Momo In The 6

Motherhood

Traveling with kids

Travel, MotherhoodMomo in the 6Comment
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TRAVELING WITH KIDS is always an adventure. We love to travel with our little family, it’s such a special time to make memories, explore together, and spend time just as our little family unit. With how crazy things have been while Sam finishes residency we haven’t been doing as many worldwide adventures as we’d like but we have spent weekends at the farm or cottage, or visiting his family in Florida for a week or two every winter - often with me flying solo with the kids!


All that to say I’ve learned quite a few tricks and essential items to have along the way.

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Snacks:

Bring more than you need! We love to bring small item snacks that will take them a while to eat, such as goldfish crackers, raisins, popcorn, trail mix etc. A little bowl of fishie crackers can occupy a solid 15 minutes of your trip, and every minute counts!

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Dock-a-tot:

This little lounger is a GAME CHANGER. I was given a complimentary dock-a-tot to review for you guys and all I can say is that I wish I had one for my other two babies, I can’t sing it’s praises enough! Designed in Sweden, it is adorable and comfortable - can we talk about the Oh Joy collab for this beautiful pattern?! It’s meant for lounging, playing, co-sleeping, and snuggling. The design makes it feel like the baby is snug as a bug (reminiscent of the good old days in mama’s tummy).

It’s perfect for traveling as it makes for easy resting and naps while in different places. Already when we’ve gone to someone’s house, to the farm, or the cottage we’ve brought it and Honey loves it so much. It’s perfect for her to lay in and have her brothers come and snuggle up and say hi!

 Honey lounging in her Dock A Tot while the rest of us eat dinner

Honey lounging in her Dock A Tot while the rest of us eat dinner


Toys/activities:

We bought a couple of sketching boards for the boys when I was doing a six hour drive alone with the boys last year. These are a dream since they are compact and we can play lots of different games with them.


And the Dollar store is your best friend! We buy little Dino figurines, stickers, colouring books, play dough, glow sticks, slinkies, little books, etc and give them one toy every 30ish min to occupy them and keep things exciting!

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CAPSULE WARDROBES

Motherhood, StyleMomo in the 6Comment

RECENTLY I HIT a point where I was so stressed out at home. Often when this happens I realize that we have accumulated too much stuff and because the house is a train wreck I can’t relax at home. Home is supposed to be a sanctuary of sorts, where you can unwind and decompress. I am learning that if my home is all cluttered, I usually feel that way in every area of my life.

So I listened to a podcast on essentialism, re-opened my old copy of the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and decided to make a change. Essentialism is basically Marie Kondo-ing your life, simplifying things down to the things that are beautiful, give joy, and even pruning good things in your life to pursue and have only the best. After chatting with my BFF Emily (and reading her post on Capsule Wardrobes + Contentment) and then reading the Unfancy blog, I started to become interested in the idea of capsule wardrobes.

What is a capsule wardrobe you ask? A mini, seasonal wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you LOVE. You love everything. And everything fits you right now.

 

So when my mom took the kids for a night and Sam was working, I spent a whole blissful evening at home going through our entire home and purging. That night I tackled the kids and my wardrobes and made capsule wardrobes, reducing the kids down to 37 items each for this season, and reducing my wardrobe down to 40 items (shirts, bottoms, and shoes). You only have clothes that you love, that fit you now, and that are meant for the season you are in available. The beauty of this is that it saves you SO much time… time getting ready in the morning, time shopping (because you don’t do any shopping until two weeks before the next capsule begins!) It’s seriously brilliant. If you want to learn more head to unfancy.com to read about how her capsule wardrobe ideas! Also, my girlfriend Lexie (@lexiesfitlife) is trying out capsule wardrobes for the first time after being a self-proclaimed shopaholic so you can head to her blog here to check out her adventures with capsuling!

Now, what about if you aren't done having kids? How can you make a capsule then. While I was sorting through my clothes I actually made a pregnancy capsule. A full wardrobe of maternity clothes and nursing clothes, made of pieces I loved wearing. I got rid of some items, ones that I didn't feel good in, or ones that I didn't love or that had seen better days, knowing that I will need a few items when the next baby decides to come.

Regularly getting rid of excess things in my life frees me up to love my family better, and to spend time doing things I care about most. So here’s to freeing up space, everywhere!

My favourite store to build a Capsule Wardrobe from is Madewell, which is basically made up of incredible basics that pair really well together. I'll share my fall capsule next week! These are some of the pieces I am currently eyeing:

CHRISTMAS CARDS 2016

City Life, Motherhood, Home LifeMomo in the 6Comment

CHRISTMAS IS EASILY my favourite time of year. And with Christmas come Christmas cards! Before we had kids, I never felt motivated enough to take pictures of just Sam and me to send out to friends and family. But, as in so many other areas in life, having babies totally changed my view on things. Christmas cards... What a fun and beautiful way to memorialize every year and season in our lives and capture a snap shot of our family, right?!


At Christmas, time with family is plentiful, food is abundant, and people seem to really be focusing on some of the things that matter the most in life: faith, family, friends and making memories. Getting Christmas Cards was the perfect excuse to make some memories, put on our best and get out as a family and have some amazing pictures taken (by the talented Ryan Freeman). We ventured to the Distillery Christmas Market, which is the place to go in Toronto to get into the Christmas spirit!


One of the things that has overwhelmed me about Christmas cards in the past is that I never even knew where to begin looking to make one! But then I found Tiny Prints (who is the sister company of the "Wedding Paper Divas" that we used for both our wedding invitations and thank you cards!). Where it was a dream to quickly find cards and styles that we loved for our cards since there is this amazing feature that allows you to see all the cards with your photo in it. Genius and made it go really fast (which, is a necessity with two babies running around!). 

We are thrilled with how our cards turned out and I can't wait to send them to our friends and family, near and far!

If you are looking to send Christmas cards this year, definitely head on over to check out Tiny Prints Christmas Cards!  (If you hurry they are 40% off till Sunday!!) The selection is incredible, the shipping is quick,  and they make it really easy to personalize your cards to match your family's style perfectly!

 

 

TORONTO DISTILLERY CHRISTMAS MARKET

City Life, MotherhoodMomo in the 6Comment
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WITH THE HOLIDAYS upon us I am so excited about all the friends and family we get to see, the food we get to eat and how this beautiful city really comes alive in the Christmas spirit!

One of the best things to do in Toronto at this time of year is to hit up the Toronto Christmas Market in the Distillery district. There is something here for every age with tons of little boutiques, great hot chocolate (or spiked egg nog for those who fancy something a little stronger ;) ) a huge Christmas tree, a Santa Clause meet and greet and basically anything and everything else that will get you into the holiday spirit... There's even a merry go round! (Ps. If you are looking for a place to take Christmas photos this is IT.)

The Distillery District is an incredible place at any time of year, with great shops, coffee, food and even a microbrewery. But at Christmas it is the most festive place in the whole city and I can't get enough of it!

Thank you to the incredible Ryan Freeman for capturing these pictures of our family!

 

AN EVENING IN OTTO'S GARDEN

Motherhood, Home LifeMomo in the 6Comment

A COUPLE WEEKS back we spent an evening at the home of my mom's new father in law, Otto. He is one of the most wonderful and interesting men I have ever met. My mom has spent the summer learning to garden from Otto, who has a large vegetable patch he has been gardening in for years. There is everything from basil and sage to rhubarb, tomatoes, swiss chard and eggplant! And they planted them all from seeds!

Since Finny loves food so much (eating it, pretending to cook it, actually cooking it with me...) it was such a thrill to take him back there and show him where all the fresh produce comes from and to have my mom teach him how it grows! He was in awe of the tomatoes on the vine and spent a good chunk of his time picking and eating the green beans, which he loves (he takes after his mama in that ;) ). He was a little nervous pulling the beets out of the ground, but he loved it once he realized what it was that he was pulling on!

I love fostering a love and appreciation for food in my littles, and it was so special to me to see how excited he was at seeing where it all comes from. I can't wait to have him out there planting seeds in the Spring!

^^ Trying to get a good family picture with a seven month old and a two year old looks a lot like this, ha!

LONELINESS + MOTHERHOOD

MotherhoodMomo in the 62 Comments

WHEN YOU BECOME a mother for the first time, you hear a lot about the fatigue, the physical changes, the joy, the fun and the love that you never imagined. One thing I hadn't heard much of before though was the loneliness that comes with being a stay-at-home-mom. I don't know if I didn't notice it for the first eight months of Finny's life because we were traveling back and forth between Montréal and Toronto so much, or because I had such tight friendships there with people who lived so close to us, but moving to Toronto has been a bit of an eye opener to me.

I've known for a long time that making friends after the university days takes longer to do. I noticed when I moved to Montréal as a newlywed, but I had all the time in the world to make new friends and spend endless hours with them getting to know them so it didn't really make that big of a difference to me. Now that I am two kids deep in a new city I am painfully aware of how long it takes to get really deep and close with people. Don't get me wrong, we are so grateful to have our family here to spend time with and to help with the kiddos, and I have met so many wonderful women here, friends who I know one day will feel like sisters. I wouldn't go back to a care-free life sans kiddos if I had the choice, I feel so privileged to be doing what I am doing. But having two kids with two different schedules and needs means that time with friends, old and new, means "mom conversation" is in full swing - where you spend one half of it talking to your friend, and the other half playing with, talking to and helping your kids. So those friendships are taking way longer to develop and grow.

Part of a great conversation I had with one of my closest friends, Emily, a few weeks back: "Some seasons are just better than others for making friends. Not every season will give you the opportunity to invest in relationships outside of your immediate family. Raising kids and moving cities and adding to your work load don't create ideal conditions for new friendships - and that is OK. But, press on, because they are worth it."

So here I am, coming to terms with the fact that it takes so much longer to become make best friends/soul sisters as you get older, and not every season brings best friends and that is OK.  Those friendships, the really deep friendships, are to be maintained, cultivated and cherished, as they become more and more rare as you get older. And as Emmy said, I am "praying for deep friendships in every season, even if that means praying for a miracle."

Photo by Kevin Lee @livekeen / livekeen.ca

 

 

A WEEK IN VERMONT

Travel, MotherhoodMomo in the 6Comment

A FEW WEEKS ago we gathered up our troop for a six hour road trip out to Montreal then Lake Champlain in Vermont. Sam's family has a beautiful cottage on the lake that was the perfect escape for us. The weather was gorgeous, sunny but not too hot, and we got to spend time together as a family of four, as well as with Sam's Aunt and Grandmother who joined us.  Sam and I also managed to get lots of one on one time that is so rare for us which made the trip feel extra special.

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If you haven't noticed, we are normally the go-go-go type family and we love to jam pack our free time with lots of friends, family and adventures! This trip however we decided to not do the day trips we had planned and instead just lay low and take advantage of the opportunity to relax, savouring those last few moments of summer while we still can!

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We filled our days with time spent outside exploring, relaxing on the grass (this UV tent (similar here) for babies is such a lifesaver for letting Atticus join us without burning his fresh little skin!), throwing rocks into the water, playing in our makeshift pool (this raft filled with a bit of water, genius!), swinging on the old wooden swing, family time on the hammock, baking cakes, eating delicious snacks (mainly watermelon!), taking many naps *all the praise hands!* and talking. And once the boys were in bed for the night Sam and I had lots of time to reconnect and watch the sunset and talk. It was so wonderful.

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One thing I love in particular about Sam's time off is that both boys get some individual concentrated time with dad. Something about hanging with dad seems to help them grow and develop new skills at such a rapid rate - like this week Finny busted out numerous five or six word sentences. And Acey is now pushing himself into plank position on his knees (I think we'll have a crawler very soon!) Update: Since I wrote this post a month ago, Acey is officially crawling!

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We really feel so blessed to have so many places we can travel to for free, thanks to the generosity of our friends and family. It was such a perfect week away, the right amount of time for us to relax and spend loads of time bonding with our little family.

FINN | TWO YEARS

MotherhoodMomo in the 6Comment

TODAY MY SWEET Finny turns TWO!  "Two on your birthday! Two years!" as Finny says ;-)

I don't have enough words to express how much I love this little boy or the joy that he brings to us. Two years ago our lives changed in the best way imaginable. Arriving three weeks early and born bright eyed and curious, Phineas created another chamber in my heart that is just for me to love him. Cheesy? Perhaps. True? Absolutely.

He is one of the brightest kids I have ever known, who loves to eat, loves to laugh, loves to make other people laugh, loves inside jokes, colours, trains, his family and his bunny. Everyday with Finn is the best day and obviously I love him because he is my son, but I actually like him as a person and really enjoy getting to hang out everyday with him.

Being a mum to my boys is one of the greatest privileges of my life.

Happy birthday Finny bubba, I love you and I am SO proud of you.

Professional photos taken by Kevin Lee

FINNY'S FAVOURITE BOOKS

MotherhoodMomo in the 6Comment

ONE OF FINNY'S favourite activities is reading. He likes to read with you, he likes to read on his own. He memorizes the books and will say the last word on every page before you can say it. I love this about him since Sam and I both love reading. We try to limit TV in our house to rainy days and desperate times where we all feel like we need a break, so reading is such a great way to teach him things and to spend time together. Also, I love hearing what kids of similar ages are reading, so if you have any recommendations please leave a comment below!!

Here are Finny's favourite books this month.

 

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Spot The Cat: This book has no words but is a picture book that I think has really helped him with spying things and with memorizing. It is beautiful and tells the story of a boy who loses his cat, Spot, who you see exploring all over town while his owner looks for him. Finny loves to be the first one to find the cat on the page and gets so excited saying "Cat! Spot, Cat!" when he finds him.

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A Bear's Year: A beautiful book that tells the story of a bear's year with her cubs. It talks about the seasons and has lots of things to look at. This is one of his and my favourite's to curl up on the couch and read!

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What Pet Should I Get: Finny LOVES animals, so Dr. Seuss's What Pet Should I Get was an immediate hit in our house. With the quick rhymes and bright pages he took to it immediately... here's hoping he doesn't get any ideas about getting a pet soon... ha! Finny loves this book since it rhymes so nicely and will run up to me on the couch and go "Pet book!"

Alphablock: This book is SO much fun. There are pop out letters and beautiful graphics to help teach kids their alphabet. Finny is really interested in letters lately and always wants us to spell things for him so this book has been really helpful in aiding us to teach him!

Pride and Prejudice BabyLit: Considering I come from a family of girls who would sit for hours and watch the BBC special of Pride and Prejudice (also where I developed a large crush on Colin Firth), I had to have this book once I saw it. Finny loves counting along with each page as he learns the basic story line of the book. A huge hit with boys and girls alike!

Pantone Colors: Finny has been working so hard at learning his colours lately. This book was a HUGE help with that!

ABC's of Canada: A really fun book that has taught Finn so much about our country! He likes to go along with each letter and tell you what they stand for... A is for "Arctic" in the icy cold north... brr!    Whenever we get to M (which is for Maple Syrup, obviously) there is a picture of a maple tree being tapped and he thinks its hilarious to insist that it's water while you insist it's maple syrup. This little guy loves his inside jokes!

TWO TO A ROOM

City Life, MotherhoodMomo in the 61 Comment

WE DID IT. We finally made the transition to both boys sharing a room! And what a blast it is! Truth be told, Atticus started sleeping through the night at 10 weeks old so technically this could have happened a long time ago, but I was savouring the days that Finny slept in until 8:30 or 9am for as long as I could.

I made the call to put them in the room together because I think the boys need to bond more. Since they both are on great nap schedules, and since their naps tended to cross over so one was awake while the other slept, they have only spent four hours a day together up until this point and about an hour of that Atticus was nursing so it wasn't time that they were interacting.

Now that Atticus is really active (would you believe he is almost crawling!? *insert sob face emoji*) he is getting a little bit more in Finn's space and into all the toys. Finny enjoys his brother and has been so good with him up to this point, helping fetch diapers, rocking Atticus in his bouncy chair, fetching Atticus toys that are baby friendly. But, I have noticed over the last few weeks that Finn has been getting progressively more frustrated with the fact that there is now a little person who he has to include and share everything with (and Atticus isn't just interested in baby toys anymore, he wants all the toys, ha!)

So what is my answer? Make them spend more time together. The idea here is that the more time they spend together the tighter they will get, especially time in the morning and at night when it's just the two of them in there. A little band of brothers, them against the world!

Would you believe that within two days of them sharing a room I have already seen a huge difference in Finny's disposition? He now says "Bring Acey!" or "Acey too!" which makes my mama heart burst with pride! I can see on our baby monitor when Finny wakes up in the morning and walks over to the crib and tries to roll it to rock it, or gives Ace his cherished Bunny (which he usually wants back within 1 minutes, causing a few tears when bunny is stuck inside the crib). Or when we go to the park and Finny wants to go on the swing and he goes "Acey swing too Mama!".

It has also made our bedtime routine a lot of fun. Now, rather than putting Finny down first and then nursing Atticus down, I sit on the bed and read them stories while Atticus nurses and then we say our family mantra, we pray, and then give kisses all around. Acey loves to roll around on the bed and Finny thinks its hilarious when Ace keeps rolling over to be closer to his big bro.

Oh these boys, they are such a delight and I can't wait to watch them grow in their love for one another!