Amanda Gregor Photography »

Are you like me? I probably spend more time than I care to admit on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook… social media sites that show the “perfect” lives of other people. With their happy children, their perfect houses, always tidy and bright and clean. Then I put down the phone and behind it I see piles of laundry waiting to be folded. Toys left on the floor and up the stairs, strewn about, left on the floor as the scene of a 5 year old’s imagination shifted to something new. It’s overwhelming. Sometimes I just don’t know where to start in my own house so I retreat back to the perfect and proper world of Pinterest. Hiding from my own messes.

I realize it’s impractical at this stage of my life to be seeking perfection. Impossible actually. And I also know that those “perfect” lives online are anything but perfect. But as I look around my own house I can hear the whisper of “less”. …Less. Our world is so preoccupied with MORE, and I know I get caught up in that too, so how does one achieve LESS?

When I’m on Pinterest, I’m always drawn to the minimalist posts. The decor, the jewelry, the capsule wardrobes (which I’ve done before and will be doing again as I shed these baby pounds! Let me know if you’re interested in posts about that too!) – I love minimalism. But how on earth can I implement minimalism in my own home when we have SO.MUCH.STUFF. My house is like the opposite of minimalism. It’s not quite a hoarders house, but it’s definitely NOT minimal. (I’ve totally watched Hoarders and felt so much better about my house, ha!)

It’s easy to sit here and say “just get rid of things” but as soon as I start I’m plagued with the Second Thoughts. You know the ones. The ones that tell you that thing is too special to get rid of. Too valuable to just give away, “you could make money!” or you “might need it one day” … but if it’s not being used NOW why do I hang onto it? For me personally, too much clutter creates clutter in my mind. I can’t focus. A cluttered life leaves no time for God or my family and so here I find myself craving space.

The beginning of a new school year, a new season, I find myself setting goals and deciding what I want. I want to breathe easy in my home, to enjoy my children within my home, I want less laundry (yeah right you say. I can hear the chorus of laughter now – but a girl can dream, can’t she?) so I am beginning a journey towards a more simplistic life wherever possible. I know it won’t happen overnight but little by little I hope to take steps towards minimalism.

“Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” Luke 12:15

Do you struggle with this? Or are you already living a minimalist life? Let me know in the comments any tips or tricks, or even what you struggle with! I’m hoping to update the blog with areas that I conquer along the way!

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  • Candice - This. I too have been having the same thoughts while I sit at home on maternity leave. I think it’s just that much more in my face now that I am not at work lol. Going through and purging things is a big todo on my list as well while I am off….hopefully I can actually cross that off my list!ReplyCancel

  • Kathleen - LOVE this! While in university I came across this quote by William Morris which has guided quite a bit of my purging: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” I love that it pushes me to think of an actual use for the stuff and gives me the freedom to define what is beautiful…not just okay but beautiful. I try to purge clothes and toys twice a year and have one memory book for the unending projects the kids bring home from school. However all those lovely intentions aside we still have a basement full of toys and constantly overflowing laundry baskets. Definitely a stage, friend.ReplyCancel

WE DID IT! Mamas, we survived Kindergarten orientation. 2 weeks of an hour here, a half day there… We’re finally full time Kindergarteners now! The twins ended up in a Kindergarten/Grade 1 split, which was not my preference but unless something drastic happens this is what we’re dealing with. I’m sure since my children are geniuses really adaptable, they will be just fine.
I was saying as this “gradual entry” process was happening that it felt like it was just as much for me as it was for my kidlets. I had to gradually get used to the fact that my little babies – these two littles that made me a mama – are growing up. Try as I might, I just can’t slow down or stop time. I did “gradually” stop crying at drop off. ha! Anyone with me? amanda-gregor-photography-mission-abbotsford-fraser-valley-family-lifestyle-photographer_0239PINIMAGE

We’re adjusting at home too – Silas seems much better now that I’m off dairy. Anyone else do this? It seems like a common issue… I do plan on bringing my dairy sacrifices up when he’s complaining about something as a teen. “Hey – Remember that time I gave up CHEESE FOR YOU??” Yeah kid. You know it’s love when… But really, I’m happy that it seems to help him. It makes his awake time so much more pleasant! He’s starting to smile socially and when he looks at us he’s really looking intently. He’s been trying to find his voice and the little sounds he makes are so sweet. I’m loving getting to know him.

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FRIDAY FAVES!

Ok so I just wanted to share some of my favourite things that have been getting us through these last days of summer, first days of school, early days of baby.

Puj tub – this thing is GENIUS I tell you, genius! It fits in any sink, including the little bathroom one. We have the Puj Flyte, which is small enough to fit in a suitcase (and will be perfect for our trip soon!) And Silas just settles in and makes this face:

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Bebe de Luxe Coconut and Oat Milk Bath – I love to shop local and this is made right here in the Lower Mainland.  It’s made with all natural ingredients and no yuckies or secret scary chemicals to put on his body. I’ve heard you can actually make this into a paste to help skin issues like cradle cap etc, so I’m going to try that this week! And once I get the all clear to have a bath (I’m not sure when I’m allowed one after a C-Section??) I’m so using some of it for me too.

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This trampoline! HUGE FAVE around here. Even when it’s been not so nice out, as soon as I mention the trampoline these two go running. … and jumping. It’s just a small one but it’s perfect for our small backyard. And perfect for my super-energetic children. Melting down inside? Go jump on the trampoline. Kids fighting with each other? Go jump on the trampoline. You’re hungry? Go jump on the trampoline. (That one doesn’t last as long, ha!) They absolutely LOVE it. We hadn’t given them a birthday present this year (we really didn’t want to get gifts just because we felt obliged to, so we waited until we could think of something substantial or more worth our money) so we said this trampoline is partially their birthday present, and partially a “big sibling” present. It’s worth every cent.

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This artwork by my friend Tori. She started hand lettering a while back, got really good at it and I fell in love with her work! When I saw this one she posted I knew we had to have it – I say this to my littles all the time. I ordered two and I *will* hang them on their walls. I will. (Gonna play the newborn card here. Decor got put on the backburner a little!)

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My nursing bracelet has become as much of a necessity as my phone these days! My brain does NOT work right now. Sleep deprivation will do that to you I guess. Do you think I can remember which side I fed Silas on last? Nope. Not at all. Enter DearLovesCo. and their super-pretty-but-also-totally-functional bracelets. They’re made with a soft elastic so you can switch wrists to remember where you left off feeding. I may or may not have two of them and even want another… #noshame
They are also a local company and my friend Julie who makes them is also a super talented photographer. She took our lifestyle newborn photos here at home and I am absolutely in love with them!

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Ahhh crafting. I’m feeling the pull, the draw towards creativity again. Usually photography is my go-to creative outlet, and it will always be, but I used to be really into jewelry making as well as sewing and some other fun crafty activities. I find myself dreaming up ideas and craving the peace that comes with working on a project and creating something beautiful. I’m hoping to set aside a little bit of time during the day while the biggest littles are at school when I can play again. I’ll be sure to share what I make here 🙂

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So Happy Friday friends! (though by the time I post this it may be Saturday. You can’t win them all…) How did you survive the first weeks of school? Drop me a note in the comments, would love to hear from you!

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Hanging on to Summer. That’s what everyone seems to be doing. And while I do love the sunshine and the carefree, lazy days I have always loved Fall. Actually, to be honest I love the changing of seasons. Doesn’t matter which one. There’s something magical about Summer changing to Fall, Fall to Winter, Winter to Spring, and Spring to Summer. I can’t pick a favourite. Each time the season changes I think to myself “This. This right here is my favourite.” So here I find myself craving cooler days, pumpkin spice anything, boots, and baggy sweaters. I’m craving Fall.
This Summer hasn’t been a scorcher (thankfully!! My preggo little self couldn’t handle the heat we DID have!) but this rain came after a stretch of warm weather so it was welcomed. Perhaps they will even lift the fire ban for our mini camping trip this week?? One can only hope!!

I guess the littles also picked up on this shift when it started pouring outside. They had been playing (peacefully!!) upstairs for some time and when the rain started roaring on the roof they came running down the stairs, threw on their boots and rain coats, grabbed their umbrellas and out the door they went. (yet somehow I can’t get them out the door on a sunny day?) They didn’t even go down the stairs to our backyard, they just stood at the top and watched, exclaiming in wonder “wow! so much rain!” I even heard Eli yell above the sound of the rain “it’s like a song! it has a beat!”

Remembering my goal of taking more photographs of the everyday moments that make up our days I grabbed my camera to snap a few.

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So what about you? Are you sad Summer is coming to a close? Do you have a favourite season?

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I’ve never shared a birth story before. With the twins it was all pretty straightforward… all I did was show up on my scheduled c-section date and boom – parents of two. Then of course the whirlwind of newborn twins, and who has time to document the birth story?? 😉

This time was a little different though. I was going to let my body decide what was going to happen and attempt a VBAC. Since I had never gone into labour I was considered a perfect candidate to attempt to labour – they would just consider me like a first timer. I went into it with zero birth plan, and no expectations. I had no IDEA what to expect.

So as I approached my due date I had been getting really anxious. Waiting is the hardest part, isn’t it? Friday evening we went to Costco and I figured the walking around couldn’t hurt. That evening around 9pm I noticed my braxton hicks contractions had a little bit of crampiness to them and started to time them – 10-15 minutes apart but consistent. I went to bed praying this was the start!

The next morning I woke up at 6:00am and knew these had turned into real contractions. I timed them and they were around 3-5 minutes apart – so after a while I decided to phone my midwives and find out what to do. They had me come in to check where I was at. Driving to Abbotsford from Mission was NOT my favourite thing ever! I knew I wasn’t very far along so I wasn’t surprised when they said I was only about 1cm dilated. They gave me morphine and I went home to rest.

As an aside – this was all happening on the one day I DIDN’T want it to happen on!! I really preferred that no one except my closest circle knew when I went into labour, and this Saturday was my twin nephews’ 2nd birthday – the entire family and some friends were celebrating and it was INCREDIBLY obvious when we sent my mom with my twins what was happening. But that’s ok. I was grateful for the prayers I knew people were praying for us.

That afternoon I was told this was likely prodromal labour and that this could last for days. DAYS?!! No thank you. This wasn’t super intense but it wasn’t a walk in the park either. I wanted these to progress to something more so I could meet my little boy!

That evening I went back to get more morphine in hopes of getting more rest that night. (Which, incidentally, meant ANOTHER DRIVE TO ABBOTSFORD. See above. Not my fave.) We got home around 11:30pm and I fell asleep at midnight.

I woke up thinking it had been several hours…. Wrong. It was 1:00am. It had been one hour. But suddenly these contractions were strong. And coming fast. 1-2 minutes apart. This was definitely happening. We texted the midwife and off we went. Yes… another drive to Abbotsford. This was my least favourite one!

When we arrived it was around 3:30am. My midwife Nooshin (who is the greatest EVER) checked me and I had jumped to at least a 5cm. I was finally going to be admitted and I wasn’t going to be leaving there without a baby! So I had a popsicle to celebrate!

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When I first got admitted I asked when I could get an epidural, since I had heard I needed to ask early for these things! She encouraged me to try the gas first. Oh, the gas. Apparently it doesn’t work for everyone – well, it worked for me. It didn’t take away the pain of a contraction but in between I was high and a little loopy and felt okay. I was able to focus on breathing through contractions by using it.

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This man. This wonderful best friend of a husband I have. He was amazing. Held my hand through every contraction and was the best support I could’ve asked for.

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You guys… I was so scared! In each moment I knew I could do this, I was empowered in the moment itself but the fear of what was yet to come was overwhelming.

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JJ Heller seems to be my go-to music for when I’m anxious and scared. Prior to this it was my playlist for when I was on an airplane. (I hate flying…) Something about the lyrics and the songs themselves that speak God’s truth to me and bring a peace that I can’t quite explain.

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In what didn’t feel like long (I guess it wasn’t long at all – around 7:00am) I was able to start pushing. I pushed for a half an hour, and then Nooshin’s shift was over and Bethany took over for her. It was around this time that they started to try to move me in order to get Silas into a better position. He wasn’t moving into optimal pushing position. While they changed my position around, they started to have a hard time hearing his heartbeat and decided to attempt to put a scalp clip on him. His heart rate was low, or kept dropping, so they brought in the OB to make sure they had it on correctly. When he put it on Silas he realized he was definitely in distress and I needed a c-section immediately. These next moments were chaotic. So many people in the room. I was in so much pain and they let me know that the anesthetist was not available and that I would have to have this c-section under LOCAL anaesthetic. Local?! That’s not even a thing usually. Apparently this was an emergency and needed to happen NOW. It wasn’t until later that I realized how terrible that really could’ve been. However, I truly truly believe in the power of prayer and there were some HUGE prayers going up at this moment. Bethany (my super good friend who took all these photos minus the OR photos) had spoken to several people who were praying hard. When we arrived at the operating room there was an anesthetist there waiting for me to do a spinal before the cesarean. PRAISE God!!

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That spinal brought me so much relief. I had been pushing for about an hour at this point and was so exhausted and just done with the pain. After some prep and some pushing and pulling and tugging (always so strange!) we heard that little squeak of a cry and Silas was here! All 8lbs 15oz of him! It turned out that his umbilical cord was just too short and he wasn’t going to come out any other way.

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Breastfeeding twins was such a challenge I wasn’t sure what this would be like. While I was in recovery I was able to have skin to skin time with him and he started to breastfeed right away. I feel so blessed that I get to experience this. I’m a firm believer in a fed baby being best, however that looks and have zero regrets from the first days of my twins’ lives, but really wanted this experience for myself.

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Eli and Livvie absolutely adore their baby brother. It’s been really amazing watching them get to know Silas, and step up and help with things he needs, or I need. It’s definitely been an adjustment for everyone and it’s surreal to have a new member of our family to love but it’s incredible how your heart just grows to accommodate him. I feel like my heart could burst at any moment, it is just so full.

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And with that, we are a family of 5. My heart is full.

Hugest shoutout of thanks to Mission Midwifery (specifically Nooshin and Bethany who were there for me at my most vulnerable moments, but really all of them in the office along the way in this pregnancy. They are amazing.) The maternity staff at Abbotsford Regional Hospital – also amazing people who took fantastic care of me and brought me medicine lol! To Bethany for taking these photos that I absolutely treasure and for your prayers and support along the way, to my mama for taking good care of my biggest littles, and to my Jason for being in this with me and helping bring another gorgeously cute tiny human earthside.

I made a slideshow of these photos and some more to share our story. I can’t watch it without crying – I am beyond blessed and grateful for this family and these littles that God has given me to raise up.

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Ah so here I am – 11 days after we welcomed our newest little to our family. Even as I write that I can hardly believe it’s been 11 days. It doesn’t feel like it. Possibly because I’ve had as much sleep as ONE day or possibly because I’ve been in such a love-induced daze just staring at this sweet new face, getting to know him, and just soaking in these tiny newborn snuggles because I know they are fleeting.

We welcomed Silas Luc at 8:49am on Sunday, August 7th. I will share the birth story another time but we were overwhelmed and grateful that in some pretty tense moments we were covered in prayer and everyone was happy, healthy, and safe.

Now that we are home our days have been filled with feedings, snuggles, Daddy and twins park adventures and playing in the backyard. Our days have been slow paced which is such a nice change from the ordinary rush of the day to day – and really, isn’t that how summer vacation should be? My recovery is longer than what I had expected and hoped for, but I was reminded that nothing is a surprise to God, and that His plans are always best. So for now I rest, I rely on the help of my husband – who has stepped up in ways I am forever grateful for – and with the 5 of us under one roof, I am home.

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