Sunday, November 23, 2014

Mission Accomplished. . .?

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(Oh my God, you guys. Do you know how long it took me to figure out how to paste a meme on here???????????? I embarrass myself.)


WE GOT OUR VISAS!!!!!! Wha?!?! We totally weren't expecting them to come this soon--we were thinking early to mid December, based on the last communication we got from employer--but on our first day in Philadelphia, Huz got an email saying they were ready! So we drove on down and picked that shiz up in person!! So, The Rules are that you can't move down more than 30 days before the "program start date", which is in early January, so now we can move anytime after early December.

And, even more good news: WE GOT AN AMAZING NEW PLACE!! Thanks to our wonderful realtor, we saw 11 properties in one day--not counting the broken door place the day before--and really liked four of them. But our top choice really stood head and shoulders above the rest, and they quite liked us as well (I guess?). Its a three bedroom, 1.5 bath (man, that extra 0.5 is really going to make a big difference for us. . .) duplex with a small fenced in yard and an unfinished but pristine and thus totally useable as a playroom basement. Its going to seem positively palatial to us! Its in a beautiful part of town, and our lease starts on December 1. 

SO, unless I am mistaken (which has happened before about this kind of stuff), all we need to do in order to move is wait until 30 days before the "program start date" and figure out our health insurance (no small feat) and then we are good to go! We'll probably move sometime around Dec 3-5ish, and when we get to Philadelphia, we have a beautiful little home waiting for us. We are so excited to know that we'll be "home" and settled by Christmas. 

Phew. What a difference a week makes!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Happy birthday, little Mouse xo

This past weekend we celebrated Mouse's 1st birthday! Its already one year ago that the sweetest, happiest little baby arrived at our home and graced our lives with her never-ending joy. It has been a whirlwind of a year, but Mouse has been such a blessing to us all - her constancy of temperament and adoration has been a port in a storm for us and a daily reminder to cherish the everyday joys and small moments of life with a little one. I read a very timely piece last week called Can you Really Love Your Second Child as Much as Your First? by Darcy R. Shapiro, and it just beautifully summed up how we feel about our little Mouse. We love her for all the ways she is uniquely herself, and our family is more complete, more joyful, and more blessed because she has joined us.

We were also blessed to be able to celebrate Mouse's birthday with a huge birthday shindig at my Aunt's house. It was Mouse themed--of course!--and so many members of our amazing extended family  came out to celebrate with us. Honey Bee and I spent Thursday making tray after tray of baked pasta, pasta being Mouse's favourite food to eat--which I promptly served cold on the day of, but we had a fantastic custom cake made by one of our family members, which was incredible (which I won't post here, beautiful as it is, because Mouse's real name is on it - sorry), and some fantastic hors d'oeuvres made by our gourmet host.
Her first taste of cupcake

Honey Bee loves a good party!

"For she's a jolly good fellow!"

Party van on the way home. Even Dog had a ball.

Happy birthday sweet Mouse! You make us all so happy!

Mouse's little dress is The Hopscotch Dress from Peekaboo Pattern Shop. I have purchased patterns from this shop before and/or followed tutorials from her blog, always with great results. The patterns are simple, PDF documents, and the tutorials all have colour photos and are super easy to follow and always make me feel like a pro while I'm sewing! I had started Mouse's bday dress from a different pattern from a different shop, and with a week left to go, Huz informed me that the dress would make Mouse look like she was Amish, which it did. Although I measured her properly, the dress was far too long and far too wide. So thankfully The Hopscotch was great in a pinch, and I was able to finish it in a week without too much ado. I bought a new sewing machine in Ottawa that does buttonholes, which I was super pumped about. Before, I would take my projects to the sewing lounge in Vancouver to do buttonholes on their fancy digital machines. The machine I bought isn't digital, but it has a buttonhole function/foot, but I found it rather difficult to do. Hopefully as I practice a bit more, I'll get the hang of it better, but for some reason the machine mutinied and wouldn't do one of the four buttonholes properly (but did the other three fine?! whu?!), so I had to do it by hand. And I'm a terrible hand sewer. But the button covers it, so who cares!

We are actually in Philadelphia right now. Tomorrow we have an apartment bonanza planned with a realtor, which is such a novelty. I am used to apartment hunting in Vancouver, where you need to stalk the Craigslist listings every day and as soon as you see a good one, you pounce on it, and when you go to see it, there are 8 other people/couples who are also interested in the apartment. I was approaching our apartment search here with a similar intensity, and our wonderful, patient realtor basically told me "Try to approach this apartment search with as little stress as possible. I actually think you will find that you will have the opposite problem than the one you are anticipating, and will have to decide between several great properties." In other words: calm the hell down, lady. We are REALLY excited about our day o' listings tomorrow, though, and feel really lucky to have someone from here helping us along in the process. 

We drove down from Ottawa yesterday, which took quite a long time because it was either snowing or raining for most of the drive. Today was busy with various appointments, and we were all absolutely wiped. We decided to squeeze in one quick apartment showing this evening, but on our drive there, both girls fell asleep in the car. When we arrived and had to wake them up, they were unsurprisingly nonplussed. Honey Bee, in particular, was in bits. She pretty much cried the entire time we were in the townhome, and did not make a very good first impression on the would-be landlord. At one point, as he was showing us around, she noticed that the previous tenant had done damage to the front door frame. She pointed to the door, in tears, and said "Why is this broken?" We explained that someone broke it, but it was going to be fixed, but apparently this did little to allay her concern. She started crying out, as if someone had just died, "WHY IS THE DOOR BROKEN?!?!?!?"(To those in the Wednesday Night Potluck group, her reaction was akin to the "DON'T CUT MY CAKE!!!!" incident. For those of you not in the Wednesday Night Potluck group, you really should ask me about this story sometime, because it was hilarious). As we left, I said "So, we'll call you tomorrow once we've made our decision" (again, so weird to say this. In Vancouver, its the landlord who says things like that. . .), and Huz says "But, if we decide to move in, you're really going to have to do something about that door, since apparently it really upsets Honey Bee." We had a good laugh on the drive back to the hotel. 

In an effort to have a better, less tear-filled apartment blitz day tomorrow, we are trying to get the girls to go to bed early tonight. This is very difficult in a hotel room if you yourselves do not want to go to bed early. So Huz and I are currently sitting in the bathroom with the fan on, drinking beer and eating chips, and watching Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia on the iPad. Ahh, parenthood! 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Halloween in Ontario

Oh, what a lovely Halloween we had! It was a chilly, chilly day, but it made me feel nostalgic for the days of my youth, when I spent more than one Halloween with a winter coat/snowpants over/under my costume. In Vancouver, Halloween wasn't exactly warm, and we did on occasion have to tote the umbrella around, but it was definitely much warmer than here. You know it must be cold, when the 3 year old decides to pack it in when her goodie bag is only half full because "I COLD!"

Soon after Honey Bee was born, I decided to take an adult education Beginner Sewing class through the Vancouver School Board, mainly so that I could learn how to sew costumes for Halloween. As a child, I remember having a few costumes that were very memorable (I'm remembering in particular, an incredible Queen of Hearts costume that my mom's friend made that was so epically amazing that I actually FELT like I was the actual Queen of Hearts. And an E.T. costume that I first came upon hanging on a nail in our unfinished basement at a fairly young age and being so terrified of the costume that I don't even remember putting it on - there is certainly no photographic proof of that particular Halloween costume), but others were very meh (like when I dyed my hair black and wore a rosary to be Madonna, or when I bought a soother and wore pajamas to be a baby. . .). And I really wanted to create for the girls that magical feeling that a child has when they dress up in a truly remarkable costume.

I found my canary yellow graduation gown in a closet at my parents house, and Honey Bee LOVES princesses, so I decided to make a Snow White costume. (It was either Snow White or Belle, but difficulty-wise, it was a no brainer for me!) And I thought that with her great big blue eyes and the fact that she doesn't speak, Mouse would be the most adorable Dopey ever. And I was right.

Look at how happy she is to be Snow White! It makes my heart sing. I made this dress by modifying the Allana Ruffled Peasant Dress pattern by Blissful Sewing, which I had used previously to make Honey Bee's 3rd birthday dress. I lengthened the bodice and didn't include the ruffles or sash, and the dressed turned out really well. Its a great, easy-to-follow pattern, and great for early sewists like myself. I also found this amazing tutorial from Craftiness is not Optional on how to do the sleeves. It totally made the dress, although if you scrutinize mine, you'd find lots of boo boos around the neckline and cuffs from where I put the elastic/casings, but like an impressionist painting, the dress looks so much better if you take a few steps back.

And here is sweet little Dopey! Forgive the less-than-awesome picture. Its incredibly difficult to take a fully body shot of a crawling baby, as many of you know. Inspired by Jeni Ro Designs, I used the Bimaa Sweater Pattern by LouBeeClothing, which was just perfect. It was a super easy sew, super cute pattern (which I will certainly use again for non-Halloween purposes), and it was really warm and cozy during our very chilly Halloween outings. The fleece I used was really thick, which was great for warmth, but made the cowl look a bit like a green neck brace, but I still think it looked so cute.

Snow White and Dopey together. (Look at how dirty Honey Bee's socks are!!!!!). We stopped by my grandparents' house for a visit and so they could see the little ones all dressed up.

We also spent part of our day with my cousin and his family at Hugli's Blueberry Ranch in Pembroke. It was awesome! There were some great play areas, lots of (mostly) friendly animals to feed, a corn maze, and a HUGE slide made out of corrugated plastic tubing, among other fun activities.

Huz shooting out the bottom of the slide. Its not just for kids!

Some rather menacing geese. They didn't like the look of Honey Bee and pecked at her (and so begins a lifelong fear of water fowl. . .), so we left their little area. But later, these three goons found us and stalked us down, but we made a narrow escape into the corn maze.

Quintessential Ontario Halloween shot of trick-or-treating with ski jacket over costume. Brr.

Dopey-turned-Sleepy in the car on the drive home. It was a wonderful day!

We received some news on the moving front. Huz finally got his start date! . . .in early JANUARY. Wah wah. A little disappointing to hear (some of us may have spent an entire day wallowing), but perhaps not surprising with all that has to happen when you move to a new country. So we have to trespass on Mom and Dad's hospitality a little longer, and we will likely now be able to make another trip down to Philly later on in November/December to look for an apartment.