New Year + A Giveaway!

I don’t always buy into the whole idea of New Year Resolutions, but I do love the chance the start of the year offers for getting back into a routine! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the hustle and bustle, but after a few weeks of gluttony and sloth, it feels so great to settle back into our normal schedules. I don’t know what it is about our kids, but they really do so much better when our days are structured and organized and they know what they can expect (and what is expected of them). I think many families feel the same way.

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One of the things that I am focusing on this year is improving our home piece by piece. This includes tackling long neglected spaces that aren’t functioning properly and really adding a few personal touches. I have basically put off hanging art, printing photos and adding any personality or life into this house until we “finish” spaces. The longer we are here, the more I realize that the house is always evolving, like our family, so I am determined to stop waiting for things to be perfect, and to enjoy the house as it is right now.

One of the easiest ways to make a place feel more like home is to hang art and family photos - something that I am really bad about. For someone who likes to take photos (and frequently does) I have embarrassingly few printed and on display in our home. Right before Christmas I was lamenting this, so I ordered a canvas print of all three boys from Canvas Factory. When it came I was SO excited - it is beautiful AND high quality, and was exactly what I wanted, but I wasn’t sure where I was going to put it, so it sat in the box for a few weeks.

If you follow me on Instagram you know that I recently gave the back hallway a makeover with a coat of paint and a couple of IKEA storage pieces that provided some much needed coat and boot storage. After I was done I felt it was lacking a little personality, and then it occurred to me to use my photo canvas of the boys! I hung it and fell in love. Now I see their little faces every time we come or go from the house and I couldn’t be happier.

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Canvas Factory was easy to work with and is so well-priced and BONUS they come ready to hang. I’m so happy with the quality of my print - it really brings me such joy! If you’re fixing up an area of your house and feel your walls could use a little something, you’re in luck because Canvas Factory has offered to giveaway a 20”x16” canvas print to one of you!

This contest is open to residents of the US and Canada. To enter, just provide your email below but DO NOT WORRY - you’re not going to get any unwanted emails. Unless you win - then I will be contacting you ;)



Preparing for a Postpartum Body

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Throughout my pregnancy I talked openly (and frequently) about my body. The way I feel about my pregnant body is a mixed bag. There were times that I felt like I looked great, but I have always received a lot of comments from people about how large my belly gets. My belly does get big, and early on. As early as July people were assuming I was “ready to pop” (I delivered October 15, for reference). While this doesn’t actually bother me too much, I find it extremely annoying.

My belly a full month before delivery.

My belly a full month before delivery.

Given that this was my third baby, I began to think ahead to how I was going to look postpartum, and how that would make me feel. I knew that at a time when I should be praising my body for growing and birthing and feeding a new life, I would struggle with adjusting to my new size and shape – as I had after my first 2 kids. It’s just hard to feel good about yourself, when you don’t feel good about yourself.

I was determined to do things differently this time around, but that required some planning ahead of time. I thought back to what made me feel really crappy about my body after my last two kids and then I focused on correcting those mistakes. For me it boiled down to ill-fitting clothes. I reached out to Amanda Hanson from simplySTYLISH for her thoughts on assembling what I started to call a “transitional wardrobe” and she had a lot to say on the subject:

Prep your wardrobe and mind before the baby comes

Come to terms with the idea that you may still have to wear maternity clothes for a time postpartum. You may never want to see them again, but they are better than going to the store in your pajama bottoms. Tuck away or get rid of items that didn’t fit pre-pregnancy, seeing those clothes every day is an opportunity for the inner critic to surface. You don’t need to give that voice any extra opportunity to appear. Invest in maternity wear that can serve you postpartum as well.

I bought several transitional maternity pieces from Adaela Quinn Boutique while I was pregnant that I knew would carry me through the postpartum phase (linked below). All of them are nursing friendly, and fit me just as well now as they did at 40+ weeks pregnant. These are pieces that I don’t consider “maternity”. They are well made, structured and will last me years. Can’t recommend them enough.

If you can’t stomach investing in maternity clothes, then get used to thrift shopping on a regular basis or asking friends for their old maternity clothes. I bought very little of my maternity clothes brand new other than maternity leggings (which are fantastic even post baby and worth the investment).

Start to build a capsule transition wardrobe

You deserve to have clothes that fit you post baby. These pieces should be able to last as your body continues to change and heal. Some things you should invest in or may already have in your wardrobe are layering pieces like cardigans, button up shirts or jackets, a pair of real pants, a handful of loose flowy tops, proper nursing gear (whether this be a functional and flattering nursing bra or a couple of nursing tanks that you can use underneath a layering piece), and one dress for when you need something a bit more put together.

Based on Amanda’s advice I knew I needed to beef up a couple of areas in my wardrobe. I had lots of fall appropriate layering pieces (cardigans and Costco lumberjack flannel shirts), but I knew I needed some high-waisted leggings and a good bra or two. I decided I could wear my maternity jeans for awhile if I needed “real” pants. What I wound up buying ahead of time has served me VERY well in the two weeks since I’ve had the baby.

Be patient with yourself and your body

Remember, WE get to define our definition of beautiful and it is not defined roundness of your waist or the absence of stretch marks. Your worth is not defined by the number on the scale or the size of your clothes
— Amanda Hanson
My little guy at 1 week old.

My little guy at 1 week old.

Amanda is a big advocate for acknowledging that you deserve to feel good about yourself at any size. She often says, your worth is not defined by any number like your weight or size. Our bodies are constantly changing as we age, as we have kids, so be gentle with yourself as you acclimate to life with a newborn. Your body has done something amazing, so treat it with respect and admiration for what it has accomplished, and not for what you may feel are its failings.

Places to buy Maternity & Postpartum clothing in Saint John (and surrounding areas)

Adaela Quinn (Fredericton)

Once Upon a Child

Frenchy’s

H&M

Value Village

Paula’s Picks (past Hampton)

Mama Beans Boutique (Sussex)

Thyme Maternity (Moncton)

Motherhood Maternity (Moncton)

Nature in the City: Fall in Saint John

Nature in the City: Fall in Saint John

Check out our fall activity list and let me know if you have other things you would add to it. Keep in mind these are EASY places to take kids where they have freedom to run around, and there is usually some place for me to sit down. Both crucial at this point in the game.

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Ms New Brunswick | Mekayla White | Moncton, NB

Ms New Brunswick | Mekayla White | Moncton, NB

This week’s Ms New Brunswick is Mekayla White. At just 21 years old, she recently took over a dog treat business that she used to work for, Bailey's Dog Bakery. She is an incredibly motivated young woman, working at a veterinary clinic part time while running her business

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