March 28, 2012

a letter to my younger self

A few words I would share with my younger self:

Your dreams of having a family will come true, so don't fret. Don't cry with each passing month when you get a crimson reminder that your dreams are on hold. It'll be a long road, full of potholes, but you will get there. And when you do, you will no longer sit in any judgement of your parents. You will see them for who they are: two people, trying their best. You will understand the depth of their love for you because you would lie down in front of a train to protect your own child.

Your first impression of a very tall boy you meet at a birthday party will be spot on. He will be your life's greatest discovery.

Don't slouch. Find your voice. Believe in yourself and what you are capable of. This will be your life's greatest struggle but with each passing year you get a little louder and a little taller.

Your friends will show you who they are and they will be incredible finds. Tell them how much you love them. You will lose one of your most treasured friends tragically, but will carry some solace knowing your last words to him were "love you."

Don't get that perm.

The older you get, the more you will want to learn. You will never know it all, even when you are a teenager.

Don't try so hard to fit in. Celebrate your quirks, they will set you apart.

Don't let the behaviour of others get you down. What you would do and what someone else chooses to do will often be two different things. And that is okay. Just don't waste your energy and time on those who don't give you theirs in return.

Don't worry about making mistakes. You will learn more from them than anything else.

Travel as much as you can, it will ignite your deepest passion.

The only person who ever makes you feel "less than" is you.

For the love of god, buy stocks as soon as you hear the words: starbucks, apple and google.

March 26, 2012

I like to move it move it

A little smile for your Monday. 

March 25, 2012

what you might not know about me....

I am currently taking Susannah Conway's delicious Blogging from the heart e-course. It's a wonderful mix of writing prompts, interviews, videos and a network of women who share the same passion for creativity. Here's a little peek into things you might not know about me for friends and classmates alike:

I got pregnant naturally last year with our daughter Stella, even though my doctor told me I only had a 5% chance

Coffee and q-tips are my biggest addictions

I built houses in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck

I value humour and kindness above all other traits

My passion for photography was born while travelling through Africa 5 years ago

I believe actions always speak louder than words

My husband is the funniest person i know

I am painfully shy but am not afraid of public speaking

I have done contemporary dance on stage in an auditorium

I am trying to let go of my expectations of others

My drink of choice is bourbon and coke

I haven't had beef for 15 years

I will always value brains over beauty

I was a reporter

I have belly danced at a greek restaurant

I have somehow collected the greatest circle of friends

I camped in the Masai Mara with a lion outside our tent

I was adopted

Status symbols and vanity don't impress me

Nature is my religion and protecting animals is my charity of choice

I crawled through a cave tunnel on my belly that was only one and a half feet tall

I have skinny dipped in a pool, hot tub and the ocean

I will always have crushes on people who make me laugh

March 21, 2012


Spring has arrived. I am PUMPED. After what feels like five months of hibernation (with the waistline to prove it), it's nice to feel change finally upon us. I love taking stock and setting new goals in the Spring. Is there anything you are excited about this season? We have limited space in our home so I use this time to go through my winter clothes, donate what didn't get worn and store the rest away in plastic tubs. I love re-organizing my closet, setting it up with spring/summer clothes and seeing what still works, which given this post baby body, will be no small feat! I also love to re-arrange the furniture in my home at this time, to give the space a new feeling. Sometimes a simple fresh coat of paint, a new picture or some new cushions can jazz up a room. (Cue eye roll. I think whenever I come home with new cushions my hubs gives me the same "what exactly is the purpose of those" look). This Spring, I am also going to extend my spring cleaning to this blog. I started this site two years ago, and as time changes, so do I. I want to update the look of it and freshen up the style (ie - find some!). The changes will be subtle, as I am technically challenged, just ask any member of our IT department at work if you need confirmation. Here are a few things I'm excited about (aside from the return of actual sunshine):
-Weekend getaways
-outdoor concerts
-Yoga classes with my baby
-Trying this photo a day challenge for April
-seeing this movie
-learning a new sport: Paddle Boarding

What's in your sights for Spring?

March 19, 2012

serenity now

This little moment of serenity was taken in Steveston yesterday. I thought you'd enjoy a peaceful image as your busy week kicks off. 

March 15, 2012

a few thoughts on friendship

Yesterday I dropped my little girl off at mom's house and headed south for a two hour drive to Seattle to see the two lovely faces pictured above. In the morning I had a few heart palpitations. Was I ready to spend a whole day apart from my baby? Did I remember to pack everything she needs? Did I go over every painstaking detail with my mom? (Note: My mom is in fact a mom in her own right and did her best not to roll her eyes repeatedly as I, newbie/annoying mom gave her a lengthy list of painfully obvious instructions. "Okay dear, so when she poops she gets a diaper, got it.") But as soon as I was on the highway, mega coffee in hand, music cranked, I thought, I can do this. I should do this. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't completely transported back to my independent self. I had a mini photo album of my baby in my purse, you know, just in case the border guard had a few moments to spare.  As soon as I saw my friend's faces, I knew I had made the right choice by going. They had a fun filled day planned for us: brunch, shopping, pedicures, my favourite triathlon. I didn't realize how long it had been since I had taken time out, just for me. The whole day felt like such an amazing treat. (Except to the poor woman who handled my feet during the pedicure. She couldn't report her day as being a treat. She is probably still curled up in a ball somewhere, trying to find her happy place after seeing my gnarled feet). I really value any facetime I get with friends these days. People have to be special for me to dedicate time away from my family and these women are, and then some. What does friendship mean to you? Do you have friends for different aspects of your life? Friends you play sports with, friends you work with, friends you double date with, friends you travel with, friends you drink with, friends you share hobbies with, friends you really open up with? Do you have a big circle of friends who know you a little or a small select few who know you a lot? Do you let them know the real you, flaws and all? When it comes down to it, I think it's pretty simple: you cheer one another on while you shape your own lives, you lend each other a hand when someone falls down and you appreciate that somehow, somewhere, your paths intersected. When I drove home later that evening, I was greeted by my little girl's smiling face and I hugged her with all my might. I felt like she was getting a rejuvenated momma with, let's face it, toes she no longer has to fear. 

March 13, 2012

some valuable tips for new parents

I went to one of our mommy and me classes put on by public health and picked up on a lot of great tips from the nurses. As with any parenting advice, I suggest just using the nuggets that work best for your little one:

-During your baby's wakeful period, try to resist putting them down on their backs. Babies can spend up to 14 hours a day sleeping on their backs, so it is important for their skull development to avoid placing them on their backs while they are awake as it can lead to a flat head/positional moulding.  It is encouraged to change the direction they sleep in their crib. For example, place your baby's head at the foot of the crib one night, and at the head of the crib the next, so they are alternating their neck control. When your baby is awake, try holding them as much as you can, set aside some tummy time, use Bumbo chairs, etc. I have a playmat for my baby that has toys/rings dangling from it. She's supposed to lie on her back and swat at the toys/rings. The nurse recommended that I sit her upright, either by holding her or placing her in a bumbo chair so that she can swat at the toys/rings sitting up.

-Babies are not meant to look at tv screens. The flurry of lights and colours is overstimulating for their senses and can lead to developmental problems. If you have your baby in the room with the tv on, make sure their backs are to the tv so that they can view your face instead. Those mommy and me movie experiences are discouraged based on this principal because not only are the babies looking at a giant screen of flashing images but the theatres are too loud for their sensitive hearing.

-Practice a safe sleeping environment. Keep your crib free of blankets or pillows. Use a sleeper sack instead. Choose a sleeper sack that allows your baby to have their arms free, so they can instinctively turn themselves over if they roll onto their stomachs in the night.

-Try to establish a bedtime routine. Whether it's a nighttime stroll, a story, a song, a bath or a game - your baby will love the consistency and predictability. Maintain your routine when you are travelling, it will help your baby sleep in unfamiliar places.

-The next point is based upon attachment theory. Make your baby's crib a positive environment for them. Babies need to know that they are in a safe and secure environment. Respond appropriately, promptly and consistently with their needs and your child will feel secure and bonded with the caregiver. Little or no response to a distressed child can result in them fearing their bed. It can also lead to the child developing lower self esteem.

Obviously, you can take or leave these little tidbits. I just wanted to share them because I found today's discussion extremely interesting. You know your baby better than anyone and know what works for them. And, more importantly, no one will love your baby more than you, so it goes without saying that you are doing your best!

March 9, 2012

Funny Fridays: Yoga class

I was at yoga class the other day and suddenly had a flashback of a yoga class that I took years ago, prompting me to share it with you.  I was living in a small town at the time. I don't want to mention it by name because I might offend the tens of people who live there and love it. Basically, picture a small town, then fill it with retirees' parents. Lawn bowlers unite! It's so small that when I lived there, there was a block party, complete with a cake, a ribbon cutting ceremony and the mayor, to celebrate the paving of one of their roads. I kid you not. During one dark and snow blasted night, I drove to my yoga class. I set up my mat, made small talk with the instructor and waited for class to begin. No one else showed up. "It looks like the snow has kept everyone away, I guess it's just us," he said. I got up and said, "Oh don't worry about it. We can skip it. I'll head out." He insisted that since I braved the stormy weather to get there, I should stay. Let me set the scene for you: Picture a fifty-something yoga instructor wearing nothing but short (and I mean short) spandex shorts teaching out of his living room lit dimly by a crackling fire in the fireplace. If I told you he looked like Leonardo Dicaprio, and that my yoga mat was a bearskin rug, it would seem like a wonderful Harlequin setting. But when I tell you he looked more like Leonardo Da Vinci, and that the shorts were bordering on speedo length, suddenly the setting takes a horrible left turn doesn't it? He got me to lie down on my back, while he stood above me, a leg on each of my sides. He wanted me to practice my bridge poses and assisted by lifting my hips. As you can imagine, my eyes darted everywhere in the room except up. I did not want my gaze to hit that spandex zone, even if it meant throwing my neck into spasms to look elsewhere. He would periodically stop our class to stoke the fire. Picture half naked Da Vinci in short shorts silhouetted against a roaring fire. Every now and again his wife would stroll through to do some minor dusting. In my contorted positions, I kept trying to throw her my best, "I'm here for the yoga, not your husband" reassurance with my eyes. I thought I'd share that little moment from my fitness past because the image is now featured in the dictionary next to the word awkward.

March 7, 2012

a few images from our day...

I just got back from having a great visit with a friend over a cocktail. I put on my coat to leave and headed for the door and she politely said, um, we haven't gotten our bill yet. It's good to see my baby brain is still thriving. Now I'm worried that if I clothes shop, I'll just walk right out of the store in a tag covered outfit. I feel like I should make up some kind of business card to hand out to warn others of my condition. Kelly Williams -CPB (Chief Pea Brain) or put a picture of my old brain on posters with the phrase "have you seen me?" above it.  I guess it's a combo of the busy days and disrupted sleep that drain the main neurons. But I can't complain, I feel like the three months in, my little gal and I have found our groove and life has never been so fulfilling.

March 6, 2012

first date (post baby)

This weekend we had our first date night since having Stella. When you have a baby, you and your partner can easily become two ships passing in the night. You trade off your time back and forth with one another: can you watch the baby while I go get groceries? can you watch the baby while I go to the gym? can you watch the baby while I go out for dinner with my friends? and so on. Suddenly a lot of the things you used to do as a couple become solo efforts. Craig's parents offered to babysit and it was the nudge I needed. I have to admit, it's hard for me to tear myself away from my little girl, but when I know she's in the hands of people who love her as much as we do, it's a whole lot easier. We've taken Stella to restaurants as a family several times, but it was amazing how reconnected we felt just having a few hours to dine on our own. Not only did we feel like our old selves again, laughing and chatting (uninterrupted) over some delicious food and cocktails but when we went to pick her up, we were so excited to see her. Do you try and plan regular date nights with your mate? 
(ps-we found a great little cozy place in Fort Langley called Beatniks Bistro, which I would definitely recommend). 

March 1, 2012

two months - makes all the difference...

The leap from the first month of parenting to the second is so significant. Not only is your body healing up from labour, but you start to get into a wonderful groove with your baby. I have to be honest, I felt quite overwhelmed during the first month as a mom. I felt like the isolation was really tough to adjust to. Then, on top of that I felt guilty because my dreams of being a mom had been granted, so why on earth did I feel blue? I was used to being surrounded by people all day and suddenly it was just me and my gal, trying to figure out how to communicate and understand one another. I was trying to get used to her cues and settle into some sort of routine. It seemed like everything was a challenge: getting groceries, visiting people, cooking, etc. it all hinged on trying to time it quickly between her feeds, changes and naps. But once the 6 week mark hit, things honestly transformed significantly. The doctor gave me the green light to return to exercising, so I joined my local gym and have steadily been getting my cardio/groove back, which is such a huge lift for the spirits. I've joined two mom's groups which start up this month and have signed Stella and I up for some yoga classes together (I can't wait to see her do downward dog with her mini arms). She has fallen into a great sleeping routine which makes the days much easier to plan. I am also able to differentiate between her "feed me right now" cry, her "I'm tired so I'm going to resist sleeping with every fibre of my being" cry and her "I need a change of scenery this instant" cry. The hubs and I are making more efforts to trade off going out, seeing friends, which is so important - you need to get out so you're not staring at your house 24/7. I try to make sure that Stell and I get out each day either to go for a walk together or to visit someone. Craig and I have taken her out to restaurants while she has been sleeping so that we can feel like we're out on dates. We're also planning on going to the drive in with her, so we can see movies together while she snoozes.  So, for you new moms out there, I just wanted you to know, the first month is a huge adjustment - it is amazing, but it can be tough both physically as you're healing and emotionally as you're getting used to one another. I hope it brings you some peace of mind knowing that things get so much better during the second month!