Mama in the City since 2008 and blogging since 2009!

Single me: get a degree, work a job, make some money and spend some of it it on fun stuff for me.

Married me: enjoy coupledom, eat out LOTS, spend money on luxuries just for us!

New Mama me: get through the day, focus on my babies, survive.

Experienced Mama me: get through the day, enjoy my kids, enjoy my husband, learn new things.

After having baby #2 and going back to work, I’ve been in a good groove with the day to day grind and I’ve felt really comfortable with how things have been working. I had a job that I was good at and my biggest concern was getting enough sleep and what to make for dinner.

Then I decided it was time to get out of my comfort zone and learn something new

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This weekend I taught a prenatal class with my friend for her company. She is mentoring me one one one so that I can eventually take on some of the classes on my own. I am so excited for this opportunity but, to be totally honest, I’m sort of nervous at the same time. This is a big learning curve for me as I’m used to teaching at the bedside as a maternity RN with just 1 couple. So, being in a class of 20 people as a prenatal teacher has been a different experience for me.

So far I’ve done 3 prenatal weekends and each time I’ve loved it and I hated it a little bit at the same time. I’ve come to realize that my personality really wants to be an expert at things right away and I feel frustrated when I can’t be an expert right from the start. The hate part is because I was surprised that I didn’t feel totally comfortable in a new situation despite it being related to a familiar topic. I also know that  I am one of those personalities that gets a little uppity with change.

Teaching this past weekend reminded me of the time back when I was a newlywed and I confidently told my husband that I could most definitely paint our entire apartment. In fact, I was SUPER excited to paint it! We picked out the colours, bought the paint and supplies and off I went! It turns out that I am not a naturally talented painter and after 2 days we hired a professional painter to come and finish the job.

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I was worried that the same thing would happened when I went to teach a classroom full of expectant parents. Previously I had told myself, no problem I can totally teach prenatal classes! However, on the first class I got up in front of the class and realized there was a bit more to it than just feeling passionate. There are actual skills to teaching a large group of adult learners. No matter how excited I feel about birth and breastfeeding and baby care, I wasn’t naturally talented to just teach right off the bat. I needed some actual lesson plans, notes, experience, etc to feel good about what I was doing. Who would have thought?

I am so glad to have a mentor that I can learn from and take her experience and grow from that. Each weekend that I’ve spent teaching prenatal classes has been a really good learning experience for me. I honestly can’t wait until the time when teaching a large group feels like second nature to me. I am welcoming this new season of my life and am excited to see how it unfolds.

When was the last time you got out of your comfort zone and tried something new?

Time Out!

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July 23, 2014 // Uncategorized

Raising Josie has been a hilarious parenting ride so far. I feel like I am constantly having to keep on my parenting toes to figure out how best to parent her. Her 2 year old personality is nothing like her brothers was at the same age, so I can’t fall back on my tested out parenting tricks from kid #1 with her.

We’ve recently had to start time outs with Josie for either not listening (safety issues) or naughty behaviour. We give her a warning and help guide her on to something else but the girl is Stubborn (with a capital S!) and so far these approaches are often met with a big laugh and smiles. Apparently we are hilarious when we are trying to be serious with her and she will laugh in our face when we are being stern. After her warning, if she doesn’t change her behaviour, she gets a 2 minute time out. The first dozen of times were met with huge drama from this girl but she is slowly catching on and (sometimes) the warning works to help her shift that behaviour before things escalate.

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How we do time outs:  

  • Call out the behaviour (hitting, not listening, being unsafe, etc)
  • Give a warning to change the behaviour
  • If they don’t change the behaviour they get a time out in minutes that is similar to their age (3 years is 3 minutes)
  • Child goes to a quiet area or their crib and is told they are to sit there for X minutes and a timer is set
  • Timer beeps and parent goes to the child and asks, ‘do you know why you were in time out?’.
  •  We get down on their level, bring them in our laps or sit next to them. The child says what happened and then apologizes if it’s appropriate (hitting your brother, etc)
  • Hugs are given and we move on. We don’t bring up the time out or rehash it once it’s over.

We didn’t start time outs with kid #1 until he was 3 years old and even then he didn’t have oodles of time outs and often the warning was sufficient enough to change his behaviour. Time outs worked great with kid #1 and even at 5.5 years old the warning of a potential time out usually changes his behaviour.

We all adore Josie and her huge personality and she is a hit wherever she goes. The girl is a constant performer who expresses her emotions to whomever will listen to her. She’s challenging and strong willed and, according to my parents, somewhat similar to me as a little girl. I feel like I am going to be in trouble when she is a teenager. I’m hopeful that time outs will work with her like they did so well for her brother. It’s not about punishment, it is about taking the time away from the situation to reset and calm down and also reflect.

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 What do you think of time outs? Do you give them to your kids or do you do something different?

Fellow Vancouver blogger Tairalyn of Little Miss Mama is currently hosting a lovely giveaway to win 4 luxurious sleep sets from Lusome. She asked me to share a sleep story with her readers and it turns out that I had many to choose from! It’s funny how once you have kids the topic of sleep becomes so pivotal in your day to day life and conversation.

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Next week The Craft Council of British Columbia and Circle Craft Cooperative Summer Market will be at the Jack Poole Plaza downtown Vancouver for their free summer market. This is a great event for locals and out of towners alike. to come and enjoy . I’ve loved their Christmas Markets and I’m sure I will enjoy browsing and shopping the summer market this year! I’m looking forward to the open air style, the summertime vibe and enjoying all of the artisans.

I’m excited to be giving away 100 Summer Craft Show Dollars to spend at the upcoming market! One lucky reader will be able to do a little shopping! How awesome is that? This is a short giveaway and the winner will be announced on June 21 and will have 48 hours to claim their  prize. Maybe I’ll see you there? 

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I want to come across as a relaxed mother when I’m out with the kids. One of those calm, cool and collect mothers that can manage two children with ease when out in public. Playing with them and laughing out loud and just being carefree. So far this summer we’ve been doing lots of outings and one thing that I’ve come to realize is that I’m not naturally a calm, cool and collect mom when I’m out with the kids and I tend to find myself getting a bit uppity chasing Josie around and watching Ben at the same time.

My nearly 6 year old is okay to play out of my direct sight, he knows our safety rules and what kind of behaviour I expect from him, after all he spent a year at school going for lunch and recess without a parent hovering over his every move. It’s my 2 year old that is a different story! She is that toddler that will dart across the road without any sense of caution to be had. She would gleefully join another family that has better snacks or run after a cute puppy dog that she saw across the way. There’s no way that I could safely get caught up in playing with Ben and let Josie just play in the periphery. She is too feisty, curious and super FAST on her feet when it comes to her impromptu get away moves.

I’ve been finding my balance between being a mum that can keep my kids safe and also being able to engage with both kids and just have a fun time. Right now I find the age difference a little bit challenging because they want to do such different things. I’ve had Ben should out, ‘Mum! Mum! Watch me!’ while he is doing something cool or new and my quick response has too often been, ‘Sorry bud! One second! I’ve got to chase your sister!’.

One common interest of both Ben and Josie is heading to a water park. So, this week we went to two different water parks on back to back days, one out in the burbs and one in the city. As long as I am okay with getting wet at the water park then I can be that fun mum to Ben and also play with Josie and keep her from running off and joining another family.

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Running around at a spray park in the late evening is a great way to burn off some extra energy and cool down on these warm summer nights. It was also something on our Summer Of Us list and even though we will still be going to the water park many many times in the next couple months, we can officially cross it off the list that Ben made with me. I also love knowing that my kids are running around and being physical and having a totally awesome time too.

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I know that when I’m working I have less energy to run around and immerse myself into their world and I’m sometimes happier on the sidelines watching them and keeping Josie safe from taking off. Luckily for us water parks are our happy medium, not just for the kids but for this mama as well because I really do want to be that fun mum.

 

It was the first trip with my boyfriend to go and visit his parents and I remember feeling really nervous about it. Probably that feeling was made more intense because we had to get on 3 airplanes and fly to a different country, in a different time zone and stay at their home. All on the first meet and greet. This was no family dinner with the potential for dessert, it was a full on immersion into their home.

By the time we rolled up to his parents house it was dark out and we had been driving in a fairly remote area for quite awhile. I was getting all antsy wondering where we were going and when we would be there. Finally we saw a red glimmering large letter F and my boyfriend pointed it out and we were there! His dad had made a big reflector shaped letter F for their surname. He posted it right at the top of the driveway so people wouldn’t miss their house. I loved that.

Turns out I was worried for nothing the visit was fine and his parents were lovely, kind and welcoming.  We stayed at his parents home and slept in twin hospital style beds in their guest room. It was a serious treat to be able to use a convenient control and reposition your bed all around and not actually be in the hospital. I kid you not.

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Somewhere I have an old photo of me standing with the F before we left to fly back to Vancouver.  He died awhile after I first met him and I never got to see him again after our first visit. Eventually his mom moved and I was sort of sad that the big F was done. A couple of years later my boyfriend became my husband…yada yada yada.. and for some silly reason I wanted a big red F. Recently I was out and found a sale on largish wooden letters and so I went and searched for my own F. The first top colour choices were already all sold out, eventually I found a lucky silver F and took it home.

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I’m still deciding where to hang it but I seriously love it. I love everything the big F represents and if one day down in the future I ever get a home that has a front with a driveway, you can be certain that there will be a big F somewhere nearby.

 

I’ve always had a desire to be really crafty and creative mama with my kids. I’ve often wished that I was one of those people that could knit and bake amazing cakes with absolute ease, but it turns out my craft is sub par and I don’t always love the process. Even though I’m not an amazing Pinterest mom I do have a bit of gusto in my desire to be creative with my kids. So, this is good right?

I was feeling festive this Canada Day and had bought the kids cute themed shirts and we had done some colouring of Canadian flags. We had plans for a fun day out with family across the creek at Granville Island. [Side note: I was not prepared for the craziness of the crowds at this event. I knew it would be busy but it was truly wall to wall person and it was hot. My kids had fun and enjoyed the parade and the street performers, but I don't think we'd go back next year]. 

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This festiveness I was feeling made me tell the kids that I was going to be baking a cake for Canada Day. In my head I pictured one of those cute flag cakes and it would be vanilla cake and topped full of strawberries shaped into our Canadian flag. When I told the kids about the cake they were so excited and somehow it turned into the kids wanting to bake the cake, ice the cake, decorate the cake…by themselves!

I decided to change what I was hoping to do, lovely themed cake that was Pinterest worth, and I let the kids into the process. Ben made the whole cake except for the oven part. He was fantastic at following directions and cracking eggs. The cake tasted great, the icing job was definitely more than eclectic. Ultimately it looked perfect to a 2 and 5 year old. They were amazed at their gorgeous cake decorating  skills which was a fun reaction to watch.

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For the record all of this craftiness happened before 9 AM and by 10 AM I let them eat a piece of cake. I felt that since we had been up since half past five it was practically midday for us. It also turns out that when you have kids you don’t just eat cake you make it a celebration. So, we brought out candles and sang happy birthday and closed the song with a big round of applause.

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Maybe it wasn’t the festive dessert I was planning to make, but it was still a fun time. Of course I’ll still be seeking Pinterest and looking up all the special cakes and crafts. I think now I’m also okay with settling for sub par in the craftiness department, as long it ends up to be just us having fun together.

THURSDAY- I was honestly feeling hormonal and was extra annoyed at various strangers who crossed my path. The lady who cut me off in traffic and flipped me the bird when I honked. The dude in the elevator at the Costco downtown who was oblivious of where his cart ended and my children began. I was short on patience and over tired and I was ready to snap. So, I yelled at the kids, my husband and the dog. I just wanted to have some time alone. I wanted to just lay on the bed in silence with nothing pressing on me, no one asking me what I’m doing, no one touching me.

FRIDAY- An emotional day on the job left me feeling zapped as I worked through a sad situation that left me feeling vicariously affected. I felt exhausted on a different level, an emotional exhaustion that was more tiring than any physical exhaustion I’ve had as of late. I’ve always hated when people hear that I work in labour and delivery and say, ‘Oh! Such a happy place to work!’. My response has always been the same- ’98% happy, 2% really sad’. I don’t even know what the true stats on this are, but what I do know for sure is that the 2% has always been very memorable to me. The 2% sad effects me long after I clock out after a 12 hours shift.

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SATURDAY- We have things to do! Places to go! I took the kids and headed down to the underground parking to head out of town for a special birthday party. Arms loaded with bags, food, pressies, etc…and I discovered that my car battery was dead.  I had a brief, but vivid, memory of my kids playing with the interior lights while they waited for me to load the back of the car with groceries a few days back. I felt an intense anger rip through me and a big, ‘are you fucking serious?‘ come out of my mouth. Luckily for twenty bucks you can call a taxi to come and give you a boost in a matter of several minutes. I love things like this when it comes to living downtown. I had absolutely no patience for one.more.fucking.thing.

I tried really hard to let things go and be in the moment but I struggled so hard with it. I felt a shortness in my breath and a tightness through my body that was warning me that I was letting stress get to me.  The kids picked up on my annoyance level and adjusted their amount of questions in the car from appropriate to insanely ridiculous. When I saw two sets of eyelids fluttering with sleep, I silently clapped my hands and obsessively checked in my rearview mirror to see their precious faces sleeping. I kept the music off and just drove in silence.

Once we got home that evening I started to feel physically sick. Nauseated, headache, ridiculously tired. I knew that I wasn’t sick per se, but if I pushed myself any further I’m sure that I could have been. It was only just after 9 PM and I asked my husband to help get me into bed. He obliged with sweetness, drew up my night time insulin, jabbed me in the arm and put a glass of water and an emergency low blood sugar juice box next to the bed (true love).

SUNDAY Thanks to my crazy early bedtime, I was able to sleep for nearly 11 glorious hours. Sleep is truly the ruler of all. It is the key to keeping us sane, to making us feel physically well and allowing us to continue to tackle each day. I lounged in bed until almost ten AM with my two little sidekicks curled up on either side of me watching a silly show on the iPad. There was a cuddly puppy dog atop my feet and a husband who was busy cleaning up our place while we all lounged and rested.

MONDAY I put nothing on our agenda. Nothing. We went to two different playgrounds, we rode bicycles, played with dollies outside and splashed around in the water feature next to us. I cleaned, I did laundry, I didn’t freak out, I didn’t yell. I did drink iced coffees and I did have an afternoon G+T in an old tumbler while watching my kids play on the grass outside. Slowly I felt myself distancing from feeling the heat and my breath became easier and that tightness in my body started to go away.

 

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I’m taking care of myself today so that tomorrow has the chance to be really awesome.

 

Next month I’m going to be 35 years old and while I’m totally cool with that,  I really do embrace every year that I get to blow out candles on my cake, I’ve noticed that as I move into my mid thirties I’ve really started to enjoy spending time by myself. I used to be that girl who had to be around people all of the time. Every day/night that I had open I’d plan a meet up or an outing of sorts and it was fun. It felt good to be busy and enjoying myself socially and, at the time, it really felt like living.

Now that I’m nearing 35 I’ve started to notice that I crave the need to be alone more than being out or busy. The truth is, some nights I’d rather be having a bath and watching Sex and the City on my lap top on the bathroom counter than going out for a delicious amazing dinner with hilarious friends. I want both for sure, but somehow the loner in me is coming through a bit more as each year passes.

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I know that nothing quite marks time like watching children grow up, they are a visual reminder of time and change. Today I was heading into Target with the kids when we caught the eye of a stout elderly lady who ran up to us at a slow steady ‘I want to talk to you!’ speed. It turns out that she did want to talk to us (of course) and after admiring the two cuties she told me to enjoy every moment because one day they grow up and they leave you.

I know this is true and many people have told me the same thing over the last 5.5 years of my parenting gig. I know their teeny tinyness has a time limit and I really try to embrace their time being so little. If one day later on this turns out to be my story too I will want to know that I had no regrets from our years together when they were young.  I don’t claim to be the perfect parent who never loses her cool, instead I’m a realistic parent. Sometimes I lose my cool and feel like the day is really rather long and other moments happen where I get a different perspective.

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It’s true, our babies really do grow up. They finish kindergarten and get taller and correct you on your knowledge of the life cycle of the butterfly. There are many moments in from 0-5 that feel like forever and are exhausting, but I’m guessing that the older I get the more I will forget those long days and remember more of the sweet moments I spent with them.

 

I’ve been a nurse for about 11 years, not including the time I worked as a student nurse caring for terminally ill kids in their homes. I can feel the growth in me from the time I was a new nervous caring nurse till right now. I look around at my friends, at the people I enjoy spending time with, and I realize that they are mostly nurses. Except for a few cherished ‘non nursing’ friends, it seems that about 9/10 of my friends are nurses and I love it.

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Shift work schedules can be tiring but they also lead to a great chance at a social life that can happen throughout the week. When you are friends with a nurse you can almost guarantee that she will be available for a brunch meet up on a Wednesday in June.  I probably had the most outings back when I was on my maternity leave with Josie. Without my own shift work schedule to plan around, we met up with the nurses on a Wednesday very frequently. I loved that they had rotating schedules! Since I tend to work a lot of weekends, my time to meet up with friends is often on a random weekday. Which means a lot of nurses are friends with other nurses and share a social life.

You can talk about really really gross stuff with us and we don’t get all weirded out or awkward no matter how personal the problem. In fact, we actually care about what is happening with you. That’s what nurses do, we care. We might have a tiny giggle when you tell us about a funny physical ailment that is ‘top secret’ or that is about a ‘friend’, but we truly are happy that you are sharing with us.

We aren’t prudes when it comes to talking about the intimate details of your body. Nurses get to see a lot and we are keen observers to all of the variances of the human body. (If you’re a nurse fill in the blank: No Two ________ Are Ever Alike). Since we’ve probably seen almost every shape and size of almost every single part of the body, we are great at making our reaction to new scenes and situations look cool and calm.

A nurse friend will come to the doctor/ER/scary appointment and support you. I’ve had my nurse friends sit with me in the ER when I was sick and when I’ve had my eyes dilated while taking care of a tiny baby. Truth be told, no one delivers gatorade and Gravol suppositories to your door like a nurse friend does. Nurses care about other people plain and simple which makes for a great friend.

Nurses work in many different areas like  medicine, surgery, ICU or maternity so I’ve ended up having a  friend in almost every single speciality of the human body. I love being able to ask my friends my own health related questions as they crop up too. In turn, I get lots of pregnancy and baby questions thrown my way and I love that.

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For the most part, nurses are kind and caring and also enjoy celebrating almost anything with a glass of wine. Having a nurse for a friend means you will always have someone who genuinely cares about illnesses in your family or if your dog dies (or your neighbours dog dies). They will also laugh with you at inappropriate jokes and bestow you with many comical moments, many that involve the human body. There is no shame when you are a nurse.