30 August 2011

Aesthetically confused...

Let me first say that I love the blogging world. It has opened up so much to me that I cannot imagine why it took me so long to begin this exploration. Having said that, it has also left me confused.

Before I embarked on this blogging journey and started exploring others' blogs, I thought I had a clear vision for my home, and it's design and decor, I am after all an Interior Designer, but every day I see something else that inspires a new and utterly unpredicted direction for where I want to take my still fairly blank canvas of a home.

In my defense, I am primarily a corporate, retail, restaurant designer, that is what my background is, tho I did move to Muskoka to do cottage design...which I did but do not do anymore. Also in my defense, I am a Libra and we are notorious for being indecisive.

My choices for my home have always been a little sedate and neutral, which is strange because I love colour!
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I would love to have this in my home, and yet my kitchen is neutral as seen here. Now don't get me wrong, I love my kitchen (well if I could afford to reno it I would but all things considered...) but as hard as I try I always end up choosing neutral...and not white neutral, beige neutral. In my living room I have this Ektorp sofa from Ikea. Again I like the sofa; it was inexpensive, comfortable and slipcovered, but it is, at the end of the day, beige.
Which is why I want to add this area rug to the living room...


But cannot spend the money on it right now...so I have ordered something more along these lines...


Anyhow I digress...I am all over the map when it comes to design these days.
I love white rooms and I often say I dream in white...

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I love the simplicity of this (above), and yet I also love this (below) for it's ordered chaos and colour...

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 There is this...

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And then there is this...

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Sigh...I just don't know which direction to take...sometimes I think I over think and when I do that I get overwhelmed and then it is just easier to do nothing (and it is cheaper too).  So as I sit here doing nothing I will continue to ponder which direction to head...and hopefully after some more blog reading and more 'pinning' a trend will emerge and all will become clear...fingers crossed.

24 August 2011

Happy Wednesday!

So I couldn't decide what to blog about today and I thought well then don't blog...then sitting here I figured why not share the happiness this Wednesday!

1. Lilah finished her swimming lessons today and she passed...okay so she is only 2 there isn't much to pass and she can't actually move to the next level until she is 3, but she did really well, and we had lots of fun in the pool this summer

Lilah last winter in the pool...no underwater shots this time around
 2. One of my closest friends just shared that she got engaged earlier in the week. I cannot tell you how happy I am for her. She is one of the most deserving people I know, she gives of herself every day and has been instrumental in my journey to a healthier life. The added bonus her fiance is a wonderful man who has made her truly happy in the time they have shared thus far. I am positively over the moon for her.

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3. I lost 1.1kgs today and that is putting me right back on track after falling off the rails for a bit.


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4. Another dear friend who has just recovered from knee surgery has asked me to walk with her to help her get back into shape. She said in her message to me that I inspire her...well she inspires me too, and we will start walking together soon.


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 5. Blueberries...yes blueberries...real ones from those lovely roadside stops, not the imported ones from Mexico or wherever, but real wonderful sweet little blueberries. My oldest daughter came home with them the other day and oh am I enjoying them...in everything, my oatmeal, in yogurt, by themselves, we even had blueberry cream cheese sandwiches yesterday. Loving the blueberries!

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So there you have it. My 5 reasons for a wonderful Wednesday! Happy day everyone!

23 August 2011

Okay...am I missing something?

So lately there has been a buzz in the air about Jenna Lyons and J. Crew. I first read an article in New York Magazine last week, and then in the Toronto Star over the weekend. Now don't get me wrong...love the J. Crew look and clearly Jenna Lyons is haute chic but what has me gobsmacked is the price tag.

Okay so clearly I am not a fashionista...and I know very little about the world of fashion, so much so that I thought J. Crew was a simple catalogue business much like Sears...shows what I know eh? Anyhow after reading all the hype about J.Crew which is set to open it's 5000sq ft. store in Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping centre, I moseyed on over to their website and though I love the look particularly this sweater and these pants
link here

 I cannot fathom in my world being able to spend over $400 on the sweater and then another almost $300 on the pants. I really really wish I could, I lust after these things but my pocket book is more the speed of Old Navy where I can get a whole wardrobe for that amount.

As I write this I think I must sound so simple. Maybe I am. Am I backwards for seeing value in spending this amount of money on art but not on fashion? I would rather spend that on a fab rug for my house or on a new chair, but on one outfit it seems a bit...well...wasted. Now maybe I am wrong...maybe because you spend the money you get the quality that makes these pieces last a lifetime...but then are they timeless? Maybe for someone else, but I don't think timeless and fashion go hand in hand for me. I like change. I like to be able to wear something new every few seasons...not because it is the latest fashion but because as I said, I like change. It makes me feel alive and fresh and as if I am evolving.

Maybe if I ever make it in the blogging world or I am making tons of money and my gallery is bursting at the seams with customers 12 months of the year, maybe then I will understand spending this kind of money, because there sure are a lot of bloggers out there coveting J.Crew and Jenna Lyons in particular, but for now I will stick with my Old Navy wardrobe and be thankful that I can afford even that and the change up it allows every few seasons.

Here is my Old Navy take on the J Crew outfit I loved...all for under $50.



Old Navy Sweater $24.50



Old Navy Pants $20

22 August 2011

...and Lilah makes three...girls that is

So last but not least we come to my darling little Lilah. My baby, my youngest and perhaps my most headstrong of the bunch. This a long one people...sorry ;)

Lilah's story begins with an ongoing discussion between Jake and I as to whether or not we wanted to have another child. More truthfully he was sure he did and I was not. Being uncertain about this is strange to me now as up until about two days ago (when we found out the big 'v' had indeed taken) I was not sure if I could live without having a fourth.

Jake always felt that he wanted a family of the same size as he grew up in, as he is one of two children, he felt he should have two children. Given that Cait is from my first marriage and 18 years older than Izzy I understood where he was coming from. Me on the other hand, I was scared about the prospect of raising two children at the same time. I knew how to raise one, and I had gotten her to 18 without too much trouble, but two...could I manage that? Did I want to? In the end we decided to leave it to chance certain that our ease of getting pregnant with Izzy was a fluke and that it could take a while or not happen at all, I was after all getting older.

Jake an I got married in early September 2008 and late that month, on my birthday actually, I felt as if my whole being was unraveling. I remember saying to Jake that I was either pregnant or having a nervous breakdown...I was pregnant. Jake and I were having a honeymoon baby. I was surprised once again at how easily I got pregnant. thinking back I shouldn't have been, right from the word go it was evident that I was a fertile being; I got pregnant with Caitlin the first time I ever had sex, pregnant with Izzy the first cycle after coming off  Depo Provera, and now pregnant with Lilah mere weeks after stopping the pill.


So here I was pregnant and I am ashamed to say now that I was not too sure how I felt about that. Surprised was the first thing, and then I had to settle into the idea...and I had to tell my mom. My mom had many times voiced her feeling that we should not have any more; she wasn't sure she had enough love to go around she said. She could not imagine loving anyone as much as she loves Izzy and Caitlin. Caitlin figured it out right away and was happy for us all, and she would be part of my plan to tell my mom. We decided to all go to Ikea one morning for their dollar breakfast...it was the plan to tell here here in the crowded cafeteria so as to limit her reaction...her reaction would be that of joy and happiness...and surprise that I was afraid to tell her.

The morning sickness that plagued both other pregnancies was present for this one as well and once that was behind me it seemed it would be smooth sailing...but it was not. One night at around 13 weeks after having been to the doctor for a check up I had some spotting just before going to bed. As my appointment had included an internal, we thought it was of little concern. At about 2am I woke in pool of blood, and I was consumed the the fear that I was having a miscarriage. Jake jumped into action and away we went to the hospital. Thankfully we only live about 3 minutes by car from the hospital as so from the time I woke to the time I was on a gurney being examined was probably less than 20 minutes. Unfortunately they could not tell me much. the heartbeat was not evident yet but that at this stage of the pregnancy meant little. They examined everything looking for evidence of a miscarriage but again could not find anything and again this meant little. Being in a small town hospital is great, but it has it's drawbacks...no overnight radiology. And so we were sent home to wait for an appointment for an ultrasound.

This would not come until the following day. To say that the day spent waiting was agonizing would be an understatement. Not knowing if you were losing your baby or not was worse than knowing I think...at least at that point it time it felt that way. The bleeding continued during this time, though it did slow, but I spent that day grappling with my emotions. Here I started this pregnancy unsure of my feelings and now it was very very clear that I had grown attached to the life growing inside and it may be taken from me. Everything became very concrete for me; the knowledge that I loved and wanted this child and the guilt at having been so unsure at the beginning. I promised myself that I would embrace this pregnancy fully if I was lucky enough to continue with it. As I walked the hall of the hospital going into the ultrasound suite alone (they would not let Jake come in with me) I had to steel myself for whatever news may come. I laid on the table belly bared and held my breath as the technician made her initial passes with her wand...and then she said words I will cherish for all of time...'there is a heartbeat'. Everything came back to life for me and I know how very lucky I am. I cannot imagine what it is like to lose a child to miscarriage, but I know the fear of not knowing.

It would be diagnosed as a uterine tear and I was told not to worry about it, as it would repair itself, and the baby was fine. The bleeding continued but slowed to spotting until  two days later when I had another gush of blood soak me. Jake hurried home from work, and this time I went to hospital alone. Luckily, one of the doctors that runs the prenatal clinic I receive my prenatal care from was in the emergency department that evening, and he was intent on getting to the bottom of this. He even called the radiologist back to the hospital so we could get an ultrasound immediately...bless his heart for this let me tell you. Again the ultrasound confirmed that the baby was okay and again the diagnosis was a uterine tear but this time in a different location. The doctor explained the situation to me and I was told no heavy lifting, no snow shoveling, and no intercourse. If I followed these directions everything should repair itself and be fine...and it was.


Because of the bleeding there were many ultrasounds throughout the pregnancy, but in none of them would this baby reveal it's gender to us. This time I needed to know, so we went for a 3D ultrasound. I did not want to see the baby, and I think the technician thought I was nuts. I honestly just wanted to know if it had girl bits or boy bits, so we stipulated that we were not to be shown the face or anything else, just the bottom half. Even for this ultrasound the strong willed nature of this child would be apparent, but after some prodding we discovered that we were indeed having another girl. Being a planner this made life much easier, we had all we needed by way of clothes and everything, the only thing we needed to purchase was a crib, as Isobel would only just be 18 months when Lilah was born we did not want to rush her into a big girl bed.

Labour would begin again in the wee hours of the morning, and progress without too much excitement or stalling. Again I made the stipulation of no drugs and a quiet delivery, and again I was the one making all the noise. The pain was a bit more with Lilah as she was sunny side up, but with a little perseverance and a few pushes she joined us weighing 6lbs 14oz. Caitlin would again be present and she would again cut the cord. Lilah was jaundiced and needed a few days in hospital under the lights before we could bring her home, but once home she was welcomed easily by Izzy, which was a relief.


Lilah is my blond hair blue eyed angel with a will stronger than both her sisters combined. Now that she is two it is becoming more and more difficult to manage but she is also the sweetest thing full of love and hugs.


I look at her now and cannot imagine life without her and have had to give myself permission to let go of the guilt of being uncertain about her pregnancy. The reality is I would not have a life without her and I am so glad she is the baby in my brood of girls.



Thanks once again for reading and feel free to share.

Happy Monday all!

20 August 2011

Bagpipes!

Is it weird to say that I love bagpipes!


We just had a parade go by on main street in front of the gallery...a parade of all different groups of bagpipers. It was a glorious 15 minutes listening to such a wonderful sound.


I think it all stems from my childhood where we grew up next to a lovely older couple the Webster's. Mr. Webster or Dan as I knew him was a bagpiper and many a Saturday he would be out on his front lawn practicing as children in the neighborhood looked on in fascination. I loved the sound then and I love it now...I guess it is just one of those transcendent things that has the ability to take you back to your childhood.



Our Highland Games parade made my day today...and I don't care if anyone thinks it's weird.

Cheers all...happy weekend!

P.S. I will be delivering (pardon the pun) Lilah's pregnancy and birth story Monday. Just so no one thinks I have forgotten my youngest child ;)

16 August 2011

...and along came Izzy

So to those few who are following at this point, I am remembering and retelling my birth stories. I must say I am thoroughly enjoying it, as giving birth to my three girls has been three of my greatest accomplishments, and three of the greatest days of my life.

Today I a going to recount my pregnancy and birth story for Isobel.

Sometime in the fall of 2006 we had friends over for dinner who during the course of the evening shared the news that they were expecting their second child. The joy and excitement they felt was palpable and contagious. That night in bed I said to Jake in a very quiet voice just before falling asleep that I wanted to have a baby with him. I wanted to feel what our friends were feeling. I wanted to plan a pregnancy and with someone I truly loved, and who loved me (I was 12 years divorced and a single mom to Cait when I met him). We were not married and had not talked much about this, but we'd bought a house together and were making a life together none-the-less. Jake in a casual voice said 'sure' and I figured he was just appeasing me and that it would be a topic saved for another day. To my surprise as I was heading off to work the next morning, he took me in his arms and in the most serious voice I had ever heard him use said 'I want to have a baby with you too'. As I drove to work I pondered this with a grin that I am sure could be seen from miles away. So we were going to plan to have a baby...but when?


As we discussed the logistics of all of this, we did some research. I was on Depo Provera and had been for a number of years. All the reading we did indicated that it could be difficult to conceive after stopping the injections. I was gutted, but if we wanted to have children we needed to start this process sooner rather than later. We decided I would have a final injection in October and that would be finished in January after which we would begin the process of trying to conceive.

We got engaged that Christmas and when January was here, I got out a new calendar and noted everything on it...you know what I mean by everything...Jake was mortified, but I wanted to keep track so I could determine when my cycle returned to normal and when it was most advantages to try. I needn't have worried. I had a normal cycle in February and conceived in early March...wow. We thought it would be hard, but we were wrong.


Another uneventful pregnancy ensued and we enjoyed every moment of it. At the time we lived a hour north of my parents whom we visited almost every weekend. Towards the end of the pregnancy we decided it might be best not to be too far from home in case things started to happen, but one Friday after having been off work for a week or so, I was terribly bored and wanted to do something...anything. So we decided to go to my parents just for the night. We arranged to meet them for dinner and then went back to their place. We went to bed as usual, and everything seemed quite normal...until I woke up a little wet at about 5:30am.  As anyone who has been at the end of a pregnancy knows, a little wetness is not immediate cause for concern. I quietly went to the washroom to confirm my suspicions, and yes my waters had ruptured...not all the way I was sure, but this was indeed the start of everything. Of course we were an hour away from home and our hospital, but I knew there was no need to panic. I laid back down without waking Jake for another half hour when the contractions started to come. At that point I thought it prudent to make him aware and there was quick moment of slight panic for him before I assured him things were fine, but we'd best collect our things and head home. We woke Caitlin who could not at first figure out why we were waking her when she'd only just gone to sleep, but tell a dreary teen you are in labour and man can you get them to move fast.

driving home in labour
On our way home Cait timed the contractions from the back seat and they were coming fairly regular at 5 mins apart.
Once home we called the hospital and were told to come in as soon as we felt comfortable but not to wait too long. We only lived a block away so we organised ourselves, packed some time wasting things and walked to the hospital. A 5 min walk took a bit longer in between contractions, but was good for labour.
We wrote out a birth plan so that there was not a repeat of my first experience. In that plan we noted that it was imperative that I did not want any drugs...none. I wanted to be fully aware and feel everything throughout this process. The doctor did not understand why and kept telling me that I was not going to win a medal for doing this without drugs, but that is how I wanted it. One of the other stipulations I made was that I wanted a quiet birthing experience. I did not want cheerleaders shouting at me telling me to push or breathe, or anything else...I wanted it as quiet as could be...of course I was making lots of noise and at one point the nurse told me it was okay if I swore and that unleashed a torrent of curse words that my mother kept apologizing for in the waiting room.


We stayed around the 4 to 5 minute mark in between contractions for quite some time, and then my waters broke fully and things started to progress a little more. Everything went well until I stalled at 9cm...everything just slowed and the contractions were one on top of another and quite intense but no change in dilation. Our hospital is quite progressive in it's approach to childbirth and the doctor and nurses had me in every position imaginable to get things moving and to get the baby to drop and thin the cervix to it's 10cm. the final position was the squatting bar. The doctor told me that if this didn't work, we would have to do a c-section as the whole thing was getting hard on the baby. So squat I did with Jake by my side for every breath. Finally I remember crying 'I can't do this anymore' to which the nurses cheered...it seems that when a woman reaches that point it is time to go...to push. And this would be the case for me. The squatting bar worked, and I was now 10cm and fully effaced and ready to push. I remember the doctor slowly getting ready and me being consumed by the need to push but being told to wait. Caitlin who had been present for most of the labour had exited the room a little while previous as it got to be a bit much for her, but the doctor would have none of it...he ushered her in told her where to stand. Three good pushes and Isobel Grace was born weighing 6lbs 11oz 14 hours after my labour began. Jake would be offered the cord to cut, but he could not handle that, so Cait was pulled in and cut the cord and to this day she will tickle Izzy's tummy and touch her belly button saying 'I made that'. It makes my heart melt every time.

And so it is that almost 4 years ago I gave birth the another most beautiful, funny, smart little girl. She makes me laugh daily, and astounds me with her understanding of the world. It will be interesting to see the person she grows into...too bad I can't keep her little for a bit longer.


Thanks all...and I would love to hear some of your pregnancy or birth stories. It is such an amazing experience no matter how it unfolds.

13 August 2011

Bundle o joy...

It has been a very busy week since my last post and please accept my apologies for this. When I started writing this it was about 9pm and both my little girls (who share a room) were screeching and giggling with each other...I thought I could get away with not stepping in as they were not crying, or jumping around, but alas I had to step in and it is now two days later that I finish this post.

While I have not had time to post recently, I have been stealing away a few moments now and again to read blogs...what did I ever do before I found this world? Anyhoo...a few days ago A Cup of Jo was all about breast feeding and Jo asked her readers to share their stories. It was a wonderful post and it was so good to read all the comments from breastfeeding moms to bottle feeding moms. It was a good dialogue offering opinions and not judgements. It got me thinking about my experiences nursing my three girls and about my birth stories for each. So I thought I would share...if you don't mind.

My oldest daughter is Caitlin. She is a wonderful, smart, funny, beautiful, 21 year old woman now...which is just crazy, and although she thinks I remember nothing about her childhood, I remember all the important bits.
Caitlin  age 21 and Chester (her new puppy)
I was just 16 when I realized I was pregnant. It was a scary time, full of decisions, consequences and pain for me and for my family. When we found our way to the other side having decided that her father (who was 10 years older than me) and I would get married (our choice not my parents), we adjusted to the new life we were all embarking on. When I came to terms with the fact that this was happening, I fell in love with this baby and with being pregnant. The pregnancy was uneventful but for some major morning sickness for the first trimester. I cannot explain it, but in a time before you could find out the sex of your baby I just knew I was having a girl. It seemed to be innate, I only ever picked out a girls name and bought girls clothing without thinking about it. It just seemed that I knew it was a girl though I never really thought about it that much.
Cait age 12ish
One evening towards the end of the pregnancy we were sure we were in labour...we had called the hospital numerous times hoping to get clarification, and finally decided it was best to head over there in person. In we went excited that we would be leaving with our baby...or not. It seems I was not in labour and I was basically told I was stupid for coming in and wasting their time. Not in those words, but that was the basic tone of the night. It was awful walking out of the maternity ward hearing newborns cry and seeing moms and dads with their little bundles and not having one ourselves yet, but it would come, we were just impatient.

Cait age 17
About two weeks later the real show began late one night and it was clear that this was different. Not wanting a repeat of our previous trip to the hospital, I was adamant that I was not going to the hospital that evening. Finally early the next morning I was told we were going and it was no longer my choice...so off we went and after being admitted, checked and confirmed that I was in labour we were off and running. We arrived at the hospital at about 5:30am, around 11am they decided to break my water and then -boom- the contractions really hit hard and fast. One on top of another it was all I could do to catch my breath before the next one was upon me. At one point I levelled my then husband dislocating his thumb as I grabbed his hand during a contraction... However I felt I was doing okay, so when I was told to roll on my side and they injected me with something I was confused.

We had spoken with our OB about not wanting any drugs, and here they were sticking me with what I would later find out to be Demerol...which I would be allergic to. Needless to say this changed the dynamic of the whole affair and now I could not even keep my eyes open. Just before 2pm it was time to push and push I did. With not too much work, she arrived at 2:15pm on a beautiful early May day. Weighing 7lbs 5oz she was the image of her father people would say though now they say she is the image of me (lucky her). It wouldn't be until much later when I recovered from the Demerol and an infection that I would be upset that the doctors had not abided by my wishes. This very thing would be the center pin of my birth plans for the younger two girls. There was no discussion about my options, nor why they felt I needed the injection. From my perspective I was fine, the baby was fine and there was no need for intervention. My guess is they felt a 16 year old could not handle childbirth and felt it their place to step in without consent or consultation.

Regardless, everything turned out fine and though she was a little jaundiced, and I had the infection and the allergic reaction, we went home from the hospital after several days and recovered nicely.
Cheer Cait!
Over the next several days and weeks, I would make my best attempts to breast feed. I was immensely uncomfortable with the whole thing but knowing it was what was best for my baby I tried. It hurt, I had no support with it, as my own mother had never breast fed, and I cried every time I had to feed her...which as those of you who are mothers well know is often. After a few weeks, my family doctor finally encouraged me to bottle feed her telling me that my state of mind as I was nursing her was not good for her. The fact that I was so uncomfortable meant she was not getting the emotional connection that she needed. In hindsight I am sad that I did not soldier on, however I believe that at the time it was the best decision for us all.

Speaking of hindsight, fast forward two years and I am sitting in a surgeon's office discussing breast reduction surgery and being asked if I would want to nurse  again...being closer to my first experience and not even contemplating having more kids in the future I said no...big mistake...more on that when I share Izzy's birth story.

As an aside...there are not baby pics in this post...I am at the gallery without the aid of my photos and my scanner...so forgive me Caitlin...but everyone can trust me that she was adorable right from the word go! These photos were grabbed from our facebook pages.

And to my beautiful grown girl...never forget that your mother loves you with all her heart and is proud beyond measure...you were there first and have been by my side the longest...thank you and I love you.
Cait and I about 4 years ago

5 August 2011

Inhale...Exhale...

This has been the name of the game this week...just breathing and putting your head down and getting through. It has been a crazy busy week, and there is no sign of it letting up any time soon. The gallery has been crazy busy with a new show opening last weekend and lots and lots of cottage-goers and tourists.

Painting Summer: New Work by Michael Scott
opened July 29th and continues until August 12th

My mother-in-law and sister-in-law flew in from England this week. It is so nice to have them here.

Now, I am about to head out on the six hour journey (3hrs each way) to pick up my eldest daughter as she just finished moving into her first apartment in the city where she goes to school...she has one more month of work here at home and then I suspect she will be gone for good. With this being her last year of school and seeing as she has found a wonderful little apartment and she has adopted a puppy, I don't think she will be returning to the nest any time soon...I'm dealing.
Meet Chester the puggle
At the same time I am working to prepare my 3-1/2 year old for junior kindergarten...not sure if I am dealing with this one or not, but I'm trying. It was only just yesterday that she was a baby...sigh

Izzy at about 8 months
Trying to fit in exercise and see my husband and well the week has just disappeared.

Hope your week has been a good one and that your weekend finds you happy healthy and having fun!

Cheers all!