For the love of my apps!

My phone sent me the cruellest of messages this morning as I awoke from my beauty sleep….

And suddenly I was left with a feeling of pure anxiety. I have to delete things…all the things I hold dearly on my phone. Pictures? No I could never – there are too many to go through! How tedious! How will I choose? It’s just too much!

Then, an idea! (You should know that I do my best thinking in the morning). My apps! My iPhone is full of them, and I know for certain I don’t use them all. So as I scrolled through the many, I came across a few I thought I would share with you before I deleted them.

Etsy was the first app I came across. I am not sure if you are familiar with this app, or website, but it’s pretty amazing! People from all over the world (including Snooki – that’s right, the one and only Snooki) have online shops where they can sell their own merchandise. From handmade necklaces to flasks, a custom made t-shirt to a print of anything your heart desires, Etsy is the app for you! It’s a little addicting, which is probably why I should delete it. I mean a girl can only purchase for herself so many personalized pen holders, or a coffee mug that I could probably make myself – but why would I when I have Etsy?! On second thought, this app isn’t going anywhere!

I wasn’t joking – Snooki…or Nicole as she is going by these days…is on Etsy! Full disclosure – I have already purchased something from her!

Flipp was an app that a friend told me about. She is a savvy shopper and loves a good deal. It’s an app that shows you all the flyers in your area. How does this differ from the paper Julia brags about? Well, you simply type in the search for say “sliced cheese” and it shows you which stores have it on sale and compares them! To be honest, with all our readers I have never used this app before other than after I downloaded it…BUT! I like to see it on my homescreen so that way I feel like I am not the lazy person who uses the new and convenient Foodland in town when I could be using my handy Flipp app to compare and contrast different flyers and negotiate like my step-father in law does. So, again, I guess this app stays, because one day I will use it, and it will save me money!

Realtor.ca app was downloaded not that long ago because I was being a nosy neighbour and wanted to know the price of a house for sale in our neighbourhood. Turns out that Cody and I are horrible at appraising houses (scratch realtor off my possible career moves) and we are super cheap! I kept it because I like looking at the possibilities that are out there, as our little two-bedroom house one day will be too small for our family. So, because I am hopeful for the future, this app is staying.

Live Nation was downloaded as I was looking for a country concert to surprise Cody with. Maybe a little Jason Aldean? Or Zac Brown Band? I mean summer isnt summer without a good concert! I thought it would be nice, but with Cody I had to smoothly ask him which weekend he was a available. And thus my surprise was ruined as I am a horrible secret keeper, and he is a really good surprise guesser and the “we don’t need to go to a concert, we need to redo the bathroom” conversation began.

And so, it is with much pleasure that I announce that I deleted that the Live Nation app! Because we don’t need a concert, we need to redo the bathroom (#buzzkill).

I now have enough room on my phone to take 3½ more pictures! Yay me!

~ Jacqui

Surprises of a stay-at-home mom

Before I had children, and knew everything (ha!), I had ideas about what stay-at-home parents did, what their houses looked like, and what their lives looked like. I also knew (ha!) that I’d never, ever become one. Ever. Never.

I went to a fancy university. I got a fancy (read: expensive) degree. I was a smart cookie. I had plans. I had ambitions. I had ideas. And I was stupid.

Fast forward through four pregnancies, three children, and years of being a stay-at-home mom to today, and let me tell you: I knew nothing. And I still know nothing.

I had some surprises when I became a stay-at-home parent and I thought I’d share them with you. So here, without further ado, are the 10 things that shocked the crap out of me when I became a stay-at-home mom:

1. My house will always be messy. If you do some quick math, I’m home from 10 until 3 every day. That’s five hours of prime cleaning time, you would think. But in reality, I do not have ‘free’ time from 10 until 3. I might have maybe 30 minutes of free time, maybe, and those minutes may not come all at once. They might come scattered throughout the day. So, while one would suppose (like I did before I took this gig) that I would have a magazine-worthy house, the fact of the matter is that there will always be floors to sweep, dishes to wash, toys to tidy, furniture to dust, windows to clean, toilets to scrub, and mirrors to shine. Always. It’s a horrible, self-perpetuating system that never ends.

2. The laundry will never be done. In therapy this week I was lamenting about the fact that my house is in constant chaos (see number 1) and that my laundry is never, ever ‘caught up’. One of the therapists (I had the pleasure of two at my last session!) said, “Unless you become nudists, that’s just the way it is.” She’s right. Even while I’m washing clothes, four other people besides myself are wearing clothes. Dirtying clothes is happening while I’m cleaning clothes. It’s just not fair. And it’s my reality.

3. I will not have a plan for every day. Somewhere in my ridiculous head I thought stay-at-home parents had some sort of social engagement calendar, filled with play dates, book clubs, leisurely coffees in shops, walks in the park pushing a  pram, library visits for grown-up books, or trips to the zoo, beach, fill-in-the-name-of-a-cool-place-here. So not the case. In fact, when we have a day where there isn’t a doctor’s appointment, a speech therapy appointment, groceries to fetch or errands to run, it’s blissful. It’s relaxing. It’s so much better than transporting all of the children with all of the things to the place that they’ll most likely destroy.

4. My kids will not do elaborate crafts every day. Or be enrolled in every play group or activity available to little people who aren’t in school. In fact, the moments where these things happen will be magic and the exception, and will be incredible and awesome, but will also be exhausting to coordinate, too expensive if they’re not free, and will wipe out any energy for anything else that week, making us yearn for days of nothing again (see number 3).

5. I will miss going to work. Before my last maternity leave from my last job, I couldn’t wait to stop working. To be at home and not have to get up with an alarm, or get dressed in fancy clothes and wear uncomfortable shoes, and eat lunch at a desk, and deal with the office politics that float in every workplace. But the reality of my day, complete with God-knows-what on my clothes, my hair looking like I’ve been run over by a tornado, and screaming children bouncing on me at 5:30 every. morning. there are some days, shockingly, that I dream of showering, brushing my teeth, going into work with clean, respectable clothing on, having structure to my day, performance reviews that don’t involve shrieking or temper tantrums, and a lunch where no one touches me. Some days having an out-of-the-house job sounds downright dreamy.

6. I will feel trapped sometimes. There seems to be such freedom for people who don’t have to work. But that’s just the thing: even though I don’t go anywhere, I still have to work. And my bosses don’t quit at 5 p.m. or stop sending demands outside of work hours. There are no such things as work hours. And so, some days, when my Monday looks like my Wednesday, which looks like my Saturday, it feels like I’m on a continuous loop with no end and no reprieve. Some days, there is nothing but boundary and restriction in my seemingly freedom-filled day.

7. I will wonder if I made the right decision. It’s a big decision to not return to work, to stay at home, and yet, for us, it was such a short conversation and it was made with very little debate or fuss. Ben and I talked about a few things: money that we would otherwise make, money we’d save if one of us stayed home, his career trajectory being able to recover in his industry versus mine after an extended absence, Lillian’s needs in terms of appointments at the children’s hospital an hour away, speech therapy weekly (at that time), and hearing aid/implant upkeep, and it just made sense: we needed someone to stay home and the person that it would work best for was me. Although logical, some days I wonder if everyone wouldn’t be happier, better off, our bank account less stressed out, if I were to just return to work. Some days.

8. I believe stay-at-home parents should be paid. I didn’t before. Because I didn’t recognize the magnitude of what they were doing and the positive effect they were having on their families by staying home. It’s a luxury in this day to stay home with your children. It shouldn’t have to be. It should be an option every family, whether single-parented or blended or couple-parented should have. It should be something that everyone has access too, not just the very rich. And let me say, we are not the very rich. I don’t know if we should get paid what people think we’re worth (like the infographic below argues), but I do think we should get something to make ends meet a little bit easier.

SAHM salary

No one is paying me this, let me tell you.

9. I don’t eat bon-bons and watch my stories. A little bit of me (okay, a lot a-bit-of-me) thought that stay-at-home parents had days like working people have when they call in sick – daytime TV, naps, lounging around in your pyjamas, eating because you’re bored, reading, playing video games, taking hot baths and going to bed early. Just like people who think having children is like having pets, I was mega-wrong. Even on days that Ben is home or someone is here helping me, my day doesn’t look anything like the sick days I had when I was in school or when we were just married.

10. I will work hard every day to stay present. It sounds like a fantasy, especially to a new mom or dad facing having to return to work: you get to stay home and watch your children grow up. You won’t miss the firsts that working parents might. You won’t miss out on milestones and you’ll have all the answers and know everything about your baby at appointments or when people ask. You’ll know you are your baby’s everything. The hard truth for me is that some days I want to be anywhere but here. That not every day is a monumental day that I give thanks for because I got to witness the first crawl, the first step, the first word, the first poop in the potty. That some days are bad or boring. Some days nothing happens at all, the minutes crawl by, and there is no end to the poop in the potty. Some days suck. But I know that this gift, this luxury, is a once-in-a-lifetime. That our babies will never be this age again, that I will never have this much access again. That I have a gift that Ben does not. That being home is a blessing. And I will work every day, even those crappy ones, to remember that. And I will accept that some days it will be impossible to remember. But most days it will be the thing that gets us through.

~ Julia

Crafty business

I love crafts. I can’t help it!

I don’t always do crafts well, sometimes they come out a bit weird, like this wallet I just did. I got bored of my wallet, so instead of rooting through V.V. Boutique, or the local Goodwill for a wallet that doesn’t have a strange smell, stains, and that I actually like, I decided to rip apart my old wallet and revamp it with ribbons and buttons (strangely two of my favourite things in the world).

I walked around the apartment looking for all my random ribbons, and found lime green, purple, red, and a blue one that I adore the colour of. I grabbed my button stash, hot glue gun, camera, and a knife and headed to the kitchen table to put it together.

This is kind of what the wallet looked like before I ripped the thing apart.

Eclectica Photo

Eclectica Photo

I found a slit in the cardboard that could have a zipper put in and can then be used as another pocket.

Eclectica Photo

Eclectica Photo

However I didn’t want to go that far, and I didn’t want to buy anything for this project. I decided to start with the lime green ribbon, and had to put it in this little slit, which required the knife to slide it in so it could be glued.

Eclectica Photo

Eclectica Photo

And then I glued it to the actual cardboard so that it wouldn’t move, slid the ends in so it was tight against every side and then reinforced everything with a little bit more glue. I burnt the ribbon ends with a lighter so the ribbon wouldn’t run.

Eclectica Photo

Eclectica Photo

Then I repeated the process with the purple.

Eclectica Photo

Eclectica Photo

The red ribbon was quite a bit crumpled, so I set my flat iron to a medium setting and flattened it so it would co-operate, then attached it to the wallet like the first green and purple ribbon, and then repeated with two blue ribbons, and then one last green.

The wallet didn’t feel complete yet. I get a feeling when the craft is done, and it just felt unfinished. So I sorted through my button collection picked my favourites and glued them on. This is the finished product, and it is definitely not one of my bests, but I like the weirdness of it.

Eclectica Photo

Eclectica Photo

It’s nice knowing that no one in the world has a wallet like mine. It’s not the neatest or best looking wallet I have made, but it’s weird and it’s all mine.

~ Andreah

Be mine, first Valentine

My oldest baby, Sophie, will have her very first school Valentine’s Day this Friday. I can not tell you the stress I am having about making sure it’s just right. 

The concept of Valentine’s Day is new for her. Since we weren’t in school for it last year, there was no pressure to make valentines, get a class list, make sure everyone feels loved, talk about the lovefest, stumble on the why we’re having a lovefest… It was so much simpler: get through the day so that Ben and I could cuddle on the couch and go to bed early like the hot married parents we are.

I asked Sophie whether she wanted to buy valentines with Disney Princesses or My Little Pony or Hello Kitty, or whether she wanted to make valentines (which really means me making valentines). She decided we (me) should make them. I asked her what colour hearts she wanted. She’s requested red hearts with a pink inside (oh good). And then I asked if she wanted me to address them or dot out the names of her 26 classmates and 14 extra people she thought of…she said she wanted me to dot them so she can trace the names.

I’m IN LOVE with the idea of all of this. Seriously. I live for crafting and glitter and love and hearts and my baby printing names like nobody’s business.

But the reality is I have to turn all of this

Valentine

into this

40 times by Friday.

We’re going to do 10 a night to spread it out. I think that’s wise. I hope it’s wise. OH MY GOSH WHAT HAVE I GOT MYSELF INTO???

I’ll let you know next week how it went.

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day? I bet it’s way less stressful than what I have planned.

~Julia