that she bought for your Baptism. It was the perfect morning at the Blair’s with all our family. You loved every moment!

2 As the day began to wind down we headed to Granny and Grandpa’s house for MORE present opening and our family dinner. Granny bought you a new wardrobe that included skinny jeans and cute down fillled vests! You look like a little girl in your skinny jeans!! Uncle Kenney got you a giant frog pod for the tub so you can store all your tub toys in style. Granny and Grandpa bought Daddy and I everything we would need for travel, including luggage, power converters, luggage tags and more… and at the end, we found a gift card for CAA travel! Looks like we are going to be hitting the skies sometime soon! Where would you like to go? We finished off our very busy day with a lovely dinner with the Raison’s and Uncle Terry. Uncle Greg and his crew stopped by for dessert. By this time you were spent! I have never seen you so tired… But you were such a trooper! You stayed awake all day long. You didn’t miss one second of your first Christmas. I can already see that you are going to love Christmas just as much as I do! Its our special holiday.

IMG_2998-copy Some other things from this month:

  • At skating one of my little skaters came up and asked me “Coach Stacy, I forget your baby’s name… Is it Garlic?” Gah! I tired so hard not to giggle! I thought it was the cutest thing. I now call you my Little Garlic Girl!
  • You are still not crawling. You do the “butt-scooch” to get things that you want, but can’t figure out how to get your leg out of the way to crawl. I sit you up on your hands and knees and you look at me like a crazy woman! I think you are going to walk before you crawl! You are starting to pull yourself up when you hold on to my thumbs!
  • You first two bottom teeth appeared when you were 5.5 months old. We have waited nearly 5 more months more teeth to appear. I think Santa listened to your wishes! On Boxing Day we noticed that your top left tooth was all the way through (without any fussing)! The only way I noticed was because you were grinding you teeth! Over the next week I watched two more bottom teeth peek through, and just today I noticed your other top tooth is starting to appear. In a span of two weeks you have cut at least 4 teeth that we know of, and it didn’t phase you at all! You are a trooper, my Little Garlic Girl!
  • Granny celebrated her 53 birthday on December 30! We were invited to a Murder Mystery Party that night, so Granny received the best present she could ask for – an evening with Olive! Granny and Grandpa came to watch you. You played, and laughed, and smudged Grandpa’s glasses, and then you fell asleep in Granny’s arm. She was in seventh heaven!
  • New food this month (You are no longer a herbivore!) – Cheerios, Rice Crispies, Chicken, Turkey, Venison, Green Beans, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Avocados, Bananas, Apples
  • You have a soft gentle voice… and a high pitch squeal!
  • You can pick up the smallest speck of dirt on the floor. Daddy and I cannot even see what you are trying to pick up!
  • You say: Da Da, Ba Ba, Ga Ga, and screeeeeammm. You also just said “Bye-Bye” (or so it sounds) when Granny is getting ready to leave from her visit!
  • You have became an Indian Giver! You love to share your cheerios, but want them back ASAP! (see video!)

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Every month you make me the proudest Momma in town. I never thought I could love someone as much as I love you. I look at you and still cannot believe you are mine. Thank you, my Little Garlic Girl. I love you to the moon and back two times over!

Love you to the moon and back!

xoxoxo
-Momma 

 

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