Posted in Parenting

Finding Family Time

We live in a hectic world.  I’m lucky this year as I’m off work for maternity leave, but when I work we find ourselves with a family of two full-time working parents, one of which is also studying to gain another degree.

My days are pretty hectic.  Wake up, nurse Elliot, fix breakfast for the kids and myself, remind the kids a gazillion times that they have to brush their teeth and yada yada yada,  get all three kiddos in the van (this is especially fun during winter), drop off the kids at daycare and come back home (1 h round trip).  Usually, I’m back home around 10am and I spend the day caring for Elliot and the house (and myself when I get a nice nap out of him!).  By 4pm I’m back in the minivan to go pick up the kids.  Once home, I get supper running, my husband generally arrives once I’ve gotten everything going.  After that it’s bedtime preparations (which sometimes, sometimes not include a bath).  By 7:30pm, the kids are generally in bed.  Whew!  Then, there are weekends: groceries, laundry, gymnastics for Charles and swimming for Amélie.  It just.  Doesn’t. Stop.

I’m sure this is pretty indicative of the average family’s day.  Sometimes, I feel like a temporary parent.  I see my kids for a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening.  It’s hard to balance family life, personal life and marital life.  Yet, it’s important to try to find a way.

So, in an effort to maximize our together time (beyond just meal times), we decided to try out the movie night concept.  On the last Saturday of every month, we’re going to have our supper downstairs and watch a movie of the kids’ choosing together.  We tried this last Saturday and, though I wasn’t too sure what to expect, it was great!

We made some nachos, spread a tablecloth on the floor in front of the tv and the five of us (yup, Elliot hung out with us too!) had a “picnic” whilst watching Kung Fu Panda.  I put Elliot to bed at around 7pm, the my husband, Charles, Amélie and I cuddled on the couch to watch the remainder of the movie.  The kids had a blast and it was fun to spend some real quality time all of us together.  We are definitely going to do this again next month.

It’s so easy to get caught up in life to neglect family time.  Between work, fatigue, the need for personal time and those darned screens (y’know, tablets and smartphones and all the jazz), it’s easy for everyone to be physically together in a room (or in the house), but not make the most of that time.

How do you spend family time?

Posted in Parenting

Ten Thought Tuesday

TTT

  1. Wow, I haven’t done one of these in ages.  But since I can’t seem to find the time to write more than two or three consecutive sentences, I figured a collection of random thoughts was the way to go.
  2. Today’s a weird day temperature wise.  This morning, when I got up, it was just overcast.  An hour later, by the time I was ready to leave with the kids to daycare, it was raining.  By the time I was on my way back home, about 45 minutes later, it was hailing.  Half an hour later, it was snowing.  Sheesh!
  3. I’ve started running again (yay!).  Since I’m not motivated to run in the snow (and don’t want to buy winter gear for running), I go to the indoor track that the gym near my house has.  It.  Is.  Wonderful.  I felt so great after my first run on Sunday and am eager to go back this evening for another one!
  4. At the start of the year, I decided that it was time for me to stop being afraid of homemade pie crusts.  I’ve never been able to make them, but I decided that it was enough.  I am now able to make puff pastry as well as shortbread crust and standard crust.  It’s great to just be able to whip one up in a few minutes!

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    Made this apple pie a couple of weeks ago and it was deeee-licious!
  5. Elliot is now 7 months old (what!?!) and solids are going great!  We’re doing BLW with him as we did with the other two and let me tell you, the little guy loves to eat.  It’s amazing what they can handle.  For instance, even though he hasn’t yet developed the pincer grip, he’s able to maneuver raspberries and smooched blueberries in his mouth.

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    Pulled-porc sandwich anyone?
  6. Speaking of food, I’ve also decided to incorporate new foods and vegan cuisine in our diets.  For instance, last week, I made this amazing chickpea curry soup.  I garnished with some fresh diced tomatoes and chopped mint.  Tonight, I’m planning on serving our pork with some cornbread, something I’ve never even tasted.  Since I don’t have any cornmeal handy, I’ll be going with a recipe that calls for flour and corn kernels.
  7. I just finished watching Star Trek Voyager a couple of weeks ago.  I don’t understand why the series has such a bad rap, I enjoyed it.  I mean, it wasn’t TNG, but hey, I don’t think any series could live up to what I grew up to.  I am now watching Enterprise.  So there, now you know what a geek I am hehehe.
  8. Last weekend my husband and I went out with my brother, sister and their girlfriend/boyfriend.  We ate at this amazing dumpling place in Chinatown called Qing Hua.  Then, we went to Trapped, which is a real life room escape game.  It was a really cool experience!
  9. I’m finding that though the terrible twos were trying, dealing with a 4 year old is even harder.  I feel like I’m raising a version of Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde.  Charles is a kind, considerate and gentle boy, but sometimes, it’s like a flip switches and he enters berserk mode: screaming, hitting and giving a whole lot of attitude.
  10. Ok, that’s all I can muster for now.  See ya!

What’s on your mind today?

Toddlers…

Snippet of the conversation going on between my 2 year old and my 4 year old yesterday as we were driving past the obviously train-less train station.

Amélie: Mom, is the train at the station?

Charles: No

Amélie [crying]: Mom, Charles said “no”!

Sheesh, the little peanut really doesn’t like the word “no”.

Posted in Parenting

My 4 Month Old Sucks at Tummy Time & Other “Confessions” from a Mom of 3

My eldest, Charles, is going to be 4 years old in about a week.  My daughter, Amélie, just turned 2 about a couple of months ago.  My littlest one, Elliot, is going to be 5 months old in a few days.  My days can get pretty darned hectic (or downright crazy), luckily, I’ve found ways to maintain my sanity.

    1. Elliot sucks at tummy time and I don’t care.  He’s going to be 5 months old in under a week and he still struggles to lift that big ol’ head of his off the ground.  Sure I try to get him to exercise his muscles at least once a day (most days I manage), but it’s usually propped up over his nursing pillow, or doing the airplane or some of the other methods I use.  But “pure” tummy-on-blanket-straight-on-the-floor tummy time is not one of his strengths.img_2152
    2. I don’t care what my toddlers look like when they get out of the house – as long as they are dressed in weather-appropriate clothing.  I want you to picture something in your heads.  Imagine an almost 4-year-old toddler with dark grey sweatpants (that are the wrong side around), a blue plaid button-up shirt, a yellow patterned bow tie and missmatching socks.  Now I want you to imagine this almost 4 year old putting on a red fleece coat with a blue poncho (with tassels) over top and completing the look with fingerless gloves, fireman rain boots and a bright orange earflap beanie.  That was Charles recently.  Unfortunately, he didn’t let me take a picture of him.

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      As you can see, Amélie also has an interesting sense of fashion.
    3. I don’t bathe my kids every day.  In fact, sometimes I skip a day or two or three and then bring them in the shower with me the next morning to give them a quick wash before bringing them to daycare.  And speaking of showers…
    4. I don’t shower every day.  I used to shower every day.  I used to love showers.  Then, I had kids.  Nowadays showers usually include one to three kiddos in the washroom with me.  These days, a shower is a luxury.  A shower where I can be completely alone is almost a Haley’s comet sighting type event.
    5. You never know what you’re going to walk into when you come through the door of my house.  Sometimes, it looks like it’s run by someone who has her sh*t together, sometimes it looks like freaking Tornado Alley.  I may not have a Pinterest Perfect house, but I’m okay with that, because what I have works for me.
    6. I sometimes bring Elliot in bed with me. Recently the little one went through a wonder week, a growth spurt and teething (yup, he cut his first pearly white a couple of weeks ago) and I had a supply drop due to the onset of my period.  These were not happy days (and horrible nights).  To save my sanity, I brought the kid in bed with me to nurse a couple of times so that I could get a bit of shut-eye.

So, there you have it.  These are six of the things that I have let go of to keep my sanity.  What kinds of concessions have you made since becoming a parent?

 

Posted in Parenting

What’s Your Cleaning Routine?

Ask my mom how tidy my room was when I was growing up and she’d probably either give you an eyeroll or break out in some form of maniacal laughter.  (Actually, she’d probably tactfully say that it wasn’t one of my strengths but that I had plenty of other strengths) #gottaloveyourmama.

Ask my mom how tidy my house is now that I’m 31 with two and a half kids and she’d probably tactfully say that I’m a great mom and that it’s a good thing that I’m able to let go of the little things.

The truth is, I suck.  Like seriously suck.

I know how to clean, I know how to tidy up, I know it’s important.  I know the tricks.  But darn, I just can’t get my act together.

Problem #1: I am a serious procrastinator.

Last year, when I was still on maternity leave, I figured out a method that actually worked for me.  I started by decluttering (I used the 31 day decluttering guide I found on the Living Well Spending Less website).  Then, I scoured the Web and found a whole bunch of example cleaning schedules.  I mashed a few together, put them on paper and voilà, I had myself a cleaning schedule that worked for me.

Since I couldn’t just do everything in one day as I used to in my pre-kid life, I found that there were two general methods to go about keeping a house clean and tidy.  The first was to go at it room by room (as in, each day, you would tackle a different room).  The second was to go at it task by task.  I opted for the latter as I found it more logical to take care of all the laundry (or window/mirror cleaning, or mopping/vacuuming, or dusting) on the same day.

And it worked!  I was able to keep a clean and tidy house and not go totally nuts with the seemingly monumental-feeling task.

But then, life caught up to me.  I had to go back to work.

Problem #2: I work full-time and often have to bring work home.

Suddenly, I ended up going back to work full-time, juggling two toddlers and becoming pregnant.  (That’s when the procrastinator in me kicked in and determined that the kids, my sanity, some quality time with my partner and my sleep were more important than the tidiness of my house).

But boy oh boy.  Besides the fact that my house regularly looks like it was hit by a tornado, I find myself with horrors like this when I dare look under the couch in the living room.

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This is the most recent stash that I found hiding under the couch.  Notice the can of baby corn to the right which is indicative of my daughter’s newfound passion for emptying the pantry.

Of course, I also find myself picking up toddler boxers all the time because, you know, why play with toys or the food in the pantry when you can just empty out your brother’s boxers and adorn yourself with them (yet another of my daughter’s passions).

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Problem #3: I have an 18 month old and a 3 year old.

Luckily, I do have help.  My partner and brother and the ones responsible for doing the dishes.  We also pretty much split supper duty and my partner’s pretty good at sweeping the floors.

Honestly, I am able to live amongst clutter.  I am fine with seeing dust accumulate on my bookshelves.  I can relax on my couch and see toys littering the floor.  But I would like to become better at housekeeping.  I want to find a balance between being a good teacher, being a good mom and being a good housekeeper without going nuts or burning myself out because…

Problem #4: I’m a perfectionist.

And so, dear readers, I turn to you.

Do you have any suggestions?  What does your cleaning routine look like?  How do you juggle your different responsibilities?

Posted in Parenting, Ten Thought Tuesday

Ten Thought Tuesday: Bleached House Edition

TTT

  1. I haven’t been very good at this blogging thing lately so I thought I’d ease back in with a Ten Thought Tuesday.
  2. I DO have a good reason for not writing much though.  Between my job, my two littles and the end of my first trimester (yup, we’re gonna have another little one!) I’ve been completely tired.
  3. Plus, we just got hit with a “lovely” bout of gastroenteritis.  Oh yeah… So today I’m working on disinfecting the house with my friends bleach and water.
  4. The good news is that Christmas is just around the corner.   Little Dude is pretty excited (and was wise enough to ask for something different to everyone who asked him what he wanted).
  5. No snow so far though :(.  Plus on Chirstmas Eve we’re set to hit temps of 15 Celcius.  Thank you El Nino…
  6. I’m really looking forward to seeing the new Star Wars.  I’ve heard that it is wonderful.  Anyone wanna babysit my littles?
  7. I’m also looking forward to some alone time with my partner (and soon-to-be hubby – we’re getting married in May!).  We’re off to a spa for three days after Christmas.
  8. Amélie finally got her surgery to remove the dermoid cyst that she had over her right eye about a month ago.  Everything went very smoothly and the staff at the Montreal Children’s Hospital was fabulous.
  9. Oh, and since we’re expecting another baby, we also decided to upgrade one of our vehicles.  Despite saying that I’d never have one, I am now the (pretty proud) owner of a minivan.  Never say never folks.
  10. My partner and I just discovered a new series on Netflix.  We are thoroughly enjoying Psych which gets us laughing every time.

How have you all been?

Posted in Parenting

Oh Boy…

I’ve been pretty absent lately and it’s not because nothing is happening.  Perhaps, in fact, it is because too namy things have been happening.

I am absolutely jammed at work.  My days are so busy that they fly by (which is a good thing!).  The best part is that my students are progressing in English!  Yes!!!  You see I teach a group of 13-15 year old students who have learning difficulties.  Specifically, most of my students are at about the level of 4th graders.  They have trouble with their mother tongue (French) so English is waaaaay far on their priority list.  BUT, so far, things are going smoothly and not only are they progressing beyond what I had though, but they are actually enjoying themselves.

Then, there’s the home front.  Amélie is now confidently walking (and climbing, and hiding inside cupboards and trying to do everything her big brother does).  She is seriously all over the place.  And she talks!  This surprised me because (even if I know I shouldn’t be comparing my children), Charles was only saying “water” and “mom” by 18 months whereas she has quite a few words in her vocabulary (“eat” being the most prominent one…).  She also recently started to cut her canines…all four of them…at the same time…at 13 (well, 14 now) months.  Sheesh!  She’s such a sassy little miss though and lights up any room she’s in.  Oh and she has rendered my plug protectors obsolete as she has figured out how to take them out of the plugs.

plugs
You guys have now been relegated to the state of “useless”.

Charles is doing really well too.  He is now able to dress himself (when he wants to…).  It’s always very apparent when he does so because his shirt, boxers and pants (and usually shoes/boots) are facing the wrong way, but boy oh boy is he proud when he surprises his father or I by getting out of his room all dressed.  He is also talking non stop and loves to sing.  “Row, row, row your boat” anyone?  He still has his tantrum up and downs, but they seem to be getting (if not less intense) further apart and shorter in duration.  Perhaps it’s just a placebo effect to my knowledge that he is going to be three (!) soon though.  We’ve been keeping up his swimming lessons and have really seen an improvement in the last few weeks.  He’s now able to float on his back unassisted and he’s able to put his whole head under water (which is wonderful because we used to get huge meltdowns when we got his face wet even a little).

By the way, for those of you who use the Allerject epinephrine injector in Canada, I received an e-mail yesterday stating that the company was issuing a voluntary recall of their devices because:

“The products have been found to potentially have inaccurate dosage delivery,” (source)

We’re not using an epinephrine injector anymore (thank goodness that Charles doesn’t need one anymore), but for those of you who are using Allerject, it might be worthwhile to look into with your pharmacist.

‘Till next time!