Sparrow in the Tree Top

find your song and sing it

Four Confessions

FitnessEmily KellyComment
whole30.jpg

Hey there! We're back after a long, long weekend on the road. We did four cities in five days and if you know us, you know that we don't exactly *love* travelling just yet (though progress because we did get a new "big girl" carseat and that seems to have appeased the travel beast a tiny little bit. Horary!)

While on the road I did some thinking and I realized I have some things to come clean about. In the interest of keeping this a true blog and not just... I dunno, pictures of my ridiculously cute baby, I have some confessions to make. In early November I started working out at a gym that just opened up around the corner from our place. I've been following the "BBG" (Bikini Body Guide... I know, I know) workout program since then. It's a 12 week High Intensity Interval Training program aimed at building muscle and burning fat through a bunch of short but ridiculous workouts and you can follow along on her APP which is really handy (it's called "Sweat with Kayla" in the APP store). So I'm on week 12 you guys! I made it!! I've seen some incredible improvement in terms of my strength and the way my clothes are fitting. Admittedly I did not follow the diet program because it just seemed to much for me to handle at the time, but now that I'm on Week 12, I'm actually tackling that part of my lifestyle as well (see below). Anyway, if you are looking to try something new this year, I highly recommend it. I didn't write about it at the time because I'm notorious for not following through on things and I didn't want to just be furious with myself if I didn't stick with it. Now that I'm chugging along ok, I figure why not? I'll try and post some more about the process from this point forward. Obviously 12 weeks is just a small portion of the fitness journey and I've got a long way to go. That's confession number one. 

Confession No. 2: Kayla Itsines, the woman who started and trademarked the programme is fabulous and has build this whole community of people up around each other through social media. I totally broke down and joined up with a fitness Instagram account. It feels silly to be so private about it but it's honestly unnerving to post your progress etc. on the internet, but it really has done wonders for making me stay motivated and keep me accountable. I also didn't really feel like my regular account was a good place to start posting stuff.... I somehow have this crisis of confidence in posting about things like food and fitness etc. even though the rest of the internet doesn't seem to have a problem with it. If you'd like to join my journey, I'm over at @heyfitlove - be warned; pictures of smoothies and selfies in mirrors abound! ;o

Confession No. 3: I started the Whole 30 lifestyle plan. I refuse to call it a diet because I'm pursuing it for a few reasons. First of all, I'm struggling with skin problems. I've had eczema my whole life (I'm so embarrassed of my red bumpy arms!) and now I think I've got the beginning stages of rosacea on my face. In addition to the skin stuff, I've always, always struggled with ear, nose and throat problems; sinus infection after sinus infection, constant stuffiness & gross clearing of my throat.. that kind of thing. I did some research and it seems like the Whole 30 plan offers a way to clear your system of anti-inflammatories and tries to reset the way your body uses sugar. I was a bit concerned it would mess with my milk production (I'm still breast-feeding June) but there's a whole section on that subject and it would appear that I have no excuses (apparently some women even see and INCREASE in production... also she's eating solids like a champ at this point and basically has started weaning herself off during the day).  

Confession No 4: I'm really trying to make an effort to clean myself and my approach to how I take care of myself up this year. At some point in the last 4 months I realized how much of a role model I'm going to be for June.... and she is already such a sponge. So taking care of myself is something I'm taking seriously this year. Eating healthier and taking time to exercise are only a part of it. I've talked about it a bit before as well, but I'm also trying to get out of the sweat pants and make more of an effort to get myself "put together" for the day - so I bit the bullet and ordered an awesome make-up set from my friend who's representing Younique Make-up right now. I had never heard of the product line before (I'm really not plugged in AT ALL so that's not saying much.. I'm sure everyone is much more up to speed then I am!) but in a nutshell it looks amazing and I'm super excited to receive my package. Obviously I can't speak to the product yet but the point is, self love people!

These are my confessions! Please wish me luck with this Whole 30 plan! 

 

Oh Hai!

BabyEmily KellyComment
image1.JPG

I'm not sure when this happened... but suddenly the "play area" is no longer just the play area. It's - let's move around anywhere and everywhere and get into anything that is not toys. Experienced mamas will be just shaking their heads at me thinking, well, of course. And I'm just siting here looking around at how NOT babyproof my house is. I mean, yesterday June climbed three stairs if that's any indication. Oh and the dog food. She almost ate three pieces before I pulled it out of her mouth (and I've been afraid to give her toast for fear of choking...) (In the process of writing this post I've been snap chatting everything she's gotten into if you'd like to see the world through our eyes: @heyemily.anne .)

It's such a strange winter because it honestly feels like Spring is just around the corner the way the snow is melting and the temperature rising. I realized if this is true and we are about to get early spring, that's great news for us because the sooner we can get outside playing, the better. My house is too small to cage this new stage!

I do have to say that I feel a bit renewed. I'm not about to talk about it like it's an honest pattern or anything in case I jinx it, but we've totally been sleeping through the night around here. Juney my little sleeper you are just helping mama out in all sorts of ways you didn't even know were possible. It's just done wonders for my outlook and ability to function around strangers in public (I had all but dropped the social small talk thing. Well not really, but you get what I mean.) Anyway, with sleep I'm starting to feel like a new person again so I really hope it continues. Maybe once it is a pattern and I've got a handle on things, I can sort my thoughts and write a post about baby sleep. It's one of those issues I usually don't want to touch with a 10-foot pole because it's so contentious but being a bit convicted on the issue myself I feel like I should own up to it. We'll see! 

 

One Hundred and Two

HEARTEmily KellyComment
102yearsold.jpg

Over the weekend we celebrated Mike's Granny's 102nd Birthday! It was so special to see her with her family, and to see the way she looks at the kids. Her short term memory has deteriorated, so she doesn't remember as much, but you can still tell how happy it makes her to be around everyone. I've said it before and I'll say it again, her secret to longevity is pretty blatant; she's one of the most positive and pleasant people I've known. Not really one to complain, always with a positive thought, happy to do things on her own, keep up with current events and hobbies - that - along with some great genes, I'm guessing are the elixir to life. So stay happy people. Cut out the stress. Play music. Garden. Love on your family. Eat food that makes you happy. Take walks. Have a glass of wine. Talk with your girlfriends. Love all the babies. Get up in the morning and do your hair. Go to bed at night and say your prayers. Say thank-you. Stay humble. Always keep learning.

I can't say for certain, but I'm fairy positive that's how Granny K got to blow out her 102 birthday candles.

Happy Birthday Granny! We love you!! A small clip of her birthday cake below!

that little arm on granny's arm ^^ !!!

And still Lol'ing at Mike's dad's Kodak advantax:



LiFE Lately

SnapshotsEmily KellyComment

The other day Mike and I were talking and I referenced something that happened at the end of December like it was yesterday. And then I realized, wait. That was a MONTH ago. And then today I watched this video and I had a messy cry about how FAST time goes by. It’s just something I’m going to have to get used to, isn’t it? 

We're at this really sweet age with June where you can tell she's starting to get things. She's still not really overly vocal but when you ask her a question, you can see her thinking about it. And we have this book with flaps that hide things behind them and when we read it now, she anticipates getting to pull them down one by one. It is blowing my mind to have her participating in something like this! This is what I’m talking about people. Am I going to remember this sort of feeling of pride and awe at my baby girl when I’m parenting a teenager? Or do you think this sort of memory falls out of your head as time goes by? Because I’d like to be able to revisit this kind of stuff please! I guess that’s why I’m so grateful for this blog since it's a chance to capture a sliver of a moment in our time.

I've been trying to get out more with June - it was one of my resolutions at NY's. It's just so easy to stay in; especially when the windows between the (supposed) naps times are small. Some days I've just said forget it; I can't be prisoner to a nap schedule... but then I have a super rangy baby on my hands so I'm trying to find a balance between schedule and adventure. It's not straight forward so if there are any experienced mothers out there reading this I'd love to know how you juggle the two. 

I had another NY's resolution to put some effort into me. I'm increasingly aware that I have a daughter, and more than anyone else in the world she looks to me as a role model. So I'm trying to keep that in mind which means I'm also trying to shift how I view myself. I want to feel healthy and happy and radiant and I can't do that if I don't put in a little effort and planning. When I was pregnant with June I read Bringing Up Bebe and I from there I went through a phase where I devoured a few of the "French Women" books and in the past I've also really enjoyed reading and referencing this book. I find they're great for reminding yourself how important (and wonderful) it is to be a Woman. And when you are put together, you can feel more confident. Which means though I love my jogging pants, I should probably not wear them, all day, every day. 

Also, I need to go back to Montreal as soon as possible so I can pocket a few of those pickles. What was I thinking?! I just left them on the table. Maybe one of life's biggest regrets. Up there with the decision to do karaoke one St. Patrick's day a million years ago ;)

January is almost gone and usually at this point in the winter I'm totally over the snow and the cold but this year I really can't complain. It's basically balmy here in Ottawa.Thank-you El Nino. We're trying to enjoy the wintery moments when we have them. Bring back Polar Vortex? Maybe just for a day or two so I can really feel like a true, rugged, Canadian.

Have a great weekend everyone. I hope it involves lovely winter things, pickles and smiles from the inside out. 

A Night in Montreal at Hôtel Le St-James

TravelEmily KellyComment

Last weekend Mike and I got away, just the two of us, to Montreal for the night. We had been looking for a little get away since Christmas when I said to Mike "Can we just go away somewhere together so I can sleep?" (It came after a particularly bad string of nights where I'd been up hourly with June.) Since his birthday fell on a weekend this year, we decided that would be our goal; so it gave me pretty much a month to mentally prepare being away from June for the night (more on that later). 

So after some research we decided to go to Montreal! When Mike was there for his Bachelor weekend before we got married, he had walked by Hôtel Le St-James in Old Montreal on his way to dinner and when he got home he was all "Let's go back there to that hotel someday. It looks amazing!" When we started looking for a fun night somewhere not far from home, it popped into my head, and since it was his birthday, it won out over my suggestion of a cabin in the woods (read: where it is very quiet for sleeping). Growing up outside of Toronto, Montreal was always this super far away destination and now that we live in Ottawa, I forget that it's under 2 hours away!! This is amazing because I've really only seen a tiny portion of that city and it's fun to think about how easy it is to visit and how we can do this sort of thing more often! (Side note: I got Snapchat!! I posted some stuff when I was away! Let's be friends! @HeyEmily.Anne)

Hôtel Le St-James is nothing short of world class (it won the 2015 Conde Nast Traveller Readers' Choice Award and it's part of the CAA Diamond group of Hotels)  and that's exactly how it felt from the moment we got there. We got a package which included a bunch of perks like valet service, a couple's massage, brunch and an amazing suite. It was a splurge of a weekend, but since we only wanted to take a night away, it made sense to us to make the best use of that time (if I'm going to leave my baby, it had better be for the best night possible!) It was a great decision because the package equalled zero stress, and everything we wanted to do was taken care of for us. 

For me, the highlight was the couple's massage. The hotel is in a refurbished bank that was part of the original Old City. The Spa is in the basement of the building which is actually where the old bank vault was. The setting was phenomenal and felt a bit like we were in a castle, with huge stone walls lined with candles. When I walked in and the masseuse asked what I wanted worked on, I just looked at her dumbfounded and said... "I'm just tired. Relaxation. I have an almost 8-month old baby at home." (note the fact that this was not even really a coherent sentence...). To which she immediately replied: "OH. Well you are going to be my baby for the next hour and I'm going to take care of you."

GIRL. Marry me. 

And that's pretty much how the rest of the weekend went. We ordered room service for lunch. The tiny ketchup and hot sauce that hotels have always makes me squeal a little bit. And I'm not sure what other things in life bring me that same giddy feeling of room service. It's a huge novelty to me! Just so we're clear, I still get that general rush when I travel... like when I was little and staying at a Travelodge with a pool was the biggest deal. Ever. Sometimes I look at Mike and I can't believe we're adults and we have a baby and we do grown up things like go away for the weekend. So what I'm saying is, room service feels like basically the highlight of my year and also I totally put the little ketchup and hot sauce in my suitcase and brought it home with me. I think what this means is I need to get out more...

We had dinner at a steak house in the Old Port that's in a carriage house stemming from the 1700's! We were in the second seating which was at 9:00 pm and the place was still PACKED. I get the feeling the place is a bit of a Montreal institution and my guess is because of the pickles; they bring you a bowl of the most divine, crunchy perfectly garlicky pickles I've ever had. Excessive? Yes. Delicious? Absolutely. 

There's a lot more I could say about the decor in the lobby and the rooms, the brunch service at the restaurant set in the main bank hall (the eggs Benedict with smoked salmon was divine, not to mention my personal pot of coffee in a silver pot... they must have known I was coming) but really the best part was taking the chance to get away together, to talk about how much we love our baby and being parents, sleep for a solid 9 hours, shop, eat, connect. I think it's super important for new parents to do this sort of thing and I can't say enough about what it did for us to just sit and be "us" and not be plugged in. I'm sure this will become easier as we get more relaxed and used to being parents, but right now we're still working at it.

I know a lot of people can't possibly fathom leaving their baby for the night - and even as I said it and planted the seed in Mike's head, I immediately regretted it, so I'll just say from the outset, it was hard. I didn't cry the whole time and I did manage to enjoy myself, but it was hard all the same.... not helped by the little reminders of her everywhere. (Did you see that photo of the breast-feeding mother above? That was right outside our room!!) It helped knowing my mom and dad were with her. But all the same I did feel like a part of me was missing. Like I was constantly forgetting something. I had to pump like it was my job the week leading up to us leaving. And I pumped every few hours during the day we were gone which is kind of a pain (I really don't enjoy pumping and will go out of my way to not do it) but I managed. It gave me new appreciation for the mums out there who exclusively pump for their babies. Power to you ladies - it takes a crazy amount of dedication to be tied to that thing day and night!

When we got home, I physically ran in the door. My parents were in our sitting room and my mom had June on her lap, and they were all listening to Sharon, Lois and Bram. It was a pretty sweet reunion. We probably won't go out of our way to go away alone for awhile, but it helps to know that we've got it in us. That we can manage and June can manage and that we can all come back together and cuddle and it's the best feeling in the world.

Thanks for having us Hôtel Le. St-James! We had an amazing weekend and hope to see you again someday!! And an even bigger thank-you to my parents for giving us the piece of mind and time to get away together! 

Some more pictures below :)


Birthday Celebrations!

HEART, FamilyEmily KellyComment
image.jpg

Mike had a big birthday on the weekend and I'm ashamed to say this, but I didn't get him a present. In all honesty, I've been so exhausted and tied up during the day, particularly in the past few weeks trying to assemble some sort of routine around our house and it fell by the wayside. My brain couldn't take it on. I feel incredibly bad and some parts of me sad that I didn't have the time and energy to devote to it like I have in the past. I know some people think a birthday is just another day, but to me it's not. It hurts me when people start to care less about their birthday because I feel like it's a part of their childhood slipping away. Usually I like to make sure the people in my life feel special... And what better day to do that than the birthday!? So anyway I feel a little bit like I failed at the wife game this year. Mike, being the amazing husband he is, made sure (on his own birthday!) that I didn't feel bad about it. In fact, he asked that my one gift to him would be for me to empty out my email inbox because apparently upwards of 1000 unread emails keeps him awake at night ;) I'm not sure when that will happen but in the meantime I did want to take this opportunity to tell the world why Mike is such a special person. 

Mike is special because he puts everyone else in his life first; his family his friends his colleagues and then himself.  

Mike is the kind of person who knows the people in his life inside and out. He uses all that knowledge to his advantage to make other people feel special.  

Mike listens. There isn't anything he misses (even when you think he isn't listening!) and it means so much to me because being heard is one of those things that just makes my existence feel like it counts for something.  

Mike is devoted to being a father. He stepped up into this role so naturally; even if it hadn't been natural he's just embraced the fact that he has a little one watching his every move. He started working from home so he could be close and not miss anything big. June is one lucky little lady.  

Mike makes plans. When I was a foolish younger girl and had my heart broken my dad asked me "Emily, do you want to be with a planner or a player?" The answer was so obvious and when I met mike it was even more obvious. He plans. He plans everything from fun dinners, to trips away to our finances. I'm so grateful to have a planner on my side for life and I appreciate the heck out of all the stuff that mike has introduced me to just on the basis of seeking out new experiences and planning them.  

And then there's the little fact that we're us. Mike is my other half, my partner in crime, the person who agrees to binge-watch Netflix with me, the person who's on my side raising our daughter, the one who I still get butterflies with when I see his name pop up on the call display, when I sit down across from him at the table or when he walks in the room. 

Thanks for sharing your birthday with me Mike! I am one lucky lady!  

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg

Baby Steps

Emily KellyComment
image.jpg

It's Friday!! I'm sitting here staring at my mess of a kitchen hoping baby girl keeps napping a few minutes longer, and I can actually get the dishes put away (as in, out of the drain tray where they live after they've been washed!) before company gets here. We're celebrating mike's birthday with family tonight and then tomorrow we're off on a parents only weekend getaway!! I'm so excited to wear a non-nursing bra! Ha! Also to spend some time with my husband because let's be honest, we've been doing divide and conquer these past few months and we're lucky if we stay awake long enough to watch an episode of something on Netflix let alone have an actual conversation at the end of the day. 

This week I came to a bunch of conclusions about motherhood - and I was reminded for the millionth time since June was born, that just when I feel like I've got something figured out, that's when it decides to change. one day I think to myself "who let me be a mother? I'm totally messing this up. I'm cranky and I'm not living in the moment and I'm taking it all for granted." And then on any non-special day I'll have slivers of moments where June will smile at a stranger and make their day, or turn her head and beam her two pearly chicklet teeth at me when I come in a room - and I'm given a bit of hope that I'm not as much of a mess as I thought I was... Even if she gets dirty hands crawling on the floor in a public place (not to mention the dirty dog hair covered floor at home) and the chicken I gave her wasn't organic, and I'm only patient half the time, and sometimes selfish, and yes, sometimes, there's crying at night when I'm just too tired to go back into her room. But she's ok! And she likes being here in this world. And that makes me so happy, I'm not sure I could explain it to you if I tried. Last night I got home from dinner with girlfriends and mike was reading in a chair and June was fast asleep in her bed; warm and fed and loved and I truly don't know if there's a better feeling in this world then coming home to your family. 

That was a mess of thoughts - thank you for reading this far! I hope you have a great weekend with the ones you love wherever you may be in life! 

A Sitting Room!

around my houseEmily KellyComment
sitting room.jpg

I’m so excited to share our Fall Project today. I have wanted to do a post on our new “sitting room" since we finished it in early November but I was sleep deprived for the majority of that month and my mom brain couldn’t handle the thought of actually hooking my camera up to my computer. But we’ve been enjoying it every day since so that must mean it was worth it! 

To anyone who knows Mike and I, you might probably give us a bit of an eye roll when I say “we painted a room” because I’m pretty sure we’ve painted our entire place twice since we’ve moved in (with the exception of our bedroom which I really hope I get around to at some point this winter... I have the can of paint ready in the garage, just waiting until the timing is "right" which, when you have a baby, could happen to be ANYtime so one must always be prepared! ha!). Before June was born we did the spare room and the living room/kitchen and main floor bathroom. I guess what I’m saying is, despite the whining that comes out of my mouth when I’m actually doing it, I really must love painting and planning new rooms because I seem to do a lot of it ;) 

BEFORE:

diningroombefore.jpg

This is how we painted the dining room after we moved in ^^ it's only four years ago but I can't believe how much my taste has changed since then. This colour!

The ideas for the most recent re-do started the day I came home from work last winter and discovered mike had sold our dining room table on kijiji. We’d been talking about it, so it’s not like I didn’t expect it but, I didn’t think it would happen as quickly as it did. Leave it to my fabulous husband to get a job done! (I have a horrible habit of putting stuff like that off). Anyway, it left a gaping hole in the room but after we realized how ridiculous it was to take up so much space on our tiny main living floor with an extra table that was seriously never in use except to store mail and dishes we only took out for parties.

So the room sat empty for about 6 months and then one night in the summer I stumbled upon a fabulous kijiji find that just gave me the energy, despite the 2 month-old baby asleep on my chest, to plan a new look for the room. You’ll see it in the pictures below, but words don’t really capture how much I love this piece of furniture. It’s a Gerrard stereo unit from about 1970 and it has been a joy to look at and use since the day we broke our backs moving it out of Mike’s parent’s van and into our place. I’ve always been a fan of vinyl since my record searching days with my dad, and I’ve had a few record players before but never anything like this. We’ve gotten so much use out of it since we bought it (especially at Christmas time - you can’t beat a record at Christmas!) that it has far surpassed the $100 we paid for it. Anyway, I could go on and on, but you basically get how with the record player in place, we needed to build the rest of the room around it ;)

We live in a semi-detached home and it’s long and narrow with only a bit of natural light on our south facing wall. This room is an internal room with zero natural light and I guess that’s why we always gravitate towards our kitchen nook for meals, even when there’s a large group of us. Originally I had wanted to paint the room a bright white (like I do everything in my life now) but Mike convinced me to go with the exact opposite. This guy and his powers of persuasion, I tell ya! Anyway, we went with Benjamin Moore's "Black Berry" and it was super, super nerve-wracking to watch it go on: 

diningroommakeover.jpg

But I've got to hand it to Mike, he was totally, completely right! I love how it turned out!

AFTER: 

diningroomafter.jpg

The process of putting the room together took a lot longer then we anticipated. It's such an awkwardly shaped space and I spent a LOT of time trying to figure out what sort of seating we needed. Which is hilarious considering we ended up using two chairs we had in the basement - joke's on me! The best part about these chairs is they are also literally from the 1970's - they belonged to Mike's parents and they were practically in mint condition when we got them.... And then our puppy named Cliff took a small nip out of one, and June and I broke the other in this past summer while we watched the every episode of Nashville :) Either way, free and they ended up matching perfectly, so win-win! 

The only other thing you need to know about this room is how ridiculous it was to install that ikea wicker chandelier. It was absolutely the worst Ikea thing I've ever taken part in installing; which is saying a lot considering how much Ikea I've had my hand in since I left home for school! Anyway, it matches, but Mike and I almost ended up sleeping in separate rooms after trying to hook it up. I mean, Ikea; bringing couples everywhere closer together.... 

Some pictures of our new space! 

When we decided not to move last Fall, we also made the decision to love the home were in, until we're not in it anymore. We definitely know this isn't our forever home, but it doesn't make sense not to make the space our own while we're here. This is one of my favourite rooms in our house now! Looking forward to lots of cozying up with a record, a book and a baby in one of those chairs... and not necessarily in that order ;)  

 

 

Green Door and A Snowy Day in the Market

Around OttawaEmily KellyComment
moulin_de_provence.jpg

By 11:30 on Saturday morning I was just about going zooey from being cooped up in the house for what felt like the better part of the past week, so we decided that we needed to get out. I’ve been craving vegetarian food, particularly the Green Door’s vegetarian buffet for about a year now and every time we set out to go, something seems to come up or one of us will suggest some place different at the last moment. I always love how big of a deal going out to eat feels now, just because it doesn’t happen as easily or as spontaneously as it used to. In my head I'm thinking, “Oh we really have to make this count” which equals me usually hemming and hawing about it forever like it’s going to be my last meal (and driving Mike crazy in the process!). Luckily since I’ve had an itch for Green Door, as soon as Mike suggested it, I had no problem pulling the trigger. Which is good because when you have a baby, the faster you can make decisions and get out the door, the better (at least in my experience anyway!)

We were a bit worried because Main street has been under construction for nearly as long as my craving and it makes it a pain to get at the restaurant, but we persevered. And it was everything I hoped it would be. The avocado salad, man, that is the stuff of my dreams. (I tried to recreate it here once if you are interested.) I’m told it’s the type of vinegar they use as a dressing but man oh life, I’m pretty sure you’ve never tasted avocados as good as these. It’s a tie between that and their veggie lasagna. Every single time I eat here I think, “I could be a vegetarian, no problem.” Of course it falls apart within hours of leaving but I’d like to think they’d be flattered for even planting the seed in my burger-loving mind ;)

A jumble of all my favourite dishes ^^^ That's the avocado that looks like regular avocado but tastes like HEAVEN.

IMG_1061.jpg

Eating like a big girl, always ready to join in on the conversation. She seriously is just the sweetest face to share a meal with. ^^

After lunch we walked through the snowy side streets and I was reminded for the umpteenth time how awesome this city is in the winter. I don’t think I could live somewhere with only two or three seasons, I just couldn’t. Ottawa is my postcard when the snow starts falling and I usually only tire of it come May when I can’t wait to see those beautiful little tulips pop their heads out of the ground. 

Gah. These two. TWINS^^

We eventually made it to the Market and decided we should pick some things up for dinner &  ended up searching for some cheese and some fresh fish. When I was pregnant with June, I had a killer time keeping pre-natal pills down so Mike stuffed me with steak, spinach and as often as we thought was ok by all those pregnancy standards, salmon. Based on many a meal last winter, he's perfected his salmon dish; Getting a pregnant lady to eat fish is no joke but he has it down pat. On Saturday he made a dijon sauce to go with our dinner and it was divine. 

But first we had to stop for a coffee at Moulin because when you’re in the market you can’t not Moulin, it just doesn’t feel right. It was our first time introducing Juney to our old stomping ground and I know she loved it because the minute we got there she wanted out of her stroller so she could look around ;)

I love walking around the market in the winter. I’m always reminded of the one Mike and I first moved in together and we were searching for a coffee table for our new place. We made a few visits to the market on snowy saturday mornings and I remember how warm our car felt listening to Ray Lamontange and drinking coffee and talking about the future. Part of me wonders what I’d do if we ever left Ottawa; I don’t think I could cope with leaving all the landmarks that remind me of each other, behind. I know some people get tired of the same old thing, but I find comfort in the familiarity of our city. I also do think that even though the landmarks stay the same, we're changing so much; it is going to be so neat watching our family grow up in this town. I know Ottawa isn't some flashy metropolis with all the latest trends, and trust me, sometimes I'm struck with big pangs of wanderlust and a really intense desire to move on out into the big world (on Saturday night I spent half and hour googling "Jobs in Lyon"...) but I do know that your living situation is 100% what you make of it & I try really hard to keep in mind when those sorts of feelings crop up. Ottawa is such a great place to live and for us, it feels like home.

Here's to snowy afternoons & a great week ahead! 

Oh, January!

WordsEmily KellyComment
january.jpg
january.jpg

It finally feels like winter here in Ottawa. We had a huge snowfall yesterday and last night we went to a friend's house for dinner out in the countryside and I forgot what it's like to drive in the snow! Especially when the wind is blowing and the open fields just drop off into the darkness on a night like that. Despite the white knuckles, the houses along the way stood out of the darkness with their warm kitchens and living rooms glowing and I couldn't help feeling the romantic part of my heart strings pulling me to want a house in a field with a long snowy driveway. I swear I've got two personalities - when I'm in the heart of the city, I want to relocate to a brownstone townhouse and when I'm in the middle of nowhere, I don't want to go back. 

Is it just me or has it been one of those weeks? It seems to me like January always starts out as a month full of hope for new things and habits and then I hit the middle of the month and suddenly I'm missing last year. What is that? I mean the year just started and we've already lost David Bowie for crying out loud. And I get the feeling that 2016 has already been an uphill battle for some friends and family. It makes me want to watch reruns of The Office and the Princess Diaries and grab my battered copy of Anne of Green Gables and I know that's the opposite of courageous and doesn't help anyone. Oh January, I like the idea of starting new again, but sometimes I just want to time warp back to 1992 and play make-believe with my cousins. 

Until my time machine gets invented, June and I are crawling loops around the kitchen and dining room. Because she's got no idea what month it is. And that's the best part of looking at the world through her eyes; it's just all one big opportunity to see new stuff and make new sounds and learn new skills. Tonight her jaw actually dropped looking at the water flowing into the tub. I just pushed all the other stuff out of my mind and watched with her. She's right. Water is so awesome. And modern plumbing - that stuff is basically MAGIC you guys. How did I forget this?!

I'm not sure where I'm going with this except for I wanted to say that we're all going through this together. Life has so many ups and downs and it's cliche but it's true - those ups and downs don't leave anyone untouched. I just wanted you to know that if 2016 feels like a rough one, you're not alone. Sending lots of love and light from my living room window out into the dark winter night and I hope if finds you wherever you are. 

The Lion King Works Everytime

TravelEmily KellyComment

Is it only Tuesday? How is that possible? Yesterday will go down as one of the most Monday of Mondays in my life. We really needed groceries or we were looking at cereal for dinner so I got Juney and myself bundled up, and managed to get a cart full into the checkout line. And that's when I realized I had left my debit card at home. Do you know what you do with a cart full of groceries when you are at the till? You graciously hand it back over to the manager. I went a bit red. And then, after what felt like an already really long day, I actually made it out to the gym after putting Juney to bed. I got into the change room, got my stuff on and that's when I realized; only one running shoe in my gym bag! Seriously. As if I need a better excuse to just leave and not do exercise! I ran home and grabbed my shoe and reluctantly returned and when I was finishing my workout and changing, I overheard the lady next to me tell her friend that a bunch of similar stuff had happened to her that day and she felt like "the world was just trying to send her a message to stay home." It reminded me in my moment of frustration that were never alone :) I love when weird intersecting stuff l like that reminds me that the world is an awesome place.

I wanted to share this video that I took of our little buggy over the break when we were travelling to my parents for Christmas. You know how parents foolishly proclaim things before their baby is born like "Oh, our couches will never get dirty." Or "We will still get out on a date night once a week."

HAHAHAHAHAHA. 

I laugh because we had so many high hopes to take a road trip this past Fall. We thought we'd just pack up our car and hit the open road with our new baby girl. So much laughter!! If becoming a parent is about the moment you realize you have fully relinquished control to a tiny 7 lb human being, we hit it early on. SO, since June has never really been a big fan of the carseat, one of the things we've struggled to find a recipe for is our approach to road trips. My parents don't live close and inevitably we've had to do a lot of driving since June was born. Driving and masking the shrill, shrill sounds of June protesting. I have to admit, it's gotten better with time, and we've found ways to manage it. Such as replaying the Elmo song on YouTube about 50 times in a row. But our failsafe that works every time (EVERYTIME!!) is the Lion King. The Circle of Life will just stop her in her tracks. You can imagine that when you are stuck on the road (or a 6 hour traffic jam .... but that's another story that I don't really want to relieve just yet) with a crying baby and a fussy labrador retriever with travel anxiety (honestly some days I'm not sure who dislikes the car more) we resort to playing it a lot. (a lot). Mike and I know every word and every symbol crash. It's our new anthem. Good thing I love the song. 

TGIT (thank-god it's Tuesday)!!  

Netflix and Weekend

FamilyEmily KellyComment
january.jpg

Wow we’ve had a lot of rain in the past 24 hours!! On Saturday night I took the dog for a walk around 9 pm and it was almost warm enough to open my jacket. The christmas lights, the huge puddles and the warm weather just have me so confused about what time of year it is. (It doesn’t help that I have to consult my phone on a regular basis to see what day of the week it is. Motherlife, am I right?!) 

So we took the weather fully into consideration and managed to wear sweatpants for about 90% of the weekend. On Saturday Mike made us the most yummy brunch - Shakshuka - or dish of eggs and tomatoes and spices. So delicious! I love one pot dishes that just warm the whole house up. We’ll have to try this one again when we’ve got family around because we had enough left over for dinner. I know I've said it before but I need to repeat this one: It’s so great to have June at the table with us. I think it’s my favourite thing - well, today it’s my favourite thing, tomorrow it will probably be something else because honestly I just can’t decide what I love most about my little family. Eating meals together has to be at the top of the list though. It’s so special and something that Mike and I have always loved doing together. I’m just so happy that we get to include June in this now too. 

Since we did a lot (more then I’m willing to admit to) of Netflix binging trying to finish the Making of  Murderer (THAT SHOW> HONESTLY), we promised ourselves we had to finish up some other responsible adulty things as well. Turns out, it's hard to get a lot done when you've got a baby at home. I don't know where I'd got the idea that there'd be time for extra stuff  ;) So, when June hit nap time out of the park on Sunday, I was able to fully embrace a quiet house and get some real work done which I haven’t felt like I’ve been able to do in a few months! Yay for rainy day weekends that lull babies to sleep :)

In addition, I finally got around to taking pictures of our Fall project! We have this ridiculous room off of our kitchen and main living area. It’s supposed to be a formal dining room but since we do not have a formal dining room table, we decided to turn it into actual useful living space! We’ve taken a lot of slack from family members who think it will be turned over to a playroom in only a few years time but I’m so happy with how this turned out, I’m not sure you could convince me :) Also, we have such a small main living space to begin with, I don’t think I could take a jumble of toys flowing into it from either direction. Plus, a sitting room isn’t not for kids, so we’ll see! I'm going to try to get around to sharing some pictures later on this week! 

 

Return to the Trail

around the house and cityEmily KellyComment
Trail_walk.jpg

One of my New Year's resolutions this year was to get outside more; sometimes I feel like since having June, I've spent the past six months inside. I know that's not completely true (and also not fair because, hello, when you have a baby, sitting on the couch is actually such a great thing for everyone) but I feel like we easily lose track of time since many days we'll just be moving from play mat to nap time, repeat. Now that she's a bit older I figure it's time we venture out of the house a bit more. So, last weekend we returned to our old walking trail! We have tons of awesome forested trails near us and there's one in particular that we've been hesitant to return to. You may recall the last time we took Cliff out with us (almost two year's ago now!?) he ran away and jumped into a stranger's car. We have been so nervous to give him back his off-leash freedom, but it was such a good decision. Nothing better than a happy dog with the hugest grin on his face, bounding through the snow. And we were shocked by how well he listens to us now. I guess we all just had a bit of growing up to do!

I finally got a small "half-smile" out of her right before we were about to leave. This was her second time in the sleigh and her face the whole time was what I'd say tolerant, but not overly enthusiastic... despite my jumping up and down saying to her "Juney! You're in a sleigh!! It's winter!! Isn't this so fun!?" Ha ha. She'll get it one day I'm sure :) 

Have a great weekend everyone!!! I know I said we'd be getting outside a lot more except we started "To Make a Murderer" so I'm not sure we'll be leaving Netflix until I have some answers!! (Have you seen this show!? So incredibly frustrating and addictive to watch!) Have a good one!

 

Months Five and Six

BabyEmily KellyComment

So this is what happens when you take a blogging break folks; I didn’t think much of it and then I'm looking back at June's four month photos and I realized two months in the life of a baby is basically a decade. Honestly we've gone from "baby" to little person with a personality and it's so incredible to see. I keep reminding myself that the sleepless nights and the cranky episodes have everything to do with learning and growing at warp speed. It usually does the trick & I know the harder days will become fewer and farther between and then I'll probably be wishing for the multiple cuddle sessions in the middle of the night ;)

Month five was a doozy. Mostly because Juney got two teeth. And she started the month creeping ended the month full on crawling. Personally I was able to grow a little bit too since the whole “let’s start moving around the house” phase coincides with “let’s also fall and bang our heads stage.” As a result, I’m proud to say I’ve transitioned from “FULL SCALE FIVE ALARM SHOULD WE CALL 911” to “You’re ok, right? Yes. You’re ok.” (Internal sigh of relief. Blood pressure drops). 

On six months to the day we started solid foods! I never realized how much fun that would be. She started talking to her food - literally picking it up, rolling it around in her hands and making sounds at it. In early December, we went out to lunch with Mike’s parents and she sat in her very own spot at the table. The look of pride on her face as she sat there brought me to this whole new level of understanding about her little personality and I jumped a million joys for all the family meals we’re going to have together in our lifetime. 

About a week before Christmas I came back into her room from filling the tub up and she was standing in her crib. Just hanging out there, chilling, a huge smile on her face. I nearly tripped trying to find my phone so I could catch a quick video of it. Now we can’t leave a room without rushing back to make sure she hasn’t fallen from whatever object she’s decided is suitable to pull herself up on. She seems intent on standing and we’re not going to stop her. But it does include a whole new level of learning how to curb the 10,000 heart attacks - I’m sure this is my mother’s way of getting back at me for the multiple trips to the ER for stitches that I put her through in my first 1.5 years of my life (Sorry mom!) 

The millions of moments I want to write down and record so I don’t forget them are limitless. I know so many will fly out of my head as the years go by. I hope I don’t forget the sounds of excitement she makes as she watches the water fill in the tub. And the cute little coy looks she gives us out from under her little winter hats. Growing up is hard to do - mostly for the Mama who’s frantically trying to get through the days - because let’s face it… the days can be long - but also just trying to live in the moment as much as possible. If anyone out there has figured this one out - please send me the recipe!! 

Christmas 2015 and a Little Video

seasons, SnapshotsEmily KellyComment

I know it's already the first week of January but I just finished putting together a little video recap of our Christmas holidays from videos mike and I took on our iPhones and I wanted to share it before it's Valentine's day! I've only done a couple of these videos now, but seeing how much June has changed in these clips from just two weeks ago reminds me how great it is to have stuff like this recorded. This first year goes by so fast and the changes are so subtle at the time but seeing them here now is already pretty priceless. 

We spent the majority of the holidays between Christmas and NY's at my parent's place which unfortunately I didn't take a lot of video of. Lesson 82 of being a mom, always take more home videos, amiright? We got a decreasing amount of sleep as the week passed and by 11:50 pm on NY's eve we were huddled in a room in Mike's parent's cottage, a hot sweaty mess of tears (me, not her) from teething and lack of sleep. In those moments I was petrified that we'd never get back onto a routine but one night back at home and things were back to normal. Which reminds me, I really need to practice letting go in 2016 ;) It was a lovely holiday regardless, but it was a lesson for me to remember that it's way better to just go with the flow.

I know Christmas is generally great but is there anything better then watching a baby look at Christmas lights? Or a new toy? Or picking them up out of their crib on Christmas morning? I'll remember this Christmas as the one where June sat at my feet as I wrapped, constantly intent on pulling herself up on my legs. We did a lot of shopping trips alone just her and I - the look on her face in the video as we waited in Best Buy is priceless...in a nutshell; notimpressed. It was SO warm here. On Christmas eve it got up to plus 16 and we had a crazy fluke windstorm in which our neighbours pergola flew over and knocked over our fence. And then our power went out for two hours and we were hosting a Christmas eve party so that was kinda unfortunate. But everything worked out in the end. And now we have SNOW! We got heaps of it about two days after Christmas and we took the kiddies out for a sleigh ride at the cottage.... again, more for our sake's then there's but I'm sure they'll thank us someday ;) I think my favourite part of the entire season, was realizing that this is our family; it's our little unit and we get to start all these cool traditions and make life for Juney exactly what we hope for her. 

I hope everyone else had a great Christmas as well!! Thanks for coming on this journey with us :)

 


Less is More in 2016

HEARTEmily KellyComment
image.jpg

Well it's been a long time old blog! I've been meaning to get back into to writing for most of the Fall but then Sleepmageddon happened in late October and here we are; January 1 and I'm just only now surfacing. I have learned there are times when sleeping trumps blogging, and those times include the months where your little peanut decides that sleep is for chumps. Anyway! Hello world! It's nice to see you again. 

I couldn't not mark to beginning of the new year, especially because I would really like to start recording down our life here again. So I'm using up precious moments in the final hours of the first day of 2016 to figure out what I want for the next year. Over the past few weeks when I've been thinking about resolutions and turning the calendar, I keep returning to the idea that "less is more" - in most facets of my life. For example;

 Less:

 - clothes in my closet that I never wear (more: pieces of clothing that everytime I wear them, they make me happy)

- wasted time on the Internet (more - time to write, talk to my friends and family) 

- time inside (more: adventures and fresh air)

- harsh words and short-tempered reactions (more: counting to 10 and deep breaths) 

- junk food and sugar (More: water and leafy greens) 

- cell phones before bedtime (more: books and reading) 

- over scheduling and filling the calendar up (more: intentional relationships with friends and family) 

- takeout (more: yummy meals at home)  

- caring what people say you should do as a new mama (more: doing what feels right for us) 

That's a long list for the year, and I know they're not really resolutions, but they're good benchmarks for us right now, and I'm hoping they help me get focused for the year ahead! 

Hi to anyone out there who's reading this and who might have wondered where we were! And a new hello to any new friends who might have by chance wandered this way! I'm happy to be back and wishing you all an amazing start to 2016!!  

Halloween Festivities

seasons, FamilyEmily KellyComment
image1.JPG

The first year is full of so many firsts. They're all piled one on top of the other and come so fast that sometimes it's hard to stop and keep track; the first long nap, the first time we rode in the car without a complete meltdown (winning!!), the first rolls, creeping and reaches. There are really too many to name. I think that's why as parents we get so excited about those first holidays - we can use the events as benchmarks. I can't even begin to put into words how excited we are for Christmas, but first, Halloween! It's never been my number one favourite holiday, but I mean come on, babies in costumes... there's something wrong with you if you don't just wanna. I bought Juney's from Costco in the summer thinking she needed to be dressed up as some form of "Bug" since by day, she's our June Bug. And I have to admit, it was pretty adorable to see her all dressed up as a lady bug. It was pretty short-lived but we went to the neighbour's house to say Happy Halloween and since my parent's were in town, it was fun to take some pictures. Things didn't get too crazy from that point... considering we have only gums and no teeth, I'm thinking Halloween is something that gets a bit more exciting as we grow older ;) 

It was a pretty grey day, but warm enough and a Saturday no less, so we got to really embrace the holiday, complete with pumpkin patch and jack-o-lantern carving. I insisted on a pumpkin family of three and mike indulged me which is why I married this wonderful man :) I always feel so bad throwing out the pumpkins afterwards - it seems like such a shame to only have them carved and lit on one night. I always make a point of looking away on the garbage day after Halloween so I don't have to see all the discarded pumpkins. Bit of a bleeding heart over here!


Five Things: Political Edition

Five ThingsEmily KellyComment
Watching the inaugural speech ^^

Watching the inaugural speech ^^

Since Monday's election I get a little bit giddy inside when I remember that we have a new Prime Minister! I'm an Anne of Green Gables type of optimist at heart, but I don't think I'm alone in saying that this next era has the potential to be such an exciting time with so much promise in our wonderful country. My heart has been heavy the past while when I think about the state of things that are really important to me - like our failing democracy in Canada (our Access to Information, our collection of information and our Freedom of Press has left something to be desired), the erosion of scientific values and research (Climate Change? What Climate Change) not to mention the carving our of our natural resources, and our reputation on the international stage where quite frankly, since we lost our seat in the Security Council a few years ago, has been a bit of a laughing stock. 

Politics in Canada can be a bit frustrating at times because it can feel like you don't actually get to vote for the candidate you'd like to be in power. But I'm really, really looking forward to watching some big changes unfold in Canada. Obviously a certain degree of caution is necessary - let's just hope that he's able to do what he's promised.

Other things that also make me happy: Trudeau speaks (eloquent!) French AND English - two things that don't make a great PM, but honestly, considering we call ourselves a bilingual country, with two official languages, AND we expect it of our public service, I think it's an awesome advancement.

And so, Five Things: Political Edition because I hope that the snowball of participation we've seen on social media throughout the past campaign continues; from both sides of the spectrum. 

1. Having been invested in our Foreign Affairs policy professionally, I'm particularly stoked about reclaiming a bit our our real-estate in terms of humanitarian affairs. This is a great snapshot from some experts on Seven Foreign Policy Wishes for Canada's New Government

2. Canada elected a record number of indigenous and female MPs this week!! Woo! Go Progress! There's a long way to go, but this is a great step in the right direction to a stronger democracy.

democracy.jpg

3. Canada might actually be a player at COP21! Not holding my breath but eagerly anticipating some strides to be made on our country's contribution to climate targets.

4. Living out a real-life Disney fantasy:

prince_eric.jpg

5. Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau seems pretty awesome. In this interview here with This Mom Loves Blog she talks about advocating for girls through Plan International becoming a yoga instructor, and seems pretty down to earth (I mean, what other potential First Lady would do an interview with a mom blog?) This was my favourite quote:

"This mom loves: Seeing my children glancing at me from their backseats through the car mirror when I'm driving and seeing joy and love in their eyes...pure bliss!"

If nothing else, she seems like a candid lady. And I appreciate that. 

Happy weekend!! xo

four months

BabyEmily KellyComment

We welcomed four months with our first frosty weather here in Ottawa. It reminds me that Christmas is creeping up on us. As in, BABY's FIRST CHRISTMAS. And I feel like I'm going to lose myself in creating CHILDHOOD MAGIC people. If I was born for one thing, it was with the purpose of seeing Christmas through a child's eyes. Lord help June. I'm not sure how living your Christmas dreams vicariously through your children affects them in the long term. This is a human experiment in the making! Check back here in 20 years ;) 

Month Four has been the most challenging month so far. When you have a baby, no one tells you that in fact it's not the first 8 weeks that are the hardest. Looking back we had a relatively breezy summer. I was ignorant to the fact that Month Four brings on a host of challenges - there's so much growth and change going on, but with it, we've also had some of our fussiest days, and longest nights. But dare I say we're starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel? We had a great sleep last night and the only reason I'm able to be here writing this right now is we're going on a two hour nap which has been unheard of since the second last week of September. 

From what I hear, sleep regression and irritability (in both mom and baby, ha!) is a very common symptom of all the new skills babies learn around the fourth month. And seriously, looking at how much June has changed over the past month puts that theory to the test. She's rolling from front to back & now back to front. We've seen her up on all fours in the crawling position. CRAWLING. And even though she can't crawl yet, she's creeping like crazy -  which I suspect is half the trouble we've experienced with sleeping; she creeps in her sleep and ends up hitting her head at the top of the crib. Of course this wakes her up and getting back to sleep on her own isn't something that nature teaches you in the first month.

But I do have to say, in the past week, we've seen just a whole heap of personality coming out of our beautiful little girl. She's smiles pretty much non-stop right now; she turns to find us in the room and just gives us the biggest gummy, lopsided smile that you've ever seen. And I haven't even done anything to earn it. She's just smiling, just because. And that makes me so happy inside, you have no idea. And the laughter - oh if there was a sound I could bottle up and take with me until I'm 95 it would be the sound of her first laugh. Which was at Cliff by the way, go figure! How is it that I turned myself into a human sized marionette trying to get her to laugh, and out of nowhere, over-thankgiving weekend, she decides that CLIFF is the worthy one of her most beautiful sound yet. I'll never forget that moment as long as I live.

So month four has been so full. So much trying of patience and running on fumes. But we've just gained so much, as if I didn't already think I had the world before. When we pick her up and she leans back in our arms so that she can get a look at Mike and I, and then she lets out the biggest smile you've ever seen, it's all we can do to keep the tears of happiness from popping. Life is beautiful folks. And it's beautiful because it's not perfect and it's messy and it's the moments while wearing sweatpants, without having showered, done your hair or brushed your teeth and sitting and playing on the floor with your baby who's just so happy to sit and stare and smile with you. 

Highlights: Four-month shots were a breeze, we lost more sleep in the first three weeks of October then we did in any other month combined, rolling in every direction, laughing, smiling and a fleeting moment of making it into the crawling position. 

Where we went: To visit my parent's for thanksgiving and Applefest, road trips down the 401 galore!

Biggest moments: Hearing her first laugh, Waking up with her in our bed and having her blow raspberries into the quiet dark at 5 am in the morning, Singing Disney songs in the car to keep from (further) melting down. 

four_months.jpg


Cake Sunday: Boterkoek

FareEmily KellyComment
boterkoek_dutch_buttercake.jpg

Besides gardening, baking is one of the things I am most excited to do with Juney. I think it's a great way to help her grow and develop, but mostly, what's more fun than baking with your mom? At least that's what I'm hoping she thinks anyway ;)  There are a million cakes to explore making, so I thought I would make Sunday our official cake day. This week's cake was actually made this past Thursday. It's a Dutch Buttercake (Boterkoek)  and growing up, it was one of my babysitter's staples. I describe it as a mixture between a big cookie and biscotti and it is perfect with tea in this Fall weather. 

Here's the recipe I used via Love Foodies

Ingredients

  • ½ cup or 150 g butter
  • 1 cup or 200 g regular sugar if you cannot get caster. (recipe suggests "superfine" but I used regular)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 ½ cups or 200 g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Handful of flaked almonds (optional)
  • You can swap 75 g / 1/2 cup of the flour amount for the same amount of ground almonds or desiccated (flaked coconut) This will also give a lovely flavour.

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F Grease and line your tin.
  2. Mix together butter, sugar and almond extract until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the beaten egg to the mixture but LEAVE a teaspoon or so in the bowl for glazing at the end. Combine egg with the mixture, and add the flour and baking powder. Combine until smooth.
  4. Place mixture in the baking tin and gently push evenly with your hands or back of a spoon. Get it level.
  5. Use a sharp knife and score the surface of the mix in a criss cross pattern, like the photo.
  6. Mix the teaspoon of egg with a teaspoon of water, and brush on top of the buttercake.
  7. Sprinkle with the flaked almonds, and bake for 25-30 minutes until just golden and test with a toothpick it comes out clean.

Happy Cake Sunday!