My Hair, and Other Superficial Things

My hair and I have been on a journey.

My curls have been a defining feature of myself for a long time. I can’t say I have ALWAYS had curly hair; sometimes it was just poofy…IMG_2773In highschool, hormones changed, and the poof turned into more defined curls. I learned the “dos and do nots” of curly hair. Don’t brush it! Don’t touch it! My hair became something that anybody who had lived through the Perm Age had to comment on. “You’re hair is so beautiful! I hope you appreciate it. People pay big money for hair like yours.” IMG_2758And I did appreciate it. That didn’t mean I always loved it. I straightened it sometimes. That also got comments. “Why would you do that?” And from my Oma, “Will it go curly again?” I also tried having different curls. Because other people’s curls are always better than your own.PicMonkey CollageAfter highschool is probably what I consider my prime, in the hair department. I had learned how to work with it and how to style it, and what cut was the best. It had life and bounce. I loved it.

On a different note...it's so true what they say: you don't appreciate the body you had until after you've had children.

On a different note…it’s so true what they say: you don’t appreciate the body you had until after you’ve had children.

In the last couple years, I have noticed a new shift. Every woman knows that pregnancy and child birth wreak havoc with your hormones, and hair growth is directly linked with that. So of course, in the past 5 years of being pregnant three times, and breastfeeding for four years straight, it has loosened my curls. And I don’t quite know how to deal with this new hair. It feels flatter and like it has less life. Sometimes, if it is in a pony tail for long enough, it can even straighten out completely! It used to take me an hour with a straight iron to do that!

Photo 1 was taken on a particularly good day. Photo two...please excuse the face. I took that to send to my sister.

Photo 1 was taken on a particularly good day. Photo two…please excuse the face. I took that to send to my sister.

For my most recent cut (in January), I finally gave in to the fact that my usual style was not going to work, and got rid of the layers I have had for a decade! I still don’t know if I love it, but it’s better than pretending my hair is something that it’s not. I have also been experimenting with braids and twists to bring make it feel less boring. I don’t know how much this has affected things, but I actually have not shampooed my hair in 5 years. You remember that fad? Yeah. That’s one I jumped on. A fad that actually means SAVING money?! I’m on board! I actually tried it again a couple times in December, but it left my hair so frizzy. Maybe I’ll try it again and slather on the product afterward.

So my hair journey continues.

In an effort to bring more femininity to our home, and just feel better about myself in general, I have also started wearing jewelry! Nothing big and in your face, but simple subtle things that make me feel more put together. Although I would have never described my post-baby style as frumpy, I have never really felt put together. I think it’s about time I change that. Also, my nails! When Anna was visiting, she brought along some Jamberry wraps for us to do, and I kinda got hooked. It is such a simple and quick way to just add another layer of completion. There is no way I am going to paint my nails and have them stay decent looking longer than half a day, so that’s why I love these wraps. But now I’m starting to sound like a sales pitch.

I am also trying to find a clothing style that is me. I am learning about my body and what works and doesn’t work. For instance, crew necks are no good because of my broad shoulders and large chest. Clothes have never been super important to me, and have always occupied a very tiny portion of my budget.  I can’t let myself pay more than $10 for a shirt or $20 for pants. So a full change in my dressing habits is a slow one. I’m not a stylish person by any means, especially when it comes to footwear, but I am trying, and so far I am enjoying how these small changes have made me feel.

I think it’s important to feel good about yourself, and all this superficial stuff helps.

Tim Is 30!

Today my husband enters a new decade. I guess that’s a big deal, but he didn’t want to be made a fuss over, so I didn’t plan anything special. But his dad and brother did! They flew out for Saturday and Sunday just to hang out. I do believe that was the perfect kind of celebration for Tim. Today he took the day off so our little family will spend some time together, after a yummy breakfast of course!

I am so happy for the not-even-6 years we’ve been together. Tim is a steadfast man who is not afraid of going after what he wants. He is creative and confident and brings that into our marriage and family and makes us all the better for it.

I love you, Tim! Happy birthday!View More: http://vanessavoth.pass.us/timandlarissa View More: http://vanessavoth.pass.us/timandlarissa View More: http://vanessavoth.pass.us/timandlarissa

Sleepy Patrick

Patrick entered this world as an amazing sleeper.

His very first nap (in the hospital) lasted for 5 hours, at which point I woke him up because they aren’t supposed to do that, right?! He was going on 8 hours of sleep the day the public health nurse payed a visit (at 2 days old). This particular episode earned me daily calls from the nurse’s office and an extra visit from me to which I had to assure them that he was still eating plenty and had lots of “output”. He weighed 9lbs 4oz at birth. I don’t think there really was anything to worry about. For the first 6 weeks of his life, he generally woke only 1-2 times per night. At 6 weeks, he started sleeping through the night.

At around 3 months, he finally decided he better act like a newborn and started waking every 2 or so hours. This lasted until 5 or 6 months, and now he is a 1-time a night waker.

Part of his sleeping habits was that he could fall asleep anywhere. He is growing out of this now, but I was looking through photos from the past months, and decided to put together a little “Patrick sleeping” collection. Because sleeping babies are the best!

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The majority of Patrick’s naps happened on the couch. At the time, Calvin and Victor were still sharing a room, but there was no way shared naps would happen, so Calvin napped in our bed which meant Patrick couldn’t nap in his bed in our room. So couch it was! Even falling asleep while sitting beside me and he had given me no clue he was tired!
sleep post 1 He was also no stranger to the floor.sleep post 2 Of course people are also wonderful napping surfaces. Oma in particular is a lovely companion to catch some Zs on with! He also slept through his first hang out sesh with his friend Parker, and would often fall asleep in the car seat which was his perch in the kitchen.sleep post 3 Oh, he also sleep in beds!sleep post 4Zzzzzz…..

Our Winter

Today is the last day of winter! To celebrate, I have a little (or kinda long) winter recap of what we’ve been up to. Thanks to El Niño, it was short and sweet, requiring not too many walk-shoveling days.

It’ll take it all the way back to Christmas, I suppose. It was spent in BC with family, as per usual. First we headed to Nanaimo for Christmas with Tim’s family, which was an adventure with 10 adults, 3 kids, and a dog in a house undergoing an extensive kitchen renovation. blog 1 Then it was back to the mainland for time with my own family! A little less crazy, but just as fun!blog 2 While we were in BC, Tim and I (along with my personal tag-along) were able to get away for a couple nights to Squamish. We spent a couple hours in Whistler, and did the Peak 2 Peak gondola. As expected, it was so beautiful! And then it was back home. I’m finding every time we do the drive between Edmonton and the Coast, the boys require less and less to make them happy. It’s great! blog 3 When we arrived home, one of my Christmas presents was waiting for me…Michelle and Mark had painted our living room! It was quite a great gift. You can see a little before and after below. Other household changes in January were that we got Calvin a twin bed and moved him into his own room! The first week was a rough go for him, but the change was no sweat off Victor’s brow. Honestly, I was very surprised. Victor is our child who has to have things a specific way, and doesn’t take too kindly to change. But, he IS the introvert, so having Calvin away from him probably brought him great joy. Calvin, the extrovert, thought differently. This change also meant that Patrick could move out of our room and now sleeps in the crib in Victor’s room. It’s nice having our entire room back for ourselves. It feels so much less cluttered.blog 4This winter, there was an ice castle here in Edmonton. We went with our friends and it was really neat! A bit crowded, but Calvin had lots of fun roaming and finding little holes in the walls and such.
blog 5 Of course we spend a fair amount of time inside during the winter. This is what it looks like:blog 6 In February, I made a quick trip back to BC to celebrate the marriage of a close friend! This was Patrick’s first flight and he did great! A little sad at takeoff, because it was past his bedtime, but he soon fell fast asleep once we were cruising. It was nice to have a weekend away with just one son. A little break from the demands of the older two. And Tim had a good time with them at home! The wedding (or reception really, because they had already been married in Africa) was beautiful, and I’m so glad I could be there to support them. blog 7 And then it was back to winter once again.blog 8But spring came quick! And the kids are definitely not strangers to mud these days. I think our patio is going to have to have a good power-washing one day soon. Oh, and just because we may still be in our jammies, doesn’t mean we haven’t left the house. I love warm winter days!
blog 9 In the past few weeks, we’ve enjoyed the company of three different parties. First Tim’s parents came through, then my friend Anna and her son Parker (who is just a couple months older that Patrick), and finally Jordan and Amy. We love having company, and are happy they all took the time to come visit.blog 10These days Calvin is as energetic as ever, never stopping until he is 100% asleep. We have him signed up for soccer this spring, and I think he will enjoy is a lot. It’s going to be so great for him, being around other kids doing team sports. That’s kind of what makes his world go around. He is also testing our patience these days, with bouts of anger and attitude. It’s so hard to know how to handle their emotions that they don’t even completely understand.

Victor is still mostly his sweet, cute self. His mannerisms are so endearing and often have us smiling or laughing. He loves playing Star Wars, and if he gets you with his light sabre or “pewer”, you must “fall gown on yo back!” He’s also a good sport at falling down himself, when you get him. He plays fair! He’s also still awesome at playing on his own, which is especially great these days because he is not guaranteed to nap every day. I think he actually naps less than Calvin, who also is no longer a regular. But on days that they don’t nap, if we go somewhere in the evening (like 2 hours before bedtime), they can be out in 3 minutes. They still need to nap! I’m trying to have a better attitude about this. Please pray for me.

Patrick is growing and learning, like all 7-month-olds do. He is able to sit on his own (since 5 months), and experiences what I call “accidental mobility”; the kind that has him falling off couches (yeah…I know…) and falling on his belly from a sitting position while reaching for something. He has recently displaced Calvin in the Costco buggy which has made shopping a different kind of experience. Calvin can either be happy or mad about not being in the buggy. It’s a gamble. Patrick has started eating food, as he’s a super star! Well, he doesn’t know how to open his mouth for food, but he keeps everything in, which is amazing! You have to remember my last child detested everything, and still does. So I’m happy with this little guy! I just have to work super hard at getting his mouth open. Making him smile usually does the trick, but it takes a fair amount of effort. Same with laughing. You have to prepared to expend a lot of energy trying to get him to laugh, and then all you’re rewarded with is some sort of grunt or throat spasm, like he is trying to hold his laugh in. He’s a happy boy, but keeps his emotions on the DL. His second tooth has broken ground, and I’m going to miss his lone one he had on the bottom. It was so cute!

blog 12 A two last photos, because they were looking so cute for church one morning. :)blog 13You get seven points for reading to the end!

What Strengths Do You Bring?

Today I had a small conversation born out of my last post. She had related to the part where I said something about being afraid to speak up about my own experiences because they were positive, and everybody was talking about the negatives. And I wonder how many more of us out there feel the same way?

When we learned to write out our resumes for job applications, we were told to dedicate a section of it to our attributes and strengths in the workforce. I think we can all think of what we have written there. But how about as a parent? What strengths do you bring to your family? Are you easily able to relate to the every-changing emotions of your children? Perhaps you are always able to come up with creative things to do with your kids. Maybe you are a great cook and your family is happy to eat healthy, balanced meals.

For myself, I believe I am good at general home management. I know how long it takes to get everybody ready and out the door so we aren’t late; my laundry is kept on top of; everything in our home has a spot to live and is usually there.

When we talk about parenting, it is so easy to talk about all the things we are bad at. And yes, it is good to share our hard moments so we can have support when we need it. But why are we embarrassed to speak positively about ourselves? Let’s stop being embarassed. Let’s talk about things we are gifted in. Let’s be inspiring to those around us. Let’s tell our peers what we see that they are good at.

What strengths do you bring to parenting? What can you do that you have been afraid to speak of in the past?

I’m Not a Busy Mom

I hear it every time I’m in public. “You must be so busy!”

My answers and reactions vary, depending on who said it or if I want to have a real conversation. They vary from a smile in acknowledgment to a stranger at the grocery store to the truth with a multiple-sentence answer to somebody at church.

This is my truthful answer:

No, I’m not really busy at all. What am I supposed to be busy doing? We only have one scheduled thing during the week. Calvin’s not in preschool yet. We don’t go to any classes. We do things on our own time. See friends, go to the library, other (very seldom) entertainment type stuff, and grocery store trips. These can all be done at any time (well, any morning because afternoon nap time is precious!), and do not make me feel busy in the slightest.

And at home…that doesn’t feel busy either. I have, admittedly, a healthy amount of time to myself (afternoon naps, remember?) I make simple meals, keep play simple, and, my number one way to not feel busy at home, I keep our home uncluttered.

I don’t know why there is the assumption that all moms are busy. Sometimes, when I find myself in group conversations about this – conversations involving the phrases “reheating coffee”, “rerunning the laundry”, “hadn’t eaten until 3:00”, or “can’t find time to shower” – I notice I just nod in agreement, feeding the stereotype. I’m afraid to share my experience because I don’t want people to think I’m pretending to be the perfect mom or saying my life is better.

I know that every person lives and works differently so not everybody can, or even should, be like me. Some people need to get out of the house more than I do. Some people need to have a scheduled week. I am not a perfect mom who has perfected parenting. My home isn’t always peaceful or clean or ideally orderly. I just know what works for me and it happens to not be “normal”.

I am a mom with three young boys and I am not busy!

we mainly just jump on couches all day

we mainly just jump on couches all day

I can’t say what my life will be like when the kids are in school, but I do know it doesn’t have to be a hectic life.

A Fresh Hallway

Over two years of owning this house, and I finally painted another area! And it took about a month, but it’s done now, and it feel soooo good! It is so much lighter and brighter and I love it! Here are some before and afters for your enjoyment. Yes, we have mismatched doors.

hallyway b&a 1

I took these befores so long ago that Victor was still crawling!

I took these befores so long ago that Victor was still crawling!

Painting trim is not the most fun, and if you  look at it closely, it could use one more coat, but I’m no perfectionist, so I’m not going to worry about it. I highly recommend not being a perfectionist. It makes life a lot easier.
DSC_0203I also did one wall in the living room. The one wall that was the same dark brown as all the trim. So glad to be gone with that brown!living room b&a 1Next to be painted will be the rest of the living room and finally will be the master bedroom, and then that yellow and brown will be completely gone! But who knows when that will happen.