We are thrilled to share the news that just before Christmas we welcomed baby James, our 6th baby, into the world! It has been a whirlwind of an adjustment period- so much joy, so much chaos, so many children home from school (!!!) and so many cuddles with this incredible small person.
We have now done this six times. Six times we have made the trek downtown to the hospital (almost always in the middle of the night!), six times I have laboured and pushed out of my body a brand new member of our family. Six times I have felt a joy that overwhelms my entire being and makes me love my husband more than I thought possible. And six times I have marveled at the miracle of life as I have held a tiny little person.
The story this time, in true Lisa fashion, is somewhat eventful… (Side note: for more fun baby tales here are the posts for the births of John, Evelyn, Leo, Rose, and Joseph)
Dec 20 7pm: Standing in line at HomeSense with a final stack of pillows to finish off a fun project in Markham. Absolutely started feeling contractions. In HomeSense. In a line up a hundred people long. Because everyone is buying Christmas presents on December 20.
7:30: I am out of HomeSense and need to decide if I have time to drop the pillows off at the client's house, or if I should go straight to the hospital.
7:45: At client's house and I am arranging pillows on the sofa (even though I texted ahead of time and said I was pretty sure I was in labour and would only drop them at the front). Client and I both agree I am crazy and it is time for me to leave, STAT.
8pm: I am definitely contracting and heading south toward the hospital. However, it is also my mom's birthday! And it was my idea for us to enjoy a really nice, relaxed dinner, just the grown ups (which is rare for us to do)! Do I pull off the highway and join them for a minute?
8:15pm: Fully got off the highway and say to myself I will only stay if I can get parking right at the front and will only sit down for a minute.
8:20pm: Guess who found parking literally at the front of the restaurant entrance! It's a miracle! I waddle in to see my family who are all looking at me like I am nuts.`
8:30pm: I sit down and literally cannot decide what to do. I am so hungry, but I am also fully contracting. And it is an all you can eat thai buffet. ALL YOU CAN EAT. And I could eat all the things.
8:45pm: My entire family agrees I am crazy, because I am fully in labour but am trying to decide if I have time to eat some popcorn shrimp or not. My brother-in-law very stealthily sneaks popcorn shrimp into my coat pocket and they all kick me out. I call my husband and tell him to pack the bags! We have no bags packed because it is a full 2 weeks before my due date.
9pm: I get home, but I am in total denial I am in labour (I WANT TO EAT MORE POPCORN SHRIMP!), although I am fully contracting every 5 minutes. Because my doctor has put the fear of God in my that this baby will FLY OUT since it is my sixth one in eight years basically, I know it's time to make our way downtown.
10pm: At hospital, checked in, still in relatively little pain although I can feel the contractions are getting stronger.
11pm: Since I am not in a ton of pain I debate doing this whole labour thing without an epidural. Never done it au naturale before, might be fun to try?!?
11:05pm: I hear a woman screaming in the room next to me in a ton of pain. Debate over.
12am: Epidural comes and I slip into a wonderful, drug induced sleep.
5:30am: I wake up fully dilated and it is time to push. 3 contractions later and we meet our baby boy!!!
The transition back home has been beautiful chaos. If you'd like to see what our first week was like check out my brand new vlog!
Our hearts are full (as are our coffee mugs, lol!). We are so totally in love. Thank you for sharing in our joy!!!!!
If you've been following my blog for a while you know I love to plan. When you have almost 6 children, ages 7 and under, and you're an entrepreneur, it's not really possible to get through life successfully without a little planning.
But don't think I have things all together all the time. I fail at the whole balance gig all the time. I've talked about it really transparently, many times.
One of those times was at the end of 2014. I was on a career high. I was working with The Property Brothers as Art Director on one of their shows. I was working on a ton of my own renovation projects at the same time. For the first time in forever, my business was making me money, instead of costing me money. On the outside, I was flourishing! But on the inside, I was so unhappy.
I was coming home consistently well past my children's bedtimes. My relationship with my spouse was hanging on a thread of empty promises of "this period is almost over, honey." My car was literally covered with remnants of McDonald's, Harvey's and Tim Horton's drive through bags. And I had easily put on an extra 10 lbs as a result of all the drive through food and non existed exercise schedule.
It dawned on me that no amount of money or career success would make up for failure in the home, or sacrifice on my health.
Thankfully, a lifeline was about to be thrown that would benefit me, and my family, in countless ways.
Right in my time of intense hanging on to life by a thread / surviving not thriving at the end of 2014, I stumbled upon Michael Hyatt's course, 5 Days To Your Best Year Ever. And many thoughts went through my mind including:
– wow I really need this
– there is no way I have time for this
– I cannot possibly afford to do this
– I can't afford to NOT do this
– I am so tired and unhappy this better help me
After learning about how short and digestible this course is, and its reasonable price point compared to many other courses I had invested in previously, I punched in my credit card with literally an hour to spare before the cart closed.
And it was probably the best thing I ever did for my family.
My family had booked time at a cottage we frequent often between Christmas and New Years for some much needed quiet time. And with all my commitments now done, my husband and I settled in after the kids went to bed, next to a roaring fire, with wine in hand, to binge watch the course content and MAKE SOME PLANS.
And in one evening boy did we plan. And we made plans that have had lasting results on our family, our marriage and our health. And while I do the course over every year, the changes I made to prepare for 2015 really made all the difference.
Without a plan, it is so easy to flounder and say yes to whatever is most urgent, as opposed to saying yes to what is most important to you and your personal goals. Without knowing your personal goals, life can just "happen" to you, rather than you designing your ideal life.
This year I have decided to help promote the Best Year Ever Course as an affiliate because I am truly passionate about it, and I think if you enjoy my content on productivity, organization and family life, you will benefit from it immensely too.
The cart for this course closes Thursday, December 15 at 11:59PST. And I really hope you know by now, that I don't just recommend anything under the sun- if I recommend something, it means I have tried it and I love it. And I think you'll love it too- get all the details here.
I feel so strongly about this particular course, I am throwing in a BONUS JUST FOR YOU GUYS!!!!!! If you buy the course via my link, I would love to gift you one of the following options (you get to choose!):
To book me for a 2-hour interior design consultation is currently $749 plus HST so the value of either bonus is just under $400 with taxes included. I mention this only to illustrate how much I stand behind this course, and how much I want you to see results, too. A reminder the course is only available until tomorrow, and if you use this link you get my free bonus.
But wait, there's more! Watch this video for a bonus I am offering exclusively to the first 10 moms who sign up via my link. Click through to 5:33 for this special offer. This one is so exciting to me!
Cheers to an amazing 2017 for us all,
- Are you overwhelmed and feeling behind with holiday prep this year?
- Do you have a Christmas shopping list so long you don’t know where to begin?
- Are you feeling the pressure of time as Christmas gets closer and closer?
Well I have your back! I have created a simple calendar called my Last Minute Planning Guide for a Stress-Free Holiday!
While I cannot promise the holidays will be stress-free, experience has shown me that overwhelm can be reduced a ton with a little planning.
Well I have done the planning- you just have to do the doing! And exactly the same way I tackle a renovation or interior design project, just start! Make one decision, take one action step at a time- and then just keep making ’em! You’ve got this!
Download my Free Last Minute Planning Guide for a Stress-Free Holiday here!
This year we are keeping things really simple for Christmas. Mainly, it is out of necessity as I am incredibly pregnant with baby #6 (36 weeks!!!). But it is also out of principle. I just want to enjoy the holidays, and not be stressed in the preparations for them! So if you're like me, and want to enjoy the holidays more than stress over them, here are my essential ingredients to a simple and stress free Christmas!
1. Decorate with the basics in an afternoon
In years past, I have put a lot of pressure around a "decorating day". And while I love traditions, I just found it got overwhelming. People fought over who got to put what decoration up, I always ran out of those little hooks you need for the ornaments, and in the end I was always more spent than excited. So especially where small kids are involved, I suggest you limit the decorating to a few hours on an afternoon. Put up the main things: tree, lights, tree skirt, a garland, a few stockings, and that is it. And then call it a day. You'll be happy as the house has a little Christmas in it, but not so exhausted that you can't enjoy it.
This year, I am obsessed with my new feather tree from Bouclair- I love the texture and white contrast in my living room!
2. Add the ornaments slowly over time
We have a family tradition of keeping things simple during Advent, the weeks leading up to Christmas, and then adding all the colour and fun on Christmas Eve. This also has strategic merit- with toddlers in my house, ornaments don't stand a chance. But I did find these adorable pom-pom and bell combo garlands from HomeSense which the kids kinda went crazy over. They also make for a versatile ornament- even if they get pulled off the tree by little "helpers", they look beautiful even when just pooled on the floor in a heap.
The point of this tip is just to add things as you find time to- or as you pick up trinkets at the store. No pressure to do it all in one hurrah.
3. Re-use fall planters
I was a little skeptical of how these would turn out, but I love the result. Again, out of convenience, I didn't want to spend time or money on brand new planters. When I realized my fall cabbages matched the purple ribbon I quickly tied around my faux fur wreath (picked up at HomeSense while shopping for a client), I decided to see if I could make them feel "holiday" with greens cut from my garden and the birch logs that have been sitting on my porch since last Christmas (eep)!!! I love the result, and love that it didn't cost me a single cent. I don't think this would work with every fall flower out there, but you can bet these will be on repeat next year on my porch!
4. Throw some battery operated garlands in a vessel for an instant holiday centrepiece
I picked up this garland at Bouclair pretty inexpensively because I knew it would work somewhere in my house. I literally just put them in a candy dish I have (these would also look super cute in a cloche) and called it a day! If I have time I might go out and grab another one to fill the dish to the brim- I love how this sparkles and shines!
5. Embrace the chaos- especially around holiday pictures
We do our best to take a family photo for our Christmas card every year. And every year, I vow I will never do it again (just kidding…)! As the image above and this energetic photo of my daughter exemplifies, getting 7 family members to look at a camera at the same time is somewhat chaotic, to say the least. If these photos could talk, you would hear that 3 children had literal melt downs in rapid succession. So when one kid finally calmed down, the next one was upset about a totally new thing. In my younger years as a parent I would get so stressed about everyone looking / wearing the right thing and would have really limited (as in no) patience for this kind of thing. Now, I just embrace it and know that Photoshop works wonders and when that fails, oh well. Sometimes the images off the cutting room floor are better than the more staged ones.
For some practical tips around family photos, I suggest you all wear outfits that coordinate somewhat, and if you can swing it, give kids 2 choices in what they wear (but limit their options to the ones in your colour palette). And not going to lie, we bribe with candy. #noshame
If you're feeling overwhelmed and have no idea where to begin in your holiday prep- download my Last Minute Planning Guide for a Stress-Free Holiday! Totally free for you : )
Cheers to a beautiful time of year,