Enjoying the Finer Things in Life

There is nothing like supporting local. And even better is to support someone who is near and dear to you!.

My sister-in-law, Shelley Nutma, is one extremely  talented self-taught artist. She creates art that depicts our beautiful country so well. She expresses, “Through my art I aim to capture the Canadian wilderness and it’s ability to inspire wonder and awe”. That is definitely acheived through her artwork. Shelley lives in Calgary, Alberta with her husband and adorable daughter, Bella. And we cannot forget her two dogs!

I recently purchased the beauty shown above. It is called “An Autumn Story” and really gives the feeling of the title. It is a watercolour print that is of very high quality. I asked Shelley to describe her painting,

“An Autumn Story” was the first piece done in what would become my “Storybook ” series. I wanted this piece to be more illustrative, as if it were found in a storybook. I started off with sketching the scene in ink, no pencil; I wanted it to be raw and organic. Then I filled it with watercolour paints. Summer was coming to an end when I started “An Autumn Story” – This was my inspiration!

Creativity and heart are the words that come to mind with Shelley’s artwork. She captures the true beauty of Canada and brings it to life on paper.

My family and I enjoy camping in the summer, and this painting specifically gives a feeling of nostalgia and longing to be camping again. Since it is winter here, we won’t be getting out camping until the spring, May, at the earliest. The river flowing through the trees and the rocks along the banks depict the type of camping landscape that we search for.

Here is another beautiful picture (in sticker form) entitled “Kananaskis”. It reminds me of the stunning drive to the Rocky Mountains. Which, I must add, are just a short drive away from us here in Calgary, Alberta. The road driving towards forest and soon into the mountains to get away from the city for a while is my type of therapy.

“The vast majority of my artwork is nature-based. The Canadian landscape has always been a fascination of mine and it’s ruggedness is ever-inspiring. Living in Calgary, the neighbouring mountains are something I see nearly every day and they make a frequent appearance in my artwork. Their unmoving, wild and vast size never cease to fascinate and inspire me. I work in a variety of mediums and choose whichever I feel will best suit the place I have in mind”

-Shelley Nutma

Thank you so much for letting me learn more about your artwork Shelley. And for letting me write this post!

If you would like to check out more of Shelley’s artwork or purchase any of these prints, you can check out Shelley’s Etsy store;

https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/ShelleyNutmaARTShelley Nutma Art

 

Thanks so much for reading! If you have never been to Western Canada , specifically Alberta and British Columbia, I highly recommend visiting. You can see these stunning pictures come to life!

 

XOXO Jo Jo

How to Make the Most of Maternity Leave

Do you ever wonder, “what can I do to make sure I do everything I want on my maternity leave?!”. Well, I was thinking that way well before I even had my daughter. I compiled a list of points that are most important to me to make the most out of my maternity leave! Here they are!

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1. Enjoy the moments

It is so easy to get caught up in the routine of being a mom. Wake up, feed, play, nap, repeat… and so on. But what happens when the routine changes? Or when you realize months have just gone by in blur? It’s about taking that extra long snuggle. Or just watching your beautiful little child learning to stand or eat.

My personal favourite is the 3 am feeds. I used to be so tired and trying to rush through it to get back to sleep. But now I love our bonding time! My daughter is not much of a cuddler, but at 3am she likes a little extra hugging from mommy. The truth is, these moments won’t last forever, so we need to enjoy them now!

2. Make a List of what you want to accomplish

I needed to write it down before I forgot. So when something came to mind, I wrote it down. Even simple things like rearranging a room, reading a book, learning a new hobby, or watching a certain documentary. I know, there is not as much “me time” anymore, so having a list of things you want to do in your few spare moments really helps!

Starting this blog was on my list! And here I am! Baby is napping, I am happily typing away.

3. Pictures/Journal

Keeping a documentation of maternity leave is great! It’s fun and you can look back on everything when it is over! Some people like to write pages and pages. Others like to take pictures. Or both. It helps you to reflect on what you have done and it is also a great gift for your child when they are old enough to appreciate it. (Plus you know they are going to ask you when they got their first tooth and when they took their first step!).

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4. Get out with Baby!

It doesn’t have to be a super expensive outing. There are tons of free things to do, it’s just finding them. Meet up groups are a great place to begin, plus you can socialize your wee one. But there are options like going to a friends house, a nice walk, cruising the mall, and so on.

Getting out can be overwhelming and scary at first, but it gets better, promise! And you will become a pro at packing up and carting around baby. Plus, it’s a bonus to get some fresh air, for both of you. And let me tell you, theres nothing like some fresh air to get a baby to sleep like, well, a baby!

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5. Stay in with Baby!

You need a balance. While getting out is great, staying in is also needed. Babies thrive on some sort of routine and staying home gives you quality time spent with your peanut too! Playing games like peekaboo, meal time and bath time (our personal favourite) are some of the great things to do while staying at home. Not to mention it saves you money.

Staying at home helps you to get things accomplished while peanut is sleeping. And it also helps you to start checking things off of your list of what you want to do while on maternity leave! Or, some people just like to have a nap while baby is sleeping.

6. Take Care of Yourself

You need to take care of yourself too. Is there someone who can watch baby while you sneak away for a yoga class/spin class/coffee date? How about even after peanut is in bed you take a bath?! These things do not need to be expensive, they just need to be for you! I know, you think, “I’m on maternity leave and I should be fully focused on my child”. Well, taking some much deserved “me time” will recharge your batteries and make you ready to take on this amazing journey of parenting.

 

Thanks so much for reading! Is there anything else you did to make the most of your maternity leave? Leave a comment below !

 

XOXO Jo Jo

 

Am I The WORST Mom EVER?!

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So last week I was sleeping soundly in my bed and was abruptly woken up by the sound of a loud bang on the floor, followed by intense crying coming from the nursery.

I run into Danica’s room and she is out of the crib, face down, on the rug on the floor. She is crying hysterically (good sign) as I rush to pick her up. The nurse in me is doing a full head-to-toe assessment, checking for head injuries and feeling for broken bones.

Thankfully, she is 100% totally fine. However, I cannot stop thinking about the “what ifs?”. She proceeds to eat, play and carry on like nothing happened. I immediately lower the mattress in the crib, realizing that we should have done it a while ago. Hindsight, right?!

First of all, I felt embarrassed and like the worst mom you could ever have. But then, much to my relief, other parents started to tell me their stories. It turns out that I am not the first mom ever to have their child fall out of the crib! And that other parents have their own stories and experiences.

So, while we all may feel like the worst parents at times, we are actually not! I mean, our kids have food, clothing, shelter and endless love given to them. And someone told me that even the fact that I feel like the worst mom ever, that makes me the BEST mom I could ever be for Danica! Parenthood does not need to be isolating, we are all here learning as we go. So keeping open lines and talking to other moms and dads really is a great thing to do in this wild ride of parenting!

XOXO Jo Jo

Life Changing

IMG_1440Hello! Here I am. Can I say it?! I am so proud of myself for just doing this! I have talked about it and dreamt about it, but finally I am doing it!

What am I going to blog about?! We shall see! But coming from the nurse life of hospital shift work, to being a full time mom at home, life has shifted gears.  And for the better, I must add!

How can one little being change the whole world for two people? Our little 8 month old girl is our world. Every laugh, every cry, every poop and everything else in between! Being in Canada, and being fortunate enough to have a year of maternity leave, is quite amazing! How will I go back to work?! Maybe I won’t!!!! A girl can dream, right?

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Danica, my beautiful eight month old daughter, is everything that I dreamed of and more! Basically, I wanted to get it out, into words, on paper, and on my blog, just how over the moon happy I am!

Since having Danica, I am now really trying to find ways to work from home, instead of going back to work! I mean, if there is any chance for me not to miss these first years of life, count me in!

So, as I continue on my blog, I hope to get some followers, success and, most importantly, just enjoy the journey!

XOXO Jo Jo