Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Motivation

Life has been so busy I didn't make it to the gym for 2 straight weeks.  When I finally found the time on Monday I felt like I was right back at square one. 

Out of breath...sore...sweaty...and annoyed.  All that hard work down the tubes.

So I took this picture as's a good piece of advice.

And it doesn't just apply to working out.

Is it Friday yet?

Happy to be linking up with Rachel from and then she snapped for this first Wordless Wednesday but with Words post.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Girls Road Trip (Quotable Bits #3)

“Go girl, seek happy nights to happy days.”
~ William Shakespeare

This past weekend was one of those ‘other side of the fence’ ones that I mentioned recently.  And boy did it live up to expectations.

I like to try to get away with girlfriends a few times throughout the year and this weekend was the first such adventure of the year.  I was headed up to Whistler with my cousins who are really more like my sisters. We planned to drive up after work on Friday, stay 2 nights and be home by mid-afternoon on Sunday. I tweeted as we left the city that I expected our adventure would be 80% relaxation and 20% debauchery.  My travel companions felt that was a little out of balance. So after much discussion we ended up with a 70/30 split.

Love these girls.
May weather in Vancouver is always changing.  Rain, sun, wind, clouds – you name it and we get it.  The only guarantee is that it will rain on the Victoria Day long weekend.  Luckily for us the weather forecast for our girls weekend away was for sun…and lots of it.

We made it onto the Sea to Sky highway around 7:30 and started the magnificent drive up to Whistler.  I love this drive…the vistas are amazing…it’s the only reminder you need about why we live here.  The drive was uneventful…all of us were in dire need of a getaway.  It had been an incredibly busy and stressful week for everyone and so the ride was on the quiet side.  Unusual for the 3 of us…

That all changed when we arrived at the hotel and attempted to get into the underground parking.  We swiped our card and started to enter and as we did the gate started to come down and…in her panic…C (who was driving) hit the brakes and the horn at the same time.  Now…there is no way I can write this and convey to you just how gut-busting, snorting laugh inducing this moment was.  But we were all in hysterics.  I couldn’t breathe (and I was the one snorting) as I wondered why on earth she hit the horn! 

Seriously…it was awesome…and suddenly we were out of our funk and on vacation. 

We struggled to get all our luggage up to the room – juggling bags and pillows and food and drink.  We got in the room and settled and spent a quiet night watching trashy TV, eating cheese bread for dinner, and enjoying each others company.

Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny…and we decided to stroll through the village and find a patio table for a late brunch. As we strolled I became aware of the number of kids that were running around.  It made me miss my girls…a dull ache started in my stomach as if my body knew something was missing.

“No way” I thought…this is crazy.  I have only been away from them for about 16 hours…way too early to miss them.  I pushed the thought aside determined to enjoy my freedom…enjoy my girls weekend away.  But the truth is that ache never fully went away…

We found our perfect table with enough sun for J&C and enough shade for me and my pale English skin.  Breakfast was amazing…and people watching in the village was even better. 

The peak of the mountain was still open so there were skiers and snowboarders walking by in their snow gear in the 25 degree weather.  The mountain bike park had opened as well which meant there were plenty of mud covered bikers walking by as well.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped for a few essentials - milk for tea, Gatorade to help ease the next morning’s inevitable hangovers and new bottles of nail polish.  And then it was time to hit the pool.

We secured 3 loungers in the sun and spent the next 2 hours doing nothing. And let me tell you…for me…it was equal parts amazing and annoying.  Amazing because I rarely get to do nothing and annoying because I was pretty sure there was something else I should be doing.  My two sides were at war.

J & C slipped into relaxation mode so easily. Lying back on their loungers…plugging into their iPods… tapping their toes…content to just soak up the sun. I wanted to be them. I kept thinking to myself…this is why you came here…to recharge…to slowdown…to breathe.

So I compromised. I sunned myself and read my magazine and ate some grapes.  And when I found it impossible to do nothing for much longer…I went for a swim.

I know…rough life.

View from my lounge chair.  Not too shabby...
As the pool area started to get more and more crowded with the after lunch family crowd we decided it was time to go.  We also realized that we had been laying out in some serious sun for a while and our bodies were going to show the results of that. 

C’s face, neck and chest were the colour of a lovely ripe tomato.  And my legs and back were equally vegetable like.  J – on the other hand – had simply gotten more bronzed.  How incredibly rude of her.

After a trip to the drugstore for some aloe vera gel it was time to start getting ready for girls night out.  Relaxation had been fun but we were ready to party.

Before the drinks started to flow I called my kids.  Can I just say how much I love FaceTime?  I love that I can actually see hubby and kids now instead of just hearing their voices.  I love that my youngest thinks she has to get so close to the camera I can only see her nostrils.  Technology is amazing.

Phone call to home complete…the time had come to get gussied up. There was only one bathroom in our room so some strategy was needed to make sure we all had equal access. Drinks were poured, nails were painted, hair was curled…and after several hours we were ready to go.

No shot glasses?  No problem...
Look out world...
Off to Buffalo Bill’s – a popular Whistler club – where we danced and drank our way through the next several hours. We met lots of interesting people including one guy that said he was in the middle of a job interview. Hmmm…to each their own I guess.

Around 2:30 we headed out into the cool night and ran into a future groom wearing a t-shirt that was covered in “advice” for a happy marriage.  Actually his whole body was covered in advice (and obscene words & phrases) written in blue sharpie.

He asked us to contribute. I told him I had been married for almost 13 years and I was going to write one word: communication.

Good luck buddy…

Sunday morning came all too quickly and it was time to head home with just a quick pit stop in Squamish for some post-hangover brunch.  Eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches, milkshakes, poutine and Caesers were all on the table…yum.

I felt sad to be heading for home…having had such a wonderful time with my friends.  But I was excited about seeing my littles.  There really is no better feeling than that moment where your kids spot you from across a room and come running.  Faces lit up in joy screaming “Mummy!” Pure awesomeness.

It doesn't get any better than this.
And just like that it was back to reality. Back to swimming lessons and time outs.  Back to wiping runny noses and bums.  Back to mummy duty.  But that was a-okay with me. 

I had let my alter ego out to party the night before and I was ready to slip back into a more familiar role.  I was ready to sit with my girls in my lap…smelling their freshly washed hair and reading “Bunny Cakes”. Hearing them laugh when I say that I would pick the Earthworm cake with caterpillar icing that Max made over Ruby’s bee-you-tiful Angel cake with Raspberry Fluff Frosting. Because I like that they laugh and make faces when I do.  It’s familiar and comforting.

Because it’s always good to come home. 

To celebrate happy days and happy nights…no matter what alter ego is running the show.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Home (Monday Listicles #1)

I'm new to all this blogging business and I am finding out that one of the best ways to find new and great blogs to follow is by linking up with others.

I have already done this twice through BitsofBee's "Quotable Bits" and have loved the inspiration I got just by selecting a quote.

Now I am ready to tackle some lists with NorthWestMommy's "Monday Listicles". Because  who doesn't love a good list right?

Here we go - with Top 10 Words that Describe my Home:
  1. Chaotic - we live in a 2 bedroom apartment with 2 kids.  Enough said.
  2. Organized - because of the above...we are super organized.  Everything has a place.  And if we haven't figured out a place for lives on top of my dresser until we do.
  3. Comfortable - at least I think so...
  4. Cold - and for us this is a good thing - hubby and I are NOT fans of over-heating.  We like fresh air and as such often have our window open through the winter. Our friends and family know where to find a collection of fuzzy slippers for them to wear...and to bring a sweater. 
  5. Happy and...
  6. Loving and...
  7. Fun - these three go together.  We spend a lot of time in our house - especially through the rainy fall, winter and (let's be honest) spring. Our goal is to have more laughter than tears.
  8. Busy - we like to socialize and because we have kids most people come to us.  Nothing makes us happier than having a full house of family and friends.  Bring it on!
  9. Quiet - for more than 10 years hubby and I lived on a main street in Vancouver.  Traffic noise just became a part of daily life.  Now we live in a quiet apartment complex and the only sounds we get are bird chirping and kids playing.  Much better.
  10. Sanctuary - my home is my happy place.  
Our living room during my fave time of year...

There you first of many Monday Listicles...hope you enjoyed it.

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, May 25, 2012

My turn…your turn

These past two weeks hubby and I have been living our lives like an amicably divorced couple.  Trading kid duties off one day to the next as we juggle an abundance of other responsibilities.  A peck on the cheek as one of us runs out the door…calling “see you tomorrow” over our shoulders.

And since hubby works early and I am a night owl he goes to bed a couple of hours before me and is gone before I wake up.  I think we may have had a total of 15 minutes of overlap time in the last fortnight.  Okay…I exaggerate…it’s probably more like 45 minutes.

The girls have adapted to this crazy schedule amazingly well…happy to have whichever of us happens to be home that night.  When I am home with them – we always start off with a cheer of “Girls night!  Woohoo!” and then get to setting plans for the hours ahead. 

This week we worked on a few art projects…
For youngest that means getting out the sticker box and filling an entire sheet with as many stickers as it will bear.  And then colouring over all of them with felts.

Oldest has been on a book making streak lately.  Even asking us to use the stapler and make her folded sheets of paper into a “real book”.  Subject matter varies – she has authored stories on The Nutcracker, cooking, mother’s day, dinosaurs and happiness just to name a few…

I am so not artistic…my outlet is writing…so the best I can usually manage is a stick figure with abnormally long fingers.   But I do like to colour…so will happily pull out the crayons and colouring books during art hour.
A box of brand new crayons is a thing of beauty...
I love sitting there with my girls and just being.  Sometimes we chat…sometimes we listen to music…always they have questions. Oh boy…so many questions…

Eventually they will tire of colouring. We will argue about cleaning up…I will win…and it’s on to the next thing. 

Could be snuggling on the couch to watch a movie – littlest burying her head in my shoulder when the “bad guys” come out.  Or playing a board game and watching oldest try to cheat and then explain to her why she shouldn’t. Or reading…my girls LOVE books.

Then last night…after 2 weeks of juggling manic schedules…I found myself in unfamiliar territory. Kids were in bed. Hubby was at soccer. Dishes were done. Laundry was folded. Lunches were made.

I had nothing to do.  No one needed anything from me.

So I made a cup of tea, lit all the candles in my living room and got reacquainted with my PVR.  It was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Hubby came home from soccer a few hours later and we caught up. Talked about everything we had been doing for the past few weeks. It was lovely…

This morning I decided I was going to take oldest to Kindergarten.  I try to do this once or twice a week but had been so busy lately I am sure it had been more than a month.  Youngest and I took her to school and stayed for the morning walk.  The sun was shining and there wasn’t anywhere else in the world I would rather have been. 

Some major quality time  has been spent with my kids lately…ad I am realizing how important that time is.  Not just to them…but to me as well.  It is therapeutic and healing and necessary.

That said…I am now off for a weekend escape to Whistler with girlfriends.  It will be a weekend of 80% relaxation and 20% general debauchery.  A good recipe for fun.

And next week hubby and I will be back to our old married couple self. And that’s good…because it’s just too weird seeing him at “drop-off” and “pick-up” only.

Have a great weekend!

Flashback Photo Friday - Pure Joy

Calling this a 'flashback' may be a bit of a stretch since it was just back in April...but this is one of my all time favourite pics of my girls:

I love the look on the face of my youngest - full of joy as her daddy spins her around.  And catching oldest in the background is just the icing on the cake...she looks so grown up. Sigh...I love my family.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Grass is Always Greener (Quotable Bits #2)

“Happiness is never stopping to think if you are."
Palmer Sondreal

Being happy is a popular topic in my brain lately.  I find myself wondering - how do I know if I am truly happy?  Is there something that would make me more happy? 

Now…before you start to worry that I may be depressed let me assure you...I am in fact quite happy in my life. My life is blessed. It’s not perfect (is anyone’s?) but it is good and satisfying and full of joy.  I believe I simply suffer from mild case of Grass is Always Greener Syndrome (GAGS).  And I know I am not alone.

I have always believed that it is important to live your life without regret.  Regret - in my humble opinion - is a useless emotion. So I will never say that I regret anything in my life.  I don't regret marrying young...I don't regret never living on my own...I simply wonder what my life would have been like if I had taken a different route. Would I still have wound up in the same place?  Would I be happier?  Or miserable?

This is GAGS at it's finest...and worst.

I have friends that are single...have no kids…and enjoy so much freedom.  I envy them.  Envy the fact that they don’t have to juggle work and parenting and lunch making and soccer lessons and birthday parties. I envy the fact that the most important person in their life…is them!  Novel concept when I find myself about 8th on my own priority list.

So I was shocked to find that when I told them how much I envied their lives…that they turned the tables and said they were jealous of ME. Because I was married to a wonderful man…blessed with two lovely children…so sure of my life’s path…and they were still searching for the love of their life.

Clearly…GAGS is becoming an epidemic.

The cure is simple…we all need to experience a little taste of the ‘other side of the fence’ once in a while.

That’s why – as a busy working mother – I like to go away a few times a year with girlfriends for a weekend of freedom. I drink too much vodka, dance the night away at a club, fall asleep at 4am and wake up with a hangover.  I am irresponsible and footloose...nothing like I am at home.

Me on an 'Other Side of the Fence' night...
And that’s also why it’s nice for my friends to take my kids for a night or two on their own.  So they can be the one to read to my little ones, kiss them goodnight and be greeted by their smiling faces in the morning. As well as wipe their bums, cut their food and play mummy & baby for 7 hours straight.

Because it’s different and new…a departure from the day to day…and ultimately…it makes you realize that what you have is pretty fantastic.

And that happiness is subjective.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Time Well Spent

The long weekend is coming to an end.  I am sitting in my living room while the girls watch Tangled for the 197th time and reflecting upon the last couple of days.

Lately I feel acutely aware of how fast time is flying by.  It feels like the kids are changing more rapidly and developing real personalities of their own.  They are not babies anymore...and while I don’t find myself stricken with baby fever (2 is just fine thank you very much)...I am sad to see them grow up.

Just as I wrote that my youngest came running to me crying Mama and wanting to crawl into my lap.  She doesn’t like the bad guys in the movie...and I am the one that can save her from them.  I guess she still needs me sometimes.

Amazing times lay ahead for sure...amazing moments that I know I will love and cherish just as much as the ones that have past. But just in case I am trying very hard to remember these moments as they happen. And trying to make the time to create some great memories.

This weekend started with a girl’s night out to see Stars on Ice.  Oldest loves figure skating and has watched the Olympic gold medal performance by Virtue and Moir a hundred times. I took her to Stars on Ice last year and she loved it.  This year I decided that youngest would enjoy it too and decided to brave taking them both.

We started the night with a fancy dinner at McDonalds – a special treat – and then took a quick detour to the car wash on the way to the show.  I love watching my kid’s faces as we go through the car wash.  They are equal parts terrified and enthralled. Both of them cover their ears but grin broadly.  So funny.

We arrived at the show with just a few moments to spare and managed to get through the first half with no issues.  They even waited until intermission for a bathroom break.  About 10 minutes into the second half I started to lose integrity with youngest.  She wanted to get down, walk up and down the stairs, dance and sing.  She was hungry, thirsty and tired.  In the end we had to leave early but that was fine by all of us as oldest was nodding off in her chair as well.

Driving home with the girls asleep in the backseat I realized that this was the start of something.  The start of being able to take both of them out to an event without too much hassle or too many outbursts.  I know it won’t always be perfect...they will have meltdowns and I will bust out the mean mummy voice from time to time.  But that won’t be the norm...and that is one of the benefits of the kids growing up.

Saturday morning came full of sun and promise...the promise that it would be the last sunny day of the long weekend.  Nothing new in Vancouver...May long weekend is always a bust weather wise.  So we decided to take full advantage. 

Bike riding, playing at the park, blowing bubbles...the usual stuff.  We ventured to the mall briefly to find flower girls dresses for the girls.  They will both be in their auntie’s wedding in July. Amazingly we found the perfect dresses without issue.  Back home and back outside.  We ended the day with a barbeque at my aunt’s house...perfection. It was another late night for the girls and they were practically asleep before their heads even hit the pillows.

The next morning a miracle happened...I opened my eyes and the clock read 8:36am...and the kids were still asleep!  Hallelujah!

Unfortunately the rains came that day as well.  So instead of playing outside we decided to bake.  Banana Bread was the recipe of choice and the girls really enjoyed the process. Especially the part when we added the chocolate chips.

Hubby spent the morning planting all the flowers on our decks and had an on again off again helper - youngest may wind up having his green thumb. 

I am so glad that hubby loves gardening because I love the way the flowers look but have absolutely zero interest in planting them myself.

Then it was off to a birthday party and swimming lessons.  I love swimming with my girls.  They are both fishes...and have no fear...which scares the living daylights out of me at times. But I would much rather that over having them be afraid of the water.  We swam for 90 minutes and finally decided our fingers and toes could not get anymore wrinkled.  It was time to go home.

Hubby and I were both exhausted so we decided to stop for dinner at Tim Horton’s.  And sitting there in the mainly empty restaurant watching my girls eat soup and bagels...I took a mental snapshot.  Not of a specific moment but more of the feeling that I had.  A feeling of family and love and pride.  I am truly proud of my children. 

They are funny and clever and creative and sweet.  I am amazed by the stories they tell and the insight they have on things.  They ‘get’ jokes and make me laugh everyday. 

Monday morning dawned and once again the house slept late.  Hubby – used to early mornings – was up first but the rest of us slept until almost 9.  Seems like we all needed a long weekend with some down time.

The plan for Monday was to sort through all of the girls’ toys and books.  They got so many gifts for their birthdays and we needed to make some room for them.  I also wanted to take the chance to teach them about charity and get them to select some toys to donate. We explained to the kids that some kids don’t have any toys to play with and oldest was so troubled by that thought that she kept trying to donate some of her favourite toys. Such a gentle heart she has...

The kids started out enthused by the prospect of ‘ogamizing’ the house but after about 45 minutes they were happy to let me make all the decisions for them (aka – do all the work). 

I am a very happy person when things are organized – it’s just too easy to let things get away from us.  I get so mad when the kids pull pants out of their drawer that are too small for them...but its my own fault that they are in there in the first place.

Once we were finished with toys and books we tackled (some of) their clothes.  And during that process of trying on new clothes to make sure they fit they each insisted on changing into one of their new dresses.  And for that moment I took not only a mental snapshot but an actual one as well.  Because I could not believe how grown up they looked.  I wondered who are these people and what did they do with my babies?

Several hours later - they are still wearing the dresses and I keep catching myself watching them and shaking my head in disbelief.

Time flies and moments are easily missed.  These are moments that aren’t life changers...but are meaningful just the same.  They are distance markers on the road of life. And we should always be watching for them.  I am going to try to do just that...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Turning up the Volume…

Every morning - after surviving Morning Chaos, and after we drop oldest off at before school care - my 3 year old and I share a precious 15 minutes of alone time as we drive to daycare.  And it is one of my favourite parts of the day.

Like most parents I love spending time alone with my kids on their own. They turn into different people when their sibling isn’t around…it’s not that they necessarily behave better or worse…just different. 

Oldest tends to talk about herself more…telling me about her friends and her day a lot more freely than she does when her younger sister is around.  I get the sense that she knows she will just be interrupted when youngest is around so doesn’t even bother. 

She is obsessed with the lines her clothes leave on her skin...
And youngest is much calmer when on her own.  Like she knows she doesn’t have to compete for my attention so can dial down the toddler attitude and just be.

I love that smile...
On these morning drives we talk about the day ahead:

“Am I on the toddler side or the 3-5 side today Mama?”  Luckily she is usually happy with whatever the answer is.

“What am I having for breakfast/lunch/dinner today Mama?” 

Or we talk about things she sees out the window:

“Look at that yellow digger Mama…that’s a big one.”

“Where are all these people going Mama?  Do they all go to your work?”

“Wow…that’s a big plane Mama…is it going to Disneyland like we did?”

Or she just says whatever is on mind:

"Who lives in India?"

"Why is that car blue Mama?"

"My toe hurts."

Sometimes she plays DJ:

“Can we listen to Bleeding Love Mama?”  She likes herself a little Leona Lewis…and I think that’s better than Elmo every day (until she starts to understand the lyrics of course).

“Can you turn it down?”   

“Can you turn it up?”  

 “Is this a boy or a girl singing Mama?”

Very gets very quiet and I look back to see this: cute is she...

I will admit that there are times when the morning has been rough and I simply tune out the chatter and turn up the radio.  I mean really…I haven’t had an caffeine yet…

But sometimes…more often these days thanks to my Project Positivity efforts…I find myself wishing I could turn up her little voice to hear her more clearly.  Wishing that I could freeze this moment in time – this exact moment – take a snapshot and save it for a day in the future.

They are the moments when she is whispering to her baby doll about how much she loves her and how she will always take care of her. They are the moments where I look at her in the rear view mirror and wonder where my baby went.  The moment where she catches me looking at her and smiles that killer smile.

But then…all too soon…we are at daycare and I’m always a little sad when our drive comes to an end.

And look forward to what the next morning commute will bring…

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Project Positivity Take 2

One of my first blog posts was about Project Positivity…and I haven’t talked about it since.  That doesn’t mean I have given up.  Several times I will randomly shout out “Project Positivity” when I feel the negative vibes taking over.  I do it so often at home that hubby is no longer startled by it…

Every once and a while it helps to get a little push.  And today…just as my day started to go sideways and the my mood started to darken…I read this email from my mum with the subject line “15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy.”

I was leery...definitely in a cup half empty state of mind...and was prepared to read the first few lines and delete the email. Sorry mum...

But surprise surprise...there are some pretty good pointers here.  Reminders about letting go of the little things that cause us trouble…allowing ourselves to be free.  So here they are – freshly cut and pasted from the email – the 15 things which, if you give up on them, will make your life a lot easier and much, much happier.

Fingers crossed…

15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy

There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right – even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?” Wayne Dyer. What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big?

Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you – situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel.
“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.” Lao Tzu

Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or don’t have, for what you feel or don’t feel. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for your life.

 Oh my. How many people are hurting themselves because of their negative, polluted and repetitive self-defeating mindset? Don’t believe everything that your mind is telling you – especially if it’s negative and self-defeating. You are better than that.
“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.” Eckhart Tolle

about what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Spread your wings and fly!
“A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind” Elly Roselle

Give up your constant need to complain about those many, many, maaany things – people, situations, events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed. Nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.

Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved and we all want to be understood. We all want something, and something is wished by us all.

Stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not just to make others like you. It doesn’t work this way. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take off all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.

Change is good. Change will help you move from A to B. Change will help you make improvements in your life and also the lives of those around you. Follow your bliss, embrace change – don’t resist it.
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls” Joseph Campbell

Stop labeling those things, people or events that you don’t understand as being weird or different and try opening your mind, little by little. Minds only work when open. “The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” Wayne Dyer

Fear is just an illusion, it doesn’t exist – you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into place.
“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

Send them packing and tell them they’re fired. You no longer need them. A lot of times we limit ourselves because of the many excuses we use. Instead of growing and working on improving ourselves and our lives, we get stuck, lying to ourselves, using all kind of excuses – excuses that 99.9% of the time are not even real.

I know, I know. It’s hard. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening, but you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now.

This is a concept that, for most of us is so hard to grasp and I have to tell you that it was for me too, (it still is) but it’s not something impossible. You get better and better at with time and practice. The moment you detach yourself from all things, (and that doesn’t mean you give up your love for them – because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another, attachment comes from a place of fear, while love… well, real love is pure, kind, and self less, where there is love there can’t be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot coexist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and so serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things without even trying. A state beyond words.

Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them, they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them, to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need….and eventually they forget about themselves.  You have one life – this one right now – you must live it, own it, and especially don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path.

So there you have about a tall order.  

Think I just might try them one at a time and see what happens.  And if all else fails...there is always a bottle of this above the stove. 

 Happy Wednesday...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Working Mama Guilt (Quotable Bits #1)

The phrase 'working mother' is redundant. 
~ Jane Sellman

I came across this quote the other day and it really struck home.  So much so that I figured it was the perfect choice for my first 'Quotable Bits' linkup with the lovely Bits of Bee.  So here we go...

I often say that being a working mother is the hardest job in the world.  We have to be the ultimate multi-taskers.  And also able to switch personas quickly and often. I can remember several times where I answered my phone in confident career woman voice and immediately fell into baby-talking mama at the sound of my sweet girl on the other end. 

I always knew I wanted children but was also sure I would never be a stay-at-home mum.  It just wasn't in my DNA...I like to work.  I like to have adult conversations.  I like to have my mind challenged every day.  And - I will freely admit - that I also like the freedom that work provides me.  A few hours every day to myself...where I don't have to cut anyone's food, watch Barbie movies or read "The Paper Bag Princess" a hundred times in a row. Although I do love that book...

I stayed home the first full year with my oldest and it was wonderful...but a part of me was itching to go back to work.  Itching for adult conversation...itching to do something more creative than building a castle with blocks.  So after a year I went back to work and left my daughter at home with hubby. 

They seemed to handle me leaving okay...
There was definitely a part of me that felt guilty about leaving my lovely little girl at home.  But I knew she was in good hands with her daddy and that going back to work would ultimately be best for both of us. 

Soon the time came when hubby had to go back to work as well.  And we managed to find the most amazing daycare for our girl. A place where I have never once worried about dropping her off at.  A place where she was cared for and loved by some very amazing people for her first 5 years before kindergarten.  

I struggle sometimes to find the best way to express my appreciation for the people that care for my girls while I am at work.  I have yet to find a way to adequately thank tell them that they ease my working mama guilt everyday because I know that my kids are happy and taken care of. 

A few times over the 5 years that my girls have attended daycare I have socialized with the staff outside of the daycare. And I was amazed at the fact that they tell stories about my kids like I do - with pride and humour and love. And that was just another reinforcement for me.

Every day when I pick up my girls from daycare or school I get to experience one of the best moments as  parent...that moment when your child spots you from across a room or a playground and that smile spreads across their face.  "Mummy!" they shout and then they run...god I love when little kids run.  And my girls throw themselves into my arms and it is amazing.  No matter how rough the day has been that moment makes it better.  

They have fun with friends and teachers during the day.  They do crafts and play games and go on field trips.  They learn new things and all of that helps to shape them into the people they are.  But at the end of the day...they want their parents.  They want the comfort of knowing that we are there for them. That we will always be there for them.

My life is good...I haven't achieved a perfect balance and I may never.  But as much as I may complain and as hard as it might be to juggle both my 'lives' I really wouldn't have it any other way.  Because I can't be defined by one of those lives.  

I am a mother. 
I am a wife.
I am an employee. 
I am a co-worker. 
I am a friend.  
I am a sister.  
I am a daughter.  
And all of these 'me's' are a little bit different.  And all of them are important...

But maybe that first one is just a little bit more so than the others.  Because of these little faces...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother’s Day Love

Yesterday was my 7th Mother’s Day and it may have been the best one yet.  There is a misconception – in my humble opinion – that what most Mother’s want on their special day is to do nothing.  That is only partly correct.

True we shouldn’t have to cook or clean or grocery shop…but that’s just good common sense.  What I want on my day is to be re-assured that my efforts as a mum are appreciated.  To feel that – even though I may use my mean Mummy voice more often than I should – that’s not what my kids remember.  They remember the times I have wiped their tears, kissed their owies and told them I love them. 

They think of cuddling on my lap and reading books, baking cupcakes and eating one when we weren’t supposed too. If your kids think of good things first…you have done your job as a parent. Chalk up one victory for the parental side…

My 2012 Mother’s Day started on Friday afternoon at youngest daughter’s daycare:

She is the youngest child on the ‘3-5 side’ having just turned 3 and it turned out that she was slightly intimidated by the entire production. When I arrived at daycare and saw her little face I could see her concern immediately.  She wasn’t her usual bubbly self…and she ran straight for me screaming “mummy, mummy…you’re here!” then threw herself in my arms and buried her head in my shoulder.  Not typical behavior from my little T.

Turned out…she had stage fright.  All of the kids were going to sing us a song “happy Mother’s Day to you” (guess the tune) and then tell us – one at time – why they loved us.

This was a whole new ballgame people.  Sure…she sings in the car, in front of the mirror in her room and in front of family…but in front of a whole room of people?  Well…

Singing came first…and she ‘sang’ the entire song with her face hidden behind her hands.  Peeking out between her fingers only occasionally to make sure I was still there.  Then it was time for her first public speaking engagement.  Barely audible – and still snuggled safely in her teacher’s lap – she said “I love my mummy because…she takes me out for dinner.”

Hmmm…so maybe it’s not cuddling on my lap reading books that she thinks of first.

Then she ran once again to me to present me with the bouquet of flowers she had made from her little handprints (sniff sniff) especially for me.  But this time she was grinning.  Her trepidation was gone and she was my little chatterbox once again. Fears faced.  Fears conquered.  Onto the next one.

After repeatedly reminding the kids on Saturday night that they were to wake Daddy up in the morning and not me I am pleased to report I only had to get up once during the night. And I’m pretty sure youngest was sleepwalking since she asked me to get all the spiders off her arms.  Okey-doke…back to bed with you now.

I almost made it to 9am…so close...but littlest just couldn't stay quiet any longer. As soon as they knew I was awake (and the TV show that oldest had been watching was paused) they both came running in to my room with their handmade gifts in hand. And hubby brought me that all important first cup of tea. (nectar of the gods I tell ya...)

I opened the presents – scattering glitter and beads all over the bed covers – to find home made frames with beautiful pictures of my girls that I had never seen.  Perfect gifts.

After presents we moved to the dining room for a good old fashioned breakfast fry-up courtesy of my hubby.  He even served me bacon that was not cooked to within an inch of its life. (I like soft bacon he likes his cremated – opposites attract in full effect here). After breakfast it was outside into a glorious Vancouver day.  The first hot day of the year. The kind of day that reminds Vancouverites why we suffer through the rain and the gray skies of winter…because we know this day is coming...and it looks like this:

We couldn't avoid the inevitable any longer and had to load into the car for a long hot drive out to Coquitlam for Mother’s Day lunch with the hubby’s side of the family. The drive is long and the scenery is well...not very scenic.  But it was worth the effort. We visited family we don't see very often, ate great food, pushed the girls on the swings and took some self portraits with my phone.
All too soon it was time to get back into the hot car to drive all the way to Ladner for swimming lessons. We could have happily stayed outside - and the kids begged to be able to stay and play with their cousins - but oldest had already missed 2 lessons and couldn't miss anymore. 

So after a minor tantrum...we were on the road again. We swam for an hour, battled another tantrum of "I don't wanna go." and then it was off to meet my mum and Nana for dinner.  4 generations of women having dinner on Mother’s Day – poor hubby…always surrounded by women.

And then…finally home.  To pjs and cuddles and books and I love you’s.

Hubby left for a concert leaving me to spend the last few hours of Mother’s Day in a quiet house lit by candles…drinking tea and watching trashy TV.

Perfection.  I loved my day.  Can we do it again tomorrow?