August 08, 2014

beautiful things. beautiful people. beautiful world. the happiness collective.

every morning when i get a little quiet time i like to catch up online with friends and current affairs. i get lost in instagram and my rss feeds that are a mixture of blogs and news syndicates. i basically see it as my time to catch up.

one of the reasons why i started this blog was because at the time, i always seemed to land on a negative piece of news. "this war here..." "this explosion here..." "this arrest made..." you get it right? by no means am i saying these articles aren't newsworthy, the absolutely are and i am happy they are shared so proper awareness can be given. i just felt personally that i commonly gravitated towards news that was heartbreaking or devastating not heartfelt and uplifting. today after reading about the newest airstrike order i thought now might be a good time to search the web for reminders that the world we live in isn't all bad. that not all news is upsetting, and really beautiful things happen all the time should our eyes just be open to them.

below are a few links i wanted to share. hopefully they will lift up your day the same way they did for me!


hummus selfies via deseret news national:
a new social media campaign taking a small stance on a bigger message. sure it is adding light to a very horrible conflict with israel and palestine but it's swaying the conversation every so slightly to find a common ground for equality, even if it starts with the silliest thing, it's a start nonetheless. there is even a facebook page for the hummus initiative.





i found it incredibly heartwarming that so many people worked together to help one person. no one left it up to the platform workers or seemed bothered to shove a super heavy train to help this man. look at the diversity of the people helping, it really is a wonderful group effort.


dr. mulualem gessesse is one incredible woman who deserves a lot of attention for her work with newborns. she has spread her education through multiple hospitals allowing for neonatal practice to be given on a regular basis. she started with very little and turned what little she had into a miracle network for families.


and then there is this kid...



happy friday all! 
hope you guys have a great weekend!

August 04, 2014

a few tips for museum going with baby


i try to get out with mila every day (with the exception of a few lazy days here and there of course). we typically go for longer walks during the day because it's free, we don't have to find parking or navigate the subway, and we can quickly come back home to cool off or nap or whatever. seeing as i have a few weeks of mat leave left and i sort of love museums of all varieties, i have been taking mila on a little tour of toronto museums. some i have been to before and others i have always wanted to go to so i decided to take full advantage of my time off with just her and myself.

my first museum trip with mila was a little awkward because even though i was with her, i sort of felt alone. i was also a little nervous of a meltdown, or poo explosion, or some moment that i knew i couldn't control. there is something about that sweet retired couple viewing historical artifacts when all of the sudden a toddler decides to scream their face off in the middle of the room that i didn't really want any part of. the more and more i have gone, the more comfortable i feel going though. it's actually some of my most favourite mat leave moments. so for other mama's who have a few public fears like i did. i put together a little list of tips that hopefully help you out and allow you to explore more of what your city has to offer!


go to a place you want to go to: the way i see it, one day, all of our outings and activities will have a strong 'kid' focus. which i'm really excited for truly, but i doubt i'll be able to say "let's go see japanese paintings from the floating world!" and they are going to say "totally!" so for now i'm taking the opportunity to see as many places and as many exhibits that currently interest me while mila is still small enough to tote around. besides it feels like a fun way to share my interests with her and one day i hope she shares hers with me!

check the museum's website in advance to see if there is stroller accessibility: most museums we've been to have some type of stroller/wheelchair accessibility option but check in advance just in case. the ago , rom and science centre in toronto are really good at helping people with babies/kids navigate their museum! however there was a historic place we visited last january that had an elevator for wheelchairs but wouldn't allow strollers and i found that out including their reasoning (which made perfect sense) from their site. needless to say i was happy i figured that out early. by checking ahead you can have a good heads up on baby carrying options.

know the best way to get there: when you live in the city like us, transportation can be tricky and can easy tack on more time to your trip. while there is a decent public transit system here and most all major museums are on a subway stop, there are very few stops with escalators let alone elevators. and there is no way i am lugging a twenty pound stroller with a twenty pound baby up city subway steps. unless i plan to carry mila (which is proving to be difficult the bigger she gets) i typically drive. there are parking lots all over the city but some closest to the museums can charge more per half hour then one say two blocks away. i have found finding these off the beaten path lots to be the best, the cheapest, and the emptiest allowing for a seamless park and unpack start to our trip.

pack "no mess" snacks and water (depending on babes age of course): this doesn't apply for littles who aren't on solids just yet, but for those who are, i found packing snacks like dry food, bits of cheese and water to be really helpful. rice rusks, puffs, and bread are easy to store, easy to eat, and won't leave a sticky smudge on picasso's sitting lady should it be flung from little hands. dont forget food and drink for you too!

go during off peak times: this is more a consideration for you and baby in regards to other museum patrons. i personally find it less stressful knowing i can push the stroller wherever i want without having to navigate large crowds of people. i typically try to be considerate that i take up more space so often i push the stroller to side or make it a point to get out of people's way. if you go during slower times you'll have more room to go where you please and see things head on versus cramming yourself in a corner somewhere. 

know you'll be a bit noisier than others and it's okay: this may seem obvious to most people with babes because this happens on a daily basis, but when you are naturally in a silent environment, chances are you mirror the same level of noise...but baby won't ever do that will they? mila chatted her way through the entire art gallery of ontario the other day, like seriously removed her pacifier just to chat and giggle. and seeing as i am her mama and her little personality kills me, i found it only necessary to chat and giggle along with her and it. was. awesome!


there you have it! hope these little tips help a bit and if there are any tips you have feel free to share them here, i would love to know them!

July 30, 2014

on mamahood :: month 10


it's funny how every month i think "this is my favourite month!" with mila. i guess it's just fair to say that i really enjoy having this little lady in our lives. month ten has been incredible though! she engages more and seems to be learning at a faster pace. she has these little personality traits that are all her own and every day it seems like she is growing more and more into her own little self. it really has been the best to spend every day seeing her grow and change. i swear it happens so fast!

on a personal note, i know i have openly talked about my mixed emotions about going back to work. selfishly, i am very excited to get back to it, really. but mom guilt always seemed to creep right in there making me think the worse about daycare and the worse about leaving her. over the past few weeks, my thoughts on it have really changed. we had family come and visit a few weeks back and i was pretty much non-existent, but i really needed that. it was good to see how she interacted with others and how much fun she had with new faces. for the first time, i'm really excited about taking her to daycare and giving her the opportunity to become more of an individual, to learn from other people and make new friends. it's a pretty great little feeling i tell you.

LAAV on mamahood, month ten:
  • tooth count: four
  • she is a crawling master!
  • she taught herself how to sit from a crawl in one morning and can't stop doing it.
  • my stomach is finally seeming more "normal".
  • weaning is the new thing i am fully freaked out about doing. especially when she strongly refused formula for over a week.
  • she scrunches her nose every time she smiles.
  • when she throws her head all the way back we say "ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh yes.yes." and she nods with us.
  • she fake giggles in the nerdiest way and genuinely giggles in the cutest way.
  • climbing the stairs is her greatest victory.
  • she grabs books and holds them up for you to read. she'll still turn every page for you too.
  • yogurt is her most favourite food along with anything fruity. except mangos, she doesn't like those. (which is weird because mangos sums up my first trimester. all day. every day. couldn't get enough!)
  • she pulls things out of the carpet even though i swear we just vacuumed.
  • she fits in 12-18 month clothes now.
  • pulling cards from our wallets is her favourite morning activity and guarantees us at least 10 more minutes in bed. 
  • she cuddles in to my shoulder at every sleep while i sing to her till there was you.
  • she'll drink from her sippy just fine until she is done with it. then she puts the sippy to her mouth and spits water all down her shirt until she is soaked. she smiles the entire time she does it too.
  • brown bear brown bear what do you see, ten apples up on top, m is for maple, highlights hello magazine and wake up night are the book winners for the month.
  • she cuddles with her toys (fluffy or not) and my heart implodes.
  • her "dessert" (which is partially frozen fruit) comes out to the tune of star wars or the rocky theme song depending on if mom or dad is bringing it to her.
  • she hates grass.
  • she'll throw all of her soothers and her teddy bear out of her crib and call for us to come get them. she rarely does this more than once per sleep so we don't mind indulging her.
  • she refuses to sit in baths, only stands, making it a two man job again. please send reccos on how to best wash their hair without getting water all over their face.
  • she understands more and points to things when you ask her to find them. our noses/eyes/chins, pictures of her cousins, or sheep and trucks seem to be the most fun to find.
  • i love taking her to museums even though she can't fully grasp how great they are just yet.
  • i say to her "one day, dad and i will take you to rome, or prague, or the amalfi coast, wouldn't that be fun!?" one day.

July 21, 2014

a bit of our weekend

we got around to exploring more of our new hood this weekend! saturday we spent a rainy afternoon walking around the leslieville spit. it rained our entire time there but it was nothing two umbrellas and a rain guard for the stroller couldn't fix. it was our first time walking around there and while it was a really pretty walk, biking it the next time (preferably in the sun) may be a bit better. on sunday we got lucky when the rain held off so we could tour around the beaches jazz festival. both jay and i are pretty happy about our east end living now. there is always so much going on in the summer and it's nice to be so close to it all!

we took some video of our weekend to share. 
hope you had a great weekend too!

music by the apples in stereo (who are from denver for all you colorado folks to swoon over)



more little family videos can be seen here!

July 11, 2014

on mamahood :: month 9


holy smokes is this a late post, and regretfully i didn't update my list as the month went on like i normally do. so sadly, this is a recall of month nine rather than a running list of all the little things mila did or discovered. month ten will be a good one i promise (seriously, because she has been so fun this month)!

LAAV on mamahood at nine months:
  • tooth count: 1
  • she commando crawls like a pro!
  • first splash pad experience = major cool parents 
  • i'm convinced she will never fill up if she is eating strawberries, blueberries, or cheese
  • she tried peanut butter for the first time and my panic level raised to code orange- she was fine and actually really loves it
  • her little bum sticks up in the air when she sleeps and it's the cutest thing
  • i have worried every night about the temperature in her room because i can't seem to regulate it
  • waving to herself in the mirror her favourite game
  • she's a mama's girl and i love it more than i can explain
  • stroller naps are officially a no go now (unless we exhaust her enough to finally fall asleep on the go)
  • she hates eggs in all forms even masked with cheese
  • i took her to her first museum trip and she pointed our way around the dinosaur exhibit

June 21, 2014

longest. move. ever!

a quick vent.

i swear it doesn't matter how many boxes i unpack or how many times i organize one construction filled corner of a room, i still feel unsettled. i can't find anything, anything! okay that's not entirely true but i have been looking for one box of mila's clothes for two weeks now. it's the one box i set aside because it is filled with the clothes she wears on a regular basis. where are they? yeah. wish i knew. so much for setting aside.

typically, i take mila's nap times as an opportunity to relax but there is no resting in this house. not now and it feels like not ever. yesterday was the first day i put on makeup and did something to my hair other than throw it back since last week. i actually made myself keep it down all day despite how much humidity messed with it. i may have spent the day in the same shirt i slept in (whatever) but my hair stayed down.

how do you other mamas do it? i swear i see so many well put together moms and babes out there. 

anyone want to come help me unpack and find a home in our house for things i forgot we owned? anyone? actually, until this home is up to snuff we may be more visitors than hosts. but one day, one day i will sit with tea on a couch thinking "homeownership is the best". because it is, right? okay that's all. 

June 14, 2014


this man. this man has always been some kind of amazing. watching him as a dad over the past few months has been the most incredible experience. he is kind, patient, helpful, funny and will do anything for this little girl of ours. mila sure is lucky to have a dad like him and i sure am lucky to have a partner like him in this crazy parenting journey.

happy father's day to all the papas out there but a special one to you handsome. there is no one who can make this little girl laugh as easy or as much as you can. the relationship between you two is something i could sit back and watch all day long. thank you for being the great father you are!