September is here and Fall routines have begun! I say that with an exclamation mark because although I love summer, something about the slightly cooler Fall weather and all the energy to be organized for Fall makes me so happy. Don’t worry, it wears off in about a month 😉 And in other good news, my husband is home a lot more as our seasonal business slows down, which is a welcomed change after a summer of me and the girls.
Vienna is so excited to head back to school this year! She has been asking for the past few weeks if it’s time yet. She loves learning and playing with her friends, and absolutely adores her Teacher. I can hardly believe that she will be in full day Kindergarten next year, that seems like a much bigger milestone that I might not be so prepared for.
The night before preschool she went to bed the happiest, most excited little girl. I asked her a few questions to capture V as she starts her year at preschool:
How old are you? Three
What is your favourite food? Avocados and Broccoli (no joke here guys)
What is your favourite toy? Rollie! (a small rabbit? Mouse? I don’t even know figurine? And I have no idea where its from. All the toys in the world and she chooses this).
What do you like to do for fun? Run around in the park.
What is your favourite colour? Red! (She always tells me because it’s the colour in her heart).
What do you love the most? Rollie (Again, toddler randomness at its finest)
Where is your favourite place to go? To soccer
What do you want to be when you grow up? “A doctor. And you will be the nurse, Mom”. Turns out I’ll always be working for this girl 😉
It’s so fun to look back on these questions from last year and see how much she has changed. V and I read last year’s responses together before bed, which she thought was so fun. And seriously… those pictures of her from last year? ALL. THE. TEARS. So crazy to see how much she’s grown in just a year.
This morning I took her to school and on the way she said “I’m going to miss Aria, Mom. When I’m back I’ll tell her all about my day at school.” I’ll just be over here scooping my heart off the sidewalk, guys. Seriously cute.
If you’re following along, you saw that last week I shared our first set of favourite kid books about love and life in my new Little Library section! We love to read with our girls and I hope they continue to love to read as they grow up. I still remember my sister and I getting in trouble for having the lights on and reading too late! Haha, angels I tell ya!
Next up are some recommendations for us Mamas. Pre kids and post-University– you know that sweet spot when the world is your oyster time-wise (BUT you fail to recognize this and totally waste time?) 😉 I was still reading a lot. Over the past year I’ve made time for reading again, thanks in part to the encouragement of friends– my girlfriend started a self development book club, amazing for accountability–and I can tell you it is so refreshing and important.
Today I’m sharing 5 books for personal development. These books are all about finding happiness with who you are, and what you do, and simply about enjoying and living life to its fullest as YOU. If you have been following along you will know that launching this blog was a big deal for me, I was so wrapped up in what people would think. Now I’m all “who cares, I’m me!” and these books have definitely contributed to that shift.
I love Brene Brown’s writing style and I found this book very easy to relate to. To get a sense, check out her Ted Talk on the Power of Vulnerability. If that doesn’t sell you, I don’t know what will. “In a world where “never enough” dominates and feeling afraid has become second nature, vulnerability is subversive. Uncomfortable. It’s even a little dangerous at times. And, without question, putting ourselves out there means there’s a far greater risk of getting criticized or feeling hurt. But when we step back and examine our lives, we will find that nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous, and hurtful as standing on the outside of our lives looking in and wondering what it would be like if we had the courage to step into the arena—whether it’s a new relationship, an important meeting, the creative process, or a difficult family conversation.”
Some of my biggest takeaways from this book were understanding and identifying my internal limits, and to my surprise it actually impacted my marriage, in that I understood my husband a lot more. I literally read this in two sittings, on my flights to and from a work trip. “New York Times bestselling author Gay Hendricks demonstrates how to go beyond your internal limits, release outdated fears and learn a whole new set of powerful skills and habits to liberate your authentic greatness.”
I’m only part way through this book in audio format, but I chose to include it here because I wanted to round the list out with something totally different. To learn something in its entirety you definitely need a good variety of perspectives. So, if you’re okay with very frequent F bombs, this book gives a fresh, albeit blunt, perspective on our society’s constant need for more and for approval. ** Probably not the best choice for an audio book if you ever want to pop it on when your kids are in the backseat, haha! #hindsight** “In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.”
I absolutely love this book and Gabrielle Bernstein’s take on letting go and truly living. I found it in a book store on a trip to Seattle when I literally went into the store thinking “hmmm, there’s a personal development book I really want to read, but can’t remember the name of it” and then saw it smack in front of me, a single (and the last) copy on a shelf clearly meant for me to pick up. “In her latest book, The Universe Has Your Back, New York Times best-selling author Gabrielle Bernstein teaches readers how to transform their fear into faith in order to live a divinely guided life. Each story and lesson in the book guides readers to release the blocks to what they most long for: happiness, security, and clear direction. The lessons help readers relinquish the need to control so they can relax into a sense of certainty and freedom. Readers will learn to stop chasing life and truly live.”
This book has a fun, honest, and refreshing take on living your biggest dreams and best life, complete with simple exercises to keep you on track. “#1 New York Times Bestselling Author and world-traveling success coach, Jen Sincero, serves up 27 bite-sized chapters full of hilariously inspiring stories, sage advice, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word. (Nothing near my above recommendation’s profanity!) You Are a Badass will help you: Identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want, blast past your fears so you can take big exciting risks, figure out how to make some damn money already, learn to love yourself and others, set big goals and reach them – it will basically show you how to create a life you totally love, and how to create it NOW.”
Sometimes I think about this online world of ours and how so much of our social lives are online. I’ve made some amazing connections and I truly have friends in this online community. I look forward to seeing the latest posts of their kiddos, reading a funny story from their day, or exchanging advice mama to mama. The best connections often arise when we really get to know someone, the person behind that pretty Instagram feed.
This month I am excited to feature a collaboration that encourages us to tell our stories. Because really, what’s more fun than reppin’ your own life?! I’ve been on a journey to be me this year, and this collaboration is a perfect fit.
With Vienna’s first year of preschool wrapping up, I wanted to capture a few memories of her at this age. Although they’re about nothing substantial per se, these are my favourite posts to look back on.
Miss V, or “Nenna” to her little sister, is now 3.5. She is still the sweetest girl with the biggest heart (three-nager tantrums aside). She loves to play, especially outside, and she still has that sweet tooth, just like her Dad. Lot’s of people say she is tall for her age and people are forever shocked that this blonde-haired, blue-eyed baby girl is mine.
Hi, I’m Raina, and I’m addicted to taking on new projects. When I was a kid I always wanted to be everything when I grew up (in third grade alone I was spouting off my plans to be a lawyer, doctor, and a Mom… meh, one out of 3 ain’t bad, right?) 😉 I’ve always kept that drive to continuously learn and grow… or maybe more accurately it’s more of an addiction to doing everything. Case in point: you can catch me around the holidays crafting my toddler’s “shared snack” for preschool into theme-appropriate shapes late into the evening. Anyways…
With Mother’s Day coming up this weekend I’m excited to share a few of my favourite products that make for a thoughtful gift for all of the Mamas out there! Of course Mother’s Day is not about the gifts we receive, but it is always nice to get a little something special. Plus, I know my three year old daughter just loves to pick out and give gifts. She gets so excited and that makes me so happy! Gifts don’t have to be extravagant, as cliche as it sounds, it really is the thought that counts.
Hi! And welcome to Mama Writes Blog. For those of you I don’t know, let me introduce myself. I’m Raina. Mama to Vienna and Aria, wife to Mike, and a lover of the written word. I grew up in a small town in British Columbia, Canada, not far from where I live now. I love sunny weather and traveling, coffee, Pilates, holidays, baking, and, of course, being a mother to my two beautiful girls! I wanted to take a quick post to start the New Year off with a little about me and my plans for 2017!
2017 is here and I am so excited to be writing this post. Mostly because it’s my first post of a New Year. And you know what that means? That I’m still blogging! I started this little blog back in the Spring; it was something I had always wanted to do. But I was nervous. Scared. Intimidated. What if no one reads it? Or perhaps more accurately, what if someone reads it, LOL. What if I have nothing to write about? I’m my worst critic, and I knew I would be hard on myself if I didn’t “succeed”. It took me 4 more months after I decided to blog before I published it on social media, in particular to friends, family and people I know. 5 months later I am SO proud of myself for this accomplishment.
Putting myself out there to the world is part of a new chapter about me. One where I’m less concerned about what people think, and more focused on being my true self. And maybe no one is reading this after all (anyone? 😉 ) But that’s OK by me! That’s not why I’m here. I love writing. And like I said in the beginning, I want a memory of this time for my girls.
In starting Mamawrites I have connected with a community of people that I may not know in person, but feel like long time friends. I have received so many kind compliments and support from friends and family, and from acquaintances, too. That support and feedback isn’t the be-all and end-all, of course, but it has given me confidence and the encouragement to not care (about the wrong stuff) and to care (about the good stuff).
I am so excited for this start to a new year, which naturally brings about an opportunity to plan goals and dreams. I’m looking forward to a full year of hopefully somewhat pre-planned blog content, too!
We rang in 2017 with a couple of friends at our fave local pizza place, and then came home for an early count down with the girls before tucking them in for the night. And, just to remind us of what season of life we are in, Aria had one of her only explosive diapers ever while we were out (sorry about that, friends) and Vienna put on a fairly good display of toddler whining all the way home and refused to have her picture taken. There’s no where I’d rather be, but please pass the wine.
Here’s to another amazing year ahead! And how cute are these little princesses? xo
Last weekend we visited our family in Alberta to celebrate the life of my Uncle Len. He was like another grandparent to us, especially given his own grandchildren came along many years later than my sister and I. It was a busy, emotional weekend. Bittersweet in that all of my crazy family got together (think the stereotypical ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ crew… except we aren’t Greek, and there’s no wedding), yet it was over the loss of one of our “greats.” It’s pretty amazing that my girls get to know all of our big extended family, and their Great, Great relatives.
My Uncle Len always told one of my favourite stories of me as a child. He loved it and would share it any chance he got. He even told it at my wedding in his toast to the bride. The story goes…
When I was about three my Uncle took my sister and I to visit our Grandparents who lived about four hours away. As we traveled we started playing I spy. My turn to choose was up and I left my sister and him guessing forever, until finally they gave in. “It was that brown horse back there you guys!” I exclaimed, to the annoyance of my sister. We continued on and he said out of nowhere I screamed (anyone with a three year old right now knows how loud that is) from the back seat. He pulled over in a panic thinking that at I probably needed to use the bathroom or was sick. He said he raced to get me out of the car, concerned and flustered that something was wrong, stood me up on the road next to him, only to have me adjust my three-year-old-little-tights and say, “ok, we can go now.”
He told that story so. many. times. We were so blessed to have him visit us for the girls’ birthday just a few short weeks ago and to meet baby Aria, something he always talked about doing. He loved his family so much.
I didn’t intend to blog about this, but this week I’ve been wanting to share some family photos, and this family story just came out as I typed. Part of my reason to blog is to create a memory for my girls, and now this story that I loved to hear him tell is written for the first (and yes, likely only, time).
All this goes to say that I love my family and I am lucky to have them. And it’s pretty cool to see Mike and my own little family grow and change. Below I’m sharing photos of our little family of four.
Over the past five years we have had many family photos done, given that we have had so many of those “big” life events: engagement, wedding, maternity, newborn, maternity, newborn. I think I’m addicted. We have had all of our photos done by Jennifer Harwood with Blink Photography. Jen, what are we going to do when we run out of life events to celebrate!? And how cool is it that one photographer has our entire story?!
I truly love the way Jen captures exactly who our family is. She is amazing with kids– all of our sessions have been fun and relaxing, and it shows in the final product. This last session is my favourite, I think because of the beautiful fall colours. Fall just might becoming my favourite season (sorry, summer). I can’t wait to put these on my gallery wall (read: project coming soon!)
Thank you again Jen for these amazing photos! Here’s a small sample of some of my favourites! xo
Miss V is THREE today. What an amazing adventure life has been with this sweet girl so far. It’s funny, I did a mother’s day post about each of the girls this year and five months later if feels like I just wrote that. So much has changed, yet so much has stayed exactly the same.