Kick Off To Christmas!

As the first weekend in December comes to and end my heart is beyond full, my body beyond tired and my mind a little foggy, all signs of a great start to the holiday season. We really have come to a point in our lives where our family are our friends and our friends are our family and it has got to be one of the best feelings. Hard to imagine when we were younger but we have created a life where it is full of the most amazing people who are there for us through thick and thin. This weekend was a great reminder of that, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

We took some family time to decorate our tree, and it was just a surprisingly great experience. Obviously Christmas decorations change when you have little ones who love to touch and play but I was so surprised at how helpful and into decorating the tree Grace and Rowen were. We decorated the bottom foot of the tree a little more sparsely as Eleanor does show interest in the tree and we figured it was just safer this way!

When I think of Christmas and my kids the word Magic really is what comes to mind, it is such a special time and feeling and I just want to soak up every minute (even the trying ones!). This was definitely a fun time with the kids and everyone loves the way the tree turned out. I used to love a good theme and colour scheme and hated all our mismatched ornaments but I gotta say the sentimental mama I have turned into loves all the meaningful and homemade ornaments and how they have the ability to remind us of past holidays and memories.

Saturday was a bit of a lazy day, but we had wanted to head out and support a couple of our friends at their First Charity Event Photos with Santa.

First, we love J.Baird Cattle & Co because we love the family, the manager is a good friend of ours and their pepperoni is the kids favourite snack! So, we loaded up the whole family (dog included) and headed out to the stand. It was such a great set up and for a donation to Delta Assist we got a family pic with Santa (still waiting to see it, but I am so happy we got all of us in it totally doesn’t matter what it looks like!). Bonus for the hot chocolate and cookie bar, I loved the Santa Wishlist writing table and the fires were perfect for warming up on a dreary day! So many great details and the perfect laid back event for our family. If you haven’t been out to the stand you definitely need to stop by and check it out!

Sunday morning though was the ultimate end to a great weekend. One of my favourite traditions we have with our friends is our Annual Kids Christmas Party. Now I am starting to realize I love me some traditions and this is one that has some great components to it. Some things have evolved but many things have stayed the same and for that I am thankful.

Some of my favourite things that have stayed the same are

  • the menu (Bacon & Hash brown Casserole will never loose the appeal)
  • the activities (cookie decorating is amazing especially when you let little ones go wild with icing and sprinkles!)
  • the people. This year we have a few new additions (Sam, Faye & Eleanor) and were missing some of our gang because of scheduling conflicts but for the most part the crew stays the same.

The only thing that maybe has evolved is the gift exchange, and for that I am so thankful. Our kiddos used to always do a secret Santa but we are beyond blessed with some very fortunate kids so this year we did gifts for less fortunate families as well as food to the food bank! What a great way to start our Sunday morning off good food and friends.

Tonight I am just so happy sitting by the beautiful tree, enjoying a little wind down to a fabulous weekend. We had dinner at Nans house with all my sisters, the kids cousins and of course GAG (Great Aunt Grace). Nan gave everyone a bath and sent the kiddos home in PJ’s and ready for bed, all in all I call it a fabulous end to a great weekend. I hope that you all have enjoyed the first weekend in December and are able to spend it with those you love.

Christmas can be a stressful and sometimes sad time for people and I truly feel blessed that this year for us Christmas is a happy and magical time. I know there will be years that are more difficult or Christmas’ that are tough but I am going to try and enjoy all the ones with the kids little and see things through their eyes. 22 Sleeps TIL Santa! Off to bed, need a little rest to recover from this weekend.

Girls Night In

“Choices, life is all about choices” is a common phrase you can often hear my mom saying.  She does make a good point, some choices are simple and have relatively little impact on our life, like what colour socks you wear, it’s a choice with no real life long effects, others are more influential and have a longer lasting impact. Things like how much you drink in a night, the hobbies you choose or the friends you associate with. This is not luck, it is a choice you make.    

I am so proud of the friendships I have cultivated and the people I choose to associate with. Each one of these women represent traits and things that I want for my own life and my kids lives, these are the role models I want to have my kiddos to look up to!  I am blessed to have a tight group of girlfriends, and although we may not see each other as much as we might like we all play pretty big roles in each other’s lives!  We are aunties to each other’s children, mentors, sounding boards, therapists and/or drinking buddies when needed. We are a self made family. 

This weekend we had planned a girls night in, instead of going out we had a catered dinner. Knowing how busy each of us are I took it upon myself to just get it catered and have us all split the bill! This was genius if I do say so, it meant no mess, no dishes, easy clean up and best of all no stress! Just show up.  Newman’s Fine Foods was so great at putting together a beautiful charcuterie platter for us as an appie.   Illuminate Restorante in Tsawwassen was equally accommodating and easy to work with, the best part was the food was delicious.  

I think so often we get wrapped up in making things perfect or not attempting to do something in case we can’t do it well enough. I know I definitely do.  However, with this night I kept reminding myself less is more, it is about the people and getting together not where we have it or what the menu is. So in an effort to simplify and give up a little control I trusted the chef and asked him to design a menu that would be seasonal and work for everyone. He did a great job and I didn’t have to do anything (not even make a decision).  I know maybe this isn’t for everyone or isn’t always possible but the point isn’t get a caterer, it’s don’t get too wrapped up in the details… grab bags of chips and snacks, go to Costco and get some party trays, order pizza. It doesn’t matter just get together!  Make time away from kids and hubbies and share some laughs and fun with your gals:). Nobody cares what your eating (rather what’s in your glass) J/K! 

I had planned a beautiful outdoor evening at one of my favourite spots but the weather prevented it from happening. So, in true friendship fashion one of the gals offered up her barn.  Some of you may wonder why I was hosting a dinner in a barn when I have a beautiful newly renovated home… so many reasons but a big one is this was a night for the girls and we all have roommates ( I actually have 4) AKA hubbies and kids. So the best way to get away for a dinner and enjoy a night of laugher and recharging was to break in our new “clubhouse”. 

The night could not have been more perfect. It was so fun to just sit, enjoy good food, drinks and best of all the company of, as one of the ladies refers to us, “the loves of our lives”. It was a really good reminder no matter how busy you are take time out to spend it with the people that matter to you!  It’s amazing how good it can be for the soul. 

My favourite thing about the evening was actually a little exercise we did ahead of time. I had asked everyone to email one word beside each girlfriends name, when the gals sat down to dinner they had a sheet of paper with 10 beautiful words describing them. We actually went around the table and shared our words, which truly was a highlight.  I have to admit there were many words on those pages that made me proud of my tribe. The best part was the repetition of a few words. One really stood out as I think 7 out of 10 of us had LOYAL down.  I think that says a lot to see the same word given by so many and about so many different woman. 

Another special treat for the night was the party favours. Not only did one of our girlfriends make each of the gals some funny and fabulous wine glasses with hilarious sayings (these will be available at our Christmas Market from Westham Jar Co.) she also had homemade marshmallows and fudge (check out Farmhouse Floral & Gifts, also at our Christmas Market) done up for each of us!  I loved the idea of having some favours so when she suggested it I jumped on board and added a room spray with a custom scent I made with oils that carry certain properties I felt we were all in need of right now!  The reaction was amazing to all of these goodies:)  Check out my instagram if you want my “secret” room spray recipe.  The best part is that we actually have favours still coming as another girlfriend has commissioned a local jewelry designer to make custom friendship bracelets with different stones and charms that hold meaning to her and to us.  This night is really the night that just keeps on giving. 

I can’t forget to mention my favourite gift though, it was something I was a little unsure about at first. I had thought about asking Daph if she could come and snap a couple photos and then wasn’t sure if that was weird.  Like, we aren’t the Kardashians (almost but not quite) and why does a girls night need a photographer?  Plus we all have iPhones right?  First, iphones do not substitute a photographer (see pictures below and you will understand!).  Second, a girls night needs a photographer because how often does Mom get into the pictures?  Not very often in my experience Mom is usually the photographer.  Also how nice is it Sunday morning to wake up and see these beautiful reminders of what a fabulous evening we had.  So Thank You Daphne Lynn Photography (did I mention she will also be at the Christmas Market).  I also was a little worried having a photographer there would maybe ruin the vibe we were going for but I think she was the perfect addition to our party:) 

So, in an effort to remind myself of this night and the feelings I left it with I decided to use this as an opportunity to check in with myself more.  Am I living life with purpose? Do I stay true to my values? It was a good reminder to me that when you give of yourself what you get in return is so much more.  I might have spent a little time putting this together but what these women gave me in return was so far greater!  I woke up the next morning feeling groggy (maybe a little hungover), so loved, so supported, so blessed and energized. It was exactly the check in that I needed.  Whenever you are feeling overwhelmed and like life is too busy what do you do to recharge and gain balance and perspective?  I know what I do and who I go to!  And this was exactly what I needed and when I needed it. 


XO Carly   

Location: Private Farm, Westham Island

Caterer: Newmans Fine Foods & Illuminate Restauranto

Photographer: Daphne Lynne Photographer

Decor: This Plain Life, Westham Jar Co.  And Farmhouse Floral & Gifts

Christmas Market at The Farm

I am so excited to be spear heading a Christmas Market at my good friends family farm Emma Lea!

It all started as a relatively simple plan, lets try and host a little market as a way to share our oils with friends and family.  I was unaware of how easily this “little” market would turn in to a fun event that is not only inspiring me to step out of my comfort zone and try some new things but also helping me to encourage friends to take that same brave step and start to share some of their talents with others!  This is how Christmas at the Farm started.

The coolest thing has happened in planning this event, it has encouraged a few people I love to start taking action with plans at trying their hands at sharing some of their talents.  Some of these NEW businesses include Heather and Christie of Farmouse Floral & Gifts (check them out on Instagram for more pictures and details) and Carlyn & Brixton of  Koloheboardriders (also found on instagram) who not only are starting a new businesss but also making an effort to do their part at ocean conservation!  I couldn’t be more proud of the people that are taking part in our market.   Check back soon for a full list of our Vendors!  I am so excited to share these amazing people and products with you.

This is definitely become a little bigger than I first imagined, but if our biggest worry is that it has had too much interest than I think we are a more than a little blessed!  All that aside, please be patient with us as we host our first event, we strive to make it a fun and happy market. However we know that with most new things at first there is a learning curve and we are just new to this Market game:). If it takes me a bit to get back to your emails or interest its not because I am not interested or excited!  We will definitely be looking at a way to learn for next year and will have a streamlined application process for potential vendors

I cannot wait to share some of the really talented people and things we have planned for this family friendly great event!  Make sure you are following us on Instagram (marketatthefarm).

For now I will give you a little sneak peak of some of the goodies This Plain Life is working on, might I add it has been a whole family affair and I think everyone is love it it.  Grandpa W  and Nan came home from their property in 100 Mile with lots of Birch and fun pieces fo wood, they took their job very seriously and we are so glad!  Then Fraser along with Rowen have been very busy in the workshop creating, cutting, hammering, and all sorts of stuff!  Grace and Eleanor have been good for noisy distractions (which are important too!).  I am obviously CEO of this family and company, haven’t stopped promoting and interesting (POOR FRASE)… hope you enjoy the pics!

You Only Have 1 Life, hope your LIVING it!

Have you ever felt like who am I to deserve all this?  Even this week, a week with lots of ups and downs in our house, sitting here looking back on it I feel like we are so lucky and wonder what did I do to deserve this? 

I have worked so hard to create the lifestyle and the culture that not only I have but my family has and I know in my heart I am deserving of everything that comes my way.  Today I am attending a very good school friends fathers funeral. It’s interesting that just a couple months ago Fraser and I attended one of his good childhood friends dads funeral and it is the thing that convinced me to start my blog.  Funerals are a strange thing, and it has been scary and hard to digest that we are now at a stage in our life where we are attending friends parents funerals.  It is a reminder that our parents age and are getting older, they won’t be here forever.  

Here is the thing about funerals, although sad, they are a way for the dead to continue to live their purpose and inspire in whatever way they had while they were living,  Also they are a way for us to celebrate someone and all the living they did.  The funeral we attended a couple months ago definitely did that, it was someone I had never met and didn’t know but I went for Fraser, the strange thing is I went to be supportive for him and came home feeling like I knew the man and that he had lived a life of purpose and meaning, which was inspiring. 

You might wonder what one would gain from a funeral, the answer is lots!  I learnt that your life can change almost instantly, so absolutely don’t waste a minute of it. I learnt that you should do things you love with people you love every chance you get!  And that one person can have a huge impact. 

I came home from that funeral and re-evaluated. I don’t know if it’s changed since having kids but my priorities have shifted and I am so happy they did. I often think of my old life and wonder how did I have time to watch TV?  Why didn’t I find more to be passionate about and why did I waste time on things or people that didn’t matter… life is too short!  You can’t go back but you can  live a life of intention and purpose starting today!  

The people I surround myself with, not only in my personal life, but more recently in every area of my life… my gym, my grocery store, my hardware store, DoTerra and team- Carsen, Ashley, Nicole, Ros & Carlie, my healthcare providers including my doc, naturopath, dentist, eye doc, my children’s school and more…. the list could go on forever . These people are the reason I am inspired and motivated. If we are not here to encourage and support and help each other to grow then really what are we here for?  I have really made this shift in my life and I can’t believe the positive impact it has had on all areas.  Basically I just started to surround myself and make time for those I love and that matter, and it started to multiply… I found like minded people started to gravitate towards me and would just appear right when I needed them most.  It didn’t mean changing everyone that was already in my life, in fact it meant appreciating those people and carving out a little more time for them, and maybe saying no to those things and people that didn’t fit with my values.   Your Vibe attracts your Tribe!!!  

Still not sure what this would look like in your life?  Well first thing is I planned a girls night (stay tuned, it is happening next weekend and I will be sharing some of it with you!), I value my friendships hugely and sometimes life gets busy and we miss connecting with those that are the way we get emotional support and inspiration!  I honestly can’t imagine how lonely or sad a life without these ladies (and men) would be as these are the people you need for good and bad times and when you finally do carve out time with them you leave feeling rejeuvenated and ready to take on the world again!   I happen to be so incredibly blessed with a wide spread and diverse group of people, so it is very difficult to make time to connect often with everyone, sometimes this might just look like a text to check in, dropping off a card, some cookies or even flowers, inviting them to an event we might both enjoy (like a workshop your already doing, or a meeting you both might get something out of), it might even be getting groceries together…nothing wrong with a little multitasking.  Just because its sometimes difficult to schedule doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen, make time to make it work… take those extra measures to see someone, who knows what it will do for your mental well being and for the other person. 

 As I get ready for the celebration of life today I will take the time to appreciate my own life and the simple blessings we so easily take for granted because we all know how quickly those simple things change and can be gone. It is easy to be angry or to rush through things but I want to enjoy as much as possible!  I want to be around people who get me, won’t judge me and bring out my best!  I hope that this has inspired you just a little or reminded you to appreciate someone today and everyday and make sure you let them know.  

Give Thanks

Holidays have always been big in my family, my mom made sure to celebrate each and every holiday.  Whether it was homemade cards, special food or new outfits and gifts… often it was all of that!  What made it even more special was that we always had a big family that lived close so we got to celebrate with everyone.  

Becoming a parent changed holidays for me huge!  First, the gifts and cards and special food was no longer for me… which was a little sad, but I get it everyone loves a baby:)  Also it made me appreciate how fortunate we were and still are, and has made me want to continue my families traditions and some new ones with my own family!  

Seeing a holiday through the eyes of a child is even better than experiencing it on my own.  It is funny to see what a different opinion Fraser has from mine , he thinks I’m a little crazy and a little over the top (which sometimes I am).  Despite all that and the fact that he really doesn’t “get it”, he humours me and goes along with whatever I want to do with the kids and I think he is starting to love it as much as I do!  

Growing up I figured everyone celebrated holidays like we did, obviously as I got older I realized it wasn’t quite true.  Then when I started my own family and began to learn customs and traditions from Fraser I saw that every family celebrates so differently.  We have learnt to blend our ideas of holidays together and find ones that we both love.  Fraser has accepted that almost every holiday comes with gifts from Nan (and the kids love it), I have learnt that we will not buy our kids gifts for every holiday (I still try to, thankful for Nan and Great Grandma tho!) and I have learnt to love brussels sprouts (I had to ask my mom why we never had them?  I guess she never liked them). 

We started new traditions, like usually (we couldn’t make it this year) we spend Thanksgiving in 100 Mile.  I like to think it’s to see the beauty and change of season in the Cariboo but the real reason is so the men can hunt:)  Whatever the reason, we get a weekend away in a beautiful place with our family!  Plus the kids get to experience the outdoors and play with cousins. I couldn’t think of a nicer Thanksgiving tradition than giving the gift of time and experience. 

Along with these tangible traditions I also like to look at Thanksgiving as a great time to remind ourselves how blessed our lives are and what we are all thankful for.  I know in my own life I have so much to be thankful for, and I really hope this is a tradition I can start and continue with my kids!  

This year when I was giving thought to all that I was thankful for I was genuinely overwhelmed… because the list was too long and my life is so absolutely full.  Then I started to think who I was thankful for (and again the list was very long) but one person stood out.  

This year I am so thankful for my partner in life and my best supporter, Fraser, because without him my lists might not be so full!  He works so hard (he is a longshoreman so “hard” is a relative term which I use loosely), lets say he banks a lot of hours at work, so that we can have the lifestyle that we do.  It isn’t a fancy or crazy lifestyle but it is a relaxed one, that gives us lots of time together as a family, as well as lots of flexibility.  

He not only works a paying job but he also spends time helping cook, clean, maintain stuff (house, cars, life) and so much more, basically he is just there.  This year he has encouraged and supported me while I took on a new blog, new business (DoTerra), started consulting on the side and all while caring for 3 kids under 3.  

He not only supports us all financially but he is a huge emotional support.  So when I enjoy our relaxed weekend spending time doing things we love, cooking a beautiful meal, looking at the bouquet of flowers that arrived this morning with the groceries Frase stopped and picked up on his way home from work, or on Monday when I am not worried about who has my kids while I spend a couple of hours working, or later this month while I host a long table dinner for 9 of my closest girlfriends at one of my favourite places with yummy food and drink… the list is endless but at the start and end of this list I will forever and always be thankful for my biggest supporter and true partner through life.  

It all sounds so sappy and I hope it really comes across as genuine not fake because our life is far from perfect, we definitely have had ups and downs (and at this point I can say many more ups than downs) but we all make choices and we choose to work at making a life we are proud of and that we love!  I would say we are succeeding and I just really want to Thank Fraser for helping us to do that. 

I encourage you to take time this weekend to remind yourself of the things but also the people you are thankful for, and let them know!  Life is short, this last week we had two friends loose loved ones unexpectedly and it has been a good reminder that we need to take advantage of the time we have!  

Happy Thanksgiving to you all, hope it is spent with those you love!  As my nieces say “Gobble TIL you Wobble!”  

MIA- Busy playing and resting!

Sorry I have been Missing in Action the last week or so of September and it kinda feels like I can’t quite catch up.  Catch up to what though???

These past couple of days have been one of some strange things, for me personally but also for the world.  We have had a lot of sadness and loss, my immediate family has caught their first flu of the fall and our house has become a little more emotional and a whole lot more sleep deprieved (and with a family of 3 under 3, sleep deprieved is our norm… but this musical beds is getting to everyone).

So tonight as I look around at the piles of laundry and dishes and at the lists of unfinished projects I ask myself what really matters and what is important. Instead of cleaning up and checking off a list I am taking time to rest and make sure my family rests, as well as connect with those who I love and need to know it.

When we experience loss I know my family likes to re-evaluate and remind ourselves what is really important. This time of year already has me counting blessings and giving thanks for so many things in my life but even more so this year! This afternoon when my snotty and feverish little girl begged to go to the park we packed up and headed to the beach for a little fresh air and play, we still came home to the dishes and the laundry but it was okay.  The dishes and laundry will get done and are a part of life and reality but sometimes we need to make time for play and rest.  In an overscheduled and fast paced world play and rest can sometimes get shoved to the bottom of the list.  I am constantly over scheduling myself and my family but I am starting to realize all we really want is a bit of downtime. I know how fast life flies by and that there are a few precious years or more that your kids want to spend time with you and look up to you like nothing else, I don’t want to waste them no matter how tired or how challenging it can sometimes be.

I have loved blogging so far and will continue to do it as long as it brings me joy and happiness. That being said I might not get as many posts as I wanted to in a week done, or I might be MIA sometimes and that is okay:)  The funny thing is we put the most pressure on ourselves, and when we learn to cut ourselves a bit of slack it’s amazing how rewarding it can be!  Make time for the things and people that matter (not excuses).  You only have one life, make it count!  XO


I Promise …

Today marks Auntie Mona’s 53rd Birthday, and September 15th marked the 6th Anniversary of the day she passed away.  Now my Aunt was more than an Aunt to myself and my two sisters.  She was my Moms only sister and she was our second Mom.

We grew up with a single Mom who worked full time, but my Aunt was essentially our stay at home Mom. She was the one who was there when we woke up for school, she made our breakfasts or on special mornings brought us McDonalds breakfast, she took us to school and picked us up, she brought us hot lunches to school or stopped and got us Cafe De Gourmet packed lunches (they were the best), she attended school concerts and field trips, she baked with us, took us on amazing summer vacations, back to school shopping (or really any excuse for shopping), the list is endless you name it she did it.  OF course growing up we didn’t realize how truely blessed we were.  See sometimes having two such amazing moms was hard, but I like to think it shaped the three of us (my sisters and I) into some decent adults, well that’s an understatement, some pretty great adults.   My Aunt had no children of her own and so she had lots of time to be able to teach us life lessons and to shape us into who we are today.

Mona, my aunt, was diagnosed at 30 with Cancer, we were so young and really did not understand what this journey would be like and the affect it would have on us all.  After the initial shock I feel like life was fairly good or normal for a while, nothing changed too quickly for us.  In the beginning it seemed she would have a surgery and be okay for a bit and then go back in for another surgery and feel good for a bit, unfortunately though the feel good part started to get shorter and shorter and she was getting sicker and less able to handle the surgeries the way she initially could so recoveries became tougher and longer.  She was sick for 17 years and to see someone with such a horrible diagnosis fight so hard and become so sick is really a very heart breaking thing.  However we mourned so slowly over her, each time she might lose something like the ability to eat, or getting a colostomy bag, or no longer being able to travel, I would be sad and mourn that aspect of her life but be thankful she was still here with us.  I am not sure if that is selfish but I believe she wanted to be here, because her sheer determination and her attitude towards being sick was inspirational.  I don’t know if I ever really knew how sick she was until the very end, because even when she was so sick she had the ability to still be interested in our lives and what was going on.  Towards the end I remember trying to call and check in regularly but really it ended up being her checking in with me and how I was doing.

My Aunt was one of a very short list of people who impacted us huge growing up, my mom and her were the two woman we spent the most amount of time with and they were so young (my mom was just 20 when she had me).   So at times I was and am mad that life robbed my Aunt of time to see us grow up into adults.  I know she would have loved to be here for our weddings and our kids births (she actually wanted to be in the delivery room as she had never experienced a birth of her own and wanted to be at one of ours, none of us wanted to let her!). Or the fact that she is not able to spend holidays spoiling our children the way she was able to spoil us growing up.  Not only that, she was sick so young I think of all the trips and experiences she missed out on while she was living… but in life we have choices on how we handle and look at things.  My aunt made the choice to live out her life happy, not mad at her diagnosis or illness.  She taught us all lots in her 47 years  here and gave us more memories and experiences than some people have the privilege to have in a much longer lifetime.

So instead of being mad I promise

  • To share as many stories about her as I can.
  • To spend time doing some of the stuff she took the time to do with us.  And not take it for granted or wish away these times, but to enjoy the moments.
  • To focus on my health  and well being. I will try to eat healthy and exercise to help my body stay healthy.  I will never take my health for granted.
  • To celebrate each Birthday because I am lucky to get to age.

I will remember her when I look at my youngest daughters birth mark and think of it as a kiss from Auntie Mona, or when I see my middle daughters passion and crazyiness. I promise to take the opportunities to remember her as they come even if they make me a little sad I will try to think of them with happiness and share these memories with my kids.

Wherever you are now Auntie Mona I hope you are pain free and enjoying the show, Happy Birthday! XO

Beginning of a new Decade…

First I need to say HAPPY 30th BIRTHDAY to my youngest sister KP!  Now I couldn’t think of a better way to wish her Happy Birthday than to write about it on the blog, my sister may not agree but I hope she likes it (better to beg forgiveness than to ask for permission)!  

Welcome to your 30’s Sis… this decade is going to bring so much joy and success to you and to our family.  Although I have only been in my 30’s for 3 short years I can tell you they have been the best.  The 30’s have been when life really starts to get good.

With your 30’s come confidence and life experiences that have shaped you into the decisive and strong woman you are.  You may be our youngest sister but you are no baby anymore.  Gone are your wild and crazy days (or more like nights), replaced with trips, parties and creating traditions spent with friends and family that can only be developed after years of memory making moments.  You have always been the outgoing sister who knows everyone, but by your 30’s you now have quality friendships and I am so proud of the people you choose to spend your time with.  Not only do your 30’s mean you are decisive about the people you surround yourself with but you somehow become busier and learn to do only the things you want to or like to do.  I hope this is true for you this decade, hopefully you are no longer afraid to say no to stuff because you know by saying no to something you are also saying yes to something else.

For you specifically your 30’s will have a wedding, which we cannot wait for. This means your 30’s has officially brought you a whole bunch of new family.  Selfishly I love that your 30’s brings us a brother!  It is also the decade you are going back to school to get your BA, this is something I am so unbelievably proud and inspired by.  I hope this decade not only brings you a husband, a degree but also advances in your career and family life (make me an auntie again!).  

Whatever your 30’s bring you I hope they bring as much happiness as your heart has room for, more fun and adventure that you knew possible and just enough sorrow or pain that you appreciate how full and blessed your life is.  I cannot wait to see what the next 30 bring, as your first 30 were a pretty great start!  

Hope Vegas with your fiancé and friends is fun and Palm Springs with all the aunts, mom and sister are relaxing!  Great way to start off your 30’s. 

Cheers to your 30’s

In My Spare Time

I sometimes think about when I had time and read a lot, I especially think about it when I am packing for vacation.  Pre-kids I couldn’t pack enough books.  I loved to just sit in the sun, relax and read.  I now know that with 3 very little ones reading is a luxury and it takes a lot longer than it used to get through a book.  So, a few things help me to still find time to read.  

One is I read a lot of cookbooks, they require a lot less time and can be skimmed through.  Best of all they usually have lots of pictures.  Not only are they less of a time commitment but they serve an additional purpose of providing inspiration and ideas for my meal planning!   The best part of course is that they look super pretty in my new kitchen. 

My top 3 Cookbooks right now are Oh She Glows Every Day!  The School Year Survival Cookbook and It all Begins With Food.  My passion for cookbooks and cooking in general is relatively new and the reason these books are my top three is because they are easy recipes, simple ingredients and not super involved.  We have taken out refined sugars and any packaged foods (at least when we are eating at home, trying to follow the 80/20 rule) so it is important to me that the recipes follow our way of eating.  These cookbooks are great for it.  They also have some great information and advice.  They explain ingredients, give tips and advice on kitchen gadgets and such and also help with meal planning and even how to use leftovers!  

As for novels since having kids I definitely read more self help and inspirational books now, before I loved a good fiction novel… I must feel I need a little more guidance these days. The top three books I like right now are Like A Queen, Simplicity Parenting and The Happiness Equation.  

Like a Queen was such a real book about parenting and life, super relatable kinda of funny and kinda of emotional.  I really enjoyed it. Plus I found it a fairly easy read, sometimes I have to go back and reread a chapter because I forget what happened or possibly fell asleep trying to stay up to read. This wasn’t like that, its a fairly easy, no brain power required read!  

I’m in the middle of Simplicity Parenting and very much enjoying it, I do think I need to break it up a bit,  The book has so much information and tips that I like to take my time and find ways to apply it to my life.  So far I have loved the chapter on Toys and how to simplify.  It reconfirmed a lot of my own personal beliefs on toys and gave me a good guideline and reminder of what and how to purge the toys.  Plus it felt like a good kudos to what I have already been doing.  

Finally The Happiness Equation was fabulous and reminded me of what I want from my life.  I have two copies of it and keep loaning them out because I feel like this book can help so many people.  It’s just a really great read, easy to get through but really got me thinking!  I loved this book.

As for future reads, my mom actually recommended a parenting book, Superbaby. Now my mom was a single mom who did an amazing job given her circumstances but I laugh at her recommendation, I love the book and its suggestions and theories with regards to parenting.  The reason I laugh is because they are a little different than how my mom parented.  But being wise as she is, she is able to look at her parenting style objectively and suggest things she would change.  I appreciate that about her and if I raised my kids the same as my mom we would have nothing to complain or worry about!  That being said I have gone out and bought Superbaby and am excited to get some ideas about parenting and give them a try.  Since we are new to this parenting thing and I love hearing studies and knowing how kids learn or respond to different parenting styles this book really had me interested. Plus it focuses on the first 3 years of a child’s life and I happen to have three in that category right now:)

What’s on your bookshelf and how do you fit in reading while raising little ones?  I would love to hear from you.  

Be Curious and Judge Less.

I was talking to my girlfriend the other day on the phone and she casually mentions that her husband had given a compliment about me and she totally forgot to share… Obviously I was curious and almost brought to tears when she tells me he said that he loves how he feels can totally be himself around me and that I am never judging.  She further goes on to say how she would love for someone to say this about herself and that it is such a nice compliment. I am so flattered and we get talking and I say “but I totally judge, and try so hard not to but know when I am doing it.”  She then comments that it is instinctual and human nature to judge but the fact that you are aware and then try not to just shows that you are making an effort…

Well, it of course has left me over thinking and analyzing all week and I realized how proud I am that I have made even one person feel this way.  Because in all honesty when I am most uncomfortable is usually when I feel I am being judged whether it is with parenting choices, in relationships, or even with regards to finances and spending, the list is endless.  I believe we most often only feel we are being judged, but in fact that person we thought was judging us was off daydreaming or giving mixed messages or unaware of how they are even coming across.  It is also funny to me that sometimes it is the people who are closest to us that judge, when in reality these should be the people that know us the best and don’t judge us but instead accept and trust that we know what we are doing and we made the best choices for us.

I attended a wedding shower earlier today for a younger girlfriend.  This friend was someone I spent lots of time with growing up and even babysat and I guess helped through some tough adolescent years (which we both happened to have).   I often saw a lot of myself in her growing up, we maybe were not the best versions of ourselves when we were younger but who ever is?  Anyways we sat at a beautiful restaurant in Granville Island and the hostess asked us all to say how we know the bride, it was amazing to sit there and see what a variety of quality women she attracted and how she had impacted each of them.  It got me realizing she too was one to not judge others which meant it gave her a chance to get to know someone and like them for who they were not what.   If you can one day sit and see the people and friends you attract and surround yourself with and know they are genuine and inspiring people then you really have done something right in the world.

We ended our day off at our happy place, Emma Lea Farms, for a 3rd Birthday party.  Here we were surrounded by many of our besties and their families. This is when it came full circle I have built a community of people that have depth and compassion and empathy and understanding.  Of people I am proud to call my friends but also proud to have my kids call them auntie and uncle as they are truely more like family. If we take the time to see someone for who they truely are and judge a little less we may be surprised at what we learn!

I hope you can talk to someone you would not normally, or take the time to learn something about someone you don’t know very well… it is surprising what you might find out!  But more than that I hope you have a group or even a single friend who is true and makes you feel comfortable for being you.