This holiday was special for so many reasons.  Violet, our self-proclaimed big girl - each day, three times at least, she goes up to the Papa and I and asks "you know what? I two now." - was genuinely excited for the first time that Santa was coming.  There was excitement leading up to the morning of Christmas as always.  The babes count down from the morning advent begins (a tradition which we totally dropped the ball on this year).  The night before cookies are made, carrots and milk are put out and last thank you notes to Santa placed by the fire.  So magical to see the little eyes light up with excitement because their hearts are about to burst in anticipation.

Our Christmas traditions are simple and not related to the birth of Christ.  We are not religious, so I wish as a family we could call it something else that reflects our tradition of observing Santa's visit.  But we choose to call it Christmas to make our lives easier - I honestly get a little tired of explaining all our "alternative" choices all the time.


1.  OUR ADVENT:  For weeks before December, I searched Pinterest in hopes of finding a cool advent calendar.  I found some really neat ones.  There were a lot of envelopes and hanging art pieces.  This year I was so not in the organized mode having been 38 weeks pregnant and about to deliver a baby.  I couldn't commit to putting together 24 days of activities and gifts.  So I purchased a silver box from the dollar store and superglued a circular piece of wood to the top.  Each night the Papa and I would write a countdown number on the wood and inside would place an activity (write letters to Santa, make cookies, sing carols).  We dropped the ball at 8 days in.  Next year I'll give it a better try.

2.  SANTA LETTERS:  Each year since Charlotte was a baby "we" have written a letter to Santa.  I have saved each response from the busy overweight jolly man.  My mama always did this with us when we were children and I always remembered the joy I felt in receiving one.

3.  TREE DECORATING:  We don't have an artificial one, although I had one as a child and white ones get me all giddy inside.  The first snowfall in December usually means tree getting day.  This year we stalled because we had little funds and went hunting in the forest for one.  We failed.  (The Papa ended up hauling 3 babes to the grocery store in the wagon and hauling a grocery store tree back).  Each year the girls decorate the tree.  Charlotte, our eldest, finger knit colourful yarn one year and that serves as our colourful wrapping.  The Papa is obsessed with tall trees and usually gets an 8 footer.  Regular Griswald Family Christmas.  Each year we also cut the bottom of the trunk and turn it into an ornament.

4.  CHRISTMAS EVE:  Music is played (usually Raffi and She & Him).  We eat a delicious vegan dinner consisting of faux tourtiere, stuffing, vegetables, homemade cranberry sauce and gravy.  Christmas stories are read, hot chocolate sipped by the fire and kisses.  Notes to Santa are put out with cookies and milk.  We never forget the reindeer.

5.  CHRISTMAS PRESENTS:  Something you want, Something you need, Something to wear, Something to read.  Santa is also good about bringing the item each girl wants and a sharing gift.  Our babes are working really hard on their sharing.  That is it.  Well and stockings full of candy and fun.  

6.  CHRISTMAS MORNING:  The babes wake us up early morning.  Gifts are usually sorted and then ripped open feverishly.  The Mama takes photos.  The Papa puts on the Coffee and music.  We are full of joy and happiness.  

7.  CHRISTMAS DAY:  Spent eating, making food, lazing around.  There is copious amounts of candy and watching of "Home Alone".

I'd love to hear your traditions.  I love Christmas and the bringing together of family.  I always dreamed of having Babes to pass on the Santa tradition.  I hope you all had an amazing Christmas regardless of what you celebrate.



Our dear Ivy was born almost 4 weeks ago.  We are completely enamoured with this babe.  From the moment she came home to meet her three older sisters, it was obvious that she was loved and would be adored and protected.  She has not been the easiest.  If she senses any slight discomfort or that I am no longer present, she instantly breaks into a blood curdling crying fit that would leave any onlooker to believe I've been neglecting her for hours.  Oh, and she loves the early morning hours between two and five o'clock to resist settling.  Those are her best times to be up.  A real owl...an exceptionally cute one.   

The babes are not bothered by any of this.  At any sign of her being awake, including those inconsolable cries, the babes rush to her side.  They love looking into her eyes and act as though it is their most important duty to calm her.  For them, each moment that her eyes are open presents an opportunity for holding.  They incessantly, with patience and without annoyance or anger, ask for time to hold her.  It is quite amazing to see them hold her just as a Mama would, their Mama.  It gives me a lot of comfort and joy to see them treat her with gentle hands and hearts.  I like to think they are mimicking that which they know.



{ 1 / dancing girl / 2 / confetti poppers  / 3 /  star backdrop / 4 /  cheers banner 
/ 5 / gold fringe hats / 6 / wish banner }

Christmas has yet to arrive and my holiday gift making and food preparations are far from begun, but we are very excited for New Years this year.  We plan on making it a real family bash and the babes are getting really excited.  This photos have inspired me to make an epic party for the littles.  Should be fun.

I foresee getting dressed up, eating delicious homemade hors d'oeuvres, painting our nails and DIYing.  It will be an evening in and we may all fall asleep by 9 but it will be cozy.

What are your New Years plans?  Any suggestions for rocking it for 4 babes and a tired Mama and Papa?



The littlest of babes is 2 weeks old.  It is hard to believe that she was inside of me such a short time ago.  To finally have her on the outside is so amazing.  Surreal.  To nurture a little being for almost nine months and then to finally meet them is bizarre and amazing all at once.  I truly know nothing about her but now I have a lifetime to learn.

I wanted to share my birth story for two reasons.  Firstly, although it happened such a short time ago, I feel if I do not write it down shortly, I will forever lose the important details that make her entry into the world uniquely hers.  Secondly, it was a birth that I have experienced like none other and I wanted to share that with my followers and friends.  Yes...I have had 3 natural births.  I advocated for that and was confident that I could birth naturally again.  Yes...this time I had the epidural.  Yes...I liked it.

So let me begin...Friday started like any other.  On this day, my eldest is home from school so I like to spend all day with all my babes.  We usually, after a very relaxed morning, head to a friend's house for a playdate.  I wanted to go over particularly on this day because I was feeling uncomfortable and she is an amazing help.  Plus, I just wanted to see her after.  She had been super busy lately and we needed to catch up.  All the girls came to the house to play with the children of this particular friend and the children of my other good friends.  (These girls were the first ones I told I was pregnant during a hot tub night when I had to explain no drinking or hot water for me.)

The uncomfortable feeling continued.  It was in my lower back and continued to go around to the front.  This pregnancy was riddled with pain and discomfort, so I honestly felt nothing of it.  After an hour or so of being with my friends, and having them convinced that I actually was in labour (and also the fact that some mucous was now evident) I left to go get my cell phone at home.  I called my midwife and she wasn't alarmed but did inform me that if things progressed to head to the city to the Birthing Centre.

At this point, I also called the Papa to say I think I may be in labour, but no rush.  I was still in complete denial.  I returned to my friend's house where all my mama friends began to inform me of what they thought was actually happening and that this baby was going to be born soon.  (They were completely right!)  Funnily enough, I had a pre-natal massage booked in the afternoon.  I called them to cancel with this "labour excuse".  I was just feeling uncomfortable and didn't really want someone massaging my painful bits.  Little did I know...I was actually in labour!!

The Papa, at around 3 in the afternoon, got home and picked all his babes up from my friend's house. There was humorous talk about the baby being born, humorous only because I was still denying the fact that this was happening.  Around 5 o'clock, it was evident that the contractions were coming on strong and consistently spaced.  We made the decision to make the hour long drive into the city with the Babes.

The next hour and a half was a frantic getting together of night and day wear for the three older babes, a bag of clothing and necessities for the new babe, a camera, and birthing bag.  Poor Papa was doing his best to comfort me with my contractions while making all the preparations.

The G-units were called and after a long drive and stop at Starbucks for ice chips and raspberry iced tea, we arrived in Ottawa.  Upon seeing the Papa's mama I instantly cried.  Seeing her was comforting and emotional.  She was going to welcome her 6th grand baby and I was responsible for bringing this little babe to the world, when I was so full of fear.

We bid the babes adieu and headed to the Birthing Centre at around 8 pm.  My amazing midwives were there waiting for us.  Paula had seen the birth of 2 of my babes.  So when I saw her I immediately cried too.  Hormones must have been strong.  Paula is amazing and strong and I trust her completely.  Helen, the student midwife sent from above, was exceptional in every capacity and I know she is going to make the best of midwives.  It was she who assessed me and informed me that I was 4cm dilated and that she was going to give me a sweep to get the labour really going.

After the assessment, the Papa and I headed to a television room.  The pain was becoming unbearable.  It was not long after that that I decided to head into the birthing room.  It was beautiful and warm.  The tub was the biggest I had ever seen.  However, I was informed that I was not going to be able to birth in there.  I am uncertain if this knowledge, psychologically affected me in a negative way, but the contractions became more intense and a pain I do not remember ever experiencing with any of the other babes.  I began to swing from the bed.  Bounce on a balance ball.  Wash myself in the shower as a contraction would sweep over me.  There was a lot of on my hands and knees action.

At around 10pm I had too much, and asked for my epidural.  The midwives complied and I was transferred via our van to the hospital.  Immediately after we left the Centre, my contractions were tolerable.  Knowing that I would receive pain relief, I believe, eased my mind of worry I didn't know I possessed.  The Papa didn't even realize I had contractions in the half an hour drive because I was not experiencing them with such intensity as before.

Once registered and admitted to the hospital, we waited patiently for the anesthesiologist.  The two hour wait included me vomiting, a common symptom of my labours, and my mucous plug expelling itself during one of my wrenching episodes.  At around midnight he administered the epidural.  I had never received one before.  As a Mama of only natural births, one may think I was concerned about the epidural.  Prior to labour, I was.  Would there be an invasive delivery (one that required forceps or vacuum)?  Would my babe react negatively to the drugs?  Would I react negatively to the drugs?  All the fear dissipated when I needed relief.

When administered, I wasn't immediately in relief.  My water broke (something that had never happened before) and my entire right side could still feel the contractions.  My heartbeat also became quite fast (140) and Ivy girl's dropped.  I was put on oxygen instantly and there was concern that if we did not get her out soon, something could be wrong.

I was asked to give strong pushes.  I listened.  Ivy Adeline Jolliet was born at 1:24 am on November 22nd.  She was slightly cold but healthy.  She came fast so there remained a little mucous in her lungs.  She nursed for almost an hour and a half.  It must have been a lot of work to turn out so cute.  It was evident after the birth that my body was becoming covered in a rash.  I had an allergic reaction to the epidural.  We would have to stay longer to be monitored.

After what seemed like an endless stay in a semi-private room with a Mama who wouldn't stop talking, we were released and headed home with this cuteness to enjoy the bliss and recover.

This pregnancy is over.  My belly will never hold another babe again.  There are many emotions associated with this definitive decision.  At another time, I will delve into that.  But for now, we relish in the fact that we created this amazing being who is so loved by all, especially the eldest babes.