Nov 28 2014

monthly prompt: “change”

**I am a part of a small blogger collective consisting of other mom bloggers and each month we are given a word “prompt” to write about.  This months prompt is “change””**

I’ve been sitting on this post for a while, writing and rewriting it.  It’s funny that the post itself has changed so much from what I originally intended it to be, considering what I am supposed to write about.

Today is Black Friday.  In Canada, it’s not really as much of a “thing” as in the US, but considering a lot of our stores are American we inevitably end up “celebrating” (can you celebrate a shopping day?) and many of the crazy stories of black friday madness down South (and sometimes here) end up in the news that I read.  I can’t help but feel simultaneously irritated and amused by the disparity between Black Friday and American Thanksgiving.  I know that point has been made often, but every year as soon as the sales hit everyone seems to be selectively forgetful of it.

A few months ago, when frustrated with my postpartum shape and the fact that only about 1/4 of my wardrobe fit me properly, I went on a purging rampage and got rid of A LOT of things.  I made a promise to myself that if I were to buy things, I would make sure that they were long term purchases, or basics that go with many things.  We’ve since been trying to apply the idea of simplicity to other areas of our life (you may remember me blogging about technology a few months ago, and our goal of simplifying it) and let me tell you…it’s HARD to change years and years of habitual cultural excess.  I tend to hold on to things (I have BINS of fabric because, well, I can make something with it!) and I have a tendency to want variety in things like my clothing, and seasonal decor.  Plus, things like iPhones change practically every year and it’s easy to get sucked into that.  I recently cleaned out a drawer that had product boxes in it that I had been holding on (because I can make something with them!) to and was embarrassed at how many iPhone boxes we have.

The thing is, we are a culture that loves change.  I recently watched the new movie “Interstellar” and there was a quote from the grandfather that said something along the lines of “In my day, we had new product coming out every day.  It was like Christmas, and everyone was trying to have it all.”   Dave and I both chuckled because we knew that he was talking about our generation.  Having things for a long time (or for longer than a year!) seems a little bit crazy (part of that is due to planned obsolescence but that’s a whole other can of worms that I won’t get in to).  A few years ago someone I knew pointed out a way that Westerners speak in regards to things they want.  She said that we often say things like “I really need a yellow cardigan” or “I need a new iPhone”.  In reality you don’t *need* a yellow cardigan or a new iPhone; you *want* a yellow cardigan, and the new iPhone has cooler features than your current one and you *want* that.  I started changing my language after that and it’s funny because in doing that you start realizing how spoiled we really are.  Our homes are bursting at the seams with so much stuff that we have to rent storage lockers for whatever doesn’t fit.  New homes are designed to be bigger with more and more storage.

The change that we need to be seeking is not a new wardrobe or the latest technology.  The change that we need is for more simplicity.  Our current rate of consumption is unsustainable.  The future from Wall-E, or Idiocracy doesn’t seem too far off at this point…

 


“Change” is the November writing prompt of The Mommy Blogger Collective. In addition to a monthly writing prompt, the collective hosts a monthly blogger featurette. This month we are featuring Erica of To the Sea. A few words from Erica — Hello! My name is Erica and I blog at To the Sea. I have a two-year-old daughter and 5-month old son. I went to school for Geography and travel is my passion. I’m also an attorney, but I’m currently staying at home to raise my kids. I love surfing and punk rock. I write about parenting, fitness, and life around the world. I love being a mommy and am stoked to be a part of the Mommy Blogger Collective! You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

/// The Mommy Blogger Collective /// Courteney, Dena, Erica, Erin, Gillian, Katie, Misty, Nicole, and Renée. ///

COMMENT.


Sep 13 2014

monthly word prompt – harvest

**I am a part of a small blogger collective consisting of other mom bloggers and each month we are given a word “prompt” to write about.  This months prompt is “harvest””**

I feel like I can say I’ve been waiting for this day for a very long, long time.

If you know me well (heck, if you’ve met me even briefly) you probably know that Autumn is my time.  Not in the “typical-white-girl-omg-pumpkin-spice-latte” sort of way (although I don’t mind those) But ever since I was little, everything about this time of year just makes me so happy.  My birthday is October, so that may play in to it a bit (it falls around the weekend of Canadian Thanksgiving, so I get turkey for my birthday meal and pumpkin pie has always been my birthday cake). There’s so much more though to it than just the food (Oh! The food!) I love the cooler weather: the misty mornings, crisp afternoons and foggy evenings.  Somehow, I feel so much more energized when Autumn comes around.  Also, getting to wear more layers and covering up my babushka arms has always been a happy thing.

I could go on forever probably. I am getting slightly off track here.

Last year when Lucy surprised us 6 weeks early and consequently kept us confined to a hospital for 7 weeks I missed my favourite season.  I remember being in the hospital with her and always asking the nurses when we would get out because all I so badly wanted to be outside enjoying the autumn weather with her.  To make it worse, last years autumn was probably the most beautiful autumns I have seen in a long time–and we were stuck inside.

The thing that kept me going was imagining the next year–this year–when we would go to my favourite place: The Apple Barn!

I’ve been going to the Apple Barn most years since I was a little girl.  (**funny story: When I was in my early twenties and it was just Dave and I, the lady at the till was pretty confused when I payed for a ticket for the petting zoo for just myself. “You don’t have any kids with you? …Ok…?”**)  It’s the sweetest little farm day-trip you ever did see.  There’s the obvious of “you pick apples”, as well as a multitude of other fruits and veggies that they now grow there (so many pumpkins!), hay rides, pony rides, a petting zoo (Goats!!!!), a market, a giant bouncy playground.  It’s Heaven.

We were so very happy when we finally had an afternoon off together to be able to go and enjoy it (also, Grandma and Grandpa came along, which always makes Lucy happy)

Again…I could go on.  But I will just show you the awesomeness in pictures instead:

Lucy LOVED the goats.  I can’t even begin to tell you how happy it made me.  She giggled the whole time and loved to pet their faces.  And–Look below at her standing on her own!  Ta-da!

She was slightly skeptical of the pumpkins, and couldn’t seem to figure out why we were taking her picture amidst a bunch of vegetables.


“Harvest” is the September writing prompt of The Mommy Blogger Collective. In addition to a monthly writing prompt, the collective hosts a monthly blogger featurette. This month we are featuring Courteney of The Titled Blog. A few words from Courteney — Hello! I’m Courteney from “The Titled Blog” I live up in Canada (in Abbotsford, British Columbia – just East of Vancouver) with my husband, one year old daughter Lucy, a pug named Minnie and an angry flame point siamese cat named Bigsby. My blog has evolved over the last 7 years from random rants and social commentary to lifestyle and now most recently to being a mom. My daughter was born with a lot of health problems and I often write about the challenges that have come with having a baby that has spent a good chunk of her first year in and out of the hospital and how to deal with those challenges head on. When I’m not blogging, I work as a photographer with my own business (Courteney Rodda Photography) sing in my jazz band “Courteney Rodda and the Other Guys” and most recently I am sewing for an awesome local company making baby moccasins called “Minimoc
You can also find me on Instagram, where I post too many pictures of my daughter, dog and cat.

/// The Mommy Blogger Collective /// Christina, Courteney, Dena, Erica, Erin, Gillian, Katie, Misty, Nicole, and Renée. ///

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Aug 11 2014

Monthly Prompt: Celebrate

**I am a part of a small blogger collective consisting of other mom bloggers and each month we are given a word “prompt” to write about.  This months prompt is “celebrate””**

I am not a party person.

Big groups make me nervous, and I don’t understand how to small talk.

I always said that when we would throw birthday parties for our kids, they would be small and intimate.  I would stick to the essentials.  Cake.  A few people.  Some presents.

But there’s another side of me that gets REALLY overly excited about planning parties.  Weird, I know.  I think I would prefer to plan parties and then never attend them.

So it was a few months ago when Dave and I started talking about Lucy’s first birthday and we wondered what it would look like.  We have a lot to celebrate considering the major hurtles we have overcome this past year.  There are many people to thank as well.  The more we talked, the more it seemed clear that we needed to throw a hefty sized celebration.  By hefty, I don’t mean 200 people…but it’s more than the approximately 10 people I would have liked to have.

We decided that since Lucy won’t remember really anything from her birthday party it would be more catered to adults.  You won’t find any “Frozen” themed anything at this party.  Just some nice desserts and a few pretty decorations.  Oh, and the cutest baby ever.  That’s a given though.

I debated whether I should share more pictures of what I’ve done so far, but I’d much prefer to share it all put together in context.  If you want to see some of my inspiration though, here’s the Pinterest Board of ideas that I’ve been putting together for the last few months.  “For a One Year Old”

Also, can I just add (for the umpteenth time) how I can’t believe that in 5 weeks I will have a one year old?  That doesn’t even make sense.


“Celebrate” is the August writing prompt of The Mommy Blogger Collective. In addition to a monthly writing prompt, the collective hosts a monthly blogger featurette. This month we are featuring Nicole of Rose Runs Wild. A few words from Nicole — Hi! I’m Nicole from Rose Runs Wild! I’m mama to a teenager, wife to my handsome husband and dog mama to our bulldog and pit bull. I work full time and blog in my free time. I love wearing black and white, plants, doughnuts, crappy pop music and working on our home we just recently bought! My blog is basic, it’s just about our life. The good, the bad and the ugly. I try to share as honestly as I possibly can in hopes that one or two other people out there don’t feel so alone. Life is rough, life is beautiful and it’s all about connection through the highs and the lows. That’s all I’m really trying to do, connect and share. And take lots of cute photos of my son (in the rare moment he lets me) and my dogs of course! Connect with Nicole here: Instagram // Pinterest // Bloglovin // Twitter // Tumblr.

/// The Mommy Blogger Collective /// Christina, Courteney, Dena, Erica, Erin, Gillian, Katie, Misty, Nicole, and Renée. ///

2 comments


Jul 14 2014

word prompt: HEAT

**I am a part of a small blogger collective consisting of other mom bloggers and each month we are given a word “prompt” to write about.  This months prompt is “heat””**

When I was thinking about this post, I couldn’t help but get all nostalgic for the summers of my childhood….

Like most others, when I was a little girl, summertime was my favourite time of year.  Our family spent a lot of time camping and playing outside in the sunshine.  We lived in the country for most of my life and always had a great big yard to play in.  Many summers my dad would make the worlds biggest slip-n-slide out of a large roll of black plastic and it took three sprinklers to wet it all.  We loaded it with dish soap and would fly down it all day long.  One of my brothers and I built a treehouse in a big old maple tree (complete with a tire swing) that many hours were spent playing in it.  We had a wooded area to the back and side of our house  and we were always out exploring the woods (and getting covered in stings from stinging nettle).  We also spent most summers up at an old cabin near 100 Mile House on a lake called “Crystal Lake” (the picture above was taken there) where free range cattle would roam around, and treasures were always to be found in the old cabin.  I wish I had a more pictures of the cabin because it’s perfection.

At some point though, I decided summer was lame and too hot and I would wish it away and wait eagerly for the cooler weather.

Since Lucy was born though, I find myself looking back on all the amazing summertime activities that I did as a girl and I am, for the first time in a long time, really welcoming the summer heat.  We’ve already been spending plenty of time in the sunshine (well, the shade-shine for me and Lucy, as the pale ones) and the pool is getting plenty of good use.

Dave and I are planning our first family camping trip for in August.  We’ve gone several times as a couple but this will be Lucy’s first time.  We are so excited to get away and start our own family summer traditions.  I’ve started a pinterest board of camp food recipes and of course I’m building it up in my mind to be the ultimate quintessential summer experience.  We all know there’s a good chance that this will backfire on me but I can still dream, right?

I can’t wait to share with you all about our camping trip.  Click here to view the blog post from our camping trip two years ago (we didn’t go last year because I was hugely pregnant).


“Heat” is the July writing prompt of The Mommy Blogger Collective. In addition to a monthly writing prompt, the collective hosts a monthly blogger featurette. This month we are featuring Renee of oh renée. A few words from Renée — Oh Renée started as a creative outlet for me a few years ago, a happy place to share creative and fun projects or fashion. Since then, it has evolved into one of the best things I could ever have done with my time! The last few years of blogging have become much more personal to me- more of a way to document this life of mine, with my husband, with my little boy and with the world around me. I enjoy sharing glimpses into our days and sharing in other mom’s lives as well, as part of this wonderful world of social media. Being a mother is better than anything I could have expected! Truly. I call Ohio my home, I keep the joy of traveling and exploring new places close to my heart, i spend my evenings knitting and am never without a book in my hand or in my purse. My blog is much of the same! You can find me on Instagram at instagram.com/ohreneedesign.

/// The Mommy Blogger Collective /// Christina, Courteney, Dena, Erica, Erin, Gillian, Katie, Misty, Nicole, and Renée. ///

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Jun 11 2014

monthly prompt: shine

How to shine.  Even when your life is chaos.

(OR Why I never gave in to the sweatpants, messy hair and dirty house and still loved my baby all at the same time)

***

At a recent appointment with one of Lucy’s specialists, the doctor (whom we had never met before this) exclaimed upon seeing me “You look way to put together to have an 8 month old baby!”  To which I didn’t know how to respond, and simply said: “Oh…?”   “Most of the moms I see are in sweats and a messy pony tail.” she said.  To which again, I still didn’t know what to say and I laughed nervously.

I often hear stories lauding the sweatpants and messy hair as a mom badge of honour, while at the same time subtly (or sometimes not so) hinting that if you are not wearing last nights PJ’s you are clearly spending too much time on yourself.

We like to talk about how it’s totally cool to be messy when we have kids.  “That barf stain?  Yeah that happened last week.  I’ve got too much going on though to put on something clean.  Don’t like it?  Well if you can’t handle me at my worst you don’t deserve me at my best.  I may not look great but I’m too busy being a good mom to worry about clean clothes.”

In reality though, what we are thinking on the inside is probably the opposite.  Using our kids as an excuse to justify our mess is easy.  Setting a routine, taking care of ourselves and being disciplined is hard.

When Lucy was in the hospital we had very little control over anything.  I pumped and fed her according to the hospital schedule.  They told me how many times I was allowed to breast feed her (once a day) and what time (noon).  They told me what days I could bath her on, and when I could hold her.  Some days they told us we would be home in a week, some days a month.  When we did get home 7 weeks later, we battled with so many things for months and months to keep that baby alive and growing.  Some things were typical baby things, some were special Lucy problems.  In the midst of all of this I easily could have used Lucy as an excuse to let myself go.  In fact, if I were an outsider looking in on our situation I probably would have said “Go for it!”  But one day, or one week leads to one month or two of “It’s okay, I’ve got a baby to deal with. Maybe later.”  Then a year later you realize you haven’t ever established a regular time for yourself and those sweatpants that used to just be for bed time have been worn to the grocery store regularly.

Before I had Lucy, many people would say to me “Oh you just wait till after she’s born.  You’re going to look terrible/You will welcome the sweatpants. But it will all be so worth it.”  I was legitimately concerned, because being clean and looking nice rank pretty high on my “things that keep me sane” list.

When we brought her home I was determined that I wouldn’t fall into bad habits.  Despite what everyone was telling me, I knew that it was possible to be a good parent as well as take care of myself.

What is the secret?

It’s called: Routine. (see photo: life can be hectic, but our routine helps us get things done)

Every day when Lucy has her morning nap I get dressed and tidy the house.  Every day.  Even if she doesn’t nap, we get it done. When things are chaotic these are things that I have control over that will make the day feel a little less crummy.  If I feel good about myself then it’s natural that I will feel (if only a little) better about the things I can not control.

We’ve got to take the time to take care of ourselves because we are, after all, still human beings after our children are born.  This is not an “either/or” situation.  Taking care of yourself and your home does not beget neglected children.  Despite what some may say, I am not neglecting my daughter because I put on makeup and combed my hair today.  Her happiness is not at stake when I wear a clean shirt from the closet instead of a dirty one from the laundry bin.  Similarly, she is no less loved because I did the dishes while she played, or swept the floor while she sat and watched me intently. (Have you seen this link on Pinterest? Can we please pretty please stop pinning this insane quote?)

Listen to me, because this is the key point:  Hovering over our children every second of the day at the detriment of daily chores and personal care is not healthy.  It’s not healthy for us, and it’s not healthy for our  children.

We need to take the time to shine, because how else will our children learn?


“Shine” is the June writing prompt of The Mommy Blogger Collective. In addition to a monthly writing prompt, the collective hosts a monthly blogger featurette. This month we are featuring Christina of Mouse in Your House. A few words from Christina — At Mouse In Your House, I’m bringing you stories about being a working mom, quirky family lifestyle trends, frugal living, DIY ideas and the talented people who make life something amazing. I hate getting bored and occasionally use Mouse In Your House to ask people very personal questions that I would, otherwise, never get away with. My goal is to find chicks and gents doing something cool and inspiring, which could lead to a feature about a family who took the year off to travel the world one day and the next day’s post could be all about how to dress a stylish toddler. To qualify for a feature, I need only go, holy moly that is frigging awesome….and you may even get a long set of questions for our next Q&A. That’s the way I roll. And P.S. I LOVE budgeting and it has taken over our lives in the past. We recently graduated from living in a 400 square-foot apartment to a 1,400 square foot house in my beloved small town of Knoxville, Tennessee. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+.

/// The Mommy Blogger Collective /// Christina, Courteney, Dena, Erica, Erin, Gillian, Katie, Misty, Nicole, and Renée. ///

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