The Soother Intervention

As I sat at the top of the stairs at midnight last night staring out the window at the street lights and listening to my child screaming at the top of her lungs, I began to wonder if I had made the right decision when we had her soother intervention.

I bumped into a friend last week and we were discussing our children's soother habits.  She told me that a friend had suggested she cut the tops off her soothers.  The child then cannot effectively suckle on that rubber teat and becomes frustrated with the whole idea, hence ending the soother dependency.  So I thought, hey, if she can do it, so can I.  Out came the scissors and with one tiny snip - off with it's head! (or nip rather)

And then came nap time. Wow. I've never seen Alice so angry.  She took one suck and handed me her suckie with scorn. And then proceeded to scream at me whenever I suggested she try her 'broken' soother.  Of course my husband chimes in that I cut too much off and it was a ridiculous idea.  This from the man who insisted that Stella 'NEEDED' her soother at the same age.  Anyway, a few failed nap attempts later, I gave up and just kept her up.  I got nothing done on my Sunday afternoon, but I hoped that by the time supper was done that she'd be too exhausted to fight about the soother.

The bedtime routine was pretty much as it had been the past few weeks.  Alice would cry and want milk and a cuddle and I would be in and out of her room a half dozen times before she settled.  Last night was really no different except for the volume.  Her crying was off the charts; a combination of exhaustion and soother withdrawal no doubt.

She only got up 3 times last night.  Which really has been the norm recently; the combination of teething and colds. Again, the volume and vigour of her cries definitely was amplified.

So I'm going to say that so far we are on the road to recovery for my little soother addict. Yes, my methods may be considered harsh and yes, my timing may have been off (full moon & teething) but it's got to happen sometime.  And the sooner the better.  I don't want her starting school with her suckie in her mouth.

Wish me luck on night two!  It can only get better....right?!
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Happy Halloween!

It's October 31st and we're getting excited to take the kiddies out for Halloween! Unfortunately, Mother Nature has other plans for us as it's presently raining cats & dogs here on the homestead.  Or should I say ghosts & ghouls?  Either way, I'm still not sure what we will be doing tonight.  Perhaps just driving to a few friend's houses to show the cuties off in their costumes, or maybe Mall-o-ween?  Who knows? Maybe we'll put on our rain gear and see if our neighbours will feel sorry for us and fill our bags with candy.

I'm not going to worry too much about it.  And neither should you.  Holidays should be fun and stress-free (in a perfect world)  and not just about gettin' stuff.  Whether it's Halloween, Christmas or Easter - the day should be fun and exciting and full of great experiences, not just things.  Things don't make you happy in the long run. But memories will outlast those toys & treats.

So tonight, regardless of the weather, we are going to have a great Halloween!  Even if it's just inside a blanket fort with flashlights, telling ghost stories.  It will be full of fun and we'll make some great memories.  And it won't cost us anything.  Now that's what I call a good time!

Happy Halloween from our homestead to yours!  Hope you and your little goblins have a smile-filled and memorable night no matter what you do!

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Sober September Week #2 - It's time to be Selfish

So today marks the end of week #2 of Sober September.  Slightly easier than week #1 but still pretty damn hard.  It was the first full week of school complete with tantrums, tirades and downright tiredness.  And Stella was a bit of a handful too!  There were a few select evenings where I would have loved nothing better than to flop on the couch with a big glass of red...but I resisted.

And on top of keeping the booze at bay I managed to finally start running again.  I have run periodically throughout the last 10 years.  About 2 years ago I was up to running 10km.  Not too shabby.  But then work, life and another baby happened and running seemed to get shoved to the back burner.  This week also marks the completion of the first week of Couch to 5k.  The program is fantastic and I've actually done it twice in the past.  You go from the couch to running 5km in 9 weeks; and it works.  Slow and steady; you build up your running each week while keeping injury free.

So I'm figuring September will be my Selfish September as well. No drinking, started running and on Tuesday I start Pilates.  A friend and I signed up for an evening class at a public school.  Just a little me time and girl time and maybe get some awesome abs in the process.  Needless to say it was a great deal and a perfect way to get me out of the house. 

I'm trying to be aware that I need to take care of both my mind and body in order to take care of my family and homestead.  If mama isn't happy and healthy then no one else will be.  The past year has been busy with the baby and the family and I will admit that I was the last one on the list.  And I'm OK with that.  But now I'm cognisant of the fact I need to be a little higher on the list of importants.  I think I'm feeling a little lost, overwhelmed or defeated and in order to get out of the funk I need to take care of me. I don't think its selfish really and my family is completely supportive.

I guess what I'm trying to say is it's OK to take some time for you.  Don't feel guilty for trying to feed your mind, body or soul.  You really can't take care of anyone unless you take care of you first.  Selfish doesn't have to be a bad word it's a survival skill.

So this week, be a little something for you...something to bring you back to will thank yourself.
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Sober September - Week #1

Well, I made it through the first week of Sober September...still sober.  To be honest I thought it would be a cake walk.  I'm not a heavy drinker.  I like a little wine at dinner or a couple bevvies on the weekend, but that's really about the extent of it.  Boy was I wrong.  The first week of September really put me through the gears and I honestly didn't think I would make it out in one piece.

To start, my husband left his job last week and took a huge leap and is now working for a new and very promising start-up company.  I know it's going to be great, but definitely a giant stress given I am no longer working.  Fear of the unknown for sure.  My oldest daughter started school on Friday; the first day of JK.  I'm so proud of her but it was definitely bittersweet and I was really itching for a glass of red to take the edge off.  But I stayed strong.  Friday was also my baby's 1st birthday.  Again I was overjoyed and saddened at the same time.  My little turkey is growing up way too fast for this mama.  On top of all these new beginnings was one devastating end.

On Friday one of my best friends passed away on the same day that my daughter started school and the little Turkey turned one.  Needless to say, I'm a bit of a mess and all weekend I've been struggling not to self-medicate with alcohol.  Do I feel better today?  Yes & No.  I'm so excited for Miss Stella as she's loving school and Alice took her first steps after her birthday party; so I'm over the moon happy.  But every time I have a moment of quiet my heart and mind go back to Amos; I can't believe he's gone.  And that's when I want a drink.  A drink to numb those feelings, a drink to toast his life, a drink for Amos.

But I'm dry and starting a new week....

Barely sober,

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Surviving Your Family Vacation 101

We just returned from our family vacation and I thought it only fitting to share with you some very important things I learned over the past 5 days. And just for a little back story - for our holiday we decided to take a road trip to Ottawa, ON which is approximately 640 kms from our house with our 2 small children.

1.  Your hotel can make or break your trip.    Trying to get kids to fall a sleep in the same room is next to impossible and if you've shared a room with your kids you know that they are the loudest sleepers on the planet.  So after a little searching I found the Albert at Bay Hotel; essentially like little apartments. And all for the same or less than you would pay for a hotel room! We had a full kitchen, balcony and a living room/dining room and a separate bedroom.

2.  Calculate your travel time wisely.  So when we were younger we would take road trips all over.  And it was quite easy to drive for 10+ hrs without kids.  But this holiday was our first significant road trip with 2 kids in the car.  The girls have always been great in the car, but I was definitely nervous about the 6+ hrs of driving each way.  After over 1500 kms in the car I think it's fair to say that when travelling with small kids you need to add an extra 30% to your estimated driving time.  We stopped twice each way for approximately 45 mins to an hour to stretch, visit a washroom and get the wiggles out.  Use this handy equation to stay sane: Estimated travel time + 30% car-free time = happy travels.

3.  Schedule downtime.  This is a very important vacation must.  We all try to cram in as many sights and sounds and activities as humanly possible into our holidays and I'm no exception.  We were gone each day by about 9am and didn't get back to the hotel till past bedtime just about each night.  The girls were great and were happy to hop from one adventure to the next.  But by about day 2 or 3 I could tell they were tired and on the verge of a melt down. Instead of more sight-seeing we took a drive to the Gatineaus and had a picnic on the beach and spent the afternoon watching the kids play in the sand and splash in the water.  It's imperative the incorporate some chill time with the kids.  We were tired and they were tired and what better way to rejuvenate then with a little nature.

Mosaika at Parliament Hill
4. Skip the souvenirs and stock up on memories.   I've come to the realisation that 'things' don't make you happy.  And really they just take up space and its just more stuff to clean and organise.  So rather then spending money on some terribly over-priced, tacky knick-knack, why not take that money and use it for something you and your kids will really enjoy.  Or even better, save your money and find some really cool FREE events to check out and make some family memories instead. Check out the local tourism sites for local events and festivals and for great coupons!

5.  Enjoy each minute.  We can get wrapped up in schedules and time lines and agendas.  We went on our vacation with nothing scheduled other than our hotel and tickets to the Museum of Civilization.  Each day was a new adventure and we took our time and enjoyed each minute.  If we were having fun we stayed and played; if it wasn't our thing or the kids were not interested we moved on.  We kept it simple and fluid and relished each moment.

NOTE: we’ve added this post to the Sunday Traveler link up extravaganza. Check it out for other travel tales and inspiration.

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Tip Tuesday: DIY Face Mask

Recently I found myself with a few kid free moments at home.  So I decided to treat myself to a face mask.  I was reaching for the almost empty tube of store bought clay mask when I thought - hey, I'm sure I can make my own.  So I did.  And it was super easy AND made my skin feel and look wonderful.

Thanks to for this super easy recipe.  Check them out for tons of other face mask options.

Are you ready?  Here it goes!

1 teaspoon of yogurt
1 teaspoon of honey
1 teaspoon of chopped hazelnuts
4-5 drops of lemon juice

And there you have it!  Mix it up and spread it on your face.  After 10 minutes rinse it off with warm water.

The honey has astringent properties and also helps increase your skins healing abilities.  The yogurt helps to close pores and exfoliate the skin. It also helps to stimulate collagen production.  What a bonus!
And it's all natural (provided you use natural ingredients) and contains no nasty chemicals.  This is a definite keeper!

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