Our Living Room Makeover ft. Dufresne Furniture and Appliances

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Please note that these items were gifted to me but all the opinions are my own.*

It happened after many years of waiting and wanting, we did it. We bought our first home. 

In November 2019, we assumed possession of our first home. It’s a great little starter and we had some big plans for our little 1000 sq ft abode!

Now a few things to note, I was still on maternity leave when we moved, we did three weeks of renovations before moving in, and it was in the middle of minus a million degrees (obviously exaggerating but it was well below 25 degrees Celcius). 

We didn’t have any furniture of our own and my mom was generous enough and let us use her hand-me-down basement furniture until we were able to get something of our own for our space. We started off with a taupe coloured sectional in a microfibre fabric. We had some cushions and a little ottoman storage coffee table. We put up some really cute prints for an adorable gallery wall. Our space was great for any new home. We had a small rug that was a few years old from our last place and a small little 32” tv as our to had just conked out a couple months before our move. I wish I had a good look of what we had before but I didn’t love our space and didn’t take a lot of before pictures. 

While looking for for furniture I always knew I wanted something that was both stylish and durable. With boys like mine, I’ve seen brand new things become ruined or worn in only a few weeks. 

I don’t know if I had a name for our style but if I did I would say it’s a bit of “mid-modern boho”. It’s a little bit of me and a little bit of TJ. I really love natural tones and textures, and TJ appreciates things to be a bit more bold. We wanted something that was reflective of our style. 

We found Dufresne had the perfect solution for us. They had amazing quality furniture, that would be super functional and durable for us, and still reflective of the styles we loved. I am so happy with the end result.

The pieces we picked from there are amazing and I can’t get over how much I love our new living room!

I loved putting this space together, it was a blank slate that we got to make ‘ours’.

We got the Kisper coffee table and I feel like it is the most perfect mid-modern piece. 

We picked the Lane area rug. We had already picked so many dark pieces, I wanted something light with texture to brighten up the space and give the space dimension. 

We also picked out a 50″ Samsung Smart TV. Given a new space to enjoy and entertain our kids, I thought it would be perfect in our new space. I don’t know about you, but a Smart TV has now become an essential item in our household. Especially with COVID quarantines/social distancing, we have spent a lot more time binge watching all of the Netflix.

Our favourite piece by far is the Melbourne 2-piece sectional. It is amazing. We got the sectional in a couch and honestly we love it so much. It is a great size with the 3-seat style couch with right hand chaise. The cushion is pre-crushed and we picked out their performance fabric with the leather look in navy. The custom experience went by flawlessly. I worked closely with a representative and we were able to put together the perfect look for our space.

The highlight of our space is the sectional.  We wanted to find something that worked best for our lifestyle. We picked the sectional because it fit best in our living room, it is a bit of a smaller space and wanted enough seating for all 5 of us. The best feature of the piece we put together is the performance fabric. As a mom of 3 boys, let me tell you— boys are messy. Not just messy; they’re filthy. They go to eat and ignore the utensils and use their hands and then run to the couch and climb and jump and put their little greasy fingers all over the place.. and this fabric is a dream come true. Can you see the finger prints? Yes, you can. Daily, I can see the little prints of my filthy little boys. However, the clean up is so easy! I normally just take a wet cloth, sometimes a disinfecting wipe, wipe it down, and it is good as new! You don’t even see the old grease marks, the it’s amazing. I can’t speak highly enough. The kids jump on the sectional, eat on it, our littlest may or may not have had an accident on it.. and still, it’s like it’s brand new.

Why did I think stepping away for a second would be okay? ;P

In order to finish our space I knew I needed to find the perfect way to elevate the space. The idea I had was neutrals, texture, and my fav— PLANTS. 

I finished filling up the space with cushions (because you can never have too many), some textured throw blankets, and some gold/brass coloured accessories; et voila! 

Our living room revealed and completed!

We are in love with our space and every bit of it is everything we are and more.

Chronicles of a Quarantined Mom

“Mom, I’m Hungry”

“Mom, I’m bored”

“MOOOOOOOOOOOM”

If you have children, these are probably some of the “quarantine cries” you have heard as of late.

If anyone ever told me that I would live to see a global pandemic, I would tell them they were out of their minds. It would never happen. The “zombie apocalypse” would never be a part of my life.. and yet, here we are. Schools are closed, workplaces are closed, you’re limited on how many people you can be around and where you can go and when. The government is now controlling every aspect of our lives “for our own safety”.

Do not get me wrong, I believe in social distancing, I believe in the principles set out by the WHO, I believe in guidelines and the “new normal”. But guys, I’m crying here. I miss, life. I’m sure many of us do and many of us are getting antsy, anxiety, and depressed as a result of this “new norm”.

I have no advice, I only have my outlet to talk about days passed and forever FOMO over events passed. I miss seeing family, I miss seeing friends, I miss going to my favourite shopping outlets at random times, and packing all of my kids into the car to venture out into the world and experience the small things that life has to offer.

My Sunday Fundays at The Forks have long since passed, my weekend trips to “walk through IKEA and dream” are long gone (although they did open the local IKEA here recently), and my trips to spin/gym have come to a screeching halt. I wonder where all the “little things” in life I once loved to do are now. I always wanted to show my kids experiences. I thought experiences > objects so they could appreciate time together. Now we have all the time together in the world and what we would all really love to do, is spend a little time apart.

It’s funny though, in February I went back to work and I longed for the days that I was at home with Jasper and wishing that I could spend a little more time with him. My wish came true. I was able to spend a bit more time with him and now have a stage-5 clinger that won’t even let me leave a room. I want to say I hate it, but I do love it. I love being “Mom, the fixer of all things” for this little guy. Every cry can be consoled by me. I really wouldn’t have that any other way.

Kato cried the other day, not just cried, he bawled. He was unconsolable and broke down in some of the heaviest tears I’ve seen. He missed his friends. He missed the playground at school. My boy, who hates going to daycare and to school, was crying because he missed school that much. I see the mental and emotional toll this pandemic has on my children and my heart aches for them. I hate that they have to live through this because I just don’t think it’s fair. The world took something away from them that they will never get back, he will never get Grade 1 back. I know it’s only grade 1 but some of my fondest memories in life happened in grade 1. He repeatedly tells me “I hate the coronavirus”. Me too bud, me too.

Aiden is my beacon of hope. He is such a survivor during this time. He can’t wait to see a better future and be prepared for it. “Mom, can we go for a run” <– That is his line to me almost every day. He wants to stay active and healthy. “I don’t want to be chubby going back to school”. I love it. He’s going into his teens and he has so much poise. He accepts the things he cannot change today, and looks forward to tomorrow. He is what I want to be. It’s crazy, to be so inspired by a child. I love being so inspired by my own children.

This quarantine challenges my relationship, daily. TJ is still working, days and nights. He is doing everything he can to provide and I am a bit of a brat. LOL. I have my own internal struggle, I haven’t found a fix for all the stress and anxiety I have over being so cooped up. He’s my emotional punching bag. Kudos to him. He takes it in stride. I even have my own new nickname “Miss Grumpy Pants”. I’m not even mad about it. It’s still cute.

So here’s what I’m doing to try to manage through this “new norm”:

1.) Exercise – I’m going for daily runs with Aiden. When I get a bit more of my energy back, I’m going to start more at home work-outs. I need all the endorphins I can get at this point. On days that we don’t do runs, we do home workouts. It’s cute to workout with the boys.

2.) Plants – I don’t know what it is about all the plant I have, but they bring me so much joy. There is so much life in a home with plants. My plants are my other babies. They make my space cozier every day. Consider me the crazy plant lady.

3.) People – I have a small group of ladies I speak to daily. They are like a lifeline out of this house. If you don’t have “people”, I hope you have a person that does this for you. I have my small crowd and it’s like hearing about another’s person’s life helps to bring you out of your four walls.

4.) Find one thing that brings you joy and do it every day. One thing, just do one thing! I have kids and everyday we do one thing. I don’t even care if the kids get a little bit of screen time every day, it’s their one thing that they can just do and forget that the rest of this BS is going on in the world.

I would love to hear how you are managing through this difficult time. Comment below and let me know what helps you, or shoot me a DM on something you think might help me, I’d love to hear it!

I Hate My Spouse a Little Bit Everyday

I hate TJ on a good day, I hate TJ on a bad day. I basically hate him a little more or a little less on any given day.

Don’t get me wrong, he is a great dad. He would give anyone the shirt off his back. But I hate him. I hate him to the point it makes me want to rip out my eyes.

You may ask, why are you saying this? Why are you writing this? Why are you with this person?

The answer is, I don’t know. I feel a type of catharsis to writing it out and saying it out loud and screaming it to the world. It’s a lot easier than screaming it to his face. I’ve put my blog on hold for the past few months. I knew I needed to write this and get this off my chest. The heaviness of not writing this has had a sort of a block on all the other pieces I’ve needed to get out.

I hate him for small things. Like the way he opens the milk carton and leaves the plastic tab off the milk and leaves it on the counter, or how I’m looking for him and he’s always in the bathroom, or when I am looking for him and he doesn’t say he’s gone out. I hate how the kids or myself ask him to fix something and he completely ignores it. [One time, I told him I was stuck in the closet after fixing it and was calling him for help, he never came and doesn’t remember me asking him..]. I can’t for the life of me understand why I chose this person to be my partner.

I hate him for many more reasons; he has undoubtably ruined my life on more than one occasion. Cost me friends, family, work; my sanity. He has let me down time and time again. To the point where I have walked away.

I have blamed TJ for years of short-comings, years of emotional turmoil, years of confusion and “trying”. I have blamed him that my life is not where I want it to be. Reading this now, I sound like a huge tw*t. I sound like a terrible person. I sound like I’m the one with the problem. It’s true. I AM the one with the problem.

For years, I was blindly in love with TJ. To the point, I couldn’t see straight. I lost relationships, burned bridges, and lost who I was. All for him. I didn’t see myself do it until I spent some time, finding myself.

Okay, okay guys, this is my rant. You let me have it, now let me get to the point of this entry. It’s not to just bash on TJ. The poor guy. He has been so nice to me lately. Probably the “nicest” he has been in — years.

Now let me get to the nitty gritty of it all. TJ and I have some amazing years together, we have some mediocre years together, and we have some God damn awful years together. But over the years, I’ve just found a way to dislike him even more. I literally see all of his shortcomings. Things that are important to me are not important to him, he isn’t mindful of everything I want him to be mindful of. His forgetfulness has become contagious. I am not the person I felt like I once was. 

I am not the person I once was when I first met TJ. I was uptight, sheltered — naïve. I had this image in my mind of what “love” and “relationships” should be. I had this image of him in my head that didn’t exist. I wanted him to be something he isn’t. I learned that the problem with me hating TJ, wasn’t TJ, it was me.

My problem was, I wanted TJ to be someone he isn’t. I wanted him to be better, do better, and be more like me.. better :P. We have had many conversations about how we are so different. I’ve come to terms that while we are so different, there is so much of us that is the same. We have the same dreams, the same goals, we want the same life. We are so aligned that way. I think that’s why we both kept coming back.

When I went on my personal journey to finding myself, I learned about what I wanted for my life, and what was truly important to me. Beyond the milk cartons, and beyond the forgetfulness.. those are the small things in life. They are more like life’s annoyances like mosquitos in the summer. They will always be there, but it’s the big stuff that matters.

We have beautiful children, a lovely home, and our hearts are both full of love. That’s when I knew he was my person. Not only did he see things the same way as I did, but he has more love in his heart than I have in the world. His kindness to others goes far beyond mine. He has more love to give than I do.

I guess my point is, life isn’t perfect and neither is our relationship. I will probably spend the rest of my life questioning it for the little things when the big things are no longer in sight. At the end of the day, it’s the big things that matter. It’s the fact that we have the same dreams, same goals, and have the same core values that really allows us to be together and want to stay together even when things aren’t “working out”.

We Upgraded Our Outdoor Hardware | Schlage Encode Smart Wifi Deadbolt

*Disclaimer: These products were gifted to me however all opinions are my own

We recently bought our first home! After many years of living in my parents basement, we finally found ourselves ready to “leave the nest”. It’s been an amazing ride. Having your own space to personalize and decorate has been pretty awesome. And so it goes…

BRING ON THE HOME PROJECTS. While our home isn’t old by any means, to put my own personal touch on our space, I’ve been wanting to do a few upgrades. We finished the basement and one of my favourite features of our new space is our matte black hardware. My goal is to eventually update our entire home with matte black hardware.

My kids and I have been using a keypad lock for some time now at my parent’s, and I knew I wanted to have one in our new home. We were so fortunate to have been gifted one from Schlage. They have amazing knobs and hardware for the entire home. We were gifted the Schlage Encode Wifi Deadbolt. My full review is below. Spoiler alert: I love it.

Installation was a bit tricky. TJ is not the most handy of handymen and we did need some back up. It took him and his brother about an hour, along with some online videos and a couple of “Oh, well we gotta do this again’s” before we had everything changed over and installed. Once it was installed, it took me half an hour to program it with the Schlage Home app. It took a bit of time but trust me when I say it was totally worth it. This is by far one of my favourite parts of my home. Not only do I get notifications when the door is locked and unlocked, but I also get notified about how it was opened/locked (code or thumb turn). If you have multiple codes, it indicates which code was used to open the door. You can even lock or unlock your door from your app. If I have a family member needing to pass by my house without being home, I can just unlock the door from my phone. That is one feature I really love because I don’t need to share the code or create a code for someone to pass by, I can simply lock and unlock the door from my Schlage Home app.

Picture this: mom of 3 kids, infant in tow, groceries in either hand and two other kids helping load groceries into the house. The last thing I want to do is fumble with house keys or even have to awkwardly put my groceries a down with a baby on my hip and try to open my door. What I’ve loved is just unlocking the door from my Schlage Home app before we get to our front step and simply open the door even when my hands are full! The simple act of not worrying about locking or unlocking my door has been so convenient and a serious game changer for me!

I don’t know about you guys, but my kids lose everything. I mean it, everything. This season Kato has lost 3 pairs of mitts, 3 toques, and some days he loses his snow pants. The thought of giving my kids house keys terrifies me because even though I do my best to teach them to be responsible, at the end of the day they are still kids. I find it is much easier to trust my kiddies with a code than a key. When we had a key for the house, Aiden had a hard time opening the door and often needed help locking and unlocking it. Now with the code, he can easily lock and unlock the door.

Finally, aesthetically it looks gorgeous. This upgrade is not only super functional and convenient but sleek and modern as well. Home improvements have been some of the most fun aspects of owning our own home. This one makes for one of my favourite upgrades because look, it looks so damn good!

Peep this BEFORE and AFTER:

I basically brag about this entire system to anyone who will listen to me at this point. I love the look and style of the keypad and knob. It is so sleek and modern. I am in love. I highly recommend the Schlage Encode Smart Wifi Deadbolt if you’re looking for a smart lock or if you just want to give your home a nice new upgrade!

What I Learned About Falling in Love with Myself

2019 was a huge year for me. It was, in fact, the most epic year of my life. I had a baby, started a new career, bought a house, and grew in a way I would have never thought possible. I found one of my missing pieces and *spoiler alert* I fell in love this year!

No, I didn’t fall in love with my partner, I didn’t cheat, I didn’t go off and meet someone new. I fell in love, with myself.

I found a love within myself for myself.

Without all the details, I started the year off in a bad place. I was pregnant, in a whole lot of pain, I had a weak relationship with my partner and an even weaker relationship with myself. I can’t remember who told me this, but someone told me, I needed to find the strength within. So, I did just that. I went on the search for the strength within.

I spent the year on a personal journey to find myself and find my independence. I looked to heal past wounds and put myself “together” again. In the past few years, I had felt like I lost a piece of myself; the part that got me through the hardest time of my life over 11 years ago. I lost my independence. I was so used to being Allison with TJ and the boys, I forgot what it meant to be just me. Just, Allison.

I was laying alone at the beginning of the year,  in bed, and I was bawling my eyes out. I was feeling like I had just lost my entire world. My head throbbed from the crying, I would wake up in a panic out of anxiety, and there I was alone and lost. I did what any pregnant irrational person would do. Anything and everything to find my mental health for the sake of myself and for (at the time) my unborn baby. This was when I decided to take a spiritual journey and try a bunch of things that were never on my bucket list.

One of the most relevant takeaways from the year has to be about becoming the best version of myself. If the person, the event, the decision, does not make me the best version of myself, don’t keep this person in my life, don’t go, don’t do it.

Reiki

A coworker of mine started practicing Reiki and I thought that I would give it a try. It wasn’t going to hurt so, why not, right? Reiki is a form of alternative medicine for energy healing. It is thought that the practitioner transfers energy through their palms to the patient to encourage physical and emotional healing. I love Reiki. The experience is relaxing and I always love a reason to get a nap in during the day (ha!).

This is just something I never thought I would love. I can’t really explain how I feel after but I love when I ask my practitioner what they feel. They could feel cold and hot spots in certain places in my body, they move energy through themselves and into me to the point they are sweating and I think that it is so cool. My practitioner said they could feel my heart “qi” energy needed some extra attention. I loved that they were in tune with what I felt I needed even without me saying so. It was an amazing experience. Writing about this reminds me that I’m due for a session.

Hypnotherapy

I’m going to tell you that everything I did, was cool. Frankly, because it was and its all part of my journey and all contributed to where I am today. I don’t regret anything I did or tried. I would have done anything to “find myself” and I feel like self care is not selfish. In fact, I do believe that self care is one of the most generous things you can do for yourself. If you can’t fully come to terms with yourself, you can’t give those around you the best version of yourself, what’s the point? Living in the moment and the present is important, however, it’s also important to come to terms with the fact that our past shapes who we are.

Hypnotherapy brings you into a light state of hypnosis and helps you deal with some past issues that make things difficult in your present state. You can deal with stresses or triggers, or even change things like smoking habits in hypnotherapy. I dived into places of my past I didn’t think bothered me and yet, there they were, starting triggers over little things that shouldn’t bother me. It’s deep, it’s heavy and it hurts to go into all of these different things… but, it’s so worth it.

I explored areas of my childhood I never realized were significant events for myself and have formed and shaped the ways I’ve experienced things and managed things in my life now. It was a very interesting experience.

After this I felt lighter. I was lighter. There’s a lot about my personality that is overbearing and I’m a bit of a control freak and would constantly need approvals from others but I’ve changed a lot, by choice. I live my life the way that I want to and I don’t answer to anyone. I can accept things I cannot change and control. I still cry over spilled milk once in a while but lack of control no longer consumes me the way that it used to.

Mediums

Okay, here me out. I’ve never tried a medium before in my life. IN MY LIFE. Until this year. I was given the name of a local medium and I wanted to gain some perspective. I thought, “what is the worst that could happen?”. My mind was blown. I had never thought of someone being so specific about my life. So. Damn. Specific. Not only that but there was so many premonitions about what was going to happen this year, things I thought would never happen NEVER HAPPEN (ie. buying a house on maternity leave) and yet, here we are. Or speaking to someone from the other side (it made me bawl my eyes out), or the messages of losing a loved one. She said it would happen and it did. Some of it was a bit distorted and not perfect, but it gave me faith in the year. It gave me something to look forward to and to a certain extent, she was right.

BUT I WASN’T CONVINCED

So I saw another one because like, why not? What’s the worst that could happen?? And I saw someone completely new and different. And there was a completely different message. So here I was with two different stories and different messages from two different mediums and guess what? They turned me into a believer. I can honestly say I was the most skeptical person before and now, now I know there are things in this universe that are bigger that me. I find peace in that, and with that peace, I found a little bit of myself in the process. Knowing that I had a path and a direction gave me a bit of confidence in myself and some faith in the universe that I would, in fact, be okay. I don’t know why I thought otherwise but I knew I needed some type of affirmation to get me through the next few milestones of my life.

Crystal Therapy

TJ started this. He was using crystals and affirmations to get him through whatever he was going through and I didn’t hesitate to try it too. I wanted the long fixes and the quick fixes. I wanted to have something to believe in. I wanted to try everything to be able to find myself.

Do you know when you’re so desperate to find solace, to find a magical cure to heal the pain you’re experiencing, you do anything? I did that, try anything.

My pockets were filled with rose quartz, black tourmaline, Dalmatian Jasper, and citrine. I can’t tell you what each one was for, but I wanted all of the benefits given what I was feeling. I wanted love and I wanted protection. I wanted clarity and by all means I wanted them to work.

I was never a believer in healing crystals. In fact, you could call me the anti-believer of healing crystals. I would easily mock anyone or everyone that had crystals or charged them by the moonlight. It was a bunch of bs to me. I still don’t even know if I truly believe in all of it to be honest. What I do believe in however, is that I knew I wanted all of the benefits all of the crystals I surrounded myself with contained. Even if it’s the placebo effect at the end of the day, I still ended up finding what I was looking for. So really, does that make it any less real?

Trauma Release

This last one I did over the summer. My girlfriend started doing this trauma release therapy. I believe it is called The Completion Process but in any case the best way I can describe it is trauma release therapy.

I really took this experience to be more in tune with my body and how I was feeling. It’s amazing how much of our physically feelings get masked because of the way we learn to cope with uncomfortable feelings.

I think my learning to be more open to these types of experiences helped me because I think I went pretty deep down to discover my trauma. Previous traumas in my life that have helped shape and form me into the person I am today.

Prayer

The power of prayer is something that I never take for granted. Despite doing all of these different things, the most important thing I did was pray to God to help me through whatever it was I was going through. I’ve at one point in my life been a religious person. But pure religion and faith alone was not enough for me. Religion only fills a portion of my soul.


Ok, so I did a LOT of shit to get me to where I am today. I did a whole lot of self searching in many different shapes and forms. I wanted to do everything and anything I could to help me through this difficult time of my life. I did it almost all at once one thing after another and trust me, it was not relaxing nor was it cheap. But it was significant and important to me to be able to safely and wholeheartedly get to my next stage in life. I was driven to love myself and I found it in the most unsuspecting places. I’m not saying you have to do everything I did to find yourself, but if you want to try something new, here’s a few ideas ☺️

Holiday Gifting with Hamilton Beach

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*Disclaimer: These products were gifted to me however all opinions are my own

Holiday season is in full swing and our Christmas shopping is almost done. If you’re still looking what to get that special someone who loves their kitchen gadgets, consider Hamilton Beach products as a great option.

I was so fortunate to try out some of these Hamilton Beach hot items and trust me, I love each and every one of them. With newly owning our own home, these products came at the perfect time. I am so happy to share my experience with all of you.

 

Hamilton Beach Sure Crisp Digital Air Fryer Toaster Over with Rotisserie – MSRP $129.98

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Say that three times fast^ Ok guys, air fryers are totally on trend! I’ve been seeing them EVERYWHERE while shopping for new kitchen appliances, but think about it, a toaster, an air fryer, a convection oven, all on your counter top? Our kitchen is fairly small so space saving is important to me. This product will do it ALL in one shot, bake, air fry, toast, and broil. How cool is that? The counter space footprint is fairly compact considering all the things this product does.

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I tried making air fry fries for the first time, I’ll tell you this, I suck. I got the timing and temperature “off” even given the instructions. I did 18 mins at 375 degrees. The result was warm soft fries. This, for me, is not a problem because I kind of love soggy fries, but my kids like it a bit crispier. I haven’t figured the timing right just yet, but I’m pretty sure once I get it right it’ll be up to my kids’ standards. The digital aspect of this is pretty neat and pretty user friendly. Overall, it’s pretty neat. It does have a lot of attachments which can be a bit confusing especially with the rotisserie option. However, I’m looking forward to making an entire chicken one day. I’ll let you guys know how that goes!

PS. The fries were eaten by all so I consider this a win!

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Hamilton Beach Milk Frother – MSRP $69.99

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CALLING ALL LATTE LOVERS. THIS IS SO COOL. Period. I have wanted a milk frother for as long as I can remember. I love making lattes but I hated microwaving milk and the stove top heating takes too long. THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER. There are two options: milk warming and milk frothing. Each one takes a few minutes and it’s perfect every time! I am a huge “tea latte” fan and this is just a game changer for me. I highly recommend this for the latte lovers. Its even perfect for the kids for hot chocolate. The milk ends up warm and not too hot so it’s perfect to drink right away. Honestly, this is a must have. I can use this every day!

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Hamilton Beach Personal Creations Blender – MSRP $18.95

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If you’re anything like me; mom-on-the-go, this is perfect. I actually regularly put together a quick smoothie in the morning after morning gym/spin. It is super easy, and the best part is that it is only one piece to clean up! The blender piece doubles as a to-go cup and the lid doubles as a travel lid. It’s super convenient for a single-serve drink. I went with a classic black colour but it also comes in aqua, navy, and grey!

I was super impressed with how strong and how quick it was. I’ve been using a large standard blender for a few years now and this is definitely a stronger and quicker blend. Oh, best part, dishwasher safe!

 

Overall, I’ve been super happy and impressed with my Hamilton Beach haul. Their products look so sleek and put together and I love how there is so much multi-use with each one. Their products are such great quality as well. I would recommend any of these for the holiday season. They truly have a gift for every one!

CBD and Me – My Motherhood Anxiety is an all-time High

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Did the kids bring lunch to school? Do you think their lunch snacks are healthy enough? Is the teacher going to judge me because I let them bring fruit roll ups? I hope the kids aren’t dressed to warm today. Should I have let them wear shorts? When am I going to have enough time to do this laundry? Is the baby awake again? Will the kids eat the supper? With TJ eat the supper I made? Will the entire house eat the supper I made? Do I need to go out and grab more food?

Do you ever feel the walls are closing in slowly? Do you feel like the worry never ends? Lately, that’s me. I’m always worried. I’m not really sure what I’m worried about anymore. I’m just on a level of awareness that I didn’t know I had. I wasn’t always like this, I used to be a bit more relaxed. That was two children ago. Now that we’re three kids in, I feel like a lot has changed. I’m more instinctual. I know what my kids need before they even need it. However, knowing everything they need has probably become my biggest weakness thus far.

Think of it this way, if you know all the things that could go wrong, you know that there are a million things to prepare for and who has time for preparing for everything? No one. Perhaps, like all mothers out there, or if you’re like me, a “Type-A” personality, there’s a little bit of OCD going on. So let’s do the math + mother of multiple kids + type-A personality + a little bit of OCD + and a million-item-to-do-list all day = A mother about to lose her mind.

I recently started feeling a heaviness weighing on me. It started to feel like there was a weight on my shoulders that has been weighing on me, on my relationships, my patience, and even physically; been giving me body aches and pains. I couldn’t figure out what it was at first, then it hit me like a wall — it was motherhood.

Motherhood is the greatest thing and the hardest thing.” 

Unknown

I was looking for a way to calm my nerves, to centre me and ground me quickly when I started to feel the heaviness on my shoulders. Sometimes it would be so bad that it would make me hyperventilate into my chest. That’s when I went to look for solutions to treat my anxiety and depression. If you’ve read my postpartum depression post, you know I suggested that CBD may help. I’ve been using it to help me though both depression and anxiety during motherhood.

I recently discovered a Canadian company called FeelCBD. They are based out of Vancouver and offer a variety of CBD based products including disposable capes, tinctures, and their newest product called the Relief Stick. They use full spectrum CBD and plant-based oils to give you a unique CBD experience.

Trust me when I say I’m a skeptic basically all the time. Seriously! Like what was all the hype with CBD? In my head I’m thinking it’s probably a bunch of voodoo. I don’t believe in this stuff. Hippie hemp crap… but boy, am I eating my words now. I love CBD and how amazing it has been for me.

My first love with CBD is called “Love”. Now I’ve tried CBD in both oil and pill form, but this was my first time really experiencing the benefits. The pen is a disposable CBD vape pen with no THC. You get the vape pen and a charger. The vape drag is much deeper than smoking a cigarette. Think of taking a deep breath for 1-2 seconds, holding it in for just a moment, and exhaling. Not only will the deep breathing calm you down, but for me, I felt a nice warm wave of relaxation after vaping with “Love”. It has a nice cinnamon flavour. This pen in particular is enhanced with rose and cinnamon. The claim is that it helps with libido and while I don’t know if that worked for me, it definitely helped me with feeling warm on the inside. I almost immediately felt a calming sensation all over my body. I did this before bed and I had a great sleep that night.

FeelCBD was kind enough to send me another pen, Balance. This one is enhanced with grapefruit, ylang ylang, and vanilla. It was definitely a different experience from Love. Love was warm and cozy and Balance was very calming and relaxing. I did enjoy the flavour and the experience. I did have to take a couple more drags out of this one to get the same calming feeling as Love but overall it is a good pen. I did have to charge this one more frequently than Love because I did take more drags from this pen.

Finally, they sent me their Relief Stick. This is a CBD infused topical. It is enhanced with menthol, camphor, lemongrass and lemon eucalyptus. In short, it’s amazing. I do eyelash extensions and hold my little guy often and my neck, shoulders, and upper back take a beating. I’m sore all the time. This has a wonderful menthol feeling that makes the aching soreness go away within minutes. MINUTES. I found it lasts for a while and by the time I notice I’m sore again it’s been a couple of hours. Also, it SMELLS AMAZING. I didn’t want to forget that. Lemon eucalyptus is one of my favourite scents.

CBD has now become a part of my every day life. It helps calm me, and centres me when I’m on the edge. I do a lot of meditation and self reflection but some days are harder than others. I like that these pens don’t give me a high feeling and alter my mind. As a busy mom of 3, the last thing I need is my mind to be altered because my mind is going a mile a minute. At the end of the day I always suggest to figure out what works for you to calm yourself when you get into a difficult state of mind or you start to feel anxious or stressed. For me, it’s FeelCBD vape pens that help me when I need to calm down quickly. While I continue down my postpartum journey, I’m glad I’ve found something that works for me to help me mentally. I’ll take any help if it helps me be a more patient mom.

Finally Getting some zZz’s…

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Ok, so I’m no sleep expert and trust me when I say by far do I get a good nights sleep but I get sleep. TJ had asked me from the get-go to sleep train Jasper. I told him he’s too newborn to be on a schedule when he was first born but we would get to it after a couple of months.

Babies need to feed every 2-3 hours in the first few weeks of life. Getting adequate sleep was not really an option. Jasper had issues gaining weight in his early weeks. As a result, he would sleep through a feeding. I literally had to set up a timer and do everything I could to wake him up to try to feed him (unswaddle, undress, tickle his feet, turn on the light, cold towel, you name it!). I thought he was the perfect sleeper because I was the one needing to wake him up. This was not the case.

About 4-5 weeks in, he started to adequately gain weight and sleep regression set in. No more were the nights we could get away with 4-5 hours uninterrupted. It was like every 2 hours he would wake up. Wake. Feed. Sleep. I was exhausted.

I am a lover of cobedding. Although this may be frowned upon, it works for us, for our family, and it feels natural. I won’t let anyone shame us for it. I love the closeness and the ease of night time feedings. Your babies won’t cuddle you forever (Kato just started to distance himself from cuddling and he is six years old). Enjoy the cuddles while you can.

Around 7 weeks I decided we could start some type of sleep “training”. I wanted my bed back, I wanted my sleep back, I wanted to be able to cuddle with TJ without worrying if the baby was going to fall out of bed.

I read article after article, tip after tip, poked my nose in a baby sleeping book or two. There were many consistencies and so I took the most consistent tips and applied them.

1.) Swaddle

Consistently I read to swaddle your baby to create a womb-like experience and to protect the baby from waking himself up with his newborn reflexes.

I got mixed messages from the public health nurse about swaddling and apparently you should swaddle but allow your baby to touch his face. From what I understood, the jerk-like movements act as a SIDS prevention for babies.

Jasper is a squirrely baby (best way I could describe his movements) and he never stops moving.

A tight swaddle worked best for us. The tighter the better. We love the Halo sleep sack swaddle. It works the best for us. Jasper loves a good swaddle and he has the strongest little arms and this keeps him nice and tight.

2.) White noise

This was also consistently mentioned in the various articles and books I’ve read.

Personally, I can fall asleep under any thunderstorm, that’s my jam. Jasper, not so much.

We use the Natural Dohm White Noise Machine by Marpacusa. This runs from when we start our bedtime routine until we wake up in the morning.

However you do it, whether it be by white noise machine, app, or YouTube, white noise definitely helps drown out any noise or conversations we have in our room where his crib is.

3.) Routine

Set up a bedtime routine. Doesn’t matter what it is or what order you do it in but keep it the same.

We do a bath and a feed before bed. This starts at approximately 7:00pm – 7:30pm and bedtime is 8:00pm. Bedtime used to be 9:00pm but after experimenting between 8pm or 9pm, we found that the earlier bedtime yielded a slightly better outcome. We usually try to keep Jasper up for an hour to 90 minutes before bedtime.

4.) Consistency

However you choose to train your baby– crying it out, no-cry method, etc.. keep it consistent! Consistency is key and will help your baby make sleep associations. Jasper loves his swaddle and white noise (static noise and not thunderstorms). He will cry while putting him into his swaddle but once he is in the sack and the white noise is on, he tends to calm down. I did the cry method with Kato and while it worked, it hurt me to hear him cry so much. Jasper we will let cry for a minute or so but I usually try to get to him within that first minute or two.

5.) Daytime naps are sooo important

Newborns nap all the time but I have found after 3 weeks, your baby may not nap anymore on his own. You actually have to learn how to put your baby down for a nap. Do not skip these naps thinking that if you baby stays up longer they will be more tired at night. HUGE MISTAKE. Better daytime naps make for better night time sleep. Seems counterintuitive but it’s the truth.

“The night is the hardest time to be alive and 4am knows all my secrets.” 

Poppy Z. Brite

We started our bedtime routine around 8 weeks and tracked for two weeks:

  1. Day 1 – 3 fills hours spent swaddling and shushing and rocking and putting down. Result – 3 hours uninterrupted sleep 9pm bed time

Day 2-3 – 2 hours spent swaddles and shush – result – 2 hours of sleep 9 pm bed time

Day 4 – 1 hour of shush – 4 hours of sleep 8pm bed time

Day 5 – 30 mins of swaddle and shush result – 5 hours of sleep 8 pm bed time

DAy 6-11 – 1 -2 hours of swaddle and shush – 3.5 to 4.5 hours of sleep 8pm bed time

Day 12 – shots woke up every hour for 3 hours. 1.5 hours of sleep. Cobed for rest of night

Day 14 – 15 min of shush. Result – 4 hours of sleep. 9pm bedtime.

Fast forward. We had been doing this for nearly a month and it’s been a total game changer. Jaspers bedtime is 8pm. Will usually get up within an hour, we will wait 5 minutes to see if he will settle himself. If not, I will give him a feeding after rubbing his chest or head for a minute or two. Then he will sleep until 1 or 2 am for another feeding until waking for a diaper change around 5-6am. Another feeding until I either get up around 9 or if I’m feeling lazy, we lay in bed until 11am. Either way, our sleep life has changed so much and I never thought I would feel so “rested”. Well worth investing the time to sleep “train” your baby.

Some nights we still wake up every 2-3 hours and that’s ok. It’s not perfect but it’s progress and we are getting closer and closer to that full night sleep every day 💕

I tried matching family swimsuits and here’s what happened…

I love online shopping. You could say it was one of my “obsessions”. I’m on maternity leave for the next 6 months and I’m kind of bored out of my mind. When I can’t get out in real life, online shopping is probably the closest thing I get to leaving the house some days.

I LOVE ONLINE SHOPPING – understatement of the year.

I found Yaffifashion on the ‘gram and I’ve loved matching matching family outfits for as long as I’ve had kids. When I saw they did matching swim suits, I was sold.

Yaffifashion is an online retailer catering to matching family outfits. This includes swimwear, dresses, and sleepwear. They are also available on Amazon and have some of the most affordable prices I’ve seen for sets. They were a perfect fit for us because not only did they have women’s suits and baby girl suits, but if you’re like me, a mom of all boys, they also carry swimwear for boys and men.

We had a mini vacay in our hometown and the matching swimwear was a huge hit for us! The quality of the suits was beyond my expectations considering they are so affordable, as well the fit was great for every family member! I do recommend sizing up as they fit small. I am wearing a large and I’m normally a medium. TJ flipped out when he saw I got him and extra large but after trying it on he understood. Also, plus for men, swimsuits have pockets!

While summer may be over for us, these matching outfits are perfect for your winter holiday vacation or like us, mini vacation anywhere!

I have postpartum depression.

Disclaimer* I am not a doctor and I’m not here to give anyone advice on how to conquer depression. I am here simply stating my experience with postpartum depression. I strongly advise that should you have any questions about postpartum depression, seek professional medical attention. If you feel like doing harm to yourself or those around you, please see immediate medial attention.

Even though I have so many reasons to be happy, sometimes I just get stuck. I can’t move, I can’t smile, and I can’t think.. and I don’t know why.

I always ended up having a little bit of post partum depression after each of my kids. Baby blues immediately after birth. After I had Aiden 10 years ago, I went on anti-depressants for about a month and things started to lighten up afterwards. After Kato, about 6 years ago, I would scream and run up the stairs and cry and tell TJ “YOU DON’T EVEN LIKE ME CAUSE I’M STILL FAT”. Dramatic, much?

Before I had Jasper, I knew that there was a very good chance I would have some form of post partum depression. I was very vocal about it with friends. I let those closest to me know that I expected to have baby blues. I encouraged them to check up on me. I knew during this time, I didn’t want to be alone.

Right after having Jasper, the blues set in. In fact, I probably had the blues starting in my labour. I couldn’t help but know that while I was going to have a baby and had my partner by my side, something was off. I didn’t feel right. Hearing “I love you” “you’re doing great” “I’m right here” made me feel empty.

In the hospital, I remember there was one day, I can’t even remember why I was upset but I was crying hysterically. I was shaking. I threw TJs phone across the room and shattered his screen and I screamed “I NEED MORE SUPPORT”. I couldn’t explain what I needed. My hormones were taking a huge dip. I felt like a crazy person. I made so much commotion that the nurse and social worker came in to make sure everything was okay. For the time being, it was ok.

Postpartum depression is different from the “baby blues,” which begin within the first three or four days of giving birth, require no treatment and lift within a few hours or days. PPD is a deeper depression that lasts much longer. It usually starts within the first month after childbirth (although it can occur any time within the first year) and can last weeks to months. In more serious cases, it can develop into chronic episodes of depression.

I know sometimes you think “postpartum depression? So are you planning on killing yourself and your kids?” Well no. Postpartum depression is different for everyone. Some experience a psychosis of some sort, some hear voices, some cry, some, like me, stop enjoying everything they used to. They don’t want to socialize, participate, or even take interest in their kids.

Postpartum psychosis refers to the sudden onset of psychotic symptoms after childbirth. This condition is rare—approximately 1-2 cases per 1000 births.


Some days I couldn’t even take interest in my own children.

I felt like a monster.

A week or two after giving birth, I could feel the clouds of depression rolling in. I stopped enjoying things like shopping, my favourite shows, my favourite meals. I would cry some days and not be able to move or get out of bed. Postpartum depression made me feel like a monster. I felt like a monster. Here I am, three beautiful kids, and I couldn’t look at them. Some days, don’t want to service them, I don’t want to play with them, feed them (although I do because these boys never stop eating), and I don’t want to be a mom. Some days I don’t want to be a mom.

The worst part is when someone tells me “why are you so upset when you have so many things to be thankful for?” Can I just say, that is a highly offensive and insensitive comment. I can’t really control this part of me. I don’t “intend” to feel awful or want to cry or not enjoy everything around me. This is like being sick. You don’t try to be sick. I happens and while it’s unfortunate, I didn’t “try” to feel this way. In fact, I very much hope I didn’t feel this way at all. I just wanted to take a moment to say, I’m not a monster nor am I trying to be. If you can’t understand someone’s depression, make no comment on it. It’s not your place to judge them. (<— that’s my take on it anyways)

How am I getting through it?

  • Talk about it
    • I talk a lot about what I’m going through with those closest to me. I’ve kept my circle small but powerful. These relationships I have, fulfill me in so many ways. Just being able to vent without judgment has been amazing. I am nothing without those I can depend on to support me and bring me back down to reality. I understand what it means when they say it “takes a village”.
  • Work it out
    • I started working out again 6 weeks pp. I started with spin class and since then now nearly 4 months pp, I started going back to the gym. Physical activity had given me strength. Not just physically but mentally as well. I have been able to move that energy from something that’s toxic and clouds my mind to something tangible that I can “use”.
  • Meditate
    • I meditate regularly. Usually while breastfeeding to be honest. It helps me relax while feeding and helps milk flow. I take a regular inventories of things I am thankful for. I make time for myself to become more self-aware and focus on what I need at that given time. I make time to think about me. I think that being so self-aware has been my greatest strength. I remind myself that I am doing the best I can. I am doing the best I can.
  • Eat
    • TJ says I’m less grumpy when I eat. I try to make sure I eat regularly and often throughout the day. I usually try to eat well and have veggies, protein and whole grains however if I need a “quick bite”, drive through wraps are great in a pinch. I try not to be so hard on myself for what I eat. I’m doing the best I can.
  • Unconventional supplements
    • I had heard that placenta pills were supposed to help with postpartum depression. Knowing fully that I might get it, I tried them myself. I really did enjoy how they made me feel. Whether or not it was the placebo affect I’ll never know. However I did notice that while taking them my milk supply would suffer which is why I stopped taking them. Feel free to send me a note if you want more information on where I had gotten my placenta pills.
    • CBD oil. I take zero THC CBD oil on days that I can’t sleep. I have found that it eases my nerves and anxiety without altering my judgement. It has helped relax me and give me a little bit of peace. I don’t take it often, only on my really bad days. I can’t say how this affects my breastfeeding. I usually take it at night when Jasper has the longest stretch of sleep before his next feeding. My best advice is to check with your doctor before you try any type of “unconventional” supplement as I have.
  • Doing things I enjoy
    • I’ll go out to eat with a friend, get coffee, get my nails done, or just get out of the house. Being cooped up all day doesn’t help. Some fresh air does me good and doing something small to help me feel like myself helps. Calling a friend, helps. I will admit it doesn’t always help, but taking time for myself really helps me focus on myself and what I need.

It gets better…

I am 4 months postpartum and definitely still have really good days and really bad days. As time has gone by, the bad are fewer and further in-between. Working out really helps me and I feel really good after. I never regret a workout. I still cry for no reason. I still have days I “hate” myself and struggle with being a mom.

I try not to blame myself for feeling this way. I realize that sometimes people can’t help it. It’s not my fault. I didn’t feel this way intentionally. I didn’t do this to myself. I didn’t wish this upon myself. I am only human. I am doing the best I can. I will get better. It will take time to get back to normal. I will get there.