Watch This!: Learn, Laugh & Love #3ThingsThursday

Are you a YouTube video junkie? In the past year, I’ve taken quite a liking to them! Done well, a video will give me the information I need and maybe a little dance break, too. Once I caught on to the fact that I could search YouTube for anything from WordPress help to recipes to motivational messages, I started turning to it almost as often as I turn to Google. That says a lot.

Today’s edition of #3ThingsThursday is a round-up of videos that I have enjoyed in the last little while and think you will benefit from, too. I have a feeling I’ll be putting together more of these video round-ups in the future!

Thursdays are my favourite day to blog now with #3ThingsThursday in my life! This fun link-up, dreamed up by Pink Chai Living, The Write Balance and Love Laugh Mirch, encourages me to get a little creative with what and how I am sharing with you. Thanks for tuning in every week! If you are a blogger and want to link up, you can do so at any of the hosts’ sites. Either way, I hope you take some time to enjoy the other #3ThingsThursday posts. (You can even search the hashtag on Twitter if you are hanging out there).

1. Indian cooking. Something I am determined to master because…well, I’m Indian. I didn’t spend a lot of time with my mom in the kitchen while I was growing up but so much of what I miss about her and remember about my childhood has to do with her food. Everyone loves Mama’s cooking, right? Well, I believe that a mother’s food is more than just a tasty dish; it’s your culture, your language, your connection to your past, your one sure thing that will be with you as you go forward. When you understand why certain spices are used in particular dishes, you are activating a part of you that also belonged to your ancestors – and that you can pass down to your kids.

What? All this from a simple daal? Yup. I have more to say on this but for now, I want to share with you this awesome video on how to make palak paneer. Palak paneer (essentially, spinach with an unaged, non-melting cheese) isn’t something we made in our home; it’s popular in northern India, and my family is from the west. But it’s a delicious vegetarian alternative and I had most of the spices on hand that you see in this video. (And even without the spices I was missing, it turned out fantastic!)

Turn up the volume as you watch this video put out by Fruiticana (and my friend, Raj of Pink Chai Media). In 1:52 you will learn to make an authentic Punjabi dish!

2. Moving over to funny and motivational, I love this video by Kid President. Have you ever wondered what life would be like if a kid was actually president (or prime minister)? I have visions of inordinate amounts of playtime, those treehouse-type bunk beds in every home and short work days. I’d also like to think there would be less war because nobody would care about the things that people feel justified in hurting others. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Anyway, here’s a quick smile break with Kid President sharing 20 things we should say more often to add some more awesome to the world. (You can watch this at work – it’s OK! Keep the volume off and read along!)

But, can we just agree that instead of corn dogs, we could pass out Quinoa Ladoos? They’re healthier, celebratory and just all ’round a better idea (in my opinion!).

3. And finally, one of the most entertaining and motivating TED Talks I have watched to date (and I love my TED) comes from Maysoon Zayid. Entitled: I Got 99 Problems…Palsy Is Just One, I had no idea what to expect when I clicked Play. What I got was a huge dose of laughter, perspective and an incredible respect for the resilience of human beings. Watch it. You won’t be sorry.

Do you have a favourite video you want to share with me? Please leave it in the comments! And let me know if you check out any of the ones I shared – I love hearing from you!

Because Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Is Every Day #MLKJR #MLKDay

One of my greatest heroes is Martin Luther King, Jr. The man was an outstanding human being – so connected to his purpose and staunch in his faith. I first started reading about the Civil Rights Movement when I was in high school and since then he has been my inspiration. When I have to step out of my comfort zone to do what I believe is important, I think of him. I imagine his strength until I can feel it. I think about what he sacrificed to share the message he came here with and I say to myself, “I can do this!”

It’s easy to feel like a tiny voice sometimes. But then I hear the booming melodic voice of MLK Jr. proclaiming, “I have a dream” and because I share that dream, my voice is loud and sure, too.

Over the years I have blogged about him here, and today I thought I would share those posts with you. Yesterday was the day the world remembered him in an official capacity. But many of us think of him regularly. Every day is MLK Jr. day.

This is a post I wrote about stepping out of my comfort zone – and how I do it with MLK, Jr. in my mind.

Here’s a post from my Tuesday Tasks series, encouraging you to spend time with someone who adds to your Self. I do that by reading MLK, Jr.’s quotes.

And finally, another post from the Tuesday Tasks series, with pictures of the time my family spent in Atlanta, GA visiting MLK Jr.’s childhood home and church.

Please leave a comment with your favourite MLK JR. quote! I’d love to read it! Here are some of mine:

 

I Wish I Could Write A Post, But I Can’t

As much as I would love to sit here and write something fabulous – something totally inspiring or fun or thoughtful – I just can’t.

Because this needs to be put away:

And then this needs to be folded:

So does this:

And then these need to go in the dryer, so that later I can fold them and put them away.

I understand that these are blessings. I know how lucky I am that I can neglect the laundry for a few days and my family still has enough in their drawers/closets with which to dress themselves. I would, however, consider myself a tiny bit luckier if these blessings came with their own fairies that did the washing, drying, folding and especially the putting away.

Cheers to a weekend of birthday parties, shopping, a speaking engagement, experimenting in the kitchen, groceries and, of course, football!

Happy Monday! (If you don’t hear from me by Thursday, send for help!)

My Three Musical Aspirations #3ThingsThursday

Though I have a hard time calling myself a musician, because I don’t regularly play or perform, my musical history includes the piano, saxophone, and vocal jazz. My brother and I used to play ‘Band’ when he was still in diapers and we put on concerts for anybody – and nobody. In high school, my friends and I would gather around a piano and sing, or play duets. The pleasure I got from performing in our school band concerts was incomparable. And when high school was said and done, I took flute lessons. I also bought a guitar and a beginner’s book – but when I couldn’t move past, “Oh, Susanna!” I sold the guitar. Eventually, the piano followed suit, the flute I rented was returned and my saxophone was packed away.

Life took off at full speed and, 5 years after my last musical episode, I found myself married with a career, a baby, a home…and a nagging feeling. Something was missing. Working through my rut, I discovered there were actually three things missing that had once filled up large chunks of me: literature, service to others and music.

Of those three things, music has been the last to jump on board to a level with which I am satisfied. I do own a piano now, my saxophone has been unearthed and I have been known to belt out a tune in the shower. But for today’s 3 Things Thursday edition, I’d like to be specific about what I hope to achieve, musically, in my lifetime.

3 Things Thursday is hosted by Pink Chai Living, The Write Balance and Love Laugh Mirch. Go visit their sites, and if you’re a blogger who wants to link up, look for the linky on their posts!

Here are my 3 musical aspirations:

1. To start composing my own songs on the piano. (This goal also includes brushing up on/relearning technique that no longer comes easily). I have had moments in the last couple years where I have sat down, fiddled around with chords, picked at melodies, smooshed them together and then forgotten the result when I have tried to replicate it. Being a songwriter has been one of those whimsical fantasies for me; I imagine being completely lost in thought and notes, papers spread out over the top of my piano, pencil in my teeth as my fingers find their way over the keys, then scratching notes onto staff lines…the whole process enthralls me. To be able to share myself musically with the world is a big dream I’m dusting off.

I love this quote by Tori Amos: “I don’t own a computer. I have a nine-foot piano in my home to compose my messages. Why would I want a one-foot computer to do the same thing?”

Grabbing moments while I could, as a new mom.

Grabbing moments while I could, as a new mom.

2. To play the saxophone in a group or public capacity. I’m no Kenny G. But I love the feel of this gorgeous instrument in my hands, the warm, buttery tone that flows through it and the emotion that it evokes, in myself and the listeners. I played it the other day in the basement for my older daughter, and my son came charging down the stairs. “What is that?” he asked. “Listen,” I said as I brought the mouthpiece to my lips. After the first note, he covered his ears. “It’s so loud!”

So maybe I need a different audience at some point. I’ve always toyed with the idea of being part of a community concert band. I’ve also daydreamed about being part of a small group that plays nightly gigs. Somehow, I think the former idea is better suited to this stage in my life. I can’t imagine playing till 2 am and then being Mom and a coherent writer during the day!

3. To pass down the music to my kids. Music is a part of our lives on a daily basis, but I see that my kids have their unique relationships with it. My older daughter is lyrical; she loves to write poems and sing songs, and she wants to accompany me on the piano with her guitar and voice. My son is rhythmic. He hears music and his head starts bopping, his shoulders…they do this jiggly thing…and we always have to remind him that the dinner table is not a drum set. For baby girl, we have Skye Dyer‘s cd in the car because she will calm right down with it. This isn’t as necessary now as when she was a younger infant, but now it’s become our family cd and reminds us of our road trips last summer. (If you’re unfamiliar with Skye’s work – her music has inspirational messages of love: for the self, the Divine and for others. And yes, she’s Wayne Dyer’s daughter!)

I feel like now is a good time to start bringing some formal lessons/guidance/support to my children for whatever they need to develop this relationship.

The apples don't fall far from the tree! Note the jar of coins, collected for charity from passersby!

The apples don’t fall far from the tree! Note the jar of coins, collected for charity from passersby!

There you have it! Tell me about the music inside you. I’d love to hear in the comments if you play an instrument, or always wanted to learn one. Which one?

A New Program To Help You Enjoy Your Baby

If you haven’t gone through the passage of becoming a new parent, you may be wondering why there’s a need for a program like Enjoy Your Baby – a new pilot program put on by the Canadian Mental Health Association to support the mental well-being of new mothers. It’s a valid question. Before my first was born, I had visions of happy babies cooing and playing contentedly while I went about keeping the house clean and preparing healthy meals. I knew babies cried, but I didn’t know for how long, and I certainly wasn’t expecting to lose that much sleep.

Many things fall by the wayside, especially in those first few months. And more important than the dust bunnies that collect in the corners of your home, or the stove top that contains remnants of the spaghetti sauce you made four nights ago, is the self-care negligence that accompanies this phase.

Being on round 3 myself with the ‘new baby’ thing, I know that some things get easier and some things are just as difficult to ‘pencil in.’ Like child-free breaks. I have often joked with my close girlfriends that scheduling in a haircut for myself requires consulting 5 other people’s schedules (including the hairdresser’s!) and sometimes it’s easier to sweep my hair back in a ponytail!

Don't be fooled! I'm tiny and I'm cute...but I can be one tough chick!

Don’t be fooled! I’m tiny and I’m cute…but I can be one tough chick!

Though I joke about this bumpy road, I know what I went through with my first baby was more than a laughing matter. And I know that there are so many women who are going through the same thing, right at this moment.

So, when I heard about Enjoy Your Baby from one of the Community Outreach and Education Team Leaders, I jumped on the opportunity to share it with you.

The following is a press release directly from the Canadian Mental Health Association. Please read it, and share it. And if you, or someone you know needs it, please pursue this opportunity.

Canadian Mental Health Association Develops Mental Well-Being Course for New Mothers

Enjoy Your Baby January pilot courses in Vancouver and Langley open for registration

British Columbia—Taking care of a baby is hard. Staying mentally healthy doing it can be even harder.

That’s why the Canadian Mental Health Association’s BC Division (CMHA BC) has developed a new course called Enjoy Your Baby. The course is for any new mother facing stress, low mood or anxiety who could use effective strategies to make positive changes in her life and really enjoy parenthood.

The 5-session, skills-based course has started its pilot sessions last fall and will continue into the new year at locations in Vancouver and Langley. Each course will be co-facilitated by a trained CMHA staff and a health professional with experience in maternal/child health. The course will be free of charge during the pilot, including free child care.

“We’re thrilled to announce Enjoy Your Baby,” says Bev Gutray, CEO of CMHA BC. “We want to help prevent postpartum depression and boost well-being for women and their families. The potential reach of this course is huge. Because bringing baby home can bring so many challenges, really any new mother will benefit from the skills, humour and social connections in this course.”

The course was co-developed by Dr. Chris Williams, UK psychiatrist and international expert in cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), and Dr. Michelle Haring, a BC psychologist and expert in CBT and reproductive mental health. It builds on the principles in Dr. Williams’ popular Enjoy Your Baby booklet.

“I initially was overwhelmed as a new mother and I was also trying to do too much,” says Alyssa, a new mother from North Vancouver. “The Enjoy Your Baby booklet, which the new course is based on, gave me examples of activities that I could actually do as a new mother. These activities did make me feel better and as I tried them I started noticing I could make positive changes to my daily life. The suggestions in the booklet gave me permission to care for myself and I learned a ton about myself in the process!”

“Mental health self-care is tricky for new mothers—but so vital,” says Dr. Haring. “We know that traditional CBT works to help people manage stress, low mood and anxiety. But when you are caring for a new baby, finding the time and energy to learn and apply these skills can be difficult. What we’ve tried to do is apply CBT principles to the real lives of new moms and their families. We help new moms to make small positive changes to thoughts, behaviours and relationships. And all of this is done in a fun and engaging way with support from other moms who are going through the same challenges.”

If results from the pilot courses are encouraging, CMHA will seek funding to roll the course out nation-wide in both official languages. Enjoy Your Baby is part of the suite of successful CBT skills-based mental health promotion services offered by CMHA including the Living Life to the Full (group course for adults or youth) and Bounce Back (telephone coaching for adults).

If you are a new mother who could benefit from the Enjoy Your Baby course, please email courses.vb@cmha.bc.ca or visit www.vb.cmha.bc.ca to register. To order the booklet on its own, visit www.livinglifetothefull.ca.

Registration Information
Langley Public Health Unit
20389 Fraser Highway (Langley)
Thursdays, January 22nd, 29th, February 5th, 12th, 19th, 2015
10:00am-11:30am

Prisoner Of My Thoughts

It can be comfortable being stuck in one perspective. Believing something to be exactly as I see it, affirming that belief by filtering everything through one lens and having the outcome be exactly as I predicted – it can masquerade as security. Being closed in by one perspective can feel warm and safe; there are walls to protect and blankets to hide under.

But looking at something from a different angle can offer light and oxygen. Just ask someone with a camera. From one point, the view can be murky and shadowy. From another, the subject appears sharp and bright.

Our world can change from despair to hope if we dare to shift.

Maybe it’s scary that we hold that much power to shape our own world. Or perhaps today I can remind you that it’s not.

It’s magical and hopeful.

If you needed this reminder, here it is. This Wayne Dyer quote has stretched my world more times than I can count. So have conversations with my husband and my loved ones. Find the thing, the thought, the support that keeps you creating the beautiful things you deserve in your life.

 

Where Creativity And Kindness Intersect – #3ThingsThursday

Another Thursday, another opportunity for me to share with you 3 things from my world this week, thanks to 3ThingsThursday! This is a blogger linkup brought to you by hosts Pink Chai Living, The Write Balance and Love Laugh Mirch. If you are interested in linking up and meeting new readers, you will find the little linky button on the hosts’ websites. I encourage everyone to check out all the other bloggers; it’s so fun to see how unique everyone’s posts are each week!

This week, I’m telling you about 3 intersections of creativity and kindness. A couple are entrepreneurial and one is more of a social idea. I hope they inspire you, in whichever sector you wish, to add even more kindness and creativity to the world!

1. iCuckoo charity alarm clock

This is an app that allows you to donate to your favourite charity every time you hit the ‘snooze’ button on your alarm clock! I know! It’s got some great reviews; people are feeling less guilty about snoozing :) I’m not a snoozer myself (unless it’s been a REAL doozy of a night – which would be saying a lot since ‘normal’ for me is consistently being woken up at least twice a night!), but I wonder if I would turn into one if I had this app?

What do you think about this?

2. tentree clothing company

Now THIS is very cool: a Canadian clothing company that plants ten trees for every item of clothing purchased. And I love the look of their brand! They’ve partnered with non-profits around the world and, at the time of this writing, have planted 3, 299, 410 trees in North and South America, Africa and Asia. Their site features a tree map with more info on where they’ve planted. You can buy online or in stores.

3. scarves for the homeless

This caught my eye on Yahoo! the other day. Such a warm and fuzzy idea (pun totally intended) – these scarves are showing up all over U.S. and Canadian cities, tied to street posts, for the homeless to make use of. With little notes like, “I’m Not Lost! If you need this to stay warm, then please take it. It is yours. Be warm, and do something to help someone else today if you can,” there is so much to love here. First of all, it’s giving with dignity; I love that it acknowledges the recipient’s ability to also do something kind for someone else. So important. I shared more on my thoughts about that in a previous post so I won’t go into them here.

As well, there’s no being singled out anywhere; it’s easy enough to untie a scarf and be on one’s way. No one has to put their hand up and say, “I need something.” We all need things at different points in our lives. How nice, though, to not have to say it in a public sphere, for once.

I hope you enjoyed this edition as much as I enjoyed putting it together for you! I’m sure with all the awesomeness in the world, all the corners where creativity and kindness meet, I’ll be able to share more such ideas with you right here on my blog.

Thanks for tuning in – and leave a thought in the comments below!

5 Tips To Surviving Parenthood As An Introvert

We introverts need quiet and alone time. It’s how we recharge and often where we get ideas with which we rule the world. (I’m only half-joking! Here are a few examples of introverted leaders/change-makers). As a parent, though, quiet and alone time can be hard to come by. Yesterday, I gave my personal background on this!

As promised, here are 5 tips to help you survive the noisy close-quarters of being Mommy or Daddy to little children.

1. This, too, shall pass. 

In my last post, I mentioned that my older two (being 7 and almost 5) are quite capable of loooong play periods with each other or on their own. This is FABULOUS and just the environment I need to conserve my energy-battery. I found that, by the time they were 4, I had individual humans who were happy to physically detach themselves from me to indulge in their own fun.

This wasn’t always the case. When my first daughter was a baby, I could not see the end in sight! People would tell me, they’re only this clingy for so long, and I’d be like HOW long?! It was the first time in my life that, when I wanted to be truly alone, I couldn’t be. It was a bit of a shock to the introverted system.

But she did grow and blossom and venture forth from my hip, legs, arms, chest…she loves her own alone time or happily sits in quiet beside me working on her art, or reading. I actually have a journal entry in which I am practically screaming in all caps, something like, “SHE’S SITTING BESIDE ME, QUIETLY COLOURING!! THIS IS AWESOME!!” She was 4. It was a momentous day.

So when my son was a baby, I had that glimmer of hope that I held on to with both hands even as I wiped the tears and snot with the back of my sleeve on a T-shirt I was wearing for the second day in a row. It gets easier, it gets easier, this little mantra played through moments of fear that all my quiet moments were lost forever. (I also did something else during this time that helped significantly which I will talk about in a tip below).

Now I have baby #3. Sweet, fiesty, tiny little girl who just turned one last month. Her ability to communicate hasn’t quite caught up to her desire to do so. So there’s a lot of frustrated squawking, crying, head-shaking while grunting. And the separation anxiety has kicked in; there are times when I move a few steps away from her and she’ll go from happily playing in her exersaucer to screaming bloody murder.

I see her sister and brother in her these days. This is actually great! I have living proof all around me that things get easier! My mantra with this little girl has been, This time next year which I told you about when she was 6 months old. Now, only half a year later, there are already more opportunities for me to refuel the way an introvert naturally needs. See? This, too, shall pass. Hang in there!

2. Twenty minute time-outs.

You may pine for a solo, week-long retreat in the woods, but this is not (always) possible. However, you do need to recharge your energy daily – just as you need to eat, breathe and sleep to survive. What can you do in 15-20 minutes every day that will allow your sensory system to decompress? Here are some suggestions: read, shower, walk, meditate, lie down in the dark, yoga. Grab those twenty minutes while the baby naps, or when another adult is home. Do it every day. And when you’re stuck in a loud, snotty, tantrum-y moment (yours or your kids’) remember that you have that precious time set aside. You. Just. Have. To. Make. It. There.

3. Seize the moments!

Grab ‘em when you can, and soon you will spot more of them! Yesterday, when we all piled into the house after school, the kids got to work on their after school routine of putting everything away and washing up. After that, my older daughter grabbed her book and settled on the couch. I wish I could do that, I stared longingly at the novel I am currently reading (on the end table beside the couch) like a love-lorn teenager. The baby crawled over to her pile of toys by the exersaucer. My son grabbed his bin of superheroes and started to work on bringing his action figurines to life. Quietly. Everyone was engaged without me. Maybe I could read my book! I picked up my novel, a little nervous to break the spell, but it was clear to see – these kids were in it for the long haul. A half an hour of being like that in my happy place, with my little munchkins all around me, was the perfect addition to my day.

4. Schedule in plans to get out of the house for your ‘me’ time.

So far, I’ve talked about how to find your juice at home for a few minutes at a time. Once you can (which for me revolved around the breastfeeding schedule), make it a point to spend longer chunks of a day outside of your favourite place. Go to your other favourite places – either alone or with friends. Yes, remember: introverts have friends. We have long and deep relationships and you know, we really do like to have fun with other people, too. Go back to all the things you did when it was easy to just pick up and go: the library, a restaurant/coffee shop, the movies, a creative workshop, a poetry reading…whatever tickles your fancy. Plunk them into your calendar, arrange for childcare if need be (and I know that is easier said than done, but it must be done), and follow through. As per tip #1, it will get easier and easier to do this.

5. Have an on-going project/hobby or something that gets you excited outside of parenthood.

This is what I was referring to in tip #1 when I said I started doing something when my son was a baby. I actually did two things: I began volunteering with Pandora’s Collective as a fund developer, and I started this blog! The thing with having something going on outside of parenthood – whether it be your work, your hobby, or a creative project – is that you can mentally escape to them at any time!

Take this blog, for instance. Only a fraction of my time spent on Let ME Out!! involves writing. Outside of that, I am thinking of blog post ideas, corresponding with PR reps who introduce me to products/companies I might be interested in writing about, bouncing ideas around with other bloggers, or thinking of ways to make my site more reader-friendly. And I love all those things about it! I get excited and happy and can draw on those feelings even in the middle of a 3-child simultaneous meltdown.

In fact, last night, the baby woke me up three times within an hour and a half (introvert or extravert, nobody would find this appealing!). The third time she cried out, I could see this wasn’t going to end any time soon so I succumbed and fed her back to sleep. While doing so, I had a choice: I could stew over the fact that she really didn’t need to be fed and that breaking this habit was going to be a lot of work OR I could think about this blog post and how I was going to word some of these tips. I did the latter and even though I would have preferred a full night of sleep, I got through it without too many negative thoughts!

So, there you have it: 5 tips for surviving parenthood as an introvert!

I love having a ‘big’ family and being with my kids: joining them in their play, listening to their stories, having them involved as I cook (we did this yesterday when we made palak paneer from this video). As a family, we love playing basketball with the kids’ basketball hoop in the basement and joke about how, when the baby is older, we can actually be a basketball team, the 5 of us. Many of my dreams and aspirations involve my family.

But I have to honour who I am so that I can continue to be the mom I enjoy being. Those 5 tools have helped me and I hope they do the same for you!

On Parenthood As An Introvert

I’ve always known I was an introvert. I may not have always known or understood the word well, but I knew what I needed (quiet, alone time) and it was easy to get as a kid. When I didn’t want to play with the neighbourhood kids or my cousins anymore, I grabbed my book, climbed the stairs to my room (or found a quiet corner at my relatives’ home) and settled into my happy place. After school, I would go to my room, pull out my journal and ‘hang out’ with my best friend – me. In high school, I journaled about living in an apartment (on my own) overlooking English Bay, with a solarium covered in thick, white carpet to mute out noise, and big comfy pillows on which to sprawl out and read. I also daydreamed about owning my own acreage: miles and miles of treed land, a cozy home and little ol’ me.

I don’t believe that everything is a group activity; I never liked team sports but gravitate toward yoga, walking, or zumba. While zumba sounds like a group activity with all those people in the room, it doesn’t feel that way to me. I don’t go with friends. It’s just me and the music. And it’s So. Much. Fun. I wouldn’t mind having a friend there, but I certainly don’t need to invite someone to come with me. Likewise, I enjoy eating at a restaurant or going for coffee alone. It’s fun to do with friends or on dates, but I have never thought it awkward or ‘lonely’ to do something like that solo – especially as an adult when I started to fully step into who I am.

It’s not that I don’t like people. Oh my goodness, I LOVE YOU people! I had a GREAT childhood because it was filled with relatives, lip sync contests, made-up games, creative play with the neighbourhood kids, etc. My friendships run deep and long (going on 30 years for some!) and my ties with family are strong. I can have the best time at a dinner party and definitely don’t shy away from conversation – in fact, my conversations can also run deep and long.

I think about people all the time, too…what makes them tick, why they make the choices they make, how we can all live together in peace…and what my part in the whole matter is. I have feelings for others I had to learn how to get a handle on – my empathy sometimes immobilized me when I saw social injustice: a street resident rummaging through garbage, or an elderly person being mistreated. People are beautiful and mysterious, and are forever teaching me about hope and resilience and goodness.

I’m also not shy, necessarily. Put a microphone in my hand and I will speak to hundreds of people on topics of my heart. I enjoy MC’ing events, too. As much as I am in love with the idea of being a songwriter, I would also not hesitate to be a performer (I’m leaving talent out of the equation here). I would be nervous but also excited. I love the adrenaline rush of getting up there, and then that whatever-it-is that washes over me afterward…like the after-glow, and the exclamation marks that dance all around me singing, “I totally want to do this AGAIN!!”

BUT THEN…

When it’s all said and done, I need to be alone. In the quiet. And preferably, in the dark. Or at least a dimly-lit room. Re-charge my battery. Get back in my beautiful, cozy, familiar mind. This was once possible. *Sigh*

May I remind you of my current life?

I am the mother of a 7 year old girl, almost 5 year old boy and a little girl who just turned 1.

 

You know what it’s like with kids this young? They like the noisy things. (They’re even yelling just to pose for this picture!) They play noisy, they fight noisy, they shriek-cause-they-can’t-talk noisy (that’s the baby). I have to say, my older two (when they’re happy with each other) will play quietly together in other parts of the house for extended periods of time, and I don’t even have to wonder what they’re up to. Or my older daughter will go to her room for her quiet time (which brings on a wave of nostalgia for me!) and my son will play with his bins of cars and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, speaking only to himself in a soft voice.

The 1 year old doesn’t do that yet. Now, I have been at this stage twice before and I remember it vividly. I remember sitting on the kitchen floor crying, or hiding in the bathroom, or escaping mentally to a log cabin in the woods. Things don’t look as bleak now as they did back then because now I have a few tools on my belt that help me get through the moments of the-baby-won’t-nap-and-she’s-so-miserable-and-I-just-want-QUIET.

If you see yourself in any part of this post, I’d love to hear it in the comments! And hang tight for my next one; I will talk about 5 tools to help you recharge your battery the way is natural for you.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Year’s Eve Past, Present & Future #3ThingsThursday

It’s the first day of a brand new year, and it’s Thursday! That makes this edition of #3ThingsThursday my kick-off post for 2015! Hope you all woke up hopeful, happy and feeling blessed. I’m super excited about starting this new chapter; there’s a lot on the horizon for Let ME Out!! and my work as a freelance writer and speaker. There are also plenty of family adventures that I will share with you, and I hope you will do the same with me. If you have anything you want to share with me, now or in the future, feel free to leave a comment or drop me a private email. I want to know what you are up to, and if it’s something I can let my readers know about, I’m happy to do it!

Back to #3ThingsThursday – this is a linkup that features a blogger’s thoughts in 3’s. If you’d like to join in on the fun and meet new readers, please visit the hosts Pink Chai Living, The Write Balance and Love Laugh Mirch.

For this edition, I thought I’d tell you about…New Year’s Eve – my past, present and future.

New Year’s Eve Past

I was never actually a fan of the whole thing. The thought of leaving behind a year I had grown comfortable in and jumping into the great abyss of a new calendar was nerve-wracking. What was so exciting about letting go of the familiar and being thrust into the unknown at the stroke of midnight? In high school, I tried to explain this to a friend of mine who stared back at me blankly and asked, “Do you always have to think so deeply about things?”

I also loathed the whole, “What are YOU doing for New Year’s?” because I felt like I never really fit into any of the shenanigans. I played along for a few years, hanging out at parties that became a drunken mess, going to after parties where the drunken mess continued. Feeling tired and like I just wanted to be home in my pj’s. And then one awesome year – I think it was my first year of college – I had plans with some fair weather friends (you know, the kind who called on you when it was convenient for them, but when it came down to it, you were never the first ones they thought of) and as I was getting ready for the night, I got a call from one of them. Plans had changed, could I meet them after midnight at the after party instead? A HUGE sense of relief washed over me. I had a reason to say no. It wasn’t convenient to leave my house after midnight and go downtown from where I lived.

No. And voila. The perfect New Year’s Eve was presented to me: I rented a couple movies, watched them until midnight, wished my parents a Happy New Year from the party they were at, got a few more calls from some meaningful people in my life and went to bed feeling so awesome. It was the first New Year’s Eve that I spent with my very best friend – me – and it was everything I hoped it would be.

New Year’s Eve Present

That New Year’s Eve, as my mom was getting ready to go out, she came into my room with a sad look. “You sure you don’t want to go somewhere else?” Nope. “One day you will meet someone and you will have someone to spend every New Year’s with,” she assured me.

Well, that year I did meet someone who I have spent every New Year’s with since 2002. Since we started a family in 2007, we have spent New Year’s with our kids, doing an early countdown with them and then spending the rest of the evening enjoying each other’s company. Usually there is chocolate and a movie involved. There have been variances on this theme; sometimes we have other families over or we go over to someone’s house. Last night, the 5 of us played board games and ate waaaaayyyy too many appetizers before watching Annie on DVD. The kids went to bed at 8 after we made a lot of noise at the sound of the microwave beep signalling the ‘arrival’ of 2015. Then the hubs and I watched a movie, and stayed up till midnight talking and dreaming.

It wasn’t sparkly. I wasn’t dressed to the nines, although I did have my yoga pants on as opposed to just my pj’s. But for us, for now, it was perfect.

New Year’s Eve Future 

I have to admit, when I first had the idea to post about this, I considered what I would like New Year’s Eve to look like in the future. I imagined myself in a gold dress that made me twinkle like a movie star. Hair done, makeup on, shiny nails. I imagined kissing the children good night and leaving instructions for the sitter, then stepping out into the night on my husband’s arm, anticipating good food and music till at least past midnight!

But then last night, as we sat around our dining table matching letters to the Scrabble board (kid’s version, of course!) I realized just how safe and cozy and safe that moment was. As my son called out, “My turn!” and placed the letter G to complete GOAT, my thoughts raced ahead to 10 years from now. He will be turning 15, my daughter turning 18…my baby…11! The teenagers would want to be with their friends. Away from us. In the dark night. With all those…drunken messes! How would I know they were ok? Where would they be? With who? Could my husband and I, with our 11 year old ‘baby’, follow them around all night without them knowing? How would I let them go?

So needless to say, I had to stop my train of thoughts (which is threatening to go full speed ahead even now as I write this) and just take it one year at a time.

I don’t know what the future will look like. I can only hope and pray that we all stay safe and happy and healthy throughout the years, enjoying each celebratory milestone, each step forward, each dream achieved as they come.

Happy New Year, my amazing readers! Thank you for tuning in and for being part of my milestones, steps and dreams. Keep it locked here for more stories on authentic, creative and charitable living – and doing it all in the messy joy of motherhood.