a year for the books

Just like that, we blinked twice and suddenly we have a toddler on our hands. Even as I type this, that seems SO insane to me. How?! HOW is my once, teeny tiny 7lb bag of milk now a one year old? I cringed when people would always tell me “enjoy every second, the baby stage goes by so quickly!” but boy, were they ever right! While each stage is obviously an exciting, incredible and joyful one – there is something extra special and magical about having a baby in your arms, who relies on mommy to be nourished all day and rocked and gently “shuuuuushed” to sleep every night. As exhausting as those days and nights were, I will never forget the pure bliss that they were. It’s funny, we wait so long for our babes to start sleeping through the night as they continue to grow but the bittersweet part of that is, they no longer need us in the night. I honestly never thought I would miss waking up in the night but those precious, sleepy newborn cuddles are pure magic. Hunter has been sleeping through the night on and off since he was 4 months, and then consistently since about 10 months. But, don’t let this fool you. Our world was rocked with some brutal sleep regressions in between to keep us on our toes. The 6 month regression is a rude little number that I will never forget. It lasted a long few weeks and I think my spine is forever damaged by all these nights I spent sleeping in the rocking chair with Hunter in my arms or sometimes on the floor next to his crib. Full disclosure here, I don’t think I put a bra on for a week straight during this time, or even washed my hair. It was just brutal and I remember the last night of sleeping in the rocking chair (basically resting my eyes on and off as I was so scared of him rolling out of my arms) that I thought I literally didn’t know how I was going to survive the next day after two weeks of virtually no sleep. During these tough times it’s so important to remind ourselves that this too shall pass. Sigh…Sleep, you beautiful, beautiful thing you. Don’t ever take it for granted! What I learned from this is that sleep regressions happen, they’re inevitable. These precious little babies of ours are going through SO many unbelievable changes mentally and physically, of course they are going to be rattled and confused and out of sorts. I always joke to Hunter that he has suchhhh a tough life being a baby. But it’s true, the amount of things their teeny little minds process is something most adult minds couldn’t even handle. It’s important to guide them through these difficult times and don’t get in your head too much, just do what feels right for you, your little love and your family. At the end of the day, everything and everyone is better when they have slept, so you do whatever it takes to get that. Whether that means sleeping in a rocking chair, sleeping on the floor, letting your baby cry,  or my husbands go-to, midnight car rides just so peanut and mommy could get an hour of sleep; okay this only happened once. It was a ROUGH couple weeks!

I feel like as a new mom I definitely overthink everything but honestly, don’t we all? I used to second guess myself so much, even after a diaper change in the middle of the night. I would change his bum, put a fresh diaper on and think to myself restlessly in bed “but did I flip it down? What if I didn’t and he gets wet and cold?” I would try to sneak my way through his onesie with him asleep, to make sure that bad boy was flipped down (boy moms, I know you can relate!) But seriously, this is classic me – overthinking everything. I am relieved that I have gotten much better at this over the last few months, I feel like around 9-10 months I really loosened up and started to realize that this little human wasn’t going to break, he wasn’t going to ruin his nighttime sleep if he didn’t get his afternoon nap, and he wasn’t going to NOT sleep through the night if he missed his bath that one night before bed. Like really? Babies are obviously such creatures of habits and it is so crucial for them to have routines but these routines can’t define 100% of your life 24/7. We do keep his nap schedule high on the priority list as we have fluctuated with this MANY times and it just doesn’t go well BUT we have definitely mastered how to make it work, pretty much anywhere.

Nursing; something that was very important to me for Hunter. And something that I am grateful for that my body was able to do for us both. I started out thinking I’ll just go to 6 months, then I read more and more about all the benefits  and thought you know what, I’ve been pregnant for basically a year (I mean, it felt like it) and nursing for 6 months, what’s another 6 months? So I made it to his first birthday, March 23rd and couldn’t be happier or prouder. I would have loved to go a little longer but my body let me know it was time. After going back to work, and missing all those daytime feeds, my supply quickly diminished. While I was completely heartbroken for a little bit, I realized Hunter didn’t miss it at all. He was more than content without it – surprisingly! Just like that, I had weaned him and I didn’t even realize. Again, I read so much about following a proper process for weaning your baby but it totally just happened on its own, completely naturally. It was time, for both of us. Nature just does its thing with these amazing, baby making bodies of ours!

Most of you know, I love cooking and baking. I always try to cook and bake healthy but delicious food for my family. This became especially important to me after becoming a mom and really realizing the power of healthy food, and the power of not so healthy food. Once Hunter was ready to be introduced to solids, at 6 months, I hit up the organic aisle and went to town on veggies and fruits to make him the most delicious, totally organic food purées I could possibly think of. Some he loved, some he hated. As soon as he devoured one, I would go back to the store and get everything to make a nice, big batch to find out that he changed his mind. Surprise, mom! After all that hard work and money spent…seriously kid!? How did your taste buds change their minds that quickly? After months of doing this, I realized that organic pouches were the way to go. I’ve never given him a pouch that he didn’t absolutely devour and you know what, they’re just as good for them even though you didn’t work up a sweat making them. You can buy all organic ones now, from pretty much anywhere, so why not? I hated the waste that came along with all the experimenting of flavours for him so this just became a quick, easy and healthy option for him. Once we grew out of purées, I was able to get a little more creative with him and giving him finger foods and this was the best – and still is! He is always open to trying something new but we always have his favourites on hand just in case he pulls one of his “get that thing away from me” episodes. At the end of the day, it’s obviously most important our little ones are fed, and that we do our very best to ensure they’re getting all the nutrients they can from healthy foods.

I’ve learned that the saying “mom knows best” is mosttttt often true 😉 BUT dad knows pretty damn well too! I feel like dads aren’t giving as much credit as they deserve when a new baby is born. In our household, both mom and dad are awake every time the baby is awake; whether that looks like a feeding, a diaper change or some rocking around the house in the middle of the night. There hasn’t been one night that my husband has slept through the night while I was up with Hunter, and he has to get up and go to work and pretend like he wasn’t up with a crying baby 80% of the night. They deserve serious props and sometimes I feel like they don’t get the appreciation and recognition they deserve. Thank you for being such an incredible father and husband, Ben! We are truly blessed to have you.

Last but not least I’ve learned that nothing can fix a sleepless night better than taking the time to lounge and cuddle the entire next day, in your pajamas. Take the trip, even on maternity leave – you deserve the getaway more than ever before. Leaving your child for the first time overnight is absolutely HEART WRENCHING but you will BOTH be okay, no matter how much you cry leaving him (mommy & daddy deserve little breaks too, even if it is just 24 hours once a year) Don’t sweat the small stuff, ENJOY the small stuff, the little things – the simple things.  Enjoy every stage, and remember it’s okay to be tired. So. incredibly. tired. Life is good, children are absolute blessings and we should never miss an opportunity to show them how truly loved they are. Last but not least, always keep a newborn swaddle unwashed and stored away, that newborn scent is still lingering an entire year later. 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

making it work

My absolute biggest struggle in motherhood so far…going back to work. So many people tried to prepare me for what I was going to be going through during pregnancy and life as a new mom but why do I feel like no one dared to tell me what it would be like as a working momma? Seriously, is it just not talked about because it’s that hard and no one wants to be the bearer of bad news? Or am I just crazy? Maybe no one could comment on how TRULY difficult it was going to be for me to be working full-time (along with my husband) while having a pretty much stranger care for the little love of my life. All I know is, these past 5 weeks have been an absolute BLUR. My dear father-in-law (hi Bob/Grandpa!) retired at the end of February (congratulations again, we love you!) and he ever so kindly flew out in early March to take care of Hunter while I started work as his daycare began a couple weeks later. Fortunately, I work from home full-time so these first 9 days of being back to work and having Hunter just upstairs with Grandpa, was amazing but still pretty hard on me. After all, I wanted to be upstairs enjoying the fun with them and making those special memories too. My lunch breaks consisted of me racing upstairs, grabbing Hunter and quickly nursing him before racing back downstairs to work. Grandpa daycare went by WAY too quickly and these are 9 days that we will all remember forever but unfortunately, they came to an end and Grandpa had to fly back to the motherland! I remember laying in bed at night time thinking to myself, “how am I going to do this? I can barely keep it together when Hunter is here, just a few meters away? How the hell will I survive with him being a 5 minute drive from me ALL DAY, 4 DAYS A WEEK with a daycare provider I barely know?!” I missed him so incredibly much.  I mean, I had grown this little guy and baked him to pure perfection for 9 months before he became attached to my hip (or boob) for a year straight. How on earth would I function all day without my trusty sidekick? I had to suck it up and realize that this was my reality. This was best for me and even better for Hunter. I chose to go back to work full-time and chose to have Hunter enrolled in daycare because my husband and I both know how important it is for him; the social skills and mental development that goes on at daycare is incredible, and was a must for our little guy.  It took me a few weeks of crying my eyes out after dropping him off in the mornings and basically crying to my husband every night before I realized I was okay. Hunter was okay. In fact he was more than okay, he was doing incredible. Our daycare provider is absolutely AMAZING and I couldn’t be happier that we found her to take care of him while we are working during the week. He has an absolute blast every day, eats like a champ, naps like a champ….and poops like a champ (seriously, this kid doesn’t stop!)

I thought it was hard to take care of myself properly on maternity leave…boy, I really had no clue what I was in for going back to work full-time! Some mornings are so chaotic that I find myself only eating the crust off of Hunters toast because well, drinking my coffee is usually more important than making myself breakfast most days. We have our fridge and cupboard fully stocked of quick and easy breakfast options like smoothies or even cereal…yet somehow, this seems just so unrealistic most mornings. Can any mommas relate to this? I know it’s so bad but in the mornings my main focuses are getting Hunter fed, myself dressed, Hunter dressed, taking him to daycare, then coming home and getting a quick bite to eat and a few things done around the house before I start work. Where in there is there time to make myself breakfast?! If I think of it, I will put some extra fruit on his plate or an extra slice of bread in the toaster and we’ll just share a plate. I’m trying really hard to give myself a few more minutes in the morning to get myself fed too but I KNOW I’m not alone here in the whole skipping breakfast department!

After a few weeks of Hunter being in daycare, I had to stop nursing as my supply diminished; this was another huge struggle for me. Maybe I will just blame those few weeks of crying on that hormonal shift? To my dear husband, thank you for helping to keep me somewhat sane during this time! But really, what was it like returning to work for you? Were you an absolute hot mess for the first little while too? Please share your stories with me all you working moms!

I’ve been back to work for almost 6 weeks, and Hunter has been in daycare for just over one month, and we have finally gotten into the swing of things and figured out our new normal…for now! 

P.S. To all you working moms, I salute you. You are a friggin’ rockstar!

Thank you so much for reading xoxo

hola, Mexico!

Hola, Mexico! Yep, this happened. We bit the bullet and did it. Some think we’re brave, some think we’re awesome and others think we’re absolutely nuts. In all reality, I guess we’re all three when I really think about it!  Something I see and hear a lot of is how vacationing with your kids is far from a vacation but I would like to disagree with that. If there is sun on my face, sand in my toes and some frozen fruity cocktail in my hand…that is what I call, a vacation. OH, and if I don’t have to cook or clean…for an entire week. Hell yeah! Helloooo holidays! It’s definitely a different kind of vacation than before children that is for sure but one that takes the cake in our books. Goodbye killer hangovers, hello blue-haired seatings! We just got back from the absolutely stunning Playa Del Carmen, Mexico and things could not have been more relaxing. The resort that we stayed at played a huge part in this as it was incredibly baby friendly. Seriously, there were babies EVERYWHERE. Along the poolside there were mommas nursing their babes quietly in the shade, with not a care in the world. It was just amazing. We stayed at Azul Fives by Karisma, which came highly recommend by the best wifey and travel agent ever (thanks Pamela Grenier at Flight Centre!)

From the moment we arrived, we were offered absolutely everything we would possibly need while vacationing with a baby. A stroller, high chair, bottle warmer, bottle sterilizer, huge selection of gourmet baby food, cribs of different sizes…you name it, they had it. And it all came included! With that being said though, I am VERY thankful I packed our own crib sheet, white-noise maker and pool floatie!

As most of you know, Hunter is no stranger to flying or traveling. Vancouver, Squamish, Whistler, Kelowna, Calgary, Banff, Lake Louise, Toronto, London (4 times!) and now Mexico. Where to next, sweetness? I guess you can say we’ve been just a bit busy on my maternity leave! This was Hunters first international flight so it definitely came with its challenges. Waking up at 4:00am to race to the airport, only to find our flights being delayed by two hours was how our trip began. C’est la vie! When we finally boarded, there were about 80 free seats which meant everyone basically got their own row to kick back and relax in. Very pleasant surprise! Hunter has been at this stage where he refuses to nap pretty much anywhere but his crib, so that made for a very long travel day but he was still such a good little traveler. Full of energy and just checking everyone out as if they were all there to solely entertain him and only him (cool it, kid!)

We wanted to keep our days super chill and be mindful of little mans much needed two naps. If he didn’t get those naps in, night time sleep was a write off so we tried our best to make sure he got his daytime zzzzzz’s. And it worked out awesome because he slept like a friggin’ CHAMP the entire trip. Yes, babies are SO adaptable but one thing we have noticed with our dude is that we can’t be too flexible on his naps; it’s just not worth it with the turmoil it causes at night. There were some days he was able to nap by the pool in his stroller despite the Y-M-C-A blaring through the poolside speaker (lol!) which was awesome but for the most part, we’d try to get back to the room. I’ll admit, we did splurge a little bit on our room so we could enjoy an incredible rooftop area, that we lounged around at while peanut was sawing logs. It was worth it for us because we knew sleep was a MUST on this vacation – for all of us.

Every day we walked along the beach, lounged by the pool, went out for a nice dinner, and even made it into town for an afternoon of exploring and lunch. One day, we even got to spoil ourselves with a couples massage on the beach! You’re probably wondering where our little sidekick was…He was either in one of our laps or being swung around in a hammock by a lovely local woman. It was absolutely priceless!

Honestly, it was the perfect trip and one I think we needed as a family. Parenthood is no joke. It’s the absolute BEST thing ever but we all know, it’s exhausting. For both moms and dads (anyone else out there think new daddy’s don’t get the respect they deserve from society/certain people? It’s a super difficult transition for them too!) Especially when it’s just us three peas in a pod, we deserve a little break from our daily life! We all do, including you! Most of our  “vacations” are spent flying back to Ontario to see family and friends which is pretty awesome but it is not exactly…relaxing. Fun…Absolutely! Getting to share Hunter with our loved ones…Priceless! But nonetheless…Exhausting! We will continue to explore and travel with our peanut and enjoy each and every day to the fullest, wherever we are.

Hmmm…now where to next?! We cannot wait for the warmer weather to roll around and for us to get out and do some more road tripping and camping this summer! Winter, you’ve been beautiful but it’s time…you need to leave us now, thanks!

As always, thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mom life | treat yourself

Us mommas are constantly putting ourselves and our needs and wants on the back burner. This is something I have struggled with since becoming a mom nearly ONE YEAR AGO (seriously time, you thief!) But it is SO important to make time for a little “me” time…that may (and most likely) look like the smallest things that many of us use to take for granted. Never did I ever imagine that something as simple as washing my hair (major bonus if in privacy) would become such a luxury. Seriously though, I can’t even count how many days I’ve dragged the bouncer into the washroom, just so I can enjoy a hot shower and feel human again. My husband works long days so pretty much five days a week it’s just peanut and I flying solo, which is awesome, and what we signed up for as we decided to become parents. I wouldn’t have it any other way. But that doesn’t mean that those days aren’t long (yet incredible and priceless) but often tiring. Living in another province from basically our entire support system (hi mom, miss you!) means that there is no one to casually stop by and watch Hunter while I get myself cleaned up, get laundry done, or tidy up the house, let alone get myself to one of my beloved hot yoga classes. For those of you that have your besties, grandma, grandpa, aunties and uncles close by and are able to take advantage of this…THANK THEM. THANK THEM NOW. And don’t for a second, take it for granted.

I am fortunate enough to have an exceptionally amazing and supportive husband who often has to literally push me out the front door with my yoga mat so I can at least have an hour of total zen and mommy time. I’m usually a bit annoyed at first because there could be a million things I could be doing around the house or for Hunter instead of a little yoga class but I can honestly say when that sweet, sweet, savassana time comes around and the instructor places that icy cold, essential oil infused towel on my forehead….I am SO incredibly grateful for my husband and his persistence. It’s funny how 90 minutes to yourself can totally change your day, decrease your anxiety and get you feeling FULL of energy and positive vibes. As much as I would love to get to sneak out to a class more often, it’s sometimes just not a reality.

Next up for ensuring I get my “me” time…something that is absolutely manageable for EACH AND EVERY MOMMA out there. Treating myself to an amazing skincare routine. Yep, I never thought I could get so pumped up about getting to wash my face every morning and evening but man, am I ever grateful for being introduced to An. Some of you may or may not have heard of it, if you haven’t you will soon as they have just become the #1 selling skincare line in ALL of North America (sorry Clinique!) I cannot tell you how much of a treat it is to look forward to rewarding myself and my skin (boy do I ever owe it to my former sun-bunny self) every morning and evening. Those 5 minutes are pure magic. It’s seriously like getting to experience a little slice of that ever-so luxurious spa life, but from the comfort of your own home. Full disclosure, I don’t look at myself as being old, by any means, and I never thought I would consider needing or wanting top of the line skincare products after all, I could spend that money or something else or just simply save it. Boy, was I wrong. I wish I introduced my skin to R+F products years ago, but instead I listened to my stubborn self and convinced myself that my Body Shop products were working just fine. I mean, I exfoliated every weekend and used a vitamin c serum to help with my aging spots. What more could I need? Looking back at photos of my skin before I started using these products, is crazy to see how run-down, dull and aged my skin really looked. I’m not even 30 yet, when did these pesky 11’s come out full force and HOW did all my years of basking in the sun, lathering up in oil, catch up with me out of nowhere, just like that? Was it the hormones, the sleep deprivation of being a new momma or just time catching up with me, finally? I often wish I could go back to my 16 year old self and say “put the sunscreen on and listen to your parents” but I can’t. Good news is, it’s never too late to start taking care of your skin and rewarding it by using the best possible products that it SO deserves.

There you have it, my little mommy pleasure that I get to look forward to TWICE a day – treating myself each morning and each evening to FIVE MINUTES of pure bliss and relaxation. The refreshed feeling after each routine is always surprising and remarkable. I get to step back and look at myself in the mirror, see my complexion improving more and more over time and know that I deserve this “me” time. To some, this may seem like a funny way that I like to spoil myself, but it’s true. I don’t need any new clothes, I don’t need anything fancy, I just like to feel good about myself and to me, that means the little things, like catching that noon yoga class and washing my face.

One of the most surprising and flattering comments I’ve gotten as a new mom is “wow, you look so rested!” Especially after a completely sleepless night (or week!) when I feel like a total zombie and have no time (or desire) to put any sort of make up on.  I have R+F to thank for that because let’s be real here…no new mom is ever rested! These products have helped to conceal these puffy and dark under eye circles like you wouldn’t believe. If by miracle you are a mom who is rested…I envy you and keep doing what you’re doing, momma! Tell me your secrets, seriously. 

I wanted to share my personal results so you can see why I am obsessing over these products so much. Both photos are completely natural, make up free photos. My after photo was taken almost three months after I implemented my favorite R+F routine.

My skin has never been brighter, smoother or firmer. No tired mom eyes over here.

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because, priorities

I know it’s been a while since I’ve blogged on a personal level. I have been getting some questions as to where I have been the past little bit and why I haven’t been posting regularily. The truth is, blogging is hard. Momming is harder. For the first-time ever, multi-tasking has become nearly impossible over the past couple of months. I have always been able to put 100% into everything I do on a daily basis. And the past few months, I have been choosing to put 100% into our son and enjoying these precious, little moments before they become distant but cherished memories. It’s very important to me that I am not glued to my phone or computer when our son is around, I want him to feel like he has my undivided attention which he deserves, especially at this vulnerable infant stage where he is constantly learning and exploring new things. I want to be there for him in every way possible and make him feel like he is the most important thing ever. The past few months he has really started looking at me for sweet little looks of approval or pride, and I don’t want to miss these looks or moments by having my head down, glued to a screen. It has really hit me how insanely quick time is flying by with my peanut as a baby. I enjoy writing immensely. I enjoy cooking, baking, and sharing my recipes and creations with you. But most of all, I enjoy being a mom, and living in each moment with my little love, soaking up all that sweet, sweet baby lovin’.

If you’re going to do it, do it right. Sound familiar? Well, easier said than done my friends! There is no right way when it comes to parenthood, every day we do our very best and that is all we can do. Some days our very best is basically just keeping this tiny little human alive by ensuring he is fed. Some can look like pajama days while others, consist of play dates, Costco visits, library story time, mom & baby fitness classes, having a gourmet dinner (or take-out pizza) on the table. No matter what each day looks like for us, I can rest easy knowing I did my best and I know our peanut has gone to bed feeling healthy and happy and so freakin’ LOVED. Those are the simple things that matter most right now.

Blogging has always been a hobby of mine, key word “hobby.” I blog because it’s fun for me and I love sharing with you guys. But most of all, I am doing this for myself and our son so one day we can look back and read all about our adventures as a family (and all the highs and lows of being his momma…cause let’s be real, being a mom is no walk in the park.) I like to think our son will enjoy picking up a classic old journal to read through one day, but technology is our new reality and I’m doing my best to utilize it in a way that I know will benefit our little guy in a positive way. I hope one day he takes the time to detail all of his favorite memories too!

No matter what kind of day we’re having, it consists of about a million and one things that need to be done and lately, blogging has fallen to the bottom of my to-do list. Between all of the travelling we’ve been doing (Mexico adventure post coming up) being on the Board for the AH-mazing not-for-profit organization, Fundamentals For Change and most importantly, being a present wife and mom…all while starting my own business from home (sharing this soon!) that means putting certain hobbies off to the side temporarily. I seriously am in awe of how all these full-time mommy bloggers do it!?  No matter what you do as a mom, whether you work full-time, stay at home, blog etc. We all owe ourselves a massive pat on the back. Keep doing what you’re doing and what you feel is right for you and your little (and big) loves. You got this, mommas!

 

Thanks so much for reading, friends & family!

 

oat + flax + chocolate chip cookies

These cookies are going to be your new go-to when that cookie craving strikes again! But these aren’t your standard chocolate chip cookie, they are relatively guilt free and SO easy to make! Twice in the past week, I have found myself in the kitchen baking up a batch of these little gems. Seriously, they are THAT good (and I wanted to make sure I had the recipe down pat before I published this!) There is something so rewarding about baking. I don’t think there is any better scent that can fill your home, the same way freshly baked cookies (or any baked good!) can. These little treats are super simple, delicious, soft on the inside, a little crispy on the outside and are packed full of clean ingredients AND GLUTEN FREE. What more could you ask for?!

 

INGREDIENTS

one cup of almond flour

one and a half cup of rolled gf oats

half cup of unsweetened shredded coconut

half teaspoon baking powder

half cup of coconut sugar

four tablespoons of melted coconut oil

half teaspoon of vanilla extract

one mashed, ripe banana

one pouch of applesauce (I like to use GoGoSqueez blueberry flavour)

two pinches of Himalayan salt

one teaspoon of ground cinnamon

two teaspoons of ground flax

two teaspoons of hemp hearts

half cup of chopped chocolate chunks (I use a belgium milk chocolate from Bulk Barn)

 

DIRECTIONS

Okay, pay very close attention here…ready?

Pour ALL these delicious ingredients into a mixing bowl, stir up quickly and voila….you have your no-fuss cookie dough! How easy is that? You know how some recipes want you to separate the dry ingredients from the wet and carefully add in each ingredient in a certain way or order? Yeah…not happening! At least not for this recipe and that is why it is one of my absolute favourites, because it is seriously SO simple.

If you’re finding the dough a little too sticky, you can pop the bowl in the fridge for 10 minutes to help make rolling up the dough into two-bite size cookies.

Line your cooking sheet with parchment paper, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, get your little cookie balls on there and pop in the oven for 10-12 minutes.

Enjoy!

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baby talk | but isn’t he too young?

Isn’t he too young? This is a question...(really, more of a comment) that I hear from time to time that makes me wonder. It makes me wonder many things but most often, makes me wonder why some people think parenthood is a free-for-all on commentary (I thought pregnancy was bad for this! Little did I know that was just a warm up!)

Our sweet little guy was a teeny, tiny 9 weeks (my heartstrings!) when we decided to take him on his first plane ride to meet his fan-club anxiously awaiting to get their hands on him. We spent days organizing, packing and trying to get as much rest as we could before heading back to the Motherland of Ontario for the first-time as a family of three. We were nervous about flying for the first-time with our peanut but were way more excited about introducing our little love to all of his family & friends.


We had so many comments from slightly terrified and hesitant people on our flights when they saw how fresh he was – “isn’t he too young to be flying?” No…no he isn’t. I will be honest, if we didn’t have our families living in another province, we probably wouldn’t be racing to get on a plane with a newborn but this is our reality so we didn’t hesitate for a second.  This was something that was super important for everyone – our little babe, my husband, myself and of course, everyone in our family! You’re only a newborn once, so damn right we were boarding that plane! In our two experiences flying home, both were very successful. If he wasn’t sound asleep in my arms, he was quietly feeding under my nursing cape and not a single person knew he was even there! He also can’t talk back to us right now and say “no, I don’t want to do that!” (as if he’d ever do that, right???)  so we are obviously taking advantage of this precious, easy-going time while we can.


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Since travelling has been relatively smooth for us, we decided to tackle our first major family road trip a few weeks ago. We drove from British Columbia to Alberta. Going there, was about 10 hours and thankfully only one stop to feed the wee one. If he wasn’t just mesmerized by gazing out the window, he was passed out oh so peacefully in his car seat. Ahhh…the sweet, sweet infant life! It’s seriously so tough, I don’t know how he manages!? This trip was honestly amazing. So, so amazing. Not only was this trip a first real holiday for our little family, I also got to knock an item off my bucket list.  Night one, we started the trip off at an awesome Airbnb night rental, right downtown Calgary. For the little time we were here, it was amazing. We spent Friday evening catching up with our good friends and meeting their adorable new baby boy! The following morning, I woke up to my dear husband standing in the doorway, with the BEST cup of coffee I have ever had in my entire life. I cannot thank Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters enough for that cup of joe, I will literally never forget it! We walked around downtown Calgary for the rest of the morning before meeting up with our friends at the Calgary Zoo. Man, was this ever fun! I’m pretty sure the babes slept through most of this, but us parents seriously had the best time ever. We spent the night at our friends place (the most gracious hosts ever! Thank you Whitey’s!) before slowly making our way a little closer to home. For our third and final night, we decided to spoil ourselves and stay at Banff Springs Fairmont. We wound up getting surprised with an insane upgrade and Hunter had this massive room to himself, complete with his own parlour (seriously…this kid…) crib, stuffed animal and personal tote of baby toiletries! Long live the Rungius Suite! We spent the day roaming around the adorable, quaint streets of Banff, popping in and out of the tourist stores looking for the PERFECT souvenir to take home (which I now realize we forgot to purchase it…damn it!) The following morning, we hit the road to knock off that once untouchable item on my bucket list….Hellooooo Lake Louise! You are simply breathtaking and I will never forget you. Ever. This last stop was really the icing on the cake and an unforgettable way to end our little family vacation. I never in a million years dreamed that I would get to stand in front of Lake Louise, and here I was, in all my glory, with my husband and babe in tow. Does it get much better? Total dream.

I can’t tell you how many comments we got on this last leg of our trip…“isn’t he too young?” and “I hope he remembers this.” No he’s not too young for this and no, of COURSE he won’t remember this! We will have to do it again when he’s old enough to appreciate and understand the beauty of it all.


While the travelling part of things is easy for us at this stage, the whole beloved routine and sleeping at night thing can obviously get a little iffy (especially in different time zones)  but…that’s life and it’s completely worth it. We all adapt, we all have fun, and we all bounce back. He may be small, he may be very young but for now (and forever), we are enjoying making memories with our little love, whether he remembers them or not. We are filling that family photo album and our hearts with each and every memory we make. He will always get to look back on the album and hopefully think about how awesome his parents were for starting the adventures young (he will always think this, right??)


What are your thoughts on this? Is there such thing as them being “too young” for things such as travelling? Please share your thoughts with me 🙂

As always, thanks for reading!!

 

easy + healthy meal prep | momma’s marinara

Today marks the official start of Fall! Confession: this is my favorite season and no, it’s not because of #PumpkinSpiceLattes (don’t hurt me!) For me, Fall is all about the crisp air, sweaters, boots, visiting the pumpkin patch to find the PERFECT pumpkin and apple picking. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t swooning over the fact that I get to dress up our little guy in slouchy hats, flannel plaids and all the bandanas too. In our family, each season means a new opportunity to maintain and create family traditions and as new parents, we obviously can’t wait to experience our little guys many firsts this season.

Another Fall highlight? The sweet, sweet warmth of comfort food. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE me a good salad and enjoy experimenting with different toppings, dressings and fruit/veg combinations but with the Summer heat gone, I obviously am looking for something less-refreshing and more warm and comforting – like most of us! A big misconception out there is that comfort food = unhealthy food and that could not be more untrue. Comfort food can be greasy, comfort food can be full of unhealthy fats and comfort food can also be super delicious AND satisfying.

One of my favourite dishes to make this time of year is marinara sauce. Believe it or not, this has taken over a year to perfect the recipe. If you’re one of my ever-so-faithful readers (love you all) you already know that I like cooking things in large batches to save time on meal prep later in the week. This sauce is perfect for this and best part of all, you can stockpile containers in the freezer for months on end, to save for those days that you are just too tired to cook and don’t feel like take-out.

You may be sitting here wondering how it took me over a year to perfect this recipe and the answer is quite simple…tomatoes! Good quality tomatoes are the key to a delicious and true italian marinara. After many taste tests, most of which were done by my most honest critic and lovely husband, the secret is DOP certified San Marzano tomatoes. These are easy to find if you live in a city that has an Italian Market such as Angelo’s, Bosa Foods etc. I have also been able to find them at natural food stores too.

“San Marzano tomatoes are the most famous plum tomato to come out of Italy. They are grown in the rich volcanic soil at the base of Mount Vesuvius, which gives them a sweet flavor and low acidity and they are coveted for their firm pulp, deep red color, easy to remove skin and low seed count. In fact while regular round tomatoes usually have four or five locules or seed pockets, plum tomatoes like those from San Marzano have only two.

In San Marzano, the tomato harvest begins in August and runs through September. The crops are very delicate and all the tomatoes are picked by hand at the peak of their ripeness. Because of the close attention to quality, many cooks consider San Marzano tomatoes to be among the best in the world to use in a sauce.

The tomatoes are grown under very specific and strict rules and as such, authentic San Marzano tomatoes will have an official DOP (Denominazione d’ Origine Protetta) on the can or jar, although there are domestically grown versions using the same seed varieties. It’s comparable to the difference between French Champagne and sparkling wine from California. Because of their great flavor and texture, very little has to be done to them upon opening then can.” Thank you for the great breakdown http://www.thekitchn.com 

Introducing Momma’s Marinara…

INGREDIENTS

two cans of San Marzano, DOP certified tomatoes

ten cloves of garlic, finely chopped

one small shallot, finely chopped

seven large basil leaves

three tablespoons of EVVO

quarter cup of red vino

one teaspoon of dried oregano

DIRECTIONS

1) In large saucepan, add your EVVO, garlic and shallots and let simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes, watching carefully to ensure nothing burns – nothing worse than burnt garlic!

2) Drain both cans of tomatoes and empty into mixing bowl, use your hands and smash-up the tomatoes in a bowl before transferring the contents into your saucepan

3) Add in full basil leaves, wine and oregano and let simmer for about 30 minutes on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally

4) Remove from heat, and carefully use your hand mixer to blend everything until nice and smooth. If you don’t have a hand mixer, a blender would work too just be careful not to over blend. The sauce should be a creamy, rich and smooth texture

Seriously – how simple is that?! I always have so much fun making this sauce and I swear it’s not just because the recipe calls for red wine! This recipe makes about 12 cups of sauce, so you can easily jar it, freeze it or keep it in your fridge for easy lunch/dinner the rest of the week!

My health hack on this simple yet absolutely delicious recipe is swapping out the pasta noodles for zucchini noodles. Zucchini noodles are a super yummy and healthy alternative and obviously, a great way to get your veggies on the plate with this meal. I use a small hand spiralizer, and use two zucchini per person. Zucchini retains so much moisture, so the best way to cook these noodles is to steam them for a quick two minutes on the stove top. I’ve tried boiling and just heating them in a pan but I found it made the dish super watery. You still get a teeny bit of water in your dish when you steam but very minimal – that’s why I suggest you keep an eye on your sauce to ensure it doesn’t get too thin.

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What is your favourite part of Fall? Do you have any special, fun traditions that you are looking forward to with your little ones? What are some of your most-loved comfort food dishes this time of year?!

As always, thank you so so much for reading! I truly hope you enjoyed my post! Happy cooking!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mama talk | new mom resources + routine

I thought routine was important BEFORE becoming a mom. I never realized it would become even more important (to me) AFTER becoming a mom. Establishing routine for baby and me obviously took major trial and error that is still ever-changing. Accepting the fact that there are going to be good days, bad days, rough nights and awesome nights is a big, important step while figuring out what works for you and your little.


I have always loved having a super well thought out, organized routine, especially in my professional life the past 10 years. I mean, my days revolved around scheduled meetings, conference calls, luncheons, client appreciation events, board meetings and those ever so important mid-day coffee ‘meetings.’

Now that I think about it, pretty much every aspect of my life was well thought out and organized too. Everything from my workout schedule to our meals were super thought out and displayed on a calendar on our fridge (thank you, OCD!) I can’t help but laugh at myself right now as I actually use to have that much time on my hands. A lot of this was because I’ve always liked to keep myself busy. My husband is the same way which is not always the best – we jokingly diagnosed ourselves as having the disease of being busy (yes, it’s a thing. A common one too!)  


Once my maternity leave started (I took two weeks off before my due date) that detailed, well-appointed schedule came to a grinding halt for the first time ever. And it was the best thing ever. I spent my days cat-napping on the couch and binge watching Netflix and terrible daytime television. Best part of all? I did all of this without feeling an ounce of guilt. Our lives were about to change forever as we geared up for becoming a family of three. So was my beloved sleep…so damn right, I was taking FULL advantage of those days, not so patiently waiting for the arrival of our sweet boy.

I eventually remembered that I had a list of things I wanted to get done before the baby came, so my mom and I mapped out our plan of attack and we were geared up to take on the big list. Costco, Wal-Mart, baby boutique, Shoppers Drug Mart….here we come! One thing I didn’t write down on that list? Delivering a baby. My water broke as I was getting ready that morning (Yes, I’m crying) 

Once baby Hunter arrived, my husband went back to work and my mom flew back home to Ontario (yes, still crying) it was just the little guy and me. How were we supposed to spend our days!? These were (still often are) some long days for me as we lived in a new place and our entire family lives across Canada. Family & friends stopping by for regular visits was simply not an option, not for us. Staying at home and not having a ‘plan’ was such a new concept to me. I planned everything, always! So after a couple of weeks of taking it easy at home (basically – eat, sleep, snuggle, repeat) with my newest and tiniest love, I got exploring in my community to see what was out there for new moms and their wee ones. It’s truly amazing how much was out there and offered, but some of it, I would have never known about had I not put myself (and our baby) out there.

As insanely incredible, beautiful and truly fulfilling it is – it’s not easy being a mom. It’s not easy being on maternity leave (no, it’s not a year of being on vacation, despite what some people think) and it’s especially not easy when you don’t have that tight-knit village of supporters (family & friends) around you. It’s actually pretty tough some days, so rather than focusing on how hard it was, I did something to figure out how to best utilize my time to make it most enjoyable for baby and me. It has taken some time, but we have finally figured out what works best for us as far as activities go, while being mindful of our ever so important nap schedule (for baby…sometimes me!)

I know these offerings will obviously vary based on where you live but it will hopefully help you and your baby in one way or another!


Your Community Public Health Unit has some great options for you and your baby including: breastfeeding clinics, ‘baby talks’ which are health lectures on all-things infant related, and postpartum classes/events. Hunter and I never miss a ‘baby talk’ lecture, he gets to check out other babes while I get to socialize with other new moms, all while discussing a new topic each week.

Your Public Library offers story time that even your newborn is welcome at. Story time usually includes a little song and dance part to it as well which is super fun for your baby (and for you, if you enjoy singing and dancing in a circle) Motherhood has really forced me out of my comfort zone, how about you?! They will often bring in a public health nurse one day a week where you can ask any questions you may have and also have your baby weighed. Story time was mine and Hunter’s very first solo outing and it was so much fun. He was the youngest in the circle (two weeks on the nose) and I will never forget his facial expressions during the song and dance part of this. His mind was truly blown and that is why this is a regular part of our weekly schedule.

La Leche League Canada hosts breastfeeding events pretty much anywhere you live. They will usually use a space that is donated to them by local shops; you could be meeting at a coffee shop or a music school. You get to hangout in a super comfortable environment with a bunch of other moms and babies, it’s a great little outing that I am so thankful my sister told me about! Hunter and I went to a few of these especially during his rough Wonder Weeks. It was so nice to have so many other moms to relate to, that were experiencing the exact same thing as us. It was also refreshing to go to a meet-up after getting mastitis, I learned quite a few preventative measures from the Le Leche League host in particular.

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Facebook Mom Meet-Ups. If you don’t have Facebook and are a new mom, you need to get it! There are seriously so many great groups out there! Get looking and you will soon find yourself a hiking buddy, a coffee date, or even a Pizza & Wine night that is being hosted – sans Baby!


Mom & Baby Fitness. Without a doubt, there is at least some sort of mom & baby active-ity being hosted near you! Whether that be stroller fitness, mom & baby yoga, mom & baby running groups…you just need to discover it. This is mine and Hunter’s absolute favorite one. We are in Kelowna right now and they have the most AMAZING place ever….Studio M by MOGA. A community created by moms, for moms. I seriously cannot say enough good things about this place and the truly incredible community that has been created here. They offer a variety of classes including: stroller fitness, baby and mom yoga, family yoga (for your entire tribe) barre classes, circuit classes, yoga sculpting classes, Pilates and they even have a few classes that are strictly for momma to enjoy (after all, we do deserve a little alone time!) Whether you’re gently recovering after birth, getting back into your old fitness habits or looking to get your butt kicked – this place is for you, no matter what level you’re at. It’s a place where you can go to unwind, do your thing, mingle with other mommas & their babes and best of all, not be judged.

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The studio itself is so inviting and warm, they have an amazing play area for the not-so-little babes that are no longer content laying on a blanket, or snoozing away in their car seat while mommy does her thing. They have a beautiful, cozy nursing corner complete with super comfortable chairs and even nursing pillows. As soon as you walk through the doors, you feel a sense of peace and calmness and are so proud that you actually made it (despite that massive projectile vomit or meltdown that occurred moments before getting out the door) The teachers are all so incredible and supportive and make you feel so welcome, whether you’re a regular or joining a class for the very first time. Hunter and I see most of Tessa and Kelly for yoga sculpt, baby and mom yoga and barre class. We absolutely love them and truly look forward to their classes.

After class, you are invited to stay for tea while you mingle with other moms, compare teething stories or simply rest quietly while you feed your babe. You are never ever rushed to pack up after class is done, so you can feel totally relaxed and not stressed out if you’ve brought your cluster feeding babe with you!


If you’ve been following my blog and reading my posts, you already know that staying active and healthy are very important parts to our lifestyle. Maternity leave is a beautiful, irreplacable and amazing time for mom and baby. To me, it is important that I spend these 12 months focusing not only on my baby, but also on me, as a new mama. A big part of that is finding and maintaining a healthy balance each day, both physically and mentally. Studio M by MOGA has been one of the biggest influencers on my maternity leave so far (I’m nearly half way through) they have helped to keep me sane, happy and healthy – all while helping me show our little guy what it means to live a healthy life! Thank you to Amy, the Founder of MOGA, who I haven’t had a chance to meet yet, for creating such an amazing space for all moms (both new & well-seasoned) and to each & every one of the teachers who help to make this space such a fun, safe, and truly welcoming environment for us mommas, our wee ones, our big ones, and our partners too. Keep doing what you’re doing, MOGA! You will continue to be one of the most important parts of our weekly routine, for many, many months to come!

I truly hope this post helped even one new momma, whether you’re feeling unsure, lonely, stuck in a little rut, or just looking for some great ways to enjoy your maternity leave with your little love! What are some ways you like to fill up your days for you and your little one?

As always, thank you so very much for reading!

 

 

 

easy + healthy meal prep | tasty tortilla soup

My husband and I have been on a vegetarian diet (vegan when possible) for about two months now. You may or may not be wondering what prompted this drastic diet change. You may roll your eyes but…we discovered What The Health on Netflix and we were severely pretty scarred from it. Have any of you seen it? It is pretty incredible and absolutely horrifying. Don’t get me wrong, we both knew a lot of this stuff already but something about this documentary really affected us. Maybe because it got to us on more of a personal level. Hundreds of carcinogens including ANTHRAX in our delicious chicken? The only “protein” I could stomach during my entire pregnancy? Little did I know, this terrifying chemical (along with TONS of others) were going straight to my little babe in utero. Yes, I realize the traces of these insane chemicals found are so incredibly minuscule but that’s beside the point. Again, I know this isn’t new information but perhaps information I purposely blocked out of my mind. This documentary was a harsh little reminder.

Breast cancer linked to consumption of dairy products? Yet somehow Yoplait is one of Breast Cancer Foundation’s largest corporate donors? What. The. Eff.


Becoming parents, our number one priority is our health. We want to be the healthiest mommy and daddy we can be so we are there for our precious little guy and  his future siblings (right, Hunny?) as long as possible.

Implementing this new diet is just one of the ways we choose to live our healthy yet, balanced life. It’s a definite struggle as we have both carnivores for all of our lives; after a recent trip back to the motherland of Ontario, I definitley slipped up a couple of times. I guess just like everything else in life, enjoy things in moderation.


In lieu of these diet changes, I’ve been racking my brain for super easy, delicious and healthy veg dishes. Dishes that can be made in large batches to feed and fuel you and your family for many days (and nights!)


Introducing my tasty tortilla soup. Vegetarian, vegan or carnivore this soup is for you. You can so easily adjust this recipe to satisfy you and your family!

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INGREDIENTS

large can of crushed tomatoes

small can of black beans

small can of chick peas

four cups of vegetable, gluten free broth

eight cloves of garlic finely chopped (I looove garlic!)

half of a large white onion finely chopped

two tablespoon EVOO

two medium sized zucchinis sliced

four bell peppers diced

one jalapeño finely diced

one cup of chopped green onions

one ear of corn (husked, grilled or boiled, then remove corn with a knife)

quarter cup of Daiya Original Cheese

two tablespoons of ground cumin

one tablespoon of garlic powder

two teaspoon of chili powder

handful of Fresh Is Best corn tortilla chips (if you have extra time and the motivation, handmade tortillas would be awesome in this too! I have made these in the past but too time consuming with a teething baby on my hip right now)

DIRECTIONS

1) Bring large pot on stove top to medium heat, add your EVOO, chopped onion and garlic. Allow to simmer on low for about 5-6 minutes, Stirring consistently.

2) Keeping pot on low to medium heat, add your chopped peppers, zucchinis, green onions and corn. Allow to cook and simmer for about 8-9 minutes, stirring consistently.

3) add in your can of crushed tomatoes, beans, broth, cheese and dry spices. Simmer with lid on, at low heat for approximately 25 minutes, until all vegetables and beans are good and tender.

I like to garnish with sliced avocado, fresh cilantro, fresh green onions, a sprinkle more of cheese and a dollop of sour cream!

Best for last, add in a handful of your favorite corn tortilla chips and voila!

This recipe makes enough for 8 servings and is perfect for keeping in the fridge for easy lunches and dinners during the week! It’s also so nice to have a super yummy soup like this with fall just around the corner!

I hope you and your family enjoy my tasty tortilla soup!

As always, thank you so much for reading!