Meet Canadian mom Kristen living in Las Vegas
Hello! My name is Kirsten and I am a Canadian living in Las Vegas with my husband and three girls. Sophie is twelve years old, Isabella is ten, and Caroline is seven. They attend local public schools and are involved in many extracurricular activities, so this is a busy time of life for our family. I feel fortunate to be able to stay home with them.
I love to write and enjoy keeping a blog at tollipop. I also have an Etsy shop where I sell my drawings of quiet, wistful girls. Having this creative outlet, in addition to the joys and challenges of a marriage and family, add up to a life for which I am very grateful.
What kind of house do you live in, are you and the kids happy here or is there anything you all terribly miss …?
We live in a neighborhood where one home looks like all the other homes. When we first moved here, it seemed I would get lost all the time because everything looked the same. But I love our house. On the inside it seems like our special world: cozy, interesting, and filled with love.
Do you like to spend time on decorating your home and the children’s room?
Decorating my home does interest me, but I get so easily caught up in other demands that it sometimes seems the way my house looks in my mind is more delightful than it may actually be in real life. Nevertheless, if you were to ask me what "effect" I am trying to create in my home, I would say I hope it feels welcoming, with lots of comfortable corners for reading, making things, and being together. I like the feeling of browsing through an attic or an old, secondhand bookstore…hopefully my home is not as dusty as that, but I try to create many interesting places for the eye to wander. My children often bring home little discoveries from nature, and I love displaying these around the house.
What are your children’s favorite items in your house?
We do not have a cable connection in our home, so we use our television only to watch the occasional weekend movie. Also, I deny my children video games and most other forms of electronic media, making me one of the most inhumane mothers on this planet. :) As a result, my children are very connected to books, art supplies, and imaginary games. I love listening to them play in their bedrooms, especially when my eldest daughter takes time to be a part of my youngest daughter's games. Their happiness seems to fill the house.
They also love their hamsters, but wish we would get a dog.
What's it like to raise a child in your town?
Raising children in Las Vegas has been a wonderful experience for me. I sometimes hear negative opinions about our schooling system, but my impression is there are great opportunities to pursue an education here. The cultural opportunities are also here if you look for them. We are fortunate to have some of the best music teachers I could ever imagine. We live within walking distance of an excellent library. There are also many places to get frozen yogurt! The amazing desert is a ten minute drive from our house and although the weather is sweltering for about five months of the year, the rest of the time it is beautiful and we are often outdoors. We have many wonderful friends and family in this town, so although I grew up somewhere very different, I am happy to call this place home.
Can you mention some of your ‘how-to-raise-your-kid’ values?
One important value that has guided me in raising my children is simply to be with them. I spend a lot of time with my girls and that seems to translate into a natural respect on their part for my role as a mother. I'm quite sure they feel how much we as parents love and enjoy their company. I hope the love in our home feels like a natural extension of God's love, and we have many interesting conversations about making sense of life from a spiritual perspective. I also try to avoid comparisons in our family. Each daughter has her own path and I never want one girl to feel she is somehow "more than" or "less than" the other girls. I think it becomes clear, as children grow older, that they "shine" in different areas. I try to foster an atmosphere where my children celebrate each other's accomplishments with genuine joy, since they know their interests and abilities are also important.
What kind of DIY projects do you like to do with your children?
We are working on a hand stitched advent calendar…hopefully it will be ready by next Christmas! I often wish we had more time for creating things. I do keep a well stocked shelf of art supplies in the girls' bedroom and they are always making things for me to hang up around the house.
How do you like to celebrate birthdays and other special days in your house?
I like to keep celebrations simple, creative, and inexpensive. I also love involving my girls in the planning and execution of these events.
What kind of sports do your children like to do and are you very involved?
We do a lot of swimming, bike riding, hiking, and my eldest daughter just started playing volleyball. For myself, I find it very important to get out and exercise several times a week. I love to run and ride my bike…it always helps to clear my mind and makes me feel calmer and more balanced.
Are there musical instruments in your house?
Yes, we seem to spend a lot of time on musical pursuits. Sophie plays the piano, Isabella the violin, and Caroline is very pleased to have a cello that matches her hair. Our musical journey requires a great deal of work, but it also offers many joyful moments. It truly is a wonder to watch my girls reach such a beautiful level of expression with their music.
I love to have music playing in our home as often as possible. Favorite composers include Bach and Vivaldi, favorite instruments include cello and voice. I also love folk music and my children look to my husband to keep them informed on more popular genres of music.
What are all time favorite books for the children?
We love to read in this family. And I love to read to my girls. I try to read them a bedtime story every night…even when it is very late I will go in there and read as they are falling asleep. It's one of my favorite times of the day.
Some books we enjoy: The Little House series, the Burgess Bedtime Story series, the Frances books (by Russell and Lillian Hoban), The Hundred Dresses, The Country Bunny, Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, fairy tales, folk tales, poetry, myths, stories from The Book of Mormon and The Bible.
How would you describe a perfect day with your children?
A perfect day would include a morning hike on the red rocks of the desert, a wonderful fruit salad for breakfast that someone else cut up for me, a trip to the library, the pet store, and the international market for Haribo treats, and snuggling up on the couch that evening to watch a movie together with lots of pillows and popcorn.
But even better than that would be to spend a summer day with my family in my hometown of Vernon, British Columbia. We would spend the entire day at the lake, beginning with a morning swim when we had the clean, clear water all to ourselves. We would have a picnic basket filled with many good things to eat. Old Dutch potato chips. German deli sausages. Tons of local fruit, the best in the world: cherries, strawberries, apples, peaches, pears…
I would have a great book to read. My husband would take the girls for a discovery hike. The sun would feel so lovely, the air would smell so good…
Are you a ‘cook’ or ‘food’ lover or both?
We love to cook and we love to eat. The girls enjoy working in the kitchen with me. My husband is also adept at making amazing bread and pizzas. Although we are very busy during the week, I feel it is important to sit down and enjoy an evening meal together. When this happens (not as often as I would like), we set a simple, lovely table with music, candlelight, and fresh clippings of leaves or flowers from outdoors. I think it's nice to make every meal seem special.
Thank you Kristen!