My Sonshine

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Image courtesy of JennyFig Photography

It’s not very often he sits still long enough to have his picture taken. This one is first on the list to be printed, framed and hung on the wall.

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5 Things I Love About My Spirited Child

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1. He never holds back his emotions… like it or not, he is always himself.

2. He is persistent… not always such an easy trait to deal with, but one of the ones I am the most proud of.

3. He loves me the same NO MATTER WHAT… even if I’m not feeling very loveable.

4. He forgives me… much faster than I deserve and much faster than I am capable of forgiving.

5. He teaches me patience… even if it’s the hard way. Every. Single. Time.

These past few weeks have been rough. And I thought things were actually getting better, but three is a tough age. It’s tough to have a three year old, and even more tough, I imagine, to BE a three year old (okay, maybe not). This is a reminder for myself and every parent out there, no matter what your child’s age and whether they (or you) are spirited or not, that there will always be days you will feel frustrated and ready to throw in the towel. But there’s more reasons to love them than there are reasons to bang your head against a wall, so hang in there.

Unplugged

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I meant to post this on Monday, after wrapping up my very first Screen Free Week, but alas life got in the way, as it has so much over the past couple months.

What is Screen Free Week, you may ask. It is a pledge I took to stay as disconnected from technology as much as possible for one full week (excluding work and school use).

If you know me, you know this is something I struggle with. Technology is all-consuming and it’s hard not to allow yourself to get sucked in.

I knew it would be challenging, but you don’t realize how much you rely on technology for literally everything until it’s gone. I had to use, get this… a PHONE BOOK to look up the number of a restaurant when booking reservations to take my in-laws out for dinner. You can imagine how much dust was on that thing!

Everything from my grocery list to my banking and to-do lists use a screen in some way. Even as a photographer, I rely on my cell phone to snap pictures of my kids’ day to day lives (my DSLR has a screen though too, so not much better).

I decided right away that it wouldn’t be possible to be 100% screen free. TV and social media were out, but I would allow myself to use my phone for its camera, fitness apps, text messaging and calling, as they are my sole method of communication with family and close friends.

As I said, it was a challenge in the beginning, but not as much as I had anticipated. I only got one or two complaints from the hubby and D asked me maybe three times if he could watch a movie, to which I replied, “We are on screen free week. Let’s go find something else to do.” Not one tear was shed in the process.

I find the concept to be quite refreshing and inspiring, however (for us anyway) it is slightly flawed. To be completely and totally screen free for an entire week would be next to impossible. A week is a long time. Instead of feeling free, I ended up feeling disconnected and even lonely.

I did learn something from my week of screen time reduction, which is a more accurate description. Technology does not replace real life interaction with others and it’s not the only way to accomplish many of the necessities of a modern life. I can write out an old fashioned grocery list or *gasp* open up a phone book once in awhile.

So instead of one week every year, what about one day every week? One day a week to be screen free and allow myself to really commit to the notion, in order to fully reap the benefits.

So my new thing is Screen Free Sundays.

Okay, except when The Walking Dead is on.

Bare Minimum

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I’m doing it again.

I’m procrastinating.

What I really should be doing is writing a 750 word eulogy for my English course (influenced by Tuesdays with Morrie), but instead I’ve decided to write about why I can’t seem to find time to get a damn thing done these days. Yes, I see the irony in case you were wondering.

Since becoming a mom of two, I feel like I’m only ever putting forth the bare minimum. And I am not a bare minimum kind of girl. I am the mildly obsessive if you’re going to do it you might as well do it right type.

Have you ever gotten to the point where you gave up even starting things because you knew you wouldn’t be able to see them through to the end? That’s about where I’m at right now. Take this blog for example. Instead of typing out a quick blurb and hitting Publish a few days a week, I take two hours to write a few hundred words, agonizing over each and every one. Instead of enjoying the process of writing, I put it off all week and dread the thought of logging in.

So I find myself doing a whole lot of nothing. Or a whole lot of half somethings, which still leads to nothing being accomplished. I have about ten projects on the go right now, and I keep breaking my own rules by taking on more. Aside from taking care of two kids and a household, running two businesses, school work, blogging and working out six days a week, I have just started training for my first triathlon and joined a book club. I don’t get to sleep until past midnight every night and D has me up at 6 every morning. No wonder I’m exhausted!

For the past four months now, I feel like I am constantly putting out fires and it’s time for that to stop. I am a mom and my kids are only going to be this small for a short time. They need me and they have always and will always come first. That is the promise I made the day I became a mother. Yes, I have obligations and need to make time for myself and for the things I am passionate about, but I also need to slow down and take a deep breath and know that it is physically impossible for me to “do it all”.

The way I see it I have two choices. I can give up on everything extracurricular that I love (and go crazy and be of no use to anyone) or simply lower my expectations. It’s okay that I’m late to everything and that I skip a couple workouts here and there. It’s okay that I only post once a week, or sometimes even less. I need to allow myself to not be perfect at everything I set out to do. I need to prioritize what it is I hope to accomplish. Most importantly I need to realize that no one (other than myself) expects me to accomplish much of anything right now, and be thankful for the days I find time to shower and get dressed.

Parenting is all about lowered expectations and I’m starting to be okay with that.

Sunday in the Kitchen (Friday Edition) | Homemade Bum Butter

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So it seems these days, DD has traded in her colic for teething. Oh boy.

All that excess saliva, which is more acidic than usual because of the teething, has given my poor girl a diaper rash. At least I think that’s the cause. I have never dealt with diaper rash before and I haven’t been doing anything different lately. We tried naked time to air it out, and while adorable, it wasn’t all that effective.

When you have never had a baby with diaper rash before, you don’t own any cream. Except that unopened Costco sized tub of Penaten from a well meaning family member that’s been sitting on a shelf collecting dust since early 2011. But of course that’s not cloth diaper safe. (insert eye roll here)

Always up for a challenge, I decided I would make my own. I remembered I had pinned a recipe from Green Child Magazine awhile back, so I made a shopping list and headed out the door. Like most of my projects, this one cost me double what it would have if I had just bought something at a store (even though I already had half the ingredients at home), but at least I now have enough cream to last me until potty training.

Here is my attempt at making homemade bum butter, as I like to call it.

Ingredients:

* 1/3 cup of coconut oil

* 1/3 cup of shea butter (I used organic raw African shea butter… this was the most expensive part, but it is phenomenal)

* 56 grams/2 oz of beeswax (works out to be a 1/4 cup)

* 5 drops of tea tree oil

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First I measured out the shea butter and coconut oil into a sauce pan, then added the bar of beeswax and tea tree oil. Using the double boiler technique (another one of the things I learned from Jules), I melted the ingredients.

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Then I poured the mixture into a bowl and put it into the freezer for about 15 minutes.

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Here is what the mixture looked like before going into the freezer

 

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And after

Then I blended everything until it was nice and smooth and poured some into an old mint tin.

ImageWhat was leftover I scraped into a Mason jar for future use. I allowed the mixture to cool and thicken and then stored both that and the tin at room temperature.

ImageThere you have it, homemade bum butter.

 

Crack Pots at Crack Pot

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Took the littles to Crack Pot Studio today to visit my friend Emma and paint some ceramics. I have been taking D there since he was a baby and we always have such a great time. Since it’s March Break, I thought it would be a fun way to spend an afternoon.

As soon as we get there, D bursts through the door to let everyone know he has arrived. The staff (especially Em) are fantastic and it’s okay that he’s a bit of a wild man. He has yet to break anything, so I think that works in his favour.

Within seconds he decides on a robot coin bank to paint. I totally envy his ability to be so in the moment sometimes. He doesn’t consider that there might be something he likes better. He doesn’t even care that there are a hundred other options. He happily picks out the first thing that catches his eye, while I spend ten more minutes browsing, before finally settling on a heart shaped plate for DD’s footprints.

Two hours, three trays full of colour and sixty sponges later and our masterpieces are finished. This week they will go into the kiln to be fired and when they are all shiny and ready for us, we will get to bring them home and add them to the collection.

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D’s work in progress… check out those buttons

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Beginning stage of the plate

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Em and DD after we washed the paint off her toes

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Spongehead Robotpants

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D’s finished product (his artistic vision included a lot of white space)

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Baby’s First Crack Pot Creation

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D and Taylor, aka Hot Girl as he called her