Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Remembering past Halloweens

Happy Halloween!

Here's a few pics from past Halloweens!  Come back tomorrow to see this year's fun!

2008 - cow 
(Annika's first Halloween)

Even a matching diaper!!

2009 - ladybug

Annika had just starting walking about 2 weeks before this.  We went trick or treating at the mall.

2010 - ladybug 
(again - hey, if it fits, why not??)

Trick or treating in our neighbourhood for the first time.

2011 - Shrek and Princess Fiona

Emmett's first Halloween!


Saturday, October 27, 2012

From pinned to practice: detox/de-stress bath

With everything that's been going on lately, I haven't had much energy or desire to try a lot of new things from Pinterest, so my "Pinned to Practice" posts have sort of fallen by the wayside.  However, last night I tried out something that I had recently pinned, and it was really great - it was a "recipe" for a detox/de-stress bath.

You add Epsom salts, baking soda and lavender essential oil to your bath water and soak for 20 minutes and it's supposed to reduce stress, draw out toxins and balance your pH levels.  The pin, unfortunately, doesn't lead to an actual site, so I googled the description (someone thoughtfully provided all the info in the description, so you don't really need the website) and found it was taken from this site with other "detoxing" tips.  The author recommends doing this "detox" soak once a week.

I tried it out last night, and I found it really helped me (at least the de-stress part - not sure exactly how to measure the detox aspect!).  I'm not much of a bath person, so I'll admit, I was a little antsy to just sit in the tub for 20 minutes (and my tub is nothing like that in the picture - our tub is in the kids' bathroom, so it's decidedly less tranquil-looking and quite a bit smaller).  However, it was kind of nice to just take that time and relax.  I was also pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed, or at least wasn't bothered by, the scent of the lavender.  I'm not a "scent" person.  Most scents give me a headache, but this one was okay.  And when I went to bed later that night, I fell asleep almost instantly (granted, I am still taking a little bit of melatonin, down to 1/4 of a pill or about 1 mg, but I don't think that's what did it).  I woke up quite a few times at night (not unusual for me), but overall, it was a good sleep, which is awesome.  I think I will try to make this a weekly habit, as they recommend.

I did a little "research" (aka googling) about the different ingredients and their benefits, and here's what I came up with (please note: this is not medical advice):

Epsom salt -
Epsom salt, named for a bitter saline spring at Epsom in Surrey, England, is not actually salt but a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate.  Epsom salt has beneficial properties that can soothe the body, mind and soul...Some of the countless health benefits include relaxing the nervous system, curing skin problems, soothing back pain and aching limbs, easing muscle strain, healing cuts, treating cold and congestion, and drawing toxins from the body. 
Stress drains the body of magnesium and increases levels of adrenaline. When dissolved in warm water, Epsom salt is absorbed through the skin and replenishes the level of magnesium in the body. The magnesium helps to produce serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of calm and relaxation...Magnesium ions also relax and reduce irritability by lowering the effects of adrenaline. They lower blood pressure, create a relaxed feeling, improve sleep and concentration, and help muscles and nerves to function properly.
Baking soda - (from this website) -
Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, provides a naturally alkaline substance with a reputation for helping to remove toxins...In addition to its reputation for drawing out toxins, adding baking soda to your bathwater leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth.
Lavender essential oil - (from this website) -
Lavender essential oil has a calming scent which makes it an excellent tonic for the nerves. Therefore, it helps in treating migraines, headaches, anxiety, depression, nervous tension and emotional stress. The refreshing aroma removes nervous exhaustion and restlessness and increases mental activity.  Lavender essential oil induces sleep and hence it is often recommended for insomnia.

Sounds good to me!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It's okay to need help

Yesterday I went for my counseling session, as recommended by my doctor to help me deal with my insomnia.  I'm still having trouble sleeping, so I was actually looking forward to this session so I could get some more help (something other than my melatonin pills!).  I've gone to counseling before, and it's not the most fun thing to do, but I truly believe that it can be beneficial.  About a month ago my cousin wrote on her blog about the benefits of counseling and I really recommend giving it a read.  I really appreciated her post (although I didn't leave a comment - bad me!) because she addressed some of the negative connotations that "going to therapy" still has, but also pointed out how much it can help us out.  She points out that therapy is not just for self-absorbed movie stars, or those who are mentally ill, or profoundly messed up.  I love this line that she wrote:
Therapy is for people who choose to love themselves enough to work on their own healing. When I become more healthy, those around me are also strengthened.
It kind of goes together with this blog post that I read this morning - Why it is okay to take a mom break.  I also recommend reading this post.  We need to look after ourselves if we are going to be able to properly look after those around us.  And as a mom, I do A LOT of "looking after".  This was something that we also discussed yesterday during my session.  There is a lot of pressure on moms to do everything (and these days, Pinterest is not helping us) - to be Supermom.  And not only should we be able to do everything, but we should be able to do everything by ourselves.  We shouldn't need help from others.  We are such an independent culture, so determined to be self-reliant, but is it really so bad when we help each other out?  Doesn't it make life easier when we're there for each other??  Didn't God create us to need each other?  I am so blessed to be surrounded with friends and family that are more than willing to help out when they can, but yet, it still makes me feel guilty at times, like I'm not doing my "job" properly if I accept help.  However, if it makes me a better mother, or even just a better person, because I get help from other people, shouldn't I embrace that help and just be thankful for it?  And in return, find ways to help out others?  Why should it be so difficult?

Just some thoughts to ponder...

Friday, October 19, 2012

This moment - cheese

"A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Life goes on...

I haven't posted for a while, so here's a little random glimpse of what's being going on in our lives...

  • I've been sleeping better.  However, that's thanks to the wonderful melatonin pills that I got a week ago.  I didn't really like how the sleeping pills my doctor prescribed made me feel (and I was really scared of getting "hooked" on them, even though they say that's only likely with long-term use), so I gave the melatonin pills a try.  I've been taking them for the past week, and been feeling a lot better (except on the days when I know it's time to reduce the dosage - I've had a few groggy mornings).  I started out taking 2 5mg pills, then went down to 1 5mg pill, and now I'm just taking 1/2 a pill (2.5mg).  By the weekend I'm going to try sleeping without any pills.  Hopefully the melatonin will have helped to "reset" my system, and I'll be able to sleep well again.
  • Annika is enjoying preschool.  Despite her initial good start, she's had a really rough time adjusting to school this year (which really stressed me out and contributed to my initial insomnia).  I think she was expecting it to be just like last year, and while there are many things that are still the same, there are also many things that are different.  However, I think we've passed that hurdle, and now school is a happy time for all of us.
  • We've had a set-back with "Operation: Dry Bed."  You may recall from earlier in summer that Annika recently started (or rather re-started) staying dry at night, and she's regressed since starting school (it started at exactly the same time as going back to school, so I tend to think that's the cause, rather than a growth spurt or something else).  However, she had a few dry nights this past week (I actually put her back in Pull-Ups for the past week, despite her complaints, just so I could get a few good night's of uninterrupted sleep), and with the school situation improving, I'm hoping that she will soon get back to staying dry.
  • Annika is loving her swimming lessons.  Yesterday was swimming lessons (she's in Sea Otter now for the 4th time), and I think she was having the most fun that I've ever seen her having in the pool.  She really likes her teacher (a sweet young lady that Annika feels far more comfortable with compared to the man who was her teacher last time), and she's starting to get a lot braver in the water.  She puts her face in the water more often (although she still looks like a drowned cat each time she comes up for air), she's gone completely underwater (a first) and she will often volunteer to be first to do whatever they're doing.  The other kids in her class are also Sea Otter "repeaters", so the teacher is focusing more on building their swimming skills, rather than spending time playing games and singing songs, so that's also a plus.  And this time her class is at 4:30, so hopefully with it being before supper we won't encounter as many pool closures as last time (last session we went after supper, and the pool was closed 4 times due to "foulings" - aka kids throwing up in the pool.  Yuck).
  • Annika is also loving her ballet class.  Her class is at 4:15 on Saturdays, which is actually nice, so we don't have another thing during the week.
  • Last Saturday was my Y Neighbours Used Kids' clothing and toy sale.  I didn't get much for the kids, but I bought Emmett a pair of boots for $3, a pair of skates for Annika for $10, and this dress for $3.  She absolutely loves it (yay for me!).  So far, she wore it on Saturday afternoon to dance class, and then for the evening, all day Sunday, Monday I managed to get it into the washer, then she wore it all day yesterday and today.  I think she's got her own "October Dress Project" going on. :)
  •  Emmett's been enjoying the "mom and baby" library class we've been going to.  I'm not quite as into it, since the class is for babies 0-24 months, and at 22 months, Emmett is the oldest (and biggest) one there.  So it's a little strange doing tickle rhymes and trying to lift him in the air with all the other moms and their little babies, but we're managing.  The thing that Emmett seems to enjoy the most is the tub of books afterwards.  After the "official" part of the class is done, the librarian brings out a big tub of books for the moms to read with their babies.  Most of the moms use this time to chat, however, I haven't really connected with anyone in the class (partly because I'm not really there to make mommy connections - I have those already - I'm there to be with Emmett).  Emmett brings me book after book and we sit together and read them, which is really sweet, because he doesn't sit still for long at home.  So, the class isn't quite what I had expected, but we're still having a good time, and it's nice to spend some one-on-one time with Emmett.
  • I helped out with a baby shower at our church last night.  I was in charge of decorations and the games, and I picked "storybooks" as the theme.  A friend helped me with decorating, and we kept it simple, but still got lots of compliments (take that, Pinterest!).  We just put up children's books around the room, with some candles and a few balloons and streamers.  I had also printed off a few book-related quotes and put them up on the walls.  We made a banner using book pages and put the guest of honor's name on it.  For a guest book, I bought the book "Oh the places you'll go!" by Dr. Seuss, and we had everyone sign inside the book, which we then gave to the guest of honor.  For games, I picked 12 "classic" children's book titles and scrambled up the letters and people had to unscramble the titles.  Then I read the first few lines from each story, and everyone had to match up the title with the story.  I gave prizes (bookmarks) to the 3 people who got all the answers correct.

So that's what's been keeping us busy lately.  It seems like October has just been flying by!

Friday, October 12, 2012

This moment - my loves

"A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake wooden dolls

This set of wooden dolls took a long time to finish, but they're finally done!  They turned out to be quite a bit more work than I first thought, as I had to custom mix a lot of colors (since each girl has several shades of the same color, and I didn't want to buy 4 different blues, 4 different yellows, etc).  There was also a lot of little details that I wanted to include, which made them take a lot longer than other dolls I've done.  But I'm happy with how they turned out, and Annika loves them.

The cast of characters - from left to right - Lemon Meringue, Orange Blossom, Plum Pudding, Raspberry Torte, Strawberry Shortcake, Blueberry Muffin, Cherry Jam

And my version...

I couldn't figure out how to do Strawberry's hat (and make it look good), so Annika and I decided that she should just have a ribbon in her hair instead (which is how she is pictured when she takes off her hat, like for bedtime, etc).  Annika requested that these dolls have mouths (the ones I've done in the past have only had eyes - I like the look/idea of a blank face), so I just did a little smile for each one, to keep it simple. 

I'm now on a "break" from painting dolls (I was getting kind of tired of it by the time I finally finished these), but soon I'll have to start working on Emmett's set.  I'm planning to make him a set of "boy dolls" (farmer, police man, construction worker, etc) for his birthday or Christmas.  He loves playing with Annika's dolls, so I figured it was soon time for him to get his own!

Friday, October 5, 2012


Ugh, I just accidentally deleted the post I had written about this.  :(

Anyway, just wanted to share that I've been suffering from some pretty bad insomnia lately and that's why it's been so quiet around here.  I had started a post that detailed what I was going through in more depth, but honestly, I just don't have the energy or desire to process through all that right now.  It's been rough and exhausting and not something I want to relive (and strangely, way worse than newborn-baby type sleep deprivation).  I went to the doctor on Tuesday and he gave me a few sleeping pills, so at least I've had a few better nights now.  I'm hoping my body will soon "reset" itself and get back to normal (I guess we'll see when I try sleeping without the aid of a pill).  The doctor also recommended that I see a therapist or counselor to help me with managing my stress/anxiety.  I've seen a therapist in the past (about 6 years ago from depression/anxiety) and it really helped me then, but honestly I'm not looking forward to going.  But I guess sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.  I know it will be worth it in the end.

If you feel inclined to pray, would you please send up a prayer or two on my behalf?  Thanks.