Tuesday, 18 March 2014

'mansikka ja mustikka'... ♥

right around this time, i would have loved to have celebrated the birth of a baby. our sweet little one would have been due mar. 23rd, though i would have expected him or her around valentines day or family day - five weeks early just as with lucy.

i knew it would be a hard time of year for us, remembering a little life that ended too soon. 
i thought i would be 'ok' as long as i had some new happy news to look forward to - and i did...

but now i am sad to say that we have lost two other babies.
i was expecting twins.

the only thought that brings me joy in this all is that mikko reminded me that we'll have a big family waiting for us in heaven... i've always wanted many children - but i am heartbroken that i never got to care for three of my children here on earth.

twins were a dream of mine. since i was a little girl, i had always wanted twins in our family. my mom had to break it to me that i could never have a twin of my own (!) and that since twins didn't run in our family, it was very unlikely that she could ever have them. 
well a little girl could still dream to have twins of her own one day.

my dream became a fear though three years ago after having lucy and finding out i had a heart-shaped uterus. i knew there would probably not be enough space for two babies. but since they didn't run in my side of the family, i figured it was very unlikely.

when problems started to arise two weeks ago and i had early ultrasounds done, doctors kept asking and commenting: 'are you on fertility treatment? do twins run in your family? you're very young for this...' 
i couldn't believe what they were telling me: twins. my dream (not a fear at this time)... had become a reality. but i never knew until my first baby had already passed.
i had two sweet little ones growing inside of me.

the second baby had a strong heart beat, high hormones and was clearly visible - the doctors were very optimistic about him or her. he or she stayed with me for two more weeks -  i had always said that if i was expecting multiples, i would have liked to have found out the sex of the babies. i never got to that point with either baby.

the past two weeks have been very, very hard. such a mix of emotions, of highs and lows. i had both life and death happening at once inside of me. i felt very sad that one twin was leaving the other; that one was leaving our family. and i actually was very nervous of how the living baby would feel one day about having lost his or her brother or sister.

'mansikka ja mustikka' ('strawberry and blueberry' because the second twin had just grown to the size of a blueberry! and of course if you have a blueberry, there must also be a strawberry...) are now together again with their brother or sister (our summer baby - 'poppy seed') 


i'm not 'ok' right now - but i will be.
lucy is still my little miracle. i think i would be inconsolable without her. 
this little girl is the most intuitive little one i've ever known. we hadn't said anything to her yet about my pregnancy, but one day she noticed my belly, got up from her seat, ran to my belly, kissed it and hugged it and squealed "sulla on vauva!!" ('you have a baby!!')... and that was it.

every night at some point lucy crawls into our bed. she can tell when i'm awake, when i'm sad... and she hugs me, she holds me and she kisses me. that's how sweet she is. that's how blessed i am ♥

 ***artwork is by elly mackay of 'theater clouds'

Saturday, 18 January 2014

the doctor is in...

she's my favourite doctor ♥

lucy has been very interested in 'role playing'. she loves 'shopping', 'cooking', 'baking', 'cleaning' (though she really does actually clean... but it's still a game for her!), and most of all being a 'mama'.

she went to visit her doctor about a month ago and since then has been interested in the tools and things she has seen doctors use. perfect timing to make her a 'doctor's kit'.

when i was little, playing doctor involved this kit and this one. there are beautiful toy doctor's kits available such as this and this, but i figured it was a simple little project for me to make for lucy.

some of the pieces came from thrifting in the toy section, others were found around the house. to come to think of it... i actually have an old digital thermometer i can trade for this toy one... and i'll probably switch the 'needle' to a needle-less syringe. if i come across an inexpensive real stethoscope or if anyone offers their old one (!) - i'd be happy to trade in the fakey. i should probably add a tongue depressor and a mask as well.

making the case itself was fun. i used some scrap cotton to make the bag, a piece of red wool felt, black cotton twill tape (from an old shopping bag) and some black buttons. pretty well free. lucy always has to do everything 'itse' ('by myself') and buttons are one of her favourites. the strap is adjustable as i left holes on each side where the strap can be tied tighter or looser knots.

to finish off her doctor's kit, we bought her a little white shirt from the thrift store - she had no idea why i was making her try white shirts at the store, but i'm glad we did since she loves wearing it like her real doctor does.

it's nice to have a doctor in the family ♥

Saturday, 28 December 2013

hauskaa joulua! ♥ have a fun christmas!

the power is back on and we've come home...

toronto suffered some severe power outages because of freezing rain last weekend. we lost power at home and decided to go earlier to my parents' farm where at least we'd be warm by the fire. turns out they had power, but with such spotty internet access, i wasn't able to post anything else before christmas... 

i hope you had fun with your loved ones this christmas ♥

golden himmeli and black himmeli

'himmelit' are everywhere now... 

traditionally made in finland of straw or reed, these christmas mobiles are popping up all over - in fact, the latest place i saw them hanging was at j.crew.

i can't remember where i first saw these brass versions, but i've loved them for a few years now... they're out of my price range - though i totally understand their price - they're beautiful and brass tubing has gone up in value.

the only place i've found brass tubing available is from 'hobby lobby' in the states... and they aren't particularly cheap either

last year i searched everywhere for brass coloured drinking straws... but didn't find them anywhere... until this year (!)... well, i guess they're gold but i think that's the closest i'll find. and for a dollar i was pretty happy - thanks to the christmas section! i also found the black drinking straws from the dollar store.

my mom and every other finn her age remember making traditional himmeli mobiles in school. but she said it wasn't considered a 'true' himmeli unless there were figures inside of other figures. for example in the golden himmeli, there is one octahedron inside another.

the golden himmeli is a particular pattern that pops up everywhere now; i doubt that it's traditional, but it's one of my favourites (this was also hanging at j.crew). the black mobile is one that i copied from here - i absolutely love its simplicity yet boldness. 

i didn't follow any instructions for my mobiles, though there are plenty of diagrams and videos available online. i had fun figuring them out on my own.

i know the golden himmeli will come down after christmas time... but i think i'll have a hard time taking the black one down... i just love it... but for finns that would be like keeping christmas lights up all year round...

in the photos i've also included lucy's and my 'christmas craft' - the wooden bead 'tonttu' ('elf'). we made these a couple of weeks ago with our finnish mom-and-tot play group ('aiti-lapsi kerho'). originally i had thought of making simple 'aarikka' versions since some of the kids and their parents are familiar with these - but there wouldn't have been very much 'child involvement' - hence the beaded bodies. some kids had fun just sorting the beads and others were able to string them on pipe cleaners all by themselves. these wooden beads are also from that same amazing dollar store where the straws came from. 

in the background you can also see our family's growth chart - it was a mother's day gift from lucy and mikko. i love that it's completely portable and can be rolled up in a tube if we ever move. i wish we still had the doorway growth chart from when i was growing up... lucy loves measuring herself but of course refused to pose this time... so onni stepped in - after all, his measurements are also on the chart ♥

Friday, 20 December 2013

piparkakku lelu ♥ gingerbread toy

this is a simple little toy using something you probably already have at home: gingerbread cookie cutters. growing up we only ever had the classic swedish shapes; it used to annoy me that we didn't have the 'north american gingerbread man' - he's a little rounder and plumper in shape. of course the swedish cookie cutters are what i now relate to when making gingerbread cookies and i'm happy to share these iconic images with lucy ♥

we baked finnish 'piparkakkuja' a few weeks ago (much like gingersnaps - a less spiced version of 'gingerbread cookies') and lucy absolutely loved the whole process - she's often with me in the kitchen and still uses her learning tower.

for this little toy i simply traced each of the cookie cutters onto brown cardboard and cut each 'cookie' out. i bought a round cardboard box from the dollar store, traced lucy's favourite cookie cutter, the dala horse, on top of the lid and a surprise heart on the inside of the lid and then added some polka dots. all of the cookie cutters and cardboard cookies fit inside the box.

lucy's beautiful set of wooden eggs was an easter gift. the little wooden rolling pin (which is actually really great and i've used it for small jobs while baking) and wooden whisk came in a package with several other wooden utensils and was a gift last christmas (i've seen them for sale at st. lawrence market). the other pieces have all been thrifted. after cutting out her cookies, she of course baked them in her little mint kitchen.

sorry, i can't post too many photos of lucy actually baking with her new toy... she wasn't wearing anything other than the oven mitt!

this is something else i've done with a couple of old gingerbread cutters - they have some rust on them so i won't use them for baking anymore - but they're kind of cute for a washroom sign!

Monday, 16 December 2013

christmas tree in a glass jar ♥

growing up i always had my own christmas tree in my room. it was a fake tree with fake snow on it... we alternated years between pink lights and multicoloured lights.

i promised lucy she could have her own tree this year. so when we picked our tree from my parents' property, we also dug up a few extra little trees - two for our front porch and one for lucy's room.

last year my mom had dug up a little tree, washed off the roots and placed the whole tree in a vintage jar - i loved it! so i did the same in lucy's room this year though on an even smaller scale.

there are a few little vintage balls hanging from it and some adorable little metal angels that i bought years ago from finland.

i like the idea that we'll actually be able to replant the tree since the roots are completely intact.

if you plan to do the same, make sure to dig wide enough to reach all the roots. roots on evergreens tend to spread out close to the surface of the ground rather than deep into the soil. then place your little sapling in a bucket with water. i left mine overnight so that the soil could defrost and fall off on its own. the next day i simply rinsed off the roots in the bucket and dumped the muddy water outside. to help keep mold away from your sapling's roots, you should change the water every few days.