Wednesday, August 20, 2014


It's been over 2 months since I've last blogged. That sounds like the beginning of a confessional - but the truth is, I've felt guilty about my neglect. Every time I've sat down to write I've felt rushed, uninspired or just plain tired. You deserve more than that! The last 2 months have been a bit of a whirlwind, marked by highs and lows and filled with surprises.

In the beginning of June, Ty and I went to Chicago with Ty's company. I stayed at my parent's place with Everett and hung out with my mom, dad, my sister Allison and my niece and nephew, Trent and Whitney. I was lucky enough to take the train into downtown Chicago and spend the night with Ty while my parents watched Everett. That evening alone deserves it's own blog - our first night without Ev! We visited the House of Blues and bar hopped along the Chicago River. So fun!

On June 26th my family lost a beloved member: a cherished father, husband, brother, uncle and friend. My Uncle Jim passed away surrounded by family and embraced by his faith. He was taken too soon. Our family was fortunate to be able to remember Uncle Jim and celebrate his life together at my Aunt's home in Southern California. I still haven't quite wrapped my head around this loss and what it means to our tight-knit family. I was once again reminded of the uncertainty of life and all of the incredible people I've been blessed to be connected to.

Shortly after returning from California, my best and oldest friend, Jennie came to visit Calgary. We had a blast riding bikes around the city, visiting the mountains and taking in the sights and tastes of the Calgary Stampede. What did I do to deserve a friend so great? The last 2 times we had been together were our weddings - we were eager to reconnect and have some downtime to laugh and hang out without the stress of impending vows!

My mom and my 4 1/2 year old niece Whitney came for a visit the following week. Having Whitney in the house was tons of fun and made me feel excited for the day that we add another child to our family. We visited Heritage Park, Riley Park, had a BBQ with family and searched for souvenirs!

We were invited to our friends Josh and Tasha's family home in Panorama, BC for the August long weekend. It was gorgeous!! The house was amazing, right on the shores of Toby Creek, which was really more like a rushing river. We spent mornings drinking coffee and hanging on the porch while Everett and his friends Kingston and Hudson played. We visited the local pools, went to a petting zoo and sat around the fire. It was so refreshing to get out of the city and have some fun with friends.

Throughout all of this I have been building a business with my friend Amanda. Kindred, our company, will offer couples workshops for expecting parents. We are excited to begin this journey together! Also,  my agency asked me to run my Equine Facilitated Wellness program again - dream come true!

I'm looking forward to September as a time to re-focus and re-energize (read: blog more!). See you soon!

Friday, June 13, 2014

One Year

Our lovely photographer, Shannon Yau captured yet another beautiful moment in our lives - Everett's first birthday. Of course, Everett was far from interested in being an obedient subject that day, but Shannon always comes through! If you're interested in checking out more of Shannon's work, check out her website.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Little Dream Come True

About 2 years ago, I had to let go of a few of the things that made me 'me' to make room for a new self-definition. I love my identity as a mom, it's changed me in many ways and unleashed a new level of love, commitment and passion within me. Over the last few months I've felt a bit of an awakening - I'm beginning to carve out a new place for myself - a space where the 'old me' meets the 'new me'. So - when Dan (my farrier and Lola's caretaker) called and asked if I'd like to take Lola on a trail ride into the mountains, my first instinct was 'yes. Yes, YES, YES!'. However, an emphatic 'No!' came out of my mouth, almost automatically. I quickly replaced the 'no' with a 'yes'. Although, I wasn't convinced I was ready. At all. I hadn't ridden in a year and a half! I had only ever taken Lola on one trail ride - it was short and basic. I was embarrassed by my hesitancy and fear. These are not common feelings for me - but as a mom, they are becoming more familiar. I dug deep and found Erin, the one I told you about in my first post about Lola. The 10 year old me. I committed to the trail ride, and subsequently began to freak out. The night before the ride I barely slept (this time, no thanks to Everett). The forecast called for steady rain, thunder and lightning. It's spring, bears are coming out of hibernation and are foraging for food. Lola has never crossed a stream before, how will she handle the 4 we need to pass? I somehow quieted these worries and slept for a couple hours. I met Dan out at the barn and in no time we loaded the Lola and Dan's horse Ripper into the trailer and arrived at our starting point in Kananaskis Country. Lola was cool as a cucumber as she exited the trailer. She was dozing off as I groomed her and saddled her. I couldn't believe how relaxed she was. I needed to some of that! I mounted - and within an instant all of my apprehension disappeared. Both Lola and I released a deep breath, and began our beautiful journey. The ride was incredible. The weather was beautiful. Lola was confident, strong and smart. Horses will amaze you, she knew to step in and take care of me. I love her. We crossed fast flowing streams, climbed mountainsides, witnessed bear tracks, deer, owls and hawks. We lunched in a meadow as a dark cloud came and began to hail on us. Thankfully, it only lasted a few minutes - just enough to add some colour to the day.
It was just what I needed - time with my sweet Lola and time with my old self. The whole day was packed with new 're-experiences' and moments of mindful bliss! I can't wait to do it again!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Great Cloth Diaper Change

Ty, Everett and I spent Earth Day participating in the Great Cloth Diaper Change in Canmore. It turned put to be such a fun day! The GCDC is an event aimed to raise awareness about the benefits of using cloth diapers. In Canmore, 54 babies were changed into cloth diapers - contributing to a grand total of 8,459 reusable diaper changes worldwide in a 24 hour period! 188 locations in 18 different countries helped this event achieve a Guinness World Record! The event was solely run by volunteers and their kids. Local vendors showed support by donating generous door prizes and selling goods at reduced prices. Almost everyone who attended won a raffle prize! Everett won multi-coloured 'deconstruction blocks' from aroundsquare and we received a Squishy Snak Pak in our goodie bag. We all know how I love to discover new, local products! Of course, I couldn't resist buying a new cloth diaper and hanging wet bag from Nature's Baby Basket! It's an addiction, I swear! We unexpectedly ran into our good friends at the event and shared lunch together at the Grizzly Paw Brewery. Everett was asleep before we could buckle him into his car seat. Any excuse to visit Canmore is a great one - we will definitely be attending this event again next year!
*this post is not sponsored - I'm just feeling very 'link-happy today!*

Monday, May 12, 2014

Lessons from Mom

I'm grateful for my mom every day. She is such a presence in my life that not a day goes by that I don't consider all that she does for me and the beautiful things she's taught me. I'm not going to lie - I do believe Mother's Day is a 'Hallmark holiday', but that won't stop me from sharing some of the things that make my mom the best! My mom has always been there for me, but as I've become a wife and a mother in the past few years, I realize now that I need her more than ever. Here are some of the lessons I've learned from my mom, and continue to learn:
Be kind to everyone, no matter who they are
Some of my youngest memories are of my mom chatting and laughing with the mailman, the clerk at the bank and bagger at the grocery store. She is always cheerful, always friendly and always smiling.
Don't judge, you may never know someone's real story
I remember coming home from school and making a rude comment about one of my classmate's clothing choices. My mom gently reminded me that those clothes may be all that that person could afford. It's not always easy, but my mom instilled in me the importance of empathy and an open heart.
My mom is incredibly thoughtful. She has the ability to remember what's important to specific people and knows how to give the perfect gift. She amazes me with her caring and giving nature. I'm working on this definitely doesn't come naturally to me!
My mom taught me to ask questions. Whether for information, knowledge or just for the fun of it, my mom is a curious person and doesn't make apologies for it.
Take chances
I know my mom would not describe herself as a risk-taker or a rule-breaker, but she is very brave. Growing up we moved often, sometimes every year or so. My mom single-handedly navigated (before Google!) around our new towns and quickly developed a social system for my sister and I. My mom always encourages me to jump in feet first!
Have fun!
My mom knows the importance of having fun. Her sense of humour is great and she's always up for a good time! I learn from her to enjoy simple things and to find humour whenever and wherever I can.

Wow - I could go on forever, but I'll stop here. I love taking a moment to reflect on these lessons. I'm reminded of all of the values I look forward to passing on to Everett. Here's to Mother's Day! I love you, Judy!

Monday, April 28, 2014

I'll break it down for you.

Attachment Parenting. Gasp! This is one simple concept that, in my opinion, has been blown way out of proportion. Over the past year it's been made apparent to me that when I utter the word "attachment parenting' it comes out as a whisper, a mumble or a rushed acronym. Often I avoid eye contact, because for some reason, using the term 'attachment parenting' can be considered controversial or even confrontational. It's ridiculous, and I'll tell you why: attachment parenting is nothing to be afraid of. It's kind and it's gentle, by nature. So, I'm holding my head up high, I'm making eye contact and I'm announcing it - I believe in attachment parenting.

What is attachment parenting?
Attachment parenting is the basic belief that the relationship between child and parent is the most important facet of parenting (of life!). According to Attachment Parenting International, there are 8 principals that provide the foundation for attachment parenting:

1. Prepare for pregnancy, birth and parenting
2. Feed with love and respect
3. Respond with sensitivity
4. Use nurturing touch
5. Ensure safe sleep, physically and emotionally
6. Provide consistent and loving care
7. Practice positive discipline
8. Strive for balance in your personal and family life.

Sounds terrifying, doesn't it? I joke, but AP has developed quite a stigma. Due to the misconceptions surrounding AP, many people have written it off, or are only aware of highly publicized AP parents and their personal parenting choices.

These 8 principals are far from groundbreaking. They may even come off as no-brainers, something all parents do without a second thought. Unfortunately, many of these principals are challenged by mainstream parenting beliefs that run the risk of stifling or damaging the connection between parent and child. Most of this is intuition, precious intuition that's been lost. AP parents use baby wearing, breastfeeding and co-sleeping to address many of the principals and to develop a strong bond in the early days of baby's life. As their child grows, AP parents strengthen their relationship through positive discipline practices. I could go further into detail, but I won't!

The funny thing about attachment parenting is that it is nothing new. Past civilizations and present cultures have been practicing AP for thousands of years. AP is rooted in legitimate research and historical truths as well as biological and evolutionary data. In other words, it's the way child-rearing used to be...the way it should be. I look at some of the front page concerns for modern day youth and I can't help but wonder if attachment parenting could save the world. Crazy? Maybe, but one can dream.

As a counselor, I've always been fascinated by the study of attachment. As a parent, I have been forever changed by the power of attachment. If any of this information struck a chord with you, let me know!

Interested? Here are a few more links:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


We had 2 consecutive days of beautiful weather last weekend, so we decided to take the leap and transfer our seedlings to the greenhouse. I can't take much credit, Ty has done all of the work - he's attended gardening classes, read books, draws maps and keeps a journal of his progress. I felt proud of myself for planting some herbs and flowers and for breaking a sweat while digging up our rhubarb plant. I swear I heard it say "Feed me, Seymour!" Everett ate more handfuls of dirt than I'm willing to admit, and Junior lounged around the yard, chasing the sunny spots. Last year was a crash course in gardening for us, and we were surprised when our raised boxes yielded a summers worth of lettuce, zucchini and broccoli. This year we're hoping to harvest beans, peppers, tomatoes and corn. I'm sure there's lots more, but I have limited access to Ty's master plan. Of course, Ty and I have been taking advantage of the satisfying ritual of enjoying a post-gardening beer...or three!

Monday, April 21, 2014

The ride

This week Everett learned how to catch a piggyback ride. Too fun! I love bounding around the house with him on my back, stopping to watch his delighted face in each mirror and window we pass. Lately I've found myself feeling wistful, thinking of how quickly Everett is transitioning from baby to toddler. Little things like this remind me of all that's to come as our family continues to grow.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Holding tight

Calgary was rocked by a tragedy this week. My gentle city is still reeling from the news of the violent murder of 5 university students at the hand of another student. Facts and details about the event are beginning to surface - nothing seems to make sense. One thing is certain, Calgarians have been holding their loved ones a bit tighter this week. It's unfortunate that it takes something like this to bring us back to the present, to be mindful of the fragility of life and the precious gifts we take for granted. As I upload these images I'm reminded of all the beauty in my life. Hold tight to your loved ones always and remember to respond with love, even when it seems impossible.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Nothing like a new pair of shoes!

Excuse the blurry photos. I only had my phone with me and I couldn't for the life of me get a shot of Everett standing still. He had a blast on his first trip to the shoe store! Now that Ev is walking, and summer is right around the corner, we decided it was time to get him a proper pair of shoes. We love our Padraig booties, but they're not suitable for mud, puddles and parks!
Upon several recommendations from friends, we decided to visit Little Footprints. Little Footprints is a local, family owned business aimed specifically at meeting the needs of small walkers. I was immediately impressed by the undivided attention we were given by Jasmine, one of the owners. Jasmine measured Ev's feet and then observed him walking in his bare feet and explained to me what she was looking for. She evaluated Ev's gait, balance, strength and confidence as he walked around the store. Taking into account future growth spurts, Jasmine helped me decide the best size to purchase.
Based on her assessment she selected about 12 different pairs of shoes that would be suitable for Everett. Jasmine then told me to choose the ones that appealed to me aesthetically and then we would see how they worked. I love that we were given a broad selection - style is everything! Everett ended up trying on 4 different pairs of shoes. It really was amazing to see how differently he moved in each pair! We decided on the pair of Stride Rite's that Ev is wearing in the big picture.
The entire process was quick, educational and fun! Also, Jasmine shared the price of each shoe with me before Everett tried them on - any new mom can appreciate that! Little Footprints also has a rewards program and keeps a file of your little one's shoe size in order to track growth and make purchasing shoes in the future simple. Another great local business that I'm happy to share with you!

Monday, April 7, 2014

You did what with your what!?

Yes, folks. I did it. I ate my placenta. Calm down, it's not what you think. I didn't season it and grill it up with onions and potatoes. I had a lovely, local mom dehydrate it, pulverize it and distribute it into gelatin capsules. My placenta yielded 191 pills, a vial of tincture and a small tub of salve. Are you still grossed out? Get over it. We humans consume much worse. Why placenta encapsulation? Well, my decision was based solely on faith - faith that my body would not fail me as I recovered from the trauma of birth. You see, when women give birth, they not only birth a baby, but they also birth the organ that they created to build the baby. The placenta gets no recognition! The placenta is responsible for providing nutrition to the baby as well as hormones to both mom and babe. Sadly, following most deliveries, the placenta is thrown in the garbage. Gasp! Not my placenta. Placenta consumption is said to aid in postpartum healing, energy, mood and milk supply. As a first time mom, I wanted to stack the deck in my favour. Obviously, I have no control group to compare my experience with, but I felt great in the weeks after Everett's birth. I had tons of energy and was blissfully happy. Seriously. I'd love to take all the credit for that - but I'll give it some to my hardworking, under appreciated placenta.

Interested? Read more about placentophagy here:’-post-partum-health

Monday, March 24, 2014


So I may have totally jumped the gun on this whole spring thing. Jinxed it. As I mentioned, we Calgarians are all guilty of this. it really so bad to be hopeful, even blindly optimistic that Mother Nature might do us a solid and give in to the inevitable shift to warmer temperatures? I don't think so. I'd rather play the fool in flip flops before all of the piles of snow have melted than play the pessimist.
Thankfully, we have a beautiful inner-city oasis in Calgary where spring blooms year round. The Devonian Gardens is a nearby gem that to my regret, I have only recently discovered. Located inside our downtown shopping mall, the gardens offer a warm and naturally lit environment where everyone is welcome. You can follow meandering pathways to koi ponds, fountains, living walls of plants and hundreds of tropical trees and flowers. There is also an indoor playground! It felt so good to let Everett run free, a little taste of what we have to look forward to once the warm weather decides to stick around. Last summer, Ty and I were living in a haze of sleep deprivation and the myriad of worries brought on by new parenthood that we were barely able to enjoy the beautiful days and long evenings. We are so excited to actually experience summer this year - especially since we'll have the joy of experiencing it through Ev's eyes. Hopefully in a couple more weeks? Fingers crossed!

Friday, March 21, 2014


This dog. She was our first baby. To say we love her is an understatement. We adore her. She's made it clear that although our family has grown, she is still the queen bee. We're quite happy to indulge her in this. Who are we kidding? We really have no choice.
Junior turned 6 years old yesterday. She celebrated with a raw lamb dinner and tons of her favourite salmon treats. It's hard to believe that 6 years have passed since we brought Junior home. As some of you may know, a few months after we moved to Calgary, Juney was diagnosed with epilepsy. Along with seizures, Juney experiences heightened sensitivity to stressful situations and feels quite insecure outside of our home and in the presence of new people and dogs. It makes me sad when I compare California Juney to Calgary Juney. We still see the sweet, affectionate and quirky companion that she's always been...unfortunately our friends here haven't had the pleasure. She becomes afraid when strangers are near and will bark incessantly. We often have to move Juney upstairs when we have guests and refrain from taking her on the walks and adventures she used to love. We can't risk bringing on a disruptive and traumatic seizure.
Our loved ones worried about how Juney might react to the arrival of Everett. Ty and I didn't worry. We knew that as long as we loved him, Juney would quickly learn to love him as well. Our hearts shine when we see Juney and Everett lovingly interact. I know, I know, it sounds a bit dramatic to speak of a dog so sentimentally - but she is a fiercely devoted member of our clan and in our eyes deserves as much love and reverence as any of us.
Happy Birthday, Junior. We love you!

Saturday, March 15, 2014


This is what spring looks like in Calgary. We all hold our breath during these warm days in the months of March, April, May and even June. Is this it? Are we free to welcome spring with open arms? Or do we steel ourselves, ever pessimistic, with fear that we'll still have to endure at least one more frigid spell or record-breaking snowstorm? I prefer to dive into the weather head first. It was gorgeous this week. Everett and I went for 1, 2 sometimes even 3 walks a day! My friend Amanda and her precious twins, Ruby and Miles, joined us on Tuesday. Isn't Amanda ridiculously photogenic? She wasn't even wearing make up. And the cute!!! Coffee's in hand, we trekked through massive puddles, ice berms and mud slicks - nothing could stop us! Jackets were quickly shed and sunglasses a necessity. If it weren't for nap times and impending crankiness, we could've walked for hours. The sun is staying out later these days, filling the afternoons with a renewed energy. We can't wait to get used to this.
Stay, spring! We'll be real good to you, we promise!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

An Ode To Baby Led Weaning

Of all the parenting decisions we've made in the last 12 months, our decision to do BLW is one of the best. Both Ty and I agree that the 'baby led weaning' approach to feeding first foods has been a great choice for our family. Baby Led Weaning is an approach developed in the UK, but essentially is the way babies have been fed for centuries. Note: the term "wean" in the UK refers to the introduction of solid food, not the transition off of the breast. The general idea is that you offer solid finger foods in lieu of purees. I could bore you with the laundry list of amazing benefits that you and your child will experience if you choose BLW, but I'll just cut to the chase and share the most important tidbit - it's easy. Everett eats whatever we're having for dinner. Sometimes we modify it, but mostly he just gets a smaller serving of our meal. Everett gets to experience dinner with us, he witnesses exchanges in conversation, nonverbal communication and the closeness that sharing a meal can bring. We also love that we can bring Everett out to eat with us and not worry about packing separate food for him. We order specific things off of the menu for him, or he shares with us. We've never had an issue finding something appropriate for him to eat at a restaurant. Everett LOVES to eat. Anything and everything. Seriously. In his first week of BLW he ate avocados, cucumbers, chicken, waffles, salmon and spaghetti and he hasn't stopped since. Everett will try any food we offer, and the majority of the time he will clear his plate. I was such a fussy eater - for the first 18 years of my life I only ate white, orange and brown foods. I swear. Ask my mom! It's so important to us that Everett enjoys food and has an adventurous spirit when it comes to trying new things. So far so good.
If you're interested in learning more about BLW check out this site:

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Our New Normal

The last few days have been a whirlwind. Life has a way of making you feel as though you're living in one of those crazy-busy-rushing-to-get-out-the-door family scenes in a movie. You know what I mean? Between my return to work, Ty's new schedule, Everett resisting his morning nap, a leaky (new) dishwasher and errands to run, I have barely had time to process my transition to 'semi stay-at-home mom'. My new work schedule allows me to stay home with Everett all day and go to work part time in the evening. This requires Ty to come home early to be with Ev. I love that they get their own time together. It's also kind of cool to be in my office and receive pictures of Everett from Ty, I like being on the other end. Ty had great success doing the bedtime routine solo and sent me a text at 7:30 letting me know that 'baby boy is fast asleep'. Adorable. He also let me know that Everett loved the enchiladas that I made for them ahead of time. Made me feel like mom/wife of the year!
Now that I have actual obligations in the evening I am trying to be a bit more on top of things like meals, dinner and housework and making myself look presentable. At the same time I'm trying to remind myself to enjoy my day and to slow down. I took advantage of a very early morning today and got some pictures of Everett being a goofball. One of my favourite things to do is to hang out on the floor and watch as Everett finds new ways to enjoy our home and his toys. His new preferred activity is climbing inside of anything and everything. He also loves anything that is not a toy, hence the bag of coffee beans. Every day is something new and it's awesome.
Note: black and white makes my kitchen linoleum a bit less heinous.
Have a great Wednesday, everyone!

Monday, March 3, 2014

My Year Is Up.

Everett's 1st birthday signifies another event in our lives: the end of my maternity leave. When I moved to Calgary almost 5 years ago, I had no clue that mothers in Canada were given 1 full year of maternity leave in which their job would be held for them and they would receive bi-weekly monetary benefits. This amazing perk of 'being Canadian' was the last thing on my radar as a 26 year old fresh out of graduate school. I can honestly say now that not a day goes by when I am not thankful to the Canadian government for honouring what I consider to be the greatest and most important time in my life. I feel lucky to live in a country that not only encourages healthy family bonding and breastfeeding, but has the sense to back it up and set families up for success by granting a year maternity, paternity or split leaves. I've already shared with you my sentiments on becoming a mother and the massive change I've experienced in the undertaking of this new role. I truly believe that a year was necessary in order for me to become the strong and confident mother that I consider myself to be today.
I have worked hard to become a counsellor, and I am looking forward to returning to my professional life and to continue helping families in  Calgary. I also love being a mom and having the ability to spend my days with Everett, being witness to his ever-changing curiosities and growing abilities. I echo many of my fellow mothers when I say that as much I love my job, I would choose staying home with Everett over anything else. For so many of us this is not an option. I am lucky to be part of an agency that is flexible and accommodating to families and has made space for me to return in a capacity that allows me to continue to spend most of my days with Everett. For this reason alone I will return to work today feeling optimistic, refreshed, fulfilled and motivated. I look forward to sharing with my clients my new perspective on life, the bit of wisdom I've gained through the tough months of early parenthood and some reflections on relationship communication. I do wonder how Ty and I will juggle mealtimes and nighttime solo-parenting, but we have a strong foundation to fall back on - one that took a year to build.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Everett Turns One!

My sweet little boy is 1 today. I only cried about 3 times yesterday. Okay, maybe 4. Or 7. I've said this before, but becoming a mother has made me so incredibly conscious and sensitive to time. I cannot believe a year has passed. Everyone told me, and it is true: the first year flies by. In a sense it feels like just yesterday I was laying in my bed staring at the perfect features of my newborn son. In another sense, I don't remember life without could I have only known him a year? I love him more than anything. He is so precious, and hilarious. I have loved every second of watching him grow and learn. Even when we weren't getting a wink of sleep. I swear! It really goes without saying, but I have to say that every second of pain and frustration has been absolutely worth it.
Everett and I have had a really slow and lazy week. Plans got changed or cancelled for whatever reason and we ended up spending a lot of time playing on the floor at home and just hanging out. I had a lot of time to reflect this week and the theme that resounds in all of my thoughts is gratefulness. I am grateful that Everett is happy and healthy. I am grateful for our loving and sportive families. Most of all, I am so grateful for Ty.
There is absolutely no way I could've weathered the last 12 months of my life without Ty. My husband is amazing. He has surpassed all of my dreams in terms of the type of husband and father that he is. When I was pregnant Ty, like most guys, I assume, didn't seem overly excited about impending fatherhood. Being pregnant, I spent every day thinking about being a mom and the type of parent I wanted to be. I felt connected and already totally responsible for this little life growing inside of me. I think for dads that it is different. The day Everett was born was the day that Ty became a father. He came alive. I had never seen him so exuberant and so brimming with joy. He must have gone up and down our stairs a hundred times those first few days, filling my water glass, heating up food. He took such good care of both Everett and I, never missing an opportunity to share how proud he was of me and how proud he was to be Everett's dad. As the months pass I've not only fallen more in love every day with Everett, but I've fallen more in love with Ty.
Everett's birthday is not only a celebration of a great milestone, but a celebration of the family that we've become. Happy Birthday, Everett! We love you!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tried and True! Subzero Edition

When October rolls around I find myself looking forward to winter. I love the snow, and it's always fun to change up the old wardrobe. However, once February hits I'm done. DONE. Ready for a break from the -26 degree stretches we sometimes endure here in Calgary. This type of stir-crazy is amplified now that I have a little guy to entertain. Ev and I love to get out and explore the neighbourhood. When weather permits, the only time we spend indoors is nap time! We're experiencing a bit of a cold stretch here lately and I'm so thankful for the things that bring Everett hours of entertainment and the things that keep us warm when we finally get a chance to venture out. Here are a few of those things:

1) Hape Pound & Tap Bench. This was a gift from Everett's Auntie Al. He is loving this lately. When we got back from San Diego he made a bee-line to this toy and has been playing with it nonstop ever since. I love that the xylophone is removable!
2) Janod Toolbox Trolley. Another gift! This one was from Ev's Uncle Thom and Auntie Stacey. I love that this toy has multiple uses. You should see the grin on Everett's face when he pushes this around the house. Adorable.
3) Padraig Cottage booties. My friend Kaela sent these from Vancouver for Everett's shower, before we even knew he was a boy! He wears these every single day! They are warm, soft, easy to get on and impossible for him to remove!
4) Burley D'Lite. In my opinion this is a must-have in Calgary. I love that on cold, snowy days I can bundle Ev up and seal him into the warm cocoon of this bike trailer/stroller. I just purchased the stroller wheel accessory and it makes it much more compact. Another plus is that Junior loves to take rides in this as well!
5) Tobbles Neo. This toy is just as fun for parents as it is for kids. The weighted 'eggs' are stackable in many different formations and are fun to roll and tap together. Everett has just figured out how to stack and this toy has been a great challenge for him.
6) Oxo Tot Flippy Cup. I love filling this with tiny snacks to occupy Ev while we're out running errands. And it's super cute!
7) Indestructibles. These books are impossible for babies to destroy. Everett is loving paper right now - I know, so random, but he'll do anything to get his hands on a magazine, paper bag or a stray receipt. I'm embarrassed to share how much paper he's ingested in the last few weeks. This book gives him the same thrill of crinkling and chewing on paper without driving me crazy!

What are you cold-weather moms doing to combat the cabin fever? I'd love to hear!

Friday, February 21, 2014

A San Diego Baby Shower

Everett and I were lucky enough to make a trip down to San Diego last weekend to celebrate Vanessa's baby shower. When I say that I needed this, it's an understatement. I miss these girls so much! There is nothing sweeter than seeing the people I love most in the world snuggling and playing with my baby boy. The weather in San Diego didn't hurt, either. Everett and I said goodbye to -25 temperatures and relished the 24 degree sunshine (sorry American friends, I'm trying hard to understand Celsius, and full immersion is the only way!). I am still mad at myself for my horrible packing job. No shorts and ONE tank top! What was I thinking!? Everett enjoyed going barefoot and loved trying his first (morsel of) In 'N Out burger! Vanessa's shower was gorgeous. It was held at the Brigantine in Point Loma, amidst marinas and sailboats. Of course, in true Vanessa form, she struggled to relinquish control and ended up doing all of the thematic planning herself! The theme was 'Ahoy! It's a boy!' and Vanessa was aptly spoiled. Carly and I threw back 'Baby Buoys' (mimosa's) and Everett dug into his first crab cake. We gathered close as Vanessa opened her gifts. Everett went nuts with the tissue and wrapping paper. In true visiting-your-best-friend fashion, the best moments were spent barefoot on the couch telling stories and busting each others chops. It went by fast. Way too fast. As quickly as we arrived, Everett and I said our tearful goodbyes - making a point to cement future plans, thus making the goodbye much more bearable. As I was leaving Vanessa noted 'the next time you see me, I'll be a mom.' Cue tears. Aside from sadness, when I say goodbye to my closest friends I feel pride. I am proud of the relationships we've built. I'm proud of the commitments we've made to remain in each others lives and to be there to celebrate life's greatest moments and rush to be there for our inevitable lower points. I feel a calm in the farewells, knowing that really, it's only just 'until next time'...

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

La Leche League

Ah, breastfeeding. I never thought something that looked so natural and serene would turn out to be so difficult and intimidating for me. I'll share details when I complete 'My Breastfeeding Story' (you didn't think that Everett's Birth Story would be the only TMI post did you? You did? Sorry!!).
I knew about all of the support available for new mom's learning to breastfeed - I just wish I had been brave enough to reach out. As you may know by now, I believe strongly in the power of sharing. I honestly believe that the world would be a better place if we shared more. If only for the hope that maybe so many of us wouldn't feel alone in our individual struggles. So, when my friend Morgan invited me to attend a meeting of our local La Leche Leage chapter last week, I eagerly accepted. I was so curious about these meetings. I had no clue what they would look like, what they would feel like and how they could help me. After all, my baby is almost a year old. What questions could I possibly have?
Turns out...quite a few. And, it turned out that I was able to answer some questions as well!
For those of you who are wondering, La Leche League is an organization dedicated to offering breastfeeding support, mother-to-mother. La Leche League meetings are offered according to the age of your child. Morgan and I attended the 'toddler and preschooler' meeting. There are also meetings available for pregnant women and newborns.
The La Leche League meeting was held in the home of Susan, the local LLL leader. That's a lot of L's! Susan's home was warm and welcoming. We were greeted upon entry by several smiling moms and babies of various ages and quickly given some logistical information: agenda, location of bathroom, diaper changes, toys, etc. Morgan and I quickly made ourselves and our little ones at home.
Susan began the meeting by asking us all to introduce ourselves and to share how we felt breastfeeding affected our parenting. It was interesting hearing the other moms answer this question. As I listened to the women share how powerful and confident they felt in their decision to breastfeed, I reflected upon the impact nursing has had in my own experience as a mom over the last 12 months. I realized that because of breastfeeding I am much more able to tap into the intuitive realm of parenting that is necessary to access when making decisions for Everett. Because of breastfeeding, before I even felt like a mom, I was a mom. If that makes any sense. As we went around and shared, we also were encouraged to add questions or topics to the agenda for the day.
I read books about breastfeeding, watched videos, talked to friends and even attended a breastfeeding course - but I still learned SO much about nursing during the meeting. Did you know that after about 12 months a mother's milk supply is so established that she could take a month break from nursing and still have milk?? I loved hearing that! How amazing women's bodies are! How amazing the bond we have with our children! I also loved that it quieted the voice in my head that sometimes worried about my supply. We discussed nursing in public, family member support, weaning, nighttime routines and skin-to-skin contact. The atmosphere was relaxed, friendly, open and humorous. I left feeling supported, and as though I was able to offer support as well. Everett loved exploring a new place and playing with other children. It was a great way to spend a morning.
Since the meeting I have contacted Susan with a concern regarding my milk supply after a recent illness. She responded asking me to call her on her home phone line. LLL leaders are committed to assisting women, and they truly love the work they do. The intimate and personalized support offered to women through La Leche League is a beautiful thing. I don't know why it took me so long to access this wonderful resource, but I am so glad I finally did!
For more information on LLL, check out their website:

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken

Has anyone ever seen the movie "Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken"? It was my favourite movie when I was 8 years old. My sister loved it too. My mom would take us to Blockbuster (remember that place?) every weekend and we would just re-rent the same copy over and over again. At 8 years old, I had just discovered horses. I was obsessed. It's taken me a long time to understand the exact reason that I continue to love horses so much. I think I've finally found it. Horses make me feel like I am 8 years old again. It's pretty simple, huh? I think if we look hard enough, we can all find something in our lives that we enjoy simply because it has the power to take us back to a time of innocence and wonder, when we were carefree and truly lived in the moment. Before most of us understood the sinking feelings of guilt, shame and regret. Up until these pictures were taken I hadn't seen my horse, Lola in over 3 months. I know, I know, I am a bad horse mom. You don't need to guilt me, I'm hard enough on myself. What amazes me about Lola (and all animals, for that matter) is that she didn't care. She still rushed to the gate when she heard my voice. She still followed every step I took and warmed my face with her sweet muzzle. All Lola was thinking about in that moment was that I was there. And you know what? That's all I was thinking about as well. Just spending that short amount of time with Lola was enough to reconnect me to my 8 year old self. It was enough to remind me to let go of the useless feelings of self-judgment that I spend so much time hurling at myself. Lola reminds me to be in the moment, and that being me is enough.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Green Products I Can No Longer Live WIthout

For the longest time I was stuck in a cycle. I would use half of a container of a new fill-in-the-blank household cleaner, decide I didn't like the smell, or it didn't work, discard it and buy a new one. My choice was always based on attractive packaging and flashy claims. Now that we've narrowed the parameters in which we make consumer decisions, we've found products that we happily purchase over and over again. I'm so happy with both of these products that I just have to share! 

The first is Cinderella's Organic Housekeeping. This stuff is so great! The initial draw to this great all-purpose cleaner is the fantastic packaging. I love that the spray bottle and bottle of concentrate are glass. How many times have I purchased a certain name-brand glass cleaner only to have the spray nozzle break halfway through the life of the cleaner? TOO MANY TIMES!! This spray bottle has lasted over 2 years and continues to spray a strong, perfect mist on everything I clean. I also love the option to purchase a bottle of concentrate which will make 8 spray bottles. Our local natural food store offers a bottle exchange as well. There are only 8 ingredients, mainly natural oils, essential oils and water - and you can pronounce all of them! This stuff is safe enough to ingest, although I wouldn't suggest it. Most importantly, I feel comfortable using this spray on absolutely everything, including Everett's toys and play surfaces. It smells subtly delicious and cleans any surface. Cinderella's Organic Housekeeping is a small Canadian company from Nelson, BC. Read more about them here: 

My next rave is for Claudia's Choices laundry detergent. Claudia's Choices is a local, family owned company dedicated to providing families with safe alternatives in household and baby care. This detergent is phosphate free (y'know, that nasty stuff that's been causing major damage for our valuable natural water sources?), perfume free, hypoallergenic and free of dyes and fillers. Best of all, Claudia's Choices is safe for cloth diapers. This stuff seemingly lasts forever. We buy a new tub about every 3-4 months and return it to Green Calgary and receive $2 off of our next purchase. So cool. For more information check out Claudia's website: 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Ever since I can remember I've felt major twinges of guilt when engaging in the simple act of opening a garbage can and depositing something in it. I blame it on the week I spent at 'ranger camp' in Northern Virginia. Anyhow, it's the kind of twinge you can't ignore. A twinge that says 'acknowledge me!', 'do something!'. So, two years ago Ty and I made it our priority to become more 'green'. I like to say that we just started to become more aware of what we purchased. And then it became where we purchased. And how we purchased. And then it became why we purchased. Basically, our decision to become more conscious of the things we did and the impact associated created a domino effect in our lives. It's infectious. It's addicting. We now constantly find ourselves wondering what else can we cut out? Here's what we've done so far:

-eliminated any household and personal products tested on animals.
-eliminated the use of paper towels, paper napkins and dryer sheets
-cloth diapering and cloth wipes for Everett
-use vinegar and essential oil-based home cleaning products
-began using a greenhouse
-planted and harvested our own fruits and vegetables
-began using rain barrels and a pump
-began composting...everything
-reuse and recycle as much as possible-posted a 'no flyers or solicitations' sticker on our mailbox
-became members of a local urban produce delivery program
-attempt to purchase as locally and as ethically as possible
-dry laundry on our clothesline
-utilize a car-sharing program for short, one way trips
-walk everywhere, weather and distance permitting
-purchase products with limited packaging
-participate in bottle and receptacle exchange
-attempt to purchase second hand toys and clothing for Everett
-attempt to purchase necessary household items locally or second hand
-sell/trade/give away unwanted items locally or to families in need
-installed a Nest thermostat

Our family still has a LONG way to go. We both drive SUV's, our house is in NO WAY 'high efficiency' and we sometimes feel overwhelmed with the changes we'd still like to make. Some of our goals for the future are to:

-improve and add to our rain barrel water system
-utilize green energy for powering our home
-bring our own containers for take out meals
-begin work on our home to improve energy efficiency
-continue to find ways to reduce household waste and food waste

I get a lot of ideas and tips from others - I love gaining knowledge from other families with the same vision. I'm part of several online groups focused on natural family living specifically for my city. We live a block away from a non-profit organization called "Green Calgary" and have found that the staff offer invaluable knowledge in many different areas of eco-conscious living. I also follow a group called "Green Mom's Collective" which shares daily tips on improving your green lifestyle. I also frequently refer to the Environmental Working Group website to check out the safety rating of specific brand-name products. I will say, sometimes I feel like my head will explode with all of the information AND misinformation out there. It's important to start small. Think of one change you'd like to make and start there. I promise, it's way easier than it seems!

Stay tuned - my next post will be the first of many in which I share my favourite green products!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Neighbourhood Love

Have I mentioned that I LOVE our neighbourhood? Well I do. I love it. Everything about it. First of all, we can walk just about anywhere. This comes in handy on days when Everett and I feel cooped up and stir crazy. Days like that are often in Calgary as we frequently experience weeks on end of freezing temperatures and mounds and mounds of snow. We love walking to the park, the coffee shop, the grocery store, the library, the downtown core, the quaint shops of Kensington and the Bow River. Some days it feels that from our neighbourhood we could walk just about anywhere! Ty and I decided to brave the cold on Saturday and walk to eat at one of our favourite local restaurants, Dairy Lane. We bundled Everett in the Burley and walked 6 blocks in the winter twilight. It was beautiful. It was worth the numb faces and frozen fingers. 
We love Dairy Lane for many different reasons. We love how close it is to us. We love that they are local and independently owned. We also love that they support local companies, many of which offer organic and conscientiously raised produce and meat. We love that we can bring Everett, any time of the day. We love that we can enjoy beer and wine, local pop and lemonade and the most delicious milkshakes...any time of the day. We love the staff - everyone is friendly and welcoming. It's one of those restaurants that just feels good, know what I mean? We also love that Dairy Lane participates in the Mealshare program and that for every Mealshare item purchased off the menu, a family in need is provided with a meal. How cool is that? And how cool is it to have a gem of a restaurant like this just steps from my door? Pretty cool. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Library Card

I can't believe it took me this long to get a library card, especially since we live within walking distance to one! On Friday Everett and I made it happen. Walking into a library feels like stepping back in time. The smell of the books, the feel of their plastic jackets, ahhh - it's so nostalgic! If it weren't for the few computers scattered around and the self-checkout kiosk, we wouldn't have known what decade it was. Everett quietly scanned the multicoloured, neatly packed shelves, the reading tables and the diverse group of people all using the library for seemingly different purposes. I could tell that he knew we were some place special. The nerd in me took an embarrassingly long time picking out the design for our library cards. I chose one with a galloping horse on it, because...why wouldn't I? Everett 'chose' an animal themed card. We got to write our names on the back! I could hardly wait to use the self-scanner to check out our books. The librarian who helped us register took time to explain to me about all of the different resources the library offered. She even gave me insider information on getting registered for a spot in the highly coveted "Mother Goose" storytelling series. I barely held in my excitement when she told me that just for being a library cardholder I could access hundreds of free magazines (tabloids included, eek!) and thousands of free e-books. How had I not known about any of this?? I couldn't help but feel cheery and optimistic in the library. There was knowledge in here, there was acceptance in here, this was a place meant for a community. It was clear by the flyers and posters and sandwich boards peppering the space that there was something for everyone here. I can't wait to foster the same appreciation for libraries and books as my mom and dad did for me growing up. Everett and I left the library with 6 colourful board books. I may have jumped the gun, considering Everett still considers books a delicious snack, but considering the occasion I just had to.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

2013 In Review

2013 was an incredible year. On February 28th at 5:29am, precious little Everett joined our world. Nothing has been the same since. We celebrated the marriages of friends and family and introduced Ev to loved ones near and far. We continued to work on our treasured little home and for the first time, planted a garden. We learned entirely new meanings of the words love, devotion, patience and trust. The most glaring truth we discovered this year was that time is precious and it moves by very, very quickly. Because of this newfound knowledge I am going into 2014 with a reverent respect for time. Not a moment of it will be wasted as we continue to watch Everett grow and to grow ourselves. <3

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Hello, hello, hello!

Hello and welcome. I am Erin. I am a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter and a friend. I am also a curious consumer of information. And so much more. Obviously.
My days are filled with constant personal revelations, questions, exclamations and raves. Let me share them with you!