Monday, February 27, 2012

sick sick yick

ugh, I have literally been sick EVERY weekend since we've been back from New Brunswick. Without fail, Thursday evening or Friday morning I start to get the sore, tender throat, and by Saturday I am big giant bag of whole body, all over, everything hurts sickness. Then come Monday eve or Tuesday morning, things are pretty good and back to normal again.

repeat repeat repeat.

This weekend has by far been the worst of it. With no real end in site, I have spent my Monday evening missing pottery class, eating chocolate chip cookies, and googling endlessly meningitis, strep throat and bronchitis. (I'm totally not an alarmist at all.)


Speaking of alarms, the smoke detector in the condo next door to ours was going off this morning. Everyone on the floor was in the hallway- each of us totally unsure what to do. Finn had so much fun running around, peeking into everyone's open doors and smirking at all our neighbours. Finally after almost 2 hours, someone showed up from our property managers office with a key to the unit to unplug the alarm. Without confirming to any of us that there was nothing to worry about, they were gone as quickly as they arrived. In my moments of panic, I frantically took blurry iphone pictures of all our expensive things - computers, cameras and more cameras. We just got a new imac and I was having a hard time believing that our insurance company would buy that we have three computers (and an ipad), but no TV. It made me a little sad to think- if our house was on fire, what would I grab in that moment of panic? Yeah, expensive crap that I wouldn't want to fight the insurance company to replace. (Though, I did make myself feel mildly better by realizing that ALL of Finn's baby photos are on that expensive piece of crap, so really.... :)) I would also grab Finn's Ernie dolls.

I love this video- After all this embarrassing computer talk, I should probably try this exact thing.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

potty bucket

We have been talking about potty training for a while now. It's pretty much the root of every conversation we have with other parents and is regularly the last thing showing up in my google search history. Yesterday, Finn dug out a bucket we keep his shoes in thinking it could be used as a potty. Pretty funny, but also probably a sign we should stop talking and get started with all this.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

music to get you through hump day

My friend Chris is an amazing musician! Singer, songwriter, instrument player. In the 13 years we have known each other, he has accumulated a pretty remarkable discography. Never being without a band or side project, I have been lucky enough to get to hear just about everything along the way.

This morning he sent me his latest gem, a project he has been working on since 2000 with collaborative input form many of his equally talented friends. The band is called 'Heavy Steps' and the album, 'You Conduit', is simply perfect! I can honestly say this is one of the greatest collections of songs I have had the pleasure of listening to in quite some time. The dreamy vocals put a smile on your face, while the already beautiful mix of music being played is the perfect compliment to just about anything you have on the go.
It just totally made my day, and hopefully will make yours!


You can listen to the album free online or go HERE and for $5.00 you can download it to keep forever!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

little garden

I came across these pictures a few days ago on Jeff's blog - old Polaroids of me and Chapeau hanging out in our little garden. (Finn was just a tiny panda bear in my belly!)

I'm so looking forward to summer!

tiny treasures - finn's art collection

Jeff and I really love art. Any and all kinds and especially when made by people we adore. Finn has a growing collection of drawings, paintings and photographs made for him throughout his life by talented friends and family. Each piece so thoughtful and a perfect treasure to display above Finn's crib for him to wake up and yammer about after each nap.

The above drawing was made by Chad VanGaalen - a local singer, songwritter and artist. He is such a talented and nice guy with two young daughters of his own. Jeff has done a fair amount of photo work with him over the years, and received this drawing for Finn as a trade for something. We called Finn 'Panda' when he was growing in my belly, so my sentimental love of all things panda is still huge.

This painting was a Christmas gift from Finn's BFF, Theo! He is a natural artist (with a super beautiful and creative mama!) This is definitely Finn's favourite piece.

These two are just tiny! The watermelon was an out take from the artwork my friend Paula made for the illustrations for Finn's first birthday book. The pencil drawing on the right was one I made for him. He loves the book 'When you were Small' and one of the illustrations in the back is similar to this drawing. Finn loves flipping to the back cover and repeatedly pointing at it over and over, so I figured I would make one for him (of him!)

Jeff's Aunt Moe made this little train painting for Finn on our visit to New Brunswick last month. Finn obviously loves trains, and giggles with glee every time he sees this one.

Lastly, this is photograph Jeff took on his 4"x5" camera. It's in Elkford, BC at my parents cabin and was shot while Finn was growing in my belly. It was the first thing we hung especially for Finn.



Monday, February 20, 2012

gratitude - day 14

Today I am truly grateful for:

Mondays off. I love having that extra day home from work to spend with Finn, just the two of us.

Wild imaginations. Right now, Finn is rotating through three stations: sitting in his teepee talking to himself in a high pitched voice while doing puzzles, tap dancing on Jeff's old metal camera box, and crawling up on the couch to make the two glass owls kiss. This has been going on for about half an hour.

A messy house. I woke up today stressing about it -  about the little piles and boxes of homeless things that seem to endlessly find their way to every surface of our home, but I realized one thing. We live here. Like, we REALLY LIVE here! So yeah, the house gets messy- wouldn't it be weird if it didn't? So as much as I like things clean, tidy, organized- and sometimes it DOES actually look that way- I need to let go of feeling bad when it doesn't. It's just stuff and eventually it will get tidied up.

He woke up this morning, and immediately put on a hat.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

FNKT

sweet, darling, sensitive boy of mine. you are so incredible. the kindest of hearts, willingly offering open arms and abundant love to anyone that comes in to our lives. you are so stubborn and strong willed (not unlike your mama) but just enough so to get what you really need. I could watch you all day - constantly making us laugh, always something new for you to excitedly figure out. I still cant believe you are all mine. I know I will never do anything greater in my lifetime than the work I did to help bring you into this world.

xoxo
mama



Gratitude - Day 12 & 13

These last couple of days, I am truly grateful for:

Paula Blundell- She generously brought me along on one of her professional organizing jobs and I had the BEST time! There is something so totally rewarding about organizing someone elses chaos. And getting paid for it?! Amazing! We make a great team, P!

Sleep. Going to bed early, spending a little extra time snuggling during our lazy mornings. Sleep has felt so good lately!

Resourceful friends. It seems whenever we have a dilemma that needs fixing or a project looking for guidance, we have a wealth of amazing, smart, talented, and skilled friends to draw from. Especially with planning our wedding- little things that can end up costing SO MUCH seem to all be covered by our talented friend base. We love ALL of you so much!!

Sunny and warm Sundays. Finn and I are looking forward to a hot coffee (me) and a walk over to swing on the swings (Finn). Spring fever is starting to hit us hard!

New pals! We have met a few really awesome people through somewhat unconventional means (like Instagram-) But there are seriously some amazing people out there!! Carli and family - you guys are so rad! I feel like we have known each other forever and I love being inspired by every single blog post and picture. Your family is so wonderful and we are grateful everyday to have found you! Michelle, Dustan and your sweet little daughters- we are SO stoked on the birth of your newest little dumpling, Evie (and by the same midwives that delivered Finn! eeeep!) Your family is so in sync with ours and I really look forward to summertime bike rides, park plays, and picnics with our munchkins!

Old pals! Stephanie, Becky, Holly, Sarah (and my Mom!) We went wedding dress shopping yesterday. Though the day was far from being an episode of 'Say Yes to the Dress', we did make much progress in discovering what I DO NOT want, and that in it self is very valuable. Thank you ladies for taking time out of your busy schedules to watch me get unexcited about dress after dress- your love, support and valuable feedback made the day a really positive one and I am so eternally grateful to have each of you in my life. xo
organizing machine!




Wednesday, February 15, 2012

gratitude - catch up!

Eeep! Sorry, I have been busy these last few days and slacking on my gratitude recording. I have definitely been sending it all out, just a little behind in writing it all down.

Below- 4 days of things I am truly grateful for!

Finn waking up and calling my name. He mixes it up and bit and sometimes yells for 'papa' but waking up to that little voice in other room shouting for me to come get him is the BEST way to start any day!

Email. These last few days I have especially appreciated how wonderful it is to instantly send (and receive) love!

Lauren's psychic reading- To have some reaffirming thoughts from an enlightened source is definitely making me smile!

Fresh Air. One slow deep breath of it fixes just about anything.

Day dreaming. I seriously love running away with thoughts of 'what-if'. My brain hasn't turned off and ideas are flowing endlessly these days. 

Our sweet little dog, Chapeau. Love radiates from this tiny creature. 

Growing baby bellies! I have one girlfriend ready to pop any day now and two that still have a few months to go, but being around little baby bellies is such a cool feeling! Touching, talking, waiting for kicks... all some of the most sweet moments of my day.

Sore muscles- that feeling after trying REALLY hard to do 20 push-ups! So close!

Wool socks. My feet have been especially chilly these last couple of days and something about a cozy pair of (Jeff's) wool socks is so perfectly comforting.

Generally great and overly talented people! Tonight we met with two amazing photographers that will hopefully be photographing our wedding. Eden and Maria Lang - you are both such a treat! (and thank you for the potty training tips! :) )

Parents (all of them). They are so good to us. And tonight I'm especially grateful to my Mom and Step-dad for babysitting Finn while Jeff and I ate a delicious birthday meal!

Jeff's Mom! (and his Dad too, but this is just for his Mom!) Today is Jeff's birthday!! For me, giving birth is by far the most indescribable and profoundly wonderful life changing experience. Today, (and always) I am so beyond grateful that Jeff's mom gave life to such an amazing and beautiful human that I so luckily get to share my everything with. Thank you thank you thank you, Anne! Happy birth anniversary!! And happy birthday to my dearest love! xo

finn trying out chopsticks



Sunday, February 12, 2012

Gratitude - Day 6 + 7

These last couple of days I am truly grateful for:

Incredible friends with incredible ideas. I have been fortunate to be a part of an amazing group of people who are working to create a pretty revolutionary idea here in Calgary- I wont go into a lot of details, but it focuses a lot around food security and building community, and honestly, I have never been more excited about a business ever.

Community Gardens. Jeff and I are working with our friends Ashley and Heather to launch a community park and garden in our neigbourhood this summer. It is such a rewarding investment of time and energy and something I am really looking forward to being fully involved with.

Girlfriends. I have had a lot of really nice visits theses last couple of days- catching up, brainstorming wedding ideas and laughing endlessly. I love you to bits, girlies!

Finn's smirks. He is really developing a range of facial expressions. A lot of glaring, but also these adorable little smirks that melt my heart.

Tea. I don't know how I would make it through the day without it.

Things falling into place just as they need to be. I have been making a conscious effort to really manifest what I need these last few weeks, and oddly enough, things have just been coming together perfectly. Again, I will spare you some of the long-winded details, but life has a funny way of working it self out when you really need it to!




Friday, February 10, 2012

Gratitude - Day 5

Today I am truly grateful for:

Belly laughs. Man Finn is ticklish!

Meaningful conversations with good pals Skipping out of work a little early on a friday to grab a pint and catch up with some special ladies is the perfect start to the weekend.

These photographs of Jeff as a baby that his mom just mailed to us. It is so neat to see how much Finn looks like him and how much Jeff looks like his Dad!


Gratitude - Day 4

Today I am truly grateful for:

Planning our wedding. It has been such a fun and creative outlet - the perfect pick-me-up in the middle of a somewhat blah day.. PLUS! I get to marry the love of my life, which is a whole other level of awesomeness! :)

Chocolate - cant seem to get enough of it this afternoon.

Cuddles on the couch with my sweet boys. After a delicious meal and a mini dance party, nothing is nicer than reading stories and giggling with my darlings.





Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Gratitude - Day 3

Today I am truly grateful for:

Jeff being able to stay home with Finn. I am so thankful Finn gets to experience such a close connection with both of us. Jeff is beyond wonderful with him and Finn is so well adjusted and comfortable because of it. It makes me so happy to come home to stories and photographs of their every day adventures and mischief- Memories we will all cherish for a long long time.

Kind and wonderful people. All around, really. We went to look at a hall to possibly have the wedding in, and the woman that met with us was just so genuinely kind. It's reassuring to have those small connections every now and then.

Kisses from Finn. He loves giving them and is always very fair in his distribution- One for Mama, and right away, running off to give one to Papa too.



Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Gratitude - Day 2

Today I am truly grateful for:

Tears. Sometimes it just feels so good to cry. To release that pent up emotion, honour it, and move forward.

Sunshiny 'winter' days. I am absolutely loving the spring-like weather that has filled our city for weeks on end. Summer shoes, light jackets and little strolls to rejuvenate on a beautiful February afternoon.

I know it sounds kind of lame, but really, I am grateful we have access to a vehicle. We don't use it often, but on the days we do need it, I am really grateful we can. This morning we passed a mother at the bus stop with her young child in a stroller. I see them there most mornings as I wait with them for the bus to take me to work. It just made me think about how challenging getting around this huge city without a vehicle could be- especially with a toddler in tow.




Monday, February 6, 2012

21 days of gratitude

My friend Lauren recently sent me (another) fantastic TED talk all about happiness. The speaker is hilarious and charismatic, but most importantly, has spent much of his life researching happiness in our culture. You will need to watch his talk to get all of what he has to say (it is definitely worth your time) but one thing he mentioned is that there are a few simple ways to reprogram your brain to be more positive. Lately, I have talked a lot with my friends about how I feel like I have been in a bit of a negative funk, and reading back through my blog, I can see little bits and pieces of it popping up, but going forward, I really want to make an effort to be more positive. To be grateful for what I have and truly change the way I react and think in certain situations. The speaker suggests that everyday you recording 3 new things you are grateful for. Do this for 21 days and in the end, it teaches your brain a pattern of scanning for positive instead of the negative. I have so much I am grateful for and often find myself reflecting on these blessings AFTER having a bit of a negative meltdown, so I hope that by sharing my 3 areas of gratitude each day for the next 3 weeks, I will be able to rewire my reactions AND share some love with all of you.

Today, I am so grateful for:

Snuggles with my sweet Finn. He has been really sick the last few days, today being the worst of it, but it has made him so snugly and sweet. I am grateful to have been able to be home with him and share the extra love and attention he needs to feel better.

Delicious food in my belly. My friend Mellissa made the most wonderful soup for us this afternoon.

Getting back to my pottery class this evening. After two weeks of missing it while we were in New Brunswick, I am very much looking forward to getting my hands dirty and catching up with Jaquelene tonight.


 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

an indoor play tent for finn...

I have wanted to make Finn a tent since the day I found out he was growing in my belly, but have always been a bit nervous that it might be a project beyond my skill set and that it wouldn't turn out like the incredible tent I pictured in my head. Last week, I came across a near PERFECT play tent tutorial - It is for a smaller tent (6 feet tall instead of the usual 8 feet- obviously important due to the (regularly talked about) lack of space we have). It was virtually a no sew project (always a bonus in my eyes), took very little time to make, and cost significantly less than the (beautiful) tents you see floating around etsy. I adapted the directions slightly and added a few little things to make it special for Finn, but below are simple instructions on how to make a perfect little tent.
Supplies:
- x6 - 6 foot long dowels* (I used 1" think dowels, but in hindsight, I would have gone with something slightly thiner like 3/4". You could also use bamboo garden stakes or 1"x2" wood pieces.)
- Canvas- 3 meters long by 60" wide.
- Leather rope or something similar to tie with- ribbon, jute or twine would all work - I used about 10 - 15 feet of it.
- x8 grommets- I used 3/4" round- you will also need the appropriate size grommet setting tool. I got both of these items at Michael's for around $10.00
- Scissors
- Pencil
- Hammer
- Needle and thread (I used thick embroidery floss with an appropriate sized needle)
- Things you want to dress up your tent with- beads, paint, feathers... whatever your imagination is envisioning.

Directions:
Step 1: Hold all 6 poles in one hand and wrap a small section of rope around them fairly tightly (I left about a foot of exposed pole at the top). Spread the poles out evenly- about 18-20" apart, leaving a larger opening where you want the entrance of the tent to be.
Step 2: (See diagram below) Fold your fabric in half lengthways (it should be a square), then fold again on the diagonal in to a triangle. At the folded tip of the triangle draw a small half circle and cut away extra fabric. Draw the same shape on the bottom of the fabric and cut excess fabric away. Once unfolded, you should have a large half circle.



Step 3: Drape the fabric over the tent poles and secure temporarily with excess rope. On the inside of the canvas, mark with a pencil where the poles meet the canvas (approximately 6 inches from the ground.) Take the fabric down and using strong thread or embroidery floss, sew small pieces of rope to the pencil marks to act as ties. These will help hold the fabric in place when the teepee is standing and keep the poles from moving around too much.
* If you wanted a completely no-sew alternative, you could use adhesive backed Velcro tabs in lieu of ties.

Step 4: Measure out where your grommets will be- from the top of the canvas, measure down about an inch and mark with a pencil. From there, measure down about 2.5 inches and continue marking so you have space for 4 grommets on each side.
* I folded about an inch or two of fabric in on it self so the grommets would be going through two pieces of fabric like the package instructions suggested

Step 5: Drape the fabric over the tent poles again. Place the middle of your length of rope on the back of the tent and wrap several times around the top of the canvas tightly to secure it in place. From there, thread the remaining rope through your grommets and tie at the bottom. Readjust your poles if needed then tie your inside ties to the poles.
* I used two pieces of rope the same length for this part to give the threading a really full look. Also,  afterward I added several more feet of rope wrapped around the top of the tent to clean up some of the white canvas that was sticking out between the strands.
 I added blue glass beads to the ends of the ties hanging from the grommets and painted the very tops of the poles red just for a little bit of colour. We used an old sheepskin rug and lots of throw pillows inside the tent and filled it with tons of Finn's favourite books to make it a cozy little nook for him to cuddle up inside or hideout when he wants to. Finn immediately loved it and has pretty much spent every waking moment inside it since last night. Success!

Enjoy! xo




Friday, February 3, 2012

this moment - 2012-02-03

{this moment} - a friday ritual. a single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. a simple, special, extraordinary moment. a moment I want to pause, savor and remember. (inspired by soulemama)


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

home sweet home!

Well, after two weeks in New Brunswick visiting Jeff's family (and a much enjoyed break from all things internet related), we are now back home. Definitely a bitter sweet feeling to be here. It was SO wonderful to get away! Our days were filled with a revolving door of visitors, delicious food, so much coffee and wonderful conversations. Jeff's mom and dad were beyond amazing- they got Finn up every morning, fed him almost every meal and spent endless hours playing, bathing, chasing and laughing with him- Jeff and I were given strict instructions to take advantage of our two week window of freedom, and we basked in every second of it! It has been a really a while since the two of us have been able to spend a good chunk of time together, and it was really nice to be able to reconnect, talk and enjoy little things like window shopping through downtown Fredericton, or sitting in a pub without a time limit or rush to get back. All in all, I am so thankful we were able to take this trip. It was so refreshing for our entire family and really incredible to see Finn connect so quickly and closely with his Nana, Grampy and Uncle Kyle.

I spent a lot of time thinking on this trip- thinking about what we want from life, where we want to be and how we want to get there. I have always had some strong thoughts and ideas on what life should look like and the freedom and simplicity I want to surround our family, but figuring out how to get to that point is a constant struggle. A few things I am clear about now and am putting out there for the universe to what she so chooses with-

1) I am ready and open to letting new things come into my life- I don't know what this means or looks like, but this is a really huge step for me. I am definitely one that avoids change, and often find myself very committed and involved with things that, after time, my heart is no longer in. I am putting it out there that I feel content and complete with the work I have accomplished on some of these projects and am content and open for new things to come along. Jeff and I are both excited at the endless possibilities for this new chapter in our lives.

2) I want to build a house. Not like - have a developer build a house for us, but actually get my hands dirty, spend years and years learning, constructing, building a home that we will live in, grow old in, and will have as little impact on the earth as possible. I also know it is very important to me that this space remain small. After living with Finn in our little condo for almost two years, I have really come to honour the closeness, both physically and emotionally, that a small space brings. I always want this for our family.

3) I am going to spend this year simplifying our lives. Focusing on decluttering, ruthlessly purging, buying less and cooking more, spending quality time doing things we love as a family, learning new skills and utilizing them, growing more food, paying off debt and adding to our 'rainy day' fund, riding my bike WAY more, and being more patient. Finding my balance and soaking up all the happiness and wonderful gifts I have sitting right in front of me. I especially look forward to this.

I came across this TED talk on the last day of our trip. As my friend Jacquelene so perfectly put it, it's such a breath of fresh air- exactly what I needed after so much uncertainty and 'what-ifs'. Hopefully it will spark a little something for all of you too.



 and a few pictures from our trip...