Parenting Crutches

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Yesterday I  had a couple ah-ha moments as a mom. Sometimes I love those moments. It’s like ‘This is great! This makes things so much easier!’. Sometimes these lightbulb moments are frustrating and I think of all the times I suffered and had I know about this fun little fact, the situation, outing, day, etc. would have gone all that smoother. So back to yesterday. We had a rather busy day ahead of us, my little crew and I. The morning started off great and I couldn’t help but start thinking about everything that was assisting me in that nicely flowing morning. Which is exactly what inspired me to let you know about some of these ‘helper’s. Here we go:

The Backpack.

It’s taken me countless outings struggling with two babies, and overflowing diaper bags to discover that there is one style of bag that works. The handsfree backpack. There are so many stylish options out there too. I have a simple black one, quilted and leather. Stylish and functional. I was online the other day and found tons that I would happily adorn on my back ranging upwards to $300. No matter what your budget though, I promise you there is a great option out there for you. Many have an insulated pocket area for those pesky baby bottles and snacks. All have roomy compartments to store diapers, wipes, changes of clothes, and any toys or books that ‘must come with us mommy’. The best part? Your hands are free and ready to hold tiny hands, tie up laces, put on little mittens, zip up jackets, clean up the spilt juice box or the thousands of goldfish crackers that have just exploded out of the shopping cart at Costco. You are ready for anything (well that may be an exaggeration) without having to break your neck and shoulder with an overcrowded bag weighing you down.

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Tupperware Lunch-It Containers.

I love these. My wallet loves these. My kids love these. For my picky toddler, these are fantastic because the food doesn’t actually touch each other. Each type of food has a tidy compartment. For my little guy, everything is just easily;y accessible. The lid seals tight and nothing spills or overflow into the next space. They are perfect for ‘tidy eating in the car’ – I say that loosely because the state of my car begs to differ. But honestly, they can manage everything quite well with tNJ These containers in their carseat. Plus the bright colors are fun and aesthetically pleasing. They WANT to eat snack out of them. For the mommas, you will love that they are dishwasher safe and lifetime warrantied. Such sexy words I know!

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Audio Books.

New obsession! We have been borrowing these from the library and I honestly wish I had discovered these about forty road trips ago. Even if they aren’t even referencing the book, just having the story read aloud seems to entertain them and make errands run smoother. Some of them are fun. Some of them will hundred percent drive every adult in the car crazy. I mean listening to Farmer Duck three times on the way to and from Walmart is surely enough to drive anyone nuts. But the kids are delighted every time that damn duck quacks. So I will take it!

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Big Sisters.

Hallie is in the nicest phase. Okay well it isn’t ALL the time but happens at least two or three times throughout the day, conveniently when we are out and about. She loves to take her little brother’s hand and be his protector. Which makes things easier for me! I don’t have to juggle as much. We all just hold hands and watch for cars. It takes five times as long to get anywhere but slowness is the price you pay for sanity. Speaking of sanity…..

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(Full disclosure: This picture is not recent. But they have only grown closer and are so cute here, all matchy-matchy!)

The Gym.

The gym is now my sanctuary. It has complimentary childcare while I work out. I can work out all my frustrations and stress on the elliptical and my kiddos get to socialize with other kids and play. They also say that winter is where summer bodies are made so I am truly hoping I can shed some holiday love I seem to be hanging onto around the mid section.

Oh… did I forget wine?

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So there you have it. My current list of favourites that seem to be making a huge difference in my day. Finally, I am winning at parenting. Hah! I don’t think so. We all have our ‘winning moments’ where we feel like hey, maybe I can do a good job at this and raise these tiny humans. We all have days where it doesn’t feel TOO overwhelming to parent and we might actually be doing a pretty good job. Lets not forget all the other days too. Where it seems impossible. Where you hide in the laundry from your bickering kids. Where you cry just a little because you just mopped the floors and now ALL of the apple sauce in the world seems to be spilt all over them. Where you look at your hysterical toddler and wonder where on earth she learned that tears and all the drama in the world actually help a situation  – oh yea, she got it from her momma. Where your precious baby boy tumbles off a foot high bleacher at the rec centre and smokes his head on the concrete floor. Oh yes this happened this morning. This morning where everything was going oh-so-smoothly. When it doesn’t matter what backpack you have on, your free hands still didn’t get there quick enough. (Luckily my rambunctious little man is just fine and continuing to head-butt the poor dog today, bruised, goose-egg and all). It’s a combination of these days that make up parenthood, and no matter what crutches we find helpful or not, we will make it through!…. hopefully.

New Year, New Blog Post… finally!

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Well my big January 2018 comeback to writing was slightly delayed. Did anyone else find it extremely difficult to bounce back from the holiday season and get into a routine again? I sure did. Still am struggling a bit actually. But slowly, as we begin our activities again, put down the holiday celebratory cocktail and pick up that clean eating schedule again, things seem to be shifting into place. Our holidays were BUSY. The front door seemed to revolving with friends and family filtering in and out. It was of course very welcome and a lot of fun! Exactly how the holiday season should be. Certainly gluttonous as well. Salads we non-existent and meat and cheese platters seemed to dominate. We laughed, we loved, we ate and we drank.  The kids had a ball too. Christmas is absolutely going to be a hit with them every year. Now that January completely zoomed by, and February has made her debut, we are focused on being healthy, happy and trying to slow down the day-to-day. As I do every year, I looked back on last year’s resolutions. Well not even resolutions. More like lifestyle commitments. I smiled when I saw that we had managed to incorporate it all. I didn’t really do anything different this year. Just a few mini goals and when you add them all up, it just means try to BE better all around. Spend more time in the present with my kids and husband, less time looking at Facebook on my phone. Buy less on Facebook! Damn you to hell mom swap and all the dollars you sucked out of me this year on things I didn’t need, nor was I looking for until I scrolled passed. You know you have been a victim too! Less television, more reading. More crafting and creating! Clean smarter and not all the time. Less laundry! I realize these are all remedial tasks so far…. be kind to others and go out of our way to help people out. Volunteer. Donate. Be mindful of our neighbours and friends. Be thoughtful, intentional and surprising. If I learned anything in 2017, life is short and throw a curve ball.. It reminds us of that often and sometimes in painful ways. 2018 will be more about making all of our moments count, and less about stress, worry and grudges. And though we are already well on our way into the year, I am excited to dive in. Cheers to all of the days ahead, and hopefully more blog posts on my part!

Labor Day Weekend

The last long weekend of the summer has arrived. Labor Day weekend is one of my favourites. I am not entirely sure why but there is just something about it. A certain feel or vibe is in the air. Everyone is relaxed and easy going from enjoying recent summer holidays. We are tan with crispy and freckled noses from long sunny days at the lake. ‘Summer feet’ have developed from the lack of wearing shoes. Fall, school & responsibilities are just around the corner but on this weekend, that matters not. Everyone is having a good time and hanging on to the last of the summer sunshine. If you live in the Interior, you also may be hanging on to 35 degree weather. Aside from a wedding on Sunday, we do not have any major long weekend plans. We will be lighting up the bbq non-stop, sipping on some sweet summer drinks, and feeling all the feels that this time of year brings.

Many of you know I am a lover of all seasons. The colors in the leaves & trees changing, the holidays that present themselves all of a sudden and disappear just as quickly. I love it all. It’s a festive passion almost that I plan to encourage my children to embody as well. The summer lovin’, the fullness of Thanksgiving, the spookiness of Halloween and of course the magic of Christmas. The fresh feeling you get when starting the New Year, the excitement of Easter, the easy-going fun that comes with May Long Weekend camping and the patriotic party that comes along with Canada Day. So much fun packed into one year that I find it impossible not to be excited about each season as they approach. I have a number of people in my life who have their favourites too. Some are winter people. They love to ski, snow mobile, drink hot chocolate and hike off into the woods to cut down their own Christmas tree. My mom has a green thumb and loves to create beauty in the garden. The gardeners in my life tend to gravitate towards Spring. Sunday football, chilli & stew lovers always look forward to fall. Though I LOVE all of these moments in the year, I think I have turned into a bit of a summer girl. I love hanging in the sunshine with my kids, eating watermelon for dinner, juicy peaches and corn on the cob. Packing up for the day to head to the lake and bringing most of the sandy beach home with us, finding it in our hair or beds for days to follow. Exploring where we live. If it has cell service, we probably don’t want to go there. Taking that leap into the water only for it to quickly take your breathe away, then adjusting and not wanting to get out for it’s warmer in the water and the sand is going to be way too hot on your feet as you scramble back to your back towel. Summer is a secret escape from routine, bedtimes and stress. Sure those are all present somewhere in our heads and I am not one for living in total denial. But it seems to be a lot easier in summer to ‘leave that for tomorrow’ and enjoy the rest of today. So one question I have as we approach a new season. How can we bring that summer feeling with us all year long. At Christmas time, I FEEL Christmas and vow to carry that happiness, joy and care for others in my heart all year long. On January 1st, we make promises to ourselves that the year ahead will be different than the last. The year ahead will be better. WE will be better. Better people, better mothers, better eaters, better at exercise and spending money. So my vow is to keep summer in my heart this year. Try to be more relaxed. Enjoy more moments with my family and be grateful for our time together and the experiences we have. Keep a little more adventure in my spirit and leave a few of those chores ‘for tomorrow’. I won’t be able to keep my tan or my flip flops and I am guessing it might be hard to enjoy sticky popsicles in the snow. But I can keep summer excitement alive in my family by being brave, playful and present. Everything that summertime requires.

Have a happy and healthy labor day long weekend friends!

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Cutting Board Rejuvenation

I am a big fan of my wooden cutting boards in my kitchen. I have different types of wood and different shapes. Not only do I use them multiple times daily I also like to have them displayed on the counter. This means I need to keep them looking fresh. I always wash them after use but sometimes, just like many areas of the home, they need a deep clean. In an attempt to move more chemical-free at home, I did some research to come up with a cleaning recipe used by many. Effective and as natural as it gets.

What you will need:

Lemon cut in half, use one half of a lemon per cutting board

Coarse Sea Salt

White Vinegar (you can also use a vinegar cleaning agent)

Oil

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Start by covering the board in white vinegar.  Sprinkle a heavy dose of sea salt all over the cutting board. Use your half lemon to scrub it into the wood. While doing this, squeeze the lemon so that the juices pour out. I did this for about two minutes. Then pour a couple tablespoons of oil onto the board. Continue scrubbing with the lemon, mixing the oil into the salt and vinegar and covering the entire surface of the cutting board. Do this for about one minute. Let sit for fifteen minutes. Rinse clean. Voila! Fresh and clean, looking good and ready for use.

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The End Of Summer

Somehow we have gotten ourselves into the middle of August. Normally I am a glass half full kind of gal and would be thinking we still have lots of summer to go, including a nice September! This month however seems to be a huge downer. The BC Wildfires have taken over the province. Not only is it super smoky but it also seems to bring the temperatures right down making it feel very fall-like. Of course the bigger issue here is for the people in the dangerous areas closer to the fires. My heart goes out to the evacuees who have been forced to pack up with very little notice and stand by waiting to see if their home survives mother nature’s rage. It really is heartbreaking. The community I live in has been outstanding with supporting evacuees which I have to say makes me so proud to live where I do. Unfortunately there is not an end in sight for ending a lot of these fires, but we pray for all of those effected by it and hope for the end soon. Perhaps maybe we can claim back a little of our summer too! We certainly plan to pack as much into the last few weeks of August. This week is a busy one as I have the Farmer’s Market tomorrow for my business which always makes for a hectic week. I am also getting all aspects of family life ready for the end of the week…. parent’s vacation weekend! Yes. We are leaving for three whole days. Gramma has a friend joining the toddler battle field and they are taking care of the two little rascals all weekend long. I know right now I am going to miss my babies like CRAZY (no FaceTime calls allowed, lesson learned on a previous trip – drunk momma talking to babies = ugly crying in the bar). Hubby and I are headed down to Vancouver to see some friends, do some shopping, eating and drinking, AND to see Zac Brown Band! I find it slightly hard to contain my excitement for this show as I have been hoping to see them live for maybe the last five years. So bring it ZBB, this momma is so ready! Once we return we have to pack right up again and head out to see family in Grand Forks, kids and all on this trip. Here’s hoping for a couple winery pop-ins on the way there. And back. We’ll see! Then once we get back from that trip it is right out again in the trailer for a weekend on the lake. Funny how all of this vacation time may just exhaust us. As long as no one gets sick I am going to be happy. Germs ruin the best of times in this family lately. All of this busyness and thinking about the fall season approaching really just leaves me wanting watermelon, sprinkler jumping, sticky popsicle kisses and wet grassed sweaty babies. Summer is so wonderful here in Kamloops and we are totally feeling shafted with it being cut so short. It actually even started late after the longest winter of all time. Time to get out as much as the smoke allows, and soak up all the last sunshine filled summer moments that we can, am I right? So as I catch up on the first Bachelor In Paradise episode (Can I get an Amen for the classiness of all these fabulous people!) I toast you – cheers to the end of summer and all we can cram into it without losing our minds!

 

OHYA! Did I mention how excited we are about potty training. Public toilets (she thinks its the best…..) Pirate Pack dates. Oh and our new funny faces.

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Who looks like they ate FOUR pirate packs…. it’s my one sitting on the floor haha! Oh Jackson . … . .

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Summer Daze

Can I start off by asking where the heck has July gone?! Summers are always busy. I know that. This year though I feel like it is zooming by. The days may be long but the weeks seem to be disappearing way too quickly. Tomorrow is the beginning of August which means we are well on our way to Fall and this mama is just not ready for that.

I can also say that with two babies running round, my house seems to be in a constant state of chaos. Toy bombs have gone off in every room, about twenty-five sippy cups litter the living room and kitchen, chairs are knocked over, blankets and stuffies are everywhere. I simply walk around following the monsters, picking up in each new disaster zone they have created. The floors are hazardous due the fact that multiple popsicles are consumed throughout the day, and when you have small hands that means most of said popsicle melts all over the floor. (Normally I encourage outside popsicle consumption but due to the wildfires and the smoky air, many outdoor activities have transformed to indoor). The kids are always sticky and sweaty and covered in grass or sand from the beach. The laundry NEVER ends and has honestly lead me to believe that there must be at least three other people living here that I am not aware of. Bath time needs to happen on the daily and quite often dinner and bedtime is a bit later than one would hope (as in me!). Amidst the mess are sticky watermelon kisses, movie night snuggles, and all of the sprinkler jumping giggles you can handle and I am SO OKAY with that. Not only does summertime fun exhaust us but it brings out the best in everyone in this household. So as we enter the final month (and pray for an Indian Summer in September) we intend to do ALL of the things and get out as much as we can. We still have a couple camping trips to do and I definitely think a few lake days are in order. Before you know it pumpkin spiced lattes will be around and we will be planning our Halloween costumes. So lets stay up a little later, play in the pool a little longer, and embrace the summer heat (40degrees on Friday!?) while we can!

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Beaches & Baby Bums

Well it’s finally June & summertime fun seems to be in full swing for us. May & June were so busy that I completely neglected my laptop and instead have been soaking up every moment of the day with my babies. Well that and managing my orders for my business and current stock for the farmer’s market every week. Life is busy! What do you do when you get too busy? Why you take vacations of course! I started the month off with a quick Runaway Mom’s weekend to Kelowna. I learned a couple things on this getaway. First, I still cannot hold my liquor if shots are present. No matter how sweet and girly-named they may be, they are the devil and a very quick route to being completely hammered. The second thing I learned is that you let a group of mamas off the hook of parenting for the weekend, things get pretty wild pretty quickly. Lets just say a lot of fun was had, and a lot of Vitamin Water was consumed for the following five days trying to recover all nutrients in my body I had destroyed. I fear the brain cells are gone for good though. So after returning home to my babies whom I missed SO MUCH, it was time to flip the script and get ready for a little family vacation to Osooyoos. The kids decided I should PAY HARD for skipping town on them. They accomplished this by not sleeping at all really all week long. Also being overly needy so that I found it almost impossible to get anything ready for the trip. It basically took me all five days to prepare. We finally got away on Friday morning though. Hubby is crazy busy with work so he was not joining us. My mom and I rented a lakefront townhouse for a week. Probably the best set up you can get with small children. Tons of space in the actual house so everyone had comfy sleeping quarters, play areas, etc. We also have a patio overlooking the lake with a bbq and a bit of lawn area for the kids to play on. Lastly, there is a fantastic outdoor pool and hot tub! Throw in the fact that we are dead in the middle of wine country and it sounds like a pretty perfect time to me! We are halfway through the trip and I think I have put a good ten pounds on between the good eating and the great sipping. But summer is a bit like December in that sense. Who cares! So far here are everyone’s favourite aspects of the vacation:

Me: Pineapple Ceasars (yes they are a thing), sleeping in (should not jinx it by talking about it), having all my meals with a view of a beautiful lake, and lastly, day-long playtime and fun with my babies. They have miraculously turned into excellent vacationers. Again, should not speak about this or even think it. The ability to jinx great behaviour is not a good thing….

Hallie: Chasing & ‘feeding’ the ducks, lounging on ‘Sophia’ our jumbo swan floatie, gummy bears & juice boxes. Oh and definitely going on shopping adventures downtown. This girl really does have simple needs.

Jackson: Hmmmm talk about simple needs. Loves to sit on the grass and watch the ducks. Likes to climb the stairs. Loves mealtime and wrestling around in mama’s big bed.

Gramma: I haven’t asked her yet but I have a feeling the view of the lake and all of the wine are probably up there on the list.

Now if we could just get our booties to a winery! I doubt it will happen but maybe we can pop into a few on the way home simply to purchase a few bottles. Don’t think my kids will tolerate a tasting or tour hah! Come Friday we will hustle on home, only to get the trailer ready and take off again for a weekend of camping and baseball! All this vacationing will either leave me completely relaxed or totally exhausted. Stay tuned!

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