December 24, 2019: We had all kinds of people over at our house for Christmas Eve. It was glorious, I was in my element, I was so happy (and even more happy I found something in my closet that fit and I felt good in, LOL). The entire night though, I was feeling all kinds of pain. I chalked it up to cooking up a storm, being on my feet etc. Baby wasn’t due for 3 more weeks, so no way this was labour.
December 25 – December 30, 2019: All kinds of pain EVERYWHERE. A few times I would have to pause a conversation because it was so uncomfortable. But again, baby isn’t due for 3 more weeks so no way this is labour, riiiiiiiight?
January 1, 2020: I recorded my first podcast episode (DID I TELL YOU I HAVE A PODCAST NOW?!?!?) on the floor of my guest room office. I legit did not think I could get off the floor because of the pain. But there’s no way this is labour. ZERO WAY.
January 2, 2020: I am 100% in labour. BUT I AM IN FULL DENIAL BECAUSE I AM NOT DUE FOR THREE MORE WEEKS. But essentially…
4pm: Oooh I think I peed my pants… wait, what is that? Proceeds to google mucous plug because 8 children later I still am not 100% sure what one looks like. But there’s no way I am in labour.
6pm: My niece from Canada is visiting and we have a lovely catch up. I go to the bathroom and there is definitely all kinds of stuff going on down there (and of course more Google- this time what is a bloody show again???), now combined with pain. But there’s no way I am in labour.
8pm: I causally say to my niece, maybe have your phone on just in case I do go into labour tonight and you can be here with the other kids- but there’s no way I am in labour.
9pm: My husband is pouring himself a drink but pauses, and says- maybe I shouldn’t drink anymore incase you think you are in labour? No way I am in labour I tell him, as I proceed to google how many hours between mucous plug or bloody show labour actually begins. I find one random site that says it could be days (ignoring all the ones that say it could be hours) and tell him to have a drink! Pretty sure he gave me side eye and decided better to be safe and maybe let’s go to bed early just incase.
10pm: I decide this is the perfect time to watch as much of the Die Hard movie franchise as I can. In between all the machine gun antics I finally realize I cannot get into a single comfortable position while lying down so finally…
11pm: Yippie kiyay (LOL) I realize LISA YOU HAVE BEEN IN LABOUR ALL DAY AND HAVE BEEN IN DENIAL. Baby is coming TONIGHT.
So we text all the people, I wake up Josh who is passed out, I pack a bag and all that and we are on the road by 12am…
12am: In the van, experiencing the most intense contractions I have ever experienced. I remember closing my eyes, managing the pain as best I could, feeling like the contractions were lasting FOREVER, thinking, it’s OK we are almost there, only opening my eyes to realize we had only been driving for 5 minutes and had not even left my town yet. The hospital is 40 minutes away so this should be interesting.
12:45am: I check in, and spent an agonizing few minutes in the public waiting area where an entire group of people are standing watching me stand in the most ridiculous positions and moaning all kinds of sounds reminiscent of young cattle. Legit, I sounded like a cow.
12:50am: They ushered me into a bathroom where I was told to charge- and oh my goodness I remember thinking I am legit going to die right here from this contraction in a SW Florida hospital bathroom- tell my mom where to find me- the pain from the contractions were so intense. And I could not for the life of me figure out how to get the hospital gown on it had all these foreign snaps and ties- and let’s just say it took my 6′ tall husband, and a sweet 5′ tall nurse, to peel my half dressed body off the floor of the bathroom- I remember the nurse saying, “you have got to get up, you can’t have a baby in the bathroom dear!”
12:55am: I am on an exam table by some sheer miracle, thinking, it’s ok- I can definitely still get an epidural. There’s all kinds of time.
And I will never forget what the nurse said to me next:
“Well, you are at 10cm. It’s time to have the baby NOW! No epidural needed!”
Now I need to pause this what I hope is entertaining linear story telling to tell you something: I have had seven births all with an epidural. 7 glorious times, I allowed an anesthesiologist to legit puncture my spine, so I could not feel labour pains during childbirth. 7 times, I was too afraid to experience pain I opted for medication.
And I was your classic commercial for epidurals during delivery! I was smiling, I had lipstick on, I was joking with the nurses and doctors that this is like pilates! Engage the core! Giving birth felt effortless.
So somewhere in my motherhood journey, I developed the story of there is no way you can do a natural birth. NO WAY.
1:20am: In one glorious, powerful, most incredible push, Colleen came out. And my life was changed forever.
Here’s the thing I really want to tell you- and this will probably need it’s own separate post / podcast / youtube / all the things. My life was changed forever not only because we became a family of 8- but because I did something that I never thought I could do. I did something- a natural birth- that made me ask the question: if you just did something that 7 times previously you elected not to do because of fear, what else are you too afraid to do right now that might actually be possible????
From left to right: Phoebe, John, Rose, Leo, Colleen, James (on my lap), Joseph, me and Evelyn.
We are so excited for baby Colleen, and you better believe me that there is much more of this story to be told as I continue to process the experience of giving birth naturally. I learned a lot about pain management, I learned a lot about what our thoughts do to our bodies and how much power our thoughts have on outcomes in our lives.
I am overwhelmed by the love we have received from all of you. It has been so much fun to share the joy. Grateful, so grateful, for this experience.
If you’ve been following along, you know that I have recently moved my family to sunny SW Florida from Toronto Canada- and we sold almost EVERYTHING in the most epic of moving sales. We came down to the States pulling a 6′ x 12′ trailer that held essentially almost everything of our life in Canada (save for a few pieces that no matter how hard I crammed didn’t make it on to the trailer including my white feather Christmas tree, two gorgeous natural wood end tables and some extra copies of my book The Possibility Mom.
The process has taught me A LOT. And so for this week’s instalment chronicling the room design of my new living room, kitchen and dining room as art of this season’s One Room Challenge, I’m sharing the pros and cons of selling everything when you move.
PRO- DETACHMENT IS A GOOD THING
One great thing I observed as my furniture left my house in Toronto piece by piece was just how OK I was with stuff going. I am a deeply sentimental person. I have kept practically every single drawing my children have made for me, every card, every school craft, etc. And so I thought it would be similar with my stuff- and in truth, the first few pieces were hard to let go of. But after the pieces left, and my life went on so to speak, I realized that ultimately we are the ones who place meaning and value onto things, and I have a big say just how much meaning I give something.
Craziest story of my move- I had a storage room FULL OF STUFF that had not been touched for basically the almost 2 years we lived there. As I have children of all sizes, I have collected quite a few shoes, and boots and sandals and slippers. Unfortunately, there was some water damage on the property and a massive box of kids shoes got completely soaked and left to grow mold (gross). Old Lisa would have mourned the loss and the waste. new Lisa was like, “see you later moldy shoes!!!!”
CON- YOU HAVE TO FIGURE OUT STUFF QUICKLY WHEN YOU MOVE IN
I have never moved with such a small amount to unpack. It was actually quite surreal when we got here and we were able to unload the trailer in a couple of hours. But as a result of selling everything, we had literally nothing to sit on when we got here. If I were to do it all over again, I would have ordered a few pieces to arrive either in advance of us, or very quickly that first week- but I found there was just so much to tackle that I couldn’t get my head around decorating, and I didn’t want to make decisions out of panic or pressure- so we all sat on the stairs, on strollers, and on the floor for the first little while after moving in.
PRO- YOU GET TO START FRESH
There is something so nice about starting practically from scratch. For example- I don’t really have a junk drawer. I don’t have any random things in my freezer, or any half used expired spice bottles or random things like that. That has been SO NICE and noticeably different from other times we have moved.
CON- YOU GET TO START FRESH
The indecision I have felt around decorating my own home has been paralyzing. I am the WORST at designing for myself. Before I wrote my book #thepossibilitymom and started speaking and coaching moms on how to follow their dreams while being a great moms at the same time, I was an interior designer in Toronto for both private clients and HGTV shows like The Property Brothers. I loved what I did but discovered what was really fuelling my passion was helping families thrive- design was just to avenue.
All this to say, I still LOVE design and my tv design days have taught me how to design rooms on a budget, and FAST, which will be helpful because there’s only 2 weeks left for the One Room Challenge so it is going to be a legit race to the finish bahahah.
Here’s a quick update of what’s going on in my home:
We had a bit of an unspoken rule that if it did not fit in a box, it did not come to Florida. So while my furniture did not make the cut, a lot of my small decorative items did and this really made my home feel more like “me”. The cake stand is new and it is PLASTIC which is so helpful with my little toddlers with not so gentle fingers.
I am like a million weeks pregnant LOL and everything is adjusting to this Florida climate WHICH I WILL NEVER COMPLAIN ABOUT BECAUSE CANADA IS NOW FREEZING COLD. I scored these side chairs second hand (PS- the resale market in Florida is just bananas. People sell high end, beautiful things for next to nothing. These chairs, in incredible condition, were less than $10 EACH! WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!
And I finally pulled the trigger and bought a sofa. Come back next week and I’ll hopefully have it here. Let me tell you it’s going to be the maddest of dashes to the finish line but I AM HERE FOR IT. Nothing like a nesting pregnant mama to get a decor project done in a jiffy.
The fall season means all kinds of new habits for moms and kids alike – and if you are already feeling like you need a little help not constantly feeling overwhelmed and burdened by mom guilt, here are my favourite tips and products to get you through this season of change.
1. DON’T MAKE LIFE HARDER THAN IT NEEDS TO BE
Between dance lessons and homework assignments, and conference calls and parent- teacher meetings, a mom cannot afford to spend time and energy in areas that are not strategic. Sometimes, I think we make life harder than it needs to be – and this can contribute to feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and mom guilt in a huge way.
Take grocery shopping for example. I used to do it with a bunch of small kids in tow, and the experience would leave me frazzled and exhausted, and often without the thing I came to get from the store in the first place because I was busy being a hostage negotiator!!!
Instead, consider using a service like the PC Insiders Subscription. For $99 a year, you get free PC Express grocery pick up, you earn 200 PC Optimum points for every dollar spent on PC Organics products, PC Black Label Collection products and Joe Fresh merchandise. Plus, you save SO MUCH TIME. You place your grocery order online from the comfort of your own home (I use a recurring shopping list every single week), you select your desired time for pick up, you pull up your vehicle, and a friendly staff member delivers your groceries to your car.
What used to take me an hour and a half was significantly cut down to less than half an hour from start to finish. Services like this allow you to save time strategically, freeing you up to enjoy time with your family.
2. MAKE TIME FOR DATE NIGHT EVEN IF YOU HAVE NO CHILD CARE
When you think about it, so much time is spent in a car as a mom. I personally spend about an hour daily for school drop off and pick up, between one to two or more hours in the car for errands and appointments depending on the day, and then another hour driving kids to activities and play dates when we have them scheduled. That’s a lot!
So instead of just a place where we act as chauffeurs for our kids, what if the car could be a place for connection for all members of the family – even for something like a weekly date night?
Here’s how you do it: pack the kids in the car in their pyjamas, drive around until they fall asleep, grab your favourite drink, park somewhere scenic, and enjoy a movie or just enjoy music and each other’s company.
We recently took the Hyundai Palisade out for a test drive, and the bells and whistles on this SUV really allowed me to create a luxury date experience. Heated seats, heated steering wheel, Android Auto™ & Apple CarPlay™, USB outlets in every row- even an in- vehicle intercom with Kid’s “Quiet Zone” to silence whatever we are listening to in the front row, so we don’t disturb our sleeping baby in the back – it’s the kind of vehicle that keeps up with the demands of a modern family.
Connection can happen anywhere we are intentional about it happening- even in the car.
3. HELP KEEP YOUR KIDS GERM-FREE WHILE THEY ARE AT SCHOOL
The back-to-school his season is TOUGH, as a new school year means new germy situations. Your children also may be settling into a new routine and being introduced to new environments (like a new school). They also won’t have you with them
during the day to remind them to do things like wash their hands before and after lunch and recess!
To help my kids avoid germs and keep their hands clean during school hours, I include travel pouches of Wet Ones antibacterial hand wipes in their backpacks and lunch boxes every day. These Wet Ones wipes are hypoallergenic and gentle on skin, and are an easy way to ensure my kids keep harmful germs away when soap and water aren’t easily accessible – and let’s face it, many kids forget to get up, find a sink, and wash their hands.
The prompt of seeing a wipe in their lunchbox is a great way to keep your kiddos’ hands clean, and to help ease your mind, knowing that you have given them a line of defence against harmful germs.
4. ACKNOWLEDGE THAT ASKING FOR HELP IS NOT A SIGN OF WEAKNESS
I do not know where in modern motherhood it became a sign of success to do everything alone- but this mindset needs to stop!. We need to be ok with asking for help, and be ok receiving it! Whether your help comes from your mom, a hired service to clean your home, a teenager in the neighbourhood who watches your kids, or a mom you swap babysitting with so you can both get a break during the week, creating a culture where moms help each other succeed is something that is very important to me, and desperately needed today.
Thanks so much to the brands mentioned for partnering with me on this post. I only work with brands that I personally use myself and can personally attest to their value!
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I am a little obsessed with window coverings. I really do believe they are an area of the home that too often gets treated as an afterthought, but when done well, they can really make a space feel like a million dollars!!!!
So when Budget Blinds approached me to partner with them on a video to share the process of installing custom window coverings in your home, I was on board. Budget Blinds is a custom window covering provider – which means they provide tailor made drapes, blinds, shades, shutters and more for your home, completely customized for you space.
Everything begins with a free in-home consultation with a local Design Consultant. Your Design Consultant brings everything to you- and I mean everything! They bring you fabric samples, professional measuring tools, and even the technology to create your own custom fabric yourself through their DesignINK™ program.
I have known Toronto Design Consultant Karen for almost my entire interior design career. We have worked on many projects together (lots that I have written about on this blog! Check out Dacia’s kitchen and bedroom here).
And what has come out of a long business relationship, is a real life friendship as well. I love that by working with a Budget Blinds Design Consultant, I get to support a fellow entrepreneur, and mom, who is following her dreams (and you know how much I care about that)!
So as I mentioned, the Design Consultant takes care of everything, from professionally measuring the space, to guiding you in the design process to installing the final product. And what I love about the Budget Blinds approach is that they really care. They work with you to either match what is in your current home, or launch you into an entirely different design scheme, and provide you options to match your unique needs and budget.
In my home, we installed gorgeous sheer curtains using the DesignINK™ program. This program kind of blew my mind. When I was working with interior design clients, I would spend hours in fabric showrooms finding the perfect scheme for my clients- and this would take a lot of time! So what I think is so unique about DesignINK™, is that you get to play designer and create your own custom fabric from the comfort of your own home. Through their portable technology, your Design Consultant can guide you through hundreds of prints- from organic, to geometric, to traditional, to contemporary, and then you can customize the colour to basically whatever you want! We were able to match the exact pink in my drapes to the door colour in my dining room! Once you are satisfied with your design, your custom print is sent to be tested on the fabric of your choice, and you receive the options in the mail for approval! Check out what the process looked like here.
Pretty cool, right?
So here is what the spaces looked like before:
And here is what they looked like after!
I am so thrilled with how everything turned out. I wanted something playful to match the personality of my family. Pink was a bold choice, but we ensured that the hue was saturated enough that it wouldn’t feel too juvenile.
At Karen’s suggestion, we also created custom pillows to match the window coverings! And I love the custom touch this creates. This is the simplest way in my opinion to add a designer touch to a space – the repetition of colour and pattern creates a cohesive approach in the space and is a way of adding a custom element without breaking the bank!
I think that whatever your budget, or whatever the space, or however old your kids are, or whatever your stage is in life, everyone can enjoy a beautiful home – and window coverings are a big part of that!
To watch the entire transformation in my home, click play below.
And to learn how to work with a Budget Blinds Design Consultant (available throughout the USA and Canada!) click here!
One of the most commonly asked questions I get about having 7 kids is what kind of a car do you drive?!?
When we were looking for a car, I wanted something with all the bells and whistles- a car that was modern enough to handle my active family’s lifestyle, but still had all the luxuries like heated and cooling seats, a heated steering wheel, safety cameras everywhere, and a gorgeous digital display- and I found this all in the Hyundai Palisade.
When you think about how much time a mom spends in her car, it makes a huge difference when it is a space that feels luxurious, and a space that feels like an extension of home, in a way. What if we could think of our car like a place to foster connection, as opposed to just a place we shuttled people around?
We recently took this car for a spin and it inspired me think about ways we can make the most out of time in the car as a family- I hope it inspires you to foster great connections with your loved ones on the go.
1. HAVE INTENTIONAL CONVERSATIONS WITH YOUR KIDS IN THE CAR
Growing up, the car was where I had great chats with my dad about life (my mom did not drive). It was focused time, and I loved it. I try to use the times we drive to ask my kids questions, learn more about their interests, and generally just continue to get to know their personalities on a deeper level. With 7 kids ages 10 and under, I have personalities of all kinds! I like to keep the loud ones at the back, lol.
Speaking of loud, the Hyundai Palisade comes equipped with a in-vehicle intercom system (how cool is that?!), which allows me to chat with my kids in the third row without having to yell!
2. LISTEN TO AUDIOBOOKS ON LONGER DRIVES
I am a huge podcast and audiobook listener when I am driving alone, but more recently, we have been listening to classic children’s books like The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan and the entire Beverly Cleary collection (I have so much nostalgia listening to the Ramona series). Not only are they great for kids of all ages, I find they spark my imagination too! And if you’ve been following me for a while, you know I am all for what happens in your brain when you listen to stories vs. watching videos- synapsis are fired up left right centre and the brain works to create visuals of what is being read aloud. It’s so good for parents and kids alike!
Now in my family, there is inevitably always a sleeping baby somewhere in the car! This car comes equipped with rear seat Quiet Mode, so that the rear speakers get muted when audiobooks are on the go to keep things extra quiet for sleeping babies.
3. DO DATE NIGHT IN THE CAR (EVEN IF YOU DON’T HAVE A BABYSITTER)
If you watch any of my videos you know how passionate I am about a weekly date night- it’s a non negotiable for me. We arrange childcare, we get out of the house, and we connect as a couple- so important to keep a marriage strong and healthy!
And I get asked all the time, what do you do if you can’t afford to eat out, or you don’t have childcare?
What about date night in the car? It literally could look as simple as this: change your kids into their pjs, grab your favourite beverage, drive around until they fall asleep, and then park somewhere relaxing and watch something on your personal device, or simply enjoy a relaxed conversation with no one interrupting you.
Plus, the Hyundai Palisade has heated and ventilated front seats to make your date night in the car even more luxurious.
4. WORK ON PROJECTS USING DICTATION
An interesting tidbit about my new book, The Possibility Mom: How to be a Great Mom and Pursue Your Dreams At the Same Time, is that I wrote A LOT of it in the car (sometimes with my kids WITH ME). I had to get so creative with how I wrote my book, even in the smallest 15-minute increments. And one of the ways I did this was simply by dictating parts of my book while driving into my phone as a voice memo, or literally grabbing my laptop, putting a movie on for my kids on their personal devices, and writing for the duration of the show! I wrote tons of chapters in this way!!!
With 7 USB outlets in the most strategic spots in every row, pouches for kids’ devices or other entertainment, and 14 cup holders (14!!!), this car comes equipped to keep kids happy while mom tries to get some work done!
5. INTENTIONALLY SCHEDULE ME TIME AROUND PICK-UP AND DROP OFF TIMES
I will purposefully arrive at least 15-minutes early before school pick up for intentional quiet time for myself. I pull up early, grab an ideal parking spot (if your kids’ school is small like mine you know the pain of finding parking), ensure I have a beverage to suit my mood (either a decaf flat white, or a ginormous water with ice and lemon), and I will read a book, listen to a motivating podcast or radio show (the Limited version of the Palisade comes equipped with Sirius XM and there is no shortage of content on there to entertain and inspire!), or even TAPE A NAP BEFORE THE KIDS COME IN!!!
When time is limited, us busy moms sometimes have to get creative with self care- and honestly, arriving just a few minutes early, and feeling peaceful before receiving the kids, makes a massive, massive difference on my mood for the remainder of the afternoon and evening.
For more on how this SUV is the ultimate family vehicle for active families who need a vehicle that does it all, click here.
Special thank to Hyundai Canada for partnering with me on this post! I don’t have time to use products that do not enhance my family’s life, so know I am always looking to share products that will enhance your family’s life too.
Earlier this month I had the amazing opportunity to appear on Hallmark’s daytime show Home and Family. This is a channel we don’t get up here in Canada, but it is a wildly popular one in the US- and it was amazing to spend time with the hosts Cameron and Debbi and oh my word was it great fun.
For a little behind the scenes look at my experience, check out this video below!