What kind of vibes are you feeling today?

A great article by the amazing Dr. Bruce Lipton. What kind of vibes are you feeling today?

the biology of belief

Have you ever visited someone’s house and thought—“Wow, it’s so beautiful, it feels so peaceful, I love this house.” That’s a house that resonates well with the energy of its occupants and with your energy as well. Or you visited someone else’s house and thought, “What’s up with that flocked wall paper? Oh my god, how could they have put that on the wall?” That house does not match your energy and its occupants no doubt don’t either.

Or if I suggest that you go home and read a book, I bet you’ll go home and curl up in your special chair, the one you feel most comfortable in, even though there may be an identical matching partner parked right next to it. It is the energy field that surrounds your special chair that makes you feel good!

Or a final example. Have you ever driven your partner crazy by…

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Sharing some Essential Oil Love (online workshop details!)

Oh my love of Essential Oils has exploded (in an awesome way) in the last few weeks.  I’ve been using them more and more and I start to learn the depths to which they can help my physical health and my emotional well-being.  I’ve had fun combining different oils in my diffuser, creating home health & beauty products, and using different oils on my skin to maximize the benefits.

I’ve had the honour of talking to many people in our community through a series of workshops on essential oils.  This weekend I’m hosting my first make & take party where people can learn how to actually make some of these amazing products at home (lip balm, moisturizing spray, bath bombs, and foot scrub!).  I love connecting with people face to face and showing them the power of essential oils.

Here’s the challenge though…many of you are not in my hometown!  If you live outside of Barrie, Ontario, it’s hard to attend these classes!

So, I’m excited (and nervous, I won’t lie) to host my first Facebook class this coming Tuesday evening.  You can take this class in the comfort of your own home, IN YOUR PYJAMAS, and no one will be the wiser.  🙂  I would love for you to join me.  This class will be fun, interactive, and the second best way to discover essential oils (short of experiencing them in person).  Plus, at the end of the hour, I’ll be giving away an Essential Oils gift to a luck guest who interacts through until the end!

Date:  Tuesday March 10th

Time:  8:30PM EST

Where:  Join me on Facebook from wherever you and your cell phone, computer, or table may be.

JOIN:  CLICK HERE to join in

Looking forward to connecting with you next week!

Cheers,

andrea

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To the Awesome Ladies In My Life (You Know Who You Are)

I am really really grateful.  So grateful I could burst.  I have managed, through no coincidence I assure you, to surround myself with some incredibly amazing women in my life.  When I think of these women, I remember this meme.

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First and foremost, I have my mom.  She’s been there since day one.  She’s the one who knows me better than anyone else (save for my husband, who might tie her in that category.  But since this post is about women, he doesn’t take top honours).  She can call me on my bull crap when I need to be called on it.  She knows when I’m taxed.  She even knew when I was pregnant with my third child before anyone else (again, save Tom) knew.  She raised me, for a good part of that time as a single parent.  I think of the days when I’m exhausted with three kids running me ragged, coming home late from work, hungry, and all I want to do is escape into my bed with a glass of wine.  I look at Tom and think, “damn…she did this on her own”.  You did good, Mom.  (I know that’s grammatically incorrect…she’s also the one who will call me within twenty minutes of any blog post and tactfully point out to me the grammatical errors I’ve made).  I’m proud of you.   I don’t tell you enough but I want you to know that I love you.

Mom & me in 1979.

Mom & me in 1979.

Then I have these amazing groups of women who I get to hang out with or chat with on a regular basis.

I have my accountability girls every other Wednesday morning.  Karen and Amy and I have been talking weekly or biweekly for over two years now.  We met at a seminar a few weeks after Maggie was born and bonded.  We share our wins, our challenges, our frustrations, our fears, our good days, and more with one another in complete confidence that we will listen – without judgement – and love one another for every strength and weakness we have.  We offer advice, give virtual high fives over Skype, and learn from one another.  We all started in a similar place – practicing chiropractic – and over time we started to embark on different professional adventures which has taken our accountability call in a different direction.  I want to see these women succeed both personally and professionally…but most importantly I want them to be happy in doing so.

I have my long-term friends from grade one.  Yes, grade one.  Maybe two.  I can’t really remember when they all entered into my life but certainly it was early on in grade school.  We don’t talk as often.  But I know my day brightens when my cell phone lights up or an email appears in my inbox from one of them.  We’re in different parts of the country and we can go weeks or months without being in touch but we can pick up from wherever we left off.  There’s no shaming or frustration for lack of communication…it’s just understood that we’ll be there for one another until we’re well into our senior years.  Even if our memories aren’t well enough to remember who is lighting up our cell phones at that time (will we even have cell phones at that time??).

I have my chiropractic girls.  The girls who I went through school with or met after graduation at a seminar or in passing.  Or we may have just gotten to know one another over Facebook.  Either way, they are there to connect with at seminars.  And to refer to when one of my most favourite patients moves away and I need to get them another amazing chiropractor in their new town.  They are there in so many ways that can’t be counted and yet are so appreciated.

My next group of amazing women is my CrossFit ladies.  This group isn’t a specific group…it changes day to day, week to week.  But often it’s the morning group that have bonded over the last few months and in some cases years.  What I love is that regardless of our physical capabilities, size, marital status, children status, work status, etc. we all support one another at doing better in the gym.  I can be in the middle of a really heavy lift, about to fail, and have one of them look me in the eye and say “You’ve got this” and it gives me the extra bit of strength to lift that weight over my head.  They’ve got my back.  They are there to support me.  And I’ve got their back and I’m there to support them.  One of the coaches calls it a “female wolf pack” and it’s true.  I can walk into the gym and see one of them and instantly I know it’s going to be a more fun workout because they are there.

And finally I have my new Desire Map book club girls.  They are all crossovers from CrossFit, which tends to be a thread that has weaved through many of my relationships.  But these book club girls are tremendous.  I feel like I’m diminishing it by calling it a book club…it’s so much more…we’ve nicknamed ourselves something that can’t be posted here but I assure you it perfectly describes this group of ebullient women.  I can be honest, open, raw, authentic and real with them in person.  They don’t make fun if I cry.  I like that.  Because the first time we got together, I recounted one of the most difficult times in practice for me, and they didn’t even blink when it caused me to tear up.  We only get together in person monthly but we’re there for one another through text and online as need be.

So so grateful.  Each of these women play an important role in my life.  I’d be less without them.  I wouldn’t be where I am without them.  You know who you are, and I appreciate you for who you are.  Thanks for being in my life.

Much love, andrea

Why Being Selfish is Good

I think we’ve likely all been there.  The feeling of suddenly realizing its February 12th when if someone had told you it was only February 5th, you would have believed them.  I feel like the last week has been an absolute blur.  Or maybe it’s that each day feels like the one before lately and so I’m losing sense of what day is what.

My oldest daughter has been home for two weeks from school because of a nasty cough that at one point had escalated into fever, vomiting and ear pain.  For most of these two weeks though, it’s been alternating between a dry hacking cough and a wet congestive cough.  She has great energy.  She is eating well.  She sleeps through the night.  She’s happy.  But she spends half of her day sounding like she’s about to cough up a lung.

So we’ve been laying low.  And by laying low it means that we’ve been cooped up inside the house for basically two weeks.  When the other two are home from daycare and school, life gets a little batty.  The three altogether in the same house become like caged wild animals.   It’s been extremely cold outside so playing out in the snow hasn’t been a priority.  And even kids get tired of board games, books, movies & hide and seek.  Tension levels rise, including mine.

We need to get out.  And I am craving a little freedom.

Here’s what I’ve discovered.  Not just as a mom, but as a human being.  I need to respect and put a priority on my values and feelings.  When my life is feeling a little like it’s overloaded, I need to get back to the basics of what makes me tick.

*my morning power hour is crucial.  Even if that morning power hour is 5 minutes long.

*my workouts at the gym.  I set some pretty substantial goals for myself at the gym at the beginning of the year.  I’m a few more workouts away from being able to do my first pull up.  I’m looking forward to posting that video for you.

*quiet time.  I am an introvert at heart.  I feel much happier if I have been able to carve out just ten minutes of quiet time each day.

*chiropractic adjustments.  I’ve been checked more often in the last two weeks for numerous reasons.  I know that I adapt to stress much better when my nervous system is clear and with zero interference.

*essential oils.  There is something so beautiful about diffusing serenity, balance, onGuard and Breathe at different times throughout the day.  Add in some Elevation, Citrus Bliss, eucalyptus, Wild Orange, and Lavender and I’m pretty much covering all of my bases between supporting my immune system, adapting to stress at a better level, and making my soul happy.

Making my soul happy.  Deliciously happy.

And making my soul deliciously happy is at least a step in the right direction towards freedom.  I may not be hopping a plane to paradise anytime soon (although knowing that our temperature is dipping to -31C with the wind chill this afternoon is making me second guess our choice of a ski trip this weekend instead of sitting on a beach somewhere) but creating inner freedom is good too.

The more intention I choose to place on my happiness and state of peace, I feel like the perceived monotony of life right now is more tolerable.  I make no excuses for being selfish with my personal time.  Caleigh may have had a cough but taking her to the gym with me on Tuesday morning meant that I could still get my own health and well-being taken care of.  Waking up an extra 30 minutes early in the morning, even though I could easily use some more sleep, means that I get to breathe a little deeper and plan my day before it begins.

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Before applying the oxygen mask to the people who depend on you, attach your own oxygen mask first.  Sound advice.  And advice that I choose to follow in times where people are needing me to take care of them more than usual.  I’m choosing to also take care of myself.

Our Family Bed

It seems that we have reached a turning point in the sleeping patterns of our children.  It’s not guaranteed but for the most part, if my kids go to bed at their bedtimes (7:30 for Maggie, 8:30 for Caleigh and Blake) they now sleep through the night and wake up at a reasonable hour (between 6 and 6:30).  Sometimes they even treat me to a 7:30 sleep in.

Seven.  Thirty.  Folks.

It has afforded me some mornings to once again commit to my morning power hour.  I had missed my quiet morning times,  For a solid year, Maggie decided that her sleep routine was to wake up at 5AM.  My “power hours” became “Elmo hours” that included regular refills of raisins into a Minnie Mouse bowl.  Far from empowering and quite honestly, one can only take so many Elmo episodes off of YouTube.

7:30 wake up times also allowed Tom and me to lay in bed for a while longer some mornings, halfway between wake and sleep in that lovely, warm, drowsy space where dreams come and go.  What was nice about these mornings is that eventually, we would be joined by three drowsy kids.  One by one, they would plod into our room with blankets and stuffies trailing behind them, find their way into our bed, and snuggle in under the blankets between us.  We talk about our dreams from the previous night.  We talk about what was awesome about the day before.  We talk about what we are excited or nervous for in the coming day. It’s time that I relish.  The kids are still young enough to find this nice.  Tom and I can connect with our kids all at once (rare with five of us!).  We have real, honest conversations.  We tell jokes.  We laugh.  It’s family bliss.  I love our family bed.  I know it won’t always be like that so for the time being, I’ll hold onto those mornings for as long as I can. 86d875f3db62169d_157104402.preview

Daily Use of Oils

One of the most common questions I get from people who are new to essential oils is “What do you use them for on a daily basis?”  I’ve decided to answer this question with a blog post.  Let’s get down to some basics first though before diving in.

There are three different ways to use essential oils.  The first is to diffuse them into the air.  I have a diffuser in our kitchen and one in each of our bedrooms as well as one at the office.  At night, the kids decide what they want in their diffusers.  Blake’s favourite is lavender.  Caleigh loves a blend of different citrus oils.  And Maggie would, if she could, put every single oil in the diffuser at once.  I do try to keep lavender in her diffuser because it helps her sleep…and I keep anything that helps “invigorate” her as far away as possible during the nighttime hours.

The second way to use essential oils is topically.  EOs can be put on your skin either neat (meaning just the oil)  or diluted in a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, etc.

The third way to use essential oils is internally.  I would only ever use essential oils internally if they were 100% pure, therapeutic grade.  The company I use is just that (links at the bottom).  And I know which oils are okay to use internally and which are not.  Citrus oils – lemon, wild orange, grapefruit, and more – are a great addition to water.  Other oils that can be taken internally are peppermint, lavender, the protective blend, and a few more.  Whether taken with water or in a veggie cap, it’s a great way to get the benefits of EOs directly into your body.

Which leads us to the next question…which oils do you use on a daily basis?  I updated my Instagram account last Thursday with regular posts on what oils I was using at what time.

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My morning routine includes my homemade body butter (or cream as it’s not at all buttery but delightfully creamy) has wild orange and lavender in it.  It’s scent is to die for.  I dab my laugh lines with the Immortelle (anti-aging blend) and then 20-30 seconds later follow up with the body cream.  Melaleuca on my blemishes and a small dab of Whisper on my wrists before heading downstairs.

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See the lemon?  That goes in my glass of water first thing in the morning.  If I have a scratchy or dry throat (more so in the winter!) I add a drop of peppermint.  Then as I’m making breakfast and later working at my computer, I came up with this blend of White fir and Lemon to wake me up and at the same time make me want to go snowshoeing in the forest.  I am feeling massively removed from my connection to the earth during the winter time.  I’m not outside as much as I am in the summer and so I crave the woodsy smells of White Fir, Vetiver, Arborvitae and Cedar.  I often diffuse them at night with lavender to give me a restful night’s sleep.

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Thrown into today’s mix, a friend of mine fell down some stairs and broke her ankle.  She had just ordered her first essential oils but they hadn’t arrived yet.  So, off to her house I go with veggie caps filled with 6 drops frankincense, 6 drops of oregano and 6 drops of lemongrass.  It’s called the “Morphine Bomb” that helps reduce the pain.  A broken ankle is a broken ankle but if the pain can be helped a bit with EOs, then extra bonus!

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Into the office for the afternoon, I diffused Wild Orange and Peppermint for a massive energy jolt.  It smells amazing and both are mood lifters.  Perfect to combat a grey afternoon for everyone who comes in to get adjusted.

Adjustment?  Check.

Essential oils?  Check.

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After dinner, I take a drop of this digestive blend to support digestion.  One of its major ingredients is fennel and it certainly can be picked up on in the EO blend.  It reminds me of black liquorice, which I actually do not enjoy at all.  However, the digestive blend is quite mild and doesn’t bother me.

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Nighttime routine includes more of my body butter infused with lavender and wild orange.  I use Deep Blue on sore muscles (from my earlier CrossFit workout!).  I put lavender and the respiratory blend in my diffuser and it helps us get through the night without congestion or sniffles.

So, there you go.  A basic daily use of oils.  Each day is different, which is the fun part.  The kids are always changing up what goes in the diffuser.  As things come up in life for my emotions, it’s comforting to know I have my own toolbox to go to when it comes to supporting myself through the day.  For example, Wild Orange is the Oil of Abundance and it helps to bring the mindset of joy and abundance into one’s life.  I love that each essential oil has not only a physical attachment but an emotional attachment as well.

Inspired to use essential oils for your health daily?  You can check out my Essential Oils page for more information!

And just like that, we’re done.

It’s been five days since Maggie has breastfed.  I didn’t even notice the first two days.  It just trailed off, quietly, and suddenly I realized that she was no longer asking for my milk.  It was our routine to nurse at night and first thing in the morning.  We would snuggle in bed, hers or mine, and she would nurse quietly.  She would take breaks and answer the questions I would ask her.  Or she would graze her fingers across my neck and upper chest.  She fit so perfectly, nuzzled into me as if we were one being and not two separate ones.

Maybe that’s what I will miss the most about breastfeeding.  It was our physical connection that was just ours.  That only a mama and her baby can experience.  An intimate bond that I will not experience again nor ever forget.

I breastfed all three of my babies.  Caleigh stopped at 18 months, Blake just at 12.  Maggie was my longest nurser, stopping just over 26 months.  It was as if she knew that I wanted to hold on to the nursing as long as possible as she is our last one.  To hold onto that connection….to be reminded of the dependence she has on me.  I loved that when she was hurt, sad, sleepy, or cranky I would be her solace.  I loved that she could call asleep at my breast while nursing and when I would try to gently pull her off, she would anxiously suck – in her sleep – as if she didn’t want to let go.  I loved how it was our first quiet time together, just me and her, when she was born.  I loved how it was our opportunity to escape from the noise and chaos of life.  I loved that I could nourish her and calm her simply by feeding her.

I’m surprisingly at peace with it all.  It may sound dramatic but I thought I would feel more attached and almost be in a state of mourning when she was done.  I think that it speaks volumes that it was two days before I realize she hadn’t asked for milk.  She was okay simply snuggling in with me in the morning instead of feeding. It was the right time for both of us I suppose.

When I got home from work today, she asked for milk.  I had not yet taken off my coat nor hat and so I told her no, not now.  My response didn’t faze her and she simply gave me a hug and told me about her day.  And just like that, I knew it was over.  We were done.

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An IKEA Christmas

Two days after and the excitement of Christmas is slowly receding in our home.  With three children, ages 8, 5, and 2, the enthuasism was at an all time high leading up to the 25th.  The kids were so excited that they started to wrap up their own toys and gift them to one another a week before.  A sweet gesture that helped us, as parents, buy time until Christmas morning.

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The night before, we set out some homemade cookies, carrots, and almond milk (hey…he could be lactose intolerant!).  We hung our stockings on the mantle.  Maggie fell asleep at 7:30 (truly, she had no idea what was happening…she was simply feeding off her siblings excitement).  Caleigh and Blake decided to sleep on the floor, together, in Blake’s room.  Wrapped up in their sleeping bags, they whispered in anticipation each time they clicked on the button of the Santa Tracker app on the iPad.  Finally, FINALLY, they drifted off to sleep around 8:30.

Then the real fun began.  We quietly went to work and pulled from the garage that which was to be wow factor this Christmas.  A month ago, Caleigh and Blake decided they wanted desks for Christmas.  A strange request, yes, but one that thanks to buying an IKEA kitchen for our cottage earlier this year, could be purchased on gift cards.

For anyone who has attempted to put together IKEA furniture knows, it’s a labour of love patience.  We opened a bottle of wine and emptied the bags of screws, dowels, caps, and allen keys onto the floor.  We knew instantly that what we had hoped would be a two hour project would be much, much longer.  We start to refer to ourselves as “Team Ryan” to boost the enthusiasm.

Blake’s corner desk was first.  Halfway through putting it together (and far beyond a point where we could take it apart), we started to wonder whether or not it would fit through his bedroom door.  Manhandling it up our staircase, that fear was confirmed when we reached his room.  Never mind the obvious detail of him and his sister asleep on the floor.  Shit.

Desk #1 left in the hallway, we go back downstairs for desk #2 which will now be assembled in Caleigh’s room…right next door to our sleeping children.  You would never guess how loud IKEA furniture construction can be until you’re attempting to put it together at 10:00PM on the 24th of December without ruining the magic of Christmas for your children.  Caleigh’s went together fairly easily and we were happy dancing our way around her room (at 10:50) when we realized that the box on the floor stated “Box 1 of 2”.  Deep breath.  Team Ryan went from happy dancing to nearly coming apart at the seams.

The second box, we discovered, was just the top shelving of Caleigh’s desk so in our wine buzz, we decided that it wouldn’t entirely ruin the magic if we put a bow on it and left it under the tree…a present for Mom and Dad to finish putting together on Christmas morning.  Lucky us.  Another glass of wine is poured…and I’m raiding the Christmas cookie plate in the kitchen.

We regrouped and returned to Blake’s desk sitting in the hallway.  The first challenge was to get Caleigh and Blake out of his room so that we could finish assembling it in there.  I carried Caleigh into her room and held my breath as she lifted up her head off of my shoulder and sleepily asked “Has Santa come yet?”.  “No, not yet, sweetie.  Back to sleep.” as I stood beside her new desk, praying she wouldn’t wake up and see her gift from the Big Guy who wasn’t there yet.  Tom took Blake down to our bed and let him sleep there until we were done.

Now to get the damn desk through his door.  We considered taking the door off the hinges but knew it would be loud as a hammer would be needed.  And quite frankly, it seemed like a lot of work and we were really getting tired.  We tried to bring it through upright, upside down, on it’s side, and on eight different angles.  Nothing was working.  Tom thought he knew how to do it.  I thought I knew the way to do it.  It’s possible that we both snapped at one another a couple of times when the other’s ideas didn’t work.  “I knew that wouldn’t work…”  “I told you it wouldn’t go in that way”  The final decision was to partly disassemble the desk.  Has anyone ever tried to disassemble an IKEA desk?  Those dowels don’t like to be removed.  And in the case of this desk, it would clear the doorframe if the damn dowels were removed.  (Time check 11:15PM)

Twenty minutes later, the desk is in the room and ready to be finished.  We’re pushing towards midnight.  And we are fully expecting an early wake up call with three giddy children.  I had long decided that third glass of wine was a bad idea.  My level of patience was waning.  We place the desk in the corner we intended it to go in and realize that the top part of his desk is blocking about 3 inches of the only window in Blake’s room.  I close my eyes and sigh.

“It will be fine.”  says Tom

“It won’t.”  I reply.

“It will.”  He says tersely.

“Nope, no.  Sorry.  I know this sucks.  But we have to shuffle his furniture around.  It’s Christmas.”  I put emphasis on the word Christmas as if my conviction will somehow soften his response.  Not so much.  If looks could kill, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been opening gifts with my kids the next morning.  But, being the awesome husband he is, we move the furniture around to make room for the desk in the opposite corner to where it was supposed to be.  I was actually quite pleased with the new arrangement but thought better of rubbing that in as Tom picked up four more dowels to put together the desk drawers.

Finally, finally…the last screw was tightened.  Time check 12:23.  There’s nothing like taking four hours to assemble IKEA desks for your kids and letting Santa take the credit. We place Blake back in his bed.  We quickly fill the stockings and place the other gifts under the tree.  Lights turned off, we collapse into bed at 12:45.

Fifteen minutes later, I’m awakened by the sound of footsteps running up the hall.  Blake crawls into bed between us, wide awake, and exclaims that there is a new desk in his room!  “Is it time to open the presents yet?”  I may have grunted something inaudible.  Tom rolled over.  It took an hour but he finally got back to sleep.  And the first gift to Tom and I was that each of our children slept long past the anticipated 5AM wake up call.

The look on their faces (kind of) made the night worth it.   The complete bewilderment that Santa or his elves were in their rooms while they were asleep was special.  Of course, the desks needed to be completed and eventually we got around to it.   I may curse IKEA and swear up and down that I will never EVER buy from there again.  But I already know that I forgot to buy chairs to go with the desks and a coat stand that we never used needs to be returned.  Damn you, IKEA, land of easy-to-purchase-not-easy-to-put-together furniture.  We will meet again.

Travelling with a Two Year Old Can Sometimes Suck

Heyyyyyy there.  So great to connect again.  For my out of country readers, I want to share a typical Canadian winter story…I was on this amazing family vacation down in Mexico and within two days of coming home, we got slammed with a massive snowstorm.  I’ve been outside twice today shovelling the walkway, only to come back inside to find another dumping of snow within a couple of hours of the last clean up. I actually don’t mind winter but it definitely came in blustery today!  But let’s focus on the positive. Mexico.  Mex…i….co.  Beautiful.  Warm  Hot.  Sunny.  Beautiful beaches.  And an all-inclusive bar.  It doesn’t get much better than that for a week.  A week of relaxation that was long overdue and very much deserved.  Down time. It was supposed to be complete relaxation with some family fun thrown in.  We had chosen this resort based on the kids club that it boasted thinking, that as in the past, all three kids would love this kids club and want to take part in its activities.  And yes, it was a tremendous kids club.  Except for one glitch.

Maggie wanted no part of it.

I couldn’t get within 20 metres of the door without her clawing at my shoulder and begging me to let her stay with me.  So, by “relaxing vacation” I mean, hanging out 24/7 with my husband and our two-year old, while the older two kids enjoyed the club.  The quality time we had intended to take together was interrupted by a two foot tall blond in a striped swimsuit and baby blue sun hat.

But hanging out with my husband and two-year old on a beautiful beach, taking turns floating with her or building a sandcastle was still magical.  And in reality, even though it didn’t end up the way we intended (there were times that it was a downright gong show), it was still a vacation and it was still amazing.

Here are a few things I learned about travelling with a two-year old.

1)  It doesn’t matter how many distractions I pack to keep her – well – distracted on the plane, she will ignore all of them and insist on climbing over and under her seat.  Multiple times.

2)  With only a one hour time difference, I had hoped for a relatively easy transition into a new bedtime.  I was wrong.

3)  I thought that keeping my two-year old busy all day, in the sun, by making sand castles, swimming, floating, walking, running, climbing, jumping, and swinging would wear her out by bedtime.  I was wrong again.  Instead, she was wired and ready for anything.  Except sitting still at dinner.

4)  Speaking of mealtimes, they’re awful.  Buffets that give a thousand breakfast, lunch, and dinner choices ranging from different proteins to a variety of fruits and vegetables all resulted in a desire for pancakes, french fries, and avocado.  I was all over the avocado…and eventually I caved on the pancakes and french fries.  Because a thrice daily emotional break down in the middle of a busy restaurant didn’t interest me.

5)  The a la carte restaurants were even worse.  At least in the buffets, we could get up easily and walk around.   We tried one a la carte dinner and vowed to not bring her back to a sit down restaurant until she was old enough to drive.

6)  Two year olds are smart.  And when they see other children walking around with popsicles, they realize that there must be – and in fact there is – an “any time you want” popsicle bar.  We visited there a few times.  And admittedly, I was binged on these too.  One can only have so many pina coladas before it grows old.  A fresh orange popsicle tasted mighty fine at 3 in the afternoon.  So do chocolate creamsicles.  Mmmmmmmm.

7)  The all you can eat ice cream bar she found on day 2 was another reason for a meltdown.  Over and over again. We rarely even eat ice cream at home, and certainly not soft serve (gross!).  When I cut her off, she worked her magic on her older sister who was tall enough to work the machine on her own.  An older sister who can easily be swayed by the idea of getting some ice cream herself.  Remember point #6…two year olds are smart.

8)  At night, when she would finally crash, I would look at her and think of how peaceful she was when she slept.  Thumb tucked neatly into her mouth, curled up in a ball.  So sweet.  I’d settle in next to her (because apparently the hotel’s crib wasn’t up to her standards) and we would snuggle and fall restfully to sleep. Then 5AM would hit.  And the peaceful being I slept next to would wake up as the Energizer Bunny.  It didn’t matter what time she went to bed…the wake up call was always 5AM.  Always.

9)  Recounting how the distractions on the way down to Mexico were pointless, I didn’t waste my time gathering books, stuffies, crayons and the like for the plane ride home.  They were there on the rare chance that she did choose to partake but I didn’t hold my breath.  Instead, I just braced myself for a very busy 3.5 hour plane ride home which put us into Toronto at 9PM…two hours past her bedtime.  Surely, she would fall asleep along the way.  And she did!  With twenty minutes to go before landing.  Awesome.

I will likely remember none of these points and insist that next year we try again.  Because she’s cute and sweet and I get sucked into believing that the next time could be – just may be – different.  If at any point I announce plans for a future vacation with the kids, someone please remind me of this post.  Although with another year under her belt, maybe it would be different?  Older, better understanding of good versus not so good behaviour, and better communication skills….so different, right?

I won’t hold my breath.

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Our Christmas Tree

I love our Christmas tree.  It’s not flashy.  It’s not bright.  It’s not adorned with the trendiest ornaments.  Our Christmas tree has had the same ornaments on its branches over the years, save for (usually) one addition per year.  Each ornament has a special significance to it.

We have ornaments that were handed down to Tom and I from our parents or over the years.  Like the straw ladies that I remember as a child on my Mom’s tree.  Also, the wooden airplane, the bird house, and the wooden angel.   Tom has ornaments from his childhood, including a special one of the little drummer boy, which was given to him by his late Uncle John.  Those ornaments hold a place in our hearts.

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We have ornaments that have been given to us by patients over the years, some that reflect us as Chiropractors and others that were given based on our passions.

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We have ornaments in honour of the births of each of our children.

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We also make it a tradition that each time we go on vacation, we purchase an ornament that reminds us of our time together as a family.  We have the princess we picked up at Walt Disney World last year.  We have a beach scene from our honeymoon in Jamaica.

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My favourites though are the homemade ornaments our kids have made over the years.

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We make trimming the tree a family affair.  We lay all of the ornaments out on the ground and the kids are able to put up ornaments, one by one, on whatever branch they want.  Tom and I place the ornaments on the higher branches, but only as directed by the kids.  There is always a squabble over who gets to place the angel on the top of the tree, and each year it ends with Tom taking the honour.  The finale is, of course, turning on the white lights, with the rest of the room in dark.

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Carrying on a tradition that was in our family growing up, we play a game where Tom and I name an ornament and the kids have to find it.  I remember as a kid loving this game, the sense of excitement as I explored the tree with all of the decorations on it.  I’m thrilled that my kids have just as much fun as my brother and I used to have.  There is something quite comforting about carrying on a tradition that is so deeply ingrained in Christmas spirit.

I love our tree.  I wouldn’t give it up for all the sparkly newness that is on the shelves of the stores I’ve been to in the last few years.  I love the story behind each ornament.  I love sharing those stories with the kids, as they hang them delicately on the branches.  I hope that one day they will receive some of these ornaments and have just as much fun telling their children of their significance.