Saturday, February 28, 2015

Work In Progress: Overcoming Brattiness.



Hi friends,

There are so many clichés in life that are clichés for a reason. They are true. The ones about not truly appreciating your mom until you are a mom? True. Same goes for anything about needing your parents. Totally true.

When I was a terrible teenage, I remember the feeling of being in a contact state of flux, waiting to get to 18 to escape my parents. Well, you never escape your parents. You move out, build a life for yourself but your parents and family are part of you. And you realize you never really wanted to escape them. You just needed some space to screw up on your own.

My dad turned 65 this week and I realized that my parents are getting older. I know, I should have accepted it earlier since biology and all but I never really thought about it. As all kids do for most of their lives, I took my parents for granted and I do not express my gratitude enough.

One day, it will be my turn. It already is. My kids take it for granted that I will cook, clean and always be there for them. I want them to always feel secure that they have their parents as their safety net. Of course, this illusion will not last forever but we will hold on to it for as long as possible.
I have come to rely on my parents and in-laws so much, especially when Baby Daddy is travelling. I applaud all of you who keep it together without any help. I fully take and ask for help whenever I need it.

I still remember how horrid I was as a teenager. I mean with the emotions and the drama. Always feeling that I had it so bad, my parents were too strict, I never got to do anything etc. You know the drill. I know my day is coming and I get to experience it with a boy and a girl. I know I will marvel at how my parents did it. All I can do is say thank you to my parents. I am more aware of asking anything of them. I stopped (for the most part) expecting that they can always accommodate me. I make a conscious effort to ask if they can help babysit before making plans. I make sure to say thank you. They go out of their way to help when they can, as parents do.

I’m getting maudlin but I guess what I am trying to say is what I have realized. I need to make a conscious effort to be kind and grateful to those closest to me, my family. We make so much effort with strangers, we just need to do it more with those in our hearts. 

Very grateful for this family.


XO,
Lucky

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I LOVE whiteboards (well, my whiteboard reward chart)

Hi friends,

My 4 year old refuses to be taken in by colourful charts and sticker systems. When we were potty training, he didn’t care about putting stickers on a chart. He is only now beginning to come around when it comes to art and craft projects but they must have a messy component like homemade slime or play dough or must involve cutting and gluing paper.

When he turned 4, I put my foot down and strictly implemented some chores for him. Before, we were loosely involving him in chores. He would do little things like put away his coat and shoes but I believe 4 is a good age to take ownership of a few tasks. I could tell he was tuning me out when I was explaining the importance of having responsibilities and helping out so I came up with a reward system. I got a plain white board and glued some felt circles to plain magnets. Now, he gets a magnet for doing a chore. If he receives a certain number of magnets he gets movie night, a reward etc. We also take away magnets for certain behaviours. This usually helps him check his behaviour because he does not want to miss his rewards. It has happened before and he learnt his lesson.

We have recently been playing with the concept of bonus magnets for doing things that are not on his chore list. He is responding well to that. Sometimes we may have a bigger reared, a new Skylander for example. To get the “big reward” he has to earn more that the usual amount of magnets. He has been finding lots of ways to earn bonus magnets like making my bed (he does a good job for a 4 year old) or helping me fold and put the laundry away. Often, he will offer to help out without me asking. Yay!!!

The one thing I do is give him some flexibility. He has 4 chores and he earns a magnet every time he does one. We tally up magnets on Saturday but he doesn’t have to earn the maximum amount possible to get a reward. There are times when he sleeps over at his grandparents or we deviate from our regular schedule so he does not have the chance to earn his magnets. I do not want to punish him for something he cannot control. He has lots of time to learn life is not fair, when he is older.

I actually have 2 whiteboards in the kitchen, hung one on top of the other on the wall. I usually put up his school calendar and our meal plan (written on the board or sometimes I print out a spreadsheet). I also put invitations or special events there too. The bottom one is reserved for the reward chart. I write his chores and the various reward levels plus the things that will cost him magnets on the board as well. This helps me teach him some responsibility around the house. Once his sister is older, I am going to have to get a little more sophisticated with my system.

Here is my system
 
 

XO,
Lucky

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Meal Planning and an Organized Fridge

Hi friends,

I am by no means an expert or the most organized mom out there but I have been doing a few things that have helped me be more prepared for life. It takes a little bit of planning and organization up front but I find that it’s worth it throughout the week.

My husband and kids are messy. Baby Daddy doesn’t really implement my whole “clean as you go” philosophy but he tries. Recently, we started doing a lot of juicing. We were feeling lazy, lethargic and overall crappy so we deceived to so a little system reboot with juices. Off the bat, I refused ownership and laid it on the husband. He is responsible for researching the recipes, shopping and making the juices. It has been great but chaotic.

I still do most of the cooking, which I love, but I like to have a rough meal plan. Dinner is usually veggies or salad and some type of protein. The kids love rice so there is usually a batch in the rice cooker. I also only plan for 4 days. We have Sunday night dinner at my in-laws and my mother-in-law gives us massive doggie bags. We often have leftovers throughout the week too. My son refuses to eat sandwiches or any type of bread. I prefer that he eats something at school so I cook to be able to have something for lunch. I’m fighting the fussy eating but that’s for another post.

Shopping is done on the weekend with the husband. Sad thing is, if we leave the kids with their grandparents, this feels like a date. I like to wash and prep everything as soon as we get home but that doesn’t always happen. In that case, I do it on Monday. Batch cooking is part of the prep. I cook breakfast foods in batches and this makes mornings run a little smoother. Bacon, sausage or hash browns keep well in the fridge and heat up well in the toaster oven. I also portion out meats and label and freeze. I marinade whatever I’m cooking that week. I grew up in Trinidad and “green seasoning” is a must for meats. I don’t really put it on steak or chops though.

Here’s a snapshot of some stuff I cooked on Monday:

 
  1. 3 portions chicken- 2 for the freezer and one to be cooked later this week. Of course, it has been “seasoned.”
  2. Middle row- pork chops, cauliflower jalapeno “rice” and longanisa (a Filipino sausage which the kids love).
  3. Bottom row- steamed broccoli, hash browns and bacon.
 
Here’s a shot of my fridge:
 
 
  1. Top shelf extra milk bags (yes milk comes in bags in Canada), condiments
  2. Middle shelf- cooked food, juices (Baby Daddy makes them in the mornings for consumption that day), wine and condiments that don’t fit on the top row.
  3. Bottom shelf- all the veggies and herbs that we need for juicing. I prefer to put them in containers to make the best use of space. Spinach/kale/lettuce and herbs last longer if you put a damn paper towel in the container.
  4. Drawers- fruit
  5. There is also a drawer under that that has eggs, cheese etc.
  6. Not pictured- doors. One has other condiments and my green seasoning. The other has milk, yogurt etc. for the kids.
I’m working on organizing the freezer. That’s another project on the list.

Anyway, this is just a little insight on something that helps me out. I’m sure you resourceful folks have lots of ideas of your own.

 
XO,
Lucky

Monday, November 10, 2014

Remembrance Day Poppy Craft

Hi friends,

I am not especially crafty but I have been trying to get craftier and come up with projects for Noah. I am always looking for ways to entertain him without a screen and also save my sanity. Remembrance Day is here and with the recent events in Canada’s capital we have been talking about appreciating all that our soldiers and war veterans have done for us. Noah is very excited about pinning poppies on his lapels so I decided to come up with an easy craft for Remembrance Day and so the bouquet of poppies idea was born.

Here is what I used:

  1. Red construction paper
  2. Black construction paper
  3. Tape
  4. Glue
  5. Green pipe cleaners
  6. Scissors
  7. Small jar with rice (to hold the bouquet)

 

How we did it:
 
 
  1. I had a poppy on hand that I used as a template and freehand drew some poppies on the red construction paper. I’m not an artist but I figured imperfect poppies were perfect for us.
  2. Cut out the poppies.
  3. Cut out black circles or shapes for the middle of the poppies.
  4. Glue the black pieces to the middle of the red flowers.
  5. Tape pipe cleaners to the back of the poppies.
  6. Display in a baby food jar that was filled with rice.
Noah is not into arts and crafts but he does enjoy cutting paper and using glue. This project did not take long and it held his attention almost to completion. He wanted to move onto to something else but I managed to get him re-engaged with taping the pipe cleaners to the poppies.
 
 
 

Overall, this was a fun project, with minimal frustration. I’m planning to replicate it with other flowers. Christmas poinsettias perhaps?


XO,
Lucky

Thursday, August 14, 2014

To Every Thing There Is A Season…



Hi friends,

This may get a little rambly, emotional and philosophical.

This morning, my son said to me, “I’m going for a run Mom, like you.” Those few words stopped me in my tracks in a good way. I was so happy that I was doing something good for myself and influencing him in a positive way. I have never really been fit and I have been very lazy. I used to be very skinny but even then, I wasn’t fit. A while ago, I changed my mindset. I can’t pinpoint the exact cause and it has been a gradual process and I am still not where I want to be but I decided to do something for myself. I needed time to myself and the best way to get that is by taking time to work out. I want my family to be proud of me but I want to be proud of me.

I have been thinking about my life lately and where I am, where I came from and the ideas that I had in my head of how my life would be. In my youth, as is the case with most young people, I arrogantly thought I could control every aspect of how my live would play out. Ha ha ha ha ha. I can laugh at myself now. Some things are exactly what I wanted and some are not.

Firstly, I do not live in the country where I was born and spent the first 18 years of my life. It is very hard to move away from friends and family when you are at the junction of childhood and adolescence and adulthood. I am fortunate to still be friends with many of my high school buddies but those relationships have also changed. I am closer to people that I may not have been very close to in high school and vice versa. Similar circumstances bring us together, marriage, kids, life experiences have a way of creating bonds.

Right now, I am writing as my two little monkeys play around me. I have to pause often, to break up a fight or play a game or soothe a boo boo but I am lucky that I have this time to express myself. It is very funny how your priorities change as your life does. I always had goals- finish school, get a job, buy a home, get engaged, get married and all of that happened. Then, baby # 1 and baby #2 came along. We hoped and dreamt of them so we were ecstatic to have them. However, I no longer had the drive or desire to focus on the career I was in. I didn’t want to deal with the petty politics, the travel, the long hours and the stress so I gave it up after baby #2. I also gave up my income. That still is a big adjustment for me. I have always had my “own” money. Now, Baby Daddy brings home the bacon, I freelance but that is inconsistent and I cannot rely on that right now as a regular source of income. But, frustrating as it is, I LOVE spending my days with my little ones. I am privileged that I can do that right now. I get to see them go through all of their stages, although I wish I could skip the challenging ones.

So for today, I will remind myself to appreciate what I have and be grateful for my life. After all, I could be stuck in some gross airport, waiting on yet another delayed flight with a chauvinist boss breathing down my neck. I’ll take the snotty noses and snuggles from my boy and my girl instead.



XO,
Lucky