Momo In The 6

Motherhood

AN EVENING IN OTTO'S GARDEN

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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

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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

 

 

FINN | TWO YEARS

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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

HELLO SEPTEMBER

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SEPTEMBER IS FINALLY here and I am THRILLED about it. It is without a doubt my favourite month. As someone who loves structure and routine I feel as though there is a change in the air! My birthday falls on the first of September (I am officially 27 now!), Finny's birthday is on the 30th of September, it means autumn is underway which means the best fashion, the best weather, root vegetables and apples + everywhere you look is so beautiful because the leaves change colour. We have this gorgeous giant Japanese maple tree outside the front of our house and it turns this incredible fiery red in the fall, I can't wait to show you! Truly, there really isn't anything about this month that I don't love.

Now that summer is over and baby Atticus is six months and we are all sleeping and feel like our normal selves again, I am looking forward to writing a lot more regularly on here. This blog gives me a lot of joy and a lot of life and I am so grateful to all of you who follow along with our daily happenings in the city. As I plan out the next month or so I wondered what you guys want to read more of: family, marriage, recipes, city adventures, travel, cloth diapering, fashion, beauty, etc? Let me know and I can definitely start to include more of those things in the regular posting schedule!

Happy September friends!

ATTICUS' BIRTH STORY

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ON FEBRUARY 25, at 9:10 in the morning, our sweet Atticus came into the world. It was such a special moment and an experience I never want to forget.

As I mentioned in this post, Finn was ready and rawring to come out... he was born at 37 weeks and surprised me by breaking my water. Atticus however was a smaller baby and was a little cozier inside of me and wasn't as keen to come out. By the time I hit 38 weeks I was really over being pregnant. At that point I was getting up to pee so much in the night and start having issues sleeping that I figured I might as well be up with a baby if I am going to be awake. So on Tuesday, February 23, I began "Operation: Bring On Labour".

I literally did every trick in the book. I had a stretch and sweep on the Monday. Tuesday I went on a 10km walk - half of it uphill! I ate pineapple, eggplant parm, did pressure points, bounced on an exercise ball all day, everyday. I even did 100 jump squats throughout the day on Wednesday to try and make my contractions (which were happening sporadically throughout the day) more consistent. I don't know what one of the previously mentioned tricks worked, but something did.

My contractions were inconsistently 8 minutes apart all day on Wednesday, February 24th. I'd have a few hours where they would be consistent and then I'd get distracted with Finn or with tasks around the house, and it would be more like 30 minutes between contractions. It was a crummy, cold and wet winter day outside, and being as pregnant as I was, I wasn't up for venturing out with Finny to try and walk the baby out. So I did jump squats and bounced on that ball all day. Sammy got home around 6pm and we hung out for a bit and we got Finny to bed and that's when things started to progress. We were hanging out and decided to start timing my contractions while I bounced on a ball, from 6-8pm they were roughly 6 minutes apart. Then at 9pm the pace picked up dramatically and they changed to every 2-3 minutes, but I could still talk through them which is unusual at that rate of contraction. At 9:45pm we called my mom who was on standby to come watch Finny if we needed to get to the hospital. We called an uber and made it to the hospital by 10ish.

A fun twist to this story is that my friend Amanda is a labour and delivery nurse at Mount Sinai, and we had planned it out that I would text her when I was in labour and going to the hospital to see if she was around and could connect me with a nurse that I would like. So I texted her and she contacted triage so when we arrived at the hospital they knew we were coming in! I was brought into a triage room right away to monitor my contractions. I was only 3cm dilated but since my contractions were strong and frequent they admitted me and it was such a relief to know that we were going to meet our baby within the next day or so!

It was about 11:30pm at this point and I walked laps around the cafeteria for about an hour before we decided to head upstairs to our room to rest up for when it came time to push this baby out! They checked and at 12:30am I was about 4-5cm dilated and not effaced at all so we knew it was going to be a while and both decided to try sleeping. After an hour of sleeping my contractions had slowed to 6-7 minutes apart so we agreed it was a go ahead to break my waters (around 2am). The contractions came strong and quick after that, every 2-3 minutes for 45 seconds or so. I laboured like this until 4:30am, gripping the bed and trying every labour trick in the book to no avail. I started vomiting at 4:30am so they checked me again and I was only 5cm and 80% effaced. My mantra, which had been "It's hard work. It hurts a lot. You can do this." went RIGHT out the window once the vomiting started, ha! I opted for the epidural which arrived about 5am. Bless that thing... I've said it before and I'll say it again, it's like a baby angel kissing your uterus! Once the epidural kicked in around 5:30 we decided to try and get some rest so I could be in top form for pushing this babe out! I slept until about 7:30 and woke up to see that the nurses had changed over and that my friend Amanda was going to be our nurse! She was so great. I obviously made some jokes about the fact that she would know me better than most people, especially since 5 minutes after she walked in the room she had to check how dilated I was! Ha! At about 8am I was 10cm but still didn't have the urge to push. Sammy and I hung out and talked for the hour until I got that classic urge to push and we decided to give one push a try with Amanda to see how far along the baby was (and since there were four women across the hall pushing! A busy day at the hospital!). Well, one push later and he was RIGHT there! She marched out of the room, grabbed one of the doctors by the arm and brought them right back in since this baby was coming right then! 10 minutes later, at 9:10am our sweet Atticus was born. Since we had waited to find out the gender (and I was SO sure it was a girl, as were all the nurses), when Sam said "It's a BOY!" I literally laughed out loud and said "What!?! Ha! Of course he is!" and looked at him, laying on my chest and said "Of course you are, my sweet boy!". 

Once he was on my chest I just looked between him and Sam with big shiny tears in my eyes and felt so overwhelmed with how special this was, how incredible birth is, and how blessed I feel to have another son.

We took the next two days really slowly, having short visits from family and savouring our time alone with him at the hospital before we went home to begin life as a family of four.

As much as I love to write, there are just not enough words to fully describe this feeling. You can't prepare for it. You can't prepare for the love. Or the fear. You want to give them everything you can, and you just have to wake up every day striving to being the best you can for this little person to make them even better than you could ever be.

Oh Atticus, how we love you. I am so proud to be your mom!

It's blurry, but it's one of my favourite pictures!

It's blurry, but it's one of my favourite pictures!

ADVICE FOR NEW MOMS | SHELLEY

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DEAREST NEW MAMAS,  you are holding a miracle in your hands!  While the laundry piles up, you feel less than beautiful, and the house comes undone at the seams…you are still holding a miracle in your hands.  The time with this littlest one will go fast.  I’m sure you’ve read some beautiful sentiments about taking it easy, enjoying the moment and not rushing through this season.  I agree completely.  Can I share with you a few tips from a longer-term perspective from a Mama who’s been where you are a few times?

Read books while you nurse! I want to encourage you to unplug from social media and read books that are refreshing to your heart and mind. Read inspirational stories, read things you’ve wanted to get to for years, read about what thrills you! Spend your daytime nursing time, investing in your personal growth. Pour yourself some herbal tea, grab a book and enjoy your time nursing! Especially with your first born (but I would hide away even as I had more kids while I nursed!!). Double bonus, is that children who grow up watching mom and dad with books in their hands learn that reading is valuable. These kids inevitably catch the vibe about the printed word!
Let your kids get messy! Kids need to touch things, to squeeze goop, to play play dough for HOURS, to dig in the garden, to make mud pies, to paint, to glue, to use SPARKLES! We all have unique tolerance levels for mess and chaos. My goals have been to develop creativity, while teaching respect for materials and our home. Our family is allowed to experiment with all sorts of materials, but the kids are also excellent at cleaning up, and playing at working at a station (ie. The kitchen table) The key to this however, is to invest in a good washer!!!!! TIP: Winter can be really hard not getting out as much – so we would have shallow plastic containers with things like corn or rice or beans for digging and pouring. These sorts of tactile activities, when practiced over time have helped our family develop beautiful attention spans. When you help children focus on an activity and get truly engrossed in it – it will pay wonderful benefits to them when they are older. They also learned now to sweep up any parts that escaped from the box, another great skill for them to master! (yes, we did this even with wee babies around – supervision is key, or I would pull it out when the baby was sleeping, or when the baby was in their high chair)

Eat real meals, together.  If I were to write a book for moms, it would have a chapter titled “What We Learn Around the Table!”  It is remarkable how many things are naturally learned around the dinner table.  Things like proper manners, serving each other, listening (or in the case of a large family, talking louder!), sharing, laughter and wonderful family jokes, great food choices, appreciation, proper cutlery skills and so much more.  People stop us frequently in restaurants to compliment our kids on their excellent table manners when we are out.  The kids all try new things, and are adventurous in their tastes.  Increase your expectations for what meal times can be.  Aim to be consistent and sit down together.  Eat real food.  Talk.  

Live Naturally.  With my first baby, I was on antibiotics during labour, and later with mastitis a few times.  I had no idea about the strain that was on my body.  I never knew about the importance of probiotics and taking care of my gut following antibiotics.  This contributed to my postpartum depression.  We have since adopted a much more natural lifestyle which cares more carefully for all of our bodies.  We clean naturally with essential oils and household items (vinegar & baking soda!!!), we use a natural shampoo and other body care products.  And we use essential oils to support our health.  I’m so excited to teach the kids the value of plants and their uses in our lives!  It’s been a beautiful journey, and we are far healthier and happier for it.  I love the legacy I’m leaving for my family.  I currently work teaching other Moms about the value of natural health care and natural homes.  If you’re interested in more info you can find me here and I can share with you some fabulous resources for natural homes!  I wish I had learned about this earlier, let me share my journey!  


Teach your children as you go about life.  YOU ARE already doing this, so pat yourself on the back!  Mothering takes time, it takes conversations and listening.  It takes creativity.  Be one step ahead of your kids and spark their learning and interests.  Listen to your heart’s leading.  YOU know your kids the best!  Does the baby light up at your Mommy & Me baby class when the drums come out?  Then pull out the pots and pans and spoons and make a joyful noise while you cook dinner!  Does your child like to pretend to cook? Why not fill the sink with soapy bubbles and let them mix and pour in the kitchen with you!  Is your toddler into throwing things…why not go to the beach and throw stones into the water!  Think about the development stage they are in, and creatively problem-solve ways to nurture that interest in them.  You’ve got what it takes mama!  


Choose confidence.  As our family grew, I found my confidence grew.  That first baby though – yikes!  It can really do something for the insecure!  I remember looking everywhere thinking I was making a disaster of this new baby!  Then along came baby number two, and I realized I could grow a baby to a toddler of almost 2 years reasonably well…and, so grew my confidence.  With each child, I’ve seen a relaxing in my heart and mind.  These days, I am choosing to rejoice in the culture that is unique to our home.   Instead of comparing, I desire to pursue more of the habits, memories and special things that make our family a wonderful place to grow up in.  You can also!  Your family is a wonderful place – so own it!  Create a culture that you love to live in!   An added benefit to owning your confidence is that you will teach your kids to be confident in who they are.  I really think small children are like bears…they smell fear!  And, if you’re not feeling very confident, remember YOU are holding a miracle in your hands.  You were a part of that miracle (in whatever form this child has come to you!).  So please Mama, hold your head high.  You are the best Mama for this child, and this child needs you to know that – so they too, can grow up and be confident.

 

FINNY SAYS

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ONE OF THE main reasons I have this blog is to document all the little moments and memories from this special stage of life. I know that these young years with babies goes by so quickly (how is Finny almost two!?) and I want to remember as much of it as I can. Finny has been chatting up a storm lately and he is really quite funny and very bright, here are some of the things he says lately:

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1. Every morning the first thing he says when you open his bedroom door is "oats!", the boy loves his oats and he loves to eat.

2. While we are eating breakfast I like to ask him how his sleep was and if he had any dreams. He says "Dream! Doggy! Bunny!" (his favourite is his bunny!) and then there is usually an activity like "Walk! Car! Swing!" that he did with them in his dreams.
3. When I am making coffee in the morning in our Chemex Coffeemaker, he always comes over and says "Up! Blooooooming!" and makes his arm do the wave to show how the grinds bloom, it is so funny!
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4. Daily he will grab a protein powder scoop and a little plastic measuring cup and hands one to me and says "Tea! Drink!" and we sit and drink our tea together.

5. One of my favourite things he does and arguably the sweetest, is when we are praying with him before bed and thanking God he volunteers people and things that he is thankful for. "Cher! Water! Sandals!" (for his new saltwater sandals we got him ;) ) was the newest one from last week after we went to the wading pool with Aunt Cher. He also likes to pray during meals and sporadically throughout the day. He has such a sensitive spirit and remembers people that we often pray for, like the other day at lunch when he said "Pray!" and I asked him what he wanted to pray for or about and he said "Baby Jubi!" (Our cousins sweet baby who is in the NICU, you can read more about her here).

6. Now that he is able to run, he loves to race, and we spend many hours at home racing from the couch to the kitchen and back again and he loves to shout "Race!! Race!!"

7. The other day we were sitting having lunch together and the subject of cars came up. Our neighbour has a blue car and Finny decided he would like to drive one day... "Car! Blue! Raz! (neighbour) Finny! Green! Car!" Me: "Finny wants a green car?" Finny: "Yeah! Drive! Myself!" Me: Finny is going to drive the green car by himself!? Finny: "Yeah!" Me: One day! Finny: "Cooool. Awesome."

8. Finny has great timing and is quite funny, so when he does something he know was funny (Like when he sits on you and then goes "Tootah!!!!") he then goes "Finny! Funny!" and it makes it just that much more hilarious.

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9. Lately he is loving spending quality time with each of us and if I'm in the kitchen and he's on the couch in the living room I will hear this little voice say "Mama! Come please!"... How could I refuse that?!

10. We were at a friends cottage for the Canada day long weekend and Finny got to watch a water plane land on the bay right in front of their cottage. Our friends dad named Tom, but Finny calls him "TomRocks" is the one who showed him it landing and Finny still recollects the story to us! "Airplane! Land! Water! TomRocks! Coooool." 

I am loving this stage, getting to have conversations with my little man and learn more about him and teaching him lots of new things. He is such a joy to be around.

ATTICUS | FOUR MONTHS

Family, MotherhoodMomo in the 6Comment
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TWO WEEKS AGO our sweet Atticus turned four months. (I know, a little late, but with two kiddos under 21 months and a husband who works 90+ hours a week I only have so many hours in a day ha!).  I can't believe how quickly these past four months have gone. He is such a joy to our family, with his big smiles, half moon eyes that are always wide open taking in everything around him. He has been so much more alert lately, with lots of smiles, coos and giggles! Baby giggles are the best, he is much more ticklish than Finny and as soon as you tickle the bottoms of his feet or his belly he smiles his huge grin and starts chuckling. It just makes my mama heart want to burst!  

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He loves his big brother so much and spends all his awake time tracking Finny around the room. Finny has really taken to him and will fetch toys that he thinks Acey will like and gives him kisses and hugs and tries to comfort him when he's upset. It really is the sweetest thing. 

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He is so strong, he was always breaking free of his swaddles so we have officially unswaddled him (and use these sleep sacks) instead!) and he rolled over for the first time this past weekend and is grabbing his toes as well! He also has slept through the night from 7-7 for two nights in a row... here's hoping that is here to stay!
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He is really vocal, if he's happy you know it... If he's unhappy you also know it.  He can be a little dramatic, I wonder where he gets that from, ahem ;). 

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We just began introducing solids to him this month and I am so excited about it. I love introducing food to my kids and try to instill a love and passion for flavour in them at any chance I get! I gave him peaches a few days ago and he loved them! Lots of lip smacking and lip licking!

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MONTRÉAL, WE LOVE YOU

Travel, FamilyMomo in the 62 Comments
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LAST WEEK WE stole away to our home away from home, Montréal, for some quality time as a family and with our friends there. Montreal is such a special place for us... It holds all of our newlywed memories - I still remember loading up a Uhaul truck after our wedding and feeling all the excitement and anticipation of what our new life together in a new city would hold. It is where we found out I was pregnant with Finny, and I loved wandering around the city while super pregnant on missions to the bagel shop and all the cafés. It is where we welcomed our sweet Finny into the world. We walked through major joys and major hardships while we lived there.

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We made some of the best friendships we may ever have while living there. You know, those friends who are like family (especially while you all live away from your families) and you feel right at home with the moment you get together after any time apart. Once in a lifetime friendships that we are so thankful for.

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So when Sammy got a week off it was a no brainer that we should go to our home away from home. There is nothing quite like being in Montreal in the summer time. Maybe it's because the winters there are so hard, but the city comes alive in the summer. The parks are full, the patios are always bumping, people walk or bike everywhere. It's incredible. 

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We spent our time relaxing with our friends, enjoying great food, catching up, playing with the kids, going for walks and taking time to unwind. We even managed to steal away for a double date night out to Chuck Hughes' restaurant "La Garde Manger", which was a really fun and delicious night out.  Finny had his first experiences with ice cream and sushi while we were there!

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I even got to be pregnant with one of those friends and our sweet boys were born only two hours apart! Finny had a blast hanging with our friend's daughter, Cotton, who is one of the sweetest little ones we know. He always learns so much and advances so much after spending extended amounts of time with her. This time he came home speaking way more two and three word phrases and is much more willing to try to do physical things (climb on the couch by himself, step down stairs etc) by himself.

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We had some car troubles while we were there which were annoying but probably slowed us down and forced us to vedge out a little more than we would have. 

We did the drives there and back at night around the boys bedtimes so we could capitalize on sleep. Finny is a pro at the Montreal-Toronto trek since he has done it at least 10 times. We weren't sure how Atticus would do but he was such a champ and slept the whole way both directions! 

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We are home now, and it's good to be home. It was so sad to say goodbye to our friends and that city but thankfully it's only 5 hours down the 401 and we can't wait for our next time back!

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HAPPY DAD'S DAY

Home Life, FamilyMomo in the 6Comment
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TO MY SAMMY... Today we celebrate you! You are an incredible father, friend and husband. You work so hard to provide for us and still manage to come home with a smile on your face and time for your kids and wife - even after working 30 hours straight. 

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I love to watch you with our boys, you are so kind and patient with them and they both look up to you in a big way. If they turn out to be half the man you are then we can rest assured that we did this parenting gig right!  

Here's to you, Sammy, and to our dads, and to dads everywhere. You make the world a better place! 

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