Sparrow in the Tree Top

find your song and sing it

That's My Grandma

SnapshotsEmily KellyComment

Second from the left ^^

This picture was taken when she was in nursing school in Toronto in the 1930's... that's where she met my Grandpa before they eloped and had a family. 

I like this picture because I see the genetics we've got when I look at it. My sister, dad and I totally hold our hands that way too.

Also she's running in high-heels and a skirt which is pretty cool. Now people run like it's their job (or it actually is their job), but I think they were just having fun. 

Happy things

HEARTEmily KellyComment

The other day I said to Mike that I feared I was becoming that pregnant woman that complains all the time. I was thinking I'm so excited to be mom but maybe being pregnant: notsomuch. He bears the brunt of my complaints so I was surprised when he said he that I'd been actually quite joyful (with the exception of the puking month of November and the week of worry in January). This just makes me love him all that much more because how crazy amazing is it to have someone who sees the good in you, even when you feel like you're not seeing it in yourself?

So I thought about it a bit and actually had no trouble putting together a list of things make me happy on a daily basis right now. Which means I'm going to start cutting myself a bit of slack when I feel the need to tell my co-workers, family, friends ...... the internet..... that my back hurts.

1) Crisp sugar peas. Because: that snap!

2) Cliff at the door when I go home from work

3) COFFEE. After a long hiatus, I'm having the odd cup here and there. And it is amazing. 

4) Being in the water - We've been swimming lengths at the pool and I love cutting through the water weightless. 

5) Grapefruit. The smell, the taste; hands down it's the most divine fruit I've ever come across. (....Except for maybe bananas because they're pretty amazing too.)

6) Spring Sunlight! I just want to lay in patches of it like a cat

7) Itty bitty baby booties that I'm starting to collect. I don't even have a newborn yet and I'm already missing the infant phase. 

8)  Internet friends that you feel really happy for

9) Two day stubble on my handsome husband. 

10) Recently having been pulled out of storage, Rubber boots. I love a good puddle.

and also because it's just the absolute best:

11) Butterfly messages from Baby Kelly

MidWeek

HEARTEmily KellyComment

Walking around Ottawa this past week, it's almost like the city is waking up. People look so much more alive and friendly and in less of a hurry.... which is easy to understand if you knew just HOW cold it was here for the past two months. Apparently it was one of the coldest Februarys on record... ever. We were so joyful about the warmer weather on the weekend we opened up our windows and aired the house out a bit. It was maybe still a bit cold for this, but we pretended and just layered up for a few hours and enjoyed the fresh air. 

My parents were here visiting last weekend which was amazing since we hadn't seen them since Christmas! My mom and I toured the new Nordstrom's they just opened up in Ottawa (second one in Canada and it's putting Ottawa on the Map... What!) and then, since Mike and I had such a good time on Valentine's Day at the Chateau Laurier we took there after we got tired of walking around the city. It was really nice to hang out and maybe one of the last times we'll be doing so sans baby since they don't live too close and I don't know when they'll have the chance to make another trip this Spring. 

In other news, I'm sitting on a ball only these days. My work chair just isn't cutting it at this point anymore so I perch myself on a medium sized exercise ball behind my desk. So far it seems to be working - my back is still sore most nights though. Usually I get in the door and want to head straight to a surface where I can stretch out a bit. Third trimester aches and pains; hello! I'm trying not to complain too much as I anticipate I should reserve all my real discomfort pains for the last few weeks ;) 

 

Nesting

seasonsEmily KellyComment

It’s funny sometimes to remember why I started this blog. I was looking for a new beginning, a fresh start and a way to gain a bit of perspective about how I see the world. It was also Spring, and to me, Spring is always about starting over. I always get the itch this time of year for growth – I’m way more inclined to make personal resolutions in March or April than I am in January. January for me is about hibernating. March is about shedding layers and leaving the house for fresh air.

I thought because I’m pregnant I’d be more inclined to be in a holding pattern this year; an I’m-just-going-to-wait-until-after-I-have-the-baby-to: start new projects/try new things/set new bench marks kind-of-season. It couldn't have been further from the truth because I've been more motivated to change in the past few months than any time I can remember in recent history. I pulled apart my closet. I've purged three quarters of the contents of our storage room (still more to go); I've reorganized drawers throughout the house, and this might be the biggest one for me: I completely emptied all my email in boxes. Some of the email in there dated back ten years!! I couldn't believe the baggage I had been carrying around. And all of a sudden it was gone and I feel incredibly light, despite the extra weight ;). Walking into my closet is something I completely crave now. I like to look around at how few things I have in there and marvel at how straight forward the choices are! And when I get an email I delete it or file it or flag it. I don’t know why I had such an aversion to it in the first place.

I guess you could chalk it all up to nesting syndrome. And I know it’s not Spring yet (don't be deceived, that picture ^^^ was taken a few years ago; there's still about 3 feet of snow on our lawn), but it feels like Spring because I've been growing. I completely underestimated the fact that I’m not going to stay the same when I become a mother. I knew the cliché that I would change. I just didn't know it would happen in tiny steps like facing the tiger that was my email in-box, or finally deciding that half the clothes I owned weren't even “me,” I’d just been holding onto them for God only knows what reason. These things seem like little steps, but they feel more real to me. It's like I've always been an organized person deep down, but I let life and excuses get in the way. So ironically it’s the first time I deliberately didn't set resolutions and goals for myself, and magically it becomes the time when I’m changing the most. Growing up is a funny business. 

Showing Up

PregnancyEmily KellyComment

If I ever fall out of pace with a running routine, or it's been a long time since I've been running, I tell myself, "Just put your shoes on today. You don't have to run. Just put your shoes and shorts on and step foot outside." Usually it coaxes me to jog. And then the next day I don't find it to be such a huge mental hurdle to get out of the door again. It gets increasingly easier, day to day. I call that first day just "showing up." Anyone else take this approach?

I'm convinced it's the getting started again that's the hardest part when you've been away from something for awhile. I feel like I'm out of sync with a lot of things right now: Writing, exercise, home stuff. It's this whole pregnancy thing, it's got me tired, in pain, busy with thoughts (excitement, nervous, overwhelmed), and also busy in general. We've got a bunch of projects going on around our house because as it turns out I'm a CRAZY nester. I'm not sure our baby cares what colour our landing bathroom is painted but I'm ONE HUNDRED percent positive that I won't be ready to have the baby until I paint it. Do you see where I'm coming from? I'm distracted a bit. Just a tiny bit. 

Yesterday I was pulling up my pants. It was a seemingly harmless, everyday kind of activity. Not so. I did a number on my shoulder. Since when does that motion cause me to pull my rotator cuff? Anyway since this point, it's kinda hard to brush my hair, get comfortable, type.... that kind of stuff.

All these things combined, I'm feeling a bit scattered. Not entirely put-together, and not really in sync with life. which is completely not the case - it's just how I'm feeling - that constant feeling like, there's so much to do, I don't know where to start, and I'm a bit too tired (and physically sore) to get it done. 

So I said to myself, "Emily. You just have to show up today. You don't have to be brilliant, coordinated, put together, or overly consice. You just need to show up." 
It's a one foot in front of the other kind of thing. 

It worked a bit. I'm here aren't I?! Also I had a freshly squeeze grapefruit juice and my life was complete. 

Here's to 26 weeks! 

Sayonara February!

HEARTEmily KellyComment

It's been a quiet week around here. Still bitterly cold (thanks February!) and still no true sign of Spring on the horizon - other then the fact that it's March on Sunday so I'm clinging to that.  I woke up early on Sunday with a stomach ache that turned into what I am considering to have been the world's most horrible stomach bug (I'm a complete baby when it comes to being sick). The initial bug part only lasted about 36 hours, but I have been zonked all week. I'm hoping that the weekend brings some room for re-generating and replenishing all that I lost during the great plague of 2015. Mike was away when the worst of it hit and I think Cliff saw himself as my fearless protector. He didn't leave my side for about three days. He's a puller when he walks folks, but there's none more loyal then Mr. Cliff!

In the meantime, these links have been keeping me preoccupied and smiling:

This radio clip of uber Canadians who built an ice igloo is amazing. 

I want to be this girl who gets presents from birds!! 

This article on the price women pay to write that just lights a fire in my soul. 

And lastly, this potato barrel. Because it's all I've been dreaming of since I found the instructions on Pinterest last weekend!

 

I hope everyone else is healthy and vibrant. See you later February!!  

Invitation Suite for an August Wedding

wedding planningEmily KellyComment
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invitesuite
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Invite Suite By One Plus One Design

Around this time last year Mike and I were debating over wedding colours like shades of blue and particular tones of coral so I thought it would be a good time to share our wedding invitations!

I was super lucky to have a very hands on "planning" husband, who I should emphasize never left me to stress about the details on my own, and it made for some interesting conversations I'm not sure we'll ever have again in our lifetime :) I had it in my head that I wanted something we could keep as a momento for ourselves, almost like a personalized piece of art about the day. We ended up working with  the amazing Jessie and Tyler at One Plus One Design, whose work I fell in love with at first glance. It was one of those web searches where I honestly can't remember how I got there, but I was immediately taken by how they brought couple's personalities to life with their invites. They're an super cute married duo out of Winnipeg, Manitoba and I can't believe how accurately they captured our (very) garbled and hap-hazard description of what we thought we wanted, and somehow (through a million and three emails), they worked to make our invitations the "Story of Us."The end result was just what we were looking for and now they're hanging in our living room and I smile every time I look at them! 

(Side note, they also have an amazingly beautiful Instagram account and are currently touring through South-East Asia if you need an escape from our North American winter!) 

If you're looking to do something like this I'd recommend a few things to make the process go a bit easier (for everyone involved).

1. Do your research on what you want: It sounds straight forward, but I underestimated this step. For instance mostly typography vs. illustration, fun vs. serious etc etc. They helped us through this process by starting a private Pinterest Board and we could comment on the things they were pinning based on our initial discussion - but until we did this, we had really no clue and couldn't give them very much to work with!

2. Know your colour scheme: I know this seems like a no-brainer, but it was February when we started this process... and I hadn't thought much about what it meant to plan a wedding and how these are the types of things you're supposed to take into consideration ;) Also, I like all the colours (!)  - why can't I just have them ALL? Early on I was thinking we'd go with peach and sage... and then Mike wanted some sort of blue, and then I thought regular blue and peach looked like baby colours... you can probably fill in the rest of the back and forth we went through. However, if we had a better idea of exact colours, it would have saved us a bit of a headache. We're lucky they were so accommodating with our umpteen requests for revisions!

Other then that, the world is your oyster! If you're planning a wedding this summer, I wish you so much fun throughout the process. It was definitely one of the most hectic times in my/our lives, but I would do it over again in a heartbeat! 

Recipe for Very Banana Banana Muffins

FareEmily KellyComment

To know me lately means you have probably heard how much I have been craving bananas. To be fair, I've always been partial to banana flavour, especially in cake/muffin recipes (my favorite might still be this recipe for Sticky Toffee Banana Cake). But admittedly, it's become a bit more noticeable since I've been pregnant. I accidentally started talking about bananas at work the other day and I didn't really have a transition sentence onto the topic so it caused a bit of confusion. I just kind of threw out the confession that I had spent (an embarrassing amount of) time looking up potential banana muffin recipes a few weekends ago and don't you know it:  there are NO recipes in existence that put enough banana into the mixture.  I guess I just had something specific in my mind and nothing was cutting it. My mom, knowing I was in need to find the perfect one, tried her best by sending me a hand-me-down banana muffin recipe from my grandma. She called it "Best Ever Banana Muffin Recipe." High stakes! You don't want to upset a pregnant woman on the quest for more banana. But despite my suspicion, Grandma didn't disappoint. I had to tweak it of course by upping the banana quota, but the result has been the stickiest, yummiest banana muffins. I even made one batch with spelt flour and one with oat flour which are denser flours, and the result was still delicious. 

I've been enjoying these as a breakfast on the go or a dessert so I thought I'd share for fellow banana cravers. If you're anything like me, you could use a little bit of a pick me up. The last few weeks of winter are always the hardest ones - but we've got this you guys. I like to think about the tulips huddled away under the frozen ground, just waiting for their moment to pop up. I just love those little reminders from God that are all over - I can't rush nature because it's busy preparing for the show. (But still... would it be too much to ask for winter hurry up and finish already!?)

Very Banana Banana Muffins 

5 Large Ripe (or frozen) bananas (the original recipe called for 3)

1/3 c. melted butter

1 tsp. Vanilla

½ cup white sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

1 ½ c. Spelt or oat Flour (or regular if you prefer)

Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (you decide how much!)

Process

1.       Line a muffin tray with large muffin cups and set aside.

2.       Mash bananas in a bowl or over med-low heat on the stove. I freeze my bananas so I like to put them on the stove with the butter and vanilla. When combined, pour mixture into bowl and add sugar and slightly beaten egg.

3.       In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients with a fork or a whisk.

4.       Combine the dry ingredients slowly to the banana mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and use an ice cream scoop to divvy out mixture into cups.

5.       Bake at 375 for 20 min.


Six Months

HEARTEmily KellyComment

How is it that time flies by so quickly with you? I know we're counting the days until Baby K arrives, but at the same time I just want to stop the clock and count snowflakes together. Thanks for being my partner in crime Mike.... and for putting up with the empty rolls of toilet paper I leave on the dispenser..... We're starting to get the hang of this marriage thing! 

photo by brittany esther photography

Coldest Capital in the World

Around OttawaEmily KellyComment

As far as weekends go, that was a good one. They're all good, but I love love a weekend that leaves me feeling like I was the right amout of lazy but I also managed to get stuff done. And I love how Valentine's Day fell on a Saturday this year. Instead of cramming the love into a only a special dinner, we got to spend the day together doing fun things. It's cheesy but that's the best kind of Valentine's Day in my opinion. And we ended up playing tourists in our own city which always makes me feel a bit rejuvenated... especially when it's winter and you feel like you've taken all you can from the place you live. We had the most yummy brunch out at Stone Face Dolly's on Preston Street. Check one since we've been meaning to try it out for ages. Mike had the Benedict and talked the sauce up so much, so as soon as I'm not pregnant, we're going back so I can have that hollandaise.   

From there we went window shopping in the Market and made our way to the Crystal Garden at Winterlude. I've been in the city for over 7 years and I've never seen the ice sculptures so I dragged my cold-blooded husband out into the elements to see the art in ice. I don't know how they do the detail they do with only a saw and a chisel! In ice! And it might be a bit ironic but, while we were standing outside staring at ice, Ottawa was earning the title of "Coldest Capital in the World." It was seriously cold but we lived to tell the story of it :)

And bonus: we were so cold from standing in an ice garden, so we made a pit stop on our way back to the car.  We got a snack of cheese, fancy drinks and a pot of hot chocolate at The Chateau Laurier. One of the cheeses was actually like heaven on earth so we asked the server if we could find the cheese for sale anywhere close by and she said "Oh well, how well do you know Ottawa?" because you know, we looked like tourists only 20 minutes from home. Success!

And because it was Valentine's Day we had a candlelight dinner in our kitchen nook, probably one of my favorite places in the world. We decided to do some of these questions from an article that ran in the NYTimes a few weeks ago. Mike and I have always said the reason we got together and stayed together was because we never run out of things to talk about. But I can see why these questions were used in a study to make strangers fall in love <3

The rest of the weekend was a mixture of building Ikea furniture and cleaning out closets. I'm in full on nesting mode and nothing can stop me now. 

Have a good week love-bugs!

Love Fest

HEARTEmily KellyComment
I know in theory I'm supposed to be cynical about Valentine's Day - because people think it's a Hallmark holiday or that we should be focusing on making everyday an occasion for love -  but I just can't. The glittery heart displays in store windows bring out the fifth grader in me (remember when you got to decorate your classroom door with paper hearts and streamers for days like this?!) and I really do love planning out little acts of love. Usually by February 14th I'm out of gift ideas for Mike - since I've used my creativity on Christmas and then his birthday. But this year, THIS year, I saved a special idea (and I'm so proud of myself for doing so... and making it MONTHS without spilling the beans!) and I can't wait to give it to him tomorrow! I'll let you know how it goes. Here are some things that get me in the love fest mood - any time of year but especially this week <3 This song by Nat King Cole that reminds me of young teenage love. It might have been a hormonal time but I stand by that girl that scribbled out sonnets in her diary all those times when it felt like no one wanted to listen.  Also this quote by Rumi - I like the idea that Love is light and light is love. I think my mom instilled this in me by referring to me as her sunshine when I was a kid.  This video on the deepness that is friendship - it transcends species (ALSO the donkey's name is Jellybean! No wonder Mr. G loves him so much!)  And to me, there's no one that emulates love as ironically as does Audrey Hepburn. I love this quote of hers:   

I know in theory I'm supposed to be cynical about Valentine's Day - because people think it's a Hallmark holiday or that we should be focusing on making everyday an occasion for love -  but I just can't. The glittery heart displays in store windows bring out the fifth grader in me (remember when you got to decorate your classroom door with paper hearts and streamers for days like this?!) and I really do love planning out little acts of love. Usually by February 14th I'm out of gift ideas for Mike - since I've used my creativity on Christmas and then his birthday. But this year, THIS year, I saved a special idea (and I'm so proud of myself for doing so... and making it MONTHS without spilling the beans!) and I can't wait to give it to him tomorrow! I'll let you know how it goes.

Here are some things that get me in the love fest mood - any time of year but especially this week <3

This song by Nat King Cole that reminds me of young teenage love. It might have been a hormonal time but I stand by that girl that scribbled out sonnets in her diary all those times when it felt like no one wanted to listen. 

Also this quote by Rumi - I like the idea that Love is light and light is love. I think my mom instilled this in me by referring to me as her sunshine when I was a kid. 

This video on the deepness that is friendship - it transcends species (ALSO the donkey's name is Jellybean! No wonder Mr. G loves him so much!) 

And to me, there's no one that emulates love as ironically as does Audrey Hepburn. I love this quote of hers: 

 

I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day - whether enjoying some alone time, cuddling up with someone you love or visiting with old friends, new friends or family. Remember what Rachel (from Friends) says "Everyone likes to hear I love you."


Lately

SnapshotsEmily KellyComment

Scrolling through pictures on our phones and I'm seeing a lot of snow, a lot of dark/twilight, and also, food. Despite the fact that it's the middle of February and the fact that the snow is still coming down, I'm not nearly as bothered by the winter this year as I was last year - basically I'm saying that the Polar Vortex of 2014 saved every subsequent winter for me. I'm not hard to please; just give me temperatures that stay above -35, which this year thankfully, they have. Plus I just can't help but gush about that silent feeling that comes over your house when there's a good snowfall going on outside. We had another night like that last night and I felt like we were in our own igloo, sheltered away with no where to be but home. 

I'm really happy right now. I have that feeling I used to get when I was 10 - the one that made me starfish fall backwards onto my bed in an exhale of no worries, no huge plans and no high stakes. Maybe that's a bit ironic because I would have thought the worries would be through the roof considering we've never done this parent thing before.... but maybe it's because we got it out of the way in that crazy condensed week of worry we had back in January, or maybe because we have NO idea what's in store for us (because ignorance is bliss) either way, I can't but help chisel it out in time; life feels so good right now. Despite the dryer not really drying and the car that doesn't blow warm air unless you're going over 60km/hour - I just find myself sitting in a rosy glow of expectation for Spring and flowers and new company come June. 

Weekend in Canadiana

Around Ottawa, HEARTEmily KellyComment
Outdoor-hockey

Last weekend was our most officially Canadian weekend of the year - and because stereotypes often ring true, it makes sense that it's become one of my favourite weekends of the year. 

Ottawa makes it easy to embrace your inner Canadian.  I think it's safe to say that if you tried, you could find a rink in walking distance from your home in any area of the city. And I believe the message here is you either embrace the winter, or you suffer through it. Admittedly, outdoor activities like skating and hockey do make it seem more bearable when it's minus 25 with the windchill for about two months straight. Also it's part of who we are... I learned to skate in my backyard with a chair when I was just learning to walk. I lived in the rink watching my sister and then nieces figure skate and watching my best friends play hockey.  

A few winters ago I posted a picture of this amazing outdoor rink in our neighborhood on Facebook and was surprised when a bunch of friends commented that they'd love to get a pick-up game of hockey together. So for the third year in a row nearly the same group of us has gotten together to play hockey (or watch like I did this year) and then warm up afterwards with some food and drink. Aside from the distraction of endless snow and cold, I really love this group of people. I hope I get to keep seeing them year after year. <3 The sort of friends you find and then hold onto for a lifetime. 

For previous year's festivities check out this post here and this post here

Full Panel Pants and Banana Bread

PregnancyEmily KellyComment

We had friends over on the weekend and someone asked me what's it realllly like to be pregnant. The first thing that came to my mind was I wear pants that go up to my rib cage now. Before I knew it, I was pulling my shirt up and showing everyone. And I get it because if you haven't seen full panel pants before, you're kinda like "Ok... what am I looking at here?" Anyway, conversation conclusion: sometimes it's just easier to answer with your typical, "Exactly as you'd expect."

I've been scouring the internet and cook-books for the perfect banana bread recipe. It has to be extra moist, extra banana-y and extra-free of walnuts (because why would you put walnuts in banana bread?!) If anyone has something that fits this description, please send it my way! I'm on the hunt to satisfy the craving for bananas that simply won't be craved. I have a recipe for white chocolate banana cake with cream cheese icing that I'm wondering if I can re-adapt to suit my needs. I'll let you know if that turns out. 

                                                                                                    weekend views ^^

                                                                                                    weekend views ^^

Full disclosure: we did not watch the Grammy's last night. I'm beginning to feel like I need to turn up my "what's on-point o-meter." A few weeks ago I made the mistake of calling Ed Sheeran, Ed Shereen in front of my 17-year-old niece and now I'm at risk of losing my collateral as the "cool" aunt. Despite this, I still have No Regrets about missing the Grammy's. Instead we made this recipe for fish poached in white wine sauce and binged watched Anthony Bourdain and Orange is the New Black and my life felt complete and ready to face the new work week. 

OH. Also I ran into another pregnant woman in the kitchen at work who was reheating her wheat-bag in the microwave. Since I had forgotten to bring mine (love the banana cravings, do not love the back pain) I jumped on the bonding chance. Before I knew it I was telling her about how my boobs had increased to 3 x their size and offered that she should roll around on a tennis ball for her sciatic nerve. I think the whole abruptness of the conversation took her aback but I'm like, "Pregnant women of the world, UNITE."  

Happy Monday everyone! I have a massage scheduled for tonight so this Monday is an extra sweet one for me :)

Saturday Morning

Cliff the Puppy, PregnancyEmily KellyComment

Oh I'm sorry, are we keeping you awake?

How many of us get dogs first, have kids later? When we came home with Cliff about 2 years and 2 months ago our neighbour said to us: "You know. The statistic actually says, couples who get a puppy, have a baby within about two years." 

Well. Look at me being all part of a statistic. 

We've started the process of trying to *not* make Cliff the centre of our life, but it's really hard. Because he's just the best buddy ever. We didn't get a puppy as a learning experiment - I have always just really, really wanted a dog of my own. Mike had never had a pet (ever) in his life and he was reluctant at first - and I worked on him for MONTHS. I used the sad eyes, the negotiation tactics, the well thought out arguments, and the ultimatums. I finally wore him down. But now of course I have to question the pecking order in our little pack relationship because when Mike gets in the door and Cliff hears him, all bets are off. It's like a Homeward Bound reunion every.day. at 5:00pm in our house. And of course I love it. 

What I don't love is the raised eyebrows from my mother, sister, friends etc. when they put to us the age old question: What are you going to do when the baby gets here? How will Cliff survive not being the centre of attention? 

I know that too much attention for a dog isn't the best training tactic - in fact I'm pretty sure it accounts for 100% of the bad behaviours Cliff has developed in our care. I'm not going to translate this onto our ability to raise well-behaved and well-adjusted kids. Because that's just not a fair thing to do to a person. But I will confess, it's probably better for both Cliff and us if we start to work into our lifestyle some more "boundaries." Our experiment so far is kind of working - about three months ago we started to wean Cliff off the bed (I know, I know. You don't approve of dogs on the bed. He gets cold in the winter sleeping on the floor, OK?!) It's been working ... until about 3:45 ish AM when he silently, so stealthily SNEAKS up onto the bed while we're in the midst of deep REM sleep. Sometimes I catch him - sometimes Mike catches him. About 45% of the time, he makes it up successfully without disturbing the beast. Anyway. Were working on it. 

And we're going to find a way to co-exist happily.... with no hurt feelings. I just know it. 

 

One Word for 2015

PregnancyEmily KellyComment
                                                   (that's me last September when we found out we were going to be parents!!) 

                                                   (that's me last September when we found out we were going to be parents!!) 

In early January Mike and I were talking about last year and we decided to pick our "word" for 2014. He picked "commitment" (because of marriage and finding out we were expecting our first child) and I picked "adventure" (because marriage, child and also honeymoon). It was a fun experiment so we threw out a couple prediction words for 2015. Love and Joy were early contenders which make sense; I've already felt a lot of that in the past month and a bit since the new year started. But I've been feeling a lot of other things too. I've got less energy then I used to have, I have less time to myself, and I'm constantly thinking about what life will look like after our baby is born: Will I breastfeed? Will I sleep again? How will I loose weight? Will I find time to run? What sort of activities do I want to do with my baby? I'm a classic over-thinker, but it's hard not to consider this stuff when you're surrounded by it day in and day out, in books, on Facebook and social media, in conversations with friends and family. Is it just me or is the world of pregnancy and parenting the most prescriptive of all the different life seasons?

And so I've changed my current 2015 word to "Balance" - because I've found it's easy to get caught up in the rabbit hole that is parenting magazines and blogs and if I'm being honest with myself, my own tendency to over-plan every aspect of my life. I know that to some degree (probably a large degree), I will change for the better from the person I am now, to the person I will be after our baby is born. But - I still want to be me, and it's been easy to feel a bit stifled by "pregnancy stuff."

We were talking about what kind of stroller we'd like to buy the other day. I've always thought I'd like to run with my baby, so it would make sense to get a running stroller (And anyway, shouldn't I want to run with my baby?) And then it dawned on me. Running is my thing. In my regular life, it's when I find a small piece of sanity. How much am I going to want to preserve this after we have a baby? I'm sure there will be some days when it would be a joy to go for a run together.... but wouldn't it be good to maintain something that's just for me? 

I really do believe the best is yet to come. But I want to be intentional and not over plan, and just relax a little bit. My life goes by way too quickly when all that other noise crowds my thoughts and decisions. 

So, balance! Also, love and joy. 

And today: FRIDAY! Because it's almost the weekend! 

Winter Days

Around Ottawa, HEARTEmily KellyComment

We celebrated Mike's birthday this past weekend. His actual birthday was two weeks ago but his family was out of town on the actual day of, so he managed to cram two celebrations out of us. Lucky guy ;) On his actual birthday we had a great day at starting with coffee and a treat at our favorite place in the Market, Moulin de Provence and then moved the celebration to Spa Nordik. I know I've raved about it  before but I'll just go ahead and do it again, because let me tell you, if a non-pregnant me likes it, you know my uncomfortable new self is just going to rant about the pleasures that are salt-water baths. In a nutshell, it was glorious. There's a special pool filled with Epsom salts that made me feel both light and buoyant. Two things I'll pay good money for right now. Mike and his brother enjoyed the saunas and hot and cold treatments while I read my book and sat in front of a beautiful wood-burning fire. I felt a little bit like we were in Sweden, which I'm pretty sure is what they're going for ;)  

I feel like I've been growing... I mean, I know I'm growing because the skin at the top of my diaphragm always faintly feels like it's being spread out across a loom. I slather on the shea butter every night in an attempt to loosen things up a bit but at this point I'm thinking it's just a placebo affect. In an attempt to recreate the feeling of the spa, we got memberships at the new recreation center they built not far from our house - it's not exactly like the spa, but I do understand why swimming is a highly recommended activity for pregnant women. I went swimming last night and loved it so much I might have to invest in a proper maternity bathing suit.... until then I'm making due with the old polka-dot bikini, which surely would horrify my mom if she knew ;) 

Probably contributing to my growth: a healthy sized portion of Chicken and Waffles on Super Bowl Sunday. We realized after the fact that we had served the dinner with Boston Baked Beans... obviously in support of the Patriots. I love it when things come together and you don't even try! Also was reminded why it's worth having a waffle maker, even if we only use it a few times a year. Nothing like fresh waffles!

I've also been doing a lot of reading and stumbled on this book last weekend when I was browsing the shelves at Indigo (favorite pastime). I'm loving it! It's turned out to be a unique and refreshing take on parenting and has given me a bit of confidence that other parenting books haven't yet managed to do. I'll wait until I finish, but I think it will end up being one that I reference quite a bit, although I don't think that's entirely what the author intended when she wrote it. 

It's been snowing nearly all day today. I don't mind much. It's a pretty cozy picture to look out the window at. 

Aging Like You Mean It

HEARTEmily KellyComment

On Friday night we got to spend some time with Mike's Granny who turned 101! It seems like yesterday we celebrated her 100th birthday, but as I've heard, the years don't get any slower as you grow older. I don't know too many people personally who have reached this age but my hunch is, that in order to make it to triple digits - three things are really important: attitude, moderation and beliefs. While I've only known Granny K for a few years, I can tell you, she has lived and breathed those three things... and most likely without even acknowledging it because it seems to me that's been her natural, default approach to life. She's such a positive person (When asked personally what the secret to aging is Granny K responded "Well, I just hate to get old!" aka, I made the decision to stay young at heart.) And from what I've seen and from what Mike's family has shared with me, she really embraces the daily things through a strong conviction in her beliefs, a love and acceptance of her family no matter what, and a general happiness to spend time with her own self and anyone else who comes across her path. Her husband died around 30 years ago, so it could have been easy to accept a different attitude since when you look at the length of her life, she spent a big majority of it living alone. But she's not picky, she doesn't complain, she enjoys the occasional glass of wine or Bailey's in her coffee, bowled into her early 90's and up until very recently she stayed current with the news. In other words she really doesn't sweat the small stuff  and she learned to do things for her own happiness and interests and positively embraced the changes in her life as they came up.

Having worked with seniors before, and just generally reading lots of stuff about "how to life a live with purpose (Wild, Eat, Pray, Love, or the Happiness Project, anyone?!) it seems to me like so many of us get hung up on the small stuff... like not wanting to spend time alone, having a fear of the unknown or being reluctant to change, focusing on aches and pains (and making that a topic in and of itself), and holding onto grudges for a lifetime. Personally, she's been an inspiration to me to just let go and live. And to embrace my alone time ( <--- that's one I'll be working on my entire life!) And also to try to remember that getting older doesn't mean life is any less rich; when we were visiting With Kay on Friday, her youngest great-grandson who is three months old was there, and when I saw her look at him, her eyes were no less filled with wonder then they would have been if she was 60 or 50 years old. He was just as special, this new addition to her ever growing family. And in my opinion that's aging with richness - never loosing sight of the wonder that is right in front of you. 

I just had to share this because she's a remarkable lady and I'm channeling this inspiration on a very snowy and dreary winter Monday. Have a good week everyone :) 

 

21 Weeks

PregnancyEmily KellyComment
22weeks.jpg

So on one hand September seems like yesterday. I mean literally, where did five months go? And on the other hand, June seems like FOREVER and a year away, although it's less time....  So I'm currently left feeling like either time will fly by or creep it's way to June. I'm hoping for a mix of the both because we still haven't really started any room preparations - and I have maybe 3 swaddles, one stuffed rabbit and a Sophie Giraffe for little baby K. Priorities, amIright?!

  After having a pretty crappy week 20, we moved into week 21 and just kept sighing about how lucky and grateful we are. Looking at these pictures I think you can see it in my face too. I'm just going to keep riding that wave.  I'm currently craving (in no particular order) Grapefruit, bananas and burgers (always burgers. I'm still not sure that's a symptom of pregnancy... more likely just my regular life.)  We don't know if baby is a boy or a girl and to be completely honest, because we had such an upsetting ultrasound experience, I'm glad we didn't find out - it would have been overshadowed by worry. And as the saying goes, in the end, we just want a healthy baby. Of course now I'm just itching to buy cute little gender specific outfits, but I really, really can't wait for that moment of elation when we finally meet him or her and it's all about that moment only. And I think it will be such a special moment for Mike to call friends and family and let them know that we're parents of a little boy or little girl.  And that's a wrap on week 21! We're taking the bump to meet Mike's granny tonight - today's her birthday and she's 101 years old! Hope your weekend is sunny and bright :)

 

After having a pretty crappy week 20, we moved into week 21 and just kept sighing about how lucky and grateful we are. Looking at these pictures I think you can see it in my face too. I'm just going to keep riding that wave. 

I'm currently craving (in no particular order) Grapefruit, bananas and burgers (always burgers. I'm still not sure that's a symptom of pregnancy... more likely just my regular life.) 

We don't know if baby is a boy or a girl and to be completely honest, because we had such an upsetting ultrasound experience, I'm glad we didn't find out - it would have been overshadowed by worry. And as the saying goes, in the end, we just want a healthy baby. Of course now I'm just itching to buy cute little gender specific outfits, but I really, really can't wait for that moment of elation when we finally meet him or her and it's all about that moment only. And I think it will be such a special moment for Mike to call friends and family and let them know that we're parents of a little boy or little girl. 

And that's a wrap on week 21! We're taking the bump to meet Mike's granny tonight - today's her birthday and she's 101 years old! Hope your weekend is sunny and bright :)

Vegetarian Moroccan Stew

FareEmily KellyComment

For me, there is a sweet spot in the winter - it's that few weeks when I'm still enchanted by the announcement of a snowfall and I like staying at home for dinner best. We've been trying to do a lot more cooking at home (more economical and a bit healthier!) and a few weeks ago I made this stew in an attempt to keep in line with this.

It's a work in progress - I made this from memory based off of a meal a friend made for me a few years back - it combines my favorite flavours of sweet potatoes, cilantro and peanut. There are so many versions out there, I get the feeling it's more fun if you just go with the principle of "if it looks pretty, throw it in the pot." Next time I think I'm going to experiment and add some coconut milk. And maybe I'll use an immersion blender to get a more soup-like consistency. 

Anyway, I was pleased with this outcome. I'm tempted to re-name it winter soup because it's got those spicy warm undertones too which is perfect for warming up a belly after a cold wait at the bus stop (can't get enough of that at this time of year! :) )

If you're interested, I've included the recipe I followed below!

 

Moroccan Sweet-Potato Stew

INGREDIENTS 

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp each ground cumin, curry powder, ground coriander and chili powder
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 cups peeled, cubed sweet potatoes
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 2 tbsp each light peanut butter (or almond butter) and minced fresh cilantro

Directions

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, red pepper and garlic. Cook and stir until vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add gingerroot, cumin, curry powder, coriander and chili powder. Cook for 30 more seconds.

Add broth, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, chickpeas, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

Stir in peanut butter simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve hot. garnished with cilantro.