The golden hour
7pm is the “golden hour” in this house… it means the bedtime routine is about to begin. We’ve made it through another day and survived as parents. It means it’s time to wind down and give the bean a nice long bath, followed by a lotion rubdown and a feeding with daddy. It means calmness, quiet soothing voices, and hushed “I love yous” and bedtime prayers. It’s ocean sounds and soft coos. It’s cool post-bath hairdos and monkey PJs. It’s movie time for mummy and daddy (and maybe a wee glass of wine- tee hee!). It means one last clean-up of bottles, toys, dishes, and the like. It’s prep time to do it all over again tomorrow, and damp bibs and burpees are replaced with fresh ones, milk is pumped and prepped, and beds are turned down. It’s a quick wish on a star. It means giving the pup his cuddle time (finally) and noshing on dessert curled up on the couch. It’s tucking in delicious little happy babies and sleepy parents who reflect on the day till they doze off.
Oh how I love the golden hour…
Be a tourist in your own city
In my prayers…
I’m not an overly religious person but I do try and attend mass weekly and I definitely say my prayers every night before bed (or what I can get through before dozing off). I have my prayer “list,” things that I always say- I run through what I’m grateful for and what I’m sorry for, I “say hello” to those family members and friends who have passed away, etc. But one prayer I’ve recently added is about my new son.
Cameron was born on March 29, 2013 and he is the love of my life. Everyone told me the minute I saw him I’d discover a love I never knew and I wondered how that would instantaneously happen… but it truly did. I actually miss him at night once he’s gone to sleep and in a way I can’t wait for him to wake up so I can kiss his face (kinda can’t wait for him to wake up… I also can’t wait till he sleeps through the night… but I digress…).
Every night I begin my prayers by thanking God for a healthy, happy, strong, beautiful little baby, and then I ask that He help him find his passion. That is my one wish for my son.
I was truly blessed when God gave me a passion for writing. Writing was my outlet growing up, a way for me to flex my creative muscles, and it led to an awesome career. And like they say – do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. I’m so lucky to have never worked.
Writing is what makes me tick… it gives me a greater self-satisfaction than anything else that I do. It lets me express who I am, either privately or publicly, and it makes me feel free.
This is the only thing I can hope for my Cameron. I want him to find his passion and follow it, no matter what it is. I want him to discover his hidden talents and express them. I’ll do everything in my power to encourage that so his passion may flourish. I’ll never tell him his passion is too “lofty” or unreachable – I’ll nurture it with all my heart.
Having a passion for something is what keeps us going in difficult times and is what gives us a purpose. And when I look at my gorgeous little boy, I know that he was put here for a purpose.
I can’t wait to see what his passion turns out to be!
I was a workin’ gal… at some strange places
I recently had a chitchat with someone about the random jobs I had growing up, and realized I’ve had quite a few unique gigs.
My very first “real” job was working at Kids R’ Us. I didn’t mind it – it really just entailed hanging clothes and attaching price tags to them. The days were a bit long but I liked the girls I worked with, and I probably held that job for quite a few months.
Next I worked for Kreative Kids – it was a daycare during the week but on weekends they held birthday parties or went to people’s houses to host parties on their turf. It was so much fun – we’d go to these rich homes with parents who would spend hundreds of dollars to have us come in and do a craft project with a group of little girls who were having a slumber party. We’d serve cake, clean up, and we were outta there. Frankly, I couldn’t believe I got paid for this type of “work.”
Then I got a few weekend gigs with my parent’s friends who were photographers managing “photo booths” at Bar and Bat Mitzfahs – I was armed with a Polaroid camera and would take pictures of all the teenagers and then turn them into keychains or buttons. It was super easy and really fun – I actually loved all the staff of the various venues where we worked. If I hadn’t gone into journalism and writing I definitely would have considered a career in the field of event planning based on this job.
I babysat… A LOT. On my cul-de-sac alone there were three families who had five kids between them, all within six months of age and all boys – there were two sets of twin boys and then another little guy. From the ages of 13-17 (till I moved to Canada for uni) I balanced my time between all of them. I was in especially high demand on Friday and Saturday nights. This work experience is what (hopefully) gives me the courage to take on caring for a baby today – they were amazing families who entrusted me with bathing, cooking, feeding, and even driving their kids places from a very young age.
During high school I also needed some help paying for car insurance and long-distance phone calls to my then-boyfriend Michael, and my parents owned an office cleaning business, so I had three offices I had to clean every weekend. Frankly, I hated it. Nothing is grosser than cleaning a doctor office bathroom. But I did it, week after week, and my parents were pretty darn generous with the pay, so this kept my car on the road and my relationship going till I moved up here (and look at us now – 15 years later and waiting on our first bean!).
Finally, during my first year of university, I worked as a waitress at Swiss Chalet. This, by far, was the most horrible job I have ever had. I am truly the absolute worst server in the world – I didn’t know how to balance my tray of beverages and would take one drink off and the entire thing would tip over. I burned myself and cried before every shift. I found it extremely overwhelming, and I totally have a new-found respect for waiters and waitresses to this day. I lasted five weeks at that job.
Each job was a learning experience (I learned I never wanna wait tables again!), and given I got to work with the public in most of these positions, it armed me with great people skills. But I’ve gotta say – my job as a freelancer is by far the greatest job I’ve ever had.
Teenage trips to the mall
Whenever I go to the local mall by my house and see the groups of girls clutching bags from Ardene or noshing in the food court, I can’t help but think about my days as a teenager when a trip to the mall was a big event. It meant independence, buying into the latest trends, scoping out the crowds, and so much more.
In Boca Raton, Florida, where I grew up, our mall of choice was Town Center. Our parents would drop us off by the T.G.I.Friday’s restaurant and off we’d go. We’d make stops at Claire’s (where I got my second piercings in my ears) and buy mood rings and scented nail polish, the bulk candy store (so the sugar rush would propel us further into our shopping and gossiping madness), and clothing stores like Contempo and Wet Seal. I used to love making a stop in the San Francisco Music Box Company, where everything was much too expensive to buy but the whimsical carousels and Ferris wheels would captivate me, even as a teen. We’d play “The Gap” game (you’d try to walk in one entrance, through the store, and out the other entrance without a preppy salesperson asking if they could help you). We’d stop off at The Sharper Image for a “spin” in the giant massage chairs until we’d giggle so much that a sale associate would glare at us and we’d skidaddle outta there. We’d buy singles at the music store (I still remember picking up Paula Abdul and Boyz II Men CDs there). And no trip to Town Centre was complete without a stop at the food court, where the Chinese food place would be handing out bite-sized samples of this sticky sweet chicken and we’d try to disguise ourselves after the first bite so we could go back for seconds, thirds and fourths, although none of us ever seemed to just buy a plate of it for lunch.
After a few hours we’d call our parents (from a pay phone! GASP!) and tell them to come and get us. Armed with our loot and feeling sickly full of cheap food and candy, we’d pile into the car and return home, broke but with a cool colour-changing tee or slap bracelets or glitter lotion from The Body Shop. It was the first taste of freedom, and knowing we were within the confines of the mall, our parents never had anything to worry about. The mall was the reason to save up our $2/hour babysitting gig money, crimp our hair, put on a few pairs of multicolored scrunch socks, and spend a Saturday afternoon with our friends.
Boy, do I miss those days…
Thanks for the pregnancy advice… NOT
I don’t know what it is about being pregnant that makes people suddenly want to tell you the most terrible, horrific, nightmarish stories they can conjure up, but they do… “I was in labor for 162 hours and the epidural didn’t work,” “I couldn’t walk for a month afterward,” “My baby came out completely sideways and ripped me from…” Well, you get the picture.
I’ve heard awful tales of labor, birth, and the after-effects of pregnancy. I’ve heard more than I needed to know… much more. I’ve been scared into panic attacks, cold sweats, and tears. And for what? To better prepare me?! Because, up until this point, that aforementioned advice hasn’t helped me one iota.
If you’re pregnant, DON’T LISTEN TO ANYONE. This is YOUR journey and only yours. No one on this planet will have the same experience as you, so there’s no point in hearing in gruesome detail what theirs was like. It won’t be like yours. So just take your pregnancy one day at a time and realize that this is YOUR journey and no one else’s. Forget the books. Stop subscribing to those discussion boards. Just do your thang.
And if you’re someone who does decide to share your own experiences of pregnancy and labour, for god’s sake have a filter. Ask yourself, “Are these words of wisdom going to help mommy-to-be or scar her?” If it’s the latter, hand her a piece of chocolate and just walk away. You’ll be doing her a favour.
When to use social media… and when not to…
Social media keeps me sane. Working at home in my office, detached from the rest of the world, can be somewhat lonesome and alienating, but it helps to have a network of people that I interact with throughout the day on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. I’ve found it especially helpful throughout personal milestones, like wedding planning and my first pregnancy, where people have helped me source florists, get advice on baby safety, and much more.
But when are we divulging too much?
My hubs loves to pick on me for being “too open” on social mediums (like tweeting from my ultrasound how badly I had to pee), and at a recent doctor’s appointment, my OB commented, “You won’t have a 10-pound baby – your vagina will thank you. Hey – you should blog about that!” and my husband immediately blurted, “NO!” (knowing I’d do it… and here it is: TA-DA!). But I’ve always been an incredibly open person. Nothing is really embarrassing or too personal to me.
That is, until it comes to work matters. I have a lot of editors on my friends’ lists, so admitting to needing help on different work-related matters could cause me to lose face in their eyes. Admitting to needing a nap or taking a personal day may make my bosses look at me differently as an employee. It’s important to think twice about what I’m posting when it comes to my job.
It should go without saying, but if you’re using social media to promote your own business, pay close attention to who your followers are and what you are posting. While a great tool in many ways, social media can also be a detriment if used in the wrong way.
Valentine’s Day is bogus
(Thanks Bonnie Lane!)
I’m big on holidays… I will forever love a good reason to celebrate. But I have always thought that Valentine’s Day is one of the dumbest, fakest, most commercialized holidays out there.
As a teenager, I wanted to go into hiding on those dumb V-Days… the popular girls would walk around with armloads of flowers and Mylar balloons and stuffed animals like trophies, and us “ordinary” gals would slink from class to class, trying to avoid the puke-inducing amounts of hearts and cupids. Even when I had a boyfriend I thought it was ridiculous… why tell me you love me only on the 14th? What, am I chopped liver for the rest of the year?
Florists get away with charging double for roses and the like, and we all get suckered into spending an arm and a leg on dumb niceties that are dead or gone within a matter of days. Restaurants create overly elaborate menus that are usually crummy anyway, and single ladies the world over sulk and whine because they feel like they’re missing out on extravagance that is really not all that exciting in the first place.
Yes, I got the hubster a box of chocolates and a card, but truth be told, it’s more because I’m pregnant and I’m hoping he’ll share. lol
V-Day is for suckers.
And that’s all I have to say about that…
Toot your own horn…
I did a book review a number of years ago on the title “Toot Your Own Horn,” and I took a lot from that read (more so than others I’ve reviewed… that’s for sure!). The author talked about how important it is to be your own biggest fan – and not in a conceited, obnoxious kind of way, but in a professional as-humble-as-possible-pie kind of way.
What he said was true: you can’t rely on other people to talk you up… you have to do it and look out for your interests. And since that time I’ve been my own biggest tooter.
This doesn’t mean shouting from the rooftops “I’m the best at everything!” It just means that it’s up to you to highlight your strengths, point out your assets, and be your own advocate when it comes to business meetings and job apps. At first I felt really, um, strange tooting my own horn, but I quickly found ways of nonchalantly weaving such “toots” into conversation so that it highlighted my accomplishments or know-how in a non-threatening or offensive way. I find I get more interest from potential clients when I “toot” – they’ll reply with an “Oh really?” or a “You don’t say – tell me how you did that?” and off I go. Tooting has likely gotten me the majority of my more prestigious jobs and clientele today.
So don’t rely on others to take it upon themselves and stroke your ego – be your own biggest cheerleader and get tooting. It’s the only way to really show others the rockstar that you are.