Road trip to Pittsburgh

At the beginning of November, the Hubz, the girls and I travelled to Pittsburgh for my husband’s cousins’ wedding.  I was terrified to do a 6 hour car ride with the girls. (give or take an hour or so).  I mean, Miss S literally asks for a snack as soon as I buckle her into the car seat.  And she (like any other kid, including myself when I was her age) incessently ask “are we there yet” or “how many more minutes”. I was really afraid I would lose my $#!t.  (#BadMom alert!)

I am happy to report that it wasn’t as bad as I thought.  Considering we’ve done a few 2 hour trips with them, this was relativity easier.  Mainly because we broke up the trip and having Miss S ride half the time with us and the other half with her grandparents (who were also attending – just driving another car).

We made sure to have lots of snacks, a bag of entertainment (crayons, letter beads/pipe cleaners, hot wheels and lots of books via this children’s e-reader), a few CDs burnt with our favourite songs of the moment (like this, this and this) and of course an iPad with some downloaded kids shows as back up (thanks to Netflix Canada’s downloadable feature)…. I felt for the most part prepared.

Not sure if we could do that type of road trip on our own but I do feel a little more aware of what to expect and a dare I say a little more confident.

Here are some of the pictures I snapped while we were away!

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Kids asleep in the mobile bunk bed (aka a double stroller) so we get to ENJOY!

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Miss S always makes our family pictures so much fun :P

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I always love seeing the “4 pillar” representations at Hindu weddings.

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Gparents babysitting meant that us two got a break and went straight to the Hotel Lobby Bar ;)

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The happy couple!

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Miss El’s eigth month update

Slowly my attention is returning to the other part of my life that hasn’t needed my focus in so long.  I am thinking about going back to work as well as everything that comes with that: schedules, pick ups, drop offs, commuting, budgets, meal preps and dinner on weeknights.  My mind is exploding with to do lists and calendar dates.  But for the next few minutes I am going to focus on 8 months of Lou-Lou

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Peplum Top & Leggings (Similar) | Headband (Multiple colours available)

Yep – she’s got a new nick name.  It’s funny, Miss S and I read this book a million and one times while Ellie was in my belly.  I was sad that our world wouldn’t have President Barack Obama in it any more and Miss S would constantly ask about LoLo (I started pronouncing it Low-Low – and I guess she was amused). Anyways – Miss S now calls her it affectionately and the grandparents do it to.  I guess that works because she only answers to that or Elora so now it’s stuck!!

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Christmas Tree | Fairy Lights | Area Rug 

She is talking up a storm!  Calling Ma’am Maam, Da-Dat, Eeeee, Ooaa.  She thinks she’s a big shot and we couldn’t agree more.  She’s started pulling herself up and experimenting with cruising and getting accustomed to being on her hands and knees.  Lots of bouncing, pushing backwards, scooting in circles while sitting or on tummy time but no actual crawling yet.

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Jacket (Similar) | Cold Weather Onesie (Similar)

She’s been exposing herself to TOOOONNNS of food, now eating 3 meals and 1-2 snacks a day.  Although we do give her a lot of store bought baby food (our go-to brands are: Baby Gourmet, Love Child Organics and Earth’s Best) she’s tried my mother in laws black channe and her Pop’s weekly oven baked fish and was totally into it.  Right now her favourites are banana, scrambled eggs, coconut yogurt, 3 ingredient pancakes.

She claps and hurrays with her arms.  We are teaching her the basic baby sign language and she’s tried doing “more” lol.  She’s still really into her sister (but not her sister’s “smuhugs” aka smush-hugs), has started to play wrestle with her sis, as well tries to hide a toy in her hand if she sees Miss S running towards her LOL!!!.  Still into PDA and has even started giving us wet kisses 💋💋!!  She loves playing a game with her dad and I where she wants to go from my arms to his arms and back and forth – she obviously thinks it’s hilarious!  And we do too!

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Head band | Hair Clip | Cardigan (Similar)

Miss El’s seventh month update

Here we are 7 months Ellie Babe.

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She is entertaining us so much right now.  If I am not cleaning up the puddle in front of her chin then I am literally changing her clothes or bibs 3-4 times a day because she’s blowing raspberries.  She is too quick to grab things (like the salt and pepper shaker from the dinning table, books or pens in my hands and even my coffee or tea mug).  She loves saying “da da” and on occasion has said “na” and “ba ba”.  No “ma ma” yet :(

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She’s always interested in what her sister is doing and loves cuddling us all.  She loves the bath so I am thinking about taking her to the pool once a week before we officially put her in swimming lessons.

She’s been eating at least twice a day – mainly because I’ve been lazy giving her lunch on the weekdays :/  So I am sure she’d take more.  It’s hilarous when she thinks any food going into our mouths is for her.  She’s really into sweet potato, banana and cheesy scrambled eggs.

We finally got her ears pierced although I was in no rush as she has an uncanny resemblance to her Nani (maternal grandmother).  I remember with Miss S, she looked too much like a girl version of the Hubz I pierced her ears ASAP lol.

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She’s really into banging things together, dancing (really its just a little lachak in her hips), claps on demand and has been initiated into the season of Fall with a few colds :(

She loves playing on her tummy and exploring things upright while sitting.  Rolls from her back to tummy and starting to turn to the side when she’s on her back – only if she’s got the right motivation (aka our iPhone).  We love encouraging her to do 360 turns while on her tummy (think: the hands moving around the face of a clock) with the right motivation which is currently a Fidget Spinner.

 

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35 Favourite Things #HappyBirthdayToMe

The day before yesterday was my birthday  And if you can tell by the title, I turned 35!

Initially I didn’t give it a second thought, because ever since I turned 18 I realized I always have felt like I was 16 :)

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But I figured, I’d mark the moment with a little reminder to myself of 35 of my favourite things.

1. Hugs from Miss S and EliHaze
I am grateful for when my girls wrap their tiny arms tightly around my neck and lately when Miss S tries to reach all the way around my shoulders.  I completely agree with all parents who have ever told me that kid cuddles are the best.

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2. 1 second video app
I’ve been struggling with trying to capture the special moments but also stay present with the kids.  Buuut, I think I’ve found something that may be the solution.  I used this awesome app for about 6 months.  It’s so fun to watch how our life changed in those months.  Just doing some sound edits and will be posting it soon.

3. Day dates with the Hubs
Before kids, the mister and I went out almost every night. Living downtown, we took advantage of every scene possible. The ‘Liscious events, Nuit Blanche, Going to movies after work/dinner, even a late night (10pm) gym session was a luxury we enjoyed. However now, we take serious advantage of the “day date”. I know we may have a few more years ahead of us before we can truly enjoy a night out again so we are using daycare and a kiddo napping in the car seat whenever we can!

4. My DSLR
Mad love although I am in the market for a something new :) Like this and this or this.

5. My blog
I think anyone out there who has a blog agrees. And even though I’ve questioned parts of the blogging experience – my blog is a special place for my words, thoughts, art and photographs.

6. The Library
I love walking into a big room full of books, and then walking out with a stack of books for free (for appx 3 weeks) is even better.

7. Our kitchen chalkboard
I actually got the idea to paint a wall in our kitchen from a family member who also had it in her kitchen. Sometimes we use it for our grocery list, doodles, teach a lesson to Miss S, a seasonal message, a reminder, a to-do list. But it fosters our family’s cohesiveness and creativity – which is top of my list.

8.  Kiddo art work
Whether it’s stuff that gets sent home with her from preschool or things her and I create together when her pops is in school – I love it.  I really really really hope I am instilling some foundation of creativity in her.

9. Marketing/Social Media/Millennials/Hygge
I probably sound like a big nerd but I find the above topics so fascinating – especially how they interwine.

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10.  Gratitude
It’s a habit I picked up a few years ago, but it’s still my favourite mind recharging tool. (Now if only I can get into meditation)

11. Easy green smoothie
Handful or two of baby spinach, one chopped up pear, a few splashes of lime juice and teaspoon of maple syrup – the EASIEST greens smoothie eeevvaaaa!  Also quick add ons for my weekend smoothie: cinnamon, ginger (fresh with peals on), a banana, coconut water, hemp hearts, celery, cucumber #Slurp

12.  Moleskin planner
I’ve mentioned this a few times, I am kind of planner and journal obsessed.  But the Moleskin planner is my current fav.  It’s a a one or TWO year planner with a SOFT COVER!  It has lined pages beside a weekly page, tons of simple stickers, monthly calendars, free pages and a pocket.

13. The Social
Love this TV show.  Especially when I was using the gym on my work lunch break.  I can break up the work day to watch it lol

14. PodCasts
I know they’ve been around for a while, but I only got into them recently.  It’s such an EASY way to get information without having to look at something (i.e.: a screen).  I started this one recently after reading this book. Other favs include: Richroll, The Millennial and the Ted Talks.

15.  DIYing
Probably the coolest concept.  Growing up I didn’t really have anyone role model to me what a DIY was so when I started planning my wedding and realized it was thing I was hooked.  I do it a lot from party decor to house hold stuff.  Somethings I want to try in the next year: rope basket in different shapes and sizes (thinking small one for the front door key / phone spot and something larger for Miss S’s room)…aaanndd maybe this too.

16.  Fresh roses on our coffee table
The house can be a complete disaster (which it normally is) but when I see the fresh roses on the coffee table – I feel like I am in a hotel lobby or in someone who’s house is clean and spotless LOL

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17. Reading Blogs
I think I’ve said this before but blogs (currently and more specifically lifestyle blogs) are so inspiring and motivating.  I’ve been reading blogs for over 10 years now – The one blog I used to read/interact with is no longer around, but the writer was a sweetheart and so relatable. That said, with social media the past time of ACTUALLY reading the blog posts is now a long lost hobby I feel.

18.  My faux Marble table top
I saw a DIY for this in the summer and it was the coolest thing so I made one.  Theeennnn I realized I could probably just swap out a table top from an actual table (maybe something from Ikea or Target) and actually have a “marble table”.  In any case it’s perfect for clean background / flatlay shots that I love taking and it cost me less than 10 bucks!

tly_marble19.  Counting my steps
I think a few years ago when 10K steps a day became a thing I didn’t catch on.  But the older / wiser I get I feel like walking is a misunderstood form of physical activity.  I realized this by starting the BBG program (which I didn’t finish – twice now) I love the gym, I love weights and I love running but I am starting to fall in love with walking. I’ve been going back and forth between my phone and my husbands fitbit flex (which I gifted him but he doesn’t use lol).  And some days when I am feeling really motivated, I walk circles around my house just to “get my steps in

20. My Foam Roller
I first started using a foam roller in 2012, but it should have been sooner.

21. This photograph is by far my fav photograph from this year.  You can find it on my Etsy shop too!

22. Doing arts and craft projects with my daughter
I am legit that IT analyst corporette/Mat Leave mom by day and that wannabe DIY/Craft Mom all the other times of the day lol.  But I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Now just gotta find a way to do more DIYs and crafts in the day :P

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23. Going to the gym on my lunch break
I never thought I would be one of those people rushing to the gym to get a workout in during my lunch break – but it’s been the best decision for my lifestyle (as a working mom).

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I’ve been using it since 2012 on my personal account and since 2015 as an extension of this blog.  It is still by far my favourite social media site.  I always find motivating and intriguing people to follow and I love scrolling my own feed to see all the cool things I’ve been up to/pictures I’ve been able to capture.

25. Our neighbourhood
All the parks and green space – serious game changer.

26. Yoga / Sun Salutations
I don’t do it enough but it always makes me feel better.  Now next year I need to get into meditiation.

27. Facetime
I know this is super old technology but it’s major thing holding me back from getting anything other than apple products.  Plus – It’s an awesome way to talk to grandparents, cousins and friends who are not close by.

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28. Loaded Oatmeal
Although I haven’t had oatmeal in a few weeks I love love love personalizing it and making it into a hearty meal or very filling snack. Some of my fav toppings are: hemp hearts, hazelnut almond butter, cacao nibs/dark chocolate chips :)

29. Wholewheat toast with melty pb, banana and chia seeds
I would eat it everyday.

30. Intention/Minimalism
Being more aware of what I am doing/eating/thinking/saying has allowed me to be more conscious of my consumption.  And that awareness is only something a 35 year old can get :P

31. Giving up chicken (and bacon!)
I have never been so proud of myself then I have these past almost 4 months.

32. Journaling
Whatever form it is in, i.e.: this blog, bullet journaling or even in a folder of word documents.  The process and practice is very invigorating to me.

33. Red nail polish & Red lipstick
Honestly someone just perma-stain my nails red because it’s truly the only nail polish colour that I can keep on my nails for longer than 3 days :P

34. The words “I am”
Totally related to being intentional these words are really powerful.  I recently read that chanting the words “I am, I can, I will, I do” during meditation is probably more doable / powerful than focusing too hard on breathing.

35. Mind Maping
Getting all your thoughts out on a topic or project is so freeing!

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I am not a yogini but I want to do headstands

I am always careful when using the word “but”.  I am sure this is common knowledge but everything before the but is thought to be untrue slash doesn’t stand for anything.  Hence this title of this post.  I am not a yogini and I still want to learn to do a headstand.

I found this article on headstands for beginners. I plan on adding the exercises (pictured below) to my daily workout/stretch/foam rolling routine to build muscles, strength and stamina for this pose.

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Although not pictured, I also need to add “plank on my forearms” to this practice.

Wish me luck!

Capsule Packing for Las Vegas

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I’ve always enjoyed packing a suitcase or overnight bag.  The planning, the organization, the list making – everything that goes into packing makes me feel like I’m getting ready for the first day of school.  I guess packing gives me a sense of control, which isn’t something I crave in my every day life (I’m not exactly a type A personality).

But packing as a family of 4 takes on a whole new level because now I am trying to be as minimalist as possible.

Okay, I’ll be honest, you can’t really pack minimally with kids.  I mean even if you are going away for 6 days you still have to pack 12 days worth of clothes.  Well 15 because you need back up clothes for your back up clothes 😂.  With more than one kid, diapers, wipes and all the other stuff kids are comfortable with, that could take up an entire checked luggage.

So when we starting planning for our 1st multi-generational vacation I knew that going with more than one checked suit case was more then we could handle.  I mean we have only so many hands and carry ons and backpacks work better with umbrella strollers and babies in carriers.

I had to get creative and decided to plan all outfits (included back ups of back ups), pare down the number of shoes I normally take and research as many ways as possible to be as lean as possible with our packing.

I was pretty happy with myself when all we had was one large checked luggage, one carry on luggage and one backpack for 6 days!

I figure I’d share my capsule wardrobe for Las Vegas.  Mind you I didn’t do any clubbing but considering the girls’ grand parents were with us I did plan in case we would be able to get out (we didn’t – the time difference didn’t make for easy for evenings).

Daytime outfits were needed for hanging out at the strip, shopping, checking out the free hotel attractions, going to the gym and taking a day trip to go hiking.  Evening outfits were normally just for dinners (restaurant or buffet).

I was able to make 13 outfits from the following pieces:
– 4 fancy tops
– 1 tank top
– 2 t-shirts
– 1 button up
– 1 black skirt
– 1 light weight jacket
– 2 pairs of shorts
– 2 pairs of leggings (1 was vegan leather)
– 1 pair of gym crops
– 2 gym tops
– 2 bathing suits
Accessories included: wide brim fedora, chocker, handkerchief
4 pairs of shoes (runners, converse, mid heal sandal and flip flops – should have left the converse at home).

What started out as way to save space in our luggage actually turned out to be an efficient and quick way to get dressed for different activities on our trip.

Have you tried capsule/minimalist packing on a trip?