When can it be spring?

Soon, I hope. Please, oh, please, let it be soon!

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A lovey that isn’t so lovely

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A fuzzy photo of someone else’s Patty the Penguin, because LO’s is currently napping.

Kids become attached to the darnedest things: a ragged blanket, an over-tired teddy bear, a torn sweatshirt, a stuffed Patty the Penguin giveaway from La Senza Girl? 

I was hope-hope-hopeful that LO would skip over the phase where she’d want/need to be in constant contact with a “lovey” (I think parents call them “loveys” because somehow that makes germ-infested items more palatable in our minds).

So much for hoping. About five months after she first saw the years-old stuffed animal used to entertain her during a baby-sitting session with her cousin, LO realized the “awesomeness” that is Mr. Penguin, and she looooooves him.

Pets him. Snuggles him. Bites him. Holds him out for people to kiss. She loves him so much that Momma and Daddy have determined that he* is a VERY sleepy lovey that must stay in her bedroom and catch up on sleep while she goes about her day.

So far she hasn’t complained. But, really, what choice does she have? I think she looks forward to her nap/bedtimes knowing she’ll get to hang with her very best pal.

Her very mangy, very best pal.

Praise the Lord for the handwash cycle on our washing machine!

*Oops. Penguin is a girl? Should’ve read “his” butt tag before we started calling him Mr. Penguin.

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Change is in the air

Or on the screen.

After a hiatus of, oh, forever, I’m back!

For those who have faithfully followed this blog (Hi, Mom!) since September 2008, thank you!

I posted like crazy for a while, and then I got married and moved countries, and then I really was “all thought out,” and I ran out of things to post about, and then I had a kiddo and untertook a house renovation, and I felt blogging was one of those things for which I no longer had time.

(I always have time for a run-on sentence.)

Then, I noticed: (a) I missed writing, (b) my mom missed reading my posts, (c) my time management skills were becoming less as I became less structured, and (d) my ability to prioritize was no longer a priority.

That’s right. Without a doubt, resurrecting this blog will help me fix those last two points.

Teehee.

So, in an effort to become even better in my roles as a faithful Christ follower, excellent wife, loving mother, educator, care provider and household manager (among other titles), I’m making time to write again. Because taking 5-15 minutes to do something just for me is kinda fun. And rewarding.

Plus, someday, LO may need assistance constructing a sentence, so I should probably stay current, right?

As I write more, you may begin to notice a few changes around here. Layout. Content. More frequent updates. Definitely more frequent updates. Please bear with any formatting changes that may occur as I change up the design (missing bullet points, etc.).

Of course, I am 30-weeks pregnant with LO No. 2, sooooooo, you have some of my divided attention for at least another few weeks.

Thanks for reading!

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Flying with a toddler and an occupied uterus

I booked a plane ticket for Florida knowing I’d be 28-weeks pregnant when I left. I booked the ticket knowing my belly had already expanded far beyond the 28-week mark with my first pregnancy. And, I booked the ticket knowing I’d have a 16-month-old kiddo sharing my lap with her unborn sister.

I should also mention I booked a 7 a.m. departure flight (must leave house by 3:30 a.m.) and an 8:30 p.m. return flight (toddler bedtime is 6:30-7 p.m.). Not exactly prime toddler-traveling times.

“Up for a challenge much?” you ask.

Bring it. It’s winter. I live in Ontario. Florida has sun, warmth and 0-1 layers of clothing required. Ontario has grey skies, seat warmers that can’t warm up fast enough, and who knows the number of layers I’m wearing.

It turns out airlines pity those traveling with young children. Particularly those traveling solo with young children. And especially those who look 15-months pregnant and are toting a toddler.

Because, we bypassed the 157 individuals waiting to go through security. We got stickers for going through security. No X-ray machines were needed. No one questioned the 937 items in my carry-on. We were among the first to board the flights. The flight attendants asked me several times if I needed anything, including extra drinks and snacks.

Now, I won’t say the 3-hour flights were entirely magical. LO was so happy watching the four youngsters around her on the first flight that she couldn’t nap. And she continued not napping for 13 hours. For the non-parents reading this, that’s a long time for a toddler.

And, the return flight was so late, and so far past LO’s bedtime that going to sleep was, again, difficult.

And then there was the lady in front of us on the return flight who reclined her chair (non-pregnant tall person’s worst nightmare) onto my almost non-existent lap and squirming, sleep-deprived daughter.

So, I may or may not have let LO kick, kick, kick her chair while screeeeeeeaming at the top of her lungs (the latter for the 60 seconds it took her to pass out), while I managed to unlock my knees, unhinge my legs and store them in the aisle.

But, that’s all peanuts compared to some of the horrific travel stories I’ve heard from friends. So, I’ll take the over-tiredness and discomfort for a few short hours.

Because it’s Florida. And it WAS warm.

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Coleslaw

I know exactly what you’re thinking.

“I can’t wait to read what this woman has to say about coleslaw.” Well. I’ll get right to it.

I heart coleslaw. Particularly healthy varieties. Healthy coleslaw? That’s usually an oxymoron. However, not the coleslaw recipe my mother-in-law makes.

Without further ado, I give you the recipe for deliciousness in a bowl. I hope you like it, too.

Asian Coleslaw

3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
3 tbsp canola oil
3 tbsp peanut butter
1 1/2 tbsp soya sauce
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp minced ginger root
1 tbsp minced garlic
5 c. cabbage, shredded
1 bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups carrots, shredded
3 green onions, diced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

Combine first (7) ingredients and pour over remaining ingredients just before serving. Mix. Serve. Enjoy. Mmmmm.

Not a fan of cilantro? Omit it. And, let me know what you think!

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Sadness in Berenstain Bear land

I read today (with much sadness) that Jan Berenstain, co-creator of The Berenstain Bears, died late last week at the age of 88.

Oh, the memories I have of reading through the books she created alongside her husband Stan.

The Berenstain Bears and the Bad Habit. The Berenstain Bears and the Big Road Race. The Berenstain Bears Go to School. The Berenstain Bears and the Truth. Forget Their Manners. Learn about Strangers. Get the Gimmies. No Girls Allowed. And the Messy Room. And on and on and on. We had one bazillion copies of the books lying around our house. My brothers and I spent hours reading and re-reading them. What fun adventures those bears went on!

While my LO isn’t old enough to read, yet, she’s old enough to listen, and I look forward to sharing The Berenstain Bears collection with her.

Thanks for the memories, Jan!

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Would you die for your faith?

Such a big question.

The mainstream media has only recently shared the story of Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian pastor, who was arrested in October 2009, after he protested a government policy that required children to study the Qur’an in school.

Pastor Nadarkhani has two young sons.

Despite the Iranian constitution permitting freedom of religious practice, secret police called Nadarkhani before a political tribunal and arrested him for protesting. The charges were later amended to apostasy—he left Islam to follow Christ—and evangelism of Muslims. Nadarkhani was tried and sentenced to death for apostasy on November 13, 2010.

Nadarkhani’s case was reviewed in July 2011 to determine if he was previously a practicing Muslim. The court ruled that Nadarkhani was not a practicing Muslim before becoming a Christian but that he remains guilty because of his Muslim ancestry.

There are reports that execution orders for Pastor Nadarkhani may have been issued.

All because he refuses to renounce his faith in Jesus Christ.

I’m reminded of the following scriptures:

“Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God (Luke 12:8-9 NKJV).”

“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels (Luke 9:26 NKJV).”

“Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter (1 Peter 4:16 NKJV).”

We, on this side of the globe, live in free countries and have the ability to freely choose our beliefs. Which leads me to wonder how many would die for theirs?

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Glorious attitudes

So, doing “mom things” can be rather boring.

Diapering? Rarely exciting (and sometimes scary). Outfit changing? Semi-exciting. Feeding? More exciting (now that LO is eating some solids). Cleaning? Meh.

Every day, while completing these tasks and others like them, I’m reminded of 1 Corinthians 10:31:

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Kinda puts completing mundane tasks into perspective.

Diapering the kiddo? How’s my attitude? Glorifying God? Check. Changing the kiddo? How’s my attitude? Glorifying God? Check. Feeding the kiddo? How’s my attitude? Glorifying God? Check. Cleaning up after the kiddo? How’s my attitude? Glorifying God? Check.

Since I’m usually listening to tunes throughout the day while completing said tasks, I smile every time I hear “Do Everything” by Steven Curtis Chapman. Here’s the first verse and chorus:

You’re picking up toys on the living room floor for the 15th time today … matching up socks and sweeping up lost Cheerios that got away … you put a baby on your hip and color on your lips and head out the door … and while I may not know you I bet I know you … wonder sometimes does it matter at all … well let me remind you it all matters just as long as you …

Do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you … cause He made you to do … every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face … and tell the story of grace … with every move that you make … and every little thing you do

So true.

How’s your attitude?

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Addiction

Image courtesy of Gawker

It occurs to me that I might have an addiction. To purchasing magazines. Seriously. I cannot get enough of them. I “only” subscribe to four, but I sure do a great job of pretending I subscribe to others.

Every month, I look forward to opening my mailbox and seeing Style at Home, Oxygen, Clean Eating and Canadian Living.

Every time I’m in the store, I look for new issues of Today’s Parent, Parenting, House and Home, Kitchens, Better Homes and Gardens, Fitness, Fitness RX, Shape, Health, Best Health, so on and so forth. Our coffee table is piled high with back issues. As is my nightstand.

I heart magazines. I heart thumbing through their pages. I heart looking at their designs. I heart reading through their stories and perusing their images. They keep me company on the treadmill and stationary bike, at the doctor’s office, when I’m nursing my small child and when I’m kicking back on the couch.

Perhaps I should look into an e-Reader and score some electronic subscriptions. But then I’d be giving up the actual art of thumbing through a magazine.

I’m not sure I’m ready for that.

Yet.

Anyone have e-Reader suggestions? Do you subscribe to magazines? Love it? Hate it?

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So, let’s talk about postpartum feelings

Some of you have read this post before. If you’re in my circle of family and close friends, you’ve already seen this. I’m sharing it again in this medium because I think I think all moms and moms-to-be benefit when other moms share their real after-birth feelings.

I wrote this a few months back when my kiddo was 3 weeks old, because my DH (dear husband) said it might be cathartic to do so. He was right.

While I’m feeling 110 percent better, maybe my thoughts will help some of you.

I’m quite sure LO (little one) did some growing this week along with other cute things, but I was stuck in some weird emotional state that left me crying one moment and worrying about the dumbest thing the next.

So, let’s talk about postpartum feelings.

Namely, how much they suck. I can cry anytime, anywhere. Don’t believe me? Try me. Go ahead, call me up and try me. One moment I’m happy as a clam and loving on my sweet LO. The next moment I’m weepy and wondering what the heck I’ve gotten myself into. I can cry while changing a diaper. I can cry while looking at my LO. I can cry while looking out the window.

I’ve done all three. Separately and simultaneously.

I remember the births of my girlfriends’ children and how everything was sunshine, lollipops and teddy bears. I heard about how much they loved their child. How wonderful mommyhood was. How they could hardly wait to think about having more children.

No one talked about feeling overwhelmed and underwhelmed at the same time. About the uncertainty of what to do with a newborn. Of the boredom that ensues. Of the bloodcurdling screams and the inability to get any soothing mechanisms to work. Of the lack of control.

That’s what I miss the most. Being in control. No one controls a newborn. You can read every baby book under the sun and gain all sorts of examples of how to care for your kiddo, but the author never shows up to take your child off of your hands for an hour, allowing you to go back to bed or do something non-child related.

While speaking—sometimes in tears—with my girlfriends recently, I’ve learned their entry days and weeks into mommyhood weren’t as sunshine-filled as I had previously thought. They, too, shed tears, shared doubts, felt overwhelmed and were certain they’d never again gain control. In sum, raising a newborn was the hardest thing they’d ever done.

The hardest and most worthwhile. It’s just sometimes hard to see the worthwhile part while riding a rollercoaster of emotions on the way down from a hormone high. Stupid hormones.

Oh, how I miss feeling normal.

Their advice? Go create a new “normal.” Get out of the house! Go for a walk! Meet a friend! Join a mommy group! Just go! Do something! Do anything!

Most importantly, talk about how you’re feeling. Because admitting you feel off is the first step toward feeling right again. And, you know, what? They’re right.

While I miss being in control and sometimes find myself in tears wondering what exactly is it I’m crying about, I know that I’ve been blessed with a beautiful LO. And LO is continually teaching me that I don’t need to be in control of all things all day long. It’s OK to have a messy living room (ugh!) and a pile or two of dirty laundry (egads!). It’s OK to not straighten the bed every day. Didn’t wash my hair? Not a problem. And—a big one—couldn’t get to the gym? That’s OK, too.

Really, it is OK.

Because tomorrow is a new day with new adventures. The hormones aren’t for forever. But the love I have for my LO is. And knowing how much I love LO (and LO’s daddy) and look forward to watching LO grow makes it all worthwhile.

Every last annoying tear.

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