Apr 29, 2011

{this moment: biking}

Inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

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Apr 27, 2011

Finding Your Inner Child

bubble shot

When do we grow up? When do we forget to play and have fun? Why does life have to be so serious? I've been asking myself these questions lately. As an early childhood educator, I am frequently reminded of the joy and freedom that can be found in play but what about all the other adults in the world? Would there be as much conflict, crime and war if we nurtured our inner child?

Here are some fun ideas to reconnect with your inner child.

Dig out a costume and wear it for the day.
I love this about children. Regardless of the day or occasion, they will wear a costume when the feel like it. We're going grocery shopping... well let me get out my princess crown and duck costume.

Find a hill and log roll down it.
Do you remember doing this? Throw your body down a hill and roll wildly to the bottom. Just try not to giggle!

Get out your rubber boots and go puddle hopping!
Children love it! As adults we should love it too... seeing the impact our bodies can have on a pool of water. For more fun, go puddle hopping with a friend!

Twirl around and around until you get dizzy!
Go out into the middle of a field and twirl around and around until you fall to the ground. Then watch the world continue to spin about your head!

I'm not talking about a blood-curdling "I'm being murdered" scream but a "Wheeee... life is fun scream".

Go to the playground and swing on a swing.
Pump your legs as hard as you can and swing as high as you can go! Then close your eyes and laugh. Feel the wind on your face and in your hair.

Blast your favourite tunes and dance your wildest dance!

Forget about fashion sense.
Go to your closet and/or your tickle trunk and put on your favourite clothing items. I just love how children can feel perfectly confident and content dressing themselves in a cowboy hat, a tutu and rubber boots! Try to do the same. Enjoy the looks you get as you walk down the street!

Play with playdough.
Squish, squeeze, pound and mould a hunk of dough! Revel in the way your hands can work the dough. Poke it. Smell it. Have fun!

Do some fingerpainting.
Roll up your sleeves and dip your fingers in some paint. Squish the paint on the paper and revel in the texture.

Make a mud pie.
Now that you've gotten a little "messy", go one step further and get super messy. Soak some dirt, get out a plate and make a mud pie. Get creative and add some leaves and twigs for decoration. Come on... you know you want to!

Go outside, lie on your back, and do some cloud watching.
I see a horse, a balloon, a rabbit... cloud watching sparks the imagination and revitalizes the inner child in you.

Blow some bubbles.
You may do this for your children but try blowing some bubbles just for your own enjoyment. Watch the way the light reflects off of them and try catching them in your hands.

Play some childhood games.
You can skip rope, hopscotch or twirl a hula hoop! Do an activity that makes you feel young and alive!

Who says we have to grow old? What else can you do to find your inner child? Please share your thoughts and ideas for others to discover. Our hearts can truly be forever young... we just have to allow ourselves to see the world through a child's eyes and experience it with a child's sense of exploration, openess and freedom.

Photo Credit
Photo by Rhett Maxwell found in the Creative Commons on Flickr

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Apr 25, 2011

My Best Life: Silencing The Negative Voices

Last Week's Strategy
Last week's strategy was to be a more responsible consumer. The funny thing is, I really didn't get to put this strategy to work because I did not buy anything this week.... no food, no products, nothing. I will continue to have an awareness of this strategy over the coming weeks. Next Sunday the farmer's market near my home opens up for the season. This will help my strategy because I hope to get much of my fresh fruits and vegetables from the market throughout the summer months.

This Week's Strategy
I am worthless.
I can't do anything right today.
I'm a bad mother.
I'm incapable.
What's wrong with me?
The negative voices go on and on. They rob me of my confidence and they put insecurity and depression in its place.

I just recognized today how deafening these negative voices can be. All I hear is negativity. At times I vocalize these negative thoughts (yes, I talk to myself... don't we all?). I realized I can never achieve a peaceful, happy life if I allow my inner voice to be so negative.

The irony is that on the outside, to others, I am an upbeat, positive and optimistic person. So why the negativity? Why do I beat myself up? Why am I never good enough, smart enough, pretty enough?

I'm certain there are others in the world who struggle with those inner voices. But how do I silence them? What am I to do?

Today, I realized that I am entitled to think good things about myself. As of today, I am going to make a conscientious effort to silence those negative voices and turn my attention to the positive voices. From now on, when I hear a negative thought, I will immediately refute it and turn it into a positive thought. Hopefully, with a sensitive ear turned inwards I can start thinking about myself in a more positive light. With time, I hope those voices will say:
I am worthy.
I can do anything.
I am a good mother.
I am capable and competent.
Everything about me is right.
I love being me.
I would like to wish you a wonderful week!

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Apr 22, 2011

{this moment: in Mommy's bed}

Inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

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Apr 21, 2011

When I Have Kids I'll Never Do THAT!

The other day while waiting in line at the store, a preschool-aged child in the other line started having a temper tantrum... he wanted a treat and his mother had said no. After a couple minutes she let him select a treat and the tantrum stopped.

In my mind I thought, "Eeeek - what kind of message is that sending him? Now he thinks every time he has a tantrum he'll get what he wants." The twenty-something couple in front of me vocalized my thoughts. Hearing it out loud filled me with guilt. Who am I to judge? Maybe this is the one time this mother took this type of action. Perhaps she needed to do this to get through the shopping trip (or the day) without losing her temper (or her sanity). Then the woman in front of me leaned over to her partner and said, "When I have kids I'll never do that!"

Do the words sound familiar? Whether you vocalized your sentiments or kept them to yourself, the majority of us have criticized parenting strategies in one form or another. As I've shared in the previous example, I am guilty of this too.

As a child care professional I am very aware of the impact that even the smallest judgements can have on a parent's self-esteem. Parenting is difficult task in itself let alone having to deal with other's criticisms and perceptions of your parenting techniques. Why do we criticize? Why don't we support each other more? Is it a universal trait of humankind to tear others down in order to build ourselves up?

This experience made me think about my own judgements and "lofty" parenting strategies prior to having a child of my own. Here are a few items on my list of things I would NEVER do when I have kids of my own.

I will not let my children watch television or movies until they are at least six years old. 
What the hell was I thinking when I made this lofty declaration? Obviously I didn't know the power of putting in a DVD while stealing a twenty minute shower after being up all night with a fussy baby. Overall, my daughter does not watch any television, but she does watch Mr. Dressup or Milo and Otis every day during her quiet time (a.k.a. mom or dad's quiet time). We also have a few favourite DVDs that she gets to watch occasionally.

I will not allow multi-media or commercialism dictate what I buy for my child.
Then my husband and I found Yo Gabba Gabba. Before we knew it, we bought every DVD and my daughter owns the plastic play figures. We even took her to the Yo Gabba Gabba Live Show: There's a Party in My City. We love it, she loves it... enough said.

Bedtime is bedtime. There will be NO flexibility on the time my child goes to bed.
For the most part my daughter has a steady bedtime. However, I must admit when we're out visiting friends and family, we will often push bedtime back an hour or two. I don't know what I was thinking when I decided on this unrealistic parenting technique! As if we're going to pack up our kid at 6:30 pm so that we can get her in bed for 8:00 pm!

My marriage will always come first. My children will come second.
Before I had a child, I envisioned bi-weekly date nights and conversations with my husband that did not revolve around the children. Now that we have a child (and I'm pregnant with another) the "bi-weekly" date nights are more like quarterly date nights and many of our conversations revolve around our child. I see the value in maintaining our own interests and personalities but I also see how when one parent stays home with a child all day, that's what their world is about and the other parent usually wants to know as much as possible about that world so that they don't feel left out.

I will never drag my child through a mall or store.
Groceries need to be purchased. Necessities or presents will not be purchased on their own, errands need to be done. There may never be the perfect day to complete mundane chores. Sometimes we have to "drag" our children through these tasks. See my posting, Running Errands With Children, for tips as to how to get through these everyday tasks with a child in tow.

I will NEVER raise my voice with my child.
Although this rarely happens (and when it does I feel exceptionally guilty), I have raised my voice with my daughter. Sometimes the firm tone and louder voice was all I could do in the moment. However, if someone overheard it, I'm sure they would think I'm a horrible parent.

I will play with my child at all times, as much as possible.
I envisioned long, meaningful play episodes, constant art activities and an abundance of stories. This really isn't necessary. My child needs to also learn about the world without an adult facilitating her every discovery. Plus while she's happily playing, I get an opportunity to check my e-mail or work on a posting for my blog!

My child will not play with plastic toys.
Okay... I admit it's a little bit fanatical but I envisioned a play room full of handcrafted, open-ended, wood and fabric toys. However, my daughter discovered DUPLO and all bets were off. Did I mention my daughter owns the Yo Gabba Gabba figurines?

Have you passed judgement on other parents? What did you think you would NEVER do but now you think differently?

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Apr 19, 2011

My Best Life: Be A Responsible Consumer

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Happy Earth Day, Big Blue Marble!

Last Week's Strategy

My strategy last week was to seek out humour and laughter several times throughout the day. It was surprising to me that how when you look for humour and laughter, you can find it almost anywhere! Despite the fact that I was diagnosed with an umbilical hernia last week, I was able to find humour in the situation.

The Internet is such a great source of humour. As Cate, from Keep Cate Busy shared, YouTube is a great place to find humour! I could get "lost" with all the humourous videos on there!

This Week's Strategy

I am a keen advocate for protecting and preserving our beautiful world. There are many measures I take on a daily basis to ensure my carbon footprint is minimal. However, As Earth Day approaches, I am reminded that I can always do more. One area that I feel could use some improving is in the area of consumerism.

  • This week I would like to focus on buying food or items that are made responsibly. Being that I live in Canada, locally farmed produce is hard to find this early in spring. However, I would like to pay more attention to buying organic foods and/or items that are not transported for long distances. 
  • For other products, I will try to purchase used items or items that are made with renewable resources. 
  • I will also be conscientious in limiting my consumerism. After all, the less I buy, the less demand I put on the environment.  
What do you and your family do to protect and preserve the environment? As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. In the meantime, I would like to wish you a wonderful week.

Photo Credit
Photo from EraPhernalia Vintage found in the Creative Commons on Flickr

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Apr 16, 2011

The Doctor Put His Finger In Your WHAT?!

Not to worry, dear friends, I haven't taken a turn away from G-rated material but... you would never guess where the doctor put his finger today. Ready? Are you sitting down? Do you have a bowl or bag to puke into? Can you handle this?

The doctor put his finger in my....

Oh. My. God. I can't say it. I'm going to be sick just recalling this traumatic event. Why would he do such a horrible, awful, nasty, disgusting, thing? Well, let's rewind the clock about forty-eight hours....

So, here I was, at work, eating lunch with ten ravenous toddlers when suddenly a sharp stabbing pain hit me in the abdomen. I thought maybe the cucumber and tomato salad wasn't sitting well with me so I grimaced through the pain and on my lunch break I treated myself to a toasted, buttered bagel and a ginger ale. For the rest of the day I struggled with waves of pain. I thought perhaps I was getting the flu, so I ate small, light meals but regardless of my efforts, the pain persisted and hardly any other symptoms developed.

On Friday things got worse. My tummy wasn't just sore, I was in severe, searing pain! What the hell could this be? My boss ended up sending me home about halfway through the day because I was not faring well (she also thought maybe I had the flu). I suffered Friday night and Saturday morning until I decided I had enough and went to the hospital. It's amazing how quickly they take care of a woman who's 26 weeks preggo!!!

I peed in a cup. I was measured and tested. We listened to the baby's heartbeat and then HE appeared. Dressed in white and green he looked innocent enough. I assumed he was normal. I didn't ask to see his credentials but the nurse seemed to know and like him. Then he did IT. He stuck his finger in my belly button!!! I writhed on the table and confessed that it wasn't due to pain but due to the fact that I have a STRONG aversion to belly buttons. I wanted to puke.

The doctor tried to tell me "nicely" that I have an umbilical hernia. As my ears began ringing and my face burned hot, he went into detail as to what this meant (i.e. no treatment, suffer through the pain until after birth and then get it surgically fixed). Now, I know I'm sensitive to this stuff because belly buttons gross me out but when I looked over at my husband and realized he looked like he was going to pass out, I knew it wasn't just me. This was disgusting stuff and now my aversion to belly buttons has increased tenfold.

That was my Saturday. Eventful and disgusting. However, I find some comfort in knowing that food is not causing the pain, so bring on the chips, Oreo cookies, ice cream and tacos. This gal has an umbilical hernia!

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Pregnancy Through The Eyes Of A Three-Year-Old

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One of the most joyous parts of this pregnancy has been observing my daughter's processing of the events surrounding my pregnancy. What is going on for Mommy? Why is Mommy's body changing? What does it all mean?

As I reflect on these moments, I thought some are just too humourous not to share. So here it is... pregnancy through the eyes of a three-year-old.

  • For the first few months of my pregnancy, my daughter was adamant that I had her baby brother growing in my tummy and she had her baby sister growing in her tummy.
  • One day my daughter pointed at my belly and asked, "Who's that growin' in there?"
  • We began renovating a part of our basement so that we have a room for the baby's nursery and a new location for our home office. My daughter's interpretation of this... "The baby's going to live in the basement with a TV."
  • Well, we got the baby's first pictures taken. After the ultrasound my daughter declared, "That was soooo great!!!"
  • While eating breakfast, my daughter and I were casually talking about the baby. I said: "Sweetie, you know, when the baby is born it will come and live with us." My daughter gets a perplexed look on her face. "Oh."  (a long pause)  "Okay."
  • My daughter asked me, "What kind of baby animal is growing in Mommy's tummy? Maybe a penguin sister?"
  • My daughter asked me if there's a baby lion or a baby elephant growing in mommy's tummy.
  • For the past few mornings, my daughter opens the door to the nursery, looks in the crib and says, "Nope. Baby's not here yet. Maybe tomorrow."

Lastly, my all time favourite quote:
  • My daughter pointed to my breasts and said, "Mommy are your elbows growing bigger?"
I have three more months until this baby's arrival. I can only imagine the many other hilarious things my daughter will say.

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Apr 15, 2011

{this moment: puddle hopping}

Inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Click Here To Read More

Apr 12, 2011

Waiting For A Potty Disaster

This is not one of your "run-of-the-mill" potty training postings. Read on....

My daughter has moved through the toilet learning phase. For a couple months now she has been successfully keeping dry and going to the potty on her own.

This is an exciting milestone BUT I have been waiting for THE toilet learning disaster. My daughter uses a Baby Bjorn potty. She has had it since her second birthday and it's probably her favourite "chair" in the house. What's great about the potty is the little bowl can be pulled out from the base and dumped into the toilet.

However, my fear lays in the design of this "bowl". You see, when my daughter goes to the toilet she removes this bowl and triumphantly runs to you... no matter what room (or floor of the house) you're in. Many times I imagine her tripping over the threshold of the office and helplessly watching a potty full of urine and feces flying up towards my face.

Yes it's a gross image but one that I can't shake from my head.

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Apr 11, 2011

My Best Life: Find The Humour

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Humor Not Appreciated

Last Week's Strategy

My strategy last week was to plan more quality family time. Every day I scheduled something special to do with my daughter (game night, baking, colouring together, play dough, etc.). I wrote our plans on the calendar and it served to remind me of the "scheduled" time we needed to spend together. I enjoyed having focused time with her and I found I was still able to accomplish all my other tasks during the hours while she sleeps. I will continue this strategy as it seemed to work well for me and my family.

This Week's Strategy

Living life is serious stuff. Quite often laughter and humour is lost in the everyday drama of work, relationships, deadlines and goals. This week I am going to make it a daily practice to seek out humour and laughter several times throughout the day. I can usually find humour in my interactions with my daughter and my husband keeps me laughing too. I will also look into other sources of humour, whether it means watching a short comedic bit, reading a comic strip or visiting some of my favourite, humourous websites.

What do you do to find humour and laughter in your days? As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. In the meantime, I would like to wish you a wonderful week.

Photo Credit
Photo by Ben W (found in the Creative Commons on Flickr)
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Apr 9, 2011

Me, Me, Me!!!


My wonderful day today inspired me to write this post. What made the day wonderful??? It was all about me (and I must say it felt glorious to spoil myself the way I did today).

My Saturday started the same way it always does. I got up, had a bowl of cereal and got ready for my prenatal yoga class. I went to class and focused on being in the moment and gently moved into various poses. After class I drove to a pregnancy spa and used a gift card my hubby gave me for Christmas to get a head-to-toe full-body massage. Oh the bliss of aromatic oils, flickering candles and soothing music.

I then drove to my favourite part of the city and bought a fantastic sandwich and several pastries from my favourite bake shop. I sat and inhaled savoured my sandwich while watching people walk by.

It was a beautiful spring day so I did some boutique shopping. I revelled in the fact that I did not have a child with me and that I had no guilt about my husband being subjected to my doddling. I tried on some clothes at a maternity shop and bought myself a couple new tops. I then stopped at a Starbucks and savoured a Lactaid Vanilla Creme Steamer while reading a couple chapters from my latest book, The Red Tent.

The sun was shining. The sky was clear. Everyone I encountered was happy and alive from the warm weather. Even the puddles on the sidewalks seemed to reflect the joy of the day. It felt great to have a day for myself and it was the perfect day.

Photo Credit
Photo taken by Nick J. Webb
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Apr 8, 2011

{this moment: pianists}

Inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

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Apr 5, 2011

My Best Life: Quality Family Time


Last Week's Strategy

Last week I reflected on all the wonderful people I know and I thanked them for who they are and what they mean to me. I often think of ways in which I can express my thankfulness but then don't act on my thoughts as much as I would like. It was nice to spend the week writing cards and making phone calls to all the wonderful people in my life... by knowing them, I am a better person.

This Week's Strategy

The hectic pace of everyday life... often I wish I could slow it all down.  This week's strategy involves prioritizing family time over other activities. Here are the actions I will take to meet my goal of spending more quality time with my family.

- E-mail, blogging, watching television... all of these activities eat up valuable time spent with my daughter. This week I will start the practice of doing these activities either before my daughter gets up in the morning or after she goes to bed.

- I will "schedule" activities with her and my husband every evening. For example, tonight we built a puzzle together, tomorrow we will play with play dough, on Thursday we will bake something and on Friday we will have a family game night.

- I will also seek out inspiring ideas to keep our activities fun and exciting.

How does your family spend quality time together? As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. In the meantime, I would like to wish you a wonderful week.
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Apr 3, 2011

Home Organization (With Binders)!


I am often heckled for how organized I am. I regard being organized as a way to survive in this busy, crazy, world. As I reflected on some of my favourite organization tips, I quickly realized how much I rely on binders to keep me organized. 3-Ring, D-Ring, 2-3 inch, and multi-coloured... here are some of the ways in which I use these treasures to keep my household organized.

Make a personal phonebook
I have a binder which is divided into various sections; personal phone numbers & addresses, services (e.g. hairdresser, dentist, and vet), work numbers (co-worker's phone list) and a section with plastic sleeves for take-out/delivery menus. The binder is in an easy-to-access place so I can quickly reference any phone number I need.

The personal phone number and address section were done on an Excel spreadsheet. That way, if I need to add someone, I simply add a new row in the proper alphabetical place on the spreadsheet. It's quick and easy with no fussing about formatting.

A tip (I can't remember where I heard it from but I think its genius).... Every time you have to look up a phone number in the yellow or white pages, highlight it. If you've looked it up more than twice, add it to your phone book.

The information binder
I have a binder which is divided up into the following sections:
  • Banking and investments
  • Utilities
  • Bills/credit
  • Insurance
  • Health
  • Other
Each section is filled with plastic sleeves and holds the applicable paperwork. Therefore, if I need to call my gas company, I take out the binder, open it to the utility section and I quickly have my gas company's phone number and all of my account information readily available.

The user manual and warranty binder
I have a 3" binder that is filled with plastic sleeves. When I buy a new appliance or household item that has a user manual and/or warranty, I add it (and the matching receipt) to a plastic sleeve in this binder. This has been so handy for times when my phone went on the fritz or when I've had to return an item to the store because it malfunctioned before its warranty expired. I've also given appliances to friends and they were thrilled that I still had the instruction manual.

The magazine binder
I actually started this when I was pregnant. I was addicted to all of the parenting and pregnancy magazines. There was always at least one or two good articles in every magazine, but I didn't want to save the whole magazine. So I began to tear out articles and put them into plastic sleeves in a binder. I then organized the articles into common sections (e.g. nutrition during pregnancy, labour & delivery, tips for dad, etc.).

My general interest binder has sections on health, beauty, finance, fitness and relationships. I love revisiting old articles in the magazine binder!

The computer binder
I have a binder (once again, with plastic sleeves) that holds all of our computer-related information. Start-up disks for programs, activation codes and instruction manuals are a couple of examples of what I archive in the computer binder.

The family health binder
I started this binder with my daughter's information but it has now grown to include all the family members. This binder is divided into sections by family member. Immunization records, eye and drug prescriptions, health care numbers, insurance policies and claims/forms are filed in plastic sleeves. Also, if we receive any medical-related information (i.e. information about my daughter's dairy allergy) we add it to the binder as well.

I hope these tips have inspired you! Feel free to share any of your organization tips (especially if they're binder-related). After all, I'm always looking for an excuse to take a trip to Staples.

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Apr 1, 2011

{this moment: family time}

1 comment:
Inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Click Here To Read More