November 7, 2016

Our Son was Burned on the Fireplace last week – our Lesson Learned


Photo credit: Benjamin Lambert Photography

I want to talk to you about a big ‘Mommy Fail’ I had last week that resulted in me having to take Gray to the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Like many homes now, our house has a gas fireplace. We used to use it all the time before we had the twins, but once they came along, the fireplace literally wasn’t turned on for years. I think it might have been the end of last winter when we finally started using it again.

At that time, Gray and A were newly 4-years old. We considered them to be fairly compliant and calm for their age, so we started slowly introducing them to enjoying the fireplace with us.

We talked a lot about how ‘hot’ the fireplace is, how they should ever touch the glass, how we cannot play rowdy around it, and the normal things I think most parents would emphasize around ‘fireplace safety’. We never left the children unattended around it and things seemed to go fairly well.

Now that the weather is starting to cool off in YYC again, we have started using the fireplace again. In the morning, our family often enjoys having it on to take the chill off since our thermostat is turned down fairly low at night-time. This was how our morning began last Thursday.

I was sitting on the couch in the living room and Gray was standing in front of the fireplace warming up, with his back towards the glass. In hindsight, he was standing too close…especially since his arms were behind him as he tried to warm them up too. I should have said something at that point, but honestly, I think it was a moment of complacency since the kids have been so careful and mindful around it.

You know where this is going next. My poor little guy absent-mindedly took a small step backwards. Unfortunately, he was close enough that the backs of his little arms made contact with both the burning hot glass and the vent that sends the fireplace heat into the room.

He instantly sprang away from the fireplace and cried a cry that I knew meant he was hurt.

I immediately jumped into giving him first-aid and then I phoned health-link. Thankfully I had done everything right in treating him at home (I rant it under cold water and gave him cold compresses, NOT ICE!!!), but there was one concern that the nurse had – after the initial crying, which lasted a couple of minutes, he wasn’t having pain and I guess pain is good sign when it comes to burns. So, off we trekked to the hospital.

It turns out, Gray suffered 2nd degree burns on one arm and 1st degree burns on his other arm. Luckily, it has been fairly easy to treat at home and he has hardly complained about discomfort, so we have been able to carry on with most of our usual routines.

Thankfully, Tetanus isn’t a concern, since we are current on our vaccines. Did you know you could get infected with Tetanus through a burn? I had no idea. I guess these are the things you learn when your child goes to the hospital to be treated for one. Not quite the way you want to learn your lessons, that’s for sure.

It has been 4-days since Gray’s losing fight with the fireplace. Darren and I are trying to decide if we will re-introduce the kids to the fireplace with stricter rules in place (like, having to keep a certain distance from the fireplace), keep the fireplace off for a while, or maybe look into purchasing a fireplace screen (or maybe a combination of those).

I’m mainly sharing this story with you so you can be reminded of the importance keeping your children safe around your fireplace. This is also a good time to consider getting current on your first aid. Hopefully you won’t need it, but you never know when it might come in handy.

Please learn from my mistake!


October 28, 2016

One-On-One Time with the Kids – Is that a Real ‘Thing’??


(edited) Images by Larissa G Photography (

One of the hardest struggles of having twins, is trying to get in one on one time with each of them – and any amount of it!

I mean, essentially they have had the same sleep schedule since birth so it’s not like I could sneak in quality time with one child while the other napped. And…until the last year or so, they have done most of their activities together, so we haven’t had much opportunity to bond during those times either.

On top of those obstacles, almost all of the time, I am out-numbered!

I remember feeling so guilty when Gray and A were newborns because it seemed there was rarely an opportunity to just enjoy a quiet snuggle with one baby – this was something I felt so envious about when we spent time with other moms who had singletons. This is literally what my schedule looked like every 3-hours when I was establishing breast-feeding (because the twins were preemies and tiny, I was discouraged from exclusively nursing at the start in case they burned more calories than they took in – it was totally nuts!!):

  1. Nurse baby A
  2. Burp baby A
  3. Top up baby A with bottle of formula
  4. Burp baby A
  5. Nurse baby B
  6. Burp baby B
  7. Top up baby B bottle of formula
  8. Burp baby B
  9. Pump with Breast pump
  10. Change diaper of baby A
  11. Change diaper of Baby B
  12. Sterilize bottles (My bad, I hadn’t bought enough)
  13. Eat, sleep, shower and do anything else that needs to be done before the 3-hour window is up (but probably get to none of it)

It was total insanity!!!!

Thankfully that only lasted for the first 3-weeks before we got the go ahead to drop the bottle-feeding and blow up that dreaded milking machine known as a breast pump…but still, that didn’t drastically change the process. And once my husband went back to work, I was all alone to manage it myself. I can’t even tell you how many times I bounced one twin in the bouncy chair (with my foot) while I nursed the other child. That really happened! All. Of. The. Time.

Side note for expecting parents of multiples: Get yourself a bouncy chair for crying out loud!!!

Thankfully, that phase is history, and now that the kids are four-years old it’s not quite ‘so’ nuts…so, I really feel like Darren and I both need to make a bigger effort to have more one on one time with each of our children.

After I wrote my blog post last month ‘Keeping the Marriage Alive – One Date at a Time!‘, I had a brain-child that maybe we should do the same thing with our kids – perhaps a one-date-per-month-per-child kind of thing?

When I suggested it to my husband, he looked totally deflated! Not because he doesn’t see the value in it, but because I’m sure he was wondering:

Do we have enough time for that? Our weekends already seem to get so busy with activities, birthdays, etc.

How much money are we going to be spending on our endless dates each month?

Why does my wife like routines so much? (I added that for ‘your’ benefit, Darren!)  🙂

Okay, so he was probably right – it’s probably not necessary to make this a formal thing, and for now, we won’t.

So, I am now trying to be mindful to catch those little moments when I can. Darren has taken Grayson out skating (outside of lessons) a few times in the last month and I stole some time with Miss A over the weekend while her brother was watching Netflix upstairs with his dad (No, Darren, I don’t think that quite counts! Lol).

Before Gray came down for the day, Miss A and I quietly got to work and baked some muffins for the family for breakfast. Miss A was so happy to help without the struggle of competing with her brother, which usually looks like this:  Who’s turn is it to pour in the next ingredient? Who’s pushing who off of the stool?  Who gets to stir first?

Miss A even took great joy in helping me set up the table and wash the dishes!  What a nice treat that was!

I know it wasn’t a fancy date out to a play place, or the mall, or swimming…but it was an hour of time that her and I had together and I think that’s what is important. Although we aren’t making this a formal ‘thing’ in our house, I know that each little step towards focusing on our family is going to make us stronger and happier in the end.


October 22, 2016

We bought our 4-year old a drum kit. What happened here?


I’m not going to lie…I have seriously been feeling a little embarrassed to share the news of this recent purchase with my friends (and, honestly, also with you). After all, Gray is only 4-years old. Does he ‘need’ a drum kit? Have we gotten carried away?

This is how we got here…

When Gray was just a little tyke, my girlfriend, Marian, bought him a little toy drum set. He LOVED this thing and often played while singing his ABC’s. He also loved to play while asking mommy to ‘dance’ to his beat.

What?? Nooooooo!! How?? (insert my best pow-wow dance)

There are no photos documenting this. Thank God.  But I do have a cute photo of Gray playing on his old toy drum set!  Let’s think about that instead:


Eventually, this beloved toy drum kit bit the dust. It was a well-loved toy and always a fan-favourite when friends came over…so it was destined to have a limited life cycle. At the time, I wasn’t ‘that’ sad because, really…only your girlfriend without kids would buy that loud of a toy…but, I was definitely sad for Gray. Of course, he was upset but I hoped he would get over it and move on…and, for a while, it seemed like he did.

…Until last spring.

Last spring he started asking for drums and reminiscing about how much he loved his old toy drum set. Now that he’s four-years old, a little toy drum set like that would likely be too small for him so, I told him that’s a very expensive item he is wanting, and maybe that’s something he should ask Santa for.

He carried on into the summertime, talking about how he wanted drums and he was going to ask Santa for them. That seemed fine…the phase didn’t die off and he accepted that we weren’t just rushing out to buy drums. But, I did realize something. What happens if Santa brings the drums that Gray ‘thinks’ he wants but then loses interest?

So, I suggested to my husband perhaps we should find some little lessons for him in the fall and see how that goes before we…err…Santa…takes the plunge with the drums.

So, I put out a request into Facebook-land to see if any of my friends could recommend a music class or drum instructor…or were drum lessons for a 4-year old even a ‘thing’? It turned out another twin-mama I know recommended someone great who only lives a few blocks away from us – how convenient!

Gray started lessons in September and attends once per week for 30 minutes. The teacher we found is also a mom and does a good job of keeping him on-task but also offers little breaks when he needs it to just play as he wishes…and I like that…it seems age-appropriate to me.

The good news is that Gray seems to be progressing and he hasn’t shown any inkling of losing interest in drumming. By no means is he a ‘gifted musician’ but he really seems to be learning – and in a compound way. He regularly practices how to count (and play) different beats and patterns such as ‘triplets’ and ‘paradiddles’.

He has also worked a little bit on drawing music notes, and he is now learning the names of the different drums in a drum kit. For fun, he gets to watch a ‘Buddy Rich versus Animal-from-the-Muppets’ video – and he quite enjoys that!

Since the lessons seem to be coming along, and Gray seems to be maintaining his interest in drumming, I thought Darren and I could talk about a plan for Christmas.

Me: “What do you think about Santa bringing Gray a used drum set for Christmas? I kind think it’s too expensive of an item for him to get new. If you’re onside, we should probably start keeping our eye on Kijiji soon here.”

Keep in mind that I’m super proud here of my brainchild idea. My husband is…well…tight with money PLUS we are mostly a one-income family supporting four people. Anywhere we can save money is great! So…I’m pretty much thinking here…”I’m so smart!”.

Darren: “You want to give him a used item for Christmas?”

Me: “Well, yeah! Drums are expensive!!!”

Darren: “I don’t know. Would you like it if I gave you a used gift at Christmas?”

Me: “Well…that’s not even the same. He won’t even know – he will still be so excited to get them!”.

Darren: “Does that mean you are okay getting a used gift then?”

Me: (didn’t address the question…Abandon! Abandon!) “Okay, so the other option is we find a used set and chalk it up as a cost of doing an activity – just the same as we bought Miss A her ballet shoes, tap shoes, and dancewear.”

Darren: “Sounds good.”

And that, my friends, it exactly how we got here!

Gray’s drum teacher was kind enough to send us a list of four previously owned drum sets for sale that she thought were appropriate for Gray. She also offered her opinion of what they were actually worth (versus what they were listed for). They were pretty much all selling in the $190-$250 range. She also explained what to look for and what not to worry about (I guess the ‘skins’ are easily and eventually replaced anyhow).

In the end, we picked up a set from some parents whose son had left for university but had had to leave the drums behind. They were asking $190 and we scored a deal of $140 – which was even better than our drum instructor suggested would be a fair price for this particular set (this is where I boast that my brain didn’t turn into complete mush when I had kids and I still have some of my career ‘negotiating skills’ left in me – yay!).

As you can imagine, Gray is absolutely thrilled!!! I’m still a little baffled on how we went from a toy request in spring to a drum kit in his bedroom…but I guess that’s sometimes how it goes.

October 12, 2016

Pregnant with (or have) Twins or More in YYC? Read This!


Image by J.A.C. Photography (

Having twins, triplets or any number of ‘multiples’  is NOT easy. I mean, aside from it being an enormous amount of work (especially in the early days) it is very, VERY expensive and it is also a little scary!

That’s why I really want to tell you about an AMAZING resource I discovered when I was pregnant with my own twins – the Twins, Triplets and More Association of Calgary (or ‘TTMAC’ as many of us in the YYC multiples community call it).  I promise, they are not paying me to post this – I just love the association ‘this’ much! Honestly, it was one the greatest supports I had when preparing for and bringing home our twins!

I can’t remember exactly how I heard about TTMAC anymore, word of mouth perhaps? Regardless, I am so happy that I discovered them while I was still pregnant because I was able to take advantage of some of the membership benefits even at that time (speaking of membership, I should mention that there is a nominal membership fee…but for our family, the cost of membership has more than paid for itself year over year). Currently, the membership fee in 2016 for a new member is $50/year.

Here is a list of TTMAC membership benefits that our family has taken advantage of:

Discounts Galore!!!

Thank the heavens above because having multiples is SO expensive! Most items you will need in double (or maybe more if you’re having triplets…or quads…or…OMG!), so any little penny saved will make a big difference for you in the end.

You might be surprised to know that we actually still are able to take advantage of discounts even though we are long past the stage of buying cribs, which is so nice.

Free Loaner Items

There is quite a long list of items that TTMAC has to loan out and these items aren’t just intended for families in financial need…. they are intended for the general membership. Here are some items our family borrowed:

  1. Twin Baby Buddy nursing pillow I did buy a couple of new covers (covers were available I just preferred something a little different). This thing was a lifesaver and made a big difference when I got really crazy and tried ‘tandem feeding’.In case you’re not sure what tandem feeding is, it’s nursing two babies at the same time. It’s for people who like to multi-task. Not me. Thankfully Gray and Miss A were fairly efficient eaters!
  2. Bumbo Chair That thing was awesome and we got loads of use out of it. I used mine to prop the babes up for feeding in the early days and I also used it as an accessory with my exersaucer (which we only had one of). I would place one baby in the exersaucer and the other in the Bumbo within reach of the exersaucer – it worked like a charm and kept both babies entertained for an extended period of time. I supposed this is why exersaucers are affectionately referred to as ‘circles-of-neglect’.
  3. Resource Books The office has a decent little library of books and I did find two or three books on parenting multiples to bring home and place neatly on my bedside table.So, full disclosure here: I had good intentions of reading all of these books but, really…who has time for that when you’re waking up every three hours to ‘nurse-then-bottle-feed-then-burp’ two tiny humans (or more), change 16 diapers a day (or more), and ‘try’ to shower, sleep, cook, and wash in-between? Seriously, my God, why did I think I would be reading?

Access to the TTMAC Facebook Group (which is closed to the public)

I know this probably sounds silly, but the Facebook page has been an enormous resource to me. I have asked many multiples-related questions here such as:

“I’m moving my twins from a shared crib to sleeping in their own cribs, what should I expect?”


“I have diastasis recti from my multiples pregnancy and I’m looking for a recommendation on a good physio clinic.”

Honestly, the TTMAC Facebook page is a really great way to connect to the YYC multiples community.

Access to the TTMAC Facebook Classifieds Group (which is closed to the public)

This page has been so amazing for buying and selling multiples-related products and also coordinating outfits for the kids. Think coordinating/matching clothing, double-strollers, Halloween costumes, etc. Awesome!

Socials & Events

There are a wide variety of socials and events available for members. I have personally attended age-appropriate playgroup socials, evening parent socials, family events (Halloween, Christmas, etc) and my personal favourite – Mom only evenings out and retreats!


All of my friends know that I love me a good contest and TTMAC has no shortage of these! I have been lucky enough to win some products from their monthly contests and one year for Mother’s Day, our family even won an entire family photo session (including DVD) from the very kind and generous Larissa G Photography!

Early Access to the Infamous TTMAC Semi-Annual Used Clothing, Equipment and Toy Sale

This sale is huge, infamous, and very well organized! On top of that, it is another great place to buy equipment for your multiples since most of the vendors are parents of multiples. It’s also a spot you can buy coordinating (or matching) outfits for your multiples second hand.

Even if you don’t have multiples, you ‘can’ and ‘should’ go to this amazing sale!  It is totally worth it!

Workshops and Sessions

Both my husband and I took a first-aid course through TTMAC for a very nominal fee, which probably paid for our membership that year on its own.

There are other TTMAC Membership Benefits Available as well!


There are quite a few areas that TTMAC offers support with if wanted…breastfeeding, NICU support, Bereavement, Single Parent support, and the list goes on.

There is also a “New to You” inventory of clothing and supply items that have been donated to the office for families who might be in want/need.


Overall, I can’t say enough good things about becoming a member of TTMAC. If you are expecting multiples or even if you already have them, I would really encourage you to consider a membership. It has been such a great resource for our family and I honestly have met some of my most favourite people through this group…Gray and A have too!

September 13, 2016

My Twins Started Preschool and I’m Mourning


fullsizerenderOkay, I know that using the word ‘mourning’ is probably dramatic – perhaps ‘heart broken’ would be better?

Either way, my heart is aching a little.

I know that I’m not the first parent to send my first born to preschool…but I suppose it is ‘my’ first time sending my first (and last) born to ‘school’.   Is this how it is going to feel every time they reach a new educational milestone? Ugh.

Maybe I’m a little sad because this means my ‘babies’ aren’t babies anymore?

Or maybe it’s because this is a big step that somehow feels like my time as a full-time mommy is changing? Am I ready for that?

Or perhaps it’s because I’m not sure preschool is really the right choice for our family. Should we be allocating this time and money to other activities that the kids have been asking for? After all, they do already have 13 years of school ahead of them. Is preschool even necessary?

I don’t know. But what I do know is that I’m feeling a little down about the whole thing.

Of course Gray and A were excited and happy to start their first day yesterday. After all, our family has been talking about preschool quite a bit over the summer and all of us (including me) have had plenty of time to prepare ourselves.

When I dropped them off, I gave them both a kiss and told them I love them and they started to settle into their new routine right away. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see one of my close friends watching me (he was dropping off his 3rd of 4 children…who is entering his second year of preschool…so this is totally old news to him). He commented to me that he was just realizing that this is my first school drop off and instantly my eyes began to water. Thankfully it ended there and I was able to keep it together, but friends…it wasn’t easy. I could have easily sat down and had a good cry.

For now, I’m going to keep my chin up! I mean really…what else can I do? I’m sure over time I will get over this feeling and I will start to embrace having a few extra hours to have a little break (and by ‘break’ I mean childless grocery shopping before 8pm – OR – a trip to the motor vehicle registry without having to use the words ‘stop’, ‘no’, or ‘don’t’ – over and over and over…).

I do want to share with you something that I tried yesterday that helped me feel a little better: As soon as the kids were done their first class, I took them straight to our local Starbucks so we could enjoy steamed milk together. I put away my phone and I gave them my totally undivided attention while I invited them to share with me the details their big day! Of course, as they shared all of the exciting things they did, I couldn’t help but feel the contagiousness of their joy and excitement!

Hearing them tell it all over again to their dad, during suppertime, helped too!  …and, perhaps, so did the glass of wine that went along with it!



September 3, 2016

Journaling their Special Moments



I am a very sentimental person and I love preserving memories! I always have.

I photograph often, I keep special items (even if they are in a box in my basement), and I did buy and (mostly) fill out baby books for the twins. I’m just that kind of a person.

But, as the twins moved away from their first year, there were so many moments that brought us joy and I didn’t want to forget them. So, I decided to buy them each journals. I just found some nice, good quality ones that I thought would stand the test of time from our local Chapters/Indigo bookstore. In them, I record anything at all that I don’t want to forget or that I think the kids will enjoy learning about themselves later.

Here are some examples of things that I have recorded for them:

  • The first time the twins gave each other a kiss
  • The funny ways they used to put sentences together and the sweet ways they said certain words (for example, Miss A used to call Gray ‘Gay-Gay’)
  • The day they scored their first soccer goal in Timbits Soccer
  • That time I found Gray plunging his own face with a plunger (Yes, that happened…for real!)
  • The time Miss A put her own self in a time out after doing something naughty

I also staple in small paper memories that don’t take up much room in their journals. Little things like my favourite day home reports that we received or Gray’s gymnastics report card where he was praised for having such good listening and being a role model for classmates. Pretty much anything that makes us smile!

I know being a parent is extremely busy and little things like this can get lost in the shuffle. The one thing that really helps me stay on top of keeping the journals current is simply keeping them on my bedside table, along with a pen, so I can add a few quick notes before bed. I also store little notes in my phone if something comes up while we are away from the house that I want to remember – those get added at bedtime also.

After sharing that I do this with one of my friends, another mom of twins, I could tell she really liked the idea. So, we actually gifted her twins with their own journals on their birthday, so they could have their own collection of memories started. I know that at 5-years old they might have not put that at the top of their ‘favourite gifts’ list, but hopefully down the road they will be happy to have those keepsakes.

I know their mama will anyway!

August 19, 2016

Preschoolers and Pay Per View Don’t Mix

Zootopia Photo

Our kids have been able (and allowed) to order their own Shaw on Demand programs for a little while now. They just need to ask first. They know they are limited to certain Treehouse and Disney Junior shows and they are able to identify them by the little thumbnail photos that are displayed. Anything else they need permission to select and they are very good about respecting that TV rule.

So, a couple of months ago, they did just that. They asked their dad if they could order the ‘show with the fox and bunny’. He didn’t really know which show they were asking about but certainly a show with a fox and a bunny probably sounded about right for a couple of 4-year olds.

At some point very soon, he realized that they had ordered a movie – Zootopia to be exact. Shoot! It wasn’t free! Well, they did ask after all, how could we be mad?

So, we let them watch it 3 times to celebrate!

Nah, actually…we just wanted to get our $4.99 worth before it expired on the 24-hour mark.

Well played, children.

So, the lesson here, my friends…if your kids can order ‘free’ programs, they can also order pay per view. Maybe get ahead of us and add a password to your pay per view TV. While you’re at it, it might also be time to add a password to some of the channels you might have even just through your basic cable.

August 8, 2016

The Inaugural Blog Post


Wow! I can’t believe I’m finally here!

This tiny idea of having a personal/lifestyle blog has sort of become a bit of a project, so I am elated to finally be sharing it with you!

(starting a blog seems like it should be simple but, man, there are A LOT of things to consider before actually getting to put your pen to paper! That’s definitely going to have to be a blog post later!)

How it all began…

Over the last couple of years I have had a couple of friends loosely comment in passing that I should write a blog. I think it’s probably because I have been sharing our ‘trials and tribulations’ on facebook and social media with friends and family since the twins (Gray & A) were born. I usually have a pretty honest approach, sharing both the joys, as well as the ‘imperfect’ moments, often. I am a first time mom AND a mom of twins, so my husband and I really just jumped right in with both feet. As you can imagine, it has been beautiful, crazy, joyful and sometimes flat out chaotic.

Only people without children gift chapstick this bright to a 2-year old

I envision Refined Imperfection as a little space that I can share my journey of raising my twins, being a wife, and holding on to a little sliver of still being my own person – here in beautiful YYC.

Thanks for coming by and saying, ‘hello’!

Shampoo pumps work great when you only have 1 hand - also when you have 2-year old hands and a mirror

Shampoo pumps work great when you only have one hand.
They also work great when you are 2-years old and you are left totally unsupervised.