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)

Our Halloween 2017

I know this post is super late but I wanted to get it up for #MemoriesSake.  I am not a cool Instagram mom and there is waaayyy too much sass and last minuting in this house for a coordinated family costume idea but the fact that we ALL got into the spirit was good enough for me.

Both of my camera batteries were dead so I was only able to get a few quick shots of our costume’s with the Mister’s camera phone (which was incredibly fuzzy for some reason).

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Fidget Spinner Pops Dr. Fairy Lil Kaduu & *Takes a deep breath* Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, The Mother of Dragons

I did however get some action shots of our pumpkin carving.  It’s the hubz chance to get creative but this year we let Miss S choose the pumpkin face design.

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Side Note: we love our bumbo and have been using it even more the second time around.  Even though Ellie is pretty steady when she sits it often comes in handy when we feed her (as she’s still pretty petite for the high chair) and we also keep her in it when we give the girls a bath together as she’s outgrown the baby bath.

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Jeans | Choker | Sweater

And here is me pulling all the seeds out because we all wanted that salty-crunchy treat!

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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How a Desi family celebrates Canadian Thanksgiving

We have officially entered that time of year where every family event imaginable occurs one after the other after the other.  Let me break it down for you.

Our wedding anniversary
Husband’s birthday
Rakhi

My sister/brother in laws wedding anniversary
Thanksgiving
Karva Chauth
Diwali
Tikka

My Birthday
My Dad’s Birthday
My brother in laws Birthday
Halloween
My Mom’s birthday
My sister’s birthday
Christmas
NYE

I colour coded it to display events broken down by month.  That is August, October, November then December.  And sometimes this crazy thing is that events may fall on the same weekend or one day apart during the work week or even on the same day!!!! (This year Thanksgiving was the day after Karva Chauth and Diwali is on my birthday).  Also I forgot to mention that majority of these celebrations are celebrated twice (one with my family and once with my in laws).  So undoubtedly it makes for a very busy and intense few months.  It takes a lot of brain power, planning and calmness to make it through these months.  

Now if you aren’t Indian (aka Desi – the word used in the title of this post) you probably won’t know what Diwali, Karva ChauthTika and Rakhi are. 

Anyways on to our Thanksgiving celebration.

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This was my first time hosting.  It was kind of oxymoron because the day after I fasted for my husband we were cooking a faest for 8 adults (well a few items for that feast – we had help because it was kind of a potluck).  We had my parents, my sister and her hubby and my cousin, his wife and their kid – along with us and our mini girl gang.

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On the menu was:

Light Appies
veggies
breadsticks
melba toast
3 homemade dips (Roasted red pepper, hummus and tapenade

Dinner
1 small chicken
10 tandoor drumsticks
Mini corn
Brussel Sprouts
Salad
Vegan Mash Potatos
Spicy indian pasta
Stuffing
Gravy

Dessert
coconut vanilla bean nice cream
mini vegan apple pies
our peanut butter favourite cookies.

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A little bit of vulnerability and a lot of openness

Screen Shot 2017-10-11 at 8.33.08 PM Screen Shot 2017-10-11 at 8.34.53 PMIt’s hard to believe that six months of my mat leave is already over. Well technically I’m already halfway trhrough the seventh month which leaves me with five-ish months left of maternity leave.  This blog post is just some free writing because I have a ton of thoughts and I need to get them out.  I don’t want to over edit this post because then I’ll probably won’t hit publish.

When I first started my leave, I set a lot of goals for myself during this time. One of the biggest priorities I had  established for myself was to stay motivated and productive.  With setting that goal I managed to get a lot accomplished sooner than later during my leave.  Setting such a big goal (essentially dreaming big) also help me learn about myself.

I’ve learned that I’m a creative. I need to do something creative everyday to feel fulfilled.

Being fit and working out is important to me.  I feel good when I make getting a workout in a priority.

I’ve learned that writing publicly makes me more intentional but also highlights / serves as a reminder of my failures (which obviously doesn’t bother me very much as you can go through my weekly goals and notice many of the tasks repeated week after week because they never got done).

I’ve learned that I am very good at starting things but not so good at finishing them.  Like this, this and this  :roll:

I’ve learned some really cool productivity hacks such as using the microphone on my iPhone to write blog posts and lists, the effects of bullet journaling on my everyday life.  And that #DocumentYourDays is important as reflecting back helps you correct as you move forward.

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I’m inspired by motivational quotes, journaling, inspirational people on social media. (I already knew these things but it’s a good reminder to myself).

Matt leave it’s both invigorating and isolating (more on this in a future post).

I’ve also learned that being self-motivated within an unstructured day takes a lot of work and effort.

Self care is really important.

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Creating more than I consume prevents burn out (and overall anxiety).

I am not perfect and and I shouldn’t get let myself get down and out if I can’t do everything right from the get go.  I’ve learned that its more about doing something a little bit better a little bit every day.

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