Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day 13 - A Serious Case of Mommy Brain

It seems that as soon as you have children a part of your brain ceases to function properly. You know the part that is responsible for memory, organization, and fine motor skills. I'm not sure if it's due to lack of sleep (see sleep deprivation) or the fact that you are not only responsible for yourself (which may have already been quite a challenge), but you are now also responsible for another little human being. Personally, I believe that it's the fact that you and your brain must function 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Eventually, there are bound to be shoddy connections, lack of memory, wiring malfunctions, processing errors, and system overloads. The only solution is to shut down and reboot.

I have been known to have mild cases of mommy brain from time to time. Dropped jars leading to broken glass and applesauce all over the kitchen, walking into a room wondering how I got there and what I was looking for, unpacking the groceries and realizing that I forgot a bag at the store, and not to mention the keys that are constantly misplaced. But, sometimes, a string of mommy brain incidents can send you into a never-ending cycle of negative despair. Sadly, that’s what happened to me yesterday. My mommy brain took over and it put a total kybosh on my day!

We were heading to Gamma and Papou’s that afternoon, but before we could leave I had to pack the kids bags and take little Keegan to the pediatrician. Simple enough! But, as usual, it took me forever to pack because I couldn’t find anything, I didn’t know what to bring, and needless to say, there was a little bit of a lack of focus on my part. Mostly packed, I left the house in a bit of a panic, since I was now late for Keegan’s appointment. Late and stressed, and trying to remember the couple of items that still needed to be packed in the kid’s bag, I realized that I had completely gone into auto pilot and was going in the wrong way. Back on track and cutting it close, I arrived at the intersection of the pediatrician’s clinic. Waiting at the stop sign, I saw two cars coming. The first one slammed on the brakes and then “BANG!” The two cars crashed right in front of me! I went to Keegan’s appointment in a complete daze, and then, somewhat frazzled I headed back home. At home, I managed to remember to pack the missing items in the kid’s bag and loaded it into the car. And, we were on off! I’m happy, thinking that nothing else could possibly go wrong. But, as my hubby unloaded the car, he turned to me and asked: “Babe, where is your bag?” I couldn’t believe it! I had forgotten my bag! The clothes on my back would be the only clothes I would wear for the next three days! To make matters worse, a couple of hours later Keegan proceeded to throw up on me and all the clothes I was wearing. The only clothes I had! Unable to process and warning sign flooding my screen, I realized that complete system crash was imminent. I decided it was time I head up to bed, shut down and reboot before I had full system meltdown. As my head hit the pillow I wondered…will someone ever invent system upgrade - Supermommy 2.0?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 12 - Wordless Wednesday

My mom, in her infinite words of wisdom, always told me that "if you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all!" I guess today is one of those days...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 11 - Gettin Crafty for Halloween

Halloween is on its way and my crafting buddies (my beautiful nieces) asked me to help them make some fun decorations. I perused the Internet for inspiration, put on my creative cap and came up with some great ideas for spiders, bats, ghosts and pumpkins partially made out of recycled material.

These crafts are made with egg cartons, jars and lids, and some old tissue paper. Things that I bought for the crafts include: black paper, black and orange paint, pipe cleaners, tea lights, and googly eyes. Supplies that I already had at home include: hot glue gun, crafting glue, scissors, paint brushes, and permanent markers.

This is the result!

And, here are the instructions!

Tissue Ghost
 Cut out two carton egg shells and tape them together to form the head. Lay tissue paper flat, place the head in the middle and wrap the paper around it. Wrap an elastic around the base of the head. Glue on the googly eyes and the mouth with craft glue.

Googly Eyed Spiders
On black paper, trace the outline of a jar lid and cut it out. Glue the black circle on the top of the jar lid with craft glue. Stick on the googly eyes with craft glue and draw a mouth with marker. Cut three or four pipe cleaners in half and glue them on the back of  the lid with the hot glue gun.

Egg Shell Bats
Cut out a row of the three carton egg shells. Paint the shells black and let them dry. Cut bat wings and ears out of black carton. Use a hot glue gun to affix to body (eggs shells) to the wings. Use craft glue to glue on the eyes and ears. Draw the mouth with marker.

Mix a bit of glue and paint directly in a glass jar. Paint the inside of the jar. Cut out a cardboard stem. Hot gun glue the googly eyes and stem to the jar. Draw a mouth with permanent marker. Let the jar dry overnight and place a tea light inside when it is dry.

Here's to a job well done!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Day 10 – Jake’s Egg Pizza

Jake does not like to eat leafy greens. He calls it grass. What can I say, he’s only two!

We’ve tried them steamed, sautéed and in stir-fries with no success. He usual picks them out and pushes them off his plate. If they do manage to get into his mouth “accidentally,” he spits them out and declares: “Yuck Moooommyy! I no like grass!”

One day, while making my extra healthy quiche, I carefully hid some of those leafy green suckers in between the crust and the eggs. Imagine my surprise when Jake gobbled the whole thing up! He even asked me for another piece of “Egg Pizza!”

Ever since, “Jake’s Egg Pizza” has become a staple in our family’s repertoire. I don't even need to hide the greens anymmore.

Note: The crust that I usually make a flourless with sweet potatoes, sesame seeds and ground flax seeds, but depending on the ingredients and the time you have I’ve included a link for a spelt flour crust.

Jake's Egg Pizza

1 cups of grated sweet potato (I have also done it with a half cup each of potato and carrot with good results)
1 cup ground sesame seeds
½ cup ground flax seeds
1 Tbsp coconut oil (you can also use olive oil)
1 fresh garlic glove
Parsley or basil (I like to use fresh, but dried will work nicely too)
Salt to taste


6-8 eggs beaten
¼ to ½ cup milk (almond, rice or soya milk works just fine)
Fresh spinach greens, chopped onions, peppers and fresh basil (optional)
Variation: Fresh spinach, chopped carrot, zucchini, mushroom, onion and fresh parsley (optional)


Preheat oven to 350°C.  Process all ingredients for the crust in a food processor. Grease pie plate. Press mixture into pie plate. Bake the crust for about 30 minutes or until sides start to become a little brown. Remove from oven.

Line crust with spinach. Add other chopped veggies and fresh herbs.

Beat eggs. Pour in milk and add salt. Pour egg mixture into crust over the greens and chopped veggies.

Place in oven for another 30 minutes or until eggs are completely cooked through.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 9 - A Tale of Too Tired!

Sleep Deprivation: Physical tiredness, lack of focus, a general feeling of being in a daze, haze or fog, forgetfulness, impatience, irritability, and overwhelmement (yes, I just made that word up). Other possible symptoms, include: emotional distress or just stress in general, emotional breakdowns, urge to cry for no reason, feeling of hopelessness (as in, will this day ever end), and my personal favourite, wanting to bite my husbands head off every time he mentions that he’s tired and he needs a nap! (Really! I mean really! Cause he wasn’t awake at 3:00am this morning! But, I’ll get to that one a little later…)

When I became pregnant I fully understood that sleep deprivation came with the job of having children. What I wasn’t fully prepared for was how long the sleep deprivation would last!

For most women it starts during pregnancy. The frequent trips to the bathroom, the feeling of discomfort, and later on, having to wake and literally pick up the belly to change positions. Then the baby arrives and there are the constant feedings and the irregular sleep patterns. Then, the first night that your sweet angel finally manages a full night of sleep, overjoyed you impulsively declare that you are ready for another! And, so begins another cycle of sleepless nights. Skip ahead a couple of years and sleep deprivation becomes permanent state of being! You learn to function with a chronic case of mommy brain.

But, then some nights are just bad. For me last night was a capital B.A.D. As per usual, I woke up in the middle of the night when I heard Keegan’s little cat cry for a feeding. Thirty minutes later, I stumble back to bed and just as my head hit the pillow I hear Jake calling me because he had just woken from a bad dream. I poke my husband to go console his eldest and let me get a little shut eye, but he roles over and starts snoring in defiance.(I am amazed at how he can still manage to piss me off even when he’s sleeping). So, I trudge back to the kid’s room and lay down with Jake until he falls back asleep. Thirty minutes later, I stumble back to bed again and just as my head hits the pillow, I hear Keegan cooing. When I look in his crib, he is wide-eyed and smirking (yes, at 2:00am smiles become smirks). I bring him to bed with me so that he doesn’t wake his brother. One hour later, Keegan is asleep. I gently place him back in his crib and head back to bed. It’s now 3:00am and both kids are sound asleep, but now I’m wide awake. I do manage to fall back asleep, but what seems like 5 minutes Jake is jumping on me telling me to “wake up mommy.” I pull myself out of bed and grudgingly make a B-line for the coffee maker.

To my fellow mommies, I would like to apologize. I have found no real immediate remedy to the situation. Symptoms should diminish as children age (or, so I hear). If symptoms do persist or get worse, I suggest that you consult a health professional – my suggestion: massage therapist or spa technician.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 8 - Tea Cakes Please!

I’m no masterchef. I’m not even a person that enjoys cooking that much. But, I do end up cooking quite a bit because I don’t like pre-prepared food and I like to know exactly what goes into what I’m feeding my family. I try as much as possible not to use things like refined sugar, butter and white flour.

Here is a great recipe I found (and modified slightly) in the Alive magazine for tea cakes!

Hope you like them!

Almond Tea Cakes

2 ¼ cup almond flour
¾ cup kamut or spelt flour
½ cup honey
1 ½ tps baking powder
½ cup applesauce
3 Tbsp coconut oil (replaces butter)
6 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
Dollop of blueberry jam on top

Variations – fresh blueberries, grated apples with cinnamon, raspberries.

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease muffin pan (coconut oil is my preference).

Mix together almond flour, spelt/kamut flour, and baking powder. Stir in honey, applesauce, coconut oil and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with electric mixer until soft peaks form (about 4 min). Fold egg whites into mixture.

Fill each muffin cup half full. Add a dollop of jam.

Bake for 20 min or until edges are slightly brown.

Makes about 12 cakes.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 7 - Breastmilk + Rice Cereal = One Happy Baby!

Keegan is 6 months old! And, that means that he gets his first taste of food. 

I'm a big believer in not rushing the introduction of solid food (unless otherwise indicated by a health professional, of course). My first, Jake, was in no hurry to start eating. He was definitely a boob man and didn't understand why he would ever need anything else other than fresh warm milk from the milk bar. Feeding him was such a mess and most of what when in the mouth was spit right out again.

Little Keegan on the other hand has been closely eyeing my food for the past couple of weeks. I caught him on a number of occasion watching me eating intently. His gaze would follow my every move, and as I would take a bite, he would open his mouth and mimic my chewing (you get the picture). This past week I let him play with a soft tip spoon to prepare him for this momentous milestone in his precious little life. He popped the spoon in his mouth as if he new exactly what its purpose was. So it was no surprise that he was a real champ from the very first bite. What was surprising, however, is how ravenous he was! He loved it! He grabbed my hand and shoved the spoon in his mouth as if to say "Not fast enough mommy! I want more, more, more!" And, I was so proud!

Yummy! Yummy!

So hungry! Give me that spoon!
Oh ya! That tastes good!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 6 - The Laundry Pile

Help! I’m drowning in laundry! I really don’t know if it’s just me, but my laundry pile is like a pesky weed that, as soon as I think that I’ve got it all eliminated, another pile sprouts up somewhere else! Today, I’ve got a major overgrowth! I mean the process extermination process should be easy enough. Step 1 – launder clothes. Step 2- fold clothes. Step 3 – put away clothes, Step 4 – repeat. But, as usual, the dirty laundry has been coming in faster than I can process it and there seems to be a system breakdown at Step 3 and 4.  Now, I’m surrounded by piles and piles of unfolded laundry! I’m officially desperate and discouraged (tempted roll into the foetal position and cower in the corner of the laundry room)! Raising the white flag! SOS! I give up! Send in the reinforcements.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 5 - A Mom's Rant About Mainstream Media and Consumerist Society! (This is not my post-grad thesis)

Is anyone else tired of the confusing mixed messages that the media is putting out there? I mean, you just to turn on the TV or the Internet and the headlines spew out a plethora warnings for parents. Not to mention the constant advertisements pushing parents to buy the latest, must have gadgets, the hottest and most convenient products, and the most-up-to-the-minute way to protect your kids from just about anything.

We listen to them blindly, but then a couple of weeks, months or years down the road we find out that the products we bought were recalled for safety reasons or that they contained a potential toxic chemical.

The research is all totally contradictory. I’m all for keeping informed, but in this 24/7 news environment it seems that the research comes out before it is actually proven. I mean would it be possible to facts straight before your scare the bejeezus out of me? It’s one thing to be scared, but do I really need to be scared and not know what to do, or who to listen to!  For example, one day they warn us about the hazards of the sun and say: “Protect your kids! Make them wear sunscreen!” The next they say, “Sunscreens are dangerous and may contain harmful chemicals.” Or, they tell you: “Juice is good! It’s made with real fruit!” Then you find out that the sugar added to juices may be contributing the onset of diabetes. And, don’t even get me started on the H1N1 situation! To vaccinate or not to vaccinate…that is indeed a great question!

Well, thank you mainstream media for turning me into a seriously paranoid, stress case. So, WHAT THE HECK IS MOMMY TO DO? Go with her gut and hope she makes the right choice? I really don’t like that option.

Here’s one experts solution - read the labels of everything! Everything, meaning: medication, food, personal hygiene products, household product and toys. And, avoid anything that contains the following: preservatives, artificial flavours, artificial colors, artificial sugars, and modified anything. In general, avoid anything you can’t pronounce, spell or need some sort of degree in chemical engineering to understand. Also, avoid anything that’s been overly processed and anything that has too many ingredients. In short, buy things that are as close to their original state as possible.

Although, I admit that I have spent hours at the grocery store reading and comparing labels and humming and hawing over the pro’s and con’s of various products. Most mom's, including me, have little time to do so. And, it's practically impossible when you have whining kids hanging off of you, shoving random goodies in the cart, and incessantly asking: "Mommy! Can you get me this? Can you get us that?" My personal modus operandi is: "Get in and get out as quickly as possible!"

Well, have no fear fellow paranoid mommies! I have found an incredible resource that will save a lot of worried days and sleepless nights, not to mention time at the grocery store. I would like to introduce you to the GOOD GUIDE, an online review guide that rates products based on their safety and environmental impact. Basically, this site is shortcut that has done the label reading for you!

Hope you enjoy! (…you can thank me later!)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 4 - Fall Camping 101

What an amazing time we had in the Adirondack Mountains. I’m so excited that we followed through on the plans because the weekend was a complete success. The days were sunny, the fall colors were out, and the scenery was spectacular. Not to mention that the company was pretty terrific too! In total we were four families, eight adults, seven children, and two babies. You would think that with so many kids that we would have some sort of minor incident to speak of. But, everything went smoothly. We even survived an almost below freezing night! The key was to be prepared!

And, we were all very prepared! All four families arrived at the campsite with their SUV’s filled to the brim with clothes, food and camping gear! We were all joking that we probably brought too much. But, as we were leaving the campsite, the were coolers empty, not one piece of clean clothes left in the bags, and all the sleeping bags and blankets packed, we were all glad we had brought so much.

So, here is my list of MUST DO, BRING, CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT ITEMS on a fall camping trip with small children.


1) Lots of clothes: Remember to bring lots and lots of changes of clothes. Between playing by a lake, hiking a muddy mountain, and a sandpit by the washrooms, all the kids had many opportunities to get really dirty!
2) Lots of layers: With temperatures that ranged from freezing to 20 degrees, it’s best to layer on the clothes and simply peel them off as the temperature gets warmer. My kids had a base layers, fleece joggers, and then a warm shell jacket (and in the case of the baby a fleece bunting bag).
3) Warm accessories: Bring hats, gloves and warm socks to keep their little extremities protected from the cold.
3) Lots of warm blankets: Warm blankets (fleece or wool) are a good idea whether it’s to stay warm by the campfire or as an extra layer while sleeping in the tents.


Ø      Hook on High Chair – These chairs make great portable high chairs and keep babies off the ground.
Ø      Baby Carrier – The mommies and babies (5 months and 9 months old) went for a hike up Mount Cascade and Mount Porter (over 4000 feet and 7 hours total). Anything is possible with a good baby carrier. For a baby that can sit up, I would suggest a real hiking backpack. For those with smaller babies or for those that don’t want to invest in a hiking backpack, I love the Ergo Baby Carrier. The baby can sit on your front or your back and the design and straps are really comfy.
Ø      Fleece: My kiddies spent most of their weekend wearing fleece from MEC. I love their stuff for the outdoors because it’s inexpensive and it’s durable, so can be handed down from kid to kid.
Ø   Sleeping Bag: I would invest in a warm sleeping bag. MEC makes a great mummy sleeping bag for kids. As for the baby, I simply used a bunting snowsuit.

Here are some of the trip highlights!

Fun times in the wet sandpit by the washrooms!

Eating and relaxing by the fire!

Priceless photo ops!

Mommies and babies on top of the world!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 3 – Going Camping

Tomorrow we leave for a camping trip in the Adirondacks with the boys. When I was planning this particular camping trip, I was very excited. What a fantastic idea for family bonding and adventure (…images of roasting marshmallows by the campfire and hiking in the fresh air). I mean, my husband and I are pretty outdoorsy and adventurous and we always said we wanted to pass on these excellent traits to our sons. Ok! So what if my oldest is two and my youngest is only five months old...don’t they say it’s never too early to start??

Now, did I mention that the weatherman in Lake Placid is calling for sun, rain and clouds, warm and cold weather, and everything in between? So, what am I supposed to pack for my babies on this wilderness adventure? Shorts and mittens?? On top of that, we have to bring a change of clothes in case of spit ups, spills, and potty training accidents!  Needless to say that as I sit here, surrounded by a huge stack of camping gear, baby gear, snow suits, rain suits, warm weather clothes and all the fleece that I could pull out of the kids drawers, I am feeling a little overwhelmed.

So, little red flags are raised and that annoying voice inside my head is thinking “What are you doing? Why are you bringing a two year old and 5 month old camping in the WILD? Are you nuts??”

My reasoning:

1) Before we had kids, my husband and I were avid campers! Alright, alright…good enough campers!
2) I’m not an expert on many things, but I am somewhat of an expert on travelling with small children. At two years old, the oldest has more stamps on his passport than many people get in a life time. We’ve trekked him all over Europe, Mexico, New Zealand, and pretty much all across Canada. So, if we can travel up to 26 hours with one toddler in a crowded, confined plane, we can certainly handle 48 hours in the wilderness with that same toddler and an additional baby.
3) For occasional camper, we’re well equipped! We’ve got the below 30 sleeping bags, the tent that could survive Mount Everest’s base camp and a stove burner that could be lit in a hurricane. (My hubby, although never having been in the Scouts, likes to Be Prepared!)

So, why shouldn’t we go? Oh, let’s see…

1) The images that keep creeping into my head of my babies wet, eating dirt from the ground, being eaten by bugs, and with the onset of hypothermia.
2) And, this huge pile of clothes, diapers, toys and baby gear that doesn’t seem to fit into any camping knapsack I own…

Putting all worrying aside, which is what all mommies do best, let’s try to be positive. This will be quite an adventure filled with lots of great stories and learning experiences. At best, we have loads of fun, and at worst, we hop back in the car and make a B line for the closest motel.

Oh! And, one last question. Is it acceptable camping etiquette to bring a travel suitcase? Would that be really wrong? Because it’s the only thing that will house all of stuff I have to bring…

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 2 – Project 20 minutes for 21 days

A wise mother once said (the wise mother being my mom); in order to ensure that you have a successful day you MUST DO the following:

1)      Do one thing for the house (including, but not limited to any house cleaning, repairing, maintenance, and organization. Note: ensuring that the cleaning lady has the key to get into your house does not count.)
2)      Do one thing for your family (including, but not limited to cooking a nice meal, a family outing to a movie or museum, a sporting activity, getting down and dirty and playing with your kids, or simply a 15 minute cuddle session on the couch. Note: the proverbial “bringing home the bacon to feed the family” does not count.)
3)      Do one thing for yourself (including, but not limited to at least 20 minutes of things like yoga, exercise, meditation, book reading or internet surfing. Anything spa related, such as pedicures, manicure, massage, etc. Note: managing to quickly hop into the shower, actually shave, and slap on some deodorant does not count.)

Now, while these guidelines may seem easy enough (heck, most moms do items 1 and 2 before sitting down for breakfast), item 3 seems to be a bit more tricky. After all, it’s hard to ignore screaming children, the stack of dishes on the kitchen counter and the out of control laundry pile. But, as the saying goes, you can’t take care of anyone unless you take care of yourself first!

So, in order to ensure I do something for me and that each day is a complete success, I am henceforth beginning Project 21 minutes for 21 days. If you haven’t guessed already I’m going to do 21 minutes of exercise for 21 days (I know, totally original). You might be asking, why 21 minutes? Because health experts say that you should do at least 20 minutes of exercise a day and who am I to argue with the experts. Also, I’m an overachiever…so 21 minutes it is! And, why 21 days? Well, research shows that it takes at least 21 days to form a habit. I’m hoping that by the end of 21 days I will be totally addicted!

Stay tunned…

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 1 - About Mommyness

I always wanted to write a blog, but I never new what to write about. Then one day, on one of the rare occasions where I able to relax in the tub, it dawned on me. Write about what you know about best!

My husband always tells me, “You become what you think about most of the time.” This is mostly in reference to the fact that I think about eating a lot of the time and that I’m addicted to celebrity gossip. But, in all reality, the thing that I think about most is being a Mommy. You see, I’m the Mommy of two small boys, and being a great mommy to them is what consumes the greatest part of my day (and nights) and the greatest part of my mental activity.

So, here I sit, at 8am, in my jammies, my hair in a disheveled ponytail, coffee in hand, the kitchen still a mess from this mornings breakfast, to begin writing about the thing that I am most passionate about…being an Awesome Mommy!

Yup, I dream about being one of those Mom's. The one’s that are all put together, that go to their high powered jobs, manage to run 10km a day, go to yoga class, and that still manage to wear a skimpy bikini and looked ripped after a having a gazillion kids. The one’s that manage to shuttle their kids to soccer, swimming, skiing, hockey, gymnastics, cook a well-balanced, delicious, all organic meal, recycle and compost, and buy only organic, baby friendly, pet friendly, biodegradable, non-toxic, unscented, good for you, good for the planet products. The one’s who have boundless energy and take their kids on crazy adventures, whether it be trucking them on 60km bike rides across the Quebec country side, taking them on a moonlight adventure to see creepy crawlies in Costa Rica’s tropical forest or dancing in the rain on the beaches of Mexico.

You may be saying that this is just a bunch of crazy talk! These supermoms do exist!  But, they are rare specimens indeed.

For me, most days at achieving this ideal are mediocre at best. Today seems to be a dismal failure. Especially considering that it is now 10am and I am still in my jammie’s, the kitchen is still a mess, and to make things worse…my coffee is now cold!

This blog will chronicle the trials and tribulations of your average, ordinary supermom and my daily quest for Mommyness (def. awesome mommy). A wise person once said that “people succeed through their failures.” Indeed, being a mom seems to be learning from all kinds of failures.  Most days are overwhelming, messy, and disorganized. But, it is in this state complete and utter chaos that the most unbelievable and amazing moments happen and the most spectacular discoveries are made. It is in these precious moments that you know you have achieved Mommyness!