This blog started off over ten years ago as a place to record my notes about what I was knitting and baking. Over the years, I’ve used it to share my crafty projects and random experiences, but more recently also to journal the things I am grateful for in this creative life. I started it because I was passionate about making things, taking photos, traveling, learning new techniques, and wanting to connect with others who do as well. While I’m not making as much as I used to these days, I’m still passionate about craft, learning, and growing. These days, the things that I’m making and doing everyday are a bit different than ten years ago but they are still feeling new and fresh to me, and I’m still learning. This is what my year has been like:
Exceeding all my expectations, starting our family has been the most exciting, joyful, and anxiety-ridden experience so far. I wasn’t far off when I suggested that this was the ultimate work-in-progress. It hasn’t all been easy or smooth, but for every moment of feeling frustrated or deflated, there is endless forgiveness and simple joy in hearing Russell laugh and watching his dad play with the baby’s tiny feet and toes.
Russell sleeps beautifully on his own now in his crib at nights but I am still confounded by naps and so we just do his naps in the stroller. Thankfully, we live in a place with relatively mild weather… otherwise we’d have to find an alternative. At least he’s on one nice and chunky 2.5 hour nap in the early afternoon and has a consistent 7:30 pm bedtime now. Life is a lot (and I mean, a lot) easier now that he is sleeping well.
Russell started crawling within two weeks of us returning from the UK, and then started walking at 9.5 months. It’s been a race to baby-proof the house and set up baby gates and baby jails to keep him somewhat safe. Just this past week, he started climbing the furniture! And his new favourite thing is touching the blender because he sees us use it every morning. He’s nearly 14 months now and so curious about everything. He says “mamamama”, “babababa”, “mum mum mum” (which I think means food), and “yayayaya” but prefers blowing raspberries above all.
While he’s not saying much, he seems to understand things we say to him, so we’ve starting playing little games of fetch… like “Russell, go get the ukelele” and he’ll run down the hall to the other bedroom to fetch the ukelele. It’s amazing to watch him learn these things that we totally take for granted. Now, I’m teaching him to make coffee and fetch my printouts from the printer. I’m not kidding.
We love traveling. Doesn’t everybody? And we promised that we wouldn’t change our behaviour when the baby arrived. We promised that we’d make the effort to get out there and take Russell along with us. It’s quite a bit more to coordinate, but traveling with the baby has been absolutely fine and really enjoyable.
If anyone is wondering about traveling with a baby, these things helped me immensely:
1) nursing during takeoff, landing, and just about anytime in between. Nursing helped calm Russell and keep him comfortable during the flight. He hardly squawked at all during the seven flights he was on this past year. A fellow traveler even said after the flight that he was the best baby he’s ever traveled with. Woohoo.
2) baby carrier. The Ergo baby carrier that my sis-in-law gave me is the best thing ever. The baby carrier also helped keep my hands-free to handle luggage while also keeping him calm, happy, and even helped him nap while we were in transit.
3) extra seat on the plane. My husband always books the two outside seats and leaves the middle one empty (in a row of 3), and we bet on the chances that no one will take that middle seat. So then the baby can get his own space on the plane. Super helpful.
4) staying calm. Ok, I’m not great at this and I was super anxious that we would have trouble with nap times and bedtimes and that the baby would be jetlagged and crazy… but in the end, he was totally fine.
It was our first time in Maui and we stayed at a fantastic little condo in Kihei, drove up and down the coast to enjoy everything from Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop to Coconuts Fish Café to Tommy Bahamas in Wailea (love love love this place). I got to have fish tacos nearly every single day of our trip. Heaven.
While we didn’t do the Road to Hana, figuring that a 10-hour drive in the car would not be baby’s first choice of activity, we did take him on a shorter drive up to the top of the Haleakala volcano where he slept (amazing!!) both on the drive up as well as on the way down. And then we took him to the aquarium for the first time. I think he woke up from a nap in the middle of the underwater tunnel with baby sharks and mantarays floating above and around him. And then I remember us devouring an entire coconut cream pie in the rental car afterwards. Perfect.
Maybe it was access to all those quilting class on Craftsy that got me inspired. Or maybe it was stumbling upon Camille Roskelley’s blog. But either way, I’ve been bitten hard by that quilting bug that’s going around.
While I finished a few baby quilt this year (including a Swoon block one for Channa’s new baby!), most of the quilting seems to go on in my head as I ceaselessly plan new projects when I should be sleeping. I’m hoping at least a few of those ideas will materialize in 2015, but I’ll let it unfold as time allows.
I carried my pregnancy weight for what I felt like was forever. After I delivered, I was ravenous and ate all the time. Like at 2 am, I’d have a banana and granola bar. And then at 4 am, I’d have a bowl of cereal. I was eating all the time because of the breastfeeding, but at some point, it wasn’t the breastfeeding anymore… it was just a habit of eating all the time. In September, while Holli and I were busy preparing for the launch of Tempest, she tipped me onto this fabulous site, Simple Green Smoothies, and I was immediately hooked. The very next day, I started making green smoothies in addition to breakfast. Just this simple act of adding fruit (and some veg, like spinach, carrots, or avocado) kept me feeling satisfied more often than not and prevented me from feeling the need to consume multiple bowls of cereal a day. Within maybe three weeks, I lost all the rest of the baby weight that I was carrying! Since that day, I’ve been making at least one, if not two, smoothies a day for all of us. My husband and I share a blender-ful and I give a couple ounces to Russell to either drink or mix in with his rice cereal. It makes me feel better that the baby is getting that fresh green veg, avocado, and fruit in the morning at least.
Now in the new year, I’m looking to focus more on what we’re eating at home. Since I’m home more now and prioritizing cooking and eating at home these days, I’m looking at how to change our diet to better serve our health. This is a total work-in-progress, but I think investing time on learning how to fuel ourselves better can only change our lives for the better.
SweetGeorgia has had an amazing year this past year despite me being on mat leave. We were at Unwind Brighton in the UK. We launched Tempest. We were the title sponsor for Knit City and hosted a kickoff party at the Vancouver Club. I’ve been reflecting on this and wondering whether or not it’s because being away forced me to not do everything myself (which is what I’m always compelled to do). Or maybe it’s because our SGY team is simply awesome. While pregnant, I digested the entirety of Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In” and really tried to get myself and the business organized, put systems in place, and learn to trust others. And I feel strongly that while I was away, the team at SweetGeorgia really blossomed and took ownership of the projects and work that we were doing. It’s an absolute, absolute blessing to no longer have to do it all on my own. And I’m excited that we’ve had three new people join our team this past year. I hope you’ll get a chance to meet Ally, Ashley, and Charlotte sometime in 2015. Every day, I am thankful that these beautiful people have chosen to spend their days with us at the studio and dive so deeply into our work.
This past year has not been without its struggles though. The greatest being the balance between work and home, time management, and energy levels (thank heavens for grandparents). I’m not one that is comfortable with staying in one spot, and so I push myself to reach higher, further, and faster, sometimes overwhelming myself and my family. It’s been a challenge for me to quell my ambitions and expectations of myself.
But I think some changes are in order for 2015, because while largely the past ten years has been about what I want to do for work/career and how I want to spend my time and money, now it’s really about how each piece fits in with my greatest priority, my family. I’ve designed my life to express the passion that I have for craft and work, but this expression needs to be a blessing to more than just myself. SweetGeorgia needs to be a blessing to our team, our customers, our readers, our supporters, as well as to my family, my husband, and myself. I have some ideas about how I might accomplish that in 2015… I’m focusing on a theme for the new year: flow and presence. But more on that, next year. See you in a few.