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My poor husband.

I tend to get a normal amount of things done most days, and then something randomly possesses me and I go crazy, doing an insane amount of work in a short amount of time. Sometimes it is cleaning – I will decide I have had enough, and clean my house from top to bottom, even using a toothbrush to get in the corners, alphabetizing my cookbooks and colour-coding the closets. I won’t eat or stop for 12 hours until the work is done.

Last month I decided our house was cluttered, and went through our house in a 48 hour period, throwing things away and selling them in an online garage sale. We got rid of three truck loads worth of things. Truck loads. When my husband came home and I was throwing things out, there were bags at the curb of all the things I had decided to toss. His drawers were emptier, and he asked, “What did you throw away from there?” (Which, I might add, I agree is perfectly understandable that he know.) “Nothing you’ll even notice is missing!” I snapped. Perhaps having stopped to take a break and eat during the day may put me in a better mood. Then he was nervous for a few days. “What else did you sell or throw away today?” he’d ask, trying to make it sound casual.

So yes, I’ll admit I’m a bit crazy. When I am on one of these… well let’s call them “rampages,” I do feel bad for my husband. There’s no warning that it’s coming – usually it hits me that I am annoyed about something, and then I require a full day where I cannot talk or function until I get whatever done I am working on. Something little sets me off, like not being able to get into a closet, or noticing some dirty blinds.

This last time, my husband came home and I had four boxes of chicken breasts out, and and 20 packages of ground moose, ready to cook. There were pots and pans everywhere, I had an apron on and hadn’t sat down since before 5 am that morning, thirteen hours previous. I saw the look on his face. What the hell is she doing? Dare I ask? She might be in one of her moods… “So, how was your day?” he asked, with a concerned smile on his face. “It was fine. ” I said, continuing to race around the kitchen, measuring spices into the four frying pans I had going, and chopping stacks of bell peppers. What had happened was that I had been thinking about how if I did most of my monthly shopping on the first Tuesday of the month (10% off groceries at Sobey’s) then I would save us a lot of money, and save me time to work on my schoolwork in the evening, instead of preparing meals. I thought it that morning. Then did 2 massive shops (it wouldn’t fit in the cart) before coming home to cook like hell.

At the end of the night, when I sat down to have a drink with my husband, I had completed 56 meals. 56 meals are now in my freezer! (I used The Big Cook cookbook – what an amazing concept for crazy busy moms like me! I don’t have to cook for months if I don’t want to!)

Then it’s done, my goal is achieved, and Mike is left thankful to have his pleasant wife back, but worried for what tomorrow will bring. I did notice things were a bit crowded in the garage, so I may have to tackle that…


“Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.”
Phyllis Diller

I have made it through my Financial and Managerial Accounting course for my MBA. For me, it was a doozy! Let’s just say that numbers don’t come naturally to me! Now that it is completed, I have another week off before I start my next course. Time to catch up on all the things I haven’t done while I was studying instead.

I had grand ideas of cleaning my house top to bottom, cleaning and organizing closets, preparing for upcoming garage sales, filling my freezer with healthy meals, planting the garden and doing yard work.

(Typical of me, my to-do list was too long, and did not allow for any real life, like sick kids, calls from the school, volunteering, chairing meetings, soccer and ball games etc.)

How did it go? I did the basics: bathrooms, laundry, vacuuming… but the major overhaul? A pipe dream.

My son actually said to me the other day “Well, we know our house won’t be clean!” Really? I always thought of myself as someone with a fairly clean house. I will admit I am not one of those people who don’t care if it’s clean or not. I really admire that way of thinking, and wish I could care less. I believe most guests are more comfortable in a house that is not perfect, but I still rush to clean before guests arrive. I think it is more important to play with the kids than to have a sparkling home, but I still feel more relaxed when things are clean.

I was at a friend’s perfect (and spotless) house for lunch this week, and she asked me: “How do you manage kids and working on your MBA and work?” This was my realization: I can’t do it all! I manage it by focussing on things other than keeping my house spotless. I could definitely keep my house cleaner, but then something else would have to give. So I choose to play with my kids, and do well in school rather than have a perfect house. Though when I’m done my Master’s, I do look forward to a cleaner home…

There is just not enough time in the day!

A goal I have yet to work on? Relaxation. Might be time to give that one a try….!

So they have come and gone: my 20s that is. The decade that included all the major changes in my life: earning my degree (and university partying), meeting and marrying my husband, giving birth to my two children, moving to Alberta, buying my first (and second) home, starting my career… all those moments that everyone says are the best in their life. Over, done. But I have to say, I am really looking forward to the next decade. Seeing my kids grow up, completing my Master’s, and that element of surprise… I have less plans for the next 10 years than I did for the last, which is nice. Where will I be at 40? I don’t know! Which is great! I do have a few goals however.

Goal #1: Graduate with my MBA. Three courses in, it appears that I am on the track, though with nearly 2 years left, it still feels far away. (Especially during this current Financial and Managerial Accounting course. Blech.) But I can, and will, do it. I want to show my kids that you can pick a goal that seems unobtainable (like full time school with work and kids etc.) and do it!

Goal #2: Travel with my family. We have always travelled, but my goals are to continue to do it. Next on the list? Across Canada road trip and Europe backpacking trip. May have to wait until goal #1 is completed and I start to make money again!!

Goal #3: Learn to ride a motorcycle. My dad would have loved to teach me this, but I will learn on my own in his honour. Then one day Mike and I can take a long bike trip. I think it would feel ‘tough’ to ride a motorcycle in leather, pull of my helmet and shake out my hair like they do in the movies. Less sexy and less coordinated though! And for Dad, my bike will be bright red, of course.

Goal #4: Improve as a mother. I am a good mom, I know. I love my kids with my entire being, but sometimes I forget what really matters. I clean the house for company instead of playing hard in the backyard. I make things easy for them instead of allowing them to be challenged. I want to challenge my kids to find their own dreams, and play with them while they do. Braeden told me once while we were playing a game we had invented: Smack Ball, with a beach ball in the backyard, and laughing hysterically, that this was the best moment in his entire life. He does tend to be dramatic, but that hit home. All he wants is to play hard with me. The painstakingly planned craft and science experiment activities are unnecessary to be a good mom, but living in the moment is.

Finally, the most important goal:

Goal #5: Get ID’d. Okay, so the other ones are more serious. But I WILL get ID’d again, someday, someway, somehow. If I have to wear pigtails to the bar, I will. It’s been about 5 years since I have been carded, and I have a goal to have it happen, at least once more. 🙂

How has life changed? I have always had a full schedule, have always been in school, have always had a goal, a plan. Life with kids has taught me that plans change. The other day on my way to bed, Mike asked me what was on the calendar for the next day. I checked. “The mortgage comes out, and we’re having chicken for dinner!” I called out. Then we both started laughing hysterically as we realized what our life has become: mortgages, planned meals and grocery lists, schedules for our kids instead of us. Yes, life has changed, but so far, 30 is great.

Jordyn and Daddy ski down the bunny hill together.

I need a vacation. Really.

Mike and I have always promised each other that we will keep travelling, not allowing life to keep us away from exploring the world.

Then we added a little boy to our family. When our little boy Braeden was 2 years old, we planned a six week long trip backpacking down the coast of Australia and into northern New Zealand. There were many people who told us we couldn’t do it, but we packed a bunch of activities and a soother for our little toddler, and didn’t let having a child stop us from anything. True, we adjusted the trip, making more stops at playgrounds and turning in by 8:00 pm nightly so he could have a good sleep, but it was amazing.

Then we added a little girl to our family. We took both kids to New York City when Braeden was 5 and Jordyn was 9 months old. It was a great trip – New York has all sorts of amazing kid activities. (New York has everything!) Highlights for the kids were the Peanut Butter Inc restaurant, the matinee Broadway show, and walking through Times Square. Again, we had been warned not to bring kids on a trip to NYC, but we did, and the experience was great.

Then we added a Master’s program to our family. Now, in addition to the kids we have long term papers and discussions, and in addition to strollers/carseats, we would need to bring my laptop and textbooks. But the biggest problem is that of finances. Four tickets to pretty much anywhere is impossible right now, especially when paying tuition fees has nearly emptied our bank account. So we need to wait for the big trip. But as I said, I need a vacation. Badly. So we decided to find a nice local place to have a vacation.

Which is how we ended up in Cold Lake, Alberta last weekend, on a one-night skiing trip.

We woke up Saturday morning and the weather was -28. We had signed our 6 year old son up for a two day ski camp, and it started at 9:30 am. But -28? We decided to play it by ear, and packed up our car early for the 90 minute drive from Lac La Biche.

The sun had come out by the time we arrived, and the weather was a balmy -20 by the time he hit the hill. (Well he was dressed warm, so it wasn’t so bad.) Braeden headed out for his ski lesson with a friendly English-accented boy named Tom, and after watching Braeden take a shaky run from a quarter of the way up the bunny hill, we headed into town to shop, and the day went by quickly. By the time we picked a very happy and excited Braeden up at 3:00, we were ready to head to the hotel to rest. We hadn’t realized it when we first rented the hotel, but they had a waterslide and hot tub, and the kids were happily exhausted by the end of the day. After a restaurant rendezvous with some family, the kids and Mike

Braeden's first try at skiing

had a great sleep while I worked on homework on my laptop in the hotel bed.

After such a great first day, nothing could go wrong! So the next day, we decided to be a little more adventurous and rented skis for our 2 year old and ourselves. Easy right? Well, not so much…

She seemed excited to be wearing skis, so at my husband’s suggestion, we took her immediately to the chair lift. Whoops. Apparently she is scared of heights, and she fought and screamed the entire way up the lift. Of course, there is no turning around on the chair lift, so we made it to the top. At the top she was still upset, and wanted her mommy. (Mommy is not a strong skiier so couldn’t help her down, so she was still crying.) We headed down as quickly as we could, and I took our upset little skiier into the lodge, ignoring the stares of people who probably thought we forced our crying little girl into skis so we could selfishly enjoy the hill.

A bright  blue slushee and a piece of a kid’s birthday cake calmed her down (sugar galore) and I talked to her about trying again. After a few people had approached her to mention her “cool” skis and ask about how fast she could ski, she was eager to try it out again. This time we were more reasonable, and headed outside to try the bunny hill. After a few tries, we couldn’t get our little skiier away from the hill! Mike put her between his legs and they skiied down, and at the end she would shout: “Again, again!”

After Jordyn had a quick nap in the car and the adults took turns skiing, Braeden was done his lesson. Of course, I had to do a run with him to see what he had learned before we headed home from our “mini-vacation.” I headed up the chair lift, and we visited on the way up. As we swang in the sun, heading up the hill, we visited about everything: skiing, school, friends, my childhood. I had a sudden realization looking over at him, that my life really had changed. Not only was I not backpacking anymore, but I wasn’t the young traveller I once was. I have two children, and one is old enough to be beside me, sharing his first ski day.

As we reached the top, he immediately took me to his favourite run: Ridge Run and I watched my confident little boy ski strongly down the hill, taking every hill he could to show me his new found skills. It was an amazing experience.

So it wasn’t far, and it wasn’t necessarily easy, but at the end of the day, with my two little pink-cheeked kids resting in the backseat and our snow gear wet in the back of the car, I felt like we’d made the best of not being able to have a long, expensive vacation, by having a short enjoyable one. Sometimes life is about adjustments – life with kids and school certainly is!

But I still need a vacation.


After a wonderful month-long vacation from school, I am back in school. Things are crazy and busy again. Mike and I are lacking sleep, I am staying up late to do homework, my house is a mess, and our calendar is covered in scribbles. Do you know the feeling? Things are out of control, or at least on their way in that direction. Mike is putting peas in the cupboard and cereal in the fridge, and I have written down appointments on the calendar and promptly forgotten all about them. It’s one of those times of year! Here is a list of 5 things I have learned in my last months as an MBA student, mom, employee etc.

1. Multi-tasking is not a good idea: I always said I could multi-task. And I can! Just not very well… but can anyone? I have tried to play with my daughter and read my course readings. She’s two. Any mom out there who has a two year old is smiling to herself right now. Toddlers don’t let you do readings!! So this is the result of this experiment: my daughter is cranky because I am not paying attention to her. I keep reading the same paragraph over and over because I keep getting distracted by her climbing the bookshelf beside me or dumping a box of Cheerios on the floor. Result? A lose-lose scenario. Or I have tried to run on the treadmill while reading my textbook… besides the jarring attempt at reading, again it is ineffective. Which brings me to my next point…

2. Pick a goal. It’s okay to have dreams. In fact, I think the more dreams you have the better. However, working on those dreams one at a time (especially those BIG ones like completing your MBA) makes sense. (See point #1. Multitasking is not a good idea). I had it in my head that in the next few months, I would: learn how to run 10 km, upgrade my math, start following a home cooked diabetic diet (to reduce sugars in my diet), join the Kinettes to get more volunteer time, while completing my HR Management course in my MBA. Why not right? Go big or go home! Well, it turns out if you take on too many goals, you don’t do any of them well. Since I am putting such an investment into getting my MBA, I figure I should do well at it. It’s okay to go for a jog or make a healthy dinner, but having a goal to do these all the time at the busiest time in my life? Maybe not the best idea I’ve come up with. I asked my husband yesterday if I could become the chair of the Fundraising committee at Braeden’s school. Can you guess what he said? See point #3.

3. Take a break! Yes, the list of things to do is insanely long. And the list of required readings is even longer. I can’t take a break and have a rest! Then I will never finish! What I have learned, is that if you do not take a break, you will break. Those nights when I have tried to pull all nighters to do homework, my work isn’t done to the best of my ability, and I have a hard time functioning for the rest of the week. Sometimes these breaks help to spend a moment with the kids. Mike and I will take the kids to the local rec center and get a few balls, then let them run around with us for a bit. Get some energy out (never helps to have them sleep better at night either!) When I take a moment for myself and get into the bathtub, or even head to bed at midnight instead of 2 am, I am a much better and more efficient person because of it.

4. It’s okay not to be perfect. Really. I always put this pressure on myself to have a perfect clean house when company comes to visit, to have healthy home cooked meals for my kids, to make sure they get their exercise and outside time every day, to volunteer at every event at the school … these are all good and important things. However, I have learned that it’s okay if things don’t work perfectly all the time. The other day we had hockey for Braeden right after school, then rushed to swimming lessons. I had to do my paper after the kids went to bed, so I didn’t have enough time to make a healthy dinner… we went to A&W. I know, unhealthy, greasy meal. But it’s okay! My kids are fine after this one-time splurge, and they still went to bed fed, happy and healthy. It’s okay to let some of those things go. Which brings me to the next point…

5. Enjoy a moment. Sometimes things are so crazy that we aren’t enjoying ourselves all the time. We’re so caught up in the rush and the to-do list, that we forget to stop and really look at what we have. I try to do this daily. You can’t enjoy every moment – sometimes, the kids are going to act out, things are going to seem to crazy. But as long as you can stop from time to time and really take a look at the things that matter, then you’ll be okay. Last night I had to work on my paper. I was worried about not getting it done, and I was thinking how the kids had to get to bed on time so I could get back to work. But Jordyn was upset for some reason, and needed som extra cuddles. Braeden asked for some more of his story. And I gave it to both of them. So I started my paper an hour later. So what? I also soaked in the smell of my beautiful little girl as she wrapped her chubby fingers around my hand and helped me sing Baa Baa Black Sheep for the hundredth time in a day. And I laughed with my son as we shared funny moments of the day and enjoyed our favourite book together. These are the reasons I want more out of life, so it’s important not to forget what it’s all for.

Some days go so smooth. I wake up and before the kids get up, their plates are ready with breakfast, juice poured, vitamin beside. I have the shopping bags ready to hit the grocery store, Braeden’s backpack is packed with lunch, ready for school, and I am on time for everything. Those days I am unstoppable and insanely efficient. I am super mom.

Then other days, things do not go smooth. I press the snooze button  a few times, the kids are hard to get up, I am late for everything. Today was one of those days.

Although we were off to a bumpy start with a few tears and were running late, I thought we were doing okay. Once we made it to school (on time, thank you very much), Braeden reminded me that he had a skating field trip today. Skates were ready and in a bag with his hockey helmet… at home. With his glasses. Whoops.

We made it through grocery shopping with only minor embarassments (Jordyn called the man behind us in line a turkey) and I even had an extra ten minutes before nap/homework time to try on my dress for the Christmas party this Friday. As I was adjusting my bra, Jordyn called “mom! I has to pee!” so I rushed to get them off. By the time I got to her, she was sitting on the potty, but had been unable to get her panties down. I helped pull them down in a rush, not noticing something drop out… until I stepped in something warm. And solid. Yuck. Officially a crappy day.

My husband asked later “Did you just throw those socks out?”  No honey, I wasn’t wearing socks. Lovely. Tomorrow is going to be a great day. I deserve it. 🙂