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!

Fill your Bucket First

Do you believe in syncronicity? I do. I love how many reoccurring themes I can find when I look for them in my life. The last little bit has been busy, but really nothing different from our normal routine of chaos. I attended two different workshops through the farm, my kids have been on Spring Break, weather is finally starting to warm up, we had a triple baptism for our three kiddos, my youngest daughters birthday party and a family friends funeral just to name a few things. During all these things I noticed a common message, and I think it is important so I thought I would share.

I feel like it is hard to sum up this overall message into one idea but rather a broader goal of living in todays modern world and dealing with all the pressures and obligations. It is about living with anxiety and stress and how you can cope with it. Although the times are different from “when I grew up”. The principles from when we were being raised and from our parents childhood on “how to be happy” have never really changed. If we go back to some of the basics and make time in our busy schedules we might be surprised the impact it would have on our lives. The messages I keep hearing in all the areas of my life are similar and it is go back to the basics, make time and spend energy on the real important stuff and the rest will follow.

My favourite take away was from one of the speakers at a Summit I attended for young farmers. The speaker was a doctor and was speaking on mental health. His message was simple, it was that we all want balance in our lives and stress that our demands outweigh our resources. We don’t have the time and energy to meet all our demands but instead of removing every demand, which isn’t realistic always, we should add things that give us energy. We are so quick to take away the stuff that gives us our energy, it is easy to say we do not have time to eat well, exercise or even sleep but how much more productive are we when we get a good nights sleep.

He even went so far as to compare stats of what our parents and grandparents lives were like. Every decade the human populations looses an hour of sleep so back in the day my Great Grandparents slept an average of 10 hours a night, we are currently at about 6.5 hours per night. Did you know that in Canada approx 25% of meals are eaten in our vehicles and the average length of dinner is 15 minutes compared to our Grandparents who’s meals lasted about 1 hour and 15 minutes. These stats were surprising to me, but not unbelievable.

I feel like it is sad to think that although many things have hugely improved with evolution some things have gone the opposite direction. With all the advancements you would think we should have more free time! It seems like people have less and less time to just enjoy their lives, families, food and all the fun stuff. So here was his list of 10 S’ to help make you happier. The idea of these things is that they have all been shown to increase serotonin and we all know that low serotonin is linked to depression and serotonin levels help to regulate mood. These aren’t opinions but backed by science, I did feel like it was kinda of a cool list.

  • SUCCESS| Think back to a time you were successful or felt successful. Just remembering a successful time makes your serotonin levels increase.
  • SUN| It’s here, so get outside and don’t waste it.
  • SLEEP| Deep sleep, the hours before midnight. Set yourself an alarm and go to bed.
  • SMILING| For real you get a surge of serotonin just by smiling.
  • SPORTS| Doesn’t matter what you do or how good at it you are, just get your heart rate going.
  • SOCIAL| See your friends, hang out in a group. Socialize.
  • STEAK| Eat a high fat diet to feed your brain. The brain is made of 80% fat and 10% protein, feed your brain.
  • SAND| Contact with the earth, feet in sand or soil is grounding and good for you.
  • SEX| You don’t even want to know the stats on this one, it’s sad!
  • SPIRITUALITY| Again doesn’t matter what spirituality just that you have it and you practice it. Practice prayers and gratitude. Gives you meaning and purpose.

Seems simple but I know it isn’t. Do I think if you practice all of this you would never feel sad? No, absolutely not. I do think this idea of taking time to do the things that bring you happiness and fill your bucket is super important. I also think it is what gives you the energy to then be able to face the rest of your life.

I always say to my husband we need to put our own oxygen masks on first before we can help anyone else, when the presenter showed that slide and used that same example I couldn’t believe it. I actually took a pic and sent to my husband right away.

As a mom you learn selflessness and putting others needs before your own like you have never known. However it is easy to use this as an excuse to why you aren’t taking care of yourself. You are not a bad mom, partner, daughter, sister or friend if you put yourself first. Most times it makes you a better mom, partner, daughter, sister and friend. I know anytime I am truly taking care of myself I end up with more energy to do the other stuff I want to do.

Weird to think after two weeks of busy Spring Break and lots of fun with my husband and three kids I am starting off back to school with a bit more enthusiasm and energy. Usually after two busy weeks I am burnt out and exhausted. I think I am trying to keep these reminders and lessons fresh in my mind and practice them daily.

The funeral we recently attended was for a longtime family friend who I have known since childhood. Although the circumstances and situation was heart breaking and I truly believe it is hard to find any good to a loss of life when someone is so young the one thing I loved hearing about was how no matter what he took the time to make others feel heard and important. He went out of his way to do little things for people. I think it was a reminder when your time comes the most remarkable thing you can do is have left this Earth a little better.

I guess we have been spending a little more time than usual at Church as we also recently had all three kids Baptized (that’s a whole other blog post…). Before we could do the Baptism Fraser and I had to attend a nighttime class of sorts to go over the purpose of Baptism and a little 101 on the Catholic faith. It was a good refresher for me and maybe a bit of an eye opener for Fraser but it also was nice to have a little reminder of what Faith can do for people. The priests chat with us was really a reminder that raising kids with a community who has Faith can give you greater meaning to things and can help guide you to live a good ethical life without placing so much importance on material things but instead on the greater good. It just all tied in for me with having just heard that spirituality is important, having experienced a death recently and also a birth in our family and really just wanting to raise good kids. I don’t just mean well behaved but kids who care, and who show others empathy and respect.

So, in summary I am going froward with a grateful heart for all the amazing things and people we have in our lives but also with the reminder of how important it is to take care of myself and make sure to fill my bucket. When I do those things that make me feel whole and good and fulfilled then I can share with others and sharing with others can be as simple as engaging in a meaningful conversation and showing someone you heard them, they matter and you care.

Remember when “I would raise my kids differently”

Becoming a Mom is something I never knew I wanted, if you ask anyone who knows me they will say “remember when you use to say I am never having kids”. I think this has been a good lesson in never say never!

Having kids has changed my life (for the better) and looking through pictures tonight has been a reminder at how quickly it all goes. I remember finding out we were expecting our first baby and the excitement, then the nerves and emotions at being 2 weeks overdue and having to be induced. I cannot go back and these moments went so fast!

Before I had kids I had lots of ideas of what “Good” Moms do. Some of my ideas were

  1. My kids will never sleep in my bed. Co-sleeping is odd and not for us.
  2. My kids will eat at restaurants and sit without an iPad or tablet. They will eat what we are eating (no chicken and fries) and they will sit with us at home until everyone is done.
  3. My kids will always greet everyone. Saying Hello is a lifeskill and it doesn’t matter how old they are they should say Hello.
  4. Bedtime will be at a decent hour and routine (Bath, Book and Bed).
  5. No TV. Family Movie Nights are a treat otherwise no need for TV.
  6. My kids will learn to behave while shopping with me and I will go shopping with them. (Grocery’s, the mall, Home Sense, the nursery). There is no reason you shouldn’t be able to take multiple young kids out shopping with you.
  7. No sweat pants. Stretch clothes are for the gym, I will wear jeans everyday like I did pre kids and I will still buy well made and nice clothes. I will properly launder my clothes, it is easy to hang dry most of your stuff. I love beautiful fabrics and having kids shouldn’t change how I dress.

The list could go on… I mean I cannot believe how many “ideas” I had about life with kids and how my life would be so different from all the people I saw and judged with kids.

Fast forward 3.5 years and 3 little ones later and I have broken every idea I ever had about having kids.

First lesson I learnt is don’t be judgemental or rigid with your thoughts, go in knowing nothing and being open to adapting. I felt like a failure in the beginning literally breaking every thought I had ever had about how to raise a child.

Now I am open to ideas and changing what I thought I would want, I don’t feel like a failure I feel like a person willing to do what it takes to survive. Raising kids is the hardest and most game changing thing I have ever and will ever do. I now know if I can raise these three little ones then I can pretty much do anything. LOL! Okay it sounds extreme but I am pretty sure it is true.

Motherhood is crazy, if you’re a mom you know exactly what I am talking about and if you are not you may not believe it (I wouldn’t have until I experienced it). Before you have your baby life has already changed in inconceivable ways. You grow a tiny human in your body, an alien of sorts. Your skin stretches, you often emotionally are a wreck and physically your body starts to do crazy stuff! This is small potatoes to what comes after the baby arrives!

A baby arrives and I personally I felt like I was going a little loco, this baby was so dependent on me and me only. There was no one else who could feed my baby and that is pretty profound. I think dads play such an important role in children’s lives, at least my babies daddy does. However it is so different from the role of Mom. I try hard not to compare because lots of the Daddy role I wouldn’t want to do but sometimes it is hard not to feel overwhelmed. Babies want their mama’s!

My kids have softened me, taught me patience, and humility, brought me more joy and pride than I could have ever thought possible and shown me what love is as well as what is important in life. They have strengthened any important relationships, as well as helped prioritize relationships that weren’t worth time or effort. They have helped us reevaluate our priorities . They are truly the best gift Fraser and I have ever given each other and they will always be the best collaboration we have ever had. Because of my kids I am a better human being and that is pretty cool.

On Sunday we will celebrate Mother’s Day, but I say celebrate everyday! To all you amazing Mama’s out there keep on raising beautiful humans and don’t forget to give yourself a little credit for all the hard work you are doing. To my own Mom, Thank You! I get it now. XO

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…

3 Fast Years.

When I was pregnant with Rowen Fraser and I would imagine all the possabilities for our first child… Would he or she be confident, social, shy or independent?  We envisioned a child with all sorts of wonderful characteristics, all the best traits and lots of friends and accomplishments. What we didn’t discuss or envision was this child’s struggles or the obstacles they would have to overcome.

I have been worried about our oldest, Rowen, since before he was born (I guess that is what parents do).  Being our first baby every milestone mark comes and you worry.  “Did he get his teeth in the right order, at the right age, can he walk? Does he sleep through the night?  Is he taking a bottle, he’s too old and we need to wean him.”  These are just some of the many thoughts I would over analyze about with Rowen.

Lately the concerns have been hard to explain or list but I was worried that he wasn’t developing as he should!  Then we got a call to come in and meet with the teachers, they had noticed a lot of the same things I have noticed and were impressed by how on top of it I was. Obviously its nice to know you haven’t been over reacting and that you were right to trust your mama bear instinct but it’s also a little upsetting to hear your child isn’t developing typically or that he is already facing more struggles than the average two year old.

I had a friend point out the everyone will struggle or have troubles at one time or another so it isn’t if it’s when? And the sooner it happens the better prepared and equipped you are to deal with life. I love this and totally agree with it. So I am looking at this latest hurdle as an opportunity for growth for myself as a parent and for Rowen as a person, learning skills that will help him through his life.

Funny thing about parenting is, it is nothing like what you expect it to be and it is so hard (and rewarding and amazing).   I think we glamorize parenthood (especially the newborn stage) to be magical and natural.  When in reality parenting is so much more than that… it is challenging, exhausting, trying and so very emotional.

I had images of what my children would be like, personalities, looks and even how they would dress, like a lot of people we said “our children will never do that” or “we will raise them differently”. Before becoming parents we knew it all, now that we have children we know nothing!

My kids refuse to wear the clothes I pick out (a lot of the time they refuse to wear clothes at all), my almost three year old is not even potty trained yet, we co-sleep the majority of the time, we have an iPad for every child and we avoid taking our kids to restaurants (something I swore my kids would do and do well).   Nothing is how I thought it would be. Sometimes I am frustrated that the kids that I have aren’t the kids that I imagined but then I realize they are so much more!

We are just learning as we go with this parenting thing, and really try to make the best decisions we can make. Sometimes we get it wrong and often we are so happy we had three kids , hopefully we get it right for Eleanor! LOL:). Just kidding we hope all three kids turn out okay.

It has been and continues to be a learning curve. Tomorrow I will take Rowen to the paediatrician and start the process of hopefully getting some developmental assessments done. This is good, this is progress and hopeful will give us some tools as to how we can best help Row to succeed.

Next week my oldest and first baby turns 3, and I am not sure how I feel. I remember finding out I was pregnant, going 2 weeks overdue. I remember having an emergency c-section and being up with him through those first few months where everything is new to all of us and we didn’t want to let him cry ever. We have learnt that sometimes he will cry and we can’t prevent it but that’s okay. And that everything with Rowen is new to all of us and that whatever we do it is with the best intentions. Most importantly we celebrate him and who he is and all the things that we love about him.

Next week we will celebrate his birthday his style, at McDonalds with a few friends and cousins (he doesn’t like loud or big groups), he loves French fries and donuts so I will order him a donut cake. Then for dinner we will go to Nans house (as per his request) and have Boston Pizza (his other favourite food besides fries, must be Boston Pizza or Niagara, nothing else compares for him) and then Nan will have a cake she made for him!

I love Birthdays and like to go crazy with parties but I know that isn’t what Rowen would enjoy so this year it was all about him and what he would pick (plus Grace’s birthday is less than a month away so I can always go wild there).

These three kids are by far Fraser and I’s most challenging job/responsibility and greatest achievement. We cant imagine a life without them and are truly trying to live in the moment and enjoy them while they are little because they are growing so fast!

How did your kids surprise you and change you? Can you remember the days before kids (we often try and it seems so long ago)? Was parenting what you expected? I would love to hear what you think about parenting and life with kids…

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!

Breaking a sweat!

It’s funny how you can appear and how you actually feel.  I used to think I appeared confident and together, even more than that I felt confident and outgoing.  I worked in women’s fashion retail and loved the interaction with customers and helping them find clothes that made them feel good.  I thought I understood and empathized with all types of people and that even though at the time I wasn’t a mom I knew how it felt to be tired, have your body change and to not have enough hours in the day (I didn’t have a clue).  I loved my job and was confident with any new hobby I took up (hell I bought myself a Harley, took lessons and then rode with Fraser to Bella Coola on my first big bike trip).

Fast forward to present day, 3 kids later and 3 C-sections in the last 3 years and my confidence is a little rocked.  Parenting is tough and new. As for put together, I am lucky if I am clean… which seriously is my goal each day.  Shower, wear clean clothes and stay clean. Somehow I have become a human towel for all bodily fluids from all three kids as well any food they eat and anything else they find or use (like toothpaste, play doh, dirt, etc).  Gone are the days of beautiful fabrics and expensive clothes, hand washing or hanging to dry everything (and I literally mean everything!  Who puts Hanky Pankys in the dryer, those panties are $25 a pair and require delicate laundering ), or even blow drying my hair and wearing long necklaces and fun earrings.  I have started to do all sorts of things I swore I would never do when I had kids, and I’m fine with it. However, my standards have changed and so has my confidence.

In an effort to embrace a healthier lifestyle, get active and maybe even drop a few LBS and fit back into my beautiful clothes I have joined a gym.  Just joining and having to step into a class was challenging.  Making the choice to get up and out of the house on time is tough, then throw in the fact that it’s to go do intentional exercise (I would much rather be going to the spa or taking an extra hour of uninterrupted sleep), sweat in front of people, and do things that I feel completely out of place doing.  I can’t say I love it but I do think the workouts are amazing, I love the feeling I get after a workout and I love the attitude and energy that both myself and my partner have experienced since we have joined.  He has definitely lost weight and gained confidence, energy and positive attitude. I love what it has done for him and am so proud of his commitment.  I on the other hand have had a different reaction.

I have not yet experienced these benefits. To start I struggle with what to wear to the gym (like is my outfit too tight? will I get too hot? does my top match my runners? why are all runners so colourful now? should I buy runners for practicality or looks?  Will everything stay in place when I’m working out, or will my top flip up, shorts ride up, hair come undone, boobs flop around….) as you can see I probably over analyze a bit, but in the moment these seem like reasonable concerns. Then once I am there it is the issue of where do I stand?  And do I know anyone?  I mean I could go on forever but you definitely get the idea.

Today I had a realization and it was only because an old customer was in my class and she didn’t recognize me at first. I immediately said to her “Oh its because I don’t belong and I am out of place”.  It was a terrible and wrong thing to say but at that moment it was true  Everyone belongs at the gym, it is such an inclusive place.  Plus I am going there to get fit, so the excuse I’m not in good enough shape to go the gym really is like when I say I need to clean before the housecleaners come (defeats the purpose).  After some reflection I realized I need to change my attitude and embrace the gym the way Fraser has.  It is such a welcoming space and the only person that is holding me back is me. I am not myself when I am there and it because I am lacking confidence and so nervous.  It got me thinking about people and their reactions and attitudes depending on surroundings. I definitely consider myself genuine and the same no matter where I am. But since becoming a parent I do notice I am “off” or not myself sometimes depending on what my kids are acting like, who’s watching and how I feel that day.  Its often the same at the gym, because I am stepping outside my comfort zone I am so busy thinking things in my head that I forget to be present and be me.

I had thought if I went to a couple of classes and made it a regular routine I would become more relaxed and comfortable.  But each class is different and I don’t feel like its routine, in fact I love that it’s always dynamic.  I think if I change my attitude about it and embrace that it is a challenge and things that are hard are often the most rewarding I will start to see the benefits that Fraser is experiencing.

The funny thing is it reminds me a lot of being a parent, because in many ways being a parent is a big blow to the confidence.  In the almost 3 years I have been at this parenting gig I have been humbled by my children and learnt selflessness that I never knew possible.  I have also experienced a new level of  self doubt and concern. When I am most true to myself we are all most happy and it is usually in a familiar place (most often at home), with just the five of us (safe, no judgements) and we are just playing and having fun.  As soon as we leave and there are expectations, whether it is my own expectations or expectations from society or peers or family, I start to loose my confidence and my true self.  Reality is we have to leave our comfort bubble and challenge ourselves, so best to figure out the easiest way for you to do that and embrace it.

I am going to try to remember to stay true to me and be myself, even when I am feeling self conscious or like I don’t belong or fit in.   I won’t let my negative thoughts stop me from getting my ass to the gym, because it makes me feel good, gives me energy and shows my kids that fitness is important.  I am really going to work on trying to keep perspective and a sense of humor about things.

How do you overcome fear or self doubt?  Do you stay true to yourself and your character in moments of doubt?  Would love to hear what works for you.