Life with two toddlers

I startle awake by the sound of Henry’s bedroom door closing, followed by little feet padding through the bathroom. I squint one eye open and clumsily paw at my iPhone to check the time. 6:28am. I flip the phone over onto my bedside table and flop back onto my pillow. Forcing both eyes open, I find myself face to face with Henry, standing silently at my bedside. With his thumb in his mouth, he holds his fleece up to his cheek and peers at me wordlessly. I smile and pull him up into the bed. Without a sound, he snuggles into the covers and I wrap my arms around him. In the early light of the morning, we watch the snow fall on the pine trees outside the French doors of our bedroom. I listen to his breathing and burry my face into the back of his neck. I know that I should be trying to resettle him into his crib, as up to this point, we have had a fairly strict rule of keeping our kids sleeping in their own rooms, but ‘what the hell’, I think to myself, ‘he’s already 2 and a half and the snuggles won’t last forever’. I squeeze him tighter and he flips over to face me. Out of the blue, he starts stroking my hair and I smile. I freeze-frame this moment into my brain. To hold it close to counter the chaos that is about to start in a few minutes as the business of the day unfolds. Life with two toddlers. It makes me feel tired just writing about it πŸ™‚

Our month of January was spent mostly at home in Sioux Lookout. Blake, to make up for being forced to live in Ontario, had bargained for 2.5 weeks to go out to BC and ski with his buddies. I thankfully had a lot of help from John and Meghan, as well as my Mom and Dad who came to Sioux Lookout for a large chunk of the time Blake was away. I am so thankful for family as I had to work part of the time Blake was away and couldn’t have done it without help. It was so fun for Henry and Alice to spend time with my parents and I can’t thank my Mom and Dad for grocery shopping, making meals, cleaning, doing laundry and basically letting me put my feet up for once!

Alice, unlike Henry, is quite particular about eating these days. She mostly eats avocado, cheese and fruit. I cannot for the life of me get any meat into her. When Henry was this age, he would eat all kids of curries, but Alice refuses anything that you try to spoon-feed her. So, I put a whole array of yummy foods on her tray, which inevitably end up on the floor! *Sigh*

Grampie and his guitar!

Henry was so stoked because my dad brought a Hot Wheels track for him. I provided ENDLESS entertainment which was a blessing since January is a hard month to entertain kids… it’s just too cold to go outsideΒ 

Uncle Johnny being crazy with the kids…

I love how Alice has her hand resting on Henry’s back, and you can tell she’s not so sure about what’s happening as she sucks her fingers to self-soothe. Henry, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to concerned that Uncle Johnny wants to push them down the slide in a laundry basket…!
Endless train-track building with Grandma (while Alice plays with the dirty laundry haha)!

Cozy babies after the bath πŸ™‚

I finally got a pair of skates for Henry to try out. The outdoor rink is pretty chilly in January, but he didn’t seem to mind!

Not quite getting the fact that he has to stand up! hahah
Playing with Uncle Johnny
Hanging out with Grandma & Grampie
Making cookies with Grandma

Helping with the dishes

Grampie making his famous pizza pie!

Things are getting a little wild… too many wobblies from Blake’s keg!

Oh dear!
At the grocery store

Getting his hair cut

Just helping himself to some snacks from the fridge

My sweet boy
Alice and I out for a chilly, late afternoon walk

The sunset was gorgeous!

Months ago, we had planned to spend the month of February in a place called Terrace in Northern BC. We had been looking at moving to Terrace for quite some time and we had thought we had better give it a go living and working there before moving across the country. Since Blake was already in BC, I was faced with traveling with the two kids on my own out West. Terrified to make the six-hour drive to Winnipeg and the overnight before the flight by myself, I begged Blythe, our amazing babysitter, to come with us.Β 

Even with Blythe’s help getting to Winnipeg, I was still nervous as hell about flying with the two kids alone. I couldn’t sleep the night before our flight, so thankfully, I saw a message on my phone at 3am saying that our 7am flight out of Winnipeg was cancelled and was rebooked for three days later! It was a bit of a nightmare as I had strategically packed only for an overnight and entertaining and napping two kids in a hotel room isn’t the most fun. Thankfully, Blythe stayed with us for an extra two days to help (seriously WHAT would I do without her!?!?).Β 
When we finally started our journey, we had been rescheduled to fly from Winnipeg –> Edmonton –> Vancouver –> Terrace. All in one day. Ugh. I was seriously dreading it, but it went smoother than I had anticipated. Henry was a breeze since he now can be entertained with an iPad while Alice isn’t the best on flights (she won’t sleep!) and needs lots of attention and energy. Thankfully, the flight attendents and other passengers helped me out with carrying Henry on and off the flights, keeping him company when I had to change Alice, holding Alice while I struggled with folding/unfolding the stroller, etc. It was a long, long day.

Once we arrived, met up with Blake and Ada and settled into our new digs, things greatly improved.Β 

Alice spent the month in an awesome daycare near the clinic. She loved it and didn’t cry at all when being dropped off. In fact, she would reach for the daycare teachers when I brought her in! In the beginning, I would run over to the daycare from the clinic to nurse Alice at lunch. She would nurse for all of 5minutes then would just want to play. Over the four weeks that we were in Terrace, Alice eventually stopped nursing all together during the day (she still got bottles at daycare) and then gradually only would nurse from one side at night, then eventually not at all. She also started walking (!), playing peek-a-boo and said her first word (‘Mama’). Although she didn’t hit the slopes while we were in Terrace, she had a great month and was so easy-going with all of the changes to her routine.Β 
While Alice was in daycare and I was at work, the boys took advantage of their freedom and went skiing nearly every day! Henry became (locally) famous and I even had patients come in and ask if I was Henry’s Mom πŸ™‚ Interestingly, Henry was quite timid on the big slopes but eventually picked up his speed and confidence as the month went on. I even got a few runs in with him which was lots of fun.Β 
For me, working in Terrace was great. The community is awesome, although the practice structure and fee-for-service pay scheme might not be right for us at this point in our lives while I am trying to pay off student debt and see the kids once in awhile. We will keep you posted as to what our final decision is regarding our potential move to northern BC!
At the Winnipeg IKEA

Testing out the toddler beds

Having Swedish meatballs for dinner at IKEA – they were a hit!
With Blythe at the hotel pool

Going down to the pool for a swim
Trying out the new double stroller

Trying to entertain two kids in a hotel room by myself haha

At the airport
Checking in at 6am! Yay!

Henry has never really watched any TV shows before, so this was the first time that he sat still and watched Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol and Thomas the Train. It was a God-send because, I hate to say it, I plugged him in and he was so good! I wouldn’t have been able to manage them both on my own without it.Β 

On our second flight from Edmonton to Vancouver
Hurray! Alice is asleep!

Waiting for our third flight from Vancouver to Terrace

Waiting to board our Terrace flight
Henry finally passes out!

Yay! Reunited with Dad-Dad!
We made it to Terrace!!!

At the park in Terrace with the medical clinic in the background (the tall, brown building)

Henry in his ski helmet, riding his bike… typical!
On our way up the mountain to go skiing (sorry it’s so blurry!)
Having a snack break at the ski hill
So much snow!
At the local Terrace coffee shop called the Elephant’s Ear. Blake and Henry went there daily for Americanos and cookies πŸ™‚
Moms and babies take over one of the Terrace coffee shops for a play date!Β 

At the All Native Basketball Tournament in Prince Rupert, where there was a huge art sale. We bid on a lot of jewellery, but sadly didn’t win 😦
In Prince Rupert
We went out for fish and chips (yum!) in Prince Rupert, but you know how eating out with kids goes… hahah Henry dumped ALL of the pepper on the table and managed to destroy everything in sight, while Alice threw her food all over the place. Blake and I chugged our beers, left a big tip and high-tailed it out of there!

We then went to a cute little coffeeshop in Prince Rupert where there is a gated play area for kids where the parents can sit on comfy couches and drink coffee while the kids go nuts with all of the toys. It was awesome!

Going for a walk along the harbour in Prince Rupert

Henry pumping some ‘Mommy milk’! hahah
Trying on his Batman costume which he insists on wearing while skiing
Having a quiet breakfast with his stuffies before I have to head off for work
Henry visiting me at work – playing in the waiting room
Beautiful Terrace!

The Skeena River and the bridge that I had to drive over on my way to work
We spent a weekend in a town called Smithers which was just two hours away

It was a super cute town with lots of bike and ski shops – Henry’s paradise!

Alice hanging out with me, as usual πŸ™‚
Having a snack at a coffeeshop in Smithers

Eating a cookie!
Alice having a nap back at the hotel, while the boys go swimming at the local pool
At the Smithers ski hill

Being goofy at the ski lodge

Nice duck face Alice πŸ™‚

Henry skiing with Dad-Dad

A beauty day!
Blake and Henry’s orange Rossi skis
Alice having a snooze while the boys ski
Henry at Hudson Bay Mountain in Smithers
Having a beer and a bottle at the lodge

Henry and Blake getting ready to go back out after lunch

Hitting the slopes again!
Passed right out. He slept the ENTIRE car ride home back to Terrace (2.5hrs)
Our long, long travel day home from Terrace

Poor Alice. She had a terrible cough and big fever for a few days, including on the way home from Terrace. So, our first day back at home (and on her 1st birthday), I took Henry to Uncle Johnny and Auntie Meghan’s and Alice and I went to the ER.Β 
Alice did great and after a chest x-ray, we were good to go. No pneumonia!

While we were in Terrace, Henry started to climb out of his crib more and more. At dawn, he would get up, climb out of the crib and come to my room to get me. I am supposed to try to get him back to sleep in his crib, but here he is in my bed because sometimes, at 6am when you have two sick babies, that’s all you can do!

Our journey home was an all-day blitz of flying from Terrace –> Vancouver –> Winnipeg then driving all the way back to Sioux Lookout. It was brutally long, but we survived only because Blythe met us in Winnipeg and drove back home with us (thank God). Once at home, I immediately went to work (ER and OBS) which ended up being a bit stressful as Blake was caught in an epic snowstorm in the prairies and couldn’t get home. Thankfully, Meghan and John, Blythe and Andrea (Henry’s daycare teacher) all pitched in to help care for Alice and Henry so that I could work. It truly takes a village!! Blake finally made it home after 5 days of driving/being stranded in Manitoba. I was so happy to have him home. Being a single parent is HARD!!!

Bathtime fun, with wine for me!
Bedtime doesn’t always go smoothly, especially when you’re on your own. Here is Henry screaming, naked after the bath because he doesn’t want to get his jammies on, while Alice screams in the background because she needs her bottle! Ahhhh! I literally was sweating by the time I got them both in bed. Thankfully, I always have a my wine cupboard stocked for nights like these πŸ™‚
An aspiring drummer like her Uncle Johnny

Henry and Alice playing together

Giving a hug to her stuffie
Playing ‘peek-a-boo’, except most of the time, she covers her ears or her mouth, instead of her eyes πŸ™‚

Auntie Meghan and Uncle Johnny taking Henry for a bike ride

Poor Henry wasn’t feeling well after we got home. Just as Alice was improving from her fever & cough, Henry had a few days of fever and persistent coughing. Ugh.

You know he’s truly sick when he just lays on the couch not moving…
I kept him home from daycare and after some Advil & Tylenol, he was up and at ’em again. Here we are making cookies!

Alice eating yoghurt

So I’m way behind on taking pictures with the milestone cards, but seriously, at this point, she isn’t very good at sitting still!

My two munchkins

Sharing a snack

Playing with the Fisher Price barn – a toy from when I was a little kid!

Alice snuggling her dolls

Alice’s new bike for her first birthday! Thanks Nana & Poppa!

Blake and Caleb out ice boating on the ice

The ice boat
Pretty chilly with the wind!
Having a little rest on the couch
Alice and I checking out the arts market at the Friendship Centre
Alice opening her birthday gift from Grandma & Grandpa

After Blake got home from his drive from BC, he unfortunately had to turn around and go to Thunder Bay for work. Thank goodness I hadn’t booked myself to work while he was away. I spent an awesome week on my own with the kids. Of course, there were MANY moments where I wanted to lose my mind. Dinnertime and bedtime is like torture when you’re on your own with two toddlers. Tonight, Henry took 2.5hrs to get to sleep! Now that he just climbs out of his crib and comes out of his room, he just does NOT want to stay in his room to sleep. Henry is also really going through a tough developmental phase where he is happy in one second, then losing it the next. Like yelling for eggs, but in the same breath, screaming that he doesn’t want eggs!!!! You can’t win. I just have been drinking lots of wine to cope πŸ™‚

Overall, it has been a great week. I thought that I would get way more done, but alas, there never seem to be enough hours. Thanks to Meghan, I did get a few breaks here and there to go to yoga, go for a run outside and to go hot tubing! It’s amazing what an hour or two can do for your mental health.

Saturday morning
Getting outside in the sun!

Of course Henry wanted to go biking, even if it was still pretty cold out!

Cat, Meghan and I out on the ice with the dogs

Walking out on the ice
Alice napping… so sweet!

All snuggly and ready for bed

At the library

Getting into everything while I cook dinner

Auntie Meghan reading to Henry as the sun goes down

Not much entertainment in Sioux Lookout, so sometimes, we go to the grocery store to say hi to the lobsters πŸ™‚
Having lunch with Lianne & baby Natalie

Out for a walk in the gorgeous sun
Henry, biking, despite the deep snow!
My chubby-cheeked love. Alice is such a ham these days. She is so happy usually and loves to make ‘conversation’ with anyone. She will laugh, wave, play peek-a-boo, etc. with anyone who will pay attention πŸ™‚

Henry up to his usual antics. *sigh* There have been so many crazy moments this week as a single parent. You seriously cannot watch them both all of the time. It’s impossible. There have been many mom-fails, including catching Henry literrally squeezing his toddler toothpaste into his mouth and the time that Alice somehow go the front door opened (!!!!!) and was making a get-away out the door! Ahhhhh! No wonder I am always looking frazzled!
Here we are at bathtime as Henry is actively not listening to me and trying to escape my pleas to wash while Alice is just loving life! HahahΒ 

Next up, we are off to Lutsen, Minnesota for a few days of skiing with Uncle Darren & Ava. I am driving 4.5hrs on my own with the kids to meet Blake in Thunder Bay before carrying on to Lutsen. Wish me luck!!!!

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