Saturday, 30 January 2016

To The Parents

To the mother who is working full time and has her children in daycare,
To the mother who stays home with her children full time,
To the father who stays home with his children full time,
To the parent who works part time,
To the parent who works from home,
To the mother who had a cesarean section,
To the mother who had an epidural,
To the mother who had a water birth,
To the mother who breastfeeds,
To the mother who formula feeds,
To the parents who use cloth diapers,
To the parents who use disposable diapers,
To the parents who don't let their children watch television,
To the parents who watch cartoons with their children,
To the parents who limit sugar for their children,
To the parents who bake cakes for their children,
To the humans with a messy house,
To the humans with a tidy house,
To the parents who sleep train,
To the parents who co sleep,
To the same sex couple parents,
To the single parents,
To the parent who has their child when they are young,
To the parent who has their child when they are older,
To the parent who enrols their children in public school,
To the parent who homeschools,
To the parents who adopt,
To the parents who use a surrogate,
To the parents who conceive naturally,
To the parents who require fertility aids for conception,
To the people who can't have children,
To the people who don't want to have children,

You are all doing it right.

Life is made up of choices we make, and choices made for us. In the end, we are all doing our best and we all want the next generation of tiny humans to succeed.

Pass it along. Spread the love and pat yourself on the back. You are amazing.

The tiny humans that I am spending all my time with these days. I have so much love for these boys!

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Hygge


My ancestry is Danish, English, and Scottish. Pale people of the North. I myself am a pale person of the North, and I am honoured to continue our family legacy of hibernation and sunburn.

In Denmark, the winters are cold and long, not unlike Canada. However, it can be said that the Danes do winter especially well. A fundamental part of Danish culture is hygge (pronounced hue-gah). Hygge is a concept of coziness when relaxing with friends and loved ones and enjoying the simple pleasures in a comfortable setting, often with candles. It is actually difficult to describe, as in English there is no direct word equivalent. Denmark also consistently rates as one of the happiest countries in the world. Their sense of simplicity and minimalism in design and life is extremely inspirational to me. I believe that this focus away from materialism creates a greater ability to concentrate on what is really important, the people in your life.

We are on round 5 million (slight exaggeration) of winter colds at my house. After a busy day, and with a sinus headache and cough, I decided to make tonight as hygge as possible. Comfy clothes and my favourite people. Tea and candles. Cuddles and books. Early bedtimes.

Snuggles with Daddy are the best!

iTunes visualizer on our screens and calm music. Tonight I was in the mood for The Bliss by The Fortunate Ones. Lovely blend of an East coast and folk sound with heartfelt lyrics. So relaxing. The entire album is wonderful. Have a listen!


Cuddling with my favourite little people. Our yearly family photo album arrived today and we had so much fun looking at pictures of ourselves! How to keep a 2 year old happy- show him pictures and videos of himself! Works every time!

 "Reading" a comic book in a bean bag chair. Does life get any sweeter than this? This book is called Darth Vader and Son, by Jeffrey Brown. It is hilarious. Highly recommend!

 David's Tea. Chocolate Chili Chai- say that 10 times fast! David's Tea makes my life hygge. Always.

My true love. A comfortable bed!

 Tea in bed. Just too much comfy happening here!

My favourite cosy activity is reading. I have been trying to read more. I am a natural reader, obsessive really, but since I had kids have not been as prolific. Confession, I began this book in the hospital when my twins were born, ALMOST 3 YEARS AGO. I did read quite a few books since beginning this book, breaking my rule of one book at a time. I almost finished it at the cottage this past summer, I am finally finishing it now. It is a really great book, it's just hard to get through when you fall asleep after a page...

Lavender is the most relaxing fragrance. I love it. Santa knew this and brought me this delightful candle. Thank you Santa!

Such a perfect night full of hygge. I wish the same for you tonight or soon. Goodnight!

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Taking care of Me!


When eczema showed up on the palms of my hands as a product of stress, I knew that something had to change. I stood in that moment in my bathroom, crying that my body was falling apart. Husband was there to calm me and kindly let me know that maybe it was time to make some changes. I have health concerns that go beyond eczema, but nothing too serious at this point. As a mother, it can be hard to take care of yourself with others needing you in such a constant and intense way. 

"I can be a mom to me too," some wisdom from a friend, who I met through blogging! These words really resonated with me. Thank you Friend. I moved thousands of km away from my mother at a young age, had all my children far from the support of family, and have had to be mindful (but not always successful) of avoiding burnout while raising my little ones. Luckily, Husband is a wonderful partner, but we are also conscious of him avoiding burning out as well. We don't have available childcare at the moment, any babysitter who is able to handle autism and twins is far beyond our budget! 

2016 is the year that I learn to take better care of myself. There it is, in writing, for all to see. I do well with large goals and with telling others to create a greater sense of accountability. In 2014 I had a year of not buying any clothing or shoes, it was life changing. In 2015, we paid off a large monetary debt. In 2016, we have a lot of changes in store for our little family, and I need to be in top shape mentally, physically, and spiritually in order to make these transitions with grace rather than anxiety. 

Mentally, I need to do what makes me ME. I am a creative. I need to create, every day. This is how I have always been, and I don't see it changing any time soon. Since having children, some of my methods of creating have changed, and I have realized that everything one does can be done with creative flair, a truly life altering concept. 

Last night, I painted! A painting that takes more than one night to complete (I am a fast painter, it has been a while since I completed something more complex)! When I am painting, I can achieve flow, a complete absorption and feeling of energy and focus. It is amazing. And hard to find the time. Yesterday, I was driving home from a meeting with my son's occupational therapist and speech pathologist when an idea for a painting popped in my head. Instead of ignoring the idea, I ran into Value Village and bought some canvas to paint over- this is how people on a budget can afford painting. It was Husband's night out and I was cleaning up dinner, having movie night with the boys, folding laundry, and tidying up NEVER ENDING messes, thinking that I would certainly not get to painting... but I did. Wonderful. More of this.

Today is my day out. Opera with a dear friend! Music, theatre, art, reading (more paper books- less on my phone), writing, decorating, crafting, photography... more activities that fill me up. 

Taking better care of myself physically, there is room for a lot of improvement in this area. I find this the easiest area to ignore when exhausted, which is why my number one goal is SLEEP. I am a night owl by nature, but I have children, and mornings need to happen no matter how I feel about them. Also, did you know that kids can wake up randomly and need you at any time and any age? Sadly, this is reality. Stricter bedtimes for this tired lady! 

I know how to eat well, I just need to refocus. Filling the fridge with lovely produce and having healthy snacks available is so helpful. Feeling grateful that I have access to all this beautiful food is also helpful. Continuing with mindful eating (I love food), and less emotional eating (I love food when I am sad too). 

I also know what physical activities I enjoy, and I am making time for them. I once read that the most important aspect of exercise, is finding activities that you love. Unfortunately, I do not delight in exercise... or sports. At all. Just being honest. Luckily, I love walking (outside), dancing, swimming, and (it's been a while) weight training. Best to stick to those activities then! I absolutely don't see how I could have any success with a workout program that I hated, and I have past experiences to back up that theory.  

As for my spiritual health, I actually feel like this is my strongest area to begin with. Spirituality means something different to almost everyone. To some people, it can mean participating in organized religion, to others, it can mean finding connection with nature and the world around them. I feel a sense of connectedness and peace in general. My beliefs have matured, but not changed since I became an adult. I feel that life is a beautiful messy adventure and choose to look for the good in people. 

I hope that if you are reading this, perhaps you will be inspired to take better care of yourself too? Life is hard. Being an adult is hard. Sometimes it seems easier to be kind to others and neglect our own needs. Remember, if your bucket is empty, you can't help fill someone else's bucket. In 2015 I lived with a nearly empty bucket, in 2016 I will be changing that. 

Saturday, 9 January 2016

I Love January


The older I get, the more I love January. September and January are chances for renewed focus and examining goals, which I sorely need in my chaotic life. I do realize that these are just arbitrary dates on a calendar, and that you can choose to change and challenge yourself at any moment, but isn't it nice to have a reminder? 

I love the quiet of January. Snow is like a muffling blanket. It really is peaceful out there. It is also dark early and cold, people are tired from the holidays, perhaps a lot of Netflix and hibernating is going on. Staying warm and cosy in your house while looking out the window at the calm white beauty outside is a perfectly valid way to enjoy the season. Drink something warm and yummy while gazing at the snow for added enjoyment! I also love walking in winter. My winter evening walks have become one of my favourite activities. It is a time for my mind to wander, the cold air feels wonderful, and the scenery is breathtaking! 

I love snow. If you live somewhere where there is snow in winter, you are lucky! All the seasons are beautiful, but winter is the most majestic. On a cloudy day, the sky matches the snow covered roof tops, and colour is reduced to shades of white and grey. Falling snowflakes are magic, there is no other way to describe it. On a sunny day in winter, the bright blue sky stands in stark contrast with the sparkling snow and ice, it is astoundingly beautiful. Now, I am an adult, I drive a vehicle, I shovel my driveway. These are not the best parts of winter, but if you have winter tires, allow extra time for travel, and slow down, the driving is not bad. As for shovelling, remember your New Year's Resolution to exercise more? Done!

I love shifting focus. How many wonderful human feats were accomplished as a direct result of a resolution made in the dead of winter? It's hard to know for certain, but I can think of a few in my own life. Apparently only 8% of New Year's Resolutions are successful. 8% is still impressive, considering that without resolutions, that number is 0%. "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take," some wisdom from a fellow Canadian and winter lover, Wayne Gretzky. Make resolutions, succeed, or fail, then make more. Your life is what you make it, dream big!

I love not doing anything fun because my kids are all sick. Okay, not really! This has also become part of my January reality. Children are disgusting adorable germ factories and germ spreaders. Between caring for my babies, cleaning up sick messes, and doctor's visits, there is more time for working on my goals because we have to cancel all our plans perpetually. I miss you friends! Maybe I will see you in the spring?!

Happy January! 

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Holiday Magic 2015



As the character Daisy stated in one of my favourite sitcoms, Spaced, life is "ups and downs it's ups and downs it's ups and downs."

The holidays this year have been full of love, stress, moodiness, laughter, colds, bronchitis, ear infections, sleep torture (parents know what this is), delicious food, warm weather, cold weather, fog, rain, snowstorms, freezing rain, date nights, adventure, pajamas, so many hats, movies, more food, tantrums, misunderstandings, forgiveness, fevers, antibiotics, gifts, surprises, shovelling snow, snuggles, SUGAR, laughter, beauty, magic, Santa, friends, baking, carolling, messes, children calling adults by their first names, minions, trains, puppets, craft projects, Pepere,  and did I mention food? Basically, it was full of life. Wonderful and imperfect.

Husband and I are thinking that we need a holiday to recover from this holiday...