Mom-ing

The Basics of going Back to the Basics…

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Exploring new places, getting in touch with nature, being outside, swimming, hiking, making bon-fires and cooking over them, basking in the sunshine, cuddling in the rain, and making lists, upon lists, upon lists.  I really do like camping and through the years I’ve been to a lot of places spending time with family and learning through adventure.  This summer I really wanted to explore our own province and make it My Manitoba Summer.  Getting out and exploring what your own country has to offer is really rewarding.  Camping can be a lot of work but it’s also so very nice to unplug and get back to basics.  There’s one thing I know for sure, organization makes it a holiday for everyone including mom!  Here’s a few of the hacks that I depend on!

  • Do as much meal prep as you can at home.  Wash all your fruits and veggies, marinade and then freeze your meat, portion things out so you don’t over pack and be sure to bring extra ziplock bags and tin foil for making little bags to cook. your food in, less clean up that way!
  • Store beach toys in crates that have holes in them so you can shake the sand out of them or better yet swish them clean in the lake.

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  • Bring along a plastic table cloth for your campsite’s picnic table and invest in some clips to keep the table cloth from blowing away. We also bring a plastic folding table to use under our awning for storing frequently used items.
  • Bring along a rope to use as a clothesline or I’ve tacked up some of those reusable 3M or rubbermaid hooks to the outside of our camper so our beach towels and lifejackets can be hung to dry.
  • Keep an emergency box with some form of duck tape, zip ties, a few frequently used tools like pliers, extra garbage bags, a few bungee cords, flashlights with batteries, bug spray, dry newspaper, matches and if you’re feeling extra zealous some firestarter lint pucks. (melt broken wax crayons and pour over dryer lint filled paper egg cartons.  Cut into egg cup sections and store in a ziplock bag.)
  • Pack extra towels…trust me.  This year when our hot water tank leaked inside our camper the extra towels I store in a cupboard came in extremely handy.
  • Get a dishpan for washing as well as rinsing dishes.  This is super handy to use with biodegradable earth friendly dish soap when you’re conserving your grey water storage.  Set up a dishwashing station outside your tent or camper and enlist the help of the sunshine to dry your dishes!
  • I make s’more kits.  We have yet to go through an entire bag of marshmallows on a trip so I portion some marshmallows and graham crackers out, store in ziplock bags and use up way less space that way. (Cheaper than the kits you can find at the stores now too!)

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  • Keep little ones (and old ones too for that matter!) busy with easy to store games such as dominoes, cards, cribbage, glow sticks, toys with carrying cases to store and carry them in, outdoor games like ladder golf, bocce ball, ball gloves and ball, coloring books and crayons or markers and notepaper for tic-tac-toe, word-guessing games etc.  I find this especially helpful for rainy days or for keeping your toddler busy before you head to the beach.
  • Bring a wagon! So useful!  Great for getting wood, filling up with everything you need for the beach, hitting the showers or for filling with kids for a walk around the bay!
  • Freeze your water bottles to use in place of ice to keep your coolers cold.  Large jugs work too and as the water melts you have fresh drinking water!
  • Weiner sticks and pie-irons are great tools if you don’t bring a BBQ or don’t want to cook over the fire in pans every night.  They take up very little space and there’s so many things you can cook in a pie-iron or on a stick! Also use multi-purpose cooking items.  One medium-large cast-iron pan can be used for so many things!
  • Store things in rubbermaid containers to keep them sealed from critters and the rain.  This is especially useful if you’re tenting.  The rubbermaid drawer cabinets on rollers are really handy as well! Use a couple bungee cords to keep the drawers from falling out while in transit.
  • Get together a master-list so that each year on your first voyage you know where to start when packing and getting ready! Laminate it even so you can just re-use it every year checking off the items you have packed.
  • Don’t forget a hat, sunscreen, bugspray, some type of first aid kit (ours included Benadryl this year in case of an allergy), lavender oil which is great for burns and bites, swimsuits, footwear for sunny as well as cold and wet weather, extra blankets that can also double as beach towels in a pinch, a shower caddy or bag that can withstand moisture or as was the case for us this year, millions of fish flies (you never know what surprises lay ahead in campground showers!), and an attitude of c’est la vie!

Get out and explore and make sure to keep it simple!  Let me know if you’ve got any hacks that need to be shared!  I love learning different forms of organizing!!!

 

Mom-ing

Ode To My Mother…

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Mother’s Day has brand new meaning for me since becoming a mother myself…I’ve always been grateful for my mom and it has been important to me to shower her with gifts and love and special moments on this day.  But since becoming a mom I have a completely different set of gratitude and love.

My mother has taught me so many things through the years and continues to do so.  I look to her for advice on raising my little guy as well as advice on a whole array of other things.  She is a wonderful role model, support system and friend.  She has taught me to be proud of my accomplishments as well as failures.  To dust myself off from situations that have been unsuccessful and to get back on the horse.  She has shown me that some of life’s most amazing adventures come from getting out of my comfort zone, and that I am in fact strong and brave enough to conquer so many things.

My mom is independant, wise beyond her years, giving, caring and loving.  She is crazy and wild and loves to try new things. She is out-going and seems to know exactly how to charm a room immediately upon entering it.  She is charismatic, open and engaged.  She makes people feel like they matter.  She listens and she hears.  I admire her extroverted personality and often imagine how she would handle a situation when I find my introverted self uncomfortable.  I often find myself asking her “but what would you do mom?” and truly appreciating her advice.  Thank God I’ve long since given up my brutal teenage attitude and have opened my eyes to the font of amazingness that is my mom…and thank God she continued with the unconditional love even through those horrific pubescent years!

My mom is multi-talented.  There’s not much that she can’t do…and do it with grace and poignancy too.  She loves to cook and has most definitely instilled in me my love for cooking.  She’s in tune with nature, has a greener thumb than most anyone and has shared that love with her children and now grandchild as well.  She’s artistic, creative and has fantastic taste.

  • My mom has taught me to have faith…I’m naturally cynical.
  • She has taught me to set goals, work hard, and celebrate the ‘wins’.
  • She has taught me to make a mean bruschetta.
  • My mom has taught me to appreciate each day…to look for the silver lining.
  • My mom has taught me to be forgiving.
  • She has taught me to take pride and take care of my things.
  • She has taught me perseverance and patience.
  • My mom has taught me how to correctly make a bed…square corners!
  • She has taught me to trust my instincts and stick up for myself.
  • She has taught me it’s ok to cry and has held me while I do.
  • My mom has taught me to be fair, to be kind, to be honest, to love without fear, to share, to give, to trust, to breathe, to relax, to cherish memories, to be loyal, to be understanding, to be myself, to be beautiful, to stand on my own two feet, to be strong and brave and good…my mother has taught me all of this by being this and I am so incredibly thankful for her every single day, not just Mother’s Day!!!

I love you mom…

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Mom-ing

When all else fails, phone a friend!

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The only piece advice I can give to anyone on weathering the storm that is sometimes motherhood (because I really have no idea what I’m doing on a daily basis), is to surround yourself with a heavy duty support system.  I’m talking a handful of girlfriends who have been where you are or who are just super intuitive to know what you need to hear (or drink!), your mother, your husband, your brothers, or whoever else in your life that you can be your truest self with. And hang on to those people, hang on for dear life.

Right now in our home we’re in the throes of major sleep transitions, monkey child is doing whatever he can to not stay in his bed, what used to be a 15 minute bedtime process is now bordering on 2.5 hours, crazy not fun.  I swear I’ve pulled out/greyed so much of my hair these last couple weeks. I’ve reached out to my support web numerous times and tried the majority of their tips/tricks but what has been even more helpful is the kind words cuz you know exactly what I’m talking about when I say the nighttime guilt fog is thick.  Just being reminded to be kind to yourself has allowed me to take a few deep breaths and soldier on.

Motherhood is tough (I can’t believe my mom did it three times), it’s an emotional and physical roller coaster.  It is so rewarding and so depleting all at the same time.  It hovers around hell and then shoots straight up to heaven.  It’s hard…and you can’t possibly do it alone.  Thank God I have the husband I do.  I’m not sure how he stays so patient with my outbursts when I’ve been driven to the end of my rope, when all forms of reasoning are so far gone.  One thing I know for sure is that it’s true what “they” say, the days can be long but the years are short.  I know this.  I remind myself of this.  BUT when you’re knee-deep in weeks of long days, it’s really hard to remember this or believe it.  This is when you call on that support system.  Trust me, they’ll be your saving grace, the rainbow in the storm.  And listen to them when they say “we’ll take E for the night, one bad night for us is nothing, I can nap all day tomorrow”, “you need to get out of the house, come for coffee, the boys can play”, “go hug your husband, you need him right now”, “trust your self, you know what E needs, you’re a good mom”.

And don’t do it alone…this one I struggle with.  I don’t want to be a failure, I don’t want to burden anyone, I don’t want to fall apart in front of anyone and I feel that this is my “job”.  I’m trying to remember that it’s ok to ask for help…Nobody can get through this life alone, Sometimes the greatest form of love is letting someone care for you…Let them. If I can pass on one key piece of advice (regardless of whether I listen to it myself 100% of the time) for any point in your life, not just mom-ing, it is this! I hang this “mantra” on my fridge to try and remind myself but lord help me, it’s very clear where E gets his stubbornness from!!! I am a work in progress.

And when all else fails, open up that bottle of wine.  I swear coffee and wine are kept in business solely by parents!  Keep your friends close, the wine chilled and your chin up.  (And how anxious are we all for green grass again, I know warmer weather will help anchor some positivity too!)

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Mom-ing

Motivation, Movement and Mind

I’ll be honest, working out is not my favourite thing.  In fact it might be one of my least favourite things…until I get into the middle of a sweat-fest, or I complete my 35 minute butt-whooping.  Then I’m all like “I’m on top of the woooooorld!” So why is it such a struggle to feel the love for starting it up each day when the aftermath is such a high? ( I think it might have something to do with crawling out of a warm cozy bed, beside a hubby who is still sawing logs, creeping past the bedroom of a wee little man also sawing logs and slinking into the basement to meet up with my DVD player and workout gear…just a thought!)

Regardless of why it’s such a heavy chore I know that my body and mind are so much better for it when I do it…(darn’it anyways!). It helps me through the day too, I feel more energized and ready to conquer the day after working out.   My mom who is a fitness trainer and lover of “the burn” has always said that doctors should start prescribing physical fitness for all sorts of ailments and diseases.  I hate to admit it but when it comes to my own mental health and depression she couldn’t be more correct.  Physical fitness and my mood are so intertwined.  Without the former, the latter completely suffers.  And they snowball, if I don’t workout regularly I feel low.  My self-esteem drops, my confidence squanders, my initiative takes a flying leap into nowhere and I become agitated, moody, impatient and just plain miserable.

So why ever get out of the routine right?  My thoughts exactly (at least while I’m on a good stretch of healthiness at least)!  As of lately I’ve found a dvd workout routine that I truly love.  It’s 7 days a week (although I take one rest day, usually Sundays as they are lazy days! I find that I generally still get out and move on these days it’s just not as rigorous as the dvd sets!). Each day is different and the workouts are roughly 30-35 minutes which is completely do-able. I get up at 7, workout, shower, drink my morning moringa and then I’m ready for the day! (After coffee, always coffee!!). Usually my boys sleep right through it and are just rising as I’m heading up from a shower.  It really does work well…as long as I don’t hit snooze a million times and train my brain to think “yes! another morning workout, yay, you’ll feel so good after!” instead of “gahhh, sleep, I can skip today, I’ll just make it my rest day again…”!!!  It all comes down to the motivation of movement.  So say it with me….”Yay! You’ll feel so good after.  Your body is gonna thank you, and more importantly, so is your mind!”

PS Mommas are always right aren’t they?? Even when you’re a momma yourself, they still know what’s best…

Mom-ing

In the beginning…

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Becoming “mom” was a bit of a journey…it took us many years to conceive…many years, many pregnancy tests, many emotions, many dark days, many questions and many prayers. We worried and waited and worried some more and finally we just settled on “if it’s meant to be for us, it will be”.

I knew from the beginning that fertility would most likely be an issue for me due to my PCOS.  I also knew that hormone therapy and anything medically beyond conceiving naturally wasn’t the route I wanted to go down.  I have issues with anxiety and have had courageous walks with depression in the past that have been controlled with therapy and medication.  I didn’t want to put my stable-ness into jeopardy trying to have a baby.  Having said this, I did take initiative with my state.  I changed my lifestyle drastically to alleviate the symptoms of PCOS…I exercised more, I changed my diet to eliminate sugars, refined carbs and dairy.  I also introduced essential oils into my life and implemented a routine to promote fertility with them.  I really worked hard at eliminating chemicals and I prayed a lot.  Not that I would get pregnant but that I would be ok with whatever was meant for us in our life.  I finally got to a point where I was healthy and I was honestly ok with where I was.  I had “let it go to the universe” and then I was pregnant!

I didn’t really let myself believe the 4 pregnancy tests I took and even after my first doctor’s visit where a positive pregnancy was confirmed I still held my breath.  I didn’t want to let myself get excited and I certainly didn’t want to get attached to the idea that we were going to become parents.  Not until the first ultrasound did I let myself fall and truly give in to the joy that I was going to be a MOM!  And boy did I fall…I had a decent pregnancy, nausea, low energy, low lying placenta, low blood sugar issues but what was never low was my excitement and feelings that I was truly blessed. And then, before we knew it we were going in to be induced and after a fairly textbook labor (very quick but very textbook) there was our little E and we were living breathing parents.  I became a mom and I have been “mom-ing” hard ever since.

At this point in the game my little guy is soon to be 2 and the one word I would use to define motherhood would have to be “contradiction”…your emotions are constantly contradicting themselves through the day…what other “occupation” or role in life leaves you feeling so satiated and so drained all in the same second?! As a self-proclaimed control freak this is one of my biggest struggles with motherhood and I’m not just talking about not being able to control the situations in life now but more so the emotions…and that’s not necessarily a bad thing!  I always knew that as much as I was put in the role of “MOM” to teach and raise my son, I was ultimately going to be taught so much more by him.  And I have already been so completely right about that!  He is teaching me something absolutely every single day.  If he’s not teaching me about his likes and needs, he’s teaching me about my own.  He’s teaching me to be a stronger woman…an advocate of our family and of him. He’s teaching me to stop and listen, and taste, and smell and see again. He’s teaching me to be kinder to myself so that I can be kinder to others.  He’s teaching me to be present.  He’s teaching me to have faith in people, to ask for help, to admit when I’m tired/exhausted/overwhelmed/unsure.  He’s teaching me to be a better person.  He’s teaching me to be a Mom and I know I have so much more to learn and I am so excited (and if I’m being honest, a little intimidated) for all that entails!