Living a life we love, managing stress and coping with anxiety

So, my first 30 years were the years I didn’t know how to manage my stress. I often felt overwhelmed, suffered from chronic headaches as well as feelings of depression and anxiety. Everything from relationships to money to work to any sort of responsibility would be stressful for me.

Today, I rarely get a headache and now instead of having them caused by emotional stress they are usually brought on by forgetting to eat, too much sun and not enough water or on occasion cheap wine or one too many drinks!

I have recently been really wondering what was so stressful before that isn’t so stressful now? Like seriously I am now responsible for three tiny humans, I should be more stressed. I am realizing though, with life experience you gain confidence, hopefully some coping mechanisms for anxiety and stress and of course the ability to recognize and ask for help.

I think there are a few things for me that lead to stress and the feeling of being out of control.

  • Overwhelm. Always saying yes to everything. With the best intentions but I struggled to set realistic goals.
  • Avoidance. Ignoring issues past or present. Not communicating and afraid to make changes. Avoiding confrontation or difficult conversations.
  • Caring too much about appearances and what others think, instead of prioritizing myself. Doing things to make others happy instead of being true to myself.

I think often people see my blog or even a picture I post or an instagram story and are happy to believe that my life is pretty good and I have it really easy. I agree my life is really good, but a really good life still takes hard work and compromise and everything comes with a price tag. As for having it easy, I think grass is always greener on the other side. We have chosen to try and see the bright side and the best in our situation. It doesn’t always work, but for the most part I think we have created a life we are happy with and really are living our best life.

I have been told “you make it look all sunshine and butterflies”. It has really got me thinking, and it has reminded me that I shouldn’t care what other people think. This is so much easier said then done. It is far from sunshine and butterflies we have lots of challenging moments. However it also has got me thinking about what has changed in my life that I feel less stress than I ever did. The truth is I don’t believe anyone lives a stress free life however I do believe that it is all in how we deal with our stress and choose to live our lives that impact our quality of life.

For me personally a lot of my typical stresses are gone but a lot are gone because of choices and actions I took.

Schedule. First I make a big effort at using our calendar and scheduling in everyone’s stuff (Fraser’s ball, Rowens ABA, kids activities, parties, family social stuff, work, etc). Then when things come up we can check the calendar and try to avoid over scheduling. This sometimes means saying no or prioritizing. It has taken us a while to get to this point but I found we were so busy some days or weeks running from thing to thing that no one was having any fun and I was super stressed. We like to be flexible and plan as we go but having a bit of a schedule to work from has really helped to alleviate stress. This has also helped us to see improvements in the kids behaviour. When they are over scheduled we see more behaviours that we don’t love, which is a good sign to slow things down or take a day off. I also have realized that although I use a calendar and plan ahead, on a busy week it is best to take one day at a time. That has been a huge stress reliever.

Rituals. These are hard to think of but they are things we do to keep peace and order. They feel good to everyone because we know what to expect and they are calming. I have worked really hard at trying to not only have rituals with the kids but for myself. Prior to kids Fraser and I loved being sporadic but now with three kids we see the benefits to having some routine and rituals in our life. For me these rituals include things like journaling, moon circles, using oils, meditation, taking time to work on the farm once a week and girls nights. For the kids some things are our bedtime rituals (bath, reading, talking about our day and what is happening tomorrow, etc), baking with the kids and even our dance parties (which weren’t always popular with Rowen but we found a way to include him). I think these help to feel safe, in control and just regroup without surprises or unknown.

***Side Bar on rituals is that I have just established a plan with the help of my naturopath of a few things to do to try and get back on track and one of her suggestions was setting an hour, 10pm-11pm, where I do the same things every night to prepare for bed. Similar to how we do for our kids bedtime. I love this reminder of how important these rituals are!

Setting Boundaries. This has been something that has been difficult and caused some upset amongst some family but we are learning to set our boundaries. What I am learning about boundaries is that even workplaces and friendships can benefit from boundaries. I love knowing what other people expect and want and when things are clear it eliminates a lot of stress. Setting boundaries often can avoid feeling like you are being taken advantage of or even getting into awkward or difficult situations. Some examples for us of boundaries that were difficult to set but helped eliminate stress were things like limiting our visitors every time we had a new baby, declining some Christmas family activities because it was overwhelming (limiting how much we do right around the holiday), trying to leave Sunday as a family day, and really being clear about how we like the kids being treated and raised.

Practice Self Care. I am really proud of how well Fraser respects this and is really good at acknowledging when I need some me time. He will often notice if I am nearing a breaking point and suggest I go out for some solo time. He also is good at taking time to go work on a project solo or go to ball, just be on his own. I wouldn’t have ever believed this would take persuasion as I have always been great at self care. However once you have kids things change it is almost like I feel guilty sometimes taking time for me. I do think the more you practice self care the easier it gets because you realize you come back refreshed and ready to take more on!

Self care for me is often taking time away from the family and doing some of my rituals. Self care is even something as simple as working outside of the house, its funny to say that but having three young kiddos has meant we made the choice to have me at home. It was a team decision and a lot of it was it just made financial sense but it was also logistically for the lifestyle we wanted (kids activities, Fraser and I being able to see each other, parent participation in things, etc) that it made sense for us. As nice as it is that I am able to stay at home we both know it would be nice if I could work a little, unfortunately working a little means hiring some more help, having Fraser help out a bit and just more scheduling… I realize that self care is a priority and we make it work but it is a bit of work to take the time for me.

I think that you do not have to eat the same meals every Monday night, do the same thing every Tuesday morning, etc to create routines in your life. I know my resistance to creating these healthy habits was loosing spontaneity but that isn’t true at all. These are just ways to help manage stress and anxiety. Everyone is different and sometimes it takes a bit to figure out what will work for you but I encourage you to try. Often we know what we need to do but we just need a push to get there so whatever that push looks like for you… maybe it’s having an accountability partner, hiring a coach, seeing your naturopath or maybe its as simple as a checklist. Whatever it looks like take the time to do it! Living with less stress and anxiety usually means you get to live with a whole lot more of other stuff!

Create a life you don’t need a vacation from.

So in all honesty I have what might appear to some as a fairly relaxing life, but here is thing about relaxation it is different for everyone. I may not have to be at a paying job everyday and that might seem relaxing but I still have commitments and I still have doubts or moments of self doubt.

I am an over thinker and a worrier.

I am a planner and I am an organizer who wants everything to go a certain way.

I also suffer from anxiety and care what other people think even though deep down I don’t think it should matter.

I feel like I hear “Relax Carly” a lot or at least I used to and it never bothered me, I would try all my usual things (rescue remedy spray, yoga, eating properly, drinking water, going to bed early) but I have never felt more relaxed as I do right now. The funny thing is it has taken a little into our vacation to figure this perfect balance between the five of us.

Fraser and I have discussed what can we take from life on vacation and apply to everyday life to keep that relaxed feeling going. We discovered for us the reason we could just let go and have fun was because we didn’t have obligations, and I don’t just mean work I mean activities, school, commitments, social stuff like birthdays and family dinners, even things like cutting the lawn, making sure we went and paid property taxes or utility bills, arranging dentist appointments or cutting the lawn. These things are all obligations and expectations.

On vacation we had no responsibilities. We had to make sure we were fed and kept three tiny humans alive, that’s it. I don’t think we can avoid all commitments and obligations so second best thing is to take small breaks or time outs to relax, or at least this is our plan.

The biggest thing I am learning about relaxation is it looks extremely different to everyone. This is what can be challenging. I feel a lot of what we know or how we relax is learned (mostly from family but I think it could be said it is learned from a young age so anyone who during those years might have had influence on you).

For Fraser relaxing means no rush, no plan, watching TV or staying inside on the couch, etc. For me this can be stressful because we were raised if it was nice you should be outside, there is no reason to have the TV on and that we always had some sort of a plan for the day with a little structure. Sleeping all day or being lazy was rarely a thing we did. So, relaxing to me is still shutting down but it might include a little more structure (like being to the beach by a certain time) or making sure that we are outside everyday if it is nice out.

We both do find relaxation in taking the kids for walks or getting outside for some exercise. Taking time to play and feel no guilt about it. Playing could be jumping on the tramp, building forts or even just tickling and laughing. I really want to make play a priority in our house for all of us.

For our kids relaxing is even different again, all of our kids find the park relaxing Grace is a swing addict. Like could actually swing all day, but likes to be pushed. Rowen on the other hand likes to be chased, he is a kid who seems to really like to be engaged and kept busy physically. Eleanor is hard to tell yet but I think her most relaxed is being held. If you are calm and just hold her she is so happy and relaxed. Rowen and Grace seem very relaxed with TV Row even more so than Grace (I really dislike this and try to fight it). However what I am learning is if Rowen and Fraser tried to take away my books, writing, time at the spa or time at the beach I wouldn’t like it. So, if TV is one of their ways to relax and shut down then I need to appreciate that. I know it is hard for Fraser to understand how reading or even painting with the kids is relaxing, but I don’t understand how watching you tube is relaxing but that doesn’t mean we both shouldn’t do these things.

I think the biggest thing is to realize that a little relaxation can restart and reset the tone for your whole family. It is not reasonable to think you can just keep taking vacations to escape reality (I would know, I tried to convince Fraser of this plan!). It is however reasonable to find ways to incorporate relaxation or down time. For me that means locking the bathroom door and just taking a 10 minute shower, or putting the kids in the car and going for a bit of a drive or getting outside, going outside to the park or the beach or even the backyard. The dishes and laundry ain’t going anywhere! So I watch for signs that any of us need a little break and then we act on it.

I encourage all of you to take time to relax, give yourself permission and don’t feel guilty. And try not to judge or be mad at your spouse when he or she takes down time. It’s in everyone’s best interest that we do this! This may not look like the spa or yoga it might be zoning out in a garage and listening to music really loud, or playing video games or just lounging and watching you tube. Whatever it looks like make sure you take time to do it;)

I hope you all get to laugh more and take time out to play without guilt.

Mind, Body & Soul…

I have always loved to consider myself spiritual, but I am not sure that I was doing intentional activity to feed my soul. I have lots of beliefs on how to take time for me and to make sure mind, body and soul are all being looked after, but beliefs are different than action. My goal for 2018 is to feed my soul (while still exercising my mind and body… always striving for a bit of balance).

2018 has really started off strong for me and for my family. Fraser has taken a parental leave from work that started December 30th and doesn’t end until February 24th. We left January 16th for a family vacation and are in Maui until February 16th! This has lead to many amazing days as a family, including simple stuff like somehow easily transitioning all three kids into their own beds while on vacation and sleeping almost through the night with no wake ups, successfully bringing 3 kids 3 and under on a plane without any issues, watching the kids swim in our pool and demonstrating lots of what they learnt at their swimming lessons last year, and so much more! But the purpose here is not to go on about all the good things that are happening in my life but instead to share some of how I got to this happy place and what I am planning on doing to stay living this good life!

First, I really like this quote and really believe it. With that in mind I really have tried to remind myself to stay positive and think good thoughts, when in doubt of what is happening adjust my feelings/ attitude and see what I attract and of course imagine possibilities and they will happen (manifestation/ synchronicity). This is defiantly a belief that I want to keep in mind through out 2018!

I also started off 2018 taking a few risks or doing a few things that scare me!

First I put myself out there with my This Plain Life stuff and participated in a Pop Up Retreat, at this retreat I lead a guided meditation that I was super proud and happy with, I also got to have an oracle card reading, something I have been wanting for a while. I actually enjoyed the reading so much that I bought my first set of cards and have been pulling them when I feel I need one. My very first pull from the set I did three cards and couldn’t even believe how much they fit with where I am with my life and my intentions fro 2018 align with these cards.

Basically Sulis to me represents where I am right now. In Maui, ocean side everyday recharging my battery. I am a water baby, love being on the water, but also in it. I love showering, even my recent spa treatment involved lots of pools, water treatments, Vichy baths etc. I really love this card and think it is completely speaking the truth about where I am right now and what my goal with our vacation is.

Of course sooner than I want to admit we will return back to reality and when we arrive I am thinking of it as my start to the real life of 2018, also it is a new start for our kids with habits and routine. The first week we get home Rowen, Fraser and I will take part in his 3 day private Autism Assessment. I am really looking at Kali as a sign that I need to release my old expectations and desires for Rowen and focus on this new beginning. One that includes support, advice and most importantly ways for Rowen to be successful in all aspects of his life. I loved this card as a reminder that endings aren’t always sad and beginnings are such a great opportunity! With that in mind I look forward to coming home and starting fresh.

Then Ishtar was my final card and couldn’t be more fitting. I have always struggled with boundaries and making sure to love myself and my time and energy. This is something I will always try to work on and definitely have been thinking lots about how I will bring this into 2018 with me. Sometimes we give too much or do things out of guilt or obligation, but Ishtar reminds us that we aren’t truly helping others if we don’t take care of ourselves first. I definitely want to check in when I am doing things and make sure I am doing them for the right reasons and from a good place, I also don’t want to fill my time so full that I miss out on all the little things with my family.

Pulling these cards was another sign for me that these are the types of messages and reminders I want to pay attention to and really work on the power of thoughts. I feel like 2017 was a year full of manifesting lots of really great things that all happened and felt unbelievable. Cannot wait to see what 2018 will bring!

I loved this quote and have used the first month in January as a time of reflection and evaluation… what things excite me? Do I prioritize these things and am I wasting time on stuff that doesn’t excite me??? This has been a good time for me to really think about it. When you are out of your regular environment and all your day to day stuff you get to simplify your life and see what are the things you are missing. It is not often people at our age with young kids take the amount of time we have to do this and I gotta say it has been amazing on some many levels. I can’t wait to see how I can transfer some of the stuff I have loved on vacation back to our home life.

Before I left for holidays the cards that reading I had was messages from my spirit guides and my angels. This was the first card pulled, a message from my spirit guides that a loved one in heaven is there for me whenever I need her and she will leave messages I just have to be open to seeing them. The coolest thing happened the first day we arrived in Maui we are on the beach not even 5 minutes and my son brings us a heart rock saying it was for Nan (my mom). Her sister, my aunt, is the loved one in heaven I assumed is here fro me and my mom loves heart rocks. Not only that we stay at the same place my aunt and uncle spent lots of time at and this beach was where they would often sit. You can’t help but feel that this rock was a message from my aunt!

After an incredible start to 2018 I am feeling full of Synchronicity and to follow this path when we get home a few things I will be doing are

  • Spending more time outside, in nature. Even if the weather isn’t as nice, this is always a struggle for me and for my whole family who love the summer months and tend to hibernate through the winter. However I feel like we are all happier when we are outside and definitely all sleep better when we have been outside!
  • Make time for myself and healthy habits. In tangible ways such as eating healthier and meal prep, but also in spiritual ways such as taking time to meditate or just breath, going to moon circles (so excited to join Goddess Moon Circles New Moon Monthly Circle).
  • Pay attention to little things or coincidences! Find meaning to stuff that I normally am too busy to even notice.

How do you feed your soul? I would love to hear what other people are doing and what you find helps bring you happiness and peace.

Lots planned for 2018, Bring on a New Year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I am not sure about you but I love the idea of a fresh slate and a new start, nothing is better than reflecting on the last year and all that you have (or have not) done… and then feeling like you have a whole year to work with. It’s inspiring and allows for dreaming and scheming and planing and most importantly it allows for action. Obviously you can take action and change your life at any point but the start of a New Year seems like the world grants us permission and asks us to act!

With that in mind I have big dreams and hopes for 2018. 2017 was incredible personally for our family and I loved reflecting on such an amazing year. Knowing how great it was I want to keep the momentum going, plus 2017 was a year for family and although my family will always be my main focus I am hoping to spend a bit of 2018 focused on myself and self growth as well as taking time to do stuff for me and maybe exploring some different things I have always wanted to do! It is time to take a few risks and see how it goes.

The first thing I am trying is something I have been curious about for a while and have really wanted to take part in. A group of 4 of us have teamed up to offer monthly Moon Circles. Our goal is to meet up on New Moon each month and just take time to rid ourselves of whatever we have been holding onto that is no longer serving us and to set intentions under the new moon. I am new to this whole Moon thing, but to start off the year I plan on doing a bunch of reading and research and learning all about the moons and power of it as well as the power of meeting up with a group of women. The start to my reading is The Red Tent and so far I am totally enjoying it. I have already loved the planning part of our moon circles as it has involved getting together and sharing and learning from three other women whom I love spending time with and are just inspiring to be around. Today we launched our facebook group ( Goddess Moon Circles) and have our first circle planned for January 17th. Please check out the facebook group and event for more information or shoot me an email craeplain@gmail.com.

Basically this is our intro about why we meet and what Goddess Moon Circles are about

Let’s start with, why do we gather? When women gather the power is undeniable, Magic even! Women have been gathering for centuries all over the world, across many different cultures. When women support each other, our spirits heal. We become weak when we feel that we are not enough, we feel jealousy or anger towards each other. This is about emotional well-being, a sense of community among like-hearted women and to bring our dreams and goals to fruition. To create a space where thoughts and ideas, once thought impossible, can be fulfilled. We are here to provide unconditional support. We have the power to heal one another by simply listening. We are in this together.

I love the idea of having a non judgemental place to just come and recharge, I find I get down and want to just hide out at home but when I allow myself to go and be around people who love and support me I always leave feeling better than when I arrived. It’s amazing what power a community or tribe has and I cannot wait to start these moon circles. This year I am about taking risks and manifesting great rewards in terms of family, friendships, financial and of course personal fulfillment. Anyways I hope everyone had a great night celebrating the New Year however you like to, enjoy today as it is the first of what I hope to be a year of many great times! XO from my family to yours.

Real Housewife of A Long Shore Man

I ran in to my mentor, coach and last employer a couple weeks ago. Both of our lives have changed pretty significantly in the last 3 years and we had lots to catch up on. As we were standing there chatting she gave me a huge compliment. She commented that I looked great (always nice to hear but that wasn’t the compliment) and that I didn’t have that over tired/stressed out mom look most moms with babies and young kids have. She then proceeded to say ” You did that, you have made choices to make sure that you are not too stressed or over tired. It is not luck but your choices.”

It totally stuck with me as I sometimes feel mom guilt or compare myself to others without meaning to and then feel bad that I am not your typical mom! However I feel like people see me or us out as a family and say how “Lucky” we are for many different reasons. I don’t think its luck, I think its hard work, compromise and prioritizing. Most times people mean well by the comment but it doesn’t seem quite right as we work hard to have the lifestyle and life that we have.

These pictures below are such an example. I love them but they were done on a super cold day at 6pm, because I had a conference all day and that was the time we could make work. Fraser had worked a graveyard shift only to come home to watch the kids (I had already left for the day so he took over from my sister). When I got home we frantically tried to dress our kids (hence why Rowen isn’t wearing a jacket, he actually wanted no pants or socks. We compromised). And sweet Grace had just gotten up from a nap. The pictures most definitely don’t tell the whole story, but they captured each of us perfectly IMO and I love them. That being said I wish other people knew when they looked at them these pictures were 15 minutes of a crazy day and don’t depict our full story.

Here’s the thing, we intentionally had three kids under the age of three and we knew it was a bit crazy and going to change lots. However, we both knew we still wanted to be individuals, to have time together and with friends to socialize as adults (we started as just the two of us, and we will end up just the two of us again so we want to keep the love alive, and we actually enjoy each other’s company and like spending time together).

I like working, or I at least like being a part of a team of people working towards something (not necessarily work in the traditional sense). However we both decided with the age of our kids and the hours we would both end up working it didn’t make financial or emotional sense for me to go back to my old job. That being said it wasn’t that I could never go back to work just need to get the kids into school. Just another trade off, I love my life and we both made the choice to stay home but I do not have my own income and people don’t look at a mom and see how hard she works, instead they see a lucky kept lady getting to stay home, sleep in, cuddle a baby and shop without paying for it. Trade offs. I do get to do all those things but I also rarely have breakfast (or at least fresh/hot breakfast), often don’t shower until 3 (and over half the time its with a child), have been puked on more times than I care to count, don’t remember the last time I slept without at least one child in my bed or the last time I peed alone and have you ever tried to shop with three kids under three (best budgeting tool ever)?

Here is us on Market Day, we had a babysitter but figured to make it easier on her and better for Eleanor we would bring her for at least part of the day, this was just what was best for the greater good! I loved planning and preparing for the market, Fraser loved getting to create a bit in his workshop and loved seeing me happy and my kids love being at the farm and “helping” on the days before and after the market. It is not easy, but it is rewarding and fun and was such a great day!

I miss the responsibility and independence and accomplishments that come with having a job outside of the home. Obviously this is always an area that will have pros and cons and I love the decision we made for our family but I definitely think it is a hard decision for every family and again it comes at a cost. I do look at a lot of my working friends in envy and with so much pride for what they are doing. The really cool thing for me is I think as a collective group of friends we are able to get the best of all worlds. I am around if anyone needs any help, etc and my friends are around for me to get to jump in on occasion (like at the farm, getting to work and do the market).

I have managed to find things that I can do part time or on contract and still get the feeling of some independence from the family but not have it negatively impact them. Instead all these things I do make me a better me and a better mom! This idea of self care isn’t new to me, it’s something I have always struggled with (I am an all or nothing type of girl but I am totally working on balance). I decided to start this blog, sell doTerra Oils, help train and teach the girls at The Urban Rack (my last job) and even take on some projects/ events like the Christmas Market at the Farm and my girlfriends long table dinner. These things are not making me rich, to be completely honest most of these things end up costing more than they ever make. But money isn’t the only measurement of success and what these things bring to our family in terms of socialization, feeling of community and happiness and fulfilment out weigh any paycheque they are missing.

Fraser is a longshoremen and he works nightshifts by choice (specifically graveyards). This is one of those choices that we make to provide us with our “lucky” life. The trade off for him working at night is a better paycheque (amazing shift differential), more family time, flexibility in taking time off (when you make more at work you can work less!). With these benefits come costs and the cost to us is nighttime’s alone for mom with 3 very young and not great sleepers, sleep deprivation for both of us (especially for Fraser who doesn’t get many hours a day of sleep), early nights (no more wild nights out TIL 2 am, home before the clock strikes 12… especially when you work at 1am). We feel the benefits out weigh the costs and we try to balance it all, so when we find it taking its toll on us Fraser might take some time off, or we just have some lazy home PJ days.

We were able to do a renovation last year and this year we are able to take a month off to go to Maui, some might consider us “lucky” for having such an extended vacation but I look at it as well deserved time to rest. Fraser has many weeks were he works 7 days a week, and on top of his paying night job he is a full time dad, and a part time handy man for our household as well as for all my wild ideas (like setting up a table at our first Christmas Market). There is also all the things you don’t see, like our less than extravagant vehicles that are far from our dream ride (but we have no car payments!), or the fact that I haven’t bought new bras in I’m embarrassed to admit how long or that Fraser’s gum boots have holes in them! I mean we aren’t poor and hard done by but we also make choices and go without a lot of things.

Its funny though both Fraser and I struggle with taking time for ourselves. It’s hard to leave the other parent with three kiddos and not feel a bit of guilt for it. We are good at getting a babysitter. I never feel guilty paying someone to come and be with the kids but leaving the other parent (who willingly signed up for this parenting gig), and doesn’t get paid, is much harder to do. Just because it is hard to do though, doesn’t mean we both shouldn’t still try. Fraser has a much harder time than I do with just popping out and doing something with the guys or just for himself. This will definitely be something we will continue to work on as we both think its important and something I believe will come easier as the kids get a bit older. It does mean our weekends or even days on a motorcycle are few and far between, or drinks with friends or days spent doing nothing by ours selves are not really a reality right now. But the odd time we do get to do some of these the more we appreciate and enjoy it.

I think the reminder in all of this and the lesson is that we make our own luck. Life is life and making it great is up to us. We really do have the power to make life what we want. We wanted chaotic and crazy and knew what we were getting into. The good so outweighs the hard (because it is never bad, its hard). In my opinion anything worthwhile is hard, so stick it out and the benefits are usually way bigger than you can ever imagine. Check in with yourself often and evaluate.

When we are overwhelmed we look at how we can simplify and what is important. We hire our amazing babysitter and take time out just the two of us. Or we try to see when we need a break and encourage each other, sometimes its me needing a nap after a rough night with the kids or Fraser needing to go out to his shop and do whatever it is he does out there:)

I have a large family who has been there when we need them and are always offering help but we certainly don’t have financial or childcare support that we know a lot of young families have. What we do have is creative help, my sister is always offering to take some of the kids or we trade off preschool pick ups which is huge. My mom is always dropping off meals, coming by to hold Eleanor just so I can get a bit done or even taking our laundry and returning it the next day cleaned and folded. These things are HUGE and I am learning to accept the help that is offered. We also recently hired a house cleaner, and I am learning that is a huge help! It took a bit of work (cleaning the house for the cleaners) and then being out of the house for them was a chore with three kids. However coming home to a clean house is always a good feeling for everyone.

I think another thing I am learning since having kids and more life experience is everyone’s life looks great but we see is just the good stuff not the compromises or things they have given up to get the good! It’s easy to envy or to think grass is greener but instead of doing that make a life you love and you will have no reason to feel that way.

What choices have your family made that were difficult? Do you consider yourself “lucky”? Would love to hear from you…

Reflections from last weekend. 


Last weekend I participated in a really cool workshop called “I am Magnetic” with half of my doTerra Oily Housewives team.  Then we had a lazy family morning, attended a 3 year olds birthday party at a farm and I ended my day with an amazing restorative Yin yoga class.  The whole weekend left me feeling inspired and recharged. 

The workshop was fantastic, I loved the messages from it and left feeling super empowered.  I had no expectations going in (well I was hoping for a fabulous day) but it surpassed what I could have even imagined. 

It was so nice to get out and do something to get my mind working outside of family life. What I loved is learning some new things, not just oil related (but it totally tied in doTerra and I loved it). 

The first speakers were a husband and wife team who spoke about releasing trapped emotions and limiting beliefs, following curiosity, and living in alignment with your flow as well as the art of receiving.  They believe you can change your behaviours and actions through repetition, emotional impact and environment and that your past is what determines your limiting beliefs but that we can release these beliefs. I had heard about energy frequencies and about holding space but they explained it and it totally resignated with me.  They said that essential oils might not have measurable properties in them but that the bodies reaction to oils is measurable and that is how we scientifically know they are working. I particularly loved how they gave an example of how smell can connect you to emotion which is how and why I love using essential oils. In their example they say to remember a drink that maybe when you consume it has a memorable impression… now if you were to smell said beverage right now would you have an emotional or even physical reaction?  (I personally thought of tequila!). I just love this example of the impact smell can have on us and our bodies. Good or bad… It was kinda fun when I got home and saw a little energy test, so I took it and this was my energy:


Strange how true that reading of my energy was.  

Then I came home and our doTerra team is doing a really cool book study in combination with the I Am Fabulous book of Essential Oil Blends, I used my “Face your Fears” blend and started to read the second chapter.  This book is so exactly what I need right now and I love how lately just things are falling into place.  It’s like the world knowss what I need and is providing it in huge ways!


Our lazy Sunday ended off this amazing weekend, it included pancakes and watched Moana from the Teepee with blankets and pillows. Then we went as a family to a local farm (Greystone for those from around here) for a friends 3rd Birthday Party. It was so nice to see a lot of our close friends and some people who I just love to hang out with but never get to see, the best part was not just the friends who were all there but the sisters who hosted us at Greystone (Laura of Equine Essentials and her sister Emily of Schoolhouse Farms were the perfect hostess’).  The kids loved it, our Gracie had her dreams come true of riding a “horsie”, she is obsessed with the show Spirit right now and all the horses.  It was such a great weekend!  I love when I can get a combination of me time, little work, seeing friends and family time… which at our busy household is hard to do!

Would love to hear how you spend your weekends and what makes for a great weekend!

Girls Night In

“Choices, life is all about choices” is a common phrase you can often hear my mom saying.  She does make a good point, some choices are simple and have relatively little impact on our life, like what colour socks you wear, it’s a choice with no real life long effects, others are more influential and have a longer lasting impact. Things like how much you drink in a night, the hobbies you choose or the friends you associate with. This is not luck, it is a choice you make.    

I am so proud of the friendships I have cultivated and the people I choose to associate with. Each one of these women represent traits and things that I want for my own life and my kids lives, these are the role models I want to have my kiddos to look up to!  I am blessed to have a tight group of girlfriends, and although we may not see each other as much as we might like we all play pretty big roles in each other’s lives!  We are aunties to each other’s children, mentors, sounding boards, therapists and/or drinking buddies when needed. We are a self made family. 

This weekend we had planned a girls night in, instead of going out we had a catered dinner. Knowing how busy each of us are I took it upon myself to just get it catered and have us all split the bill! This was genius if I do say so, it meant no mess, no dishes, easy clean up and best of all no stress! Just show up.  Newman’s Fine Foods was so great at putting together a beautiful charcuterie platter for us as an appie.   Illuminate Restorante in Tsawwassen was equally accommodating and easy to work with, the best part was the food was delicious.  

I think so often we get wrapped up in making things perfect or not attempting to do something in case we can’t do it well enough. I know I definitely do.  However, with this night I kept reminding myself less is more, it is about the people and getting together not where we have it or what the menu is. So in an effort to simplify and give up a little control I trusted the chef and asked him to design a menu that would be seasonal and work for everyone. He did a great job and I didn’t have to do anything (not even make a decision).  I know maybe this isn’t for everyone or isn’t always possible but the point isn’t get a caterer, it’s don’t get too wrapped up in the details… grab bags of chips and snacks, go to Costco and get some party trays, order pizza. It doesn’t matter just get together!  Make time away from kids and hubbies and share some laughs and fun with your gals:). Nobody cares what your eating (rather what’s in your glass) J/K! 

I had planned a beautiful outdoor evening at one of my favourite spots but the weather prevented it from happening. So, in true friendship fashion one of the gals offered up her barn.  Some of you may wonder why I was hosting a dinner in a barn when I have a beautiful newly renovated home… so many reasons but a big one is this was a night for the girls and we all have roommates ( I actually have 4) AKA hubbies and kids. So the best way to get away for a dinner and enjoy a night of laugher and recharging was to break in our new “clubhouse”. 

The night could not have been more perfect. It was so fun to just sit, enjoy good food, drinks and best of all the company of, as one of the ladies refers to us, “the loves of our lives”. It was a really good reminder no matter how busy you are take time out to spend it with the people that matter to you!  It’s amazing how good it can be for the soul. 

My favourite thing about the evening was actually a little exercise we did ahead of time. I had asked everyone to email one word beside each girlfriends name, when the gals sat down to dinner they had a sheet of paper with 10 beautiful words describing them. We actually went around the table and shared our words, which truly was a highlight.  I have to admit there were many words on those pages that made me proud of my tribe. The best part was the repetition of a few words. One really stood out as I think 7 out of 10 of us had LOYAL down.  I think that says a lot to see the same word given by so many and about so many different woman. 

Another special treat for the night was the party favours. Not only did one of our girlfriends make each of the gals some funny and fabulous wine glasses with hilarious sayings (these will be available at our Christmas Market from Westham Jar Co.) she also had homemade marshmallows and fudge (check out Farmhouse Floral & Gifts, also at our Christmas Market) done up for each of us!  I loved the idea of having some favours so when she suggested it I jumped on board and added a room spray with a custom scent I made with oils that carry certain properties I felt we were all in need of right now!  The reaction was amazing to all of these goodies:)  Check out my instagram if you want my “secret” room spray recipe.  The best part is that we actually have favours still coming as another girlfriend has commissioned a local jewelry designer to make custom friendship bracelets with different stones and charms that hold meaning to her and to us.  This night is really the night that just keeps on giving. 

I can’t forget to mention my favourite gift though, it was something I was a little unsure about at first. I had thought about asking Daph if she could come and snap a couple photos and then wasn’t sure if that was weird.  Like, we aren’t the Kardashians (almost but not quite) and why does a girls night need a photographer?  Plus we all have iPhones right?  First, iphones do not substitute a photographer (see pictures below and you will understand!).  Second, a girls night needs a photographer because how often does Mom get into the pictures?  Not very often in my experience Mom is usually the photographer.  Also how nice is it Sunday morning to wake up and see these beautiful reminders of what a fabulous evening we had.  So Thank You Daphne Lynn Photography (did I mention she will also be at the Christmas Market).  I also was a little worried having a photographer there would maybe ruin the vibe we were going for but I think she was the perfect addition to our party:) 

So, in an effort to remind myself of this night and the feelings I left it with I decided to use this as an opportunity to check in with myself more.  Am I living life with purpose? Do I stay true to my values? It was a good reminder to me that when you give of yourself what you get in return is so much more.  I might have spent a little time putting this together but what these women gave me in return was so far greater!  I woke up the next morning feeling groggy (maybe a little hungover), so loved, so supported, so blessed and energized. It was exactly the check in that I needed.  Whenever you are feeling overwhelmed and like life is too busy what do you do to recharge and gain balance and perspective?  I know what I do and who I go to!  And this was exactly what I needed and when I needed it. 

THANK YOU LADIES!

XO Carly   

Location: Private Farm, Westham Island

Caterer: Newmans Fine Foods & Illuminate Restauranto

Photographer: Daphne Lynne Photographer

Decor: This Plain Life, Westham Jar Co.  And Farmhouse Floral & Gifts

Self Care

 

How often do we schedule in time for ourselves?  I know when I most need it is when we are busiest and that is when it is hardest for me to choose myself over all the other things that I need to get done.  However as a family we are working very hard to prioritize self care for all of our family members.  For us the focus has been around diet and exercise.  So it has meant scheduling in each of our activities and even scheduling in grocery shopping and meal prep.  This has been the game changer, if its on the calendar then we somehow manage to book around it!  Fraser and I sit down each week and schedule our workouts, allowing each other time to go out and get that much needed exercise in.  Plus we meal plan, make a grocery list and then grocery shop and meal prep (typically on a Sunday but doesn’t always work that way).  No person or family is perfect but we are trying to find a way to just make this our new normal!  I used to be able to find every excuse but now we just do it and feel so much better… the results have been incredible.  Both of us have found we have more energy, better and more stable moods, more patience with the kids and overall just happier, plus we both have lost weight (Fraser more than I!).

What stops you from making time to be a better version of yourself?  How can you take care of your family and your responsibilities if you are not taking care of yourself!   We all know what we should do and what makes us feel good but knowing and doing are two different things.  I encourage you to see if you can make a date with yourself this week!

What does self care look like to you?  Sometimes we are so out of practice that we make the time and then don’t know what to do with it, or we think every self care activity is expensive and we cannot afford it, this is so not true… here are some of my favourite suggestions.

  • Go for a walk
  • Take a bath
  • Hit up the gym or even the local pool for a swim
  • Clean (I am a little crazy but sometimes cleaning makes me feel so good)
  • Grab a Starbucks and read a Book
  • Mediate or practice yoga (this doesn have to be at an expensive studio, use YouTube or an app)
  • Paint or colour or draw… I am no artist but sometimes just listening to music and painting feels so relaxing.
  • Write or Journal… not sure where to start how about all the things your thankful for, or a bucket list,

Hope some of these ideas inspire you!  Would love to hear from you and the ways you make time for self care!