Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Round-Up 2012

Halloween was pretty quiet around here this year.  Mr.Loonie is on night shift so I was in charge of handing out candy but I didn't have to do it alone this year! Penny the owl was there to join me. Instead of buying a $20 costume Penny could wear only once we went the homemade route instead which is usually much cuter anyways. I started with an owl toque my aunt got Penny and then sorta copied the idea for the body from a picture I found on Pinterest.  It cost me a total of $5 for a pack of craft felt from Wal-Mart. I just cut it into into strips (scalloped on one side and straight on the other) and hot glued them onto a black onesie I already had.  We also already had the black leggings. Super easy, cheap and cute!!

And then there's carving the pumpkins....I always think it will be a fun activity but the pumpkins usually sit uncarved until the night before Halloween.  Mr.Loonie thinks it's hilarious to do something out of the ordinary.  Last year was the unamused face and this year he used a pumpkin already shaped like a bum to carve out hands and an asshole....we did have quite the reaction at the door though. I used star shaped metal cookie cutters and hammered them into my pumpkin.  I went this route because I honestly hate following those paper patterns and any type of precision cutting. 
Penny's 1st Halloween!
Ass Sphincter Says What?                                                                     Tissue Paper Lanterns
The lanterns I did last year, I think my first ever pinterest project! They are just some random glass jars with tissue paper modge podged on and light up with tea lights.

 Oooh and what do you get from carving pumpkins?! The seeds!! This year we went all fancy up in here using olive oil, black truffle salt (love The Silk Road Spice Merchant!) and black pepper.  All earthy and delicious.

My Dad's birthday falls only a few days before Halloween and this year I volunteered to do the cake...a HALLOWEEN cake! It was actually a cake shaped like a pumpkin using two bundt cake pans and boxed cake mix dyed three different halloweeny colours and layered to bake.  Yet another idea from Pinterest....just no originality here folks.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Chalkboard Update - Frame Drawings

I am always trying to think of something cool and creative to fill up my chalkboard with like meaningful quotes written in unique lettering but I just end up with phone messages and stick drawings.  I did a quick search on Pinterest and found this easy frame idea that I could personalize anyway I want including the frame design and what to fill them with.  Since Halloween is just around the corner I did a jack o'lantern and then countdown to Christmas in another frame to keep us on track for gift shopping (I can't believe it's only 8 weeks away!!).  The rest of the frames were easy...a K for our last name and then love for my babes. 

What I wish I could do....

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My Social Life...a thing of the past?

Before having kids I didn't understand how hard it would be to have a social life.  You just dump them at Grandma's and go right?  Yah....not so. When I was pregnant, I said I would always keep my social life on top of the priorities list because everyone knows it is healthy to have a life outside of the home.  What I have learned is that this is easier said than done.  It's been four months and I have yet to leave Penny for more than 3 hours which was on a double header volleyball night.  Three hours was stretching it too, Mr.Loonie had to take Penny on a walk and give her a bath to keep her calm. The biggest reason for not being able to leave her is Penny's resistance for the bottle.  This was maybe a mistake I made from not trying the bottle at an earlier age and my belief of not using a soother.  We have had some luck as of late though with a new type of bottle my mother in law picked up that looks like a mother's breast. The nipple is shorter (Penny was gagging on the long nipples of the standard bottle type) and the base or "the breast" is softer and larger so that baby can latch on like she would the mother's boob.  So with a bit more practice, I may feel more comfortable leaving Penny for more than a couple hours! Maybe even an evening out with my hubby and a few vodka tonics ( tonics with a lime).
I have to admit, it is not only the bottle issue. I think I am using it as a crutch.  If she doesn't take it then I don't have to go out.  I don't have to spend an hour doing my hair, squeezing into my pre-preggo jeans or pushing up these stretched out utters of mine.  I also don't have to worry about leaving her with someone and trying to push the worry out of my mind all night.  Is she okay? Is she playing shy and screaming her lungs out? Did she eat enough? Did she get to sleep? Ahhhh! But I would never leave her with someone who is completely stupid so if there was something wrong they would call or just take care of the problem. So who cares if I have to cut the night short at least I tried right? Wouldn't it be easier to just stay home though? To lie on the couch, eat some chips and cuddle with my babe? Yes, yes it would be. But Penny would be a 30 year old woman living at home and collecting cats. I would become a fat and lazy parent depending on Penny for companionship.  And Mr. Loonie's and I's relationship and sex life would go down the toilet.  So in conclusion:  it would be best for all of us for a night on the town even if it only lasts a couple of hours.  I could get pretty buzzed in that time and a quickie in the car doesn't take that long especially due to the recent drought.  So to those friends who may not understand how hard it is to break free of the baby and call four hours before a party....please remember that we are parents now.  Four hours won't work, we probably need at least four days!  It's sad but true, that's our life now.  It's not and we're not as easy and carefree as we used to be.  And another your judgement until you pop a little one out and she turns your world upside down.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Camping with Penny

For those of you who don't know us, the Loonie family, we are serious campers.  We try and go as much as we can in the summer, which is pretty short up here in northern Alberta.  Since Mr.Loonie and I have met we have been on a few BIG camping/road trips going for at least 3 weeks.  We've done the 3 provinces around us, Alberta, Saskatchewan and B.C. and we also did a Wyoming/Idaho/Montana trip which is the three states Yellowstone National Park lies in.  These trips were full of partying, loving and a lot of driving so we could see as much as possible. Our most recent trip down the Oregon/Washington coast was a little different due to the addition of our little Pen Pen.  There was no partying on my part. Mr.Loonie may have got a little tipsy on red wine a few nights with his best buddy Stryker but we were pretty much in bed every night before 10:30 pm and up and on the road by 9 am (with a large coffee to go!) with Stryker walked and breakfast ate.

Gregoire Lake - July 2012
On all our previous trips we just used a quick pop-up tent and a small car. When I got pregnant, we decided that our 2 man tenting days with a dog were over.  We really should have bought a bigger tent back then to make things easier but nope, being the cheapskates that we are, we huddled in that little tent with Stryker and our luggage every trip!  To do our U.S. 2012 trip with Penny in a tent would have been absolutely crazy, and in the late fall of last year, we picked up a used tent trailer. The tent trailer can pack so much stuff , especially with the addition of the cargo box on top of the trailer and the car.  The box above the trailer held the stroller, hiking backpacks and extra wood - this all had to be removed before raising the trailer because of the weight.  The car's cargo box held  a laundry basket of extra clothes/shoes for all weather - we hit all extremes on our trip including rain storms, below zero temperatures, and hot dry sunny weather.  It also held the geocaching backpack, a spare box of diapers and other items needed at quick access.

So what did we need for Penny?

  • Diaper and more diapers
  • Changing pad and wipes
  • The Bumbo for joining us at the picnic/trailer table
  • MEC hiking backpack and the Baby Bjorn carrier
  • Mommy's boobs - I can't imagine doing this trip bottle feeding! How would you do it??
  • Clothes for all weather
  • Go Pod (camping chair)
  • Pea Pod (sun shade)
  • Blankets including one with vinyl on one side for lying in the grass or on the beach
  • Car seat entertainment - We have the "Fisher Price Music and Lights" which would usually put Penny to sleep
  • Sophie and other toys 
  • Baby toiletries and towel
  • Baby Aspirin....just in case.
  • The stroller was iffy, we could have done without it as it is always easier to carry her
  • Some kind of travel bed or not.
  • A travel neck pillow - perfect for nursing!
This picture is from Penny's first camping trip which also happened to be her one month birthday!  She was a trooper even with a couple bug bites on her forehead. 

The pictures below show our tent trailer set-up.  To the left by the door is the dry food bin.  Another bin of the same size full of cookware and dishes stacks on top, we found keeping this stuff in the cuprbords were just to hard to access and keep organized.

On both of the local camping trips we did this summer, Penny slept in her travel sleep bed.  See pictures below: this thing was awesome, we took it everywhere the first two months but she quickly grew out of it.  So the plan for our big trip was to make her a bed using a rubbermaid "under the bed shoe bin" with a foamy inside cut to fit to sit on the stove just like the travel bed did.  Great idea right? Well if it wasn't below zero or close to it most nights, it would have been. She just would have been too cold so the truth is, she slept with us in the bed.  Now I know you are thinking, how the heck did we get her back into her own bed when we got home? Well, all I can say is we got lucky!

My friend taught me about laundry basket packing - awesome for weekend trips for the 3 of us but for the big trip we had a lot more luggage.  Mr.Loonie and I shared a suit case and Penny had her own small duffel bag. The laundry basket was then used in the cargo box for quick access.
Below is the same view one cold night on our trip.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I'm Baaaack.....

Wow, well I'm a jerk.  I just got up and left y'all with no goodbye or explanation as to where we were heading.  It has been a busy month and a half and Miss Penny has become quite the traveller for a four month old.  Yes, she is four months already tomorrow! Well four months date wise (born June 19th) but 17.5 weeks if you are counting weeks.  

So where have we been you ask? Well for most of September we were camping our down the Washington and Oregon scenic coast highway 101,  via the Rocky Mountains in Alberta and Vernon and Osoyoos, B.C.   Our original goal was to make it to California but a job interview for Mr. Loonie and Penny's growing hatred for the car seat quickly changed our plans causing us to head back up north only 100km from the California border.  Ahh well, that's life and California will be saved for another trip.  On the way home we booked er' on the 1-5 through Portland, a city I would love to visit again and then through the historic Columbia Gorge bi-way in Washington (gorgeous in the fall!) and then crossing the Canadian border up through Idaho to Alberta.  

Our Set-up.  Drove over 6000km round trip.
The trip was amazing, I don't know how many times we said, "We should move here!".  Everywhere was just so different from our neck of the woods, emphasis on the word "woods"! In Washington we hit the Pacific Ocean at a spot known as Deception's Pass, a strait separating Whidbey Island from Fidalgo Island where the sun was shining both days, the hikes were amazing and the large trees and ferns took over the landscape just off the rocky beaches.  Mr. Loonie and Stryker had their first swim here, Stryker was a little more than surprised at the taste of the salt water! The funny thing was that he never seemed to remember that the water was salty our entire time at the ocean.  We were on the ocean most of the trip camping at beach side campgrounds when available, nothing beats the sounds of waves crashing while lying in bed.  

Deception's Pass - Penny's 1st view of the Pacific Ocean!
We saw mountains, sea lions, a whale, Oregon's largest Spruce tree, the world's longest beach , natural arches and caves in the ocean, a shit load of army bunkers, waterfalls, the world's largest frying pan, sand dunes, ocean sunsets, violent waves and blowholes, amazing bridges and botanical gardens but the best thing was watching Penny change from an infant to our little girl.  The changes we saw in her was awesome.  She was able to hold her steady by the end of our trip and sit in the bumbo comfortably without her head hanging and she is now forward facing in the carrier, a position she prefers so she can see the world! Penny just became more aware during that month, more smiley and talkative and much more comfrtable with both Mr.Loonie and I.

Holding her head up like a champ.

Devil's Churn
Columbia Gorge Waterfall
Long Beach, WA
Ecola State Park, OR (My favorite spot of the trip)

Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, OR
One of the many ocean sunsets.

Outward in the carrier!
Beach Day!

And hiking.....I love to hike but yeesh no wonder I could fit into my pre-preggo jeans when we got back.  (Let's be honest with a muffin top). But everyone knows the only way to the best spots is to hike to them.  We did our fair share of geocaching too which lead us to the most amazing locations that only locals would know including ocean lookouts and secluded beaches.  

All in all, it was a great trip.  And for those who thought we were crazy for going with a 3 month old, I agree.  Haha No, it wasn't that bad at all.  It just took some planning and all the right equipment.  I will be posting a camping post to show you how we did it and what we would do differently next time.  

Now, if only Pen Pen could remember it all!! Thankfully, we have the 4000 pictures to show her when she is old enough to care! I also did a nightly journal entry to document our daily acitivities and journey with the coolest little polaroid pics taken with a camera Mr. Loonie got me for my 30th birthday.  Oh yah, remember a few posts back I wrote that I wasn't afraid of turning 30?! Well I guess that was a shit story since I ended up running from my own party.  The gist of it is.....Penny wouldn't take the bottle in time for the party and since I couldn't drink I decided to not go out at all.  So yah, I turned 30 but I still act like a child.