Saturday, August 27, 2011

Who Are You Running For?

The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run For The Cure 2011 campaign has a focus on telling the stories of why we walk/run and they're doing it in a unique way...though our shoes! Grab a pair of shoes and start painting. Get creative and show the world who/why you are walking and running. What is your inspiration? Who do you want to pay tribute to?

For some ideas and inspiration head to this site: 

Tomorrow the Run Committee is convening at the Muttart Conservatory to paint our shoes! We will have some paint supplies on hand if you would like to come down and paint your shoes with us. We'll also have an information booth open from 12pm-4pm if you would like to pick up any info on the Run or about CBCF.

Those are the shoes I painted :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Stay At Home Mom

The other day I heard someone joke that stay at home moms watch soaps and eat bonbons all day. I could tell that they were only kinda joking and kinda serious. It made me wonder how many people secretly think at least part of that is true? I figured it might be interesting to some to know what I actually do with all my time throughout the day so I kept a diary one day last week of how I spent my time. It's not super exciting but may give some a chance to see there is no time for soaps and bonbons!

My day starts at 6:45am when the kids get up. We have 15 minutes of snuggle time and then I spend then next 30 minutes helping them get dressed, make their beds, brush their teeth, all the while trying to do the same for myself.

After that I head downstairs where I made breakfast for the kids, fed the cat, made coffee for Hubs, emptied the dishwasher and restacked it with all the breakfast dishes.
Then came the crafts. We spend several hours a day on crafts and at this stage of their lives they need lots of help with them. Yesterday I kept track and we did painting, Funfusion (little beads you put together to make a picture (they're the bane of my existence as they take a long time to put together, then one little bump and the whole thing will be ruined), shrinky-dinks, mosaic art photos, sticker/stamps/glitter glue pictures and workbooks.  We didn't do it all at one time but at various times throughout the day so there is lots of time spent on set up, helping with the craft and then clean up.

Mid-morning we had our daily outing. We try to plan at least 1 activity a day outside the house and today we went to visit a 1 week old baby for some baby snuggles. After an hour there we stopped at a playground so the kids could work off some energy. This outing then basically took up just over 2 hours of our day. Other outings we do during the week are visiting the zoo, Muttart, playdates, host luncheons, etc.

Errands. Normally I run an errand almost every day. Yesterday we only stopped for gas so it only took a few minutes but I can run errands, like getting the groceries, that can take 1 1/2 hours. Generally throughout the week I hit the dry cleaners twice, groceries twice, the bank, post-office, go shopping for kids clothes or gifts (birthdays, new babies, anniversaries, etc), take library books back, and the list goes on.

After getting back to the house it was time to make lunch. I estimate between making 3 meals and 2 snacks a day I'm spending 3 1/2 to 4 hours on cooking/meal prep. With that comes cleaning up all the dishes and other household chores. Yesterday I did the dishwasher twice and 3 loads of laundry. This dishwasher is an every day thing but the laundry can be swapped out with garbages, sweeping or washing the floors, cleaning the counters, cleaning cat litter, etc, etc.

In the afternoon we played hide and go seek, played in the backyard, played cars and I answered 10 million questions about life. Well maybe not 10 million but it sure feels like it with 2 kids in the same 'Why? What's that? Who is that?' phase.

At about 3pm I finally put on a movie for the kids so I could hit the treadmill for 40 minutes. Did I watch soaps? No, I watched Ratatouille, the Disney movie. At least I'm grateful I didn't have to watch Toy Story one more time!

Then after dinner we played a few games before bath, books and bedtime. After getting the kids to bed it's usually between 7pm-7:30pm. After that time I generally do some volunteer work, research to find outings for my volunteer group, book reservations at restaurants/hotels, and keep up correspondence with other friends and family.

As mentioned all days are slightly different but this is the basis of most days. Things will be changing in the fall when I estimate I'll be spending up to 3 hours a day in the car. I'll be driving DD to school 5 times a week, plus DS to preschool twice a week, and both kids to swimming lessons twice a week. My car is going to be my best friend for the next 3 years until both kids are in school full time. THEN maybe I'll give myself a day to watch soaps and eat bonbons just to see if it's all it's cracked up to be.

Monday, August 15, 2011

July Reads

Because we've had so much rain this month it's given me more opportunities to read than I usually would get in the summer months. I threw in some strange selections this month but got to strike 2 books off my 501 Must Read list so that's always a plus.

1. Emil and the Detectives - Erich Kastner:  This was such a sweet little book! I randomly selected 3 new books to order based on my 501 Must Read list and this was one of them and certainly my favourite. I would say this book would be perfect to read to about 6-8 year old. Even though it was meant for a younger audience I really enjoyed it and thought it was super sweet :)

2. Bossy Pants - Tina Fey: Loved it! I love her sarcastic humour and thought it was really well written. I liked finding out more about how she got started and her years at Saturday Night Live. She's brilliant and it was fun sneaking a peak into her life.

3. Tom's Midnight Garden - Philippa Peace:  This was another one on my 501 Must Read list though I can't say I'd agree to its presence on the list. It was geared to kids maybe 10ish? The idea was decent but there wasn't anything stunning about it. My favourite part was the last page of the book which gave me a few tears in my eyes as there was 1 really sweet, memorable sentence.

4. Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy:  This is a dark, dark book. Cormac tends to write dark books but I found this one to be in a different category. Many people say they can't finish reading The Road and yet I found that book to be really engaging. I liked the characters and felt that I had stock in what happened to them. In Blood Meridian I felt that we never really got attached to any of the characters, instead you just floated around watching what was going on and what was going on wasn't pretty. This probably isn't a book I'd recommend to many people, just a select few I know would find it interesting.

5. The Time Traders - Andre Norton: this was book 3 I purchased from the 501 Must Read List.The one thing I found most interesting about this book was that it is Sci Fi and written by a woman in the late 50's. How uncommon is that?!? She wrote under several male names as she figured no one would buy her books under her real name. The concept was decent but I found the actual book to be a bit of a mess with no fluidity. Granted I'm not a huge Sci Fi fan but the few books I have read have been more compelling.

Friday, August 12, 2011

My Great Equalizers

Whenever I've had a rough day I search out the same few things to make my day right. If I'm on the road and am having a bad day I search for the nearest Starbucks. Chai makes everything juuuuusssttt right. The first sip makes me say 'Ahhhh', and each sip after that just seems to help me put the pieces back together.

If things have gone wrong and I am home I want my bathtub and a book. There's times I would be perfectly happy to crawl into that thing in the middle of the day but I can usually hold off until the kids are in bed. It has amazing restorative healing powers! (no, I don't rent it out, it's all mine!!)

Volunteering or setting up a volunteer event always brightens my mood. I can go to a volunteer outing in the worst mood ever and find that it's turned around in 2 minutes flat. Once you see who you are helping and why you're there, it melts all other worries/stresses away.

A snuggle with the kids or an impromptu hug or kiss from them is also a Great Equalizer, especially if they were the ones causing my stress ;) I feel lucky that my daughter is a snuggle bunny. She loves to hug and kiss and snuggle up close so if I'm in a down mood I just scoop her up for some snuggles. My son does this more sparingly but it makes it all the more special when he volunteering one on his own.

There are days when I need all of the above and days where I might just need one. The days I get  none of the above - watch out! Back up! Danger! Danger! DANGER! 

What are your Great Equalizers? What helps to make you feel better when you're having a rough day?