Life is fleeting and I wanted to start a monthly series highlighting things we loved over the previous month, and a place to reflect amongst the hustle and bustle of busy family life. This series will include products, family memories and even some sources of inspiration and lessons learned that swirl around this Mama’s over-thinking mind that need off-loading. A place to get a little more personal. Seemed appropriate to start with “The Month of Love”. Thanks for stopping by. Your support means the world to us.
Here’s the things we loved in February:
- Snow Tubing at Snow Valley
With two toddlers in the mix, it’s tough to find activities that appeal to the entire family. We surprised the kids with a tubing adventure at Snow Valley, just an hour north of us, on Family Day. I’m learning to stop talking myself out of doing exciting stuff with all of us because of nap schedules and toddler shenanigans. It ain’t easy being outnumbered, but I’m so glad we’re doing more of this stuff. The boys pull up a fearlessness inside me, and I want them to see their Mama loving doing life with them. Easton, the babe I was most worried about, had a blast on the sidelines watching us take turns tubing the hills with the bigger kids, and even caught an hour nap in the kiddie tube. Snow Valley does a great job of catering to families with littles, and has a Kids Zone for riders under 42 inches with complimentary supervisor passes for the parents. Allegra enjoyed pulling her little brother down along with her on the kiddie hills. Our oldest, Brody, is at a daredevil stage, and begged us to try the 14 storey high hill, they call “The Peak”. I try my best to contain my anxiousness with this stuff. I was just like him at one stage barrelling down double black diamond hills my very first time out skiing in my youth without any lessons. It made me realized what a chicken I’ve become and that I’ve developed a fear of speed! Although the tubing hills were quite busy being a holiday, we had a fantastic day and many memories made. Andrew was so impressed with how well the day unfolded he turned to me on the car ride home and said “why don’t we have a 5th” – Ha!
2. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
Writing has always been a passion of mine. Actually, scratch that, the finished product of writing is what lights me up, but the actual process of writing kind of stresses me out. That saying “I hate writing but love having written” really rings true for me. Anyone else? It’s why even after being told I have a knack for it all these years I kind of abandoned it. I remember locking myself up (like Randall) in my dorm room in University for days when I had an essay to write, hanging on every word I typed. The process of writing was all-consuming for me, but I got a rush once the piece was finished. I’m now letting go more on this blogging journey and realizing done is better than perfect. The world needs more people who finish things, and I’m trying to close more tabs open in my brain than I can handle and really starve my distractions and feed my focus. I’m learning that having produced something is where the “magic” lies. Just over a year ago, I felt called back to writing, and followed my intuitive nudges to begin doing more of it again. I wrote a children’s book I’m hoping to get published, and have undertaken some freelance work. I’ve also begun learning more about photography – another hobby of mine over the years I want to grow deeper in. Like many of you, I find being creative cathartic and an amazing outlet among a busy, sometimes mundane, life of parenting. Not to escape my family, but to get lost in something fulfilling. It’s not easy putting your words, your creations “out there” for others to scrutinize. In Big Magic, Gilbert not only shares her inspirational personal journey to becoming a best-selling author, but gives us ways to find our courage to create, and keep creating and how to know when we’re being called to make our “big magic” happen. It’s a must read for any of you sitting on an idea you need a push to bring to life!
3. Hidden Figures – The Film
While the bigger boys watched the hockey game I skipped out to watch this film solo. It was kind of liberating getting out on my own, and in all honesty, I needed the break. Might be dating myself on the regular now 😉 Anyhow, Hidden Figures was uplifting, inspiring, and left me feeling astounded about what these women of history contributed to advancing the Space missions of NASA, even in the face of the segregation, discrimination and sexism of the times. These women were doing the thing we measure all endeavours against (i.e. Rocket science!) and, in so doing, paving the way for other brilliant female minds to do the same. Trailblazers and then some, I say. Thank heavens for the people of society who reject the notion of “that’s just the way it is”, particularly in matters that hinder human decency and rights for all. It left me wondering how many other “hidden figures” are out there, their brilliance concealed, their greatness diminished because of policies and beliefs that limited their chance to shine. This film is timely. As much as it was hard to imagine what this group of female geniuses endured, it was beyond inspirational.
4. Cotton Club Canada
We love working with Canadian brands, especially those that not only offer great products, but give back. When you sign up for a subscription at Cotton Club Canada, the company donates a set of undergarments to a local homeless shelter. Pretty awesome stuff. Andrew was most excited about this favourite thing of February. He’s a bit of a crazy sock nut, and also keeps boxers that look like they’ve been chewed by animals, so a sock and boxer subscription service for modern gents was right up his alley. Cotton Club Canada partners with quality brands like SAXX, 2UNDER, My Package, Steve Madden and more. Below are the Spring-y modern styles similar to the set Andrew just received the other day. This is a perfect gift idea for the guys in your life who don’t always find time to shop, but need this practical pairing in a bad way 😉
5. The Change of Seasons in Retail
Okay, I know, not everyone loves rushing the seasons, but it’s been a long, sun-starved Winter in our neck of the woods and I’m ready to step into my fave Spring season already. I especially love Spring because it tends to breathe life back into us and encourages us to take the introspection of Winter and put desires into action. As we countdown to Spring, I loved getting out to snag some new blouses during the retail switch-over this week. Loving all the floral prints and frills! I love dressing well, but am more team affordable fashion than splurge, and my favourite go-to stores to replenish my wardrobe during a change of seasons is H&M, Winners, Forever 21, The Bay and Joe Fresh – most with great deals on now heading into the new season! These are also my favourite shops for the kids 🙂
6. Kin & Kith – A Family Lifestyle Brand
We also love our coordinated family look with quality garments from Kin & Kith, and love being Brand Managers for a company that celebrates families of all dynamics and ethnicities. Being eco-conscious and sustainable in business practices also makes this company one we are proud to represent. Spring is around the corner, and you probably have one or more special occasions to attend as a family (Baptisms, First Communions, Easter, Spring mini-sessions). Their line offers amazing options to coordinate your entire gang, and more items are now being added for Spring and Summer. Check out this post for more on this fabulous brand, including a discount code!
7. A day out with my Princess
In celebration of the real-life remake of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Casa Loma in Toronto transformed into a Tale as Old as Time and offered locals an opportunity to experience a bit of magic through their Be Our Guest event! Nine costumes from the film were on exhibit and lots of great activities were organized throughout this historic landmark in our city. One on one time with each of our babes has never felt more important to us, so I surprised Allegra the morning of the event with a Belle dress and whisked her off to meet up with one of her BFFs and a dear mom friend of mine to have a special girls’ day out.
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” ~ Albert Einstein
Like many of you, I too have seen the articles condemning Disney Princess culture and overly-exposing our girls to too much girly stuff. I respect the notion behind the concern, but we kind of take a “let them be” approach around here. Just as we don’t bat an eye when she wants to be Batman, we don’t make a big deal about her choosing princesses either. I don’t think denying her things that are too girly sends a positive message when that is the stuff she naturally gravitates towards more. Right now, her world is small, full of wonder and simple pleasures. This little girl stage is so short and so precious. There will be many years ahead for her to analyze and deal with the big girl stuff, to realize life is tough, and to find her inner power and strengths to overcome them. And when she does, I’d like to think her self-worth, self confidence and female strengths will be more influenced by our parenting practices and the values we instill in our home, than by pop culture and the idea of being rescued by a dashing prince. I may be naïve here but it is my greatest hope her self-love is self-derived from the things we try really hard as her mom and dad to be examples of and that all our parenting power is not lost on media.
7. This Is Us
Like millions of others, This Is Us is our new late night addiction, and one show we stop without hesitation watch. So much of what the characters experience is something we can all identify with, and the events of this week’s episode in particular struck a cord and pierced the heart. If you haven’t watched this episode yet, DON’T READ! SPOILER ALERT! William and Randall’s road trip, ending with the heartbreaking, yet peaceful passing of William was perhaps something we can all relate to in losing a parent or parent figure in our lives. Hearing the sentiments of a dying, elderly man remind us of how precious life is, and how quickly it can be taken for granted. “Roll the windows down and turn the music up, son” – a poignant reminder to stop and smell our own roses more often outside of our structured lives and responsibilities. Sometimes we need to throw the maps, the plans, the expectations to the wind and just let go and let be. We can’t always control what’s going on in our life, but we have to “just breathe”. All will be well. I can relate so much to Randall’s over-achiever bone, his consumption with trying to be too polished and perfect all the time. It’s been a great lesson of the last year to let go of that pressure and adapt a “done is better than perfect” philosophy. And in so doing, every day I’ve felt a little lighter, a little freer.
It also inspired us to seize our gifts, take chances to avoid coming to the end of a life of “what could have beens”. To not use life’s trials as excuses to shut the door on our dreams and ambitions. This episode reiterated what I feel strongly about. Being our child’s mirror and being more mindful of what we want to reflect. As parents, we all want our children to go after their dreams, but we also need to be examples of what that means. I know I need to walk the talk and continue to show them that a life of leaps of faith and daily dashes of bravery can bring amazing things to our lives. They are always watching, and will do what they see, not what we say.
As we welcome March, we wish you and your families a blessed month ahead. Thanks for your love and support on this blogging journey.
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