Showing posts from 2017

Six Life Learnings in Thirty Years of Living

It's that time of year, so here's another recap on the year, woo. I have seen a lot of hate for 2017 - it was perhaps not our finest year in existence, but I have to be honest - 2017 has been a great year. It's been tough, and challenging, it has stretched us further than we knew we could be stretched. It brought new opportunities, it saw doors close and others open. 2017 has taught me just how much we can be capable of if we are courageous enough to step up and take our turn.

2017 was also the year that celebrated my thirtieth year on this planet. Thank you again, to every single person who helped to make my birthday wish an explosion of love. 

In honor of this gift, this gift of thirty years, I thought I would share my biggest life learnings.

1. Have Best Friends - Love Them Hard
The people we surround ourselves with make all of the difference. Make space for those who lift you up; be someone who lifts others up. Put in the effort to maintain the friendships that mean someth…

Village Parents

In the span of two years I went from a stay at home mom, to a part time working mom, to a full time working mom. With each shift there was obviously gratitude and excitement about the new opportunities but I'd be a total liar if I didn't admit that there was also a sizable amount of mom guilt that also accompanied those shifts and changes. Almost daily I reflect on the day and feel guilty for time spent apart, or time not spent at the playground, or time spent thinking about the other things I need to do. 

When I question parenting decisions I often reflect on what I experienced myself, as a child. And that isn't specific to this working mom guilt - I've thought about it with almost every decision I've ever made as a parent. I think that's just a natural thing we do in life - relate back to our own lived experiences to draw context for current ones. 

While I was walking today I thought about my own parents and their work-life balance. When my father still lived w…

Growing up #GenHerous

One of my favourite parts of Christmas as a kid was our advent calendar. My mom would sit down at the beginning of December and write out all of the activities that we would get up to in the lead-up to Christmas. We did all sorts of things like go public skating or have $5 Co-op nights - this involved picking anything you wanted for dinner, for $5. My favourite activity was Dairy Queen night. On Dairy Queen night we got to choose a name from their tree, go shopping for a gift and finish it all off with a Blizzard. I don't know if that's where my love of giving started but it couldn't have hurt.
I love giving back - there is little I find more joyful than contributing, whether financially, with time or energy, to a good cause.

Last week I was tagged in this article by my sweet friend. The article reminded me of our Dairy Queen night from my childhood, of the joy and love experienced in choosing a gift for a child that otherwise might not receive one. Parenting comes with a wh…

Field of Dreams

Any day that starts with Field of Dreams is a great day. Today is one of those great days - we started our morning with one of our favourite movies ever. And as usual, the universe was up to something. 
In my circles we say this a lot, "if you build it, they will come" except we say it in terms of change. We built it, and they came - now they don't, so we need to do something different. This morning when Terrance Mann delivered his famous-in-my-heart speech to Ray Kinsella about his seemingly insane baseball diamond, I really listened. I really heard him, and I really think we've got this all wrong. 

Terrence Mann wasn't talking about the field. He wasn't talking about the bleachers, or the dug out, or the shale. He was talking about the experience. The memories, the feelings and emotions. Those deep-rooted urges that lead us through life, the connections that we have. The deep-seated world views and experiences that guide us. The reason your stomach flips when…

One Stop Play Shop.

I really love snow - I really love winter and Christmas, hot drinks and cozy times - snow makes me think of all of those things. And while I really do love the snow, and my boys love to play in the snow, the cold that comes along with it can put a time constraint on play. This morning, after reaching our outside quota, we packed up and headed to Vivo to continue the play. 

As a mom, or dad, you know that time for you is hard to come by, or hard to carve out. Making yourself a priority is easier said than done and it often means sacrificing something else. Missing bedtime to attend a workout class, missing relaxing weekend vibes as a family to go for a run - and so on. This is not a complaint about parenting, just a reality - the balance becomes a lot more sensitive with little ones in the mix. You know the whole, two birds with one stone analogy? That one is oh so true with kids. 
Well, how about three birds with one stone? Yes please!  This morning we chose to go to Vivo because that…

Womb-Mate, Two Years Late

Well now this post can't come as a surprise. There is simply NO WAY I could ever reflect on things that have shaped my life and not include the one human that has been influencing me since I was two years and twenty-seven days old. From the moment I met her I was taken. My whole world revolved around the tiny new human in my life, from cutting her hair to cuddling with her, Kate was the living doll I had always wanted. 

I don't know how old we were when things shifted, when I stopped calling the shots and leading our activities - considering I can't remember it must've been when we were fairly young.

It's things like constantly making me laugh while still having me terrified to tick her off - she's been able to beat me up since, well, always. I never wanted for many friends because I had her - much to her dismay for basically all of our years in school. I never had to worry about what to wear because I knew I could always wear what Kate had worn the…

Die Hard Friendship

​​SML Some seventeen years ago, right around this time of year, I made a new friend. It was the first week of junior high in late French immersion and I was away from my sister for the first time in a long time. I sat next to a girl with long strawberry blonde hair and bright blue eyes - one punch in the arm later and we were friends. As the year went on our friendship grew and that stranger on the bus became my bestfriend.  That stranger on the bus was Brandy and Brandy would become the very bestfriend I have ever had, that isn't related to me, haha! I think back now about all of the things that I experienced because of this friendship. Cardboard sledding, exploring abandoned daycares, being stung by a wasp, camping (many times), flying on a plane alone, Disneyland & California Adventure, Pecan Cookies, Corn Roasts on the farm - to name a few.  But what about some bigger ones - saving money, budgeting, researching, getting good grades and standing up for what you believe in - al…

Child's Play

Last week I, so fortunately, spent a few days attending the International Play Association's Triennial Conference. Play lovers and advocates from around the world came to Calgary to share ideas, learnings and obviously, to play!  There were so many things I learned - lots and lots of research and we all know how much I love research - and as I've been trying to figure out what to share I think it's boiled down to the two biggest themes.  1 - Children Want to Play In every session that I attended, no matter who was presenting or how it was presented, there was one thing that NEVER changed. All children have an innate desire to play. When asked, they ALWAYS say they want to play, they want more time to play, more play - period.  2 - Adults are Ruining Play Not to be a downer but the other reappearing theme was this: we constantly get in the way our children playing. We are busy, we are worried, we don't want people to think we are bad parents - the list goes on.  Right, so the…

Hearts Out

​​SML These last one hundred days have been slightly insane. I'm a handful of lessons away from completing Seth Godin's Marketing Seminar. Marketers, entrepreneurs, humans who want to connect with humans: this course is INCREDIBLE - study with Seth.  I digress, I am not writing to talk about the course, the course serves as a reminder. In the beginning, one hundred days ago, I felt like an outsider. I would complete the lecture and answer the questions only to find my answers seemed to be completely off base when compared with others in the course. Not having studied marketing in university, I immediately allowed this to make me feel inadequate, half a bubble off of plumb and like I didn't belong. This was an interesting feeling. You see, I am painfully myself and I also really like to be a good student. I found myself torn between being me, answering with what felt right in my heart and beng a good student and answering with what seemed to be right. I questioned my belongin…

Love: in all of its Glory

​​SML You might say "I love you" every day, but when's the last time you had a serious conversation with someone about the meaning of love?" - BrenĂ© Brown 
Well then. I talk and write about love a lot. It's my jam, it's my thing, it's what drives every decision I make, or at least I try. But I don't often define it, maybe that's because it's hard to define. Love is being kind, and a friend and supportive. Love is a whole lot of things.  Yesterday was a heavy day. I'm not sure what the universe is up to right now but there's something in the mix. Yesterday took me the edge of myself - I laughed, I cried, I felt defeated and not good enough, I felt afraid. And then, not all at once, I felt stronger, I felt able, I felt empowered and I felt like I belonged. 
Yesterday someone reminded me of the ways that love shows up. That love is genuine, it's shared, it's built on trust and support. Love is together, it's give and give, it'…

Family Forests

​​SML I grew up in a house that might as well have had a revolving door. From younger than I can remember we have had extras in our home. My parents hardly thought twice about taking in cousins, nieces, nephews or friends.   We didn't grow up in a big house either, so from a young age we learned to share spaces - I actually didn't have my own room until I was nineteen - but I must credit my step-siblings with that - thanks Paula and Jack. And I'm not complaining, in fact, I think it prepared us with incredible patience and understanding for shared situations. 
Extra people always came in handy for things like finishing your lasagne, thank you Colin, or creating the best sandwich ever - the Michael Marchildon. That's ham, mayo and cheese on bread, melted in the microwave, in case you're wondering - haha - and it's delicious. 
Extra people also meant extra friends - extra family. When I was around six my cousin Sylvia came to stay for the weekend. When it c…

Lessons from my Father

​​SML I grew up in a household with an incredible man. A man who taught me so many lessons, even if he didn't know he was teaching them. Like many kids, I grew up in absolute love with my dad - he was gentle, kind and full of light. My dad was the fun dad - if we went swimming as a group he was the dad throwing all of the kids like cannons from one end of the pool to the other. He had room in his heart for every child, every person. I remember once asking him why he doesn't hunt or if he ever wanted to and he told me that it hurt him too much to take life from something. He was someone I went to for advice, looked to for behaviour and loved like nothing else. ​​SML I don't write about him too often, maybe because it's hard and it hurts, maybe because of later life decisions - here's one for him and a handful of the things he taught me.
Acceptance: I honestly can't think of a time when my dad didn't include someone, befriend someone or practice kindness with som…