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Happy Father’s Day

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To my handsome hunk of a Hubs.

Who doesn’t care that I leave my deodorant by the front door {so I remember to put it on} and grow out pedicures every time I get one done.

Who tolerates me watching The Real Houswives of Everywhere and The Bachelorette.

Who appreciates every meal I set before him, even if it’s frozen pizza for the third night in a row.

Who works so damn hard to provide for our family.

Who slow dances with Bee every time Annie’s Song comes on.

Who carries Bubs in his arms instead of pushing him in the stroller, no matter how far we have to go.

Who keeps me on my toes by being smart and funny and and wonderful and kind, but also frustrating and perplexing at the same time.

Who loves our little unit like a crazy person, deeply and unconditionally, and isn’t afraid to show it wherever and whenever he can.

Who is the best man I ever could have asked to fall in love with and get to marry.  Who totally completes me, regardless of how cheesy it is to say it.  Who has made me a better woman, and helps me get better every single day.

To my handsome hunk of a Hubs.

Thank you for our babies and your love.

All ways.  Always.

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Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

 

Introducing Trisha Hughes for #ASKAMAMA Mondays

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I’m thrilled to introduce the next Mama in the #ASKAMAMA series, food blogger and photographer TRISHA HUGHES!

Trisha authors the blog, Eat Your Beets, where she gets to share her favourite gluten-free, Paleo influenced recipes and her passion for food photography. She also gets to share this passion through her ebook, Eat Pretty Things, a complete how-to guide for people looking to step up their food photography game, and learn how to shoot and style beautiful food of their own.

She loves building her community on Instagram, where she posts real food inspiration and snippets from her daily life, along with occasionally sharing her ways of simplifying life through minimalist fashion.

I’m so excited that Trisha is the next mama on #ASKAMAMA Mondays, and to have her answering your questions!

Now, let’s get started!

If you have a question for Trisha, anything related to food photography or queries on Paleo or gluten-free recipes, or even just how to keep up with a large family of your own – did I mention she has FOUR kids?! – then shoot me an email at iamthemamamantra@gmail.com, post it on social media along with the hashtag #ASKAMAMA, or head on over to my blog iamthemamamantra.com, and fill out the online form.

You can also contact Trisha directly:

Instagram: @goeatyourbeets
Facebook.com/eatyourbeets
Trisha@eatyourbeets.com

Deadline for submissions will be Wednesday, May 13, 2015. So let’s get those questions coming!

#MotherDaughterTag!

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Oh, this was such fun to do.

I’d been seeing the Mother Daughter Tag pop up on YouTube and some other blogs I’d stumbled across, and thought that I absolutely had to get my mom on board to shoot our own!

My mother is a classy lady. But also can take the Mick out of anyone in the room. She’s quick and witty and silly and I knew we’d have a blast.

So naturally when I asked, she said yes!

(We also ended up with a guest! Bubs decided his nap time was OVER, so he joined in for the final few questions!)

Here’s how this, or any other “tag” works:  A series of questions are posed, then each person has to guess what the other’s answer would be.

Easy! And as you can imagine, there’s lots of potential for hilarity.

There are a few different versions of the tag out there, but here are the questions we used:

  • What is my favorite colour?
  • What is my favorite flower?
  • How tall am I?
  • How old am I?
  • Where did I meet my husband?
  • How old was I when I had my ears pierced?
  • If I was an animal, which animal would I be & why?
  • Is my bed currently made or unmade?

Below is the finished product!

We really did have some good laughs while making it! I think the chemistry between moms and daughters are all so special and unique, and seeing your own play out on screen is just so cool. To have this now – this brief moment in time together – saved for posterity, means so much.

And man, I just know it’ll get funnier as the years move on!

I’d highly recommend making your own!

And if you do what are some questions you’d pose to your mother or daughter?

Still Here! Still Pregnant!

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Guys.

Unacceptable, I know.

It has been forever and a day since I’ve blogged, which is something I am in the process of correcting.

Today is just a little note saying “hi!  Don’t forget about me!”  And to update you briefly on a few things, bullet-point styles:

I’m sitting (uncomfortably) at 38 weeks + 2 days pregnant.  Which, if you remember from my 34-week pregnancy update, is just outside the cusp of when my midwife predicted I’d go into labour.  Sooooo…. any minute now??  Hello?  Bueller??

– The IKEA dresser is done!  HUZZAH!  It still smells like an IKEA dresser – which is to say, not great – so I have to find a way to make the drawers baby-clothes friendly before I load them up.  Any tips??

– Bee is doing so great.  She’s growing smarter by the second, and just the other day crawled onto my lap, lifted my shirt and screamed at my belly, “BABY!  COME OUT NOW!”  I wonder where she got that from… heh…

– We’re getting a new car!  Upgrading our Forester to a new model that is super safe and will make me much more comfortable in when driving around 2 small children, especially with a potentially crazy winter looming….

– During this writers block funk, I have actually done a bit of writing!  PercyVites, a super fun website that allows you and your child to create 3D video greetings, recently asked me to contribute a piece to their blog, PercyViews!  My first time contributing to another site!!  I had to do it!  And of course I had to think of something that was relevant to my life at the moment, so I wrote a short bit on preparing your toddler for the new baby!  Here’s the link, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it 🙂

– In not so exciting news now: we had a bit of a scare.  Again.  At my 37-week positioning ultrasound last Friday, to make sure that Pelé is head down – the tech picked up that my amniotic fluid levels were on the very low side of normal.  Still within the normal range, but just kinda super low.  UGH.  Since then I have had two other scans, the first measured the levels the same as the previous one.  Which, my midwife said, would mean if it dropped any lower, would mean I would have to be induced.  Totally not on my birth plan.  But thankfully, yesterday’s showed that the levels had gone up!  I have no clue why or how that happened, but it means no induction!  Well, for now.  I go back next week for a follow-up ultrasound to make sure they haven’t dropped again…. but I’m really hoping I have this kid on my own before then.

– I’ve decided to put #ASKAMAMA Monday on a bit of a hiatus as we prepare for this baby to arrive.  I LOVE doing them – it’s so much fun getting to know different Mamas and seeing what kind of questions come in for them to tackle – and having a soft deadline for myself has been really great for my spirits.  Being a SAHM has been something I’ve struggled with a bit, so pushing myself to get the videos out every Monday has made me feel really good.  Even though, yes, I know I still owe you all the last from Kat Armstrong!   And I am slowly working on it!  Unfortunately this writing funk has spilled over into an editing funk, but I’m working on it!  I really am!!

So, yep.  That’s about it for now!  I’m starting to feel the tingles back in my fingers, and will be back on this bandwagon for reals, real soon.

And in the meantime, here’s a super cute picture of Bee givin’ the bump some love for you all to enjoy.

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A Bit About Today & My PPD.

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I felt strange waking up to a world with no Robin Williams.

Strange in the sense that I felt… off.  Slightly unbalanced.

I left my phone at home when taking Bee to daycare.

I crossed to the wrong side of the street, twice.

Got on the wrong subway.

Forgot to put on deodorant.

I’ve been lost in thought since hearing the news.

I wouldn’t say I was a huge fan of his.  I definitely appreciated his talent; I enjoyed countless numbers of his films.  I always liked watching him in interviews, his unpredictability always kept me on my toes, “what’s he going to do/say next??”

But it was this unpredictability though that also disturbed me, slightly.  It was common knowledge amongst people who read celebrity news that he struggled with depression and addiction.  So when watching him, watching all that manic and sweat on television, I often wondered if it was one of those demons driving his actions….

Depression is an unpredictable and scary thing.  Addiction too, I’m sure.  But what I know about, what I can speak of, is depression.

After Bee’s birth, I struggled from postpartum depression.

“Struggled,” past tense.  No.

Since Bee’s birth, I have been struggling with postpartum depression.

I’ve become pretty good at hiding it from people outside my close “circle”… meaning basically, anyone other than my husband (my circle is pretty small these days).

It’s a selfish thing, depression.  But an uncontrollable selfishness – until you’re ready to admit the darkness is there, you can’t really help it.

Once I admitted there was a problem and started to step back out into the light, I began to realize just how selfish a disease it is.  My incredible husband – who had been taking the brunt of all my pain – helped me, guided me, stayed with me… he let me do all the things I needed to do until I was able to call out for help.  He knew I would get there eventually, but through all the hard times… he saw me at my worst.  And had to deal with it on his own.  Had to process that he had a wife who was going through this awfulness, and had to wait it out until I was ready.

Ready to start to try and come back.

It’s been a process, that’s for sure.  With the help of professionals and various therapeutic techniques – techniques I can utilize after Pelé arrives – I feel a lot more like myself than I have in many, many months.

Thankfully – luckily – I never had any thoughts of harming Bee.  Even in my deepest, darkest hours, it never crossed my mind to punish her in any way.

But in those hours, when things are bleak and your body is numb and raging all at once, that’s when the scary, unpredictable thoughts creep in.  Thoughts of harming myself.  Of wondering if everyone would just be better off if I just wasn’t around….

I don’t have those thoughts anymore.  They’re all gone, with most of the darkness – but like I said, it’s a process.

Today, I was lost in the thought that he felt he couldn’t go any further.  He had to end the pain and the fear.  And I’m consumed by the thought that his poor family, who watched him struggle and suffer and bounce in and out of those dark hours for years, don’t have him to laugh with anymore.

The world doesn’t have him to laugh with anymore.

I just… feel so sad.  Sad that he ended it all.

Ugh.

I didn’t know what to do today, to shake these thoughts from my mind.  So, I did what I normally do when I need to refocus: I did shit.  I just did shit around the house that needed to be done, that I found worth in and that made me smile.

I washed a whole bunch of baby clothes and folded them nicely, now ready to be put in the IKEA dresser (once it’s built…eeep).

I did a bit of rearranging, and felt really good about it all.

I listened to music and sang and danced around, and slowly, all the thoughts – Robin Williams, depression, darkness, sadness – left my mind.

But… Robin Williams is gone.

This horrible, killer of a disease took him.  From his family, his friends, his fans.

I hope, more than anything, that his family can find solace somehow in knowing his pain, his struggles, his demons are gone.  And that they can go forward, not thinking about the times they had to watch him suffer, but basking in the laughter and love he brought to them and millions of people around the world.

And I pray to all the Gods that he is at peace where he is.

And tonight, as Bee sleeps soundly, I’m going to revel in my peace, too.

…and probably eat a cookie or two.

Anyone in Ottawa This Weekend? Social Capital Conference Ticket Giveaway!

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I had big plans, guys.

Hubs, Bee and I were going to drive to Ottawa this Friday night, stay over with my sister and brother in law, then on Saturday the 26th I would spend the day at Algonquin College attending the Social Capital conference while the others wandered our great capital city.

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If you’re not familiar with SOCAP and what the conference is about, here’s a bit of info, taken directly from their site:

“The conference blends formal presentations with community/un-conference style sessions on topics ranging from Twitter to LinkedIn, the technical details of self-hosting a blog to the how-tos of personal branding, and online community building to social media in the workplace.

With countless opportunities for networking and learning, Social Capital will be the perfect destination for all who are interested in social media, be it for personal or business reasons, for the beginner or the expert, to come together and learn from each other. Attendees will leave with new skills to implement and a larger social network than they walked in with.”

I’d recently taken up a new interest in social media, community building and learning how to create good content, which is exactly what this one-day conference sets out to teach.  It was perfect.

And, okay.  The best part may have been that Hubs booked a hotel room for me for that night, so I could eat room service in a fluffy robe, watch crappy HD TV and absorb all I learned from the day then sleep soundly in a king-sized bed, toddler-free.

TODDLER.  FREE.

It was going to be a weekend for the books, I tell you.

But, here’s the thing:

Months ago, when booking the conference, I thought, “July 26!  Right in the middle of summer – the weather will be great, I won’t be too pregnant, and we get to see Jay and Chris!  It’s meant to be!  But… how come I feel like I know this date, though….. hmmmm…”

Ignoring that last, niggling thought for months, I continued to build on my excitement to go.

But as the date crept closer, that feeling of knowing that date – July 26 – got stronger and stronger, until one day just a couple of weeks ago, out of the blue, it hit me:

MY NIECE’S FIRST BIRTHDAY.

Oh.  My.  God.

And just like that, my perfect, learning-filled weekend went up in a puff of smoke.  Because there is no WAY I could ever miss C’s first birthday.  Not even an option.  Not even a thought, nor a breath.  

Alas, the hotel room was cancelled, my in-laws were sadly informed we could no longer visit, and I emailed the conference to tell them I could no longer attend, and to see whether or not I would be refunded.

Short answer: Nope.

Which sucks, of course.  I hate the thought of having this ticket go to waste….

Enter my fabulous, linear thinking friend Kat Inokai!  She urged me to turn my misfortune into an opportunity for one of you Good Readers!

Hence, the 2014 Social Capital Ticket Giveaway!

Here are some links to the conference – check it out to see if it’s for you, and if you have an interest in all things social media, and if you are in/can get to the Ottawa area this Saturday, July 26th, this giveaway is for you!

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE

LIST OF SPEAKERS

AGENDA FOR THE DAY

All you have to do to enter is like my Facebook page, or start following me on either Twitter or Instagram (my IG account is currently private, so just send a request and I’ll add you 🙂 ).

On Thursday, if I have any people interested (eeek), I’ll enter their names in a random picker and inform the winner that evening!

Yes, it’s super last minute.  And yes, I know it’s possible I won’t have any bites!  But I thought I’d put it out there just in case – hopefully someone will be able to attend this fun conference and learn lots and make amazing connections and go on to take over the world like I was planning on doing…..

Or, you know, just enjoy themselves!

Good luck!

 

“‘Dear Stuart’, Writes Beth.”

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My last #ThrowbackThursday post was about a letter my husband and I received from a stranger years ago, observing how much we were in love and thanking us for reminding her of what that’s like.

It’s a story that is incredibly close to our hearts, and for a long time I didn’t want to share it with anyone, let alone everyone who would stumble across it in Blogland.  We told family and close friends, but really wanted to keep it just for us.

I’d been thinking about that letter a lot over the last few months, about how every time I pull it out of the box and read it, I’m overwhelmed with, as the writer says, “such depth of emotion”, that I finally decided it was time to tell it to the world so others could find the magic in it, too.

But before I posted it those few weeks back, before I threw open the floodgates of that memory and hit “Publish”, I told one other person outside of our circle.  One other person, who I thought would appreciate it as much as we did.

That person was Stuart McLean.

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I’ve been listening to his CBC program, The Vinyl Cafe, on-and-off for years.  I remember listening to it on the floor of my parent’s living room, lying next to the speakers and laughing along to the Dave and Morley stories with my father.  The two of us even went to his Christmas Concert one year and got to hear Stuart, live and in person, tell the famous “Dave & The Turkey” tale.

I didn’t listen much during my vagabond years, if at all… but then again I didn’t have time for much, other than travelling and eating and drinking my way around the globe.  Radio and television weren’t a necessity, so they fell to the side.

When I settled back in Toronto though, and especially after having Bee, I began to tune in religiously again.  I’d spend lazy afternoons cooking, wearing Bee in the Ergo and listening to Stuart on the radio.  It quickly became my favourite routine, and I still find time to enjoy the tradition at least one evening a week.

Stuart writes how I want to write.  And he tells stories the way I hope to tell stories one day.  His voice is calming and engaging, always sounding like an old friend.  In fact, that’s just how I think of him, as a friend.

One afternoon in January, I sent the email in as a submission for the Story Exchange  – a segment on the program where listeners write in with their stories –  thinking it was a long shot it would get read at all, let alone on the radio.  But something compelled me to send it anyway – maybe putting it out in the universe would give me the courage to finally post it on the blog, which I eventually did.

So imagine my surprise when in late-January, I received this email from Louise Curtis, producer of the Vinyl Cafe:

Dear Beth,

Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story with us.  We all loved it! 

We will certainly do our best to find a spot for it on the show and we will let you know in advance if it will be heard on air.  

Louise Curtis
Story Exchange Producer
The Vinyl Cafe

 

And then imagine my even BIGGER surprise, when I received the following email just last week:

 

Hi Beth,

 

I am delighted to be able to let you know that Stuart McLean read your story on the Vinyl Cafe Story Exchange.

 

That show will air the weekend of April 26th.   I hope you are able to tune in at one of the following times:

 

  • Saturdays at 9:05 AM across Canada (Radio Two)
  • Sundays at 12:05 PM across Canada (Radio One)
  • Tuesdays at 11:05 PM across Canada (Radio One)

It’s such a great story.  I hope you enjoy hearing it on national radio!

Louise

*****

This is one of the greatest achievements of my life, hands down.  After decades of listening to Stuart tell everyone else’s stories, he is now going to tell mine.

I’m going to hear him bring the story to life with his voice – the way I imagined him reading it when I wrote it.

Stuart McLean is going to read our story, about the woman with the perfect silver hair and the letter she wrote us, on the radio.

And I wanted to share the news with all of you, so you can hear him read it, too.

HERE is the link to the Vinyl Cafe podcasts, and as Louise wrote in the email above, the times this weekend are:

  • Saturday, April 26 at 9:05 AM across Canada (Radio Two)
  • Sunday, April 27 at 12:05 PM across Canada (Radio One)
  • Tuesday, April 29 at 11:05 PM across Canada (Radio One)

I hope you can tune in.  I certainly will.