The New Food Lifestyle

This is the post you all think will be super annoying; preachy, holier-than-thou on our new vegan pedestal type post. But NO, this will not be that. This is not a post written to convert anyone to veganism. It will be an honest “what is great and what is not”. I want to share a couple of things because it is so much fun experimenting with new recipes to try (I’ll give you one of my everyday staples at the end of this). Maybe it’ll just inspire you to play with a vegan recipe or two.  And also I am getting a lot of questions. 1) Yes, we are still eating vegan. 2) Yes, Dev loves it. And yes, so do I–it’s clearly my new obsession now that the major work in the house is all done. I need something to focus my energy on aside from the obvious family commitments. It’s my escape. 3) Yes, I feel better. 4) Yes, it can be hard, but also it can be easy (?!). Read on for more details there. 5) Hmmm, I’m not sure if it’s just a phase so I can’t answer that one. But yes, I know vegan eating will be a part of this house in some aspect forever. My sister-in-law used the term “Flex-vegan” to describe her new eating behaviour (Katie, I think you mentioned that term to describe your dad too??) and that seems so totally attainable long-term! You know, busy week night/sport practice type days where picking up Swiss Chalet is so easy…that might be a non-vegan day. Ah but here I go again, in my head thinking, “Picking up a vegan burrito from any burrito joint or the Falafel special from Pita Deli is just as easy!!!” 6) WHY? I will not get preachy here, and to avoid doing so I will simply say I listened to a pod cast. Bottom line, the host is a new mom who is currently nursing her baby–and so am I–and it opened my eyes to a few things. And so I thought, “Why not? I need a challenge anyway.” That’s why. 7) Why STILL? Because after only 2 months, I have learned more reasons why. I also have discovered the tricks. And I love the cooking, the baking, and trying new recipes. And finally 8) No, the kids are not vegan, but they are enjoying this food in addition to their per usual. They don’t really like meat anyway aside from the occasional cold cuts or chicken pot pie so I’m still giving them the meat they will eat, and they are eating yogurt and cheese and eggs (I can’t deny them french toast!). They are super reaping the health benefits of their parents eating vegan, with so many more veggie options and beans/nuts/legumes. It’s fun to watch Mais crush a bowl of oatmeal, hemp seeds, and nuts lol.

You already eat vegan (sometimes). It’s true. You just didn’t know it. Eat an Oreo lately? Vegan. Tortilla chips with guac or salsa? Vegan. Hummus and crackers or carrots? You actually don’t need to overthink it, or spend $10 on quinoa chocolate crisps (shout out to Heather, I love you). It’s right in front of you. Sometimes it is as simple as omitting cheese from a recipe, sometimes it is a simple move-your-hand-to-the-left-and-buy-the-vegan-version-instead (think milk, coffee whitener, yogurt, mayo, cheese, etc). Sometimes it’s more complicated (but actually not at all once you understand it).

                    

Ok so honestly are the replacement products as good? The ONE thing I am trying to like is the cheese. I’m really trying. But as a cheese LOVER it is just not the same. It’s great on a grilled cheese (totally brings me back to kraft single slices), and add Dev’s homemade relish and you are laughing. But you will NOT catch me eating a slice of vegan cheese just on a whim. Otherwise, I’m loving everything else–even the almond milk for coffee despite being religiously addicted to cream.

So WHAT do we eat?? Breakfast and lunch are so easy, a smoothie or oats every morning,  and usually avocado toast with hummus for lunch.  Or leftovers. But dinner is where I focus a lot of energy; I could have a few recipes that I use over again but we really haven’t had any exact repeats aside from a couple of frozen leftover reheats. We’ve had curries and stews and soups like crazy. Burritos and wraps and sandwiches and salads. Rice bowls!!! A vegan Big Mac. Everything has some sort of protein included, like a bean or lentil or maybe some tofu, with tons of veg and often brown rice or other grain base (quinoa or bulgar, etc), or at least a hearty bread for dipping. Hemp seeds sprinkled on everything. Most breads are good, you just have to check the labels (usually Naan has milk). I have a whole new appreciation for spices and a WHOLE new appreciation for nuts. You can do anything with nuts! Walnuts soaked = ground meat for tacos. Cashews ground with some salt, pepper, garlic powder = parmesan cheese. Cashew caesar salad dressing is like my new favourite thing. Chia seeds and flax make baking and desserts possible. I do imagine that if I use an egg or milk for anything anytime soon it will be for baking. Not even really for taste, but I was at a point where I didn’t really need to think to bake something pretty damn good, and now I have to pay attention to every single detail. Also, I really want my girls to be able to experience and appreciate my baking! LOL. I’ve had some great success with vegan baking, but it’s not as relaxing as baking used to be.

                           

 

                

I’ve really enjoyed breaking out some old cookbooks (Moosewood! Makes me feel like a hippie back at Jane Bond in Waterloo. It’s a vegetarian book but many recipes are vegan or can be altered) and new ones (“Oh She Glows Everyday”…Thanks Leanne) and some apps as well (Deliciously Ella, Oh She Glows). “Fresh at Home” is great, or “Rebar” has been awesome too. Both are books. And of course Pinterest is always a great place to find good ideas.

Any-who-be, here’s a recipe to try. Just casual, nothing crazy, but super versatile and EASY. The best ever Hummus, adapted over many years from the one my mom used to make! Enjoy 🙂

Print Recipe
HumMousse (credit that name to you, Heather!)
I put this s*@$ on EVERYTHING.
Prep Time 10 min
Servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 min
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Add all items to a good quality food processor and give it a good whirl.
  2. Add a little water if you’d like a more whipped consistency.
  3. Taste and adjust salt if needed.
  4. Serve with a sprinkle of paprika and a swirl of oil, along with any cracker, veggies, or basically as a dollop on top of any salad or rice bowl. I love this on toast topped with avocado.

Survival, Defined Only by You (or in this case, ME)

Posted on Posted in Heart

These are, I know, the best years of my life. The most emotional, ecstatic, draining, long, short, turbulent, and peaceful years of my life. The reality is, every piece of it is perfectly imperfect. If you had asked me two weeks ago, I would have said things are brutal, and hard, and I that I was blowing it and letting everyone down. There are certain people who live in my head, and even when they are not with me, I can hear them. Various people from different areas of my life; but of course they are the people I care the most about–and I care the most about what they think of me and how I am handling ‘things’. Some are more obscure: the child psychologists and behaviour specialists I’ve never met but who I’m sure exist. Well two weeks ago they were all in my head. And it was stressing me the F out.

Making these people proud (even when they were nowhere near me) was what was driving my every action, my every response, and my every EMOTION…because I love them, but still. And I started to notice this pattern: I would act or respond to please these voices, and I would repeat repeat repeat…and then I would BREAK. I would yell, or cry, feel out of control and completely disconnected to my thoughts and actions.  Like, it got to the point where I sat and watched an hour long webinar about parenting strategies, and considered paying money (like significant money) on a parenting help resource. (???!!! No judgement though if you have done that.) And suddenly I realized, this was happening because I wasn’t being ME.

There are no two people on this planet who think or act exactly alike. There is no single ‘life’ or ‘child rearing’ training program that every single person can use and be successful with. No perfect strategy that works for every kid, or every parent, or under every circumstance. But there is what feels authentic to ME as a mom and as a person. So when I made this connection, or realization, it was just this feeling of liberation. Literally, at that moment, I gave myself permission to let go of the voices and listen only to one voice–my own. I promised myself that I would do things as I saw fit, I would respond in the moment the way that came from within so naturally, and I wouldn’t give a rats ass who was around to see it. And I can say with absolute certainty that this week has been, by far, the best week my family and I have had in a while.

Okay, so what does this look like? Not that it matters, because like I said, every single person is different and the whole point of this post is to say that none of us should do things the same way. And to be absolutely clear, this does not in any way infer that I want anyone in my children’s lives to change how THEY deal with or manage my girls. They need to do THEM! That is the beauty in all of this. But it is my post and I write this mostly for me, so I will reflect here on who I am as a parent lol. I began to think of who I am when I am at my best. What do I do well, and who am I in those moments? I am not the best teacher. But when I thought of the students I had the best connections with and the way I interacted with them regularly, it just made sense. Yes, I teach at the intermediate level and clearly my own children are small, but how I maintain these relationships, and balance structure and compliance with love and acceptance is the same. It just is. The language I use with a thirteen year old versus a four year old might be different, but the idea is the same. And it is what comes naturally to ME. I seriously can’t think of a time as a teacher where I was concerned about what others thought of me, when it came to disciplining or dealing with my students. But for some reason, literally every single thing I did with my own children came with five different voices in my head telling me what to and what not to do. What is that?!

I won’t sit here and talk about the way I act in the classroom, or new things I am trying at home, because seriously it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I am doing it my way, all the time, and my girls are seriously responding. I have laughed harder with Mais this week than I have in I-don’t-remember how long. I have shared more memorable moments and talks with Arya and connected with her at a deeper level than ever before. That does NOT mean this has been a perfect week of no-one getting ‘in trouble’ or sitting in time out (gasp! Yes I use time outs, and guess what? They work for ME, not everyone and I totally respect that, but they do for me!) but those not so perfect moments have been significantly out numbered by joyful ones.

So what is this post supposed to be about exactly? I guess what I am trying say is that the best life/work/home/parenting strategy is the one that you actually don’t have to think about. It’s the one that flows out of you. And know that when you do you, that is when those voices in your head are actually the most proud of you. And I am writing this so that the next time I forget, I can come back to this piece and remind myself who I am as a mother, wife, and person–and I’ll be reminded that these are the best years.

 

The end of an era for me: Saying Goodbye to Instructing Body Flow

Posted on Posted in Heart, Move, Uncategorized

It pains me to write this. I actually am having a hard time figuring out where to start, where to end. This might be a looong post and it will be written more for me and my own reflection than for anyone reading it, so I apologize in advance. But I made the decision today to say goodbye to one of my true passions–instructing Body Flow.

My first memory of Flow is probably 15 years ago at the Markham women’s gym. A bubbly, curly haired instructor left me in awe after one try (I think her name was Sherese or something close to that–she became a team leader and was an amazing Jam instructor too) and I was hooked. I’m sure it was my sister who introduced me to the class though, and to this day we share a bond based on our connection with the program and our love for it. I remember being at the Markville club and release 25…I mean seriously, Dido, Michelle Branch (I can still remember “Could you look me in the eye…”–croc to up dog sequence. Anyone who flows will understand how the songs will forevermore be attached to movement), Black Eyed Peas (the stomach punches? anyone?). Just magic.

I moved to Ottawa the next year but kept my GoodLife membership and brought my bestie Leanne to the classes at the Vanier location. Our instructor was Julie, a friend of Leanne’s sister-in-law, and she took us in like sisters of her own. She could press from full crocodile to up dog without resting on the floor!!! What?!! And so began my obsession with gaining strength in Flow. At that time, Julie had suggested I get my training and I did reach out to do so, but quickly backed out maybe out of fear of failure or fear of commitment, or both. Ps I think I knew release 30 off by heart by that point and perhaps to this day still do–circle of the heart to Dido’s “Here With Me” AHHHH so good.

Years later and a move to Whitby brought me to my home club at Brock and Taunton. Rebecca’s Thursday afternoon class. And with a push and nudge from my sister Heidi (who also has been a Flow instructor–trained release 32), to the auditions in Toronto to try out for a spot in the Flow training. My cousin Lindsay was there with me too, and she still instructs down town (I think she was at McCaul but maybe has moved??). I trained Release 38 in Burlington under Renee in November, mentored under Rebecca, and took over her Thursday class in February when she changed class schedules. And the Wednesday 7:30 fell into my lap somehow too. I don’t tell many people this, but I failed my first video submission. I did not cue the breath, not once! Actually at the time I really didn’t understand AT ALL how important the breath connection was. I remember thinking, “the breath?! What the shit?! Who cares about that?!” Clearly after ten years I NOW GET IT.

Touching on what sooooo many flow-ers come back to flow for–the music–wow. Just wow. That is what you remember. There are songs, that when I hear them now, I can tell you the release number and EXACTLY what was happening in my life at the time of the release. There are songs that will forever resonate with me as being a huge part of my existence. My bridesmaids walked down the aisle to “Song to the Siren”. I grieved the loss of a friend to “Silence” by Delerium. Maisie came into this world to “Stay”. My birthing play lists were all at least 50 songs worth of my Flow faves, and I was able to become meditative in my labours because of them. I’ll never forget Dawn (Flow mentor and guru!!) telling me that she loves how much I love the music but that I should be aware of how much I tap my toes to the beat lol! Anyone who has taken my class knows I spend most of the hour singing. Sorry!!! I just can’t resist.

Now through my first two pregnancies I loved teaching Flow, despite the obvious discomforts and the obstacles a gigantic protrusion will cause. I still felt great and actually often had other pregnant women in the class who could follow along with my modifications and learn from my prenatal exercise knowledge (I’m certainly not the be-all expert but I have many prenatal trainings including CFP and Yoga). But this last pregnancy, I suffered from debilitating exhaustion in my first trimester. I was falling asleep with Arya by 6:45 or 7pm and sleeping through the night. On stage, I was seeing spots and becoming dizzy going from any fold to any upright position. I remember being in a twist facing away from the class, tears running down my face, then wiping them away to turn to face the members again. So I left just 4 months into the pregnancy. Of course eventually I felt totally better but by that point I had started my leave and decided to just enjoy some freedom and extra time with my girls before the babe came. My return to work date is set for November 11, with no option for extending. And at this point I just can’t even fathom returning.

It’s not the typical “Fl-anger” as Dev would call it (try leaving the pool-side on a hot summer’s day to teach inside at a gym, it makes you Fl-angry…but the second you get on stage, you feel FL-AWESOME and the Fl-anger absolutely subsides)…it’s way beyond that. It’s what some instructors make look so easy. It’s the hours upon hours of learning choreography. I actually became a pro at learning choreo, I can’t quite describe the system I had but coming on 10 years of teaching gave me some skill at figuring out patterns in flow transitions and music, etc, but it is still hard. And it’s still TIME. It’s knowing you have a sick kid at day care and not even worrying about telling your principal you have to leave your teaching job, but worrying about who will be the emergency Flow sub. It’s then feeling the self-put-on-pressure to return the favour but knowing how almost impossible it will be to find someone to watch the kids so you can sub. It’s learning how to use technology to download the latest release and transfer the music to your phone (yes, that was actually hard for me! lol). It’s remembering the back up cord (but having the wrong one anyway). It’s the nightmares (every Wednesday night without fail) about being late for class or forgetting your music and the looks of disappointment when you finally arrive. It’s knowing I am now leaving my parents with three children, four and under (yes I know you can handle it ;), and also knowing that they are taking a well deserved yearly trip to Florida for two months…and then leaving the pressure on Dev to get home from work in time for me to get to class. Bah…it’s just right now. Hard. Please know, those instructors put their heart and soul into this job. If you haven’t lately, give them a big hug 😉

People are asking if I am teaching yoga elsewhere or if I have plans to, and the answer to that is…no!! I am waaaay too selfish with my small amount of free time right now to be giving any of it to anyone else. How terrible is that?! But it’s true. For now, my yoga time is used strictly for me; to learn, to grow, to become the best possible student I can be. I have some ideas in mind for the future, and if and when I chose to take those steps I want to be sure I am in a place where I can give time, energy, and knowledge to my students. Right now, I want others to be leading me in yoga and not the other way around.

I need to tell so many of you thanks…to all of my fellow instructors, anyone who released with me, who led on stage while I enjoyed participating, who subbed for me or took over a class for me, who brought me treats, who took part or all of any of my mat leaves, who supported me as my boss, who inspired me (too many to name), massaged my aching muscles, flowed beside me at practice, became my spiritual advisor and yoga PIC, who cared enough to check in on me, THANK YOU. I’m hoping and believe you will totally know who you are. To all my friends, school and Flow colleagues, and family who came to one or one hundred of my classes, and members who became friends, THANK YOU. Seriously any instructor will tell you it is the members that make us love our job and make us want to teach. To my member crew, who posted their fave lyrics after class, some of whom delivered gifts for my children to my door, drank tea with me, or even shared with me the prenatal yoga class journey–thank you! Thank you to my parents who faithfully arrived every Thursday at 3:45 so I could have some time out of the house. Thank you to Dev who struggled to give Arya a bedtime bottle every Wednesday night for her first year, for all the winter Thursdays you had to rush home, and for understanding all the nights I took over our living room to practice.

Now if you are still reading this, thank you. I got it all out and now have a little something to look back on in a year or two when I super regret this decision! May the student and teacher in me honour the student and teacher in you, Namaste.

A dog lover’s guide to managing guilt

Posted on Posted in Heart

It is bred into me to love dogs. It can’t be helped, or changed. And so years ago, when my parents lost their dog Spencer and I was living on my own with no responsibilities or commitments, I naturally decided a dog had a place in my life. That dog was Finn, I knew it from the second I met her. We spent a couple of years together in my town home. This forced a minimum two long walks a day, many trips to the dog park, jogs together, the infamous rollerblade runs on the smooth pavement of our new street that I truly missed when we moved. Although she didn’t have a yard, she was living a dog’s dream. Add to that doggie Grandparents who were never short on dog-sitting time, and they do not skimp, to this day, on walks!

 

 

We moved in with Dev, and a new–and frankly much better–dog’s dream came to be. Walks were now down to the pier, sometimes even with a little swim at the beach. She had a massive backyard that she carved a track into. Whenever we opened  the door she would run the route down 150 feet of backyard and back again, a few times at least. Finn essentially lived out there, begging at the door to go out if she were inside for more than a few seconds. She slept at our master bedroom’s sliding glass door so she could watch for any animals in the backyard and plan her attack once she was outside again.

We had our first baby, and to be honest things didn’t change much; we hired a dog walker for the first bit and then as a mom of one on maternity leave it didn’t take much convincing to make me want to go for a walk. Holding a leash while pushing a stroller is no big deal.

Then came our second. It complicated things to say the least, and I know a few moms who made it work and made it look easy. A carrier, a stroller, a leash. I don’t know if I am lazier or less coordinated but that frustrated me at times. The combination car seat attachment/double stroller (I had a Sit-to-Stand) wanted to make me throw bombs, and add a dog to that??? I could barely get that thing to turn a corner with two functioning hands, so that was out of the question. Walks became less frequent. But our summers were still spent at the cottages, both in Bracebridge and Prince Edward County where she is able to run free and be in the water as she chooses.

 

We moved again, thankfully to another massive yard with a massive running path, and this time she has our neighbour’s dog to finagle into barking/running fits. I actually don’t question whether or not she gets enough exercise, it’s more the bonding and time spent. But being pregnant with two other minis, I was frequently coming up with excuses not to go for walks–around the block was no big deal but beyond that was tough for me. I know I could have gone after the kids were asleep; Dev and I have a system of freedom, where some nights during week I am free to leave the house and the other nights he is (by the way, the dog came with me, he accepted that and picks up the poo from 6 months pregnant to 6 weeks postpartum but he is not adding dog walking to his routine)…so I could take her walking then, right? But what about yoga class? Winealates (yes, for those of you who don’t know, that is pilates followed by food and wine) with my friends? Selfishly I often see my social life as part of my survival.

Then comes just the everyday nuances of having a dog in your home. Like when they roll in something dead, or get hit by a skunk. Or a tick. Or my nemeses: night barking. Our sliding doors now face the road, and it matters not what time of night, if there is a car, a noise, a bird, it comes with barking. So after dealing with the standard night wakings of three children, I finally get back to sleep, and–Finn. It usually starts with a faint under-her-breath growl, but eventually grows. My heart enters my chest as I try to not either freak out or cry. And who is getting into trouble here, the feeding newborn, or the barking dog?  Enter dog ownership-guilt. Enter it hard.

So how do I manage this? For one, I think of how lovely a life she really does have. She may not walk 5km on a daily, but she has two sisters who climb all over her, hug her, throw her toys (albeit three feet) for her, laugh and run and play in the yard with her. Yell at her when she steals their toys. She watches her tiniest sister sleep, and licks that baby’s ears and face. She has a roll and a true sense of purpose in keeping our family safe (and those of you who have seen her ferociousness know she is REALLY good at that)…she literally, I truly believe, lives to protect us. I have never felt uncomfortable in our home with her around. And I truly believe that keeps her happy. She still has the cottages, the lakes, she still ‘nurtures’ baby bunnies in our backyard. She still jumps up on our bed in the morning to get a snuggle in before breakfast. And she still is spoilt beyond words by her grandparents who would do anything for her.

I am not the best dog owner. I was, once, but not anymore. But I love my dog. I am thankful for her everyday, even when I complain or think I can’t manage one more dependent. I am sooo thankful my girls are experiencing life with a dog. If nothing else, “Finny Doggy” is loved. I am hoping that might be a dog’s most cherished dream.

 

Where am I going with this?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Heart, Surroundings

I’ve been doing a lot of blog reading lately, not sure if I’m searching for inspiration or just trying to feel out what direction I want to take this blog. If I want to write here at all. I know I do, but if I am completely honest it’s not the writing that is hard, it is trying to figure out the logistics of maintaining this website. I haven’t the first clue how to use the features and bells and whistles of WordPress, though apparently it is the most user friendly platform out there. How do I give people the option of following this blog, if they are interested? How do I properly format the menu, organize the pages, etc? So if you are reading this, know that literally the only thing I am sure of here is what is written, and nothing else. Not even the photographs, which I take myself. I have a minuscule idea of how to take pictures. That is all. But I am not about to hire someone to take them for me! To anyone out there with any blogging experience, or tech knowledge, advice is absolutely welcome!!!

I can update you on my ideas though. Design just isn’t enough; yes, we are always updating and still are renovating our house, and I LOVE talking and writing about that. But it can sometimes seem superficial. I am not de-valuing that topic, it literally is my obsession, but I know it makes some roll their eyes. Plus there is so much more I want to talk about and share. So I have divided (well am trying to figure out how to divide) my thoughts and these posts into a few categories: Surroundings (interior design), Heart (home life, children, marriage, and beyond), Movement (pretty much anything yoga), and Sustenance (you might know my love of baking and pipe dream of opening a cafe!).

Well now that that is out of the way, I’ll move on to none other than the bathroom! Oh, this baby feels like a two year pregnancy. But if you know my husband you know how meticulous his work is, and if you know me you know how indecisive I am, and so combine that and you end up with the world’s longest bathroom renovation. When we first did a walk through of this house I fell in love with the vintage feel of the bathroom. The flooring was marble hex and the walls a white square tile with black edging. The upper walls were painted a rose pink. There was a pink tub, people. Literally what you would see in so many of the trendy, bohemian modern-vintage bathrooms you find pinned on my ‘Bathroom’ board. I would have said I loved it and would have wanted to work with it if the floor didn’t have a crack running from one end to the other, and if the walls didn’t feel as though they were closing in on me. So tiny! I also knew I wanted this room to feel a little more ‘grown up’, not fancy or precious, just fresh. Really though, check this pic out and tell me it wouldn’t have been so bad-ass “jungalow” with a slew of plants hanging from the ceiling??

I will not get into details of all that has been done in this post, I’ll split it up a bit. But the west wall was ripped out and we added a couple of feet there, then broke into the bedroom beside it and stole 5×6 feet for the shower. The shower is actually ridiculous. But it will be so cool! And what did we keep? After literally months of searching for a vanity that I liked that wasn’t custom built and like $5,000…we decided to save a ton and keep the original vanity. The top has been replaced and Dev did a fantastic job of painting it (Benjamin Moore’s “Dark Pewter”, a super deep green/grey) but we kept the hardware because they are so vintage and the brass is super worn. The faucet is raw brass and will absolutely patine and I call that on. The search for the right brass finish felt impossible–literally no-one wants to sell un-laquered brass because they won’t warranty the finish but so often I felt like yelling, “I WANT it to look old and shitty!!!” Don’t judge me. But OF COURSE the specialty stores will order custom finishes at a cost. And it will take months to arrive, literally. So I spent nothing on the vanity but splurged on the faucet. Same with the tub–$200 claw foot off kijiji and a splurge on the faucet. Fair trade I’d say. Here is the vanity in its original, ‘yes we will buy this house’ glory.

Grungy, right? I think the toilet seat left up is what sold us haha. So I end this post with a more updated but not current/completed version. More on the tile choices and floor insanity another day.

 

Remember I’m still getting the hang of picture taking especially given the crappy lighting situation in there. And yes, my uber-meticulous husband has removed all the grout markings above the tile. And installed the second sconce. Can’t wait to put up some more updated photos, and will do once a few more finishing details are in place. Soon enough 🙂

Baby Three

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Heart

We knew we wanted three. We knew having one would be a blessing, two would be a dream…and if possible, three. It’s just such a nice number! It’s not to be sure we have a boy, that truly doesn’t matter. It’s to have a party. Now understand, our two girls (just two years and not quite four yet) are a major party on their own. A crazy, wild, loud, rambunctious party. But three would be a jam, so why not?! Another little person to snuggle, to drive me crazy, to yell at the top of their lungs when they are truly just having a quiet conversation in their own mind–that is what this household needs. I lay here, a little crampy, four days away from my due date (I had the other two at 39 weeks…), knowing that the time is likely here (watch–I say that and baby won’t come for another week!) and feeling overwhelmingly emotional. In, like, so many good ways! Things are about to be out of control. How do you take three children under four to the grocery store??? How do you go to the zoo??? How do you get enough sleep, or feed them all (and yourself) or maintain friendships and a social life??? Plants, and more importantly our doggy Finn, I apologize in advance. All questions and worries and jokes aside, we can’t wait to start this new chapter, this adventure in our lives, and see how yet again my heart will be forever changed.

The World of Prenatal Yoga

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Sometimes I forget how much I love yoga. Sometimes I get caught up in scrolling through image after image of Instagram yogis and their beautiful postures, and it brings a sense of inadequacy and even jealousy that should be nowhere associated with the practice of yoga. Sometimes I am able to dis-attach myself from the Intsa-yogi world, and in those times I find I am either really busy or really not practicing often enough. But lately I found a new reason to let go of the ‘I wish I could’s of the yoga pictures, and it feels so refreshing.  It’s a lot like how yoga felt to me when I first discovered it’s mystery and charm–and this reason is prenatal yoga. But let me write a long-winded story about how I found this blessing of a practice.

My first experience with anything to do with yoga was as a 20 year old university student at Laurier. My girlfriends and I joined a women’s only gym around the corner–I couldn’t even tell you the name of the club at this point, but it was your typical gym, weights and cardio machines and a fitness studio for step classes. They offered a yoga class, just a nice simple hatha type class, no power vinyasa sequencing or inversion attempts, but for me it was the instructor that hooked me. She was very young, wore not a stitch of makeup but was stunning, and had the super eclectic style that to this day I wish I’d had the guts to adorn (I’m too old now haha)–piercings and dread locks and tats and an arm full of what I now know were (or at least I assume and envision as) mala beads. Despite the fact that she taught in the same environment, the same room even, as the dance-y step classes (step has evolved since then! Don’t get me wrong; I loved it then as I do now) she made it feel like we were transcended to a quaint and quirky studio on the beaches of the Pacific. She made yoga…cool.

Of course, I then discovered Body Flow (I believe I am in my 10th year instructing?! And there will be many more years to come). I could write so much about my love for and connection to the program, to that teaching, those members, the MUSIC (I gave birth to my children to that music! Sorry for those details), but my focus here is yoga. Flow is a connection to yoga. It encompasses yoga. It is a beautiful ode to yoga at times. But we define it as a Mind Body class, we do not call it ‘yoga’. And so I thank Body Flow for teaching me the postures, for deepening my passion for moving my body in a way that yoga asks it to move, and for giving me the confidence and drive to commit to my 200 hour yoga training. But now I go back to ‘yoga’…

Then came my introduction to a local studio, Balanced Life, by my friend Katie…my ‘spiritual advisor’, who, though we see little of each other at this stage in our lives (working moms!), is and will always be very special to me. This place, and Katie’s excitement about yoga practice, brought back that feeling of mystery that I felt in my first yoga experiences. I still avoided spending extra cash on attending a studio, as I had a membership with Goodlife and loved my LMI classes there, but I now knew the blessing a class in that kind of environment could be. By the way, I’ve been to many studios since that time and have come to realize that a ‘studio’ can be a bedroom, a garage, or a barn as long as you make it what you want it to be.

In October 2012, a week after our wedding, Dev and I found out I was pregnant. And off to Balanced Life I went that January to start my prenatal journey. The classes were simple, well sequenced, calm. As a Kin grad and phys ed teacher I spent most of my time thinking everything had to be hard core, challenging, sweat inducing. And then I did this class. It opened up feelings about the practice of yoga I didn’t understand could be there. It connected me more deeply to the baby inside; obviously that was it’s intent, but it surprised me to be honest. The class became far more about what was happening in my head and heart than anything that was happening with my body. While about 7 months pregnant I did both my CFP Prenatal Fitness Specialist (informative) and Prenatal Yoga Instructor Training through Balanced Life (um, amazing). And truly, this is officially what made me decide that I needed to train my 200 hour. I wanted to learn more about the ‘other’ sides of yoga that I had no knowledge of. And for the record, though I learned a ton, I know only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to yoga philosophy. I’ll be reading yoga teachings for the next 40 years and still have more to learn, so I don’t put too much pressure on myself. But I am grateful to my first prenatal classes for bringing me so much closer to yoga.

This being my third pregnancy, I am on stretch three of the prenatal road. I look forward all week to Wednesday nights, when I know I can place my hands on my belly and be in my own mind and find baby and be one with them. Yes we move through asanas, wonderfully sequenced and so beautifully taught by our instructor Krista, we stretch and strengthen, we learn a ton about pregnancy and delivery, but we also send out and receive energy to and from each other and Krista, and most importantly, we send our breath to our babies. I am so grateful for that. I know these classes gave me more strength, mentally and physically, to get through my past two deliveries than anything else. And I know again they will help me be mindful during this labour and birth, whatever it may bring.

Long Time Coming…Kitchen Part II

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Many moons ago I posted about our kitchen, but at that point we still didn’t have a backsplash on the window wall (because I took forever to pick tile), so I wanted to wait to take any pics. Speaking of tile and taking forever, our bathroom has come to a standstill because, surprise surprise, I haven’t picked a tile. I have searched, but I have not picked a tile. That being said, this bathroom will be a gem when it’s done and I’d rather wait than rush and settle.

Back to the kitchen–and the tile–Dev did a great job working with the hex tile (again). When we did the entry floors, his work was so flawless and flush that he was easily frustrated using the hex on the wall, but it looks amazing.

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The pantry doors I sourced at The Door Store in Toronto, and that rug I found at Taj Rugs–every rug in my aunt’s home came from that store. I’ve been drooling over her rugs for years so when I had the chance to check out Taj I was very excited.

 

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Yes, I failed to incorporate a hiding spot for our microwave. But you know what? Maybe one day I’ll get rid of it all together. One day.

 

Had to insert "Ol' Faithful" and specify the use of brass and marble.

 

And there it is. Majority of the time the counters are covered in sippy cups and the sink is full of dishes, but there it is. And we love it!

A Big Girl’s Room

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Our Big Girl has been ready for her big girl bed for a while now. I had been anxiously awaiting her birthday but at the time it seemed so far away, so despite being a month early, in it went! Neither of us could be happier. The biggest problem at this point is that whoever puts her to bed usually ends up falling asleep with her. Last night my husband slept in there almost all night. It is sooo comfy. But not just comfy, so sweet. A little bit fairytale, a little bit bohemian, a lot little girl, but not anything too childish. This bedding from Anthropologie will grow with her ideally into her teens or beyond (though we all know styles change, and I get restless). The bed itself is a popular Pinterest find from Ikea, and the pillows and pom pom quilt I found at Homesense.

Here’s a little taste of Before…

toddler room, crib, blanket box
Before the big girl bed…

And now. Love.

Toddler room

 

Toddler bed

 

Toddler room

 

Toddler room

 

Toddler room

 

Toddler room

 

Toddler room

 

Bird mobile, toddler room
The bird mobile from Etsy shop Sewn Buddies

Mother’s Day

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I suppose this will be a lengthy post (though we will see how long I have before the little ones wake up…). Of course I could write for days about being a mom, or my own mom as a person, or how my mom inspires me as a mom, etc, but I think it would be interesting to share a bit about my mom and her passion–her artwork. It is true that Mom has the ability to do really any ‘type’ of art you throw her way, and she experiments with various mediums (excuse that I may not know the technical terms here), and I’m always asking her to try this or that because I like the look, but her heart shows most when she is able to explore the idea of the ‘women’s experience’.

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I am particularly smitten with these dolls she made recently portraying her three sisters; though clearly exaggerated, as soon as I saw them it was obvious who was who. I just think they are adorable! My aunts do as well 😉

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The piece that made me tear up as soon as I laid eyes on it is one she did of me and Arya on the beach in Pass-A-Grille. It needs no faces, you just know it’s us. So beautiful.

Living room art

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Living room art

But there are pieces of hers (that I have essentially stolen) all over the house. Living room, hall, dining room, and all the bedrooms have pieces I’ve either requested or pulled out of her studio room (sorry, Mom!) and all bring such light and love into our home. The wedding dress was a gift from her after our wedding…I can’t believe how perfectly she captured not just the dress, but the day. And the caricature?! Honestly. A house warming present. I love Maisie’s soother!

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Had to add "Ol' Faithful" and highlight the use of antique brass and marble.

Thank you, Mom, for everything you do for all of us. You are the most commited mother, nana, and friend any of us could ever have asked for. Today is the one year anniversary of your own mom’s passing (I will write a post on Nana soon too), but you reminded me this morning that you think of your mom every day, and are always thankful for the time we all had with her. It made me realize that we more often should appreciate and be thankful for our mothers…not just on Mother’s Day! I hope you know that we love you, and thank our lucky stars for you, every. single. day. xoxoxo

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