local life, relationships

nine years of dating & nine date ideas!

May 18, 2017

Today marks nine years of my husband and I dating! We met on a bus (more on that some other time!) while in our second year of university, and I’ll admit that at first I played hard to get.

I had just recently gotten out of a relationship that unfortunately ended way past its expiration date, and was resolved to a year of being single and finding myself. I am so grateful he respected my wishes to be friends first and get to know each other. It was so refreshing to meet someone I could completely be myself with, weird moments and all.

The friends phase might have only lasted two months before we shared our first kiss and became a couple, but now I can happily say he is my best friend; my confider; my travel partner; my “pio”; my husband; and an amazing dad to our wonderful little boy.

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baby life, mom life

nourished is best

May 11, 2017

Preface: Last week, May 1-7, was Mental Health Awareness Week. Though it’s a few days past, I thought it was time to speak about where I am mentally and emotionally before I celebrate my very first Mother’s Day. 

When my husband tells me “you’re the best mommy ever”, I tend to not look him in the eye. It’s not out of modesty or trying to be humble; it’s because I don’t believe him, and I feel undeserving of that title. I’m still trying to figure out what it means to be a mom, and these months have been full of navigating who I am now while also caring for my little one. Some days, I don’t feel like myself. Though I am not diagnosed by a doctor, the postpartum life hasn’t been the easiest and I hope to speak more on it soon.

With Mother’s Day coming up, it’s all about celebrating moms. It is a blessing and quite surreal to me that I’m celebrating my first Mother’s Day, that I have a beautiful son who might not be able to call me mama yet, but who looks at me like I’m his whole world. We spend that one glorious day talking about how amazing moms are, but I think we sometimes edge away from speaking about the difficulties and the pressures that come with motherhood.

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local life

rick rack coffee house

May 4, 2017

As a resident of Hamilton’s east end, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Ottawa Street grow. Though still widely known for its fabrics and textiles, there’s been an emergence of cafés, unique restaurants, and small shops to discover and enjoy. Ottawa Street to the east end is what James Street and Locke Street are to downtown, with an array of local businesses.

“What can I get started for you today, my dear?” were the first words I heard when me and my little one strolled into Rick Rack Coffee House earlier this year. Immediately I felt at home thanks to a wonderful blend of cozy atmosphere, delicious fare, and its passionate and kind owner, Tiana. Having just recently opened in fall 2016, it’s located towards the Barton end of Ottawa Street North and is now open seven days a week.

With its warm brick accent wall, artwork adorning the walls, and a mixture of cozy armchairs with diner-style tables and wooden benches, there’s a kitschy and vintage vibe to the place. Classic sewing machines are found throughout, and pay homage to the origins of Ottawa Street. Here and there are small tables and shelves adorned with works from local artists – Jules’ Gems are a highlight in particular, but there are also candles, greeting cards, coffee mugs and CDs from local musicians available for purchase. You’d think it would be overwhelming, but it’s perfect. It really allows you to discover other local businesses you might not have seen before. With Tamp & Tunes Thursdays, featuring live music in the evenings, and Tuesday evening get togethers in May to bring awareness to mental health, it also provides a sense of community. Make sure to tune into their Instagram for their upcoming events (and to drool at all the food photos).

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baby life, labour and delivery, pregnancy

labour + delivery story

April 27, 2017

Besides being pregnant through one of the most humid summers and early autumns on record, my pregnancy was a pretty straightforward one. Most of my suffering came from the realization that most of my shoes no longer fit due to water retention and my iron levels dipped dramatically low during my third trimester, but the wonderfulness (dare I use that word to describe pregnancy?) during my second trimester made up for the morning sickness during the first and the fatigue during the third.

Even though I started dozing off during my commute home, I was also overwhelmed with excitement. Not soon after my husband and I decided to start trying we found out we were pregnant, and we couldn’t wait to meet the little guy.

My estimated due date was November 6th, though that day came and went without incident. My midwives* assured me that it could happen any day now, which became my immediate response anytime anyone asked if he was here yet.

*By the way, I can only say positive things about my midwifery experience. It is truly care that goes above and beyond. I initially chose midwives for the convenience of getting to appointments, but was overwhelmed by how “on call” they are for you and how they addressed every one of my questions and fears with knowledge and genuine insight.

The evening of November 11th, I slept horribly. It was one of those “I am over this and so incredibly uncomfortable” nights that had shown up as of late. On November 12th, for some reason our husband and I decided to stay up ’til midnight. He was already sleeping separately from me that week; he had a cold and didn’t want to pass that along to me when I needed my “health and strength for labour.” I recall saying good night and then commenting, “I think I’m starting to have contractions.”

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local life

makeology spring craft fair

April 20, 2017

Makeology brings together local vendors to share their talents and homemade goods several times a year. The spring craft fair, and fifth fair so far, was held on April 15th, on a day that felt oh-so-appropriately like spring: damp and a bit chilly during the morning, with the sun finally shining through and a hint of warmth by mid-afternoon.

Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology hosted the fair, with each of the three buildings occupied by a vast array of amazingly made items. My friend and 5-month old son joined me for the day and we were surprised by a) by how packed but yet non-claustrophobic the place was; b) how people were incredibly kind to manoeuvre out of the way when seeing a stroller and c) how I could have spent way more than I did, but paced myself for sure!

With 65 vendors, there was plenty to take in. From tea towels to posters and cards, to products for beards and delicious peanut butter, to clothes and goods for kids to jewelry, purses, tote bags, toys, candles, pillows and so much more! It was easy to stop and marvel at the vendors’ handiwork and appreciate the uniqueness of what they had made.

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baby life

5 things I’ve learned from my 5-month old baby

April 13, 2017

My days of being in school might be almost a decade(!) behind me, but I’ve learned so much since becoming a mother. My little guy is five months old today and so he might not seem qualified, but he has taught me so much – and not just how to properly change a diaper or how to put a onesie on quickly. Here are five things that I’ve learned from him:

Give things a chance

When Vince was a newborn, activities like bath time or going into his car seat spawned worried looks and even tears. Now he’s trying to swim every time he’s in his bath tub that seems smaller and smaller each time we use it. Going into the car seat brings smiles, as I say excitedly, “We’re going on an adventure!” He’s taught me to give things a chance, even if it might scare me, which is a lot like jumping into parenthood in itself!

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