Sparrow in the Tree Top

find your song and sing it

Happy Father's Day!

HEARTEmily KellyComment
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Popping in quickly from a hot and wonderful weekend to wish my Dad and my baby daddy and my Father-in-law a wonderful Father's Day! We did Sunday just as Mike requested: sleeping in gratuitously, Bratwurst for lunch and fried chicken for dinner (I am SO full and feel disgusting but in Mike's words "Don't take this away from me. This is my day.")  In between we soaked up a bit of the sprinkler and sun in the backyard where Cliff and June competed for Mike's attention (the usual!) and I was just reminded of the fact that I love watching you be a dad. You are SO good and natural at what you do, I feel like I should be suspicious that you've done it before or something ;) I know everyone says this but Juney really is the most lucky of all the lucky ones. 

And to my own Dad, I have to say, you always have the right words! You have always had the extra energy, the special idea for a creative fix in a situation where a MacGyver is necessary. You have been patient through dramatic outbursts, shared one bathroom with four women for over 30 years (that alone deserves some kind of medal) and shared tears with us when we needed you to. We're so lucky to have you and your grandkids are so lucky to have you as their poppa!! Love you dad!!!

To my wonderful FIL, thank-you for your warm embrace and your stories. Your family looks up to you maybe more then you'll ever know... but saying it here for the record, you've been a pretty amazing example to four stand-out children who are doing some amazing things in this world, all because of the way you've led them! 

I also have to say, that this year is no doubt an especially hard father's day for my cousins and aunt. I miss my Uncle Dave every day. It hardly seems real that he's not here with us right now. But to them and anyone else missing their dad terribly, or even if you feel like you don't have that special relationship with your dad... sending buckets of love your way, and courage to face things like social media which are flooded with messages; I know it's not an easy place to be  on a day like today. Resting on all the love my Uncle has left us with. xoxo

New York, New York!

Emily KellyComment
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We've had an extremely action packed last couple weeks and this is me just getting around to putting something together on our trip to NY! I started a new job (!!) (more on that) and my computer completely crashed on me so it was touch and go there for awhile if I'd ever get back at this again but here we are!  

So rewind to early May when a light bulb went off and we found super affordable Porter flights to NYC! It all coincided perfectly with a conference Mike's mom was attending over the long weekend in May so we jumped at the chance! As it turned out, this was the last hurrah of mat leave so we turned it into our family "WE MADE IT" celebration to what has been our first year as parents! The best part was, June got to come with us! We had shaken off some of that travelling with a baby trepidation after our trip to South Carolina earlier in the Spring which showed because I spent about 1/3 of the time packing and we literally decided on a whim that we would go! 

On the day we travelled to NYC we literally took a car, and then a ferry, and then a plane, then a monorail, train and cab to get to our destination and when we got out at Penn Station I was worried that all the lights and sounds would be a bit overwhelming for our suburban chica but she was just mesmerized! Babies are much more resilient and adaptable then we give them credit for.  Also, how weird is it that kids in NY just travel on your lap in a cab? I feel like I've spent a cumulative 10 + hours worrying about carseat safety in the lead up to having a baby and throughout the past year as I use great care and calculation to make sure she's buckled up just right every time. And then in minutes it's all thrown out the window and she is literally clamouring towards the open window as we weave through Manhattan. Blows my mind. But yes. So much more convenient obviously then travelling with a car seat? (Is that even an option? I don't know.) 

We kept our itinerary short and sweet each day; few expectations, just kept a goal to enjoy "being" in the city as opposed to checking off a list of "must see/do." I think that helped because it's hard to know exactly how much you'll be able to cram in with an 11 month old. And really that was all we actually wanted from the trip. A change of pace and a little bit of adventure. My one stipulation was that we'd just spend one day walking around Central Park! We did that our first day there. It was a Sunday and the park was humming and it was perfect!! I took June on the carousel and she had absolutely no idea what was going on. Parenting fail # (are we in the hundreds at this point? likely...) I wonder how many times in my life I'll try to live vicariously through my kids and then wind up thinking...yea... that was more for me less for them! Anyway. If you were wondering, I loved it ;) I just kept going "wheeeeee" to June the whole time (again, not forced. that would be my pure joy.)

(One for my hubby!! ^^)

Our second day we (successfully) navigated the subway system (stroller and ALL... this city is NOT stroller friendly!) and ended up in Brooklyn! We had lunch at a cute little diner with the best potato latkes and eggs benny and June sat in the 1984 version of a lobster seat in the booth with us. After that we meandered around Brooklyn a bit, June napped in her stroller and I waited for a ridiculous amount of time for a Shake Shack shake. (worth it.) And then we walked back into manhatten over the bridge! Mike had his usual anxiety about being on a bridge so we didn't really linger but I did convince him to stop pedestrian traffic awkwardly for one family photo (!!) 

The best part of the trip came when we got off the bridge and June got out of her stroller and started dancing outside a circle of breakdancers. This girl. Ready to dance at a moment's notice. You say the word dance in an unrelated context and then look over at her and she's bobbing up and down. I just love that about her. The music's in there!! This memory of June dancing will be one I hold with me my WHOLE life. 

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All in all, an awesome trip. As wondering parents will want to know, we managed to get some good nights of sleep with Juney as well. The hotel we stayed at had a play pen and a high chair (not to mention a kitchenette which when travelling with a baby, a microwave, stove, and fridge are amazing luxuries!!) She really did sleep wonderfully with the exception of the last night when she woke up at 11 pm and wanted to have a dance party for a good hour and a half. In the moment I was crazy frustrated but looking back I hardly remember it. That would be my one word on travelling with a little. Few expectations and you'll forget the moments where you are tired and think it's more trouble then it was worth. All I remember at this point are the fun little pieces of being in such an awesome place.... the lost nap routines, the fewer hours of sleep, the hands on dirty cement; all of that happened, but you know what? That's not what comes to memory! 

This turned out way longer of a post then I anticipated! If you're still with me, thanks for reading! 

Some pictures!!

So much GREEN everywhere. It had just rained a bit that morning and all the green was jumping out at us! ^^^

DUMBO ^^^ - this is a thing, yes? I had to have it explained to me. (Down Under Brooklyn Bridge... or something? I really should have googled that before mentioning it here.)

And our last full day there we ventured to the village to the legendary Katz's Deli. That place is an assembly line!! But the pickles.... OH THE PICKLES. If and when pregnancy comes our way again I can only imagine the cravings I will have to seek out a Katz's Deli pickle. Man. So good. After that we made it to the World Trade Centre memorial which is absolutely beautiful. I didn't know what to expect and I was sincerely blown away by how well it was done and by how much emotion I felt when visiting. It' sombre but a beautiful and reflective space. 

SEE WHAT I MEAN? PICKLES.

Honestly just such a beautiful, poetic tribute. Was in awe looking into that pool and up at the new tower.

We went to Brookfield place after going up the tower looking for a bathroom (because we left the security checkpoint at the base of the tower without going first) and we ended up finding THE MOST delicious gelato. I had specculous flavour and it was amazing. June is becoming an ice cream monster. 

Because Mike's mom was with us, we amazingly got a few date nights in! We went to a Speak Easy bar twice and just talked and talked. A lot about June obviously (as you do), but also just about life in general. Which was good for my adult soul. And one night we went to El Parador for the MOST AMAZING Mexican food. (Emphasis on most amazing). The restaurant has been around and heralded by food critics forever and we wander in without a reservation, find a cozy spot by the wall and proceed to have the best Mole Sauce you've ever had. So delicious I want to go back there right now and have it! 

atmosphere at El Parador ^^^ <3

Starting a petition to bring Blow Outs to all moms on all the days of the week. Because access to a good hair day should be some sort of right ;)

Until next time NYC!! 

 

 

 

 

 

ONE

BabyEmily KellyComment
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Yesterday June turned one and this morning I'm crying over my coffee and diving into her birthday cake with a fork while she naps....  (Ok not quite but I'm sure you get what I mean.)

June is just the sweetest baby and I love being her mother. She's sweet like cotton candy is sweet. I can't believe I'm her mother. I have to pinch myself about how lucky I am. She's always been this little mover; fearless and brave and excited to try new things. She loves waving hello and good-bye to anyone and everyone. She points at all the dogs. She says "this this this" while pointing to a part of a picture on the front of a book she's carrying around with her. She loves books and story time, and when you snuggles into your lap with one, she'll wait until you get two pages in, then flip the cover close, analyze the title page again and then allow you to resume where you left off - as if to say, "Wait. What's this story again?" She is so friendly but when you meet her she'll give you this discerning look about her as if to say, "I'm sizing you up to see if this is worth it for me" and if you give her that wave and smile she's been waiting for, she'll just go crazy trying to talk to you. She's basically almost running at this point. She dances at the mere mention of a song or if you sing a few words. Baby girl has the music in her! She is a ham - a complete ham sandwich. Flinging herself about the room and then looking back at you with a goofy smile to let you know that these antics are for your enjoyment only. She's a good sleeper (with the exception of this week apparently because birthdays are very exciting don't you know) and a good eater and I think she's just happy to be here with us. Which is the part that most makes my heart soar; I feel like she's found her place and we've found our June. 

I wanted to share some of the photos Mike and I took of Juney the day before her birthday at the experimental farm here in Ottawa (it's the place we got our family photos done a few weeks ago and I'm just obsessed with their gardens!) We spent the day yesterday at an animal farm letting goats nibble at our fingers and pointing at Llamas. It's good we snapped these pictures when we did because the weather turned SO cool (this is weather roller coaster season I'm telling ya!) 

Happy First Birthday Baby Girl!

 

 

One Year Ago Today

BabyEmily KellyComment
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On this day one year ago I had pancakes for breakfast. It was 40 degrees outside and I stood in line for them for way too long. But I wanted pancakes. So we waited for our seats. And the woman behind us in line asked me "When are you due?" "Today!" I replied. "Get this woman a seat," she hollered at the non-existent front of house staff. We chuckled about it and 24 hours later I was holding my sweet baby June. 

I really can't believe where this year has gone. I know every parent says that, but the craziness of it has been sinking in the past few days. I've been going through photos and trying to organize an album of the past year and it's just like, "wait. that was in October?! How was that October? It seems like yesterday!?"

And so life goes. We get on the spinning wheel of "this is amazing, I never want to get off this ride!" And suddenly I'm looking at my walking baby turned toddler literally overnight. Except not overnight because it's been happening right before my eyes here in our four walls since we came home from the hospital almost a year ago.

I'm so grateful for this past year. I'm grateful for the labour and every moment that has followed. The hard ones, the happy ones, the ones that have tested me and made me grow. The ones that have made me such a different person then I was a year ago on this day. I had all the ideas about how life would change but it's seriously just sinking in now. What you can fit in a year! How much life can really do a 360. It's amazing and incredible and still quite frankly a bit terrifying. But in all the amazing ways that being a parent makes you terrified and happy beyond belief at the same time.

Anyway, I haven't been blogging much in the past few weeks because my computer completely crashed on me! But in reviewing some of Juney's milestones over the past year I was reading some old posts (and part of me is like marvelling how I had any energy to even blog about it because let's be honest, there was a period there from about october through january when I had a hard time following conversations - I was that tired) and I'm so glad that they're here! And it made me want to mark this date as well.

Under the Apple Trees!

FamilyEmily KellyComment
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A few weeks ago we met up with Jessica Hobin, a lovely photographer here in Ottawa for some Spring family photos! She took some pictures for us last Fall at her parent's farm in Almonte (which is GORGEOUS btw) and we were so happy with them we had to ask her if she would help us get some photos close to June's 1st Birthday and we also wanted  to take advantage of all the amazing blooms on the trees at the Ornamental Gardens before they disappeared! I love, love apple blossoms and it's so sad how they only stick around for a short period of time. But then again, maybe that's why they're so special. I do wait for them every year, I think probably because they remind me of the two trees we had in our front yard of the house I grew up in. It was always such a great sign to see and smell those blossoms because it usually meant the coldest of our Spring weather was behind us, and it was that beautiful rosy time when the anticipation of the end of the school year hung in the air. I love Spring!

We're in the middle of a heat warning now (what the what?! is this really May and are we still in Ottawa?!) but this was actually a really cold morning and so I had to modify her dress with a little sweater underneath. I literally bought this dress for her last summer and have been so excited to get her in it all year. (Except now I'm sad that she's so big so fast already. #momproblems). Anyway, they turned out awesome and I'm so happy to have family pictures!! We have tons of photos from our phones but it's rare to get a good one with the three of us in it! And I know I've said it once or twice before, but I now understand what my mom has been going on about all these years when she asks for just "one nice family photo" for her birthday every year. These pictures of June are just so priceless; I love how Jessica was able to capture her personality. She was so giddy to be running around under the trees so it's a miracle she got one let alone a bunch of her sitting quasi-still. I think Spring and early Summer is definitely going to be her season; I feel you baby girl. This time of year is pure joy!  

June's dress is from Wren and James. I fell in love with their instagram account all those hours we spent surfing and breast-feeding & I just had to have it. Instagram marketing at its best! ;)

Hello New York!!

TravelEmily KellyComment
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We're here visiting the Big Apple for a few days (do people still call it that?) and I'm falling in love with my daydream of living in this city again. It's amazing how quickly I feel like I could give up my country roads for a chance to live here. Yesterday as we were walking around I was describing our hypothetical life to Mike; "and this is where I could jog and we could walk cliff, and oh! We'd have to figure out where to buy our meat from and hopefully find an apartment with a rooftop so I could have some planters (priorities)" Of course there are a few obstacles to such a dream, namely, as I understand it, it's hard to just up and move to 'merica ... Maybe we could find someone wanting to leave trumpdom and swap places? ;) I think it's because I feel like this city taps into all my lonely places.I like the idea that there are always people around to talk to; that if you decide, you can go for a walk late at night and there's cabs whizzing by reminding you aren't the only one awake. I like that little market stands are open late into the night and you can do unconventional things like pick up some fresh produce at 2 am on your way home from drinks with friends. And I like the idea that your apartment has been lived in by so many different people before you. And that there's never enough time to see and do all the things that are going on in the city. It just seems like there are endless possibilities here. I know there are anywhere, but here I really feel it. I can see why so many New Yorkers are people like us who have fallen in love with the city and they just find some way to make locating here work. Of course I say all of this but I still want to have chickens and a long driveway lined with apple trees and apparently that's all hard to do in the City. Sigh - how many different little choose your own adventures have I written for us? For now, do all the travelling and seeing of things when we have he chance!

Yesterday we spent the day walking around Central Park trying not to look like tourists - which is hard when you just wanna take a picture all the time (I'm still trying to stick to my goal of not always having my phone; it's a ridiculously hard one to keep when you get to spend Sunday in Central Park). June fell asleep as we were trucking her stroller through "the ramble" (this vortex of uneven pathways with a bunch of sets of stairs in the middle of the park) which we walked into haphazardly but I think the bumps lulled her to sleep, which was good because our discount airline tickets meant we actually took every mode of transportation to get here from Ontario (car-boat-plane-mono rail-train- cab) and she was pretty worn out. I took her on the carousel in the park and she tried her best to enjoy it but I think she was a bit young for it still ... (I thought she would like the music but it turns out the giant wooden horses are maybe a hard concept to understand if you are less than a year old. Fair enough.) After that we had Shake Shack for lunch and the burger definitely lived up to the hype! So perfectly juicy and sized. Love a petite burger that scratches the itch but doesn't make you feel like you become the burger at the same time ;) 

Mike and I ended the day at a speak easy on a little date and it was so great to talk and spend some time enjoying each other's company. All in all, soaking up all the city has to offer! We love you New York! 

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Riding in a cab without a car seat; so strange. June was just mesmerized by all the lights and sounds when we got out of Penn Station.  

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Hands constantly in the mouth at the moment. So interested in teeth!! 

Hands constantly in the mouth at the moment. So interested in teeth!! 

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In our garden

Emily KellyComment
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I spent the majority of yesterday cramming an entire long-weekend worth of gardening into one day & now my arms and back are screaming at me! I forgot how much of a "workout" gardening is. No need for a gym when you are hand tilling a 20 x 50 plot of land!  

June is a riot at the plot; it takes about 5 seconds for her to put dirt in her mouth. I'm just wondering when she's gonna figure out that it doesn't taste good and stops doing it 😳 I have stopped freaking out about it since there's quite literally no stopping her. I hope she grows up to love being outside and getting her hands dirty and sweating under her hat in the sun. This is such a good age - they are all really good, but the last couple months have been so fun with her. I'm in love with the fact that we can do stuff together now and explore together!  

So now that the work is out of the way (except it's really not work if you love it, amirite?!) there's just one glorious long weekend stretching out in front of us! I hope you have plans for sunshine and staying still enjoying those rays with the ones you love! 

Hot and Cold

HEARTEmily KellyComment
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Talk about weather roller coaster. Last week we hit almost 30 degrees here in Ottawa and last night was the second night in a row I had to cover my flowers due to a widespread frost warning! Luckily I don't have too many plants out yet that need to be protected and I was reminded why it's important to keep the urge to plant ALL THE THINGS until we actually know that the risk of frost is gone (which let's be honest, we live in Canada. Does that risk ever really go away. HA!) Last weekend we decided to get out for a walk and it was chilly! One of those times I wish I wore socks. Which isn't often because I am barefoot (in our house) for about 80% of the year. 

So we've been doing a lot of gardening and planning the garden and that's super fun. And I've been putting my head into plans for June's birthday party which is SUPER fast approaching (i mean. HOW has it been almost YEAR already!?)  I feel like it's taken me the better part of a year to get my bearings as a Mother (capital M); I'm less nervous about stuff in general, less concerned about "routines" and just generally so excited to be raising a little girl. I mean, I truly feel so lucky every day. Obviously there are the bad days where I'm frustrated and feeling overwhelmed, but were nearly one year in and I do have to say, being a parent is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Really and truly. I want to fill our house with a million Juneys because she is so amazing. Maybe not a million but lets just say I've gotten over the fear of "how is it possible to have more then one." (Hint: it involves lowering your standards... see yogurt face below VV ;) )

Which brings me to another topic: what next?! (and NO. This is not a baby announcement! Although I admit in reading this back over I've set this up rather suspiciously!).  I haven't written about it at all yet because I'm so hesitant to put to words how I feel about life after "baby." Mostly I'm still just so up in the air on the issue; some days I think life after baby looks a lot like it does today - us together, staying home, doing stuff. Mike and I have talked many many hours over many moons about what's the best decision for our family. Do I continue to stay home for a few years? What about more kids? How do we do it financially? My heart says so much: stay home and enjoy this time! My brain says: don't lose your career entirely. I feel like that is the dilemma of our lives as mothers. How do we do both? Can we be both? Can I be all things to every person? A mom who works, plans birthday parties, doesn't miss out on the important milestones etc etc. I am so vehemently opposed to running myself into the ground by the time I'm 40. I don't think it's sustainable for our society to expect mothers to be all these things and I think it makes bad mothers and wives and friends of us to be completely ragged and stretched in 50 different directions. At the same time; I LIKE work. I like the idea of holding onto my career. I like having adult interaction and putting my brain to uses I don't always tap into when I'm at home. It just doesn't seem fair that we have to choose. But being a parent means making selfless decisions. So I'm working out how to balance those decisions right now, for Juney's best interest,  and quite literally I am hot on it one day, cold the next. So that's where my head's been at the past couple days. I'm gardening and following around my toddling 11-month old around and contemplating all the big decisions that need to be made. But I've got faith that things will work out just as they should. And I can't wait to see what all these next steps bring!

Before 8

BabyEmily KellyComment
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Good morning and happy friday! June is an early riser and is usually ready to start her day at 6:00 am on the dot (but let's be honest most times it's earlier!), so we've gotten preeeety good at "loving" getting up early. And in all honesty, it's the battle I fight before getting out of bed that's hardest; once I'm out and at it, I find it hard to begrudge those sweet hours before 8. She's such a ball of life + energy first thing in the morning too which never gets old to watch. I have to laugh at how only a year ago I stumbled to catch my bus in the morning and now before 8 we've already had breakfast, & watched Put Down the Duckie 15 times in a row (completely obsessed right now and whatever keeps her still for two minutes = fine. by. me!!) and played for two hours. This morning we still had a hang-over of hot air from that beautiful day yesterday and the open windows and front door made me remember why I love this house and season so much!

Anyway. I just wanted to write this down. These pictures aren't extraordinary or anything but I know I'll be sleeping in again at some point but right now these mornings are just such a space in time and I'm all of a sudden mama to an  11-month old who's growing up way too quickly. 

Have a lovely weekend everyone!! 

 

 

Garden Week One

GardenEmily KellyComment
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As of last Saturday, it's officially opening season in our garden which I have affectionally been referring to as our "Plot" - I would call it borrowed land but it's rented... and it's rather larger than I anticipated..(distinctively not a garden by the terms I've been used to)... so plot it is. 

The plot is 20 X 50 feet and it is MUCH larger in person then I pictured in my mind. This morning while I was scrambling to get the swiss chard, kale and onions planted, a neighbour gardener from a couple plots down stopped while passing and said "That's going to be a lot of work."

Well yes my neighbour friend, yes it is going to be a lot of work. (I scoped out the area she was working on and it's a half portion plot). And if I'm being completely honest, I'm slightly nervous I've bit off more then I can chew (which by the way was a total accident... I didn't realize there were two sizes of allotments and somehow signed us up for a full length.....) but I won't let you know that I'm intimidated... too much pride being sown in with these packages of seeds. Which brings me to the next of my "first observations" of gardening: is it just me, or is there an element of competition in the air? I shouldn't be surprised; weren't state fairs built around the concept of plotting (PUN INTENDED) vegetables against one another? Shiniest tomato, largest pumpkin, and so on and so forth.

Challenge accepted.  

But since this is the internet and we can freely say what's on our mind, I'll let you know that when I got there on opening day, I felt like a bit of rookie standing there with way more land then I looked like I knew what to do with... but then I gave myself a pep talk because I DO know what to do with it. It's just going to be a lot more produce than I anticipated. In fact, I'm kind of excited to make a point of showing how much food can come out of one small space.

Second preliminary observation of the season: I'm a bit of a speeder. I tend to drive aggressively, which I don't consider a bad thing, but I mean it's definitely an element of my personality I could tend to work on. I think it comes down to the fact that I'm always in a rush: rushing to the gym, rushing home; rushing to get groceries, rushing to get back before the baby falls asleep in the car seat and completely kiboshes her nap. Since last Saturday, I've been out to the garden a total of four times and each time I leave the plot, I'm completely in no rush (which is weird because nothing has changed and I still can't wait to get home to see June). I've even found myself holding up a line of traffic going BELOW the speed limit. WHAT the WHAT. Anyway. Is this the start of something beautiful? Should I see my hypothesis to some academic horticulture behavioral hybrid study? I'm pretty sure I'm just realizing something experts and veteran gardeners have already been aware of for decades: gardening is good for the soul. 

If you are interested in following along on Facebook, I've created a page for updates and logs and I'd love for you to join me! 

 

Food, Soil, Cuteness... Repeat

FamilyEmily KellyComment
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I woke up this morning I'm SURE, five pounds heavier than I was on Friday morning. I'm almost embarrassed to admit the extravaganza of food that this past weekend was. But in the interest of full disclosure I will let you know that we had not one, not two, but three buffet meals due to a perfect storm of celebrations (so justified, right!?). We were away last weekend unexpectedly visiting family and so both our friend's birthday and Mike's brother's birthday were rescheduled for Friday and Saturday night and they both just happened to be organized at the SAME buffet restaurant. And then weeks ago Mike's dad had booked a family brunch buffet together for mother's day (different restaurant but still; buffet). I'm so grateful for food, but this definitely classifies as first world problems. Also though, look at how happy that mother's day cupcake from Second Avenue Sweets made me. Pure sugary delight! Apparently not turned off of food entirely ;)

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June was just the sweetest little baby on Mother's Day morning and ended up having a two hour nap. I took a long uninterrupted shower and it was glorious. But here's the thing - I apparently don't know how to manage luxury time and I work much better under pressure (but this we've always know - procrastinator to the umpteenth degree!) because I completely had a shower but forgot to wash my hair. If that doesn't say mother-life, I don't know really what does. My mind was wandering about 15 different places and I distinctly remember conditioning, however the shampoo was less front and centre. At any rate, all was not lost.... though looking back at these photos I'm feeling the grease.... (Ok more first world problems. This post just went down hill quickly.)

We spent the rest of the day weekend that wasn't eating, playing and visiting (we got some of the cutest pics of June and her cousins after lunch! They are totally starting to enter an age when they can actually play together and it's just making my heart soar to watch them interact these days!) and then, and THEN, I got to go to my garden plot and I laid out a few of my vegetable grids! I'm hoping to get the potatoes in this week. Saturday was an absolutely gorgeous day, but yesterday ended up being so chilly so my hands were freezing by the time I was done but I felt this huge sense of "I DID something today." Not that I don't do things every day, but it's different when it's stuff like "loaded the dishwasher/helped the baby eat lunch/swiffed up dog hair." Getting my garden started is making me feel all kinds of reinvigorated and excited and just full of energy. Hoping to share a few pics from the plot later on this week. Brace yourself for pictures of soil my friends!! In the meantime, mother's day shenanigans! 

Mike's Mother's Day card was killing me (in a good way!). Pretty sure I bought those thank-you's for our groomsmen.... But that baby carriage sticker was all his doing (and quite on point if I do say so!) and the words inside were just the sweetest. Better than the cupcake even <3

Also the makeshift greenhouse on my kitchen table continues. We are now down to dining in one small corner on the end. I'm hoping we start to get some consistently warmer weather and I can move them outside!

My loves!! Have I said it enough? How lucky I feel to have these two? How amazing it is to be a mom? I don't take it for a granted; not for a day. My life just feels so full right now.

Nothing like a little baby-led weaning when you have your Sunday best on!! ;)

Cousins!! Like I said, just the cutest thing to see them playing together. That door with glass windows was the best thing that happened to them all day I'm pretty sure. But don't ask them to all stand still for a picture!! ;) 

Hope you all had a great weekend with the ones you love!! xoxo

Happy Mother's Day

HEARTEmily KellyComment
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If I'm going to be completely honest and transparent, I've spent the majority of the past year in actual awe of all the mothers that have come before me. I mean, I've always wanted so much to be a mother. And I "knew" it would be hard - but.... I didn't know how hard this past first year would be: Sleep deprivation, peeing with a baby on my back when she went through that crazy 4 month period of not wanting to be put down, sleep deprivation, questioning all my decisions, questioning whether or not I want other people's input.... sleep deprivation... the list goes on. All this to say, nobody ever said becoming a mom would be easy, but I don't think I was prepared for the actual magnitude of that statement. And so, in my moments of weakness, I kid you not, I was reminded so often that motherhood is this incredible, beautiful amazing thing; but it's doable! I know it is because my mom did it! She gave me the inspiration to make it through the hard days. She reassured me that it doesn't have to always be perfect, because with us it wasn't always perfect, but it was ours. And we're here and we lived to tell the story. And it's because of her that I know how to love which is the really important part right? I mean, what a gift she gave me. So who cares if we didn't eat organic food, or if we stayed up late sometimes, or watched TV,.... those worries as a mom all seem consequential looking back at my own childhood.

And then I also think of friends with young kids so close in age and they're doing it! Or Mike's mom who had four kids close in age and a demanding career and they did it!  And I'm just SO inspired by all the love and sacrifice that's around me every day. All because we know how amazing and incredible it is to have the opportunity to raise these kids. To be to someone else what our mother was to us. 

I think reflecting on being a mom is going to be one of my things (I mean... obviously) and last night I wrote a letter to June on my first mother's day. I think it's something I'm going to try to keep up as the years go by. Because this is such an amazing moment in time! 

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms in my life - I hope you get some time (hahahahahaha - time?! As I write this June has been trying to grab at the keyboard about every three minutes. Mike's doing his best to keep her back but doesn't it always go that what Ma Ma Ma is doing is THE most interesting. I'm flattered ;) ) to think about this journey that we're on. And to my own mom, to my sisters and my cousins, to my oldest dearest friends and to my new mommy friends; I'm so lucky to have you all! 

 

Mother's Day, Year 1

HEARTEmily KellyComment

Dear June,

Technically this is my second mother's day, but you know, this time around I actually get to kiss your beautiful face. I'm sitting here on a quiet night in early May. It's raining outside and the windows are open and it's one of my favourite types of nights. I was thinking the other day how much I love Spring now that you're here (Summer used to be my favourite season but now I'm torn!). I love the fact that you were born in the Spring after a season of waiting and anticipation; At this time last year my skin was stretched to the limit and I was waiting for my first glimpse of you. And now I love Spring because it's making our world new again, there are beautiful things that catch your attention everywhere - a piece of bark, grass, gravel on the sidewalk.... today you put a piece of dirt in your mouth and when I told you to spit it out you wrinkled your nose up at me and smiled. You are like that often; so confident in yourself and your decisions and ready to experience everything the world has to offer. 

I can't believe we've had you here on this earth for almost one whole year! Motherhood does something funny to time; it's a blur of furious activity and yet I can recount every single moment because as they've happened I've banked it and put it in a special file in my brain marked: memories I want to hold onto forever. It's corny but true and I also know that as the years go by, new memories are going to push them further into my memory and that makes me sad! I just spent the evening going through the embarrassing amount of photos we've taken of you since you were born because I'd like to make an album before your 1st birthday. I think the truth is I've been putting it off because looking at how quickly the year has gone by in photos is a bit bitter sweet and hard to swallow. I'm so happy you're growing and healthy and strong but this baby phase has really gone by so quickly. It would probably be weird if I put one of your baby onsies in a ziplock so I could save your smell... but then again that's the sort of thing I'd probably pay to relive one day when you're older so to hell with normal social conventions! 

June I can't tell you how lucky I am to have you. You've made me a mother. Do you know what sort of a gift that is to someone? There have been many hard, trying, exhausting days this year my baby girl and I'd be lying if I didn't say it was true. Becoming a mother is hard and an adjustment! But really the truth is you'll learn there are times when the English language is horribly insufficient. Feelings are inside your heart my sweet Juney, and when your head tries to explain them to people, they get dulled down a bit. One day if you ever try to describe a sunset or a really beautiful painting you might know what I mean; but I hope you know one day if you read this, you are more than words to me. And there will never be anything quite like my love for you ever again in this world. It's our special thing and I'm so happy to be your mother. I love the moments of extreme peace I feel when I get to hold you and rock you to sleep. When I get to see your beautiful smile first thing in the morning, when I get to just stop all the busy stuff and lay on the floor and have you climb all over me. I love being your mom. You are my blessing. And I'm so grateful I've been given the privilege of being your mother. 

xoxo

 

May Goals

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I was tagged on Instagram to do a post on May goals and it reminded me that I've started and never got around to actually making monthly goals since January (thank-you internet for that reminder...) but I've had the world "intentional" stuck in my head the past few days so maybe this month the timing is right?

I'm obviously a fan of social media and being able to stay in touch with people (sometimes this first year feels kind of isolating so it's great to be able to reach out to friends and family and the good people of the internet!) but at the same time, I feel this huge incredible need to actually stop and think a bit more. I'm so reactive all day every day, that time seems to just fly by. So I've been trying to put the phone down, to detach myself from the busy tasks that eat up a day and to make an effort to just "be" so I can free up some time to do things that I constantly want to do, but seemingly never make time for because I'm distracted by one thing or another (aka, scrolling one's news feed)

So MAY, here we come for you!

1. Welcome Patio Season: I want to dust off our outdoor furniture and get out patio ready for the season and if I don't write it down, it's not going to happen until about 15 minutes before we have company planned to come over ;) We have so much fun stuff around the house that I'm sure I can transform that space a bit a la Pinterest, and the thing is, it's an excellent naptime activity because it's outside so perfect for those days when I feel like the slightest little rustle of paper in the house is going to lead to baby-bright eyes ;)

2. Photo Albums: I started tackling this one yesterday. I'm DETERMINED to print out some of the thousands of photos of life since we were married for our photo albums. It would be such a shame to not have them printed off one day. All those silly shots that don't justify framing but are so great for our eyes only because they're our moment in time.

3. Go Outside Everyday: this is nothing new - I really try to make an effort of this every month but writing it down all the same!

4. Plant a Garden: The official season starts this Saturday and I'm SO excited.

5. Use our compost bucket: we got out of this habit and I feel incredibly guilty throwing out all of our food scraps knowing they're just going to a landfill. 

6. Save our coffee grounds: Did you know how great coffee grounds are for gardens? I didn't! But in keeping with #5, it makes so much sense to set these aside now that we have a literal piece of land to work them into!

7. Take Cloth Bags for Grocery Shopping: This one embarrasses me. It actually makes me uncomfortable to admit to you how often I forget our cloth bags. 

8. Learn how to plant potatoes: I got my seed potatoes in the mail and I can get them in the ground as early as next week.... so I really need to look up some "how to" and best advice for planting. 

9. Birthday Celebrations: Baby June turns 1 early next month (OH MY WORD HOW) and I'd like to plan a birthday party for family, take some 1 year photos towards the end of the month and finish her baby book! 

10. Be intentional: I'm so tired of scrolling news feeds. I'm going to try to detach a bit; drop the phone, read a book, garden; do things that make me feel alive!

And that's my list for MAY. What do you have on mind for this month?

 

May Starts + A Little Video

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I seemed to have forgotten that there are only 30 days in April. And all of a sudden it was May. At the risk of sounding super cheesy, I like the possibility that May holds. It's time to plant. It's time to watch stuff grow. It's June's last month of her first year and we're going to plan a birthday party. We're looking at some holidays and planning out the summer. It feels like a good month to regroup and reprioritize. 

We spent the past five days on the road with June & visiting family while attending my Uncle's funeral. It was a pretty tough week, but having June with us throughout gave us unexpected sunny moments. There is nothing, nothing like the joy I get from watching her face be pleased with herself and she has just taken off in the walking department. She just wanted so badly to keep up with her cousins and to show off for everyone! And she gives these amazing smiles when you go to get her out of her carseat, like "Oh! You're here to retrieve me!! Hi again!"  More so ever then before I'm feeling like "this is our family unit. We're here as a family." And I love that. It's now us against the world. 

And also this cute video I snapped of Cliff and June learning how to share together. I was honestly worried about how they would get along (and let's be honest Cliff is still pretty jealous of the attention June gets) but he's such a gentle giant with her (and all of us really); I'm still super careful to constantly supervise whenever they're in the room together (and I don't leave them alone together either) but it's nearly impossible to stop them from playing like this ^^ they will pass a toy back and forth to each other for the entire morning if I let them. I'm hoping it's the beginning of a life long love of animals for Juney and a life long love of Juney for Cliff <3

Happy Monday and Happy May everyone!!

In Memory

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Families are a beautiful, messy creation aren't they? Sometimes you can't picture life without them, and then other times you find yourself taking a trip across the ocean just to get away from them. Of course, the minute you meet someone in your travels, your stories circle back to where you come from: of the crazy things you have done with your sister or brother, of the trips you have taken with your mom and dad.... of the summers you spent running around the fields behind your cousin's house; about the time you had to be on the end of the chain of hands linked together conducting a current from the electric cattle fence. Ours is no different; held together by stories and ties so strong that my cousin and I have often shared similar dreams. Not the kind of dreams of "we-both-want-to-grow-up-to-be-doctors" type dreams (though we did), but actual non-lucid dreams, wayyyy past REM type dreams. 

A few years ago my cousin (one of my dad's brother's daughters) won a contest for "best smile" on her local radio station (and truly, I can attest, she does have the best smile).  We've always been more like best friends then cousins and I was SO excited when she took me as her "plus one" to Orlando Florida for the prize winning trip in which we were to compete in the Guinness Book of World Records smile competition for most people smiling in one place at one time. While we were there we both woke one morning on the "proverbial" wrong side of the bed. After tip-toeing around each other one of us confessed "I'm sorry I'm so grouchy; I had a bad dream about my dad last night." To which the other replied "no way. I had a bad dream about my dad too." That was in 2010. In 2013 my dad suffered a massive heart-attack and double-bi-pass surgery. A year later my Uncle Dave was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. Last night after two years of treatments and trying every avenue under the sun, Uncle Dave joined my Grandma and Grandpa and one of his older brothers in heaven.

I feel compelled to sit here and write today because my heart is broken. I ache for more time with our complete family together - to have it the way it once was, to relive all of our gatherings all over again. And because I need people to know what my uncle lived: life is best in the moments that strike you as ordinary; the sharing of a glass of wine, of catching up on a couch in a sun porch, a good steak dinner, a sing along at fake Christmastime in November because that's when we could get everyone together in the spirit of holiday. To him, family was everything and to his family, he was a pillar and a rock. I'm swept in my own grief which I know is only a portion of what my cousins and my aunt are staring down today. 

When we were 11, maybe 12, my cousin and I lay in bed together as we so often did when we got the chance to visit each other on March break or summer holidays, talking and chatting and sharing life stories. I remember saying to her, "Keelan, I think we can only feel real joy when there's pain in the world." I'm not sure if that was something I thought up on my own, or if I heard it somewhere, but all these years later, it has stuck with me. Something I've admittedly had a hard time buying into - but nevertheless it doesn't make it any less true: When life is very very joyful, it makes the pain of loss that much more unbearable. But we only get the joy because we've felt that pain; because we've had to let go of someone we love. 

I have to tell you what kind of man my Uncle was. 

When I was just finishing University I was living with my Cousin in Waterloo and working in a town about half-an-hour away, commuting in an awful K-car that should have been taken off the road years beforehand. The amount of times that my uncle came and rescued me off of a curb that summer are embarrassing to admit to. Showing up with coolant in one hand he took my keys off me and climbed into the tiny car and drove it with me following in his car to the nearest Canadian Tire to have the head gasket patched for ... the fourth, fifth time. Uncle Dave was tall and he looked ridiculous driving that thing but he dropped what he was doing to rescue me - and so many other people in his life so many times over. Because people were the most important to him. People, and then animals, and then much much later: material stuff. Need a garden planted for your back-yard wedding? Yep he and my aunt will be there. Your dad's in the hospital after having a heart attack? Guess who's first to show up and take you out to dinner to ease your worried minds? Uncle Dave and Aunt Muggs. There are too many examples to point to. The take-away here folks is that as Ernest Hemingway said best, we all perish, but it's how we live that separates us from one another. 

He was the life of the party which I'm happy to say, lives on in my cousins. As little kids, all of us cousins would pile into one bedroom with our sleeping bags, resting our heads on our pillows as we lay on the floor above the kitchen below. Do you know how happily we would drift off to sleep listening to the ruckus of our parent's laughter rising up through the floor boards?  As we got older and became adults ourselves, so many gatherings starting on a Friday night when the convoy of my cousins and aunt and uncle arrives on your doorstep, to the Sunday morning when, holding your head, you stand in the driveway and wave good-bye to their car beeping as it leaves town again.

One time our families were "making merry" and my Uncle and I decided to put some of those President's Choice hors d'oeuvres in the oven for a bit of a midnight snack for everyone. (Do you know the ones I'm talking about?) What we didn't realize at the time was that the oven was already on and in our hastiness, we turned it OFF. Of course the group of us forgot the snack anyway as the evening surged on, but when we were cleaning up in the morning, my uncle comes running out of my sister's kitchen with the tray of melted and gooey appetizers in hand laughing and giggling at our failed attempt the night before. Honestly to share a party with my Uncle Dave was a treasured experience because he truly embraced your company and loved you for the time you were spending together.

On Monday night my husband was shushing me as he read a text on his phone, and he spontaneously broke out into a daffy duck impression to quiet me down.

"That's weird," I said to him. "I've never heard you make a Daffy Duck impression before!"

"I know," he said. "I don't think I ever have!"

It took me aback because my Uncle did the best Daffy Duck. 

One summer when my cousins and Aunt and Uncle were visiting we were all startled from our positions in the house by a loud "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH." Coming from the back yard. We rushed outside to see Uncle Dave walking away from our pool with an empty jug of chlorine in hand. 

"What?" He said to us. "I just shocked the pool." Dad jokes abound.

These are some of the memories of my Uncle - the man who cleaned up my vomit from the back seat of his Astro Van when my motion sickness got the better of me, the man who reamed my cousin and I out for our "Cosmo" Magazines when we were much to young to be reading them, who cared about our eternal salvation and about our earthly well-being. Make you happy, make you rich in love; that's what my uncle set out to do and everyone around him knows this to be true. 

There is no doubt in my mind that my uncle is in heaven right now. Most likely joined by his beloved Irish setter Paddy, and his spaniels Riley and Finnegan. He has found God's grand piano, and he's playing the most beautiful piece of music that he wrote for all of us. And the next time we gather and laugh really hard, we'll be able to hear it. This isn't something I'm comforting myself by saying; this is my belief. And I know he felt it too. It's a scary process this life, but my Uncle lived by an example of Faith and has left so many people around him in awe of his courageous ability to put his Trust in things that are not of this world, in the one who breathes life into us.

Friends, if you put your kids to bed early every night and you shy away from staying over at your sibling's house for fear of wrecking your "routine" please don't: Please pack their pyjamas and stay up late and let your kids be together. Let them be silly and goofy and awake until midnight. Take turns going back into the room and give fake "warnings": "I said it's time to SLEEP." And then go back and join the other adults and know these are the nights they will cling to when they're older. If you used to visit with your brothers and sisters but you just don't have time any more, please reconsider. If there's distance, if you've got your own priorities, if it "seems like" money's too tight to make a trip to visit, just remember, the "good old days" are now. They are today, they were this past weekend. They can be this weekend, too. But don't stop and wait for that gathering one day- get together here and now, put your phone down, and visit and be present with one another. 

So hold a Christmas in November with your extended family, show up at your brother-in-law's house with a steak dinner in a cooler and ask to use the BBQ. Look your nieces and nephews in the eye and ask them how they're doing. Give humongous bear hugs when you say hello and when you leave someone's house, for crying out loud honk your horn and wave like that's the last time you'll ever see them. Life is busy and complicated but my Uncle showed us how families are made; not even necessarily by blood, but by the ties that you bind together, moment by moment, memory over memory. 

Life Lately

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Hello and welcome to my germ infested, messy, teething corner of the world. In today's episode, let's get up at 5 am and try to make it through the day! ;) We've been having just a grand old time over here; I think it started on Friday at about 7 pm when we got the call for a recalled, Hep. A infected package of Very Cherry Berry Blend from Costco (you know, the one I ate almost entirely on my own, with the exception of a smoothie or two for mike and a few strawberries for June.) I'm pretty sure we're in the clear since we finished the bag in the middle of February, but there's nothing like a food recall to plant some sort of worry in the back of your mind. The frustrating thing about food recalls and scares about contamination are they make you feel so powerless. Like, how do you every really know if something is safe? You're buying it (and it was organic too!) and hoping and trusting the source, but obviously situations like this are going to happen when food is produced on such a huge scale. It just goes to show you and reinforce how awesome it is to plant, grow and cook your own food.

And from there, the weekend spiralled more or less; June is getting two more teeth, making that a total of 8 teeth in 10 months. I consider that to be a lot (just me?!) and basically an inhumane amount to put on a little one. I guess at this rate we'll have them all done and over with soon enough, but seriously, in the meantime let's talk about coping strategies for both her and I please because baby girl is taking it out on me, which I guess from her perspective that probably makes sense, I just wish we could press a fast-forward button and skip through the painful parts of growing up. But I'm writing that and knowing it's ludicrous; of course growing is going to hurt. Of course there is going to be pain and messiness. Somedays I'm so aware that raising a baby is is one huge metaphor for the larger lessons in life like "you have to suffer through the painful moments to make the joyful ones count." Doesn't make it any easier at the time, but I'm sure you get where I'm coming from.

So, in addition, I'm fighting off a second sinus infection (the second in 3 months!) which to be honest I'm used to at this point I've had so many in my life (WHY?!) but when they happen in succession like this, it makes me feel like I'm never going to be sprightly and light on my toes ever again. I'm not trying to sound like a whiner, it's just a pattern I wish I could really break. (Also, I'll be rocking June to sleep (which because of the teething, is a lot easier then it sounds) and have to let out a massive series of sneezes. And I'm looking around wanting to use my best "THE BABY IS ALMOST ASLEEP" mother-stare on someone, but it's just me, only me.) We're trying to make the best of things, taking quick walks to the park and exploring the grass and sticks (and also random pieces of garbage that for some reason, my baby makes a bee-line towards ... please don't litter! ;) ) And since we were up with the birds this morning, we popped out for an extra early breakfast, as you do. Mike has also been cooking up a storm, on his own quest to eat better. Since he's been feeling better the past couple weeks he started a new gym routine and has been making us some delicious home-cooked meals. If I've said it once before, I'll say it again, how amazing is it to have a man who loves to cook?! We <3 you Mike!

I'm also trying to put together my first home party with Younique which is exciting for me!! (Pictured above, selfie with my favourite lip colour right now, BSI (before sinus infection) ;) And I've been finding some happy "well get through this week" moments with planning my garden. I drove by my plot the other day and it was a grey day but I'm seeing so many beautiful summer evenings plodding away between our rows of veggies. Ain't no Hep. A outbreak gonna start on my turf! ;)

This week we're taking it one day at a time until my nose is better and until those teeth pop through! I hope you all are less 

By the Sea!

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We got back from South Carolina at the end of last week and I've been sifting through all the photos and video Mike and I took collectively of our trip since. I think I went a little overboard in the name of "this is our first vacation together as a family." This is the dilemma of modern day parenting, am I right? So many digital files to save properly... and to remember that we'll probably regret it big time if we don't print them out and have memories saved in albums as well! So I've been methodically picking and choosing and trying to get our digital life in order... which is easier said then done at this point. But when I was making this video I re-watched the ones I had made of family gatherings last Fall and June is SO little. And I am so grateful I made them! 

As luck would have it, we picked an excellent time to travel down South. The whole week we were away, the weather turned absolutely miserable in Ontario - as in 15 cm of snow in one day type of miserable. And if you live in this part of the world, you'll understand what I mean when I say that the last few weeks of relentless "Spring is never coming" type of weather, can actually be the hardest of the winter. Mother nature really makes us work for it. So yes. It helped immensely to slip away into the land of ACTUAL Spring for a few days, even if we did come home to SNOW :|

We were staying with Mike's parent's who rented out a place in Surfside which is down the beach from Myrtle. Surfside is a gorgeous place to stay! It's a collection of beautiful beach houses - and from what I understand, the off-season is a great time to go in terms of rates and also weather that isn't scorching and doesn't make you melt. And who are we kidding, for us Ontarians, "off-season" was PLENTY warm (Side note: When you travel somewhere relatively warm, there is no "off-season" when you come from in Ottawa). It was us + the surfers who were brave enough to wade into the water because in our minds it was balmy. 

The beach in this area is just gorgeous. Honestly I don't know what I expected but I didn't think I'd fall in love with Myrtle Beach. But there you have it; the Sea is just as inviting as all the poets and great writers have said it is. We took a walk every morning with June in the backpack and she fell asleep so fast each time. It was pretty special because we haven't had "naps" like that in a long time and it also reminded me how great it is to carry your baby around :)

There are really too many highlights to pick just a few. But if I had to, I'd say I fell in love with seeing June look out the plane window (the travel part was really not as bad as I thought it would be by the way!), seeing her pick up the sand in her fingers, and just spending time with Mike and his parents was really so special. I love seeing them with June and it's great to just sit around and spend time talking and visiting with them. I seriously won the in-law lottery (And I'm not just saying that because I know they read this ;) 

OH. and the giant crab I found. That was pretty amazing too. He was all washed up on the shore so a lady from New Jersey and I helped him back into the sea! I'd like to think he wasn't caught by a local fisherman and made someone's dinner (though I don't dispute just how DELICIOUS.) 

All in all, so many great "first vacation memories" that we'll have to tell June about some day. I keep hearing her someday little voice asking me "about the first time she flew on an airplane." 

It's a lot of work to take a "vacation" with a baby - in fact, let's be honest, it's not really something you come home "refreshed" from - well you are happy for the change of pace and scenery so renewed in that sense, but refreshed as in not tired, no. BUT looking at our pictures and putting this video together reminded me that being tired is fleeting and that it's so worth it to put the time in together. We're not going to remember the fact that we stepped out of rhythm for her nap or bedtime schedule for a few days, or that she was cranky on the airplane on the way home, but we will remember the stuff in-between; the toes in the ocean, the conversations and the sound of the waves at night. I got home and I could still feel the pull of the surf on my feet. 

Anyway, I just wanted to say that - that sometimes being a mom with little sleep is grating, but that's really just a blip in the storyline of us (more for my own sense of recall the next time I resist change or breaking from routine!)

I hope everyone has a great weekend!! Having spent an entire paragraph complaining about the weather, I'll say for the record that it actually does look like it's going to be a good one so; cynical comments on Spring retracted!

Other family highlight videos on my youtube channel!

 

Getting Ready to Plant!

around the house and cityEmily KellyComment
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While we did just wake up to snow on Monday, I'm remaining optimistic that Spring WILL come at some point to our relentlessly winter corner of the world (I'm being dramatic because this year wasn't even that bad), if only for the fact that my seeds arrived in the mail last week! I love it when you get home from a vacation to a deluge of the good kind of mail! If you've been reading along for awhile you'll have heard me mention the fact that this summer we're embarking on a new adventure! We've rented out a garden plot a few kilometres from our home and really, it's been one of those strings of excitement I've been hanging on to all winter long! And I think I got sidetracked by the crumby start to April we've been having because the season is seriously SO close I can almost smell the dirt! 

^^^posing and she knows it ;)

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Finally getting outside!! ^^

It's a really, really awesome thing that some cities have started to flourish with community gardens (have started to or always have and now it's just becoming more trendy? I can't decide the difference nor do I care the reason; I'm just happy that gardening in a city is a "thing" right now!). I can't emphasize enough how great it is to be able to have the opportunity to plant even if you live in an urban centre. It's good for communities, it's good for your health, it's good for your family's health; there is seriously not one bad thing to say about staying connected to your food supply chain and growing food locally. Ottawa has a great urban food and sustainable farming movement called Just Food and I don't know why it's taken me so long to take the plunge myself and rent out a plot of my own. I mean, it's essentially one of the very first things I started this blog to write about! There are community gardens all over the city including smack dab in the middle of down-town, but since we basically already live on the outskirts, my plot is in a field in the middle of nowhere so I'm looking forward to having my "I need to be in the countryside" button scratched! ;) It's funny because I actually saw the sign for available space a year ago last Fall when we started driving to our midwife appointments while I was just pregnant with June! I really wanted to rent one out last summer but since I had my hands "pretty tied up" with a new baby, it was probably a rational decision to wait until this year (there you go Mike, you we're right; i said it for the record!!) Anyway, I've been talking about it for the better part of a year and a half now so, yay!! SO excited that planting season is creeping up on us! 

One day I really want some land of our own, but for now, this is a great exchange! The owner of the land includes tilling and turning of the soil in the Spring and in the Fall which is excellent because I don't have space for my rototiller in our semi-detached home ;) In my opinion, it's a great deal for the amount we are paying for the space (which even comes with some shed space to store your tools which will help me not drive Mike nuts leaving stray spades and hoes in the trunk of our car all summer long!) Plus it will be great to talk to other people who have been planting for years before. I have some experience but it's so great to get to know people and hear their tips and tricks to combatting things like potato bugs over plot lines. 

We ordered seeds from Vesseys Seeds, a Canadian company out of Prince Edward Island and I obviously went a bit overboard (when do I not?) and got basically enough for a small 3 acre farm. But no matter. This year is about experimenting and getting out hands dirty. We went with a full spectrum of veggies from the salsa basics (Roma tomatoes, green peppers and onions) to winter squash, potatoes and swiss chard to those tiny little pumpkins that I think June is just going to LOVE. 

Look our Garden! We're coming for ya!

If you are interested in reading about our previous adventures in the garden you can start with these posts here!

 

 

Charleston, South Carolina

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charleston.jpg
charleston.jpg

When we were in South Carolina last week, we took a day trip and drove down to Charleston where the flowers are in full on bloom and the sun shines all day long (at least it did for us!) and ok, it is such an incredibly beautiful city! The whole time we were there, I kept looking around and repeating like a broken record, "there is so much COLOUR here." The weather was perfect; warm enough for no sweaters, sunny enough that you wouldn't burn. And our entire walk around the old city streets was accented by the smell of the nearby sea. There are many dark things about the past in the South (and unfortunately some stuff in the news lately. What's up with that!?) but let's be honest, if someone gave me a one way ticket and said, go and make your home in Charleston, I would take it (and ok I'll take my family with me too :) ) In fact, as we were driving I turned to Mike and said to him honestly that if he got me a house with a big veranda in South Carolina, I would write my best selling novel. And I will remain true to that. ;)

After a long greuling car ride with our darling Juney who decided she hates the carseat again (we thought we had outgrown that but alas, we did not), we arrived in town a bit weathered - gold star goes to Mike's Dad who drove our caravan with nerves of steel (i can still hear the protesting!). We were thrown for a loop by the most bizarre parking metre system I've ever seen; you literally stuff money in a slot in a box on the lot, corresponding to the number on the curb in front of your car. We still have no clue how they know how long you are parked there for but scouts honour, we were trustworthy visitors and left the required amount!

We spent the day wandering the pretty little streets; down rainbow row to the ocean side, exploring the little alleyways along the way. We didn't wade into the Pineapple fountain but we did let Juney get a bit wet in another fountain closeby. I think my favourite part of the city is Rainbow Row - like I said I can't get enough of the colour everywhere!! 

Definitely so happy we had the chance to visit and hopefully we get to go back again someday! I feel like we only just scraped the surface. And really it's not fair that we only had room for one meal; I have a feeling the foodie scene is vast and I still haven't had my real "Southern BBQ."! It's important to have goals though ;) 

Some (ok a massive amount) of pictures below!

See what I mean about the blooms?! Not even just a little one here and there, but full on SPRING. And it made my heart so happy yes it did <3

We had lunch at Magnolia's; and I think it's a pretty novel place to go because I've talked to two other people since coming back and they both also ate at there when they visited. Amazing Southern style food with modern twists. I had the crab cakes on collard greens and it was delicious and we all had the crab bisque and without any hesitation Mike dubbed it the best soup he's ever had in his life. ever. He doesn't often make those sweeping sort of statements so if you're in Charleston, go and have the crab bisque at Magnolia's; you won't be disappointed ;)

Charleston you are picture perfect! Thank-you for your wonderful nooks and crannies! We'll be back again someday!