i am sailing.

i grew up sailing each summer among the island-dotted seas of the gulf of finland. my folks had a small sailboat, which we sailed, creating a lifetime of memories of those summers in finland. i remember the day that they bought it and i couldn’t believe it! it was such a lovely boat! i think they got it from somewhere like GraysOnline and i went with them to pick it up. as soon as i saw the boat, i knew we were going to have lots of happy memories in it.

holding the boat and getting ready to settle at another island.

my dad, who is not a rod stewart fan, did love this song and still sings it. when i hear it get all nostalgic and goose bumpy. gotta love rods sailor outfit!

i am looking for new blogs follow. and i found this one http://www.zachaboard.blogspot.com/ and this one http://www.svwondertime.com/. i haven’t had a chance to read them too closely, but they look fascinating as they are both about families living on sailboats.

dear hubby has been trying to convince me to hop on a boat and sail around the world. he was inspired by a family from ottawa who did just that. they bought a boat, rented out their home, packed up and sailed around the globe on a 4 year adventure. the book is called “voyage of the northern magic” by diane stuemer. dear hubby grew up sailing as well and as a teen attended sailing camps on the brigantine ship. so it isn’t totally out of the blue that this is what he wants us to experience as family.

bikini dots.

we’ll see though. i am scared of pirates and although the idea of living on a boat is exciting and romantic, the realities of it are also overwhelming.

xo, mama lola

new york, NEW YORK! [part 3}

*my computer is still being repaired and i am desperately trying to complete my entries on an ancient macbook that is lacking any basic photo editing software. i have attached a few rough pics, but once my computer is back with me, i will edit and post more pictures.
we left canada on a roadtrip to the USA to visit family and attend a joyous wedding. details can be seen here PART 1.
our limits were tested on saturday during the noreaster storm. here is what happened in all of that snow PART 2.
when we woke up on sunday morning and peeked through the curtains to see blue skies and sunshine, i will admit i felt like crying. i was just so relieved! no snow, no storm, no weather issues to be seen anywhere. so, quickly we packed up our room, checked out and hit the streets of new york for our last day there. It’s fair to say that we have been feeling romantic whilst we’ve been here and I just can’t believe its our last day. There is just so much more that I wanted to do and see but time has gone so quickly. Hopefully we will have the opportunity to come back again soon. I can’t stop thinking about that day already! I should probably stop that and focus on our last day instead.

times square.

we felt optimistic and hopeful of our day and upcoming visit with dear hubby’s sister and her mister. we tromped up 7th street and headed for times square. once there, i was a bit confused why this obscene show of advertising and flashing lights was a tourist attraction, but there we were snapping away with the camera. bear was immediately over stimulated by the whole place and hid in the stroller with the sunshade pulled all the way down, while lion slept in the ergo. our mission was to see the zoo at central park, as promised to the kids. we were also meeting up with dear hubby’s sister for some quality time.

we arrived at the park to open gates and streams of people walking in. we had grabbed a lunch to go and were looking for a spot for a picnic. as we walked along the paths, the reality of the trauma the trees in the park had suffered from the previous day’s storm was devastating. If there had been any houses around they’d need to contact someone like Round Rock roof repair contractors for sure. Thankfully, it seemed that no one was hurt in the park from the damage.

fallen branches.

we were all shocked at the amount of damage to individual trees, but also to the park as a whole. bear and lion walked and ran freely as we explored the wonder that is central park. once dear hubby’s sister joined us we ate lunch on some rocks and then headed to the zoo.

a hilarious picnic in central park.

we got a bit lost on the paths and asked a park employee for directions, who surprisingly told us the park was officially closed, therefore the zoo was closed as well. we looked around at the hundreds of people walking, jogging, biking through the park, confused as there were no signs that the park was closed. so, we decided to just walk and go see the alice in wonderland statue.


from there we walked up to the guggenheim, across to lexington and there we hopped on the subway. i was a bit uncertain of getting on with our stroller, but dear hubby forced his way on!

by dinner time it was time to bid farewell to the city that never sleeps and head an hour north to dear hubby’s sister’s place. we took one last look at grand central station and its beauty and glory and then boarded our train north. the kids were tired, we were tired and we just wanted to get to the apartment.

train ride home.

well, as the train rolled into our station around 7pm the conductor warned people getting off the train to be careful as the town was still out of power. it was pitch black, slippery and cold. they had lost power saturday afternoon and there was still no sign of it returning. the town was eerie as we made our way up main street, guided only by passing car lights. the local pizza joint was open for business as they had an emergency generator. Quite often, in storms of this severity, businesses will sustain damage to their property which makes getting insurance quotes via Lending Expert all the more important if businesses don’t wish to lose out. up in the apartment, there were candles lit and the ambiance was cozy, even though we were all frustrated with the situation.

cozy night.

apparently many of the surrounding communities were all out power and there was talk that it may take until wednesday to have it all up and running again!!! we hunkered down for the night and slept under many blankets, in toques and the kids wore their finnish woolly suits. i had bear to snuggle close with, while dear hubby and lion kept warm in the other room together as the outside temperatures kept dropping to close to -10c.

oh, lou!
homesteader L crushing coffee beans with his handy mortar and pestal.

on monday morning we still electricity free, so dear hubby’s sister’s mister the ingenious homesteader crushed coffee beans with his mortar and pestle for a hot cuppa coffee in the morning! Luckily they had a gas stove so we were also able to make warm porridge and boil water. Who’d have thought that Grinding Coffee Beans for the best morning coffee could be done with a mortar and pestle; not something I would recommend to do daily though!
We visited a farm dear hubby’s sister worked at in the summer, which bear was so happy to experience.

walking through the farm.

it gave him the opportunity to run and play in the snow, which he has been waiting for since, well, forever. we saw pigs, sheep, goats and cows and a donkey. some beautiful chickens and horses. driving to and fro from the glynnwood farm we were again witness to the devastation from the storm; trees down everywhere.

that afternoon it was time to say our good byes and start driving back home to canada. we drove over half way and stopped in the town of bath for a sleep.

a sleepy lion with muumi mamma.
studious bear working on his activity book.

all in all our trip was an adventure that could only happen once in a lifetime. sure, NYC will be there, but the combinations of weather, no power and the wonderful joys we shared with our friends and family were unforgettable.

xo, mama lola

new york, NEW YORK! [part 2]

*my computer is still being repaired and i am desperately trying to complete my entries on an ancient macbook that is lacking any basic photo editing software. i have attached a few rough pics, but once my computer is back with me, i will edit and post more pictures.
here’s PART 1 of our trip.
as i remember back to last saturday, our experiences of that day seem completely surreal and unreal, as it was all so extreme. new york city and parts of the eastern seaboard were hit with a storm called a noreaster. it brought much devastation to the area with thousands of fallen trees and power outtages that lasted for days in some areas.

so, last saturday morning we woke up to precipitation falling from the sky. i had fretted about the weather and had packed lots of warm layers for us. i also packed waterproof, warm fall suits for the kids as a just in case measure, and thank goodness i did!

bus driver at the children’s museum.

we went to the children’s museum first thing. it was a bit of a disappointment as it lacked any real information or participatory displays relevant to kids. to our shagrin it was a museum, like so many others, obviously low on funding, as the displays were blatantly sponsored by various companies. one floor was covered with dora and diego characters thanks to nickelodian. anyhow, the kids had fun as they played with their NYC peers, whose parents all had their iphones out and were busy texting, instead of interacting with their kids! must be a big city thing.

that’s when the snow started to fall.

leaving the children’s museum around noon.

when we got outside there was already a significant accumulation of wet snow on the ground. the snow was unreal, heavy and wet. it was shocking to walk through the city in this weather in october, even before hallowe’en!

dear hubby and i felt a bit overwhelmed by the weather and decided we needed to find a place for lunch and come up with a plan. it wasn’t even noon, so there was no way we could return to our tiny hotel room, so we had to get creative. after our yummy NY style pizzas we decided to accept the messy and wet weather with open arms and walk through central park to FAO schwartz, the huge toy store on 5th avenue. with smiles on our faces and palms up trying to catch the sloppy falling snow we headed to the park. there was no-way-jose we were going to let a noreaster storm get in the way of us and new york. at the 72nd street gates we were told to our absolute shock and dismay that the park was closed to all visitors. the reason: falling trees and branches. 

my hands are naked as my leather gloves were soaked. lion is under cover in the stroller. 

making wet and sloppy snow balls next to a closed central park.

fallen tree branches inside central park.

the weight of the wet snow on the still leafy trees was too much for them to bear, so there were massive branches breaking all over the park. apparently during a similar storm last year several people had actually died. as we walked next to the famous park, sad we couldn’t enjoy its true glory, we heard the shocking sound of snapping branches in the park. then a local pedestrian warned us about frolicking next to the park as many of the trees grew over the stone wall and creating a lovely canopy for us to walk under, but also were potential dangers as the branches could have fallen on us. so just as we were about to cross the street, sure enough, a huge branch fell off of an oak tree about 30 metres ahead of us.

fallen branches on the sidewalk.

that’s when the wet snow turned into ice pellets and our moods changed rapidly. we felt soggy and defeated and raced along central park south past fancy hotels with their fancy patrons to our destination. dear hubby carried bear in the ergo on his front, while i huffed and puffed with lion in the stroller.

59th street columbus circle around 2pm- what a mess!

phew! what a day. from FAO schwartz we cabbed it back to our hotel and headed straight to room 409. once we all in our dry jammies, our room looked as though our luggage had exploded as there were wet, dripping clothes hanging off of various pieces of furniture, doors, even hinges trying to dry for our sunday adventure in the city!

dry and toasty in our hotel room around 6pm.

that night bear had a heck of a time falling asleep and stayed up way late! all of the large tv’s on our trip proved to be tricky to deal with. we don’t have a tv at home, but do let bear watch various shows on DVD’s we borrow from the library. the new tv shows were all way too stimulating, instead of putting him to sleep, they re-energized him all over again. as bear got sucked in the world of nickelodeon jr. and the strange yabba-cardigan-umizoo characters they presented, these kid channels brought with them advertising, which bear didn’t know how to navigate. he would get mad and shout “i want the kids show back” with tears welling in his eyes! how do you describe advertising and commercials to a three year old? and, how as adults can and do we allow corporations to blatantly abuse our children so freely, in fact people with cable pay companies to do this. astounding….

anyhow, after our shockingly soggy saturday, we were looking forward to a marvelous sunday with the promise of sunshine and warming temperatures. little did we know of the adventures that loomed ahead in the upcoming cold, dark sunday evening for us. 
i will have one final installment of our adventures in NYC. 
not having my own computer to do this is a pain in the butt, and this darn mac is making me very angry. the buttons don’t do what i expect them and the lack of a right button on the touch pad is still confusing me. sigh. i am the non-techie in this household and only know the bare minimum about computers and how to use them. fingers crossed i get my computer back by next wednesday!

happy friday to everyone! 

xo, mama lola

new york, NEW YORK! [part 1]

*my computer is still being repaired and i am desperately trying to complete my entries on an ancient macbook that is lacking any basic photo editing software. i have attached a few rough pics, but once my computer is back with me, i will edit and post more pictures.
we are back from our adventures in the big apple and ready to tell the tale. we could not have predicted the, um… complications that reared their ugly heads to us this past weekend. in case you didn’t hear, a nor-easter blew into the city with all its might on saturday and tried to knock us down. check out this article for details from the new york times.

we left our house wednesday night with our car packed, kids in pajamas and hot drinks in our cups. i was travelling with my finnish passport, even though i am dual citizen and hold canadian citizenship as well. but, currently i only have a finnish passport and i had the wrong visa at the border to enter the USA, so we got stuck there for a bit. the border officials were mean, power hungry men who intimidated the pants off of me. eventually they let me in. maybe i should have spent a little more time researching the types of visas before trying to cross the border. anyone looking to travel, work, or study in the USA should make sure they put the time in to learn about the different types of visa too.

the plan was to spend the first night at a motel on the road and then drive all day thursday to dear hubby’s sister’s place, where we would spend the night and then jump on a train first thing friday morning and head into new york city.

checking out the hudson river en route to new york city.

and that’s what we did.

we arrived on time at grand central station, but the kids were a wreck. they needed food and fast as the snacks i had packed were not enough to sustain a happy blood sugar level. it was a disaster, but after some quick cream cheese and lox bagels, we had mostly recuperated and headed on out to 42nd street to find a taxi… er, i mean a cab. we had an hour before j&l’s wedding at noon, but had to drop off our luggage at our hotel before heading to the people’s improv theater where the wedding was to take place. they spent so much time planning their wedding and I’m so glad they chose to have it in New York. I told them about a good photographer I had heard of (Visit the link for more info about NY photographer Olga Topchii) but I’m not sure who they booked in the end!

buying some fresh berries and fruits en route to the wedding.

oh the wedding. j&l had a magical untraditional jewish wedding at the people’s improv theater in manhattan. the mood was joyous and the kids were excited to be there. the main event took place on the main stage and it was delightful to watch. the rabbi was entertaining as she explained the steps of the ceremony and the significance of them. j&l were glowing and their smiles could not have been more infectious. our cubs managed fairly well, although bear did lose his cool sooner than we would have wished, but, adult situations and events where a three year old has to sit fairly still and be fairly quiet can be tough.

j&l during their lovely wedding ceremony. you can’t fake smiles like that!

after the wedding we headed back to the hotel, checked in and then hit the streets of manhattan. the hotel was really nice but I wish we had looked at some staten island hotels since the location would have been better for us. it’s something to consider next time we visit though! with the kids asleep we headed north towards central park. we left 26th and got to 53rd and decided to go to MOMA as they were just starting their free friday evenings. it was worth the wait and coat check line to see van gogh’s “a starry night” in person; to discuss art with my three year old bear who has an eye for picasso, just like his mummo; and to be surrounded by such fantastic art with my family.

aalto chair on the 4th floor at MOMA.

new york really has a strong pulse and the hustle of the city was invigorating. the traffic, the stores, the signs and the people were all absolutely fascinating to watch. we were such obvious tourists with our maps in hand and camera around my neck!

here’s PART 2 of our NYC trip.

xo, mama lola

birth. stories.

looking for submissions: a friend is looking for birth stories for her blog MotherGather. it’s a wonderful resource for new and experienced mamas (or anyone really) and a platform where women can share their own birth stories. western society has warped the importance of birth by dismissing its importance as an experience to be celebrated and acknowledged as a milestone in a fertile woman’s life. hollywood and our media bombard us with images of birth as a painful, “man hating ordeal” where women are at the hands of experts. i find this distressing, because it is inaccurate and sends the wrong message to moms of what the true experience will be like. but, birth stories don’t just have to involve a mother birthing a baby out of her body, they can include parents adopting children and birthing a new family, so to speak. this of course is never talked about in media or hollywood honestly either.

i know from my own experiences, the births of my two cubs, that although they were completely different, neither was what i had expected. or hoped for. but, that being said, i did the best i could in each day, hour and moment of labour and delivery with each of my boys. i did the best i could, with what i knew at the time. and, that is the best anyone of us can do during birth. or life.

after bear’s birth, i felt like a failure. as if not bringing to fruition my idealized, romanticized and fantasized images of labour and delivery would somehow brand me as a bad mother for the rest of my life. as if the different road that was travelled for those 59 hours that i laboured and the one hour i delivered, somehow makes me a failure, because i was not at home and in a tub. sounds silly, even to me as i type this but, alas, this is a part of my struggle as a human, a woman and as a mama. perfection, or what i consider to be perfection for me. i would never imagine holding someone else up to these exorbitant expectations, as i logically understand that they are unrealistic.

when did my babies stop being babies?

lion’s first haircut. i trimmed his bangs. 

it’s time to bid farewell to you, my faithful readers, but only for a short while. we are headed to the big apple for a week and while we are frolicking in the streets of the city that never sleeps, my computer will be undergoing some serious surgery at the techie-hospital. i will be offline for a while, but will return with buckets overflowing with pictures and stories of our adventures. our days will be filled with trips to central park, FAO schwartz, MOMA, and times square, just to name a few. we will also be witness to the nuptials of some lovely friends on friday, but best of all our city weekend is bookended with quality time with dear hubby’s sister and her mister. it’s been a while since we’ve seen them and we are anxiously awaiting shared dinners, hikes along forest trails and just the opportunity to catch up on all of the important stuff.

please have your fingers crossed for us, and hope that we have a rainless vacation, especially on saturday and sunday. the experts have gone from rain, to snow to sun and back. yesterday the forecast for saturday called for 10mm+ rain and today all sun, all day. how can they be so different??

see you in november!

xo, mama lola

it’s that time of year: pumpkins n’ rakes n’ scarves, oh my!

well, it’s that time of year again. time to pull out all the mitts, toques, sweaters and scarves. mother nature has brought us fall with its grey, but sometimes with a side of sunshine, damp days and cold, dark nights. once october rolls in i turn into a neck-cover-upper, meaning i love to wear scarves and turtlenecks. i found this awesome video on 25 ways to tie a scarf and am truly inspired to vamp up my scarf wearing. check it out!

since we will be in the big apple (t-minus 3 days) for halloween, we decided not to carve our pumpkins, but paint them instead. this morning bear and i set up our painting station outside on our front porch in the glorious warm sunlight. he was absolutely delighted to paint without the wee brother distracting us, and boy o’ boy did he ever paint. the kid had his artsy juices flowing and created some phenomenal work today. i love how fearless he is, especially when painting; he mixes colours and brushes and just paints. he’s not concerned about what anyone will think of his work and seems to really love the process. i wish i could say the same about me. even though i’m just painting pumpkins, i feel this odd pressure for things to look good and funky. augh, i need to get over it!

the kid’s a natural.

we got a bunch of fall/ winter prep done this weekend. the backyard patio furniture is packed into the shed, leaves raked and bagged and taken to the dump. the backyard is swept, sticks piled by the composts and various flower pots emptied and packed away for next spring. the swing from the front porch has been taken down to the chagrin of the boys, but it’s that time of year. it feels really good to be ahead of the game for once and ready for the upcoming change in season.

the guys cleaned the inside of the car today too, in preparation for our NYC roadtrip. dear hubby took various seats out, vacuumed them and had two little guys in there wreaking havoc on the whole experience. they were supposed to be helping, but instead the two tried to sneak out of the van through the open trunk or honked the horn or closed the doors on poor dear hubby as he was carrying a heavy carseat. but, the car sparkles as well as it can and is ready to go!

i’ve been moving slightly slower than preferable this weekend as i have been fighting something that wants to severely attack my immune system! it started with a sore throat and then moved to my sinuses and now is weakly holding on. i’ve been chugging my beloved oil of oregano and i think i have overcome whatever bug this was. phew!
look what i found in lion’s bottom bunk. 

bear is eager to sleep with his little brother and sneaks down to the bottom bunk every so often. secretly, i love it and it breaks my heart. realistically, i think they’re almost at the right age to sleep together, or at least fall asleep together. bear is such a mover and a shaker in his sleep, which worries me a bit for lion’s sake. maybe we’ll give it a try at the hotel in NYC.

speaking of new york, it’s time to start packing for our family adventure! i’m hoping to get most of the kids’ things done tonight, so that i can focus on my own stuff, which is going to be tricky. i can’t figure out what i should wear, as the weather predictions keep changing from snow, to rain, to sun, which is pretty unhelpful. i tend to over pack, always have, because i am always concerned with all of the what ifs. i’m the kind of person who prefers to be prepared for any situation whether it means stopping for an unplanned pee break on some foreign country road or feeling hungry and not finding any gas stations for those all important snacks! that being said, i feel a bit overwhelmed and would love some packing suggestions!

kissy lips.

can’t wait for this week to get going, because then we’ll be that much closer to leaving!
hope you have a wonderful monday tomorrow. 

xo, mama lola

woolly woolens time with apples on the side, please.

NYC FAMILY ROAD TRIP t-minus 8 days and counting…
just checked the weather network for temperatures in new york for our halloween weekend and i almost barfed. there was a picture of a snowflake next some rain drops for saturday the 29th; are you KIDDING ME? the weather experts are calling for a high of +9c for our saturday adventures in the big apple, augh just our luck. how on earth am i going to dress the kids? must pull out my mom’s knitted woolly mitts and socks for the boys, i suppose.
check out this adorable knitted toque lion is wearing. bear received it as a gift from his great-aunt who bought it in newfoundland. now it’s lil’bro’s turn to wear it!

i love my marimekko raincoat.

we went apple picking today. it was a typical fall day for us; cloudy with chill dampness in the air, but no rain. 

we checked out a new place south of us, but it wasn’t that great. instead of a tractor ride to the orchard you drove around yourself, which, yes was convenient, but kind of weird. the kids had a fun time, although bear expressed genuine fear of the fallen apples on the ground. i know, strange, eh? he would cling to me or dear hubby and whimper. finally, after the northern spy section at mutsu he got over it found a picking groove.

gnarly courtland apple trees looking tortured.

we also chose some pumpkins for the front porch. since we’ll be away for actual halloween, i think instead of carving the pumpkins we’ll paint them instead. this weekend is calling for sun and it’ll be a perfect outside art project.

happy autumn!

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

i love things in the basement.

kids really do say the darndest things.
we have gotten quite strict about some things around the house. i am trying to encourage bear to tidy up his toys after he is done playing with them. sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, so now i threaten to put the toy in the basement if he doesn’t get cracking. it sounds harsh, even to me as i type this, but we live in a small house and things really need to get put away. and really, tidying train tracks means putting them in a bucket, or collecting all the itty bitty lego and putting them back in their designated bin. today bear wouldn’t help tidy the train tracks and he told me “i love things in the basement”. fine, if you insist kid.

we were back at the airport picking up mummo from her adventures in finland. we watched some planes land first, parking illegally on the side of a road that circles the airport. it was super exciting and both boys were thrilled to see the planes up so close.

first, look at the size of the cars then look at the planes. that british airways plane on the right
was HUGE and LOUD!
inside the airport all the little people lost it, because they were so over tired by the later than usual evening and the excitement of watching the planes. bear was actually a disaster and the only way we could contain him was by dear, dear, hubby carrying him up on his shoulders. but wait, he was already carrying lion in the ergo, so it was quite the endeavour!

look at that summer bouquet my dad is holding, you can almost taste the sunshine and heat in those yellows! we also made this beautiful sign for mummo. it’s a map of finland coloured and stickered boldly by the boys. the guy peaking from behind the sign is our friend, ironically visiting from finland!

mummo and her boys and a young girl staring blatantly. oh well!

here’s hoping for glorious weather this weekend. hurricane irene is doing her thang along the eastern seaboard, but i don’t want her to rain on us. we had such a tense night on wednesday with the tornado warnings that i am so over the storms. plus, we’re hoping to hit niagara falls.

xo, mama lola

a park date with aeroplanes.

my mom flew to finland last week. the boys, dear hubby, my dad and i sent her off with lots of love to keep her warm at night. 

first we met at a park just under the airport runway. it was loud and kinda fun to hear the roar of the planes while surrounded by suburbia!

the airport was a bit disappointing as it’s set up in a way you can’t see the planes very well. after my mom sent her baggage to the plane, and after some yummy frozen yoghurt we headed to the top floor of the parking garage to see small glimpses of real planes. the sky was stunning; glorious pastels layered the sky, as if someone had taken a large brush and painted the sunset in. the picture below does not capture the beauty of the colours.

it was an unusual evening for the kids, so they lost their steam quickly. we kissed mummo and sent her off on her adventure. bear is a little worried she is not coming back, so we’ll make sure we’re there to greet her upon her arrival!

happy travels everyone!

xo, mama lola
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