Saturday, December 28, 2013

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or Whatever

However you say it.....its holiday Season everywhere! Snow on the ground, decorations hanging, and sales all over the place. How could you NOT be in the mood? oh right, work.....always gets ya through the holidays. Everyone is working for those dollars, which are immediately spent on the weekend for Christmas gifts, more decorations and of course FOOD!

Nothing taste sweeter over the holidays than food. Seriously. The amount of times we make the same jigs dinner throughout the year and its just never the same as at Christmas. Turkey, ham, salt beef, potatoes, carrots, turnip, cabbage, peas pudding, and stuffing (my favourite!!). This year we had such a big turkey - we had to name him. Jeff (that's what we named him) sat at just over 32lbs - probably one of the bigger turkeys we've had in a long while! It wouldn't be Christmas (or Boxing Day) without Turkey dinner for lunch and dinner; its always better the second day!

Adriana absolutely loved Christmas!! She's starting to understand the whole Santa comes with presents and we eat lots of food. She was definitely spoiled again this year. I seriously have to make room for all the toys she got plus clean out her dresser to make room for the clothes! Toys will take more time as I have to figure out which ones she doesn't need anymore - probably all of them lol I want to put a bookshelf in her room instead of the massive toy storage she has right now. The baskets are handy for things but half the unit isn't being utilized proper.
It was nice to have Kim and Tim back for Christmas! Feel the love <3
It was Loni and Chris' first Christmas with the Decker;s too

 Adriana is Grandad's sookie girl!
The boyfriend and I
Adriana all decked out in her Princess Sofia outfit with Aunt Loni
This is Jeff and he weighed over 32lbs!!

I must admit that the days leading up to Christmas day wasn't as festive as I had hoped. Saturday the boyfriend and I gave our time to hand out turkeys to the less fortunate. It was an unreal feeling to see the amount of people who were grateful for a decent size turkey for the holidays. There was no specific age or gender or size of family - we saw it all! From older people to young families who trekked out to pick up their turkey in the cold rain. For the entire day week I was very emotional. It was my first time volunteering with this turkey drive and I hope to continue helping out - even include Adriana next year or the year after.

If you haven't heard on he news about the Toronto Ice Storm December 2013 then you may not know there were hundreds of thousands of homes without power. We were one of those homes. The ice storm hit Saturday night and continued overnight - by morning there was no power. We were actually at my parents house keeping the dog company. The boyfriend had come home to let Tyson out, feed him, shower and shave. Well he made it through half of the shaving part before the power was gone. We obviously couldn't stay here with Adriana - not power means no heat! We stayed at my parents house for the night where it was warm and had lights at least. More than half of our street ended up getting power back late on Sunday night but we were not one of them. We carried on thinking it will be on my the next day - nope.

It was a hard day at work because I couldn't stop thinking about our house with no power. At this rate there was a possibility of not spending Christmas at our home. During the day, The boyfriend was back and forth between our house and his moms (she lives down the street and had power) On the way home from work, I cried. The ice was all over the tree branches which had weighed down so much they broke off. Some landed on the ground but others landed on houses, cars, or signs. It turned our beautiful neighbourhood upside down. The picture isn't even the more recent ones.....a lot more branches are down and some are still stuck on other branches. This happened 5mins after bringing Tyson inside - we turned around and watched 5 big branches fall. Scary to think if we had left him out for a few minutes longer what would happen. We are all okay - very thankful for family close by and the space to take us in on short notice. We weren't the only ones without power - Kim and Tim who at least had a real fireplace to keep warm for the night. As well as Loni and Chris who had to climb the stairs to their 19th floor apartment with their dog!

Christmas has always been about spending time with family and friends. This year more than ever we felt the true meaning of Christmas. Family was around and very grateful to share that time. We don't see each other every day so the few days we did have (and didn't have to work) was very nice. We shared drinks, ate food, snuggled to watch movies and just relax. I thought of those who still didn't have power on Christmas day and my heart definitely went out to them. Not everyone is as lucky as we are to have family around. Despite the damage, the spoiled food or the lack of heat - it was a beautiful Christmas. Thank you.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mental Health and Meditation

Do you ever have days weeks where you just feel drained? Lately, I am finding myself overwhelmed and tired. I can't seem to fight off this throat infection, which I initially thought was a cold or flu. I am hanging on with everything I have; trying not to let it get the best of me. It seems to be one thing after another. Keeping focused on the positive things is difficult but thank goodness for the holiday season to give me a boost of spirit.
Do I dare throughout the word again? The word that I have been able to overcome for a few years now. Something that had taken a toll on my overall life and I had refused to let it happen again.  That word most people push off as "all in the head" - anxiety.
Its more than most people think. You really don't know what its like until you've walked in those shoes. I was naïve about this condition (that's exactly what it is!) until I started to get symptoms in 2009. I was diagnosed with Situational Anxiety that was deemed to be work related. During my journey of tests, I also found out I have a minor heart condition (irregular heart beat) which only makes anxiety worse for me. I was never to the point of shaking, or beads of sweat but rather a more painful route.
You know the term "You're getting on my nerves" it was literally that. I was in constant pain in my arms (mostly hands) and had visited a hand specialist. I suffered from severe tension headaches which I had CT Scan done to ensure it wasn't anything more seriously. My joints ached mostly in my back and hands.
Anxiety is a mood. When it becomes a mental disorder, that is, characterized by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry about everyday things that is disproportionate to the actual source of worry, it is diagnosed as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
I have been able to keep my anxiety at bay with some simple techniques which include writing. Releasing the thoughts onto paper is an amazing way to release a portion of anxiety. Introduce yourself to other outlets and see what works best for you. I fell in love with meditation around this time as well. I would sit for a few (3-5) minutes at first and several times a day. I gradually increased the time and lessen the frequency to twice a day at 30mins each. Meditation is a great way to calm your thoughts and focus on the good energy. Follow this with a few simple yoga poses and you are on your way to self-bliss.
I need to regain my focus.
I am continuing my writings on a daily basis - some published and some not. I have veered away aimlessly from my meditation and yoga. I am a believer in the strength meditation has on someone living with anxiety but sometimes life sidetracks you. It happens and thats alright.
I bring myself back to when I first realized my anxiety. The whys and how all went through my head - not good for someone who already has a racing mind. I use that time in my life to get me back on track and avoid episodes of heart palpitations,  racing thoughts, increase heart rate, etc.
If you or anyone you know may be suffering from anxiety, please visit your doctor and discuss your options. Its more than just talking to someone. Its more than medication. It starts from within.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Elf on the Shelf

I must admit that I have mixed feelings about this little critter. A few of my friends are hesitant to try it out with their child for several reasons.
Believe it or not, there are kids that are afraid of his smirking little Elf face. Something about his mischievous facial expression:

 I can appreciate that for sure. He (or she) does have that "Please stop staring at me you weird looking doll" Although I think some of the the clever ideas people come up with are just awesome!! Some of my favourite ideas are where the Elf is caught sitting with Barbie in the car or in her dollhouse with his arm around her. Its pretty obvious any male elf would take a liking to the long legged doll. 

Elf on the Shelf has been around for decades....just kidding its started in 2005 as a children's book and in 2011 CBS aired a 30-minute special "An Elf's Story: The Elf on the Shelf" So I must admit this may not qualify as a true tradition, it definitely has become more popular over the years. I have friends who have dedicated every day from Dec 1 (on or about then) until Dec 25th to creating new and unique scenario to please their little ones. From finding this little friend hanging from the drapes in the living room to toilet papering the Christmas tree. Amazingly, these ideas are different every day and even better than the year before.

Although it all sounds great, make sure its something you can dedicate some time to every day. Depending on the age of your child, take into consideration the load of questions they might have about this mysterious little new friend. Perhaps do some research and create a detail bio to help clarify some questions beforehand. If you curious "George" still has can always use the question as an answer "How old do YOU think he is?" kind of idea.

So lets give a scenario: You and your child decide to adopt an Elf on the Shelf. A few days in, you think "Awesome, hes loving it!" and after about 2-3 weeks your child starts asking questions. A lot of questions. Question you didn't prepare yourself for and answering with "I don't know"

....What do you do?

At this point you have two options: keep at it and continue to dodge unanswered questions as best as you can or you can have an early goodbye.

I actually Googled ideas on how to get rid of Elf on the Shelf and there wasn't anything more than the normal goodbye. So I have compiled a few of ideas of my own on how to umm.....depart early if things are not working out.

 One of my top listers was to create a letter announcing your child made the nice list early and they will return on Christmas even for their final good bye. This is simple, easy and probably the most effective considering the start of the whole thing was to make that list. You can create a certificate in Word to make it "official" and have it signed by your Elf and Santa. Your child is more likely to be acceptable to this option because the reward is the same as if your elf stayed the entire time.

If your elf is a male (most seem to be), you can send your little friend on a trip where he elopes with Barbie. You can take it a step further and send pictures or an email for update if your little one is still asking about his friend. If your elf is a female, perhaps have her run away with Hulk, Iron Man, GI Joe or Ken!

The vacation idea could be played in several different ways. One last vacay before the big day, visit family, or go back to help Santa finish the toys in time. You can play it however you like!

Personally, I have no interest in starting this tradition with Adriana - full time job, full time Mommy, house cleaner, laundry doer, dinner cooker, website and blog creator, and part time student - my time is pretty full as it is! Christmas is my ultimate favourite time of the year, even without an Elf on the shelf visiting. Adriana will still appreciate the meaning of Christmas and the importance of family time over the holidays. I don't need any extra work to keep the hype of Christmas alive in our family - I'm 28 years old and I still look forward to presents, food and family on Christmas Day. My mom still puts up her metropolis of Dickens Village, well decorated tree, lighted garland inside and out, plus her scattered Christmas decorations. That is a lot of work on its own but not a year so far that I have been disappointed during the holidays - definitely puts anyone in the holiday spirit.

This year is no different as I am already more excited than last year. Christmas is more exciting to me than my own birthday!! I look forward to many more years of celebrating with my family and creating new traditions. But not ones that include Elf on the Shelf!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Toddler Nap Time Troubles

I swore myself to be the luckiest parent alive when Adriana was sleeping through the night after just 10days. Seriously, who else can say that? Not many I'm sure.

Lets face it....I think my luck has run out.

Adriana is starting her "terrible twos" already and part of that is refusing to nap. Do I dare assume my little one doesn't need a midday nap anymore? She's not even two yet! Although this is the third weekend in a row of no nap time. At daycare it seems to be mostly the same thing as well.

She doesn't normally give a hard time when we tell her its nap time. She's very willing to go lay in her bed but shortly after closing the door we can hear her playing with toys. This we don't mind because eventually she will fall asleep (we hope). She's into opening her door to come see what we're doing and that's when I simply take her hand and bring her back to her bed. I explain that she needs to have a nap in order to play longer later - this seems to understood for the most part.

This weekend is far worse than the last. I find myself losing patience in getting her to nap - I understand how important it is but she doesn't want to. So I reached out for some answers. I was sure that this can't be just MY child. The one who never ever had a sleep problem up to now. The child who was in a regular day bed at only 18mths old! No, this couldn't be.

I came across some suggestions although they were geared for older toddlers (closer to three years old) but doesn't hurt to try.

First, it was suggested to drop the whole "Nap Time" and call it "Quiet Time" instead. This is understood by giving your child a book or puzzle to have in their bed with the lights off and curtains drawn closed. Eventually, they might nod off on their own but will definitely have the calm down time they need to recharge. I love this idea! Its true....whenever I said nap time to Adriana she would refuse by saying "No nap Mommy". I tried to explain that she needed it but it seemed to make it worst! Definitely changing up my choice of words.

Second, if your little one is still having 2 naps but they're shorter in length every time - try switching to just one solid nap instead. Except to have a cranky baby for a few days while they adjust to a single nap time but they should sleep for a solid 2hrs during this time. I remember Adriana was NOT a happy camper and some nights went to bed a little earlier than normal while she adjusted. Within 1 week she was a happy camper again with a regular bed time 730-8pm and only one nap for 2hrs; sometimes a little longer!

The last suggestion I found was to settle your little one with a good lunch and a quiet movie that will hopefully make them pass out. Perhaps a movie they already saw so they wont force them self to stay awake through it all. Don't forget to give the whole movie experience by darkening the room and cuddling up on the couch or in their bed. We have movies on our tablet which is really easy for Adriana to hold comfortably. Its usually the same movie but she loves it and we don't mind letting her handle the tablet - she's pretty good at holding it steady!

Although, I don't think Adriana is entirely ready to not have a nap at all. I do believe she needs less of one - at least 30 to 45mins of quiet time. I hope this changes our routine for the better. I cannot stress how frustrating it is to get her to nap! I end up looking forward to getting her in bed at night and I feel its rushed instead of enjoyed like before.

I am thankful that our night time routine is bang on. Adriana sleeps from 8pm (give or take) until 7am (give or take) without waking up. Unless she has a cough, then I can hear wake up but quickly settle herself back to sleep. We were never the parents who ran to her every noise she made or even every cry. Of course we woke up but if it wasn't a concern (baby monitor was loud enough to hear everything) I would not go to her. To reassure myself - still do it to this day - before I go to bed every few nights, I will open her door just to see her sleeping. She's so peaceful and quiet - best sight after a long day.

I have been enjoying the amount of growing Adriana has done. It really has been a journey! I'm proud to say that I truly enjoy every moment of having a child. She is my world!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Guest Post: Oliver Manalese

Three Ways of Avoiding Kryptonite For Super-Moms & Super-Dads

When meeting someone for the first time, the most common follow up question after brief introductions is "What do you do?" And most often than not, people will respond with the job title they have on their business card or what they have posted on their LinkedIn profile. 

So, what's wrong with this?

The trouble I find is that so many of us get trapped and our job description easily consumes us and becomes our life description. Something I am familiar with first hand as well as with the clients I work with.

Now if you're reading this, you probably can agree when I say that I believe the main reason we are here at all is to make babies! To cultivate and nurture the next generation of humans to the best of our abilities. To teach them by being powerful and consistent examples. To embody the qualities we wish to instil in them. 

This by far I believe is the most important job in the world… next to taking care of our self, of course. You'll see what I mean in a minute.

(Side note: Now I know for a multitude of reasons not all of us want to or will have children, but this conversation applies to you too! We are all part of valuable relationships and what comes next can relate to so many. I hope you receive value in this.)

I truly admire the many mothers and fathers out there who embrace this and pour their hearts and souls to making sure their children have an incredible life. 

You inspire me and I personally can't imagine what it's like. But please take what I say next for what it is… coming from a single guy without any children of his own… yet!

You are not superhuman.

And that's okay.


Give yourself permission to stop being so hard on your self for not being enough, doing enough or having enough.

I see so many of my friends and clients who are loving, generous and selfless parents. I watch them working their butts off to be providers, surviving on less sleep and rearranging their lives and relationships for their kids.

But being SuperMom and/or SuperDad means you have to face your kryptonite… Burn out. 

You can only run your life at full tilt for so long.  Low self care, weight gain, stress, pressure of being a parent is the eventual result.

So how do we avoid this?


You can't. 

I'm sorry. But it's unavoidable.

I'm not here to sugarcoat it and tell you that there are people in the world who have limitless energy, give continuously and experience balance and joy ALL of the time. 

There is no magic formula. There is no one size fits all solution.

What I can tell you is this… There are parents just like you who spend quantity and quality time with their children, maintain a strong, passionate connection with their partner, earn a good living, have free time, go on dates, have time to hang with friends, have healthy and nourished bodies, find fulfilment… and they seem to be able to do it all!

Sounds great, right?

Now if you look deeper you will see that it's not rainbows and unicorns all of the time. And that doesn't make it good or bad. It just means it's hard work. 

But imagine... what it would be like to feel and be all of the above, especially in the moments where it matters most. 

To have that extra bit of compassion, attention and love when your partner or your child needs it most? To be centred, emotionally aware and strong during the tougher moments? To be patient, thoughtful and open when it would be much easier to be bossy, imposing and demanding.

Take it for what it is, but the following are insights that have greatly helped me and the people I work with.

It Starts With You... Yeah, you.

We must first give to our selves before we can give to another. 

It's just like when riding on an airplane. During emergency situations when the oxygen mask drops down in front of you, the first person to place the mask on is your self. Yes, even before your child or loved one. 

Put in another way. Imagine your energy, will power and presence is like a cup full of water. Every time you share your self with another you pour a little bit here and there and before you know it... the cup is empty! 

These are some practices that help you fill your own cup. To give to your self first so that you can be more present, attentive, loving, generous and compassionate for those you care about most when it matters most.

Self-Care and Well-Being

Write down ten things you can do on a daily basis that make you feel great. Throughout the day start checking them off! 

Some suggestions could be to meditate, experience gratitude, reading for 15 minutes, hugging my children, exercise, going for a walk, taking my vitamins, taking a nap, laughing, etc.

This daily practice has been life changing for me and my clients. 

Date Your Self

This is one of my favourites. It is also one of the most challenging to do for the first time. This is about cultivating a nourishing relationship with your self. To give your self down time. Solo time. To eliminate the noise and rejuvenate.

Ask yourself: If I were to go on a date with myself what would I do?

Some suggestions could be to go out to dinner (dessert included!), watch a movie, see a play, spend time in nature or near water or try doing something new! 

Again these are just some suggestions. Feel free to be creative.

I made a short video about solo-dates called: "Solo Dates, Self-Love and Dating Oneself"

You can view it here

Attitude of Gratitude

Gratification is getting something you don't already have. Gratitude is wanting what you do have.

It's about acknowledging, appreciating and being thankful for the people and things you have in your life. 

Right when you wake up and before you go to bed, think about… actually FEEL what you are grateful for in your life.

Every day will be different but experience the gratitude you have for the friends and family in your life. The support of your partner. The gift that is your child. Living in a safe and loving home. 

It can also be as simple as being grateful for having food in the fridge, gas in the car to get around or listening to music that moves you.

All in all, I feel that as individuals begin to take responsibility back for their well-being and cultivate a healthy sense of self, we can actually make the world a better place. Starting with our selves, being an example and influencing and impacting those around us helps shape our environment in a more beautiful light.

Try practicing some of these the next seven days and see how you feel. Would love to hear your stories and experiences!

Peace & Love.

About Oliver:

Oliver Manalese is an Executive Consultant & Coach focusing on these main principles: know thyself, love thyself, express thyself. The bulk of our reality which includes the quality, integrity and well-being of our health, finances, relationships and work is all a by-product of our depth of understanding and continual growth in each of these three areas. This holistic approach to personal transformation provides the tools and insights for individuals to find alignment with their true self and will have a long-term, positive impact beyond the duration Oliver’s coaching programs. Oliver is also an entrepreneur, a licensed real estate professional, singer-songwriter, whole foods lover and certified Yoga Instructor. 

For more visit:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Work - Life Balance

At times almost every Mommy and Daddy feel like there is not enough hours in the day to get everything done. This pressure builds up and takes a toll on the body in different forms. Some symptoms for “over load” are:

Fatigue: You feel a lag in your day even after a solid 8hrs of sleep. This is usually the first sign of overload and can only get worst! Take a multi vitamin to help keep your iron levels up, along with Vitamin B – 2 essential vitamins to help with fatigue.

Sadness or feeling “Blue”: This is a common feeling from time to time – everyone gets “down” but if these feelings last for a few weeks seek a medical professional for help. This is a clear sign of depression and can easily be overlooked when there is no Work-Life balance. No amount of exercise, vitamins or vacation can make it disappear. That’s because depression is an illness, not a weakness and should be taken seriously.

Soreness/stiffness: This can be in a specific area (hands if you do a lot of lifting or your feet if you stand for long periods). If you work at a desk, consider evaluating your work station to ensure proper ergonomics are in place. It could be as simple as a different mouse pad for wrist support! Take the necessary steps for a healthier workspace. Ensure you stretch periodically. It is recommended that a person should get up and stretch once every hour to ensure proper blood circulation. I would suggest Basic Yoga for added benefits all around.

Headaches (tension): A common headache will last a few hours, however prolonged or reoccurring headaches are a clear sign of stress. These headaches are normally around the back of the head (crown or below) area. Sometimes they occur around the eye brow area as well – more so if you wear glasses. If you have a reoccurring headache for more than a few days – consider talking to your doctor to rule out other causes.

Lack of appetite *important*: The way we eat plays a huge factor in our moods, recovering, concentration, alertness, etc. If you feed your body high fatty foods you will feel sluggish and unmotivated. However, lots of veggies and fruits with good carbs and protein will help keep your energy levels up – consider keep healthy snacks around. Lack of appetite is something that a person may not pay attention to. You can set a reminder to stop and snack or have lunch in order to keep your mood up and focus on point. This can take some planning the night before – or keep healthy snacks in your desk. I usually like Rice crackers, granola bars, Pepperoni sticks (for protein), Small packets of candy for the sweet tooth. I try not to keep fruit at my desk because it goes bad! Substitute with what you can in order to keep fueling your body. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water!

As the demands for the workplace increase, it makes work-life balance more difficult. However, there is a solution to better time management. Consider building downtime into your schedule prior to the start of the work week. A midweek dinner out is a good way to relieve stress and unwind. Rethink the activities that take a considerable toll on your time and energy. Try to schedule a good chunk of time to making errands or splitting them up twice a week (Tuesday and Saturday). The importance of exercise cannot be stressed enough! We are not talking deadlifts for 30mins at 200lbs – think small like taking a walk to the store or coffee shop every night; Or wake up 30mins early to do basic yoga. Don’t forget to relax. Just sit down and breathe for a few moments. Take a long hot shower or read a good book with a  cup of tea (or glass of wine!). Make sure to take some time for yourself that doesn’t include any effort at all. My “Me time” activity is writing – it releases the load of thoughts I carry with me every day. By putting them to paper, it allows me to think through and clear my mind.

How do you create work-life balance?
How do you use your downtime?
Share your exercise ideas. No Gym Required.
What things do you do to release tension?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

All Four Seasons and More

Adriana has really started to understand all four seasons. Lately, she's been noticing all the changes of weather from hot to cold (something we've been teaching her forever!). She noticed all the leaves changing colour over the past few weeks. Our giant trees in the backyard are late bloomers so they just started turning yellow this past week! Its absolutely beautiful to see every morning. I only noticed it a few days ago - with the sun shining on the yellow leaves - it truly caught my eye. Wonderful start to my work day for sure. I love that Adriana is very observant to the seasons changing. Last year when the snow finally came - she did not like it! We tried to get her to play in the backyard. Full snowsuit, sat her in the snow and she cried! Hopefully this year is much different. We have a beautiful backyard that sees the wonderful seasons in the most unique way. We are lucky to have these types of things as part of our home. Its a great thing for Adriana to see and learn. She's very smart. She actually seems worried about all the leaves falling to the ground - all art of the Fall Season! She recognizes the leaves on the ground; calls them "dirty" Lol

She is just a typical kid who plays in the leaves. Kicking them across the ground, throwing them in the air, whatever she can! Adriana is a very happy kid - not much to complain about. Although I know that I try my best to be a good Mommy, its nice when others see that too. A friend doesn't hesitate to tell me that I'm doing a good job - that I'm a great mom. Its nice to hear those comments. Sometimes you question your parenting and whether you're doing everything right. As happy as Adriana is, I ask myself this several times. It's not like I've had 10 kids....she is my one and only for now. I don't have another child to compare her too. Essentially, I do what I think is right and hope for the best! I always knew what kind of parent I was going to be - I am that parent. I am a patient and understanding person to begin with. I questioned my level of patience when I was pregnant. I made a point to save as much of it as I could. If Adriana had to turn out more like me I think I would have had a mental breakdown by now - several times! As blessed as we are to have Adriana, we are striving for more in our life.

I can say that although we "lived our lives" its time to buckle down and focus on better things. We have great plans for our family! We want the whole package and have started to figure out how to get it in the least amount of time. I don't want excuses anymore! We have literally done a 180 in comparison to before we decided to start a family. Partying 3 nights a week is no longer a desire. Instead we would rather grab a bottle of wine (or 2!) and enjoy being home, knowing our beautiful daughter is sleeping just across the room. Its amazing that we have been able to build a future ( .....a family) in a way that isn't so traditional. We're not married but that's okay - we love each other, we're not going anywhere and we don't need a piece of paper to tell each other that! Adriana knows we love each other because we're not afraid to show it to her. Its a beautiful thing for her to see - probably the best thing we could ever do for her. It sets the bar high for when she's old enough for her own serious relationship.

I must admit that lately I've been feeling the baby fever a little. Now before you lose your marbles (pick them back up!) I know exactly why its happening!! My Facebook feed is literally FILLED with all my friends and their newborn babies. I remember that feeling and it was surreal for us. That moment when you realize you are a Mommy or a Daddy is truly amazing. You don't ever forget that feeling - ever. I feel it every time I am with Adriana and still going strong almost 2 years later. I share that feeling with my new Mommy friends for sure. We would love to have another baby - but we have other things to take care of first! Those things are more important for us in the long run that having another baby and potentially prolonging things even more!

How did you plan your family?
Were there any surprises a long the way?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Happy (Mo) November

Can you believe its already November? Where has the year gone! This is still one of my favourite time of the year. Right after Halloween and just before Christmas. Its a good chunk of time to appreciate other things without getting caught up in a mile long list of things to do. I am a huge fan of Christmas - this I do not hide. Although the quietness of the stores are nice. I try to start Christmas shopping about this time every year and usually by December I actually buy things!! Lol I prefer to make a list of everyone that I need to buy for first, then I group the couple gifts that I can get away with (essentially those who need a Date Night - get one!) I jot down a few gift ideas - this takes a toll on my memory since I have to remember if they mentioned something they might need. If I'm really stuck then I will flat out ask the person for ideas. People change their minds or they already got that thing they said they needed. I believe in giving a useful gift - something they need or wanted, instead of a "thoughtful" gift.

Although my family never had much money growing up - my parents always made sure to give us the best Christmas ever. We always had lots of presents to open, a huge stocking to filter through and tons of food to eat all in the company of family and friends. The tradition has changed a bit over the years but essentially its the same. We may have lost Jill and Pat for the holidays this year but gained Loni and Chris for the first time ever. Kim and Tim are back too! This Christmas is going to be just as good as any year before. Adriana seems to be understanding the holidays more than before - Halloween really stood out for her. Christmas will just put her over the moon! I truly cannot wait.

We are coming close to the end of her swimming lessons. She officially has one more class left and she's on to the next one! We are thinking of starting again in February but we'll see what the New Year brings first. I am more excited now than ever. We had to move from the normal area in the Kiddie pool to the full size pool. Adriana wasn't even afraid of the bigger pool - actually, she ran and jumped in with her life jacket on! Clear signs shes ready for the next big thing. Hopefully her instructors see that and suggest her for Preschool classes.We will continue to take her swimming and get her used to swimming by herself a little more.

I must admit that only being able to do stuff with Adriana on the weekends really make them more special. Monday - Friday are pretty straight forward and leave little time for playing and more time for talking. This past weekend I had a ton of fun with her - it was our first trip together to Starbucks for a snack. Adriana had some tea (Zen tea!) and got a snowman cookie too! I love my local Starbucks. The ladies that work there are fabulous and just adored Adriana! I've talked about her many times but this was the first time they had met her in person. She just melted their hearts with her Thank yous and Pleases. I found it to be an appropriate place considering how well she behaves!! After an hour there we headed over to see the ducks again. Did I mention Adriana walked the entire time?? Love it.

I think Adriana is going through a growth spurt again. Every time I talk to her she's hungry! This is only day 2 but I think its happening again. Shes out growing her 2T clothes - which I knew would happen before Christmas anyways - but didnt think it would happen this soon. We bought her a fancy new winter coat in Size 3years and I think I have to exchange it because its a big snug! This weekend I will have to go buy her some bigger pants but I run into the problem that it doesn't fit in the waist! She has to wear skinny jeans or leggings mostly since regular jeans don't always fit her. Most have that elastic band to tighten but some don't! I also need to start thinking of a Christmas dress - do you remember Adriana with Santa last year? Oh lord she did NOT like him - classic. Hopefully this year is a bit different!

Have you started making your Christmas lists? Shopping?
Do you have your lights up? Tree out?
Are you traveling for Christmas? To where?
Do you want a White Christmas this year?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Happy Halloween 2013

The weekend was another busy one! It doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Lord help me. My Aunt and Uncle are here from Newfoundland for a visit. They will be staying for 3 weeks – 2 weeks here and 1 week down south! We just saw them in the summer but its always nice to see them again. This is my uncle who coincidently came for a visit the day after Adriana was born.  Almost 2 years later and she is just as excited to see him! All week she was asking “where’s Boyd? Where’s Ursie?” On Friday morning I explained they were coming and we would visit after daycare. She replied “Yayy Boyd!...and Ursie!” lol After work I went to my mom’s house – the boyfriend picked up Adriana and we were meeting there. Adriana must have been super excited because when the phone rang she thought it was Boyd. 

“Hello? Boyd?” she walked around saying.

Adriana was finally served her dish of Boyd and Urs shortly thereafter. We do like to remind her of certain people who she has met before. She builds this relationship with pictures, videos or stories from us and when she sees them again, she’s not as shy to say HI! This has been something we’ve done for a number of people already and it works like a charm! She is more inclined to run over for a hug or even just say Hi (and their name). We love that she is a “people person” although at times she is shy – more cautious than anything.
Adriana is a very lucky girl! She was blessed with a gift from a friend. A play kitchen! At her daycare there are about 3 different play kitchens and I always find her playing with them when I pick her up. I’ve been thinking of getting her one for a while but waiting for Christmas or her Birthday. A friend was trying to get rid of one to make room for another gift so I was ALL OVER THAT! Free? Don’t mind if I do! Adriana now has the classic corner kitchen set from Fisher Price along with all the classic accessories. She has the same Pots and pans as I had as a kid! Plus the classic McDonald’s Happy Meal and Hot Cakes sets. She hasn’t even touched her other toys – good time to purge and give to Goodwill!!

We only have a few swimming lessons left and then Adriana will be on to the next one! We are thinking of continuing in the new year so by summer she will be a full fledge swimmer! We are going to get her a life jacket of her own to use at public pools, friend’s houses or the cottage. We encourage her to love the water but she is wary of it which is still good. Next year at this time, Adriana will most likely be starting Preschool classes. Which means I won’t be in the pool with her J As much as I love it, she needs to learn to swim on her own. One step at a time though. 

This week is hopefully not as busy as the others have been. I need to start catching up on my sleep! Exhausted doesn’t even begin to explain how I feel! I am trying to get to bed early but it’s the sleeping part that is difficult. I am into a new relaxing tea which helps me sleep but I don’t always feel like a tea at night! The cold weather tends to make that easier for me. I have tried Sleepy Time tea by Celeste and now I am using the Tazo Zen tea K-cups! Love my Keurig :)

Christmas is on its way!! Less than 2 months to go people! Are you ready? Just kidding – still plenty of time for shopping. My personal plan is to take advantage of Black Friday, which has started to hit Canada. I hope more retailers participate in offering Canadians the great deals offered in the States. Last year Best Buy had a GREAT sale online and I will be watching out for it this year too. I figured if I could get most of my shopping done that weekend – I’m golden.

I have started to put things aside for Adriana (the kitchen set was a special gift). There is also a Wish List via Toys R Us for her already started by me to give people ideas of what she may need. Obviously clothes are a given so closer to the date I will list her sizes for family. I’m excited for her second Christmas!! It gets better every year I hear….

Look at me…talking about Christmas before even mentioning Halloween!! It’s only a few days away now and Little Missy will be……..
A BEE!!!

I got it this weekend and she saw the package. Adriana started waving her hands in the air saying “Bee bee no bee go away bee. Bee bee bee bee!” Lol Clearly she’s ready to be a Bee! I can’t wait. We will probably just go to a few houses on our street as soon as we get home from daycare. She will be too tired for anything more! As she gets older she will do more houses – we have a great neighbourhood for Trick or Treating. It will be great for her to show off her costume and get candy for the first time! Last year she was a strawberry and sick! Hopefully that doesn’t happen again this time so she can enjoy the time out.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Bon Vayage

The past few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster for me! The amount of bittersweet moments in this short time is more than ever in my life. First we celebrated the long awaited return of my sister and soon to be brother in law. Now we are "celebrating" a new chapter for my other sister and her husband. My use of quotation marks is because its not really a celebration. Although I'm happy for her and her husband to start this new journey, I'm sad to see her leave.

Jill has been a great help with Adriana. Picking her up from daycare when we needed her, watching her so we can have a date night, and even just playing with her to give us a short break! It was nice to have her close by too - Newfoundland isn't so close. This will be an interesting journey for them though. I think Jill always felt more "at home" there since we visited one summer in highschool. I remember her saying that she was coming back for sure. Of course we didn't believe her but after 4years of university she returned home. I thought that was good enough until she continued to go back every year in the summer since then.

This past summer's vacation with Adriana must have been eye opening for her. She did more sightseeing than normal and I guess it made her realize that Newfoundland really was home for her. A little while after our trip, she told me she wants to move there. I wasn't that surprised but wasn't sure if her husband would make the big move. A few weeks later she told me her house was going on the market, he was transferring his job and they were going to move to NFLD, officially.

I'm glad she's doing what makes her happy!! I think the lifestyle in NFLD is more her style instead of the big city life. She likes to work and relax - that's it. Nothing wrong with that either! She will be more at ease in that environment and maybe really settle down with a family next! I wish her and her husband all the best and a safe road trip. Can't wait for Skype dates!!

On another note, I think I might either be going crazy or things are getting real with Adriana! I haven't quite figured it out whether she's talking more clearly or I'm understanding her gibberish more. I'd like to say the latter was a joke but 21mths old she is saying full sentences!! The other day she said as clearly as anything "Auntie Kimmy, what are you doing?" I had to stop and stare at her for a moment before I repeated and answered her question. Impressive if you ask me!

I've read all the guidelines for a toddler and she is definitely above the average. Honestly, we don't do anything different than most parents. We read to her, colour, sing, dance, and watch TV with her. She seems to grasp things more easily now too; repeating people a lot. So watch what you say around Adriana - 9 times out of 10 she will repeat it! *yikes*

I'm jumping ahead a little - all the way to Christmas. I cannot wait!! She is going to love Christmas just like I always did as a kid. I started a Toys R Us Wish List under her name to keep track of some ideas I find for her. I will have to make room for toys in her room too. Looks like I will donate them to a charity or the Thrift store in town. I would never just throw out toys!! I always try to see if friends need them first since I'd rather them go to someone I know and needs it. However, I am big on donating and wish there was a toybank that would come pick up this stuff!! I don't get rid of everything though. I try to keep certain things that have a meaning to us. Her books will most likely never go anywhere.

We always talked about having a good library for her to read whenever she wanted. Reading feeds the mind and creates imagination. It is possibly the best thing you can do for your child. We are also a bit old fashioned when it comes to reading - we prefer the actual books instead of ebooks. Of course she knows how to use a tablet, but its much better for her to sit and actually flip the pages of a good book! When she's old enough, I would love her to read my absolutely favourite classic book: Little Women.

Yes, Christmas shopping has commenced. Don't judge me. Working full time means I don't have time to go to the mall whenever I want anymore lol So I've started some online shopping! Mostly ordering clothes for Adriana and will put away until the big day. I will have more room in the storage when the tree is up! Ohhh I can't wait!!

What is your favourite holiday?
How will you be spending it this year?
Do you think we will have a white Christmas?
When do you start shopping and why?