Every night I go to bed, I have thoughts swirling in my head. Things to do. Scrapbook pages I want to create. Gifts I want to make. Skills I want to learn. And, of course, daily happenings that I don't want to forget, but invariably will by tomorrow morning, only to pop up in a random thought weeks down the road. So, here I am. I may use this blog daily to empty my head and heart before cuddling up in my duvet, or as it may be, I may write in it once a month. Who knows. It is for me, but perhaps something I write or learn may spark a fire in someone else. Perhaps it may quiet a mind or make you feel like you are not alone out there. It is for me. But perhaps it is for you.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Nico: 11 Months

I recently found a journal entry, a list really, of what you were like at 11 months old.  My time to write and reflect about how amazing you are seems so limited, but at least we have this one.  Here we go, my happy boy:

  • words: dada, nana (food), uh oh, hi (sometimes)
  • like the slide, but swings go too fast for you
  • you stand up holding on to things and can let go and be on your own for a good 10 seconds
  • love climbing up stairs
  • follow Kai everywhere, laughing at everything he does
  • moving towards 1 nap a day, but right now you go between 4 and 4 1/2 hours between naps
  • throw your head back and laugh
  • love balls of all shapes and sizes
  • easygoing with everyone; forever smiling
  • wave in your own way - either with the whole arm facing forwards or turn your hand backwards to wave
  • bite everything, including sometimes your brother
  • becoming attached to your bedtime deer
  • communicate very clearly when you don't want something - yell loudly or push it away
  • beginning to enjoy feeding yourself
  • whack your head on the back of the (padded) highchair when you are eating, having fun moving it across the room with your forceful body slams
  • love music
  • shake your head side to side very fast to make yourself dizzy
  • flop your body and face into the mattress, looking for a reaction and trying to make us laugh
  • want to be part of everything we do, especially meal times

Monday, February 8, 2016

Life Today: February 9, 2016

A way to reflect that I want to return to...

Outside my window: darkness after a beautiful, sunny day

I am thinking...it is nice to not be watching any shows or be in the midst of any books that I just can't put down.  This, combined with a pro-d at work tomorrow, means that I have no work to do, nothing for my brain needs to mentally check off a list.  So, here I am finally, sitting down to return to a beautiful ritual of writing about and appreciating the simplicity and complexity that an average day in my life brings.

From the kitchen...tonight we had a rare evening when everyone was home, so Marc and I worked together to make rice, steamed and fresh veggies and barbecued pork.  It is so nice to share what I see as the burden of cooking for our family with someone who enjoys it.

I am wearing...my yoga pants, a few layers of shirts and a wool sweater and of course, my slippers.

I am creating...pockets of peace and reflection time amidst the loud, enthusiastic boisterous play that is our house; two amazing sons.

I am going ... to choose to spend my time on things and people I love.

I am reading...only audio books right now, as this new commute to and from UBC is long and stories make the journey more enjoyable.  Currently trying to take a break from all the non-fiction I seem to always read and am trying a new author recommended to me, Liane Moriarty.  So far, it is okay.  More of a beach read that I could take or leave.  I also have been spending many hours this year listening to the Diana Gabaldon series Outlander.

I am hoping...to work less and have more room for just being and loving and connecting.

I am hearing...the hum of the dishwasher and the silence of two boys in bed.

Around the house... a smattering of toys I didn't remind the boys to put away; my journals and pencils.  A board given to me by Colleen reminding me to 'Be in love with every minute of your life.'  I love this reminder and think of it often. I dream of placing one desire or photo in each clothes pin...

One of my favourite...moments is when my boys pause for some cuddle time.  It never gets old.

This weekend...was a lot of play time with the boys.  A long weekend as it is family day today.  We spend much time at playgrounds and just hanging together in the beautiful weather.

A few plans for the rest of the week...

take things slow
enjoy everything

Thursday, January 21, 2016

On being 40...

“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me.” - Meryl Streep

In the year leading up to my 40th birthday I went on a mission to fill my time with adventures.  I had so many amazing days and moments.  It makes me think that is what life should be all the time, full of wonderful moments of living fully in what we desire.  Never at the cost of hurting another, of course, but alongside living the dreams of those who are closest to our hearts.

You hear about when people are diagnosed with a serious or terminal illness that they wish they would have had more time to live differently.  The internet is full of advice from centenarians.  The thing is, I think if we take time to be still in this fast-paced world, deep inside we know what we want and how we want to live.  We just don't know how to push through our fears.  So we busy ourselves with our work and daily 'necessities' of cleaning our houses, doing our laundry, taking care of our children and then we don't have to blame ourselves for not living as our truest selves. We say that life is simply full already.  But are our hearts and souls full as well?

I am not even halfway through my life.  I know this, yet somehow turning 40 made me feel like living life that way I want to live it is of the utmost importance - starting now.  Most nights I spend time putting my desires out to the universe..okay, I get them clarified in my own head and my own journal.  I'm not yet that practiced at communicating them to the greater world.  I am getting better but years of doing things on my own have created a pattern.  Years of being in control of my own destiny yet feeling the need to keep within a structured set of rules and guidelines has really sent a message to that same universe that 'I can do it by myself, thank you very much.'  Can I?  Perhaps.  I have been successful at many things so far in life, but I'm starting to understand (finally, my friends and family might sigh) that letting go of this control might bring me closer to my desires.

Right now my life is pretty amazing.  Although the transition has been exhausting, I shifted into a new job and school in September that allows me to finally live what I have believed about education for so long.  My boys are happy and healthy and full of energy.  They hug me every day and I adore them.  We are financially stable and secure.  We have amazing family and friends whom we see often.  And I know there is so much more beauty and love and adventure to be had.  There is light and joy ready to burst out of me, creating an opening where so much adventure, laughter, ease and spaciousness await.  But something still holds me back.  So I wonder...

What would life be like if I lived from the inside out?
What would happen if I started living daily from my desires and wasn't afraid to share them?
Would the world come crashing down if I simply let my boys stay up later?
Would living as I choose energize me so I would be able to play with my boys rather than need to put them to bed so I can recover from the day?
Why am I not prioritizing self-care?  What is actually getting in the way of it?

For Christmas, a girlfriend brought me a blackboard with the words 'be in love with every minute of your life'.  What does that look like?


I am sitting in a quiet house watching my almost 2-year old play trains, talking to them and then adding the next layer to his landscape to further develop the story in his mind.  Now and again he comes over and grabs my hand, saying "Play trains, Mommy."  I love him so much it fills me to overflow in moments like these.  He is so innocent, so happy, so openhearted.

He is full of smiles.  He changes his mind on a whim.  He watches our every move and listens to every word we say, mimicking us to perfection.

Desires of December 10, 2015

Oh desires, how I love you.  There are so many things that would never have happened in my life had I not sat down and expressed my desires for them.  I think we just get so busy that we just forget that we have a say in how our life turns out sometimes.  Well, thanks to the support of my team at work, I took today off to help rest my voice as laryngitis has been showing up all week.  I didn't listen to the universe and take time off because I felt okay beyond my throat and the headache it gave me to talk...okay, I took a few hours off and came back the next day for some more.  Seriously, is teaching a job that allows me to be silent for a whole day?  No so much.  So here I am, blessed by a day of silence and time to connect with myself again.  I have chosen to actually rest, mostly, rather than run around and do the Christmas shopping that beckons to me.

My Desires...

to feel full energy for tonight's Baby It's Cold in Wonderland event with Carol and D

to not have to talk until I pick the kids up from daycare

to go snowshoeing at Cypress multiple times this winter

for someone to clean our house bottom to top while we are out, and I mean, all dust and cobwebs and food splatter stuck to the wall and toothpaste spray all gone, like they were never there, floors and windows sparkly clean

my Fluevogs back in my shoe cupboard

adventures, so many adventures as often as possible, balanced with quiet time to let the amazingness all soak in

healthy, eczema-free sons

to enjoy cooking

to really enjoy the 2 weeks holiday and feel present with my boys and Marc, have fun with them every day

dogsledding at Whistler

snowboarding 8 times this season

go to the gym once or twice a week with ease and spaciousness

to have Christmas presents wrapped under the tree and left in peace by kids

trip to NYC this year-girls trip (over Spring Break?)

to go back to monthly savings plan

to work 4 days per week

a new laminate floor in my office with a white small area rug

horseback riding

a pretty new snowboard

a pretty gym bag

new running shoes and shorts

Kai at 5 - Part Two: 10 Things About You

1."I'm not going to." - You have been practicing defiance for the past few months much to our chagrin.  Safe for a few instances you have been easy to get along with and pretty good at knowing boundaries.  Fast forward to the past few months when everything was

2. Playing us off of each other

3. Starting to bond with Nico

4.  Obsessed with video games.

5. Using your amazing imagination.

6.  In love with stuffed animals. (Playing with the dog family)

7. Learning to read.

8.  Love bike riding with your Dad

9.  Helping to clean up after dinner

10.  Experimenting with lying.

11.  Love being with others - playdates and visits with your family.

Spaciousness: Room to Breathe

When I was in my twenties I had my first experience with depression and anxiety.  I remember what seemed weeks of my body feeling SO heavy in my bed each morning that I was unable to get out no matter how much I thought I should.  I remember wanting people to check in on me as I lived by myself at the time.  I remember desperately needing to do absolutely nothing.  I was a substitute teacher at the time, between jobs, and I ignored calls to work.  What I didn't know was how much this would affect my life forever, in good ways.

One afternoon I was at my friend Kim's house and we talked about what was happening with me.  She walked me into her room and pulled out a book called feeling good: the new mood therapy by David Burns http://www.amazon.ca/Feeling-Good-The-Mood-Therapy/dp/0380810336.  She said this had helped her.  Although I also took medication for 2 years to help with chemical balance, I read and applied concepts in this book daily.  It is there where I begun to find tools to help me manage depression and anxiety in my life.

Although it seems simple and obvious now, one of the biggest triggers for my anxiety was that sometimes my life and my to-do list seemed overwhelmingly large.  It felt out of my control.  It was literally debilitating.  There was nothing people could do or say to help me gain perspective.  Reason and logic were not in play. Despite all the love and support of my family and friends, I had to do this on my own. I needed them to understand that what I needed from them was to simply be there for me without judgement or advice.  A tall order when someone you love cannot get herself out of bed for hours some days.  Slowly, I learned to break down the overwhelming tasks into a dozen small tasks and could feel a sense of accomplishment if I even moved one step towards completing a baby step.  It was amazing how effective this was for me.  As time went by, using this tool and others allowed the anxiety to diminish and I wondered if perhaps I had found this book before taking medication, that I wouldn't have needed it at all.  Either way, I trust that life happened as it was meant to.

Fast forward 6 or so years...

As a teacher and a person with a tendency towards a Type A personality, I had a lot of control in my life.  Order. Predictability.  It is what allowed me to breathe, to have fun, to enjoy life.  And I have always enjoyed life.  I love to travel, try new things and am always learning something new.  Enter a baby.  My baby.  My first baby.

I am very comfortable around children.  Growing up with three siblings and working with children most of my life, I get them.  But having my own baby, I was not prepared for the GIANT learning curve.  I love my son, but he was  not an easy baby.  To make a long story short, I dove headlong back into anxiety and couldn't trust a single instinct of my own.  This story of postpartum depression is one that deserves a much longer post, which I was save for a later date.  However, what it made very clear to me was that I needed to start listening to my body more and trusting myself in the inherent wisdom I was born with, as a human, as a woman, as a mother.  It does not come naturally to me.  In my job, yes, I am very confident.  And now, as a mother, I have gained the experience to be more confident.  But more importantly, becoming a mother to two beautiful boys I have been shown that my first instincts when it comes to them are almost always right.  Perhaps it is because we have an innate bond from them being created inside of me, but whatever the reason, they continue to teach me every day that if I listen to myself and them carefully, the answers will always come.  They may not always be what I expect or what is comfortable, but I really do know that when I give myself room to breathe and then simply listen, everything will come out alright.  When I stretch myself too thin or try to accomplish too much without allowing spaciousness, I become stifled and stifle others in my life.

Thank you boys for continuously reminding me to breathe.


What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.

So building fires
requires attention
to the spaces in between,
as much as to the wood.

When we are able to build
open spaces
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on the logs,
then we can come to see how
it is fuel, and absence of fuel
together, that make fire possible.

We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.
A fire
simply because the space is there,
with openings
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.

-Judy Brown