Life with Toddlers

Life with toddlers is rough. 
“Stop hitting your sister. Eat your dinner. Stop banging your fork. Don’t spill your milk. Don’t throw your spoon. Eat your dinner. EAT YOUR DINNER!”
Every night it seems, I feel the anger and irritability high in my throat. I breathe deeply and force my face to relax, but the frustration grips my heart. I feel worn down, tired, near tears. It strikes me how I can keep calm in the face of a resuscitation in the ER or the most difficult shoulder dystocia, but battling the daily grind with two toddlers can set me over the edge in seconds. 
These days, all I wish for is patience. Patience to not lose my sh*t when Alice won’t eat the dinner that I spent hours making, or when Henry refuses to listen, or when I can’t even hear my own thoughts over the dog barking and the kids screaming. The demands are endless and are often in rapid-fire sequence. “Mom, open this!”, “Mom, read me this book!”, “Mom, help me get Rocky out of his pup-pack!”. 
I can’t even tell you often I say, “Just a minute!” in day. These days, it seems to be my never-ending mantra. 
Despite my best efforts, I have to say, I have been losing it a lot lately. It makes me feel so relieved to even put those words out there. 
I lose my sh*t, and I do it on the regular. 
Each day, like the last, I lose my cool, then after kids are in bed, I feel endlessly guilty about losing it while vowing to keep it together the next day. And so the cycle repeats. 
Man, life with toddlers is no picnic. 
Gone are the sleepless nights of endless breastfeeding sessions, the frustrations of getting a newborn to nap and the shock at looking at your post-partum body in the mirror and realizing that the reflection actually belongs to YOU. 
In many ways, our lives have gotten so much easier. We are now down to one crib and one highchair when we travel. I am back at the gym and almost feel back to my pre-baby strength and sense of self.  Blake and I can easily leave the kids with a babysitter to enjoy a night out, and Henry and Alice now even play together and can keep themselves occupied for minutes at a time. Progress, my friends, real progress! 
But man alive, the toddler years are really sprouting those grey hairs that I keep discovering. 
Perhaps I am feeling things more acutely having recently survived a two week-stint of solo-parenting while working, but gosh, having a two-year old and a three-year old in the throws of their cognitive development is ROUGH!
The meltdowns! The illogical hilarity of it all! The insane demands and the spur of the moment, unpredictable crashes. If the teen years are going to be worse, I think I just might throw in the towel now. 
So, as I pray daily for patience and loads of it, I also pray that my kids will develop resilience, and know that I love them deeply regardless of my own shortcomings.
Here are a few pictures of our cold, wintery months in Sioux Lookout!
Watching the sunset over Abram Lake!

So lucky to live where we do

A beautiful find at one of our local craft markets
Bundled up to get out and play!

Snow day 🙂 

So much snow!

So proud of Henry. He loves to ski so much that he will ski down the hill,
take off his skis then walk back up to do it all over again. 

Alice happy to hang out with her fleece-lined sled
Out for a walk on the ice just in front of our house

Skating on Abram Lake

Sorry Alice, the slide is no longer in use 🙂 
Watching the snowfall

Getting ready to go skiing
Helping Mom make gingerbread cookies

Henry ‘helped’ for 2 minutes, then spent the rest of the time making a GIANT mess lol

Our gingerbread decorations!
Heading down to Southern Ontario solo. And yes, of course I would like some wine en route! Without any toddlers on my lap, I was actually able to have a drink 🙂 
Snuggles with Leah, Rosie, Luc and Dad in my childhood home in Muskoka
Luc 🙂

Leah’s puppies happy in the snow

Out for a snowy walk to pick out a Christmas Tree for the Guelph crew
Home!

Across the field we go to find a tree!

Luc, Rosie, Leah & Carrie
Back home with Alice enjoying some cold, pre-dinner playtime outside

Henry, buried deep in the snow

Alice, as usual, crying because she refuses to wear mittens and of course her hands are freezing!

Beauty sunset

A rare quiet moment at home by myself

The season’s first ski!

Blythe, our favourite babysitter came back from university for the Holidays – the kids were SO excited!

Blake was away for work and I was doing something, while Henry was supposed to be napping. After about an hour, I went to see what he was up to… This was what his room looked like! He had totally trashed it hahah! Serves me right 🙂 
Henry & Alice at the Hub!

Henry asked me to take him to Red Apple to buy him a specific blue motorcycle which he then wrapped and put under the tree for himself to wait two more weeks for Christmas hahah 

Drs. Bollinger & Gerber-Finn & I at our hospital Christmas Party 🙂 
Alice’s Christmas Choir concert! How cute are these littles!?

With her bestie, Rilynne.

I just love it when the kids read to themselves 🙂 It makes the nerd in me so happy
On a cold walk over to Uncle Johnny & Auntie Meghan’s house for Saturday morning coffee

I can’t tell you HOW many pairs of mittens I have bought for Alice this winter.
She hated all of them and REFUSED to wear mittens which was really impacting our ability to get outside.
My last resort were they gorgeous (and expensive) lambskin mittens.
Thankfully with a lot of help and coaching from Andrea (Alice’s daycare teacher), Alice finally put them on!
A bright sunny, cold day to take the pups for a walk

Alice and I watching Henry ski

Away he goes!

A beautiful sunset!

“3, 2, 1 dropping!”

I worked for seven consecutive days and nights of obstetrics call over the holidays. Thankfully, I get to work with my best friends which makes all the difference. Here were are on Christmas Eve catching babies!

Coming home from work in the wee hours of the morning on Christmas Eve to this gorgeous tree
Good morning Henry! Early Christmas Day snuggles. 
Alice opening presents

Thankfully, the babies gave me a break and we were able to have a family Christmas
morning before I had to go back to the hospital. 

Finally able to play with that blue motorcycle 🙂 

Uncle Johnny went all out this Christmas and truly spoiled our kids! Without him, our Christmas morning definitely wouldn’t’ have been as festive. We’re so lucky to have him with us in Sioux Lookout!

Stealing gingerbread cookies from the Christmas tree!

Family photo!

Playing with Henry’s amazing Playmobil gondola from Uncle Johnny

Reading with Mom

Alice is SUCH a goof these days!

Climbing the wall in her tutu (which she chose herself)

Bathtime craziness

Thanks for the ski helmet Uncle Darren!
Reading with her favourite Uncle Johnny
After finally getting off call over Christmas, The kids and I were on our way to Thunder Bay to meet up with Blake and catch a flight to Southern Ontario. Unfortunately, due to the conditions, we hit black ice, lost control and ended up on the guard rail. Thankfully, we were all fine (I was hysterical, while Henry was just concerned that his Paw Patrol show was stopped).
We spent the rest of the day in the back of an OPP cruiser while sorting out getting our car towed to the nearest community about 30min away. 
Alice and Henry were SO good considering the circumstance. We were incredibly thankful for the OPP officer who kept us safe and warm on a minus -35deg C day.
Henry, Alice and I then spent 3 hours in the Ignace Subway restaurant waiting for Blake to come get us from Thunder Bay. What a day! We missed our flight (obviously) and had to spend the night in a hotel, catching a flight in the evening the next day. 
Finally safely arrived in Kingston for some Christmas festivities with Blake’s extended family

Thanks Nana & Poppa for spoiling us!

Bath time in Nana’s luxurious bathtub with cousin Ava

Ava and Henry having a nap together!
Alice in her Christmas outfit from Nana & Poppa

The holidays are for snuggles and naps

Henry and Dad-Dad skiing at Batawa Ski Hill

Of course, Alice would NOT wear her mittens so while the others skied, Alice and I hung out in the chalet 🙂 

My attempt to get Alice onto skis which lasted all of 2 minutes!
Dining together at Nana’s kids’ tables

Hanging out with Uncle Darren
Visiting Great Nana at her posh new assisted living home in Dundas!

Playing with Noah’s Ark – a beloved toy that has been used for three generations of my Dad’s family.

Alice wasn’t feeling the best and had a nap on Nana’s bed 🙂 

Henry and Alice with my Nana

Henry and Grandma at the Royal Botanical Garden’s train exhibit 

Heading home – flying from Toronto back to Thunder Bay for a long car-ride home to Sioux Lookout
Two exhausted kiddos lounging the next morning after a long travel day
Alice insists on doing EVERYTHING herself (“Do it!” she says) which means getting dressed takes a loooonnnnnngggggg time 🙂 
Henry doing a puzzle all by himself!
A playdate with Rilynne

Three happy toddlers colouring

Acting out Raffi’s banana phone
Alice, what a character!
Auntie – what would I do without you!?
Unfortunately, because I had crashed the car, Blake had to head out to Calgary to buy us a new car which meant I was alone with the kiddos for a number of days. This was my biggest accomplishment while solo-parenting – getting both kids outside in minus 30 weather so that Henry could ski!

Henry’s turn to have a rest in the sled!

Cutie!

Alice, Ada and I going for a walk in the Chariot
Henry at Tot-skate at the local arena

After Blake’s trip out to Alberta, Blake was due out West again for his annual solo ski vacation. Since it was minus 30 every day for two weeks, we had to get creative to keep everyone happy and from keeping me from going INSANE!
Here we are at the only pool in Sioux Lookout, at the Best Western Hotel!
Of course, the majority of the time they are trying to kill each other, but it is such a joy to see them grow and love each other.
Here they are insisting on sitting together on the same stool to eat breakfast. 
The cutest! Henry and Alice cuddling up while reading on the couch.
Swimming with Lianne and her three kiddos! 

Sledding and playing in the snow before dinner with Brooks, Hunter and Sailor. 

Wine is necessary when you’re solo-parenting these two!
Bath time shenanigans!

So fun to watch them play together these days!

Best buds!

Being goofy with our hair-dos! 
Sledding before dinner while Alice plays in the house 🙂 

Alice’s first skate on the ice at Pelican Lake at the Lake Street Winter Festival 

Eating smokies by the fire! How can it get better than this!?

A huge thank you to Stu & Brodie for making and maintaining this rink for all of us to use!

Alice, Natalie & Henry hanging out by the fire.

Cookie time! 

Henry getting a ride from Jesse on the kicksled

Stu taking all of the babies for a ride 🙂

Smokies!

‘Ice fishing’

Yum!

Happy Winter!

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