Chester at 5:30 am on his 3 month birthday!

The Chester Diaries: Celebrating the feast and famine known as new motherhood.

Welcome to my blog! My name is Lara and I gave birth in April, 2010 to a baby boy. I've been calling him "Chester" since he was a little chestnut in my tummy. To commemorate his three month birthday, I wanted to write about the crazy, joyous and exhausting ride I've been having as a first-time mom. If you're interested in reading about the highs and lows of uncharted mommy territory as well as my unhealthy obsession with shopping, (particularly baby gear), reviews, and pop culture observations, then you've come to the right place. Be warned: This cute kid has a mommy who can be a bit of a potty mouth.

Note: This blog is no longer active but please enjoy Chester's journey from 3 months to 2+ years.

Wednesday, December 21

A tree grows in Toronto...

It seems kind of silly to post the stages of decorating a Christmas tree but since it is our first one in the new house, and my first ever live tree, I thought it worthy of attention.

We started late this year as we weren't sure if we were going to be in town or not until almost mid-December. Now, I don't know much about buying trees or ornaments but I do know that the best time to buy this stuff is after Christmas, or very early in the season so you can shop for the best sales. As such, we had neither option open to us. The best price I could find for an artificial Christmas tree was at Sears which was 60% off a pre-lit 6 footer. But at $399 retail it was still going to be $160. We figured since we were going to be in town we could attend to a live one and I found a great deal at Ikea. $20 for a Fraser fir - and it came with a $20 coupon to use in January. Can't beat free right? Even if we don't get around to using the coupon, it's still a great deal.

The first thing we did was string LED lights. I have to say, this was probably the most frustrating part of the process. First of all, because I have no idea how to string lights (we relied on Dr. Google) and more importantly, brushing up against those needles was painful and sticky! Since I couldn't decide on blue or white we went with a combo. I think next year I'm going to stick to just white. Classic and simple.  I couldn't decide on a tree topper so we got a silver star as well as a lighted Santa star to sit a little lower.  (Tim hasn't bothered to adjust the star yet as you can see.)

Next came the garlands which I found bit hard to manage.  I must say, there's a real art to it and I'm nowhere near mastering it!  It looks ghastly here but I played around with it until I was happy with the end result (which came much later.)

Next up.  A few of my "keepsake" ornaments.  Then the filler items.  

I approached the task of decorating the tree much like a fashionable woman would dress herself.  Take an urban girl's wardrobe.  It's all about hi-lo.  The high:  designer shoes and handbag, a good jacket, combined with the low - maybe a dress from Zara or H&M, necklace from Banana Republic, tights from Old Navy.  In the case of both fashion and my foray into tree decorating, it's hard to tell the high from the low. 

Snow Owl:  $5 at Pier One.  Snowman globe: $2.50 (50% off at Sears )  Purple Noel ball.: Two for $5 at Wal-Mart.  Mirrored disco ball:  Three for $1 at Dollarama.  (They had the same ones at Pier One for a lot more.)  Blue and silver crisscross ball, snowflakes, silver and white icicles: $20 for a box of assorted Brian Gluckstein decorations (50% off at Sears.)

The tree toppers weren't expensive either.  I bought a $22 silver star at Pier One but didn't like it as much as the $2 one I found at Dollarama (shown below).  The lighted Santa star was $10 at Canadian Tire.  I didn't think I would like it as much as I do.

The Santa (pictured below) was the priciest item.   (A whopping $8 at Pier One.)  I didn't want to add any red decorations but c'mon!  It's Santa. 

Furry woodland creature:  $6 at Pier One, Glass snowman: $1 - Dollarama,  Silver curlicue: $1 at Wal-Mart, Round snowman: $1 - Dollarama

Green and blue butterfly ball:  $5 at Pier One, Smaller balls (far left ribbed blue: $1 - Dollarama, middle purple: $3.50 for 10, and far right blue bell:  $5 for an assorted box of colours, Canadian Tire).

Handmade wooden snowman from Austria: $7 at Homesense, Gold drum: $1, set of three, Dollarama.

Reindeer and Snowman: $3 each, Canadian Tire

Reindeer (with scarf):  $1, Dollarama.  And even though I said I was going to eschew anything primarily red. when I saw the Cars ornaments (set of two for $1, Dollarama) I had to grab them.  I hung both balls low on the tree which Chester immediately gravitated towards.  He's been enjoying pulling them off and playing with them.  Thankfully, both are plastic or I wouldn't have got them.

All in all, I think the decoration was a successful first attempt.  Especially since I set out to do a hi-lo themed tree, but really ended up with decorations that were all on the "low" side.  I'll be sure to look for nicer pieces on sale come Boxing Day.  Now, if only I could get Tim to straighten that star!

Friday, December 9

Jingle Bells...

We're a little late in starting in with the festivities but we finally have one.

Our first tree as a family!

After checking out a few other places earlier in the week, Tim finally decided on one that he thought was up to snuff.  Believe it or not, it's from Ikea. It was only $20 and it came with a $20 coupon so I'd say that was a pretty sweet deal.  Especially considering Tim saw ones for $45 which weren't half as nice.  So after running around to get the tree as well as a stand it was pretty late and we had to get Callum to bed, soooo we thought we'd let it stay bare until tonight.  Maybe even tomorrow.  We still need to hunt for decorations!  Lights, a tree skirt, maybe a nice red blanket to lay on the bottom.  (Ugh!  SO many needles!)  I have gotten some filler balls but I'm looking forward to finding some keepsake ornaments.  Especially a tree topper.  Believe it or not, I've NEVER had a real Christmas tree before so this is kinda all new territory for me.  The smell of a real tree is pretty unbelievable.  It smells so nice and I swear the air feels fresher but I also have had a headache all day and I'm wondering if the tree has anything to do with it! 

I'll post more pics at various stages of tree decoration soon!

Thursday, December 8

Bucket List

So there's a contest on which gives you the chance to win a Kindle Fire which I've wanted ever since it came out last month.

So here are a few things that are on my bucket list - in no particular order!

- First off, I would like to successfully publish my book and become a New York Times bestselling author

- I would like to do an "Eat, Pray Love" tour visiting and eating my way through Italy, India and Thailand.

- I would like to hang out in Sweden for a spell and become a super sleuthing spy like Lisbeth Salander in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

- I'd love to go on a whirlwind shopping trip extravaganza to attend Fashion Weeks in New York, London, Paris and Milan - stocking up on the must have pieces of the season from the hottest designer collections.

- To gain enough fame and notoriety to warrant the cover of Rolling Stone - have a team of publicists and assistants on call 24/7 and have a household staff that includes a chauffeur and a personal chef - ideally for both my homes. I'd stock both households with duplicates of all my clothing, books and personal items so I'd never need to pack a bag when I got on my private plane.

What's on your bucket list?

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