Grandaddy Daycare Days Are The BEST Days!

FB_IMG_1441139348894When I went back to work in September I knew it wouldn’t be easy leaving Lily Rose everyday. I knew I would worry about my babe while at work. I knew after work would be rushed and stressful and we would both have a bit of a difficult time adjusting. But we’d found a good dayhome for our little girl, somewhere she seemed happy and cared for and I gelled with Andrea, the woman who ran it. After a rushed and stressful daycare search, we thought we’d really lucked out! Andrea even said Lily Rose was the best eater and sleeper there (#proudmommoment).

Then under three weeks into her full time stint, things went sideways. Andrea told us she was ill, and at first she didn’t communicate well and left us wondering for how long would we need to get alternate care (luckily my Dad was staying with us at the time and quickly rose to the challenge of temporarily watching Lily). Then she told us what we had been fearing:  she wasn’t going to be able to continue running her dayhome, due to medical issues. I felt terrible for her, I really did. But I don’t feel guilty that I also felt sorry for us, because we had to start the time-consuming and stressful daycare search all over again, undergo another trial and adjustment period. All this so soon after doing it for the first time, and we were under a serious time crunch!!

While I looked for a new dayhome for our babe, got a few names and numbers from friends, met with people and debated our options, my dad cared for Lily. Days turned into weeks, but he told us not to rush the process. While it wasn’t going to be a long term solution and we still needed to secure a new daycare spot, Dad was game to take care of his granddaughter for at least however long it took for us to find the right fit.

And so it was that I began to see him in a whole new light. He was always kind, generous, thoughtful. But with Lily Rose, he was even gentler. He was so sweet, and yet he could also be silly…and my dad isn’t really known for being silly;) But he was firm when he needed to be too…as firm as you can be with a one year old;) I knew my parents would make good grandparents. Even if they were never the ones to rush me to have a baby, I knew they would spoil the lucky kid rotten and be all about him or her. But I had no clue how well my dad would grand-parent. How well he would care for LR and how attached she would get to him.

For the next month, he read her stories, played with her toys and watched Sesame Street. He took her for walks and they played in the backyard. He held our clingy girl when she was cranky, sick or teething, missing Mommy and Daddy…and that was A.LOT. A perpetual night owl, my dad woke early regardless of how much sleep he’d gotten, so he could take her in the morning and we could get ready for work. At 65 and with a bum knee that hadn’t healed properly following replacement surgery, he trudged up and down stairs to put her down for two naps a day, often returning several times to put her soother back in (I offered to set up her playpen in the living room, but he said no, keep her where she’s comfortable). Never a big one for cooking, Dad made meals, cut fruit in tiny pieces and sparked a deep love of bagels and honey in his granddaughter. He cleaned up her messes much quicker and with far more care than we ever did, inspiring an early love of cleaning in Lily. He did little things that made our lives easier, things that I missed as soon as he was gone. He unzipped and laid out her sleepsack with such care to make laying her down the next time a little bit quicker. These things made me appreciate his attention to detail like never before. They were things that showed his OCD wasn’t always a struggle, it was a strength. And when I came home and was rushing to get us all fed, he recounted exactly what she’d eaten, and how much; what time she’d fallen asleep and when she’d woke; and, even the number of poops she’d had. At the time, I felt overwhelmed with all the information. Now, after sometimes struggling to get enough of this all-important information from a daycare provider, I realize how much I miss knowing exactly how my girl is doing during the day without me.

I think we were all a little surprised at how well he did taking care of Lily Rose. My mom says he didn’t do all this for my brother and I growing up; the cooking and cleaning and the majority of the child rearing was my mom’s domain. It was a different time, yes, but my dad was different then too. He was busy working, playing hockey, then dealing with his own issues. He was a fun Dad for sure, he played with us and took us to activities and on trips.  He was there for the big events. When my parents separated in high school and even when he moved to Saskatoon, he was there for us. But growing up, in the day to day, it was my mom who did what needed to be done to make sure we were fed, cleaned and clothed, rested, happy and healthy.

But with Lily Rose, he was excited to be involved in every way. Some days weren’t easy I’m sure, but he never complained. At night when Jon and I came home from work, he still tried to help cook and clean and care for Lily. I wanted him to relax and enjoy his time off but he still wanted to help with her nightly routine. He said good morning and good night each and everyday. He kissed her and gave her a hug. There is no holding back of affection or attention. There is not one part of him that is not completely devoted and in love with his granddaughter.

I am so thankful my dad stepped up and took care of Lily Rose when we needed him. LR won’t remember Granddaddy Daycare Days, but we can all tell her and he’ll show her the pics chronicling the fun they had really getting to know each other.  I am forever thankful for my father, for what he has taught me, for the person he is and the man he has become. And I feel so lucky that Lily Rose gets this sweet, smart, and sometimes silly guy, as her Gramps. Whatever issues we had growing up, whatever things my dad did or didn’t do for us as babies, kids or teens, he was, and still is a great dad. And as Gramps, I think he has truly found his groove.

And for me, his daughter, there are almost no words to describe how much this means to me. Just like having Lily Rose has mended any existing scars in my heart, filled up any missing pieces of my soul, and awakened a love I never knew existed; watching my parents bond with this sweet and spirited little soul makes me feel…whole. It completes the circle ❤ It makes me feel overwhelmed with appreciation for the love my parents gave me, for the parent they helped make me. It makes me happy that I can also give back to them now, with the gift of their granddaughter:  joy and laughs and a whole new love to embrace with eager hearts and open arms.

Advertisements

Cupcakes, Roses, Mint and Pink…Lily Rose’s First Birthday Party

cake smash cakePlanning Lily Rose’s First Birthday Party was another labour of love (I loved most of the party planning, but it was still a lot of work!). I distinctly remember my aunt Michelle saying she couldn’t wait to see what our precious girl’s big day would look like. I said I wasn’t going to go over the top, it would just be small. I knew I’d be back at work by then, and that was going to be enough stress for this first-time momma. But fast forward a few months and that quaint little gathering had grown into a bigger birthday event.

I had ordered our baby girl a custom-made birthday outfit to wear on her special day, spent hours trying and re-trying to get a giant cupcake baked and iced just right, and run around Regina looking for the right cake topper to compliment the mint and pink party colours (not sure I ever found the exact one I envisioned, but at some point, I had to let go and just be satisfied with the three options I’d already purchased;) The planning began months before the actual date, and in the weeks leading up, it became almost all-consuming:  everyday I thought of something new to include on my to-do list:  a new DIY project I should have started, like yesterday; new Pins and outlandish inspirations that kept me awake at night, longing to recreate; new jobs around the house for Jon to finish before family and friends visited our home, many of whom would be seeing it for the first time.

12019804_984785698210970_1162388587587422579_n12065511_10156198842285089_40348169188708256_n12006301_984786428210897_8017871763936982651_n12027610_10156170746750089_7349204296039410388_n

I started with a cupcake theme, since well, I love baking them, but also because we used cupcakes to announce our pregnancy, again when we found out we were having a girl, and then with stickers on Lily’s onesies for her monthly pics. So I baked cupcakes along with a giant cupcake (thanks mommy friend Amanda for lending me the giant pan!). I took a cue off my aunt Michelle and cousin Dakota who made beautiful rosettes on my baby shower cupcakes, in honour of Lily Rose, and tried my best to re-create them on the big cake as well the cupcakes. Thank you to my cousin Tarren for helping me get the rosettes just right, and for making, and of course taste-testing, the marshmallow pops (they were a big hit with the kiddies). For the big cake, I watched an awesome tutorial over and over before first attempting it for LR’s cake smash photo session a few weeks before her actual party. And good thing I did, cause it took me a few tries to get it right (I didn’t use cake flour the first time, as instructed, oops)! I had to convert some of the measurements as it’s a UK woman doing this giant cupcake how-to but that’s when my Englishman comes in handy ha ha;). For the goodie bags, I found cute coloured ones from Party City, cupcake stickers from London Drugs to decorate them with, and filled them with a few age-appropriate treats and a bath toy:)

IMG_6769111260361_10153589013376788_2585725026006817232_n11222457_984785491544324_943241030560533471_n12038544_984789988210541_1805343758626127134_n

Some things were borrowed, some things were gifted, used to decorate her room, then recycled for her birthday. I used the gorgeous tissue tassel garland from my amazing girlfriends gifted at my shower, and the colourfull pom poms used to decorate Lily’s room. To tie in with the theme, I created a cupcake liner garland to decorate the table. I knew I wanted to hang Lily’s monthly pictures on display, so I looked for inspiration on Pinterest and ended up creating one with scrap booking paper from Walmart, polka dot ribbon from Party City, and clothes pins from the Dollar Store. And for her cake smash pics, I used the ribbon and pins, just in different colours, and doilies like I’d seen her on Pinterest. For her highchair decoration, I took inspiration but didn’t follow a tutorial, instead just cutting bunting and letters out of Walmart scrap booking paper, and stringing them on cheap ribbon, along with cheap tulle (I couldn’t bring myself to buy the good stuff I spied at Party City in the wedding section).

12004034_10156198842480089_3365297756516995671_n12039704_10156198841975089_6604335135506103777_n12074513_10156198841415089_4536747310020084939_n12063804_984786751544198_6847412441518162271_n

It was a day to celebrate our precious babe; a girl who lights up so many lives! But since the guest of honour won’t actually remember it, the day was also about Jon and I, who were ready to celebrate the fact that we had also made it through the first year of parenthood;) We wanted a party with all those who had supported us on this journey, so we made sure to have yummy food, delicious treats and of course, some adult beverages, on top of the kid-friendly fare!

11232275_984788804877326_6367153306015347634_n12049116_984791151543758_1415524025406502689_n12027762_984790888210451_3812591562512504456_nmarieka's 2

Friends and family visited, the kids played with Lily Rose’s toys and a fun candy machine Jon broke out just for the occasion. Us adults ate and laughed and had a few drinks. We sang to the birthday girl, then watched her tentatively eat her special cupcake.

12033138_984787651544108_2373143233327117661_nIMG_6796112036720_984788241544049_3024413604074057870_n11033102_984787064877500_9185929790257294313_o

Then we opened a crazy amount of gifts. Seriously, this girl got spoiled! Thank you to everyone who gifted her with such fun and thoughtful toys, books, clothes and keepsakes!!!

12047197_984791478210392_2354345298484132547_n12063633_984793168210223_6297821686109311973_n

Like decorating her room, I had a lot of expectations and a certain vision; I worried not everything would go exactly as planned or look as beautiful as I imagined it in my head. But just like with her gorgeous baby room, things ended up even better than I could have imagined, because it was OUR day, shared with amazing family and friends who made it a memorable event:) And because our birthday babe, as content as could be and loving all the attention, was the best gift on her big day!!!

12019771_10153589013241788_2477251857797577060_nIMG_67631IMG_6765112000990_984792738210266_1554525238955275068_o