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.
I don’t know about you, but over here we are (rather desperately now) dreaming of summer. Anyone else feel like this winter is never ending? It seems that we’ve had a few glimpses of spring (and we immediately commence conversations about riding bikes, blowing bubbles and hitting the park) and every. single. time. winter shows up the very next day to prove us wrong. Sigh.
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
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!
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).
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. 😉
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).