Sparrow in the Tree Top

find your song and sing it

Invitation Suite for an August Wedding

wedding planningEmily KellyComment
rp_invite8-1024x685.jpg
invite6
invitesuite
invitesuite
invite3

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. 

Goodness

PregnancyEmily KellyComment

What a difference a week can make. Some Mondays I don’t really bounce out of bed as quickly as I’d like - but I'm just so glad that this Monday is a 180 turn from where we were last week at this time that I’m basically singing my way to the office. Last Wednesday we got some really relieving news. We’d had a pretty ambiguous ultrasound the week before when we went in for the routine 18-20 week anatomy scan, and we spent the week in a purgatory waiting to talk to someone who actually could explain to us what was going on. During that week we did a lot of praying, a lot of trying to distract ourselves, talking to family members and a lot of comfort eating. By the time we sat down in that really intimidating room with the specialist and the emergency box of kleenex both Mike and I were completely emotionally drained. In a moment of pure blessing and grace we heard the news that every parent wants to hear “Your baby is fine. Everything is completely normal. Go enjoy your pregnancy.” 

As I tend to do in moments like that one - the really important life changing ones - I don’t know how much I showed on my face. But inside me a million little pieces of worry just evaporated and when I walked out of that office clutching Mike’s hand I think I felt the lightest I’ve ever felt in my life. It’s true that parenthood is one worry after another - I know we’ll be faced with so many moments throughout our lives where there’s uncertainty and worry. But it’s another truth altogether to be in a situation like this one - before you’ve even started - and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I also don’t think everyone gets tested like this so early (I hope that if this was the test, we passed!) The whole scenario has made me question ultrasounds - or at least make me understand them a bit more. They don’t just give you “a picture of your baby” - they give you a whole lot of information. Maybe that’s an evident statement? I don’t know - I wish someone had told me that before I went into it. 

I have to say I am blessed truly inside and out to have Mike by my side in this world. I’ve never felt such a spectrum of low to high like I felt during this one week period. He never wavered and let me know that no matter what, everything was going to be alright - even though I know he was just as scared as I was. But regardless of how he was feeling, he reminded me that we’re doing this together. During the follow-up ultrasound, one of first pictures we saw of the baby showed him or her giving a thumbs-up. Mike said it was our baby's way of telling us that everything would be fine and "I've got this mama."

So yea - easy to say that was probably the worst week of my life. But it ended with one of the happiest moments of my life. I'm still really not sure what to make of that. I do know it gave me the rock that's my husband - I knew it theoretically before, but I'm carrying that with me now and for always. And man-oh-life are we ever ready to have this baby in our world. Every little flip, flop and back-ache I'm just so thankful that we're waiting on our most special gift ever. 

What I'm Loving

PregnancyEmily KellyComment

I have been super lucky to be surrounded by people who have already done this whole pregnancy thing, and while I’ve come to find some really good books on the subject, I still maintain that the best advice can come from close friends and family. I watched this Ted Talk by Jennifer Senior a while ago and I remember how much it surprised me to hear her say that new mothers are more likely to seek advice from the internet or book store than their own mother. Do we all really collectively think that the way our moms did it was wrong? (The funny thing is, I think if we’re even questioning their methods, they did something absolutely right :))

At any rate, I couldn’t be luckier to have a sister who’s a midwife, a best friend who has had a baby in the past year, and another friend who is due about a week before I am. And then there are all the other strong women (long-time friends, work friends, non-pregnant/mother friends who have actually some of the most reasonable advice I've heard!) who just have so much to offer in terms of practical experience. Although, I think it does make sense to think about who you solicit advice from (learned this the hard way!) but I have found over the past few months that it’s just so much better to get the advice from a comforting voice than the internet or a book – because there are SO many books and websites and it’s hard to know where to turn right away.

Beyond all the tidbits of life advice I've received, I wanted to share some valuable recommendations that have completely improved my life in some way over the past 4 months:  

1. The Snoogle (Recommended by my best friend): I don’t think I’d be sleeping half as well as I do without this strangely shaped and perfectly named object. It has become my new bed buddy and we’re all better off because of it ;) (Mike even tries to steal it sometimes because I make it look that comfortable).

2. This Yoga and This Pilates DVD (Recommended by my Aunt): My Aunt was actually kind enough to send me some personalized yoga exercises for upper back pain (it’s been killer for me since about the second month!) and they’ve done wonders. So much so that I also purchased these pre-natal DVD’s – I’ve enjoyed switching up between the flexibility and flow and strength routines. 

3. This Humidifier (Recommended by my friend at work/researched by my savvy husband!): My worst symptom of pregnancy? Worse than throwing up and back pain? (ok maybe not that bad) Stuffy nose/face/everything – I am so congested! Anyway this humidifier is non-mould producing, non-germ spreading and the Snoogle and I basically sleep on top of it. My congestion isn’t gone, but it’s about 100X better than it was before we had it. (This one really just makes good life sense. I should have had it so long ago!)

4. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth (Recommended by my sister): Hands down, best intro book I read when I first found out I was pregnant. It completely set the tone for how I’ve looked at pregnancy since the stories reminded me that pregnancy isn’t a condition, illness or struggle – it’s the most normal thing that humans have ever known.  And that was so comforting to me since everything happenning to my body did not feel normal at all. ;)

It's our first real ultrasound today and I can't wait to see that little one for the first time!! <3

Do you have anything you'd add to my list? 


Favourite Pizza Dough

FareEmily KellyComment
pizza-dough-recipe.jpg

With the busy Christmas season over, and the typical January Ottawa deep freeze setting in, we've been enjoying having hibernation-type nights. Since my favourite hibernation-type night forever has and forever will include pizza, we've gotten better about experimenting with our own formula of sauce, toppings and homemade dough. On Friday night we put together maybe the best combination yet - goat cheese, spinach, spicy chicken and sautéed red onion. It's always so tempting to get delivery but after we put together our own work, it feels (and tastes!) so worth it. The making it part really is half the fun.  I have a go-to recipe for sauce that I always use and below you'll find a recipe for dough if you're interested in trying it out yourself! I've tried a tested out a bunch of different combinations and this recipe has been hands down the easiest to throw together with the fluffiest results. With emphasis on the "easiest" especially on a Friday night after a long week of commuting in snowy weather. 

finished product ^^ before rising.

Quick and Easy Fluffy Pizza Dough

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast (aka 2 & 1/4 teaspoons if you have a jar like I do)

  • 1 teaspoon white sugar

  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

  • 2 1/2 cups flour

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in flour, salt and oil. Stir with a spoon until a bit gummy and "stringy".
  3. Kneed with your bare hands - it doesn't take much; about 30 seconds. 
  4. Roll into a ball and massage with olive oil. Let rest for 5 minutes - 2 hours. Dough will rise up to approximately 2x it's size. (note: you can actually get two crusts out of this recipe and I recommend splitting the ball into two before you letting it rise. In splitting it you end up with a thinner crust - and more pizza!)
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. I used a rolling pin to roll it out to desired thickness. Transfer to a baking sheet - any old cookie pan will do. (I line the sheet with parchment paper to avoid cutting the pan when divvying up the pizza). Spread with desired toppings and bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Let baked pizza cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from Quick and Easy Pizza Crust from All Recipes. 

Hello Monday!

Emily KellyComment

Hey there Monday. Why do you always seem so far away on Thursday night? 

We spent most of our weekend ripping the house apart, and then trying (unsuccessfully) to put it back together. The house remains a complete disaster and I still haven’t managed to get rid of this overwhelming feeling of being surrounded by too much stuff despite two trips to Goodwill with a carload of donations and the very-in-the-way massive pile of recycling in our hallway. Being pregnant is funny, right?  You take issue with the strangest things. So we spent most of Saturday culling and purging items from our cupboards, closets and our storage room. Last month I had Mike build us a bunch of these and I have to say, it’s made organizing the storage room more fun then I anticipated. My nesting self just looks at the neatly organized rows and squeals a bit (this is what gets me going these days, honestly!)  I’m just looking forward to the day when I can feel that relaxed feeling of “I’m done,” but I’m sensing as a new mama-to-be that may never be the case, because there are endless things I want to do around this house to make it just “so.” 

On Friday we made homemade pizza (pizza night is always the best night of the week!) and watched Trouble With the Curve (Justin Timberlake is in that movie. Who knew?!) and managed to stay awake it to past 10:30 - an accomplishment these days (That's Cliff above in his "regular" seat when we have dinner in the basement^^^). And then on Saturday after the great purge, I splurged on a new bra at this amazing store (which has turned out in only the past 24 hours to be a complete lifesaver and well worth the money), and then we went to Hintonburger for what is in my opinion, the world’s best burger. This is just to say, I’m liking burgers a little too much these days but I wouldn’t give that title to just any burger. (Also I thought when you were pregnant you craved specific food items like “pickles” “cheese” or “pineapple” - how is it that I crave an entire meal? It’s a hard craving to manage, I’m just saying. 

Alright Monday, prove the world wrong and make yourself the best day of the week. 

Found a Desk

MarriageEmily KellyComment

I find there's something largely satisfying in a Thursday night date that takes place at Ikea. A cheap meal, some shelving and one new desk later and I'm full and have many different plans in my head for redecorating. And honestly! Who doesn't love a night out at Ikea with the colours and that familiar smell of pine and cardboard? (If I could get stuck in a place overnight - it wouldn't be a museum, it would be that Swedish store. I bet all the art deco characters and plush children's toys come to life and they make giant forts.)  

I should mention we're no longer planning to move (we didn't sell our house in time and we didn't want to move with a) one of us being overly pregnant or b) a brand new baby so we decided to stay put) but it's been a pretty fun few weeks imagining up what changes we want to make to our place. To be honest, I mostly just couldn't take waiting any longer. There's this insatiable need to start making our home so ready, now. Not in four months, but; now :) 

So now we've got big plans to spend the weekend tinkering with Universal Ikea instructions and making room for baby. 

Have a good one everyone :)

Almost Half-Way There

PregnancyEmily KellyComment

Yesterday we made it through frigid cold weather and greasy, snow covered roads to my Midwifery appointment, and the first thing she said was, "Woah! We're almost half-way already!" I was taken aback - June feels so far away still! Maybe it's because we're in the dead of winter and those dreamy June nights seem like another world away? I'm not sure but when she said that, it dawned on me that this whole pregnancy thing is going by way too quickly! That's not to say I'm unhappy to be out of the first trimester. I mean, those body changes and hormones do a number on you! And I can say this now because it's behind me, but I would be happy one minute, sad the next; wanting to eat something, but rejecting it before getting it in my mouth; outwardly happy about being pregnant - inwardly grumbling that I'm completely loosing control of my body (and then embarrassed to admit it at the risk of being called out as ungrateful). And then all of a sudden, at some point over the last two to three weeks I've stumbled out of that stage and into the next (thank the good Lord!) and it's completely amazing.

For the past 4 or 5 years I've had the most beautiful recurring dream;  I'm pregnant, and I've got my hands on my belly and my skin feels so smooth and stretched out. And in it, I'm so aware there's life in there. I would wake up holding my flat stomach with a bit of a pang that it was only that, just a dream. Do you know what I mean? When you wake up wishing it had been real, or trying desperately to get back to sleep so you can hold onto the feeling just for one more second? In the first trimester I kept praying for this feeling to turn up, and now, I'm walking around with that dream-like feeling all day every day. I somehow lost that panic of "Am I actually  pregnant? I'm told I am, but feel like crap/how in the heck did we ever think I was capable of becoming a mother? I can't even handle morning sickness without whining!" 

So at 18 weeks I'm distracted sitting at my desk at work because I just want to have my hands on my protruding belly. I sneak feels or rest my hand there when I have a minute throughout the day. And I love my body again. For me, the hardest part of being pregnant for the first time was watching my body change so rapidly - now I just marvel about what's going on. I love that my breasts have swollen to two times their size - at first I begrudged the fact, but now, lightbulb! I get their purpose. Maybe this is straightforward and apparent to most people from the start but for some reason, it's taken me the past few months to come around to the idea. I love that my hips are more turned out then they used to be. And I love the extra room that's being made across my back and shoulders.  There's a life in there! I know there is! And I love that I've been gifted this opportunity. I feel so much lucky, it's overwhelming if I think about it too much. 

So at the end of the appointment we heard the heart-beat again and Mike giggled like a little kid when it started echoing throughout the room. He's always better then I am at wearing his emotions on his face than I am and it's one of the reasons I just love him to the core. I'm grateful he's able to show it since it's exactly how I feel too.

Like, is this for real?! Life is beautiful.