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Monday, July 29, 2013

How do single parents do it??

This weekend, I was on my own with the boy while the huz attended a bachelor party of sorts (sans bachelor, don't ask!) in Las Vegas. Being that I worked from home on Thursday and Friday, I was really in single parent mode for 4 full days, including Thursday evening, as a work dinner beckoned Grant to disperse his mobile expertise on an unassuming crowd.

I have to say, it was exhausting. Although Hayzey was pretty much his usual easy-going self for the majority of the weekend (with the exception of Sunday, when he had a full meltdown - more details later), and even though we escaped to Laguna on Saturday afternoon so I could get some relief from the 'ole grandparents, being one-on-one with him for that many consecutive days gave me a newfound respect for those who do it solo all the time.

Between the never-ending potty breaks (have you ever rushed to the bathroom at your local dry cleaners because your child was chanting, "Mama - poo! Mama - poo right now!", only to sit him on the toilet and have him decide he didn't have to go after all?), the going to bed game (note, this game is only fun for one person and it wasn't me) and Hayes' new ability to form structured sentences (make that demands, usually starting with "I want" or "I need" and ending with "right now!"), the little dictator had me at his beck and call for the whole weekend. Throw in a 2 1/2 hour drive to Laguna on Saturday (it normally takes an hour, traffic was TERRIBLE) and a total tantrum over not being able to go inside to play the piano at a friend's house while we tried to enjoy lunch overlooking the Pacific and this mama was welcoming home Daddy with open arms last night!

Don't get me wrong, there were some great moments during the weekend and I really did enjoy the bonding time with Hayzey. He was my date to the food truck block party on Friday night and we enjoyed many meals al fresco, just the two of us. He gave me two hours of snuggle time on Saturday morning in my bed and we had a fun sleepover at Nini and Pa's on Saturday night. 

And he was an absolute dream in the car going to and from Laguna, never once asking to go to the potty and sitting there quietly, even through the gridlock. And honestly, who could stay annoyed at this face?

Ever since finding out that Peanut is a boy, I've been thinking about the possibility of having a family of five vs. a family of four, in order to try for a girl. We are definitely leaving the door open to a third baby, but the thought of it is sometimes really overwhelming, especially after weekends like the one I just had. From a selfish perspective, stopping at two would definitely be easier and more economic. I can handle the newborn and toddler phase one more time and although the next couple of years won't be easy by any means, the boys will be close in age and before we know it, they'll be grown up.

It's that last part that makes me long for a third (even as I'm still working on baking the second!). Coming from a family of five, I've always imagined having a bigger family myself - whether the third is a girl or a boy, I keep reminding myself that The Blur only lasts for a little while and then you're in The Sweet Spot indefinitely.  That one day, sooner than you think, you'll be through the 24/7 overseeing every single movement your kid makes, your brain will solidify from it's state of mush and what you'll be left with are the  (hopefully) healthy relationships you've established with your growing kids and a strong bond with your sig o, armed with the parenting stripes you both earned together.

Monday, July 22, 2013

It's a....


Turns out the Duchess and I have something in common - both of us are having (or in her case, just had!) baby boys!

I've gotta say, even though I think I knew deep down that Peanut was a he, everyone's else confidence in the baby being a girl had made me second guess myself this week so when those blue balloons flew out of the box, I think we were all a bit taken aback. Especially Grant, who's choice of a fiery magenta tee made his prediction boldly known to everyone in LA - I think the poor guy is still pretty stunned that we're adding another boy to the brood instead of the daughter he thought would complete the family!

It's incredibly exciting news for Hayes, who will, I'm sure, LOVE having a little brother to play around with. The duo's unofficial name - the Butterscotch Stallions - is already floating around and the more I think about the reality of having two little guys, the more excited I become. It'll be a handful for sure; our house is going to be raged (just this weekend, Hayes poured green nail polish onto our couch and then started Monday off by drop kicking the door stopper off the wall in the main hallway, removing some of the base board in the process - sweet, thanks Hayes), but it sure is easier from a what-we-already-have perspective and if #2 is anything like his older brother, I can't imagine feeling anything but overwhelming heart bursting love for the kid. 

The Dake girls did an awesome job with the catering, as evidenced by the below pics. It meant so much to us to have so many people at the party to share our special moment, especially those who traveled from afar to be there. 

For those of you who couldn't be there, here's a little video of the grand reveal:

This guy has no idea what's coming...


Thursday, July 18, 2013

2 days and counting...

...until we FINALLY get to find out whether Peanut is going to be a he or a she!! 

In true Granel fashion, we couldn't find out without some sort of accompanying hoopla and in the spirit of fairness, since we found out Hayes was a boy in a similar fashion, we decided to do it again, albeit in a slightly different way.

In all reality, the main reason why we're doing another party to find out the unborn's gender is because it was our way of compromising... Grant's preference would be to not find out until the baby is born; I can't bear to think of waiting another 4 months. So I'm stealing Grant's potential last chance at life's ultimate surprise and have convinced him that it's still a surprise no matter what and that this'll be a fun and festive way to share the news with our friends and family. 

To refresh your memory, here's what Hayzey's gender reveal looked like:

This time, we're going the balloon route, filling a huge decorated box (we spent some time painting last weekend when we were on lock-down) with helium pinks or blues, which Hayes will reveal when he opens up the top. It was important to us to include him and thought this would be fun, nevermind the photo opps ;-)

Everyone will be coming dressed in pink or blue hues, depending on what they think Baby C will be. There will be a betting pool (last time, it got up to $180!) and themed out food, courtesy of Grant's mom, who really should consider starting her own catering company.

On the menu?:

To represent the 50% chance that it's another boy:

...Hot & Spicy wings, accompanied by carrots and celery and a "blue" cheese dip
...Wienies in a blanket (c'mon, couldn't resist!)
...Pulled pork sliders - the ultimate manly bar food

To represent the 50% chance that we'll be evening things out with a girl:

...Peaches & Cream - a bruschetta consisting of burrata, grilled peaches and basil
...Sweet Shrimp - grilled lime prawns with a sweet papaya ginger dipping sauce
...Baby bell peppers, stuffed with chopped tomatoes, feta and cucumbers

Finish that off with some homemade mini cupcakes adorned with pink and blue frosting, courtesy of my friend Anna and you've got the perfect array of gender specific small bites to nosh on. 

I, for one, will be donning an outfit that consists of blue hues, although the majority of people I've polled so far have a hunch that it'll be a she (including Grant, who won't even consider boy names at this point!) so I think there will be a whole lotta pink there as well. At any rate, I can't wait to find out if Hayzey will be a beeg broda to a guy or gal! Between the plethora of Grant's family who'll be in attendance (local aunts and uncles, as well as cousins, sisters and grandparents who have traveled from afar) and our enthusiastic friends, it's bound to be a fun weekend ;-)

Will it be another round of snips, snails and puppy dog tails, or will we even things out with some sugar, spice and everything nice?

What do you readers think?? 


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sayonara Diapers!

Big weekend around the Kibbutz... we started the process of saying sayonara to those pesky diapers and learning how to use the potty!

After 3 days at home with a pantsless 2.5 year old, I was definitely going a little stir crazy. I shudder to think how many times I asked Hayes if he had to go to the bathroom...if he was sure he didn't have to go to the bathroom...to remember to tell mommy if he had to go to the bathroom... Frankly, I was beginning to annoy myself!

Overall, the weekend was a pretty good success! I definitely went into it with little expectations, but hoped that after 3 days of a bootcamp-style potty learning process, he would be fully trained. It's quite evident that it's going to take a bit longer than 3 days for it to fully kick in, but we're on the right track and we're not looking back!

We've been talking about it for weeks, and it helped that he just spent a chunk of time with his cousin, Hank, who he looks up to and who has recently graduated from diapers. Saturday morning, we let him open a present, filled with jars of m&ms, lollipops, stickers and a brand spanking new potty. We also showed him a sticker chart I made that he would apply said stickers to when he had a success. 2 m&ms for a pee, 1 lollipop for a poo (it's amazing what this kid will do for candy) and a sticker on the chart for each.

By naptime on Saturday, he'd already gone in the potty 6 times (I'll spare you the dirty specifics but it was encouraging). It definitely slowed down on Sunday and Monday but he seemed to get it. We spent the majority of the weekend outside so accidents were no big deal (I'm sure that's not recommended by the potty training experts but from a selfish perspective, I didn't care if it meant that our furniture was spared!). We've slowly tried introducing underwear with a little bit of success and a little bit of failure, but c'est la vie, he'll catch on soon enough.
How we spent the weekend, porky pigging it around the backyard and basking in the summer heat...
Our big boy went to camp at school today all on his own and although he had one accident, he also used the big potty, which we're incredibly proud of. 

Crazy how a simple thing like taking away diapers can make your baby seem like such a big kid... sigh!
It helps that we now get to look at this cute little tushy, adorned in the most adorable underoos.
Go Hayes!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Please excuse the blog silence over the past couple of weeks. We were vacationing in my home and native land, or 'Montrelolo' as Hayes likes to call it, with my whole fam and I'm only just now coming up for air.

We were gone for 8 days, spending 4 days in the Eastern Townships at a darling little Manor in between North Hatley and Magog, Manoir Hovey, and 4 days in Old Montreal in the center of all the action. My whole family was there, all 11 (and a half!) of us - with, much to my dad's delight, the boys outnumbering the girls!

Unfortunately, we didn't get the greatest of weather for the first half of the trip. Lots of overcast skies and not a whole lotta sun. But we were able to spend some time poolside, which the littles loved, and even went on a boat one afternoon (Hayzey's first time!). The girls surprised me with an impromptu baby shower tea, which was so sweet and very much appreciated. Peanut is already growing his/her gender neutral wardrobe with some adorable fits ;-)

After we ventured into the city, the rest of the trip was a combination of wide open days to explore the city at our leisure and activity-filled outings, including a family reunion with my dad's side and a renewal of my parent's wedding vows for their 40th wedding anniversary. 

None of the boys had met most of our extended family so it was a special treat to see them not once, but two different times, to catch up and bring everyone up to speed on what was going on in their lives. 

And in my opinion, the best part of the trip was the day of the vow renewal. I've mentioned before that my dad is a hopeless romantic (which I love) and this was in the works for quite some time. We tricked my mom into thinking we were going to some fancy creperie just outside the city, specializing in the cuisine of Brittany, France and all loaded onto a party bus (which felt a little strange with 3 kids!) to make the trek out there on Friday morning. As we were en route, Grant started asking my parents about where they met, where they got married, etc... and my dad nonchalantly suggested we stop by the old church where they had their wedding as it conveniently happened to be on the way. Lo and behold when we got there, it was set up for an intimate ceremony for yep, you guessed it - Wayne and Penny! My dad got down on one knee and asked my mom to marry him again and we all sat down to witness their renewal of vows - even my dad's childhood best friend who served as the original Best Man at the wedding in 1973 was there! It was really special and I know it meant a lot to my parents to have everyone there to share their love.

After the renewal, we headed to a creperie that we used to frequent when we were kids. I've literally been talking about these crepes with Grant for 15 years - delicious paper-thin, falling off the plate crepes that are filled with rich cheese and whatever other fillings of your choice. I hadn't been back in about 20 years and I was happy to see that the place hadn't changed a bit. So fun to bring my boys there!

Hayes was an absolute champ on our long and tedious travel days (we started the trip with a 3:30a  wake up in order to make our 6am flight - woof!) and did very well with the babysitters we had for him most nights so mom and dad could enjoy some leisurely 5 course meals. He LOVED seeing his cousins and between the bus, boat and horsy rides and plethora of sweet crepes, ice cream and candy, we think he's going to remember Montrelolo quite fondly!

Ready for picture overload? Enjoy!:

Hayes getting George ready for take off...
Uncle Grant entertaining the littles...
The BEST potato chips in the world...
Dumb and Dumber...
Enjoying his continental breakfast...
Look, no hands!
No big deal Ma, I can swim...
Smushy face ;-)
Baby Gus - check out those knees!
Hayzey's first boat ride...
It was so windy, he insisted I keep my hands over his face like this for most of the time, yet kept telling me he was having fun!
Cousin kisses...
21 weeks!
Vanity Fair style glamor shots...
The whole Mailloux clan...
My dad and his brothers...

Getting their tickets stamped for a train ride around the port...
Fourth of July twinsies!
My guy...
Horse ride around Old Montreal (there's Hayes with that lovely smile again!)...
Us and our horse, Marilyn...
Kisses for Baby Gus...
The whole clan (minus my dad, the photographer) on the bus to the chapel...
Surprise! Will you marry me... again?!
Hayes does not respect religion...
Whiters and Ryan...
The happy couple, 40 years later ;-)
The highlight of the trip - crepes!