Halloween 2016

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Scary Family Selfie 2016!

I don’t know about you, but I think I woke up with a sugar hangover on November 1st! Headache or not, we celebrated October 31st in grand style this year.

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With Halloween falling on a Monday this year, we had lots of time on the weekend before to prep, which included taking photos of the kids in their costumes. Seriously, the weather in Toronto was 18 degrees, feeling like summer. This year Ro dressed up as Owletter from the cartoon, “PJ Masks”, a favourite in our house right now. Besides the orange bandana that I bought at the dollar store, we dressed Sam up as a farmer from items in his closet. What can I say, I love a good homemade costume.

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We tried to make the day special for the kids. Aaron walked Rowan to school in her costume and I attended the school parade at 1 pm. I think Ro smiled the entire day. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, Halloween is Rowan’s jam!

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Besides putting pumpkins in his mouth, Sam was content to follow Ro around the entire evening.

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Given that Sam goes to bed at 7 pm, we raced through dinner and had both kiddos knocking at our neighbour’s door at 5:45 pm. Yes we were one of “those people”. But it worked for us and thank goodness we live in an awesome kid friendly neighourhood.

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In total Rowan brought home 68 pieces of candy. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that Rowan doesn’t like chocolate. Anywho, hope you and yours had a great night!

His & Hers: February 2016

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Ah, my two favourite little people! Here they are in the only snowstorm we experienced in February. I wanted to be a “fun mama” so I decided to take them to school by sled. Rowan’s smile says it all – she loved riding with her brother and still asks if we can go by sleigh. Although Sam looks shocked, he “talked” all the whole ride. Here is a glimpse of some of the kiddos favourite things / experiences from last month.

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She wears a purple cat hat while he wears a blue puppy toque. Both were Christmas gifts from Nanny & Bobba.

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She has a purple gallery wall filled with favourite family photos & arts prints from the stylish Penny Paper Co. He has a blue gallery wall filled with various nautical themed art. Both walls include their birth dates.

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After a fun filled weekend with cousins. I love how they are slumped over in similar positions their carseats.

His & Hers is a monthly year long photo project that showcases glimpses of my children’s lives through the lens of my camera. Currently, I am learning to shoot in manual mode of my Nikon D5000. I occasionally use my iPhone 5s from time to time. 

Overheard: January edition

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If you are friends with me on Facebook, you know that I will sometimes post funny anecdotes I overhear Rowan saying. Typically I am hanging out with little man Sam, feeding him or putting him to bed. This has been a really fun way to get to know Rowan, especially over this past year, as she has made so much progress with her speech. It is so fun/awesome/amazing (that’s a word right?) to hear her personality shine through. Below are some of my favourite things I overheard this last month:

Overheard in the kitchen
Snack time

Rowan: “Can I have some juice?”
Aaron: “Is that a nice way to ask?”
Rowan: “Yes!”
Aaron: “You forgot the magic word…”
Rowan: “Fine. Abracadabra, can I have some juice?”

Overheard at story/bedtime:
Explaining Star Wars to a 4 year old

Rowan: “So he’s a good guy?”
Aaron: “Yes, Han Solo is a good guy. And here is his best friend Chewbacca.”
Rowan: “Who is Chewbacca?”
Aaron: “Chewbacca is a big furry puppy…”
Rowan: “Like our Charlie*!”

*Charlie is our 8 year old mini golden doodle.

Overheard at bath time:
Talking about Stars Wars (again!) and I find out where my place is in the family

Aaron: “Hey Rowan, next year for Halloween, you could dress up as a character from Star Wars!”
Rowan: “Yes! I like that idea! I could Princess Leia, you could be Luke Skywalker; Sammy could be Han Solo; Charlie could be Chewbacca and Mommy could be Darth Varder…”

Overheard in the car:
Coming home from an appointment

Rowan: “Mommy, I got you that bag with Daddy?”
Me: “I know honey, I LOVE my bag and I LOVE you!”
Rowan: “and I LOVE Daddy!”
Me: “Who else do you love?”
Rowan: “I LOVE Sammy!”

Sigh.

Overheard in the kitchen:
Planning our day

Aaron: “Rowan, do you want to learn how to skate like Ana and Elsa?”
Rowan: “I want to learn how to drive the car.”

Yikes! Go big or go home girlie!

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What do you overhear your kiddos say?

Happy Tuesday!

Sam: Month 3

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(Pardon me – I am doing a little blogging catch up! Currently Sam is 5 months old, soon to be 6. Cray, cray, I know. This entry was written at the end of October 2015. )

Oh Mr. Sam, you have the best expressions! It’s like your eyes are saying: “Mama, again with the camera?”

More than ever Sam, you are bigger and stronger. From holding your head up consistently, to physically feeling heavier, I had to order 3-6 month clothes the first week of October for fear it would snow soon! lol! Yes, although we are experiencing summer like weather here in Toronto, I have been worried that winter would come and that I wouldn’t didn’t have any long pants or jackets to fit you in. Good thing Grandma and Nanny visited us and brought you sweaters and a snowsuit!

If last month was all about smiles then this month is all about babbling. One afternoon in October, after changing your diaper in the bassinet, you responded when I said, “Ah goo”. With your eyebrows raise, you ooh’ed and aaw’ed back. Suddenly our interactions matured from just feeding to something more. Heart Swoon! I have spent many an afternoon, just sitting on the couch,  face to face with you just “talking” back and forth.  At this point, Mr. Sam, you have great eye contact and seems to  be “plugged in” to what’s happening around you.

Sammy, you are alert that’s for sure! For the most part you are a pretty good sleeper – especially at night. Currently you sleep in the bassinet in Mama and Daddy’s room. Right now you go to bed at 7 pm and get up at 1 or 2 am for a feed. I’d love to tell you that we are on a schedule through out the day but that is simply not the case. After dropping big sister Rowan off at school, you sleep either in the stroller, my arms or the swing. In fact, when it comes to school drop off as well as big sister’s appointments, we wing it and you sleep on the go. To be honest, I am not sure how to schedule your naps. Life is a bit chaotic right now. For the most part you are super happy and content. You even tolerate bath and tummy time, showing us your smiles. For right now we will go with it.

Although big sister loves to play with you and always wants to help with your diaper changes, she has said to me: “Mommy, Sammy is your best friend & Daddy is my best friend.” In those moments, I remind big sister that in our family we are all best friends together. Minus a few hiccups here and there, we are feeling like a family of four.

Three months in, it is hard to imagine life with you – especially when you give us these “Blue Steel” looks. I promise to tell you where that reference came from when you are older. *Cough, cough* Zoolander *cough*.

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2015 Recap

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So…..how you doing? 

I realize that the crickets have been chirping in this space since October. Sorry about that! I took an unintended break from blogging because life is very full and good. Honestly, it never seemed like a good time to jump back in. However, as we start off a new year, I always get the urge to get back to a regular writing schedule. I guess, I am a sharer-er-er! I don’t know if how often I will be posting, but I do have some fun entries in the works. Before we move forward, let’s look back at the year that was twenty fifteen.

So Jess, what did you get up to this past year? Good question, my friend!

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I took Rowan to lots of therapy appointments

Yeppers, my girlie was diagnosed with mild ASD and a whole world that I didn’t know existed, opened up. Twenty fifteen was an interesting year filled with a lot uncertainty. Honestly, I am finally feel like we are beginning to breathe and see all the benefits of our hard work payoff. More on Rowan and how she’s doing in another post. Although, twenty sixteen will be filled with more therapy appointments, I know where we are going and how we are going to get there. Hooray progress,  for a new year and a fresh start!

I recorded the first season of my podcast, Pocket Talk

Yes, I combined my love of pocket page scrapbooking + podcasts with my “can do” attitude. I recorded 13 interviews with some of the nicest and talented Project Life scrapbookers out there. As a really curious person with a microphone, I love to hear about others creative process. The ultimate goal for the show it to educate and inspire others to be successful in their own scrapbooks – whatever that looks like for the listener.  After taking a break since August, you should know that I am back  taping interviews!!! Look for season two to be released sometime in January!

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I had a baby!

Yes, little man Sam was born three weeks early via csection. Although he spent 12 days in the NICU due to a pnuemothorax, he is out of hospital, happy and healthy. He is growing like a weed! Just last week, he cut his first tooth and starting to sit up. What !?! He has been the best addition to our family and we are slowly, but surely finding our footing as a family of four.

imageI taught classes at Big Picture

Because I had a baby, I made a pregnancy album. I then, wrote about that album for class at Big Picture Classes. In fact, I created a few online courses this year. They include: Beyond the Pocket, Pocket Page Adventures and A Pocket Page Pregnancy. Check them out & let me know what you think! I love teaching; both online and in person. I am super thrilled to be teaching in person in 2016 at Crop and Create in Markham in March and Moncton in April!

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I collaborated with Scrapbook Cards Today and designed new the Life in Pocket quarterly kits

What can I say, I am BEYOND thrilled at the opportunity to work with Catherine and Scrapbook Cards today. This quarterly kit, which I hand picked all the items, gives you a chance to document three months out of your year. In addition to the products in the kit, you will receive a colourful handout with instructions on how to recreate the layouts. Super fun, I am excited to shake up my memory keeping process and intentionally choosing the stories I want to tell. For more information check it out here.

Whew! Twenty fifteen was a very productive year! No wonder, I am so tired – haha! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am gonna have a nap! Happy 2016! I can’t wait to create more.

Sam: Month 2

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Oh Sam – your second month of life was a lot less stressful than the first. Thank goodness for that! For me, the two most notable parts of your second month were that you started to smile and you started sleeping 4-5 hours at at times through the night. Hooray! On September 4th, while changing your diaper in the bassinet, with your tongue slightly sticking out of your lips, you cracked a faint smile when I called your name. Instantly my heart melted and I texted Daddy right away. It was a sweet little moment that I am not soon to forget. A few weeks later, on September 19th,  you started to sleep for longer periods at night….just in time, because this mama was about to lose her mind!

This month you ate and grew, ate and grew. Breastfeeding is going really well because you are more than 12 pounds! That’s up 3 pounds from last month – what!?! Although it is time consuming, especially when you are cluster feeding three times a night, I keep reminding myself that this stage isn’t going to last forever and that breastfeeding allows us to have special time together.

We continue to try to find our rhythm as a family of four. Most days Daddy takes care of big sister Rowan while Mama takes care of you. Big sister Rowan loves you so much. She is always asking to hold you or to help me change your diapers. Since she started school we haven’t seen many movies. Thats okay because we had a good run at the end of the summer. Yes, we watched Mission Impossible 5: Rogue Nation, American Ultra and Straight Outta Comptom during the last two weeks of August. Not bad for a two month old!

Notably, you also attended your first fall fair in Fergus. When you were awake,  you watched Rowan intently as she rode, snowflake, the pony, 8 times! Although we tried to introduce you to the farm animals, you decided that sleeping was better. Mama also thought this was a good idea and wish she could have curled up for a nap too! Ha!

In addition to all these different experiences, you also went through many physical changes. Besides the weight gain, you have kissable chub cheeks, eye lashes for days and are starting to put weight on your feet. Your relaxed, go with the flow personality continues to entertain us. We can’t wait to see how you develop over the next month!

Love, Mama

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Thanks to Meghann Andrew for the awesome onsies!

Sam: Month 1


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The story of the first day

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Yesterday was a big day in the Forster Hunter household: Rowan attended her first day of Junior Kindergarten! Our preparation to transition girlie to school started many many months ago but practically speaking, these last few weeks of summer we have been causally dropping hints. From walking by her school, to playing in the playground and to reading stories about going to school, we have been aware that this day was on the horizon.

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What we didn’t know is how Rowan would do….And from her mama’s perspective, she did really really well! Last Thursday Aaron took Rowan to tour her classroom before the first day. She met her teacher and got to see the space that she would be spending the next 10 months in. Aaron took pictures and then came home and made slideshow for her. We showed it to her on labour day and essentially she was so excited to go that she didn’t want to sleep. When we told she had to go to bed she thought sleeping in her first day outfit would be a good idea.

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Rowan was happy and excited at drop off and pick up. In the morning, she confidently when into her classroom, put her things in a cubby and sat on the carpet to read a book. At pick the ECE told me that girlie had a great day, volunteering to help in music and gym. Go Rowan go!

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Right now JK / Rowan edition:

My favourite colour: Red

My favourite show: Dora the explorer

My favourite song: Shake it off, Taylor Swift

My favourite friend: Jordan

When I grow up I want to be: A doctor

 

Pregnancy Photo Shoot

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Two days before my scheduled c section, my friend, Tara Mckernin, braved Toronto traffic during the Pan Am Games to take pictures of Aaron, Rowan and I.  Not only did I want to capture my big belly, I wanted to have pictures that documented us as a family of three. Reading between the lines: My mama anxiety was in full effect and I worried how Rowan would react to having a sibling and could I love baby #2 just as much as baby #1. Looking back, I feel a little silly that these were my concerns. The short story is that Rowan loves baby Sam and the love I have in my heart has grown and grown for both my kiddos.

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In terms of the photos, I wanted the beach to be the background for our pictures. Its the neighoubourhood Aaron took me to visit on our second date and where we spent a lot of time on the weekends.  Sunset is always magical in our ‘hood.

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Tara was awesome. She really understood what I want to capture and I am so thankful for these photos, even if I look like a hippopotamus.

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Thank you Tara for making this happen in a short period of time and for these priceless photos. I can’t believe this was only 3 short weeks ago!

The Third Trimester

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Dear little one –

I want to remember the weather finally getting warmer and coming to the realization that we will soon be a family of four. Unsure of what that will look like but that I am excited and nervous for the challenge of being a mama of two.

I want to remember creating a Pinterest board of things I want to buy for you and that my nesting is in full effect. Yes, no closets or drawers are safe from my “puttering” /organizing as Daddy puts it.

I want to remember looking at the calendar at work and recognizing that I am not going to go to the office for a whole year. Although I feel a little anxious, I am reminded that this will be my last maternity leave.

I want to remember going to Quebec city for our babymoon with Daddy and making the most of our time together while it is still easy to get babysitter for one kiddo.

I want to remember my “go with the flow” attitude as we found out that you were breech and we waited to see if you would turn. I want to remember the ultrasound tech saying that you had a big head and me thinking that you are just like your Daddy and sister. I want to remember being okay with having a c section.

I want to remember that I carried you very low and that my centre of gravity is out of whack. I want to remember power waddling everywhere.

I want to remember trying to rest as much as possible in these last weeks. I want to remember wondering/dreaming of what you would be like feeling so excited to meet you and for you to join our family.

With so much love,

Mama

*Baby S has arrived – you can see more of our day to day life on Instagram here. I wrote this post as way to capture my thoughts on pregnancy. You can see my previous pregnancy posts here and here