My Good Reminder….

I teach, contractually,  students at the college level – so the end of the semester, and the beginning of May, for me symbolizes a time to slow down, gather my thoughts, take care of myself in a better way and finish the number of projects I started but slowly lost priority in every day life.  I have yet to do any of this so far in the month of May  – and it is almost over! May has turned out to be a month of finishing up & preparing for work, attending meetings and conferences, dance rehearsals & recitals, baseball practices & games, swimming lessons, birthday parties and medical appointments.

In the midst of all of this I have struggled to maintain balance…and I have failed….taking care of my children’s lives and work came first.  And although these are things I love – I am disappointed that I did not set better boundaries to do the things I set out do do at the beginning of the month.  This really hit yesterday when I realized that my 21 years anniversary since we have been together as a couple passed with only a phone call and greeting of “Merry 17th“ to my husband to commemorate the day.  I usually make a bigger deal of this as it is a special day.  I am not ok with this path I seem to be following.  I need to adjust my mind to realign with my heart and soul to make different choices on how I spend my time, so I create the flow not follow it.  I started thinking about what I need to do this.

One of my favorite quotes that I used as a life motto for many years is `You are not defined by what has happened to you in the past. You future is defined by what you want for the future` ~Unknown.  It is time to gain some perspective. Time to think about more than the work that is waiting to be finished and what is on the schedule for the day.  Setting long term goals helps remind me of the life I want and the groove I am striving to attain. Because I only get one chance as me in this life and when I am old and sitting in my rocking on my front porch the memories that I want to sustain me are the ones I want to create. I came across a great tool for long term goal setting on the Lululemon website, you can type write into the PDF and print it: http://www.lululemon.com/education/goalsetting

As I complete this form I am inspired – I am reminded of the possibilities life has to offer and a little less lost in the busyness of everyday.

Vision Goals Worksheetvision_goals_worksheet

andie1

A new perspective on gratitude

The Storyteller was my pick for this months book club. I anxiously awaited Jodi Picoult’s new release in March.

I’m so glad I made the time to sit down and read it.

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But tonight as I walk past our gratitude wall, I do so with a heavy heart.

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The past 200 pages of this story are moving me beyond measure, as I read about a young woman who is living through the Holocaust. I’m nearing the end and I don’t want her to stop telling her story and at the same time I wish her story was purely based on fiction.

As I look at our gratitude wall and typical mom//dad//kid schedule I can’t help but feel – well actually I don’t know what I feel – but it’s not a good feeling. What I am thankful for seems so very insignificant in the face of what so many women, children, men, babies would have been thankful for in Germany many years ago.

While I can’t change history, I can change today.

Above our door we have the words “today I’m going to try and change the world”. It was part of a country song lyric that i heard a few years ago and just couldn’t get out of my head {custom decal from Blue Couture Design}.

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When I was working directly with children and women who’d experience violence, I knew I was making a difference. Now that I’ve left frontline work, the difference I can make isn’t the same – not greater or lesser, just different. And sometimes my heart and mind miss this work. As I read about atrocities such as those in this story, there’s a little part of me that comes alive again and says, ok, what can I do to make this world a better place. Because today still, atrocities happen. Here and worldwide. But I know the job I am doing raising my daughter is just as important. And maybe one day she will grow to change this world.

Today we CAN change the world. We can all do something in our own way, that makes a difference for someone. The difference may be huge, tiny, small scale or grand. But it us ours to make.

If you have a few moments, here’s a link to the video that inspired our over the door quote:

{ Johnny Reid // Today I’m Gonna Try and Change the World }

jay2

The Mom I Want to Be….

ten years ago while I was expecting my first child i had all these expectations (i guess that why they call it expecting).  expectations of my life, of myself, of my child.  and then i gave birth….and that is when the beginning of all my expectations of what life would be like began to evaporate and the reality of being a mother began to set in.  my birth did not go as expected but holding that little person in my arms i realized it did not matter – i would be the person she needed me to be so she could grow up feeling safe and loved and happy.  and so that has continued….motherhood challenges me in every way.  i have often thought to myself as the illusion i had of myself as a mother vanishes – my children need me to be the mom that they need.  and that is the mom i want to be.  so everyday i practice motherhood.  some days i get it right, some days i don’t, and i keep practicing….

if you stumble

andie1

Crazyland + Motherhood a Perfect Imbalance

I’m almost 100% sure most mommas can relate

Kitchen House is a disaster like this

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No supper made, you worked hard all day, emails, texts, phone calls, FB messages, school agenda to check, angels to kiss and hug – all demands for your time.

I have the best of intentions to get ‘it’ all done – all wrapped up in a pretty little bow and then to enjoy life…The beginning of 2013 had this momma striving to find balance at home. I tried not to care that the floors were sticky and the dirt in the mudroom was ‘okay’ and that I’d get to the piles of laundry…I was running and feeling like – why can’t I just get it all done?!

FFWD to April 2013 and I am trying to shed the land of crazy making and finding peace in the imbalance that is life. Maybe because when I reach out to my fellow Eggies they too have this

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and this
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and when I do reach out they feel the same way and I feel less like a failure. If I can find peace in the ‘imbalance’ then perhaps it will create more balance?

Pause – Take Stock – Evaluate – whats MY important

Life may not be balanced everyday, but its LIVING in the beauty of the imbalance.

Over at More than Sayings this free printable is my reminder.

I’m curious…what do you do that reminds you of the important things?

mel2

Hello World

What are you saying hello to this week? We’ve kept busy and are excited to share our first Purple Eggplant collaborative post!

{ Purple Eggplant is linking up this week with Lisa Leonard‘s Hello Monday post …not only is this a wicked inspirational blog, but a great shoppe too }

jays hello

hello late evening sun of spring and after dinner walks

hello bright new walls…so long red

a bittersweet hello to C’s big girl bed { you can find the headbaord tutorial here }

hello garden centre…oh how i’ve missed you

hello new “did it myself” jewels

hello books…i’ve missed you more than the garden centre ! we have 3 weeks together before the next term begins. { any book suggestions? would love to hear them in the comments ! }

jay2

mels hello

Hello to a new hair adventures

Hello to my new yellow slickers that I will fit into my style because they are way too cool (and the rain..so I can wear them)

and most importantly, Hello to happy hugs!

mel2

andies hello

Hello funny invention that lets hand puppet shows happen  

Hello morning routine being done early

Hello bittersweet last day of classes  

Hello special surprise gift

Hello to wearing my new necklace  

So long classroom… Until we meet again

Hello to a bright hopeful ending to a very long bittersweet day  

Hello to evening routine singing and random water drop fishes  

Hello to love  

Good night Tuesday

andie1

mommas hurting head: parenting through migraines

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i get migraines. bad ones. they stopped when i was pregnant and the break was so amazing i considered a second and third and fourth child ! maybe even becoming a surrogate ! but i think pregnancy might have been equally bad as the migraines for me!

the relief didn’t last. they came back when C was about 6 months old. ive had them as long as i can remember but they were worst in my late twenties. they are still terrible but not as frequent.

im telling you the backstory because today I picked up C from nursery and this was her art of the day. they were talking about doctors.

i was horrified and immediately filled with guilt. today was one of the days i found myself laying on the floor with my head covered in a blanket as my C watched her morning cartoons. i felt guilty for my pain and the momma/partner/friend/person i am when i have one.

I may be reading more into her art than I should be, but the counsellor in me can’t help but notice the bandaid and where it’s placed. maybe they were told to put it there. maybe the kid beside her placed his there so she did too.

i hope C doesn’t get these migraines – though they are hereditary for the women of my family. i hope mine don’t last forever. i hope C doesn’t have to see momma with a “heahache” too often. I hope they just go away.

There are days like today where im snappy and irritable that I just want a pain free existence.

do you ever have things that interfere with your ability to be the parent you want to be ?

jay2

choose your own ending…DIY blunder

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sitting with my girlie this morning to do some crafting and part prep. anyone notice what’s wrong about my Pinterest inspired carrot napkin wraps ??

do i:

a) cry and throw everything out and cancel the party

b) get the kiddo dressed and rush out to the dollar store to fix this asap

c) keep trucking along and have a good laugh at myself

while all 3 crossed my mind, especially b !, guests will be enjoying backwards carrots at our lil bunnies party this weekend and i will be smiling inside at my beautiful imperfection.

do you ever blunder DIYs ? how do you handle it ?

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Tomorrow is another day

Here’s a get-to-know-me-jump-feet-first-in-rant!

You know the time when your HOT – like so hot because you have on your winter coat, and your trying to coax a 2 year old boy with new found independence out of the bookstore filled with beautifully attractive, fun, playthings among books? Like the HOT feeling – that your frustration level is rising and you cant stop it from bubblin over…but oh ya but wait…you are in PUBLIC… ya that feeling!

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I love my kids, as any other parent of a 2 and 4 year old would. I don’t gush over the oh-how-wonderful-this-job-of-parenting-is. I even sometimes think – “F!%K, I am not cut out for this” Yes, me…the Child and Youth Worker extraordinaire- whose worked with developmentally delayed youth, street youth, mental health patients…blah, blah, blah- yes it is the hardest job in the world.

And today I coulda ripped the lady in the bookstores head off…

“why yes, I know my two year old has kicked off his boots and is in his socks running through the aisles – thanks for letting me know you wouldnt want your child on the oh so dirty floor. why yes I know he is running towards the glassware and fragile Easter bunny that caught his eye while were were headed to the back of the store to ‘play’ – thanks!”

What about can I help you?

Get me outta here!

I know why these things happen and even that they happen to most of us – I’d like to say IT SUCKS! The best thing one I/we can do is talk about it and get support! Where would I be with out my texts to my affectionately named wifey of OMGyouwillneverguesswhatjusthappend! A wifey…yup a wifey (will tell you in a later post about wifey!)

Chin up mommas, put those babes of smiles and sparkles to bed… tomorrow’s another day 🙂

mel2

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[image source linked through image…funny stuff over at someecards.com]

do you ever want a do-over ?

i find myself thinking a lot lately about the time in my life when i worked with mommas and their kiddos living in shelters.

i think about these moms when i make an impulse buy for cute shoes for my kiddo – shoes she surely doesn’t need but i can’t resist.

i think about these children as i am crafting with my C.

i think about these families when i am eating on the couch.

i think about them when i am taking my kiddo to an event that costs a small (and unreasonable) fortune.

i think about them when i see my kiddos dad playing so lovingly with her.

and i feel so sad.  it is not fair that in this life, little people and their mommas must endure such pain and struggle. that some dads choose to hurt thier kiddos moms.

but when i think of them most is when i am having a hard day with my C. when she won’t go to bed, or when she is having a stage 10 tantrum, or when she is sick, or when i have a migraine, or when she is just crabby and so am i. i think of all the rules and guidelines we had in the shelter in the interest of child safety.  supervision was one thing that we always seemed to be talking about.

so and so isn’t supervising her 5 year old, so and so wrote all over the wall because his mom wasnt watching him.  is that so and so in the playroom without her mom.  all things we needed to address. i think now if i was one of the moms i was speaking to, i would have wanted to shake me. i get it now. i have pen on my walls, while i was online, my C snuck downstairs and emptied the entire bookshelf. i do not always have eyes on my kiddo. i get it now. i would want to shake me too.

please don’t get me wrong, guidelines are necessary. but with our rules, i don’t think we factored in hard-momma-days or cranky-kiddo-days. or just regular i’m-raising-a-2-year-old-days or mom-is-also-a-person-and-needs-a-minute-to-breathe-days.

i love how i worked with families, both the children and mothers. but now that i have my own kiddo, there is a different in my gut understanding that i just didn’t have before about how hard it is for moms.  as a child and youth counsellor, working over 10 years in shelters,  i know the impact of trauma, i understand how abuse impacts mommas and thier kiddos,  and i have seen the challenges families have in shelters. these are rightful challenges. no home, loss of one parent, limited to no income, little control. anyone would find it challenging. i certainly would.

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so this is what i want to do over:

i want to offer to do the mommas chores every now and then.

i want to ask if i can hold her baby so she can take a shower, read a book, go online.

i want to reduce the scheduled programming and just be available for her.

i want to bring her a coffee when she is sitting outside with her children.

i want to clean the highchair for the mother who has just fed her baby herslef and 3 other kids. better yet, i want to clean up the whole table.

i want to advocate that a family of 5 gets 2 rooms rather than sharing 1.

please dont interpret these do overs to be based on pity or sympathy. if anything they are based on how strong i know mommas are, and how little they ask for help.

i just didn’t know what the kind of help was that would have really made a difference til now.

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for me, i don’t get a do over because my time working in the shelters is over (for now at least while im home with my own kiddo).  i am lucky now though that i have the opportunity to shape future child and youth workers through my teaching. and will share my do overs and hope that at least one momma in a shelter gets a coffee brought to here every once in a while, or has a bonus unplanned 20 minutes of peace in an otherwise chaotic time.

[image sources linked through images]

jay2

[ p.s the remaining 2/3 of purple eggplant will be popping up in posts on the blog soon ! ]

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