21

On Mourning and Santa Claus

I apologize in advance if this post seems to have no direction. Actually, it is kind of fitting as it feels as though nothing has any direction right now. I can’t seem to pull myself together, and life (or more appropriately, death) is taking its toll on me.

I am mourning the loss of a very special man. This man was a Veteran of the Merchant Navy. He was proud, stoic, gentle, kind, and giving. He was my Grandfather – the last surviving Grandparent I had.
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He and my Grandmother both treated my sister and I like we were more precious than anything in their lives. Having had two sons, we were quite literally the daughters they never had. I have many fond memories of them from my childhood. My Grandfather was the one who taught me to ice skate. He’d clear the snow off of the pond around the corner, hold my hands, and we’d skate and skate for hours while my Grandmother sat and cheered us on. When we got home, Grandpa took my hands in his to warm them up, while my Grandmother got the hot cocoa ready – with just the right number of marshmallows floating on top.
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One winter he piled the snow into a hill that seemed to reach the top of the trees, carved a ladder onto one side with a shovel, and smoothed the other side out into a slide which landed me on the other side of the yard. I spent hours out there that day, climbing the snow slide, and flying down. He stayed by my side the whole time quietly smiling and chuckling at my screams of laughter.

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We used to have sleep overs at their house, and to this day certain foods and smells remind me of them. My parents never drank coffee, so every morning when I woke up at their house and smelled the coffee pot brewing, I knew where I was. I always had the same breakfast there (shared with my Grandfather) – a bowl of Harvest Crunch cereal and half of a grapefruit eaten with a special grapefruit spoon. We didn’t eat those things at home often either, so I always associate those things with mornings spent with him. Quiet mornings at the table, sharing breakfast. He wasn’t one to talk much, but when he did it was always important – always an observation, or something insightful. I don’t think he ever once raised his voice to me in anger. He was always calm, quiet, and warm. His lap was the best place to sit when he did his crossword puzzles, and his hugs wrapped right around you like a warm blanket.
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He passed away suddenly at 1:45 am Friday morning. I had only been asleep about an hour when my Mother called to tell me. Three days earlier, he was getting a military escort down to a Remembrance Day ceremony at the Veteran’s hospital, and he was fine.

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Now, he’s gone. I can’t seem to wrap my head around it. It was quick, sudden, and it’s tearing me apart. Based on what happened, they suspect it was a GI bleed. As much as I want to know what happened, and why it happened, I mostly want to know that he wasn’t in pain. The last thing he deserved was to be in pain, or to be scared. I am crying at the thought of his last moments in the arms of the nurse who found him. I wish more than anything that he didn’t suffer.
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So needless to say, I’ve been a wreck these past few days. My normal sense of humour is lost, and my eyes haven’t stopped being either bloodshot or glassy since the wee hours of Friday morning. I am crying spontaneously without control – it’s like my eyes are faucets that are stuck in the on position.

Today, during another random cry fest, my little L looked at me from across the room and said “Mommy?”. She came over, climbed up onto my lap, placed her little hand on my cheek and said “Mommy…. happy please?”. Well as if my tears weren’t already uncontrollable, that did me in. It got worse…but then it did get better. She doesn’t understand why I’m sad. She doesn’t understand what death is, and she doesn’t understand why Mommy keeps crying. Her little sentence was enough to slap a bit of sense into me – at least temporarily. As much as I want to just lay around in a pile of sadness and self-pity, I have a job to do. I am a Mother to a sweet little girl who needs her Mommy back. I had to pull myself together.

So I got up, put on my big girl pants and took her out to see Santa Claus. He was in town today, on his big red sleigh and had a little train that the kids could ride. Santa was even nice enough to bring along some elves to hand out cake to everyone and they got to make a Christmas craft. I got to stand outdoors, breathe the slightly chilled air and relax. Yes, I realize it is only November 16th and Santa came by really early, but this Mommy didn’t care. She was glad to have a reason to get out of the house and something festive to focus on with my L and my fiance.
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I needed it. I needed to get out of the house and off of my ass. I needed to breathe the cool air, look forward to Christmas with my little family, and focus on all that I still have in life. I needed to be the Mother to my L that my Grandfather was to my Father and Uncle. I needed to continue to make him proud. I needed to pretend to be cheerful, and in turn, feel a bit of cheer.
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It isn’t feeling any easier. I have a viewing at the funeral home tomorrow afternoon (informal), and a formal viewing/service on Thursday. The weekend of the 30th, we will travel to Prince Edward Island to place him with my Grandmother so they can be reunited once more. My Grandfather was never quite as boisterous as he used to be when she was alive. I think secretly, though he’d never voice it out loud, he was longing to be reunited with her. I was in Korea when she passed and was unable to return for her funeral. The weekend of the 30th will be the first time I will see her grave, since she is buried in a different province. I have a feeling that I will fall apart that weekend. I will in a way be saying goodbye to two people that day – my Grandfather, and my Grandmother.
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I hope that the person I have become today is a person they would be proud of. I hope that my little L can develop as many fond memories with her Grandparents as I have of mine. I hope that I can get through this stronger, and a better Mother at the other end. As much as I am skeptical of the idea of an “afterlife”, I can’t help but secretly hope that they are both up there, sitting in their armchairs side by side, drinking a cup of coffee and watching their Great-Granddaughter grow up.

I promise my next post will be more joyful, but I needed to get this off of my chest. It’s almost therapeutic in a way.

To moving forward. To grieving, but never forgetting. To living as our loved ones would have wanted us to live. To life, death, and the joy that happens in the middle. I’ll miss them always.

7

Going Organic? My Skin Says Yes!

I haven’t always been conscious of things that said “all natural” or “organic”. In fact, being the lazy cheap person I am means I would usually purchase whatever product was on sale for the cheapest price at the store. I have never been loyal to a specific brand. In fact, I would go so far as to label myself a “brand hopper”. I’d go from product to product without ever really feeling like there was one particular thing I couldn’t live without. To me, shampoo was shampoo, face wash was face wash, and they all did relatively the same thing.

Then my little L was born. I got so many products for her at her baby shower, that I hadn’t really had to put much thought into purchasing items. That is until everything changed. L had very sensitive skin. The wrong kind of cream would have her break out in little hives. She got small patches of what I was told “looked like eczema” (by a doctor and a pharmacist) on the top of her shoulder, on one leg, and on her belly. Something wasn’t working for her, so I made some changes.

Johnson & Johnson products were out. They may work for some kiddos, but weren’t working for mine. I switched to Live Clean products for her bath, her lotion, and her bum and her supposed “eczema” went away within two weeks. That’s pretty telling.

That is what started my research into more natural and organic skin products for L and for myself. Yes, myself as well. I have had awful skin ever since I became pregnant. I’m acne prone, have pores that to me seem to be the size of craters, and ankles that are crazy dry and was told by a dermatologist resembled a “knuckle pad”. Gross. L’s changed skin by switching to less chemically-laden product was my motivation. If it worked for her, surely it couldn’t hurt to try for myself!

So after doing research, I came across a local woman who makes natural, organic products from her home. Her company is called “Homemade Organics by Jen“.

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Everything in her product is not just natural, it’s orgnanic. Every single ingredient is organic. It’s so natural, in fact, you could eat it. I figured it couldn’t HURT me to try it out, so I contacted her. I purchased a lip balm and a deodorant, and got samples of the facial scrub, body scrub, toner, whipped shea face and body cream, whipped cooca face and body cream and a hair pomade for my fiance to try.

I have tried organic products in the past, and had so-so results. Lip balms I’ve tried have either been so hard they crumble on contact, or so liquidy that they literally spill everywhere. Same goes with deodorant. These weren’t like that. The lip balm was a tasty lemon scent, and was firm enough to glide on but not liquidy. Kind of right in the middle and perfect. It is also long lasting, so I don’t have to apply a bazillion times a day, which is great! The deodorant was coconut-lemon and smells delicious! Since giving birth two years ago, I’ve become crazy sweaty. Must be the hormones I guess, but I need a good deodorant or else I’m left smelling gross. This scent was very long lasting, non-offensive and effective! It is less firm than a commercial deodorant stick, and somewhat melted into my armpits as I applied it, but it worked and that’s the main thing I was concerned about.

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The next thing I tried was the facial scrub. My face breaks out faster than you can say “Effin’ pimples!” so I was hoping for a miracle here. The ingredients listed are: Organic, Unrefined Coconut Oil, Organic Honey Powder, Pure powdered Nahcolite, Vitamin E, and Lavender Essential Oil. She told me I wouldn’t need moisturizer after using this, and I was honestly a little skeptical. So I went home, wet my face, took a small amount into my fingers and got ready to wash. I could instantly feel it almost melt in my fingers, and as I scrubbed it almost felt like a waxy coating. It was much different than any facial scrub I’ve ever used in the past. I took that to be because of the oils in the product. I went to rinse off and it felt like it wouldn’t completely rinse. Again, I think that was the oils in the product, so I just gave up and patted my face dry. That’s when I noticed the difference. My face was glowing. I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s true. It was soft and smooth and glowing. I couldn’t believe it! The sample she gave me was enough to last about 5 days and after 5 days of using the facial scrub once a day (at night), and the toner once a day (in the morning), my acne has cleared up about 80%. How crazy is that? It feels really different when I use it, but the results speak for themselves. I think it is tied for my favourite product she makes.

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So what is my other favourite? I think its another combination of the body scrub and whipped cocoa face and body cream. The body scrub smells delicious, and I really focused on using that on my crummy ankles. It is again full of natural oils, and guess what? While it didn’t cure my skin in that area (yet), it did take the crusty look away from them! That is something that expensive creams from dermatologists haven’t been able to manage yet, so I’m hooked. After the shower I hopped out and put on the whipped cocoa cream and I ended up smelling like chocolate chip cookies for the day, with skin as smooth as silk. It was light-weight and soaked right into my skin without feeling heavy or greasy. A co-worker actually asked me what cream I had on, because she said I smelled “delicious and edible”. Seriously, who doesn’t want to smell delicious and edible, while remaining chemical free? I’m sold, and my skin has never felt better.

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I could go on and on, but I’d end up writing a novel rather than a review, and honestly nothing could explain the results better than trying it for yourself. I know if you’re local to her, she will give you samples to try of her products, and she ships throughout Canada.

I wasn’t asked to review her product, and I wasn’t paid for this review. I just felt so strongly about what it has done for my skin (my facial acne, and gross ankles in particular) that I was compelled to share it with other Moms who may have had hormonal skin changes since pregnancy, and are as desperate as I was to find something that works, is organic and completely chemical free. I know I probably sound more like an infomercial than a Mommy blogger right now, but it’s the truth and I feel like a new, fresh-faced version of myself. If you’ve had bad skin for a while, you know that finding something that actually works can feel life-changing.

Check out her facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/#!/homemadeorganicsbyjen

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14

Halloween: The Untold Parental Duties

Tomorrow is Halloween, which means we have some duties as parents. Besides making sure they are warm enough, that they have some sort of reflective gear on since it is dark out, teaching about stranger danger, telling them not to run in the street, etc., there are other duties that might not be talked about so much. Some of them benefit us as parents as well, so pay close attention folks!

1) Teaching our children about taxes. Halloween is the best time to teach our children about tax deductions! Where I live, taxes are at 15%. That means that we, as the parents, automatically earn 15% of the Halloween haul. We’ll call it a “Thanks Mom and Dad” deduction since we were generous enough to walk around with them on a cold night so they could get their sugar fix. This will help mentally prepare them up for their first job, when they see that a significant portion of their paycheque was lost to deductions. Life’s tough kid. Learn early.

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2) Testing for poison. I learned how important this was from my Grandfather. Whenever I had a chocolate bar, a bag of chips, a cookie, or any kind of tasty treat as a child my Grandfather stressed how important it is to check the food for poison. He generously risked his own life by taking my treats from me and eating a bite or two, followed by a long pause for dramatic effect before deeming them safe for me to consume. It felt really great as a kid to know that he loved me enough to eat/test my treats for me to make sure I wouldn’t be poisoned. We all need to eat our kids candy and show them how much we love them. It’s a parental duty!

3) Stranger Danger – the night off! We spend our whole lives telling our kids to never take candy from strangers. I’m not one to preach “stranger danger”, but more or less to preach “stranger awareness” – the difference between a safe stranger and a bad one. (Ex. Police officer is a safe stranger, but a creep in the back of a van with a puppy and a lollipop is a danger stranger). However, this is the one night of the year we get to confuse the shit out of our kids! “Yes, dear child. Go take candy from that stranger. Yes, you can walk up to the scary house that gives you the heebie-jeebies. Yes, you can talk to the man covered in blood on that front porch”. Poor kids – with all that promise of free candy, they don’t stand a chance!

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4) Teaching the value of clever costumes rather than slutty ones. I hope to teach my little L that you garner much more respect from a clever Halloween costume than you do with anything that has the word “sexy” in front of it. They are making everything sexy nowadays. Sexy Ben Franklin. Sexy Bert and Ernie. Even sexy corn on the cob. Yes, corn on the cob. How the hell can you make that sexy you ask? Like this. Scary stupid isn’t it? Can you imagine the pickup lines you’d get? “Mmm baby, I’d love to butter your cob”, or “If things get heated between us, will you pop?”. How about “Come on girl, let me peel away the rest of that husk”. Gag.

5) Halloween candy can evaporate! Remember how we are teaching our kids about tax deductions via the Halloween tax? It’s also a perfect time to teach them about evaporation! You know how if you leave out a glass of water, it will slowly evaporate until it is nearly gone? The same thing happens to Halloween candy over time. It disappears! That explains why when they wake up every morning, there is less than there was when they went to bed the night before. In our house, it’s the chocolate and sour patch kids that seem to “evaporate” the fastest. For this I have no scientific explanation to offer. We just won’t tell my dentist (or my dietitian) that they’ve been disappearing so quickly.

Do you have any other “valuable” lessons for the kids to learn on Halloween? I’d love it if you shared!

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12

My toddler’s love interests can only be described as…interesting.

My little L has a few TV shows that she likes to watch more so than others. On these shows, she’s developed some definite “crushes” on certain characters. They are the ones she is the most excited to see, that make her laugh every time she sees them, and that she has even gone as far as trying to hug through the television screen. 

I think it’s safe to say my L has a couple of TV crushes. Now I had some TV crushes when I was younger, but none of them were similar to my L’s tastes. She’s definitely unique in her preferences. Yes, unique. I think that’s the best way to put it.

The first time we noticed she had a crush was while we were watching Sesame Street. Elmo’s world came on, and so did his friend, Mr. Noodle.

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Now I’ll give it to him that he’s funny. He definitely makes my girl laugh, that’s for sure. But he just doesn’t have much going on between the ears. This Mr. Noodle fella can never figure out how to do the most basic of tasks, like drumming on a drum, sharing a swing, brushing his hair. I can only hope that when she’s older, my L ends up with a man who makes her laugh, yes, but can also manage get through the day without putting his pants on his head and his bum on a drum. Oy vey.

The next person I noticed she had a crush on was Captain Hook on Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Yes, really. Captain Hook.

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Wonderful. My little sweet L likes the bad boys, so her Mommy is going to be left worrying about her choices in life, and her Daddy is going to have to purchase a shot gun. Man oh man. Maybe she just thinks it’s funny that he can keep replacing his hand (hook) with different attachments? Maybe Mommy needs to do a better job of teaching her that bad guys aren’t the marrying kind. 

Most recently I’ve come to learn she’s got a little crush on Pete from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. If you’re not sure who Pete is, it’s this guy.

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I’m not sure what it is that she finds attractive in Pete. Again, I think she likes the ones that make her laugh, and while that is an admirable quality for sure, it would be nice if she liked a guy who was the same species as she is. What the hell kind of animal is Pete supposed to be anyway? Part dog? Part cow, like Clarabelle? I really don’t know what Pete is. Can anyone fill a Mama in? It’d be nice to know, so that if my daughter runs away with Pete I can have an idea of what my future Grand-babies might look like.

So in short, I can say that my daughter likes men who have no brains, criminal intentions, and of a totally different species. I’m in trouble.

Do your kids have TV crushes on strange people/characters? Who are they?

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10

Review – Icon Wall Stickers

Let me start this off by stating that I told myself I would never agree to review a product unless it was something I actually saw myself potentially using in my real life. I’m a Mom who is short on time, short on creative and artistic ability, but with a huge desire to have interesting looking artistic pieces in my home. So when I was contacted by Icon Wall stickers to review their product, I jumped on it. I’ve used wall stickers in my daughter’s room before and love the idea of them. What I loved most about the wall stickers from this particular company is that they are completely non-toxic, which to me is of particular importance with a little one running around. I also loved that for each design, you could somewhat customize it by choosing the size and colour you like. It is much more customizable than simply picking one up at a store. They are also priced very reasonably, which means when my little L decides she doesn’t like the design I’ve picked for her anymore, it is easy to simply peel off and replace the sticker without having to completely redecorate her entire room.

You can check out the vast array of wall art they have on their website, here: http://www.iconwallstickers.co.uk/

It took me nearly an hour to choose the designs I’d like. I ended up choosing two: A clock for my dining room wall, and a design for my daughter’s room. These are how they were pictured on their website.

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The wall stickers came in a long cardboard tube. It honestly took me a long time to write this review because my little L cried every time I tried to take the cardboard tube from her to open it. She loved playing with it! I had to wait until she was asleep one night to open it without her seeing me.
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I started with the clock. I was surprised when I opened the tube to discover that the design was actually cut in half and was in two pieces. I presume that this was because I had ordered size large (which in hindsight was probably a mistake). It came with a sheet of instructions which were clear and easy to understand. Because I had the clock in two pieces, I had to tape each piece to my wall held together along the seam with masking tape (I used painters tape as it was all I had on hand). The first side went on easily enough, though I did notice that because of its large size, it was more difficult to smooth it out evenly. If you are ordering size large or extra large, I do highly recommend that you have a second person on hand to help you out.
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It is because I didn’t have a second person to help me, that I bungled up my clock. When I went to apply the second side, it was not lined up properly with the first. It is off by about 1/2 to 1cm. If you’re far away, you can’t tell, but up close it bothers me that I messed it up. I don’t think this is any fault on the company or their instructions. It is simply my fault for being overly ambitious and insisting I could do it by myself. I do think it would make things much easier to apply if the wall stickers came on one sheet rather than cut in half, though I understand that would likely make shipping costs extraordinarily high.
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When I went to peel off the application paper on the clock, it
was more difficult than I had anticipated. The decal didn’t want to stick to my wall (despite following all instructions and waiting the amount of time suggested to allow the adhesive to stick), so I had to peel back centimeter by centimeter and oftentimes use my finger to gently pick the design off of the application paper and coax it on the wall. Once coaxed on, the rest went on easily, but it ended up being very time consuming, and took nearly 30 minutes to simply peel the paper off of the sticker. I noticed afterwards that there was a spot I didn’t smooth out properly so it was wrinkled, and another spot in the word “Rio deJaneiro”, where the “d” didn’t stick to my wall. I hadn’t noticed at the time, so now that part says “Rio e Janeiro”. Woops!
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I learned my lesson, however, and applying the one in my daughters room went much better! I think it helped that it wasn’t a set pattern like the clock, so if it didn’t line up perfectly, it didn’t REALLY matter. We got a size large for her as well, and in a dark purple to go on her light purple walls. She loves it, but stands in front of it when I try to take a picture. I think she feels it is for her and her alone. I actually love that she loves it enough to not want to share it with a “picshure”. I guess it is for her, her doggies and her babies to enjoy only. I can tell you that this one looks pretty well identical to the one in the photo! It was much easier to apply, much less stressful, and came out perfectly! That really changed my tune about the product after my clock fiasco. I just have to learn to be less stubborn, I suppose.

I think the main difference between the application of the clock not being so easy, and the application of my daughter’s decal being much easier is that my daughter’s room has “fresher” paint on the walls. Her paint has been on her walls for only a year and a half, whereas the paint on my dining room wall has been there for who knows how long. I think perhaps that since the paint was fresher, the application process was made loads easier!

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My little L loved helping with the tape!

All in all, I would definitely recommend the Icon Wall Stickers. If you have more than one set of hands, the larger sizes would be much easier to manage, and I imagine the smaller sized ones would be quite simple to apply. I really love that they are non-toxic, and love that my L loves hers so much. I also love that it makes a lazy, non-artistic Mama like me look as though she’s got it all together in her house. Plus, if I decide to redecorate or need a change, peeling and sticking is much easier (and less messy!) than a whole new paint job.

Have you ever used removable wall sticker art in your home? How did you find it? Would anyone be interested in a potential giveaway for an Icon Wall Sticker of their choice?

7

My million dollar ideas!

This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving, and I have loads to be thankful for! I have an amazing little family who are in good health. I have lived to see another birthday this past Wednesday (Uggh 31 feels OLD!), and we are starting to get details finalized for our wedding in Jamaica! Can you tell we’re excited?

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This is how I know I found my soulmate – we’re both genuinely weird! 🙂

So as I was thinking of all the things I was thankful for, I started to think about things that I think would make my life even easier! Things that I’m not sure actually exist (some of them might – I honestly haven’t checked), but I’m sure if I could create them I’d be rolling in some money!

So here’s my little list of things I think would make life easier. Got anything to add?
– I know they make machines that are a washer and dryer in one, so you don’t have to switch the load from the washer to the dryer, it just drains out then automatically starts the drying cycle. I had one of these in Korea and it kicked ass!

But I’d like to have a machine that washes your clothes, dries your clothes, then automatically folds them for you. So when the buzzer goes off to indicate it is done, it is already pre-folded and you don’t have to sit there for a bloody half hour to fold your laundry. Who am I kidding. I don’t really fold my laundry often. It sits clean in the laundry basket and we sift through that to put our outfits together for the day. Anything to make a lazy Mom’s life easier, am I right?

– Ever tried to push a stroller through a snowstorm? Okay, so if you live in the Southern states or somewhere tropical, likely not. But I’m telling you right now, it’s a pain in the ass! The wheels get stuck in slush and snow, and the pushing becomes choppy and bumpy at best.

You know how some fancy stollers have just a little button you push and it collapses on it’s own? Well how friggin’ cool would it be if you pushed a little button in the winter, and it released little sled runners that swung under the wheels of the stroller. That way instead of trying to manoeuver wheels through the slush and snow, you were just essentially gliding a convertible stroller/sled in the snow! It’d be so much easier! Does this exist? If not, I call patenting it!

– I don’t know a single Momma who doesn’t feel sleep deprived at some point (if not all the time). Sometimes, coffee just isn’t enough!

Do you remember watching those sci-fi shows and cartoons (like the Jetsons) and they ate an entire meal in capsule form? Or watching Charlie and the Chocolate factory and that gobstopper had a full meal? Why hasn’t someone created some sort of snack or shake that when eaten, makes the sleep deprived Momma feel like she’s just had 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep and has enough energy to match her toddler? Didn’t sleep? No problem – just eat this magic sleep cookie and BAM – what’s it feel like to be tired again?

– I’m sick of fighting the car seat. My child does “the rod” like a champ!

Which is your kid the master of?

Which is your kid the master of?

So I’m thinking there needs to be a car seat that has a set of arms pop out and holds your kid into the sitting position for you. Heck, while we’re at it, let’s have those arms hold your kid for you while the straps automatically fasten themselves! You just have to watch and make sure it all goes down smoothly.

– While we’re on a car theme, let’s make some car floor mats that can absorb all the discarded cheerios, goldfish crackers and annie’s cheddar bunnies. Let’s make a car seat that has an automatic dispenser on the side for those aforementioned snacks so when you’re driving and you hear “Moommmm! I’m hungry!” you can just tell them to hit the button and a perfectly portioned snack will present itself to them.

Got any other ideas that would make life easier? What are you thankful for on this lovely Canadian Thanksgiving day?
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10

Hypocritical Health Hurdles – The Changes/Accomplishments

Well, I saw the Registered Dietitian (Sarah Dunphy-Morris at Kinesis Health Associates)  again two weeks ago now. Yes, two weeks ago. I know I’m late writing an update, but to be honest I did it on purpose. I wanted to be able to also report on changes I’ve successfully made since her recommendations. It’s one thing to report about my visits with her, but I also wanted to be able to hold myself accountable and follow through on my homework.

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This was the visit I got the thoroughly analyzed results from my 3-day food diary, and learned about what my common trends were and how I could make some simple changes that would make a big difference.

Overall, my calorie intake wasn’t nearly as high as I thought it would be. For someone my age, the recommended calorie intake for weight maintenance is 2583 per day. On Day 1, I had 2815, Day 2 was 1961, and Day 3 was 2108. Overall not TOO terrible I thought. Sarah went on to explain that the recommendation of 2583 was for weight maintenance, not loss, and that most people who consume the “maintenance” amount of calories will actually end up gaining a few pounds per year, which is what I want to avoid. We didn’t focus too much on calories, but she did say that for a slow healthy loss of weight, someone my size and age should be aiming for 2100-2200 per day.

The majority of our focus was spent looking at the number of servings from each food group I consumed per day, plus the percentages of fat, sodium, fibre and sugar. In looking at my personal trends from the three days, there was a lot in common. I consume too much sugar, too much fat, and not enough fibre. Also, I tend to skip breakfast when I first wake up (around 7am) and instead feed my daughter and use the time while she is eating to quickly get myself ready. By the time I get around to feeding myself, it’s between 10am and 11am, and my body has gone into starvation mode. Instead of giving my metabolism an early morning kick-start, I’ve been tricking my body into thinking I’m starving, so that when I finally do eat, all of that food is stored for “survival” rather than burned off as it should be throughout the day.

So my homework was as follows. I had to eat breakfast at breakfast time. We went over how time is an issue for me, so I often resort to pre-packaged “quick” foods. She went over lots of ideas about what I could do ahead of time to prepare and ensure I’m starting my day (and my body) off right. I had to prepare a mid-morning snack to get me through until lunch, and generally try to cut back on the fats and sugars while increasing my fibre.

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That Sunday night, I boiled half a dozen eggs and put them in a tupperware container in my fridge. When Monday morning came along (my starting day) I woke up and had one hard boiled egg and one piece of whole wheat toast with some natural peanut butter. The protein gave me energy and got me through until about 1030am. I was at work and I was STARVING! My stomach was growling and grumbling loudly, and I needed food asap! Luckily Sarah had predicted this and said that I SHOULD be hungry mid-morning if I’ve eaten breakfast because my metabolism had a kick-start and was working. I had prepared for this at her advice, and packed a fat-free greek yoghurt with some honey and natural unsalted almonds (about 10-15) all mixed up. The sweetness of the honey helped my sweet-tooth, and the healthy fats from the nuts got me through to lunch. Lunch consisted of whole wheat pita and roasted red pepper hummus, carrots, celery and an iced green tea. When I got home for dinner my fiance had prepared a spinach and kale salad with mushrooms, orange segments, and some grated mozarella cheese, alongside baked skinless chicken breasts done in a homemade orange glaze – I know, he’s a keeper, right?!

The rest of my week continued in this fashion. I did hit up McDonald’s one day for lunch, but instead of my usual bacon cheeseburger and large fries, I got their Mediterranean veggie wrap on a whole wheat pita with hummus, feta cheese, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and red onion. It had some high fat (Sarah and I figured it was from the feta cheese) but it was still a MUCH better choice than my usual pick.

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That Saturday night, I gave into my laziness and cravings and ordered Dominos pizza. I felt guilty but I didn’t care. I told Sarah I did this, and she wasn’t upset and said she would never expect anyone to be perfect all of the time, and a treat once a week is just fine. The thing is, I ended up not really enjoying it. 45 minutes after I ate the pizza, I was in pain. My stomach felt crampy and achy and I was in some digestive distress. I liked the taste of pizza, but my body didn’t like it anymore. The grease and huge amounts of cheese just weren’t settling and I felt awful. I had felt great all week on the healthier food, and now I knew why. I was feeding myself garbage and felt like garbage. It was all making sense.

This is week two, and I’m still doing it. I’ve turned down the cookies I’ve been offered by co-workers, I avoided Whopper Wednesday at Burger King two weeks in a row, I’m eating breakfast, and I’ve stopped drinking my iced lattes with pumps of chocolate syrup and am instead drinking either black green tea (which I love!) or regular old coffee without the pumps of chocolate syrup and high fat milk.

It isn’t the easiest thing to do. I’m actually having to prepare stuff in advance so that I have time for breakfast. I have to think ahead of time about what I’ll have for lunch. I’m having to be accountable. It is hard to do, but I’m feeling better for it and it’s only been two weeks. I haven’t stepped on a scale or re-measured myself yet, and I’m not sure I want to. I want to give this a go for a full month or two before I do that I think.

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For now, how I’m FEELING is reward enough. That was my intial goal – I was tired of feeling tired, and sick of feeling sick. So far, I’m feeling a million times better, and that in itself is motivation to keep going.

I’ll keep you all posted. Thank you so much for your kind words and support – it means so much to know that I’m being encouraged through this.

I did provide a link to Kinesis Health Associates facebook page. If you like that page, Sarah is often putting up daily tips on how to make little changes in your diet that can make a big difference!

(Don’t forget to vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs – just one little click on that cartoon lady to the right is all it takes! Thanks!).

23

If my toddler could tell me off…

I got to thinking today (I know, I know…it’s dangerous when I start to think about things) about how tough it must be to be a toddler. I mean, I’m literally doing things to ruin her day all the time. That’s where the title of my blog came from. She wants to do things, I say no, I’ve ruined her day.

It must suck to be such a tiny human, and be constantly told you “have to do this” or “can’t do that” all day long. My L is only pint-sized, but she’s a strong-headed personality, and she definitely has a mind of her own. Of course I piss her off when I go ruining what she’s got planned.

So I thought to myself – if she were able to eloquently describe to me her thoughts on my “Mommy bossiness” and tell me off, what would she say? Would she have reasons for wanting to do what she does? What would her perspective be?

So here’s my take on it – knowing my daughter as I do, and how hard it is to change her mind when she has it set. I’m going to lay out the situation, my response (and reasoning) and her response (and reasoning) as I imagine it might be.

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Situation #1 I left the room for two minutes, and L took the time to dump half a bottle of baby powder all over the living room carpet, and herself.

My thoughts – “Ohhhhh noooooo, L! We don’t dump that on the carpet! Look, you’ve made a mess. Now we have to clean you up and change you before we go out. Uggh. I don’t have time for this…”

Her thoughts – “Come on Mom, I’m learning here! It’s physics! Look at how it all goes down to the floor, but some of it floats in the air! And look – I dumped it on my feet, then moved and could see my footprints on the carpet! How effin’ cool is that?! Maybe I’ll do it again – look two sets of feet! Holy crap I’m an artist. Why aren’t you loving this?!”

Situation #2 – She asked for a cookie/cracker, so I hand her two. One is broken. Meltdown ensues.

My thoughts“Oh for goodness sake, L, they all taste the same. The whole one will look like that once you take a bite out of it anyway!”

Her thoughts – “What do you take me for Mom, a pushover? This one is broken, and I’m being ripped off! Less cookie than I would have gotten? Hell no! Besides, when a cookie/cracker is broken, it dies. DIES! Who wants to eat a dead cookie! How do I get enjoyment out of seeing that this cookie had its life cut short because the box got shaken up? LIFE IS SO CRUEL!”

Situation #3Wanting to eat the lone goldfish cracker she found under her ass in the car seat, or the raisin she found stuck to her foot after stepping on it.

My thoughts – “Ewwww, L, dirty. Don’t eat that. Yuck, yuck, yuck!” (Secretly thinking – hmmm, will that tide her over till lunch?)

Her thoughts “Sweet, I found that snack I stashed away for later. I knew I’d need this! Wait, WTF Mom, why are you taking that away? I planted this on purpose! It’s food, dammit. FOOD! You’re supposed to eat it. You’re always telling me to “eat my breakfast”, or “come on, one more bite of supper”, and now you WON’T let me eat? YOU ARE SO UNFAIR!”

Situation # 4 – I give L her favourite lunch, and she refuses to eat it.

My thoughts – “Come on L, you love this! You ate it just the other day and devoured it. I know you like it. Why are you pushing it away today?”

Her thoughts – “Seriously Mom, have you ever just not been in the mood for a certain thing? I had this same kind of sandwich two other times this week, and I just don’t want it today. Can’t you learn to make ANYTHING DIFFERENT? I mean, would you want to eat the same things on repeat all the time? No. It’s boring. AND YUCKY! Why can’t you just make me something new for once?!”

Situation # 5 – We’ve just gotten out of the car to go to my Mom’s, and she is unhappy because I make her walk (not run) and hold my hand on the street.

My thoughts – “L, we’re by the road where there are cars. You have to hold Mommy’s hand. It’s dangerous. STOP! I mean it sweetie. No running by the road!”

Her thoughts – “OMG I’M ALWAYS TIED UP! You lock me into the car seat so I can’t move. You lock me into the booster seat at the dining room table so I can’t move. You put me in a stroller so I can’t move. You hold my hand too tightly by the road so I can’t move. I JUST WANT TO BE FREE, DAMMIT! Look, there’s leaves on Gramma’s front yard. LEAVES! They’re yellow, and orange, and green, and I want them all! I want all the rocks in the driveway. I want to run to the neighbours fence to say “Hi Doggy!” to my friend with the waggly tail. Stop with the restrictions and LET ME LIVE!”.

So I guess I have to try and think of things from her perspective for a bit. I think I ruin her day a lot.

(Don’t forget to vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs! Just one click on the icon to the right = one vote!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

“Heart” – My friend’s strength is immeasurable.

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Well, try as I might, I can’t seem to find a way to “reblog” a Blogger post onto my WordPress blog, but I feel so strongly that my dear friend C’s blog post needs to be shared, that I’m providing the link here and hope you will all go and read it.

C is an incredible Mom to two sweet boys, an amazing photographer, and will soon be giving birth to her third son. This blog post eloquently describes the emotions she and her partner went through on discovering that their unborn son was found to have a congenital heart defect (transposition of the Great Vessels – TGV or TGA), which will require he have open heart surgery soon after his birth.

It’s an emotional post for anyone to read. Even more so for me as she’s my dear friend. And even more so for her to write as she works through her fears and emotions on what to expect.

I did ask her permission before sharing this, and I do hope that it can reach a Mom or Dad going through similar so that they know they aren’t alone. In her words: “The blog is open to the public, I was hoping that it would be able to help anyone going through this, or anything like it. Stumbling on others blogs, and being able to read them has helped me so much. Personal stories always seem the most relatable.”

Please go read it – it’s truly great. xoxo

http://deathbydinky.blogspot.ca/2013/09/heart.html

7

My leaky bladder makes sense now!

Call your mother and say something nice!

My little L will be two at the end of October, which means I am approaching the hell that can only be described as potty training. She’s already shown interest a tiny bit, and has asked to sit on the big girl toilet once, and stayed there for about 15-20 minutes while singing songs and “chatting” as much as a not quite two year old can. Which means, I’ll have to go buy a potty.

So I’ve been trying to mentally prepare myself for potty training. I’m bracing myself for accidents – an unintentional pee in the underpants, not quite making it to the toilet in time, her feeling ashamed of peeing herself, trying to let her know it’s okay, and that Mommy knows it was an accident, etc. Then I realized – it all makes sense!

THIS must be why after we give birth, our bladders aren’t ever the same. THIS must be why when we cough, or sneeze, or laugh too hard we piss our pants. THIS must be why I’m up a bazillion times a night to pee. THIS must be why.

Mom’s are biologically made to accidentally piss themselves after giving birth so that we are empathetic to our toddlers when they piss themselves during potty training. I’ve unintentionally peed in my underpants, I’ve felt ashamed at peeing myself (even if it is just some wee drips), and I need comfort too, dammit! So this is why it happens – so when my sweet L feels embarrassed and ashamed when she has her first pissy accident, I can say with complete sympathy, “It’s ok L, Mummy understands. She sometimes pees her pants too, but we have to keep trying to make it to the toilet on time, and empty ourselves frequently to avoid accidental drips”.

So, my sweet L, Mummy gets it. She really, really does. Kegels just don’t do what they are supposed to do 100% of the time.

(Do you piss your pants, too? If so, vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs – just a single click on the button to the right of my blog equals a vote! If you don’t piss your pants, I’d still  appreciate sympathy votes to make me and my leaky bladder feel a little bit better).