About Me

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I work in the city but I love living in the 'burbs so much we moved there - despite my crazy commute. The closer I get to home, the more relaxed I feel.
This Mama can't wait to share all the fabulous finds and 'must have' things that come my way. After all, if something's great I've gotta tell everyone! 
Join me as I share the ups and downs of suburban living, my journey to be more creative and organized (even with 2 super active little boys) and a whole lot of this and that. While I live in Fraser Valley, B.C., it's easy to translate the suburban experience to pretty much anywhere - and even city folk love to leave the hustle and bustle sometimes!
And living in the most expensive corner of the country, it takes a little savvy to keep it all together.  I'll share what I've learned - and hopefully you will, too!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Just Ask... my thoughts on people that bug us

"Summer's here and everything seems brighter and better. It's warm outside, patio parties are being planned and even work feels better... or at least if would if only "that guy" would stop doing "that thing" he does that drives me insane. I mean really...does he have to do that? He knows how much I hate it..."

Sound familiar? Everything is going just peachy until someone does something that presses one of your buttons and brings that warm fuzzy feeling to a grinding halt... again.

Here's a little food for thought...

Have you ever asked "that guy" (or maybe "that girl") what's up with the behaviour? When something bothers you, sometimes the best thing you can do is to politely let the person know. Likely they haven't got a clue that "that thing" they do irritates you. And the fact that they've done it a hundred times (I can hear you're teeth grinding from here, by the way) could simply mean that they've never noticed your reaction. If they are clueless, how can you expect them to change the behaviour? After all, it's not as if they can hear your thoughts.

It might be that what they do, they do for a reason. And if you were fully aware of the reason, it may not be so bothersome to you. They may be able to tone it down some and you may find yourself a little more tolerant of the action once you've had a discussion about it.
It might even be that they do it in retaliation to something that you do to them, albeit unknowingly. And you'll never know exactly what's up, if you don't just ask.

It's easy to complain about it to your peers (maybe it'll get back to them) or your supervisor (maybe they'll issue a cease and desist order) but if you really want to solve the issue once and for all, and be able to work near each other in the future, why not try to start up a friendly conversation to ask them about the behaviour and to let them know what it does to you.
Keep it simple and just ask if you can speak to them about something on your mind. Talk about how YOU are affected by the action, rather than blame them for it, and let them know what you'd like to see. Be sure to invite them to share with you their side of the story, too.

Remember, it's the little things that lead to big things. Small bothers repeated turn into big issues - and small gestures, like asking nicely for a conversation, can sometimes surprise you with big rewards. And this applies not only at work - you can do it anywhere with anyone.   Why not try it and see?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Beach Thoughts - Summer's Regrets...

I’m at the beach.  Really. I know I said I get here a few times while I was off, but somehow the time just got away from me.  I don’t know how that happens.  One day you're packing up for 6 weeks off. The next thing you know, you’re going back to work in two days.   Scary.  Especially since I’m not ready.

There is so much going on in my life right now that I just can’t see going back.  I have to.  But I don’t want to.   I have a garden to move, plants to plant, rooms to redo, a desk to organize, a life to live – all those things I want to do with my boys that are still left undone – crafts, learning books, day trips. 

How did this happen?  I had 6 weeks off.  42 days of summer stretched before me and now.  Gone.  We didn’t go to the beach, the bird sanctuary, the playplace, Ikea, the park (ok we did once).  We didn’t play like I wanted. 

And worse.  My son is going to kindergarten.  In 3 weeks.  I’m not ready for that.  I’m not ready for this change in our lives.  It’s going to get really complicated and I’m just plain not ready for it.   Thank God my husband is going to be off for six weeks when school starts.  At least we can ease our child into this big new world of school and a new daycare.  But still.  Preschool days are over.  Endless possibities? Done.  We have a schedule and a timeline now.  It’s all new to me and, at this moment, I hate it.

I wanted to be able to take time off to raise my boys.  But we live in part of the country that makes it very difficult.  You can’t afford a home on one salary.  So we decided we’d do it this way.  Sometimes I wish it were different.   It’s not that I don’t love my job, either.  I have a fabulous job.  I work as a mediator and run the informal conflict management program for a region.  It’s awesome – a chance to make a difference in people’s lives.  To help them make positive changes.  It’s a job that makes one feel good.  It’s not the job. It’s just the timing. 

I want to be a mother more.  To be there for them. To stop missing out on these firsts, these milestones.  I wish… I wish… I wish things could be...  Different.  I’m not sure how.  Realistically – I’m a lousy homemaker.  But I try – hard.   I can’t help but think if I just had more time to get into it, I’d get it right.  Maybe not like Martha, but at least I’d have some level of organization here.

So now, while I still have a couple of years left for the younger one, I’m searching for a way to make it happen.  Somewhere out there is the answer.  Maybe I’ll write a best seller – then work from home on my next one.  Or I’ll become some awesome freelancer – and everyone will want me to write for them.  Heck, - maybe both! 

Hmm and here I am.  At the beach. My fingers getting cold, the sun gone, the last vestiges of crimson slashing across the sky.   Wishing.   Hoping that first star comes out to make it all right. I can see the moon, so it can’t be far away.   And I’m doing what I always do.  Working out the ending of the story.  Making it ok. Giving myself hope.  Telling myself I need to go back to work – I have unfinished business there.  I need to help someone.  I need to reach out.  Telling myself that I’ll figure it all out. I’ll find a way to do it all.  To get all the pieces of my life together and in harmony. (right down to exercising!) 

I won’t use the word balance.  That’s a dirty word.  It’s impossible.  But I’ll definitely get those balls all up in the air and juggle.  If I practice, I’ll drop less and less of them as time goes on.  And that’s ok by me.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Summer in Retrospect...

Well, here I am almost six weeks into my leave (which was for six weeks) and um.. ahem.. cough.. yeah... I didn't follow through on my incredible workout plan.  In fact,  I  - are you ready?  - I slept in some days.  Really.  Now that in itself is a miracle, but the kids just seemed to cooperate.  I found my older son in his room playing Leapster quietly in bed. My little one - he was on his bed (which is a huge novelty to him since we transitioned him into a toddler bed a few weeks ago) reading his books!  While I slept.  Seriously.  I had to look for pods - you know, just in case.

I've had an amazing time off - we didn't do all the things I thought I would - but I've rearranged my home some, cleared out a shed, spent days redoing my oldest's bedroom (with an eye in the plan for it to become a shared room when the little man is old enough to join the big one - thus putting me into a room of my own for crafting/writing and dreaming -  mwa ha ha... um.. that was my evil laugh, sorry, got carried away for a moment)

I've played, laid about, cuddled, kissed and loved my wee men, gone away all by myself, done some writing, built a huge playground in the backyard (OK, that one had LOTS of help from the best friends and family EVER) entered a few contests, written my first review and giveaway, given lots of thought to my writing project that I'm taking to the Surrey International Writer's Conference this year, and well, ENJOYED myself.  I have to say, it's been good for me. 

I haven't lost any weight - BUT I haven't gained any. I think I've figured out the maintenance part, at least.  I'll get back on track - I have yoga at work starting next week, still have a pass for the local studio to use up, got another for a studio my sister and I want to try out, have my Total Body Revolution package, two feet for walking on nice days, and a whole lot of want to meet my goal in this part of my life by year's end (29lbs to go)

And I'm writing - I love writing.  I brings me joy and makes me feel alive in so many ways.  I love to share all this stuff in my head (and oh, the characters - really one can only keep so many people up there, you know?  They want out!)

And did I mention I'm with my kids?   Things all change come fall.  It's going to be a huge transition for us - Kindergarten!  School.  OMG!  I can see the tears now as we move from my oldest going to my parents to a before/after care and full day Kindergarten.  Big sobbing ones, floods of tears.. um.. probably all mine and done alone as I don't want to scare my big boy.  Yep, I'm off the first week of school.  Bit hard to be helping others at work when one is all a mess.
And now you know...  where I'm at, where I've been and what's coming.  Sort of.  I'm looking forward to getting back on track, and sad to leave this unscheduled, lovely moment in time behind.   I'm sure that I'll have lots of motivating stuff to excite you - so stay tuned.  After all, no matter what we have coming - it's all one big adventure and sharing it is half the fun!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My First Giveaway! "Listen to Me Please" by Ava Parnass & Dr. Ron Taffel

When I received an email asking if I would like to review the book “Listen to Me Please” by Ava Parnass RN, MSN, CS & Dr. Ron Taffel the timing was perfect.   After being home with the kids for a couple of weeks, they were wearing on me – and time outs and frustration were the name of the game that day.

Listen to Me Please Time in Not Time Out  is a great book that helps children to describe how they are feeling and opens the door to discussion about it.  It helps them express themselves through its pictures so that they can make themselves understood.  So instead of a frustrated child, you have one that feels heard.  (especially nice when they are younger and just don’t have the words to put to how they feel right when you ask them)

The idea is to find quiet time to sit down together and look through the book’s 15 pictures. There are conversation starters and plenty of parenting tips provided.    Giving your child the opportunity to share the picture that describes their day, allows you time to sit together and discuss it. If your child cannot choose one, you can help by finding one that fits in with how the day has gone (i.e. learning to play nicely together – one I think fits here at home after a day of sibling rivalry)

In our lives, there isn’t always a lot of time to just sit down and be – to really connect with our kids.  We’re so busy trying to keep up with the craziness that sometimes these special and important moments get left out.  And we all need them – both us and the kids.  I like how this is acknowledged and how the book isn’t just for kids – it’s a tool for parents, too.  And in my overwhelming world, I love that it gives me tips to make positive changes in myself.  That kind of fits in with my philosophy this year so it’s right on the mark for me.  Being a better parent is always a good thing!

Overall, I’m really pleased with the book.  The boys like it, too.  My four year old likes to share with me and the book is really helpful for chatting about his day. (heard at the dinner table this week..."so Mom, how was your day?" said very seriously and with great attentiveness to my answer)  My two year old likes to tell me about the pictures – he’s a bit young for the intent, but he’s getting there. They like the drawings and I like the intent.

For More information on this book and how to purchase it (as well as other books and great kids songs) – go to http://www.listentomeplease.com/

And thanks to the generosity of Ms. Ava Parnass, I have a digital copy of the book  Listen to Me Please and a bonus song to give away to one of my readers!  Here’s how:

Mandatory Entry:  Leave a comment below to share why you’d love to have this book

Optional Entries:

  • Follow me on Twitter @rjdoghouse and  tweet the following (2X daily) -  leave a comment with link for each tweet

 Enter to Win the children's book Listen to Me Please by Ava Parnass from @rjdoghouse & @listentomepleas http://tinyurl.com/3btg8lt (8/21)

  • Follow my blog  publicly through Google Friends Connect and leave a comment

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Ends 08/21  (August 21, 2011)

Good Luck!!! J




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