Parenting/Life

No 10 Year Challenge For Me

Right now across social media, it seems like everyone is participating in the the 10 year photo challenge. Basically, you take a photo of yourself from 10 years ago and compare it to yourself now.  Normally I would have hopped on the bandwagon on something like this, but truth be told, I don’t want to remember much about what I looked like 10 years ago.

As I said in a previous post, 2019 for me is about looking forward at the good things ahead and not dwelling on problems from the past.  And 10 years ago, is not a period of time I like thinking about.  It was 10 years ago, I was 6 months postpartum, my husband had just left me for another woman and I was a total disaster.

I did a search through my photos from that time period and in all honesty, I couldn’t even find one of myself.  There were lots of photos of my newborn son but none of me.  And I am somewhat thankful of that.  I don’t think anyone would have wanted to see photos of me with my puffy eyes from crying on almost a daily basis, the bags from the lack of sleep and the sheer looks of fear of not knowing how I was ever going to do this on my own.

When I look at photos of myself now 10 years later, sure I may not be at my ideal weight and my hair is still way to out of control but I see happiness.  I may not have the house with the white picket fence life that we all dream of having but I have so much more.  That once baby boy is growing up (although way too fast) into a great kid, I’ve got an amazing family and a wickedly supportive group of friends.

Each day, I seem to learn more about myself and what I can accomplish.  I am stronger and wiser than I ever thought I would be and sometimes even shock myself about the things I have been able to do on my own.  I can tell you that 10 years ago, I definitely did not feel that way about myself or my life.

So don’t get me wrong, I love seeing how much 10 years can make a difference for people, I just don’t choose to participate.

 

Parenting/Life

Why I Love and Hate Facebook Memories.

I have to admit that on most days, the first thing I look at when I check out Facebook are the memories for my profile and most days I love it. I get a glimpse into how much the boy is growing up and a reminder of things that we have done together and other sweet memories.

But then there are days, just like today when there is that one memory post that hits you right in the gut. It’s a memory you wish you could forget. Memories that remind you of how far you have come, but what brought you to this moment in the first place.

memories

It was 10 years ago this month that my marriage came to an end. Although in hindsight, it shouldn’t have been a shock to me, but at that moment in time it hit me totally out of left field. I remember writing that post above and thinking at that moment of all the things I wished I had could have done differently not to have been in that situation.

​​​​​​​My son was only 6 months old, and although never diagnosed, I am pretty sure I was suffering from moderate PPD, and add to that my marriage was over and the walls came crumbling down around me. I was made to have felt that it was all my fault and wondered what I could have done differently.

I took to Facebook as a way to connect with friends for support and find an outlet to try and make sense of a world that made absolutely no sense to me at the time. And at the time, reaching out made me feel like I could get through it all.

And of course I did. I am here now, much stronger of a women than I ever thought I could be. I’ve gotten past what was done to me and if truth be told, if I weren’t for my son, I would have walked away from that time and life and never ever looked back. There is no regret, I have said so many times that I would go through the heartache and upset a million times over just to have my son, but there are still days that flashing back to those memories aren’t what I need to see some days.

What thing these memories do help with however, are to remind me that without a shadow of a doubt it was not all my fault and no matter what I had said or done probably never would have changed the inevitable outcome. And these reminders are somewhat freeing and uplifting.

But on days when I am feeling the least bit low or not totally on my game, they aren’t exactly the memories I want to relive. So as much as I love you Facebook memories on most days, today I there’s a bit of hate in me.

Parenting/Life

Goodbye 2018 and Hello 2019

It was a year of highs and a year of lows, and now it is time to say goodbye to 2018 and usher in all the promises of good times and new beginnings that 2019 can bring us.

I have so many wants for the year ahead and am sure they aren’t much different than anyone else, but this year I am planning to tackle them in such a way that I avoid disappointment or give up at the first little set back. I will make small goals that add up to big goals and conquer them one by one. My list is not complete but it is a starting point and I can add to it as life moves along.

But for 2018, there are a number of things that I am determined to say good-bye to. Things that have prevented me from achieving the goals that I made last year at this time and the year before and the year before that.

I’m Saying Goodbye to:

  • 1. Doing things that just make others happy and not myself. Too often I have said yes to things but in the end it has hinder me, my life or my mindset.
  • 2. Making everyone/everything a priority over myself. If I don’t let myself come first once in a while, and take the time to do things for me and me alone, I will be no good for anyone.
  • 3. Focusing on the bad in the past and not looking towards the good and the future.
  • 4. Fearing the unknown and not embracing the “what could be”. Who knows, the “what ifs” could end up being the best thing to ever happen to me.
  • 5. Procrastinating. I need to stop putting things off and hoping for the motivation to do it another day. Do it now!
  • 6. FOMO. This really took a toll on me this year and I need to let it go. Just because others seem to have more, doesn’t mean they always do. I need to embrace what I have and make the best of it.
  • 7. Doing the same things over and over. If it hasn’t worked time and time again, it probably never with. Time to take the leap and do something new.
  • 8. Worrying what others think. Another one I have really struggled with, for years. And if social media has taught me anything, you’ll always have haters no matter what you do, so time to just live my life and no give 2 F*$%@ what others think. Those who truly support you, will continue to do so.
  •  

So goodbye to 2018, goodbye to the people, places and things that having been holding me back. I am sure next year at this time, I will still be a work in process and perfection will still be more than an arm’s length away. I am however, hopefully that I will be happy with the progress that I have made and the memories I have made along the way.

Parenting/Life

Feeling Unmotivated? Remove This Word from Your Vocabulary in 2019

Feeling Unmotivated is a guest post by Carol Tuttle

I want you to pause for a moment and think of that thing you needed or wanted to do this year—but it’s December and you still haven’t gotten around to yet, and you keep putting off.

The idea or project is just sitting there, and the unfinishedness of it is weighing on you. But when it actually comes down to doing it, you seem to have lost all motivation.

So how do you recover motivation to do something you think you should do?

You can start by giving up this one word in 2019—and replacing it with something much more powerful!

Say goodbye to the S-word

Should.

That one word can zap your motivation to do something faster than anything.

I’ve found that whenever I used the word “should” I would procrastinate and avoid the activity or project I thought I “should’ do. That’s because the word “should” in the dictionary indicates a meaning of obligation or duty.

Notice how often you might say something similar to these:

  • I should go work out.
  • I should eat healthy.
  • I should lose 10 pounds.
  • I should get out of debt.
  • I should clean that closet.
  • I should learn how to ____.

Why “Should” can sabotage your success

Whatever it is for you, it might even be a necessary or good idea (organize a closet, clean out the car, take a class, plant a garden). But if you’re trying to force it, you either just won’t make the time or have the energy, or you’ll probably keep putting it off because you don’t enjoy it. Or it might be a good thing to do, but maybe not for you to do. Or maybe not at this time.

Get clear on what you want first

Now, for every “should” statement you say, ask yourself, “Is this what I want?” Or do you think you should do it because someone told you to or you feel under some obligation to do it? Sometimes our choices are influenced more about what others want than we want.

Although they might all be great choices, until we personally own them for ourselves we will not be motivated to follow through.

So, the first step to healthy motivation in the new year is to examine your “shoulds” and get clear on what it is YOU want.

You can also clarify what it is you want so it matches the outcome you want to create (i.e. I want to clean the closet so I can always find what I need.)

Once we claim a choice for ourselves, we then can declare them with “I am” statements.

Then replace “I should” with “I am”

  • I am working out
  • I am eating healthy.
  • I am losing 10 pounds.
  • I am debt free.
  • I am cleaning that closet.
  • I am learning how to ____.

Take your choice even higher with gratitude

An even higher vibration of belief is to act as if you have already accomplished it and imagine your success with these statements of gratitude:

  • I am grateful I choose to workout.
  • I am grateful I eat healthy.
  • I am grateful I lost 10 pounds.
  • I am grateful I am debt free .
  • I am grateful I cleaned the closet.
  • I grateful I have learned  how to ____.

This simple but powerful shift can make a world of difference!

Remember, when you declare your intentions you uplift your energy so it can support you with the motivation to do it when it is right and timely for you.

Carol Tuttle is a teacher, speaker, gifted healer, best-selling author of six books, and pioneer in the field of personal development. For over 25 years, she has supported millions worldwide with her life-changing books and online courses. Her newest book, Mastering Affluence, guides you through six trans-formative lessons to create a life you love. Get your copy and learn more at https://ct.liveyourtruth.com/.

 

Parenting/Life

Santa Goes Digital with Portable North Pole

Disclosure:  Although items in this post were provided to my by Santa, all comments and opinions are strictly mine.

There’s nothing better than seeing your child’s face when they see Santa. But imagine their faces when Santa himself sends them a personalized video greeting from his enchanting North Pole village?  Trust me, I’ve seen my son’s face and it is an amazing thing to see.  You can get your own videos from Santa at Portable North Pole.

With all the smart phones and tablets, it’s about time that Santa went digital.  And now you can get him to send personalized messages and videos to your children.  Did you mail that letter late and worried a reply may not come in time?  This is a perfect way for Santa to respond to your child before Christmas eve.

I’ve been using Portable North Pole (PNP) for several years with my son now and he always enjoys his personalized message from the big man himself.  With the ability to use your own photos and facts about the child, it truly is a magical message from Santa.

How Does PNP Videos Work?

You simply share a few details about your child (name, age, most wanted gift idea) and upload a photo at www.portablenorthpole.com or through the free mobile iOS or Android app.

In the blink of an eye an amazing, personalized  video where Santa talks to your child (or the young-at-heart) from the North Pole is ready to share.
In addition to the standard free option, premium video/call packages, ranging from $3.99 to $37.99, come with unlimited access to
multiple, unique, extended Premium videos with extra personalization options and more. With the mobile app, the special Reaction Recorder uses your phone’s camera to capture the moment of joy and surprise when Santa Claus reveals whether your child is on his “naughty or nice” list – creating a
cherished keepsake for parents.

The premium packages also include access to videos that can be used into the next year.  There is a birthday video and a video that can be created for Christmas eve.  In the mobile app, you have the ability to switch between Kids and Parents mode.  You can set up a passcode so that your child is not able to access the Parents Mode.  In the Child mode they will have access to their videos and other features like games and “sELFies” photo filters.

Santa - kids view

 

In addition to the video messages,  the book Twenty-four Sleeps Until Santa available again this year. Christmas comes to life with this story book that includes a special code with access to an exclusive personalized video. It is available at stores across Canada like Indigo and Walmart, as well as Amazon.ca and Indigo.ca.

Santa book

Do you want to share the magic of Santa with your children this year with a personalized video from Portable North Pole?  Head over to my Instagram post LINK HERE and enter to win a Magic Pass Code available for use this year and a copy of Twenty-Four Sleeps ‘Til Santa to enjoy with your family next holiday season.  Contest open to Canadian residents and ends Sunday, December 9, 2018 at 1:00pm EST.  Winner will be contacted via DM and will have 24 hours to respond.

Parenting/Life

Writers Block and How I’m Getting Through It

The holiday season is almost always the busiest time of year for most people, especially bloggers. But what happens when you get a terrible case of writers block? How do you push past and get your blogging mojo back?

That is what I have been struggling with for weeks now. I have been trying to put my fingers on the keyboard but nothing seems to come out.

At night when I go to bed, ideas swirl in my head and blog post after post gets composed there but never actually end up being typed up. It’s not that I don’t try, but for some reason it just never seems to come together.

I want what I write to sound authentic, not forced. I want it to sound like it sounded in my head and not like it came out of a robot. Perhaps I need to invest in some sort of dictation app so I can easily record my thoughts while lying in bed.

Regardless, having this writers block of sorts totally stresses me out. I have a bad habit of procrastinating with some things but I’ve never tried to let that affect my blogging. Consistency is key they always say and lately, I have been the furthest thing from that.

So what have I done to fix my writers block? I took a step away for a couple of weeks. I know I have a number of posts that I need to get done and posted but I will get them done and done properly. Not forced, not because I “have to”. That is the last thing I want for my blog.  I’ve been trying to keep up my posting with Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and actually getting a full on blog post out has been wickedly difficult. I’ve taken some time away from actual blogging and trying to come back fresh and motivated.

So what have I done to regain this lost mojo?  I’ve taken time to reflect on what’s important to me. I’ve taken a step back to remember why I originally started blogging.  Whether I’m an influencer, a blogger or a storyteller, I want my writing to sound like I am writing as if I am having a conversation with you…one on one. If that isn’t what is coming across, then I won’t press “publish”.

So why am I even writing this? If you are actually interested and read my posts, I want you to understand my sporadic posting schedule as of late and my mission to keep things real.  This writers block of mine is only temporary and I am working on pushing past it.

My wish for 2019 is to do more planning (a lot more planning) to help minimize these “blocks” and provide content that not only I can be proud of but what people really want to read.

So bare with me friends, I promise to get my act together and get back on track!

Parenting/Life · Travel

Get a Quote from Desjardins Insurance – Win Gas for a Year

Disclaimer:  This post is sponsored by Desjardins Insurance, however on opinions are strictly mine.

With the holidays just around the corner, I am sure you are thinking about getting gifts for all your loved ones.  But what about a gift for yourself?  One that will last you all year long? With Desjardins Insurance, when getting a quote for your insurance needs and savings that could last you all year long, you can enter to win free gas for a year.  What a great gift for yourself!

The holidays often involve travelling to visit family and friends, so ensuring you have the right coverage (at a great price) is important in the unfortunate event that you need insurance coverage.

 

Desjardin Insurance

Desjardins Insurance has the right coverage to help you protect the things that matter most to you. And now, for a limited time, you could be entered to win FREE GAS for a year when you complete an online quote. It’s quick and easy – and you can see just how much you can save with a Desjardins Agent.

To Enter:

 

  • Click “Get a Quote” and complete the form.

 

Contest closes December 17th, 2018 at 11:59am EST.

This contest is open to Alberta, Ontario and New Brunswick residents only. No purchase necessary. See full Contest Rules.

 

Getting Fit · Parenting/Life

The Desk Converter that Saves My Back

Disclaimer:  Although the AnthroDesk – Sliding Standing Desk Converter was provided to me, all opinions and comments are strictly mine.

Working from home has a lot of perks.  I can work in my pjs until I have to face the outside world, coffee is always available at a moments notice and it’s just generally a more comfortable environment overall. But I am still sitting at a desk all day.

I know of others that are able to work from home and sit on their couch or in a comfy chair and work.  That doesn’t work for me.  I just don’t find myself as productive and I don’t always have the tools I need at an arm’s length.  Even when working on blog posts such as this, I need to sit at my desk.  Although I do get up often to stretch my back  and move around a bit, I find that sitting for a full day working can often end up bothering my legs and back.  And as I have said in a previous post, I need to be listening to my body

So when AnthroDesk asked me to test out their Sliding Standing Desk Converter, I was happy to give it a try.   I was also happy to find out that they were a Canadian company – I am always happy to support Canadian businesses.

The desk converter was super easy to assemble, it took me less than 15 minutes to get it ready for use.  And the actual process to convert it from sitting to standing involves a few levers and back to work in under a minute.  At first, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about standing at my desk.  I wondered if I would tire from standing all the time.  However, I am noticing significant less stress on my back by the end of the day.

Desk Converter Side View

I have found that I need to be very particular about adjusting my desk as just an inch here or there can really make a difference.  I definitely notice it in my neck and shoulders when it’s not quite right.  But that is the good thing about it being so easy to adjust, I can always bring it up or down without anytime productivity time lost.

Not only is my back not as achy but I am finding I am more productive because I am not constantly having to get up and stretch.  So overall, I have to say that for anyone that works at a desk for a majority of their day, this is something you should look into as part of your desk set up.

Parenting/Life

Moms: Don’t let the time change catch you “sleeping”

Guest post by: Nancy Rothstein, MBA, The Sleep Ambassador and Sleep Expert from TONE Networks

Use these simple steps to keep yourself and the kids happy and enjoy a drama free bedtime!

 It’s that dreaded time of year again when the clocks are changing! Many a mother (and father) has posted on social media the “disaster” of the time change. Kids are tired, cranky, crying, and overly sensitive because their little “clocks” are all messed up. Meanwhile mom is tired, cranky and let’s keep it real here, probably eating chocolate and guzzling wine just to try and wait out the days until the kiddos adjust to the new time.

There has to be a better way! Dr. Christine Li, the Procrastination Coach at TONE Networks says, “The time change can be very difficult for families. I recommend parents put a reminder in their calendar two weeks before the time change so they have some space to think of and to implement slight shifts in their regular schedule.  For instance, parents may want to plan for an extra half-hour to help their children get ready for school in the morning.  Parents may also remind themselves that they and their children might feel more irritable or out-of-sorts during the time change and the few days after.  Also, I recommend that parents steer clear of packing the family schedule too tightly during the time change period.  Preparing yourself and your calendar really can help smooth the time change for families.”

Dr. Nancy Rothstein, The Sleep Ambassador and Sleep Coach at TONE Networks agrees planning is the key to managing Day Light Saving, particularly for families with kids, as they don’t have the coping skills we have as adults to manage their sleep loss. She has provided some great tips on how to beat the clock and keep your sanity. She suggest a week before Day Light Saving ends to call a quick family meeting to talk about a new sleep plan when the clock “falls” back the next Sunday night.

Here are some of Nancy’s tips for your family meeting:

  • Talk with your kids about why it’s important to keep your body on a regular sleep schedule, i.e. it helps them grow, learn, they make better food choices when they’re not tired, and they won’t be grumpy because they’re tired.
  • This is a great way to educate your kids about why DLS was actually created in order to save energy and provide more daylight to work.
  • Explain that starting Monday bedtime will be moved up 10 minutes each day so that the next week they won’t be tired or worse tired and grumpy!

If you missed pre-planning the bedtime change, don’t worry!  When the time change arrives, just be a bit flexible in the days/nights that follow, recognizing that your child’s body clock will be aligned with the pre-time change clock. Instead of putting them to down at the new bedtime, try getting them ready for bed 15 minutes to a half hour earlier for the days or week that follow until their circadian rhythm is in the swing of the new clock time. Remember, at 8 p.m. their body clock thinks it is 9 p.m.! As for the morning, they will likely have less adjustment issues because their body clock thinks it’s an hour later so they’ve had more sleep than the clock indicates.  

If your children (or you!) have a hard time getting to sleep try these tips to get “in the mood” for bedtime:

  • Remove all technology one hour before bedtime (no phone, iPad, Kindle, TV, anything that has blue light which will stimulate the brain and make sleep difficult)
  • Taking a soothing bath or shower before bed, this helps to relax the body and over time the body is trained to understand, “I’m getting ready to sleep.”
  • Read a book (not on a device, a real book!) before going to sleep.
  • Cover any light that may be in their room, like an alarm clock or phone.

If you want to learn to hear more expert advice from Dr. Christine Li or Nancy Rothstein check out TONE Networks and watch their short form videos on the importance of sleep in tweens and teens, insomnia, why lack of sleep causes weight gain, the power of planning, time management, minimalism and more.

For Kids · Parenting/Life

Hunting for gold with Treasure X

Disclosure:  Although the Treasure X item was provided to us, all comments, opinions and photos are strictly mine.

I had a look at the calendar today and couldn’t believe how close we are to Christmas again.  I guess it’s time to start thinking about my holiday shopping.  Luckily, I have already come across a great stocking stuffer idea for my son – Treasure X.

Treasure X

He always seems to be drawn to collectibles and I like things that are more than just a package that he opens and is done with it.  Treasure X is the perfect combination of both of these things.  Each contains a collectible figure that you have to assemble but it also includes a “treasure”.

Upon opening the package, you will find a treasure map, digging tool and the treasure you must dig for.  The first part of the dig, you will find all the pieces to create your figure.  Each package comes with a different character for you to assemble.  This can get a bit messy so I recommend you do this somewhere where you can easily vacuum up the powder.

After you have dug up all your character pieces, you can assemble your character and start searching for their treasure.  You will find a box that you need to remove the plastic and add some water to see it dissolve and reveal your treasure.

The treasure revealed could be an ultra rare that is dipped in real gold.  My son loves collectibles that are designated as common, rare or ultra rare and was thrilled when ours was an Ultra Rare gold dipped pocket watch.

Once all the items had been revealed it was time to assemble our character and give him his treasure.

Of course, being the collector that he is, my son has already asked for more of the Treasure X boxes, so I will be off to add a couple of these in his stocking this year.  Who knows what other treasures he might find.