2020 has been an incredibly eventful one, let me tell you- and it began with the early arrival of this gorgeous human:
Colleem at 10 minutes old!
Colleen made an early arrival on January 3, 2020 (she wasn’t due until the 20th, making her another Canning to make a dramatic early entrance like her big sister Evelyn). And if you are curious about my other births, here are the birth announcements of John, Leo, Rose, Joseph, James and Phoebe.
Here’s how it all went down:
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.
2019 was the year I finally released my book The Possibility Mom: How to be a Great Mom and Pursue Your Dreams at the Same Time. But fun fact: I signed the contract for the book in 2017 and it took me 2 years to write. And this is not because I am a slow writer- read on…
The book took so long to get into the universe because I took no action. And I took no action because I was afraid. I was afraid of what people were going to think. I was afraid people would judge me, and judge my life choices. So I did nothing, and the goal of being a published author sat as an unmet goal for 2 years.
Maybe you have write a book on your resolution list. Or maybe you have lose ten pounds, or finish decorating the living room, or exercise more, and are frustrated the same things remain on the list year after year.
What separates goals as just ideas to life changing accomplishments is one thing: ACTION. Simple, small, steps that will get you towards the goal, done consistently, and done with intention.
If this is the year you finally want to take action, I want to help. I am running a TOTALLY FREE challenge in my Facebook Group The Possibility Mom Success Circle. In this challenge, I will encourage you to make and actually keep your goals with my action driven formula and the support and accountability of other goal chasing mamas in my private group. Everyday in January, I will be cheering you on, helping you when you get stuck, and sharing the hacks that have helped me build a business and raise soon to be 8 kids at the same time.
If you want 2020 to be the best year of your life (and why shouldn’t it be?!?!) join me. You have nothing to lose, and incredible things to gain. Just enter your email below to join the #makeitandkeepit 2020 challenge with #thepossibilitymom .
Sign up right here to start your 2020 off right!
We did it! In 6 short weeks (well, technically four as today officially marks one month of living in our new home in Florida) we have transformed our empty main floor living space into a gathering spot for my family of soon to be 8 kids.
Here is the before to jog your memory:
And here is the AFTER!
OK let’s start with some details- like this green sofa. I love the silhouette, I love the texture, and honestly, I love the price lol. If you remember what my former home looked like, this sofa has a similar silhouette to our beloved blue ones- but shorter dimensions to fit this space more appropriately. The beige upholstered wingback chairs were a remarkable steal from Goodwill for $8.99 each (WHAT IS THAT?!?!) I will honestly have to do an entire post on the resale market here in Florida because prices here are just so different (aka CHEAPER) than I am used to in Toronto Canada! The metal and leather-like chairs will be so practical once we put in our pool and I love how they don’t obstruct the view to my palm trees!
This rug makes my heart soar, for the pattern and again for the price! I saw it on my friend Adele’s instagram feed and knew it would provide a lovely texture and contrast against our tile floors. This Draper ottoman, a gift from the fine folks at HomePop, (we used two 58″ wide ottomans to fill the space appropriately and give everyone somewhere to put their feet up) is so durable for my rough and tumble group of children.
I really wanted a fireplace (so much so I wanted to rough in a gas line when we built the house but the builder’s sales agent literally looked at me like I had three heads when I made that suggestion- apparently gas fireplaces are just not a thing here in Florida!) so I went with a tried and true band partner I have worked with on many projects with this Thom media unit by Dimplex. Dimplex was the company that changed my perspective on electric fireplaces- they have really perfected the design to make flame look like flame and the technology to create the ambiance that a fireplace adds to a room.
One of my goals when I designed this space was to have elements that were “so Florida” and to me that is a bit of distressed wood (I also want to add something cane back or wicker in this space eventually!) So this Botanical 8-light chandelier fixture by Kichler Lighting satisfied this desire. I’m a big believer in layered sources of lighting- we love sitting here in the evenings with the sliding doors wide open and just this fixture on for ambiance.
In the eating area, I went with a pedastal table I purchased again secondhand, this time off of Facebook Marketplace for $375, with these chairs which are again so practical for my children (aka WIPEABLE). And I needed a little something glam here with this gold fixture by Kichler Lighting.
My love affair with gold continued in the kitchen with these handmade pulls by long time friend and brand partner Shayne Fox Hardware. I have known Shayne from my days working with the Property Brothers (she is a fellow Production Designer for TV) and she creates these pulls with her own hands in Toronto. I can no longer keep track of how many projects I have used these in. I love using them not only for their hand crafted beauty, but to also support a fellow entrepreneur providing for her family. And they coordinate incredibly with these Maclain 1-light mini pendants by Kichler Lighting.
If you have been following me for a while, you know my love of faucets and ensuring they are a special piece in a kitchen. They really are like jewelry on an outfit – you can take even the most basic of outfits and make it look spectacular with a statement accessory.
For this installation, I went with Delta, a tried and true brand who I have done many projects with during my interior design career in Canada (take a peek at a few projects here and here). This time we opted for the Trask™ Kitchen Faucet with VoiceIQ™ Technology in Champagne Bronze. Right now, the faucet is available at Lowe’s in the classic Spotshield Stainless finish. I was lucky enough to receive early access to the Champagne Bronze finish, but be on the lookout as it’s coming to Lowe’s soon!
The Champagne Bronze picks up on the other metals I chose to use in the space, and I just love how elegant the simple gooseneck arc is, not to mention how the pull down spout is seamlessly integrated into the design.
But what really makes this faucet special is the technology attached to it. Brand new to the United States (and Canada, this technology is coming to you soon), this faucet comes equipped with VoiceIQ Technology. VoiceIQ allows the faucet to be operated with your voice –- yup, with your voice! When connected to Amazon® Alexa® or Google Home (see footnote 1 below), you can literally say a command like, “pour 8 quarts of water” or “fill the coffee pot” (see footnote 2 below) and the faucet distributes the correct amount of water without you lifting a finger! Talk about magic. This especially comes in handy when I’m juggling a lot all at once, like prepping a meal while keeping track of the little ones.
Moving my family from Toronto to SW Florida (we are just outside Naples) has been quite the adventure with its fair share of stress and obstacles (needless to say doing it with 7 kids ages 10 and under while being super pregnant with number 8), but we are so thrilled to have made it, and even more thrilled to have a space now that will allow my family to gather, connect and create lasting memories in this new chapter of our lives. Thanks for following along the adventure and come back soon for a full video tour!
And make sure to check out the featured 20 ORC designers, and the guest participants here, and big thanks to Linda for organizing the One Room Challenge and media partner Better Homes and Gardens!!! Grab a coffee and get ready to get lost in interior design heaven when you click on these links : )
1) Amazon, Alexa, Echo, and all related logos and motion marks are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.
Google and Google Home are trademarks of Google LLC
VoiceIQ™ Technology is not created by, affiliated with, or supported by Google LLC or Amazon Technologies, Inc.
2) Sequences shortened and simulated
Photos by Zachary Johanni. Special thanks to Delta, Kichler Lighting, Dimplex, Shayne Fox Hardware, and HomePop for partnering with me on this project.
I have done the One Room Challenge, a friendly competition of sorts where designers and design enthusiasts alike are challenged to transform a space in 6 short weeks, while pregnant before.
I mean, it’s like nesting in hyper drive.
And this time is no exception. We have just moved my family from Toronto, Canada, to Southwest Florida, to a brand new home. We sold most of our possessions, and only brought what could fit in a 6′ x 12′ trailer! We have essentially started over in w ay, building our home up again piece by piece.
And it has been equal parts hard, equal parts fun, equal parts difficult, and equal parts exciting.
As I shared last week, there are definitely pros and cons of selling everything. I have also shared that I have no idea what I am doing.
But as you can see, we are starting to come together! I have got some art to hang, and some decisions to make regarding a few furniture pieces etc. but we are in decent shape to make my reveal! Stay tuned next week for a full round up of sources, and all the after photos I can fit on my little corner of the internet!
And of course, check out the featured 20 designers, and the guest designers! We are all racing to the finish- and I cannot wait to see what everyone comes up with!
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.
Check out the featured 20 designers here, and the guest designers here. Thanks to the entire One Room Challenge team for all the motivation to get this room done!