Thursday, April 30, 2009

Product Endorsement Ahead

If you aren't impressed with over the top gushing about consumer products, read no further.
If however, you like to hear good reviews about products available out there(and how to save money on them or even get them free!!!) read on!

Let me start by saying that my daughters and I have sensitive skin. We are prone to eczema and just general dry, itchy skin issues. Add to that certain allergies like hay fever, and you come to see that I have to be picky with the products I use on them, and myself.

I remember when I was pregnant getting the Johnson Baby Bath. The "Lavender" night time or whatever soothing one. Umm, ya. For those of us with hay fever, this bath stuff is BAD news. I didn't realize at the time, of course. I poured it in my daughter's tub and closed the door to keep the bathroom warm while I went to get her ready. Upon returning to the bathroom, I was finding it hard to breathe almost immediately. Literally, like wheezing. I whipped her out of the bath and never used the lavender stuff again. Good to note-sensitivity to lavender. Same goes for chamomile. Not good at all.

So, when I stumble on a product that is gentle enough for all of us, but also has great results, I latch on to it faster than you can say stockpiling.

The first one I highly recommend is the Canus brand "Baby Goat" line. I love the smell of it, firstly. Second, it has helped my daughters skin and been gentle enough to use daily. It's the red containers with the little goat on the front in case you are wondering as you peruse the baby aisles. Even though my girls are no longer babies, it's still what we use for everyday.

Next comes Aveeno. I really can't say enough about their products. We've lived in the oatmeal bath packets all winter long. They truly are lifesavers for our family. Recently, we began using the "dry skin" body wash with excellent results. And now, the piece de resistance, the "extreme dry skin body lotion." I love, love, love this stuff. Not the smell so much (it contains menthol) but the fact that it's gentle but sooooo effective. Here's a wonderful visual as you eat your lunch or dinner. My heels tend to get very cracked during the winter. I'm usually not one to put on a pair of flip flops until I've had a thorough (like taking the top crust of skin off my feet!) pedicure. I've been using the Aveeno Extreme Dry Skin lotion on my feet for the last two days and my heels are almost, well, healed. They look amazingly different. As my husband says, "they are now ALMOST touchable." Nice. Might be the first and last thing he touches at that rate. But I digress.

I wrote to Aveeno yesterday to tell them how much I love their products and the results we've had. I also wrote to say I'd be going to buy the moisturizer for myself (the one that is supposed to fade discolourations and brown spots too! I'm a total freckle face so this might help!). I received an email back two hours later saying they appreciated the feedback and were sending coupons!!! Score!!!!

I've also written to Canus about the Baby Goat and received coupons in the mail.

I don't write to get the coupons. (well, maybe a little) I really think there are so many crap products out there that don't live up to their claims, that when one does, they should be applauded. And if I get some swag in return, so be it.

So, there is my endorsement for the day.

I'm off to pick up my free box of Kashi granola bars now as well. Check it out.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Working Out to Eat

I heard a female celebrity talking about why she works out so hard and looks as incredible as she does. I can't for the life of me remember who it was, but I remember her words well. She said she works out "so that I can eat." She said she loves food way too much to cut out certain foods or food groups, but that it's important for her job that she looks a certain way. Solution? She works out like a fiend, daily.

I remembered her words because that's how I feel about it too. Listen, I'm never going to be the girl that gives up carbs or dessert or butter chicken. Just not gonna happen. And at one point in my life I could eat whatever the heck I pleased (and that was A LOT) and stay a beanpole. Hard to believe NOW that I was once one of the smaller, skinnier kids in my class. Suddenly as a teen, it caught up with me for a year or two. And then I started university and walked everywhere, and it fell off again.

And then I started work in daycare and it came back on. And then I had kids. And now, here I am. And I've FINALLY realized that if I want to eat the way I do, then I have to exercise. Preferably daily.

The good news is, I enjoy it. I do feel better when I exercise. And I look forward to it (most days) and the euphoric feeling I get afterwards.

The bad news is, for some reason, after I exercise, I come home and eat like I've never eaten before. I'm not sure why that is. It's like Pavlov's dog. The sound of the treadmill stimulates the hunger pains and I'm immediately starving. This, of course, troubles me. What's the point of busting my ass to workout and then coming home and eating from a trough? And why does that happen anyways? What the heck is WRONG with me?

So, here's my theory. It's twofold. Part A says that it's just a learned behaviour that I need to train myself to step away from. Part 2 says that in actuality it's NOT hunger but thirst and when I get home I need to drink as much water as I can and see if that does the trick. (I do drink water while working out as well)

So that's what I'm trying this week. Well, I shouldn't say this week because here we are at Wednesday and I've worked out and pigged out the last two days. How about "from today forward."

I'll let you know how my hypotheses pan out. Or how much chocolate and chips and dip I actually consumed by weeks' end. This might get ugly. Sigh.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Green Earth or Cold, Hard Green?

There's a no win situation that lurks out there, and I just can't seem to pick a side that makes sense to me. On the one hand, we're in a recession and everybody and their dog is trying to save money, keep their jobs, stay afloat. On the other hand, the environment is taking a licking and has been for awhile and certainly needs all the help it can get. Add to that the fact that in using Earth friendly products, you're probably also being more healthy in general. But herein lies my issue. I can't do both.

I can't be Earth friendly AND save money. It's just not happening. Every product out there that I deem "good for my family" is ridiculously expensive, so I don't buy it. So I buy the cheaper and deadlier product. And THAT certainly leaves me feeling less than thrilled.

The other thing is, for some of these anti-chemical and toxin products, the amount you get is minute!!! They don't contain all of those good preservatives to help them last longer, so their shelf life is minimal. You get a tiny little amount and use sparingly, for a glaring price.

So, what's a Mom to do?? I don't even have an answer-hence today's blog.

Last night, I was looking up some natural products that I'd like to buy for my family. I was looking at soaps and body washes and shampoo and conditioner. The bars of soap were four dollars. You can't leave them in the shower or they'd melt away faster then you can say Paraben. That would literally be four bucks down the drain. The body wash (which thank heavens can also be used as shampoo-but oh! That will make it get used up quicker! D'oh!) was seven dollars and fifty cents!!! Say what????

I'd also like to buy organic-wouldn't we all!! But especially meat and dairy. I'm hoping to grow my own veggies this summer so hopefully that will help out on that level. But it's crazy expensive to try and purchase (or even find!) those items to buy. The choice level is severely lacking where I currently reside. So, while there may be a world of products out there, they come at a price. A hefty one. And I can't break the bank to buy some chicken.

I know some will say, "well, it's worth the cost to ensure the health of your family." Can we ever really "ensure" that?? Organic or not? Do I risk my family for the mucho deneiro that can then pay for them to play soccer or go to a movie or gasp.....have electricity?

I really think there needs to be some way that these healthier, organic, green products are more readily available and accessible to the Average Joe. Is it only the wealthy who deserve to live healthier, cleaner lives? Are MY children lesser than because of money? Certainly not to me they aren't.

The producers of the green products say that the costs reflect the methods (more time consuming, more difficult) they use to guarantee the optimum healthy alternative. It takes longer to grow a chicken or a an egg when you aren't cramming steroids into them via feeding tube for example. But the conspiracy theorist in me says it's also somehow about "branding" and the idea, like Prada or Gucci, that organic is something for the elite. If you have money, you choose/use organic products. Why? Because you CAN. Same reason you buy that ridiculously overpriced dress or shoes or handbag.

We all WANT organic, we can't all HAVE organic. Which makes us want it MORE.

So, I do what I can. I buy organic when I can or products that are readily available and accessible and don't force me to give up my home to live in a yurt. Which is really the next green earth trend so I shouldn't mock.

But I think some pressure needs to be asserted on the producers of ALL consumer products. Let's make healthy choices a little easier for all of us to consume. And remove some of the elitism found in the label organic. That way, we can all have access to things that can make us healthier, make the environment healthier, and save our planet in general. Isn't that what we all want, in the long run???

I know I'd certainly be happier knowing I was buying conscientiously, and still being a smart shopper financially. And I bet if more could afford it, those companies that lowered their prices would have more sales. Win-win right?

So, let's get this ball rolling! The chickens (and our children) are counting on us!
More Green with Less Green!!!!! More Green with Less Green! More Green with Less Green!

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Shout-Out To Single Mothers Everywhere

My husband travels about once a month for business. He's usually gone three days or so. Those three days often seem like an eternity. And I think in those moments I realize just how much my husband and I truly do work together when it comes to our kids.

He is the official "bath guy." When my first was born, my husband worked a lot of night shifts and often missed bedtime and bath time. It was all me. But since he's moved up the rungs, he is lucky enough to be here most nights. He now does the majority of the baths, unless he's out of town. We do our girls baths every second night (their skin gets too dry otherwise!) though in the summer it's every night what with sunscreen and sweat and bug spray. So, last night was bath night and I was called up to the plate. My girls love the bath. They play in there forever. Well, not my eldest. She now reads in there. It's not a big deal by any stretch, but it's one thing I can hand off, usually.

Then there's just the general fact that I'm now working all day, making all the meals, doing baths and bedtime routine. There is nobody to hand off to while I do something else and they take care of another element of our parenting tasks.

And so I started thinking about all of the single moms out there who slug it out, on their own, every day. They get up and make breakfasts and lunches and get their kids out the door. They then work all day and fight traffic to get home and get their children. They rush in the door to make dinners and take kids to classes and courses, help with homework and get kids in the bath or shower. They kiss their children goodnight all by themselves and then crash into their beds, I imagine, to start it all over the next day. No one to hand off to if you need a moment. No one to lighten the load.

I was raised, mostly, by a single mother. My Dad saw us a few times a year, maybe three or so, even though he lived fifteen minutes away. When my Mom married my stepfather, well, let's just say he was more hindrance than help. So, it was my Mom. She had help from my Granny, which was awesome, but mostly she brought us up on her own. She had a good job and made good money, but had long hours. She brought work home at night, and waited til we were in bed to do that work.

And now that I'm a mother myself, and I have these brief moments of single motherhood, it makes me realize what all of the single mothers out there do everyday. And it makes me feel like a lazy, whining schmuck. What the heck do "I" have to complain about??? I can't even commiserate by saying I have a husband that isn't very involved or that barely shares the burden. He is and does.

So, after my last three days of being a part-time single mom, I want to say a loud BRAVO to the full-time single moms out there that make it through countless days on their own and not only just "get by" but make those days memorable and fun and loving for their children. I really don't think they get enough KUDOS and they deserve them.

So, way to go single moms. You are truly unsung heroes to your children, and to us moms out here who realize all that you do, and that we couldn't, every day.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Scooter, Charlie Brown, June Cleaver and Gandhi

What's with these Facebook applications with all of the million and one quizzes to analyze your personality? And why am I addicted to doing them??

I get on the Facebook site and swear to myself that I'm going to check out a few friends status lines, see what's shaking in their lives, and get back off.

Then, I'm drawn to my sister's personality quiz indicating that her vice is Sloth. Well, clearly I need to find out what my vice is as well!!! And then I see that another friend found out what TV Mom she is, and well, we all need to know who we most identify with in that regard!

Who was I in a past life? Which Muppet character am I? Which Peanuts character? What colour am I?

It's a little crazy! What's even MORE crazy is that oftentimes, the quiz results are dead on. The more of these little quizzes I do, the more my personality seems to be displayed for all of my Facebook "friends" to see. Even parts of my personality maybe I'd rather they DIDN'T see or know about. But the general consensus, shown in quiz after quiz, is that I'm a perfectionist who is a tad bossy and likes things to go her own way, thinks she's always right, is analytical and organized, loves her family and puts them first, is a great friend, oh, and wants world peace.

Yep. That pretty much sums me up in a nutshell. Add stubborn and earthy (cause that was my Element quiz result, you know!) and with a tad too much pride and there you have me. Don't forget the outer shell concealing the mushy, vulnerable inside which you'll never see anyways so never mind that. Pretend you didn't read that and move on people! Nothing to see here!

I'm starting to think that maybe I should refer to these quizzes from now on for all of my major life decisions. They are eerily accurate-much more practical than an eight ball! Or the Zodiac even! (though I profess that I do think the zodiac signs are accurate portrayals of the individuals of those signs personality traits. Just sayin'. And I'm a Virgo who is a perfectionist and always right and analytical so....well, you know I'm truth telling!)

I have many questions that need answering, and these quizzes seem to have all the responses and feedback I'm seeking. I'm off to find my Inner Rock Star and Which Celebrity I Should Marry. He might be waiting and I don't want to cross the Facebook Gods!!!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sweaty Pretzel and Rainy Days

Phew. It's been raining for two days now, and while I'm not quite ready to build an ark, it's definitely trying with children when you can't get outside. Usually I go out anyways. I load 'em up in rain gear and we head out, at least briefly. This week seems like it's going to be a long one and based on my previous posts lately, I see a running theme. Sleep. Lack of Sleep. Time. Lack of Time. Guess those are the stories of my life, currently. This week will take up the refrain again. I'm doing the home daycare as per usual, but I'm also watching three more children tonight for a friend, just briefly. These kids, however, are one not yet two year old (plus the one in my home daycare), two three year olds, and then my two. Luckily it's only supposed to be for about 45 mins. At the end of the day. Oh bliss.

And that brings me to my next thought. I've had three friends now singing the praises of Bikram yoga to me. (hot, sweaty, sauna yoga to the rest of us) All three of them tried it, and now are addicted to it. Apparently the stress relief and release of pain is incredible.

I just can't wrap my head around it. I mean, I can see the HEALTH benefits, of course. But I'm not a girl that likes to be sweaty. Let alone dripping sweat from every nook and cranny. Ew. Usually, my head is the part of me that gets really hot and sweaty. My hair gets damp. The rest of me, not so much. I can just imagine how soaking my head would be. And hanging upside down with sweat pooling into my eyeballs and mouth kind of skives me out. Again, ew. What's wrong with just normal, plain, vanilla yoga??? Seems to work for me?

The other issue is, where I live, I doubt I could even FIND such a class. I'd have to travel to the big lights, big city. And do I want to make that trek for something that crams me into a small, humid room with a dozen plus other sweaty, stinky, boiling hot strangers? Really, I can't even see the draw to this scenario in the slightest.

But we all know what they say right? Don't knock it til you've tried it. And on this new life "trying everything" kick, I guess it can't hurt. So, I'll be searching "hot yoga" on the net today for a class near me. Once I shower four or five times afterwards, I'll let you know what I thought.

Hmmm. What does one WEAR to boiling yoga anyways? I guess something that hides sweat and washes easily. Maybe another search is in order as well!!!!

Namaste. Ommmmm.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy 40th Sister Dear

I am just back (as of last night) from a whirlwind weekend home for my sister's 40th birthday party. She had a great, low key birthday bash at her home and I think it was the perfect way to bring in a new, and milestone, birthday. (well, minus maybe the getting sick part. Her, not me.) She was surrounded by her closest friends, co-workers and family. And she brought it in with a bang!

It made me reflect on life in general, and today, those thoughts were reinforced by the sad news that my friend's father passed away suddenly from a heart attack.

I'm a chronic worrier. I'd say that sometimes, okay oftentimes, my fears hold me back from trying new things or taking on new challenges. My way of dealing with that fear is by procrastinating and prolonging the time frame that I can "not" face whatever it is that is plaguing me currently. My other tactic is just to forgo taking part in the activity. For example, I'd love to travel the world, but I'm deathly afraid of flying. Hence, I haven't travelled. Another one? I'd love to learn to play tennis or golf. I've done both once or twice and because I wasn't an expert right off, I felt embarrassed and insecure and haven't tried them again.

In lieu of "truly living" and making this year a change in a new direction in my life, I've been trying to bite the bullet, grab the bull by the horns and try things even if they freak me out. I don't want to spend my life on the sidelines watching all of the fantastic moments and opportunities go by because of my "what ifs."

Forty is only five years off for me. And I want to get there with many items on my Bucket List crossed off and the brass ring in hand. I want to feel the fear, and do it anyways. I want to be all that I can be. I want to try to live my dreams, not just live in my head.

Watch out world! Here I come!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Multi-Tasker Say What???

So given that it's now almost 1030pm and I'm JUST getting around to writing the blog, well, should tell you about my day.

My youngest was home today, again, with the mysterious fever out of nowhere and the same nagging cough. My husband took her to the clinic because frankly, this has been ongoing for several months now and we were worried that we were missing something more than viral. Nope. After a thorough check, the doctor deemed it, you guessed it, just a common cold. I know that is GOOD news, but in some ways I wish she could just be over it, already. Needless to say, she stayed home for the day and seemed pretty much fine. Of course.

It was also Day 2 of the rebirth of the home daycare. It went well, the little girl is very easy going and pleasant and a lot of fun. However, with MY little one at home, it was a bit more chaotic. Or maybe taking that 20 months off from daycare just threw me off of my game. It's like riding a bike, I'm sure, but right now it's kicking my ass!

Speaking of my ass, I have been eating Easter goodies and who knows what else, and yet haven't worked out in umm, weeks. If I'm tired by this time each night, how the hell am I going to fit in working out at some point? As my daycare expands and grows, it seems so does my body, which is never good. How the heck do you working moms find the time to "do" anything for yourselves? Seriously!

I get up, get myself together and my kids together and make them breakfasts. I make lunches. I get them off to school. I come back home with the little daycare girl. We have free play for awhile and head outside. Once back in, I make lunch and clean her up and get some toys or colouring out for awhile. Then, it's naptime. After which is getting my kids from the bus, getting snack and back outside. Once 5pm comes, the daycare closes. I then make dinner for my family and help with homework and do baths and get the kids ready for bed. It's then 830pm and I feel like a slug. I realize I still have laundry to fold and bathrooms to clean. It hits me that those "chores" are now going to be relegated to evenings and weekends and my house may be a little less spotless. This does not sit well with me. And then back to my butt. While that area COULD use a little extra padding, perhaps, it's not really my unfulfilled desire. I'd LIKE to workout and write a blog and read a book and not keep nodding off like I'm 80 years old.

Added on top like a juicy, shiny cherry is the single most heart wrenching part of my day today. My daughter was visibly upset about me tucking this little girl in at naptime. At rubbing her back for a moment. She asked me if I "loved the girl" more than I loved her. She said she knew I loved her, but she didn't like me being so sweet and loving to the little girl. Sigh.

On that note, I'm going to cut myself some slack and realize I've done this all before and with considerable ease. I'll give myself, and my daughter, some time to adjust and rearrange our timetables and our perceptions. I'm going to put my talents for organization and planning to good use and do what I do best-make a schedule. And I'm going to sneak in my daughters' room, gaze at her little doll face, and give her an extra long snuggle. I may not have ironed out all the kinks yet, but my love for both my girls is always paramount inthe start, middle and end of my day. Chaotic or not.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Back To Reality

We are back from a wonderful Easter weekend at the in laws and even though it's now Wednesday, are starting our week again.

We drove a scant 9 hours (okay, we stopped an hour for lunch! Did you know Applebee's is free for kids every day? Woohoo!) to get there, and then another 9 hours back. Phew. Luckily for us, our kids are actually "pretty" good travellers. I think our standards are pretty high, and comparatively we should rejoice, but still.

We ate like pigs, I didn't make ONE meal and we met a ton of relatives that we hadn't seen in over ten years for my husband and I, and NEVER for our kids.

And today, it's back to school and work. And yep, even work for me!!!

I started the home daycare again today and it's going very well! She cried for about two minutes at drop off this morning, and another two at nap time. Otherwise, she's been laughing and smiling and playing. We went for a long walk and then played outside for another half hour. She ate really well at lunch, and went to sleep just as easily. It's a great start and I feel exhausted, yet renewed. If that makes any sense.

It certainly is different, even though I did this for years, to be around a two year old again. It's one of my favourite ages actually. Everything is exciting and new to them, and it makes me appreciate seeing the world through their eyes.

I would say by the end of the week I'll need a good long nap, but in a good way.

I do need to get a workout plan going though. I have no more leisurely mornings to myself and the evenings will be hard pressed to make or find the time. I may have to get up early and use my treadmill and weights here at home. Yuck. Have I mentioned I'm not much of a morning person? But I am also happier and less stressed when I work out. So, I'll have to find a happy medium in there somewhere.

Nap time is coming to a close and I need to go and get my kids from the school bus and get snack going as well.

It's never dull with children in the mix!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Birth Order

Yahoo's homepage today has an "article" (is that what you call it?) on birth order. We've all heard the theories behind how birth order MAY effect your personality and how common traits are apparent in people of a certain ranking dependent upon birth. We've also heard how there are a million variables to this theory, like the spacing between the siblings and family size.

So, just for fun, I decided to take another look at the birth order characteristics. I can tell you this, it doesn't really apply to my family at all. We aren't spaced that abnormally apart either. My sister (the eldest) and I are 4.5 years apart, and my brother (the youngest) and I are 3.5 years apart. Yes, I'm the sad middle child.

It says that first borns are "achievers." They are very driven to success and responsibility. They tend to stick to the family rules, are conservative, status conscious and have very high self-confidence.

Middle children are seen as the family peacemakers. They are also empathetic and good natured. They don't like to rock the boat and don't like discord. They tend to play the diplomatic role.

Youngest children tend to be rebellious, like to take risks and push the envelope, and are less likely to follow authority. However, youngest's tend to be agreeable and affectionate.

Wow. That is not really us, at all. Now I don't really think this theory is based on much scientific fact, and the hundreds of variables must account for it's lack of certitude. I believe personality is nature, but is influenced by nurture. You are born with your basic personality already set, which is then changed or muted by your circumstances or environment.

My brother, the youngest, is the least among we three to take risks or chances. He is definitely not agreeable, I'd say he's more argumentative if he believes in his point. He is certainly not and never has been rebellious. He is more the type that doesn't like change. He likes things ordered. He follows the same pattern to his day, each day. He's careful and cautious and sensitive.

My sister, the eldest, is the least conservative of us. She has several tattoos and piercings. She's the one most likely to go her "own way" and choose a path we didn't expect her to choose. She IS responsible, but by no means is she a rule follower.

For myself, I would say I'm definitely not the empathetic one who doesn't like to rock the boat. Growing up, I was certainly the one who felt she needed to be responsible and to achieve. I would say I'm the more conservative of the three, and the most likely to follow rules to a T. Less likely is the role of playing peacemaker, though as a middle child I did often feel pulled in one direction or the other. I guess feeling fenced in to picking a side.

When I look at my own two daughters even, this birth order mumbo jumbo doesn't really apply to them either. My eldest is the creative dreamer. She's responsible, but she's just as happy to rush through work as take her time. She'd rather be doing any sort of art project. She certainly has very high self-confidence and self-worth, but I don't know that I'd say she's a rule follower or that she's the high achiever. She likes doing well, but her interests lie more on the artistic, dreamy side of life.

My youngest, though with a wicked temper that turns the heavens dark, is more likely to be upset if she doesn't do well or struggles. Her room is always neatly in place. If she takes something out of her drawer, or puts something in, it's folded and organized just as it was. She LIKES rules and order and actually has a tendency to not do as well if things AREN'T happening in the way she expects. She is certainly affectionate, and again has very high self worth and confidence.

But with my two daughters, it's almost the reverse as what the Birth Order Theory describes.

Maybe with all of this, what it all boils down to is we can't really label or generalize people as easily as that. We are all products of the time, of our environment, of our own personalities and quirks.

Now, astrology.....THERE'S where the true personality descriptions lie! HA!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Listen To Your Gut

We've all heard a zillion times that we should "listen to your gut." The adage refers to listening to that little voice that's inside all of us that is trying to subconsciously direct us on our paths. It's supposed to help us know what our own truths are, and to help us make decisions based on that truth.

But what if your gut is acidic? What if your gut is a liar? What if your gut doesn't know what it's talking about???

I've ignored my gut (literally and figuratively!) for a long, long time. When I've had certain doubts, I've rationalized them away. Well, maybe my rationalizations weren't very rational after all. But, in many instances, I've known at the time and afterwards, that my gut was screaming at me and I should have listened. But I'm good at tuning out what I don't want to hear.

The thing is, I think we don't trust our guts. And what that really boils down to is we don't trust ourselves. Our inner selves. The one that knows us best. The one that knows our hearts truest wishes and fears. The one that wants the best for us. And maybe we just don't want to listen because what our gut is telling us isn't in line with what we "want" or what we "hope" or what we think will be the best outcome (read:easiest) on those around us. Taking the more difficult path, let's face it, is nobody's first pick.

Sometimes, we HAVE to go against our guts. Even if it just feels "wrong" in some way, we still have to do what we have to do. Either financially or emotionally or spiritually. And that's when it really feels the worst. Our guts in that case really revolt against us doing what it has warned and advised us not to do. It's like you see that big flashing WARNING sign but instead of proceeding with caution, you put your head down and just plow through. Inevitably, that leaves a wake of destruction. If only we'd listened to our guts.

I've been trying the last little while to tune in more to that little voice. I've been straining to hear really hard some days actually. And that tricky gut sometimes just lies silent. It's like it knows I'm not going to listen anyways. Or it's waiting for me to realize whatever it needs to say on my own. Maybe that's when true enlightenment happens! When your gut and your head and your heart all come together in unison to deliver a message, and then it's so loud with all three chiming in that you can't help but take notice and act.

I'm waiting for that day because clearly I need a Whisper 2000 to hear what my gut tries to tell me!!!

The point being, right now, my gut is working overtime trying to talk to me and tell me various points of information. My head is battling against my gut. But it's hard to decipher what is actually my gut feeling, and what is actually my head's paranoia or fear or anxiety. Sometimes it's not our gut talking at all, but the fear of the unknown trying desperately to dissuade us from doing something new or taking a chance.

While the war inside me continues to rage, I put one foot in front of the other and try to let the Cosmos get in on the act. Surely one of the four will give me the shove that I need to get moving in the right direction!!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Get the White Coat

When I'm stressed, I'm not a pleasant gal to be around. I'm okay if I'm busy all by myself or in front of the everyday average person. But if you're my friend or my family member (on whom I can spread my wrath easily and without filter!) then you better head for the hills, duck for cover, and wait out the storm.

This week is ridiculously busy for us. My husband has a big day at work on Thursday. He doesn't usually work Mondays, but he went in today to get ready.

Tonight, I have my first "parent interview" for the new daycare. I'm a total ball of nerves. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and unless I have things prepared the way I want or think they should be, than I'm a mess. I've revamped the contract and printed it out. Yesterday my family helped by tidying and arranging some of their stuff in the house. That leaves me today to finish getting the house EXACTLY as I want it. And then of course comes the actual meeting and chatting to this family. I'm telling myself just to let it flow as it's going to and just to let them lead with their questions, but it's still anxiety producing. I've done it countless times before as well, but for some reason this time, it's like starting all over again.

Wednesday, my husband and I have to go and register our daughters for soccer and pay for that. It's not cheap! Of course, it's waaaay cheaper than where we used to live. What we pay for BOTH here to play, was what I paid for ONE child to play back home. That's nuts! Ah well, more money gone to the kiddos. As it should be. We also have a meeting with the bank in our bid to live on less and pay down debt. Again, nerve wracking-but a good thing.

Somewhere in there, I have to mail out cards, do laundry, and pack for our four day weekend away for Easter. We're going to see the in-laws new house, which is a seven or so hour drive. (uuuugh!!!) It will be nice though because my husband has about a million cousins and aunts and uncles and second cousins (compared to my paltry two cousins with no kids!) so my children will get to meet many of their extended family that they've never met or seen. And, it's Easter Bunny time, so how good does it get for them, really?

I've given myself a time frame to get all of my chores done this morning, so that I have time to shower and get myself ready, and have a quiet moment or two to rest a little. I was up again most of the night worrying and fretting.

In lieu of said time frame, it's time to start hustling. Fingers crossed!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Chug Chug Chugging Along

It's Friday of a long week! Phew!

My youngest was home the last two days with a mysterious fever. She gets fevers quite easily, well both my girls do, but usually with other symptoms! She seemed totally fine, other than the fever. I'm chalking it up to her two big six year old molars coming in, but either way, she was home with me for two days. It's amazing how you forget in such a short time what it's like to have them home all day with you. That child never, ever, and I repeat EVER sits down. It's constant movement, motion, from one activity to the next. As we always say about her, "she's a busy bee."

She was mad that she missed a French play at school, but was happy to go back today for "Litterless Lunch" day and her class Talent Show. Every Friday they can perform something, either by singing or dancing or telling a story or whatever they would like. My "introverted" (choke, choke) child can't wait to get there and sing in front of the class. She was practicing a medley of hits yesterday. All day.

I had some good news on the home daycare front as well today. I had a response to my ad already and am hoping to set up a meeting for early next week. We'll see how that pans out. I also have another prospective client looking for two half days next week for an emergency care situation (her current sitter backed out) and then possibly starting full time in the next month or two. So, fingers crossed.

I did home daycare for almost eight years, but for some reason, I'm nervous as heck. I've enjoyed being at home with just my youngest, and then alone for the last eight months, but it's time to get back into the swing of things I guess. I can't be a lady of leisure forever. HA!

Tonight is the normal swimming lessons and then the typical weekend of the cooking class/gym. On Sunday I'd like to get a lot organized and cleared out and set up for the daycare as well.

Hope your weekend is bright and happy and full of sunshine. See ya Monday!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Beautiful days

The sun is shining, the window is thrown open, and the birds are chirping on the tree branches and supping on the snack in the feeder below. It definitely feels like Spring is in the air.

And there is something delicious and inspiring about Spring. It's why we feel like Spring cleaning and clearing out the old, the dark, the musty. It's why we start to be outdoors exercising or reading or watching our children play. It's why we start to feel alive again after months of dreary sludging through snow and ice and slush.

I love the feeling of having the windows open and the fresh air pouring in. (even though I hate that the neighbours might hear us all shouting at each other!) I love that we can put away all of the heavy layers that litter our closets and drawers and my front entrance with no closet for storage. I love that the sun warms my face as I wait for my girls to return home from school.

And I feel the stirrings of a "something new" underfoot and in the air. I have a thousand wishes and hopes and dreams. Spring has sprung, and with it I hope, has bloomed a sense of renewal.
A new fresh start, a new fresh earth, and new fresh projects.

Welcome SPRING!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Grand Re-Opening!

Well, I've decided to open up the home daycare again. It's more by necessity than anything else, but really, I think it will be a good thing.

In the current economy, the bonuses that we count on from my husbands' job, have been cut. That's a big chunk missing-and one we usually use to pay down credit cards or to have extra for projects around the house. Those being gone, at least for now, means I need to pick up the slack. I've tried to think of a hundred things I could do, but it all boils back down to being available for my girls, which is the whole reason I'm at home in the first place. Like today for example. My youngest is home with a mysterious fever (I blame the big 6 year old molars I see emerging from her back gums!)and luckily I can BE home.

So, I've retyped and revamped my contract. I've put out some feelers to neighbours and friends to spread the word or keep their eye out for anyone asking about childcare. I've placed a few free ads. I hope I get some calls soon, and I hope I meet families that are compatible with me and my childcare philosophy.

I haven't bought any equipment or done any extra safety measures in my home yet. I'll wait until I know my clientele and what ages I need to protect. I'm hoping just to keep it small, two to three kids, plus my two of course.

I know that I'll miss what I am losing, such as going to the gym three weekday mornings a week with my husband. Or just having that time, alone, with him. We use it to talk and discuss and to plan. But I think we'll gain the sense of peace that an extra salary again will bring, plus what the extra finances will allow us to accomplish. The gym will have to be evenings and weekends I guess. And that's okay. (well, unless I start gaining weight and not working out and then I'll be upset!)

All in all, I think this will be good for me. It'll get me motivated and engaged again. I can still write in my "off" hours, it'll just force me to be more disciplined.

Now, I just need some clients!!! I hope and pray for some good news and a positive group-soon!
Wish me luck!