31 Dec 2013

2013 in Perspective

 

Christmas is behind us and now we have few minutes left before we greet 2014. I’m excited to say goodbye to 2013 but as always it’s time for me to reflect on how my 2013 turned out.

When a new year begins we are hopeful for great things to happen. Many things happen but if one or two things among the many wonderful events are not as we envisaged them our world collapses. We see all the bad things around us and we want to turn page fast.

This year taught that to be happy one have to make that happiness happen. If you depend too much on external factors your happiness can be easily destroyed.

I’m glad I made a vision board to map down the hopes, wishes and goals I wanted to work on from this year and beyond. Many came true and I’m happy for how things turned out in 2013.

this is the words and pictures I envisaged

visionboard2013beyond_thumb2

visionboard2013_thumb2

this is how things turned out

vision board in review

simple joy

vision captured

I travelled to Europe {Napoli, Sorrento, Positano, Milano, London and Devon} and around Canada {Montreal, La Ronge, Waskasiu, Medicine Hut and Edmonton}

we found out I’m expecting baby number 2

AOI turned two

I finished writing my first novel, Wasting Away

I captured precious moments with my Olympus camera

I was happy and smiley most of the year

we bought a canon

AOI was into kids’ yoga and going to the swimming pool

I started potty training her

we played in the snow and I snow boarded for the first time just as the year was turning into 2013

I ate healthy food most days and walked to get back into shape

Through my blog I fundraised $250 {$100 for PlanCanada and $150 for Champs}

I wrote posts that I found hard to share but I acted on boldness and shared them

I was inspired by many women out there

I made the MOST of out 2013

On one of the walls in my studio I have my 2014 vision board {I’ll share later in the week}. I feel thrilled about what I envisage because I see a bright and a happy year.

2014 is my year and I can feel it in my bones.

Happy 2014 my lovelies!

____________

Linking with Photography Friday

30 Dec 2013

Week 52: Christmas 2013 Week Recap

aoi christmas dayOur Christmas holidays began with the longest lie in on Monday.

AOI woke up around 8:30 and when she came in our bed to cuddle me she didn’t urge us to go downstairs for breakfast. She wanted us to tell her stories. Her creativity went wild and she told us that our bed is the big ship and one of her books lying on the floor is an octopus. Around us is all water and we have to swimming when we get out of bed.aoi swimming

After breakfast we went to the swimming pool as family of three - I don't remember when we last went together as a family. We had fun. For lunch we had a MacDonald's drive thru meal and drove daddy to work.

We went back home and AOI fell asleep around 3:20pm after reading two books to her I pretended to sleep and she recited the lines she knows by heart until she fell asleep.

When she woke up we went to pick daddy from work and went to the mall. I bought few things for hubby's Christmas gift. The previous Sunday I bought one of the best gifts I've ever purchased for hubby. I was very excited about that.

At the mall we saw the same Santa I took AOI to have her first Santa picture with last year. We pointed him out to her but she was more interested in a toy Santa than the human one. I love the Santa at this mall because he looks so real and that makes me believe in the magic of Santa.

Tuesday morning AOI was excite, she wanted to go to the French playgroup but we weren't going to go because it was over for the Christmas holidays. Towards the evening we built a snow blob.

making of snow blob
PC259778Wednesday, Christmas day hubby woke up more excited than AOI and I put together. AOI woke up few minutes after us and when she came into our bed she wanted to cuddle me a little longer. Daddy brought her the stoking Father Christmas left her the night before. Inside she found the items chalks, paints and painting brushes, the items needed for her big gifts we bought her. Finally after enough cuddling we went downstairs.

AOI was happy for her two big gifts a tent and an easel. She can’t get enough of them.


Scenes from our Christmas day

christmas cookies

aoi wathcing peter pan

we watched Peter Pan, Mary Poppins and Elf. After AOI’s nap we all dressed up nicely and had our Christmas lunch together and exchanged gifts

aoi and her blackboard

first bag

blocks

playtime

coffeegrinder

christmas recap

Thursday snow sledding with C and her mum. It looked such fun I wanted to sled too. I have to wait to do that after baby. That will a way to bounce back to my fit self.

snow sledding
Friday was made for total relaxation.

cuddles

Saturday AOI and I went to the swimming pool with C and her mom. it was our last swimming date of 2013. We really enjoyed it and hope to do more swimming in the coming year.

aoi swimming 1
In the evening we went to have a meal together with some friends. I ate so much I'm sure I've put on weight.

Sunday we went to church, after that we had lunch with D and S and did some clothes shopping for AOI. In the evening I received a coat I bought for her on etsy but I don't like the way it fits for her so I'm about returning to exchange it but hubby thinks I don’t have because it’s okay. I’m torn on this.

aoi play dough

I hope your 52 weeks in 2013 were all in all nice and memorable.

linking with: thebeetleshack

29 Dec 2013

Hair Update

In January I took a bold decision regarding my hair.

I chopped off my shoulder length locs. It was scary yet liberating. bigchop03_thumb2

boots: hunter| trousers: atmosphere| cardigan: moth @anthropologie uk|bodies: intimissimi| spex: paul smith

After the short short hair period I wore scarfs because I didn’t know how to manage the hair in the longish transition. Then I braided my hair from April until September. After that I went back to wearing scarfs while struggling to work with my longish natural hair. Few weeks ago Faith shared how she styles her natural hair and reading that she uses few hair products inspired me to style my hair with the simple hair products I have at hand.

Since then I feel good and I I’m not wearing as many scarfs as before. I do wash and some other days I do braidouts. It’s working for me and I hope in the new year I will learn to style my hair even more.

Here are some pictures of my hair over 2013.

JANUARY/FEBRUARY/APRIL/AUGUST/DICEMBER

2013 hair update

28 Dec 2013

Portrait of My Child 2013 Finale

This is the last instalment of 52/52 {a portrait a week}. I’m so happy I did this because it helps see how my child has grown and her personality as evolved. Some of the outfit she wore in January washed and read to be passed to her little sibling {the snowsuit in week 1 picture}.
I couldn’t link up every week but I managed to complete this photo project. These are the last six weeks.
Week 46mirrored
my funny sweet girl
Week 47AOI reading
two years old and she thinks is a super reader
Week 48AOI
going for a horse sleigh ride
Week 49edmonton1
one day in Edmonton
Week 50first skate
trying ice skating for the first time
Week 51AOI reading
she can’t stay a minute without holding a book and reading what she can read
Week 52christmas cuddle
Merry Christmas
52 weeks part 152 weeks part 252 weeks part 352 weeks part 4Browsing through the photographs I notice that my daughter’s love for books started at a very young age. She’s playful, helpful, loving and has a comic side to her personality. As the weeks evolved I learned to be like a photojournalist, observing her every little change from a distance.
I can’t wait to take part in this project again.

27 Dec 2013

Pregnancy #2: Week 36

sisterly love

Dear little Mango,

At the beginning of the year when I envisaged myself pregnant in 2013 I wasn’t sure it was going to happen but here I’m, 4 days before the end of 2013 and you are cozing up in my belly.

I’m so happy and glad to chose to start growing in my belly and then come out in 2014. I feel 2014 is going to be one great year for me and I’m glad you are coming to share in with my happiness. God is incredible in everything He does, because you made my 2013 a year to appreciate. If it wasn’t for you I would have hated 2013 so much due to the pain it brought in my life during the summer.

Knowing that a precious little being like you was growing in my womb, even during the time of tribulations, I was happy and grateful for the love Almighty shows me every waking hour.

I thank you for being you and for choosing me as your mother. You brought me a renewed joy to live.

Your sister so happy to know that you are coming. My heart swells whenever your sister, out of the blue, comes to me and while saying “Baby, I love you so much.”  she pulls my top up and gives you kisses. That make me want to have you out right now but I can wait the three weeks left to see you.

I can’t wait to see her play with you and read you her books. I love you both so much, my heart gets bigger each passing day.

Until next update stay cool sweet little boy.

Loads of love,

Mummy.

week 36

How Far Along: 36 Weeks

Size of Baby: Honeydew, average size: 17.2-18.7 inches, 4.2-5.8 lb.

Total Weight Gain: 0lbs {I’ll weigh on Tuesday to check if my weigh is still the same} 

Stretch Marks: no new ones

Maternity Clothes: In the photo above the only maternity clothe are the jeans. My friend gave me that top and I can squeeze into the jumper though is the small size, in fact wearing small sizes flatter my belly than when I wear large size.  

Gender: Boy

Movement: sometimes I hear some pops in the belly and wonder how much room you have left

Sleep: Still sleeping through the night again but sometimes turning my body into the other side cause so much pain in my lower back.

What I miss: doing Pliates and working out in general. Thursday, Boxing Day, we went sledding and I wanted to play in the snow like my friend was doing but I couldn’t Sad smile 

Food Cravings: I’m into raw rice, but I decided to stop it because I don’t if is bad for my health and baby’s {thank goodness I don’t have any more in the house}

Food Aversions: None

Symptoms: Back pain is my killer and tiredness is not my friend

What I'm Looking Forward To: Holding baby in my arms in few weeks time

26 Dec 2013

Christmas Lights


christmas tree light

I never knew that Christmas lights were so important to me until we moved here. Since living here, each Christmas I crave for the European Christmas magic. Around this time of year some street decorations create magic in the air. It saddens me to know that I don’t have many pictures that remind me of the magic I’m talking about.

This year, until Christmas Eve, my city wasn’t making me feel the magical spirit of Christmas. I tried my best to overcome nostalgia for Christmas in London by listening famous Christmas songs but sometimes my husband, trying to be my Christmas Grinch, was more in the mood for 90s boy band music.

Just like every year I got annoyed when I saw that they were putting up the Christmas decoration on the street of my new city in Canada. I was annoyed because the decorations are unexciting and out-dated. Every year they put up the same decoration I’ve seen over the three Christmases we’ve been here.

This year, more than the previous year, I wanted to stroll along the busy commercial pavements of London. Around this time of year London bust out with a different life thanks to it wonderful Christmas light that stretch from Westminster bridge all the way to South Kensington. And this year I wanted to walk the pavements of that area showered by those magical lights that soften even the hardest heart during Christmas in London.

kings road

via

Harrodsnight


Oxford_Street

via

regent streetvia

As I mentioned above, I began to feel the magic of Christmas in my city on Christmas even. This was thanks to my church. My church managed to create a magical moment the night before Christmas and even my two-year-old recognised the beauty in that moment.

Towards the end of the service most of the lights in the church were turned off and we all lit a candle. Holding tight to the flame we sung Silent Night. My daughter’s sweet trembling toddler voice sung with passion. I realised that the magic of Christmas is always encapsulated in a light.

Light is what we all need to see the love in this world. The three kings had to follow a light to find baby Jesus and it was a light that showed the way to the shepherds to the manger.

I love how Saskatchewan snow creates a magical world during Christmas but I will also love to let my children experience the magic London Christmas lights can create in the air.

25 Dec 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy 4th Blogversary

Christmas 2013

The Christmas Song (Chestnuts) by Michael Bublé on Grooveshark

a warm Merry Christmas from my family to yours. hope you have a great one!

_________________

blogversaryalso, today marks the 4th year I started blogging.

I want to take this moment to thank every single person who makes my journey worth sharing. Is thank to you that I’m coming out of my shell. Thank you again for being a wonderful friend, reader and advisor.

Each comment, tip, word of comfort and encouragement is more than appreciated.

may God bless you and your family abundantly and let’s 2014 be full of good friendship and sharing!

23 Dec 2013

Week 51: Books, Gifts and Cold Weather

books everywhere

This week we didn’t have any toddler related drama, in fact we had the best toddler in town, well apart from couple of minutes meltdowns.

It was cold outside most days but we still did a lot. AOI’s book obsession soared to another level. She went to bed cuddling to her elefante and a book or two. She woke up and first thing she wanted was her elefante, a book or a story from us.

AOI reading

She was pretty much in a bright mood every morning.

For instance Monday she woke up and she stayed in her toddler bed to talk to her favourite elefante which out of blue she decided to call Baba {even before she knew that there’s a cartoon elephant called Babar}.

Mid morning she wanted to wear her dragon suit.

dragon suit

After that we watched the Italian version of Peppa Pig, a popular European children cartoon. She cuddled Baba so I played an episode of Babar, the king of the elephants.

Tuesday we went to French playgroup and I’m thrilled to say that even though my French is as good as a three year old French, I’m taking all the courage I have to speak it. Sometimes I invent words but by just trying to speak it will make me speak it like a six year old by end of 2014.

Wednesday we went to the other French playgroup hosted in the library, we were the only family because I believe many decided to stay in the warmth of the homes instead of facing the cold outside.

Thursday we joined C and her mother at the swimming pool. AOI surprised us all. We started from the hot tub and as soon as we got out from the tub she saw a spaghetti floater on the floor. Walking fast to it she said “A floater! I want to swim!”

She grabbed one and with a little help from me she jumped into the water. I told her to hold on tight to the floater. From that moment on she started to swim, kicking, peddling and circling in the water. After a while, she giggled and said “I’m swimming like a dolphin.”

I was so surprised and so was my friend. First I didn’t know she knew what a floater is and second I didn’t know she could swimming by holding only to a spaghetti floater. We wished we had our cameras with us.

Friday evening AOI’s daddy told her she could a house out of a book and the next thing I see is half of her books from the shelf turning into little houses on my living room carpet. As cute as that could be, it’s very annoying to pick them up after the pretend game is over.

house of books

Saturday we dedicated the whole day to shopping for our Christmas gifts and food. In the evening we went to the Ghanaian association end of year party.

Sunday we woke up tired. Outside was –35 so we stayed home from church. I drove to homesense to buy wrapping paper. In the evening while husband was making friendship bracelets for us, it was part of our advent calendar, I wrapped most of the gifts I have few left to wrap.

gift wrapping

I’m pleased.

Hope your week 51 sailed off great. Have a great week 52!

20 Dec 2013

Pregnancy #2: Week 35

AOI assistant midwifeDear little Mango,

I think you are not so little right now, because I can hear some pops when you move and I wonder how tight my belly is getting for you.

This morning when we woke up I told your sister that the midwife was coming home to visit me. She knew that the midwife will check your measurements and your heartbeat by putting gel on my belly. She was so helpful when the midwife had to do the visit. You’re about 35cm and your heartbeat is 151mhp, healthy.

We also gave her a tour of the house because we’ve started thinking about labour. We have the list of items to prepare for your birth. Daddy set up the crib last weekend. I want to have a homebirth like I did with your sister so you have to wait at list two and half weeks before you decide to make your debut. You’ve dropped, I mean you’ve are getting lower in my tummy ready to be welcomed into the world. Based on the weeks I gave birth to your sister, you could came in four weeks and two days from today; that would mean we could meet you on the 15th of January.

We're all looking forward to seeing you next month. Your big sister says she’s going to share her toys with you and read you her books. The other day she made her favourite elephant, Baba, give you a kiss. Another day she gave you one of her books to read. Last night when I returned from writer’s group I went into her room to give her a kiss. I said to her “Ciao AOI” and in her sleep she responded “Ciao belly.”

I can’t wait to see you in our arms.

 week 35

How Far Along: 35 Weeks

Size of Baby: Coconut, average size: 17.2-18.7 inches, 4.2-5.8 lb.

Total Weight Gain: 0lbs {I’ll weight myself in two weeks time} 

Stretch Marks: no new ones

Maternity Clothes: In the photo above the only maternity clothe are the pair of jeans. I’m looking forward to change my wardrobe after baby #2. I want to find my style 

Gender: Boy

Movement: sometimes I hear some pops in the belly and wonder how much room you have left

Sleep: Still sleeping through the night again but sometimes turning my body into the other side cause so much pain in my lower back.

What I miss: doing Pliates. This week I did some kid yoga poses with AOI

Food Cravings: Outside is so cold like –28* degrees but I want my water to be extra cold with ice cubes when possible. I feel ashamed admitting this but I’m into raw rice,

Food Aversions: None

Symptoms: Back pain is my killer and tiredness is not my friend

What I'm Looking Forward To: washing baby’s tiny clothe items.

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