Montréal ~ It truly is Europe without having to deal with jet lag. I absolutely live for cobblestone streets, corners filled with cafes, and bustling restaurants. All of which you can find in Montréal. No trip to Montréal would be complete without a visit to L’Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal. It’s an absolutely gorgeous Church (and Canada’s biggest, too!) and the view of the city from up top is stunning. We also spent some time in the Old Port, which is where you can find many of those cafes, restaurants, and cobblestone streets. It’s a good place to travel with kids, as there are lots of green spaces, and places to walk/run around and explore. We also were visiting family so we had a good village/team of helpers this round and it felt amazing 😉 On the last day we took an hour and a half drive up to Mont-Tremblant. The buildings in the village are so colorful and you can find a photo op and every corner. It’s a magical little place and worth the drive if you can squeeze it in!



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White City + Fields of green

“It seemed like a matter of minutes when we began rolling in the foothills before Oakland and suddenly reached a height and saw stretched out ahead of us the fabulous white city of San Francisco on her eleven mystic hills with the blue Pacific and its advancing wall of potato-patch fog beyond, and smoke and goldenness in the late afternoon of time.” – Jack Kerouac

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This past weekend we took a flight to San Francisco with our now 21 month old daughter. My best friend was having her civil ceremony at San Francisco’s City hall (which is, by the way, just the most gorgeous building) and I was her witness. This particular moment in time means a lot to me because she has known a lot of grief and loss in her life, so to have the chance to celebrate her happiness now is particularly special and an experience  I was not going to miss. After the ceremony, the 4 and half of us took a road trip to Napa Valley. Napa is heaven on earth, it is beautiful in an unassuming, charming, organic way. It was splendid and glorious and the weather was incredible. Napa is all about those open fields and vineyards which was easier on my baby girl. She had lots of room to run around with the sun shining down on her.

She had an incredible time but traveling with our toddler is much more challenging than when we traveled with her as a baby. She really can’t sit still for long periods of time (i.e. a 6 hour flight), is finding her voice but not enough words yet to effectively communicate all her wants, and is also coming to terms with some levels of independence and the ability to say “no no no no” over and over again. All of those elements combined can be challenging to say the least. In fact, it had the most challenges we’ve experienced with her to date on any travel. But it is so so worth it. Looking back on the photos we have from the weekend makes my heart sing. It’s the kind of love I know we will look back on years and years from now and be glad that the fear of those challenges did not keep us from building memories. I’m glad that we did not let a temporary discomfort keep us from building permanent life-long memories.  Obviously what goes unseen are the tantrums, the countless pictures that often stand behind that one good one, and other general toddler moments that exist when traveling. We sometimes joke about how staying home is more of a “vacation” than going away but despite the fact that they may not always be relaxing vacations, they are our greatest adventures. We get to view the world through her eyes and that is pure magic. Every traveler, I think, dreams of that moment where they finally lay their eyes on that far away magical place, those street corners and nooks, cafes, and streets, and the smell of local food that brings life to the streets. Every traveler aches for that moment when they see for the first time a city they only held dear in their dreams and when we are blessed enough, we get to lay our eyes and hearts on those cities and streets, again and again, each time having a whole new experience. Traveling with a child highlights that experience even more because they see the magic even in places where you don’t. Everything is anew, everything is special, every corner and nook is worth exploring. And each time my girl ran down a street or stopped to dance with street performers, my heart would explode. She was in the moment and I was happy to have bought her to it.

Those moments run through my veins, they give life to my spirit, awakening and reawakening me time and time again. They spread like wildfire in me embarking and welcoming me to the next adventure that awaits.



May.| Postpartum awareness

May is Postpartum Depression awareness month. That means something to me having experienced postpartum anxiety for a few months after I gave birth to my Darya. Drawing awareness to the issue means being authentic with my experience with it. It means joining the solution, not continuing the problem by denying and ignoring the reality of what it means to become a new mom for many, many women.  When we deny what postpartum is we isolate the mama’s who are currently experiencing it, making them feel alone and misunderstood. We add to the stigma and to the need of appearing perfect. Perfectionism and the idealistic depiction of motherhood breeds loneliness and it keeps us separate from one another. Postpartum anxiety, for me, grew stronger, in fact, when all I saw were images of mom’s appearing perfect. All. The. Time. Because that image of perfection didn’t align with my personal experience and [my birth] as a new mom. And so it’s important, I think, to show the whole range of emotions that can occur. Yes there is bliss. Yes, of course, there is love. But there can also be anxiety, sadness, confusion, loneliness, etc. It’s necessary not to just show yourself at your best, even if this society begs for just that, because it’s begging for a lie. The human experience is not meant to be perfect, its not meant to look perfect, it is not meant to be easy. That’s why it’s also beautiful. It’s the whole range of it. Not just parts of it. And as much as I, too, want to only show the best of it because I am a true believer that focusing on what is good, helps it expand, and focusing on what’s negative, well, breeds negativity. As much as that holds true, this is different. In this particular instance, only showing the positive and the glorified aspects of being a new mom, contributes to the problem. It contributes to the stigma and THAT is negative.

I am hoping to light the candle of hope for friends of mine or women who I don’t even know, who are suffering silently or out loud.  I’m hoping to shed light on what is considered to be very dark and cruel. I hope it lights the way, I hope my being authentic and vulnerable with my experience will allow you to do the same. And I also hope it serves as a reminder that we are warriors, as women and as mama’s, and we overcome the hard parts. And you will, too. #Notapreexistingcondition #postpartumanxiety