skating party, with a side of teeth and birthday love!

today our city’s mayor hosted a party with skating, and music and treats, and lots of fun.

bear donned his skates for the first time, evah and off we went. it was excruciating holding him, but after a couple of rounds around the rink he wanted to do it on his own. i was bursting with pride — even though he kept falling, he would smile and pick himself up and try again. what a guy!

the zamboni came along and gave him a well deserved break!



lion was happy to watch from the sidelines.

he is riding a massive teething wave, which i don’t think has crested yet. he is constantly rubbing his gums with a finger, or toy, or furniture or his beloved soother! it looks like his gums are going to explode. they are so red and bulbous (ugh, hate that word), with tiny speckles of white teethy pearls shining through. our teething experience has been so different this time with lion, compared with bear. i just hope my little lion’s teeth come sooner rather than later, because the constant whining and super sensitive state he is in, is painful to watch and live with. If they don’t come soon, we’ll be taking a trip to Dentist Greenbelt for future support! Hopefully it’ll be sorted then and he won’t be in so much pain. I can not wait until his teeth come through, although, from what I can see peeping through at the moment, I am feeling quite jealous. No, not because of the pain he’s experiencing but because of how white they look, its amazing! This has prompted me to do some research on teeth whitening products so I can have some good looking nashers of my own. I’ve already searched up questions like “how long do crest white strips take to work” and “reviews on teeth whitening toothpaste”, so I know I’m bound to find the perfect solution soon. Anyways, lets focus on my son’s growing teeth for the time being…


one of our sweet little friends turned ONE on friday and i wanted to share a picture of her eating her birthday cupcake! happy birthday sweet girl! xoxo



hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!





xo, mama lola

2012.

WELCOME 2012, NICE TO MEET CHA!
it’s time to start new and fresh, it is a new year after all. 2012 arrived in full glory with snow and rain and storms, but here we are safe and sound at home coming down from the holiday high.

we spent a glorious new year’s extra-long weekend with our dear friends at the cottage getting into all sorts of shanighans! kids of all sizes and generations had fun tobogganing, building forts and lumilyhty’s; we sat by the fire sipping various drinks and cocktails and munching on a lovely variety of festive treats; the conversations flowed easily, opinions were debated and ideas developed. it was fantastic!

there was a spectacular fireworks presentation thanks to papaD. unfortunately, bear was growly and little ozFire (almost 2yrs) was terrified and cried the entire time. there were also some fancy extra long sparklers for the big kids and they were such fun, even for the grumpy bear!
the big kids were really in their element enjoying all that mother nature had to offer. no matter what kind of precipitation was falling from the sky, the kids were out in full force. we did have to call them in to dry off and eat every few hours. check out the fancy snow fort below!



here’s a quick slide show of our winter fun!



our drive home took an unusual 7 hours due to some weather related difficulties. first we got stuck for an hour on the cottage driveway, which was incredibly frustrating. it had all iced and since we were the last car to leave we had to back up over tons of ice. finally after trying branches, wood blocks, salt, the ashes worked and got us on the road. 
then after driving for about 2 hours we hit a major snow storm and had to drive at 30-40km/ph. slow going, but safe i suppose. eventually we got home and quickly went to bed.


looking forward to all sorts of adventures that 2012 has to offer! 
my motto or mantra for this year is (stolen from friday night lights):
 “clear eyes, strong hearts, can’t lose.

xo, mama lola

a strep hiatus.

i have been away from my blog as i have been ill. so i got strep a few weeks back, got the antibiotics and was quickly feeling better. then a few days after the antibiotics finished i was hit yet again by strep. the doctor explained that up to 20% of strep infections are a strain that is resilient to penicillin, the antibiotic most commonly used to treat strep. lucky for me that was the kind of strep that chose to invade my body. if you have ever had strep you know it just stinks. your throat hurts so much, even swallowing warm liquids feels like knives slicing your uvula to shreds! you also feel tremendously tired and achy and possibly feverish and just lousy. but i am now feeling much better thanks to my new antibiotics and, fingers crossed, i stay this way! i can’t spend another weekend in bed, especially since this weekend we are attending our dear friends’ annual american thanksgiving dinner party. i am so excited to go as we have missed the past few years due to illness.

at the local santa claus parade.
bear’s first tootsie roll candy: surprisingly he LOVED it!
lion waved and waved at the floats going by. no candy for him.



moving on…
my bear has a new sweet friend at preschool. bear comes home telling tales about what they played and what his new buddy is like. every day he only plays with this one friend and bear tells me they are friends, and love each other. the sincerity with which bear speaks of this specific friend in heartbreakingly touching. today we had mr.T and his mama over for a playdate for the first time and i have to confess i totally get the friendship now. these two boys share a very special bond; one which is full of equality, respect and genuineness. neither kid is the dominant mr. bossy pants, but they take turns taking charge of a game. 
i am so happy for bear. his new friend is already so important to him and to have a friend so similar is just wonderful. they really are two peas in a pod.


our afternoon playdate triggered some evening drama. bedtime was tough for my overtired bear so i rocked him to sleep, holding him in my arms. his big body was cuddled in close as his long limbs hung over my legs. as we sat there in the dark, a huge lump grew in my throat as i fondly remembered the days when i used to breastfeed him to sleep every night. those nights seem so long ago and part of a completely different life. 


off to do some laundry, which i am behind thanks to the stinkin’ strep.



HAPPY HUMP DAY!


***

xo, mama lola

weekend guilt.

my computer is STILL getting fixed. and now to my shock and horror the lense on my nikon is not working, so i have basically stopped taking pictures. technology and i just don’t get along!

[source]

SATURDAY:
it feels as though every day i fight the same fights with my three year old. every morning it starts with getting dressed and then it’s about getting shoes or boots on to go outside and then it’s about tidying up….. lately though things have gotten worse and this weekend i lost it. this mama of a pressure cooker lost her cool in a shameful way. every time i asked bear to do something he sat there on the floor and whined and did nothing. i tried threatening him, bribing him and nothing worked. i wanted to go to the new micheals in town and since we’re almost out of paint, i told bear we could go and buy some new ones. he shook his head and said “no. i don’t want to.” really? what kid does not want go and buy new paints? i was flabbergasted.
i just don’t understand the necessity to repeat each of these fights. i mean, i get it; it’s all about power and control and we’re both fighting for it. and i get that he’s feeling overwhelmed by all of the independence he has discovered as of late, but, c’mon, surely we don’t have to fight about getting shoes on every single effing day.
or maybe we do.

but this weekend clarified for me that i have lost my mothering ways in all of this. i have lost my solid ground as i am losing my cool too quickly. i need to revisit some of my parenting books, for the reminders i need to stay focused and present at the task at hand. when i point fingers and shout and say stupid things like “because i said so” (which is the dumbest thing to say in my opinion), i immediately feel guilty and like the worst mother on this planet. and as that self-hatred boils hotter inside of me, i shout a wee bit louder and emphasize my point even that much more. augh. this is not the kind of mama i want to be, even during my weakest moments.
i wish i was stronger. i wish i could climb into an armoured suit during some of these daily battles as a way to protect myself, but ultimately to protect my bear from the reaction he receives from me. the suit would hide my rageful face and silence my screams.
i went to bed feeling alone and empty.

this image is grainy and blurry; not sure if that’s blogger or the laptop i’m on. sorry. but, bear built this amazing barn with me and then wrote out a stop sign for the entrance, so funny!

SUNDAY:
this morning, to my delight i received a warm sunny call from a darling friend. it was as if she had heard the upset thoughts racing through my mind and decided to touch base. and that was exactly what i needed, to touch base and get grounded in my mothering. my friend talked me through the weeks events and listened to me vent as i complained about the struggles i have been dealing with.
after her words of wisdom, i felt stronger and wanted to have a better sunday than we had had saturday. we did a wee bit of christmas shopping, ran a few errands and actually had fun as a family while doing some mundane things.

******

then, there is tremendous guilt i feel for even complaining about my family and my life. at least i am alive, here and present at this time to mother. about a week ago a woman. jenna morrison, was killed while biking to pick up her son from school. she was 38 years old, a yoga instructor, a wife and five months pregnant. her death has been on my mind a great deal, even though the accident happened in toronto, but because she could have been a friend of mine or me. this is what so many of us mamas do, we travel back forth between schools, parks, grocery stores, doing what we do to care for our families never really thinking something like this can happen. her death was tragic.


there will be ghost ride for jenna tomorrow morning in toronto. please attend if you can.and demand your own community to create safer roads for cyclists.
******
stay safe.
xo



xo, mama lola

when it rains, it pours, even on the sunniest of days.



this week we existed.
it all started on sunday night when dear hubby uttered the words “we’re launching at work this week…” and anyone who is a computer programmer’s partner knows that this means too much work and not enough hours in the day and deadlines that come and go and then come around again. for dear hubby it was made worse as he had to commute to the city four times this week, instead of the usual two times and clock longer hours at the office each day. 


on monday night we had the baby-sitter come, which is a bit unusual, but a friend was performing and we wanted to check it out. dear hubby was arriving at the bus depot at 7pm (and would not see the kids at all that day) and i was supposed to meet him there. i did met him there, but my heart was full of sadness and doubt as both kids had been a mess upon my departure. lion screamed and screamed, while his big brother clung to my left leg begging me to stay through sobs and tears. augh. i peeled his arms off of me, quickly kissed the boys and ran out the door. i was also almost in tears when i climbed into the car. getting a baby-sitter wasn’t supposed to be this hard and make everyone feel so heavy hearted. i was ready to go back home, but we texted the sitter and she told us everyone had calmed down and was ready for sleep. what a relief. dear hubby and i had a wonderful evening listening to great music and chatting with friends.


for the kids the stress of dear hubby’s absence was felt immediately. so, on tuesday we decided to spend a night in the big city with my folks so that the kids could at least see their dad at dinner time and bedtime. but, like any mama knows, when spending a night in a different setting, even if it is the grandparents’ cozy home, things are just that much harder. bedtime got pushed back, diaper rashes flared up and everyone was missing our regular routine.

on our way home, of course bear decided he had to poop just as we got on the highway.

bear has had an especially rough week. he’s been very attached to his daddy since birth and when dad isn’t around enough he takes it to heart. bear’s behaviour becomes more aggressive and hard to be around. he doesn’t seem to sleep as well, which makes for a growly three year old bear. and to top things off his glasses spontaneously snapped and broke, which means because it’s a long weekend he won’t get a new pair until next week. sigh.


lion doesn’t seem to realize his daddy is gone, but when he does see him again his excitement is heartbreaking to watch. he laughs and points with pure joy at his dad. but, he too has felt the stress of this unusual week.


for me, the days have been longer and more draining. it’s exhausting to be the only one doing everything and not really getting a proper break. but, the hardest part about flying solo is the loneliness of missing one’s partner. 


and it’s going to be demanding for a couple of more days. tomorrow the kids and i are off to the cottage with patty. unfortunately dear hubby and his folks will be heading east a few hours to a cousin’s wedding on saturday. that means, dear hubby is renting a car and then after the reception will be booting it to the cottage. sounds absurd, i know, but the cottage is at its best at thanksgiving and lion has never even experienced it yet, so we are determined to maintain these important family traditions.


i am eagerly awaiting to curl up with some good reads in front of the cottage fire with all of my guys. i am looking forward to exploring the forests and enjoying the warmth of thanksgiving with family. i am yearning to experience the wonder that is the cottage rather than exist in my routine at home.


but…



still, i am thankful.


happy thanksgiving!





xo, mama lola

with love.

first, i want to let everyone know, that mr. WJ is going strong and has been home for the last couple of days. our friends’ four year old had some health concerns and he has been diagnosed with asthma, but the family is feeling positive and WJ is happy to be back to his ol’ shenanigans. xoxo

here are the overdue cottage HURRAH pictures. good times, great friends and a life time of memories!

[due to technical issues, i have started to use flickr as a way to share my pictures on this blog. i am still getting the hang of it, so please, bear with me.]


second, i wanted to acknowledge that i have not been as consistent with my writing on here, but it’s only because life has gotten a few gears busier. and i knew this would happen once the regular routine kicked in, so now i am trying to figure out when to write here.


third….
this fall has been a wonderful time of year for us. we have spent time with friends, the kids are both thriving in their own selves, dear hubby signed on as a salaried and permanent employee, instead of staying on as a contract worker, we have been able to sink some money into the house, finally, and we are planning a family road trip to new york, new york. 

after the storms of recent past, it feels wonderful to have the peace and calm of health and happiness. i feel very lucky to be where we are now, considering the struggles we have had to endure. it must be that darn eternal optimist in me attracting good karma [wink].



xo, mama lola

alive, but not always well.

how do we know we are alive?
[source]

we’ve had many conversations about death at our house. it’s one of those tricky discussions that i don’t want to tip toe around, but finding age appropriate descriptions of death is tricky.


but, bear has never asked what it means to be alive. and i’m not sure how i would describe it either. things that are alive, grow, change colour and, um, die. some things that are alive think, feel, bleed, swim, fly, move, dance. others chew their food, hunt, etc, etc.


“Dip dip dive so-socialize
Open up your ears and clean out your eyes
If you learn to love you’re in for a surprise
It could be nice to be alive” 

                                              from: Alive by: Beastie Boys


******
we just enjoyed a beautiful weekend up at the cottage with dear friends feeling alive. the big kids frolicked amongst the trees building fairy huts and keeping their eyes peeled for bears. they discovered all sorts of wonders that mother nature creates and presents. the little kids explored closer to the adults, tasting various pine cones and sticks, while soaking in the warm september sun. 

more pictures to come.


we found out today that young WJ is unwell. he is the spirited son of our friends, seen here with bear and his big sis. we wish him all the health in the world to get him back home where he belongs. i am also sending his mama sunsun, all the strength to stay positive. 
we love you all. 
xoxo

xo, mama lola

where i’m at.



ok, so i set some goals this summer for myself and the fam. i love to things to work towards and plan for. here’s where i’m at…


family dinner: well, we haven’t even started, but the plans are stewing and brewing in my head. summer’s been a bit too hectic to start new routines and family traditions. after failing to start in august it provided me an opportunity to re-think some of the family dinners and decorations i want to make. i have also assigned thursday night dinners to dear hubby, as he’s around and needs to help out at home more. we’ve arranged that he needs to give me a shopping list, so i can get the necessary ingredients, meaning he has to do some planning. i’m quite excited about this!



going green(er): the goals i set can be seen here. this is where i’m at:

  • grey water collection went well, but dear hubby didn’t really jump on board with it. it was tricky to get in the swing of things and find a groove, but eventually i did. i’m not sure if i’ll continue in the winter though.
  • i have improved with buying local and have found some interesting gifts, but i can not go into detail about them at this time. SSsssshhhhh!
  • paperless billing: done! I recently decided to invest in some document management software since I spend so long trying to find random documents. Now that they’re all on my computer I can easily search to find the documents at the click of the button. It’s great! And I’m saving the planet too!
  • this fall i will be biking to and from preschool with the kids and plan to do errands downtown while bear is in school. dear hubby has increased his bike use as well, which makes us feel good.

i still want to improve on buying in bulk, baking and making more foods from scratch and unplugging more small appliances. but the ball is rolling and we are getting better.

***
our friend from finland left, so on his final night we strolled along the boardwalk in the beach and enjoyed a cider at a local pub. great evening guys!

the beach in toronto.



the winds of change have certainly swept through this weekend. we went from a balmy +35c on saturday to a frigid +16c today (tuesday).
from this….

sweaty baby.

to this…

cords overalls and hoodies!

fall has arrived and while some kids headed back to school today, we have one last week of free time and we are taking full advantage of it. today we enjoyed a spontaneous play date with friends we haven’t seen in a long time. tomorrow we’re off to the park with other friends; the park without shade which is perfect now that the temperatures have dropped! friday we have another playdate and nature hike with friends!

a raging good time thanks to sweet malibu!





xo, mama lola

(in)sight

i got new specs. they’re a bit different from what i thought, but i think i still like ’em. 

since becoming a wife and mother i have struggled with my own personal style. i kinda lost it in fact. and just to clarify, i have never been super trendy or fashion conscious, but i did have my own thang going on. but, after bear was born i made the common mistake that so many mamas make and went for clothes that i thought were practical, instead of pretty. and to top it all off i always wore my locks up in a messy bun, as a way to hide the tangled mess of hair it really was.


today, my post-babies-post-tumour-post-surgeries self is quite different from the pre-everything-self i knew a handful of years ago, both physically and emotionally. i am a continual work in progress and am finding inspiration in the less obvious in life. during the past year i kinda withdrew as i was feeling so overwhelmed by everything, but now i am slowly coming back to life. coming back to my life.

september is the start of a new month, with new a clean canvas to create wonderful new adventures on. dear hubby and i will start our weekly date night, we have some exciting trips possibly in the works (NYC!) and i am seriously looking to go back to school in january 2012. 

baby K with her MAMA S.

and there’s my friends. i am forever and truly grateful for my friends near and far, new and old. but, i am also grateful for the friendships my kiddo’s are making, especially bear. his friends are so important to him now and he is always asking who he is going to see when. it touches my heart as i still have friends that i made when i was his age and even if seas keep a distance it is still nice to share memories. 

photo credit to lil”C’s mama and her iphone.
“ring-around-the-rosie…”

my new specs brought have with them sharper vision; hopefully a better sense self and style; and possibly deeper insights into who i am, where i am going and who i want to become.

last long weekend of the summer and we will be spending it with friends. these friends in fact; bottoms up!
xo, mama lola

niagara falls: majestic enormity.

niagara falls on a windy and cloudy sunday afternoon (thanks irene), was perfection. we took our friend who is visiting from finland to show him the glory of this natural wonder. and man, the falls sure did deliver. even though i have seen the falls many, many times i am always in awe of their majestic enormity. we are so lucky to have such a beautiful natural wonder so close to home. 

and the kids were so well behaved. bear walked along with his grandpa, while lion was in dear hubby’s arms. the crowds were managable and it was just a really fun way to spend a sunday! i recommend YOU try it!

we walked, we saw, we awed. we ate expensive ice cream. i took pictures. bear walked into a garbage can. lion fell asleep in his dad’s arms. we listened to old stories from the ol’ timer. 

here’s hoping the week ahead is full of this much colour! 

suukkoja:: kisses.

xo, mama lola
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