lucky #13!

love is

source : loveiscomix.com

 

* luckily, 13 years ago i decided to go tree planting up in the clear cuts of northern ontario.

* luckily, i was ready to work hard, to learn new skills and live in the woods with 50 other strangers!

* luckily, i was cute and single and looking for love!

* luckily, my four person tent named hillary was a luxurious haven with lots of blankets, an air mattress and a sweet location.

* luckily, a super cute boy with twinkling blue eyes and a superb tan was there! (a tan as he had just returned from working on an organic farm in brazil).

* luckily, after a few small conversations at the breakfast buffet, our paths crossed one party night at camp and, well, the rest is history!

* and, luckily here we are today, married with kids living our lives.

 

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it’s amazing how much has changed in the years since we met, and it’s amazing how much things have stayed the same. dear hubby and i first met in a parking lot at the shoreline hotel up in thunder bay, on mother’s day in 2001. all of us tree planters were to meet at this location on our first day so we could be told how to get to our camp out in the woods of ontario. once my tent was set up, and the first few days of planting had been survived,  i eventually chated with a sweet guy who spoke in a quiet, mumbly voice. he told me not to pack banana’s into my lunch that i would take out for the day of planting, but instead eat oranges. mosquitoes you see, love LOVE bananas!!! he gave me good planting advice too, helped me improve my speed, my daily numbers and supported me through all the aches and pains tree planting threw at me!

 

we have had a great time together traveling, raising kids and just being together. of course we have had our share of stress, dysfunction and turmoil, but somehow through it all we are still here together and  holding hands. that’s gotta count for something, right?

 

(these snails were in our front yard, so i snapped their picture with my phone.  their togetherness inspired this post and reminded me of when DH and i met. sappy? yes, but that’s me!)

 

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happy thursday everyone!

xo, mama lola

painting easter eggs!

 

my mum is an artist. she is the most creative person i know. everything she touches turns into art; paintings, cards, pottery, even the meals she prepares has some artistic flare in it. so amazing!

she has a stunning collection of hundreds of easter eggs she has decorated over the years. my kids know their mummo has special talents and love getting artsy with her. during easter we invite good friends over to my parents house and my mum lets the kids (all 5 of them) use her various art supplies. she patiently guides the budding artsists on how to get the paint to stay on brushes, how to colour blown eggs with markers or pencils. it’s amazing seeing them in action.

 

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here are some of the beautiful eggs the kids created for easter. so lovely! my mum attaches the beads and ribbon, so the egss can be hung for decorations.

 

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here are the kids with their art teacher. look at all of those adorable smiling faces!  i feel like bursting when i look at this photo!

 

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we are of to celebrate easter with family today. it’s a beautiful day outside, the kids have made their cards and dear hubby is doing some yummy easter baking! he’s trying out a finnish recipe, which is tricky as some of the ingredients are hard to find. anyhow, more to come on that later!

 

HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!

 

xo, mama lola

where is spring: i am losing myself.

i know much of the talk recently for so many of us has been this epic, long winter. it has been cold and snowy, and when i say cold and snowy i don’t mean your typical winter freeze! i mean exceptionally cold temperatures that have dragged on for months, topped off with exceptionally high snow fall, which has led to a winter of great efforts! initially, we all loved the winter activities we were able to jump into so quickly but, now i think my mental health is on the edge. i am trying to hold on, but i feel myself slipping into a sadness, a lethargy and a feeling of total, blah.

 

my insomnia is back. last night i was up until 2am, thinking and thinking about all sorts of things. i tip-toed downstairs, found my computer, sat down to blog a little, then i checked-out pinterest and after an hour decided to go back to bed. recently, the pain in my neck that travels all the way down the right side of my body is back, as well. i had it last spring and it completely immobilized me for a few days. i am trying to keep my head up, but sometimes it feels as though i am fighting against my own body.

 

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the kids are exhausted by the weather as well. last year at this time, we had enjoyed many warm spring like days wearing only raincoats or sweaters, instead of still piling on our woolies, snow pants and parkas. they are completely disinterested in tobogganing or going on winter hikes or going ice skating; they want to run and play without the restrictions of snow. i get it, cuz SO DO I! on the weekend is was pretty cold on sunday, but dear hubby got the kids out to play after some serious convincing, and the guys had a great time! i think their mental health is affected by this long, never ending winter as well. they are eager to get back on their scooters and bikes, fly kites and make some awesome mud pies!

 

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check-out their amazing work in -10c conditions, where the snow is covered with ice making it hard, instead of compact and easy to build with. they really got serious about building their igloo; bear stayed inside organizing ice blocks that his little brother was delivering to him. the team work they demonstrated was quite touching.

 

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i am hoping to find some energy and motivation soon.

i want to play outside, get dirt under my fingernails and watch as the trees all come back to life. it is impossible to even think about gardening, as there are snow mountains 2-3 meters high in our front and back yards. it will take a long time for all of it to melt!

 

how are you coping with this winter?

what’s the weather like where you are?

 

happy tuesday to you!

xo, mama lola

a weekend getaway… without the kids!

HELLO OTTAWA!

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we were invited to a family wedding in our nations capital. after lots of humming and hawing, and figuring out how to do it all without the kids in tow, we came up with a rather exciting plan! the wedding also nicely landed a week after our 7th anniversary, so it was a great excuse to celebrate US! dear hubby and i decided to fly to ottawa on porter airlines, stay in a lovely hotel in the center of the city, celebrate the beginnings of a beautiful marriage, take in a few sights, and then hop on a train to come home. it was a great trip filled with delicious foods, lots of walking and a calm that is hard to find when the kids are around.

we climbed onto our wee plane at 9:30am in toronto and landed in ottawa at 10:15am! AMAZING! i barely had time to read my book!

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we arrived at our hotel early, but luckily we were able to check in early. lucky, because the finnish men’s hockey team was stomping all over the american team and ultimately won 5-0!!!! it meant bronze for my finn’s! then we had to rush to eat, as we had a wedding to get to!

and, this was our lunch. we found this awesome deli where the “bread” part was made of scones. i had this yummy salmon scone sandwich with a salad.

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unfortunately i have no pictures of dear hubby and i looking dapper at this wedding. but, boy did we look great! dear hubby wore his gorgeous black velvet blazer, which was perfect for this winter wedding setting! i wore a sparkly grey dress, but i was warm enough because, i wore the wrap my mum made me for our winter wedding on 2007. one side of it is a beautiful green/ purple silky material, but the other is a natural white wool where my mum embroidered the leaves all sorts of trees. it is unbelievably beautiful, and i was so happy to be able to use it again!

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it was a splendid wedding! lots of laughter, great stories and piles of love! congrats sarah & mike! xo

mello’s diner was an awesome breakfast spot for the morning after from the wedding! yummy food with fast and courteous service!

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once our bellies were full we started walking through ottawa. we soaked in the sun and enjoyed the seasonally warm temperatures. we walked from ottawa, ontario to the hull area of gatineau, quebec. look at that glorious sun!

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after walking we arrived at the canadian history museaum also known as the canadian museum of civilization. i have to admit this is one of the best museums i have ever experienced. everything about it was fantastic! please, go check it out if you can!

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this is the grand hall. and, WOW is it ever grand! it is a hall will enormous totem poles that were carved by strong, creative hands. the totem poles  stand proud holding onto the stories their makers wanted to share. they are breathtaking.

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at the far end of the grand hall has a set of curvy stairs. above the stairs high on the ceiling is a stunning mural “morning star” by alex janvier. the colours, the energy and the rhythm was exhilarating. it was impossible to get a good picture of it, but trsut me when i say, it was stunning!

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canada hall is one of the permanent exhibits at the museum. it is this fabulous meandering walk through the thousands of years of history our land holds. the layout is unbelievable, as you walk from one century to another, it feels as though you are outside walking along the streets of a prairie town during the 1900’s or strolling through a 60’s airport waiting lounge littered with ashtrays and funny payphones! it is great for people of all ages and i look forward to the day i can take my boys there!

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ottawa is a wonderful city. not too big, busy or overwhelming the way many big cities are. so much history, beautiful architecture and plenty to see.

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this is our parliament building. it’s where the big wigs make, um…. mostly terrible decisions on our behalf. haha! but, it is a beautiful building with lots of history.

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and, rideau canal.

daytime.

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nighttime.

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this was the hotel we stayed in. the lord elgin. it is in the center of town walking distance to the byward market, parliament hill, rideau canal and so much more! it was built during the war in 1941 and there are so many wonderful details left from that time period.

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on the morning of our departure, we went to the byward market to load up on delicious goodies like montreal style bagels, bearvertails, coffee, and lunch for our train ride back to toronto.

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this was our lunch on the train. a couple of different deli salads and some yummy grilled veggies with rice ‘n beans.

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on the train i was feeling super anxious about seeing the kids. i have never been away from them for so long and i was missing them deeply. this three day, two night separation felt like an eternity, but i know it was something we all needed. the kids had a wonderful time with my folks, which i knew they would!

here we are arriving at union station in toronto.

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on this mini-getaway we traveled by car, ferry, plane, city bus, taxi, train and subway! oh, and let’s not forget by foot as well! with our trusted pack from our worldly adventures from way before the kids were ever even thought of, we did what we do so well together. we traveled. it may not have been to another country, another continent, or anything super adventurous, but it was a trip where we arrived at our destination hand-in-hand with big smiles on our faces eager to explore. there were no strict schedules or time constraints, no kids begging for attention or melting down from low blood sugar. although, dear hubby was hit with a cold, we still had a great time just the two of us.

HAPPY 7th ANNIVERSARY to US!

xo, mama lola

nobody listens to me.

i am experiencing some mama-rage and need to vent…

so, i think my family is somehow confused, because when i speak, instead of pausing whatever it is they are doing, they walk away, talk over me, start another conversation with another member of our family, start singing, fall asleep, or just blatantly ignore me. the continued lack of listening is starting to really wear me down. i mean sure, not everything i say is interesting or funny, but maybe if i wasn’t always repeating myself a hundred million times a day, then i’d have time and the brain capacity to be hilarious, ya know? every day my kids and i go through the same motions when getting ready for school. every day the volume increases at the same points and every morning i list off the things they have to get done; brush teeth, get your boots on, get your backpack, stop fighting with you brother…

this astounds me, i mean c’mon, how is this my life?

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i am not quite the mother i always dreamed i would be. but, in my own defense, my kids aren’t quite the way i had fantasized either. in all honesty, in my pre-mothering days, i thought my kids would be better at listening to me, but to my utter dismay, i am a mama who has to raise her voice in order to see results happen around this house. and let me clarify, it’s not as though i raise my voice and say “get your outside stuff on” and then the kids do it. no, no, i have to crank the volume of my voice and hit repeat; i say the same $hit to them over and over again, until i feel like i am going to explode. it seems to only be getting wore with age… gah!!!

and, my sweet DH? well, some days he’s not any better…

please, PUH-lease tell me i am not alone in this…

xo, mama lola

good-bye 2013, hello 2014.

i realize my pictures late, but i wanted to share them anyway! we had a glorious new year’s up at the cottage with friends.

here is a montage of the fun…

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new years collage

we had so much fun with are amazing friends, tobogganing, playing in the snow, playing games, dancing, singing, and hanging out by the fire. it was very, very cold (-20c) which made trips to the outhouse exhilarating! haha!

xo, mama lola

a new year.

i am a little late in sharing about what this new year means to me. i’m late to the game, because i can’t actually decide what i want this new chapter to look or feel like. i’ve been really trying to think of resolutions that i should make and try to keep, but nothing really feels sincere. in years passed i have tried to really make my own needs a priority, which now that the kids are bigger is just happening. all i can say is, i want to be stronger emotionally, which as a resolution will be almost impossible to measure. does that matter?

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as humans, we are all in a steady flow of change; we are always evolving, gaining strengths, acquiring knowledge, and moving forward. knowing this helps me move on from the burdens of my past and try to maintain a flow towards more positive thinking and living. my ego and esteem have taken a heavy beating, and coming out of that is much harder than i thought it would be. i am always second guessing myself, and i find it difficult to truly like myself. self-doubt has been eating away at me for far too long.

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lucky for me, i have wonderful love in my life. i have people in my village who accept my weaknesses and do not judge me. and honestly, if they do, well, i can’t really do anything about that. i will continue to try to hold my chin up as they say and move on. i have a pretty good life, and i know this. so, i am going to try to control my anxiety, my self doubt and not let these parts of my self control my life.

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source

i am going to try new things even it scares me, reach further out of my comfort zone and accept who i am.

once and for all.

xo, mama lola

christmas is all about love and family.

i realize this is a little late, but we’ve been on the go this past week with birthday celebrations and an adventure up north at the cottage for new years! we had a wonderful christmas. there were some unexpected twists and turns, forcing us to be flexible, testing our patience, but after all was said and done, it was  a wonderful christmas in the end. it was one that reminded all of us of what really matter in life, and how fortunate we all really are just because we live in canada. the 24th of december is traditionally when finnish families celebrate christmas. so, typically the boys, dear hubby and i head to my parent’s house for a beautiful christmas meal and evening. my mum decorates the house so nicely and she works hard to prepare traditional finnish foods for us to enjoy. it is very special. but, this year toronto and much of southern ontario was hit by a terrible ice storm. lots of people were without power for many days, my folks included. so, on christmas eve my parents drove about an hour to join us at out house. but, i didn’t have time to prepare much, because honestly we were all expecting the power to be restored more quickly than it was. this is where that flexibility and patience came into play; dear hubby baked some yummy treats and i made some quick appetizers with smoked salmon, baked a yummy gnocchi (recipe coming soon here) and we bought several delicious cheese; it wasn’t the kind of christmas meal my mum would make.

DSC_0222b DSC_0226b we started the evening with a glöggi toast cheering our family and health. we ate, while my parents shared stories of christmases from their childhood, which the kids were fascinated by. then, it was time to open gifts. oh, the kids had fun, fun, FUN! at the end of our evening it was clear that christmas is really all about love, family and being together.  even though our plans were quite different, unexpected and even stressful leading up to christmas eve, we all still had lots to be thankful for. we had each other, we were safe, we had resources to get food, to drive and shelter (even if it was cold for some). eventually my parents layered up and headed back to their freezing house, deciding not to stay with us, as they had stayed with friends the night previous. they were worried about the house as a city owned tree was dropping branches right on their property. but, even though christmas wasn’t what we had wanted or planned, we were all grateful to be together and share in a warm, loving evening together.

DSC_0234b the 25th we spent together as a family of four. we went tobogganing with neighbourhood friends to test out the fancy snow runner the kids received from joulupukki (santa claus). it was a quiet day of fun, games and love. again, reminding me of the meaning of chistmas for our family. spending time together as foursome, without any distractions or obligations, was truly special. then, on the evening of the 25th my mum phoned to say their power had been restored and we all hooted and cheered! it was a small, belated, christmas miracle!

on the 26th we headed to see dear hubby’s family. first we had a small tea party with his folks. we used dear hubby’s grandmother’s fancy tea cups, which was fun and special. we opened gifts and had a chance to play before heading to visit with extended family.

DSC_0285b i’m not sure why, but i didn’t really take many pictures this christmas. i was more focused on being involved in all the special moments, i suppose. sometimes i feel like an outsider when i end up taking pictures from the periphery.

i hope you had a wonderful holiday with your family, celebrating whatever traditions matter to you.

i will share some wonderful pictures from our time up north soon!

xo, mama lola

christmas bucket list!

christmas is a very fun n’ busy time of year. the boys, especially bear, keeps asking when december will get here, because that is when we start our holiday festivities at our house.

we hang up the large advent calender i made a couple of years ago, DH battles with the lights outside and gets them up on our front porch, and within the first week of december we get our christmas tree purchased and decorated.

to make sure we get everything done this season, i made this bucket list. i couldn’t fit everything on there that happens, as christmas is a very busy season!

 

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what’s on your christmas bucket list this year? anything new?

what are your x-mas traditions?

 

xo, mama lola
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