Monday, December 20, 2010

Just a little update

Hello – I’m back, crazier than ever lol

Happy Holidays! I realize it’s been a while since I posted – we had three birthdays in November to celebrate and then the Christmas madness began. It’s Dec 20 and I finally feel inspired to write. I also have a few posts that I wrote throughout the month that I will be posting this week as well.

I just started reading this great book called The Power of Less and I’m excited about it. I’m inspired – which usually means that this book will probably inspire change in me. I really need to work on my Fit by Forty goal. My goal to streamline my possessions – imagine choosing only 200 items in your house to keep – what would you keep? And most importantly – I want to save money so that I can go back to school. More on these another time - and if you want to check out the author’s website its

And what are your thoughts on this: You see, over the summer a nice lady watched my girls, my three and seven year old girls. She has three kids herself and I realized this summer – has a very laid back way of supervising them. I’ve known her for three years, she is very active in the school my oldest attended and as I said before she is very nice. She mentioned to me before that she doesn’t “hover” over her kids when they play. She likes them to have their own experiences. And it got me thinking about how I hover around my kids while they play. I listen nearby, I find things to do in the room next to where they are playing, I watch cartoons with them, I don’t let them out of my sight when they are playing outside, these types of things. I mean, that’s what mom’s do right? But it got me wondering if we can over-supervise our kids. When I was a kid – probably from the age of 6 or 7, I was allowed to go outside and play on my own, unsupervised. Granted, we lived in a rural area where there was little or no traffic and lots of fields and tree’s. I would go out for hours and tromp through fields, abandoned barns, apple orchards and around the lake. Having that freedom was so amazing. I think I learned to be very independent and self-reliant by being unsupervised. I learned some life lessons – like never to tromp through ponds without rain boots if you wanted to stay comfortable, to never use the front brakes on my bike to slow down quickly and that once your toes were cold it was time to go home. Thankfully I was never mauled by a bear (something I would worry about now but never thought about back then), run over by a car travelling down our dirt road or hurt myself climbing fences and trees. But these days, especially in the city, you can just never be too careful. I remember picking my kids up at school one day. It was freezing cold and the kids were happily playing on the ice that had formed in the school yard. The lady that usually picked up the girls was chatting happily with her other mom friends while the kids slipped and slid on the ice – unsupervised. I hung back from the mom’s because I wanted to make sure the kids weren’t abducted by some passing stranger or hurt while sliding on the ice. I found it appalling that this nice lady who was to be supervising my kids wasn’t even looking at them! In fact, her view of them and her own children was obstructed by a line of trees. Gah! And herein is what I’m referring too. These questions run through my head. Am I being too paranoid? Am I not giving my children enough space? Will they come to expect someone to be there for them all the time and never learn to act or think independently? I’ve been there for them everyday of their lives, and I will continue to be there if they need me, but do I need to constantly supervise them even when they are in the house? Do I need to get my own life back so I can stop obsession about them (ahem, yes)? I’d love to live in a rural area again so I can let my girls have their own experiences and be back at “home base” in case they need me. I don’t think I’ll ever be the type of mom who can leave my kids unsupervised in a school yard. I feel more content watching them than not watching them. But I will pause and reflect on how much simpler my life would be if I just let it go and didn’t worry so much.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Chicken chili soup

 It's fall in Ontario and it's beautiful. 
The summer heat has eased off and you can slow down on the whole shaving your legs and getting a pedicure thing.

And it's also soup season.  I made this wonderful, hearty chili chicken soup today that I gleaned from a recipe and made my own:

6 cups low sodium chicken stock
1.5 cups (corn, kale, spinach, potatoes - your choice)
3 fifteen oz cans white beans
2 medium chopped onions
2 tbs olive oil
1.5 lbs chicken
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp ground cumin
1.5 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
.5 tsp pepper

Place chicken broth, onions and beans in a large pot and bring to a boil
Reduce and simmer.  Meanwhile, chop chicken into bite size pieces.
Heat large pan over medium-high heat and add olive oil.
Add onions and saute until tender.
Stir in chicken and saute until cooked through.
Add 1.5 cups (corn, kale, spinach, potatoes or a mixture of ), plus garlic, cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes
- stir until combined
Add mixture to stock pot, return to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.
Add more water or stock, if needed.

The recipe calls for more salt and pepper so season to taste.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

To dream a dream

I just sat down, it's 9:15 pm.  Worked a 7 hour day, rushed to an appointment that is on Thursday, not today.  I stopped on the way home to grab rice and made dinner - sausages with yellow peppers and onions, rice, homemade cheese sauce and broccoli.  I took my oldest to Brownies, did some power shopping and bought two bras, a sweater, tights, princess shoes and organic lollipops.  Once home I handed off the kids for a bath and bedtime while I folded laundry, checked homework, tidied up and did some dishes...still left...lunches for tomorrow.  To make myself feel a little better I started thinking of how nice it would be to have a few days off, without kids (but geeze I'd miss them) and what I'd do with my time.  I think three days would be ideal and at least one of the days here at the house supervising someone else clean  The other two days and nights I would spend at a remote place in the countryside in a place near the water with a soaker tub and a fireplace.  I'd read books, soak in the tub, watch TV for at least three hours a day, do yoga by the water and go for nature walks.  Hmmm, maybe a week would be nicer and I'd have the family come for the last three days.  What would you do to relax if you had more than an hour or two to yourself?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Super Mom

The Tea image
 My husband has been sick for two weeks.  He has been told to stay off his feet and needs a lot of rest.  Enter Super Mom.  My role in the home on a regular basis -  is "doing my best mom".  I get home from work and make sure everyone is fed, homework is done, lunches are emptied and re-made, counters are wiped, dishes are done, garbage is put where garbage goes, after work/school commitments are met, groceries are got and so on.  But when my other half is sick, I have no breaks.  I have all my responsibilities plus my spouses such as taking out the recycling, giving baths, doing laundry and providing all the necessities of bedtime.  And instead of feeling resentful or tired - well ok, I'm a little bit of both - but I carry through.  Why?  Because I'm Super Mom and I know what it's like to power through fatigue and a need for a break.  I get up in the morning at 6:30 am so that I may shower and get dressed prior to getting up my children and ensuring that they are fed, brushed and dressed and if I have time I may have a bite to eat before I head out the door.  I take the kiddo's to school, drive to work, park, walk 7 mins to the coffee shop, grab myself a coffee and walk another 5 minutes to my work.  Once I'm there I finally sit down, open my coffee and relax.  Yes, I'm at work and I'm relaxing - or sitting if you will.  I work an 8 hour day and it starts all over again and for the last two weeks it includes all the little things my husband usually does...make dinner, give baths, put the girls to bed, make sure teeth are brushed, take out the recycling and so on.  But I won't wait for praise or thanks, because, like all of us, I'm Super Mom.  Impervious to fatigue and temper tantrums, carrying my cape humbly I carry on.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I do love a good quote/proverb/tidbit of wisdom.

I find quotes very inspiring.  When I need to motivate myself I often look up quotes and post them where I'll see them to remind myself of my goals.  For example, I came across this quote today while blog surfing and it really spoke to me about something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. The quote is “The happiest people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything they have." The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. Really? I’m sure at least some of the happiest people have the best of everything. But I think the point of this statement is that you don’t need to have the best of everything to be happy just make the most of what you have and happiness with follow. The happiest I’ve been in life was when I was making the most of what I had - which was time. When I was on mat leave I was exercising every day had all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted. I wasn’t confined by a 9-5 job or a five day work week. I went to the park, I went for walks, I visited with friends, I talked to my friends online…it was like an extended vacation...sort of. But quitting my job is not an option so I have to make the most of what I have. The difficult part is finding the time for myself. How can I make the best of what I have when I don’t have time to do it? The weekends are too short and the evenings go by so quickly. Being a mom that works outside the home is tough because my work never ends. Just when I sit down and think I can relax for a few minutes there is something else that needs to get done. What I’m going to take from that inspiring quote is that I’m just going to make the most of what I have - my kids, a supportive family, my health, my job, my husband and be happy. Just be happy.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about the quote “money doesn’t buy happiness”. For many years I thought that it did. I thought this because I had a single mom who didn’t have money and I always thought that money would make things easier for us. But the happiest I was during those times was when I was doing things that didn’t cost any money at all, so this quote has always stuck with me. Money does not buy happiness. Money buys stuff. Stuff you use for a short time and eventually throw away or give away. Making the most of what we have and making good memories is what is going to get a family through a tough time and any hardship.

Another quote that comes to mind regarding money is “waste not, want not.” I love this quote. In four simple words it states that you shouldn’t waste (food) and you will never want for (food). At least that’s the context I always think of as it always comes to mind when I’m cooking or throwing food into the compost bin. I will frequently take the kids leftover’s and put them into a container to take for my own lunch the next day and I’ll recite this quote in my head. Of course this quote could have other meanings. Waste not your time and you will want not for success! Don’t waste your money and you will have saved it for another time when it’s really needed! Indeed a great quote and a wonderful reminder that it’s not wise to be wasteful.

I think the reason I’m thinking a lot lately about money and happiness is because I’ve realized that for years I took money for granted. I bought and bought and bought anything my heart desired and I ended up with a lot of waste. This has changed recently and I’m being more mindful of what is coming into my house. Moving ten years worth of crap will do this to you. I’m buying what I need only and I’m mulling over my purchases much more thoroughly. Not because I’m worried about spending, it’s more that I don’t want to clutter up my house with stuff I don’t need. I have given away a lot of things in this last month in an effort to purge out all unnecessary items out of my home and my life. The next thing on my list is a room half full of boxes – of toys, games, cd’s, and VHS video tapes.  What a big waste of money to buy toys on a Saturday at the toy store instead of going out for a walk.  I'm not doing that anymore, money will be saved and although we will always have waste, at least I'm being mindful of how much I produce.  You can really live without so many things if you really think about it and that's how I'm starting my new journey. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

An incredible journey

Vacation March 2010
I think every mom must go through the cycle I’m going through now. Some sooner than others some later but it’s definitely a big change that takes place in your life and that’s what it feels like to me. What I’m talking about is the transition from being a new mommy to young children and the absolute madness that goes with it – to being a mom of two little girls (and the madness that goes with that). I feel like I am emerging from adolescence to adulthood all over again. I have so many choices to make all of a sudden. I can no longer hide behind the guise of being a busy mom of young children. I feel like I have to lose the baby weight (again) and take a course or find a hobby. From newly wed at 27 to mom at 28, then mom again at 31. And now mom of little girls at age (gulp) almost 36. My girls are more independent now and I find more and more spaces of time where they don’t need their mommy as much. They go on sleepovers, they play independently, they get their own glasses of milk, and sometimes they even dress themselves! This makes me a little nostalgic as I long to carry them around in my arms and kiss their little faces without protests. Now I have to be content with holding their little hands and sneaking in kisses when I can. We just moved to a newer house after being in our first home for 10 years and I think the time is right for new beginnings. I’ve been exercising more and eating well – all in line with my plan to be fit by 40. It’s a new chapter in my life and as I look at my two little ducklings that follow me everywhere and still very much need their mommy but are still so independent. I’m a little sad but I also feel like I’m coming out on the other end of an incredible journey. The journey of the mom of babies to a mom of little girls.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pockets of time

The girls enjoying a treat
A post by Amber got me thinking about how I organize my time as a mother who works outside of our home.  I am outside of my home for approximately 41.25 hours a week.  In that time, I do what I can to keep my home organized and my family happy and well fed.  And I've come to realize that the time I get at home is very valuable to me.  I am constantly organizing and preparing at lease a week in advance.  The more I can do in my pockets of time, the easier it is for me to work and prioritize on a daily basis.  When I'm home (which is usually 1-4 days a month, plus weekends outside of my working time) I try to organize my home in such a way that I get more time with my children and less time doing "stuff" at the last minute, which is frusterating and time consuming.  Some examples of this are: 

When I put away their laundry, I put it away in pre-organized outfits. 
When I go to the grocery store, I plan for big healthy meals, quick meals, healthy snacks and lunch items. 
When I have time to clean, I do a deep cleaning of all items so that they are reasonably clean until the next time I get to them.  For example, when I clean the bathroom, I clean the floors, corners, sinks, walls, wash the shower curtain and mirrors. 
I always put my keys and work stuff in the same spot every night. 
The children's sports stuff is always in the same place.
I have a bag of extra clothing, sunscreen and hats packed at all times and in the van.
I keep a case of water in my van at all times.
I prepare our lunches the night before work/school.
I have a vegtable garden which saves me time grocery shopping.

Tonight starts a 4 day vacation for me and besides the day trips I'm planning with the children, I'm looking forward to cooking some great meals and getting my house in order for the next 5 days until I can get another deep cleaning/reorganizing done.  My little pockets of time are so crutial to me and to my family and they help make the most of the time I have with them, which is so important. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Parenting a three year old

I’m totally in love with this little tyke. She’s got big blue eyes and cute rolly knees. She’s still totally my little baby - mostly because she's the youngest and my last. But she can be so stubborn and defiant. She wrinkles up her little nose and clenches her teeth and says “I don’t want to do that momma!” or “I’m not going to” or flat out “No!” It’s gotten worse since summer started and our daily routines have changed. What do you do with a flat out NO? I usually say “You don’t tell me no, I was telling you to brush your teeth not asking you if you wanted too.”  Or I change the subject and try again in a few minutes.  Did I mention that on a daily basis she tells me that she doesn’t like kisses anymore? I kiss her anyway because I suspect she doesn’t mind them but she’s just finding yet another way to assert herself.  I’ve been reading that three year olds are experiencing a lot of strong emotions right now and she is no different, so I talk to her about the feelings behind the behaviour but there are still consequences for not listening.  I read this article on natural consequences and logical consequences that spoke volumes to me.  It’s really a lesson on “pick your battles.”  For example, if your child refuses to wear their jacket outside in the cold, let them go without it – but bring it along just in case because chances are they will ask for it as soon as they get out the door.  The logical consequence would be if they refused to wear their helmut while riding their bike – the bike stays in the garage.  She is so different from my mild mannered Madelyn.  Tegan likes to experiment with noises, bang on everything, scream, climb and jump.  She is an adventure.  I can only hope that this phase passes soon because I miss my sweet, charming little girl.  What do you do when your three year old tells you No? 

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Life is full of choices.  We make choices everyday, every minute of the day and they shape our days.  Children, however, don't always make the right choices which is why they are in our care until they are 18 years old, or older.  I shudder to think of what choices my seven year old would make if left alone in the house for even 15 minutes.  Today, while I was in the room, she put a little piece of paper behind the nightlight.  Would it start a fire?  Not sure, but I'd say it's not the best choice.  Which makes me wonder why I incessantly give the girls choice all day regarding different choices I have to make for them throughout the day.  Do you want milk or water?  Chicken nuggets or tuna?  Do you want to wear this?  How about this?  Do you want ketchup?  Do you want to go for a walk?  What color freezie do you want?  When I was a kid I don't remember there being so many choices.  My mom told us what to drink, eat, wear, go - and we did it.  I'm not sure why I give the girls so many choices, it's a habit that I have found hard to break.  Especially since not giving them choices would make things easier for me.  I think.  There could be a time where they want water and I give them milk and we have a full out melt down, but I want to be more definitive in my parenting.  I feel like I should be saying "Let's go to the park!" instead of "Want to go to the park?"  However isn't it also good for them to have choices?  What about you?  Do you give your kids choices or make most of their choices for them?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Apron strings

I was reading an article today about aprons.  The author of the article said she'd rather wear her apron to serve drinks as hostess than to actually wear them to save her clothes and that if she was in the kitchen she's wear gym clothes.  I laughed.  I wondered if she had kids - if she cooked - if she ever had to throw down a towel on a spilled drink, if she'd ever put the kids to bed and then went down into the kitchen to make some appetisers and the go back to hostessing.  These aprons she was referring to in her article are beautiful - but isn't the point of an apron also that it's functional?  If I purchased a $50 apron, I would certainly wear it to bake, make dinners etc. because I'm a mom.  And as a mom I deserve to wear something beautiful while I make dinner.  I'm certainly considering buying one to protect my work clothes as so often I come home and go right to making dinner, cleaning, wiping noses and washing the bathtub.  Their purpose is to protect clothing and June Cleaver had it right, she wore it all the time while she wrangled two boys and the necessities of a household.  My point is - go buy your fancy apron, enjoy it, take pride in wearing it for it's use and don't forget to feel pretty and practical while you wear it!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I'd like to think that most mom's have had their challenges with getting their children to sleep.  Being a working mom, I struggle with putting the kids to bed early - so that they get 10-12 hours sleep, and letting them stay up late with me so I can see them for more than 3.5 hours a day.  My kids generally go to bed at 9 pm and I wake them up at 7 am...see?  10 hours sleep.  When they get 10 hours sleep I feel better about sending them off the next day to play and have fun at daycare especially since my 3 year old generally doesn't nap anymore (although most days she could use one).  Unfortunately my 3 year old doesn't understand the concept of 10 hours sleep, she only wants to hang with us.  And I know this is probably because she's 3, and she misses us during the day, and sometimes when you are overtired, it's hard to get to sleep and that being 3 means that you are learning new ways to manipulate people.  You see?  I get it.  But it doesn't change the fact that it's almost 10 pm, and I put her to bed an hour ago, and she's still bee bopping up there after kisses, songs, stories, a cup of milk and snuggles.  I take comfort in the fact that eventually she will crash.  And one night this week she will fall asleep at 6pm and I will  :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Alone time

Who ever thought that having kids would let you appreciate alone time so much?  Don't get me wrong, I love spending time with my kids but this precious time that I get to myself is so much more valued now than it was 7 years ago.  As soon as the kids go to bed I want to post a status update on Facebook - "Kids in bed - sweet serenity!"  Yes, I do value my quiet time where I'm not playing kids games or reading kids books, giving baths or making food and I think that's perfectly OK.  I get up early every weekend, as soon as my eyes open, to make a coffee, get onto the computer, make breakfast and mentally prepare for the day.  I get up early on weekdays too so I can shower, get my lunch and coffee ready, make pancake breakfasts, so that I'm ready to answer any challenges or requests the morning brings, and it helps to get the morning started off right.  Before I had kids I was craving more to do.  More interaction, more family.  And now that I have it I appreciate it so much and I've found ways of adjusting to having small amounts of alone time during the day.  Having kids has made me appreciate life so much more than I ever imagined.  What do you do with your alone time? 

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I love dreams, they can be so insightful, meaningful and random.  When I can remember my dreams, the feeling the dream gave me usually stays with me for the day.  Sometimes it's calming, sometimes it's sad and sometimes it's just weird.  Last night I dreampt that I was in high school.  I was sitting with a guy who I liked and I wanted him to kiss me.  I knew he liked me too but when he leaned into me for a kiss, instead of kissing me he spat in my mouth.  I was mortified and humiliated and did what any high school girl would do - I ran to the washroom.  There were a couple of girls and a teacher in this huge washroom that saw me crying and I ran right into a bathroom stall.  I noticed that the bathroom was in some stage of renovation and the stalls weren't quite complete.  And on the door of the stall was a slot for money which said "Now that you have to pay for your shower, here's a vaccum" (random!).  There was in fact a vaccum of sorts on the floor of this huge stall.  I guess you get to pay and clean up after your shower now.  Just then some boys came into the girls washroom - looking for "mama" as they had a song for me.  I'm pretty sure these boys were gay -at least that's what I was thinking in my dream - because they weren't shunned from the girls bathroom.  And I've always felt that gay men should be welcome in the girls bathroom.  They sang a song that said my boyfriend was sorry and I just cried and told them to leave.  Then a nice girl came up and explained to me that on the East Coast, it was traditional for a boy to have other boys sing a sonnet to a girl he's hurt and this was the ultimate form of apology (neat! romantic!).  So of course I felt better.  I hope you enjoyed my little dream story.  Do you remember your dreams?  Do you look them up in a dictionary to see the meaning? 

Monday, June 28, 2010


I'm a working mom.  I could leave it at that.   

I was pondering today the amount of stress in my life.  It pales in comparison to when I commuted 2+ hours a day and worked 10 hours a day while having a child but it's still there.  I don't even realize I am until I lose my patience or start snapping at my husband.  If you look at the symptoms of stress, I have most of them and I didn't even realize that until I looked it up today.  I found this chart which gives all of the symptoms:

Over the years I've developed a few strategies for dealing with stress that work wonders for me.  I take the kids down to the lake, I read a book, I treat myself to something, I clean the house, I bake, I eat something really healthy, I go for a little walk and sometimes I eat chocolate (although eating chocolate is the least effective as it's affects are only short term - approximately the lenght of time it takes me to eat it).  Doing these things don't take away the things that are making me stressed - but they do make me feel better.  Tonight I'm looking forward to reading a book and forgetting that my house is on the market, that I have bills to pay and that I have to get up so early tomorrow.  How do you deal with stress at home or at work?

Monday, June 14, 2010

A story about patience

Generally, I am not a patient person.  I'm a slightly anxious and slightly high strung actually.  I don't like crowds, line ups or loud noises.  But having children and over 7 years attending to their needs I have grown more patience.  They have changed my life for the better in so many ways and I try to be a good mom to them in return.  It didn't come overnight though, I've had to work on my patience.  I've had to leave the room and count to ten on more than one occasion.  When I start feeling overwhelmed I ask my husband to take over to give me a few minutes of perspective.  Sometimes all I need are a few minutes of quiet and I'm back into the thick of it with renewed perspective and patience. 

An overtired two year old. 

Once a week my husband works late and I have the girls to myself for the evening.  We play hide and seek, paint our nails, play ponies and read books.  We did all this tonight in fact.  My youngest (3) was overtired and crying at the drop of the hat.  My oldest was too for that matter.  After redirecting a few fights between them ("You can't hide where I'm hiding!!"  "Madelyn won't let me look at that book!!") and getting endless glasses of milk (3 each to be exact) and giving them individual attention and hugs where needed it was time for bed.  I was doing pretty good!!  Instead of losing my patience I would calmly redirect them or dry tears and give hugs. 

When bedtime is drawing near I give them time to adjust to the idea that playtime will soon be over and our bedtime routine will begin.  I usually have to ask them a few times each but eventually they are herded into the bathroom to brush their teeth, wash face and hands and have a pee before bed.  We all crawled into bed, they fought about which book to read first and I found a compromise book - one of our favorites - I Spy.  They even managed (the poor overtired dears - insert sarcasm here) to fight about who was spying.  After stopping tears of a fight over the book for the fourth time (we didn't even get to finish the book) I had had enough.  I decided I'd better settle them down before I lost my patience.  WELL....then it was a fight about where they slept.  They can't both sleep in my bed because then the youngest keeps the oldest awake or they kick each other and fight over covers...but neither of them was willing to leave my bed.  What was I to do??  The youngest was crying and the oldest was trying to snuggle down and get to sleep.  It's usually my oldest that I ask to compromise but that wasn't happening tonight.  And with my three year old refusing to get into her own bed or get into my bed I lost my patience.  I had my own little tantrum and they both ended up in my bed.  I left the room and waited in the bathroom for the youngest to come out to ask for water but she didn't and I went back in to see them both laying quietly with their eyes closed, no tears and trying to go to sleep.  I kissed them each and told them I loved them and left the room.  They just succumbed to the comfy coziness of mommy's bed and all is right in the world again.  What do you do when you feel your patience slipping? 

Sunday, May 30, 2010

On the lack of time

"So much to do - so little time to do it in!"
~Cecil Rhodes
If anyone knows about the lack of time it's likely this man.  Cecil formed the De Beers Mining Company with the De Beers brothers only to die at 49 due to complications from his tubercular lung condition.  The original quote is much longer than this  ...something about..."life is short, the art is long, opportunity fleeting..." but it was shortened.  Ah the things you learn when you google a popular quote. 

The matter of time has plagued my daily life lately, especially weeknight evenings.  I come home and make a healthy meal for my family and before I know it, it's bedtime for the kids and shortly thereafter, bedime for myself as well.  I get about 4.5 hours in the evenings...and only about 3 of those hours are with my kids.  This is why they go to bed at I can see them for 3+ hours a night!  My sister in law stays at home with her kids and they go to bed at 7-8pm.  I know exactly why...because she will see them all day the next day so there is no reason for them to be up later than that time.  But I digress.  My daily struggle is what to do with that precious time.  Besides cooking, cleaning up, unpacking and packing lunches, baths etc. what am I to do with that whole 1-2 hours an evening I get to myself?  I usually do more chores and read a book before bed.  My mother thinks I should do more laundry and sometimes I do make a point of putting the stuff away instead of flaking in front of the computer or tv.  I think I should be finding time to exercise.  Part of me thinks I just need to organize my time better or be more productive with the time I have, and the other part thinks - slow down, you do enough!  Amber Strocel is encouraging everyone who reads her blog to write about Awesomeness.  And without changing my topic of this post, I'd have to say that I am an awesome mom.  I git er done.  I am an amazing multitasker.  My kids are polite, sweet, smart and confident.  I always find time to tell them about their own awesomeness.  And dang it, I may not have much time but I am still able to be a great mom to them. 

A lot of the challenge I have with time is deciding how it's spent.  It comes down to our own perspective of busy.  For example, I'm writing this blog, but also getting cereal for the kids, putting bacon in the oven, letting the dog out and planning my day in my head.  It's Sunday and after I'm done whining about time, I'm going to make french toast, call a friend, get the kids ready, a lunch ready and take them to a splash pad/playground for a picnic.  I should be finishing the laundry, vacuuming and planting my garden today - and it still might get done - but I have to prioritize.  Most of my fight with time is deciding what's going to win, the chores or the fun.  And quite honestly, life is too short and the fun usually wins.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My house

When I bought my house nine years ago I thought it was amazing. I was 25 and my boyfriend and I were moving out of a bachelor apartment to a four bedroom, semi-detached home away from the big city. The house needed a lot of work….it was approximately 30 years old when we bought it and although it had been upgraded somewhat….counters, roof and carpeting were all new…. a lot of major items needed to be addressed, such as the paneling on the living room walls, the peel and stick tile in the kitchen/hallway, the very old single paned windows, the gardens (my pleasure), redo the front step, add more insulation to the attic, the back patio needed to be graded away from the house and we also wanted to take all the wallpaper down and replace it with paint – to name a few. I think the first thing we did was replace the windows and sliding glass door. We replaced the peel and stick, replaced the furnace, added insulation to the attic, replaced the carpeting on the stairs and in the upstairs hallway, re-did the front stoop (twice) with interlock, replaced all the light fixtures in the house, graded the back patio, painted the kitchen cupboards, removed all the wallpaper, painted the house twice over, completely replaced the main floor bathroom down to the studs – whew! All this in nine years as well as getting married and having two children. I affectionately call this house “the Money Pit” as it reminds me of that glorious house that Tom Hanks bought and had to gut and rebuild. The nice thing is that the house finally looks complete and I walk in everyday feeling like I could have visitor’s over without having to explain why we have no baseboards or why the light fixture is hanging from the ceiling. It’s a nice feeling but there is still so much to be done…and we are woefully short on resources. I’m trying to be patient as a kitchen renovation is not realistic right now and neither is a complete basement overhaul. I feel frusterated. I’m looking for solutions but am finding it hard too when all I see are dollar signs. I console myself with the fact that we will eventually sell the house, win the lottery or get a loan to do a renovation but for right now it will have to wait. It’s no wonder I find it hard to relax, we’ve been going non-stop since we moved here! Have you done any renovations to your home? Did you hire someone or do them yourselves?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Weekend shenanigans

We had a glorious, busy, sunny Easter weekend.  I was off Friday and today and had a four day weekend. 

Thursday night we went to a good friend's house for a bbq dinner.  She had invited the neighbors - who are always fun and upbeat - and we sat outside for hours enjoying the weather and company while the kids played. 

We made plans for Friday which included a visit to a local farm for an egg hunt and then later that night to watch a movie (projected outside just for fun) with the kids.  The egg hunt was SO fun.  The kids made baskets, looked at baby chicks and then we went on a tractor pulled wagon ride out to a field to find eggs.  Afterward we visited the bakery where we bought cookies, fudge and strudel.  The husbands stayed home but insisted we bring them fudge.  My three year old fell asleep on the couch at 6pm and so only my six year old and I went to watch the movie. 

Saturday was another busy day...a baby shower an hour north from our house, and an overnight at my aunt's house, since both places were a 15 minute drive apart.  The baby shower was relaxing.  It was great to see my extended family - second and third cousins, great aunt's and uncle and even my sister who was visiting from out of town.  We stayed for a couple of hours then headed back to my aunt's house for Easter dinner.  My cousins (boys aged 14 and 16) are great with the girls and helped by watching them on the trampoline, taking them to look for frogs and making sure they stayed safe while the adults relaxed and made dinner.  We went on a long walk in the nearby graveyard where my grandmother is buried and found golf balls in the field - as part of our tradition when visiting.  After dinner we had a sauna and a hot tub and then played Tripoli - what a great day. 

Sunday morning we painted eggs, went for another long walk but this time in the field behind their house.  The boys were determined to bring us to this pond where they swore the frogs were so loud you had to cover your ears!  We walked a while and could hear the frogs from a hundred meters away so we kept on treking only to hear then suddenly stop as we came within feet of the pond!  We think the dog scared them because they went completely silent and stayed that way until long after we had left.  After a big lunch we decided it was time to head home - I still had an Easter dinner of my own to make!  We had ham, baked potatoes, corn and broccoli and shuffled off to bed. 

Today was another glorious day - another high of 30 - which is a typical summer day here in Ontario, except that it's barely spring!  We did our Easter hunt this morning and started the day off with a little bit of chocolate.  I bought the girls four canvasses to paint and we each painted one after breakfast.  My hubby had to work so he was off at 11:30 am and after lunch we got cleaned up, packed some snacks and went to the park.  I brought my book, a pleasure I usually reserve for before bed, and some toys, snacks and drinks for the girls.  My three year old rode her tricyle all the way there and back and we were gone for two hours. 

It was a wonderful weekend, busy but worthwhile.  We cram a lot into these free days because we all work so hard through the week.  The girls had a great time and were absolutely exhausted when I put them to bed tonight.  I hope everyone else had a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tall tales and Quirky behavior

First let me tell you a little bit about my six and a half year old daughter. She’s the oldest of two girls, she is a good sister but can be a little “grabby” with toys. She’s very imaginative and likes to make up stories, roles and characters and to act out and direct the storyline with her friends. She’s a Cancer which means to me that she’s a little quirky but in a good/funny way and she’s also a very caring and sensitive individual. Recently she has taken to telling tall tales. An example of a tall tale is when she told her friend that I had a baby boy and he died and we buried him in a forest near the school. :X. And she tells these tales in such a convincing manner and insists that the tale is true. So this little tale came back to me through another parent who was concerned that perhaps I had lost a baby through miscarriage! So I took Madelyn aside one night and explained that it’s not appropriate to tell tales about your family, especially ones that are untrue and could be harmful to our family name. I explained that this is like lying when you insist that it’s true and don’t relent or give away that perhaps you are making it up. No harm done but I don’t want her making up other stories that could be harmful if heard by teachers or misconstrued through the social grapevine.

But I’d like to focus for a minute on her quirky side. Sometimes when I’m talking with Madelyn she makes squeels and grunts and/or she sticks her tongue out at me or makes a face. For the most part my husband and I respond by telling her it’s rude, to act “normally” (i.e. not grunt or cross her eyes when we are talking to her) and respond to us with words and not noises. So a request that she close her mouth when chewing her food could get the response “Eeeeeee. Beep.” ..followed by more lip smacking. And I couldn’t help but notice that it’s becomming disrespectful. She’s not awknowledging our request, she’s dismissing it. And the tongue thing is just plain rude. So yesterday I took her aside, sat her on my lap and explained why it’s rude to not awknowledge someone when they speak to you. How it’s appropriate to look that person in the eyes while they are talking to you and to respond in words, not noises. That it’s rude to stick out your tongue after your parent / teacher / anyone asks you to do something. And that there will be consequences if she does not listen / answer in a respectful way. We have told her this many times before but usally in a more reactive manner than through conversation. This time I tried a different approach and you know what she did? She stuck her tongue out, just slightly through her lips. And I took away her computer privledges for the day. She then tried to tell me that she was licking her lips! I let her get back to her lunch but I noticed that she was only picking at it. She told me that she didn’t feel like eating after I talked to her so I took her aside again and gave her some more snuggles and explained that we aren’t mad at her, that we love her but why it’s important to us that she behave herself in a way that we feel is appropriate for her age and how I’d rather have her talk back to me instead of her responding with noises that don’t make any sense. She flitted off afterward much happier and the rest of the day went really well. I’m always slightly apprehensive about discipline, my usual reaction is to yell or redirect (depending on the behavior I'm correcting) but the way she was acting was starting to concern me. And overall I think it went pretty well! She is generally a great kid but she’s been challenging me lately. I’d like to relate it all back to her quirky, imaginative nature but I’ve never had a six year old before so it could be an age thing, a personality thing or a respect thing. It does leave me wondering…..does anyone else have a child that makes faces and strange noises instead of responding to a direct question or request?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Expectations of a new mom

When we decided to become pregnant it was a very exciting prospect and I relished the idea of having a child with my true love and best friend. We had always talked about having children eventually….both of us the oldest of three children, both of us close to our siblings and parents. I started taking folic acid, prenatal vitamins and quit my birth control and lo and behold three months after we started trying, I was pregnant. I had a wonderful pregnancy.  I left work two weeks before my due date because I was terrified that I would go into labor at work. I had never been off work for longer than two weeks at a time unless it was for a vacation. I organized the entire house in those two weeks and fielded phone calls from friends and family who were wondering if I was in labor yet? Feeling crampy? I went for a very uncomfortable ultrasound to measure the baby, I went for walks, I considered taking castor oil. And eventually my daughter was born and I became a mother for the first time. And I had a hard lesson to learn. How to slow down. I had sped through life up until then, working since I was 14, graduating high school, going to college and then commuting and working. Going to meetings, doing research, training large audiences and generally climbing the corporate ladder. All of a sudden, armed with “What to Expect the First Year” and a basic knowledge of babies, and I was a mother. I was elated and took it on as another challenge in life that could be measured, analyzed, researched and figured out. I was enthralled with my little girl and her little hands and toes, her wonderful little nose, her perfect little body. I loved doing her laundry and choosing her clothes everyday. But the part about being home, alone, with an adorable baby that I didn’t always know how to calm was sometimes challenging to say the least. And more challenging was all the spare time I had! A year of maternity leave stretched out before me and I realized I was bored. I didn’t start sewing, scrapbooking or crocheting, I joined a mommy group at the YWCA and I found a group of mommies online whom I corresponded with. There were so many questions I had outside of my “What to Expect” books and I wasn’t afraid to ask for advice. What I learned was you shouldn’t have any expectations. That you should just live day by day, get lots of sleep, eat well and take care of yourself and your baby first. I had always been successful in everything I tried and here was this little baby who was challenging me more and stretching my limits more than any job I had ever done. I would comment to friends years later that working for the President of a company was easy compared to raising a child! And in the next breath I would tell them how she has changed my life in so many wonderful and amazing ways. I remember every challenge I had raising her and how some days I would stand at the window willing my husband to come home so I could have a shower. Looking back on it now I realize what a humbling experience it was. And I would do it all over again for her and do it better if I had the chance. She and her sister taught me so many things about myself such as how not to sweat the small stuff, how to nap during the day, that babies never nap for as long as you would hope, and that putting a baby to sleep successfully and getting them to be good sleepers would be the most challenging thing you’ll ever learn. Being a mother is one of the hardest job’s I’ve ever done and the most selfless. Your wage is paid in kisses and snuggles and your recognition is a full heart when your three year old approaches you with arms outstretched with four single words “Mommy, I want you.”

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


In the course of everyday, I am immersed in a schedule. This schedule is necessary as it is a list in my mind of what has to happen to get from point A to point B. For example, when I wake up I’m thinking “get out of bed and get in the shower”, when I get out of the shower it’s “dry off, get dressed, get the kids up”, once the kids are up it’s “get the girls some breakfast, make Madelyn’s lunch, get the girls dressed by 8:30.” The lists go on and on throughout my day but mostly when I’m home and am faced with the duties of motherhood and a household. I am the primary caregiver to the girls and our dog and therefore certain things need to take place in a day….dishes, dinner, baths, laundry etc.  I am sometimes so immersed in the schedule in my mind that I can overlook other needs in our household. I have been getting frustrated with orchestrating every step, every part of the schedule that needs to happen for us to get from point A to point B. Yes, I have a husband who can help but I’m often also telling him to “get dressed” “turn off the tv” and “we have 10 minutes before we have to leave.” And yes, some of this is my OCD with having to be places on time and remembering everything that needs to get done in a week. And this is exactly why I married this laid back, goofy, handsome man – because he can make me step back and look at things from another viewpoint. The side of myself that does actually know how to relax……the side that says, “big deal if Madelyn’s hair is messy, we are just going to the grocery store.” So as I was telling myself that exact thing the other day, I stepped back from my schedule and into the moment. I detached myself from analyzing and planning the next hour and just sat down and let myself be. These are the best moments of my day, when I remind myself to be in the moment. And I’ve realized that I need to do this more. That I’ve been living too much inside my own head and there are some things in life that aren’t automatic, such as having a relationship with my husband or kissing a boo boo better. I am making a commitment today to just live in the moment, it is so liberating every time I think about it. Of course there will be moments when I’m in my head, figuring out the schedule but I’m going to try not to let it take over my day or my time with my family.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What was life like before kids? Can I even remember?

I had an exceptionally difficult morning this morning. I went to bed early but lately I’ve been having trouble getting out of bed. I think I may have a bit of the winter blah’s. Combine that with a three year old who fights with me every morning (about socks, what she eats, how the blanket covers her as she lays on the couch, the clothing she has to wear) and I have a recipe for disaster every morning. This morning I also left a few extra chores for myself because I was tired last night and only wanted to sit on the couch after dinner. Imagine, I just wanted to SIT for an hour. My need for quiet and calm is often overlooked in my daily life as I strive to be a working parent. It seems the only quiet and calm I get is at work. I’m sitting here right now enjoying a cup of coffee and reflecting on my morning, on every morning since I had kids. I have always been someone who enjoys – no relishes peace and quiet. I can sit for hours with a book or staring out across a lake and daydreaming, wishing, fantasizing, visualizing, being calm. The best part of camping for me is the peace and quiet. I don’t like sleeping on the air mattress, cold mornings, having to walk over 50 feet to a washroom or showering in a room where my clothes get wet despite my every effort to keep them dry. But the benefits of the quiet and the beauty, the clean air and the calm of sleeping outside far outweigh those other things for me. So it’s not surprising to me that this morning I was thinking about how much easier my life was before I had kids. It was mostly because my three year old was moaning and crying for about 20 minutes while we got ready to go. She was tired, I was tired and no doubt she’d rather be home instead of going to daycare today but it’s a fantastic daycare and I know she’s having fun right now as I write this. Both of our children were planned and very much anticipated. They have made our lives so much more wonderful in many ways. But I couldn’t help but fantasize how much EASIER everything was before I had kids. How much MORE MONEY I had in my pocket. I had time to volunteer, money to have my hair done, I sat and watched the morning news before work, I went to movies, I had conversations with my husband, I had baths…….the list could go on and on. It’s just a fantasy, a daydream of what my life once was before I had two little girls to take care of. It’s amazing how resilient you eventually (out of necessity) become when you are a parent. Firstly you give up your body, then sleep and your body (if you are nursing), then all your free time, your ability to shower whenever you want, your brain cells, your social life….. And all of this has made me a stronger person, a more patient person, a more reliable person. Would I trade my kids for money or free time – not a chance. But I need a break from this tiresome routine of getting up with the kids Monday-Friday, feeding, dressing, brushing hair and teeth between 7-8am. Remembering lunches, snow pants, mittens, hats, extra clothing, permission slips for school, gas for the van…it’s an exhausting routine. Next week I’m off for four days and I’m so looking forward to just living. But this morning I wondered, would being a SAHM give me more free time? More money? Probably not - but the idea of just getting up, throwing on some yoga pants, feeding the kids, taking the older one to school for 8am then coming home, cleaning the kitchen, playing with my three year old while I decided what to get accomplished that day, sounds really appealing right now. So I asked my husband this morning if he would consider working full-time and part time (and I would also work part time). He was reluctant but I know I could change his mind if I really tried. When I am feeling this disconnected, I feel the need to take action and make some changes. Because that’s what I am right now, disconnected from what really matters in life. Peace, family and my own happiness.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rainbow cupcakes

This week I was inspired by a recipe I found about rainbow cake. I still want to make one but just haven't had the time. In the meantime, the girls and I have been having fun making rainbow cupcakes. Somehow, plain white cake seems to taste so much yummier as rainbow cake. Even my husband, who doesn't like cake, has eaten a few of these this week. Albiet messy and time consuming (both times I've made them have taken me 1.5 hours with clean up!) they are so worth it! Our first try was with green, blue and red and today we made purple, orange, green and red cupcakes. Since my camera has been missing for a while (I know it's here somewhere but haven't figured out where I put it in a couple months!) I've borrowed a pic from someone else's post. The original recipe calls for making the batter from scratch but we've had great success with white cake mix and food coloring. They are a great way to brighten up a cold winter day!

Monday, January 25, 2010


Anytime I tell someone about my three year olds sock "thing" the reply is usually "oh yeah, I did the same when I was a kid" or "my niece does that" or "my child hates socks too." It's always nice to know that you aren't alone in your challenges as a parent. My three year old hates the seams on socks - hates them. It's always an argument to get her to put them on and then she yells "owwwww, they're hurtinnnn." Then when boots or shoes are put on it compounds the situation and there is crying, squirming, whining and writhing on the floor. She hates the way the socks feel on her feet. As soon as she gets home she takes them off (and most of her clothes as well for that matter!). This morning I rubbed her feet after putting the socks on and that seemed to help a little. Needless to say, I've been on the lookout for seamless socks and even though I'm not sure it will help - I'm willing to try. Anyone else with this little drama?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How clean would you like your house to be?

I don't want it to seem like I don't get out much - but I do have two kids - and quite honestly, when I'm at home, I'm cleaning. I don't enjoy cleaning, but it's one of those things you can do while also playing with your kids, watching tv or listening to the radio. So I guess I don't mind it but when I get home in the evening, in four hours I cram in lots of cleaning and preparing. It is the only thing I can do if I'm going to get any alone time a few times a week. Tonight I've emptied the garbage, cleaned out M's lunch bag, made dinner, emptied the dishwasher, loaded the dishwasher, run the dishwasher, wiped the counter, washed snowpants and mittens, bathed both children, made a game out of paper fish - an old fishing rod, string, paperclips and a magnet, and played video games. And bedtime is another story. So I've decided that I'm going to make the most of it and at least try to get to the gym a few times a week. Which leads me to wonder how clean I would like my house to be. More clean than I am fit? The dishes can wait.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I remember when my oldest daughter was a toddler and just learning to speak. I couldn't wait for her to learn to say Momma or Mommy. I wanted her to speak her needs to me, to say "Mommy, may I please have a cookie?" and I would say "Certainly my darling angel, here you go." Ahhh what a fantasy world I lived in - a world of diapers, bottles, nap times and maternity leave. So finally that wonderful day came and I remember my heart filling with joy at hearing her address me as her parent. With the second born I remember withing the same thing. But last night, I was overwhelmed with the word. At one point i thought I would count how many times "Mommy" was said but lost count at four because I was so distracted by their requests! I could easily guess that on any given evening between 5:30 and 8:30 pm, the word "Mommy" is said at least 30 times. At least. Before my youngest could talk, I asked my oldest daughter to call me "Your Highness" in stead of Mommy on some days where I was feeling especially saucy. Some days I tell them to ask Daddy but most of the time their requests fall onto me, the momma of two wonderful little girls who have learned the value of the word "Mommy."

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Thoughts while cleaning the tub

While I was cleaning the tub tonight with baking soda, I was delighted yet again by the amazing cleaning power of this stuff! Using a sponge it easily scours away grime and soap scum - without the chemical smell and without having to wait for it to soak in. I don't even buy cleaners for my tub anymore because they just simply don't work as well. I use it on the sinks too, anywhere that grime accumulates. Besides cleaning with baking soda, I realized that there are so many other things our family does to reduce our waste and help the environment, for example:
We are helping our school to produce less waste with "litter-less lunches."
We compost all of our discarded food.
We compost our grass clippings/leaves/dead plants.
We recycle.
We grow some of our own vegetable's and buy local vegetable's/fruits.
We only own one vehicle for our four person family.
We donate our good used clothing to second hand stores.
We observe Earth Day and turn off lights etc. when we leave a room.
I think a lot of people are probably doing these same things in their communities (and more!) and yet we are told it's still not enough. Well I say congratulations to us! We are trying to make a difference! What natural cleaning products do you use?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year 2010!

It's almost hard to believe that 10 years ago we were worried about all the computers crashing and various other disasters and here we are - 2010! It's amazing when I think back to how much I've done in the last 9 years. We bought our house in 2000, got married in 2002, had a baby in 2003, had another baby in 2006, bought a mini-van, and I changed where I worked in January 2008.
There have been so many other things but those were the major ones. And here I sit today with a six year old and a three year old (who is currently fighting bed time at 9:47 pm!) and I think I may finally have some time and be organized enough to begin a new phase of my life. At 35 I feel like I'm entering middle age and I'm realizing there is so much I still want to do. I think it's also the beginning of a new year that has me motivated to start some new routines and a healthier lifestyle. Last year I created my own "bucket list" of things I want to achieve...before I'm too old too. I keep reminding myself that I can still learn new things even at's the new 20 doncha know. I want to write a book, learn to downhill ski, make exercise part of my daily routine, spend less, work less, visit another country, volunteer more in my many things and so little time to myself. Do you have any New Years resolutions? Any new routines you want to start?