All posts by Raina

Wild ONE!

ONE whole year with our sweet little Aria Kate. I always like to call her Aria Kate because I really love both of those names. We debated on using either one as her first name– and Mike gave me a solid no when I tried to make both her first name– “but then she could pick! And how cute is it to have TWO first names?” I really tried there. I may have even used it for a bit. Of course a run-of-the-mill “Mike” wouldn’t agree to something so crazy. A Raina though? We’re up for ALL THE NAMES. The indecisiveness in me really shows when it comes to naming children. It’s permanent after all.

Aria arrived a full week early and just one day after her sister’s birthday. It is so amazing to have two girls so close– and close in terms of both being born around the same date, therefore hitting many of the baby milestones at the same time of year. But, they are such different kids and have been since day one. Despite what everyone told me to expect, Aria’s arrival was much slower than Vienna’s. By “much” I mean an hour, but that’s a lot in labour time. (People who were in labour for days will probably kill me now). I was warned over and over again that V’s arrival was so quick and so crazy that Aria would just shoot out of me. I was terrified of having the baby in the truck en route to the hospital. This made me trust myself far less in knowing when I was “ready” to go.

We arrived at 7 a.m. and Aria joined this world at 10:20 am weighing exactly 8lbs. Her delivery was chaotic to say the least. A staff change-over just as things were happening paired with a bat-shit-crazy nurse who not only forced me to have blood drawn during the worst possible time of labour (fellow moms know exactly what this moment is) but also made Mike leave me and go riffle through my purse looking for my care card to… prove it was me (??) made for a chaotic scene. But, Aria arrived safely and before long was in our arms. Ahhh. That moment. This entire paragraph may be TMI, but us Moms, we share birth stories like battle scars. We checked out of the hospital at three that afternoon, just five short hours after she was born. Whirlwind.

This past year has been amazing watching Aria grow. At 3 months Aria was diagnosed with torticollis (essentially tight neck muscles and in Aria’s case caused due to her position in the womb) causing her to have some issues with strength and head shape/growth early on. Around months 4 we started visiting doctors and specialists every few days and she was a total trooper through it all. She did amazing in all of her treatments and won over everyone with her sweet disposition. I’m so proud that together we figured things out and she now has full strength and no other issues related to it. It’s truly amazing how far things have come for her.

Aria is my girl to a T. I call her my judgy baby, as she is always carefully watching everything and everyone, and makes people work fairly hard for a smile. And, she’s often frowning or scowling, I always say “that’s just her face!” since she really is the happiest baby. She’s a fierce little monkey– she growls on the regular and when she hugs or kisses you it’s a full-body squeeze and a head-bang-kinda moment. Her and V can either be found fighting over a toy, fighting over me, or fiercely hugging each other. She sleeps like a champ and still loves her little Mrs. Mouse stuffy. She is curious and gets into anything she can. The faster she gets the more of a handful she’s becoming!

Aria has stayed such a baby to me. She seems so teeny and clings to me with her legs wrapped tightly and high around my waist. She’s a total hip baby, always with Mama. She’s crawling (since 10.5 months) and pulls to stand up  holding on to things, but doesn’t show signs of walking. And that’s o.k. by me!  One of my favourite things right now is when she discovers something new. Her eyes light up as she figures things out. I’ll be holding her and she’ll reach to open and close a cupboard door, and she’ll do it a few times and then look at me and a huge smile slowly spreads across her face. The. cutest. Aria has three words: Mama, Dada and shoe. Yep, shoe. I thought maybe it was just a coincidence, but it’s happened too many times for it to be possible. Like I said, her mother’s daughter. Plus, she looks exactly like I did when I was a baby.

Happy one year birthday to my spunky, happy, crazy-haired little Aria. We are so lucky to have you in our lives. xo

Scroll down to see a one year snap shot of Baby A. The first two pictures below are some newborn favourites taken by the talented Jennifer Harwood from Blink Photography. Thanks Jen!





One Year Snapshot

I Weigh: 22 lbs

I Stand: 28 inches

I have: 5 teeth

Favourite foods: Grapes, cheese, bananas

Favourite things: extension cords, necklaces, shoes and hair brushes (Not even kidding here!)

Favourite stuffy: Mrs. Mouse

Favourite activity: Dancing, getting into things, Mommy carrying me

Words: Mama, Dada, shoe

Moves: Waving, dancing, peek-a-boo, clapping, climbing

I love: My sister, baths!









California Dreamin’

Mike and I decided to take the girls on a last minute trip to San Diego for Thanksgiving. It’s totally not my style to book something last minute, and we even discussed a trip like this back in the summer but opted to not book anything, and then, well, here we are having gone anyways! Maybe it won’t kill me to be a little more spontaneous. Especially if it involves sunny destinations.

LOVE San Diego. What a beautiful city! Definitely a place we will go again. We took in some sites–a trip to the Zoo being our big day– and then chilled out at the pool and beach. I know Zoos don’t have the greatest reputation, but wow does San Diego Zoo do an amazing job! Filled with big, well-kept and beautiful spaces for the animals, from an (all-be-it limited knowledge) outsiders perspective, it was impressive. We didn’t take in any other “theme” parks– our kids are little and it’s really just kind of exhausting to go, go, go all day long. By the end of our Zoo day Miss V was requesting the hotel. #diva.  Continue Reading

The Fire Station

Sunday Funday! Yesterday we visited the Kelowna Fire Department for their open house and pancake breakfast fundraiser. V is obsessed with the book The Fire Station by Robert Munsch (and she’s equally obsessed with pancakes– check out my recipe that we make weekly, here) so we were excited to take her. As we were getting ready to go she said “Aria, we’re going to see Michael and Sheila and the fire engines!” And the entire time we were there she kept asking where Michael and Sheila were. There were a few tears shed when we left without finding them. (If this makes no sense to you, then you must not have a toddler dictating your reading list).

Continue Reading

Go the F to Sleep (Or: A Visit to the Lavender Farm)

The other day I took Vienna on a little day date with Mom. She hadn’t been acting like herself, and, well, Mom guilt. So I took her for a one-on-one morning. She may be playing me, but oh well. #momstruggles. We headed to the Farmer’s Market, one of our favourite regular stops, and the Okanagan Lavender Herb Farm. Truth be told, I had an ulterior motive (hence the title here– anyone else read that book?). Sure I wanted to visit the Lavender Farm and spend time with my girl, but more importantly, V “not acting like herself” included a bout of huge bedtime melt downs and I intended to purchase lavender oil and pump that shit discretely diffuse Lavender all over the house. Sweet, sweet bliss! (I’m starting to have an emoji addiction- I desperately want to put that cry/laughing face here).

We had a great time! They have already harvested the Lavender for the season, so it wasn’t the beautiful purple lavender fields that one would imagine, but when your audience is an almost three-year old, they don’t know the difference. It’s actually set up fairly well to accommodate kids: they provide a scavenger hunt in their garden trails (kids are rewarded with a freezie for completing!), there is a hedge maze to get lost in, a fish pond, a wishing tree to hang ‘wish ribbons’ on (although the aesthetics of the actual wishing tree are kind of, well, weird to me), and really just an all-around beautiful atmosphere.

V loved running through the garden trails and picking which path we would go on next. This may be in part due to the fact that she is obsessed with paths lately. There is a small museum on the property painted in bright colours, which Vienna was certain was an ice cream shop. So funny! “Mom, that has to be where they keep the ice cream!” She thinks every Okanagan tourist attraction sells Gelato (and she’s actually right).

At Christmas time they decorate the gardens with thousands of little lights for families to visit. Anyone who knows me well  knows that I am a sucker for Christmas anything…. so we’ll be back. Worth the visit, and yes, I purchased Lavender. 😉

lavender farm





I’m Yours

This weekend we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. 5 years! Where did the time go? Well, mostly to two babies and two cruise boats in our case, but really, it feels like not that long ago and yet so long ago at the same time. We took a night away at Sparkling Hill Resort to celebrate (thanks to the grandparents for keeping the kiddos)– our first time away from both girls!

We got married on 09-10-11. Our wedding day is still one of my favourite days…

After searching the Okanagan exhaustively trying to find a lakefront (and not spend a million) venue, we got married on the perfect dock at a tiny lakefront hotel (thanks to my savvy co-worker–no really, she has the answer to everything). Sadly the site was torn down and turned into a development last year. It was one of those hidden gems that seemed “too good to be true”. One site. All of our crazy family and friends in one small hotel. 33 degree September weather. The most stunning backdrop. The most amazing dress.  And the groom wasn’t too bad either 😉

Wedding Details Recap:

  • Colour Scheme: Black and White with a hit of hot pink
  • Wedding Party: 3 groomsmen, 3 bridesmaids, two flower girls and a ring bearer
  • Ceremony: On the dock
  • Reception: White event tents behind the hotel
  • Dinner: Catered buffet
  • Dessert: Candy Bar and homemade cookies dipped in dark and white chocolate
  • Songs: Walking down the aisle- I’m Yours, Jason Mraz (acoustic); First Dance- Everything, Michael Buble

I’m not sure what else to put on this list, as I’m so far out of the wedding planning world and so thick into the baby-toddler-mama world. Thankfully (?) Pinterest became popular pretty much right after our wedding, so I feel my inner event planner enthusiast was relatively limited reasonable at the time.

I looked through our wedding album again the other day and I love these photos so much. We are lucky to have so many stunning images thanks to Blink Photography, who also happens to have done all of our family and baby pictures! Here’s a few favourites.

(I still LOVE that dress and a small part of me hopes that one of my girls will wear it one day).






Preschool for V!

It’s back to school week and I can’t believe Miss V started Preschool this week! V doesn’t turn 3 until October, so it seems so young (well really, it is, isn’t it?!). She has been so excited about school, mostly because of her older buddies (she calls it ‘Isla school’ after her friend Isla, who went there last year). It’s the sweetest little school and V came out beaming today that she made new friends! Emphasis on new– I think perhaps she expected Isla to be there 😉 I’m curious as to whether her going to preschool will result in a more detailed/accurate game of “school”, which she always wants to play. One can hope– right now I spend an awful lot of time being a teacher at the whim of a bossy student.

Vienna picked out her own outfit out at the mall with me yesterday– adorable! It turns out if you wait for the week of back to school to hit the mall, you run a high risk of ending up with nothing at all or a very Christmas-appropriate dress. Luckily V set her eye on this right away, I think because she was excited to pick something out….or maybe because she wanted to go and get a bouncy ball, haha.

I asked V a few questions to get a snapshot of what she’s like these days. So cute!

  • How old are you? Two and a half
  • What is your favourite food? Chocolate!
  • What is your favourite toy? Elsa
  • What do you like to do for fun? Books
  • What is your favourite colour? Yellow
  • What do you love the most? YOU! (And jumps at me with open arms, going straight for Mama’s heart this girl)
  • Where is your favourite place to go? School
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? I going to drive one of Daddy’s boats! A little boat.

V isn’t really in to sitting still for pictures, so this mostly involved her pulling leaves and flowers off the trees and plants and me attempting to persuade/threaten her for a nice picture (our neighbours probably think I’m crazy). The expressions here are oh-so Vienna. This makes me laugh as I can’t imagine my Mom ever making this big of an ordeal out of three year old preschool. I blame Pinterest and Instagram.

In any case, happy first day of preschool, sweet girl!
V’s outfit: Shirt, Denim Jumper Dress and Backpack (last year)- The Gap; Riding Boots– Gymboree



And That’s a Wrap

If Labour Day celebrates the achievements of workers, then there’s no better guy to celebrate it with than Mike at the end of a busy boat season! This is the only holiday in the summer that we get to take in some family time. And really, it’s one of the only (relatively) uninterrupted family days we have all summer long.

The weather in Kelowna is changing, and fast. Fall is here earlier than we’d like, but at the same time we are craving some of that routine-laden, jeans-and-boots kinda weather. So, we took in one last summer day and went to Bertram Creek Park for a picnic and to Carmelis Goat Cheese Farm, for Gelato, of course. Bertram is beautiful! It’s probably the furthest park in town from our house, but I’m glad we made the trip. With barely anyone there, it was the perfect picnic spot. And no play equipment needed– V was squealing from the time we arrived and literally ran around in the grass and trees the entire time we were there. The large trees proved the perfect spot to play hide and seek with Daddy– so flippin’ cute they were!

Next stop Carmelis. Sadly we didn’t even do the goat cheese tasting: when there are two lines– one for Gelato and one for Cheese– and you have small children in tow, naturally you end up in the Gelato line. The Gelato was tasty, although not as refreshing as it would be if summer weather had stuck around longer.

We ended the day with a long overdue BBQ with good friends. All in all a day well spent. And it seems that’s a wrap on summer! Sad to see it end but definitely looking forward to more family time this Fall.

Happy Fall everyone! xo

P.S. I can’t get enough of Aria’s scrunchy face smile and V’s little top knot. These girls though!








Friday (Flat Lay!) Favourites

What better way to wrap up the week than a few beauty find favourites! Truth– I have never been an expert in make-up. Or beauty products for that matter. In fact I was stuck at the MAC counter for the last 10 years (nothing wrong with MAC, I just wasn’t exploring anything else). I also used to take a long time to get ready in the morning (say, an hour). And not because I was doing anything amazing, but because I had the time so I used the time. I washed, dried and styled my hair daily– say what? And I followed the same make-up application routine For. Years. But it’s ok, keep reading.

My skin was average, sometimes good, sometimes bad. For the last 3 years I’ve either being pregnant, nursing, or briefly recovering in between kids. It’s left my skin on a bit of a rollercoaster. This summer I made some changes and here are some beauty faves I picked up!

First, I switched all of my products to an organic skin care line. This is costly and something that I actually avoided doing for some time. I’ve been getting an organic facial for the last few years at Illuminate Skin Care and Aesthetics  and the products are amazing. And the owner, Meredith, is lovely. I finally started purchasing the products and 6 weeks later my skin felt the benefits. You can read more about Eminence Organic Skin Care products here.

Second, I swapped out my regular powder for one without Talc. I didn’t know much about this bad boy, but Meredith set me straight. I think it was along the lines of “we can clear up your skin… but if you keep clogging it up the second you leave, you aren’t going to get anywhere.” Right. So I swapped that out for talc-free powder- not easy to find.

New truth– this week I slept in and literally woke up, brushed my teeth, washed my face, put on a few dabs of very minimal make-up and walked out the door in FIVE MINUTES. Not with children, of course. I’m not an Olympian. But seriously! This makes such a difference for my mornings with two kids. Here’s the details on my “five minute face”:

Happy Friday! I hope something in here saves someone else’s morning too 😉

*These product recommendations are all just my personal opinions. Take it or leave it!