19.4.17

A Day In HER Life - Emilie Desjarlais


Hi I'm Em! I'm 28 years old and a mother to one year old Brook. My daily life the past year has changed A LOT. 


I started my parenting journey completely on my own and my daily life is very different then it was only few months ago. Let me explain:

In 2015 I left for Australia with a one way ticket. I wanted to experience travelling and was hoping to establish myself as an artist in Australia. Life decided differently. I was five months pregnant when I decided it was in the best interest of my daughter and I to come back to Canada. 


The first six months of Brook's life were spent in the countryside at my mother's place. Spending this time away from the city gave me the opportunity to rest and give the best start to my daughter without me having to worry about anything else. 


Back then, our daily life was definitely slow.  Exploring the beautiful eastern townships, going on coffee dates and doing some “cardio poussette” in between nursing sessions. Some days, I would get the time to be creative and do some art while my mother took care of Brook for an hour or two. That was a typical day for me at that point.


After those six months, I moved to a suburb not far from my home city of Montreal with plans to eventually place my daughter in daycare and find a job. The first three months were hectic because I had to install and unpack everything in the new apartment without much help. Managing a new apartment, breastfeeding  and trying to find time for sleep when she would allow made progress very slow . That's when I learned the meaning of “ what doesn't kill you make you stronger.” 


Our daily routine depends on each day, but I try to cook every meal from scratch and with organic ingredients when possible. Healthy food is very important to me.  Goodfood has been very helpful in my meal planning and I typically use it three times per week. I unfortunately don't have a dishwasher so I spend a lot of time in the kitchen playing catch up.


When I first moved, I was really bummed that I was not able to create art anymore so I started doing staged photos of Brook when she's asleep. It's funny because the sleep is definitely the hardest part with Brook. I often feel like those pictures are trophies for my patience to put her to bed. She looks so beautiful and peaceful.


 I have definitely learned to turn difficult situations into something beautiful. As I don't have as much energy to paint or to draw, these mini photoshoot sessions fulfill my desire to create and compensate for the paintings I don't have time to do. Maybe when she's older and I’m nostalgic, I'll use those pictures as a subject. I don't take pictures everyday but it's part of our weekly "schedule."    


It’s a very flexible schedule. Finding a daycare has not yet happened for me, so we go to playgroups two or three mornings a week. It's great because we both get social time and she gets to spend a lot of energy. After the playgroup, I usually walk around the village to put her asleep in her pram and give us some fresh air. I take advantage of that free time to stop for coffee and run errands. I'm very lucky because almost everything I need is walking distance from the house.

Judith Cossette Photographie
Once every two weeks I bring Brook to the public pool and it’s quickly become one of her favorite activities. In the beginning I only took Brook to the pool for her enjoyment, but I have grown to love watching her get excited just seeing the pool building as we walk over.


I recently met someone that is ready to share and commit to this whole parenting experience with me. My daily life of solo mom routine is slowly changing into a family dynamic and I couldn't be happier. 


The year and a half I spent on my own with Brook taught me so much and I would do it all over again the same way but I think the timing is right for a relationship. We are currently adjusting and planning to move in all together in the city.


My daily life is currently in transition: The end of solo motherhood and my return to work :)

Merci Beaucoup, Emilie! Quelle belle vie :)
Instagram - @brookeandpeony

17.4.17

thinking about trying Beautycounter?

If you're anything like me, you hum and haw before making a big change in your routine. It seriously took me an entire summer to decide to switch from conventional, to organic eggs, haha! Anything that's going to cost more money, no matter how much safer or healthier it is, usually needs reflection and consideration.


7 months ago I started using Beautycounter when I was searching for a cleanser and moisturizer that was safer than what I was using at the time. I had read enough to know that cosmetics and skin care are packed with harmful ingredients, but it was hard to adjust to a new brand, a new routine, and paying a bit more. I fell in love with the products though, and was amazed that they last months and months (literally the charcoal cleansing bar has lasted me four months and it looks almost new! I'm wondering if it'll last me the whole year!), so once I tried it, there was no turning back.

But what if you're still not sure? Get this: Beautycounter offers a full refund (less shipping) within 60 days if you're not fully satisfied with your product. Chances are, you'll love everything you buy, but if for some reason you don't, they back their products. I love that! Contact me (beautycountermontreal@gmail.com) if you have any questions at all. Change is hard, I get it. But this makes it a lot easier.


And one last big incentive... for the month of April, I'm giving all new Band of Beauty clients $15 off their first order! Band of Beauty gives you free shipping and money back for future purchases on everything you buy. Here's to better, safer beauty!

Life, Lately (4/17)

It's been so long since I've done one of these catch-up posts and I really regret not having done more these past few months. They may just be little sentences jotted down, but they're memory keepers for me, and I want to look back years from now and recall these little things the kids are doing and saying at this stage. I have a terrible memory, so without this blog, I'd be lost!


 Right now, our crew are 3.5, 5.5, and 6.5. They basically all just passed their "half birthdays" so we are truly half way through their years. Oli is in pre-K at an English school, Lily is in grade 1 at the local French school, and Clover spends two days a week at a Forest School play group, and the rest of the time at home with me. This is our last year with a child in our home... it's so strange reflecting on that since I've had one (or all three!) home with me for almost seven years.


Chloe is such a strong spirit! Her talking has increased and improved leaps and bounds over the winter. She does still have delayed speech, but we are confident that she's improving and finding her voice... oh is she finding a VOICE. She is sarcastic, funny, and loud. The kids say she's the funniest person in our family and we have to agree. She's started making up her own songs about Jesus and it's the sweetest thing to eavesdrop on her singing something she's made up on the spot about how much God loves her. her laugh is guttural and hearty and we hear it often. Lately, her responses are always so affirmative (i.e. instead of saying "yes" or "no" she'll say "I do" "I will" or "I won't" "I didn't", etc.) It's so specific and interesting. She's officially diaper free and always trying to keep up with the big kids. She pretends to read and makes a folded piece of paper her "Bible" or her "phone" almost every day. She's still in love with the colour blue and penguins, but now has broadened her horizons to include purple, ponies and cats. She's such a hugger and shows affection really quickly to new people. Probably a trait from growing up in the church and always being around large crowds of people who love her :)


Oli is growing up so fast! I'm so glad we put him in the pre-K program at the local English school. He is so eager to learn and is thriving at school. A few months ago he saw Lily learning to read and wanted to join in, and within a couple of weeks he was reading grade 1 level books in English. No French for him yet, though. He reads to his class for "show and tell" and this month he's in his school's production of Beauty and the Beast. He recently asked me to buss his head so he could look more like Brad, lol! He's staying up later and later which is kind of hard on us because our evenings are getting smaller and smaller, but he truly needs way less sleep than the girls. With them all sharing a bedroom, we can't just have him read quietly in his room because he might wake the girls, so he's always the last one to bed.  He's really into Marvel superheros and still obsessed with all-things Lego. He's so quick to ask me to pray with him - if we see a homeless person, an ambulance, when we get bad news, etc. He split his chin open at swimming lessons a few weeks ago and barely cried - a huge stuffed Hulk was his prize for being so brave!



Lily is our courageous leader. Grade 1 has been so challenging with learning to read in two languages and all the new material and expectations that the grade brings. She's the youngest in her class and the only Anglophone, and yet she's still loving school and persevering in French. She is reading in French and is so committed to the class challenge of reading 100 books. As I type this, she's at 87 books this year - I'm so proud of her! She's started developing friendships with more and more kids who speak absolutely zero English which is just amazing to me. She has close friendships with girls from school, swimming lessons, and church where she never speaks her native tongue. I know how tiring that can be in my own friendships, but to her it's just second nature - so cool. Lily is constantly teaching and leading - sometimes we need to remind her "not to be the parent!" but she's just such a classic elder sister and leader of the pack. She's been losing teeth like crazy lately, and her smile is so beautiful!


I've been working on free-lance writing projects, selling Beautycounter, and maintaining this blog on my two free days but I'd love to expand on all fronts next year when Chloe is in school five days a week. I'm also starting up a Mom and Babies group in our church this month where moms (we have so many new mamas!) can come with their little ones for some community, coffee, and encouragement. My book club is starting the Anne of Green Gables series after reading heaps of Jane Austen this winter.


We are so excited for this summer's travels - we are off to Switzerland and Austria! This past winter felt really long... maybe because we spent the the last three weeks of summer in Iceland where it was +10 degrees? Brad just finished a really busy month with two conferences and a teaching stint out of town. I'm so thankful for my man. I'm always hesitant to brag on him on the blog because I never want to make it seem like my husband is better than another or that we have the perfect life - but he is so truly wonderful and God knew what he was doing giving him to me. He's strong in many of my weakest qualities, and vice versa. Plus, he mops the floors, so what can I say? I love you Braddy!

13.4.17

a little Easter craft

As you may have guessed from our views on Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny isn't something we hype up during the Easter season, and it's not something we do with our family. Easter, even more than Christmas is just such a sacred time, and our entire faith hangs on the sorrow of Good Friday, and the triumph of the empty tomb. We don't want to take away or add to what is already so meaningful, but little rhythms like traditions and decorations help kids hold holidays dear, which is why we love our Advent candles, our birthday cake for Jesus, and for Easter, our readings from the Gospels and the little wooden crosses we made this year.


This was a really simple craft that we did together a couple of weeks ago. There's still time to do it this week or weekend as a small way to bolster the Easter spirit in your home. Everything needed came affordably and easily from Dollarama, except the glue gun and hand saw, which I already had.


You will need:

 - thick dowels and a means to cut them (saw, knife, strong hands)
 - hot glue gun and glue
 - yarn or twine
 - clay
 - decorative moss

First I cut the dowels to the size I wanted for my cross, then glue them together and reinforce with yarn, fastening with a final drop of hot glue.


Then I used about half the package of Dollarama clay on each cross, formed it into the shape I wanted, and pushed my cross in to make a hole. Take out the cross for a minute and put a drop of hot glue in the hole you've made and then pop the cross back in to it will be doubly secure. Decorate with moss, if you like. I've also been displaying Easter verses on our Letter Play board which more or less lives in the kid's room.



I made two crosses, one for our mantle and another that's in the kids room. One was more minimal with thinner yarn and no moss, and I thought I'd like the nondescript cross more but in the end I prefer the mossy one. The one in the kids room will probably stay there even after Easter, because they've already told me they love having it there. Once, as I was disciplining one of our kids, I was able to use it as I was reminding them that they are forgiven and loved, despite their wrong doings. I drew their attention to the cross up on the shelf and said, "hey look up there, what does that cross have to say to you today, even after such disobedience?" and their tender heart replied, "because of what Jesus did on the cross, even when I sin, I'm still with God! Nothing can take me away from Him, right?"

Blessed assurance, right indeed. Wishing you and yours a reflective, celebratory, beautiful Easter. Bask in the finished work of Jesus, the curator of forgiveness and the author of love.