10 November 2010

My dear friend Erron wrote a fantastic piece on her blog today about parenting styles and the judgment and guilt that go along with our choices. I've been mulling it over all day and trying to put to words my feelings on the whole topic.

First, I believe that judgement in parenting is real. I've been on the receiving and (sadly) the giving end of it. It happens on the mainstream and the "crunchy" sides of the coin and it can get downright ugly.

And then, a certain percentage of it is what I think is perceived judgement. A mom breastfeeding in public who feels angry eyes on her is in fact being watched by fellow breastfeeding moms who would like to make eye contact and send on a visual "Go you!" message. The mom who feels like 15 mothers are watching in disgust as her 2-year-old has a full out tantrum in the cereal aisle is really being seen by those mothers are remembering those rough moments and wishing there was something they could do to help.

I'm a big believer in energy (in case the Reiki, reflexology, flower essence work I do didn't tip you off). I believe that the more we sit and stew about judgement, the more energy and vitality we give to the mommy wars. The more we parent our children differently from our peers and fear their biting comments, the more we draw in those cutting and harsh remarks.

I love the "what if" game. What if you didn't have to worry about what other parents thought? What if you expected to be greeted with acceptance and understanding by everyone you met? What if you looked at other parents with the knowledge that they were doing the very best they could in that moment? What if we shared nothing but empathy with other mothers?

It's something to think about, isn't it?

I've had moments in my life where I've been checking off all the right boxes (Breastfeeding? Yup. Babywearing? For sure! Co-sleeping? Of course!) and yet I've been too busy looking at how I look to pay attention to why I'm doing all the things that I'm doing.

Attachment parenting isn't a checklist to complete. It's a loosely-defined parenting approach that I've come to see as pretty much describing my parenting style. We co-sleep, extend breastfeed, babywear, EC, discipline gently, unschool, and love unconditionally because these are the things that promote the types of relationships and environments for my children that I want.

When I'm too busy looking out there in the world, I'm not able to see those moments that are happening right inside of my home and my heart. When I'm able to let go of all that crap out there and just focus on these people I've been blessed to call my family, incredible things happen. There are moments of divine beauty and heart-bursting tenderness that I never could have imagined possible. My children and husband bring blessings and meaning into my life that I have to be fully present for in order to appreciate.

And in the end, isn't it that what it's all supposed to be about?

03 November 2010

Sometimes I feel like I know where I'm going, chugging happily along in the midst of the daily joyful chaos that fills our family home. We're moving forward to the vague future out there. We're growing the kids. We're exploring our interests. We're building lives full of goodness and love.

And then something falls from the sky and I'm left re-evaluating my focus. Yesterday, the something was a friend talking about a distance midwifery program that she's hoping to arrange a group discount for. At first I looked at it as one of those "Oh wouldn't it be nice if..." ideas, but the idea has been nibbling on my brain all day.

It's got me thinking hard about where I am, where I want to go, and how hard I want to work to get there. I've never given a whole bunch of thought to a career. I completed an Equine Sports Therapy program a few months before Nick was born and while I've worked with some fantastic horses along the way, I never set it in motion as a full-time career. I also completed a Holistic Health Practitioner program when Nick was young. Liam and I were married two months after I graduated and I worked in my field for a year before Lily was born. I've recently started my business where I work with families and offer my holistic health services to them.

This has all been "on the side" sort of stuff. I love what I've learned and the work that I do, don't get me wrong, but it's all been in the midsts of raising young children. There was never any question of me working instead of being home with the kids. Liam and I both entered this marriage knowing that me being home was a main priority.

Now, looking at this midwifery program that typically takes 3.5 years to complete, I'm looking ahead at my life. There will come a day when I don't have a child who needs to nurse to sleep and randomly throughout the night, and there will come a day when the youngest is old enough for the oldest to take care of for growing lengths of time. In 10 years, our kids will be 20, 15, and 11 and their needs for me won't be quite the same as they are today. And I'll be 40, with all sorts of working years ahead of me.

It's kind of like peeking out from behind this cloud of young-kid-parenting, this looking at the future. Who do I want to be when the dust settles? What do I want to be doing? Where do I want to be investing my time and energy?

To anyone who knows me well, it wouldn't be surprising to hear that I'm looking at delving further into the birth-y world. I find pregnancy and birth and the parenting of babies to be a personally fulfilling experience. I've developed strong views and opinions on how birth can be, and on how our society's dramatic view of birth as dangerous and frightening doesn't serve families very well.

In my ideal world, I'd love to see families experiencing pregnancy and birth from and empowered, informed place. In the Edmonton area, options are incredibly limited as the few midwives in the area are coming nowhere near meeting the demand and are they working under the limitations that came with provincial funding. Families are too often missing out on the ability to make choices because of a lack of available options. Hospital birth with an OB should be but one possibility in the midst of midwife-attended hospital birth, midwife-attended birth center births, midwife-attended homebirths, and unassisted homebirths.

Anyhow, I could go on rambling for ages about birthy stuff in and of itself, but the point of this entry is to try to figure out where I feel I fit into all of this. On the one hand, the possibility of becoming a midwife and giving families further options when it comes to birth is thrilling. I would personally get a lot of satisfaction out of it and I could see myself really enjoying training for it. On the other hand, is it the best investment of my time in relation to what I already have in my life? Are there better ways to serve families that wouldn't require such intensive training? Is this career path in keeping with what's best for my family as a whole?

Ho hum. Such heavy thoughts for so late at night. I'm not sure where the answers are out there or when I'll find them, but getting things written out is at least helpful for reflection. On that note, I'm off to close my eyes next to the small squishy child who's waiting for me in my bed!

31 October 2010

As the mom of 3, and in particular as the mom of a mom-centric toddler, I tend not to spend a whole lot of time doing things for me. The result of this ended up looking something like this:

(In a small bit of my defense, my hair wasn't always this terrible. I'd been wearing a bandanna all day so it was gross and flat.)

My hair was boring. It was shaggy and the style that it had from my last hair cut 5 months ago was looong gone. I was resorting to pony tails, braids, and of course my handy dandy friend the bandanna.

I wanted something different from the shoulder-ish length hair I'd been sporting for a few years. I wanted something fun. I wanted something different. And I really didn't want something dyed because I'm refusing to go down that road despite the growing numbers of gray hair making an appearance on my head these days.

I spent some time perusing the Googles. I threw in phrases like "curly bob", "asymmetrical curly", and "curly undercut". I found some hairstyles that were ok, some that were outright frightening, and then some that totally rocked. In the end, the two pictures that seemed closest to what I was aiming for were these.

Awesome undercut:

Amazing Mia hair:
I ended up bringing these photos to my hairdresser and we spent some time figuring out what would be most realistic for me. Before long, she hacked off a bunch of length, got my hair washed, and started cutting pieces out. Her approach was to take bits out at a time until all the parts came together in a way that my curls wanted.

In the end, I wound up with this:

From the front. (I tried to crop out the messy house in the background but Picasa is being a jerk today.)

The short side. I love this little straggly dude that keeps hopping over.
The back. I love how it turned out!

The straight version, today.

From the back. You can see the longest point in this shot. The whole style is set as a triangle.

I'm really, really thrilled with my hair. It's fun, it's easy to do, and I can think of about 7 different ways to style it so I don't think I'll ever get bored. I was worried that the asymmetry would bug me, but it feels balanced on my body. Which is kind of amusing to me as I've had long-standing issues with right-side left-side balance. Maybe this is just off-center enough to balance out my imbalances?

One way or another, it works. Yay for hair that's not frumpy and shaggy and all sorts of boring!

06 October 2010

Me and my little Nick and my friend Jo.

Ten years ago today, I gave birth to Nick at the hospital I can see today from my bedroom window. I was young and unaware of what was in store for me, he was small and beautiful and soft.

Right about at this time on that day, my visitors left and the room was quiet. I was there all alone with this tiny bundle in the bassinet beside my bed. I distinctly remember switching the lights down low and his tiny eyes flashing open only inches from my face. It scared the living daylights out of me.

We made it through that first night in a bumbling fumbling way. Every time he squawked at me I did my best to painfully sit upright and convince both of us that my breasts were actually some kind of food source.

Morning came eventually and I watched the world outside of my hospital room grow brighter. It was the dawn of my first day as a parent. Something deep and unseen in the world was altered from the day before. I stood at the window with this tiny little person held to my heart and it was the most beautiful moment I've ever lived in my life.

A Robert Duncan painting that I have in my livingroom which is like a reflection of that morning.

I've just now sent Nick off to bed, this shaggy-haired, big-eyed, lanky kid full of laughter and stories. I can't quite wrap my brain around superimposing that tiny delicate baby and this boy half way to adulthood. Where did they go, the days that spilled into years? How did my son grow into this boy bursting with ideas and dreams while I could swear that I still feel him nestled into my shoulder?

Nick in the ravine a couple of weeks ago.

This journey he's taken me on is beyond anything I ever could have imagined. He's taught me more about myself in ten years that I'd learned in the 20 years before I knew him. He's opened up a depth in my heart I never knew could exist and he's made me look at the world through the eyes of a mother. Nick came to me at a time in my life when I needed him as much as he needed me and I could never ask for a greater gift.

Happy birthday Nick! I love you so much and I can't wait to see what the next ten years bring you!

04 October 2010

Babywearing is historical.

Babywearing is multicultural.

Babywearing is for tiny babies.

Babywearing is for kids.
Babywearing is for siblings.

Babywearing is how Mom is able to make meals.

Babywearing is how Mom is able to parent the big kids.

Babywearing is how Mom takes care of two sick kids at once.

Babywearing is how we get the snow shoveled.


Babywearing is one of the best ways to snuggle.

29 September 2010

I blogged a few weeks ago about the Game On! challenge I joined and I was buzzing right along in week 2 last time I checked in. I had big plans to do a final re-cap on the last day but life happened and I'm getting to this a few days later.

First off, I survived!! During the first week when I was hungry and grumpy and seriously missing sugar I really wondered what I'd got myself into. And then I got the hang on spacing out my meals and making choices that would help keep me feeling balanced, and the good buzzy hormones from exercising daily kicked in. By the time I was through the second week time was sailing by and I finished out the challenge with (relative) ease.

By the end of the four weeks I dropped 10.8 lbs, a number that I'm really happy with. Jeans that barely fit at the start are now ridiculously baggy (hey look, I made my own boyfriend jeans!) and I'm fitting back into a lot of pre-pregnancy clothing I really missed. I've gained a lot of muscle tone as well, thanks to doing 30 Day Shred, and it' left me feeling stronger and more comfortable in my body.

On the topic of 30 Day Shred, I was zipping along through it and getting quite used to getting my butt kicked on a daily basis. I went from level 1 to level 2 quite quickly and then I made the mostly mental leap to level 3. A few days into doing level 3 I had to stop, though, as the large amount of push-up and plank work was causing some nerve pain in my shoulders. I've worked my way through my fair share of pain while training for half marathons but this felt like the kind of pain not to mess with. I was disappointed not to finish off the exercise program but I ended up being quite happy with switching to running. I hadn't been out for a run in a few months and it was really fantastic to see what a huge impact the cross-training and weight loss had on my running. On my last couple of runs I did a 5k in under 35 minutes and then the next day in under 34 minutes, which is quite quick for me right now.

The other big impact Game On! made on me was to show me just how diligent I could be in keeping my eating in line. The five sanctioned meals each day were quite strict but the meal off and the food day off each week gave me some breathing room. Knowing that certain foods and certain times were totally off-limits really eliminated a lot of eating temptations. I also attribute the ease in this area to the flower essence work I was doing to support my moving away from coping by eating food and downshifting my energy. Eating was about taking care of and fueling my body, not about treats or rewards or distraction.

Overall I'm really glad that I had the opportunity to take part in this challenge. The return to losing weight has been fantastic and I'm another 10 lbs closer to my goal weight. It was also a really good opportunity to see how good and balanced I feel when I actually eat only good foods and exercise and sleep enough. My better health also impacted my family in my ability to parent more fully in the way I want to and in the creation of opportunities to discuss personal health with the kids. I'm looking forward to seeing the ripple effects of my efforts during the following weeks and months to come!

20 September 2010

The kids and I spent today at a friend's home with a handful of other families. The premise was to do some planning work for our Attachment Parenting group but, as always, the "working" portion of the day was only a small part of our time. We chatted about the kids, we ate, we stopped to take care of our kids, and we discussed the things on our minds and hearts.

I've been reflecting on how meaningful and powerful these moments with friends are. There is something so fundamentally important about spending time with people who get me and see the world through similar eyes. Our family has made various parenting, schooling, and lifestyle choices that aren't typical and having a community of people who are operating under the same general principles is something I truly treasure.

On the kid side of things, too, there are some beautiful moments. There are all the bellies of the last couple of years which have now like magic turned into toddlers and small babies in our midst. The older kids seem to randomly make huge developmental leaps and the child who a few months ago may have sat holding Mom's leg is now off adventuring in the trees with friends.

Watching the children is inspiring, the way their imaginations come together to sweep them up in a day of play. They play together as a large group, in smaller groups, or alone in an ever-changing dynamic that is mostly smooth. Sometimes there are hurt feelings, scraped knees, or coveted toys and a parent helps them to work things out and then the fun resumes.

This, I believe, is at the center of what it is to be a person. We're social creatures meant to share moments big and small with the people we hold dear. Sometimes it feels as if our society is so isolated, so cut off one family from another. Coming away from a day like today leaves me with a sense of contentment and comfort, and helps me to remember to appreciate the deep value of friendship.

10 September 2010

Today I've completed the 12th day of the Game On challenge. Just about at the half point, I feel like I'm really settling into a groove with it and reaping some great results.

I feel really good. Between the good food, the exercise, the copious amounts of water, the vitamins, and the flower essences, I'm doing good things to my body and it's being good to me in return. Weight-wise, I'm down something like 7 lbs (my scale is finicky) and a pant size. It's significant enough that I can see a difference and I'm totally stoked as I close in on those last few pounds that will put me at pre-pregnancy weight.

The biggest chunk of effort has definitely been my eating. It's not the avoiding temptation or feeling I'm depriving myself because I'm really not feeling that way at all. The effort is in making sure that my 5 daily meals meet the carb/protein/fat/veggies requirements and that I use my portions wisely in order to hold me through to the next meal. I've spent many minutes chomping at the bit, waiting for my next meal with a growling belly. A few afternoons I've made really good use of my 100 free daily calories by eating some fruit to hold me over until supper.

Exercise is the next area where I've been putting in the most effort. I've mostly been doing Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred video, which is awesome because of its intensity and because it only takes 20 minutes. My time is limited and I quite often work out at 9 pm because it's when I have free time, so I really need something short and intense. I've moved up into Level 2 out of 3 and I think by next week I'll be ready to venture into Level 3. I'm finding a huge difference in my strength during all the plank work and static squats/lunges and I'm really enjoying seeing how much more I can do each night.

I thought that drinking 3L of water daily was going to be a real push, and for the first days it was, but now that I'm used to it I find myself passing the 3L mark around suppertime and often finishing the day off at 4L. Taking vitamins as my new habit has been super simple, as has been including using flower essences. For the flower essences, I made myself a dosage bottle with some essences that are helping me with transition, energy level, and addictive behaviors, and I either take it directly from the bottle or add some to my water.

All in all I'm currently really enjoying the challenge. It's been tough pushing myself out of my comfort zone and I know that I won't continue the really strict eating once my 4 weeks are up but it's got me in a great place for now!

02 September 2010

Parenting is a personal and deeply emotional thing. No two people parent the same and everyone feels like they're trying their hardest (and yet usually failing in some way).

I've seen people latch on to theories from books, advice from others, and behaviors linked to labels. And I've seen a lot of people uncomfortable with their parenting. (And yes, I totally include myself as having been in each of those situations.)

In my almost ten years of parenting I think I've figured a lot of stuff out. Not all of it, obviously, or Nick would be much more zen than he is but I think that having read and experienced a lot of things has given me some perspective and allowed me to find my groove.

In pondering my general parenting philosophy today, I came up with the Ten Un-Commandments of Parenting. They're Un-Commandments because I'm not telling anyone to do them, I'm just sharing the framework I try to work and grow within.

1) Parent consciously
Make choices. Form habits, say words, take actions, and set priorities because you've chosen them, not because you've fallen into a rut or because you're following someone else's "should"s.

2) Parent respectfully
Respect your children as individuals from the beginning of their existence. Trust them, let them make choices, have their opinions count.

3) Assume the best
Assuming your child is operating from the best of intentions changes the tone of interactions. They should have to show you that their behavior is unkind/selfish/hurtful rather than having to prove their good intentions.

4) Parent from the gut
Parents have strong instincts that can guide them in so many different situations and yet we ignore our gut feelings so often because of fear and worry. Following our instincts can bring us amazing things.

5) Touch your child
Touch does some really neat things, from stabilizing heart and breathing rates in babies to diffusing tense situations with older kids. Hug and hold and wrestle with your kids!

6) Do less
We're always so busy doing and going and talking. Sometimes our kids want us to just stop and sit down on the floor with them. Or they want us to give them space to be. Do less and make more room.

7) Have empathy
Getting out of our own head space and seeing things through our children's eyes can change the way we react to situations or can help us to avoid difficult moments.

8) Seek balance for the family
Try to find a way for situations to mostly work for most of the family. Be flexible in finding ways to keep everyone's needs a priority.

9) Be real
Be authentic with your children. They know the difference. Stop worrying about whether you should let them see you cry or find out where your weaknesses are. They can smell fake from a mile away and it doesn't help to build a trusting relationship.

10) Grow yourself
Grow and learn and read more all the time. Become a better parent, a more accomplished artist, a healthier individual. Walk the talk of being a great person and set that in front of your child as an example.

01 September 2010

As an unschooly family our life rolls along all year without holidays or first days of classes and while I appreciate how it means we value the living and learning we do each day I think that it can lead us towards taking for granted the life we have. There is no anticipation for and celebration of summer holidays, no exciting newness in September.

Today, a local homeschool support group called Homebased Learning Society of Alberta put on the annual First Day Not Back To School Picnic. It's a really fun tradition where all sorts of homeschooling families gather at Emily Murphy Park to eat, play, and visit. It's a day where we celebrate the coming year of not sending our kids back to school, on the very day when most families in the city are celebrating sending their kids to their first day of school.

Today informally kicks off the school year for us and I'm taking this opportunity to celebrate the things to come.

I'm celebrating all the mornings I'll get to snuggle on the couch with my kids and eat a home cooked breakfast with them. I'm celebrating the days we'll get up early to get as much time out of our day as possible, and the days we'll sleep in to rest and recover.

I'm celebrating the afternoons we'll spend at the science center, art classes, playgrounds, music classes, friend's houses and forests. I'm also celebrating the afternoons we'll watch Discovery Channel, play board games, create artwork, and bake cookies.

I'm celebrating the evenings we'll spend at Beavers, in the back yard, watching movies, and playing soccer. I'm celebrating the nights the kids will fall in bed exhausted and the times they'll have so much to say that they just won't be able to let the day go.

I'm celebrating the tiny moments that I know I'll witness: light bulbs going off, passions sparking, relationships deepening, and maturity growing. I'm also celebrating the big moments to come: leaps in independence, growth spurts, and the hitting of strides.

I'm excited about the coming year and all the things I don't even know are coming our way yet. This life that I get to live with these children of mine is a great one.

31 August 2010

The cooler fall weather allowed to me having a tea party with my kids today.

No, not because it's too hot to drink tea in the summer or because we're too busy at the playground to be bothered with such indoorsy silliness. It's way less direct than that.

In the summer, we sleep in the basement. It's lovely. It's cool and dark and way more welcoming than the stuffy upstairs bedrooms. The downside, unfortunately, is that the open layout of our house makes it so that any noises on the main floor (like children shrieking during a sock war for example) are also quite loud in the basement. It also meant that Angel the wild kitten was able to go downstairs at the slightest hint of a sleeping body in order to "snuggle" (AKA "Purr as loudly as possible until the sleeping thing wakes up")

Olivia usually naps twice a day. These naps usually look something like this:

The smoochy snuggly sleeper is truly delicious like nothing else. But she's getting big. I know, calling my skinny baby big is rather amusing, but she used to look a lot more like this:
(Please note the bad wrapping job. See what you learn in a year of wrapping?)

Anyhow back to the tea party. Well, almost. So yeah, this baby of mine couldn't sleep in the noisy basement all summer. And she was getting bigger and bigger which made it harder to get things done during her wrap-naps. Sometimes I did manage to get her transferred up onto my back once she'd nursed to sleep:
(This one is a good wrapping job, despite her wonky head. Promise! She had neck support right up her whole neck. Plus if I tried to lay her head down flat and tuck it under the wrap she got angry.)

Anyhow yeah. So the tea party. So since it's cool enough that we have the beds back upstairs into actual bedrooms with actual doors, I can now put the sleeping baby up in bed during her naps. It's quiet, the cat can't jump on her face, and I can actually move around at a normal person's speed, not the speed of someone trying not to crang her sleeping baby's head on a wall while mopping.

During this morning's nap I got a whole pile of cleaning done which meant that during this afternoon's nap when Lily asked if we could have a tea party I was able to say "Yes! Let's get some water boiling!" rather than "I really wish I could but the table is covered in crap and the dishes are all dirty and I don't have the time for that right now." (Do I sound like one of those Ikea commercials yet?)

So my afternoon looked a whole bunch like this:

And this:

And this:

It was really really great. Nick and Lily so often have to wait for things or just plain not do things because of Olivia and it was really special to just sit with them and drink tea and visit. There's a part of my heart that is sad that Olivia's napping in bed rather than in the wrap, but it's balanced out in knowing that she was more than ready and I now have these new opportunities to be alone with the big kids. And judging by the looks on their faces as they doctored up their cups of tea, the party was just as big a hit with them as it was with me.

30 August 2010

As I wrote yesterday, I've joined in a Game On challenge for the next four weeks. Today was my first day and while I promise I won't do recaps of my day each day I wanted to take a look back at my first day.

My first impression is that the drinking 3L of water isn't quite as difficult as I thought it might be. I have a tumbler that's 591 mL so I've been keeping tally so that I drink 5 tumblers worth of water. It's currently 10 PM and I've got about 1/3 of my last tumbler to go, so polishing it off will be pretty easy. The one lesson I learned was to not chug back a full tumbler of water just before putting Olivia to bed since by the time she'd finally finished nursing I was in serious fear of my bladder exploding. Ka-pow!

The biggest area of effort was predictably my foods. In keeping with the requirements I ate 5 small meals which were:
1) Oatmeal with honey and kefir and a nectarine
2) Two yellow peppers filled with last night's spaghetti sauce leftovers
3) A spinach salad with tuna, strawberries, sunflower seeds, and balsamic vinegar
4) Chicken breast, rice, asparagus, zucchini, carrot sticks
5) A nectarine, some grapes, a piece of cheese

I had a hard time between meals one and two because I got hungry. I thought the kefir combined with the oatmeal would be enough protein to keep me going, but my stomach was growling and I was pissy when I got morning snacks for the kids. It's frustrating enough to feel like I'm spending my day preparing foods and feeding everyone else on days when I eat frequently, but when I'm still handling all this food and not getting much myself it's rather annoying.

I did pull out some celery part way through the day (I can eat as much celery and cucumber as I want but I'd rather go hungry than eat cucumber) and all I can say is: there's a reason why you can eat as much of it as you want. Poor celery. I'd like you if you didn't taste so bad. Or feel so bad. By the end of this month I'm either going to love you or never speak to you again.

On the exercise front, I grabbed my iPod and the doggy and went for a 20 minute walk when Liam was home. It was nice to walk at an adult speed. Anyone who has walked with toddlers or flighty-brained kids on bikes knows what I'm talking about.

I took my vitamins this morning to get my good habit points, and on such a cold gloomy day it seemed especially wise to be popping some B complex and vitamin D. I still need to get my flower essence blend made up tonight.

Overall, I'm really glad to be doing the challenge. I think that it's just enough pressure to keep me on track and to see some nice results on the scale, but flexible enough that it's not going to put me into a crash and burn by day three. I've got a kind of love-hate relationship going on with the whole Game On thing today, so here's hoping that as the days go on I spend more time on the love side of things than on the hate side!

29 August 2010

It's that time of year when the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting colder, and the apples on the trees are turning nice and red. Summer isn't exactly over as we can easily get a few nice days in the early part of September, but those long hot days and endless opportunities for lazy afternoons at the park are drawing to a close.

Part of me is always sad to see the summer end, especially knowing how long and cold the winters here are. There's another part of me that really loves fall, though. During 19 of my 30 years September has ushered in a fresh new school year and it's hard not to feel like the month brings me a fresh slate with so many exciting opportunities.

I bought a binder and notebook today to use for our FlyLady-inspired control journal (a place to keep written routines and other things related to running the house). I'm going to get us set into a regular morning routine and I'll set out our major household tasks around our weekly classes and outings.

As part of my Game On challenge, I'll be making up a dosage bottle of flower essences for myself and I'm looking forward to adding in some blackberry for a kick of inspiration as well as some walnut to help make the transition into new fall routines.

For now, I'm off to bed to see how it feels to get the minimum of 7 hours of sleep I need to score my Game On points rather than the 5 or 6 hours I've been working on most days. G'night!

28 August 2010

A friend of mine invited me to join in a challenge based on a book called The Game On Diet. The background of the book is that the authors are friends who came up with the game outlined in the book in order to help the female author to lose her pregnancy weight.

What I'll be participating in is a 4 week challenge from August 30 - September 19 with a group of people. We'll be divided up into teams of four, each person will kick $50 into the pot, and at the end the winning team will divvy up the money.

Personally, I'm joining in for the fun of the challenge and the kick in the pants I need in the motivation department. The weight-loss roll I was on tapered out in the spring and I've gone from a plateau to picking up 5 lbs, and since I'm still at least 40 lbs from my goal weight I need to get going again.

So what exactly is this game? The objective is to score as many points as possible. Each day you can score points by eating 5 meals consisting of approved foods, by exercising at least 20 minutes, by drinking 3 liters of water, by sleeping at least 7 hours, by picking up one good habit, by dropping one bad habit, and by keeping in touch with a team member and an opposing team member. There are also bonus points for things like losing 1% of your starting weight if your overall goal is weight loss or for meeting your fitness goal if your overall goal is improved fitness. There's also some wiggle room in taking breaks, so you can take a day off from each aspect either together or spread out over the week (i.e. one day I can ignore getting 5 hours of sleep and the next I can skip exercising).

I'm both totally excited and totally intimidated by this challenge. I'm looking forward to trying a new approach to smart weight loss and I know that being accountable for my choices is going to be a huge motivator. I'm also slightly panicky at the thought of being accountable to my teammates and being tied in to a "diet" ("lifestyle"?) for four weeks.

I think that my first hurdle is going to be making the time to plan out my eating while getting used to what falls into and approved meal (a meal needs to include a portion of carbs or fruits, of protein, and of fats and two of them have to include two servings of veggies). The other area where I might struggle is in my tendency to an all-or-nothing attitude. I'll need to remind myself that making a poor choice once during the day doesn't mean I need to make other poor choices after that.

I'm still trying to figure out what I should chose as my healthy habit to build and my unhealthy habit to quit. I might make taking my vitamins daily my healthy habit to keep things simple since building in 20 minutes of exercise 6 days a week is already going to take a bit of dedication for a Mom who rarely gets any personal time at all.

So anyhow, that's what's rattling around in my brain tonight. I've got one more day til things kick off and I'm really excited to see where it takes me. I'll make sure that I update along the way!

26 August 2010

(First off: Boo to missing my first day in the Summer Blogging Challenge yesterday!! In my defense, I did blog from my BlackBerry in bed bitching about being in bed with the baby because the kitten kept waking her, but my battery died before I could publish it. And then I fell asleep. And nobody really wanted to read that anyhow.)

Anyhow, here's the real fun for the evening. I came across some old photos of Lily and I was shocked by how much my girls really do look alike. With that as my inspiration, I bring you the game! Can you identify which one is Olivia and which one is Lily?

#1 Looking out the window and something interesting

#2 Sitting pretty in the chair!

#3 Such a pretty hat and a beeeeautiful dress!

#4 There's that hat again!

#5 Messy cake baby!

#6 Pinky babe with the nifty lighting

There you have it! Post your guesses. The winner gets Awesome Points. And not those measly little Awesome Points that Liam is giving out for the blog challenge, but really big juicy Kim Awesome Points. If you collect enough of them you earn a stretchy wrap. Or something. I need to sleep now so I'll stop typing.

24 August 2010

This is the fourth entry I've written for tonight. I've started three and deleted them all. Maybe this one will stick around?

I spent an evening working with some clients and my brain is all a-buzzy. I've got all these enormous ideas swirling around inside my head about the deep acts of service of mothers, the role of female support people in a woman's life, and the pull of motherhood versus career. But all these ideas are too far out there right now, too flighty and unfinished to let me pin them down in letters and punctuation.

So what do I write about instead? I can write about the moon. It's full and beautiful and smiled down on me tonight when I was driving home to my family. I can write about the visit I had with a friend today and how its happiness lingered throughout my afternoon. Or I could write about the way that my children were so affectionate with one another today and my heart melted every time they squeezed each other with hugs. I could also write about the peace and spiritual space that filled my home today and the mental quiet that they brought me.

And there you have it. I've told you about them all already!

23 August 2010

So, as a means of totally avoiding having to come up with a blog topic for today, I've randomly uploaded a bunch of photos from the computer and I'll comment on them. You can hardly wait, can you?

Hey! Here's a picture from one of last year's babywearing walks. I had Olivia (who was I'm guessing 6 or so weeks at the time?) on my front in my mei tai and Lily on my back in a woven wrap. I think this was my first time ever doing a ruck (they type of back carry Lily is in) as you can tell by the way the shoulders weren't done properly and my arms were pinned to me. But the kids were happy and my legs worked so we walked!
This is CeeJay. He's my friend's nephew. All the cups on the table tell me that this was when we were decorating Easter eggs this year. My friend brought her son and her nephew over and I think we dyed 7 dozen eggs. So fun!

This is me, looking cool and shaking a glass jar. The kids and I were making butter. Well, Olivia wasn't. She was sleeping. Hello sleeping Olivia!

This is a dude with a lizard. Where the heck were we? Telus World of Science? I think that's where it was. Anyhow, dude had a bunch of animals and at the end of the act the kids got to feed the turtle lettuce. He was super cute.

It's an Olivia! She's lying on a blanket Nick had as a baby and she's wearing a prefold we dyed at the Anderson Acres campout last summer.

That is me and my Olivia belly. It must have been early in the pregnancy because I'm not as big as a house in this photo.

It's another Olivia! This is what she looked like when we were done shoveling snow one day last winter. She was on my back in a wrap under my babywearing coat. Her nose got a little chilly but she was a happy baby!
Here's my friend Raelynn and Liam and I at the end of a 5 Peaks trail race we ran in September 2008. Raelynn had just ran 8k while being something like 14 weeks pregnant and Liam and I had done the 16k route. It was really really fantastic day.

And somehow I've ended up with another photo of the same race even though I didn't pick two photos from any one folder. So odd. Anyhow, here we are running! I'm on the left side of the photo in the blue hat.
Folk Fest!! Holy crap my kids were small!! And Lily looks pissed.

Ah, the playroom. This is photographic proof that I have on several occasions gutted the room and made it look pretty like this. It typically lasts 13.7 seconds before looking like three small-sized tornadoes have flown through it.

Lily!! Judging by the candle in her hand I'm guessing this is a shot from her third birthday party. Her fifth birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks, which doesn't seem like it should be possible.

It's the McKenzie's donkey! I have no idea what his name is. But he's so cute!

Eeee! It's a tiny gooey-eyed blurry Olivia! I loved that hat on her.
And another Olivia. Jeez. I think I take a lot of Olivia pictures. This is her in the swing in the back yard. She looks to be very deep in thought, possibly chanting "Ohm".

That was fun. I should do this kind of post again sometime.

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