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.


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

docs & tumour update.

not much to report from my big appointment the other day. i will continue to be monitored closely, as in, i will see my neurologist and endocrinologist again,  in about 6 months time. i wll have to get another MRI done and the usual round of blood work. there are no obvious concerns; in fact things look great, but because i was pregnant when all of this went down, they don’t really know what my normal hormone levels are. it’s both re-assuring and worrisome to have to go back so soon.


i just want to be done, ya know? i am ready to move on and not have to think about my tumour anymore. i want to start planning things and setting goals, especially now that i am feeling better and am headache free. plus, the kids are getting bigger so it’s a great time to start putting our family adventures into full swing. 

i don’t want to sound ungrateful, because i am very grateful to be where i am now and where we are as a family. we have had the wind knocked out of us, but we are finally on solid ground again. i am especially to eager to start preparing for the holidays, now that we are mostly healthy from that wicked flu we had. it’s going to be a busy few weeks preparing everything, but now that there is a little snow sprinkled out there it is certainly beginning to feel like christmas.

the advent calendar is a huge hit! i explained to the kids that a joulutonttu (x-mas elf) comes at night and leaves the surprise for them to discover in the morning. it was so worth it!



sweet dreams merry elves!



xo, mama lola

trying to play catch up!

fa-la-la-la-laa, la-la-la-laa


it’s december third and i already feel as though i am playing catch up with the holidays. the boys’ advent calendar is late (gosh darn) and i am behind on my other christmas sewing as well. but, the calendar is getting close to being done. my goal is to have the kids receive their first toys on tuesday morning, but that’s assuming i don’t feel super exhausted each evening when i am supposed to be sewing!

a sneak peek of the advent calendar.

the fury which has been this terrible sickness in our home, furies on. tonight marks the one week mark of when all of this started. both kids have been in bed and asleep by 6pm most of the week. we went to the doctor on friday morning and discovered lion had an ear infection in his right ear. i am scared, as i was a chronic ear ache sufferer as a child, and know the kind of future which may lay ahead of him. bear, well, he was sent to get a chest x-ray as our family doc didn’t really like the sound of his lower right lung. we did not receive a call back, so he does not have pneumonia! finally, some good news.

but, we have been able to start spreading some christmas cheer around in small sprinkles here and there. we purchased this for bear online on wednesday and it arrived friday morning. it’s a door way swing set, with rings and a trapeze bar. bear is always looking for new ways to challenge himself physically and he is starting to do some dangerous stunts on the banisters, so we thought this was a safe way he can focus that energy and see results. (to get into his top bunk, he climbs the least direct way up like a little monkey! it’s amazing to watch and he has never fallen, not even close). anyhow, the rings and things are from the same company that made the sweet hammock lion used all those months ago.

we also purchased our christmas tree. i felt like we all needed some air in our congested lungs so we went for a quick visit to a local nursery and perused their tree selection. it was fun for a few minutes, but then the cranky, grumpy little boys showed their faces and it was time to head home. today we decorated our tree and that didn’t go over as well as i had wanted. bear started off happy and delighted with the task at hand, but then he faded quickly bringing out unpleasant behaviour. so it goes i suppose.

mothering sick children is tough, but it’s even harder when you yourself are sick. now, dear hubby is losing his health and giving into the sickness that has ravaged our home. let’s hope it doesn’t debilitate him like it did the rest of us, so that he and i can get our christmas groove on and get going on our gifts, baking and so on and so on.

lion is never too sick to care for vaava.

tis the season to be jolly









xo, mama lola

a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

i think my last entry about sharing really ruffled some feathers; my intention was not to offend or upset anyone, but at the time i was feeling really irritated after reading a terrible book to the kids about sharing. that being said, i do still question the way we teach and encourage sharing to our kids, but i question everything involved in mainstream parenting!
******
moving on…
so, sometimes i just want to give life the finger, ya know? i survived two rounds of strep each with different kinds of antibiotics and then sunday night the kids and i were smacked in the face with the flu. both kids have been lethargic and only today have picked up some more momentum. myself, i broke my fever last night alone in bed with my flannel lined hot water bottle (thanks sun). i’m still tired, but at least the ravaging fever is gone, but now the kids and i are hacking up our lungs with a painful dry cough. fingers crossed dear hubby doesn’t get sick as he is the last man standing… i asked dear hubby to come home stocked with new toothbrushes for all of us, he bought like a million; good man!



tomorrow brings day 6 of spending every waking minute together with the kids and it’s starting to show. but, i don’t think bear is well enough to go to preschool in the AM or ballet in the PM, so fingers crossed we survive.
friday is supposed to be date night, but i think we’re going to cancel. we’re all exhausted and the house is toxic with sickness. i just threw in a load of laundry, but almost burst into tears as i scanned the mountain growing in the basement. 

painting mummo’s birthday card.

tomorrow is december 1st and the advent calendar i dreamed to have ready for the kids is not done. all this sickness has zapped me of my energies and i am overflowing with guilt. my new goal is to have it done soon, but as many kind people have reminded me, my kids don’t know it’s coming and have no idea it’s supposed to happen for a specific number of days. whew…. 


oh, one final vent… my laptop is STILL being repaired. it’s been just over a month now and according to future shop they can have it for up to 60 days. that takes me to x-mas. what a pain in the butt ya know? computers are great, until they aren’t.


MERRY HUMP DAY!

xo, mama lola

homemakers, homemaking and me.

i am reading this absolutely amazing book radical homemakers by shannon hayes. it is a book about how our current consumer driven society came to be. how we evolved from homes with two homemakers, where two adults worked all day to maintain the household and family. they worked in the home, for the home, for the family. today, homes sit empty all day while people leave their homes to work for someone else so that they can afford their homes. it is about the consumer society that has dictated a new norm and we are all supposed to follow this path in order to maintain the buy, buy economy. hayes argues, for example, that there is excessive value placed on work, especially over work, keeping family members away from the home and separated from each other. this in turn has led to rising rates of depression and other mental health illnesses in the USA, where hayes is writing from and about. her book is well researched, presented and for myself, has made me take a closer look at my family and our values and think about where we’re headed with the choices we are making.

lion loves to help in the kitchen.

i am a stay-at-home-mama by choice. years before dear hubby and i were ever married and seriously considering parenthood, i knew one day i wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom. dear hubby has always been very supportive of this career path of mine and shared the belief of its importance. and yes, i do call it a career path or choice. homemaking is what i do all day, it is my work, my job. i may not receive monetary compensation for it, but i tend to our home and tend to the needs of the people living in our home. i ensure there is healthy food, clean clothes, clean living spaces, safe activities for the children, and much, much more.


being a fulltime at home parent is a rarity. there is tremendous pressure in our society to own lots of stuff, as that is a way to measure our success and ultimately, our self worth. the sizes of homes are getting bigger, but not because families are, but because of what it represents. the bigger the car, home, or diamond the more money they have and the happier they must be. but, according to hayes, research has proven this assumption is massively wrong. more money often means more hours worked, which actually means people are unhappier, because their time is very limited with their family.

i often get quite defensive when explaining my reasons for wanting to be at home. i feel like i have to justify that what i do is legitimate work and not just a lazy day with the kids. i in fact take my at-home duties very seriously, as i would with any job. for example, i try to feed my family fresh, nutritious foods, making meals from scratch most evenings. i am trying to teach my children how to enjoy a variety of foods; understand that food is grown on farms thanks to hard working people and doesn’t just appear in the grocery store. it is very important to us that our kids appreciate the manual labour and handmade aspect of their toys or clothes or food. obviously these discussions are short, as our kids are small, but we do acknowledge the fact that someone had to pick the fruit we are enjoying and someone had to ship it here and then someone else had to unpack it at the store.

we picked these apples and are making an apple crisp.
sneaky little bro trying to grab an apple chunk!



our society has lost the basic skills to darn, sew, knit, make clothes or fix cars, appliances, tools or grow and make our own foods, like bread. everything is ready-made for us. when things break, we toss them away and buy a new one.


in our household we make a conscious effort to try and make things, like gifts, for the kids, family and friends. for example, last christmas the boys got a much adored kitchen dear hubby built from an old night stand we purchased secondhand. i sewed some simple food items and found some real kitchen items from value village to round out the gift. this was our way of continuing our christmas traditions that will hopefully create a smaller foot print environmentally, but willalso create a sense of pride in the handmade items, no matter how small. we have been known to make soups, cookies, other baked treats, soaps and small sewn items as gifts for people.


all of that being said, i will admit that i too feel the pressures of keeping up with the jones’ (whoever they are). i want to have beautiful clothes, furniture and stainless steel everything, and i often feel the pressure to go out and get a paying job, so that we can afford more stuff. but, then i am reminded that we in fact do not want that stuff. we don’t want a tv, another car or fancy tech toys that are all the rage these days. what we do want is to see and experience the wonder of new places and people; we want live and work abroad, dear hubby seriously wants to sail around the world as a family, but most importantly we want to do EVERYTHING together. 


i hope i didn’t come across as self-righteous. i am only speaking of my life and my family and what works for us. we are very much a work in progress.


here’s a little mama humour to leave you with on this soggy wednesday; something i found on pinterest.




xo, mama lola

the mental health side of things.

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.  
~World Health Organization, 1948


i’ve wanted to write about this topic for a while now. it’s a tough topic to get in to, without getting too heavy, but i think it’s time my wee blog tries to break the stigmas linked with mental health. our society invests millions of dollars in encouraging people to take care of their physical health, by recommending what foods to eat (and not to eat), diseases to be aware of and how to avoid them, what vaccines to take and when and it’s all fine and dandy, but what about the other healths that make us human.


our mental and emotional healths also need our attention in order to be balanced, secure and happy. when i was in college studying to become an addictions and mental health counsellor, i was astonished to hear that 1 in 4 people live with a mental health illness. now, that does not mean they have been formally diagnosed, but it does mean that there are a whole lot of us struggling, often alone. 


if you do the math, 1 in 4 is a lot of people in your family, circle of friends, co-workers, uni pals, neighbours, whoever. and that doesn’t even count the number of different kinds of illnesses people can have or that some people even have more than one illness! mental health is all a part of a continuum, giving it flex to move and shape itself; some days are better than others, some years are darker than others and some decades can be a blur, while others are meticulously planned and lived.


so why the judgement? my guess is fear. mental health or unhealth can present in ways that are frightening to those witnessing the behaviour, but is also terrifying to those living with it. the mind is a very powerful source of doubt, pain, misinformation, paranoia, fear, distrust, self-loathing, hatred, hopelessness, and a slew of other horrific symptoms that are difficult to imagine. medications can help, but they often come with a long list of adverse effects, which can be difficult to live with.


if you know someone living with a mental health illness or you suspect someone is, reach out and support them. this does not mean “curing” them or becoming their counsellor, it means to offer to baby-sit their kids, take them out for a long walk, call and touch base regularly, make them dinner, offer to clean their house or hire a service with help from others, go to appointments with them, basically be a friend. many people, when diagnosed with a mental health illness lose their friends at a time they so desperately need the extra support.


what did YOU do for your mental health today?






xo, mama lola

falling for fall.

october has arrived in full force. the temperature has dropped dramatically and the crisp air outside is blowing fallen leaves briskly. the sun is fighting to show off its glory and every so often as the clouds race along, the warm rays shine down making for a beautiful fall day.

my kids and dear hubby were all eager to get out there and get to work. bear is the kind of kid who is not afraid of the elements or cooler temperatures, he in fact thrives in the fall/ winter months. he’s kind of like me and wilts in the heat and humidity of the summer. the poor kid has been asking for winter since june! Thus lion, whose goal in life is to be like bear, also wants to go outside and play. although he complains as we get all the layers on, he seems happy enough to be wherever bear is.  

this time of year is a reminder of the frightening storm that began two years ago. it was october when i became unexpectedly pregnant with lion and the migraines came on strong soon after. that fall i was taking a few uni courses for my women’s studies degree and i remember struggling with the readings as my head would just be pounding. i was exhausted, so exhausted that i would drag myself around town taking bear, then about 18 months to the park or play dates, grocery shopping or wherever. 



i’m off for my annual MRI tonight. gotta get it done to make sure my wee pituitary gland is tumour free. i am scared and nervous and a wreck. my friend, mamaM is a tech at the hospital and she will be doing my imaging tonight. she’s also the one who did the MRI when my tumour was first discovered. it’s nice to know a familiar and kind voice will be checking in with me as i endure the claustrophobic loud banging in that uncomfortable tube. i wont get the results until december.


fingers crossed everyone.
i am scared.

xo, mama lola

BAM, BANG, BOOM!

bear had an appointment with an allergist on tuesday morning. it was about an hour’s drive to get there and we were running about 10 minutes behind schedule. getting all four of us ready and out the door on time is a difficult task and throw in an 8am departure time…  well, things get a bit chaotic!  we managed to hit the road at a reasonable time, but then about 30 minutes from the appointment time and15 minutes from the clinic we were rear-ended! bam, bang boom!! it happened at an intersection; we were waiting to turn right and almost started to go, but couldn’t as a car came over the hill and then BANG, his van hit our van. nobody was injured except our van (of course). the guys explanation was (and this is verbatim) “uh, i thought you were going”, well, we weren’t, dumb ass, and you were obviously WAY TOO CLOSE TO US! why are people so afraid to leave safe distances between themselves and the vehicles in front?! blows me away!!!! we are not at fault, but we have to deal with getting the car repaired and, as you know, we don’t have enough stresses on our plate right now. i guess, as they say, when it rains it pours; well, it’s bloody dumping on us!!!


exchanging info


assessing the situation…our tail light got busted so the guy who hit us happened to have a cordless drill in his van and screwed the light back on with a random piece of metal. that’s the drill under his arm.
anyhow…
at the allergist, bear was perfectly behaved. no whining, no complaining, no tantrums, no crying, no wriggling, not even a whimper or a squirm when the actual testing was being done. bear was tested for 7 different nuts and about 14 other common allergens, like milk, eggs, dust mites and seasonal allergens and everything came back clear. wooohoooooo!!!! no bumps or itchy spots to be seen, just little pen marks from where the triggers were placed. we are so relieved. SO, SO relieved. dear hubby has various allergies and a serious one to walnuts.


and today we saw another special doctor…
bear had an appointment with an optometrist. for about a month his right has been going cross, so we thought best to get it checked-out. again, bear behaved so well and listened carefully to the doctors instructions. during one of the tests my heart skipped a little when he was supposed to match letters, he mistook a H for a T and a V for a X. i knew then that he would need glasses. after a few more tests that involved looking at a butterfly silhouette on the wall and having tiny a bright light shone in his eye, bear received a whopping two stickers from the doc! he of course was thrilled! we have to go back in a couple of weeks to get a more accurate measurement for his prescription and this will involve those awful drops that make your eyes super- duper sensitive to light. dear hubby is coming with us to that appointment. after that, then i guess we pick out some adorable little frames!

i’m not too concerned about the glasses. i’ve had glasses since i was about eight and have never felt hindered by them. here’s a picture of me and my stylish self at age 10 while living in melbourne, australia; glasses are of exquisite taste with light blue colour on top half and pink on the bottom.


xo, mama lola

the eternal optimist

back in high school, one of my besties said she was amazed by my consistent positive outlook on things, and decided to call me the eternal optimist. i liked that description of myself and still do. but, optimism is hard to hold onto at times, even for me. over the last year and a half life has thrown some unthinkable obstacles in our way… BAM…BAM…BAM… one right after another. my optimism was truly tested. i had times of deep cynicism and days of darkness that were hard wade through, especially as a mother. there were times when there was no light at the end of the tunnel, only deep abyss and remaining hopeful was almost impossible.


it all began when, BAM, i was told i had a macro adenoma (a big tumour) growing on my pituitary gland; when i was popping prescription narcotics to help manage the migraines caused by the tumour, all the while mothering my sweet toddler bear and growing my little lion in my uterus; when, BAM,  i was told to throw away my dreams of a home waterbirth and plan for a ceaserian section, during which i would be completely under; when i was told my lion had had trouble breathing at birth and had to be intubated and then incubated as his lungs had serious problems; and then when our beloved family dog roo attacked a neighbour, again, and after crying for days we decided it was best to put him down; and finally (knock on wood) when just a few weeks ago my dear husband walked in the door and told me he had been laid off from his job. BAM!


our ferocious lion fighting at three days old.

sweet, sweet roo riggins. oh, how we miss you so.

the positive energy i carry in my self, hold in my soul and that rushes through my veins has been drained by all these events, but it has not disappeared completely. i consciously decided i can BAM back at life! life throws me a tumour? fine, but i’m not going to make lemonade with these sour lemons, but will throw them back at life as i don’t want remnants of bad times around. and since i received the all clear after my november surgery, all i see is a new chapter. BAM you life! this is my chance to better my life, our life, to do all the things we talked about doing, but got scared off by the risks. and when dear hubby was laid offf, well, again all i saw and continue to see is a new chapter. BAM you life! this is an opportunity for dear hubby to find a job with new challenges and perhaps take us on a family adventure. 



wedding day february 17, 2007













although our life has been quite stressful lately, i feel tremendously lucky. i am lucky because i have beautiful, healthy children and a kind husband. i have parents and in-laws who love to help with the kids and are forever supportive. i have amazing friends who i can depend on when there are joys to be cheered or sadness to be cried out. 

i am eternally optimistic for us.



xo, mama lola
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