our back yard tour

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I feel like our back yard has been a “work in progress” since the day we moved into our house, 3 summers ago.  At the time it was a blank slate.  The grass was worn and missing in parts, there were a few tulips growing out near the garage, and that’s about it.

Every summer since then we’ve worked on adding something new, building garden boxes, transplanting rhubarb, spraying grass seed.

This summer we decided to build a patio.  Michael dug out the yard himself, and a good friend came to help him grade and lay the stones.

I found our furniture all around the city.  The concept was simple, have a space to eat and enjoy company, and also have a small seating area where we could lounge with friends or family.  I wanted to have a lot of green plants with various textures growing and spilling out of our black IKEA pots.  Succulents, ferns, and a hardy hydrangea fit the bill.

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As we have no mounted lights in our back yard we hung string cage lights along our barely used clothing line, and bought lots of candles to warm the space.

I’m quite happy with the final result.  Its not perfect nor is it 100% complete.  We have to finish the fence and paint it white, we have to paint the mudroom siding grey and the garage grey as well, and Michael has to build us a new back gate. We may try to tackle these projects in August or simply leave them until next summer.

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cafe chairs – coffee table – child muskoka chairs – umbrella – candle votives – cage lights all from HomeSense // table and chairs from JYSK // planters from IKEA // plants from Home Depot & Crown Flora // patio stones from Home Depot

Pumped for a Girls Weekend

I’m getting a new sister in law next month!  Although I completely feel like Beth is already my sister-in-law, we went away for her official send-off weekend to Muskoka on Friday.

I knew the weekend was coming, it was in the works for some time, but as a nursing mom it posed a few anxious moments for me.  I worried if I could save up enough milk to be able to cover off the 5+ feeds a day (and night) Magnus would take, and I really worried that he would miss me and cry the entire time.  None of my fears materialized, I’m happy to report, and the weekend was amazing.

To have hours on hours of uninterrupted girl time, drinks, and be worry free was wonderful.  I missed the boys like crazy, don’t get me wrong, but in a small way I also didn’t miss them at all.

Over the past four plus years I seem to have forgotten what its like to be me.  I’m constantly in mom mode, or work mode, or wife mode.  There is so much less “Ana”-mode now, and I missed it just enough to determine me to book another girls weekend sooner rather than later.

Also I came home to find Magnus sleeping through the night.  Turns out Michael decided he didn’t want to wake up for feedings during the night, and Magnus learned to just sleep right through…  I have mixed feelings on this topic too and I’m still a little shocked at how sad its making me.  Most parents work hard to get their babes to sleep straight through, and while I love the extra sleep, I miss kissing Magnus’ little face at 11pm, 3am and 5am.  But I’m sure its just going to take a few nights to get used to the new routine, right?

Sweet Baby Georgia

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As part of the Your Baby Moments series I’m doing with Canon Canada I wanted to show my friend and neighbour, Meredith, how to photograph her sweet new baby girl.  We had the very best intentions to photograph her in the classic newborn poses, swaddled, asleep, on plush bedding.  Little Georgia had her own plans though.  She was as curious as can be, bright eyed and wide awake for the entire time!

We tried it all.  Meredith nursed her, rocked her back and forth and even still it was just not to be.  However we still used many of the tips in Canon’s Baby Moments site (0-3mos section) and in the end we captured a lot of Georgia’s personality.  I didn’t want to take all the photos myself, so instead I let Meredith try out my camera and tips as well.  Can you tell which is which?!

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In the end the two most important things were LIGHTING and the right camera lens. We used my Canon SL1 with a 50mm lens to shoot the entire series, and made ourselves a little “studio” in Meredith’s bright lit bedroom.

Also our Shelpy Printer winner is Dina Medeiros!  Congrats girl!  I’m sending you an email today!

**This post was created in partnership with Canon Canada.  As always thank you for supporting our sponsors who make this blog possible.

Sakura Bloom Sling Diaries: Celebration

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Celebration

Before I became a mom  “celebrating” something almost always meant birthdays, weddings, showers, champagne or cake… or often both.  I used to take on the entire month of February as my personal “birthday month”.  I planned elaborate fetes to celebrate special milestones.

And then Johannes came.  His due date fell on my birthday but the day came and went without his arrival.  But the day that he was born was the ultimate celebration.  I will never be able to replicate that moment, or for that matter the moment when his little brother Magnus was born either.

I can’t quite pinpoint the exact moment when celebrations took on a new meaning, but somewhere along the road of motherhood it has.  Celebrations now means simply enjoying the little things.  A BBQ picnic outside in the back yard, pizza dates on a Friday, running through the sprinklers because the sun is shinning.

I feel like I am a daily cheerleader now.  I celebrate everything and anything that my boys achieve, from crawling to first words.  Birthdays are still wildly important of course, especially those of my boys. Their birthdays are now a celebration of the lives I have helped to shape and create, rather than “just a day for being another year older”.  I often can’t believe I have two little boys to love and raise.  We get to have little parties for them all the time and watch them get excited and demand 3 cupcakes only to lick the icing off the top and nothing else.

And Magnus, oh sweet Magnus is almost 1.  Less then three months until his first birthday and its a big one.  Every day he learns something new, discovers interesting things and crosses a new milestone.  His little legs are becoming more and more stable and strong, preparing him to take those first uneasy steps.  The first year is by far the most amazing to me and we make sure to celebrate it all along the way with him.

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This is my second entry for the Sakura Bloom Sling Diaries vol VI.  You can read my other posts here. // In this post I’m wearing the Simple Silk Baby Sling in Malbec.

 

Game Night

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On Wednesday evenings, after dinner is done, the dishes are clean and dessert has been eaten, Johannes has t-ball at our neighbourhood baseball diamond.  We signed him up not really sure if he would like it or how it would all go.  Johannes loves it though.  He’s not really sure of all the rules, or that he’s supposed to drop his bat and run once the ball has been hit.  But he has fun, a lot of fun.  His favourite part though is snack time, and I can’t blame him.  Popsicles, grapes, granola.  They all await the eager little boys and girls that play the game on Wednesday night.

Small Business Spotlight: Little Citizens

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I met Jenny the owner and designer behind Little Citizens, virtually, when Nicole and I began scouting out brands for our new shop. One of my favourite parts of starting this business of ours was meeting and seeing just how many creative women run these businesses…so far every brand we have worked with!

Jenny and her beautiful little family are based in Vancouver.  Here is what she had to share:

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Tell me a little bit about yourself?

First off, I’m a proud wife to my husband, Ali, and mama to Stella who will be two at the end of June. I’m 31 years old. I’m a prairie girl at heart but live beside the ocean. My mornings always start with coffee and my nights usually end with a glass of wine. I have a major sweet tooth but I love health & fitness (that kind of balances out, right?!) I’m a huge believer in moderation, including moderation. I prefer late nights rather than early mornings. I have a degree in Microbiology but pursued designing. I’m very social but absolutely love my alone time. My very best friends are my mom & sister.

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What inspired you to start your line?

My inspiration came about after my baby shower where I received a lot of frills and pink (lots & lots of pink!) I felt there was a void- quality made basics, everyday essentials and neutral colours. So, I set out on a mission to create pieces that I would want my own child to wear. The design process started when Stella was six months old and it took almost a full year to come to life.

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How do you juggle business and your little?

My business is less than five months old, so I’m still trying to figure this part out. To be honest, it’s been nothing but trial & error. I’m still working as a consultant in the dental industry but my days are numbered. I recently made the decision to quit my job to pursue my business- I’m happy, scared, nervous and excited all at the same time! I think this will help tremendously to achieve a better balance for my family & business.

My little one will always come first. I am aware of how quickly weeks, months and years go by and I really don’t want to miss out on these precious moments. I work when she naps and in the evenings when she’s sleeping. My husband is a total god send- he’s definitely not afraid to make dinner after coming home from a long day at work, fold apparel boxes or pin hangtags onto garments. I’m realizing that being a mom and owing a business will always be a juggling act but I’m slowly figuring it out and having fun along the way!

 

One word you’d use to describe yourself?

Easy-going

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Favourite Quote:

“You have exactly one life in which to do everything you’ll ever do. Act accordingly.” -Colin Wright

 

Favourite quick meal of the week on busy nights?

Whole Foods pizza. (That counts, right?!)

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What are you most proud of when it comes to your business?

I would say just the fact that I put all doubts & uncertainties aside and went for it. From a very young age, I always knew that I wanted to own my own business, but until having a baby, I never knew what kind of business that would be. I’m so proud of myself for following my dreams- I hope that I can be a strong example for Stella, as she gets older.

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If you had to give other moms thinking of taking the leap into business-hood, what would it be?

I would say, start somewhere. The idea of starting a business can be overwhelming and you have no idea where to begin. All of the little steps start to add up over time and it no longer seems like such a daunting task. I read a quote once, and it really resonated with me:

“You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain” – Tom Hiddleston

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Thank you so much Jenny for sharing with us today!  And yes, pizza totally counts because I have an app for my local pizza place on my phone.  Its my go-to meal as well :)