Pearl is 3!

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Last weekend we celebrated three years of Pearl. Three years of fun and laughter and tears and growth.

Pearl chose “raccoons” as the theme for her birthday party.

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Those are her raccoon friends, Douglas and Bandit. (And her baby sister.)

We had a nice, simple party with family and friends and cupcakes.

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Pearl is not always the most social kid, preferring small groups and staying at home. But she is beginning to blossom in this area and especially enjoys interacting with “big kids”. A visit for her birthday from her big cousins was a definite highlight for Pearl. We also have some wonderful friends locally who have older kids who are kind and gracious when it comes to playing with Pearl.

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It’s amazing how much Pearl has grown and developed this year. She is a real little person now, speaking in full sentences, learning to describe her feelings and asking questions about the world around her. We are entering into the “why” stage which, while  occasionally frustrating, also offers a wonderful opportunity to teach Pearl about the world and to see how she views things. Pearl loves to be outside, loves to run and climb and ride her balance bike.

Pearl has definite opinions now and no shyness in expressing them. She loves to wear pyjamas all day and would live off cheesy noodles if we let her. She loves to play with her stuffed animal friends, loves Duplo and building blocks and has a great imagination. She is often eager to help and especially loves to bake together. She enjoys books and is starting to enjoy longer stories – chapters from Winnie the Pooh and the Brambly Hedge stories are some favourites right now. It is so amazing to watch her develop and to see her mind form.

My sister-in-law made a scrapbook for Pearl with 20 questions for her to answer each year so I thought I’d share Pearl’s answers, to give a small flavour of our girl. Pearl insisted that I ask her the questions two days in a row so I’ve done a little picking and choosing in order to best represent who she is.

  1. What is your favourite thing to eat for breakfast? “Butter toast when my tummy hurts.”
  2. What is your favourite animal? “Bill. Owls. And Percy and Sarah and them Owl Mother.” (If you’re familiar with the book Owl Babies you might know where she got this answer from.)
  3. What is your favourite toy? “Roly-Poly”
  4. Who is your best friend? “Roly-Poly, Douglas, and Bandit”
  5. What is your favourite holiday? Halloween (first answer), Chinese New Year (second answer)
  6. What is your favourite drink? Chinese New Year drink (AKA chocolate-flavoured Vita Soy)
  7. What is your favourite book? Elephant & Piggie (first answer); Cock-a-Doodle Dudley (second answer)
  8. What is your favourite thing to do outside? Bike
  9. What is your favourite thing to eat for lunch? Cheesy noodles
  10. What do you want to be when you grow up? “I want to be an animal. I want to be a lady pig.”
  11. What is your favourite plant or flower? “My plant’s name purple. And green.”
  12. What do you want to eat for dessert on your birthday? “Sprinkle cake”
  13. What is your favourite colour? Purple
  14. What is your favourite song? “Come on Fountain” (AKA Come Thou Fount)
  15. What clothes do you like to wear? “These clothes”
  16. What is your favourite thing to eat for dinner? Pizza (first answer); cheesy noodles (second answer)
  17. What is your favourite place to visit? Beach
  18. What is your favourite fruit? Apples and oranges
  19. What is your favourite weather? “Hot weather”
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Pearl is 2!

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Last week we celebrated because our girl turned two! We’ve been talking with Pearl for a while about her birthday and that she would be two and she’d figured out the response to, “How old are you?” (“Two!” said with a huge amount of glee.) Though “two” also became the response to any other question involving a number. (How many dogs do you see? How old is Dad?)

Toddlers are great at celebrating their birthdays because their expectations are pretty much nil to begin with. This came in handy when Pearl woke up with a bad cold on her birthday and was running a fever the morning before her party. After warning the other moms, turn out was a little lower than originally planned but Pearl rallied after a nap and, in the end, seemed to enjoy her day.

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Because Pearl is very into tea parties right now and because there’s a song called “Tea for Two”, we decided to have a tea party for our brand new two-year-old. We kept it simple with scone (made by my father-in-law) with jam, fruits and veggies, and cookies in the shapes of woodland creatures. (Pearl “helped” me make them.) And, of course, vanilla cupcakes with pink frosting.

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Pearl got thoroughly loved on by friends and family and the afternoon was a lot of fun. She poked at her cupcake and never ate it but had a few cookies and scones to make up for that.

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The backpack was her gift from Peter and I and she wore it most of the day.

We feel so thankful for our beautiful, fun, healthy, smart girl and extra thankful that so many people, near and far, love her, celebrate her life, and have joined with Peter and I in praying over her life.

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A Birthday Party

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This weekend we celebrated Pearl’s birthday. We kept it simple, partially because we seem to be raising an introvert here but mostly because she’s one and she won’t remember this and so we’re kind of mostly celebrating the fact that Peter and I made it through a year of parenting! So a simple lunch, some of our family and a few friends with kids close in age.

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And pink cupcakes. (Those sprinkles are not my favourite but they’re pearls so I couldn’t resist.)

We let Pearl have sugar for the first time. She often doesn’t like foods the first time she has them but that was not the case here. Buttercream frosting was a hit though she didn’t eat much of the cupcake itself.

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I’m not super crafty and I’m not into Pinterest so I knew I wanted to keep things simple. But I also wanted to decorate a little and make things special. I love the look of bunting and I’ve had this origami paper forever. With a bit of twine and double-sided tape, it was easy to make and added some nice colour. I wanted some pink but mostly lots of colour.

Pearl loves looking at pictures of herself (our little narcissist!) and I’m always glad to have photos printed, so it made sense to decorate with pictures. I’m sure I got the idea somewhere on the internet but I’m not sure where I saw it, so I worked with the image I had in my mind. I found a deal from Square Snaps to print our photos so that they resembled the old school Polaroid style (I googled around to find a decent price for printing photos in that particular style. I have no particular tie to Square Snaps.) and I bought mini clothes pins at the dollar store. That’s it. And Pearl loved it. In fact, she still does because the photos are still up and I kind of want to leave them for a while because they make her so happy! One year old is pretty easy to please.

Advice From a 17-Year-Old

While many of you were enjoying a long weekend or shopping Cyber Monday sales or recovering/celebrating from the Grey Cup, I celebrated my birthday and turned twenty-seven.

It was Monday and, well, I’m twenty-seven now, so it was pretty low key. The highlight was my incredibly husband who got up at 3:30 in the morning to make me waffles before I went to work. We’ve been eating good food all weekend in the name of my birthday!

I have a little birthday tradition that I do. Every year I write a letter to myself, ten years in the future. I started this when I was 14. (If you’ve ever read Emily of New Moon you might know where I got the idea!) So on my 14th birthday I wrote a letter to myself to be read on my 24th birthday and so on through the years. Since my 24th birthday I’ve had a letter to read as well as one to write. This week I got to read a letter from my 17-year-old self.

This letter takes me back to Fall 2002. I was a couple months into my last year of high school. I was finished with my university applications but it was too early to have heard back yet. I had no idea where I would be celebrating my 18th birthday. I wrote that letter seated in the school library on my study block.

It’s strange how those emotions can come back to you so suddenly. All the fear and excitement of being seventeen. All the plans I had, the way I thought my life would turn out. Needless to say, there is very little of my life now that I foresaw in that library on that day.

And I find that very comforting. My life has not been what I thought it would or should be. I’m not where I thought I would be at 27. I’m somewhere entirely different and it’s good. I can look over the past ten years (or the past 27 years) and it’s good. God has orchestrated my paths in far better ways than I ever could have imagined.

So when I sat down to write my letter to myself at 37, it was with more excitement than fear. Of course I have things that I hope to accomplish in the next ten years. I have an idea of the person I want to be at 37. But I can also trust that 37 might be even better than I can comprehend now. And whether it looks the way I think it should or not, I’m pretty sure it will be amazing.