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Baby, Dogs, Personal

When I brought home Oliver 10 years ago I was living alone in Toronto. I had a beautiful corner apartment on Eglinton Avenue with lovely old hardwood floors and black and white tiled bathroom. I had just broken up with my live-in boyfriend and was on my own. It wasn’t my first time living on my own in the city, but it was the first time I felt like I was really doing it on my own. I’m pretty proud of that time of my life.

Oliver very quickly became the absolute love of my life. How can you not fall in love with a little pug-baby? That squishy face is only topped by his hilarious personality. That dog went everywhere with me.

Oliver and I have been through so much together. We’ve been through really hard times… Really, really shitty things. We’ve also done really fun things. Road trips, hikes, camping trips (not his favourite), Christmas dinners, my wedding… He has just been the best companion.

Over the last year Oliver has really started to show his age. It breaks my heart to even consider the fact that one day I’m going to wake up and he’s not going to be there to greet me with a snort and a sneeze. That’s the worst part about dogs. You know that one day they won’t be able to be with you any more.

I now have to carry him up and down stairs, carry him outside to go pee, and follow him around the house looking for accidents since the poor guy can’t seem to control his hind end anymore. I don’t mind the extra work, but I hate to see his body failing. It breaks my heart.

Isabel turned 3 in October. I can’t believe she’ll be starting school in the fall. This is about the time most parents start thinking about adding a second child to their family. We think about it. I think about it a lot. The truth is, it took a long time for Isabel to come into this world, and although I wouldn’t say we’re “trying” (more like, “trying to not care about trying”) I’m skeptical that a second babe is in our future…

Kids aren’t something I thought I’d ever have. I always pictured myself independent, on my own, more of the “cool aunt” type. But Isabel is my life and I’m so glad I decided to give parenthood a try.  A second baby would be warmly welcomed but I’m also 100% happy with how life is now. More so, I feel concern for Isabel. Any parent, or prospective parent knows, the pressure you feel from the world, from unwanted advice, always makes you question your abilities and choices. I always hear, “You can’t only have one!” and “I know an only-child and she has so many issues!” (Full disclosure: the only-children I know are all wildly successful individuals who I really admire. My best friend growing up, my cousin who is like my sister, a friend of my husband who is a wicked mom and runs an art gallery…) Although I’m happy with Isabel, who is my life and my world, I worry that she’ll be missing out on having a sibling.

This leads me to Leah.

I had been wanting a puppy for a while and am always researching breeds and checking out shelters, but I was concerned about how a puppy would get on with Oliver, who has mobility issues and is generally a grump around other dogs.  But when we saw some Boston Terrier/Pug mix puppies come up locally we decided to jump at the opportunity.

Sure, a puppy isn’t a substitute for a sibling, but I know from experience that dogs are the best companion anyone could ask for. And I know that Olivers time is coming… maybe not for a while, but it’s on the horizon, and I’m not sure how I’d get out of bed if not for a little wet nose nudging me out for a walk.

So here she is! Little Leah. Isabel named her. She’s pretty sweet… 3/4 boston and 1/4 pug. She’s a lazy little thing who has quick bursts of energy. She’s funny, incredibly snuggly and loves to be carried. I’m looking forward to the bitey-puppy stage to come to an end, but I’m enjoying the puppy snuggles. Oliver is doing pretty good, although Leah really wishes he would play with her. I often catch them snuggling together during nap time. She’s a smart little thing and already knows how to “sit” though potty training is going a little slow… We start some training classes soon.

The puppy has made things a little extra busy around here but I’m fortunate enough to be home all day with her most days. She has settled in really well to our little family. I’m looking forward to spring and teaching her to run with me.

Little Red Riding Hood

Baby, Personal, Sewing Patterns

halloweenfeature

Halloween costumes really came down to the wire this year… last year, I had a spooky dress whipped up by the beginning of the month. This year, Isabel’s first year trick-or-treating, I didn’t even know what costume to make until the weekend leading up to Halloween! I nearly broke down and bought her something ready made (sacrilege!).

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Then I came across Twig & Tale’s Traveller Cape pattern (with the Wild Things add-on). I immediately thought “Little Red Riding Hood.” It was perfect because I had a piece of red velvet I had bought two Christmas’ ago, so all I had to buy was a bit of fabric for her dress. I used my current favourite, Heidi & Finn’s Pumpkin Spice dress. I added puffed sleeves and an attached stiff cotton petticoat to help the skirt flare out. I also sewed a self-drafted apron with little pockets (everything must have pockets right now) and a pretty applique on the front.

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I used the add on from the Cape pattern to make myself a Big Bad Wolf’s hat out of fun fur with a cotton lining. Dan dressed as the Huntsman, which was easy since he already has a bushy beard and plaid shirt.

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It was such a fun evening. It is so funny because I never “got” kids.  But seeing Isabel do all of these things for the first time is just so fun! She was very brave and knocked on people’s door, said her “please” and “thank you’s” and wished everyone a “Happy Halloweee.” Never in my life did I think I’d ever say this, but… toddlers are the best!

I’m already planning out a few more of these capes… they were quick and easy to make, and I absolutely love all of Twig & Tale’s suggestions to make them into fun dress-up costumes.

My current favourite baby sewing pattern

Baby, Uncategorized
Before I had Isabel, I looked high and low for a cotton bubble romper sewing pattern. I found one from one of the Big Pattern Manufacturers but it had a zipper down the back. I hate sewing zippers! The other day, I came across the perfect pattern from Puperita on Etsy
I sewed version A with the buttons on the shoulders though I made a few adjustments. I lined the top instead of bias binding the edges. It was just a little quicker and easier for me than doing the binding. I also used KAM snap instead of buttons because I don’t like sewing button holes! Instead of binding the leg openings, I shirred them with some soft elastic. This is a really great pattern with and is easy to customize to your liking. It’s hot here already so I think I’ll be making quite a few of these this summer!

Here’s the photo from Puperita so you can see the changes I made.

I made the one Izzy is wearing in chambray but also bought some gingham and some pastel, summery checker fabric. I’d like to get some nice eyelet too… I am totally addicted to sewing baby clothes.