We are on the island of Maui right now and in full on vacation mode. Which means blogging is taking a back seat to playing at the beach and enjoying the Hawaiian sun. This is my 4th time to Hawaii and my kids 2nd time, they are lucky children. Both of them are enjoying the double parental attention and I’m enjoying not feeling the stress of the daily grind.
See if you can pick out what is false and what is true:
- I drank a rum and coke out of Josie’s straw sippy cup while at the pool.
- We’ve been sleeping in every morning and it feels great.
- I’ve had my share of fish tacos and I still want more more more!
- We have booked 2 different luaus because we couldn’t decide which one to go to.
- I’ve been snorkelling every chance I get because I love feeling the waves crashing on me while swimming in the ocean.
- I bought a $30 blow up pool turtle and decided to get it blown up at the shop without thinking about having to walk it (and the crappy travel stroller) back down the board walk.
The whole family absolutely adores Hawaii and I love it so much that I was even checking out real estate and condo prices. A girl can dream right? I also love having paid vacation from work and every chance I get I say to my husband, ‘I’m getting paid RIGHT NOW!’. With that being said, I’ve booked myself my very first cabana massage on the beach. Rules are that you should wear a bathing suit but I might have to bend those rules for a really good shoulder massage!
A few years ago we had a measly 3.5 hour flight to take a then 1.5 year old Ben on and I stressed. I researched and researched how to survive traveling with young kids, I packed special presents and treats that I carefully selected. I was nervous about all the ‘what if’s and didn’t want to be that family on the plane with the crazy crying child.
Turns out the boy had a 2 hour nap cuddled up on me and then played with one of the many toys that I had brought. It went way better than I expected and I wish I hadn’t given so much effort to worrying that it would be a miserable experience.
This was our first flight and my carry on bag was carefully packed with special treats,toys and books. I was over prepared and put too much worry into how it would go.
Traveling with your children is definitely one of those parenting milestones and it feels so good when you get through it successfully. I have a couple of girlfriends who have amazing stories of traveling with their kids, including airplane rides that last over a day and include a tiny infant and toddler. In comparison our trips were nothing like their marathon flight with kids in tow.
In a few days we’re going on an airplane and this time each kid gets their own seat. Last year we did over 8 flights with Josie on my lap and I’ll be glad for the extra space. I’m not putting any stress or worry into flying with my kids and am just going to roll with it and try to be low key. In general, my kids are pretty well behaved but they can get a big naughty when they are tired, hungry or overwhelmed. They can also easily be bribed with lollipops and I’m totally okay whipping out a special airplane lolly on the flight as needed.
Through my own experience, talking with friends and reading all your blogs, I’ve come to realize a few things about flying with kids.
- There will always be someone who is unhappy to see your brood board the flight. They will be obvious as you will either hear them sigh as you walk by or you’ll see them stare/glare in the direction of your child. Don’t worry about them.
- There will also be someone who is equally happy to see a smiley family, especially if your kids are looking cute and/or there is a baby in your arms. The amount of times older ladies asked if they could help me out by holding Josie was seriously awesome. Especially the time I was sandwiched in between two different dudes with Josie on my lap while my husband and Ben sat 10 rows back. Baby loves unite!
- Your kids will seriously enjoy the 1:1 attention you give them from all the family togetherness in tight quarters. Pre kids I used to love buying a stash of magazines at the airport and flipping through each page in between naps, but times have changed and that’s okay. Now there is endless games of tic tac toe, colouring pictures together and acting like I’m super interested in everything. What’s that, you need a lollipop?
- I don’t have many rules about electronic devices while on the airplane. In fact, I make sure they are super charged before we take off and that they have a few new games or favourite TV shows on them. While we normally like to have some time limits on iPads and iPhone use, airplane travel is not a daily routine and so we switch things up. A movie will be watched for sure.
- If you’ve tried your hardest and things still fall apart just remember that you will never see these people again. This is advice from a well travelled mama friend of mine who has done many international flights with her active family. Even the best kid can have a hard time so don’t be to hard on yourself.
On that note, I’ve got to start ticking off my ‘to do’ list and embracing the fact that I am officially on holidays. I’ve also got to remember to go and buy some lollipops. What works for you when you travel with your kids?
The other day I was feeling sort of gross and grungy and had a little extra moola hanging around in my purse and knew that a bit of shopping therapy would boost me right up. I totally embrace the science behind shopping as a mood and so I dutifully followed my own advice and shopped.
This past summer I had fallen in love with a fragrance from Jo Malone while shopping at Nordstroms in Portland, and it’s been on my ‘WANT’ list ever since. So, I went to Holt Renfrew downtown and stood in front of the Jo Malone shop knowing exactly what I wanted. It felt fantastic buying the bottle of Red Roses perfume that I had been coveting since August. It’s now my current scent and each spritz makes me feel kind of happy.
The fancy touches like wrapping the bottle up in a box with tissue paper and tying it all up with the perfect black bow, plus a generous amount of samples, just sent me over the edge. Soon my bad mood became more distant and I started feeling perky and even had a spring in my step. Each time the wind wooshed past me on my walk home, I caught a sniff of the perfume and all was good. I’m sure that my serotonin was just flowing because my gross grungy feeling was replaced with a good chunk of happiness and each time I give myself a spritz I feel very satisfied.
I know I’m not alone here. Have you ever bought yourself something to lift your mood? If you haven’t, I can make a strong case for you to buy yourself a present. Who doesn’t like a nice present?
Both of my kids have baby books and both of them are dreadfully cheesy and I remember being dissatisfied with the selection that was available to me at the time.
I chose to take a peek at the Wild Child theme and instantly fell in love with the thick pages, lush white cover and clean lines. I really appreciated discovering the envelope neatly attached to the back of the 12 month keepsake. It’s a perfect spot for tucking away hospital baby bracelets or other special mementos that you don’t want to lose track of.
I really loved the categories that Lesley included in her baby books, especially the spot to write your birth story and one for a special letter to your baby. The book records milestones up to 12 months but is bound with a screw style that lets you add pages if you wish. I’m so impressed with this book and I think you will be too.
Mushybooks is giving one lucky reader a fabulous baby book of their choice. This contest is open to Canada and the US, the winner will be drawn on Feb. 24th and has 48 hours to respond. Enter below and good luck! You are going to love this baby book!
A couple of days ago we had plans to host a cute little Valentine’s party and had bought decorations and made cards for little friends. The kids were so excited and for several days beforehand they were running around chanting, ‘We are having a party! A party! A party!‘. Ben had made lovely handmade paper cards for the guests and practiced writing out their names and glueing on hearts he had cut out. It was going to be a special party for sure.
Then early in the morning on the day of the party sickness took of ahold of both me and my husband and the party plans were squashed. I told Ben to go and eat whatever he could reach and give some to his little sister too because mama was just too sick. He came back with a silly grin and said the only thing he could reach was the cupcakes on the counter. You know you are really sick when it’s 8 AM and you say, ‘I don’t care. Eat the cupcakes and give some to your sister‘.
It’s such a helpless feeling when both parents are ill and the kids are looking at you and asking what’s for breakfast (it really was cupcakes people). It was a terrible day in the land of sick, while leaving out all of the intimate details, I needed good drugs and lots of IV fluid before I felt like I was in some kind of control over being myself again. Pro tip: if you have over 3,000+ mls of intervenous fluid go into your body and in the next 12 hours you only have two tiny pees (and you DON’T look all puffy)…you were extremely dehydrated.
Now, I’m not one to call myself overly stubborn but I do have a hard time being blunt and asking for help. During the sickest moments I texted, ‘oh I am so sick‘ to my parents and a couple of friends but I never once said, ‘I need you over here right now. Collect the kids and dog and take them’. I just don’t want to trouble people or make them go out of their way to help me out. Of course, if someone said that to me I would jump right over and wouldn’t think anything of it.
After a few text messages a girlfriend came over and walked the dog, dropped off some supplies and played with the kids. As soon as she left my sickness cranked itself up a few notches and I felt that really horrible sense of despair. My kids were asking me what was for lunch and why was I was making so much noise. My response was, ‘ eat cupcakes!! I don’t care!’. I soon realized that I could not be dealing with this at home and the thought of doing so with the kids around seemed like an impossible feat. I could plunk Ben in front of a TV with cupcakes and he would survive, but Josie is still too little and I just could not physically take care of her.
Long story short: I never did bluntly ask for help, instead my sweet friend just put things on hold and came and supported me in the ER. My parents hopped a ferry boat and made their way over here and took my kids to a hotel and have been entertaining them since Monday evening. Both my husband and I have been laid up in bed and we are getting the chance to rest and recover, hopefully getting back to our usual routine soon. While the Valentine’s party did not happen the friendship and love theme I was emphasizing to my children was truly a lesson that unfolded for our entire family.
My personal history with Valentine’s Day includes meeting my husband for a first date many many years ago. We had met on line back in the day before it was socially acceptable to admit to people. This was early 2000′s and people did not talk about on line match making and it was sort of taboo.
We connected pretty quickly on a local entrainment site that had an on line message board. He was new to the neighbourhood and I wasn’t really looking. Our first date was a coffee shop meet up where we laughed (a lot) and he seemed very normal. Then we met for a bite to eat and a few days later he cooked me an amazing dinner and it was that date when I became totally hooked. He could cook, oh could he cook and the love keeps on flowing
After we had a baby I told him I didn’t need any fuss for Valentine’s Day and that it was over rated and we should just ignore it all together. Huzzah! For the last couple of years I’ve always bought chocolate the following day and everything was great. This year I told my husband that it’s back on. I don’t need Valentine’s Day to feel special, happy, loved (blah blah blah)…but I do love a good excuse to be a bit more amorous with your mate. So, for right now it is fully back on.
If you’re a local Vancouverite you might get excited by the offerings that The Pie Hole has got going on this year. Wow your sweetie with a heart shaped box filled with pie. Seriously, this is such an ingenious idea and a great reason to eat pie. Limited quantities available so check it out. These pies are on fire!
If you’ve ever felt even a little bit annoyed with how a Valentine’s Day went in the past, than seriously consider taking charge this year. and book in with downtown’s 4 Angels Beauty Care. I just had my brows threaded there and they are perfect. I’m eyeing that jewelry sale going on too, Jenny from the blog ‘Ruminating Mommy‘ shows you the fancy jewels she just picked up.
Sweet Bake Shop has teamed up with Confetti & Co and came up with a very fun Valentine’s gift. Frill balloons and cookies…I seriously love that combo. My kids would adore the fab frill balloons and I would love the cookies (in secret, after they went to bed). Tessa has done some baking for our family birthdays in the past and I’ve always enjoyed every bite.
Hope you feel the love Vancouver!
Tonight I work a night shift and the next night I work a night shift, this means I’m in full on self care mode right now. This is my attempt at taking care of myself so I can actually feel somewhat decent physically/mentally/emotionally and in turn be a good nurse and a kind mother. Self care doesn’t mean I’m at the spa or sleeping the day away in preparation for staying awake all night. It does mean taking care of things of various things so that I feel my best (I do love the spa though).
In order to feel my best I cut way back on extra activities during the day of my night shift. I don’t attend any functions or make big plans, I just take it easy. I always (always!) feel my best when the house is clean and the fridge is fully stocked, so I make sure that happens before going to work. There is just something about a nice orderly living space that makes dealing with night shifts that much better. So, today I’ve done some laundry, scrubbed the bathrooms and my husband went grocery shopping with Josie. I’ve picked out the kids clothes for tomorrow and packed up Ben’s school bag. These things just help me to feel organized so I avoid that uppity overwhelmed feeling that’s so easy to feel when your body is stressed from being awake all night.
Since it’s a weekend my husband is off work and I get to have a delicious nap before I head off to work this evening. Sleeping before a night shift is something I most definitely took for granted before I had kids. I remember how I used to get all panicky when I only had a 2 hour pre work nap and now I’m pretty satisfied if I can clock an hour in my bed without someone needing me. With the lack of opportunity to catch a nap, taking care of myself is even more important.
Self care means putting attention toward the things that make me feel good. For me today that meant having a shower and lathering myself up with lotion and then sitting down on the couch and cuddling with my kids. I like to take things before a night shift very slowly and I try my hardest not to beat myself up over not being able to do it all. There is nothing selfish about self care, instead it is mandatory in order to keep your mind and body healthy. Since going back to work last year after my maternity leave ended, I’m an even bigger advocate for self care. Just like you, I don’t have time to be bogged down by sick days or extreme lethargy and I need to feel good. Self care helps me with that.
As a shift worker with type 1 diabetes, self care is even more important and really helps to keep me healthy long after my night shifts are over. Being awake all night makes hormones, like cortisol, do crazy things and being a diabetic means that I am more at risk of having really wonky blood sugars from the stress of being awake all night long. This just means that I need to sleep when I can (sleep really is where it’s at) and make sure I have healthy food to eat. There is just something about being up at 2 AM makes you want to eat Doritos! I will never push myself to stay awake after working a night shift and try to live a regular day doing mum things. I will always make sure I get to go to bed and let my body rest and recover. Not only am I a much nicer person to be around, my body thanks me with normal blood sugars.
If you’re reading this and you are not a shift worker, a mother or a diabetic, self care still applies to YOU. We all need to practice self care on a regular basis so that we can be the healthiest person possible. So, tell me…what do you do to take care of yourself?
Back before we had kids we lived in a posh condo and all of our furniture was bought as a couple. We were newlyweds and we enjoyed having a double income with no kids. After we got married we moved into a new condo and we sold all of our individual furniture from our single days.
It was such a fun time in our lives; going out and being together, walking the streets and looking at interior decor shops. We were building our home as a couple and it felt carefree and fun. Years later and we still use most of the pieces that we bought back then. However, some of the purchases were made before ‘certain people’ walked around with peanut butter on their hands and blueberry yogurt on their mouths. Those pieces of furniture are highly regretted and create stress.
A couple of the pieces of furniture we picked out moved nicely from us being a single couple to a full on family of 4, what didn’t work was sold on Craigslist. We bought awhite micro fibre sofa bed to fill our guest room and it is one of the purchases we have to date. When we bought the white couch (from here on out to be known as WC) we were thinking about how we could host people who came to visit. It went into our second bedroom and was infrequently used and rarely sat on.
Then we had our fussy baby Ben and my husband spent a good portion of the first few months sleeping on it while I bed shared with the baby. We eventually moved apartments and the WC went from being in a guest room to being out in the living room and being used every single day. At first I didn’t really notice the fact that there was always kid dirt on the WC. It was easy to clean up with a wet cloth and not such a big deal to take care of. Guests would ooh and ahh that we had a WC in a home with young children. I always told them that it seemed like no big deal and was easy to keep clean.
It has been at least three solid years since we reached the lifespan of our WC sofa bed. I don’t think the WC can handle much more dirt and I think that something needs to be done. The WC is something I have grown to hate and every little stain makes me increase my level of hate towards it. My husband and I even had a passionate debate about going on a family vacation versus buying a new couch and we never reached a mutual decision. Instead, we just keep living with the WC and it is used and abused and has given us more use than what it was worth back in 2007.
You see, my dream would be to donate the WC and buy a lovely darkish sectional to replace it. Changing things up by also swapping out the lovely long brown leather couch that fills our living room as well. The problem is, my husband and I see things differently on the this matter. He thinks it’s not wise to make any big furniture purchases while the kids are so little, knowing that a brand new couch may also fall victim to being a napkin for some peanut butter or yogurt. His thoughts are, why spend money on something new that will just get ruined. I hate it because he a little bit right, but I still really want a new couch.
It drives me nuts that the WC is basically used as a napkin by the youngest family members and that it sits in the middle of our main living space with its various stains. It is the elephant in the room and we just keep pretending that it’s okay and that it works in our home. When visitors come over I try to hide the evidence of its life by draping a fluffy throw over it or piling pillows on top. I think that sooner than later the WC might be known as ‘the grey couch’ or the ‘splotchy marble looking couch’.
We haven’t yet reached a mutual decision but I’m leaning towards wanting a vacation and a new couch. Bottom line, if you plan to have kids in your life forgo buying a white couch.
Last weekend I was busy with work which just means all the routine household things were at a standstill until I was on my stretch of days off . Shift work does have it’s benefits, like more than 2 days of in a row, but the days that I do work are all sleep/eat/work and repeat. The dust bunnies become giants by the time I get off of my last night shift! Funny enough, I’m the only person in our family that sees them!
Yesterday I totally was feeling overwhelmed with all of the things that I wanted to get done in our home and felt like I was going around in circles trying to do it. It took me on and off through the whole day to eventually get through about 75% of what I intended to do, and I decided that was pretty decent and threw in the towel.
The problem with housework is that it’s never ending and it always waits for you. I remember ‘the good old days’ when I lived alone in a one bedroom apartment in Vancouver’s West End. I’d go off to work and my apartment would stay amazingly beautiful and clean. No one accidentally peed on the bathroom floor and forgot to clean it up, counters were kept impressively free of crumbs and my bed was made before heading off to work. 13 hours later I’d come home and it was like time had stood still.
I go back and forth between just accepting that living in an apartment with a young family will create mess and that maybe it’s not possible to live totally mess free. That is the sensible part of me that says that. This morning after taking Ben to school I decided to test out that idea. I did a minimal tidy job on breakfast dishes and miscellaneous mess and packed Josie up for a park play date and just went outside.
This turned out to be the best idea and totally made me stop focusing on what I felt like I should be doing (cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, blah!). Of course, the amazing sunshine was definitely a mood booster but so was not focusing on wiping up bathroom floors and washing up dishes and getting the toys picked up. Sometimes apartment living can be hard as we really live hard in the space that we have.
Josie and I had an absolutely fabulous time walking the seawall, being silly and playing at the park until it was time for lunch. When we walked through the front door I still saw the breakfast crumbs sitting around but I actually felt sort of refreshed and I was very happy with my decision to let some things go. I would rather feel the happiness of having fun with my kids than the weight of my ‘to do’ list than can be done at some other time. Plus, the longer that you’re out of your home the less mess that accumulates. How is that for forward thinking?
The next time you feel overwhelmed, tired, stressed…whatever the case may be… I totally encourage you to just go outside. Something magical happens when you let yourself get caught up in the moment and temporarily clear the distractions that can make you feel overwhelmed.
One thing I love most about being a perinatal nurse is being able to provide one on one labour support to my patients. I absolutely adore pulling out different ideas and tricks for my birthing mamas to help them cope and move through their labour, and also figuring out what works for them. My comfort zone is hands on support as well as trying to pick up non verbal feedback to see if things are working or if things need to be changed. Some people love to be touched and others not so much.
Labour support can look like a lot of different things, but should always be focused around the labouring woman and her optimal well being. In a labour room you can find me with my hands on a mama’s lower back giving counter pressure, coaching her breathing, encouraging low sounds and bringing her partner into the support. Sometimes her own support people are so fabulous that I end up doing extra nurse tasks that happen during labour, but my all time favourite is being able to provide the labour support.
5 Things I love To Do During Labour As Nurse
- When I bring my patient into her birthing room I often have already snuck in ahead of time and raised her bed up high in the sky. This is my little trick to get them to stay up and moving around and not crawl right into the bed. When the labour bed is near the ground with the blankets opened, it seems that most mothers come into the room and lay down in it. Just a funny behavioural thing I noticed after 8 years on the job. Except for a rare few situations, labouring laying down can be more intense and also opens more opportunities for further interventions, like more vaginal exams and extra fetal monitoring.
- If I get the opportunity to talk with the mother before things get really harried and active, I always ask this question, ‘do you have any special wishes for your birth?‘. I really dislike the term birth PLAN and I feel like the longer and more detailed a birth plan is, the more potential for disappointment and let down to occur. However, give me a bunch of wishes and hopes and I can see what we can make happen! I believe that every birth is an unwritten story and each one if full of surprises, no plan can ever encompass what may or may not unfold as you labour.
- I am always mindful of the huge impact that I have on my patients labour. Ask any mama about their birth and you will be met with a detailed story about what went down, who was there, along with the good and the bad. After having my own babies I’m even more aware of the positive role that a good nurse or care provider can have on a labour.
- My words matter and the dialogue I have with my patients during labour is important. I choose my words very carefully and they are always positive, supportive, encouraging and repetitive. I often say the same things again and again, ‘that’s it…keep going…yes, just get through this part…that’s perfect….just like that….you’ve got it’. I also choose the tone of my voice very carefully to meet the need of what is happening at the moment. My soft soothing s-l-o-w voice compared to my loud in charge voice get different results and each can be useful in different stages and situations.
- Back when I had a long induction and labour with Ben, I realized the importance of the support people getting breaks too. There is no point in everyone being exhausted and tired all together. It is much more beneficial if the support people get opportunities to refresh so that they can bring energy to the room. I try to find a good opportunity for the support person to leave the labour room and get a break. Whether it’s to go and grab a coffee or some lunch, making sure everyone is taken care of is really important. Which is why I always appreciate getting my own break too!
What do you remember most about your labour?
Dancing as labour support? You bet! Got to love some funny distractions during labour!