it’s march… post march break in fact.

blargh.

i know i said i would be back to blogging, but i haven’t been able to find my groove.

i think i’m a little lost in my life. things are changing, but not changing, but changing and life just keeps on trucking along, regardless of how i feel about it. the boys are growing so quickly, as are their needs. DH is enjoying his career, which has really boosted his energy and confidence recently.

me though… i feel a bit left behind. all of these years i sacrificed to care for my guys, who are now thriving without me. yes, i realize the kids still need and they will continue to need me for a long time still, but their needs are changing, ya know? most of the time they are doing their own thing, going to school, playing with friends, going to swimming lessons, going to rock climbing, building lego things and so on. and, then all of a sudden POW something happens and they become very dependent and needy. it’s in these times when i am holding them and gently stroking their hair that i find it completely incomprehensible to go back to work. to return to paid work… i still work my butt of daily even if it’s hard to see or understand.

i guess i am trying to find my way. trying to figure which direction to go in. do i go this way or that, or maybe down a completely different road all together.

all of this to say…

i have lots of ideas for blog posts. i start them, but have started to feel insecure about my voice, about what i’m saying and why people care. if they care at all. i think these questions are common for bloggers, as it’s kinda weird to put your stuff out there the way i have for years, and not really know who is at the other end

hmm… a lot of rambling is going on here. which is my point. i am nowhere and all over the place at the same time.

very confusing.

overwhelming. 

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if you don’t already head on over to >>> FACEBOOK <<< and like bear & lion there

or on >>> INSTAGRAM<<<. i update there with photo’s and silly little tid bits! 

happy monday beauties!

xo, mama lola

my homework.

guys! i’ve gone back to school! 

it’s pretty scary, intimidating and did i mention scary???

years and years ago i started my women’s studies degree at the the local university here in town. i loved the program. then i became pregnant with bear and took some time off, returning part-time when bear was about 18 months old. i completed almost half of my degree when the university stupidly discontinued the entire program. it was devastating for me as a woman, as a mama and as a student. when i was pregnant with lion i took my last course at the uni towards my degree.

i always knew i would return to my studies when i was ready. it took me a while to find the courage to head back. the thought of sitting in a lecture hall with 21 year old’s really intimidated me. plus, i wanted to get my health back in order after dealing with my pituitary tumour for a few years. now that the boys are both in school full time i have decided to gently enter the world of academia myself. i was accepted at athabasca university where i will be completing my women and gender studies degree online. to easy my way in i am only taking one class; an english composition course. it’s mandatory for me to complete in order to graduate.

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for fun, i thought i would share my first piece of homework. lotds of people are curious about my back-to-school life! i had to read about paragraphs and write my own introductory one to share with my prof. 

 

Paragraph 1

It is a miserable November Friday here in south western Ontario. The furnace is pumping away trying to warm up the house my coffee is brewing in the kitchen all the while our two cats, Leo and Poppy, have found cozy, warm spots to curl up for their usual morning naps. My kids are at school hopefully enjoying whatever fun kindergarten and grade 2 have to offer. My husband is off in the big city today enduring work meetings, while I putter around our home completing homework assignments and various household tasks. Our life looks and sounds like the lives of so many other families, but it is unique, because it is ours. The routines we struggle through, the adventures we enjoy all make our little family unit special. We have survived another week of morning wake-ups and nightly bedtime shenanigans, of meetings with teachers and anxiety inducing specialist appointments. Now, the weekend is rolling in with the cold rain, blowing the fallen leaves around like empty thoughts. We are all ready for a few days without routine, without alarm clocks and the warmth our family and home create.

it’s not going to get graded, it’s for an assessment to see that i capable to complete this course.

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this weekend the kids and i have been busy crafting, crafting, crafting so keep checking back to the blog for all the fun pictures and tutorials!

and, we had our first real snow fall!!!! WOOHOOO!!!!

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first snow, bear and lion blog

this weekend the kids and i have been busy crafting, crafting, crafting so keep checking back to the blog for all the fun pictures and tutorials!

 

xo, mama lola

giving thanks.


thanksgiving is this coming weekend here in canada-land. 

fall has arrived with it’s cool temperatures, soggy days and falling leaves. i love fall. well, i actually appreciate all the seasons, but i love the change in the seasons most. yes, the transitions are hard with kids; do you wear rubber boots or sneakers… BAH! 

but, on a personal level in the fall i love how slowly things quieten down. birds disappear to warmer climates down south, while squirrels scurry around madly hiding acorns in random holes in the ground. the nights become darker sooner and morning arrives later. and, the colours… mother nature really knows her stuff when it comes to transitioning from the hot to cold! already many maple trees in our neighbourhood are on fire with their vibrant red, oranges and yellows. every season i am amazed!

we have experienced a tough september and beginning to october, and instead of dwelling on the negatives i have decided to make a list of the things i am grateful for instead. yes, it’s a bit cheesy and cliche, but i believe that focusing on the positive does help with ones mental health in the long run.

 

so, here we go.

1. great FREE healthcare : we have had a lot of sickness in our family. pneumonia, kidney infections, strep throat, fevers and so on and so on. i am so grateful for having a family doctor who is available and free for us to visit when we need to.

2. our home : we had someone break into our house and steal my phone at the beginning of september. that kinda threw us for a loop; having us question our safety, our children’s safety, as we felt violated and vulnerable. since then we have had some smaller incidents at the house, which raised the hairs on our arms. at the end of the day i have come to understand that i cannot control what other’s do to me, to my home, to my things. but, as a mama it is my responsibility to continue teaching my kids those important lessons in life about what’s right and wrong and how to stay safe. i am grateful for our home, where we can have these conversations, the place that keeps us warm and dry.

3. my family : yes, they drive me batty, push my buttons, talk back to me, ignore me, yell at me, get sassy on me, upset me,  …but more importantly they kiss me, hug me, make me laugh, snuggle me, smile when they see me, create art for me, bake me my favourite treats, and they really, REALLY do love me!

 

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happy thanksgiving everyone!

xo, mama lola

parenting slump: help me!


oh world, i need some mama help!

since the boys went back to school, chaos has taken over our house. there is an unreasonable amount of whining, crying, fighting, shouting, hitting, throwing, and it’s not just coming form the kids. i feel like i am at my wits end!

i know transitions are hard. 

i get it, i really do.

but, this transition of going back to school has been so terrible and i’m not sure how to make it better. bear is on an epic roll attacking his little brother with his fists, feet and words. he’s always going on about punching his brother and then he’ll actually do it! or, he’ll start doing this hair-raising cackle, laughing at everything that lion does, which doesn’t sound so bad, but we all know that the reaction the 5 year old gives is what makes this scene unbearable. i could go on with examples of the tense fighting at our house, but it think you get the idea.

lion on the other hand does not really pick on his brother, but takes bear’s example and has stopped listening. lion now talks back in his wee sassy voice and giggles uncontrollably when he knows he’s not listening. and, as the younger brother his reactions to his brother’s attacks are loud, huge and attention seeking. exhausting.

when we’re in our moments of chaos, i try not to show preference between the boys; usually they are both responsible for some aspect of the situation. i try to touch, hug my kids, because i think that’s often what they really need from adults. especially now that they are gone at school all day! obviously if someone has hit or done some creative name calling, i will enforce a consequence. but, as attachment parents i try to still remain attached to my kids, because they don’t know how to ask for that.

anyhow…

as i write this i can recognize that my kids need more structure, more defined expectations and clearer consequences, as they seem to be flailing through this major change from summer to school.

i guess i am struggling with how to incorporate those into our new routine. i want to get away from the counting to 3 thing; it feels young for my 7 year old. i want to say something once or twice and have the kids do it (for the most part). i realize they are children and will be slow, or will have to include a song or dance with the completion of some mundane task, it’s the repetition that drives me banana’s! i feel deeply disrespected, hurt and exhausted when all of this is happening. i have tried to sit down with the kids to talk to them about all of this, but all they do is laugh, interrupt me and then things escalate and, well things end poorly.

 

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if you have any parenting advice you want to enlighten me with, please do so! maybe you have read some great reads about this very topic (she says as she peeks at her own bookshelf to see if her barbara coloroso book is there! it is!)

 

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i know this will pass, but living in this chaos is stressful for all of us.

i want to change the present.

xo, mama lola

the robbery


we’ve had a tough week transitioning back to the school routine. there have been chaotic mornings, injured kids and awkward dinners prepped by yours truly.

but, to make our week even more stressful we had a theft in our home. 

on saturday evening lion, now 5 years, touched the stove while DH was cooking dinner. poor kid burnt the tip of his finger, which meant there were lots of tears for a lot of hours that evening. we all know that even the smallest burn can really hurt for a long time! so, at bedtime lion fell asleep with his finger in a bowl of ice water as DH was reading harry potter to the boys. but, then he woke up when his finger moved or something causing the pain to kick in all over again, meaning the tears started all over again as well.

i was on the couch watching tv and playing scrabble on my phone when i heard the crying start. i put my phone on our dining table on my way upstairs. it was about 9pm when DH headed out to get more ice. he came back after about 10 minutes, but i sent him back out to see if the pharmacy had any lotion or potion to help with the burn site. as i sat with my wee guy trying to help him through the pain he kept repeating “i shouldn’t have done that”. augh, my heart! we talked about learning from our mistakes and trying not to feel badly about our choices. DH finally came home and we got the boys settled.

when we returned downstairs to watch a movie i was scanning the rooms for my phone. as a creature of habit i was confused why i couldn’t find it, but DH suggested we just wait until the morning when there is day light to do a proper search. so in the morning before even having breakfast we searched, high n’ low moving furniture, crawling on our hands and knees, calling it, texting it… then i got this weird, sinking feeling… what if someone had stolen it? DH thought i was being dramatic, but when hour 3 of our search still turned up nothing he too was becoming suspicious. he called the phone company and had service to my phone cut off. then we got a text from our service provider saying we had used up 75% of our data for the month.

BOOM! confirmation. right there. stolen phone.

DH called the police.

a police officer arrived, took our statements and told us it sounded like a crime of opportunity to him. the thief had seen DH pull out of the driveway in our car and thought hey now’s a good time. when the thief walked in they would have heard my lion screaming upstairs from his burn injury! that’s the part that angers me most; we were in our own family crisis when this random person did this horrible, selfish thing to us. sure our front door was unlocked, but we were home! i had just been on the couch a few minutes earlier!

in the past couple of days i have shared this experience with others, and to my shagrim i have heard similar tales of theft. we live in a city of about 100, 000 people, and we had assumed that moving from a city of millions to something smaller would make life safer. i guess not!

lessons learned:

  • keep your doors locked, even when home, ALWAYS!
  • always turn porch light on at night
  • keep valuables, like electronics hidden from windows
  • everyone is a target. doesn’t seem to matter what neighbourhood, street or city you live in. (see next point)
  • some people just suck!

i don’t think i’ll ever see that phone again.

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i am sad that i have lost so many fun pictures and videos from our summer adventures (oh, another lesson learned… back up phone stuff!) i’m irritated that my home has this peculiar feeling of violation still floating in the air. i am confused as to whether or not i can open the windows on the main floor; should i lock them when i head to the grocery store? i am pissed that there are people in this world who don’t care about what’s right and wrong, about common decency and who only care about their own selves. i will ride this wave and let go of these feelings moving onto the next chapter of our life. i will not let this person squirm into my mind or mess with my psyche. things will be fine.

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stay safe friends.

xo, mama lola

wish me luck: it’s also back-to-school for me, eeeeek!!


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as summer starts to wind down, i tend to get a little introspective about my life. it’s probably the smell of change in the air; the new routines, different clothes,  the stewy recipes i so adore! transitions can be tricky, but this year i think for us, for me, it’ll be one of the simplest falls yet. kids are both eager to go back to school, to see their friends and dive into that familiar life.

this will be my second year alone at home, but this year things will be different for me. i have applied to go back to school and finish my women’s studies degree via distance education. it’s a huge leap for me having been out of school for a few years. i finished my second year of uni, while bear was 2 years old, lion was still in my belly and i had a terrible tumour growing in my head! in hindsight i am amazed that i was able to do all of that!

now, i will have two kids at school, better health and peace at home to do homework and complete whatever academic demands are thrust upon me.

i am feeling very inadequate however. my mommy brain has left me terrified about writing essays, studying for exams and generally participating in the world of academia. my insecurities seem to have all risen to the surface in the last few weeks. some may tell me “oh, that’s silly. you’re gonna do great”. sure, i guess, but that doesn’t make me feel more confident, that can only come from within me and with time. 

now i wait. i am waiting to see which credits are transferable from me previous college and university experiences. i completed an honours diploma in addiction and mental health counselling many moons ago. i loved that course working hard to achieve that honours standing. i have about a half of a women’s studies degree, but the higher ups at the university i was attending decided to cancel the program. it was a very upsetting, ironic and stupid! 

anyhow, now i have found this university that specifically caters to online learning, which is perfect for me and my big ol’ bag of insecurities. it will be easier for me complete the work without also having to attend lectures. i am trying to do what’s best for me, while also fulfilling a promise i made to myself I WOULD FINISH WHAT I STARTED!

so… here we go! i have to print these positive affirmations and post them around my house! haha!

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wish me luck friends!

my kids and DH are all very excited and supportive of me!

i will keep you posted!

xo, mama lola

summah-mama burn out… i got it!


at the beginning of each summer season i have big plans on how to spend our time wisely, you know, sending kids to one day camp each for a week, visiting to the cottage, going on family camping trips, spending hours with friends laughing and enjoying uninterrupted play. i have visions of us running away from mosquitoes in the woods, jumping into the lake and swimming until our lips are blue. then enjoying time together in peace, while crafting something beautiful.

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well, we’ve done that.

a lot.

it wasn’t quite so romantic though.

 

there have been bumps along the road. we’ve all struggled in our own way.

what i struggle with is, maintaining any kind of self care for myself during our summer days. meaning, going to the gym regularly, blogging (again regularly), getting housework done (yup, again regularly) and so on, and so on. now let me clarify, doing housework isn’t a part of my daily self care routine, but getting stuff done around the house does keep my mind organized and sound! plus, if i don’t know where the wet bathing suits were left, then nobody will meaning chaos with ensue the next day!

having both kids around all day is exhausting to say the least. don’t get me wrong, we’ve had moments of fun at home but, often the boys revert back into their old bickering ways, antagonizing each other in every possible way! we went camping this passed weekend and DH said he loved our mini vacay, while i reminded him that a change in geography does not necessarily make a vacation for me. i am still with the kids, mothering, reminding, yelling, at them to stop fighting.

so now i am burnt out!

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i haven’t been to the gym in weeks, which is showing on my body, but mostly i can really feel it in my mental health. all those bad feelings come creeping back in, then the bad habits start all over again, first in very subtle ways… and then i just hate myself! it is such a terrible cycle i get caught in, even though it’s also so predictable and preventable.

i know i am not alone in this…

without wishing our summer away, i am going to keep on trucking, while trying harder to ensure that my needs are met as well. i am lucky to have a hubby who supports me in my self care, although i need to be more clear with him about what that means and how he can help specifically. 

i’ve been at this mothering thing for 7 years and i still struggle with making myself a priority!


 

p.s. more pics on my INSTAGRAM! check em out!

xo, mama lola

summer, summer!

summer is officially HERE and the kids are done school on thursday … WOOHOO!

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summer holidays brings with it a new set of routines and feelings. the warm breezes inspire different play, the hot temperatures make us crave different foods and all of that tends to slow us down a bit. this summer i have not made as many plans, hoping to inspire a more relaxing, spontaneous summer for my kids. you know the kind where we hear about some fun event happening and just go, or hop on our bikes and decide to spend the day by the river catching bugs! 

we do have a family camping trip booked for killarney, which is said to be the most beautiful place in ontario. i am excited to experience it with the kids filling our days with hikes, swimming and whatever other adventures we can find. 

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as the kids get older, i think in their free time they need less scheduled structure, because they experience so much of it school. i remember my summers growing up in finland were days of play with my friends. we would get into complicated long games and spent hours outside climbing trees, biking and running. my friends and i would take our barbie’s and my little pony’s outside, creating elaborate adventures for them too. sometimes we would show up at someone’s house asking for food or a drink. i had a lot of freedom, which was really great.

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the world is different today. society is different.

but, i am keen to loosen the reigns and find ways for the boys to find independence. i want them to have fun. lots of fun this summer. and, i want to have fun too and the freedom to do some of my own things too!

HAPPY ALMOST SUMMER VACATION EVERYONE! 

xo, mama lola

well, i failed!

 


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ARGH!

well, i royally failed that minimalism challenge i started in january. remember that? BAH!

(*excuse as i hide my face in shame.) it’s a little frustrating, especially since the challenge was pretty simple… you know, minimal, that i couldn’t get my shit together and just do it.

i just couldn’t remember to check what the next days challenge was, follow through or do anything challenge related for that matter. i completed a handful of days before total and utter failure! i have no excuses, but i can rhyme off a million reasons i failed, ready?

i am: forgetful, scatter brained, clueless, easily distracted, lazy, unmotivated, great at making lists but terrible on the follow through, tired, busy, and so and so on. you get the idea!

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i’ve been struggling lately with keeping on track. staying motivated. remembering. sometimes it’s an uneasy feeling, you know, feeling like you’re flailing a little. i’m riding this wave with the hope that it is temporary.  i am typically the kinda gal who remembers everything, and when i say everything i mean EVERYTHING . i can tell you what i was wearing when i got lenny kravitz’s autograph in 1994, what my grades were in grade 11, what song was playing the first time i slow danced with a guy, what DH was wearing the first time we kissed all those years ago… i remember birthday’s, anniversaries etc etc. but, as of late all those bits of information seem to be filed further in my brain, harder to retrieve and sort.

do you have any great tips or tricks that help you to remember to do things? to keep you on track, so you’re not always running around at half speed, because you’re scrambling to remember… what am i supposed to be doing?

 

this final quite that i am sharing, is really how i feel most of the time.

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good luck with all you have to do! all those pesky responsibilities, birthday gifts that need purchasing, cars that need their oil changed and crafts that are waiting completion!

happy monday lovelies!

xo, mama lola

5 marriage saving tips!


they say that the first 7 years of a marriage are the hardest. they say that divorce rates decrease the longer a couple is married. i can only speak from my own experience, which statistically isn’t very much, as i have only been married to one man! but, we have passed the 7 year mark celebrating 8 years of marriage just a few days ago! i don’t often talk too much about my relationship with DH here on the blog as it feels quite personal, as it is OUR marriage.

it sure has been a ride with some super high highs contrasted by some super low lows… life is hard no matter what, but when you throw in little kids with their neediness and sleep deprived parents it’s hard to be happy in a marriage.

little people are exhausting, and all you folks out there living with super little people, hang in there! life does get easier once you’re sleeping more and not giving so constantly, ALL DAY, EVERY DAY!

i’ve talked before how with older kids i have more time for self care, but there’s also more time for my marriage. although, DH and i don’t do regular date nights anymore, as there really doesn’t feel to be the need, we are much more connected now than a couple of years ago. two years ago we were HERE. when i read about our life then, i remember how difficult and stressful it all felt.

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5 easy ways to save a marriage! *

1. date night: when the kids are little it’s important to date your partner, regularly. carve out time each week when the baby-sitter or nana comes to watch the kids for you. don’t just head to the grocery story store or run errands, because doing it kid-free is so easy, i know, but instead go out to dinner and talk. there’s something kinda hard about that. it forces you to look at each other, to talk to each other, to acknowledge each other. you don’t have to have deep conversations about your relationship, but it’s so nice to just touch base without being distracted by kids or other household things. communication is so important!

2. kiss n’ hug: but don’t all married people do this? um, NO! certainly not regularly and probably not enough. human beings need to be touched, it helps our mental health and receiving a kiss from your partner is very different than getting a smooch from your snotty nosed toddler! intimacy is not just sex, it is holding hands, caressing a neck or rubbing your love’s back. and, don’t wait for your spouse to start this habit… you have to initiate too! i’m not suggesting getting into a match of intense tonsil hockey every morning, but a sweet kiss is a nice way to start the day, right?

3. don’t have kids: yes, i am being sarcastic, but there is truth to this statement as well. having kids can really drive a wedge in a partnership, even a strong one. it is really hard to raise kids and give to them, and have enough to give to your partner at the end of the day. this is where that 7 years theory comes into play, i think. once you’ve been married 7 years, you’ve probably had a few kids and they are mostly not babies anymore, in school and independent enough in many ways. which, leaves time and energy and opportunity for enjoying your partner!

4. greener pastures: this one is hard, but so important! do not compare your relationship with anyone else’s. and, do not compare your partner with anyone else’s. you don’t actually know what’s going on in other relationships. people can be very private about the truth especially when it comes to their marriage. even the best of friends may not be be telling it quite how it is. marital relationships are complicated with years of love, experience and adventure built into them. people present certain sides of themselves to specific crowds, while sharing another with other people, and that’s ok. but, just cuz mr. smith is being super charming and affectionate with his mrs at a neighbourhood party, doesn’t mean he’s like that with her at home!

5. be patient: being married is hard work. and, sometimes for whatever reason you or your partner may not have the energy or capacity to work at it. and, that’s ok. loving people isn’t always easy either. people evolve with time and not always at the same rate, so giving space for your partner to grow is important. you also need to allow growth, space and time for yourself. life is hard. love is hard.

but also soooooooo good!

 

good luck with your relationship and marriage!

*please take all advice offered here with a grain of salt. i am no expert in marriage, but i am an expert in my life! haha! these are tips that worked for me, for us and i just want to share!

 

let me know if you have any great tips or advice you can add to this list!

xo, mama lola
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