december, the christmas month.

december

in finnish december is joulukuu, which when translated means christmas month.

and, at our house it sure is.

TERVETULOA JOULUKUU. WELCOME DECEMBER.

the advent calender has been hung up in our living room with great anticipation to see whether or not joulutonttu, the christmas elf, will leave any little surprises for the boys. joulutonttu is very discreet and the kids have never seen him. but, joulutonttu peeks in through the windows and from around corners to see how we’re all behaving, reporting back to his boss, joulupukki. speaking of him, the kids wrote letters to joulupukki with random wishes; bear asked for a hamster (as if) and 3 surprises (that’s easy). and, lion asked for a doll (again, easy).

dear hubby loves to bake during the holidays and after scouring pinterest he has bookmarked several yummy cookie recipes. this weekend he has been busy in the kitchen making lists, checking ingredients and just being darn cute.

we have been enjoying christmas music, as well. thanks to sirius radio, with it’s variety of different channels of holiday music.

and, then today joulu radio started in finland. i have been sitting, listening, feeling incredibly nostalgic for a finnish christmas.

it’ hard to sing along with this big ol’ lump in my throat.

logo_jouluradio

christmas is a very special time in finland. it is not as commercial or based in consumerism, the way it is here in north america. there are traditions that are deep rooted in many families and i will write more about those later this month.

are you excited for december?

what are some of your holiday traditions this time of year?

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!

 

packages 3

 

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

what are your x-mas traditions?

 

xo, mama lola

welcome, november.

a view  up at the trees and the sky from my backyard.


we are shockingly now into the eleventh month of this year. 
a year filled with so much change but also sameness, a year with new habits, but with the old ones still clinging on. 
it has been a year of re-connection, of resurfacing. 

i have been feeling a little retrospective, nostalgic and sentimental as of late. last november was a particularly difficult time for me and my family (i will not get into any details). i know there are people around us who are holding their breath to see how we fare as we reach this new unremarkable, but painful anniversary.

and for anyone who might be wondering…
we are just fine. better than fine, in fact.
DH and i are splendid. just recently he brought home a lovely bouquet of fall flowers; a small token from his big, loving heart. sure, we have our ups and downs like all couples, but nothing we cannot handle.
our boys are better than splendid. they are growing and learning so much; all i want to do is push the pause button so i can drink up more of their childhood before it’s too late. 
time moves so quickly.

but, i welcome november with strong, open arms.
bring it on, i say.
i’m ready.

xo, mama lola

am i taken for granted? a mama vent.

as a stay-at-home-mum, i do a lot of stuff for other people. my days start early with thoughts of getting kids to school, what to make for dinner, how to dress my boys, remembering their vitamins and signing whatever form school sent home.

then, at school i kiss my eldest for the day and depending on if it’s monday or tuesday or wednesday or… well, you get the idea, i go grocery shopping, drop my youngest off at preschool, organize playdates, do laundry, wash floors, mend torn pants, make halloween costumes, or i think in detail what any of us may need depending on the season in regards to winter clothing, summer clothing, i book dental appointments, optometrist appointments, doctors appointments.

just a little humour from pinterest!


and, where do i fit into all of this?
who takes care of me? who reminds me of my appointments, who asks me if i need new winter boots and then buys the for me?

there are days when i feel as though i am empty. as though i have given the last morsel of myself to my family. and, i don’t actually mind feeling empty and exhausted from giving, because i have chosen this role for myself. but, i am hurt by the lack of acknowledgement, gratitude and attention my continue efforts are rewarded. i am not asking for a parade, or gifts, but i do expect a simple thank-you, a hug or a nod in my direction. the thank-you’s and hugs are what re-charge my batteries and inspire me to do more. but, when i am continually what feels like ignored, i become filled with resentment.

clearly, i am feeling taken for granted as i write this.
i know my family isn’t hurting me on purpose. 
i know they love me with all of their hearts. they just forget to mention that they appreciate their dinners made from scratch, clean n’ fresh undies and my undivided attention.
i have not lost perspective.
i just need to vent.


thanks for listening.

xo, mama lola

bear’s mental health day from school.

today i kept my eldest, my 5 year old bear home from school.

i did this for a couple of reasons. first, he’s a bit of a sensitive guy, who gets overwhelmed easily. when he’s tired from the routine of school his behaviour at home becomes less than ideal. he starts to antagonize his little brother, he says mean things to all of us and he just becomes unpleasant to be around.
another reason i kept him home, last night when DH and i headed for bed i found bear sleeping in our bed. my heart kinda melted. he goes through phases where he wants to sleep with us, and i think it’s when he’s feeling overwhelmed, tired and slightly stressed. by sleeping with us, i feel like we are all re-connecting with each other. i’m hoping he feels supported, loved and grounded by cuddling in with us.

so, i listened to my mama instincts and decided he needed some quiet time at home. his little brother, lion went to preschool, so that means we get to have some quality time together. it meant, he got to be at home and play without the disruption of his brother and enjoy some much needed peace for a change.


we played trains as soon as DH and lion left this morning. then we had a snack.
then he decided to write a book.


this is the kind of thing that really gets me as a mother; his thirst for learning and creating is incredible. everyday he works on various craft projects, writing and creating. it is amazing! at school his class is large, and although his teachers are wonderful, i’m sure it’s hard for bear to accomplish what he wants. and, the school days are long, so by the time we get home, eat snack, there is a small window for activities before it’s time for dinner.

today, after watching him, talking with him and just being with him, i know this was just what he needed. what i needed.
a simple day at home can really do wonders for one’s mental health.

i am his mama and i know what’s best for him. 

xo, mama lola

thanksgiving crafts (gobble, gobble)



canadian thanksgiving is right around the corner! here are some wonderful kid-friendly crafts to help get ready for the festivities. 

pine cone turkeys from a pumpkin and a princess

thanksgiving thankful tree from preschool crafts for kids

groovy gobblers from let’s explore

napkin rings from easy crafts for kids

stained glass leaves from mom vs. the boys

fall wreath craft from mom of 5 kids

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

xo, mama lola

i can finally exhale.

my mothering is changing pace. the boys are growing so quickly, which means their needs and my time can be used differently. 



i have been slowly, but carefully purging, purging, purging through our things. i have wiped away many tears as i have sorted through several large tote bins of baby items, deciding what to sell, what to pass along and what to keep. the toys are easy to get rid of. the clothes, not so much. 

it takes a while to purge, as i look at the clothes, hold them, touch them to my cheek, remembering each of my boys wearing these tiny sleepers and onesies so many moons ago. it is so hard to remember accurately those hazy, baby days. and, i think that’s how it’s supposed to be, because although there are so many wonderful moments of firsts and unbearable cuteness, the sleepless nights, bouts of teething and gas issues, the awful bum rashes and epic amounts of laundry i did in those days, was quite simply exhausting. and, quite frankly not worth remembering.

my days felt never ending, long and often quite lonely. 


and, then all of a sudden we were out of baby-hood and in the throws of kid-hood. we are done with teething and diapering, never to have to endure those constant sleepless nights with a fussy baby, taking turns pacing and me trying to breastfeed in those dark, quiet hours of the night again.
i did try to drink up the time with my babies; i would stare at the details of their tinyness; the folds of skin, the eye lashes that went on forever and the fingers that gripped mine so tightly. i tried to enjoy the quiet moments, even if they were short lived.

our awesome bumbleride queen B stroller is still sitting in the basement. i am so unsure what to do with it. we used the heck out of, especially when bear was little. i love that stroller and was so pleased with it’s purchase. i didn’t drive when bear was born, so this stroller got us everywhere safely and efficiently. i called it my SUV, because it has four large rubber tires chosen to help navigate through the snowy winters of canada. now, all the strollers have them, but 6 years ago we paid a lot of money for those big ol’ tires!

we also done with slings, wraps and other carriers. i spent hours and hours of my life carrying someone on my side, front or back! my body ached at the end of the day, but again, i am glad i endured.



it feels as though we have survived and conquered the first stage of parenting. i am proud of the parenting choices we made. especially the co-sleeping, cloth diapering and extending breastfeeding. although, in hind-sight i think i should have allowed myself some more leeway considering i had a tumour in my head and then eventually had to recover from that surgery. but, my beliefs were so strong about the kind of parent i wanted to be, that veering away from them felt selfish. those early years are so brief and short lived, that i couldn’t say “oh, when i am feeling more energized i will breastfeed more”. 

today, i have a three year old and five year old. my kids are doing awesome and i am finally feeling as though we have found peace at our house. the boys have transitioned into the new school/ pre-school routine so smoothly, which is kind of unheard of at our house. and, because my worry for them has decreased i have been able to think about myself more. which, is empowering and wonderful!

i can finally exhale from those tense, busy, exhausting baby days and get ready for mothering these early childhood days, which i’m sure will be just as exhausting, just different!

aaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

what stage are you at in your mothering/ parenting?

xo, mama lola

there is a stirring inside of me.

this year is just flying by. it’s hard to believe it’s already mid-september! 
i started the year with lots of goals and changes in mind, and i made bunch of new years resolutions in january, but i guess i mostly forgot about them. or at least the specifics. or maybe not.

as always, it is difficult to myself a priority in the day to grind and i’m still working on those always important self care details of my life. buti am proud of myself for making larger efforts, setting clear boundaries with the kids about my availability; i am fine saying to them i can’t do that right now, you will have to wait. it is easier to set these small boundaries with them because they are older and more independent. plus, with lion in preschool a couple times a week and bear in senior kindergarten, i do have a small handful of hours in the week where i am totally alone. kid free!

during these quiet hours i can feel a stirring inside of me. it’s a feeling that i want to do something big for myself…
i started my women’s studies degree six years ago. (oh, it sounds just horrible to say that, and not be done!) then we got married and bear was born. i continued my studies when he was a wee dude and i put my studies on hold two months before lion was born. it astounds me that while i was massively pregnant, i commuted about 30 minutes each way to my classes, completed my readings, wrote exams, completed essays, all while mothering a two year old and with a tumour growing in my head! 

clearly i had to put my studies on hold when lion was a newborn and, while having to deal with my health concerns. and inevitably my education was placed way at the bottom of the priority list. this was the right thing to do at that time in my life, but now i am starting to feel a strong urge to finish what i started. 
to finish my degree.
get ‘er done!

but, the university where i began my women’s studies degree has since discontinued the program (patriarchy at it’s finest!) and figuring out my current options is tricky. it’s not like i have time to sit on the phone and call around making appointments with various universities or what-have-you. but, after some soul searching and real consideration of what i want to do, i think i am closer to a final decision. this time, i am making a decision purely based on me, my needs and my wants. it’s time for my dear hubby and the boys to make some sacrifices too, and honestly, i wouldn’t be asking much of them, or anything they wouldn’t be willing to do for me. they will all support me in their own way, i know it!

next september i will have two kids, so all of my kids in school full-time. that frees up my days and my life significantly. don’t get me wrong, i LOVE being a mama, and i love being home with my kids, but that doesn’t mean i can’t want more for myself.
right?

sitting around thinking about life. my life.

xo, mama lola

how to prevent lice, naturally!


here are some quick tips ‘n tricks to preventing lice! september and january are the two times of year when the kids are coming back to school after being away for a while, and also the two most common times of year lice make their rounds at schools. now, that’s not to say you or your child can’t get them whenever!

here are some tips i have collected from the internet and from my friends, on how to best prevent lice. again, nothing is 100% and maintaining regular checks and routines is the best way to ensure you remain lice free.

source



QUICK FACTS:

  • lice are parasites found on human heads.
  • lice is the plural for the word louse.
  • according to some 1 in 10 kids are being treated for lice at all times. YIKES!
  • head lice do not affect pets
(from source)

source

PREVENTION TIPS!

  • first, you the parent have to educate yourself. know what lice look like, how they multiply and their life cycle, how they travel from one head of hair to another, how to rid them properly and know not to panic!
source
  • do not wash your kids hair often. their hair doesn’t even get that dirty after a day at school. but, lice prefer clean(er) hair, so the more days you let the natural greases and oils build up, the better.
  • for kids with long hair, tie it back, use kerchiefs, clips, barrettes etc.
source
  • get some tea tree oil and put 10 drops (or so) into your shampoo bottle. 
  • before heading out to school spritz your kids’ hair with some natural hair spray, or rub some essential oils in between your fingers and then rub your fingers through the hair.
  • remind kids NOT to share hats, combs, brushes or any other hair accessories or products with their friends. sharing all clothing should also be avoided.
  • clean and wash bedding, combs, brushes and clothes regularly. i know this is kinda obvious, but proper hygiene is so key!
  • be vigilant. check your kids (and your own) hair regularly and talk to other parents to see if anyone has heard of someone who has had lice.
  • teach others how to prevent the spread of lice and if necessary the removal of an infestation.

the bottom line here is, lice suck so let’s work together to prevent the spread of them. if you have them, TELL PEOPLE, because then the people you have been in contact with can check to see if they have them. let’s break the stigma of head lice, especially since they are not an issue that affects any particular group of people. ANYONE CAN GET THEM!

leaving you with a little lice humour…


p.s. this has been the itchiest blog post to write. i have been scratching vigorously for hours!
xo, mama lola

this moment.

as inspired by souleMama; one photo from our week, no words, only an image to sum up our time as a family. one that captures a moment in time and is a visual reminder of where we were at this time in our lives. 

i would love it if you left a link to your { this moment }. 

xo, mama lola
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