sunday, and a weekend update.

on saturday dear hubby and i went on a spontaneous trip to the art gallery in the big city. my folks watched the kids, while we toured the gallery admiring the works of pablo picasso. man, that guy really was a genius! it was so enjoyable to see the art, even though we were joined by hundred of other art lovers who were all squeezing in some saturday morning art on the second last day of the exhibit! because, the boys weren’t with us we were able to go at a slow pace and take our time. we even held hands and that never happens with the kids around!

then we walked down to the hustle and bustle of queen street west, where we checked out some shops, ate veggie dogs for lunch and then hopped on the street car. dear hubby fell asleep along the ride, but i enjoyed the people watching and felt a twinge in my heart; in these quiet moments i miss toronto. so much. i spent a huge chunk of time there, growing up really, trying to figure out who i was. watching the city and it’s people i truly felt like an outsider looking in, as someone who had once belonged, but didn’t anymore. 
i belong somewhere else. so it’s ok.

but, it was confirmed for me as well on this streetcar ride, that i am not ready to move back to the big city. there is always talk of it. but, at this time i am satisfied living an hour outside the noise and busyness, in our small city among the community we are a part of. honestly though, i do see us moving back, possibly when the kids are older and can ride the subway alone.
(sorry sunshine).

this morning we visited dear hubby’s sister and her mister, and their sweetest little gal. we swam in the pool, chatted and had a really nice time. the kids played and took turns holding their six month old cousin, who didn’t seem to mind the game of musical laps until her papa walked in the room! missyM was so intrigued by her busy cousins, and the three of them together is so cute! even though we haven’t seen as much of them as we would have liked (summer got super busy), it is nice to know they are so close. especially since in a few months they are packing up and moving to south aftrica for at least a year!  this fall we are going to take advantage of their close proximity while we can and visit lots!

these three pictures crack me up! oh, kids!

and to end the day, tonight, dear hubby made pizza for dinner. yum. 
the kids are upin bed. bear told me countless times what a wonderful time he had with his grandparents one day and his wee cousin the other. lion, well, he’s just been grumpy this evening as the two year molars that are coming through are really hurting.

great weekend. 
saw lots of people we love. saw some incredible art. 

xo, mama lola

summer fun!

this summer has been pretty busy for us. i have tried to fill our days with  a mixture of friends and playdates with extreme outdoor adventures with lazy days at home. so far, i think things have balanced out pretty well. 

my kids are not the go+go+go types. they can go one day, but will need a day or so to recuperate, especially during these few super hot summer days we’ve been experiencing lately. it must be genetic as, dear hubby and i are the same!

yesterday we drove into the big city and went to harbourfront with my mum. the kids basically ran the entire time, even though the sun was hot, but they just loved the freedom and the space. we enjoyed the time by the lake admiring tall ships, various motor boats, but also by checking out some interesting contemporary art at the power plant. bear later said, that looking at the art was his favourite part of the day! 

one of my favourite parts about mothering is exposing my kids to new experiences. the boys have been to a few different galleries and art shows in their time. talking to them about what they see or feel when they looking at art is always such fun. art is always powerful. 

i hope when my kids are grown they look back at their childhoods as a time of fun and excitement. i hope they recognize the efforts we are making now to create family experiences that are well rounded and full. dear hubby and i are trying to be the best we can with what we know and what we have. sometimes it doesn’t feel like it’s enough, other times it feels like plenty.

today is a down home day.
the boys are now into their playdoh and later we will head to the library. then we will hopefully watch the long over due rain.

xo, mama lola

the finn in me!

helsinki is the world design capital for 2012. 

check out THIS link for all the beautiful details. looking at the pictures from helsinki make me incredibly homesick, so much so i feel a big ol’ ache in my heart for my homeland. i was born there and spent my childhood there romping through the forests. 

check out these  AMAZING BLOCKS by Kokoroi & Moi

each block represents an important and historic landmarks in helsinki. i just love the simplicity of them and the colours. so lovely, so finnish!

who will buy these for my kids?

xo, mama lola

artful PLAY and other stuff!

this morning we headed directly to the local children’s art factory. 

it’s a wonderful little place where the kids get to do all sorts of art projects, make a mess and now worry about the mess they are making. the kids had an amazing time!

then it was off to the park to soak in the warm temperatures, snack and PLAY HARD! 
[last time i uploaded a movie there were some technical difficulties, so there may be some again. sorry. i will try to deal with them promptly! ]

also, as many of you know i am looking for sponsors for the brain tumour foundation of canada. there is a walk/ run tomorrow morning to raise money for research, education and support for brain tumours.
days before christmas 2009, i was told i had a tumour (a macro adenoma) on my pituitary gland. it coincided with my pregnancy with lion, so it was a very scary and difficult time for us. i was labelled high risk and was supervised closely by a team of OB’s at a fancy hospital out of town. lion’s birth was a mess and scary and you can read more about that here. as for me, my tumour was removed in the fall of 2010. bear almost three and lion was about four months, so it was very stressful for all of us. 

[ two days post surgery. they went up my nose to remove the tumour, hence the bandage ]

i am still being monitored by a team of neurologists and endochronologists, getting MRI’s done about every six months and bloodwork done then too. so far, things look good, but i go back in july for another follow-up appointment. it is likely the tumour will return, but hopefully not for a long time!

i’m ending on sadder note. MCA (adam yauch) has passed away at the age of 47. he was a member of the beastie boys, who i have LOVED for decades, now! i’ve only seen them live twice, but both shows were so amazing. 

[ L to R, mike D, adRock and MCA ]

g’night world.
g’night moon.

xo, mama lola

easter fun!

we’ve been busy getting ready for easter.

i purchased some wee chicks, tipuja, and set them out on our table and at breakfast the boys were so delighted to see them. i have tried to enforce the rule of “not for touching, but for admiring”, which bear has always seemed to understand. here’s hoping lion will too!

yesterday in the basement i found a carton of already-blown eggs (meaning the insides have literally been blown out by making two small holes at each end of the egg), so the boys decided to paint them. i was so scared they would break the eggs, but the painting project progressed without any smashes! 

both, lion and bear painted with such focus and artistic flare; they will make their mummo so proud. she has painted perhaps about a 1000 blown eggs! here are some from our small collection my mom gave us. this year we couldn’t find any good pussy willows, so we hung a large branch from the ceiling and hung the eggs from there. bear and i added some of our own fancy decorations onto the branch to fancy it up some!

today we are baking egg-free sugar cookies. we found the super simple recipe here. bear has been asking questions about chocolate and whether or not they contain eggs, and if he can eat the chocolate eggs the easter bunny will leave. poor kid and his worries! i explained that i emailed the easter bunny and told him about the new egg allergies. that seemed to calm bear’s nerves a bit!

saturday first thing we’re heading to the st.lawrence market in the big city. it was recently names the best food market in the world by the national geographic! check out the top ten here and note that number 7 is kauppatori, helsinki! oh, this dual-citizen mama is bursting with national pride for both markets; how wonderful to have a good food source in one’s two hometowns.

we’ll have small easter egg hunt in our backyard on sunday, i think. i will sew quick pillow cases as gifts and i bought some funny little things and some chocolates as well. i’ll post pictures of the delight later!


xo, mama lola

where children sleep.

i saw this link on the internet. it is a photographic editorial about the different places children sleep on, all over the world. it was quite shocking, upsetting and heart breaking to be visually shown these dirty, dangerous and uncomfortable places a child was expected to sleep and dream and prepare for the following day.

i feel a tremendous sense of gratitude right now, after watching that slide show. although bear is struggling with his eczema and it is turning out to be a bumpy road, at least my kids are safe and comfy upstairs in their bunk beds, tucked in between freshly laundered sheets, in soft pj’s, in a house that is warm and will protect from weather, animals and other potential dangers. If we do get anything like bed bugs, all we have to do is make one call to someone like Olathe pest control and it’s sorted in the same day.

we are lucky.
for so much.

good night.
sleep tight.
don’t let the bed bugs bite…

xo, mama lola

duck in rain.

there are days when i feel raw.
raw and vulnerable to the world. to its people, judgements, and words.

today, someone close to me said things that were hurtful. this person made judgements about me and how i mother. i was deeply pained by the comments and now in hindsight wish so desperately i could have returned with some hefty comebacks. instead, i stuttered something pathetic and felt doubt creep into my mind about how i mother.

i must be stronger and stand like a duck in rain, allowing the negative comments roll off of my back and shatter on to the floor into millions of insignificant pieces.

[ sad eyed lion ]

i will end on a lighter note…

to help clear my mood i stumbled upon this, while checking facebook. artist simon beck walked and created these awe inspiring geometric shapes into snow. follow the link to find more pictures.

happy saturday night, folks!

xo, mama lola

new york, NEW YORK! [part 1]

*my computer is still being repaired and i am desperately trying to complete my entries on an ancient macbook that is lacking any basic photo editing software. i have attached a few rough pics, but once my computer is back with me, i will edit and post more pictures.
we are back from our adventures in the big apple and ready to tell the tale. we could not have predicted the, um… complications that reared their ugly heads to us this past weekend. in case you didn’t hear, a nor-easter blew into the city with all its might on saturday and tried to knock us down. check out this article for details from the new york times.

we left our house wednesday night with our car packed, kids in pajamas and hot drinks in our cups. i was travelling with my finnish passport, even though i am dual citizen and hold canadian citizenship as well. but, currently i only have a finnish passport and i had the wrong visa at the border to enter the USA, so we got stuck there for a bit. the border officials were mean, power hungry men who intimidated the pants off of me. eventually they let me in.

the plan was to spend the first night at a motel on the road and then drive all day thursday to dear hubby’s sister’s place, where we would spend the night and then jump on a train first thing friday morning and head into new york city.

checking out the hudson river en route to new york city.

and that’s what we did.

we arrived on time at grand central station, but the kids were a wreck. they needed food and fast as the snacks i had packed were not enough to sustain a happy blood sugar level. it was a disaster, but after some quick cream cheese and lox bagels, we had mostly recuperated and headed on out to 42nd street to find a taxi… er, i mean a cab. we had an hour before j&l’s wedding at noon, but had to drop off our luggage at our hotel before heading to the people’s improv theater where the wedding was to take place. they spent so much time planning their wedding and I’m so glad they chose to have it in New York. I told them about a good photographer I had heard of (Visit the link for more info about NY photographer Olga Topchii) but I’m not sure who they booked in the end!

buying some fresh berries and fruits en route to the wedding.

oh the wedding. j&l had a magical untraditional jewish wedding at the people’s improv theater in manhattan. the mood was joyous and the kids were excited to be there. the main event took place on the main stage and it was delightful to watch. the rabbi was entertaining as she explained the steps of the ceremony and the significance of them. j&l were glowing and their smiles could not have been more infectious. our cubs managed fairly well, although bear did lose his cool sooner than we would have wished, but, adult situations and events where a three year old has to sit fairly still and be fairly quiet can be tough.

j&l during their lovely wedding ceremony. you can’t fake smiles like that!

after the wedding we headed back to the hotel, checked in and then hit the streets of manhattan. the hotel was really nice but I wish we had looked at some staten island hotels since the location would have been better for us. it’s something to consider next time we visit though! with the kids asleep we headed north towards central park. we left 26th and got to 53rd and decided to go to MOMA as they were just starting their free friday evenings. it was worth the wait and coat check line to see van gogh’s “a starry night” in person; to discuss art with my three year old bear who has an eye for picasso, just like his mummo; and to be surrounded by such fantastic art with my family.

aalto chair on the 4th floor at MOMA.

new york really has a strong pulse and the hustle of the city was invigorating. the traffic, the stores, the signs and the people were all absolutely fascinating to watch. we were such obvious tourists with our maps in hand and camera around my neck!

here’s PART 2 of our NYC trip.

xo, mama lola

it’s that time of year: pumpkins n’ rakes n’ scarves, oh my!

well, it’s that time of year again. time to pull out all the mitts, toques, sweaters and scarves. mother nature has brought us fall with its grey, but sometimes with a side of sunshine, damp days and cold, dark nights. once october rolls in i turn into a neck-cover-upper, meaning i love to wear scarves and turtlenecks. i found this awesome video on 25 ways to tie a scarf and am truly inspired to vamp up my scarf wearing. check it out!

since we will be in the big apple (t-minus 3 days) for halloween, we decided not to carve our pumpkins, but paint them instead. this morning bear and i set up our painting station outside on our front porch in the glorious warm sunlight. he was absolutely delighted to paint without the wee brother distracting us, and boy o’ boy did he ever paint. the kid had his artsy juices flowing and created some phenomenal work today. i love how fearless he is, especially when painting; he mixes colours and brushes and just paints. he’s not concerned about what anyone will think of his work and seems to really love the process. i wish i could say the same about me. even though i’m just painting pumpkins, i feel this odd pressure for things to look good and funky. augh, i need to get over it!

the kid’s a natural.

we got a bunch of fall/ winter prep done this weekend. the backyard patio furniture is packed into the shed, leaves raked and bagged and taken to the dump. the backyard is swept, sticks piled by the composts and various flower pots emptied and packed away for next spring. the swing from the front porch has been taken down to the chagrin of the boys, but it’s that time of year. it feels really good to be ahead of the game for once and ready for the upcoming change in season.

the guys cleaned the inside of the car today too, in preparation for our NYC roadtrip. dear hubby took various seats out, vacuumed them and had two little guys in there wreaking havoc on the whole experience. they were supposed to be helping, but instead the two tried to sneak out of the van through the open trunk or honked the horn or closed the doors on poor dear hubby as he was carrying a heavy carseat. but, the car sparkles as well as it can and is ready to go!

i’ve been moving slightly slower than preferable this weekend as i have been fighting something that wants to severely attack my immune system! it started with a sore throat and then moved to my sinuses and now is weakly holding on. i’ve been chugging my beloved oil of oregano and i think i have overcome whatever bug this was. phew!
look what i found in lion’s bottom bunk. 

bear is eager to sleep with his little brother and sneaks down to the bottom bunk every so often. secretly, i love it and it breaks my heart. realistically, i think they’re almost at the right age to sleep together, or at least fall asleep together. bear is such a mover and a shaker in his sleep, which worries me a bit for lion’s sake. maybe we’ll give it a try at the hotel in NYC.

speaking of new york, it’s time to start packing for our family adventure! i’m hoping to get most of the kids’ things done tonight, so that i can focus on my own stuff, which is going to be tricky. i can’t figure out what i should wear, as the weather predictions keep changing from snow, to rain, to sun, which is pretty unhelpful. i tend to over pack, always have, because i am always concerned with all of the what ifs. i’m the kind of person who prefers to be prepared for any situation whether it means stopping for an unplanned pee break on some foreign country road or feeling hungry and not finding any gas stations for those all important snacks! that being said, i feel a bit overwhelmed and would love some packing suggestions!

kissy lips.

can’t wait for this week to get going, because then we’ll be that much closer to leaving!
hope you have a wonderful monday tomorrow. 

xo, mama lola

wrap it up already…

i’ve been moving really slowly this week. i blame the heat and unbearable humidity; it goes straight to my head and zaps my brain. just like tequila shots. here’s a quick update on our goings on…

* saturday we hit downtown with the chariot and bikes to check out art on the street. it was a blazing hot day, but it was great event and we even bought a piece of art for the playroom (more on that later). then, we had bubba and patty over for dinner. the kids loved it. we miss ’em! we used to have dinner with them at least once a week before we moved.
* i have re-introduced coconut milk into my stir-fry recipe and am not sure why i stopped buying it. 
last weekend we hit our favourite beach for hours of fun. this weekend we’re going to hillside, a fantastic music festival close to home. 
* bear has been attending gymnastics camp with his buddy lil’C. they have gone every morning for three (glorious) hours giving this mama a small break. 
* bear is refusing to pee standing up at the toilet. not sure why. not sure how to rectify the situation as he was doing it just fine for a long time. 
* lion is teething his 7th tooth and wants to be held A LOT!
* i thought we were interviewing a potential baby-sitter today and after a quick tidy, dear hubby racing home, i checked my email and realized i got my dates mixed up. she’s coming next week instead apparently. shoot.

time to start drinkin’.

xo, mama lola
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