September 5, 2017

The Twins Start Kindergarten Tomorrow and I’m Just Not Even Ready For It.

The Twins at The Wood Carver’s House, in Radium Hot Springs, a few days ago

The twins start kindergarten tomorrow and, all I can say is, I’m just not even ready for it!

My neighbor told me, a few weeks ago, that her and her daughter are ‘ready’ and are, in fact, ‘celebrating’ the start of kindergarten. I gave this some serious consideration…and wondered if I, too, should have this outlook.

But, no…that’s just not my story.

We have worked so hard to give them a good, solid foundation. Really, the last 5 1/2 years have led us up to this big day. They were hard years, with highs and lows…they were amazing years. The best of my life, so far! I’m a little sad to see them changing.

My deepest hope for each of the twins, this year, is that they will have the kind of thoughtfulness, manners, and respect to ensure they are good students, good friends, and good little humans in general.

I hope that they still hold onto their wonderful and curious innocence…for a while longer anyway.

And, I hope while they are at school, they remember how deeply they are loved.

This last week was really dedicated to letting the kids have the happiest last days of childhood before grade school. We did the fun things they requested, we ate more treats than usual, and we spent a lot of great time together as a family.

And so, I hope they are entering into their first school year feeling as happy and joyful as possible!

Gray and Miss A…I Iove you, SO much, my sweet babies! Have a great first day of school tomorrow!

August 31, 2017

My last 30-something Birthday – How I celebrated…and the really fun gifts I received!

 

This summer I turned 39 years old and, I’m not going to lie, I was a little sad about it.

Actually…I was a lot sad about it.

Because we all know what the next big milestone birthday is going to be, right?

Cry!

In case you’re not picking up what I’m laying down right now, here is the reminder my husband gave me in card-form:

Nice, right?

The happy news is that my friends and family really did a great job of making me feel special and I hardly even thought about the fact that it’s my last 30-something birthday (despite feeling a little anxious during the weeks that led up to the day).   I got to go out for some really nice meals, I was gifted some really fun and thoughtful gifts…and…it turned into a bit of a ‘birthday week’!  I love birthday weeks!

On the Sunday before my birthday, my girlfriend (and fellow twin-mom) Liane, invited my family over for a little impromptu birthday brunch. She also was sweet enough to include another twin family we like to chum with (Hi Ange!).

I really wish I had thought to take some photos, but I will just savour in the memories of thoroughly enjoying her Hangover Breakfast Casserole, Biscuits, and Mimosas! The cinnamon buns that Ange brought were a really nice touch, too!

I must tell you that the day was made even more special because, not only is Liane a mom of twins the same age as Gray and Miss A, she also has a teenager AND a brand new baby!!! How she worked that all out, I’ll never know.

Can we all agree that Liane is a machine??

#LianeIsAMachine

It gets better!

The evening before my birthday (see why I’m calling this a ‘birthday week’?), my girlfriends Tara and Reshma treated me to a really nice meal at one of my favourite YYC restaurants, The Bow Valley Ranche. We drank wine…sans kids…and I ate Charcuterie.

Oh, and I didn’t even have to drive!

Thanks friends!

#Bliss

Here’s something only my good friends know about me.  Every year, I always secretly wish Darren will treat me to my most favourite cake in the world – Strawberry Shortcake! My mom used to make me a version of this when I was a child and it really is just my favourite.

Unfortunately, strawberry shortcake doesn’t usually make the cut.  I get it, it’s not an easy to find cake and life is super busy! Hey, I’m happy Darren even works out any cake at all!  He has never-ever forgotten my special day and usually does spoil me with fancy cupcakes and a nice dinner.

Well, this year, he outdid himself.

He decided he was going to bake the cake! Can you imagine??? A strawberry shortcake!  My favourite!  Here is an important piece of information for you:  Darren grew up in a very traditional farm family and I’m pretty sure he hasn’t spent a lot of time in the kitchen baking cakes.  He has no baking experience…at all…and I know he’s really not interested in baking.  I’m shocked that baking was on his radar!

Anyway…the bad news is…the cake didn’t turn out (sad, I know!).

Honestly though, when I saw how much effort he must have put into it…it just gave me ALL of the feels!

Oops!

Here is the take II version from our local fancy cupcake shop, Cake Bake Shoppe, in one of my favourite cupcake flavours – mint chocolate:

Mmm!

The morning of my day was pretty relaxed, yet special.  Darren and the kids were excited for me to wake up so they could eagerly watch me open the gifts that they had thoughtfully bought, while I drank my favourite morning drink – hot coffee!

On top of this, my super thoughtful, and fairly small-framed (five-year old) little girl surprised me by making our massive king-sized bed (so I wouldn’t have to)…all by herself!  I can’t imagine how much work this was for her!

Insert more ‘really big feels’!

Of course, later in the day, I went to Starbucks to redeem my free birthday drink. Since it was ‘free’, I decided I should order the largest possible drink I could get. I’m pretty sure Darren probably saved money on taking me out for supper that night, because I was as FULL as can be from that Venti Java Chip Frappuccino!


If that wasn’t enough calories for the day, we got a sitter and Darren took me to my most favourite restaurant…ever!!!  Thai Sa-On!  I just love that place, so much!  Mmm…basil beef, curried shrimp, coconut rice, thai iced-tea…DELICOUS!!!

If you love Thai, and live in YYC, you really should make a point of visiting!  It is so flavourful and worth the drive from anywhere in the city!

Yummy!!!!!!!!!!!

The day after my birthday, I had my final birthday ‘date’. My brother, Warren, snuck away over his lunch hour and we grabbed a bite at Original Joe’s for lunch. It was special to be treated by my little brother and nice to have a one on one visit. We usually are connecting as a family group, so this was nice!

 

And those were my ‘birthday dates’!

In case you’re interested, here’s a little showing of most of the really fun (and thoughtful) gifts I received. I loved ALL of them, so if you happen to be shopping for a 30-something’s  birthday, these all come highly recommended!  There is one really pretty necklace I received that isn’t showing here, but you can never go wrong with jewellery! Feel free to buy ANY jewellery for your favourite 30-something without ANY hesitation!  😀

So…back to the cool gifts I was lucky enough to receive!  I was pumped when I opened up these super cool Converse Chuck Taylor Sneakers – I have been longing for a pair of these and they have been perfect for my casual ‘mom wardrobe’ all season long!  I have worn them with shorts, skirts, jeans…you name it and I know I’ll continue wearing them into fall!

A word to the wise, though…if you order these online, order a 1/2 size down because I would say they fit a little on the long side.

I have historically been a big fan of Scentsy, but a while back, our family got off of the ‘fragrance train’ (due to medical reasons). I was sad to part ways with all of my favourite cubes, but now I’m really excited to build a little collection of essential oils for my new Saje Diffuser!  Now our house can smell wonderful with great health benefits, too!  Bonus!

So, truth be told, I haven’t tried this Arbonne Rejuvinating Cream yet, since I’m saving it for when the snow flies (I’m sorry to even say that out loud!).  It’s a new-to-me product though, one I haven’t tried yet. Having said that, I’m a HUGE fan of Arbonne, so I’m pretty sure I’m going to be crazy about it (plus the friend who gifted it to me always has great recommendations!)!

Just to tell you how much I love the brand, several of my girlfriends (along with myself) became distributors JUST so we could get the discount for ourselves.  When I started using Arbonne a few years ago, more than one person commented on how my skin was looking better.  Pretty much, the rest is history!

More Arbonne delights that I hadn’t tried before!  I have been enjoying this Arbonne Liquid Sunshine all summer.  I have really sensitive lips that are prone to dryness, so I appreciated having this on-hand for our hot, hot days Glamping!

Also, since I am (ahem) ‘aging’…spf is becoming a little more ‘present’ in my beauty line up – so this is on point for me!

This next gift was definitely one of my favourites!!!

Most of my close girlfriends have heard me joke about the fact that I plan to have a sister-wife in my next lifetime!  Of course I love my husband, but…my girlfriends?  Forget about it!  They always know just when and how to step in, pick up, and help where it’s needed!

As a perfect example, my friend Lindsay and her family of four came camping this summer.  Even though there were four extra people to prep food for, cook for, and clean up after…with Lindsaey there, it turned out to be less work than minding my own family of four alone.  The table was set before dinner was done and the dishes were practically hand-dried before they were washed! #LindsayIsAlsoAMachine

Anyway, back to the awesome gift!  I feel like I’m taking a bit of a risk sharing this funny mug with you, but I’m hoping everyone will see the humour here:

#TheBestMugEver

#TheBestComplimentIeverReceived

#CoffeeTastesBetterInThisMug

If you thought it was hilarious, too, you can find the mug here on Amazon!

Speaking of mugs, these Bodum Bistro Double-Wall Mugs are the cat’s meow!  A few years ago, my brother gave me two similar sets (without handles) for Christmas and they are amazing!  They keep hot drinks hot, and cold drinks cold, yet the outside of the glass feels neutral!  A huge bonus is they present really nicely AND they don’t sweat at all!

I may, or may not, have broken a couple over the years (they are dedicate), so topping up my collection is great!

He picked these up at Crate and Barrel (or maybe he just wrapped them in a C&B box to be ‘fancy’?  Nah…just kidding, Warren!).  You can also click the link above to order them online via Amazon.

When my other brother realized that I had received a Saje Diffuser already, he offered for me to return this one that he bought.  No way!  Now I have one for my main floor and this Essential Oil Diffuser for my second floor!

My main floor has my summer ‘wake up’ type scents and I have this, second diffuser, in my ensuite with a lavender essential oil in it now – but, as you can see, I have a whole Set of Art Naturals Artisan Oils to choose from!  It’s nice not having to clean one diffuser and relocate it around the house when I’m wanting a new aroma for the house (or my mood)!

One of my good girlfriends has been raving about her FabFitFun Box Subscription for months!  It sounded awesome, but maybe like an indulgence my stay at home mom budget should do without.  Anyhow, she gifted me my own box for my birthday and I have to tell you…it was like Christmas morning opening it up!

Basically, it is a subscription box that is semi-personalized and sends you full-sized products (based on your preferences) each season.

Anyway, if you have been thinking about trying it, you probably won’t be disappointed.  Here are the goods I got in my box! I have tried at least half of the items and they were great!  I have had compliments on the water bottle and the scarf (which I wore as a swim suit cover up).

So, really…my birthday (week) was really great!  I’m still a little sad to think about the fact that the days (well, months, really) are counting down to that next BIG milestone…but in the mean time, I have some great memories (and fun stuff) to enjoy!

 

June 5, 2017

YYC to the Ellen Show – How I got tickets!

Ever since my husband and I scored tickets to the Ellen Degeneres Show, the number one question I have gotten is, “How did you get tickets?” – so I thought I would write about it for you!

Here is the good news my friends – it actually really wasn’t that difficult. It just took time, patience, teamwork, and a little flexibility!

Periodically, the Ellen Show opens up their website to accept ticket requests for a select range of dates. That’s a great place to start!

To keep things super easy for you (because I get how busy mom-life is), here is the link for you: Click here for the ticket request page to the Ellen Show! 

Now, I will tell you that my experience is that you have to submit many times since the demand far exceeds the supply so, don’t give up and keep trying! I actually went through this process for two entire years before finally getting lucky.

One thing that helped me remember to check the website to see if they had opened up any dates (back to that whole ‘busy mom life’ problem) is setting a simple daily reminder in my phone. There is some strict criteria for how often you can submit your name for tickets, but you can figure out those dates once you review the guidelines for applying for show tickets and then you can sort your reminder from there.

Now…I’m going to tell you a little secret – here is where I ‘upped’ my game.

I think there is power in numbers so I recruited some of my other Ellen-Fan-Friends to help! I volunteered to be in charge of keeping my thumb on the pulse of when the Ellen Show opened up their website to accept ticket requests (we know I was doing this anyway) and then I would text my ‘ticket-pursuing-coalition’ of girlfriends the web link when I saw it did. We would all request tickets and list each other as the guests we would like to bring!

Teamwork, right?

Finally…after two long and committed years…my BFF, Tara…got what she referred to as, ‘THE EMAIL’…and we celebrated!!!

Let me just mention a few things here…

The date Tara got offered guaranteed tickets for wasn’t actually the date she requested (I think it was for a date that was week, or so, later) – that’s where the flexibility comes into play. We had to be able to bump our travel days from what we requested. I don’t think this is always the case, but it seems that we were able to at least go to the show sooner by being able to have some flexibility on our travel dates. Unfortunately Tara wasn’t able to make it in the end, but like the loyal friend that she is, she made sure I stayed on the audience list and I was able to still go to the show with Darren.

THANK YOU TARA!!!!

That’s really it! It was fairly simple and mainly just took a small amount of effort and some time.

Of course, you are probably wondering how the show was. I could go on and on about all of the exciting details, but I will just tell you that it was AMAZING and totally worth the wait! I will definitely be trying to work out tickets again in the future!

One last quick thing…in the name of ‘teamwork’ we couldn’t have made it to the Ellen Show without my in-laws, who drove in from Saskatchewan to help with the twins while we ‘gallivanted’ to Burbank. Securing care for the kids was another really big part of the equation in getting to the show. So…thank you, Don and Carol!

Waiting to enter the studio from the ‘Riff Raff Room’ which also doubles as the ‘Ellen Shop’!

May 22, 2017

Hello, again, Instagram!

 

 

Here’s a funny story – Not that many weeks ago, I was on the verge of closing my Instagram account. I literally had a conversation with my BFF telling her that I have been thinking about shutting it down for a while.

The problem was that I just hadn’t been active on it for several years and thought I would focus on my social media faves…Facebook and Pinterest.

Fast forward to one-week later…I was at a dinner-party at my cousin, Meagan’s, house. I asked her opinion on what she thought I could do to improve this little blog of mine (she is my ‘go-to’ for all things social-media. She deals with it on a daily basis and she was actually the person who encouraged me to start Refined Imperfection).

Guess what she told me?

You got it – “Get on Instagram”.

See how in active I was on it? She didn’t even think I had it! Sheesh!

And so…here I am. Telling you that I am re-connecting with my Instagram and giving it some life. Now that I have spent some time getting re-acquainted with it…I kind of like it!

So, the moral of the story is that you can now follow me on Instagram and actually see what’s happening in my life these days…@RefinedImperfection

I really hope to see you there!

April 25, 2017

My Favourite YYC Used Kids’ Clothing, Toys and Gear Sale (plus tips for successful shopping!)

Living and raising a family in Calgary is expensive…especially if you have kids. Most of the parents I know are conscious about wanting to save money – and that’s why I want to tell you about my favourite used kid’s clothing, toys, and equipment sale here in the city.

Some of you may have heard me talk about my favourite local organization, TTMAC (the Twins, Triplets, and More Association of Calgary) before.  If not, you can check it out here. Not only are they a wonderful organizing supporting YYC families with mulitples, they also put on a really great consignment sale twice a year which is open to the general public.

Now, if you don’t have twins, triplets, etc., please don’t feel like this sale isn’t for you. Most items for sale there are not sold in pairs (although some are and that is super for those looking for coordinating outfits, toys, etc).

Here is what I love about the sale:

 

It is extremely well organized

Everything is sorted in the room based on category…clothes are organized by size, toys are all together, strollers are all together, bikes are all together, etc.

Everything in season

The timing is perfect for trying to update everyone’s spring/summer or fall/winter wardrobe in new sizes (depending on which sale you are attending).  Typically there is a sale in the spring and one, again, in the fall.

The variety is awesome!

This sale isn’t specific to just ‘clothes’ or ‘toys’.  Some of the items you will find here include: toys, strollers, high chairs, clothes sized newborn to size 12, gymnastics and dancewear, shoes, equipment, baby gear, bikes, books, and even maternity-wear.

Photo credits: Twins, Triplets, and More Association of Calgary

Coordinating items are available for those with multiples

This is awesome for those parents of twins, triplets, quadruplets, etc. who might like to coordinate their littles.  Where else can you easily find gently-loved items that match??

The organizer, and the sellers, are near and dear to my heart

TTMAC has been a great resource that I have been supported by since I was pregnant with Gray and Miss A.  I’m always really happy when I can try to ‘give back’.  The sale is run by TTMAC volunteers to sell consigned items from members.

 

Tips for Successfully Shopping the TTMAC Sale

 

Okay – so let’s talk strategy here! Before I attended my first sale, I got some good tips from other fellow parents. I have since added to this list and here it is:

Arrive as close to opening as possible

Of course the early bird gets the worm. If you want the best selection, you definitely should consider starting your shop early, when the sale begins.  If you do arrive early, you should expect a short line up.

Take advantage of special early access shopping privileges

If you are a TTMAC member, you can usually gain early access to shop ahead of the general public. If you are not a TTMAC member, make friends with someone who is and ask them if you can be their ‘token guest’.

Bring cash

Cash the only form of payment they accept…unless you are a TTMAC member, in which case, you can also pay by cheque if you present your membership card (if you have misplaced your membership card, you can email TTMAC to arrange to have a new one picked up right at the sale).

Bring bags

This is a BYOB situation (bring your own bag). You might be more comfortable shopping if you have a large-type bag that you can carry over your shoulder…I would pack something over-sized myself.

Consider leaving your strollers and children at home

Why? Well…you know. And if you don’t know…trust me, you don’t want to.

If you think you might be shopping for larger items, bring an ally (non-shopping partner)

One year I brought my girlfriend and she found a great sandbox she wanted to buy, but she was worried to leave it alone to keep shopping. If you think this could happen to you, you may want to bring a spouse or buddy that you can leave your items with to keep an eye on.

Once you arrive…if you are considering an item, throw in your bag and keep shopping

If you are anything like me, you might get indecisive about purchases. That’s fine…but don’t waste time standing around thinking about it – you have valuable goods to get your hands on! Toss anything you are considering into your bag and keep going. Once you have been through the sale, review all of your items and then put back what you have decided against. But listen…don’t be that person who dumps it where it doesn’t belong.  If you can’t get it to where it should go, find a volunteer to give it to and just let them know you changed your mind (they are usually well-marked by the shirts they are wearing).

Enjoy your goods and revel in your savings!

That’s it! I won’t post the details of this year’s sale in this blog post since it can change from year to year…but you can always get current information (map, floor plan, etc) from the TTMAC Sales page.

Happy shopping!

This haul was from my first TTMAC sale in 2014 – I bought all of these goods for a grand total of $37.50!

February 12, 2017

Birthday Party Loot Bags – It’s Okay to Say ‘No’!

Can we talk about birthday party loot bags for a moment? I really want to know if you ‘love them’ or ‘hate them’? Do you think it’s ‘taboo’ not to give them out?

The twins have a birthday party coming up and, to be honest, I’m not going to be providing loot bags this year. I’m kinda feeling guilty about it…but isn’t that kind of ridiculous?

The truth is that, since I went back to work (if you missed the post about this, you can find it here), I hardly have time to get out birthday party invitations in a timely fashion – let alone organizing appropriate, affordable, thoughtful loot bags. For me, affordable and thoughtful are the key points…if you have 10 kids and spend $5, or more, each…that’s $50! $50, people!!! If you are spending that kind of money on loot bags, you want them to be appreciated and enjoyed, right?

I remember one of the first years I did loot bags, I was discussing them with my friend Kim. She challenged me and asked me why I was doing them – was it to ‘keep up with the Jones’’? It was a different perspective…it made me think about the purpose of why we do give out goody bags.

Was it about keeping up with the Jones’? Honestly, the truth was that it wasn’t about that at all. I didn’t feel like I ‘had’ to provide them to ‘keep up’…I think it was really more of a cultural thing. The same way we eat cake at a birthday…there is often a loot bag given out. It felt a little more like tradition. I do remember being so excited to receive them at birthday parties when I was a child; it was fun to create the same kind of experience for the twins’ little friends!

But, here is the thing. This year, after planning an ‘off-site’ birthday party, extending invitations, and organizing the other food and details, I just don’t feel like I have the time or energy to do any more this year. On top of that, we have already spent a great deal of money on this party since it is off-site and since we have the twins (which makes our guest list a little longer). Shouldn’t that be enough?

On top of this, if I’m being totally honest, I have heard various parents comment on what is an acceptable loot bag standard and I feel like this does complicate how I approach planning loot bags. I mean, now I’m trying to find something perfect…for a reasonable price…for 14 kids…but not include what I have heard to be unacceptable loot-bag fare. Gah. In case you don’t know, here is a list of potentially unacceptable items:

…Dollar store ‘trinkets’ that break easily.

…Treats that other kids might not be permitted to eat.

…Items you may find age-appropriate but another parent doesn’t

So, now take that list and try to find something everyone will enjoy. Sounds so fun, right?

(Insert my head shaking ‘no’ here.

Isn’t a loot bag a gift? Should we really have to be so conflicted about what kind of items we ‘gift’ out?

Here is another point to consider…on the heels of talking about the fact that a loot bag is a ‘gift’…is it ‘necessary’ to be gifting children for coming to a birthday party in the first place? I mean, really…please come to our party where we have entertained you, fed you cake (and maybe snacks) and now let me give you a present for coming. Are we setting the right expectation for our kids by providing these every single year?

One thing that is really important to me as a parent is to raise my kids to be gracious and thoughtful and to not act or feel entitled. A part of me worries that my kids are going to expect that they need to receive a loot bag every time they go to a birthday party. I remember a friend of mind telling me a story about how, as a single parent, she put on a birthday party for her son. At the end of the party, a child basically chastised her since she hadn’t offered him a take-away. What??? Kind of horrible, right?

So…I’m not saying that I won’t ever do loot bags again but I do just want to say that, once in a while, we should just give them a break. I think that should be okay.

To my mom and dad friends who take the time and effort to send these home with my child…they are definitely appreciated! …BUT…I want you to know that having my child (or children for that matter) to your party is also ‘enough’.

In my opinion, it is totally okay to say ‘no’ to the loot bag. This year, that’s exactly what I’m doing.

#SayNoToTheLootBag     #NoBirthdayLoot     #NoLootForYou

February 5, 2017

Why have I been ignoring you??

I have been a bad, bad blogger – Have you felt neglected?

I’m really sorry if you did…I have been thinking about all of you (and this beloved blog) so much for all of this last month! I have missed you!

The thing is, something really unexpected happened very last minute right as we entered the new year – I went back to work full-time.

It isn’t permanent…it is a contract that will take me into spring…I’m really excited to have this opportunity but it has thrown my world completely upside down. For real.

Here’s the thing. I’m working for my ‘pre-kids’ employer…in a job that I LOVE…for a company I also really love…but it’s a lot and a really big change for our entire family. I went from my usual ‘life of leisure’ (or so we-will-call-it) to life in the fast lane working on over-drive! I think I may be running on adrenalin.

The last 30 or so days have been a ridiculous adjustment of ups and downs, pros vs cons, and sacrifices. If I’m just summarizing what the adjustment around this decision has felt like, here is rollercoaster I have experienced:

Upside: My old boss still thinks I’m capable!

Downside: Am I? What if I’m not? What if I fail AND sacrifice my family time while I’m at it?

 

Upside: My bank account will be replenished!

Downside: There is a cost to that – I had way less time with Gray, Miss A, and Darren and, literally, no days off as a family. Not even one in over a month!

 

Upside: It feels so good to have a piece of my old identity back! I am remembering I have a worth beyond being a mom and wife (please don’t send me hate-mail for saying this!  Huge props to all the full-time, stay-at-home parents out there!)

Downside: Is there a downside? If there is, I haven’t thought of it.

 

Upside: I’m keeping myself current in my field, with my employer, and my fingers in the ‘work-pie’.

Downside: Whoah! I’m on a HUGE learning curve since things have actually changed A LOT since I left! That doesn’t feel good when you’re trying to make good and efficient use of a short time. Also my perfectionist personality, that likes to have all of the information before going forward with decisions, is about to blow up!   …BUT, there isn’t time for that! Shall we ‘wing it’???

 

Upside: Oh, it feels nice to wear make-up again!

Downside: How do you apply make-up again?

 

Upside: Darren gets to see my hair in a hair-style other than ‘messy bun’!

Downside: Covering up gray hair is expensive! Also, why does my hair have to be so difficult? Pregnancy ruined it! That happens sometimes.

 

Upside: We can think about saving more aggressively for some spring ‘glamping’ projects we have planned!

Downside: I don’t have time to plan said ‘spring Glamping projects’.

 

Upside: I really like my co-workers!

Downside: I really miss my kids! …And even my husband!

 

Upside: Darren has really been pulling his weight around the house and has really worked hard to take on his share!

Downside: Hey! Why am I just discovering these ‘hidden talents’ now??

It is NOT easy working full-time AND parenting (…and running a small business…and being a blogger…).

I know this may be a controversial thing to say, but for me, it is much harder working outside the home than being home full-time. I want to still do all the same things I did before for my family – cook ‘clean’ food for my family, spend good quality time with my kids, have an organized home….but I simply can’t. Some of it, sometimes all of it, just has to be let go of. Today none of the beds got made, we ate pizza for dinner, and I have spent my evening fielding work calls. Now, as I am writing this blog post, Darren is relaxing and watching Netflix.

Romantic or what??

Honestly, overall, I’m glad to have the opportunity to work this contract. It gives me a chance to put in some time but still have the summer off and enjoy my last time at home with the twins before they start kindergarten in the fall. In the mean time, I’m adjusting….and learning to let some things go. That simply has to be okay.

So, bear with me please while I sort out how this whole ‘balance’ thing works for working parents! I do promise not to be away for so long next time!

xo

Dionne

October 1, 2016

My Twins Started Preschool – Update

img_8835

After posting a few weeks ago about the ‘sorry state’ I was in when the twins started preschool, I thought I would give you an update on how things are going.

Really…I’m totally over it.

Of course when I think about their first day, it still tugs at my heart-strings a little bit, but I am starting to enjoy a couple of hours twice per week where I can nurture this mommy blog, work on my home-business, tackle errands, prep supper peacefully, or pretty much get through anything else that might be on my ‘to-do’ list!

Last week, I actually ‘finally’ had a chance to go for a massage using a gift card I received for my birthday from my husband…which actually was gifted to me before summer began. So, pretty much I have had it for months (two seasons in fact).

Friends…it was so nice!

All of the things I was hoping to be able to tackle, I have been able to complete – for the first time in over 4-years, my ‘to-do’ list is shrinking! …And that feels so great too!

So, really…I’m not here for a long time today, I just came back to let you know that:

I can now laugh ‘with’ you.

xo

Dionne

 

September 13, 2016

My Twins Started Preschool and I’m Mourning

 

fullsizerenderOkay, I know that using the word ‘mourning’ is probably dramatic – perhaps ‘heart broken’ would be better?

Either way, my heart is aching a little.

I know that I’m not the first parent to send my first born to preschool…but I suppose it is ‘my’ first time sending my first (and last) born to ‘school’.   Is this how it is going to feel every time they reach a new educational milestone? Ugh.

Maybe I’m a little sad because this means my ‘babies’ aren’t babies anymore?

Or maybe it’s because this is a big step that somehow feels like my time as a full-time mommy is changing? Am I ready for that?

Or perhaps it’s because I’m not sure preschool is really the right choice for our family. Should we be allocating this time and money to other activities that the kids have been asking for? After all, they do already have 13 years of school ahead of them. Is preschool even necessary?

I don’t know. But what I do know is that I’m feeling a little down about the whole thing.

Of course Gray and A were excited and happy to start their first day yesterday. After all, our family has been talking about preschool quite a bit over the summer and all of us (including me) have had plenty of time to prepare ourselves.

When I dropped them off, I gave them both a kiss and told them I love them and they started to settle into their new routine right away. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see one of my close friends watching me (he was dropping off his 3rd of 4 children…who is entering his second year of preschool…so this is totally old news to him). He commented to me that he was just realizing that this is my first school drop off and instantly my eyes began to water. Thankfully it ended there and I was able to keep it together, but friends…it wasn’t easy. I could have easily sat down and had a good cry.

For now, I’m going to keep my chin up! I mean really…what else can I do? I’m sure over time I will get over this feeling and I will start to embrace having a few extra hours to have a little break (and by ‘break’ I mean childless grocery shopping before 8pm – OR – a trip to the motor vehicle registry without having to use the words ‘stop’, ‘no’, or ‘don’t’ – over and over and over…).

I do want to share with you something that I tried yesterday that helped me feel a little better: As soon as the kids were done their first class, I took them straight to our local Starbucks so we could enjoy steamed milk together. I put away my phone and I gave them my totally undivided attention while I invited them to share with me the details their big day! Of course, as they shared all of the exciting things they did, I couldn’t help but feel the contagiousness of their joy and excitement!

Hearing them tell it all over again to their dad, during suppertime, helped too!  …and, perhaps, so did the glass of wine that went along with it!

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August 23, 2016

Yeah, I Like to Knit!

Purple Mittens

I know this is pretty unconventional for a 30-something, but I like to knit.   Well, truthfully, I like to try. Really, I’m not a skilled knitter, but I find it relaxing and especially rewarding when my projects actually turn out.

A handful of years before having the twins, I rounded up some friends to join me for a ‘Learn to knit’ class at a local yarn studio. It was a fun time…we started our projects, we pulled apart our projects, but we did it together. Eventually, once most of us had kids, we occasionally gathered at someone’s house after the kids were in bed and we worked on our projects while drinking wine and eating ‘adult food’ – which, at that time, was basically anything that didn’t have to be pureed.

I had put down my knitting needles for a couple of years but I recently became acquainted with them out again when I was looking to pack some activities to work on while camping (okay, Glamping) when there isn’t any WiFi around (which is pretty much always). I’m so glad I did!

For the first 5 or 6 years I wouldn’t tackle anything outside of the shape of a rectangle or square but, for the last little while, I have been braving up and taking some risks. My projects don’t really ever come out amazing, but I have been mostly knitting for the twins and that is one great thing about having 4-year olds – they think EVERYTHING is perfect and beautiful!

I just (finally) finished up a little pair of mittens for my little girl. She LOVES them! I think they turned out ‘okay’ but really, as along as you don’t look too close, they did turn out all right (they are shown in the image for this post above).

In case you would like the pattern (I’m sure yours would turn out better than mine), here is the link for ‘Snow Princess’ by Girly Knits.  I just used cheap yarn, and beads, from Michael’s (just in case they didn’t turn out), but next time I would brave up and knit a pair with something a little nicer (and probably warmer).

I did pay for the pattern (it is actually the only pattern I have paid for so far), but I have knit up 2 toques and 4 mittens from it and they all turned out well (for me)…and I know I will use it again…so I think it was money well-spent and I feel confident now that the pattern is reliable.  It isn’t expensive at all.

Anyhow, if you’re looking for a fun, relaxing and maybe even productive way to get in some ‘Me-Time’, I would recommend giving this little hobby a try. If you’re in the YYC area, and are looking to get started, I would really recommend Stash Lounge in Inglewood.  It’s not super close if you’re in the burbs, like I am, but it’s worth the drive. The owner and staff are beyond helpful and patient and they have lots of goodies, trinkets, and classes. It’s where I go if I am knitting something special &/or need a few good pointers.

Happy knitting!