July 03, 2017

Camping in the Kootenay Plains

Camping in the Kootenay Plains, Alberta
{the view from our campsite}
The other weekend (Father's Day weekend), we ventured out on our first camping trip of the year! We really didn't have any plans to camp in June, but when my best friend Karen invited us to join her family and some others at a group site, we figured why not! Karen and her family camp a lot, but we've never been able to join them before. I knew it would be a blast for Sully to have other kids to play with during the day, and the beauty of camping with your friend who has a trailer is chances are good that if you forget something, they will have it!

We packed up Friday morning and made the 3.5 hour drive north west of us to the Calvacade Group campsite in the Kootenay Plains. For local folks, this is about 65km west of Nordegg. The drive for us was beautiful, as it took as through the mountains up towards and through the Banff and Lake Louise area. I've never camped in a group site before, so I really had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that the sites were unserviced (not an issue for us since we tent it anyway) and no running water, so pit toilets only. I called ahead to make sure that the walk from our site to the closest outhouse wasn't too far and was told that each site had it's own outhouse.

When we arrived, I was taken aback by how beautiful the area was. Nestled in amongst the mountains, you would never expect the area to be a campsite. There were 8 sites and only 3 were booked for the weekend. But each site was so large that even if you had neighbours, you would barely notice. Our site in particular, also had a large outdoor shelter, complete with a wood burning stove and picnic tables in case weather took a turn for the worse. Pretty cool! Firewood was also included in the cost of camping which was great as we didn't have to haul any along with us.
Camping in the Kootenay Plains, Alberta
Camping in the Kootenay Plains, Alberta
Camping in the Kootenay Plains, Alberta
We arrived around 4pm, quickly set up camp and then spent the evening cooking, eating and drinking, while the kids and Karen's dog ran around and played. So much open space for the kids! A couple sets of friends weren't able to make it after all, so it was just us, Karen's family and Karen's husband's Aunt and Uncle. It was great spending the weekend with my best friend and watching our kids play so well together.
Calvacade Group Camping Kootenay Plains
Calvacade Group Camping in the Kootenay Plains, Alberta
Kootenay Plains, Alberta Group Camping
As for night time - I'm not going to lie. It was COLD. I wasn't really thinking about how early in the year it was, so I was not prepared to be so cold at night! I definitely regretted taking my leggings out of my duffel bag at the last minute! Emmy was a trooper though and napped and slept great! Karen leant us a travel sized playpen for using in the tent, and I brought along her Dockatot. At whatever time she would wake up to eat in the middle of the night, I would just bring her into bed where I kept her till morning.
Camping with a baby
I was worried about how Sully would take going to the washroom in a pit toilet, but he thought they were totally funny and awesome! He couldn't get over the fact that he was peeing into a big hole and that there was no handle to flush. Thank goodness he thought it was a novelty to use them! And I have to say, the outhouses at the campground were spotless and maintained daily, which made using them that much easier.

I already feel like the rest of the summer weekends are filling up quick, so I'm so glad we made it out once already to camp. We do plan to keep the rest of our camping trips this summer closer to home, but we definitely plan to return to this place again in the future!
Hiking in the Kootenay Plains
Hiking in the Kootenay Plains
Camping in the Kootenay Plains, Alberta
Camping in the Kootenay Plains, Alberta
Camping in the Kootenay Plains, Alberta
Camping in the Kootenay Plains, Alberta
Camping in the Kootenay Plains, Alberta
Camping in the Kootenay Plains, Alberta
{the coolest 6 year old I know}

Do you like to camp? Where's the best place you've every camped?

Tent or trailer? :) 

June 21, 2017

Emmeline: 5 Months

*This post is about 3 weeks late, but better late than never, amiright?! ;) 

5 Months Old
Oh Miss Emmy!

How are you 5 months old already?! Sometimes I look at you in your beloved Mamaroo Swing and I can't get over how big you look in it compared to when you were first born. We didn't get you weighed this month, but you're starting to grow out of your 0-3 month clothes and some 3 month clothes as well, so I know you're growing!

You're still exclusively breastfed, and will take the odd bottle of expressed milk when needed. I'm looking forward to starting you on solids next month though! Your brother's first food was avocado on toast cut into strips and I think we will try the same on you to see your reaction to it. To this day, it's still his favourite food to eat!
Five Months
You still aren't rolling over, but you are SO close. That darn, pesky arm just keeps getting in the way! The day before you turned 5 months old, you finally found your toes! This is one of my favourite milestones, watching babies grab their toes and rock back and forth. You are strong enough to sit up in the jumperoo without any padding, but you only tolerate for 15 minutes at the most. Guess it's time to dig out the jolly jumper! You're usually pretty happy to just lay on your activity mat and grab at the toys hanging above you, and when that no longer entertains you, then you like to be held facing out so you can see everything that is going on. You really resist being put in a sitting position, preferring to be held while standing. It's like you're reading to take to the ground running before even learning to sit or crawl! I imagine life will become much more exciting for you once you are able to sit on your own.

Emmy, you're still such a happy baby and such a good little sleeper. I still nap you in your swing, but at night, you sleep peacefully in your Dockatot in our bed. I realized that this is around the time I transitioned your brother to his crib so we will probably get on that soon. While I love having you right next to me, I can't help but wonder if you would sleep longer stretches without me being by your side. We shall see! Even though you nurse at night and go straight back to sleep, it would be nice to get more than 3-4 hours of sleep in a row!
5 Months Old
5 Months Old
It's such a joy watching you grow, Emmy. The love I have for both you and your brother is a love I never knew was possible! I'm so grateful I get to be a mom to both of you.


*affiliate links have been used

May 30, 2017

What Beautycounter Means to Me

We live in a world where pretty much everything we could want is available at our fingertips. There's a grocery store on every corner, box stores full of disposable fashion, makeup and beauty products, in every quadrant of the city. In fact, you don't even have to leave the comfort of your home, as everything is available online with a few clicks and a credit card. What I've started to notice about this conveniency is that it can result in a lot of mindless purchases, choosing the product off the shelf that has the best advertising, best price, best smell, or it's the only one available. This in turn creates overflowing toiletry drawers, crammed junk drawers and the feeling of needing to declutter way too often.

Then Emmy was born. And I was reminded again of the fact that I'm not just responsible for myself, but I'm also responsible for two tiny humans. A new baby, with brand new skin, really made me reevaluate the products I was purchasing: were the "natural" products actually natural? Were the ingredients listed ones I was comfortable slathering all over their precious skin? Was that cartoon character, "hypoallergenic and gentle" bubble bath safe? Could I do better? And then I started thinking...why am I only concerned about what I'm putting on my children's skin? Why am I not questioning the products in my bathroom?

Recently, as my 34th birthday approached, I started to reevaluate the kind of life I wanted to live and the kind of life I wanted to model for my impressionable children. I used to pride myself in cooking healthful, clean meals, avoiding processed snacks, questioning the beauty products I was putting onto my body, cleaning with nontoxic cleaners, and purchasing quality items over quantity. But somewhere in the past year or so, I have lost my way. I am far from perfect, and with a toddler and a baby at home, my home is also far from perfect. I am not a minimalist, nor will I ever be one, but I do desire simplicity where I can find it, and luxury where I can afford it.
What Beautycounter means to me
Around this time, I started to notice Beautycounter products popping up on my social media, and then also around this time, I happened to connect with a woman on Instagram who was already involved with Beautycounter. Dawn ever so gently provided me with some information on the company while also giving me some samples of their products. After doing a lot of research and trying some of the products, I was not only hooked, I was inspired.

You see, Beautycounter is more than just a line of luxurious and toxin-free beauty products. It's a lifestyle. It's a movement. It's an opportunity to change the beauty product market. The more research I did, and the more I educated myself about the products I was currently using (some that I assumed were safe because of good marketing), the more horrified I became. There are currently more than 80,000 chemicals on the market today, and only 500 of them have been prohibited for use in the cosmetic industry in Canada. The US has only banned 30 to date, but the EU is far ahead of the game, with more than 1300 chemicals banned in personal care products. Beautycounter is a company devoted to progress. They have created a Never List - a list that includes over 1500 questionable or harmful ingredients that they will never use in their products.
ingredients that should never be in beauty products via Beautycounter
Beautycounter wants to make the world a healthier and safer place, and so do I. To me, it's more than just purchasing their products. It's about educating yourself and the loved ones around you. Start reading the labels on your beauty products, familiarize yourself with some of the big no-no ingredients (BHA, BHT, EDTA, Parabens - methyl-, isobutyl-, propyl- etc., Phthalates, Retinol - vitamin A, SLS & SLES, Fragrance - a term that can include any combination of up to 3000+ chemical ingredients) just to name a few.

Our skin is our largest organ. How can we care about what we eat, about how often we workout, ensure we take our vitamins, if we're just going to slather chemicals all over our bodies? It takes less than 30 seconds for our bodies to absorb the chemicals in our beauty products into our blood streams. I cannot help but think about the impact this has to be having on our bodies. Don't we deserve better? Don't you deserve better? Don't our children deserve better? If I can care about what I'm putting on my children's skin, I should care about what I'm putting on my skin.

So, if you're still reading this, to make a long story short, I joined Beautycounter as a consultant because I want to be part of the change and I want to share it with everyone I know and love. Do I think you need to own every single product of theirs? Of course not. There is plenty of room to continue to support the small, local shops that are also contributing to this movement by making safe, and clean beauty products. My wish is to educate, to get my friends and family reading the labels on their beauty products just as much as the labels on their food. To vote with their dollars by making better choices as we move forward. To be more mindful in what we not only put in our bodies, but by what we put on it. To choose safe, quality beauty products over quantity.

Beautycounter has become a part of my daily life now, so you will see it pop up here and there. If you want to learn more, I would love to talk with you. Send me an email, or find me on Instagram. But most of all, I want you to remember that your body is worth it.