January 15, 2015

A Slice of Brie is on Facebook!

I've put off making a Facebook page for this blog for a long time now. The thought of creating one made me feel vulnerable and I didn't think my little corner of the internet warranted it's own page. But mostly, I worried, what if people didn't "like" it? But, this past year, I've become much more comfortable and confident with my writing and the path this blog is going. Creating a Facebook page seemed like the logical next step in growing my blog. And it gives me my own space to share my posts and blog related things instead of always spamming my personal page.

So, if you wish to follow me on Facebook, I thank you for your support! Click on the photo to take you directly to my page, or click here.

a slice of brie

In other news, I'm feeling very inspired this year and have some big plans for sprucing up this little blog. I'm looking forward to working with my good friend Kala of Photography by Kala Rose to get some head shots and photos done for the blog. This will definitely take me out of my comfort zone, but I'm excited to work with such a fun and talented person!  I hope you stick around to see what I have in store!

January 14, 2015

Maternity Photos with Pink Sugar Photography

It's been almost exactly one year since we had maternity photos done and I can't believe it's been that long since I was so pregnant! I never meant to wait so long to share these, but I kept putting it off and now, here we are. I love looking through these photos because it takes me back to a moment in time where it was still just Jim and I, a few short weeks before our lives would change forever and we would no longer be only two. These photos would be the last ones taken of us before Sully would make his appearance.

Prior to becoming pregnant, I thought I wouldn't ever want to have photos taken of my pregnant self. I just didn't see the point. But my feelings changed once I was pregnant and I knew I wanted someone to capture the joy and love both Jim and I were feeling during my pregnancy. And I knew just who I wanted to do this: Andrea from Pink Sugar Photography. I had been a huge fan of her work for quite a while and there really was no other option in my eyes on who to hire. Working with Andrea was such a fun and wonderful experience (she shot Sullivan's newborn photos too!) and I'm so thankful she was available when we wanted her to be. We will treasure these photos forever and I'm so glad I changed my mind about maternity photos!

You can see more photos from our session on Andrea's photography blog here.

pink sugar photography maternity pink sugar photography maternity pink sugar photography maternity pink sugar photography maternity pink sugar photography maternity pink sugar photography maternity pink sugar photography maternity pink sugar photography maternity pink sugar photography maternity

*all images in this post by pink sugar photography 

Thank you so much, Andrea! 

January 12, 2015

Our Next Greatest Adventure

our next greatest adventure

I knew there would be a lot of life changes this past year once Sully came into our lives, but I never imagined a move was in our near future. When we decided to sell our home in BC three and a half years ago, and move back to Edmonton, we did so believing that Edmonton would be our forever home. Or at least our home for a really long time. But life has a funny way of throwing opportunities at you when you least expect it, and come February, we will be packing up and calling Calgary home.

When a career opportunity presented itself to Jim back in the fall, we didn't think too much of it. But one thing led to another and we found ourselves having many, many in-depth discussions on the possibility of actually taking the leap and moving to another city just three hours away.  Pros and cons lists were written out. Conversations late into the night, countless emails and text messages sent back and forth during the day dissecting every aspect of what a move like this would entail for our present and our future consumed our days. What about our friends? Our family? My job? Our doctors? My book club? So many factors to consider! But I've always been a firm believer that things happen for a reason and if this move was meant to be, everything would just fall into place. And so they did. Jim and I are no strangers to moving, so those that know us well, weren't completely shocked by the news, but I don't think anyone expected us to move so soon after having a baby.

The decision to move was completely a joint decision, but that doesn't mean I don't have mixed emotions about it. I was born and raised in Edmonton, my parents and brother live here, my friends live here, and I've made some amazing connections with new friends since becoming a mom, so for me, the move is a lot more emotional. But I'm also really, really excited for the new adventures that await us! We've been feeling a little land locked since moving to Edmonton, especially when compared to our life in BC. We are looking forward to being closer to the mountains, three hours closer to BC and to just having a fresh, new start where the possibilities are endless, especially now that we are a family of three. I'm also really excited for Jim to pursue a career that promises to bring more job satisfaction and will complement all that he has worked so hard for in his career thus far. He more than deserves this opportunity. We've never regretted a move in the past, and we can't imagine this one will be any different.

So, with all that being said, I will be in the market for new friends! And a new book club! I'm accepting applications via email. Ha, just kidding! But seriously, if you live in the Calgary area and have room for a new friend, or for a new member in your book club, keep me in mind. I'm pretty much up for anything and I love meeting new people.

January 07, 2015

Looking Ahead to 2015

2015 goals

I always find the start of a new year so inspiring. I don't care if most resolutions or goals don't get met, it's the feeling of hope, motivation and inspiration to do better that I love so much about it. It's also a time to reflect on the year behind us, and often, it can be a fresh start. The possibilities a new year can bring is such a wonderful feeling.

2014 will always be one of the best years of my life. It's the year I became a mother for the first time, and while navigating the paths of motherhood can be challenging and trying at times, it was still a great year. Much of 2014 was spent learning all about my new role as a mom and figuring out how to care for a newborn. This year though, as Sully gets older and I've become more comfortable and confident as a mother, I feel I can focus a little bit more on things I want to do and accomplish.

This post took me a while to write because I really had to think about what it is I want to happen in 2015, the things I have some control over anyway. And I wanted to have more specific goals, not just "lose the last bit of baby weight", "read more",  "be more active", "stop biting my thumb nails", etc. Sure, those are all things I want to happen, but I need to know how I am going to make these things happen.

So in the spirit of new years resolutions, here are my goals for 2015 (in no particular order):

1. Simplify my belongings: These past few months, I've really felt the strain and weight of all the clutter in our home. I'm so tired of things not having a "home", and I'm equally as tired of the boxes upon boxes of old memorabilia in the basement that I just can't bear to get rid of. Inspired by a few blogs, this one in particularly, and by this book I just read, the journey to decluttering my home and life has begun.

2. Buy only things that spark joy in me: I'm not a big shopper, but I am bad for buying mediocre things that just end up cluttering my home further and then even worse, being donated a few months later. I want to be more selective and thoughtful in the items I choose to spend our money on and bring into our home. If I don't love it in the store, how can I expect to love it once it's in my home?

3. Make a smoothie everyday: Usually, this is when I vow to clean up my diet, eat more healthy, eat less take-out, etc. And while I hope to do all those things, they are too vague in the grand scheme of goals. But smoothies every day? THAT is something I can do. When Jim and I got our vitamix a few months back, we were making 1-2 smoothies a day and felt so much better in a short amount of time. My stomach was digesting fruits and veggies so much easier than if I were to try eating them (I have a history of Ulcerative Colitis and IBS). I lost the last bit of baby-weight (which has since crept back on), and we were making better choices in the rest of our diet because I believe that when you eat healthier foods, you crave more healthy foods. We still make a lot of smoothies, but not consistently. Sully also loves smoothies, so this goal is really a no-brainer: everyone eats better and everyone feels better.

green smoothie
{mommy and baby smoothies}

4. Take 10-15 minutes to cleanup the kitchen every night: I can't stand coming down to a messy kitchen in the mornings. And it doesn't help that we live in a home with an open floor plan so the mess in the kitchen just seems to take over the whole main floor. In the evenings, once supper is done and Sully is finally in bed, tidying up the kitchen just seems too exhausting. Jim recently told me he feels the same way when he comes home from work, that walking into the home when the kitchen is a mess is a bit deflating. So, we have agreed to work on this. I will do my best to have the kitchen tidied for when he comes home, if he will help me in the evenings with it. Apparently, happy kitchen = happy life!

clean kitchen
{this makes me happy}

5. Get outside more: I find it so hard in the winter months to bundle up the baby and go for a walk. In the summer and fall, I tried to get outside every day, even if it was for a quick 10-15 minutes. I'm embarrassed to admit that we almost never go outside anymore unless you count from the car into the store. I know fresh air is a vital part of life and it's not fair to Sully to be cooped up. My goal is to get outside for a walk at least 3 times a week, weather permitting.

6. Read 20 books: You can read about my bookish goals for 2015 here. This means I have to choose reading over other things such as mindless scrolling through instagram, perusing Facebook, pinning things on Pinterest, etc. I used to always read before bed, even if it was just a few pages, but lately my phone is the last thing I read before turning out the light.

and lastly…

7. Run one 5K and one 10K this year: I used to quite enjoy running, although I'm not sure you could have ever called me a "runner", despite how much I wanted to be one. But, I've ran a few races, including a 10K, in the past few years, and I want this year to be the year I start running again. I love the atmosphere of running in a race and I loved that feeling of accomplishing something as exhilarating as running 10K.

edMUDton 5K obstacle race
{the only race I ran last year - the edMUDton 5K obstacle race - 6 months postpartum}

Do you make resolutions or goals for the new year? 
What is something your hoping to accomplish in 2015?

January 05, 2015

2014 in Books

2014 in books

I'm not sure whether to be proud or embarrassed of the number of books I read last year. On the one hand, most of 2014 was spent raising a baby, and contrary to what people assured me of, no reading happened in the middle of the night during feedings. On the other hand, I still managed to read a little more than a book a month, which is more than a lot of people I know can say! This was my third year pledging to read a certain number of books in a year. In 2012 and 2013, I pledged to read 50 books and I fell short both years, so for 2014, I said I would read 30 books. I had a good start to the year so this seemed more than doable. But, alas, I only managed to read 15 books, and that's not including the four books I haven't finished reading yet. Not too shabby, but less than half the amount I read in 2013!

But I will not be discouraged! I can appreciate that there are going to be times in my life that I am able to read more, and times where very little reading will get done. I figure, as long as I consistently have a book on the go, I'm winning at this whole reading thing. So for 2015, I'm pledging to read 20 books. That's about a book and a half a month and if I make an effort to read a little more before bed and spend a little less time scrolling through instagram at night, I should be able to succeed.

Here's a look at my piddly stats for 2014:

Number of books read: 15

Number of pages read: 4615

Percentage of female authors read: 67%

Percentage of Canadian authors read: 47%

Percentage of non-fiction read: 20%

Longest book read: One Great Year at 456 pages

Ratings: 3 five-star reviews (20%); 5 four-star reviews (33%); 3 three-star reviews (20%); 3 two-star reviews (20%); and 1 one-star review (7%)

Compared to the average goodreads ratings:…

*I rated 6 books higher, with the most underrated book being The Rosie Project (but not by much!). I rated this book 5 stars, while the average goodreads rating is 4.02.

*I rated 9 books lower, with the most overrated book being Pigeon English. I gave this book 1 star, while the average goodreads rating is 3.48.

*I rated 3 books almost on par with with the average goodreads rating of around 4 stars: Come, Thou Tortoise, Sold, and A House in the Sky.

One book read in 2014 that I think everyone should read:

the rosie project

And the one book read in 2014 that I think everyone should skip:

An Abundance of Katherines

Sorry John Green fans, but this one just didn't do it for me. And I'm having a hard time understanding why anyone would enjoy this book (or give it 5 stars!). It was dull, unbelievable and a bore to get through. 

I'm looking forward to the books I read in 2015! I got a few from Jim for Christmas that I'm really looking forward to reading, and I'm hoping to finish up the ones I'm only part way through from last year. It bugs me to have unfinished books on my end table. 

Do you make reading goals?
What books are you looking forward to reading this year? Any book I *must* read?
 Let me know in the comments! 

January 01, 2015

A Very Fraser Christmas 2014

I know, it's technically 2014, and I should be posting something about my goals and resolutions for this new year, but the baby is sleeping* (it's a Christmas miracle!) and Jim is doing manly chores (not to be confused with womanly chores) around the house (his words, not mine), and I want to catch up on our life here for a short moment. The month of December flew by and while we didn't get out to do as many Christmas related activities I had hoped we would,  we did make it to the Leduc Country Christmas lights and of course, we visited Santa at the mall. I'm sure no one needs to read another post about Christmas, but how can I not speak briefly about our first Christmas as a family of three?!

Leduc Country Christmas Lights 2014
{Leduc Country Christmas Lights 2014}

santa visit 2014

Together, Jim and I have spent our Christmases all over the place, from his folks place in Nova Scotia, to our home in BC, to my sister-in-law's home in Red Deer, to warm Christmases in Florida, and now, to our home in Edmonton. Some years we put up a tree, some years we didn't. Some years I've had to work on Christmas day, this year I didn't. We generally just go with the flow for Christmas holidays and we even discussed heading south this year, but in the end, we decided we really wanted to wake up Christmas morning, just the three of us, in our own home. And that is exactly what we did.

Christmas 2014
{Our little Christmas tree; our stockings; and curious, little fingers}

We know Sully won't remember his first Christmas, but we will. It was so nice to be on our own time line Christmas morning. We lounged in bed until our tummies told us it was time to eat. We opened our stockings slowly and our Christmas presents even slower. In fact, Jim and I waited until the eve of Christmas Day to open our gifts, not on purpose mind you, but in hindsight, it was the perfect end to the day.

With our families dispersed across North America this year, we had only my Dad and my brother over for turkey dinner. As I'm sure anyone with a young baby can attest to, it's always a bit of a relief when you don't have to pack up a million things to head somewhere else for dinner. Sully had a really rough day (the worst yet!) of teething that afternoon and I was thankful to be in the comfort of our own home.  As a result, we took almost no photos, and while I was disappointed after the fact, it is what it is! I have to remind myself that the memories can still exist even when the photos don't.

opening stockings Christmas morning 2014

So all in all, we had a lovely, quiet Christmas at home. And being at home with my little family is my favourite place to be. I hope everyone else out there had their own perfect Christmas, wherever that may have been!

Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

*the baby WAS sleeping, but never for quite long enough...