Bronwyn and her American Girl Dolls

A Test in Patience

We are navigating the uncharted waters of a very expensive new obsession. I figured it would happen sooner or later, but didn’t expect to dive in headfirst. I was hoping for a slower, gentler introduction to the American Girl pool.

Yes, the infamous doll has made her way into Bronwyn’s heart and has taken over her every waking thought. We watch American Girl movies, we surf the American Girl website and she’s already planning next year’s birthday party. The theme…. American Girl.

For her birthday this year, we spent a “girl’s day” shopping, lunching and getting our hair done. Part of the shopping experience was a trip to the American Girl doll store to buy Bronwyn’s present: Grace – the girl of the year. I knew she’d be expensive (we’ve been stalking her on the AG website, after all), but didn’t realize I’d need a second mortgage to pay for her many accessories… We settled for the doll, her dog and an outfit and ran quickly from the store.

Kit and Grace American Girl DollsBut once that bug settles in, it takes over. With so many play sets and outfits on display at the store, Bronwyn wanted to give her doll a few more accessories. We’ve been trying to talk her into waiting, to see if she will actually play with the doll before spending more on accessories, but with birthday money burning a hole in her pocket, it was hard to shut her down. She settled on another doll, to keep the first one company. The only problem was that the doll was not available in Canada; she could only be ordered online from the US.

So began the lesson in patience. Mine, not Bronwyn’s.

The website said that it would take between six and ten days to ship from Wherever USA to our house in Toronto. Business days that is, so up to two weeks from the time we ordered the doll to the day Bronwyn would be able to play with her. We went to bed that night talking about all the things that had to happen to get the doll here: the warehouse packing and shipping, traveling to the border, going through customs (like we did when we went to Florida), and finally into a mail truck and to our door. I tried to find a few extra steps that might add some time to the process, but she woke up every morning for the last week asking if this was the day Kit would get here. Every night after school, the first thing she would ask was if Kit had been delivered.

KIT arrivesI was more than ecstatic today; exactly one week from the day we placed the order, when the postman dropped Kit at my front door.

It hasn’t taken her long to become best friends with Grace either.

Bronwyn and her American Girl DollsNow I have to work on setting expectations for all the wonderful accessories Bronwyn has picked out from the catalog the American Girl people so thoughtfully added to the box with the doll. Either that, or start talking to the bank about that second mortgage…

Bronwyn's art party


Bronwyn's art partyMy baby turned seven on Saturday.

Seven is a lot like six, jut a bit taller, louder and more insistent that she gets her way.

We don’t normally celebrate birthdays with a party every year, so although Bronwyn had a big party last year, I managed to convince myself (and then Dean) that a small craft party held at home didn’t really count as a “party” because we could do the whole thing for less than a hundred dollars. Dean must be getting soft in his old age, because he barely put up an argument.

streamer and Balloon wall birthday party
One of the mothers suggested I keep the streamers up since I’m set decor-wise for Pride week!

The backdrop for the entire party was a streamer/balloon wall that I saw on Pinterest. I tried to get a head start setting up the focal wall on Thursday night, but I forgot to factor in two playful kittens. The streamers didn’t last ten minutes before the cats were tearing them to shreds, and Pete was chewing on the ends. It was going to be an early morning Saturday…

Cupcapke bar
Grandpa made me the extra large paint palette for the cupcake bar. It was my favorite part of the party – the kids too, I think.

I had planned for a three-hour party, thinking it would take the kids a long time to paint their birdhouses. Big miscalculation on my part! Within an hour and a half, birdhouses were done, pizza was devoured, sprinkles scattered all over my kitchen floor and the kids were chasing the cats around the house. And we were only halfway through the party.

April 11, 2015, Birthday Party-6
Bronwyn and Grace enjoying the cupcakes
Even Pete wanted in on the painting party action. Until the kids started showing up, that is...
Even Pete wanted in on the painting party action. Until the kids started showing up, that is…

Once the stressed-out throwing up started (cats, not kids) we shipped everyone out to the yard to burn off some sugar. Except for one small incident with a small gardening trowel and a little girl’s cheek, I was surprised at how well everyone got along: taking turns, sharing and having a good time on a Saturday afternoon. But I was definitely ready for the last kid to go home so Lee and I could have a much needed glass of wine. Or three.

Lee and I are smiling here because what you don't see is that finally, the kids are gone and the wine is poured.
Lee and I are smiling here because what you don’t see is that finally, finally, the kids are gone and the wine is poured.

Birthday parties are a lot like childbirth. Excruciating at the time, but the pain seems to dull as time goes on. You almost forget about it by the time the next birthday rolls around. I think I’ll pull this post out next year around this time, when I start thinking that spring is a great time for a birthday party…

Chef Findley

Findley channeled his inner Julia Child today for his French Project. If hockey doesn’t pan out, maybe he will consider a career as a chef on the Food Network. His French may need some practice (the TDSB only introduces French in Grade Four), but then again, so did Julia’s… Continue reading “Chef Findley”


Warning: This post contains MANY photos of very cold things.

Bronwyn and I went on an adventure today. Since it’s now March, which makes me think of March Break, which is close to Easter, which means spring, and that is practically summer (hey, it was -1 degrees today – that’s the warmest it’s been all year!), we decided to hit the beach. Continue reading “Cold”


It’s the seat warmers in my car on a cold winter morning.

It’s a good book and a glass of wine on a snowy afternoon.

It’s the smell of bacon cooking on a Sunday morning and bread fresh out of the oven.

It’s the heat of the sun shining through the windows and warming the car.

It’s enjoying a hockey game with friends. Even better when we win!

It’s “mom I love you” and a hug before bed.

Ultimately, it’s the sun on my face and sand between my toes as I play on the beach with these two…

Bliss… playing on the beach with the kids in Florida.

Are We There Yet?

It seems we’ve been on the road for ages, bundled tight in our hats and scarves, and mittens that used to smell new but now have that faint odour of wet dog.

Our snow pants are ripped and don’t fit as well as they did in October, but mom refuses to waste money on new ones that we will most likely grow out of before they are needed again. Same goes for our boots.

We’ve only been on this journey, the same one we travel every year, for four months. But they are the longest, darkest months of the year.

And Mother Nature can be cruel. She gives us glimpses of how things could be; if only she would loosen her grip on the cold and let the sun do its job. Then she laughs as she sends us more snow.

I’m beginning to feel like this car. Buried in the snow. Plowed in until spring. Unless someone wants to expend some serious energy shoveling me out.



What is it? What images come to mind when you hear the word?

I am taking part in Photo 101: A Photo a Day; a month-long photography challenge hosted by WordPress. I expected to be challenged from a photographic perspective, but not to be pushed to answer such a difficult question – especially on a Monday morning. Continue reading “Home…”

Let’s Make Every Day Bacon Day

Get out your pork products people, because today is National Bacon Day!

There is nothing better than the smell of bacon frying on the stove. Well, maybe sitting on a beach in Florida would be better right now, but bacon would definitely come in a close second. If we weren’t smack dab in the middle of a deep freeze, bacon would definitely come in first, with Florida a close second. Unless we take it to the next level with a bacon sandwich on the beach in Florida. But now we are just getting crazy. Continue reading “Let’s Make Every Day Bacon Day”

Tearing the Doors of the Closet

Waistlines expand and grey hairs appear with age; time and money seem to vanish with the appearance of children; and as relationships mature, the romantic Valentine gesture is replaced with something more…. practical. They do at my house, anyway.

After nearly 20 years together, gone are the days of red roses (never my favorite), fancy dinners (not my style anyway) and romantic getaways (unless you call an out-of-town hockey tournament romantic). This Valentine’s Day, I got something a bit more substantial to mark the occasion.

Dean, hopeless romantic that he is, bought me a new closet. And it was the best gift I’ve gotten in a long while.

We’ve been meaning to update our bedroom closet since we moved into this house. Seven years ago. Seven years of cramming my clothes in baskets and bins at the bottom of my closet. Seven years of messy piles that swallow your favorite jeans, never to return them. (It was so bad, I can only show you the “in progress” picture. The “before” was too much.)

FullSizeRender-1Finally I feel like a grown up. My new semi-custom closet is so well organized and pretty, I can’t help but spend long hours laying in bed admiring its tidy beauty. I may never put the closet doors back on!

Thanks for your help, Cousin Ben – Dean would never have gotten this amazing piece of art put together without you!FullSizeRender-2