Thursday, September 30, 2010

Life is tough when you're thirteen

 I was contacted recently about getting involved in the Dove Self-Esteem Movement. If you have read the 'about me' section then you can probably guess why I agreed. I did not have an easy time in junior high. Dove is asking "what do you wish you'd known at thirteen?" I took a bit of a spin on this and wrote a letter not only to my thirteen year old self, but to my daughter when she turns thirteen in the future. To share your answer to the question "what do you wish you'd known at thirteen," click here.

I know thirteen is a tough age. I get that. Every woman you see out there has been there too. Many of the ones who look like they have it all together struggled at your age. I was thirteen once myself. I did not find it easy. But I made it through. And you will too.

You are worth it...

You are far more valuable than precious gems. Don't let others get you down. Don't ever believe anyone who says you are worthless. They are lying. People who put you down are likely just trying to take the focus off themselves. They too are feeling insecure and they are trying to bring themselves up by putting you down. If you feel like giving up reach out. There is help available.

If you are one who puts others down it is never too late to stop and have a fresh start. You can always have a new beginning. Never underestimate the power of a genuine apology. 

You are not invincible...

It seems like bad things don't really happen, or if they do, they happen to someone else. Some of those things seem like they don't happen at all because you won't hear people talking about them. However, I guarantee that many of your peers will have to suffer the consequences of bad decisions. Many people are injured or killed by getting into a car with a drunk driver, even if it's only "this one time." Some of your peers will get STIs which will cause problems for the rest of their lives. Girls you know will get pregnant, even if you never find out.  Some of them will suffer emotional pain forever. All of these things happen and they are sadly, far too common. Don't let someone pressure you into doing something you just don't want to do. They will not have to suffer the consequences. You will.

I know it's not popular to say this, but wait for marriage. I'm not going to tell you that sex is bad. It isn't. It's awesome. But it is awesome when you are with someone who loves you, someone who has promised to be with you for ever. It is amazing when you don't have to worry about being the only one and you have no fear of getting STIs or a broken heart. It is incredible when you don't have to be faced with regret or what-ifs down the road. Don't give yourself up to the first guy who says "I love you." He probably doesn't, even if he thinks he does. And I promise you that if he does love you, then his love is not dependant on you having sex with him.

Don't waste your teen years trying to impress guys. Don't try to be someone else. The real men will love you for being you. Down the road, The One is going to love your quirks and is going to think you are beautiful the way you are. And if he doesn't? Then he is not worth a single second of your time. Move on, because he is not The One.

Take care of yourself...

Value your body. Don't smoke. Don't do drugs. Don't drink.

You are beautiful without a tan. Your skin will thank you down the road. Eat healthy and stay active. But don't obsess about it. That isn't healthy either. Just try and look after yourself as best as you can. We aren't all going to be 105 lbs, 5"10, with sky-high legs. And that is not the definition of beautiful. It is merely one of many. Beauty comes in all sizes, shapes, colours, and heights. Which  leads me to...

You are beautiful...

You know those supermodels? The ones who look picture perfect in those magazines. Guess what? Those pictures are airbrushed. Those woman have teams of people behind the camera primping them and putting everything in place. Even after all of that, there are teams of people who edit the photos to death. That means even those supermodels don't look like those supermodels. Don't waste your time creating some picture of beauty that doesn't even exist. Don't waste your time trying to look older. Most older women spend their time trying to look younger. You are beautiful now, the way you are. And you will be beautiful when your face carries the wrinkles and spots that come with age.

Another thing? Beauty really does come from inside. Give to others. Be thankful for the blessings in your life. One of the best cures for feeling down about yourself is doing something for others. Stand up for the girls that are being made fun of. Talk to people who are lonely. Avoid gossiping. Trust me, if you are going to lose friends for doing those things, then they are not the kind of people you want for friends.

You are unique...

There is no other you. Junior high is a time for fitting in, not standing out. I'm going to tell you a little secret I wish I knew when I was thirteen . After high school, no one wants to just fit in, everyone wants to stand out. They are trying to be unique. It's better if you figure this out now. If you like playing the tuba, then rock on! Want to join the chess club? By all means, join. If no one appreciates these things about you now, then believe me, someone will down the road. Do what you love with no apologies. Follow your passions with everything you have. Don't give up. Many of the most successful people out there are where they are because they didn't try and just fit in, they tried to stand out. The sooner you realize this, the more time you have to develop your interests and discover who you really are.

And you are too precious to believe anything less about yourself.

*Please note: the opinions expressed in this post are completely mine. This post does not represent the opinion of Dove. I was not compensated in any form. To learn more about this campaign, check out the video below.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Eleven months

The last month of the first year has begun. Laney is starting to shed some of her baby ways. Little glimpses of the little girl emerging are becoming evident. And she is a lovely girl, though I have a feeling that we're in for a bit of trouble because she is so spirited. I love her spirit in spite of that though. I struggled trying to get her to sleep well. Part of me didn't want her to give in and sleep because I liked the fact that she didn't give up. That part of me lost though, because I do need sleep myself. In the midst of trying to help her learn how to sleep without cry-it-out, I remember saying to Mike that I don't want to break her spirit, although I would like to mold it. And by mold, I mean form, not decay by the growth of fungi.

In other developments, I tried feeding Laney a baby biscuit today and she choked. I was ready to flip her onto her tummy when the chunk she tried to swallow came out. Being a mother comes with a whole new set of fears. Due to her inability to chew properly, I think we'll stick with the purees for now. I really hope that by the time kindergarten rolls around I won't be as well acquainted with my blender. Sorry Laney. You aren't allowed any food that required chewing.

Highlights this month:

-She slept through the night a couple of times
-She walks about as often as she crawls
-She says "RAHRRRR" when asked what a lion says
-Plays peek-a-boo whenever she has a blanket near
-Says mum, dada
-Loves shaking her head "no" when asked a question
-She bounces up and down while standing
-She is doing a fake laugh now to try and get us to laugh
-Enjoys crawling through and over obstacles

Here are some photos I took for eleven months.

Monday, September 27, 2010

having a girl... pretty awesome. One of the funnest things so far has to be the outfits. I know that there are cute things out there for little boys too, but nothing like what is available for girls. I plan on letting Laney develop her own style as she grows, but for now I relish picking out her clothing.

I realize that in the future, I will probably retract my opinion concerning the fun of girls' clothing. Maybe it's just me, but I notice that many companies seem to be pushing overtly sexual clothing on our little girls. Why this need to oversexualize them? Aren't they facing enough pressure? Girls have no need to wear thongs, skimpy bikinis, low-cut tops, or lingerie among other things. I guess this issue isn't going to be that far down the road. I've seen "baby's first heels" in a store here in my town. Really? Why would I ever put a pair of high heels on my baby?

Anyways, on to the fun clothing.

Exhibit A: Moto Baby

This outfit is too big for Laney at the moment, but I can't wait for it to fit. I debated getting it for awhile and wasn't going to until last week when I saw it on clearance. My sister Rosie actually bought the same one for her baby girl. I figure if I can't have twins, then Laney and her cousin can  at least dress alike.

Exhibit B: Girly Girl

I am undecided about this skirt. On one hand I think it is adorable, on the other, it seems a little silly.

Exhibit C: Baby Ballerina

Teehee. It looks like she is stretching here.

I always wanted to be a ballerina when I was little. I took ballet for a little while, but unfortunately, I wasn't cut out for it. I like food. I am really tall. I find tights uncomfortable. I have boobs. End of story. As a child, even though I knew my career path wasn't going to involve Swan Lake, I wasn't deterred from dancing around the living room with my umbrella, jumping from couch to couch, while blasting Sixteen Going on Seventeen. Come to think of it, I'm still not.

At least I have a daughter who I can live vicariously through. Just kidding. But seriously.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

laugh your way

I managed to do it. I left Laney with Mike's parents for the first time. Maybe I can relax a little about going to work part-time now that I spent a day away from her. We left her so that we could attend a marriage seminar on Friday evening and Saturday. It was called "Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage."

I'm not going to review the whole seminar. It is available on DVD and we thoroughly enjoyed the entire thing. Besides being entertained, we learned a lot of things that we can apply to our marriage.

The best part about the whole thing was having some uninterrupted time together. I actually forgot what it is like to go for a walk with Mike and just be able to talk together without focusing on anything else. Sure, we can do that at home when Laney is in bed, but there are always other things that seem to prevent us from actually sitting down and having conversations. We tend to keep busy or even just have the television on in the background (or at least Mike does).

I feel renewed.

This weekend also reminded me that I need to make my husband's needs a priority. I tend to get so focused on taking care of Laney that I don't really make a huge effort with Mike. I'm not just a mummy, but a wife too. And I don't want to forget that.

How do you feed your marriage when life gets busy?

Friday, September 24, 2010


That is what I need to do. Mike and I had a heart-to-heart yesterday. I admitted to him that I am getting literally sick at the thought of going back to work. I can feel my body tensing up and it feels hard to breathe when I think about it. I just don't know how I'm going to be able to trust anyone outside of Mike or I to watch Laney. She can be a difficult child. She can be clingy. She can cry. I keep hearing horrible instances of children being beaten by their caregivers. And I am afraid of what someone who has no connection to Laney would do if she was being extremely fussy. I know that those experiences are rare, but what if the caregiver wasn't abusive, but just neglected her or was mean to her? I can't stop picturing Laney crying holding her arms up and the caregiver pushing her away or locking her in a room to cry alone.

I feel like I am failing her by going back to work. No one else loves her as much as I do. Shouldn't she experience the most love during her first years in this world? We have examined every shred of our budget. We have looked at what we can do without and what the bare minimum would be required for us to live. And I have to go back to work. I know I am extremely fortunate as I only have to go back to work two days a week. I know so many mothers choose or have to go back to work full-time and that is fine. But for me, I am panicking at the thought of even two days a week.

However, as uncomfortable as I am with the thought of someone else looking after Laney, the fact is that I have to go back. So I need to choose a caregiver as diligently as I can. Daycare or dayhome? Would you who have had to make these decisions give me some advice on how to find someone? Please?

And on a lighter note, how can I ever leave this face?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Need some Christmas shopping ideas?

I am starting to think about Christmas shopping. During the year, I always come up with great gift ideas, but I never write them down. This leads to last-minute-I-guess-it's-going-to-be-another-necktie kind of shopping.

This year I am determined to be prepared.

For Laney:

I love this Christmas dress.

I have a dresser I want to refinish for Laney's room and I would love to get these monogrammed knobs.

Isn't this kid's apron the cutest?

 I found this doll. I am debating getting it for her and keeping it aside until she's a bit bigger.

I could (and probably will) devote an entire post to the books I want to collect for Laney to read and cherish. For now, I will just pick one of my childhood favourites for the list.

 For Mike:

I want to get this for him. It is called Ladder Golf. I played it for the first time and it is tons of fun and I don't usually like games. It is perfect for the backyard, picnics, camping, you name it.

Our game collection is seriously lame. We have maybe three in our cupboard. This is one I know that Mike would enjoy.

You can never have enough of these living in Canada. Mike would like this.

This won't happen anytime soon, but Mike and I once saw a really nice foosball coffee table. He still talks about it. I would love to surprise him one day with one.

For me:

If Laney is going to have a cute apron then I want one too.

The weather lately has me craving a nice jacket.

I like jewelry. Period.

I thought this idea is so neat. It is a personalized world travel map. This would be so cool to have in our future family room.

 For the record, I have no affiliation with any of the companies/products on this list.

What's on your Christmas shopping list? And does anyone know where I can find a ladder golf set?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Shiny Sink

This is a boring post. Just so you know, I am writing about my kitchen sink. Now that I've put this disclaimer out there, I don't need to worry about you being annoyed with me for wasting your time once you've reached the end.

With that being said, if you knew me well, you would know that my house is not squeaky clean. I think I do a decent job of keeping it clean most of the time, but it is not unusual to see dust on the furniture, crumbs on the floor, and smudges on the glass. So keep that in mind when I show you what I did.

I got my kitchen sink a-sparklin' using these instructions. Mike was thoroughly impressed. I actually overheard him bragging about it twice since then. I know it's vain, but I secretly like hearing Mike talk me up. Even if it's over my kitchen sink. It is nice to know that he notices things every now and then. It makes me want to try harder and it makes me want him to be proud of me as his wife.

I love my husband. And yes, I know I'm a dork.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I love mountains

I grew up in the Rocky Mountains. I thought I would live in them forever. Then I moved to the prairies for university and met a boy. A prairie boy. So, I am still in the prairies. I have learned to love my new home here but the mountains will always be my favourite. 

Mike and I decided to head for Banff for a couple of days last week, hence, the lack of blogging. Well, that and due to my incessant picture-taking of Laney, I have filled up the hard drive on my computer. I spent much of yesterday transferring photos onto a portable hard drive.

I was quite disappointed with the photos I took on our vacation. Laney came down with a cold and was not the happiest camper. She barely slept and we didn't get very many photos of her because she spent most of the trip inside my ergo carrier or on Mike's shoulders. I had visions of capturing images of Laney with the majestic Rocky Mountains in the background, but those will have to wait for another trip.

This was the view from our hotel. We spent both days just walking around Banff. I earned two blisters on the first day, but they were worth it.

These are some beautiful gardens we walked to from our hotel. I have been to Banff several times before, but I cannot recall visiting here on those trips. I absolutely love gardens. I instantly feel at peace. If I was a gazillionaire I would have an indoor garden. Actually, maybe I would live in a climate that allowed a year-round outdoor garden. Thoughts to ponder. For now, my potted plant will have to suffice.


This is the historic Banff Springs Hotel. Mike's grandmother actually worked here during WWII. As a child, I remember my mum telling me that the Queen stayed here, and I used to imagine being a princess in the tower.

Laney appreciated the architecture. I think she was marvelling at the chandeliers and wishing that they were ceiling fans instead.

And of course my little water baby loved the pool at our hotel. I don't think she has ever cried in water.

I hope you have enjoyed the past week too.

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