When Lauren is teething, she makes the most terrible noise. It is a prolonged nasal whine that she does regardless of how she's feeling or what's going on. Happy? Here's the noise. Sad? Oh, the noise again. Bored? Noise. Hungry? Where's mom... oh, punching herself in the brain so she doesn't have to hear the noise anymore.

The two nights before last were terrible again! Lauren was up all the time, fussing and crying, and I thought that our nights of sleep were over. It had been a blissful week and a half and I knew it was too good to be true. Last night she went down relatively easy. I had pumped her full of Tylenol and she had been on Advil all day. I sat down, ready to do some of the work that I have had to ignore the last two nights and then the wailing started again. After two hours of her wanting to be picked up, put down, turned around and crying the whole time, Matt and I were losing our sanity. He had the genius idea of snuggling her into our bed with us (while I kept making tutus) and putting on Robin Hood. He and I both enjoy that movie so it wouldn't be like watching TinkerBell (for the 1,204,798th time). After 40 minutes or so, Lauren was ready for bed. It took a few tries to get her down but then she was down, only waking twice for feeds. Thank the Lord! I don't know if I could have handled another night like the last two. Her floor is only so comfortable and sleeping in her chair causes my feet and bum to go numb - a curious feeling for sure.

Lauren finally sleeping was also reassuring because every time that something happens where she isn't bright and cheery, Matt and I both start to wonder about her heart, though we both try to pretend we aren't worried so as not to worry the other. It's a tricky mind game that we play. Yesterday was the final straw for both of us when, after two days and nights of unhappy, crying Lauren, she woke up with blood caked under her nose. She has never had a nose bleed before and with baby talons like hers it is entirely possible that it was just a scratch to the nose but who knows? The first time that she had teething symptoms, it was actually heart failure.

I don't want to be one of those moms who spends her life worrying about her kid. I let Lauren play in our garden, she shoves UFOs (unidentified fallen objects) into her mouth on the regular, and she bangs her head on all sorts of things (don't worry, it's not too hard). But those things won't kill her. Her heart almost did. However, living in the present, like I'm trying to do, makes me want to chalk things like this up to teething and be done with it. And I tried. I tried really hard. And in the end, I called the cardiologist. Like always, she was very gracious and helpful and she talked me down off the wall. Lauren will be going for her next check-up on April 16th so we will find out more then about the problems with her aorta.

Someone needs to figure out a way to make teething easier. This is nuts.




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Exactly. Remember I told you about the computer hitting obsession?


We've been asked if Lauren is a willful child and after I've had some time to think about it, I don't think she is willful. That seems to have negative connotations. For instance, I would have called my sister willful when she was little. She knew what she wanted to do (whatever she was told not to do) and she would try her darndest to do it. Lauren, on the other hand, is super focused in the same way, but not solely on the things that she is not meant to do. So I would describe Lauren as focused, curious and entertained by life. She spends a good amount of each day laughing at us or the things that she discovers.

Up until she turned a year old, every month I would record the things that Lauren currently loved and was interested in. I love these lists because they show such development and change - and they also show things that she loved for a very long time (i.e. "petting" Austin). I thought it would be fun to record a list of her current obsessions because, though the month milestones are not as big now, she still is changing and the things she likes are also changing.


- putting her hands up in the running stroller when she's going down a hill
- only napping once a day (this still hurts my heart)
- orange slices
- squishing orange slices
- grabbing any and all cell phones
- Despicable Me (I can't wait for Despicable Me 2 in July!)
- touching food that has already been in her mouth
- laying on her tummy in the bath and putting her mouth in the water
- watching herself pee standing up any time that her diaper is taken off
- clapping and screaming for an audience
- having an audience
- slamming computer keyboards and erasing my work
- her bath time duck
- purple Gatorade
- eating keys
- throwing toys one at a time out of her toy box
- opening cupboards and drawers
- putting colanders on her head
- pulling all hats and bows off of her head
- constantly moving from room to room
- eating Gerber star puffs
- playing with the drawer pulls on our dresser
- going in the bath
- having a shower
- quietly singing to herself
- reading eating her books
- making laundry
- pulling items off the bookshelf
- exploring outside
- crawling with something in her left hand (the noise on the hardwood makes it easy to locate her)
- having early morning cuddles
- being awesome



As the time has moved closer and closer to me returning to work, I have felt like anxiety is rising to the surface. It feels like I'm living in that scene of The Little Mermaid when Ariel and Eric are clinging on to each other in the middle of the dark sea and Ursula is bubbling up below them, ready to throw them into her craziness. Lauren has been getting better and moving further away from her health problems, which is allowing me to deal with the problems that I have been left with. The depression that I'm fighting with and the anxiety that I have to work against are my focus now.

Thinking about throwing work into the mix has caused my anxiety to grow into a scary monster. I will be sitting with Lauren while she's eating away and clapping her messy little hands together and I have flashbacks where I can see her now but I also see her collapsing in her high chair with her eyes rolling back. It is sort of like I'm having double vision and I have to consciously think about what the reality is and push the flashback away. I repeat to myself, "This is the present. Lauren is sitting here. She is happy. She is safe. Look at her eating, etc, etc." until I can see her clearly again. It actually takes a lot of effort to live in the present sometimes.

I contacted someone about returning to work on a graduated basis and that led to a meeting about how I'm doing now. Depression and anxiety are a tricky thing because you look healthy on the outside. I tend to think about how I'm doing day by day and I've found some ways to cope. At our meeting, I had to go over all of the ways that my life is impacted and we ended up as a good sized list. It was a little overwhelming because I had never put it all together in one place but it showed me that I might still have more difficulty than I thought. When I went to my doctor to discuss going back to work he told me that I wouldn't be going back in this school year. And in that moment, half of me fought against his decision and half of me breathed such a sigh of relief that it was like I had never had oxygen before. 

Before Matt and I got married, we only had one fight... and it was epic. It lasted for three days and involved lots of arguing and tears (on my part). We had different desires for our family life. I didn't want children and Matt wanted me to be a stay at home mom. We were on completely different ends of the spectrum and there seemed to be no happy resolution. After those three days of blah, we decided that I would probably have a kid but I would continue to work and we would use daycare. About a year after we got married, the baby bug came knocking (/banging loudly/screaming FIRE) and I could not ignore it. But we tried and after a year and a half, I had a diagnosis that ended with a doctor telling me that I wouldn't be having kids. Thankfully another doctor felt that there was a medication that might help and soon we were pregnant with Lauren! If I thought that the preamble to Lauren was a roller coaster, I had no idea what a roller coaster was. I worried constantly through the pregnancy that I wouldn't be able to love Lauren enough but the moment she was placed on my chest, I knew that I loved her in a way that I did not even know was possible. And she was mine... for a few months, until I almost lost her. To go through such an overwhelming love and to experience such deep, screeching fear in a short amount of time was enough to send me over the edge with my depression. It was all I could do to keep myself moving.

Now, it has been three months since Lauren's last surgery and she is rocking the show! With Lauren doing so well it finally gives me time to start dealing with myself. Going back to work would help to fight against my feelings of being lazy and not contributing to our house, but staying home will allow me to accept that my self-perceived laziness is actually depression and exhaustion and taking care of Lauren is a full time job, so I am contributing. I am so used to being busy and being defined by the things that I do that I have a hard time being kind to myself. One of my friends told me that this time off of work is like being given the gift of time. So, now that I am not going back to work just yet, I'm going to focus on getting outside, eating well, and doing devotions on a regular basis. When my depression was first postpartum depression, doing devotions was just as healing, if not more healing, as taking the medication. If I want to get off of the medication eventually, I need to find other ways to help keep myself healthy, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Lauren has had her time to recover and now it is my time.

Tomorrow, Matt and I are going out on a date. I will get out of my sweatpants, put on makeup and I can't wait. Have I ever mentioned that I have the best husband? He has been so kind to me through this past year and he helps me to be gentle with myself. Sometimes I think he must wonder where the woman he married has gone, and tomorrow she is coming back. It will take conscious effort at first but I know that I can recover from this.



I set the alarm on my phone and from the moment that Lauren awoke, I took a picture every hour. Here is a look at Lauren's day...
Good Morning, World!
Blocks my favourite teething toys!
Ooh, standing!
Why do you have to buy safety stuff, Mom?
Lauren's napping. Time to work on her 4 to 5 month photobook.
Breakfast time. Still napping.
A present? For me?!
At the pediatrician's to be told I'm just perfect. Tall and slim. 
We're off to the fabric store.
Car catnap.
To Opa and Oma's for babysitting. Here I get to play with all the dog toys that I want. Take that, Austin!
Food and Disney's Robin Hood. Perfect combination.
Bath time. I'll drink some water and be ready for bed. What a great day!



So this whole exploratory eating has led to cleaning on a whole new level. Every meal, these are the things that need to be wiped down: high chair, table, bottom of the table, Lauren's eating mat, her hands, her face, my hands, my face, her hair, her shirt, my shirt, the table legs, and her feet. This is not an exhaustive list either. We bathe Lauren every evening but sometimes in the afternoon she just needs a quick hair wash. So I just do it with a wet wash cloth. The best part is that this is how it ends up...and it stays that way. Laugh with me at my child.




Our little girl is only 1/4 Irish but that 1/4 means that she has to have a Saint Patrick's Day outfit. (Matt claims that the 1/4 Irish heritage is stronger than the 1/2 Dutch. One day he will come home to a little girl in wooden shoes and we'll see who's laughing then.)

Last year, this was her outfit. What a little peanut she was. She was only 8 pounds at Saint Patrick's Day. She had just grown out of her preemie clothes (she was full term) and into her newborn clothes.

In only a year she has gone through so much and grown so much. Happy Saint Patrick's Day, Lauren!



The OT who talked to us about food told us that Lauren has to do lots of food exploration (translation: mess). Today Lauren "explored" her puree. I gave her a bowl and a spoon and put a bit of food in the bowl. I kept feeding her on the side. This meant that she ended up with food around her mouth (typical), food on her hands (also typical), food on her shirt (oh, laundry), food on her chair (I just cleaned that!), food in her eye (someone is tired) and food in her hair (because all moms know that bowls eventually end up on the head). I was feeding her a beef, vegetable, spaghetti puree and it stinks! Lauren was almost bath worthy but she was also tired. I decided just to wipe her down with a damp tea towel instead.

As I sat with her in her chair, I took a sniff of her head and got a pleasant surprise. Apparently, the smell of Lauren's head + beef, vegetable, spaghetti puree + tea towel cleaning = shortbread! Breathing her in, I was instantly transported back to Christmas at my parents', pre-Celiac disease, sitting at the kitchen counter eating as much shortbread dough as humanly possible while my mom tells me to stop because there won't be enough for the cookies. I still don't understand why that was a problem. The dough was so much better than the cookies anyways! So thank you, Lauren, for your food filled mess. I miss that homemade shortbread. You're lucky I didn't decide to nibble on your head.



I secretly love when Lauren does naughty things. She will head into another room and go straight for whatever she isn't supposed to do (eat a power cord, play in the toilet, munch on a cell phone) and do it as fast as she can. Now, I don't like that part but I do love the part where she sees me coming into a room and she will give me a shocked look, drop or throw whatever she has in her hands that she's not supposed to have and she shrieks and laughs as hard as she can. It's all I can do to not kill myself laughing as well. That is bad parenting.

It was funny until tonight when she was streaking (literally) around the house after her bath and when I followed her into the kitchen she was in the process of opening the cupboard under the sink with all of the cleaning supplies. They are very far back, but still, I will be going to Toys R Us first thing tomorrow morning and baby proof all of the cupboards and drawers. Some naughty things are funny and some are scary. However, it was really funny when she started shriek laughing stark naked! Have I mentioned that I love this little girl?!



Lauren has had an appointment every day this week so far and she has another one on Friday. That, combined with nap and night time sleep training has kept us pretty busy.

The sleep training was going well but then Monday night threw it off a bit. I was going through the process of the night time routine, having a little cuddle, putting her down awake and then going back in after a set amount of time. Lauren was putting up a good fight that night. On one of my times to calm her and get her back to bed, I heard Matt yell out in a way that he has never yelled before. It wasn't loud, but it was urgent. I pretty much threw Lauren in her bed (hey, mattresses are bouncy for a reason) and went out to see Matt hanging on the sink wrapping his hand in a tea towel. I knew that wasn't a good sign. While doing the dishes, Matt had gone to wash a knife that we don't normally use and apparently it has maintained its sharpness because it sliced right through the kitchen sponge and into his thumb. I took one look at it and started to pack up for the hospital. This is when it pays to have family living close by. My mom was over in a matter of minutes and Matt and I set out to the hospital. Upon leaving I told my mom, "Try to get Lauren to sleep or just get her up, I don't care." So Lauren got up. She was probably just so excited to see my mom that sleep was the last thing on her mind. After an hour in the emergency waiting room, Elysha went to relieve my mom and I got regular updates of Lauren's refusal to sleep. Matt and I finally made it home by 2am with four stitches and a tetanus shot. I've got to admit, it was kind of relaxing for me because I got to read my book for an extended period of time - something that doesn't regularly happen.

Anyway, Lauren's IDP appointment on Monday went well. Lauren showed off her new skills and tried to eat all of Maria's papers. Typical. Today Maria came back with an OT who specializes in feeding. They watched Lauren eat and gave me some suggestions to help her along. Right now she's about five months behind where she should be but she's showing increased interest in food so that is great news! And she has started drinking from a bottle today! Why she couldn't have started that like eight or nine months ago I don't know but I'm excited for this progress. So far I have only given her water in the bottle but hopefully we can progress to other liquids as well. At least this I can leave on the floor so that Lauren can access water whenever she wants and I don't have to worry that it will get knocked over and make a mess (who am I kidding, she has peed and spilled so much on the floor that water would probably be helpful). Today was encouraging because the OT said that I'm doing a good job of listening to Lauren's needs and giving her what she wants to make feeding successful. That was nice to hear because I find feeding her one of my least favourite activities of the day (kind of like how I hate to put gas in my car. There's no particular reason to hate it, I just do.). So Lauren and I will keep trucking along. I don't expect her to be 18 and still have this problem. She's just a little bit behind the rest.



I must admit, Goodnight Moon is a classic but that book drives me crazy. I feel like the page "Goodnight nothing" is such a waste of a page. Who says goodnight to nothing?! Rather than wasting time with that, just go to sleep already.

But I digress, this post is actually a sleep update. For four days we have been sleep training Lauren. We've done the wuss sleep training. If we let her cry it out, she vomits and then just gets to have another bath, which she loves. She will happily take a bath at any time of the day or night. She's had a midnight bath before and she loved it! So we let her cry for one minute, go in and calm her, she cries for two minutes, grit your teeth and calm her, and then we do repeats of 5 minutes crying and calming. The first night (Thursday), we started the training at 8:30pm and it went until 11pm when she finally gave in and fell asleep. Then Friday night, it took 45 minutes of crying - a significant improvement. On Saturday night she took 5-10 minutes and at one point cried and went back to sleep all by herself. Okay, I know many of you are thinking that this isn't really that great, but Lauren hasn't done this since before her surgeries! This is a huge accomplishment. Last night was a bit tough with the time change and having to mess with her naps, but today (insert royal trumpets here) she put herself down for a nap!! She has NEVER done that!!! Ever. This is a game changer people. 

Next I'm going to train her to change her own diapers. Right now she just shoves her hand onto her poopy bum as soon as I take her diaper off. It is less than ideal. Elysha keeps telling her that ladies don't do that but Lauren just looks at her and blows raspberries. 



I will admit it, I am one of those mothers who is super concerned about vaccinations and all of the stuff that is in them. Yes, I still get vaccinated and so does Lauren but I was late with getting her first vaccinations. She was so itty bitty when she was first born that I couldn't imagine shoving all of that heaven knows what into such a tiny little being. So I waited until she became a little bigger. At 4 months, Lauren had her 2 month shots. I was just going to do everything 2 months later than it should have been. Well, then Lauren ended up in the hospital and she lost so much weight and they didn't want to stress her system. Lauren finally got her 4 month shots after her pacemaker surgery... when she was 10 months old. Oops.

Well, since then Lauren has been a human pincushion of sorts. She has had to go 3 times this winter to get RSV shots (one in each leg after the nurses count to 3 to synchronize the thigh pokes) and she went for the 6 month shots last week. Talking to the public health nurse, we found out that Lauren was able to get the 6 month and one year shots at the same time since none of them were duplicates. But that would have meant 5 shots. We settled on 3. After going through all of the possible side effects, things to watch for, when to rush them to the hospital, the nurse asked, "Has Lauren had a blood transfusion in the past 12 months?" It took me a second because your initial response to a question like that is, "No, of course not. She's a baby." However, Lauren has had many blood transfusions and her blood has been replaced many times over. For a moment it made me sad for her, but when I get like that I try to focus on the here and now. Lauren was sitting in my lap, happy as can be (the shots hadn't happened yet) and she was being a huge clown, making all of us laugh. Sure, she's had a blood transfusion (I should mention that to the JWs who are constantly in our neighbourhood lately), and those transfusions mean that she is a wiggly, crazy, beautiful 12 month old girl who delights me every day. 

Lauren still got 3 pokes, one in each arm and one in her leg. Instead of the ones that we had originally planned, we simply swapped out the two that can't have transfused blood in the body for the two she would have come back for. She can get those two missing ones some other time. She's got lots of it.



For Christmas, Matt's dad bought me Adobe CS6. I've used Adobe InDesign for years to create newsletter, advertising, and specialty invitations and paper products. I've taught myself everything that I know about this program but I knew that there was so much more to learn.

To remedy this, I signed up for an online course in Adobe Illustrator. I'm in the first week and it has been teaching many of the basics but I'm already so excited about the things that I will be able to create with this program. When I started the She's A Miracle shop, I think I was maybe even more excited about designing all of the packaging to go along with the products!

For my homework, this first week, I had to make a typographic poster akin to the ones that you see all over Pinterest and Etsy, but I needed a quote. I initially thought I would do a quote from one of my favourite books for Lauren but nothing really spoke to me. I asked Matt for a quote and he gave me, "Vote early, vote often, vote Arneill." I should have known better. When I rejected that one, he gave me some deep and meaningful quote that I didn't understand. So what did I do? I went with something almost as deep and meaningful. Here is my final product:



Well, there's a title to grab you.

I don't have one thing to talk about in this post and I'm feeling a little to contemplative to do a blog post without sounding preachy. So instead I will just give you an overview of the things I'm pondering.

Converse sneakers
Lauren has a little red pair of classic Converse sneakers. They are huge. Or I thought they were. Lauren's feet were a tiny size 2 for what seemed like forever (hey, she didn't even fit size 1 shoes for months and months after she was born). I was so excited when she finally fit her size 3 shoes because they were ADORABLE... and that lasted for a week. Now she is in 4s and she is standing around everywhere. She puts those little Converse sneakers on (read: I wrestle them onto her feet while she does her best ballerina en pointe to make it totally impossible to get them on) and stands with attitude. They make her so much more confident because of the stability that they provide - either that or she knows just how dang cute they look!

Sleep Training
I visited with a friend on Thursday who has just suffered through sleep training with her beautiful little flower. Talking with her gave me the encouragement to do it again (I think this is sleep training session number 4). Last night, I started putting Lauren down at 8:30 and we danced the waltz of put you down, scream your brains out, stare at the monitor for five minutes, calm you down, repeat. She tapped out at 11pm. It was a long period of screaming but she didn't vomit and then she only woke one time all night. You might not have heard me - ONE TIME! That is like a freaking Christmas miracle! At 4:30am I was not walking like a drunk down the hallway to get to finally crawl into bed. At 4:30am I was sleeping, Matt was sleeping and, best of all, Lauren was sleeping.

In the span of 5 minutes today, I found out that a family friend died and one of my best friends was in labor. It was kind of mind boggling that both things were happening at once and I found it sort of overwhelming. Death is so much more real to me now and the beauty of birth is still so real as well. I'm super excited to say that now, for the first time ever (mostly because I'm not Catholic or European), I'm a godmother. It is very exciting. Little Noa was born only hours ago. I can't wait to see photos (he is in Switzerland so it will be awhile before I meet him, but I love him already). Congratulations to the beautiful Bracale family!   



So that promise of sleep from the doctor... not happening. Lauren continues to be awake on and off until 4am or so. I'm starting to get pretty tired. I have started to live for 4am because I know that, at that time, Lauren will actually sleep until 8:30am without waking.

The other night, after we put her down, Lauren decided that she was way too excited to sleep. After over an hour of trying to get her back to bed, we just gave in. It's that or run away screaming, "I just can't take it anymore." Matt and I continued to enjoy our "baby free" evening time with her crawling around on the floor and playing with her toys, but then I went down to flip the laundry.

I should have know that the night was going too well (insert sarcastic tone there). This was the second time that I had set the wash machine to drain and it hadn't. Stupidly I opened up the door to see what was going on and a waterfall of soapy water exploded from the washer. In my second stupid move I tried to stop the water with one hand until Matt shook me out of my stupor by telling me to shut the door. Oh, right. So now it was 11pm, there was a baby crawling around eating every little piece of leaf and ribbon that was on the laundry room floor, and our wash machine wasn't working. That would have been fine if the load that was stuck in there didn't contain every single one of Lauren's diaper covers. I figured that maybe turning it off would help it reset (that's how I deal with problems on my computer - super smart, I know) but instead that just caused the door to lock with the machine shut down. Diapers, no!! I spent half an hour trying to unplug the machine and plug it back in, push combinations of buttons to have it release the door, and scour the troubleshooting guide in the manual. Nothing. Then Matt walked over and, like magic, it opened. Maybe the wash machine just likes him better. That must be it.

In my extensive reading of the wash machine manual, I realized that the washer might be stopped because there is a problem with the drain on the base of the machine. I told Matt about it and he started to investigate. Oh, but opening that drain also meant that the waterfall that had tried to force its way out of the door of the machine was now shooting like a cannon out of the bottom of the machine and all over the floor. At least it wasn't me doing it this time. Matt and I spent the next 10 minutes slowly opening the drain, letting water pour into a shallow cooking pan (that we won't be cooking with anymore), and dumping it down the laundry basin. In the end we found a huge clog of carpet from the baby's room. She has a terrible shag carpet that she likes to pull fibers from to put into her mouth and carry around the house. We literally find them everywhere - in our bathroom, outside, on our clothes - and there is the problem.

So, I've been thinking about it and the other night was made exciting entirely by Lauren. She was up when she shouldn't be, her diapers were stuck in the machine and the carpet in her room is the reason that the machine stopped working and Matt and I got to play in a homemade water park. Thanks for all of that baby. How about if you just start sleeping, you little mischief maker!



Lauren has been learning new things every day. As we speak (er, as I write), Lauren is nibbling away at a Mum Mum rice snack. For most babies this is a normal thing at 7 months or so. It has taken Lauren almost an hour two eat the two crackers in the pack but she is doing it! It makes me so proud of her and so hopeful for her eating in the future.

There are many other exciting things that Lauren has been learning...and some that aren't so great. Let's start with the good news. Over the last few nights, Lauren has been walking around with her walker.

She still prefers to crawl and I think that is because she is cheetah fast at it. She sets her direction and just motors!

Lauren (finally) understands the word "no" (though she is also learning selective hearing).

She gives you things, you say thank you, and then she gets them back.

She claps her hands and whips her head around to look at us because she knows that we will start to clap in response.

If there is something in front of the couch, she will figure out a way to step on it and the pull herself up onto the couch.

Lauren knows what oranges are and she throws a temper tantrum when Matt gets one out and doesn't give her a piece to suck on RIGHT AWAY. (She is also starting to react the same way to pineapple and purple Gatorade.)

Some of her learning is funny. She stands in front of the VCR and plays with the cassette flap, opening and closing it. She unplugs the stopper from the bath and then re-plugs it. She pulls herself up on the opposite side of the table and peeks over to check us out while we eat. She knows which closet has the mirror in it and she will push open the door and give herself a few french kisses.

There is also a lot that she has learned that we enjoy (because she's learning), but we have to, um, redirect.

Just yesterday, Lauren learned how to pull her legs up and stand up in her high chair... discourage.

She has figured out how to open drawers and cupboards and then pinches her fingers... discourage.

She has outdone herself with toilet roll emptying efficiency... discourage.

And the dishwasher, oh, no big deal, but she can climb right in... discourage!

But the learning that I think disturbs me the most is that she seems to know that all of those "no" things that she's not allowed to do while I'm around, should happen the very second that I turn my back.

Oh, man. We're going to have our hands full with this little one. And I love every minute of it.



I've been neglecting the blog a bit this past week because I've been hard at work creating stock for this week. On Wednesday from 10:30 - 11:30am I will be selling my bows at Movies for Mommies in Vancouver (Collingwood Theatre). I have also made tutus and feather hair clips that will be going onto the Etsy shop soon.

I'm a little nervous. I am a terrible critic of everything that I do and I find it so hard to put myself out there. When I told him that I was worried, Matt said that the worst that could happen is that I don't sell any and people don't like them. While that doesn't sound like the best pep talk in the universe, it was helpful because that really isn't that bad in the grand scheme of things. It is amazing how last summer with Lauren has put some many things into perspective. But that being said, I still want to sell some and I want people to like them.

Also, watch for new products in the Etsy shop. I've managed to decrease my cost and increase my selection so that will mean that the bows will be cheaper and there will be more choice for the buyer. And, teaser alert, there will be a special sale coming up this month. Keep your eyes peeled.



I have two wonderful friends who have been by my side for years. They make me laugh, they are incredible people and they have supported us through this whole ordeal with Lauren. Both of them put in countless hours, both day and night, sitting at Lauren's bedside, holding her hand and reading her books. They gave her a gift of those same books when she got out of the hospital. Lauren enjoys eating said books. They have been strong and constant friends, generous, loving and caring. I couldn't have asked for better. Since our friendship is now over, I would like to keep their identities a secret, so let's call them Raola and Nettina.

Our friendship is over for two very simple reasons.
1. They introduced me to the beautiful, magical toy shop Dilly Dally.
2. They didn't introduce me to it sooner.

For Lauren's birthday, they gave her a gift card to Dilly Dally toy shop on Commercial Drive and on Thursday, Elysha, Lauren and I entered that magical land. This shop is nothing like Toys R Us where all of the toys require batteries and they are all based on some sort of television show. This haven of everything toy  is full of toys that require brains, pretend and curiosity. I was hooked before we even walked into the shop. The window display is clotheslines of brightly colour feathers that are blowing in a breeze and I forced Lauren and Elysha to gaze at it with me as the rain drizzled down on our heads.

I could have spent hours in the shop. Everything in it is so special and perfectly picked for little ones (and apparently older ones as well) that you feel like your eyes need to linger on every item because there is a little gem that you might miss otherwise. From the wooden Easter carrots, to the realistic finger puppets, to the wooden Kitchenaid style mixer (OH MY GOSH!!), I wanted to scoop it all up for Lauren to spend countless hours with expanding her imagination. I think that is what the store brings out - imagination. Elysha and I reminisced about toys from our childhood, like the amazing collection of Calico Critters that Elysha had and she always got first pick as to who she was going to play with. Oh, I was jealous of those things. (But I have the last laugh because I've got them now in my toy storage for Lauren!) With her gift card we got Lauren a glitter filled wand, a xylophone and a wooden bead toy which I think Elysha and I enjoy as much as Lauren does.

I know it sounds like I am sponsored to write these wonderful things about Dilly Dally. I wish I was because then I wouldn't just be writing this blog in my spare time only to be paid in personal satisfaction. But I'm writing this because I now have to get rid of my two good friends since it is because of them that all of my spare change is going to end up at Dilly Dally. Why would they do that to me?

(Don't tell them, but I can't wait to go back!)
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