Thursday, January 26, 2012

Outdoor Learning

We're at the point in the winter where there's nothing really left to look forward to. Christmas is over and so is New Years. Unless you are planning a March break getaway (we certainly aren't!), there's only a slow, bleak march towards the spring to occupy your days. Those depressing grey days when the snow isn't white anymore; just a dirty lump of mush. Mush that will freeze solid causing you to twist your ankle. Oh glorious spring! Where for art thou? It's so easy to get caught up in the winter blues and forget that there is actual life outside! Though it may be grey, cold, and uninviting, there is actually a lot of opportunity outside. If you're a toddler and a preschooler anyways. They can often find the silver lining or bright side to anything when we "jaded" adults can not.

Today was centered around exploring everything about the winter and what was in our own backyard. Itwas a kind of "outdoor science" day. At least that's how I sold it to Miss. A anyways. After breakfast we bundled up and when out in the backyard. We noticed how the snow had a crust of ice. We tried to walk on the top without falling through. Both the girls are light so they could do this and thought it was really neat. Afterwards we slid down the toboggan hill that was slick with ice. Miss. A loved the fact she didn't need and sled and took full advantage of that freedom. She went down on her butt, her back, her tummy, over and over again. Afterwards we gathered snow into a bucket and went in for some hot chocolate.

When we were warm and filled with coco goodness we looked at the bucket of snow inside. I showed them a bowl of water and a bowl of ice cubes. We touched them making "observations" about what happened when we did. The water was wet. The ice and snow cold. In our hands they would melt. We asked lots of questions about what we saw. Why did the snow and ice melt? Why do they look like the bowl of water? I asked Miss. A what she thought would happen if we left the snow inside for a while. "It'll melt?" She asked. We decided to find out. She spooned some snow into a bowl which we left on the table while we enjoyed our grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. I put onions and tomato in mine. She said that was disgusting! Cheeky monkey!

After lunch Baby K went for a nap. We killed time watching a movie, and when she woke up we checked on our "experiment". After careful "observation" (he he) we discovered the now was now water! "Oh my goodness, it DID melt!" Miss. A exclaimed. I suggested we put the bowl outside in the cold to see what would happen and check it the next day. (Guess what? It turned into ICE!) In the meantime I brought out a bunch of items I found in the backyard. Pine cones, pine needles, leaves, rocks, seeds etc. Baby K loved feeling everything in the box; especially the rocks. Miss. A and I talked about what everything was and what it did. What do seeds do? Why are the leaves and pine needles different? What type of rock is this? Not only did we learn about what things were, what they felt like, and what they did, but also how they smelled. Until everything had warmed up inside, I hadn't noticed the nice pine scent. Now I have some homemade potpourri! Fancy!

Later while I was getting the house cleaned up, we are more than a bit rough on this poor house, Miss. A coloured in pictures of all the things we looked at that day. At the end of the day I asked her if she had a good time. She said yes and that she liked doing all her "experiments" and whether she could do more the next day. Yeah! And that's the story of the day we only watched ONE movie. Tomorrow is "baking and cooking" day.  Which is good, I needed a sous chef anyways.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Life Socks

Who doesn't love running around corners, sliding around like some sort of super ninja? We've all done it. If there was a square foot of linoleum, hard wood, or tile in your house you did it. If you didn't, you totally suppressed the urge to do so. I can only imagine what kind of baggage you've picked up since then. Suppressing one the of happiest of childhood activities. You probably have no sharp corners in your house and have organized everything alphabetically. If you have, can you come and do my cupboards? I'm not repressed enough to tackle something of that scale.

You can talk about our childhood memories in the context of "free range parenting" if you like. I'd rather not. I'd hate to take a fond memory and make it an "issue". Something to be debated on, picked apart, analyzed for the "what ifs". Some memories are meant to be that and only that. They deserve a certain amount of respect not to be superimposed on our lives now. Does it really matter what we as parents would have done? Or for that matter, what we do do? (Yes I said "do do", get over it you children!) I'm not saying that everything we did as children ran the risk of decapitation or abduction. Some memories are harmless and warm and fuzzy; like the socks. Unless of course you were holding scissors at the time, that was probably a bad idea and you're lucky you didn't loose an eye. Seriously, what was your mother doing?

I have lots of fond memories growing up. Some are harmless and others make me cringe as a parent. If my mother and father knew everything we got up to, they would probably faint. It doesn't mean I need to pick them apart or repeat them with my own kids. It's nice to have something that remains in the past and is remembered for what it is. A nice warm memory, just like fluffy socks. If it happens to make you want to jump around like a ninja, more power to you.

Monday, January 23, 2012

What Goes Around Comes Around

When I look at my daughters I sometimes see myself looking back. Often I hear and see myself in what they say, what they do, and sometimes even just the way they stand. They are little sponges in every sense of the word. If you want incentive to show your best you at all times, that's it right there. However, as we all know, we don't put our best selves out on display all the time. I know I certainly don't, though I later regret it and wish I had. Yeah, that whole "going with the flow" thing doesn't work that well when you're going up hill. I guess if you sincerely try, and then try to do better, well, that must count for something.

Of course if you try to be this perfect, flawless, alabaster statue of Mother, who do these little sponges become? Some mythical creature that doesn't exist? If I pretended to be a unicorn, I doubt they would turn into unicorns. Unicorns have historically fared poorly in the real world. It is probably better that they see their mother as human, with all the flaws that come with that, and learn to overcome those flaws. Oh man! Did I just assign myself homework? Now I  have to overcome my flaws. This is why trains of thought can be so dangerous and need to be derailed at times.

Our kids are just growing up so fast, and I can't help but notice the person that they are, is become clearer everyday. It can be startling and endearing to hear them repeat things you say the way that you say them. This is especially true of Miss. A. When she's playing with her sister, as opposed to chasing her through the house, she can be so sweet. I'll hear her explaining things to her they way I explain things to Miss. A. "Oh no, sweetie boo, this isn't for babies. This is for big girls." I also have a habit of adding "-stein" to the end of things when I'm poking fun at her. The other day she told her dad to stop being such a "goofinstein"! Number one; that's adorable. Number two; I really need to stop talking like that. There are a hundred different examples that would be meaningless to you, but are just amazing to me.

My husband has noticed this too. The other day when they where playing around, for a split second, he said she reminded him of me. Just a particular look she had. That's not to say it's all me, he has had quite a bit of influence as well. Baby K is just so care free and relaxed. Scott tends to go with the flow and take one day at a time. Baby K has this same laid back attitude. Miss. A loves everything about her dad and takes after him in a lot of ways. She is really interested in technology and super quick at figuring it out. Much to my dismay, both she and her dad share a love of video games and an aptitude for them. He's trying to teach her the phrase "pone some noobs". I'm not sure I approve of this. However, she did in fact "pone some noobs" the other day. If they only new they had their butts handed to them by a three year old girl.

Really the only thing you can do is try to be a good person, do what you know and when you know better do better, and continue being awesome. Also, cut down on the swearing when your driving. It's just not classy.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I Would Have Should Have...

...written a post today, but I didn't. I swear I tried! I had two different things going but they both blow. So I'm moving on with my night and hoping inspiration finds me tomorrow.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Spot The Goldfish

I had mentioned before that a new feature of Miss. A's bedtime routine is that she shares a story of her own. These stories are so creative I can't help but share them with you. It really gives you a little window into the inner workings of a child's mind. The vast majority of her stories have to do with friends and family and usually are set at a park or a farm. Every now and again she tells one that comes completely out of left field. One of them was about a trip to buy a new goldfish.

Spot the Goldfish

Once upon a time there was a little girl with a goldfish named Goldmember (don't ask, I blame her father for naming said goldfish). Goldmember had another goldfish friend, but he jumped out of the aquarium and flew up to the ceiling and hid behind the light. "Oh no! Foo Bear, what are we going to do?" the little girl said. (Foo Bear is the little pink bear Miss. A sleeps with at night) The little girl put a finger to her chin and thought, "Hmmm. Maybe we could get a toy plane and fly up to the light?" She thought some more. "No, that plane is too small and it's just a toy." She thought some more. "Maybe be we could find a real toy plane!" (I imagine she's thinking of a little RC plane that actually flies) "But we don't have one." And the little girl frowns. "We'll have to go to the fish store to buy another goldfish for Goldmember."

So the little girl and Foo Bear got into the car and drove to the fish store. She drove all by herself because she's a big girl now. (apparently) They picked out a new goldfish that would be perfect and named him Spot. They went home, and the little girl put the new goldfish in the aquarium and Goldmember was so happy. "Thank you! Thank you!" said Goldmember, and he gave the little girl a big hug and kiss.

The End

This is pretty much exactly as she told it. I did add in things she was doing, such as tapping her chin while she thought, but basically that's exactly how it went down. Kids are funny little creatures!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Follow Friday - Blogher

This month, as an informal resolution, I decided to make a real effort to discover and read blogs from all sorts of different people. Variety is the spice of life, right? One of the best resource to do this is Blogher. For every different voice there seems to be a blog to voice it. If you are a foodie, interested in politics, family issues, photography, health and fitness, really anything, chances are there is a blog for you here. They boast that there are thousands of blogs and lots of opportunity to connect with other people as well as discover new things and ideas.
If you are not sure what you are interested in reading, you can do what I do. I pick at random a blog from the NaBloPoMo section to read. I've found this a great way to discover new writers and perspectives on life that I wouldn't have otherwise found. In fact, many of them I follow regularly and will probably feature here at some point. Some are staff writers at Blogher, but most are regular folk like you and I, just wanting to share a small part of their lives with others. Everyone is interesting and everyone has a story to share.

If you have your own story you'd like to share on Blogher, you can become and member and post there or link to your own blog. Or both, they encourage that. I have found it to be a warm and welcoming community that encourages other writers.

If you follow on Twitter as well, they tweet links to top blog posts. This is a fantastic way to keep connected with discussions and topics that are popular that day.

If you want to discover more about Blogher and what they do, check them out.

You can also follow them on Twitter @Blogher

Of course there is the obligatory Facebook page as well.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Letter To My Husband


Thanks for being that funny guy at the end of the day. You make me laugh, even when I'm trying really hard not to. I could slap you for even trying to cheer me up in the first place. Can't you see I'm doing my best to bring you down with me? Your good nature buoys me even when I seem determined to be miserable.


Thanks for going to work everyday so that I can stay home with the kids. It's not easy being the one who has to put a roof over our heads and food in our mouths. We eat a lot, too. You make sure we are warm, fed and loved. We have a pillow to rest our heads at the end of the day. A lot of people don't even have that.  I hope you know how grateful we are.


Thanks for taking the high road. Whenever there is a conflict, here, at work, or out in the wide world, you always treat everyone with respect. I've never seen you snap or be nasty to anyone. You gladly help people who need it, even if it means going out of your way to do so. You are a much kinder person than I'll ever be, but hopefully some of it will rub off anyways.


Thanks for seeing that I quite often am none of these things, but you don't call me on it. Instead you tell me all the good things I am and do. You don't  focus on the negative and hang me out to dry. Instead you remind me who I can be and make me want to be that person. You give me space and time to be a better person.


Thanks for being you just the way you are.

*disclaimer - I'm still right, even when I'm wrong. If I nag, I nag with love. Stop messing with my cooking, it's fine just the way it is.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Good Reads

I love books. I love everything about them. I love the feel of them in my hands, especially when they're well worn. A well loved book with a broken spine, all taped up is a beautiful thing. The more they are passed on from person to person, their covers becoming all bent and dogeared, the more character they seem to have. You can always tell how good a book is by the number of lives it seems to have lived. When I go into libraries I breath in deeply. The smell of old books reminds me of a comforting place I've returned to. I like to run my fingers over the spines as I walk down the aisles looking for a particular one. If I could chose a perfect space, it would have piles of old and ancient books and big waxy candles. Windows are completely optional.

Despite this romatized love of books and reading, I don't do as much of it as I would like. During the day there seems to be so many places to go or things to do. When there is a small window of oportunity, that window is quickly closed with requests for apple juice and snacks. It makes it very difficult to really get into what you're reading. At the end of the day, once all the loose ends are delt with, there isn't a lot of time either. Quite likely I would fall asleep before I got to the third page. Recently, however, I've found an opportunity to get a bit of reading in. Ballet!

My three year old LOVES ballet. She dances around the house all the time wanting to show me her "cool moves".  We signed her up for Twinkle Toes once a week, which is a kind of pre-ballet class given through the city. For forty five minutes the parents wait in the hallway while their kids dance. That's forty five minutes of no one asking me for something. Forty five minutes where I'm awake enough that there's no danger of me falling asleep mid page. Forty five minutes where I can actually read a book again. I have a lot of them to get through. I have many books that I was given, borrowed or bought that have accumulated on my night stand. So I'm blowing off the dust, finally, and working my way through them one at a time.

The first book I'm reading is Life of Pi by Yann Martel. Here is a brief description I found on Amazon:

The son of a zookeeper, Pi Patel has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior and a fervent love of stories. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes.

The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days while lost at sea. When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story and press him to tell them "the truth." After hours of coercion, Pi tells a second story, a story much less fantastical, much more conventional--but is it more true?

As it turns out, it is also being made into a movie to be released December of 2012. Hopefully it will be release before the 21st, just in case the whole Myan Calender End Of The World thing is right. I've been wanting to read this book for a while and have even given it as a gift. I'll let you know if I recomend it. In the meantime, I'd love to know what are some of your favorite books? I'm always looking for new ones fill my nightstand with.

Monday, January 16, 2012

I'm A Fraud.

I don't even know who this person is.
I have this dorky photo of me on my blog and twitter profiles. A while back I took a photo of myself wearing a hat and sunglasses precisely because I don't wear hats and sunglasses. Sure, I might pull my hair back with a pair of glasses, but I almost never put them on. If I do, I take them off at the first possible opportunity. Often I'll have a pair on my head, but still squint into the sun while driving. I probably just look really absent minded. Also, I've never understood people who wear them all the time. Especially inside. I get the feeling they're trying to hide something or avoid a conversation. These people are inherently untrustworthy and should be avoided.

I don't find anything particularly wrong with the photo except that it isn't me. Well, not anymore anyways. I'm old enough that I still think the 90s were just a few years ago. Naturally, a photo taken around when I got married must be pretty recent. I can't possibly look that much different in just a couple of years, right? Well we all know the shock that results when we do that sort of mental math. A few years turned out to be nearly a decade! I tend to avoid getting my photo taken at all costs, this was one of the few head shots I could find. I had no idea so much time had passed. If this was a dating site I think it would be very misleading.

Firstly, my hair is washed and brushed. This does still happen, but not with the same reliability as before. Also brushed does not stay brushed for long. I quite often grab or ruffle my hair in frustration on an hourly basis. If bedhead was a new hot look I'd be cutting edge. My skin looks healthy and, dare I say, glowing. My skin has lost some of that glow now, but I suppose falling asleep with my make up on doesn't help. I also look awake. Almost chipper. The demeanour of someone who gets a solid eight hours of sleep a night. I don't think that has happened in the last four years. What I lack in sleep I top up with coffee. I never used to like coffee, now it's a life line. I can't see much more of me, but I'm guessing I'm probably thinner too.

I'm not complaining, mind you. I'm just pointing out that time seems to go by so fast. Life changes and so do you, whether you realize it or not. If I hadn't really stopped and thought about it, I wouldn't have realized how different my life is right now. Maybe that's why the old me in the photo looks so happy. Perhaps I could see all the great things that lay ahead of me. Of course if that were true, I would have taken a lot more naps when I could.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

My Husband Is Out To Destroy Me. Also gerbils.

Ok, a slight overstatement. There are few things worse than to sit in front of a blank page and have NO IDEA what to write about. I'm much more in a reading mood than a writing one today. For some reason thirty minutes of mindless web crawling through Pintrest, Facebook, Twitter, and various other forms of online stalking, have not revealed some fabulous source of inspiration for me. I hang my head in shame and failure. Not only for what I have failed to do, but also what I have done.

Me: Scott, real quick! I can't think of what to write about! What's the first thing that pops into your head? Now - GO!

Scott: Gerbils.

Me: Gerbils?

I hate him.

I suspect he is trying to make fun of me. He's also doing very little to help me find a picture of him with a gerbil. I'm doubting his commitment and sincerity to this particular topic. He suggests I should just write everything I know about gerbils.


On top of everything he also refuses to make me a cup of tea and says he's going to go play Call of Duty instead. It's very difficult to find good help now a days. Honestly! Wait...hold on...I hear the water running down stairs! He is doing it! Ha! I Win.

Hmm, I should probably spell check this before I go any further. Done! I told Scott that I would only be ten minutes at the most. He's timing me. Who does that? Someone who wants to see you fail, that's who. Someone who gives you a terrible topic to write about, pretends to not make you tea and refuses to pose with a gerbil. Mind you I have no idea where to get a gerbil at this time of night. To the best of my knowledge they don't have drive through pet stores...yet. Hmm, memo to self.

I think my ten minutes is almost up.

Gerbils are small.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Silver Screen

Most families have some sort of defining characteristic. Maybe you come from a sporty family. Mom and Dad were athletes in high school and you and your siblings have carried on that tradition. Perhaps a love of music brings your family together; each member proficient in their own musical talents. Still others it may be something as simple as a love of being together. That family that eats together, plays together, and laughs together. Everyone has something that is inherently them. The glue or the common ground that makes them who they are as a unit; as a family. This cohesiveness can be found in one or any number of things. Whatever it is, it's part of the makeup of that family and those who reside in it.

One of the most visible characteristics of our family is a love of movies. From grandparents down to the youngest member, the silver screen has been a part of our lives from the get go. It is difficult to recall a time when they were absent from my life. When my brother and I were small,  trips to Toronto to visit my Poppa and Aunt Marg were always exciting. Their rec room was wall to wall with old movie posters and framed head shots of famous actors and actresses. James Cagney, Marylin Monroe, Carey Grant to name but a few. Over the stairs leading to the rec room was an old movie poster for The Adventures of Robin Hood. I remember it welcoming us every time we headed downstairs. Errol Flinn seemed to hint that adventure lay ahead for us.

No visit was complete without a screening of The Wizard of Oz. Despite watching this movie so many times I never became bored with it, nor did it lose any of it's magic. The tornado lifting Dorthy's farm house, the ruby slippers, the oil can, and so many other small scenes within scenes that resonated with me. A horse of a different colour? You can dye your eyes to match your dress? Really? For a small child it was a world full of infinite wonder and excitement. Later we were introduced to other classics such as Zulu, The Adventures of Robin Hood and so many others.

At home our parents would take us out to the theater from time to time. Yes we called going to the movies the theater. We would even dress nicely and there would be programs at the door. I remember seeing E.T. when I was five or six and being so scared I cried through most of the movie. I'm sorry, but necks should not do that, alien or not. My brother and I watched the Star Wars trilogy together so many times I can still recite it by heart. For our family, every Friday was movie night, and therefore family night as well. Once I remarked we didn't actually need to watch a movie to which my father responded "Blasphemy!" I might as well suggested we didn't need to breath.

Our little girl is only three, but she is developing a love for the movies as well. Sure they are mostly childrens movies, but she still finds the same wonder in them that I did when I was little. Stories of castles, magic wands, heroes and dragons. On rainy days we have a movie day at home, make popcorn and snuggle up on the couch. I have yet to take her out to the, ahem, theater, but look forward to doing so. First I have to start at the beginning. Where did I put my copy of The Wizard of Oz?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Follow Friday - The Media Mesh

It may not look it, but I really don't know a lot about the social media scene. I know, shocking! It was only until recently that  I decided to dip my little toe into this ocean of connectivity. In large part, the decision to explore a little deeper was influence by one of my media savvy friends. Karen Wilson and I have been friends for a few years. I first met her at a book club we both attended. It was a book club where "club" was spelt with a "k" and all talk of books was banned. In fact, that was the first rule. Naturally talk turned to other subjects such a children, work, and our own personal interests. Karen is very interested, nay passionate, about all things social media. Different tools and platforms, the ever changing way it connects people, the impact it has on society, everything! She loves it and knows her stuff. She could write a book on it, but then we wouldn't be able to talk about it, so she's done one better. She created The Media Mesh instead.

If you're passionate about social media, or even a newbie such as myself, you can learn a lot from Karen and The Media Mesh. Over the years she has gain a vast amount of knowledge and experience and wants to share it. She welcomes any questions, comments and ideas you want to put to her. In her Buzz and Brilliance segments she explores what's making headlines in social media. The good, the bad and the ugly of it all. She has created a Business Book Club which is open to all those interested and, shockingly, encourages discussion about actual books! (I know, she's quite the innovator) You can also find her on Twitter, where you can join her in discussing all things social media, at @Karen_C_Wilson. I think she lives there on a fairly regular basis.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Getting Back On The Horse

I know in my tag line I mention that I might bemoan not fitting in my old jeans and other diet related complaints.  I haven't done that yet and am feeling like a bit of a hypocrite for not doing so. The fact is, I haven't wanted to get on the weight loss band wagon until I was sure I'd stay on it. I didn't want to start something and not follow through on it. It's something I know I can do if I put my mind to it, but until now I've put it on the back burner. Why? Why not? I'm  not going anywhere. The gym's not going anywhere. So why not wait until I feel up to taking on the challenge?

I thrive on positive feed back. If I don't feel I'm getting anywhere I flag and falter until I stop dead. I don't want to do that, so I decided to wait until I felt I could commit the time and effort to getting in shape again. Let's be clear, it's not really about fitting into my old jeans. That's just a bit of tongue in cheek. What I'm really aiming for is health and over all fitness. That is much more important to me than any number on the scale. I know that I'll never look like I did when I was twenty. Which is just as well because I was underweight anyways. I want to be healthier, happier, and have the energy I need to keep up with my girls.

After my first daughter was born I worked hard to get back into shape before her first birthday. Between taking care of a baby, finishing university, and life in general, there were a lot of starts and stops. Despite all those possible roadblocks and possible excuses, I did manage to meet my goal. In fact because I was actively trying to improve my health and fitness I was in better shape than I was before I got pregnant. Honestly I was in the best shape I had ever been. Maybe not the thinnest or the lightest, but certainly the healthiest and fittest. What I previously had taken for granted in my youth, I had now worked hard to regain. I wasn't skinny, I was strong. Which feels miles better.

Now after my second daughter has been born,  I feel it's time to get back to where I was. I only got to enjoy the "new me" for a couple of months before I was pregnant again. I have lost the baby weight, but I really want that energy that comes from being fit and active again. I like having a goal and trying to reach it. Plus the gym is literally three minutes from my house; I've timed it. I'm actually looking forward to it because I know I can do it. I even wore yoga pants around the house yesterday. Hey, it's a start. Don't judge me. I did do a little Zumba for the Wii, so the pants were warranted.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Good Days

Today was a good day. I didn't win the lottery, magically lose 10lbs, or even cook something edible, but it was still good. The kids and I just hung out today enjoying our time together. My ideal plan of spending quality individual time with each, and then some group activities we could all do together, seems to be working out. Baby K and I danced and sung together, played with her tea set and read some books. Miss. A and I made a bird feeder which we hung in the back yard, made popcorn and watched a movie together, and did some puzzles. When we weren't doing things together, the girls did some colouring, watched Classical Baby (cartoon babies and animals dancing to classical music), or just chased each other around playing tag or hide and go seek. They didn't seem to mind playing on their own while I got chores done around the house. The house is starting to look more like a home and less like a college dorm. We ended the day with both the girls splashing in the bath tub. Like I said, nothing miraculous, just and really nice day where everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Even Scott received kudos at work today! Which is always nice when you start a new job. Now I have the house to myself so I'm going to try out that new Zumba game I got for my birthday. I hope I can get the blinds to go down. I don't want to frighten the neighbours with my tired old dance moves. I bet Betty White is a better dancer than I am.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I'm Zen With That

In truth I'm not, but I'd like to be. Or rather, I like the idea of it. Whatever "it" is. The "zen" part I mean. I assume it means to accept and be at peace with what's around you. I'd like to imagine that's what it means. I could look it up, but I might find I'm disappointed with the actual definition. My definition has, as Stephen Colbert says, a truthiness about it. It may in fact be wrong, but facts are over rated. Besides, I doubt the world's most important endeavours were ever attempted with all the facts in place first.

I have a very hard time just going with the flow of things. My immediate reaction when things are not going as planned is to become incredibly frustrated. I really wish I was one of those people who could react to things with ease and grace. I am NOT a graceful person no matter how you try to adjust and mold the word to fit. It will never apply to me. If I'm not knocking something over and bumping into something, I'm saying something awkward. If I'm not putting my foot in my mouth, I'm either under reacting to something or, more likely than not, over reacting. I seem to live in a world of "whys" and "what ifs", but never in the moment. Very rarely do I enjoy where I am at the time. Instead I try to control where I am and try to anticipate what's next. You know that annoying person who is clearly not listening but just waiting for their turn to talk? Well that's me, but apply that to my whole life. I annoy me. Some days I just wish I would just get out of my own way and live life in the moment.

The only thing I can think of that might help is more time to reflect. When I think about it, I rarely just sit down and have a few moments thought to myself. Every minute is full with doing something, making plans, or worrying that I don't have a plan yet in place. Even if I'm just sitting there, seemingly doing nothing, I'm thinking and scheming and plotting. OK, that's a little dramatic, but I felt I needed to inject a little excitement in there. I'm sure on some level there is some plotting going one somewhere. I used to at least reflect on what I was thankful for at the end of every day, but strangely I've stopped doing that. I don't know why. I guess I just forgot to do it. Isn't that awful? To forget something so important? I think perhaps, against every instinct in my body, I'm going to have to get up early and find my center in the morning. Maybe a little yoga and some peace and quiet to myself before the rush of the day. A little self reflection, a reminder of what is right and important, and start every day off on a positive note. It sounds like a plan! Oh shoot, there I go again!

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I few months back my laptop died on me. So annoying! It was the only way I could upload pictures. That prevented me from doing a lot of posts that I would have otherwise wanted to do. Mostly things like going to museums and other family or personal activities. My darling husband, understanding this frustration, (because I wouldn't stop complaining about it), bought me a doohickey that will allow me to upload things now. I think that's the technical term. I put my little card thingy in it from my camera, plug it in to the usb of the computer, and Bob's your uncle. Or in my case, father. So I'm looking forward to getting to do those posts soon, even if they are a little bit dated. Anywho, I have been told I need to go shopping. I guess that 5 mins to myself really flies! Later.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Once Upon A Time...

Up until very recently, just this week in fact, my three year old has been a nightmare at bedtime! As soon as we mentioned it was time to get our pyjamas on she would take off running. You would literally have to corner her and scoop her up. Getting them on was next to impossible too. She would wiggle and squirm the whole time. When it came to brushing her teeth she was no better. She would flick her tooth brush spraying toothpaste all over the mirror, brush the sink and faucet, or just stare at her reflection and make funny faces. You had to keep her on task the whole time. It was a huge test of patience; and I'm a very impatient person. You knew she was just trying to stall and wind you up in the process. She is extremely good at winding me up. She knows all the buttons to push and when. While I'm waiting I wonder if there is a boarding school for preschoolers? Hopefully overseas? I doubt I'd be that lucky.

Once we're finally upstairs, oh wait, I forgot to mention, we do our teeth and dress downstairs. Why? She puts up such a loud fuss that I'm afraid she'll wake up her sister. She just turned sixteen months and spares me this ordeal every night and is a fantastic sleeper for the most part. She has not yet learned the entertainment value in torturing me. Once we finally get upstairs we pick out two books and have the smallest drink of water I can get away with giving her. I'd like to say we snuggle up together and read a sweet little book. A darling little picture of the joys of parenthood, but that would be a lie. Usually she's jumping on the bed, throwing her bear in the air or trying to have a conversation with her goldfish across the room. After repeated threats that I'll stop reading, she finally settles down enough that we can finish the books. (I skip a lot of pages on the way) I tuck her in, give her a kiss and a hug, tell her I love her, and head towards the door. "Mommy, can I tell you a question??"  Le sigh. "Um, can I play with the iPad?", "I'm hungry", "I'm not tired", "Can you sleep with me?" After trying to evade this barrage of questions I eventually just have to say good night and close the door before she has a chance to say anything else. After that it's about an hour of hauling her butt back to bed. Not fun. There goes my whole night, thanks a lot you pain darling little angel.

As I said, this week has been soooo much better! Why? I think it's because of a couple of things. I've been making an effort to spend a lot more one on one time with her during the day. Usually her sister is involved with everything we do, but there is naturally a certain amount of jealousy in the house right now. I think the personal time with just the two of us is really helping. I know she's much more manageable during the day now too. Secondly, we don't try to rush bedtime at all. We *may* have been slightly guilty of this in the past. After a long day my husband and I just want some us time. Of course, she just wants some Mommy and Daddy time alone, which she rarely gets. It's really not fair of us to rush her through it, so we don't do that now. One of the things I think is working really well is how we changed story time.

The bedtime book is still a staple, but we've added two new elements. I tell her a story about her and then she tells me a story. Nothing fancy. We're not writing the next Harry Potter or anything. Just anything that comes to mind. I usually ask her where she wants to go in the story and what she wants to do. Then just sort of wing it. Usually she wants to go to the park or the farm with all her friends from school, often Mommy, Daddy and her sister are there too. When I'm finished it's her turn. Her stories are so cute and really imaginative! They often start off with her sister and her going somewhere, meeting friends, playing, coming home for a snack, finding dragons (but friendly ones that like to give hugs) and of course eating ice cream. This whole story telling time is great! She's using her imagination, being empowered to create her own story, and she's having some quiet time with me. No jumping up and down, no bartering for this and that, just a nice unwinding end to the day. After she says The End, I tell her thanks for sharing that great story, give her a big hug and kiss and say good night. "I love you Mommy, good night." Then she stays in bed and doesn't get up once!

The End.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It's Not Just A Blog

There are a number of reasons people start blogging in the first place. Maybe it's a way of keeping in contact with family and friends; possibly growing new ones in the process. For others it's a way of chronicling life's events. Many have a passion for something that they want to share with other like minded people. Still others blog because it encourages them to write for it's own sake. The one thing that all these have in common is building connections.

Whether it is part of your original intent, your writing is out there. You know, out there, in the big wide world to share with who ever stumbles across it. You may not even realize it's happening, but you're building connections, if even briefly, with another person. This isn't a surprise, as such. If you publish a blog you're kind of expecting this. I'm sure you hope that someone has shared a similar musing or agreed with a point you're trying to express. Maybe you're even curious if someone out there has read something and been in dead disagreement with you. Either way, people write, publish, and wait because it's important to them. It's important to me.

I'm making it a habit this month, being the start of NaBoPloMo, to read three to four blogs that I wouldn't have normally read a day. I pick them at random from a list of those participating this month. I've been finding it really interesting to look through these tiny windows of people's much larger lives. Everything has been interesting, enlightening and engaging. I also make it a point to leave a comment before I leave. I'd like them to know that they have made at least one connection that day. Don't be surprised if you're participating this month if you find I've left a comment on your blog too. After all, they are free.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Place For Everything And Everything In It's Place

There is a shop near me that is dedicated to organizing your work, home and life. It has the slogan A Place For Everything And Everything In It's Place. I fell instantly in love with it. In fact, they had me at A Place For Everything. I desperately love the idea of everything being neat and organized. Yeah, I'm a bit of a control freak that way I guess. Sadly I'm also a total failure at it too. As much as I aspire to this heavenly vision of living, I must acknowledge, having two small children seems to put a bit of a crimp in this dream. I keep telling myself, however, that lots of people have kids and I'm sure that some also have it together. If I just had a plan I could do it! 

This desire isn't born of some ill conceived idea that I need to be a perfect wife and mother with a perfect June Cleaver house. It's not anywhere close to that. Though my current state of affairs speaks otherwise, I really am a very clean and organized person. When I was working I cleaned my office every day. Even the little buttons on the phone. I prepared everything I would need that day and line it up neatly on my desk. When the CBC would tone exactly one o'clock on the radio, I would set my watch. Everyday. This is part of who I am. One of the weirder parts, sure, but who's normal now a days? I'm harmless. Mostly.

I've been going through and reading a lot of the blogs participating in NaBoPloMo over the last couple of days. Many have been talking about a desire to get more organized and purge all the clutter from their lives. This includes not just stuff but people, bad habits and a number of other things. Everyone has those boxes in storage that haven't seen the light of day in years. One person has vowed to go through one box a day and toss out or donate what's there. Other's have a list, but no plan on how to accomplish it. I totally share that frustration!

My plan that I hope will totally succeed at is this: Each day assign one task to do around the house. Maybe it's clean the kitchen or bathroom. Maybe finally organize all that damn Tupperware. I want to give one hour of attention a day to each of my daughters. Just our one on one time. Then one hour of share activity with the three of us. The rest of the time they can have some free play time and I can get some of my work done too. Anything above and beyond that is gravy. The aim is that things slowly get more organized and clean around the house while not taking time away from my kids. Then all I have to do is maintain it. Easy peasy, right? Do you think it will work? Oh I sure hope so. I can't afford a cleaning service and professional organizer.

Do you have any secret strategies for getting and keeping your life more organized? OK, I guess if you mention it the secret will be out. It's for the greater good! Think of the lives you would change for the better! It's your duty as a decent human being to share. Don't let humanity down.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Not A New Year Resolution

Let's be clear. This is not a New Year resolution post. It might have some in common, ok, a LOT in common with one. But it isn't one. It's clever that way, and that's why it's going to work. I'm going to sneak up on those life changes and they'll never see it coming. Shhhhh!

I guess what I'm trying to say I don't want to make changes just because 2012 happens to be at the top of the calendar now. I don't see a lot of value in evaluating your life once a year then trying to fix all the things you've discovered you've neglected. I think that's maybe the only value in this resolution business that happens at the end of every year. Self reflection and discovery.You can't help but reflect on your previous year. What did you enjoy? Who was important to in your life? What were your achievements? What were your disappointments? If you're lucky you'll come to the conclusion that yes, changes need to be made, but through out your life. Not just because of some annual obligation, but because it would make your life better.

So what are my resolutions changes that I plan on making? It's funny how the holidays seem to highlight the holes in your life. I came to realize that I really needed to make some really obvious adjustments to life and my approach to life in general. I had, like many people I'm sure, been living very unconsciously. This is not a very rewarding way to live your life. Firstly you're not really actively enjoying what you do have, and secondly you're not aware of what you need to change so that you can enjoy it more. So I guess number one on my list is to be more conscious of my day to day and my place in it. I want to see what needs to be done and do it. This includes the typical get in shape and stay healthy business. Frankly I think that should have a permanent spot on everyone's list. It also includes taking time to do things I enjoy, like writing. I plan on doing a lot of it because I like it and it's free. I want to get organized around the house. I like being organized. I most of all want to show my girls more of the awe and splendor the world has to offer. The world seems a lot less shiny the older you get, I want them to have some magical moments in their youth that can buoy them through those tough times. I want to be more positive everyday.

For everyone else, here are some resolutions changes for you. Give people room and support to make those changes in their lives that they need to. It's important to them. Don't let them give up too easily. If it were easy they wouldn't turn into the next years resolutions every year. Everyone is sick of making resolutions! Let's make changes instead.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Secret To A Happy Marriage

Ok maybe that title is promising way more than I can provide. My husband and I just spent a good hour smack talking each other over Facebook and Twitter. While sitting beside each other. It's silly and childish but so much fun. I can't claim what the secret to a happy marriage is exactly. Is it allowing yourselves to be silly from time to time? Is it having a sense of humour out them and yourself? Maybe just being comfortable about yourself and each other. Who knows? All I know is that afterwards I couldn't help but think I'm glad I married that guy! Now if he could just learn to clean I would be all set.