We Love the Olympics!

These first couple of days of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games remind me how much I loved watching them as a kid, and even still today, as an adult. They’re exciting, engaging, and there’s just something really cool about the whole world coming together in the name of talent and teamwork.

I have Greek roots to thank for feeling extra proud of this centuries old event, but my love for this showcase of athleticism comes from a true appreciation for those that train long and hard to make it to the Olympics. I vividly remember watching the women’s gymnastics floor routines, finding the top scorers, and then following them along throughout the duration of the games, cheering and admiring them along the way.

I also have a very clear memory of a project I was assigned in Greek School (yep, that was a part of my life, every Saturday morning from the age of five up until I was 16!) where I had to research and present on the Olympic Games – what they were, when they started, and what it all meant. I think I was in grade six, and I made an accompanying poster that I’m still proud of today. You can bet that if I still had that thing, I’d be plastering pictures of it all over here 🙂

Now, as we watch the games with our two young daughters, I have to wonder if they’ll develop the same fascination as I have. I hope so, because I think it’s also a great learning opportunity – not just of the sports themselves, but also of the participating countries, and especially the host country. And if this video is any indication…

…then we may just have to start dreaming up some floor routines for our future gymnast!

PS: How amazing is this story of the young girl who swam to escape Syria, and is now competing on the first Refugee Olympic Team?! Such a display of determination and hard work.

Have a great week!

Kassey

//Posts are not sponsored and are my own opinions and experiences \\

Advertisements

Beating the Heat

What a summer! And I’m talking about the heat. It seems like our summers have gotten hotter, in general. Is it just me?! I always say that the really hot days are still too few to justify installing an air conditioning unit in our home. Except that those really hot days are increasing in frequency and temperature, and I’m about ready to bid our fans adieu, and just go for the real deal. I blame a few things for this (my Mediterranean-living, heat-loving friends and family are rolling their eyes right now, I just know it!). One: I think it comes with age. I not only have become less tolerant of heat, but I physically can’t handle it like I used to in my 20s. Gone are the days where I could spend hour after hour being a slave to the sun. I get the shakes, I get weak, and I turn into a big mess if I don’t have a hat, a bottle of water and some shade nearby. Sigh. Two: 95% of my day is now spent running after and keeping up with my two young girls. My pre-kid self might relish in these soaring temperatures a bit more. But kid wrangling and +30 degrees…I’m sweating just thinking about it.

Bottom line: I love summer, I really do. I just love it with cold water and even colder decaf, iced Americanos. Here’s what we’ve been up to and how we’re beating the heat:

A Rocky Mountain getaway back in June. That cool, mountain air was welcomed with open arms.

 

Lots of lake walks, refreshing slurpees every once in a while, and playing tour guide for my cousin who recently visited from North Carolina

I have also made it my goal to experiment with some different dinner recipes to limit my oven use on the exceptionally scorching days. So far, I’ve tried these summer rolls (a new family hit!) and a summer vegetable soup (very similar to this recipe).

Hope you’re enjoying the summer! Tell me about the ways your beating the heat and any tasty, summer dinner recipes you love 🙂

xo,

Kassey

And Then There Were Four

We have been a family of four now for the last two and a half months (or if you’re counting the nine months of pregnancy, that would make it 11 and a half months!) and it’s been a whirlwind of embracing our newest family member with more love than we ever imagined our hearts capable of. It really has felt like Emmanuela has been part of the family forever, and it’s hard to believe she was only ten days old in these pictures. Time flies when you’re having fun!

Our newborn/family pictures with Kelsy Nielson started out with a mini-shoot of Thea playing with her headbands and bracelets (this happens on the daily around here!) These, coupled with the images of us all in our early days with Emma, are ones I will treasure forever. A million thanks to Kelsy for capturing these special moments for us again. She’s just the best!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy mid-week!

xo

Kassey

//Posts are not sponsored and are my own opinions and experiences\\

2016 So Far

A couple of weeks into the new year, and I’m just now getting around to this post! I hope the holidays were full of family and good food, and that you’re all feeling recharged, rejuvenated, and ready to take on another great year.

I am still one week away from my due date, so anxious and excited would be the biggest understatements to describe how we’re feeling about the impending arrival of our fourth family member! I, especially, am feeling beyond ready to welcome this little bundle of a girl into our lives, because if I’m being honest – pregnant and toddler wrangling on the daily is plain … hard. I just continue to remind myself that I physically can’t be pregnant forever, and before long, we will all be getting acquainted and getting to know the latest and cutest addition to our family.

With so much excitement (and adjustment, no doubt) awaiting us in 2016, I am looking forward to taking it all in in somewhat of a scaled back way. I will probably be a little quieter on this space for the next couple of months, for no reason other than to just focus on us as a new family of four. Stick with me, though, as I will remain active on Instagram and Twitter. and of course try my best to get back on here with updates and photos when I can. I’m also looking forward to sharing some of the plans I’ve been working on for the work side of my life. But you’ll have to wait until spring/summer for that one 🙂

Here are a few photos from the last little while. Enjoy, and hope you’re having a great week!

 

We celebrated Thea turning two with a Minnie Mouse themed day!

|| Cake by Jacqueline at Cake Affair & topper designed by Justine Ma ||

This cookie decorating station was a hit, and super simple to whip up.

She was really into decorating this year, and surprisingly wasn’t too interested in dismantling any of the tree after the fact – thank goodness!

On Christmas Eve, we decided to head down to the Legislature Grounds, and we’re so glad we did. You can’t really tell from these photos, but it was an exceptionally cold evening. It was a short-lived visit, but the beauty sure made up for it!

Our last Christmas as a family of three! Something tells me that the exact picture of this time next year is going to look a whole lot different!!

xo,

Kassey

// Posts are not sponsored and are my own opinions and experiences \\

Talking about: French Immersion

Discussions between spouses once you have kids become injected wth things you never thought you would talk about in your day-to-day. Not that we don’t chat about the things we used to before! It’s just that now, our conversations include things like “did you read the latest anti-vaccination article going viral on Facebook?” or “The Baby Centre email I got today talked about tantrums – what good timing, hey?” In the last few months, we’ve revisited the topic of immersion programs and whether or not that’s a road we want to go down when it comes time to enroll Theodora in school.

Initially, each of us were split on the subject. I was all for it, coming from the perspective that the younger you can expose a child to other languages the better. They are sponges at these young ages, after all. Alex, on the other hand, was a little more hesitant, more so from a practicality point of view – what language would we choose, and would she realistically use it?

I grew up in a bilingual household with Greek being my first language. As a result of this, my fluency today is all thanks to those early years of listening, learning and speaking the language, and my French studies came to me quite easily and enjoyably in my school years. My French now is nowhere near being able to strike up a conversation, but I could probably get by. And this isn’t to say that my current level of Greek couldn’t use any improvement; it definitely could. But it has really cemented for me how important it is to start as early as possible if I want our child to pick up on a second language. Since I’m with Theodora 95% of each day, I’ve been speaking to her in Greek pretty much from day one in hopes of hearing her little voice speak a word or two in the near future.

We have decided to go with it and have chosen French immersion as our program of choice (we’re ahead of the game, I know, but her school days will be here before we know it, I’m sure – sob, sob!). Now, maybe part way through, she’ll hate it and ask to participate in the regular stream, at which point we will of course discuss and proceed accordingly. Not everyone is a languages person, and we would hate to place that kind of pressure on her. On the other hand, maybe that will be her normal and she’ll embrace it like a champ! I am also of the firm belief that the more languages you know or are exposed to, the easier they come.

Time will tell, but I’m curious – have any of you with kids had similar discussions? If you have enrolled your kids in an immersion program, has it been valuable? Have you had to re-learn the language yourself in order to help with assignments?! Clearly we have a bit more homework to do…no pun intended 😉

Working Girl

You may remember me telling you about my new job as a full-time, stay-at-home mom, which is still something I’m loving immensely. In that same post, I also talked about a promise I kind of made to myself about finding ways to keep those other, non-baby parts of my brain nice and fresh. And so here I am, one month into a perfect gig that I can do from home, project managing for a public relations and marketing company. I am LOVING it!

It’s just what I was hoping for – new and challenging so as to push me, yet familiar enough that I can draw from my previous experience. All of this from the comfort of home with Theodora on my lap sometimes, and other times while she’s napping or asleep for the night. This also explains why I have been a little more absent from this space lately. It is not for any other reason than getting myself acquainted with this job. I have enjoyed blogging and everything that comes along with it too much, so I’m excited to inject some of what I learn along the way into the future of The Lovely Ordinary!

People have asked me if I miss my job, and I do miss certain parts. I miss working downtown, and I miss the people, but probably the strangest of all the things I miss is this: dressing up for work. Weird? I know! I have always loved dressing up, whether it was for work, or an event, or heck, even day to day. I’m not a hang-around-in-my-pjs-all-day kind of girl (although sometimes those days are necessary and enjoyable every now and again), so it’s very much a fun part of mine and Theodora’s day to get out of our pyjamas and don some cute duds for the day. I recently read something that I thought was so sweet, and really resonated with my dress-up desires. It was more of a fun tactic to keep the sparks flying in your relationship (it’s not what you think!!), but it reminded me of yet another occasion I consider fun and worthy of dressing up – going out for a night on the town with your husband/boyfriend/significant other.

Speaking of which, signs of love are going to pop up everywhere over the next couple of weeks as we near Valentine’s Day. If you’re stuck for things to do, check out this list of 20 things to do in Edmonton on Valentine’s Day. Some really fun ideas here, like my personal favourite – the Sweetheart Snowshoe through the River Valley.

Oh, and Happy Groundhog Day! What are you all thinking; will spring come soon, or will we endure winter for a little while longer? Hmmm….

Have a great week, regardless of the season Mother Nature grants us!

xo,
Kassey

Still Renovating. Oh, and a Giveaway!

I’m about to launch into a topic that has potential to completely dominate this little space of mine on the internet. But I won’t let that happen! I’ll keep it short and sweet for you guys, but also share our renovation story, as well as let you in on a chance to win something cool!

GIVEAWAY
I’ll start with the fun stuff first! The Edmonton Renovation Show kicks off this weekend and up for grabs is one pair of VIP tickets to Bryan Baeumler’s show on Friday, January 23 at 7:00 pm! For anyone that has undertaken a renovation project, large or small, you will appreciate when I say that getting ideas, tips, and inspiration from pros like Bryan can really help guide your process. He has led homeowners in tackling overwhelming projects on his hit shows House of Bryan, Disaster DIY, and Leave It To Bryan. Enter for your chance to learn, first hand, his tips on a renovation priority list and how to get the most out of your home. Simply enter a Rafflecopter giveaway
with your information, follow a few short steps, and I will draw the winner on January 21 at 10:00 am. It’s a short window of time, so be sure to get in there! *Contest is open to those who will be in Edmonton on January 23, 2015*

Back to our renovation saga…I mean, story! I speak genuinely when I say that it has been an extremely rewarding experience undertaking such a project. When Alex and I decided to buy his childhood home over six years ago, it was with intentions of updating it so that we could turn around and resell in a fairly short amount of time. However, taking on 95% of this renovation ourselves, we quickly learned that a) we had to do this gradually in order to stay within budget and b) this stuff takes time. A wedding, some travelling and a baby later brings us to today, where we still have a few odds and ends to tie up, as well as a main bathroom to completely overhaul. But you know what, we’re ok with it because with each coat of paint, and each piece of hardwood that was laid down, we have grown that much more attached to this home. There were tears along the way (just mine), and a whole lot of sweat, so this isn’t to say that it was a walk-in-the-park kind of task. It’s a huge undertaking, and without Alex’s patience and dedication to learn, as well as some help and elbow grease of a few friends and family, we wouldn’t have completed what we have today.

The coolest part about all of this is that Theodora now gets to grow up under the same roof that her dad did! It’s actually an exciting opportunity for all three of us to start making some new memories under Version 2.0 of this roof. And on that note, here is our humble home in before’s and after’s:

The Living Room

The Dining Room

The Kitchen

The Family Room

We tackled each space with the goal of making it usable. While we may not do all of our family lounging and relaxing in the larger living room, for example, it definitely is a space we use often, even if it’s just for Theodora to run circles (and for some reason, that area rug is a total hit with kids!) After all has been said and (almost) done, we are not in as much of a rush to sell the house as we thought we would be. We’ve updated it to our taste and really enjoy it and our neighbourhood. So we’ll stay a while.

If you have a chance this weekend, and you’re looking for some renovation inspiration, head over to the show to chat with the experts!

Hours
Friday, January 23, noon-9pm
Saturday, January 24, 10am-9pm
Sunday, January 25, 10am-5pm

Northlands, Edmonton EXPO Centre
http://www.edmontonrenovationshow.com/

Have a great week!

xo,
Kassey