Friday, 31 July 2015

~Babies No More (or Babies Forever)~ House Tour Part 4.5


Children grow up so very fast. Everyone knows this. It seems like just yesterday that I was posting about the cutest room, the nursery my baby boys share.  Now, they are sleeping in "big boy beds," also known as cribs converted into toddler beds. The transition was sudden and forced. Climbing in and out of each other's beds had become a danger and I converted the beds in desperation on a Friday night at 10:00 pm by myself, as Husband was out.  Not the best night. So many tears. I miss the baby cages, but I am excited for every new phase that my boys go through. 

Being a mom to twins has taught me millions of things. Here are 8 of my favourite lessons.

1. A twin pregnancy is stressful. More stressful if you are carrying identical twins, because they share a placenta. My doctor's exact words, "the placenta was not made to be shared." A condition called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome can occur when the babies do not share the placenta equally. This did happen with my boys, we were told that they probably wouldn't make it at about 18 weeks. So we were worried, constantly monitoring, and lived in the NICU for a while. Everything worked out and we are extremely grateful for our healthy boys.

2. Fraternal twins are hereditary. Identical twins are not. Look it up if you want to know more, and please stop asking me if I have twins in my family. I do not. 

3. Sometimes you can struggle with "unexplained infertility" for four years, and then spontaneously conceive twins. Life is strange.

4. Buy two of everything. This is a peacekeeping measure. Trust me.

5. Twins are double the work and exhausting, but they are still easier than Autism. 

6. Twins are amazing, so is Autism.

7. Twins have the most beautiful natural relationship that I have ever witnessed.  Can you imagine always being with your best friend, learning everything together? This doesn't mean that they don't have moments of disagreement, they have a lot of those, but I think the joy Mr. G and Mr. L find with each other overrides any discord they experience. I hope that is always the case for them. It makes my heart happy. 

8. I need a lot less sleep than I previously thought.

After just a few nights of sleeping in their toddler beds, we found the boys like this, squished into one bed, by choice. Sweetest ever. I love my babies, and I think  I know I will be one of those Moms that calls her children her babies forever and ever. 

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

My oasis. House tour part 4. ~featuring my feet~

I did something crazy. I bought a red rug. What?? Me? The girl with the red aversion? The thing is, the red aversion was not a calculated thing, it just happened. I wanted a new area rug for my bedroom so that I could move some things around and fix up my studio area, I had a budget, and this gorgeous retro red circle rug was my definite favourite in my price range. So I bought it, and second guessed my choice for about 24 hours. I am happy to say that this red area rug and I are now in love.

My bedroom and I have been in love for a long time. Something I don't understand, is when people neglect their bedroom. It makes me think that they have low self esteem and makes me want to hug them (and I am not a huggy person). If this is you, and your bedroom is depressing, send me an email and we will set up a time for me to come help you. Really, everyone deserves an oasis. I keep my bedroom clean and clutter free at ALL TIMES, I am so strict about it. The entire house can be a disaster, but my bed will be made (this is often the case). This room is my oasis, where I send myself if I need a "time out." It is really simple, nothing special, a comfy bed and a place for my clothes. Obviously, I share this room with Husband. It is also his favourite room. Plus, this room houses my children's favourite trampoline!

My bedroom is one of the rooms that I did not get to painting. I tend to favour bold colours, so I hated this pale buttery yellow. I had plans to paint this room white, but something happened... the colour grew on me. It is such a peaceful shade, and we get a lot of sunlight, which gives the room a happy glow. Now, I love it. I also now own a red area rug, so life is full of surprises. 

Hand-me-down dresser from my mom. Years ago, I distressed it and whitewashed it, I was going through a strange time in my life (decor wise). Recently, I spray painted the drawer knobs silver, and I actually really like the end result. I have had people in Instagram ask me where I bought this dresser, so I guess it looks okay! The yellow mirror was also something inexpensive that I painted.  

So I like scarves...

My favourite quote and mantra by William Henry Channing, printed on a photo I took.

"To live content with small means: to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion, to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages with open heart, to study hard, to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden, and unconscious grow up through the common... this is my symphony."

His and her's closets. Thank goodness for good storage!

Vintage sewing kit from the 1950s.

Baby K's hands when he was just 1 year old. I have since learned that this is the size of hands you are supposed to have when you are 5. 

Husband's readings. Love that guy.

My view when I am chilaxing on my bed, something I would like to do more. Trees, and always a stranger's car parked in the shade (we have an A+ parking spot out there).

If you need to find me, I will be hiding in my room staring at my newly acquired red decor item and wondering what other surprises are in store for me!

P.S. Yes, my headboard is an area rug from Ikea, for more wacky wall art, check out this...Most of my Living Happens Here.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

What do you do? Please give me your long answer.

"What do you do?"

The most common (and boring) question I am asked when meeting someone for the first time. The short answer, "I teach music part time and stay home with my boys." The long answer, "I play dress up, host tea parties and picnics, laugh with my friends, make yummy food, eat yummy food, sing, practice the piano and guitar, make up songs but usually don't get around to writing them down, record music, explore new music, read, sleep, love, go for walks, explore my city, watch movies, take photos, edit photos, take video, make photo books, edit family movies, blog, write, swim, clean, reorganize my house, redecorate my house, yard work, teach piano lessons, teach voice lessons, work as an accompanist, play for weddings and events, host dinner parties, talk on the phone with my family, text, referee my children, potty train, mark never ending theory and harmony homework, write essays, analyse everything, work on therapies with my son, set too many goals, write too many lists, draw, paint, bake, dream, worry, plan, drink a lot of water, drink a lot of coffee, dance with my kids, shop at Costco, admire trees... " the list is endless. I am not the only one with an endless list. We are all so much more than our short answers to, "what do you do?" Next time I am introduced to someone new, maybe I will launch into my long answer, and encourage them to do the same.

Something that I have noticed in my life is that my hobbies and my career have gradually become the same thing. I do realize that I am one of the lucky few who can say this. Husband is the same. We have jobs that we love doing things that we are passionate about. It was not always this way. We had numerous jobs while in our never ending period of school and figuring out things that we didn't enjoy at all, which makes our present situation sweeter. I was the primary earner for the first 10 years of our marriage (which means we were very poor- ha ha!). This has switched in the last few years and it has been a great thing for us.

Presently, I have been editing our yearly family movie. After our first son was born, we started to care more about documenting our lives with video. Mainly our children's lives. They grow so fast and I am glad that we have so many precious moments on film. I wanted our family movies to be something that we would want to sit down and watch together and not endless hours of meandering film that might feel like a chore to get through. When my oldest son turned 1 year old, I edited our first year of video into about an hour and a half of film, not an easy feat! I added music and some effects, and sent copies to family members that live far away. It was such a hit, that I have been doing it every year since. I just finished year 4. This particular hobby of mine, does have a way of taking over my life for the few days that I am working on it. It is a big project!

Here is this year's preview that I sent out to family to get them excited about the movie and to motivate myself to finish it.

It's on My Facebook Page!   ---click to see

*I originally uploaded through Youtube, but Facebook gave me much better quality. Sorry for the billions (slight exaggeration) of links today.

Tonight we are having a "red carpet premiere" of our family video. Mr. L thinks that means that there will be red cars there. He is going to be so disappointed. There will be popcorn and snuggles and the stars of the film will all be in attendance. Fancy times!

One of my favourite parts of editing the family video is choosing the music. Here is the soundtrack to our 2014-2015 Family Movie. Enjoy! Cheers to doing more of what we love!

1. All is Love,  Karen O and the Kids

2. Linus and Lucy, Vince Guaraldi Trio

3. Can't Help Falling in Love, Ingrid Michaelson

4. You Couldn't Be Cuter, Diana Krall and Yo Yo Mah

5. Brother, Peter Katz featuring Royal Wood

6. Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 Op. 46, Edvard Grieg

7. Winter Wonderland/ Don't Worry Be Happy, Pentatonix ft. Tori Kelly

8. Put the Lights on the Tree, Sufjan Stevens

9. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, played by ME

10. Where Time Stands Still, Mary Chapin Carpenter (from Songs From the Movie Album)
- I can't find it on Youtube... help me... or just buy it on iTunes, it is gorgeous

11. Shake it Off, Walk off the Earth

12. 5 Years Time, Noah & the Whale

13. Hungarian Dance No. 5 in G minor, Johannes Brahms

14. Folding Chair, Regina Spektor
- best lyric ever, "I've got a perfect body, 'cause my eyelashes catch my sweat."

15. Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Ludwig Van Beethoven

16. Blue Charlie Brown, played by ME

17. Uptown Funk, Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars

18. No Ones Gonna Love You (Quite Like I Do), Jenn Grant

19. Thanks a Lot, Raffi
-one of my favourite songs, so beautiful

Friday, 10 July 2015

I love my adorable unglamorous kitchen. House Tour Part 3.

 Welcome to my kitchen! This is the room I feel like I spend most of my time in. I cook and bake a lot and usually enjoy it. I actually have quite an affection for this room and for the memories we have made in it. I often joke that my love language is food. Sharing food with family and friends is such a big part of life and I am so very lucky to have access to clean water and fresh food and have the opportunity to make and share beautiful food every day.

I love our house, neighbourhood, and city. It was a thrill to move into this space after living in a 2 bedroom apartment with our first baby. I was instantly in love with every room in the house except for the kitchen. When I first moved in, this is what I thought about this particular room,
a) these peach walls have to go (and they did)
b) this floor is hideous and will be difficult to keep clean (partially true)
c) ugliest cupboards ever
d) what a terrible design, there is no traffic flow
e) not enough storage
f) wouldn't it be fun to remodel, knock out a wall, change everything

I have to say that I have been on a bit of a journey since moving to Ottawa. I realized after 3 big moves across the country that "stuff" is overrated. If I can live with less, I will. I have been on a minimalist path, simplifying my home, life, and even relationships when possible. To me, a minimalist lifestyle is living only with what you find to be essential. This, of course, is different for every person. I also did a year of not buying any clothing. It was a freeing, eye opening, and wonderful experiment. Because of this journey, my once horrible kitchen now seems beautiful to me. I painted the walls a bright happy chartreuse (one of my favourite colours), I painted out the wood portions on the cupboards white, I got rid of a lot of stuff, and I bought a piece of furniture to further help with the lack of storage. I now think that I would probably never remodel because I would rather spend that money on other things.

 My children's favourite door because it leads to their favourite place, the BACKYARD, where they would live if I let them.

 My very necessary furniture purchase from Ikea. I needed more pantry room and an area for pots and pans. This also frees up counter space by having the microwave, toaster (which I spray painted- I am a little crazy), my Keurig (basically my favourite thing), phone/pens/papers/planner/to do lists/command centre (it makes sense for me to have all this in the kitchen since I am always in the kitchen), out of the way.
Also, check out my card tree which makes me smile because it showcases recent cards and notes from lovely friends and family.
For anyone under the age of 20, first, I am surprised that you are reading my blog actually. Second, that green contraption on the left is called a CD player. They used to be a thing. I mostly use it to listen to CBC Radio 2, my all the time music station. I am an old lady in my heart.

So apparently, letters go in horizontal lines and numbers go in vertical lines. This is the work of my 2 year olds. They are obviously geniuses. I spray painted the magnetic letters because I can't live with primary colours everywhere. This is not a circus or a daycare, although it often feels like both!

 Some of my favourite quotes and an absolutely beautiful drawing of my dearly departed cat done by Ashlie Chandler, commissioned by my dearest friend Marni.

Ever changing artwork display featuring my children's work. Kid art is the best!

 In case you were wondering if we are nerds, we are. If you know what this is, you are a nerd too. Let's be friends!

More proof of nerdiness. Husband and I write (mostly G rated but not always) magnetic poetry for each other.

Not too long ago, Husband said, "our lives are not very glamorous. Especially yours." I think this is true. I also think that I am okay with this. There is great potential for my life to increase in glamour once I am not helping 3 boys with their bathroom times... so until then... I will enjoy where I am at, and keep making great memories in my adorable unglamorous kitchen.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

You don't remember me, but I will never forget you.

Today is my beautiful Grandma's Birthday. She has been on my mind since I woke up this morning. I had a thought that I would like to sketch this gorgeous portrait of her, but my day was hectic and I did not find the time. It is something that I would like to do in the future. Imagine that I sketched this photo. Are you impressed? I am impressed by how beautiful my grandmother is, as well as how people really knew how to take a glamour portrait in her day. 

I send Grandma a card every year, and some photos or a small gift, although the gifts are getting more difficult to figure out. My grandmother has Alzheimer's Disease, and it has been many years since she has recognized me when I go to visit her. I miss her. Life is anything but fair.

5 things I love about my Grandma

1. She was an important part of my childhood. I grew up in the same city as all my grandparents and most of that time my paternal and maternal grandparents lived only 2 blocks from each other so we could walk from one house to the other as children (spoiled). I remember Sunday dinners at Grandma's house with my mom's side of the family. If the weather was nice, we ate outside, at tables, with fold up chairs, or on picnic blankets. There was a lot of delicious food and laughter.

2. My Grandma is the most creative person. She was always playing the piano, quilting, making dolls, sewing clothes, decorating her house, painting and repainting walls... This obviously had a great impact on me (as well as my mother, and my sisters- we can't stop creating)! 

My Grandma made this spectacular quilt for me when I got married. It is a treasure. She even did needlepoint squares showcasing music, art, computers, and ninjas. Husband appreciates those last two subjects. 

3. My Grandma is one of the smartest people I have ever met. She is well read, educated, opinionated, quick with conversation and with wit. When Husband first got to know Grandma, he was surprised by her constant debate. You had to be aware and participate in conversation or you would miss out.

4. She loves my Grandpa so much. They are a wonderful example of true love. They are best friends, they challenge each other, and they have FUN together. Grandma lives in a home now, and Grandpa goes to visit her every single day. Sweetest romance story I know.

5. My absolute favourite thing about my Grandma is her laugh. I miss hearing it, I know that I am not the only one. All my little cousins (I am the oldest of her 19 grandkids) just tickled her and kept her chuckling. I am sure that her 5 children entertained her quite a bit when she wasn't exhausted! 

My Grandma and Grandpa served a mission for the LDS church in upstate New York. My family and I went to visit them when I was a teenager. One evening we went for a walk along the train tracks in a beautiful State Park. Grandma somehow tripped and fell. We were up quite high, at least 20 meters (almost 66 feet - I looked it up for my American friends). It was a steep incline, she lay stiff as a board and had the slowest fall down the hill. Really, it was like she was slow sliding down the gravel feet first. We laughed and laughed because we have a family issue of laughing at people when they get hurt, luckily, she was not seriously injured, and the whole stunt was hilarious. When I asked Grandma why she let herself slide down the entire hill without stopping, she said, "I have learned that when you fall, you should just go with it." Wise words from a wise woman. 

Happy Birthday Grandma. I love you.