Monday, February 16, 2015

sunday randoms on a monday

Well it happened, I'm off pace for my 3.65 million step goal by the end of the year. Right now I'm at 458, 148 steps and I should be more than 470,000 by now. So the wheels fell off for a couple of different reasons. One being it was beyond frigid this weekend. Dave and I headed out to walk to the dog on Saturday and dang near froze our faces off. Oh and Dave, Mel and The World's Cutest Nephew were here. So I spent my time building towers out of blocks, playing cards, drinking wine/rye and just soaking up all their company.

Had the most amazing late Valentine's dinner double date with Dave and Mel. Best steak I've probably ever eaten in my life. The company of course was top drawer..... I can't thank them enough for suggesting such a lovely evening.

We played some Cards Against Humanity after the kiddos were all asleep and it is a ridiculously funny game, oh yes it is, but let me tell you something about my brother. When he finds something funny, well and truly funny, he laughs in a way that takes over his entire body. He can barely breathe and hardly speak and you cannot help, but join in even if you don't know what he's laughing about. I think I might love that about him most of all. There was a lot of opportunity for that Saturday night.

Maya racked up a new nickname this weekend, she's now Choo Choo Maya. Somebody brought his trains to Auntie's this weekend and Maya was the perfect playmate.

The SNL 40th anniversary show was killer, did you watch it?

There was so much more awesome in this weekend, I can't even put it in words. How was yours?

Friday, February 13, 2015

friday high five

1. The Abster. She brought her report card home yesterday and it was so awesome I wept. So amazing to see her finding her stride.

2. 4H. I am happy for the opportunity to be a leader for this organization and even more excited for the opportunities the girls have for being involved. Abby is currently enjoying learning woodworking and sewing skills and making new friends. Win, win, win.

3. Long weekends. Mike and I took an extra day off and super sized our long weekend.

4. Family. The only thing better than a super sized long weekend is one spent with family!

5. My Jersey Girls. It's spaghetti dinner season! Long planning this event and love the girls I plan it with.

What's worthy of your high fives this week?

Sunday, February 08, 2015

sunday randoms

391,928 steps so far this year means I am still ahead of schedule. Yay me!

This past week had The Abster at sewing club (shes making a pillow),wood working club (she made a bird house) and art class (she painted a picture). I think she's got her creative outlets covered.

You'd think a movie starring Amy Poehler, Zach Galifinakis and Owen Wilson would be hysterical, turns out not so much.

In other news this last season of Parks and Rec is killing it already, only two episodes in.

Abby, Maya, and I are still working our way through Gilmore Girls, I kind of love Luke, kind of think Jess is a douche.

Today I deposited two more cheques via my smart phone and I paid for Abby's dance and civvies day on the internet. Welcome to the future.

We are out of Chicago Mix and no plans to hit up Costco until the weekend. Hashtag sad state of affairs.

I am officially addicted to Trivia Crack, not surprising given the name.

Just finished reading a great book, Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult.... now I say this while in the back of my mind I'm thinking Allison is reading this and her reading list is way more impressive than mine which is mostly fluff and chick lit with the odd biography thrown in... so in other words the anxiety is on the rise, but I really loved reading this so much I feel I have to tell the five readers I have out there that might actually be looking for a book to read. So there you go. It was great. I have never read her stuff before, but I am a sucker for an interesting cover on the display shelves at the library. Which is also how I ended up with Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, also loving. I am also a sucker for British writers. I actually just love the Brits, their shows are top drawer... I'm looking at you Downton Abbey and they have Ricky Gervais.  So enough said.

Also life was just really really good.

How was your weekend?

Friday, February 06, 2015

more

Recently I was sitting in a meeting talking about the logistics of an event that I'm helping to plan. The talk went back in forth as to what exactly the event should entail and as the list of proposed activities got longer my friend chimed up with this....... Do fun things more often. What she was saying is we don't have to cram every fun idea we've ever had into one event and she was on point at that moment, but I'm not going to lie that one little line made a whole lot of sense to this chick, who's into her second month in the year of MORE. That really summed up to me what I want this year to be.

In that vein we've been celebrating all of those funny made up holidays like national puzzle day. Maya is totally kicking that Big Bang Theory puzzle's butt. Just last week we celebrated Homemade Soup Day, to be fair only Mike and I were celebrating that day because my kids are weirdos who wouldn't touch soup with a ten foot pole.

So I whip up this delicious mushroom soup for Michael and I. A soup I've made a million times before. A soup I don't need a recipe for. I have everything nicely in the pot and I grab the cornstarch to thicken it up a bit. You know how it goes, shake some cornstarch into a little bowl, add some water, put on the lid and give it a shake. As I'm shaking I realize I've forgotten to bring over the cream. I put the container on the counter and head to the fridge, I'm half way and POP!! I whip around scanning the kitchen wondering what in the actual heck just exploded and there is my cornstarch foaming all over the counter, the lid blown from the scene.

Foaming.

What. The. Hell.

I tell you this story just to keep it real for y'all. I'm not always Mario Batali in the kitchen, sometimes I make a complete mess of things like I did earlier this week when I tried to thicken my soup with baking powder. Baking Powder. No wonder it exploded. Thank goodness I didn't dump in right in the soup. I have absolutely no excuse for my behaviour, the containers aren't even remotely similar nor do I even keep them in the same cupboard.

I guess I need to add pay MORE attention to the list this year.

Monday, February 02, 2015

way to be optimistic

Today is a snow day! Maya got over the disappointment relatively quickly and we soon settled in to a binge watching session of the Gilmore Girls because we couldn't think of a better way to spend a bonus day off. The kids stomped around in the drifts surrounding the house and Abby attempted to teach Maya a new rainbow loom pattern and basically they were just enjoying each other's company.

Maya: Do you think we'll be able to spend the whole day without arguing.
Abby: Hmmm, probably.
Maya: Not.

Hope you all enjoyed your snow day if you got one.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

sunday randoms

323,897 steps! Still on track for my 3.65 million. Started a new fitness challenge this month, it's all Russian twists, side planks and bicycle crunches. Yes, I had to google how to do those. Looking forward to feeling the change in my body by the month's end. In January I went from crying doing 20 squats to being able to do 180, with relative ease. I kind of surprised myself that I stuck with the challenge for the entire month. On my way to building a habit!

Y'all my phone is possessed! There is this weather app that came pre-loaded on my phone that I can't delete and it has taken over my phone. Hit the home button and the weather app opens up, so now I have to use the back key to get out of all my apps. It is so annoying. It's also battery draining. Oh and the speaker, it's now on as a default whenever I attempt to make a call or I answer a call. If you know me at all then you know I am not a fan of the speaker phone. I've had this one for two years, totally time for an upgrade right?

This weekend was just crammed full of friends, food and laughter. The very best kind of weekend in my books!

Masterchef has made me cry twice already.

The weather outside is certainly frightful! The wind and the snow are crazy. My back door is slowly drifting in. I had one kid go to bed praying for a snow day, the other praying for no snow day. I'll let you guess which is which.

How was your weekend?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

#BellLetsTalk

A year ago I wrote about my struggles with anxiety in honour of #BellLetsTalk day. I'm happy and, at times, astonished to tell you that things remain good with me. I do have moments of anxiety, but nothing like I used to experience and I have learned how to manage it very well. I have learned never to slack on self-care. Many thanks to my very favourite mental health professional. I never fully appreciated how truly important it was to stop and take care of myself and that takes many different forms. Sometimes it's a book and a cup of tea, or one more episode of a show we're binge watching and sometimes it's saying no, I just can't manage that right now. It's a never ending work in progress, but I like how things are going right now.

I have thought long and hard about what I wanted to write about here and I kept coming back to the same story. It's something I've actually been thinking about writing for a while now, but at the same time I was hesitant as it's not entirely my story, but then I think nothing will ever change if we don't start sharing our stories, so here we go....

She looks like you, I hear that a lot in regards to my youngest daughter. I fully admit that I don't easily see the resemblance, likely because I'm too close to the subject, but she is, in many ways, my mini-me. I like to say that the two of us "uber bonded" over the course of her infancy. As a mother, how do you bring home a baby with breathing issues from the hospital and not just want to hold her all the time to make just to be certain she's still breathing? In addition she almost never slept unless she was physically connected to me, so it was always her and I. Once she got her land legs she didn't stray too far from my skirts. She needed to warm up to people at her own speed and her speed was sloooow. I don't think she talked to Poppa until she was two. And that's how it was, that's how she was. People would like to tell us she was shy and I always felt compelled to correct them, no she's not shy. In fact she's quite a chatty thing if she's comfortable, but she's often not comfortable in social situations. I could watch her and feel her uncomfortableness on my own skin, I could feel it because she is my mini-me. I was nervous about her starting school, I had major school related anxiety as a child, but she managed the transition very well.

A year ago we sat in an interview with her teacher and as we talked some things came to light that, to this Mama, were concerning. She has certain things that she does to calm herself that she had begun doing at school. Her reactions to being "in trouble" or making a mistake were leaning towards the extreme. She was becoming emotional  and withdrawn in the classroom. I won't lie, I came home and wept because it reminded me so much of me. I think about grade school and there is an immediate weight in my chest, the same one that sat there every single day of my school career. Now I realize that I brought my own baggage to that meeting, but can you blame me? I don't want that for her, but at the same time I couldn't tell.... was I making too much of it or not enough?

 Those that know me well, know I parent with my words. I talk a lot, I explain a lot, I ask a lot of questions, I ask them to explain things to me, I ask them to convince me, to bring me over to their way of thinking, my kids are probably tired of hearing my voice. So we started talking, her and I, at the end of day as we were getting ready for bed. I asked her to explain how she felt, ~ worried, I feel worried, but I don't know what I'm worried about. Every night I would ask if she had any worries and most nights she did, like a forgotten sweater at school. We'd work out why it was worrying her (I'd be mad that she lost it), we'd talk about what might realistically happen if she had lost it (we'd replace it)  and we'd figure out what she could do to fix the problem (sweater was in the lost on found the next day). At school her teacher would give her a break when she noticed she was becoming overwhelmed (A short little walk down the hall for a drink). We talked about where she felt happiest and the most comfortable (at the kitchen table playing board games with the family) and I told her when she was feeling too worried to take a couple of deep breaths and bring that to mind. When she got upset, once she'd calm down we'd ask her if she felt she'd been too upset, not enough upset or just the right amount of upset. Almost all the time she felt she'd been too upset, so we would talk about why she felt that upset (often because she felt we'd be upset/angry with her). At home we were more patient with her, softer with our words. A lot of her anxiety comes from the idea of  making a mistake and/or getting in trouble. We did this for several months before.....

Me: Did you have any worries today?
Her: Nope!
Me: That's good. Anything interesting happen at school.
Her: Well, I got in trouble and it wasn't even my fault!
Me: Ummm, what happened?
Her: Well, some of the kids didn't put their stuff away so we couldn't have free time until we all cleaned up, but I cleaned my stuff up.

She'd gotten in "trouble" and that didn't make her worry list. That was pretty exciting.

Fast forward a year, we're sitting in an interview with her new teacher. She tells us that she's doing great, but just needs a reminder to put up her hand before answering. Umm, she's not only talking in class, but so eager to do so she's just blurting out the answers? Yes. I mention that last year she was very quiet and timid in the classroom. Her teacher this year seems surprised, "I would call her confident, not timid."
Really?
Oh, yes.
She was invited as one of a small group of kids to attend some eco training, her principal tells me later that the kids they chose were ones identified as leaders in the school. My mouth dropped open. She comes home from school now, so light and happy compared to last year. She's not completely free of anxiety, but I feel we're helping her manage it in a way that works for her.

I think it's easy when it's a child to wave it off as a kid being shy or their concerns or worries or tears as not being a big deal, but for some kids it is indeed something much bigger than themselves. Having been that kid, I know all too much, how overwhelming it is.

I have said it before, but it bears repeating..... be good to each other, you just never know what kind of a burden someone else is carrying. Be patient. Be empathetic. A small kindness can go a long way.

Much love.