Friday, 22 June 2012

"Get to"

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      Sometimes I need a shift in my thinking. I need a little pick-me-up and I need to purposely seek out ways to make different situations feel a little less overwhelming, difficult or tiring. I like to be inspired by others. I like to be inspired by what has worked for others and then actually put them into practise. Something that I read this week really got me thinking and completely inspired me...

       The idea was that you need to turn all of the difficult moments in life from "I have to", to
"I GET to". Sounds pretty simple. Sounds pretty cheesy. But I love it.

      When I read this, it immediately brought me back to our days of endless sleepless nights with Mya. Being woken up (at times), every 45minutes and on a good night every 2hrs for over a year completely killed us. I remember one night at 3am, after not having slept at all that night and endlessly rocking our crying baby in my arms, I literally had to remind myself that I wasn't dying. My entire body felt like it was falling apart, drained, exhausted, sore...possibly the worst feeling I have ever felt. But I got through all of those really rough nights by shifting my thinking and instead of feeling sorry for Terry and I, I felt grateful.

      Through the screaming and crying late at night, I reminded myself that there were people out there who would give anything in the world to take my place, rocking their own baby in their arms...screaming or not. There are people out there who would give anything to be kept up all night long if it meant that they could have a child of their own.  How lucky both Terry and I were to be in the position of a baby wanting us, needing us and crying for us. This thinking is literally what got both Terry and I through those incredibly tough months. (And for the record, we're now blessed with a 20month old who sleeps 10-12hrs a night for those out there who are feeling like it will never end...I promise you, it gets better).

      So when I read the whole idea of shifting your thinking from "I have to" to "I GET to", it really resonated with me, since I realized that I could use it through all of the other tough moments or times that life throws at us...just as I did when Mya was a wee baby.

For Terry and I...

We get to wake up every day ridiculously early when Mya cries for us in her crib.
We get to change her dirty diapers.
We get to take her to the park at 7am since she just can't ever wait to start her day.

For others, it might be that you get to wake up early, pack a lunch and get ready for work every day--can you imagine the amount of people who would literally do anything to have a job that they have to get up for each day?

This little switch in my thinking has completely made me take the frustrating, hard, tiring moments in my day and instead feel grateful for them.

I just love when I read something that clicks for me...and this one certainly did.


And on a different, but somehow similar note, something else that I'm grateful for? dad. He finished painting the ugly little side table that I found the other week at a thrift store (for ONLY $6!!)...and it's ready to go into our new baby's room. He used the same process of sanding and painting as he did with the baby's new dresser. But this time the whole side table cost us about $12. Brilliant.

Here is the before pic...


And the after...

Feeling grateful for everything that I get to do now...I'm sure it'll be another fabulous weekend.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Ode to Terry

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      It's hard for me to start writing this post, as I don't know where to begin. When I start thinking about Terry and the kind of dad he is, it gets me choked up immediately. Then when I started uploading these photos of him and Mya together I could barely see my computer screen anymore through the blur of tears.

When Terry and I started dating and I began to get to know who he really was, I remember thinking to myself "he'd be a great dad one day". Knowing that I would stop at nothing to have a family and be a mom, it was definitely a priority for me to be with someone who had the qualities that I knew I wanted in the father of my future children. And he had them all--then some.

He amazes me every day with his natural ability to care for Mya, love her endlessly and cradle her for hours, like his arms were made just for her.

     He loves his little family of girls like no other. And with one more on the way, a boy, (which will undoubtedly even out the pink frills and girly dresses that consume his life right now), I have no doubt that he will blow me away again with his ability to love and care for yet another tiny life.

I love listening to him talk to Mya when he thinks that no one else is listening. I love the way that he sings to her even if he doesn't know the words. I love how he tucks her in at night, rubbing her back and giving her extra cuddles and kisses just before she shuts her eyes. I love how he knows how to do all of the little things and remembers all of the details of caring for her without me having to remind him. I love how he just knows what to do. I couldn't ask for a better dad for our kids and I could go on for hours about how loving, caring, gentle, kind and amazing he is towards our little Mya.

So for Father's Day this year, he definitely deserved to be celebrated...and celebrate we did.

And it was extra exciting this time knowing that he was a daddy already..and a daddy-to-be to our new little bundle-to-be.

We had a wonderful Father's Day afternoon of searching for ants on the sidewalk...

going for a family walk...


and enjoying a little play time with everyone outside...

along with a little impromptu dancing in the kitchen with Nana...

a delicious dinner with the family...

and of course some gifts for all of the wonderful dads in our family. These three dads are the best of the best. Hands down.

Happy Father's Day to my incredible dad, Mya's dad, Oliver's dad...and all of the other great dads out there!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Perspective through photos

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     I went to get a massage the other day since my whole body was feeling tense. The stress of everything has gotten to me and my body is letting me know that it's all too much. My school schedule is jam-packed. Report cards due, field trips coming up, parent information night, inputting running record info, clearing out my classroom and all of the millions of due dates, meetings and details of finishing up the school year have completely taken over my calendar. However, the real stress still lies in this pregnancy and all of the fears and the unknowns. So my sister took it upon herself to book me a massage and I've decided that I purposely need to start finding new ways to de-stress.
    Bubble baths will become a regular occurrence in this house. Massages will become routine. Staring at darkness late at night when I'm lying in bed, worrying, will turn into cuddles with Terry instead. Perspective needs to be kept in check and focus has to be redirected onto the joys of the little things that make life so great. Sometimes shutting off the negative, especially when you can do very little to change the outcome, is the best way to keep life light, happy and joyful.
    My parents have always taught me that "happiness is a choice". They taught me that you have to purposefully seek it, reach for it and create it in your life. You can't wait for it to come to you or for someone else to provide it for you. Smart parents I've got. I try to live this way.
    So in speaking of perspective and focus, I wanted to compile a few moments of joy, love and happiness that have still tried to creep into our life amidst the tornado of stress, sadness and worry that have filled this house over the past couple of weeks. Really it's just for me. So on those days when it all feels too overwhelming, I can sneak back to this post and remind myself that life is still oh so good. It's all about perspective.

    So, with that said:
1) Watering our flowers with Grandma:

 2) Playing in the rain: There was a day last week where it poured like crazy. So after picking Mya up from daycare, we came home and just before I was about to grab the umbrella and quickly dash into the house to keep us dry, I dropped my bags off on the front porch and ran into the rain with her instead. We splashed in puddles, danced around the driveway and tried to catch raindrops on our tongues as the raindrops fell hard all around us. It's my hope that these kind of spontaneous fun moments of joy will forever be etched into her memories of her childhood.

3) Waking her daddy up on his birthday to 2 girls singing Happy Birthday, complete with balloon in hand, omelet, bagels and milk for a nice little breakfast in bed. This dad deserves to be spoiled..and no better day to do so than on his birthday. Crazy bedhead and all.

 And a little birthday bbq dinner cheer for the old man.

And of course ice cream for dessert...

4) Hair clips: I love bows...I love barrettes...I love anything cute that I can put in this kid's hair. And finally she is letting me do it without tearing them out 2 seconds after I put them in. I just love that.

Hair clips on the dog are even better.

4) A little backyard stroll: Doesn't get better than that.   

4) Elton John sunglasses at the breakfast table: Sometimes it doesn't take much at all to make a normal, every day occurrence a little more memorable and a lot more fun.

5) Festival at the Farmer's Market on my day off (complete with free cupcakes!).

And free face-painting!...that didn't go so well though...but the lady at least got a little colour on her cheek before she squirmed away.

Stickers on babies is funny. At least we think so. 

And little Oliver...well...enough said. There's just no little boy who is any cuter.   

With many more happy moments to come I'm sure...I'm feeling better already. 

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

To find happiness...paint a dresser.

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     When life throws you a curve ball...go do something fun. That's my theory at least. Life may not be going exactly as we had planned, but there's always room for some happies (you may just have to look a bit harder for them). For me, that meant pushing the stress of the unknown with this pregnancy out of my mind for a minute, and focusing on the exciting part of putting the baby nursery together. Not to say that I don't spontaneously get teary eyed throughout the day thinking about the scary possibilities that we might be forced to face in the weeks or months ahead...because I do, I have and I will...but for now, I'm choosing to be happy and focus on the joy of preparing for our new baby boy. So that means prepping the furniture in his new room.

     The one thing that Terry tells me all of the time that he appreciates about me is that I don't like to spend money on certain things that people might expect that I'd like to blow a buck or two on. A typical girl like me who loves fashion, shoes, decorating, crafting and nice beautiful things would stereotypically blow the family budget in one shopping trip alone. But I can't even tell you how much I love a good deal--and I'll exert a lot of time, effort and patience to get what I want at a fabulous price. My whole theory is that if we can save money on the little things, we can therefore afford to buy the big things that we want without barely thinking about it.

     So when it came to having kids and the incredible expense that follows, I knew I'd have to get creative in order to save money where we could.

     It started with Mya's room, as we learned that you could literally spend thousands and thousands of dollars on cribs, rocking chairs, dressers, change tables, etc. So after I picked my jaw up off the floor after walking out of those beautiful baby boutiques, I decided that I could transform old furniture into beautiful pieces with just a bit of paint and creativity.

     Before she was born, I transformed my grandma's old dresser with some white paint and new handles (and decided it was much more cost effective in the end to just place a change pad on top of a dresser instead of buying a separate change table that we would only use for a couple of years).

      I then managed to get a free rocking chair from a lady my mom knew and I scrubbed that thing clean, painted it white and all of a sudden it looks like everything coordinates. And it cost me less than $20 total. Awesome.

I then transformed an old ugly side table that I found at a thrift store for $15 into a cute little tutu table for Mya.

We did however buy a new crib and mattress--but everything else was used and transformed from ugly to beautiful. (I made that little Mya name on the wall too--cost me about $12 total).

     So with this new baby on the way, my intentions are the same once again: find old pieces and make them new again---and save a buck along the way.

     After months of randomly popping into different thrift shops and looking on Kijiji all of the time, I thought we'd never find what we wanted (this is where the whole patience thing comes in). We needed a low dresser (so it could be used as a change table as well) and it needed to have at least 6 drawers or more. But when my dad came over with his phone in hand to show me a photo of a dresser that he found at a thrift store by his house I was thrilled. It was exactly what we were looking for. Nice and ugly with those gold handles. Low. Lots of drawers. AND only $40. Perfect.

    So since this pregnant lady can't be around spray paint (which, by the way, we've learned works even better for painting furniture than regular paint), my dad offered to paint it for us (thanks so much dad!).

Here is how he did it:

1) Make sure you buy 'gloss' spray paint.

2) Give the dresser and drawers a quick sanding so the paint will adhere.

3) Start spraying: you'll need to do a couple of coats.

4) We realized if we went out and bought new handles (9 of them total) for this dresser, we'd be spending more on the handles than what we paid for the dresser. So we decided to paint the handles instead. Just take them off the dresser and paint them separately, any colour you want.

5) Voila! New dresser, ready to be filled with wee little baby clothes...and it only cost us about $60 total including the cost of paint. Brilliant.

Here's the BEFORE pic again:

And the AFTER.


    Now go out to a thrift store, or even look around your house and start scoping out the ugliest pieces you can find and see what you can create!
p.s. And post pics--I'd love to be inspired and see what you come up with.

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