Thank You Buckhorn

Hello there.... It's been a while. Sad to say that summer has come and gone. I've been working on the blog a bit here and there. I'm thinking "blog reno." When I say, "I'm thinking" I mean the mastermind behind my webdesign is thinking it. But either way, I am on board. Just a little refresher after 2.5 years. Stay tuned...

Next post up will most likely be Nola's birth story, which I am super excited to share (insert jumpy claps here - I am so not a jumpy clap kinda gal but you get my point right?)

Ok - I gotta run. Both kids are trying to simultaneously trying to grab my coffee, the computer, my leg...wait for it....Nola is crying....

Here is one of the family trips we were very fortunate to have taken this summer.

Enjoy!

**************************************************************************************************

 

cot5

bc27

 

Family vacation 2014 was spent on a quiet lake in Buckhorn.  The home we stayed in was in a perfect location, with the lake right in the backyard. We were treated to some beautiful sunsets while sitting on the back deck. The geese seemed to rather enjoy our backyard as well. I think we all left there a little scarred from the amount of poop that was on the lawn. YIKES!

PicMonkey Collage12

bc2

cig6

PicMonkey Collage8

PicMonkey Collage7

 

By the 3rd morning, Hazel had figured out which door led to her cousins who were waiting to chase her, dance with her, do her hair, and/or play with her (always up to Hazel to decide). As soon as her feet hit the ground she would walk to the door and try to escape to where all the fun was. And by fun, I mean Nana with a pack of Goldfish crackers and grapes (or again whatever else Hazel wanted).

PicMonkey Collage5

PicMonkey Collage10

cot

PicMonkey Collage

PicMonkey Collage12

PicMonkey Collage

PicMonkey Collage2

PicMonkey Collage1

 

Hazel's first time fishing. She lasted about 3 whole minutes.

PicMonkey Collage3

PicMonkey Collage4

PicMonkey Collage1

cot4

First boat ride for the girls. Hazel loved it. Big smiles for the 10 minutes it lasted. About 5 minutes in she looked like she was going to fall asleep. Either that or motion sickness was starting to set in. On account of the fact that we are NOT gamblers, we turned the boat around and came right back.

cot2

pa19

PicMonkey Collage9

cot1

 

Nola was NOT a fan of the life jacket. The second it went on she stiffened up her whole body and it remained that way until we took it off. She cried a bit at first in protest and then realized it was staying on and just had a mizzy face on the whole time.

PicMonkey Collage6

 

Emi's special 9th birthday celebration. This pic makes me so happy. Honestly you guys, there are NOT 3 better men on this planet. They have so much to offer these 5 girls. It doesn't seem fair that we get to have all. But oh well...no tradezies. They're ours!

bc3

PicMonkey Collage9

 

I barely saw my kids on the trip. They were too busy being whisked away by their cousins and grandparents to keep up. I had to literally sneak away with Nola in order to spend any time with her. I know when to fight and when to cave. There was no way I was going to win my kids attention when the entertainment and food offerings were endless.

pa4

PicMonkey Collage7

c1

PicMonkey Collage4

PicMonkey Collage5

(love the uncle Bart photo bomb)

PicMonkey Collage8

PicMonkey Collage2

 

Well I guess we did find a few moments with the girls...

c

bc29

cig5      cot6

cot7

PicMonkey Collage11  PicMonkey Collage13

 

PicMonkey Collage15

That post I promised...

Just checking in. How are you all??? We are good...

Summer so far has been great. Lots and lots of family time, mixed in with visits with friends and play dates with the girls. Also, managing to get some projects done around the house. There has been a perfect balance of outings and trips with an equal amount of those days of staying home and just hanging with the girls. Nothing on the agenda except playing in the yard.

Still missing Nonno like crazy. Actually, noticing his absence even MORE as the day pass. It's such a strange thing to try to get used to when such a presence is no longer with us. Not sure if it ever feels normal.

Here are all the "smiley" photos from our family trip to Buckhorn Lake (the rest of the pics will come later).

 

fri

friday1

friday2

friday3

friday4

friday5

friday7

 

See you back here in September. Starting off the return with Nola's birth story. Stay tuned...

 

Road Trip

What better than to signify the start of summer but a good ol' fashion, ROOOOOOOOOOOAD TRIP!!!!! Off we went.

3 families, with our 6 children, joined together to enjoy moments of fun, laughter, peace, great meals, satisfying drinks, and a whole lot of doing what felt easy. We rushed to get nowhere, we stressed about nothing, and we worried not about our children's nap schedule.

Except for us at around 11:30pm and our kids looked like this in the hotel room...

p

p1

And then they cried....LOUD!!!!! I digress...

 

We had a perfectly paced, amazingly timed, relaxing little get away with a few of my favourite people. There was a lot of holding each others babes and making compromises that were good for the team.

PicMonkey Collage1

 

Lots of time for lovin' on our littles...

p2

p11  p6

p14

p15

Different venues for a swim...

p7

PicMonkey Collage

 

And "firsts" for a few of the babes. First time playing in a lake for the girls. Now, they can really call themselves Canadian.

PicMonkey Collage4

 

Nola may or may not have drank some. I am going to pretend that it didn't bother me at all.

PicMonkey Collage5

 

So looking forward to doing that road trip again. Same people, older kids, more drinks!!!

PicMonkey Collage

 

IG pics from the trip...

PicMonkey Collage3

 

Florida 2014

f  

Let me start out by saying that this trip could not have come at a better time.

Seriously, y'all, seriously.

Mommy and Daddy had been dealing with a certain high maintenance someone (ahem - not Hazel - ahem) who does not like to sleep for very long stretches at night. She's pretty unreasonable about the whole ordeal. Long story short mommy was on the verge of going to pick up a pack of darts and coming back in 5 years (wink, wink - no not really). Literally, I was so tired that there  isn't a coffee bean (or 500 hundred) harvested in the entirety of Columbia that could have made me feel human.

So, in an effort to not leave and join the circus (which I am sure is much more lax and less dangerous than the current state of our home), we headed south.

And it was well worth the chaos of the airport and prep ahead of time. Hazel had a blast every day. Just being able to take the girls outside for a walk was worth the trip. It was a whole lotta, "doing-what-felt-right-at-the-time" to make decisions on daily activities. Overall, it was a low key, slow paced vacation, which incidentally was EXACTLY what we all needed.

 

f4

Downtown Disney was a hit. Perfectly paced and perfectly priced. I would totally suggest making the visit. It gives you all the "Disney" feel without spending the "Disney" price. Especially if your kids are small and the big park might be too much.

It was a great afternoon spent bubble blowing, splashing in the splash pad, going on a walking adventure and playing with shadows.

f1

IMG_6158

IMG_6183

2

Here is what Nola spent the afternoon doing. Sleeping in the Ergo...

IMG_6152

 

When life gives you lemons in terms of timed sprinklers, make lemonade!

IMG_6358

f3

 

We visited the pool everyday...

IMG_6305

f7

IMG_6511

 

Neighborhood pet - crocodile. Yikes!

IMG_6093

 

Mornings, noons and nights hanging out in the lanai.

IMG_6089

IMG_6066

1

f6

IMG_6213

 

f10

 

Spent some time in Celebration. One of our favourite places on earth.

f11

There's a lot of nothing to do. It's perfect. Just walk, eat, splash, play, wish, drink, walk more, eat more. Need I say more?

f8 f9   f12

IMG_6564

f13

f5

IMG_6685

 

This dress...

4

f2

 

Nightly sunsets...

florida11

 

Our family...

IMG_6607

 

So grateful to have had a cozy place to stay and a chance for our family to reconnect and be present. Also, I slept...so there's that.

Happy Saturday!!!

Happy Saturday from sunny Florida!!! We are loving this vaca so much. Nice to be in the heat and outside 90% of the day. It has been such a nice change not having to bundle up two babes to go out and do something.

I will of course post some more pics of our trip next week. I didn't bring the laptop so this pic is the best I can do for now. Also, I think I have figured out the place to put them to get them both to smile at the same time.

The stroller!!!

image

It kinda forces them to stay in the same place and look in the same direction. Got a couple of good ones while they were in here. I posted them on IG.

 

Love for the Family Cottage

Alas...a post that is about something!!! That actually took quite a bit of work to organize. Impressed??? Oh...how I am going to miss the days where I have only 1 baby who takes a 2 hour nap everyday. I am relishing in the moments of peace, while I only have one little girl on my hands. How long do you think it will take for me to get them on the same nap schedule? HAHA!!! I can't even take that question seriously!

Anyways...

PicMonkey Collage

Our cottage vacation has come to an end again for the year. It has become something of a tradition for us to visit the cottage every August. We look forward to it every year and it always proves to be the most perfectly low maintenance, relaxing family vacation ever.

c7

I am such a sucker for the water. Any water. The sea, beach, ocean, lakes...anything. Even puddles make me want to be a kid again and jump in. The sounds, the smells, the colours. I absolutely LOVE it in all shapes and sizes.

c6

me

 

Hazel is a huge fan of the water as well. She loves the feel of the sand in her fingers and toes (and mouth....yuck! We don't get to spend as much time down at the beach as we would like on account of the little girl who once she starts, can't seem to stop).

c3

c4

The beach made a perfect place for lots of shadow play, which Hazel adores.

c2

 

Almost every night the moon would hang just perfectly, casting a bright reflection on the water like a shiny blanket of warmth.

PicMonkey Collage2

moon

 

We had some visits from friends and family. Unfortunately, I don't have pics of all the visitors. I just captured a few...

PicMonkey Collage5

 

A last minute visit from some of our NICU fwends...

twins2

 

Where this adorable situation...

twins

 

quickly turned into this...and I mean quick. Good times!!!

twins1

 

Even Nico's fwend Molly came to play.

c16

 

Some grown up games...

PicMonkey Collage4

 

Ice cream treats...(a lot of ice cream treats)

PicMonkey Collage3

 

And the absolute BEST part...all the mommy and daddy time. Truly being able to be 100% present and in the moment as a family. Putting aside the "to-do" lists, nesting projects, work, household chores for a whole week is a gift I don't ever take for granted. There is nothing better than having no agenda, time schedule, or expectations. Wake up and do what feels good at the time. Great times!

dad

PicMonkey Collage1

 

Last but certainly not least - THIS FACE - I kinda love her, just a bit...

c8

c9

 

Until next year...I will hold on to what memories we made with Hazel this year. I can't wait until she is old enough to remember these times and memories.

Let the nesting begin!

K...Don't be mad...

I am trying to get a quality post up on this blog. I swear I am!!!!! But I am also trying to settle back in at home and into some of our routines. Also, did I mention I am tired (just a 29.5 week phase I'm sure...fingers crossed).

So, AGAIN here are the IG photos from the cottage trip (of which there aren't many). I took the opportunity to almost totally unplug from social media (even IG...I know it's crazy for me). It was a lovely little break with no distractions. Just time spent with my favourite people.

 

PicMonkey Collage

I will try to make it up to you in the coming posts. Good news is I worked on my birth story...A LOT!!! Stay tuned.

And I will be posting a "Happy Friday" post this week with some of my absolute favourite photos of all time.

Until then...

Makin' Some Memories

We recently went to a cottage in Brighton, Ontario for a little quality family time with Hazel's cousins that live in Peterborough. It was easily one of the best cottage vacations that we have ever been on. It was filled with beautifully serene moments on a quiet lake, gorgeous sunsets, turtles laying eggs and swans that gracefully floated by.

FRICKEN SWANS!!!!!! Seriously...RIGHT?!

PicMonkey Collage

 

Oh...yes...and there were babies.

Babies who may have been a little too eager to see what his big brothers and Hazel were up to. Babies who like to get into everything they are way to young for and see what all the fuss is about. This little man was never happier than when amidst all the chaos of the other rowdy kids. Much to his own detriment, he sniffed out the action and assured he was always in the center. This kid likes to live in the danger zone.

 

2

 

There was a day on the beach, where the kids couldn't have been happier and the parents couldn't have been colder. But we did what we had to do and let the kids do their thing. Apparently, their "thing" included long runs up and down the shoreline of the water (and perhaps a little dip in the water that was way to cold for human body temperatures).

3

4

Her "thing" included eating fistfuls of sand. That was super fun for me.

6

 

My bump was there too.

(Yes - that is a receiving blanket wrapped around my neck posing as a scarf - it was cold!!!)

7

 

Lots of giggles when Sawyer couldn't seem to figure out how to get his VERY cold t-shirt off. He worked it out, it came off in the end.

8

 

Obligatory "we're on vacation at the beach" couples photo.

 

9

 

Hummus...

10

 

Little boys who are too little to be standing up looking outside.

11

12

 

Stolen moments with my girl where she was so tired she had a 4 hour nap. She's so squishy in my arms when she sleeps, it's like we are one body again. I kinda like it.

16

 

This could not be a more perfect picture. There was a lot of this all weekend long. Lots of lovin' on daddy moments for all the kids.

17

A happy Father's Day to all!!!

1

21

 

Finding leaves that were bigger than our heads. Why not?

18

1a

 

I taught the kids to play war. The first game lasted 4 hours. Sawyer didn't really like winning the 2s or 3s. Those cards don't win you other cards, now do they? BUT...you have to have ALL the cards to win the game. He conceded and took the 2s and 3s (and won the game).

1

 

22

2

3

 

I love that Cooper and Sawyer are at the age where they are going to remember this vacation. They are going to remember playing hockey by the water, having dance parties in the kitchen, running on the beach, taking walks, visiting towns, fishing off the dock and playing the kind of games that are just more fun when you are at a cottage. I love that it is uninterrupted time that our families get to spend together with no agendas, no chores - life isn't getting in the way. We can just "BE", whatever that means for the moment we are in.

I can't wait to make this a new family tradition every year and couldn't think of better people to do it with.

Until next time...

Happy Cottage Weekend!!!!

Please forgive me for being a little late with the Friday post. We are away for a relaxing cottage weekend in Brighton, Ontario. A gorgeous little gem of a spot on Lake Ontario.  

IMG_7228

We are with a few of our favourite peeps and I couldn't be happier. I am doing my best to try to stay unplugged and away from social media (except IG, of course) but I thought I would share this little piece of heaven with you this weekend.

 

IMG_7219

 

Also, I MUST say I am shocked that I fully opened the door for you to ask me any and all questions about ANYTHING and you took it very easy on me. I will answer the few questions next week when we are back. Thanks to those who asked. I love hearing from you all!!!

More photos of this great weekend to come...

Have a wonderful weekend!!!

 

Part 2 of Our Trip - Cruise

The rest of the trip was a Mediterranean cruise. Life is rough but we thought we would give it a go.  

The first stop Florence...Duomo

7

Florence is such a charming city. Everywhere you looked you could snap a pic and never feel that you have captured the entire essence of Florence. It is so pretty. I feel like I need to paint, paint it all, all the time. If only I could paint...

8

9

The best part about Florence was that we've been there before, in 2008. I love that we have a pic of us at the exact same spot on Ponte Vecchio 5 years later. Lots of changes since 2008, namely the little one in my belly and the little one we left at home. Crazy!!!

flo2013

flo2008

 

Portofino...

Breathtaking sights and delicious food. The kind of place you want to sit at a cafe, eat, drink and watch the world go by. And so we did...bottom left patio in the pic (we sat right next to that on the left).

10

11

12

Some overachiever docked their little yacht in this marina. You may have trouble seeing it...

17

13

Seriously...I can't look at this without NEEDING it.

2

3

 

Nice, France...

It was a very rainy, very quick visit so I don't have much to comment on. It's beauty can not be denied. I hope to visit again one day for longer.

14

15

16

 

That concludes the world travel posts for now.

 

Peace & Love

 

Barcelona

Here are some of the pics I snapped of our trip. It's always at times like these I find myself wishing I was a trained, professional photographer, in hopes of perfectly capturing the new experiences. I find it so difficult to accurately represent the architecture, culture and atmosphere of the places we visit. These pictures do not do this trip justice. They are way too, 2-dimensional. It's always different when you are there and the culture surrounds you, with its smells, sites, people.

Sagrada Família

 

This church was designed by Antoni Gaudi and is still under construction according to his original plans. Its estimated date of completion is 2025.

1

2

Gaudi also designed these 2 apartment buildings in Barcelona. After visting them we learned that he gets his inspiration from things in nature, bones, skulls, trees, etc.

 

15

 

14

16

17

 

Las Ramblas

 

3

 

The loft apartment we stayed in.

4

 

By far the best meal we had in Barcelona. Delish!!!

5

This tiny plate of Iberian ham was 19 Euros (it's about 200 grams of meat). It tasted that expensive.

6

7

Tibidabo

 

It was a super cloudy day, the day we visited the church. I know it looks like fog but we are actually high enough to be in the clouds.

8

10

13

11

 

There is a really old amusement park still up and running next to the church.

9

Coolest looking ride ever!!!

12

 

This Cathedral was in the Gothic Quarter.

1

2

 

This type of mosaic design is very common to see on buildings throughout the city. This was by far one of the prettiest.

3

b

 

My father-in-law rockin' my red scarf.

4

Park Güell

 

5

6

 

And last but not least, my IG pics from Barcelona. Food, shopping and a bump. Pretty much sums up the whole trip for me.

i

i3

i1

 

Very grateful...Happy Monday!!!

 

Hazel's 1st Family Vacation

f That title sounds like a kids story book...hmmmm

There were so many photos taken and memories made that it is going to be a huge challenge trying to keep this post short. I guess some of the details will just have to stay in the family (especially the parts where we fought and yelled at each other…hehe).

2

 

In all honesty, the trip could not have been better. The weather was amazing, the house was perfect, the adventures were adventurous, and mostly the company was entertaining. We were all sad to see it come to an end, and I assure you Hazel has been looking around for her cousins over the last week. I can also assure you that, when she looks around and there is only me, she is disappointed. She has become quite used to her daddy being around all the time. She is his biggest fan.

5

10

1

One of the most rewarding parts of the trip was to watch Hazel bond and become accustomed to each family member. By the 2nd day, she was extending her arms out to Stella for comfort and to sing songs. She learned Lilly’s name and she copied all Emi’s dance moves early in the mornings. She quickly learned that Auntie Paula was one to make friends with. Every time Auntie looked at her, Hazel gave her an adoring smile from ear-to-ear (sometimes Hazel would just stare at her until Paula looked and then reward her with a HUGE adoring smile).

By the end of the week, she had smiles and kisses for everybody. Watching the relationships grow and blossom into LOVE and TRUST, was a beautiful thing, and an experience I will treasure.

f13

7

f10

8

9

Another aspect of the trip I treasured equally was, watching Hazel experience new things for the first time. As all parents, part of our job is to create new experiences and opportunities for our children to learn and grow. This trip allowed us the opportunity to let Hazel fly on a plane, sleep in a different bed, eat different foods, meet old family friends, play in the sand, swim in a pool and feel the ocean on her feet. We are excited that we were able to provide these opportunities for her and really can't wait to expose her to more.

13

14

3

f12

4

12

She's a freaking strawberry!!!!!

1

2

15

16

We will be looking forward to making more memories with our family but for now we will hold on to and cherish the ones we have just made. And after my family reads this post they will know how I really feel, so the secrets out.

I guess, I don't think they're half bad. None of it would have happened without a very generous and loving gesture from Pip. There are no words of appreciation that could ever possibly be enough. Thank you for the memories.

5

ALL HAIL Princess Lilly...

3

4

 

The Grand Floridian dinner...

f6

2

 

Dinner at The Bohemian...

f9

1

 

Hangin' with the girls...

f11   f14

f15

 

Dancin' in the streets of Downtown Disney...

f17

f18

 

Hands DOWN, the funniest pic of the bunch...

"So guys...this whole thing was a blast!!! Let's do it again. Who's in???"

f7

 

We are blessed friends...

 

 

 

Cottage Getaway

We finally got out to visit our family cottage again this summer. Hazel had a great time. She slept in until 11 twice...so Matt and I had a very serious conversation about moving out there permanently. It was so nice to be relaxing as a family and have daddy all to ourselves for a while.



 



So, she didn't think the sunglasses were funny...she really needs to learn to take a joke...



...not today though apparently!!!



There was some time spent building a puzzle. I may have been a little obsessed with it at one point, seeing as I couldn't walk away from it even though Hazel needed something, food, sleep...general acknowledgement.

Well, if you can't beat em' join em'!!!





Seriously, look how much she loves her daddy!!!





This next photo makes my heart flutter, my head tilt and my mouth smile!!!



Part of the reason Hazel slept until 11...



Elephant and Giraffe DID NOT enjoy each others company...



Walking with daddy. Not sure who was happier about this, Hazel for the free ride and the great view of the world, daddy that he could provide this for her and spend time with her or...



...mommy who got lucky enough to have a little time to take in a few deep breaths.



Not sure where she was headed here but she was having a great time.



Auntie Andrea, Cousin Gracie and Uncle Roy came to visit. I am pretty sure they were only talking to us at all so that we would let them come back again. Hazel really was the only thing they saw. Adorable!!!









This is the most recent edition to the facial expression portfolio that Hazel has been working on...



Here is another one...



On this cottage trip some very important, landmark events took place. One, we really got to spend time together to connect as a family again. No therapists, no doctors, no appointments, no interruptions...

Two, we got these next few pictures to document our time spent. I am IN LOVE with these pictures...they couldn't be more perfect!!!





My favorite picture of me and Hazel to date...LOVE!!!



Third, and maybe most importantly, Elephant found the room within the depths of his soul to give the relationship with Giraffe a chance. He saw how happy Giraffe made Hazel and figured he must not be all bad...the rest is history...



 

1st visit to the family cottage...

Daddy was very excited to get Hazel out to the family cottage. It has been one of his dreams for us for a long, long time. Finally we made it there!! We enjoyed spending time relaxing by the water with Hazel and Nico. Nothing could have made me happier than to see the look of contentment on my husband's face as we had yet another wonderful experience with our new little girl. Just being able to share and watch how happy he was to be out at his favourite place with his favourite people, was a wonderful experience for me. We are quickly learning that wherever Hazel is, love and joy are right there with her!!!

Hazel's 1st bottle at the Cottage
Nico wants to play too...
Here is how we bath at the cottage...
Hazel sharing a smile with her Mommy...
and kisses with Daddy!
Princess Hazel will take her bottle at room temperature...oh...and as long as she can
continue playing with her toys...
Things go from good to bad in seconds...
Hazel really does love us even though she seems like she doesn't in this pic...
Love, Love, Love the family photo!!!