Wednesday 31 January 2018

Mommy Diaries: Highs and Lows of Mother-Daughter Relationships


     Hi everyone.  This is the first of twelve installments of the Mommy Diaries here on the blog.  This idea has been  simmering  in my head for about a year and a half, maybe two, and over the holidays I had an opportunity to really think deeply about it.  I wanted my friends from all different walks of life, different stages of motherhood, and from different family structures to share their stories with others.  All of the individuals I reached out to are women, and mothers, that I respect and have in some way guided me into becoming a better mother.  They will share various bits and pieces of their lives the last Wednesday of each month.  I am installment number one.

    The Highs and Lows of Mother-Daughter Relationships

     I struggled with what to write about today, I have so many themes and topics in mind, but topic just poured out of me as I sat to write.  It really stemmed from the post I wrote celebrating my daughters 11th birthday, see here.  I wrote that post with such pride, joy and ease.  It reminded me of how our relationship has ebbed and flowed over the years, the highs and the lows.  I remember moments of the past, especially around the toddler years and then again when we were struggling with reading, that it felt like our relationship was threatened, that I wasn’t being a good mom, like we were drifting apart.  What I know now is that those moments are just little fragments of time, and though at the time they felt like eternity.  I am writing this post as honestly as I possibly can, exposing my highs and lows of motherhood. Before you continue I want to tell you that this is a happy story, in which I learn that the investment we make as mothers really does pay off over time and that the cloudy days will turn into clear and sunny ones. Let's go down memory lane.

My Dreams Come True 

     We were over the moon excitement that our first baby would be arriving in January 2007!!!!  I was 24 years old and fresh out of university.  I had been dreaming of being a mom for years and had full-on romanticized the role.  My little girl and I were going to be best friends.  We were going to spend endless hours laughing, acting silly, crafting, playing dress-up and dolls.  I would never be annoyed with this perfect little person.  We were going to grow to be just like the Gilmore Gils, Lorelai and Rory.


     The Good and The Hard

     For the most part that was true until Halie turned 2 1/2 years old and she became more and more difficult.  We thought we had escaped the "terrible twos" but the “*uckin' threes” were like a hurricane through our house.  She would kick, scream, hit, throw, etc. Looking back  at this now I know this was 

     a) totally normal and
b) just her way of trying to figure out how to deal with her own emotions. 
My perfect little girl had become extremely difficult to deal with and our special times often ended with both of us feeling depleted.   Baby #2 came just before Halie turned three and our relationship got harder as I struggled to communicate with her, to provide her with the time and guidance she needed and deserved.  Logan and Halie grew closer during the first few months after baby and I felt both jealous and relieved by their growing bond.   

After a few months we found our groove again and Halie began growing out of her tantrums.  We were able to return to spending quality time together by doing little things such as music classes, swimming lessons, library programs, crafting, etc.  During the  second half of my maternity leave, I once again felt like I was doing “mother-hood” pretty well and our relationship normalized (whatever that means).

 School Work

     Halie entered school as kind, generous, friendly, outgoing girl that enjoyed school, but then she began to struggle.  We switched from French to English at the end of grade 1 and naturally it became my job  to teach her to read.  She had become withdrawn and self-conscious throughout grade one about school work so working on reading put a strain on our relationship once again.  Coming home after school, both of us drained from the day, and then working on more "school" stuff was though on both of us.  It was a tough half a year, filled with tears, hardships and insecurity, but THE BEST TIME INVESTMENT.  With support from her teachers, our work at home, she began to regain her confidence and her love for learning.

 Don’t Give Up

     That was the last really difficult time we've had in our relationship. Since Halie has become a tween, it seems our relationship just keeps getting better and better.  We share many of the same interests such as our love for animals, enjoyment for reading and discussing our books, dancing around and crafting.   We’ve had many opportunities to enjoy new adventures together such as snowboarding, going on roller coasters, swimming with the dolphins, going shopping, coffee dates, etc.  I am excited, and a little apprehensive, about what awaits me as a mother of teenage girls but I know that our relationship can withstand any storm.  As the end of the day I always want my girls to know that I love them, that they can rely on me.


 Tips for Growing Your Relationship

1.      Say sorry.  If you do or say something you regret, make the first move and lead by example. 

2.     Communicate.  This goes with the above, but take time to communicate your feelings to your child by saying, “this made me feel….”.  Also remember to communicate those feelings all the time, when something is going perfectly and when you are struggling.

3.     Learn about their interests.  It’s easy to talk to a child that has similar interests  but learn about the things that they love.  Halie loves horses so I go to the stable with her and allow her to teach me.  It’s the greatest experience to be taught something new by your child, you will see them in a whole knew light.

4.     Quality Time.  I try to spend some special quality time with each child on their own.  I know this is often difficult but I just have it built into my calendar. Last year Halie and I had a coffee date once a month after I picked her up from dance.  This year we have decided that we would read a book together and discuss it.

5.     Check-in every day.  We do a family check-in every night at supper.  Something great, something difficult and a goal for the next day.

6.     Tell them you love them.  I make a point of looking right into their eyes, pausing and telling them I love them, so that it’s not just words but they know they have weight and meaning.  

I will leave you with a slideshow of some of my favorite photos of Halie and me.  Join my friend Heather for the next installment of Mommy Diaries on Wednesday, Feb. 28th.  

Friday 26 January 2018

Fashion Friday: Make a Statement with a Winter Sweater

This sweater had me at the big statement sleeves.  I set my sights on it way back in November and it immediately made it to the top of my Xmas wishlist.  Santa didn't let me down and it was nicely wrapped underneath the tree.  I want to pair it up with my suede skirt for the office but last weekend I went the  casual route as we took the girls to tour  the University.  The beauty of this sweater is that it has so much going on, with the bold, floral embroidery and the puffy sleeves that you don't need to add  accessories.  Eyes will just be naturally drawn to the sweater so you can keep everything else basic. I have three different pairs of Expression booties from the Bay and love them all.  These gray ones were a December purchase and I only paid $50!

This little tour that we did with the girls was the best.  Have you ever toured university grounds with your kiddos?  I value education but I didn't always give much thought to how incredibly important it was for them to have experiences going o a big place like the university.  Why is it important for kids as young as 7 to go there you ask?  Well I feel that they need to hear and see  us, their parents,  talking about post-secondary options in a way that opens their mind to many avenues in life.  I am not stuck on my children going to university, but I do want them to see their future full of opportunities, options and potential.  Currently Anya is exploring dinosaurs at school, excavation and geology, and we are so lucky to have numerous displays that are open to the public right in our city so we took a little tour.  As a result we also toured through the agricultural building and we saw the veterinary college which caught Halie's attention.  As we walked to the car, Halie confidently said, "I want to come here.  I want to go to university."  Music to my ears.  It might change but in her 11 year old mind she sees that as a valid option for her future and I couldn't be happier. 

What are you up to this weekend?  

Shop This Post:
Guess Embroidered Sweater (similar, mine is sold out)
Expression Booties (price drop at $ 29.99)

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Halie the Tween Turns 11!

My baby girl turns 11 tomorrow (Jan. 25)!  Some days I don't even know how we got here so quickly.  BLINK and 11 years has gone by.  I would say this year is the first year in a long time that I haven't anticipated her birthday with bitter-sweetness.  I have finally come to terms with leaving the toddler and little girl years behind and really embracing my girls new stage of life.  They are both now considered to be "tweens" (defined as 8-12 years of age).  Halie is at such a fantastic age and I am finding that our bond is actually getting stronger as a result of us being able to experience so many new things together.  Let's take a peak at 11 highlights of Halie at as she turns eleven.

1.     Horses.  We caved and enrolled Halie into horseback riding at a local stable.  Halie’s favorite places in the world is the stable.  She loves to be surrounded by  horses and people who share her passion.  In the future she would like to live on a farm and help care for animals, so if you know of any nice, 11-13 year old, farm boys….

2.      Tanner.   Halie and Tanner have been inseparable since he entered our home 9 years ago.  She loves him with her whole heart and they have a special bond.  

3.       Guinea Pigs.  More animals.  Halie desperately wanted to add guinea pigs to our household this year.  She did a ton of research on them for a school project and created an amazing video, below.  She received an Excelling on this project but sadly we broke her heart by not caving into her desire the .  The good news is we get to babysit some for friends while they go on a trip.  Win-win.

4.       Make-up.  10 year old Halie does make-up for HOURS.   She bought her very first "grown-up" piece of make-up with summer,  Cover Girl foundation. 

5.       Style.  This year also brought a new interest in clothing and style.  Needless to say her aunt Tiki and I, are both enjoying Halie’s newish love for shopping.  Sadly gone are the days when I can choose her outfits, or even clothes, for her. 

6.      Dolls.  As much as I’ve noticed Halie growing up and changing this year, she still has a sliver  of ‘little girl’ left in her.  She still enjoys playing with her doll, dressing her up, styling her hair and so on.  I just want to scream "hold on to your childhood as long as possible!!!

7.      Contortion & Gymnastics.  She is obsessed with contortion.  It began with her love of gymnastics and always pushing her body to bend, twist and flip in new ways.  Through watching  YouTube she developed an interest in contortion and her body does things that make my back ache by just watching her. 

8.      Reading & Academics.  Halie often will chooses to read frequently.  I noticed this change beginning over the summer while at the lake and it has continued.  Her teacher has given them a goal of ….books to read this year and she is eager  to achieve it.  Halie and her teacher really just clicked and her attitude towards school work is every parents dream come true.  I am not sure if it’ll last but I am loving it for the moment.

9.     Adventure Seeker.  The kid is scared to try new things but also seeks the opportunity to go for it.  She took on the rides at Disneyworld, though tearfully at times, and even went on her first adult roller coaster.  She also tried knee boarding, wall climbing and has learned to snowboard.  I think deep down she would like to eventually hit the terrain park with her snowboard which  may be inspired by the movie Cloud 9, similar to Out Cold for our generation. 

10.   Talking & Navigating Friendships.  Halie seems to have taken the direction of telling us everything that’s going on in the girls friends group.  When she was younger she often kept girl drama inside and her ability to navigate these situations was limited.  We had to work really hard in grade 3 and beginning of grade 4 to help her recognize when she was being manipulated and how to deal with these situations.  We now have a girl who shares  with us daily about school/friendships and who mostly navigates girl drama by herself.   We are so happy that she has wonderful friends both in and out of school.  

11.   Creativity & Art.  Halie has always liked art, drawing, pottery, and creating in various ways.  The calm and creative counter balances her more social/athletic activities.  Due to time limitations we weren’t able to continue formal art lessons during the year but she recently joined a painting class through our local community and is already enjoying it immensely.    

That's a wrap.  Halie has requested to have her friends at the cabin for the weekend for her friends birthday party.  They have a full agenda for them including make-overs, face masks, hair dying, movies, junk food and building a fort in the forest by our cabin.  Wish me luck!!!

Friday 19 January 2018

Fashion Friday: Mini Skirts and Winter Boots

Hello friends!  Every once in a while Saskatchewan winter days are warm enough to enjoy without a jacket, even if only for a few minutes.  This past week has not been as described above but looking at these pictures reminds me that better days are ahead and the frigid cold, -30C to -40C too shall pass.  It's really okay since I had a nasty, nasty spill on the ice a week ago and have been more or less resting on my back or attempting to hobble around, either way not a pretty sight.  Sigh.

As I have been working my way through my closet, seriously so many options in there, I gave this skirt a go.  I absolutely love a good cord/suede skirt in a rich brown color and I own both.  I needed to decide which one was going to stay and which one is going to go.  Well as much as I adore the cord skirt, with the cute little button details, I let it go because I discovered as I walked the material kept bunching up in all the wrong places.  Yes, I tried static spay but nothing.  Bye, bye skirt.  

Regardless I love how this outfit and color combinations turned out and I have since worn this same outfit subbing in my suede skirt, same result, LOVE.  These black booties, linked below, are work horses in my closet, especially for the office.  They are cheap, cheap, cheap and so comfortable (but I will admit they have no grip and I was wearing them when I slipped and did a number on my hip 😓) What I really think makes this outfit pop is the bright hues of blue and red in the blanket scarf.  Below I am linking up great options to recreate this look.  

Shop This Post:

Expression Booties (this years version)
Corduroy Button-Up Skirt (similar)
Ruffle Cold Shoulder Sweater (Wishlist item);
Blanket Scarf: Option #1; Option #2

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.  I hope it's warm enough, wherever you are, that you can get outside to get some fresh air and vitamin D.

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Crafty Corner: What To Do With Your Christmas Cards?

I love receiving Christmas cards.  They are one of my favorite holiday traditions.  I line them all up on my mantel and also on my arts, crafts & cards wall.

 The trouble is, what to do with them after the season is over?

 I always felt uneasy recycling them, this also goes for birthday cards, birth announcements and so on, so they for years I ended-up piling them  away in a box.  Then last year  I came across this idea of a mini Christmas book on Pinterest by Dawn over at Rasberry Suite and I am so pleased with the results that I want to share how I created my own version using things I had at my fingertips.  

Materials needed:
  • Christmas cards
  • Cereal box/light weight cardboard
  • Scrapbooking paper
  • Scissors/paper cutter
  • Glue stick
  • Hole Puncher 
  • 2 binder rings
  • Number stencils and/or fun holiday embelishments
It took me less than half an hour to put this together and store it away until next year.  

Step #1 Use your largest Christmas card to determine the size you will need for your front & back cover.  Cut the cardboard to be just slightly bigger than the largest Christmas card.  

Step #2 Using your scrapbooking paper, I like using wintry or holiday season themed for fun, cut it to the size of the front and back covers.  Glue the paper down to cover the advertisement on the cereal box. 

Step #3  Using a 3-hole punch, begin punching the holes of the Christmas cards and the covers.  I generally place the card to the very top of the whole puncher and then I don't have to worry about the holes lining up.  For the most part, all of the cards end up having two holes, unless it's really small card.

Step #4  Put everything together using the binder rings and decorate the front cover using embellishments, stickers or go with simplicity like me and just add the year to the front cover so you know what year each of the books represents.  I also add a picture of my girls with Santa on the front and back covers.  Now  you are ready to store the booklet away and take out next year to display in your home during the holidays.  You can enjoy the pictures and special notes every year but they are compact in one little book.

 Quick.  Cheap.  Easy.  Done.

What do you do with all of your Christmas cards?  

Friday 12 January 2018

Winter Style: Pom Toques and Plaid Shirts

My favorite part of this outfit is well EVERYTHING .  How cute are these matching pom toques that the girls and I scored at Urban Planet for $2 right after Christmas?!?  I was wearing this outfit when we went to the mall so the girls could spend their xmas money, and well, we all  ended up walking out dressed as triplets.  THIS NEVER HAPPENS so I rejoiced  and documented.  

Over the holidays I seized the opportunity away  from the office to wear my favorite jeans that have been  collecting dust in my closet since early fall.  As promised, I've been wearing my closet and I love how this outfit came together.  I would normally deem the cropped, step-hem, distressed jeans as spring-fall wear but that's just because I never thought to pair them up with cute little booties.  I can't believe I didn't think of this combination before.

One of my favorite pieces is this plaid shirt that I've had for a couple of years now.  I wear it to the office tucked into a skirt, under a sweater and dress pants, with pearls, etc.  For this outing I paired it up with a lightweight gray sweater, because gray is my new favorite neutral.  

This coat was a 'new to me' purchase through a local buy and sell.  I love the deep, purple color, the over sized brown buttons, and the large waist belt.  Do you ever shop second hand or do a girlfriend clothing swap? It's so fun to get new stuff without breaking the bank. 

What's your favorite casual, weekend, outfit combination?  

Shop this post:

Forever 21 Jeans ( similar)
American Eagle Gray Sweater  (similar on sale $19.99)