End of the Decade

I can’t believe its December 1, 2019 already. I honestly have no flippin clue where this year went. Okay, yeah sure I do, it went up in a puff of anxiety, stress, and doctors offices. That pretty much sums up this year. Looking back this year had so many ups and downs. Possibly more downs than ups. There were a lot of doctors visits, ER visits, I had vertigo, I spent 2 days in hospital and they found a clot in my lung, my daughter needed surgery, again. I just can’t even with this year. There were some good parts, we had a lot of great adventures. We went to Florida and spent a week at Universal Studios. My oldest son came and spent 2 weeks with us in the summer.
I’m pretty sure I accomplished at least some of the goals I had in January. But honestly I couldn’t tell you for sure because I lost the notebook that I wrote them down in.

Going into this last month of 2019, and looking forward to 2020 I have no freakin idea what I am going to do, what I want to do, what I should do. Part of me always feels this rush of feeling a new, fresh in my motivation, full of goals. The other part of me, thinks this whole “New year, new you” thing is total BS. That you don’t need a date on a calendar to tell you when you should change, make goals, and start fresh.

Maybe its just my time to change. My season of change. And maybe it just happens to line up with this time of year. But I feel change, I feel like I want-to/need-to change. Or maybe I am just pulling my head out of the anxiety fog that has been 2019 for me. Maybe it’s that my 35th birthday is coming up and I should be feeling more of a an ‘adult’ than I do now. Or that next year I will official have 3 teenage boys and things are quickly changing. Crap, I don’t know.

Let’s try to focus on what I do know. I have awesome kids. I have an awesome husband. And if I’m going to be completely honest, I’m a pretty awesome wife and mother, although it doesn’t always feel that way. We all have those days if we are going to be honest. I have two completely different creative outlets that I love and I want to continue moving forward with both. And I have this blog, this poor neglected blog. I want to blog. I love to blog. But when I sit down to type, I tend to write it out like how I talk, and then I tend to get side tracked, and 1 blog post turns into 3, and I go down a rabbit hole of posts. Or I feel like what I want to share, I shouldn’t. Like no one wants to read about my anxiety, depression, bi-polar, my adoption story, the days I struggle with it all and parenting, and so much more. Like I’ve been conditioned by society to feel bad about those topics and keep them on the down low. I also feel like, a sort of, impost syndrome when I sit down in front of my computer to write. I look at other blogs and they all have something they are a ‘professional’ in. They all have beautiful photos. But let’s be honest, most of those photos are staged, and I just don’t have the time for that, or patience for that.

So what is the point of this post? I have no idea. I set out with the intention of writing something completely different and yet all of this came out.

I think things are changing. I’m changing. I’m not sure where this will lead. But I’m excited for it. I hope you will continue to join me on this crazy adventure.

~ Michelle

Ice Chalk

One of my favourite things to do in the summer is make coloured ice in the evening, and in the morning its ready to go. Its one of the first things we do in the morning, get up, kids eat breakfast and then outside to play with ice cubes. Why do we do this? Because it ensures I get to drink a hot coffee while the kids are distracted and having fun.

You can make simple coloured ice cubes with just water and food colouring.

You can fill up a container with water, food colouring (optional) and place little toys into it before freezing (also optional) (also make sure the toys are safe to put in water and freeze!). This adds another level of discovery to play time.

And now, lets talk Ice Chalk.

Its super easy and fun.

– Half Cornstarch
– Half Water (or maybe a little bit more water depending on the consistency you want)
– Food Colouring
Optional: Glitter, small toys.

And freeze.

You can use normal ice cube trays, or fun shapes. We use both.

And have fun!

~ Michelle

When my kids asked me not to post their photos

I blog, clearly. I am also on InstagramFacebook and even on Twitter. I post photos almost daily. I share on some form of social media almost daily. Two years ago I wrote a post about not sharing my kids faces and personal stories on social media. You can read that post here.

My 13 year old and soon to be 12 year old don’t have any social media accounts. Shocking, I know. A lot of their friends do however. So when my son turned 13 I asked him if he wanted an account. We talked about it. He asked me about the kind of stuff I post, so I told him. As we were talking it come up that he knows a lot of kids who’s parents have posted about them for years, pictures and stories, including personal and embarrassing stories and photos. During the conversation my son thanked me. He explained how he was so thankful to not have his life put out there for everyone else to know before he could share it himself.

In the conversation I asked him how he would feel if I did start posting photos of him on social media. He thought about it, and ended up asking me not to. And I totally respect that and my childs decision.

So when you look at my photos and wondering why my kids aren’t in them, why their backs are turned or I full on cropped their heads out of the photos, you know why. Its a fine balance trying to share my stories, my life, my motherhood journey without actually sharing information and pictures of them. But out of respect for them and their wishes, I will continue to crop their heads out of pictures. At least just the pictures I post online. Not to worry I have plenty (thousands and thousands) of pictures of them. In realty I am basically my kids own personal paparazzi.

Like this photo: 

I really wish I could show the world how incredibly happy she was. The giant smile on her face as she jumped and splashed us all. But the picture I’m showing you, I had to crop out her head. But trust me when I say her smile was radiant and she was having a blast.

Until the day my kids decide to share their own photos and stories, I will crop their heads out or take double the amount of photos trying to stage them so you can’t see their faces.

~ Michelle

Lets go camping

I some times wonder about my husband and his love of camping. He’s fascinated by it. He can spend days, weeks, out in nature. Me? Well I spend an hour and I end up covered in hives. So nature and me aren’t really on good terms. I love nature, I think its beautiful. I just love it from a safe distance.

But marriage is about compromise, give and take, all that crap. So camping we go.

At least this was just a camping trip with the two of us. No kids. So it would be totally restful, right? Right. Completely restful if you don’t take into account having to walk almost 10 minutes each way just to go to the bathrooms.

This was my first camping trip in a while. I was honestly a little rusty. I forgot just how important meal planning actually is. And how super important it is to make sure you actually have all the ingredients for the meals you foolishly planned out in your head but not fully in reality. I also really need to learn how to pack light. I for the life of me can never pack light. Ever. Especially if kids are involved. Which they will be on our next camping trip. (Did I really just say ‘next’?!)

I may not have meal planned all that well, but at least I made pillow cases for the trip! Thats got to count for something!

Did I mention that my husband built a bed to fit in our van?! Crazy right?! More on that in another post. It needs its own post.

It was a a nice escape from reality. Surrounded by nature, having a campfire, no noise, no tv, no radio. And when you have a husband who loves camping as much as mine, and who also likes things just a certain way, there does tend to be very little to do in regards to site set up and take down.

I will admit at first it was very odd to just sit and have no distractions. It is amazing how much noise we deal with in a day. Radio, tv, ads that pop up on websites, on games on your phone. We are forever being bombarded by advertisements. They are every where, all the time, non stop. That part I really enjoyed about camping. It was nice to just be fully in the moment.

I told my husband that. Apparently we will be camping more, and soon. So stayed tuned for tips and tricks when it comes to camping, overlanding, all with 3 little kids.

~ Michelle

 

Half a Lifetime in Motherhood

 

As I approach my 34th birthday I am reflecting a lot on my life, on what I have accomplished, what I still want to accomplish, my family, my kids, life in general. And that’s when it hit me; I have been a mother for half my life. Half my life.

For those doing the math, let me help you, when I was 16 I was living in Kenya, I was in grade 11, I met a guy, an older guy from another school, he was a senior. So of course it was super cool to be dating an ‘older guy’ from another school. Well one thing lead to another, and I ended up pregnant. Just after my 17th birthday I gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy (ok, 1 of the 3 most beautiful boys, because all my boys were of course the most beautiful ever. I’m not bias at all!).
When I was 16 and pregnant I had to start making choices I never dreamed I would have to do at that age. As my belly grew, my responsibilities grew as well. I made the choice to give my son up for adoption. You can read about that here.

Since that day in a friends basement bathroom when the stick showed two lines, my life and my choices have always had to factor in someone else. Now I have to factor in 4 kids and a husband.

For half my life I have been a mother. For half my life my heart has been walking outside my body. For half my life my decisions have been about other people. For half my life someone else, and a growing number of someone else’s, have been put first ahead of myself.

And do you know what I have learned from all this motherhood-ing (that is totally a word), is that I don’t know a damn thing about motherhood. Just when I think I got a handle on it the kids go ahead and grow up and things change.

I’m still trying to figure out how anyone can really call themselves a “parenting expert”.

I have given birth to 4 incredible humans. Four drastically different humans. Four people that are constantly changing, growing and evolving. Four humans that constantly surprise me, challenge me, push me to be a better person, show me what unconditional love is, push my patience to its breaking point, make me laugh, make me cry (happy tears, sad tears, frustrated tears, a lot of sleep deprived tears), and make me the proudest mother ever.

I can’t imagine my life any other way. I can’t imagine not being a mother.

Half my life has been spent navigating motherhood, and I’m still trying to figure it out.

~ Michelle

Overland

Have you ever heard of Overlanding? Someone being an Overlander? Yeah, me neither. My husband introduced me to it a while ago. And honestly I am still trying to figure it out. Basically to Overland is to travel by car over great distances, days, weeks or even months at a time. Basically it evolves a whole lot of driving and camping. Not really my scene, but other people seem to love it. Some people are even considered “full time overlanders’. Apparently there is a whole Overland lifestyle out there.

So why did my husband who knows how much nature and bugs hate me, want to introduce me to something like this? Simply put, this is totally his scene. He loves stuff like this.

So after much talking, mostly done by my husband, I have agreed to go on adventures known as Overlanding. Still not sure what I have gotten myself in to.

One thing is for sure, this is not a full time thing. At least not right now. I am still very much a fan of running water and sleeping in my own bed in my own room. Plus nature and bugs hate me. I go for a hike and end up covered in hives. So this is going to be an interesting experience.

So as I learn more about this lifestyle, as we go on adventures, you can follow along here and on Instagram.

And if you know anything about Overlanding, tips, tricks, advice, help, please send me a message!!!!

~ Michelle

Perspective

This week I don’t know if the planets have aligned just so, or the moon is in the perfect location or bigger forces are at work here. I am going to go with bigger forces are at work here. This week has been insane. This week has been all about putting my life and my situations into perspective.

We’ve all heard the sayings “You better eat your food, there are starving kids in this world you know” or “don’t be so upset, you know someone out there in the world has it worse than you”. I’ve heard those sayings so much, that honestly I am kind of desensitized to them. Of course there is always something going on in the world, there are what like 7 billion people. So of course the chances that at this very moment someone is finding out good news, finding out bad news, welcoming a new life, saying goodbye, having a great time, having a bad time, someone is laughing while someone else is crying and hurting. Just because someone else out there is having a worse time, or a better time, doesn’t under value what you are experiencing at this moment.

In saying all that, I do think that sometimes other experiences can help put your own into perspective. Not undermine them, but give you a chance to come to terms and deal with your emotions and to reevaluate and adjust you’re point of view.

This week I forgot to pay for school pizza lunch for my kids. Not that we couldn’t afford it, but I just forgot to pay for it. And my kids were super upset at first. And honestly I stepped back and looked at them. This was their biggest issue. Not getting pizza lunch at school. They still had a lunch to take, but it wasn’t a pizza lunch. And this is what my kids have to get upset about? Damn, my kids have it pretty good if this is their biggest problem right now. My kids don’t have to worry about their next meal, they don’t have to worry about being taken out of their home, about being hurt, or scared. They are safe and happy, and they know it, because lack of pizza lunch one time is their biggest problem.

Then I was doing the endless piles of laundry. Like seriously people have to be living here that I don’t know about for the endless supply of clothes I have to wash and fold every freakin week. And I was folding a pile of my daughters clothes and something hit me. I was overcome with emotions. I am actually sitting here complaining about this?! About clothes?! I was actually complaining about folding clothes for a child that my husband and I tried for for so many years. We fought with fertility issues for years. We miscarried. We had our hearts broken. And then we were blessed with our beautiful daughter after a high risk pregnancy, where we thought we would lose her multiple times. And here I am, after going through all that, complaining about her clothes?! Seems kind of ridiculous in comparison doesn’t it? Don’t get my wrong, I still hate doing laundry. But that laundry represents the tiny lives I fought to bring into this world, all my pregnancies were high risk. And as much as I hate it, I am so thankful for my kids, and the ability to be their mom, to be home during the day so I can do the laundry while listening to my own music and dancing around like an idiot.

Its all the mundane things around the house. All the things I complain about, the things I hate, all those things I get to do because I have 3 beautiful children that I have been blessed with and an amazing hard working husband, that makes all this possible. The mess, the endless laundry, the forever filled sink with dirty dishes, the mess of toys every where, the sleepless nights, the list goes on.

I have anxiety and depression, so it is super easy for me to get wrapped up in my head with my emotions. Sometimes they are very big, very scary emotions. So for all these things to come together this week to get me out of my head, its been pretty eye opening. It doesn’t mean I will stop complaining about the endless messes, the dirty dishes I find all over the house, it just means I know why those things are happening and I love and appreciate the tiny humans behind the messes. I’m grateful for them. I’m grateful for the chance to do all these mundane things. It’s all about perspective. Finding joy in the little things. Enjoying the moment.

~Michelle