Monday, February 28, 2011

My three lives of Guiding

Guiding has been a part of my life since I was seven years old. [That's a long time. We'll just leave it at that.] My Guiding involvement has had three distinct lives: The Girl Years, The Nomadic Era, and Now That I'm Really An Adult.

All three of those lives have smushed themselves together and made me who I am today. There were other things that definitely influenced me, like say, my parents and family and teachers. But Guiding has been a huge and positive influence on my life always.

So as promised I will be writing a bit about Guiding - look for posts titled (what else?!) The Girl Years, The Nomadic Era, and Now That I'm Really An Adult over the next few days.

I've also gone and created a quick little glossary of terms and/or links...because, well, I have heard from more than one reader who doesn't know what Guiding is.

Girl Guides of Canada
World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS)
House Assistant (HA) - House Assistant was the title given to volunteers at Pax Lodge when I was there. I believe they're called Resident Volunteers now. When I was there we worked in the kitchen, made beds and cleaned, worked in the office and the shop, and worked with the Programme Manager to deliver programs - games nights, house tours, evening programs for guests, tours etc
World Thinking Day (also known as Thinking Day and WTD)
Guider - Adult who leads of the above branches of Guiding
Commissioner - Woman (or women) in charge of a District, Division, Area, Province or in Canada's case, country

Clawing my way out of the chaos

How is it that you spend months getting organized and developing routines and it all falls apart after a week (or part of a week) at home with a sick kid?

My schedule is so far off, it's not even funny. To be honest, I never got on top of it when we came back from our Christmas vacation, but it was working well enough. I got to work on time. We ate decent food. We ate at dinner time, not at bed time.

But now, after missing a full 25% of work since the beginning of the month due to illness - mine or J's - we're somehow way off schedule.

Our house is still relatively clean, but not clean like I'd like it to be. Cleaning is erratic and I know that if I just FOLLOWED THE SCHEDULE it would be much better. I spent way too much time being concerned that I didn't get the bathroom done last night when I could be cleaning it now...instead of fretting about it.

I haven't made a proper meal plan in a month.

The laundry is threatening to take over our bedroom. I'm almost out of clothes to wear but I can't find any to wash because there are so many that I'm scared to start sorting. I might just get devoured by the mountain of washing and no one would notice I was missing because there's just so much of it...

But we started today off on a good note. While I didn't get lunch made or breakfast prepped last night, it didn't take long this morning, and we were out the door and at daycare at a decent hour. And I was at work pretty much on time. I had been aiming for early because I'm off to the dentist for some evil dental work this afternoon (I think I'm discovering why people are scared of the dentist. I'm a bit scared today) and I'm not sure how much that is going to impact (my already dismal) attendance at work.

The dentist told me to take it easy this afternoon, but going back to work tomorrow shouldn't be a problem. Someone I know (okay, fine, my mother) had a similar procedure done in the fall and it was three or four days before she could talk properly and for an extended period of time again and over a week before she stopped eating baby food pureed food. I'm worried about J and who's going to read her bedtime stories this week. I'm worried it's going to hurt.


I just want to have a organized, functioning home again and I want to spend five full days a week at work...

Chaos, consider this your notice, I am evicting you.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Week 4: Making Decisions

I totally need help making decisions. I'm terrified I'm going to decide to toss something that we might actually need...


But I'm getting better at tossing stuff. A while ago I read something somewhere (I have no idea where) about how to toss stuff and it included asking yourself if there was a fire, is it something that you would either replace immediately or be devastated that you couldn't replace it? If you answer yes, then it's worth keeping. Obviously this question is for when you're having trouble making a decision...there are some things that go without questions.

The questions from Org Junkie website are definitely useful...I've written them on a scrap of paper and I take them with me when it's time to organize.

1. Can I afford, in terms of space, to keep this item?
2. Could the space that this item takes up be put to better use?
3. What am I saying NO to in order to say YES to this item?
4. What’s the worst thing that’s going to happen if I get rid of this item?

Remember you can’t say YES to everything if your space is limited.

I'm most definitely a pack rat, but I'm getting better at getting rid of stuff. I've started really looking at why I'm keeping stuff. FlyLady has a good list (number 6) of questions too. The one I've found most useful is the last one - does it give me guilt and make me sad when I see the item? The number of things I've been able to toss because I answered yes to that question and knew that was not a good reason to keep it...

Week four questions:
1. Were you able to tackle one of your piles last week?
Other than the one inside the kitchen door, no. Sick kids make tidying hard. But I'm hoping this weekend might see some piles disappear!

2. Did you have to make some tough choices?
Not with the kitchen. It was really a matter of sorting and putting things away in their proper homes or tossing them. Some of the other piles on my list will be a different story though...

3. Have you had a chance to put any of the tips from my book, Clutter Rehab, into practice yet?

I wish. I'm still waiting for my turn at the library. Although I might cave and visit the bookstore. I have a few more books that I can toss, so one in three out might be okay...but the book wouldn't count for my book challenge...oh the choices!

Week 3: Identify the piles

Piles. Oh yes, I have piles. I am a pile maker.


There are piles in the kitchen (well, there aren't right now because I got rid of the junk, but I haven't posted that yet) There are piles in the living room. There are piles in our bedroom. There are piles in our bathroom. Amazingly the dining room table is currently pile free, but it's often covered in piles.

Not stuff. Piles. Piles that are usually well sorted and organized but I haven't got them to where they need to go. I need to work on finishing one project before moving on to the next (I've added that to my list)

The only spaces that are almost always pile free are J's room and bathroom. Sometimes her laundry gets dumped on the top of the dresser, but that's usually because she's sleeping when I'm done folding and I don't want to wake her by banging drawers open and closed. I tend to get it sorted into the drawers pretty quickly after she wakes up so that she doesn't, very helpfully, refold everything for me.

Week three questions.

1. What areas did you organize this week?

The evil area just inside the kitchen door. By default my work email got entirely sorted out, filed, and purged as necessary...I guess being home with a sick kid does have its benefits.

2. Where you happy with what you accomplished or disappointed? Explain.
I am happy with both...the kitchen looks so much better and I'm not feeling overwhelmed by my work email anymore! I would have liked to get a few more things done in the evenings, but with a sick kid Monday - Wednesday, a swimming pool night on Thursday, and family in town last night, there just wasn't time or energy.

3. What types of piles would you like to get under control?
ALL of them! Paper. Clothing. Random stuff.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Back to work

J has been home sick since Monday. The doctor said to keep her home until tomorrow because she was contagious.

I'm not sure who's more excited about going back to daycare and work tomorrow - me or J. Might be J. I took her for a walk last night and you would have thought she hadn't been out for weeks.

Just in case I didn't know this before, the last three days have made me realize that if I were to be a stay-at-home mom, J would have to go to some kind of preschool or daycare a couple of days a week...or we'd both go nuts! We would also have to move. To a bigger place. Somewhere that has a master bedroom far removed from the main living space. Somewhere that has a laundry room/area separate from the master bedroom. Somewhere that has a kitchen that can easily accommodate dinner making, breakfast eating, and toddler train running...all at the same time. Somewhere with a yard.

And seriously, how is it possible that after three days at home, our house looks like a tornado hit it? How did we go through 12 glasses, 31 spoons, seven bowls but only three plates? Why is spending the day at home more exhausting than going to work, going to yoga, and doing all the other things I do - cooking, dishes, hanging out with J?

Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, It's off to work I go...very happy to go!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thoughts on today

February 22

Birthday of Lord and Lady Baden-Powell

World Thinking Day

I spent a lot of time thinking today. Thinking about how Guiding has changed and shaped my life. Thinking about how the people I have met because of my involvement in Guiding have become part of my life. Thinking about how my life would be radically different if I'd never been involved in Guiding.

Today I spent some time, quietly reading my "book" and flipping through photos albums.

Today I am thankful for my Guiding friends and the fun we've had together.

Today I also spent a lot of time forming posts in my head.

So, for the next little while, there might be a lot of Guiding content on this blog...

Happy World Thinking Day to my wonderful friends here in Vancouver, across the province, across the country, across the continent, and across the globe. You have been (and are) very important people in my life. Thank you!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Week 2: Follow the organizing PROCESS

I'm kind of moving quickly through these, but I want to get caught here's week two of the 52 week challenge...

Photobucket makes sense to follow a process to organize, especially one like this one from I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Plan your attack
Remove items from the space
Organize stuff into piles, sort & purge
Evaluate your plan
Solve and simplify
Smile, relax and enjoy your hard work

There is more about using PROCESS here.

I'm really good at jumping right in and ending up with OCG - Organize, Containerize, Get Fed Up and GIVE UP. Not exactly useful when you're trying to organize. Actually, it's kind of counterproductive. I often end up with MORE stuff to organize because I don't follow this model.

So, I'm going to try it...we'll see how it goes...if it works, awesome - it will be my friend as I work my way through this challenge!

Week two questions:

1. What did you organize this past week?

Besides my wallet? I organized my thought process around work...I think that counts. Without getting into too many details, a year ago my job changed without warning. I figure I'm lucky I still had a job and I really like my new boss (my old boss was awesome too!) We're working on a rather large project that was a little slow out of the gate...we had to wait for approval of the work plan before we could start and it wasn't as simple as a nod from the next person up the food chain. The delays in starting meant delays in the progress and there were a number of times when I was going a bit batty, alone in my office with nothing to work on. I'd finished my to-do lists and anything that was pending was waiting for action by someone else before I could move ahead with it.

Since Christmas that has changed. I'm busy again. But it was a sudden change. As in one Friday everything was molasses like and on Monday morning when I walked in the door the energy had changed and we were in the middle of a whirlwind. Well, sort of. Anyway, my brain and my body have had a hard time adjusting to the new, normal, work load...think brain fog and tiredness. I know it's just a matter of getting used to it again, and I am now, but I had to go through a complete transformation of my thought process when approaching work. It's now not as simple as making a to-do list and finishing it by the end of the day. Things have priority. Things might get carried forward indefinitely. Things might need to be done five minutes ago. My poor brain was having trouble coping and I started relying heavily on a strong dose of procrastination.

But I organized my work brain. I made lists. I created a template. Now I make a list of what I need to do the next day either before I leave the office (if there is time...there often isn't) or before I go to bed. That means I don't fret about it. I don't dream about it. And I don't waste time in the morning making my list. Because if I do it before I leave for the day, I have a deadline. I have to pick J up. And if I do it before I go to bed, I want to sleep.

It's working! YAY!

2. Did you have any difficulties with it? Stumbling blocks? Major breakthroughs?
See above - major breakthrough=it's working!

3. If you are reading my book, Clutter Rehab, were you able to put any of the organizing tips into practice this past week?
I wish I was reading it...I'm #5 in the queue for it at the library...maybe I'll have it in my hot little hands soon!

Week 1: Where Will You Start?

Apparently, I'm starting late...

But I already knew that...

So, here goes nothing.

Each Friday over at I'm an Organizing Junkie, Laura posts some questions for the people participating in her 52 weeks of organizing challenge.


I'm a bit late starting because I just stumbled onto her site last week...but I'm going to try to do it.

The questions from week one:

1. Do you have your list written?
My list is written and you can find it here. It's not done yet, but I'm sure I can come up with (at least) nine more things to add to it. (I LOVE lists. But you might have already guessed that...)

2. What is the first thing on it that you hope to accomplish this week?
Last week, which was really the first week of my challenge, I sorted out my wallet. This weekend, I hope to get the major problem spot on our kitchen counter decluttered and organized.

3. How are you going to make it happen?
I'm not sure if this refers to question 1 or to question 2.

But in any case, I've posted my list on my blog. I have at least three friends who are also planning to do (all or part) of the challenge. I know that in order to complete something like this, I have to make a public announcement of my intentions. So I have. Here on my blog. I told my sister. I told at least one friend. I told Alex (and will be asking for his help on some of these)

As for that dreaded counter. Well, I might even get to it tonight. Armed with a garbage bag and a cleaning cloth. I don't think it's a huge job, but organizing the few things that need to be there and removing all the crap that has accumulated will make a huge difference in our kitchen!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Killing the Costanza Wallet

We tease TeamHardCore about her wallet. It's often so full of stuff that she can't close it...just like George Costanza's.

Guess what, that was my wallet on Friday and it was time to do something about it!

bursting at the seamsI couldn't close I spent my break doing something about it...

Those piles included:
  • $1.82. That's it. Pathetic.
  • A tax receipt (taken home for filing)
  • Pile of Christmas receipts (taken home for filing)
  • A stack of receipts for shredding (probably 8 or 9)
  • 2 expense claim receipts (in the expense claim file!)
  • 2 expired grocery store game cards
  • 3 expired coupons
  • 10 5¢ stamps
  • 2 pool admissions
  • 3 tiny photos of J
  • 1 expired gym card (it's been chopped up)
  • 1 card shop loyalty card
  • 1 expired aquarium membership card
  • 4 functioning debit cards
  • 1 compromised and cancelled debit card (it's been chopped up)
  • 3 major credit cards
  • 1 store credit card
  • 6 loyalty cards
  • 1 driver's license
  • 1 work ID card
  • 1 work credit card
  • 1 old appointment card
  • 2 BC health cards (for me and for J)
  • 1 Children's Hospital emergency room card
  • 2 extended benefits cards (one for my plan, one for Alex's)
  • 1 store gift card - no balance

edited down
And these are the things that got to go back in
  • $1.82.
  • 10 5¢ stamps
  • 2 pool admissions
  • 3 tiny photos of J (these are great for entertaining J in line ups)
  • 1 card shop loyalty card
  • 1 expired aquarium membership card (it gets to stay because it's being renewed and they use the old card)
  • 4 functioning debit cards
  • 3 major credit cards
  • 1 store credit card
  • 6 loyalty cards
  • 1 driver's license
  • 1 work ID card
  • 1 work credit card
  • 2 BC health cards (for me and for J)
  • 1 Children's Hospital emergency room card
  • 2 extended benefits cards (one for my plan, one for Alex's)
  • 1 store gift card - no balance (this is for J - she uses it to "buy" stuff at the store)

look, it closes
It didn't feel like I was throwing much out, but it's so nice to be able to close it and find stuff. My only complaint (and it's all my fault) is that some of the slots got stretched because there were so many cards shoved in them so the cards that got to stay slide out easily....

Let's start at the very beginning...'s a very good place to start....

So, I've been making my list of 52 organizing projects for 2011. And as I make my list, I've been making a second list of the same things, but in order of how I should tackle them...I've split them into projects that are grouped together and things that can be done independently of other things.

And I've discovered some interesting things about my house and my clutter.

Our main living areas are pretty well in control, it's the hidden places and our bedroom that are the problems. When I don't know where to put something, I dump it in our room to deal with it later. Which means there are piles everywhere (it also means we have TOO MUCH STUFF).

I need to curb that habit.

I'm great at stashing piles in bags...and really it would take maybe, oh, five minutes longer to put the piles away properly....


I have a list. I do things. But they don't get finished or at least they don't get finished properly because I don't do them in the right order.

For instance.

I've been trying to store the clothes J has outgrown. They've been washed. They've been folded (I HATE folding laundry). They've been packed into storage containers. But the storage containers are cluttering up our bedroom floor.

Because I need to clear out J's closet first. But that's a huge job.

So, as I've tackled my list, I've looked at what needs to be done for something else to work. We have picked out a new storage unit for the living room. But we can't buy it until we get rid of the stuff that's there...things like that....

So maybe the very first thing we should do is clear out the storage room. Then we have somewhere to put things once they're sorted and ready to go away...

Oh, this is going to be a big job! But I'm ready for it!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

So much to say...

and no time to say it...okay, so maybe it's no computer to say it with... {and really, when do I not have a lot to say?!?!}

It's too late now, but I have all kinds of things in my brain, waiting to explode out.

Things like Valentine's cards, a start to decluttering, some lightbulb moments about the clutter problem, a new recipe, and maybe some love thoughts....

Have a good Wednesday night...maybe my computer will be healthy again soon. I miss it...

Monday, February 14, 2011

In which the computer gods were looking out for me

We have a computer at home. It's green. I love it.

But I never back it up.

We have an external hard drive at home. It's twice the size of the hard drive on the computer.

But I never back the computer up.

We take lots of pictures. Every few months I think, "Gee, it would suck if we lost our pictures." And then I copy them to the external drive.

But I never back the computer up.

And then I read something, somewhere. I can't remember what it was or where or when, but the gist was that whoever wrote it (or it was written about) had a fire or something at their house. And lost everything. Including all of their photos. I thought it might be a good idea to get a second hard drive to keep at work, so if something happened, we'd still have those pictures.

So, for reasons still unknown to me, on Friday night I stopped on the way home and bought a second external hard drive (HD2).

And on Friday night I copied all of the pictures on the hard drive of the computer onto the first hard drive (HD1). Then I copied the photographic content of HD1 onto HD2. I don't know how long it took. I started it at 10:00 pm and when I woke up the computer had gone to sleep around 4:30, so the copying had stopped, but it wasn't done yet. So I finished it.

Then I decided to run a back up to HD1. It took 16 hours. I was going to do a second back up to HD2, but ugh...16 hours. I decided I'd do it later.

I'm glad that I got it backed up to HD1 because, well, on Sunday afternoon, I turned the computer on to get a recipe for dinner and it didn't do anything. Last night it still wasn't happy - it loads the desktop icons and then it freezes.

I guess the computer needs the doctor...and maybe we need a new computer. But at least I was smart enough to do a back up.

And HD2 has moved into my office to stay until it's time to do another back up.

Which I will be doing often.

Friday, February 11, 2011

52 weeks to get organized?

Okay, so I found this great organizing blog, I'm an Organizing Junkie, and I've been reading it when I have a chance for a few weeks. Apparently I haven't been checking it on Fridays, because on Fridays Laura (the blogger) is doing a 52 week organizing challenge. Laura has written a book on organizing called Clutter Rehab and as soon as I locate my library card, I'm putting a hold on the book.

Anyway, I've decide to use this challenge to help get our house organized to the point where I'm happy with it!

There is a template for your 52 tasks here and I've printed one and will be sticking it in a prominent place in our kitchen - probably taped inside one of the cabinets. That seems to work for me. I have to open the cabinets at least once a day to get stuff out, so it's a good reminder.

I'll also post the list under a new tab up top - I like that she suggests small tasks. I think that's my biggest problem - I look at a whole task instead of breaking it up into parts. Like J's closet. It's been used as storage for boxes we have never unpacked since she was just a few months old, but I've been putting off tackling it because I'm looking at it as an ENTIRE closet, not eight or ten projects of 2-3 boxes each.

My friend Melynda and I are working together to reach our health goals. On Monday we email each other with our goals for the coming week and to update how the weekend went and we check in on Thursdays plus if one of us (or both of us) is struggling or asks for reminders to do certain things, we do that too. It's working well for me because I have to be accountable to someone. If I don't stick to a plan I've made or I don't reach a goal, I find I'm calling myself on it - Melynda's keeping me honest!

Anyway, that ramble isn't totally off topic - I think if I make my organizing goals public, I'll be more likely to do them than if I just make myself a little list and tell Alex I'm going to do it...

Anyone have any great organizing resources or blogs they want to share???

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I want one...

Oh my goodness...look at the amazing Le Creuset kettle. I soooooooooooo want one. {This, by the way, is one of the blogs I discovered through Kath's blog roll}

And because I feel like I have nothing to say, I'm stealing the little list of questions too...

1. Describe yourself in 5 words

mommy, wife, sister, daughter, friend

2. What is the first thing you do upon awakening?

Hit the snooze button.

3. What is your normal daily routine?

Hit snooze a few times
Turn the stove on
Get dressed
Wake J
Turn the stove off
Convince J that we're not going anywhere until she has something to eat
Pack lunches into lunch bags (and maybe tidy the kitchen in there is time)
Help J get dressed
Brush our teeth
Drop J at daycare. DO NOT leave without reading a story and touching her hand through the window.
Breathe. It's now 8:20 (if we're lucky)
Work. Eat lunch. {Tuesday and Friday go to yoga} Work some more.
Pick J up from daycare
Stop at the grocery store. Hope the fun green truck grocery cart is available.
Go home.
Make dinner unless it's Alex's night...entertain J at the same time
Have dinner
Say goodbye to Alex
Read stories, play with play dough, cut paper into shreds, colour, start dishes
Bathe J
More stories followed by songs followed by good nights followed by a toddler singing, not sleeping
Finish/do dishes
Get lunches and dinner ready for morning
Get oatmeal ready for morning (this is why my day starts with turning the stove on)
Blog, knit, read, watch TV, do a little yoga
Sleep. It should be 10:00. But it's more likely 11:30. Which is why the first thing I'll do in the morning is hit the snooze button.

4. What are your hobbies?

Knitting, reading, blogging, playing with J

5. What do you to for relaxation?

yoga, read, write, go for a walk

6. What do you do for enjoyment?

see above plus hang out with J and Alex and my friends and family

7. Do you have a look or style?

tired mommy

8. Do you wear any identifiable jewellery?

Wedding and engagement ring

9. Which newspaper do you read?

The Globe and Mail, sometimes the Vancouver Sun

10. What's your favourite book?

I can tell you my least favourite (today). I don't know what it's called, but it's about a brother and sister fighting in the back seat of the car. It's actually pretty funny, but J has no frame of reference for sibling fights and the book distresses her. But she's obsessed. I hid it when she went to bed last night but she had to see it before breakfast. It's all she talked about.

11. Who's your favourite singer or band?

good question. I'll get back to you.

12. Whats your preference of exercise?

Walking, yoga

13. Where do you live?


14. Do you prefer the town or the country?


15. Do you like your neighbours?

The ones I know...

16. What’s your favourite food?


17. Whats your favourite drink?

Water followed by tea and coffee

18. What is your favourite treat?

Dad's cinnamon buns

19. Where do you like to go on holiday?

London, Kelowna, or somewhere we've never been

20. Do you enjoy roughing it or do you prefer your creature comforts?

If roughing it means camping, definitely! But I have a great appreciation for well-appointed hotel rooms too!

21. What place would you most like to visit?

Right now? LONDON!

22. What is your biggest fear?

Something happening to J

23. What's your biggest talent?

Somehow keeping our lives balanced

24. Whats your biggest weakness?

J when she says "Mommy, I just need a hug."

25. What annoys you the most?

Not getting to spend as much times as I'd like with Alex and J

26. Do you have any dreams or ambitions?

Dream: A house (it doesn't have to be big, just ours) with a yard and a place for a garden

27. What is your most treasured possession? (family not included)

photos and my "books" from Pax Lodge

28. Do you see wealth as a mark of success, or just as a means to an end?

not necessarily

29. Do you have a good luck charm?


30. Whats the best advice you have ever received

tomorrow's a new day

31. What would you do on the "perfect" day?

A picnic or bbq at a nice beach with family and friends

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Stephen Harper's Book Club

Or Yann Martel's book club.

Or, because I can't resist a challenge, something new for me to do in my "spare" time.

So, when I saw the link to this, I was a bit skeptical, because really, what would Stephen Harper read? And what would he have to say about what he read?

I shouldn't have worried myself.

Stephen Harper's book club's book were chosen by Yann Martel (of Life of Pi fame).

Yann Martel pledged to send Stephen Harper one new book every two weeks for the duration of his term as Prime Minister of Canada. With each book, Yann Martel included a letter.

Last week Yann Martel announced he had sent the last book, even though Stephen Harper is still Prime Minister.

The list of books he sent to the Prime Minister is intriguing. I went through it and I'm curious and excited - yes, I'm a dork. I've read 9.5 of the books lists (.5 because #61 is two books and I have only read one...Where the Wild Things Are. It's actually on the table at home. J picked it out at the library on the weekend). So, in addition to my other book challenge, I'm going to try to read through this list. 100 books sent every two weeks is 200 weeks - just a couple of months shy of four years. I can do just might take a while! And books from this challenge will count for the other challenge (providing they meet the criteria!) I love that the list isn't just fiction or non-fiction, it's not just about current issues, and it's not just Canadian works.

Oh, and I sort of feel sorry for the Prime Minister's Executive Correspondence Officer. How many boring letters like the response letters to you think (s)he has to write every day.

What do you think of the idea of a Prime Minister's book club? How many of the books have you read?

Books I have already read - but I'll likely reread them. It's been a while since I read most of them:

2. Animal Farm
13. To Kill A Mockingbird
14. Le Petit Prince
15. Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
31. Their Eyes Were Watching God
33. Persepolis
37. A Modest Proposal
51. Julius Caesar
61. Where the Wild Things Are
79. Charlotte's Web

Oh and I couldn't decide where to post this - it fits with both blogs, so it's posted twice. Sorry if you got it twice...

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

New blogs on the block

Almost five years ago, my friend Heddy encouraged me to start a blog. She had one. It's gone. But she has a new blog now - East is the new North. Check her out.

And my best friend since we were seven, Fiona, has been teasing me for months. She keeps telling me that she has a 101 in 1001 list. And that one of the 101 was starting a blog.

Guess what? She did: Fiona's Farm. Check her out too (her blog is literally a newborn, so check back...)

A few reasons my kid makes me smile

A recent conversation after dinner:

J: "I'm finished my apple Mommy. You can have the last two."
Me: "Okay. Thanks for sharing with me."
J: "Thank you Mommy for taking good care of me."


J was not thrilled to be at the pool on Saturday for her lessons. She was whimpering and generally not a happy camper.

Me: "J, what's the matter? Does your toe hurt?"
J: "No. Whine whine whimper whimper."
Me: "Are you cold?"
J: "No. Whine whine whimper whimper."
Me: "Do you have an owie somewhere?"
J: "No. Whine whine whimper whimper."
Me: "Are you hungry?"
J: "No. Whine whine whimper whimper."
Me: "Do you miss Daddy or Christine?" (Alex has been taking J to lessons, but was at an appointment. Her swimming instructor Christine was home sick, so we had a substitute and J wasn't sure about her)
J: "No. Whine whine whimper whimper."
Me: "Well what's wrong then? You sound like you're unhappy."
J: "Mommy, I'm whining. You told me if I whined that we would have to go home."


J: "Mommy, we have to go to the bathroom RIGHT NOW. The pee wants to come out of my bladder, but I told it not yet and it doesn't want to listen."


We occasionally bribe prompt J to eat her lunch or dinner using a book. For every bite (or two or three or whatever), she gets to have a page read to her. Except she outsmarted us. She was having baked beans for lunch and she started eating them one at a time... "That IS one bite Mommy!"

Monday, February 07, 2011

Changing our internet habits...

So, we've been trying to change our internet habits lately. The internet is a big time suck for both of us. Sometimes I set the timer for myself and that usually works, but it's so easy to say "I'm just going to check my email quickly/pay a bill/check something" and then it turns into three hours of lost time.

We've been doing well. We hardly use the computer on the weekend and our weekends are so much more fun now!

But there's a little problem with not checking the internet least for me. It's my Google Reader. I haven't been on the computer since sometime on Friday afternoon.

I have 491 unread items.


In three days.


You think I'd learn.

I used to have around 60 each morning and I'd check three or four times throughout the day and there would be maybe 10-15 each time. Most of the blogs I was reading were in the eastern time zone and apparently lots of people blog first thing in the morning.

But I use my Google Reader as a storage place for blogs that I thought were interesting once or that someone else suggested. And over time it grew and grew and grew.

And then I really intelligently checked out the finalists for the 2011 Bloggies. And checked out all the other blogs on Kath Eats Real Food. Not so smart. 491 posts.

I'm not entirely stupid about blogs though. I filed mine into folders. Which means I can select an entire folder and mark it read. And I've been known to do that. to manage my Google Reader and then to bed...

Guest Post: Letting Yourself Go

This post was originally published at Get Fit Chicks. It may refer to posts on Get Fit Chicks that no longer exist. Please email me if you run into any of those and I will break the links. More information about the reposting is available here

Melynda wrote a series of guest posts about pregnancy and weight loss and weight gain when she was pregnant with her third daughter. Four months have passed and Melynda has agreed to write some follow up posts about getting fit again.

'Letting yourself go' is a phrase I have often heard that refers to a woman…usually a mom…who has stopped doing her make up, wearing nice fashionable clothes and doing her hair more than putting a brush through it. If you have ever watched 'What Not to Wear' you know the type of person I am referring too. There was a time that I couldn’t understand why those women would do that to themselves....but then I became a mom....and then a mom with three children and a business to run....

I have never been one to wear much make up or wear nice clothes every day. I love rocking my yoga pants and see nothing wrong with that. Recently I have found where the slippery slope starts. For me it is lack of time and energy. Some days getting dressed doesn’t happen or not until lunch time. The other thing that takes me one step closer to letting myself go is my body. My body has changed drastically in the last 5 years. You may remember that 5 years ago I was the skinniest I had ever been for my wedding. Since then I have been pregnant and/or nursing continuously, which means major changes.

My body image is very poor and it saddens me that I can’t look in the mirror and not appreciate the amazing things it has done. That sadness distresses me and I do my best to change my thoughts in regards to myself because I want to my daughters to love themselves and I know that starts with me. I am trying to turn things around, I am trying to eat better and actually get dressed. As hard as it was I discovered that having clothes that fit, even if it is in a size that makes you cringe, helps your body image. I had to buy plus-size for the first time but I am comfortable and I look good and thus feel good. I have also bought some make up and I am trying to put it on more to feel good and so I can hide how tired I look. I am discovering that each small thing for me is a treat and makes me feel good.

Georgia was born 4 months ago. She is wonderful and a delight. Her sisters love her and would kiss her all day long. I love her and surprisingly enough…I would love to have another…I love being pregnant and giving birth that much.

For the past 4 months I have been struggling with how to lose my pregnancy weight, eat right and some days even to eat. Managing three kids has been hard but that is the one piece that I manage fairly well…it is the other things that are hard cleaning, laundry and I have stepped in to run our publishing business while my husband has gone back to work full time. So there is not a lot of ‘me’ time. I am doing a bit of a diet. I am counting my calories and focusing on high protein meals. Some days I slip and eat lots of sweets and chocolates, but I keep going. The nice thing about having my third child is I know that the sleepless nights and chaotic sleep habits will be gone soon. Things get easier every week. We are falling into a nice routine.

I am also beginning to think about exercise. I can not wait for spring when I can take the kids out for a walk. My girls also love to exercise with me and when we can, we turn the Wii on and exercise. I have also set up some support and encouragement. Shannon has been wonderful, she and I email twice a week to keep both of us on track. I have another friend who has set up a Facebook group that has been helpful.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Mommy, I am disappointed

I know I've mentioned it before, and I'm sure I'll mention it again, but I LOVE J's daycare. One of the things they've worked hard on with the kids is teaching them to express their emotions. So J will tell us she's cranky or disappointed or frustrated. And she'll ask if we're happy, unhappy, disappointed, or frustrated. She won't ask if we're cranky or grouchy though; she just points that out.

As all two year olds do, she still has melt downs and tantrums, but now that she knows the words to use to tell us WHY, it's much easier to deal with.

Last night we left the house right after dinner intending to go to the pool with Fifers. We picked her up and drove to the pool and parked the car. And J was so excited she could barely contain herself.

Except then we left.

Because some kid had a little accident in the pool and it had to be disinfected. So it was closed. For at least an hour.

So we went to Fifers house where J was alternately scared and fascinated by the cats. And she got to draw with the most awesome crayons ever (that F has had forever. I remember them from when we were kids). And she got to eat two whole yummy muffins. And she had a great time. And she chattered away all the way home.

And then she remembered why we were at the black puppy the black kitty Stella's house in the first place. Because the pool was closed.

So she asked a few times why the (alternating) little boy/little girl didn't use the potty or their diaper to go poo. And why their mommy and daddy didn't tell them it wasn't nice to go poo in the pool. And when could we go back soon because she wants to go swimming. And why didn't that kid use the potty because she was a little bit sad and disappointed.

Thank goodness for daycare!

We sure seem to have bad luck with the pool and accidents! That particular pool is new and we've been trying to go for a while, so we'll try to go again in a couple of weeks (it's closed for maintenance next week and the week after) and hopefully then J won't be disappointed!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Why Google Reader is trying to throw me off the GAPS diet...

Okay, fine, the only person who can do that is me.

But, Google Reader is doing a great job at taunting me with food I can't have right now. (Okay, fine. Again. I put those blogs there. So it's me doing it to me.) I've started making a long list of links to recipes that look delicious so when I'm done with GAPS I'll be able to find them.

I'm starting to feel like I'm done with this diet. It's been a frustrating month as we've had lots of opportunities to socialize and I've many people just don't get why I'm eating the way I am right now and don't care to listen to find out. If I had a dollar for the number of times I've heard the line "It won't kill you" I could take Alex out for a really, really nice meal with really, really good wine and not even blink. (Some people have been known to say that line ten or twelve times in a five minute span)


I get to start slowly returning to "normal" food at the end of the month...

Besides all the things I mentioned a month into the diet - less fatigue, fewer headaches, finally some weight loss - I think me being on this diet has changed how we eat as a family. We rarely eat prepackaged food, but that has decreased even more on this diet. We don't eat out a lot anymore, but even that has decreased. I spend more time reading labels - I've stopped buying flavoured yogurt for Alex and J (J LOVES helping to make her yogurt) because of the sugar content - and we often leave the grocery store with bags of produce, meat and dairy only. I think our grocery bill will go back down (it gets scary high right now) because I won't be eating meat/meat broth every single meal or even every single day. Although, thanks to my new Tupperware, we actually came in under budget two weeks ago...more about that in another post.

And I decided my project for the weekend is to try making yogurt. I'm excited. We'll see how it goes...

And until the end of February, I will just continue to have dreams about pancakes and sourdough bread and macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes and hot chocolate and sweet potatoes and hummus. Seriously. I am dreaming about those things. Almost every night.