Tuesday, 31 March 2015

I Am Second - My Time With God

Volume Three

The last few weeks have been busy. I have not been making enough time for myself to hit my yoga mat to stretch, pray and reflect. As a result I have not been sleeping great and worrying more. Due to my lack of sleep I have been napping when Luke naps, which is when I normally do yoga, you can see the unhealthy cycle that is beginning.

My time on my yoga mat is my time with God in prayer and reflection. I have The Bible App by YouVersion which sends me a bible verse to read each day (If you follow me on Instagram you know I like to share some of the verses that I have been meditating on) and then during my yoga practice, I meditate on that message. Sometimes it doesn't speak to me but most of the time I learn something. I walk away from my mat feeling lighter, happier and closer to God.

Yoga is what works for me when it comes to prayer, maybe its because I love to move. For others it might just be reading the bible while drinking your morning coffee. Whatever it is, in my experience, this time with God is invaluable to my ability to live a life of purpose, moving in the direction God wants me to go.

And so I circle back to the beginning of my story when I mentioned my busyness. I believe in God and I believe in the enemy (the devil). The enemy knows that when I spend time with God, I become more powerful against his temptation so he wants to do anything he can to take that time away from me. In my situation I believe the devil has been trying to fill me with fear in the early morning hours, robbing me of sleep and as a result, robbing me of my time with God on my yoga mat.

Taking proper care of myself impacts those I care for. I am leading a family and I can not do it without God. It may sound extreme but its also a reminder that I really do need to put God first before anything else in my life. This could mean making time for Him before my family but I know I will be better for everyone in my life because of it.


Tuesday, 24 March 2015

My Diaper Bag

For the first few months of motherhood, I used a regular diaper bag and stored my phone, wallet and keys in the front pocket. When I went out without Luke, I would simply remove my items from the pockets and carry them around, which was extremely inconvenient. If I was at the grocery store I would try and set them in the front of the cart while I shopped but they just fell through the cart. If I was shopping, I just had piles of items in my hands and pockets while browsing racks, also not great.

I knew there had to be a better solution for transitioning my bag, from my time out with Luke to my time out alone. I also hated flipping back and forth from the diaper bag to a purse because I ended up having purses all over my house and random items in all my purses.

I heard about a trick for organizing baby items in diaper bags by putting everything into separate ziplock bags. So, I put 6 diapers, an outfit, some bibs, and a few miscellaneous items, all in separate ziplock bags. This made it easy to remove all Luke's essentials from the bag when I went out alone.

I hunted for the perfect bag, it needed to be big enough to hold everything, zipper shut, easy to carry and fashionable. Finally I came across a fabulous brown leather backpack at one of my favourite Sarnia stores, Shoes @ 144 Front. I had actually wanted a backpack purse for awhile now and loved the idea of this style for a diaper bag.

So far this bag is the best diaper bag I have used and it looks great, bonus! One of the things I like most about it, is it can be worn when I have Luke in his sling. It was always a little challenging to stick my debit card and phone in the sling along with Luke, because I was unable to wear the bag and sling at the same time. The backpack is the perfect solution to carrying all my essentials while wearing Luke in the sling.

If you are ever on the hunt for a great purse, amazing shoes, wallets, socks and outstanding customer service, you need to visit Shoes @ 144 Front, its worth a trip downtown.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Gratitude Monday - I Set The Tone

Last week I was feeling a little stressed at times, it was a busy week and I didn't take much time to slow down and reflect, which I know leaves me feeling frazzled. In addition, Luke was a little off as well, he was having a hard time going to bed and would only let me be the one to tuck him in.

Finally on Saturday, I started to slow down and think about why Luke had been acting a little different. I realized that he was simply feeding off my emotions. I had been buzzing around all week and even though Luke is with me all day, we hadn't had as many quiet snuggly moments as we usually do.

After realizing this, I felt bad for Luke. He was trying to tell me all week "hey mom, lets just chill for a few moments and everything will be ok". It only took me 7 days to get the hint but I got it.

I will never be the perfect mother or completely avoid ever feeling stressed again but I will remember the lesson I learned this week, I set the tone for this household and Luke will learn to handle himself in situations from watching Tyler and I. I already knew this but sometimes it takes me getting smacked in the head with the concept, to learn the lesson.

Today I am grateful for the lessons I learn when I do slow down and reflect.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

I Am 30

Today I am 30, Wahoo! Its an exciting day, I am here with my health, family and cake, what more can a girl ask for.

Honestly though, I really am excited to be 30 and to be growing older. Everyday I like myself a little more and learn something new about myself and worry less about what the world around me thinks of me.

When I was in my early 20's I was filled with self doubt. I did a lot of learning in those years but I would never want to repeat them, no thanks. I am all about moving forward these days and only looking back to learn from those previous mistakes.

My life is a pretty awesome journey and I have a feeling its only going to keep getting more awesome, which means I need to grow and get older. So don't bother feeling sorry for me for getting one year older and reaching this milestone birthday because I couldn't be more excited about it.

In honour of my birthday week, I am eating dessert every night!


Sunday, 15 March 2015

Follow Your Dreams

My youngest sister has turned her childhood passion for dance, into a successful career. I think this is pretty cool so I interviewed her and am excited to share her story with you. Check it out here.

Follow Your Dreams

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Following My Heart

Just after Christmas I started to think about what it would be like to go back to work now that I have a child. As I considered this scenario now that Luke was actually here, the picture I had imagined before having him, didn't look as desirable as it once did. I started to wonder if I wanted to go back to work at all.  I began giving serious thought to what our family would look like if I worked and what it would look like if I didn't work, there were pros and cons to both pictures. Unsure of what I really wanted and what was the right decision for me and my family, I started to pray.

I talked to God for awhile about this and sorted out what it was that I really wanted, I wanted to be a full time mom.  Anyone who knows me, is probably surprised to hear this. I loved my career and the people I worked with, but anyone who has ever had a child, knows that a baby can change your life in ways you could have never imagined.

Once I knew what I wanted, I needed to talk to Tyler. Nervously I told him what I had been thinking and that I thought I wanted to be a stay at home mom. To my happy surprise, he said he had been having similar thoughts. He liked the idea of me being home with Luke. I was so happy that we were on the same page, now we needed to consider how we would make this work.

Together we came up with the idea that I would get back into the beauty industry, as a freelance makeup artist.  This is an industry that excites me, I have over 7 years experience in it and it would allow me to work mostly on weekends when Tyler could be home with Luke.

While all of this fell into place pretty perfectly, the actuality of resigning from my position at CCI Studios, was something that made me feel a little sad. I was proud of my work, found it challenging and felt grateful everyday that I was a part of such a unique organization.  On top of all of this, my boss and co-workers had become my friends and those relationships are very valuable to me. Even though I will no longer be working at CCI Studios, I will continue to support their wonderful work and maintain relationships with the good times team:)

This decision was not one I took lightly but it was the right one for me and my family at this time.  Change is never easy for me but I grow most in these times and I know I am following my heart.

I am looking forward to all the exciting adventures that are ahead for our family and for myself, as I begin working on a new career path as a mom and professional makeup artist.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Gratitude Monday - I Am Grateful For What I Have

This weekend I reorganized my vanity, it has been driving me crazy lately.  Every time I sit down to blow dry my hair or do my makeup I think "this needs to be cleaned up!"  So I cleaned it up, I washed my brushes, I sorted all of my hair tools and I went through my makeup and discarded old items that I never use.

I wanted everything to be organized in the draws and easily accessible, you know, just how the bathroom drawers look in an IKEA commercial but without ordering a bunch of organizers. I put on my creative cap as I sorted all my items and organized them neatly with things I already had around the house.

I used shot glasses to separate bobby pins, tiny clips and perfume sample jars. I used a small Tupperware container for hair elastics and repurposed cardboard boxes for miscellaneous hair accessories and sunglasses. I even cleaned one of my body butter containers and used it as a tray for my sponges, the lid acts as the tray for sponges in use and the jar is the spot for new/clean sponges.

Organizing in general allows me to think more clearly and feel refreshed. What I really noticed after organizing my vanity though was how grateful I was for all the things I did have.  I always feel like I never have any bobby pins but after separating them, I realized I have plenty.  It also made my stuff feel like new somehow and I was so excited to get ready the next day in my reworked space. 

For me, taking pride in what I have is a great way to stay aware of my many blessings.


Sakura Bloom Sling Diaries - A Day In The Life

I am very excited to submit my entry for a chance to be a Sakura Bloom Sling Diarist Volume VI! I first learned about Sakura Bloom from the beautiful diary entries of Haley over at LIFE IS SWEET. I loved the perspective she shared with her daughter while wearing her and knew I needed one when I had my own child. My Sakura Bloom Sling was the first item I purchased for Luke and I when I was six months pregnant and I received another as a gift from my coworkers (I raved about the product and the diary entries at the office.) I keep one in my car and one in the house and have enjoyed the freedom the slings give me, to complete everyday tasks while involving Luke. The topic of the casting entries is 'A Day In The Life'. Here is my story:

Some of my days are slow and simple and some of my days are busy and filled with family, friends and fun activities. At the core of all my days, I am learning how to be Luke's mom and everything that comes with this new role.

The mornings are my favourite part of the day, especially when I have a few quiet moments to myself. I am trying to dedicate the first few moments of each day to God. I have never relied on God more than I do right now and as a result, I am expereincing so much peace, joy, truth and love. Luke is very content and happy in the morning so as I brew my coffee and make his bottle, I have a little chat with God. God and I talk about everything and I pray that He watches over our family as they go about their days. When I first go into Luke's room, he is so happy and excited we have a big hug and talk about the dreams we had the night before.

Luke has gone through a few routines so far and every time I have one figured out and start to enjoy the flow of those days, he switches things up. I am learning that being Luke's mom means that I need to be flexible.

Some days, we have activities planned like swimming, story time at the library and circle time at the local drop in centre. I love taking Luke to these activities, watching him develop and interact with other children is such a joy. 

I am learning that being Luke's mom means that I need to introduce him to new things and pay attantion to what he likes and doesn't like, so I can encourage him to go after the things he is passionate about, as he gets older.

Some days we don't have anything planned and we stay around the house, do chores and go for walks. While these are simple things, completing them with Luke turns them into a brand new experience if I think "how can I make this fun for him and include him in what I am doing?" 

I am learning that being Luke's mom means even the ordinary activities can be extraordinary.

Luke goes to bed fairly early in the evening so when dad gets home from work he takes over with Luke's bath and bedtime routine. This gives me time to spend alone doing a few chores or writing a blog post. I am grateful for the time I get to spend alone with my thoughts. I like to remember the parts of my days I am proud of and consider the parts I need to improve on for the next day. 

I am learning that being Luke's mom means that I need time to be with my thoughts. 

My husband and I eat dinner late after Luke goes to bed, this routine will probably change eventually but I really love the time we get alone to talk about our days. I feel like this time in the evening is Gods little gift to us, to help us ease into parenthood by still allowing us this consistent time alone together. 

I am learning that being Luke's mom means that I need to make time for my husband and put my marriage at the top of my priority list.

I am learning that there is something new to learn with each new day on this motherhood journey and I am thinking this will never change. Even though some days may feel repetitive, they are never really the same. There will always be something new to explore and discover. At a glance my days may seem simple but in the grand scheme, each day is a very special day with new lessons, experiences and memories to be made.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Luke - 6 Months

Luke, your 6 months! This last month has been your biggest month yet, you got two teeth, you are rolling around like crazy, you are sitting up completely on your own and you are trying different foods. A random thing that makes you happy is watching water come out of the fridge into my cup, I love how simple things can make you smile.

A lot of my mom friends told me that once you hit the six month mark, things really start to get fun and they were right. You are noticing things that you hadn't before, grabbing at stuff and just generally more alert. Your extra interested in Charlie right now and all he has to do is walk by you to make you smile.

Spring is on its way and I can't help but daydream about all the adventures we will be able to go on when the warmer weather comes our way. You are the best adventure I have ever experienced and everyday gets better and better.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

My Starter Story - Painting The Kitchen

When Tyler and I first moved into our home over 7 years ago, I was so excited to have a little nest of our own. I was so excited that I went crazy with my colour selection for the walls and painted every room a different colour. Since then, I have repainted almost every room in the house with the kitchen being on the last ones to be refreshed. Sometimes the bright yellow was a bit much but I didn't hate it and I knew painting it would be a big job. After being on maternity leave for a few months and spending more time in my home than usual, I decided the kitchen needed to be repainted and reworked. Now I get to share this story as part of a series that Compass has going on which is called Starter Stories; sharing my fixer upper triumphs about my home.

I started the project in November, Luke was just 2 months old, Tyler was away for the weekend on a bachelor party trip and I was feeling ambitious. I didn't do this project alone, my mom was on Luke duty and my sister Emily helped with the manual labour. My goal was to get everything done in one weekend (I am a bit of an optimist).

As I moved everything out of my kitchen on the Friday, organizing, cleaning and moving, I wondered if I had gotten myself in over my head.

As Emily and I painted, we both realized how nice it was to work with our hands because it gave us time to think. I thought a lot about when I moved into this house and first painted the kitchen bright yellow. I thought a lot about where Tyler and I were in our lives 7 years ago, how many things have happened since then and how much we have grown up.  

My mom and Emily decided to stay over night so we could just work work work the whole weekend.  I was so glad to have there help and there company. Anyone who has done a project like this in their own home, knows how it disrupts the entire house. This kind of disruption gives me mild anxiety but I think its good for me to be out of my comfort zone every once in awhile. We ate take out all weekend and hung out in the basement snuggling and watching movies when we weren't working. 

As I painted over the last bit of yellow in the kitchen, I felt like I was closing a chapter of my life and the new colour was the beginning of the next chapter. This chapter would be filled with memories of late nights walking around in the dark comforting a sleepy baby, stories from little mouths and messes from little hands. I also thought, "next time this kitchen gets painted, I am hiring someone to do it :)"

After everything was painted, I started to work on a couple smaller projects to update the kitchen.  Our counter normally acts as what I like to call the "drop zone". This is where keys, mail and other odds and ends land when they are pulled from Ty's pockets as he walks in the door. This pile of random things on the counter drives me crazy so I created organizers that could hang on the cupboard, made from formula cans that I just painted and hung. They are also great for holding your phone while it charges. 

The second project was to get some art on the wall. I have been shopping around for the last few months but I really have a hard time committing to art so I just kept passing on pieces. I decided I would make my own with Luke. We got messy and created some beautiful custom art, which I love! I remembered I had a ledge shelf that I wasn't using so we used that to display the art. I love this idea for displaying art because it allows me to switch things up with the seasons, holidays and share more of Luke's art has he grows up. 

All the hard work was worth it to have a fresh kitchen to cook in. The kitchen is my domain, I love eating, cooking and feeding people and I am so grateful for the space I have to do this. I love our cozy home but being in it as much as I have over the last few months while on maternity leave, has given me the desire to freshen things up more and more.  I am grateful for the memories that have been made in my home and the ones that are ahead, and I am excited to continue finding ways to put my personal touch on our home.  

There is no place like home.