Welcome! I'm Cookie's Mom. You can learn all about Cookie and why I blog here: About Cookie's Chronicles. If you're new here, you may want to SUBSCRIBE TO MY RSS FEED. Thanks for stopping by! Pull up a beach chair and be my guest, won't you?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Best of the Blogosphere:
May 2012 Blog Tour

It's time for the Best of the Blogosphere, May 2012 Edition!

May 2012 Blog Tour

There is so much great content out there, and since there's also a LOT of content out there it's sometimes easy to miss the really stellar posts. Every day we bloggers give pieces of ourselves to the blogosphere. This feature is my way of showing my appreciation for your efforts and to thank-you all for supporting mine.

Won't you join me?

Friday, May 04, 2012

Hasta Luego!

After much consideration (and procrastination), I am finally outta here! Not forever, but for a while. I may - because I lack self-control - be checking in, but if anyone asks, I'm not here!

The plan is to return in the fall. That should give me a few months to deal with the news of our son's illness and rearrange our lives accordingly. Plus, the best months of the year are upon us - time to play!

In the meantime, there's still lots of great content here to explore:

In need of a giggle or a guffaw?
Well, I Never!
You're Not a Duck!
His and Hers
How to Achieve a State of Deep Relaxation... in 2.5 Minutes or Less
The Inevitability of Change and the Futility of Resistence

Or something to make you go 'Hmmm' or 'Awwwww'?
Remembering 'G'
My Heart Belongs to You Little One
I Choose Community not Competition
Ten Things Quotable
Not My Mother's Daughter

Looking for a little parenting advice?
Ten Tips for New Moms
Quiet Time: A Welcome Daily Ritual
Is Competition Good for our Children?
Are Parents More or Less Involved in Their Kids' Lives These Days? Is This Good or Bad?
Do You Take Time for Yourself Each Day?

Or perhaps some help in the kitchen would be nice!
Eat a Rainbow!
Lunch Should be a Four Letter Word
Drink Your Greens
Peanut Butter & Pretzel Truffles
Honey, Is There Anymore Cake?
Cheddar Cheese Potage
(Stay tuned upon my return for some delicious and healthy allergy-free recipes!)

You can also check out some of the fabulous guests I have hosted at Cookie's Chronicles.

And if you're a book lover like me, visit Cookie's Book Club for book reviews, author interviews and great giveaways!

Finally, if you're looking for other great blogs to follow, check out some of my favourites!

To my faithful readers and friends, thank-you for your continued support and feedback. I look forward to reconnecting in the fall. Have a wonderful summer and stay well!



Thursday, May 03, 2012

Best of the Blogosphere:
April 2012 Blog Tour

It's time for the Best of the Blogosphere, April 2012 Edition.

April 2012 Blog Tour

Every day bloggers give pieces of themselves to the blogosphere. This feature is a way of showing appreciation for those efforts and to highlight some great blog content you might have missed!

Want you join the fun?

There are three ways to participate in the Best of the Blogosphere link up!
  1. Link up your best post from the month of April
  2. Recognize a fellow blogger by linking up someone else's awesome post
  3. Write a list of the April posts you enjoyed most, like I did, and link it up. (Remember to also include in your list the post you're most proud of writing this month!)
Please grab and display the BOTB button anywhere in your post. 


Cookie's Mom is not here this month (Cookie is not feeling well). 

This month, Jennifer of Just Jennifer is sharing her picks for The Best of the Blogosphere. Visit her blog to see who she picked, and link up!

This linky will remain open until May 13th.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Letters for You
Guest Post

On the road again.....

Thanks for stopping by! Today you'll find me visiting Tonya, the proprietor of Letters for Lucas. Tonya is a stay-at-home mom, like yours truly, and like me she writes to document life with her son and for a little free therapy.

I am honoured to be a guest writer for Tonya's Letters for You feature!

Today, I'm sharing a piece of my soul with a very personal letter to a loved one.

Come on by, won't you, and share your thoughts on my contribution to this wonderful series?

Feel free to poke around while your there and check out some of the other messages left by previous guest posters. Tonya has amassed quite a collection of deeply moving letters.

Thanks, Tonya, for including me in this wonderful feature!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ten Books You Should Read

I'm taking a wee bit of time out from my upside-down life to participate in a favourite weekly meme, Monday Listicles.

I'm able to do this because this week's list is about books!

Here are ten books you should read if you haven't already. 

Click on the covers to view book details at Amazon.com. Many of these titles are now in the public domain, which means you can get them for free. If you're looking for ideas for newer titles, visit Cookie's Book Club.

A very special guest post
from Cookie's Aunt

You may have noticed a sharp decline in the frequency of my posts of late. That's because life is happening here and I need to attend to it. In the meantime, I have a very special guest post for you today from my sister, otherwise known as Cookie's Aunt.

My sister - like myself, perhaps - does not always recognize her own talents. She is an accomplished seamstress. At least, that is my view, though she will scoff at the idea.

Well, just look at the graduation dress she made for her daughter and tell me I am wrong:

I mean, really! I am ever in awe of her skills with fabric and thread (the irony of which will become clear after reading my sister's story).

"And so without further gilding the lily and with no more ado..." (that's a quote from A Knight's Tale, a movie I highly recommend, by the way), I give you, Cookie's Aunt.


Saturday, March 31, 2012

Best of the Blogosphere:
March 2012 Blog Tour

It's time for my picks for Best of the Blogosphere, the March 2012 Edition.

March 2012 Blog Tour

There is so much great content out there, and since there's also a LOT of content out there it's sometimes easy to miss the really stellar posts. Every day we bloggers give pieces of ourselves to the blogosphere. This feature is my way of showing my appreciation for your efforts and to thank-you all for supporting mine.

Won't you join me?

There are three ways to participate in the Best of the Blogosphere link up!
  1. Link up your best post from the month of March
  2. Recognize a fellow blogger by linking up someone else's awesome post
  3. Write a list of the March posts you enjoyed most, like I did, and link it up. (Remember to also include in your list the post you're most proud of writing this month!)
Please grab and display my button anywhere in your post. Follow me if you like (no pressure). Feel free to leave me a comment - it makes me feel loved! Be sure to visit some of the bloggers I am recognizing this month and those who have linked up below, and make some new friends!


And now here are a few of my favourite March posts:

Friday, March 30, 2012

Things are going to be a little different around here.

It all started early one morning with a scream. “Mommy! Mommy! My belly hurts! Mommy!” Two hours later when his stomach and bowels were empty, and I was exhausted from repeatedly hauling his 45 pound body back and forth between bedroom and bathroom, he crawled back into bed worn out and slept.

The flu? Interesting that I didn’t get it. I get everything!

When he awoke he was better, and his bodily functions were normal.

This scene repeated itself another six or seven times over the following three months. Sometime in the middle of that period, I started to wonder... These can’t all be the result of multiple flus. He recovers quickly. Sometimes it comes back days later and sometimes it’s a month. I’m not getting sick, and I get everything!

There were several visits to our GP, numerous visits to the hospital, one of them in an ambulance, a referral to a pediatrician and finally a blood test that confirmed my fears.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Play Time:
"Name Something Real!"

I'd like to share with you a new, highly entertaining and educational game, invented by the master himself. 

Here are the rules, as best as I can tell.

Name Something Real

1. Name something, as directed, that is real. Pretty much anything qualifies as long as it exists in real life. You may be asked to name something "in the whole world" or something "in the whole house". DO NOT deviate from these restrictions, else you will have to start again (apparently that is a very, very bad thing). Four-year-olds are nothing if not dramatic.

2. Define said real thing. You have three chances to come up with the correct definition.

3. When providing potential guesses as to the definition of the thing, be as silly as possible. Tapping your head and saying "think, think, think" a la Whinnie the Pooh will earn you bonus giggles.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Recently Awarded:
The Sunshine Award

I'm a little slow on the uptake it seems, but recently - as in, three months ago - a kind and supportive fellow blogger, Barbara of Spanish 4 Kiddos, honoured me with the Sunshine Award. Thank-you, Barbara! Isn't it pretty?

Barbara is a native Spanish speaker and Spanish tutor who decided to teach her daughter how to speak Spanish, and we all get to benefit from those lessons because Barbara blogs about it all! She is also a math and science tutor, so her lessons and projects are really interesting. Check out her blog and read more about the benefits of learning a second language.

According to the rules of the Sunshine Award I must now answer some questions about myself:

Sunday, March 04, 2012

I have some mad skills.
These are not them.

Just a reminder, the Best of the Blogosphere linkup will be open until March 10th! Come link up your favourite post from February or a list of your favourite February posts! 

It's #MondayListicles time again with NorthWest Mommy. This week's list topic, inspired by Jessica from My time as mom, is 10 THINGS I AM RUBBISH AT.


Yet another list I could write in my sleep.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Last Summer

Do you remember last summer? I don't know about you - maybe you live in the southern USA and you're happily enjoying a sunny 70s kind of day - but I am cold and longing for a bit of summer heat!

I just turned the heat up because it's snowing... again. It seems like everyday I'm shovelling --> you're singing it in your now head aren't you?

Somehow thinking of this song while I'm shovelling makes the task a whole lot more fun. Haven't had the nerve yet to break into a 'shuffle' while shovelling, but it may yet happen.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Best of the Blogosphere:
February 2012 Blog Tour

It's time for my picks for Best of the Blogosphere, the February 2012 Edition.
February 2012 Edition

There is so much great content out there, and since there's also a LOT of content out there it's sometimes easy to miss the really stellar posts. Every day we bloggers give pieces of ourselves to the blogosphere. This feature is my way of showing my appreciation for your efforts and to thank-you all for supporting mine.

Won't you join me?

There are three ways to participate in the Best of the Blogosphere link up!
  1. Link up your best post from the month of February
  2. Recognize a fellow blogger by linking up someone else's awesome post
  3. Write a list of the February posts you enjoyed most, like I did, and link it up. (Remember to also include in your list the post you're most proud of writing this month!)
Please grab and display my button anywhere in your post. Follow me if you like (no pressure). Feel free to leave me a comment - it makes me feel loved! Be sure to visit some of bloggers I am recognizing this month and those who have linked up below, and make some new friends!


Here are some of my favourite February reads:

Monday, February 27, 2012

11 Questions: The Sequel

It's #MondayListicles time again. This week's topic was selected by Rachel of Totally Ovar It. What are the top ten pros/cons of attending your class reunion? This is going to be a fun topic and I can't wait to read all of your answers.

However, I am behind the eight ball this week, so I'm going to combine two posts in one and write a slightly different listicle.
Before I get to my list, I want to remind everyone that the Best of the Blogosphere linky will go live on Wednesday! It will be open until March 10th, giving you lots of time to link up a favourite post or write up your list of February favourites.
Last week, Bianca of Bits of Bee tagged me in an 11 Questions post. I love her questions, and can't wait to answer them.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

SU and Triberr Tutorial

I've had a request from the blogging world for a tutorial on StumbleUpon. If you're unfamiliar with it, then the first question you may be asking is, What IS StumbleUpon?

In a nutshell....

StumbleUpon is a tool for discovering new and relevant web content. When you let StumbleUpon know what you like by rating (with a thumb up or a thumb down) and optionally reviewing pages, you'll get back recommendations for additional content you might like and might not have discovered otherwise. You can also see what people you follow have Stumbled and liked. Click here to set up an account and start Stumbling! You can also download the StumbleUpon app from Apple for you iPleasure!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

I'm tempted to explain... but I think today the photo will be allowed to speak for itself!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 then, she {snapped}

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

You can't scare me!

I've been through a lot. I've had hard times and hard jobs. I have battled medical issues and still do. I'm a child of divorce. I've been divorced myself. I lost two parents and all of my grandparents, when they were too young - when I was too young! I've been through all of this and more, but nothing prepared me for motherhood.

Yes, it's the most rewarding, wonderful, life-altering experiencing a woman can have and I wouldn't trade it for anything. BUT, it's also the most sanity-sucking, sleep-depriving, confidence-shaking experience I have ever had, or will ever have.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

What would I rather do?
Oh... about a million things.

This week's #MondayListicle, hosted by Stasha at NorthWest Mommy, is an absolute breeze for me to write. The topic, suggested by Wendy of Twisted Domestic Goddess, is 10 things I would rather do than clean the house. To be honest, the list of things that I would dislike doing more than cleaning the house would be far, far shorter. I am just not the domestic goddess that Wendy is.

Before I get to my listicle, a reminder:
If you haven't already, be sure to enter my Blogiversary giveaway! I made something special as a token of my gratitude for the support you have all given me during my first year of blogging. And if you own a Kindle or other e-reader, enter the Cookie's Book Club Blogiversary giveaway too!
And now, an un-ode to house cleaning.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A token of thanks.
Blogiversary Giveaway!

As you may have heard, I recently celebrated the first anniversary of the day I began blogging. What a year it's been! On Monday, I reflected on what it is that I love about blogging in a special dedication. Check it out: It's My Anniversary! And love is in the air.

My first year of blogging wouldn't have been what it was - in fact, I wouldn't have lasted this long at it - if it hadn't been for you, my supporters and friends.

So, in honour of my Blogiversary, I made something pretty to give away.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Jack told me that he wanted to make Valentine's cards this year. A bit of a discussion ensued in which I tried to ascertain just how involved he was going to be in his Valentine's cards project and just how tired I was going to be after staying up all night to finish said project. In the end, knowing full well I'd have to do most of the work, I caved and agreed. Actually, it didn't take that much. I dig crafts.

Here's the result:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

It's my anniversary!
And love is in the air.

I've been blogging for just over a year now, and it's time to reflect on the year that it has been.

I began blogging every day, but after a few months I was worn out! I have two blogs - keeping up with the writing, administration and social media requirements of two blogs has been quite a challenge!

I eventually settled into writing somewhere between two and four posts a week and didn't get too down on myself when even that didn't happen.

Earlier this year, my computer died, and it's been a struggle to find files and get back up and running. The pause taught me that life indeed does go on even if I'm not posting regularly, and that my beloved friends and fans will forgive me and visit when I return.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Linky Followers:
The new way to connect!

Welcome to the Winky Linky Weekend Hop! 

This hop is designed to introduce bloggers to the new Linky Followers widget, which can replace GFC and has lots of bonus features too!  Not only does Linky Followers keep track of all of the blogs you are following, but it also allows you to organize blogs into categories!!  

If you don't have a Linky Followers account, head over to the web site and sign up (it's free)!  Once your widget is on your blog, please link up here so that others can follow you! 

If you follow me and would like a follow back, please leave me a comment with your blog url!  Let me know you're following from the Linky hop and I'll return the follow!

Sunday, February 05, 2012

The Soundtrack to my Life

My west coast friend Bruna of Bees With Honey, picked an awesome topic for last week's #MondayListicle:
“If they were to make a movie of your life what would the soundtrack be like? Share 10 songs that best tell the story of your life. Be sure to include the period or event that each song represents”.
Thanks to computer challenges, and life in general, I'm a little behind, but so be it! I don't want to miss out on this topic. My apologies to Jackie of Wifezilla who chose a great topic for this week too! Click here to read all about what I'm supposed to be writing about today.

Those of you who know me even a little, probably know how much I obsess over music. Well, you can imagine how excited I was when I read Bruna's topic choice. And then... anxiety set in (as if I needed anything else to be anxious about). Just ten songs to represent my whole life? No pressure!

Saturday, February 04, 2012

11 Questions

My blogging friend - and now in-real-life (IRL) friend ever since she moved to Cowtown - Robin of Farewell Stranger, tagged me in her 11 Questions post. Thanks Robin! This is just the thing to help me get back into blogging after a forced computer-trouble-related hiatus.

Robin came up with some very interesting questions for me:

1. What’s your superpower?

Longevity. Seriously. I have SO much stuff to do I may NEVER die.

2. What blog do you never miss? (other than Farewell Stranger, of course)

I don't think I could pick just one. I like to visit the bloggers that regularly visit and comment on my blog - they have become like friends and I like to support them as they support me. Check out my Blogs I Follow page to see who I try to keep up with!

3. If you could change your name, what would you change it to?

Sway. Just Sway. It's an alternative pronunciation of Sue, which is as boring as dirt (no offence meant to lovers and aficionados of all things dirt).

4. Do you consider yourself a “blogger” or a “writer”?

Right now, I'm a blogger, but I have some moments of writing prowess (however small and short-lived they may be). One day I hope to be a writer.

5. What was your biggest failure and what did you learn from it?

Oh boy. Biggest failure? Hmm. I had my own business for a while. I was a consultant on my own. It didn't last. I recognized that more heads and hands are better than just my own when it comes to something of that magnitude.

6. What’s the most embarrassing song in your collection?

Gawd. I'm pretty sure I have a recording of Who Let the Dogs Out around here somewhere. And if that's not embarrassing enough, there are multiple BackStreet Boys CDs in my possession. They don't get a lot of air time anymore.

7. Are you shy?

Mmm, sometimes I guess. I'm quiet in large groups because I have a pretty soft voice. I'm most comfortable one on one or in small groups.

8. How do you prioritize yourself in your own life?

I'm pretty high up there. That hasn't always been the case, but with age I've realized that I need to take good care of myself if I am going to be available to do all that I want to do and be there for my friends and family.

9. Where do you stand on chocolate?

I'm all for it though, these days, it has to be dark chocolate. May as well be good for me too, right? Milk chocolate is very sweet, and, of course, I am already sweet enough. :)

10. What’s your biggest source of inspiration (other than your family, etc.)?

My history, really. MySELF. When I look back at each challenge and how I've risen to meet it, I find the strength to reach even further.

11. What do you hope to do this year that you’re really excited about?

This one is hard to put a label on. I'm excited about a number of changes that are happening that are really about personal growth. They'll result in a healthier, happier, more productive me. Very exciting!

Now it’s my turn to tag 11 others and give them 11 questions to answer. But first…

The rules:

You must post these rules.

Each person must post 11 things about herself on his/her blog.

Answer the questions the “tagger” listed for you in her post, and create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.

You must choose 11 people to tag and link to them in the post.

Let each blogger know that you have tagged him/her.

I'm tagging:

Stasha at NorthWestMommy
Ado at The Momalog
Bruna at Bees With Honey
Tonya at Letters for Lucas
Nadia at Mama and The City
Lisa at Schwartz Chronicles
Amanda at Lilahbility
Bianca at Bits of Bee
Jennifer at Just Jennifer
Christine at The Aums
Shannon at My New Favorite Day

The 11 questions I'd like them to answer are:

1. What would you be doing right now if you weren't answering my 11 questions?

2. If a genie were to grant you three wishes, what would your three wishes be?

3. What's in your purse? G'head. I'll wait while you empty it out and catalogue the contents.

4. What book are you dying to read (or, if you're more of a movie person, what movie are you dying to see)?

5. What are the three best words to describe yourself?

6. If you could trade places with someone for a week, who would it be and why?

7. What is your favourite song?

8. What's the best title for your biography or autobiography?

9. If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money? How would it change your life?

10. Your worst day ever?

11. Did you resolve to do anything differently this year? How's that going?

Perhaps some of these questions will lead to some interesting blog fodder. Hopefully, none of you are annoyed that I tagged you and made you answer these questions! :) Can't wait to read your answers!

Friday, February 03, 2012

I've got the First Friday Blues

It's the first Friday in February, and you know what that means! Oh... you don't? Well, apparently, neither do I. It's supposed to be dress up day at Jack's preschool. Today is Western Wear day, aaaaaand Mama forgot. Mama has a good excuse: my computer died and took with it, it would seem, my brain. Ever since I lost my calendar, and despite my attempts to resurrect/recreate it, I have no idea where I am supposed to be at any point in time.

I'm at the library right now with my new laptop - which is finally, something like a month after the last one croaked, up and running - while Jack is at school sans Cowboy gear (sniff). Anywho... I'm back in the game - ish.

You see, it's not just the fact that I lost my computer, my files, my calendar and my brain that has me in a tizzy.

Last week, Jack and I had a conversation that I've been tormented by ever since. I wondered how long it would be before he started asking questions. I wondered if he would ever ask THE question. Answers? Yes, and approximately 4 years.

"Mom, I want a brother or a sister."

"Oh. Wow. Ah. Um. You do?"

"Yes, I really, really do."

"Hmm. I don't know if that will happen, Jack. Can you tell me why you want a brother or sister?"

"Because then I would have someone - not a mom or dad - someone to be with me always."

"What about your friends? Won't you always have your friends?" 

"Yes, but they won't be WITH me ALL ways."

Oh boy. It's like the kid ripped the words from my brain. This is the one thing that has had me considering a second child all these years. It's a BAD idea for us, for multiple reasons, but for this one reason I haven't yet completely closed the door on child #2.

"Well, Jack, if I have another baby, I'll be very, very busy looking after your baby brother or sister."

"I can help! I'm very good at taking care of babies!"

It's true. He has several of his own 'babies' - stuffed animals - that he sings Rock-A-Bye baby to, comforts, and sleeps with.

"Well, I'll talk to your daddy about it Jack, but you need to know that there are a number of reasons why it may not happen. Remember when I told you that sometimes we parents get lucky and have a child when we want a child, and that sometimes it doesn't happen that easily? Daddy and I are also getting older and... We'll see, okay?"

Older?! We're officially OLD. When Jack is 20, I'll be 3 years older than my mom was when she passed away. It's definitely time. If it's going to happen it needs to happen pretty much now.

I lost my parents too soon. What if I'm not around for Jack when he enters adulthood? We're not surrounded by family here. Jack's cousins are all older than him and far away. I always told myself that his friends would be his family, but... Family is... family. You know?

Ack! My brain is going to explode. What happened to all of the time I had?

Sigh. Time waits for no mother!

Am I blue as the title of this post suggests? I guess a little. I really wanted to give Jack a sibling and so far it hasn't been in the cards.

Anyway, it's nice to connect with all of you again. I hope you are all enjoying 2012 so far. If you don't 'see' as much of me this year, well... you know where I will be. Pulling my grey hairs out!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Best of the Blogosphere:
January 2012 Blog Tour

It's time for my picks for Best of the Blogosphere, the January 2012 Edition.

January 2012 Edition

There is so much great content out there, and since there's also a LOT of content out there it's sometimes easy to miss the really stellar posts. Every day we bloggers give pieces of ourselves to the blogosphere. This feature is my way of showing my appreciation for your efforts and to thank-you all for supporting mine.

Won't you join me?

There are three ways to participate in the Best of the Blogosphere link up!
  1. Link up your best post from the month of January
  2. Recognize a fellow blogger by linking up someone else's awesome post
  3. Write a list of the January posts you enjoyed most, like I did, and link it up. (Remember to also include in your list the post you're most proud of writing this month!)
Please grab and display my button anywhere in your post. Follow me if you like (no pressure). Feel free to leave me a comment - it makes me feel loved! Be sure to visit some of bloggers I am recognizing this month and those who have linked up below, and make some new friends!


Before I get to my list just a word of thanks to my blogging friends for your patience. I have been without a working computer for... a week?... It feels like a month. Luckily, the mouse is away, so on his computer I will play... at least for today. Sorry. I'll stop rhyming now.

Here are some of my favourite January reads:

Thanks to Bianca of BitsOfBee for this laugh out loud post: Thirty Three (P.S. Bianca, I wish! ;)

Here's a super sweet post from Galit Breen of These Little Waves: Wisps of Hair

Loved this post from Shannon at My New Favorite Day: A Look Back and Forward at “Mynewfavoriteyear” through Music.

This post from Leighann of Multitasking Mumma just about broke my heart: Confessions From a Crazy Person (Send her your hugs, will you? I'm sure we can all relate in some way.)

Stasha B of NorthWest Mommy is a fabulous photographer, but she has a personal blog too and, at times like this one, it's hilarious: Fame and Toilet Habits 

This post by Deborah of MaNNaHaTTaMaMMa frustrates me - well, not the post which is very well written, the topic: beyond the bricks to the beauty shop: lego goes girlie 

Mary of My 3 Little Birds wrote a touching post about the loss of babyhood that I can SO relate to right now: For My Daughter 

This post by Sarcasm Goddess of For the Love of Writing is HI-larious - see #3 especially: Please be Gentle, I'm a Virgin 

Tonya of Letters For Lucas shared a helpful and very professional Vlog on the topic of workout tips: Tried and True (When am I ever going to do one of these new-fangled Vloggy things?)

Finally, the post that I am most proud of writing this month looks at the things we say we'll never do... until we do: Well, I Never! (Thanks to Greta of Not Enough Patience and Never Enough Jewelry for this fun prompt!)
My favourite January Pin:
Source: arttherapyspot.com via Sue on Pinterest
If you'd like to link up a list of your favourite January reads but are having trouble remembering just what you read, take a look at: your tweets and retweets for the month, your subscriptions, Facebook likes, Stumbles, and Pins.

The linky will be open for a week.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Opportunities For Growth

The last two weeks have been a challenge. Nothing Earth-shattering, just the passing of my laptop and the loss of a bunch of hard work. I'm typing this post excruciatingly slowly on my iPad. See, not all bad. I still have 'the pad'.

I did spend three hours at the Apple store surrounded by 'geniuses' who had no idea why data was not being transferred to my USB key, on a day when I was supposed to be baking treats for my son's music concert. Had to leave without my data to make it to the concert on time (which was really fun - Jack sang loud and proud and was, not suprisingly to those of us that know him, the loudest on the drum).

This quote comes to mind when I think back on this week:

"If you're not having problems, you are missing an opportunity for growth." ~ Unknown
True. Very true. My computer woes left me with time to reflect on my priorities, more time to spend with my son. Jack and I had a fun week. I embraced the fact that I was in the middle of something over which I had little to no control. There is some freedom in that recognition.

What I did have control over was the outcome. The result of this challenge was a positive one: I used it as an opportunity to connect with my son and to slow down long enough to take in the view of the terrain that lies before me, rather than continuing to trudge on, head low, seeing only my feet.

Without challenges, life would be dull. It would be predictable, true, but very, very dull. I say, Embrace the challenges! Rise above them and have a story to tell!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I'm linking up with Bianca of Bits of Bee for her 
Quotable Bits link up. Come on and join the fun!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ten Things That Give Me Anxiety

Won't you join me for #MondayListicles with @NorthWestMommy?

This week, Ally from Two Normal Moms suggested we write a list of “10 things [we’d] like to see happen before [we] die”. Alternatively, she said we could write about “10 things that give [us] anxiety" but she figured none of us would admit to any. Well, I have news for you, Ally: It was hard to limit myself to just 10!

1. being late
2. public speaking of any kind (the reason why I have yet to Vlog)
3. clutter 
4. figuring out what to wear to a special event 
5. driving in a snowstorm
6. lunch 
7. wrinkles (I really just meant the ones in clothes and sheets when I first wrote this, but, ya... those other ones too and the grey hairs that come with them) 
8. earwigs <shudder>
9. deadlines
10. not having a computer to type my #MondayListicles on (mine is in Apple heaven - had to kick hubby off of his... which actually was kind of fun)

It has come to my attention that not everyone knows what an earwig is. I didn't want to have to do this, but you leave me no choice. Gawd, I can't even look at them - hideous, angry little creatures:

From Scienceblogs.com: 
Earwig in a typical threatening posture

In the animal kingdom, organisms with pincers on their butts are classified in the phylum "evil" 

Come on and join the fun: 

Monday, January 16, 2012

It's About the Moments

This plaque sits on my bookshelf, a daily reminder to slow down, look, listen, and breathe in the moments.

I have a tendency to want to produce, to achieve, and my natural state is one of business. So this plaque has a central place in my home, a gift from a friend, to remind me that there is more to life than a desire for more. It is here, already here, within reach.

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I'm linking up with Bianca of Bits of Bee for her 
Quotable Bits link up. Come on and join the fun!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Well, I NEVER!

It's Monday and you know what that means: Time for #MondayListicles with @NorthWestMommy!

But first, a quick reminder:
Bloggers, are you keeping track of your favourite posts? The Best of the Blogosphere link up returns January 28th through February 4th. I'm keeping track of my favourites in a post so I'll be ready to go on the 28th, and you can too. I'll hope you'll join me in celebrating our fellow bloggers and their hard work!
Now back to this week's Listicle! This week's topic is brought to you by the lovely Greta of Not Enough Patience and Never Enough Jewelry:
"I'll Never...": The Top Ten Things You Said You Would NEVER Do And Have Caught Yourself Doing.
Oh yes. Hindsight. Before actually experiencing a thing - puberty, adulthood, university, first job, and the mother of them all: motherhood - we know it all, don't we? We say things like, "When I'm a mother, I'll never do x." Unh huh. Just you wait future mama! Abolish the word 'never' from your vocab right now (and then prepare to hear it from your child ad nauseum around about the time s/he reaches age four).

One of the first things I did after having Jack was to call my sister and apologize for not recognizing what a colossal undertaking motherhood is.

As a kid, I frequently knew just what kind of mother I would be, as if simply willing it to be was enough.

Well, if I know anything at all now - debatable - it is this: You will be more sure of yourself as a parent before you have kids than after. Parenting is a humbling endeavour. That's a good thing. Most of us, before having kids, could have used a little humbling!

Before becoming a mom, you might have heard me say:

1. I'll never... have a child of my own. From the time I was 17 years old, I thought I would adopt if I ever decided to have children. My feeling was that there were so many children in the world already that needed parents. How idealistic I was back then! Not that my ideas were misguided or wrong, but I was putting the cart before the horse in a way. Once I met my now hubby, I wanted to have his child and no one else's. (Truthfully if resources were unlimited, I would adopt a bunch of kids too.)

2. I'll never.... rock my child to sleep. Okay, I'm not judging, but I didn't want to create a bad habit that I would later have to undo. I planned to help my child learn to get to sleep on his own in his own room in his own bed. What I didn't plan for was his having acid reflux - possibly because he was born a few weeks early - and the pain he would feel after every feed. So, I rocked him to sleep. In fact, he slept overnight in a swing for a couple of months until we got his medication figured out and the pain subsided. Poor little gaffer!

3. I'll never... be one of those parents that drives their kid around wasting time and fossil fuels just to get their child to go to sleep. Soon after becoming a parent I learned an important lesson: You do what you have to do. And everyone needs sleep above all else when there is a new baby in the house. Yes, I drove... and drove... and drove so that my baby could get some rest, while I continued to function in a state of hyper sleep deprivation, all with a smile on my face and an educational song on my lips! I'm still waiting for my medal.

4. I'll never... give my baby a soother. 'Cause, baby's teeth might come in funny, he might also suck his thumb, his language skills could be delayed, maybe he won't take a bottle or refuse to nurse, and those things are dirty, and, and, and.... and the world might suddenly hurl itself into the sun!!! Boy, did I worry before I became a mom, and then for a little while afterwards. Truly, as moms we will always worry some. But if my child would have taken a soother, I would have been all over it in those first few agonizing months. I spent a good hour one day trying to convince him it was the best thing since milk à la boob. No go.

5. I'll never... feed my kid junk. I try hard not to. I may create some kind of pathology within my child, truth be told, by being as strict as I am. But every now and then I have to let go of this. Kids are given treats, there's Hallowe'en, birthday parties... PLUS it's not like I never eat stuff that's not good for me, and we all know how effective the Don't do as I do, do as I say parenting technique is! It's about balance and moderation and I think we're doing okay there.

6. I'll never... bribe my child to do something. Oh, how naive I was to think I could go a lifetime - my son's - without ever bribing him. Bribes, rewards, consequences... all important tools in the parenting toolkit. My parenting expert friends might not agree, but here's my thinking: I'm not perfect, never will be, and if I work so hard that my child ends up being perfect how will I ever relate to him? And besides:

magnet displayed prominently on my fridge

7. I'll never... buy brand name clothes. I'm a bit torn about this one. I have a thing about sporting brand name wear as a statement of status. As cute as kids can be all decked out in the latest fashion, I just don't want to send the wrong message to my kid or to anyone else. I want my kid to shine... not his clothes. I DO buy some brand name clothes though if the company is socially conscious, if the clothes are well made and reasonably priced, and especially if they are on sale. Mama loves a sale!

8. I'll never... use the TV as a babysitter. FAIL. It was two years, in fact, before Jack saw ANY television at all. BUT... eventually I got tired of having to wait until he took a nap or hubby got home just to take a shower. And then when naps were no more, well... TV time is now the only time that my son is quiet! He talks non-stop! Love him dearly, but my brain would explode if it weren't for Treehouse and CBC Kids.

9. I'll never... have a house full of primary coloured plastic toys. Ah, yes. Oblivion. Ignorance. Absolute bliss, isn't it? I actually believed that not only did I want to maintain my relatively mono-chromatic existence but that it would be possible. Well, that rule was broken before the little guy was even born, and now? Despite my attempts to house my son's many colourful toys in baskets and bins, they're everywhere! I've learned to embrace the fact that my house doesn't look like the cover of a magazine. My house looks lived in, and that's pretty comforting.

And finally,

10. I'll never... do that! We humans have a tendency to rate, rank and otherwise compare ourselves. We also come equipped with all sorts of values and beliefs (aka baggage) that direct our judgements of others. Even after becoming a parent, there is still a tendency to judge the actions of another parent against our own expectations of ourselves. I learned to do less of this as I discovered that there's just no way to know ahead of time what decisions will be the right ones for my family. And then I vowed to try never to judge another parent's actions without first understanding the circumstances, especially a parent with kids older than mine!

Great topic, Greta, and a good reminder that uttering the word "never" practically guarantees I will be eating my words one day soon!

Here's to the future and the inestimable ways in which I will be proven wrong... again!

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I'm also linking up today with Just. Be. Enough. because letting go of too high expectations and laughing at our own inflexibility is part of motherhood! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Honk. Shooooo.

Jack, do you think you'd like a nap today?

No thank-you, mommy. I'm not tired!

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My Heart Belongs to You, Little One

I'm linking up today with Bianca of Bits of Bee for her new Quotable Bits link up. Come on and join the fun!

Today I am preparing to register my son - my baby - for Kindergarten. KINDERGARTEN! Sigh.

Big snuggles this morning. I love our lazy starts. I'll register him for afternoons to hold onto them a little longer. It's too soon for full days. Grade 1 will be too soon for full days!

It's a good thing that the letting go is gradual. Baby steps. But no matter how gradual it is, I feel it. I feel his move towards independence. It's a good thing. The natural order. Still my heart aches with thoughts of 'losing him'.

He's my only one. There's a whole lot of me wrapped up in him.

Today's quote says it all:

Boy, did she nail that! That is exactly how I feel.

I understand completely why mamas want to have more kids at this stage. This is the stage when snuggles are fewer and farther between. We long to feel that closeness that we knew nothing of until the day our first child was born.

Bitter sweet. But the memories are enough to sustain me for the rest of my life. Had I not become a parent - even just the once - I would not have known that my heart could expand to hold so much more love. 

Though it's hard to believe it myself, it feels as though my heart grows with love for him each day. Elizabeth Stone's quote articulated something for me that until I read I only felt. Intensely

Take my heart with you little one, for though it aches to be separated from it and from you, I would have it no other way. My heart belongs to you.

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I'm also linking up with Lovelinks @FreeFringes,
a super cool place to hang out!

Stop by each week, link up a favourite post.
Come back the next day and vote for your favourites.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Work, work, work!

It's Monday Listicles time again with @NorthWestMommy.

This week Squashed Mom asked us to write about the Top Ten Strange (odd/unusual/funny/interesting) Jobs we have held in our lives. I don't know how interesting my previous jobs will be to others, but they have each, in their own unique ways, shaped who I am today.

1. I sold magazines - for one week! Worst. Job. Ever!

2. I worked at an auto glass company, answering phones and generally trying not to overhear what insurance rules were being broken by my sleezy boss.

3. I was a salad girl in two different restaurants. Actually had a lot of fun working in kitchens with some very quirky characters!

4. I was a hostess and later a head hostess. Oooh. Ahhh. I know!

5. I was waitress of both food and later cocktails. In that latter job position I referred to myself as a liquor prostitute, having had to dress up in a skirt and high heels to sell alcohol. Sometimes fun, most of the time just exhausting, but it paid some of my university bills... by which I mean it kept me in Mac 'n Cheese.

6. I worked for a fancy schmancy car credit company. Every time I told people who I worked for they would be totally impressed and ask if I drove one (mostly I said, No).

7. I greeted people at the university and told them where to go - right up my alley! :P

8. I worked as a peer counsellor at university. Great job. I love helping people. Can you tell by the fact that all of my jobs have been in the customer service industry?

9. I programmed computers and fixed them when they broke. Okay this one may not seem to be about customers, but it is. Everyone is your customer when you are in charge of the computers!

10. I'm a mom. Hardest job ever! Best. Job. Ever!

There you have it - my working life in a nutshell.

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Have a list of ten things?

Link it up!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Enjoy every single moment!
Really? Even this one?

I just read an article entitled Don't Carpe Diem by Glennon of Momastery.com.

It's interesting to me that this article should come my way today (via @Deb_Bryan), having recently posted my One Word that I will focus on this year:

Moms, you've probably all experienced this. You're out with the kids, doing a little shopping, possibly looking a little frazzled - something to do with child A tormenting child B while child C empties the contents of your purse into a bin of rice in the bulk foods aisle. A nice (or perhaps not so nice) elderly lady looks at you knowingly and suggests that you, "Enjoy these moments. Enjoy every precious one. They'll soon be over. They grow up so fast!"

When this happens, I tend to recognize the comments as a wistful look back by the speaker. I try to see them as a gentle reminder of what is so wonderful about my kid at this age, and I try not to think of the millions of ways in which I am not Supermom and sometimes not as grateful and calm and patient and engaged and perfect as I might like to be. 

But... there are also days I would rather someone just commiserated with me than tell me I should be enjoying myself. It's wonderful - for these ladies - that they seem to remember only the joys. However, if they remembered at least some of the challenges perhaps they would be more considerate and more careful with their words. Glennon says: 
Being told, in a million different ways to CARPE DIEM makes me worry that if I’m not in a constant state of intense gratitude and ecstasy, I’m doing something wrong.
That really made me think. I do a lot of talking about gratitude myself, but the reality is sometimes reality just plain stinks.

I need to remember this when I am at that stage - when I pass through any life stage and feel the urge to give advice to someone at the beginning of it. I need to remember what it is like for me when someone else seems to know what's best for me, having 'been there'.

I just love what Glennon will say when she reaches that stage of reminiscence - when she sees a mom in the grocery store struggling to maintain order:
“It’s helluva hard, isn’t it? You’re a good mom, I can tell. And I like your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. She’s my favorite. Carry on, warrior. Six hours till bedtime.”
Take the time to read Glennon's article. It's brilliant. She has some great suggestions for a modified version of the elderly lady plea to treasure every moment.

I also loved this comment from "Rachel":
yes, yes, yes!

I will never forget the time an older woman came over to me after I had left my grocery cart where it was and was physically manhandling my screaming, limp toddler out the door. She said (and in hindsight, she must have been yelling!!!), “one day, she’ll be all grown up and you’ll miss these days.”

REALLY??? this one? you think?

As I replied to Glennon: "...I have wondered if I am doing a good enough job – not just of parenting, but of life in general – if I am not enjoying myself at least most of the time. In fact, I’ve felt enough pressure around that sentiment that I selected REJOICE as a word to focus on this year. It can’t hurt to try to rejoice a little more in the glorious things that happen... [but]... while rejoicing more where there are things to be joyful about makes sense, reacting in natural ways to the things that aren’t so great is no failure."

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Do you enjoy every single moment of motherhood? 
How do you respond when people tell you that you should?
(I could use some witty retorts in case what happens to Rachel ever happens to me!)