Friday, November 29, 2013

dinosaur filled december

a few years ago, i did a random acts of kindness project leading up to christmas. it wasn't anything major, but it was so much fun and rewarding to look back and see what we were able to pull together and give back to our community. last year we kind of missed out on doing much of anything (we were right in the middle of moving) so i was extra keen to get something organized for this year- especially now that finn is old enough to participate more and understand the importance behind it.

my issue was i had a zero and a million ideas all at the same time. i liked a little bit of something, and a little bit of something else, but none of it was really focused on giving back, and more importantly, none of it made me feel excited like i did that first year.

so, we had this idea...

it started with the 'elf on a shelf' craze. i really liked the idea of incorporating magic and wonder into the project, but was not so cool with using the elf as a way to manipulate finn's behavior. present giving is because you love someone, not because they acted well or somehow deserve it. the elves are also SUPER expensive, so that was a bit of a deal breaker for us.

a couple weeks after my half baked elf plan was fizzling out, my friend james sent me a link to a really funny website - dinovember. a husband and wife that devote the month of november to convincing their children that, while they sleep, their plastic dinosaur figures come to life. the pictures of these trouble-making dinosaurs are HILARIOUS! Jeff and I both laughed until we cried looking at this site, and again, i was drawn to the idea of creating that sense of wonder and magic, but it was still missing that connection piece that i was looking for.

so tonight i finally came up with our happy medium. we have some dinosaurs with festive hats and scarves, and starting december 1st, they are going to create some positive chaos at our house. each night they will suggest fun activities, ideas or random acts of kindness for us to do as a family- demonstrating everyday kindness and love toward each other, our family and friends, and total strangers. And reinforcing what the holidays really mean to our family in the process.

i will do my best to share some of our favourite ideas here on the blog, but in the mean time, here are some pictures of the dinosaurs in their winter best- ready to create some magic!


Thursday, November 28, 2013

getting back to simple

i'm not sure what has shifted, but the last couple of years i have slowly watched myself slip away from the idea of really trying to live simply. it is something that i feel like we had worked hard to do- getting away from a lot of complicated life distractions, but when i look around i can't help but notice how many of those distractions- good or bad- have crept back in.

when i was pregnant with finn we were so adamant about having less 'stuff' - always conscious about the items brought into our home and regularly purging from the excess that inevitably built up around us. lately i have felt a little overwhelmed. in part with the abundance of things that seem to be taking over our space- boxes of stuff that we dont have room for tower in my closet. dozens of unhung picture frames neatly stacked behind the headboard of our bed. more shoes than we even know what to do with. where i once ruthlessly sold or consigned all finn's old clothes, i now have bins and bins stored under the bed (in part because i have yet to find that perfect consignment shop here in vancouver, but also because we are still unsure about having a second child... and getting rid of clothes when the cost of buying news ones is not something i care to think about seems a bit silly.)

i could likely justify all of it.

i have struggled this year with what to get finn for christmas. i have a bag full of stuff- little treats and toys ready to add to the growing clutter in his already too full toy basket. but i can't seem to help myself- i have lost my ability to tell when it's all too much. when did i slip away from loving the simplicity of the holidays? from wanting to make it about memories rather than things? or am i maybe being a bit too hard on myself- life changes and perhaps its about trying to find a new version of simple. a simple that works for our whole family and not just me and my unnatural love/hate relationship with consuming. probably a little bit of both.

in my darkest moment of dismay, i came across a perfect blog post over on one of my favourite blogs, che and fidel- she describes how at every gift giving holiday, she gathers the presents she has collected and picks something to tuck back into the cupboard and save for another day. She also sticks to a strict rule when considering gifts -

"...something I want, something I need, something to wear, something to read..."

its funny how sometimes the simplest thing at the right time is all it takes to reset and get you back on track. i have seen this saying before, but never did it resinate with me so deeply. for the first time i'm EXCITED to reevaluate what we have piled away for finn (and everyone on our list). i feel able to move forward with this simple rule always in the back of my mind. i feel like my balance has been restored.

and as for the rest of it, i will chop it up to 'a work in progress'. it's hard to admit that your previous idea of what life should look like has shifted- especially when a small part of you still thinks your original vision is, by most counts, ideal. but as with everything, there is a great life lesson buried somewhere in all of this. I'm not sure what it is yet, but I'm sure when it reveals itself, it will be a good one. :)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

christmas wish list

over the past few years, i have made a pretty concerted effort not to ask for much for christmas. we really don't ever need anything, and the environmental impact of so much 'stuff' is so huge, it just always seemed unnecessary. instead, we would typically think of something we needed for the house  and then jeff and i both would ask for contributions towards that item- usually in the form of IKEA gift cards. boring, practical, not very christmasy… perhaps. :)

this year i feel a bit differently. i don't know if its just been a kind of tough year and i feel like i want something just for me, or if our house finally looks like it belongs in an IKEA catalog, but this year i made a little list. it's nothing wild or crazy, but i thought i would share a couple things that are, in my mind, swoon worthy. 

ONE: madewell ribbed cardigan –  I have been searching for the perfect cream coloured cardigan to get through the chilly winter months, and this one is most definitely it. 

TWO: lap-held weaving loom - i took a wonderful tapestry making class last winter, and have really fallen in love with weaving ever since. this little loom looks like it might be a bit more user friendly than the cardboard versions i have improvised with. 

THREE: gold stacking ring - i have wanted a simple gold band to wear with my wedding and engagement ring since this summer- something thin and beautiful to remind me of roo when i look down and see it. this one is perhaps a bit more than i really would ever need from a ring (with a price tag to match), but hey- they don't call it a wish list for nothing. ;)

FOUR:  humble hilo bag - i think these handmade bags are so beautiful. and something i can see myself using for many many years to come. plus, humble hilo is doing some wonderful things, with a  portion of every sale going toward supporting women and children in developing countries.  

FIVE: kobenstyle mug - i guess technically this one is not just for me, but i would really like some new, beautiful mugs. the ones we use most have been with us for almost 10 years, and for someone who loves dishes as much as i do, thats an incredibly long time. 

SIX: fig & jasmine candle - i love the look of these beautiful candles. i love the scent of jasmine even more. match made in heaven

Thursday, November 21, 2013

rosemary wreaths

my beautiful friend carina came over the other day to craft a little (and eat macaroons and popcorn and drink delicious tea!) while our boys ran wild through the house. we made a few rosemary wreaths and we're both quite smitten with the end results. so so easy, inexpensive and they smell SO incredible!

(you can see the diy tutorial we pulled from HERE - instead of coat hangers for the form, we just wrapped 22 gauge floral wire around a jar 3 or 4 times to make our circular shape)

sorry for the crumby picture quality… it was dark when i was trying to take these ;) 

Monday, November 18, 2013

a little bit of chritstmas

this year marks the first year we will be celebrating the holidays in our own home. we have always traveled to visit our parents and siblings, but since moving to vancouver last january, we really liked the idea of having christmas at home in our own little space. jeff's brother kyle and both his parents are making the long trek from new brunswick to come celebrate with us, and we couldn't be more excited.

i feel like i say this every year, but i completely love this time of year. and since having finn, the holidays only get more and more wonderful. i used to have a rule that christmas decorating couldnt begin until the 1st of december, but only this year did i realize how stupid a rule that was. if we love it so much, why not celebrate it for as long as possible? the last few weeks have been full of planning, decorating, crafting and organizing- getting ready for a few weeks full of love, good company, excitment and delicious food. i cant wait.

here are a few things that have inspiring me this season. im loving the look and feel of bringing natural outdoor elements inside. lots of greenery, pine cones, organic feeling garlands and (of course) paper snowflakes.

(all of these images were found via pinterest. you can see more of my holiday (and everyday) inspiration HERE)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

myles alan gregory craig

i was so (SO) lucky to get to be a small part of my best friends birth story. myles' journey into this world was one i will never forget. one that will forever change my connection to him and his amazing parents. one that solidified for me the incredible strength all mothers have and how truly miraculous childbirth is.

myles was born two weeks earlier than expected, but at 8 lbs 14 oz, we think he was right on time. stephanie called me early friday morning to say she thought she was having contractions- nothing regular or super intense, but definitely a change from the mild cramping that had been going on for several days earlier. we both had a hunch that things were quickly on the move, so i frantically packed my bags, booked a flight, and spent the rest of the day texting steph's mom every 10 minutes and trying not to throw up or burst in to tears- usually both at the same time. i arrived at steph and lee's house just after 6:00pm. labour had gone into full swing around lunch time, so when i walked into the bathroom, steph simply looked up at me, we cried for a minute (me for much longer than that), then it was straight back to business. the rest of my time there was a bit a blur- i remember watching steph in complete awe- her strength and composure were staggering- taking each contraction one at a time. humming through the pain and never once loosing her focus. telling us to shut up when she needed quiet and getting right back into the zone immediately after.  they say labour is like a marathon, but my sweet friend looked like she had trained her entire life for this moment. watching her made me feel like my labour was a total train wreck in comparison. :) and lee. oh lee. i knew he would be incredible. he's the guy that plays it cool so you think he's maybe not paying attention. but man, when things got serious, he was flawless. so attentive and gentle. reminding steph of the things she wanted to be reminded of, kneeled beside her for every contraction, offering a kind word after any moment of doubt. i was truly taken aback by him. and i will be forever grateful for his kindness and understanding in letting me play a part in such a personal time for their family.  

myles alan gregory craig was born gently at home on friday, October 25th, 2013 at 10:18pm.

in a lot of ways i feel like being there for myles' birth was healing for me. after our loss over the summer, it was peaceful and reassuring to witness something so beautiful and perfect. i could feel from the moment that stephanie told me she was pregnant, that there would be something so special about the sweet little soul growing in her belly. i've always known i would love this baby like my own, but only now am i realizing how incredible it is to have this special connection between our families. my gratitude for this shared love is indescribable.


(click to enlarge)

Friday, November 1, 2013


finn and i have been in calgary for the last week. my bestest friend went into labour (a little bit early) so we hopped on a plane and got her as fast as we could. steph and her partner, lee (graciously and so generously) asked if i would be by their side during this incredible journey, and i made it just in time! words will never quite explain just how life changing it was to see my sweet little myles being gently brought into this world. i will share more about this experience soon - i have taken lots of beautiful pictures during this trip, but forgot my card reader in vancouver- so for now, i just wanted to share a tiny ounce of how completely happy and full of love my heart is.

myles alan gregory craig- i dont even have words! sheesh, i love you!