Sunday, November 11, 2012

Todays project.

After the kids went to bed I got bored. So I went on Pinterest... and the next thing you know I am painting. Good grief.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Channelling my inner Chere.

My mom makes fantastic Cabbage Rolls. But only once, maybe twice a year. And my husband loves them, so I thought I should take a stab at it. It was a two day process (I prepped the cabbage on day one with a little technique my mom uses, boil & freeze) but totally worth the work. My house smelled like cabbage, which might be a turn off for some people, but it reminded me of my Grandma Hopaluk. Anyway, I'm happy I made them, but I think the Lazy Mans Cabbage Roll is the way to go for us for now, we'll leave the real Cabbage Rolls to my mom.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Terrible Not Really Tutorial

Here's a link to what I wanted my Alphabet Bean Bags to look like:
Now keep those pretty little bean bags in mind... 

I have to first start out by saying that this was almost a PINSTROSITY for me. Almost.
I started hand cutting the fabric letters from a pile of scraps one night while scrapbooking with friends. My scrapbook mojo is MIA so I thought I could fall back on sewing, not so. The letters are uneven and even illegible sometimes. Irregardless, I carried on.

I backed each fabric Pinstrosity with Pellon (an iron-on fabric adhesive), believe it or not I had a roll of this sitting around my house (one benefit to being a hoarder!).

I ironed the letters onto 5" muslin squares. I also cut 26 fabric squares from scraps. I did this at about 11pm and let me tell you, about 5% of them were straight.  

This tiny little stack of fabric is all I had to show from about 8 hours of work (4 to cut the letters & squares, another 4 to back them & press them to set). By this time it was Day 2 and 112 pm once again. But Brian was deep into a marathon of the Good Guys (a cute little cop show starring Colin Hanks. I love Colin Hanks. He is like a cute little miniature version of his dad. It must be frustrating for him to look, sound like & have the same mannerisms as him... but I love it. Anyway, it's s cute show, starring an almost Tom Hanks.) so I decided to finish the project.

And just so you know, rice is deceiving. And a 13kg bag is much too much. You could grab a 2.5 kg bag for 26 bean bags. I don't really know what I was thinking, but if anyone wants to come over for Pad Thai, I will be serving it for dinner for the next 55 nights. 

I sewed the bags on three sides, scooped in the rice (about 1.5 cups each) and then sewed the fourth side. To save time a friend suggested I cut the edges with pinking shears rather than turn the bags inside out & try to hide the hole. She is clearly a genius. And also must have known I would be up at 12:30am sewing them shut. 

I finished at about 1am. That's not really late for me (I usually go to bed around 2. It's 12:30 right now & I'm nowhere near ready). Much like my mom I operate on about 5-6 hours of sleep... until August when I sleep for 10 hours a night while at the cabin & catch up for the year (total true. totally unhealthy.). I was happy to be done (the OCD part of me could finally rest) and although they were time consuming, they were actually pretty cheap. I used scraps (about $4 worth) and rice (another $4). I think the Pellon is fairly cheap too. 

My finished project. Not quite a Pinstrosity, but not nearly as cute as the picture I pinned. 

The kids love them. We have a couple different games we invented. Miles likes it when I yell out a letter & then we gets to throw it across the room aiming for a bucket. He knows about half the letters, I imagine he'll have nailed the other half very soon.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A One-Woman Pinterest Machine

I'm tackling Pinterest projects left, right & centre. I am going a bit stir crazy. This always happens to me in the first couple weeks of winter weather. It will wear off & I will be back to being a non-super hero mom. But for now, I am giving Martha a run for her money (well, unless I lose points for the neglected housework, sweatpant fashion statement & matted hair).

So happy with the way these Scrap Monsters turned out. Oh, except that molly hates hers, she threw it out of her bed & then later stuffed it under the crib. It's still there. Poor little unappreciated guy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cold Climate Moms

Day 1

Day 2

Can you guess what Day 3 will look like?

Moms in cold climates have a tough job. Don't get me wrong, being a mom anywhere is a difficult, all-emcompassing job, but Moms in cold climates face challenges that most warm-climate moms can't possibly imagine. Living in Canada, I get to be a warm-climate mom for 4 months of the year, during the other 8 months of the year I long for the days when the only additional worry I have is remembering sunscreen & hats. 

Challenge #1 - The +20. I call challenge #1 the "Plus Twenty". In June if it took you 15 minutes to get out the door, in October it takes you 35. Before you even leave the house you will spend +20 searching for socks, mittens & hats. You will do up jackets & snowpants and then you will take them back off just before you head out the door so someone can go pee. It doesn't matter how much experience as a cold climate (CC) mom you have, it doesn't matter how old your kids are, if you don't take +20 to get out the door, you are leaving something behind. In July if it took you 45 minutes to run to the store to grab milk and diapers, in November it will take you over an hour. Without even mentioning winter road conditions & parking lots that have suddenly become half the size you are suddenly +20 pushing a shopping cart across a snow-packed parking lot. Toddlers who slip & slide across the ice are being hauled under your arm as you single-handedly navigate your cart (which has been piled high with blankets, I swear there is a baby under there somewhere). And the minute you hit the heat that is bearing down on the front door, that sweet little toddler has stripped off her hats & mittens. The problem with a +20 is that even though you have had them your whole life (even before having kids) if you accumulate too many, your day is ruined. Gone are the days when a +20 meant setting your alarm 20 minutes early so you could start your car & scrape the windows... here are the days when a +20 means reshoveling a walkway that the little ones built a snowman in the middle of... and that's just the beginning.

Challenge #2 - The Front Door Fight. They have begged you to go outside since they woke up to a fresh coat of snow. And yet the moment you utter the words "Put your foot in here..." as you motion towards the snowpants there will be a fight. "I'm itchy" and "These are too tight" are followed moans & groans "I'm too hot". And from what I can see it doesn't get better with age... I have considered stopping to ask the "To Cool for School" teen-ager why she is carrying her jacket when it's -15 degrees Celsius outside or where the boots that her mother bought her are. 

 Challenge #3 - Winter puts the X in exercise. There are only so many days I can spend at indoor playground, no matter how much my kids love it. I think my personal maximum is 2 days a week. Expensive snacks, screaming kids & the fact that you aren't getting anything else done other than updating your facebook status makes the indoor play centre a last resort. I try not to even mention it until January & only on days -15 degrees or colder. The super mom I was in the spring, the one whose children got at least 2 hours of exercise each day has gone into hibernation. Don't wake her, she'll be grumpy. There's  the guilt of knowing that your kids have been cooped up inside all day, but even worse, there's the insanity. And after 30 minutes of screaming kids running laps around the kitchen island, I am on my last nerve. Some urban hipster mummas might be able to convince their kids to take up yoga or tai-chi but for those of us who rely on kids who play outdoors (you know, the old fashioned way) a cold spell can be excruciating. I am starting to understand how CC moms can get caught up overwhelming their kids with activities & full schedules. Would it be better to go insane driving the mom taxi to ballet, hockey, gymnastics and swimming or to go insane from the chaos of pent up energy in your little ones accompanied by a big slice of guilt?

Challenge #4 - Let me Entertain You. I'm a crafty mom. And I like to bake with my kids. But even with a full Pinterest board I struggle to keep my kids entertained during a cold-spell. For starters, I don't believe it's my job. When I was a kid, if I complained I was bored I was told "That's not my problem" or "I have plenty of things you can do" (and most of them were chores, and none of them were things I wanted to do). But in a world where kids are entertained 24/7, they've become complacent. In having everything, they have stopped using their imaginations to create the things they don't have. I don't want to spend my winters (or money) stocking up on new toys, they have enough. And I can't (although sometimes I would like to) spend every day playing Barbies or Dinosaurs with them. And I refuse to allow the TV to be playing in the background all day long, just to fill the void. So what then? What happens when I mutter "Go outside and play" only to discover that it's 30 below out there? CC Moms, if they are doing it right, will have to work harder to encourage and allow the development of creative imagination because 1/2 of the healthy options a warm-climate mom has aren't available to us. I said healthy. And everything is healthy in moderation, but let me tell you warm climate moms, that by December 15th most of us CC Moms have used up a moderate amount of Televisions and video games. And there's still 5 more months of winter ahead...

There they are. The four biggest challenges that I face as a CC Mom. Each day I will face at least 2, if not all four of these challenges. And because of that, it has made finding solutions worthwhile. Here's what I have come up with so far (of course I'd love to hear any suggestions you have)

#1. I'm looking to the past for inspiration. It shocks me that homes are now built in Canada without boot rooms. If you don't even know what that is, ask your Grandma. But if you live without a space (like I do) at your backdoor for boots, coats & mittens and a bench to aide in the process, then you need to make one. And that is what I am working on this winter. Another thing that can't hurt? Mittens on strings. Those moms (with their boot rooms) in the 1950's & 60's were onto something... so I'm going to take the next week and sew all of the kids mittens onto strings.
There are a lot of +20's that you can't do anything about. They are just part of being a CC Mom and living in (an awesome place like) Canada. 

#2. I'm not sure there is much you can do to get a child to love snowpants. Once they are in them, they seem to forget that they are wearing them... it's just the +20 of getting them out the door that is painful. My only tip: Open the door. And while I might freeze my butt off, my kids are much happier if they aren't sweating inside their suits.

#3. I have a rule. And I stick to it. If it's warmer than -15 degrees out there, it's warm enough to play. I didn't invest all that money in winter wear so we could have it hanging in the closet or pull it out during a chinook. The past two days, like every day before, I have kicked the kids out. And when they knock at the door, asking to come inside, I feel their cheeks, change their mittens and send them packing.

#4. I'm working hard at this one because I don't think it happens over night: I am raising kids who can entertain themselves and each other. I have taken time out to 'set up a store' or 'restaurant' in their bedroom. I show them how to role play & use their imagination so that they can continue to do it when I'm not there. As kids, we weren't 'shown' how to use our imaginations, it just happened. But a lot of my kids friends (I'm not blaming any parents here) don't play this way and I noticed that early on. If teh older kids weren't going to teach Miles how to 'pretend' then I would have to. 
But using their imagination isn't enough. There are two more (and probably even more that I dont know about) thing that I think help. 1. I put things at their level. My kids can get crayons, playdoh and lego out themselves. They don't have to ask. 2. I let them make a mess. And sometimes, I even let them move onto the next mess before making them clean up the current on. My kids clean up after themselves, but not while they are playing. That's ridiculous. Yet I see moms doing it all the time. Cleaning-as-you-go is an adult concept, and it limits the creativity that can arise from moving onto a new toy or area. When we were little we would turn the entire basement (even the stairs!) into a Barbie doll village. That was when the best playing got done. If I limit Molly to playing only within her house & only with the toys that are used specifically for Barbies then I limit her ability to play. It's harder than it seems. When I see her pressing play-doh into the Barbie pots & pans. But it's worth it (and yes, I do make her clean it up later) because those playdoh pancakes that my Barbies has for breakfast made the game so much more fun.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

It would make a sad tour.

The other day when I was looking for a video to show a friend, I came to learn just how many scrapbook room tours there are on YouTube. Thousands. I didn't even really know that this was a 'thing'. A scrapbook room tour is exactly what is says, a tour of someone's scrapbook room. I'd like to think that the videos are out there to inspire & create storage solutions but it became apparent after watching a few that they are basically 'brags'. And there's nothing really wrong with that, to some extent all scrapbooking is a little vain. And blogging (at least in the way I do it) most definitely is. Anyway, I was jealous. Jealous of the beautiful (and some not so beautiful) rooms & the lucky ladies who get to slip away to them once they have their little ones tucked in bed. But on another level, I wasn't jealous at all. I use to have a beautiful (albeit not luxurious) scrapbook room. A whole room in my house dedicated to a hobby I had dedicated my career and free-time to. It's not that silly. But when the kids came along & I lost my space, most of my 'stuff' went into storage. And over the past 5 years I have picked at the boxes downstairs until there isn't much left. Most of it has been sold or given away.

This is what is left. This is my scrapbook "room" (corner) tour. Not worth making a video, it was a stretch to even find 6 photos. And after seeing the rooms & rooms full of JUNK in all of those YouTube videos, I have never felt so proud in the culling of my hoard that took place.

The thing is, my hoard had gotten so big that when it came time to use the red polka dot paper I bought 4 years ago, I couldn't even find it. So then, what's the point? I felt overtaken with my supplies. I was ready to give up scrapbooking. Between the supplies & the uncontrollable chaos that was my 'photo supply', I was done. It was all too much effort. And so I quit. Not entirely. I still got together with my girlfriends for the occasional crop, but I sure wasn't scrapbooking at home like I had once.

I remember attending scrapbook conventions where suppliers and retailers alike were worried that they were overwhelming their clients. The most common question I heard in my store was "What's new?" and it broke me. Fabulous items that were just a couple months old were 'old news' and required massive discounts to move. At the massive discounts required it didn't leave much money to buy new stuff to stock the shelves. Yet no supplier or store wanted to be the first one to say "Slow down!" or even "Stop!". It wasn't enough to stock a camping line, you had to have 4 or 5. And it created a vicious circle because even though you didn't want to, or couldn't afford it, the consumers came to expect it. But even avid campers can't use 5 different lines of camping paper seasonally. But they (myself included) were buying it. With fury. At Christmas time I bought no less than 15 different Christmas paper lines. I used my 2 favourites immediately & kept the others in my stash for later, only to buy another dizen next year. At this rate, later would never come. And when it did come (on rare occasions) the paper that I dug out seemed old & outdated. 

It was a hard habit to break. If I still had my store, I am not sure I would have. 

I use to be a retailers dream. Even in the years when I owned a store it wasn't uncommon for me to head state-side & drop $400 in 5 different scrapbook store stocking up on all the supplies I hadn't ordered to my store. They weren't good enough to make the cut for my shop but I bought them for my personal supply. It was ludicrous but it never phased me.

These days I have learned my lesson. When sorting through boxes of supplies I realized I could never use it all, nor did I want to. So I got rid of it. And as worried as I was that I might someday need it, that day hasn't come. But what has happened is that it is now much easier for me to scrapbook. I can look in the box labelled 'Christmas' and there are my options. And that is all. One box. And that's more than most have. Unless of course you are looking on YouTube.

Don't get me wrong, I would still jump at the chance to scrapbook in one of those rooms. But if I was overwhelmed with the massive amount of supplies that these women have, then I'd be back to being unproductive. And I am happy with where I am at now.

Last year I cleaned out my mug cupboard to discover I had nearly 50 mugs. I culled and 12 remained. And even then, I haven't had all 12 in use since. 

I have enough stuff to support at least 3 scrapbookers hobbies. Enough paper to cover a house (I would venture to guess). And yet, my scrapbook space would make for a sad scrapbook tour. I'm proud of that.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A psycho in love.

Tonight I finally got my grubby paws on some Cinder & Sage jewellery that I ordered and had my sister pick up for me. (My instagram photo doesn't do the pieces justice so make sure you go check out the page). In case you don't remember a while ago I lost one of my favourite custom-made pieces & I was in tears & hysteria until I found it 3 hours later. It was ridiculous. I was acting like a 3 year-old. I'm not proud of those 5 hours.

Anyway. Because I owned my own business, I appreciate a good-shout out. So here's mine: I love. love. love. love. Cinder & Sage. I love it in a psychotic way. Here's how I know that: A while ago, at the gym, someone complimented one of the pieces I was wearing. And this is what I said "Thanks! My friend Lindsay is a jewellery maker, her company is called Cinder & Sage." And then I proceeded to pull her business card out of my wallet & give it to the girl (who was working at the time). Doesn't sound psycho? Well, what if I told you that I don't know Linsday? She is my sisters friend, not mine. I've met her, but we aren't even Facebook friends. Also, I am the worlds worst sales woman (this was always a problem in my store) and I never feel comfortable telling people what I think they should buy let alone shove a business card in their hand. And yet, for some reason, I want people to discover C&S because it makes me so happy. So happy. In a super materialistic way. Happy. So I find myself going out on a limb to let people know about this cute little company. Anyway, a little while later while I was running on the treadmill (that's a lie, I wasn't running, I was stomping and panting, like a dog) I could see the staff on the computer at the front desk looking on the Cinder & Sage website. And I thought about all the stuff they might be able to order and I was ......... jealous.

Anyway, go support a local artisan. My (unbeknownst to her) 'friend' Lindsay and her beautiful work will be at Market Collective this weekend or you can order online. Now I am off to cruise Pinterest to try & figure out how to wear the hair comb I got. I though this comb might pull me out of my ponytail funk but now I am thinking I am just in over my head... My sisters are kind of girls who 'do' their hair, maybe I'll just show up at their house with my new comb.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Not busy, but occupied.

I dislike the word busy. I've said it before, I know. But it's a smug word. And I don't like to use it.
But then what word do I use for those days, when I really, truly am just that? Occupied? It sounds like I am in an airplane bathroom. Consumed? Well that just sounds like it's out of my control. When in fact it isn't. I have been very busy these past couple days, but at my own hand. Something about the fall is motivating to me. Maybe it's that we are spending more time indoors, but it prompts me to get things done & find projects for myself.

For FUN I am working on making a cute felted garland that I saw on Pinterest (above). It is actually easier (albeit more time consuming & costly) than I thought. It is going to look sooo cute when it's done, it will be worth the effort. 

Out off NECESSITY I am doing a 'deep clean' on my house, cooking with new ingredients (soba noodles!) and attacking the mountains of kids clothing that are taking over my laundry room.

Pretty soon I will sink into the sadness of winter (I mean, I'm not really sad, just more idle and missing summer) so I am trying to make the most of this phase. I will be productive again in the spring, until the busy adventure season of summer starts. I kind of like the dependability of seasons, knowing that in all the winter chaos ( January, February and March seem so long) I can look forward to emerging in the spring, in time to get cleaned up and ready for summer and then land back in autumn again.... where I prep myself for the long winter ahead. And I love it. I look forward to a day of making soup, perogies (new this year!) and  putting some elbow grease into my cleaning.

Happy Autumn Everymom!

Fashionably Thankful

We slipped up to our cabin for the Thanksgiving long-weekend, it's been years since we last were up there at this time of year (I was pregnant with Miles). I had forgotten how peaceful it is. The cool air, the crunchy leaves... it's perfect. And with no beach, boating, kayaking or tanning calling, there was nothing to do but sleep, read, eat & play boardgames (and Brian went for a couple runs while I rode an old bike alongside him).

My mom cooked a Turkey dinner, we carved pumpkins & ate sweets. I stayed in my sweatpants for 4 days straight! And the kids only got out of their PJ's to go play in the cool sandbox.

We watched bad movies (and a few good ones); 101 Dalmations, Austin Powers, Austin Powers II and  the Naked Gun trilogy (soooo bad). 
Each year I do a list of the thinks I am thankful for on Thanksgiving, but because I am fashionably late this year, I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves.

Layout 314 & 315

I was lucky to have the chance to hunker down and scrapbook for an hour or so last night. I got 2 layouts done that I had been putting off for a while (not sure why...). Two layouts of one train ride, seems excessive but it really was a great day.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Layout 312 & 313

Slowly (sloooooowly) I am making progress on Miles' baby album. 2 down, 30ish more to go. I am running out of things to say & pages just look weird to me without journalling. 
'Here is Mommy holding you'
'Here is Mommy staring at you'
'Here is Mommy cuddling you'
blah blah blah
My first layout was very heartfelt & now I am just grasping at straws, trying to fill the page. I enjoy scrapbooking but the journalling is getting tiresome. And once I am done Miles' album (will I ever really be done?) it's on to Molly....good grief.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

'R' Family

Today my sister-in-law posted sneak peeks of our family photo session. Here they are. I get excited for two reasons: #1. Who wouldn't love looking at gorgeous pictures of their family? I think most people are excited to see pictures that were taken of them. You hope they turn out, you hope you look skinnier than you actually are & you hope that the faces that you love the most look as beautiful through the lens as they are through your eyes. They are. #2. I am super proud of Lindsay. Not because she needs me to be, she doesn't, she knows her stuff & doesn't need someone to tell her how wonderful she is. Her work speaks for itself. But I am proud of her because she is talented, I guess it would be the same feeling I get when I see Miles play soccer. He rocks. She rocks. And I am proud of her & how she is pursuing her dream. I can't wait to see the rest of the pictures. And I can't stop looking at these ones.

Layout 310 & 311

These are terrible pictures of the layouts I did today. I had a couple minutes free so I thought I should post them but the lighting in my house is terrible after sunset. Terrible. Anyway, had a great day scrapbooking with my friend Michelle as the kids played. I got 2 layouts done, not bad for scrapbooking with the kids home...
I should mention that I had 271 layouts complete at the beginning. That puts my 2012 total at a lousy 40 layouts. So when you think of it that way, I got 5% of my yearly total done today... suddenly I feel productive!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ramblings of an Ex-Hoarder

I use the phrase 'ex-hoarder' not knowing fully if most people would look at the massive amounts of stuff I own and consider it a habit of the past. I like to think that if they could see how far we've come that they would congratulate me... maybe even throw me a party. I like to think I deserve a party. And as of this past weekend, we could hold it in my garage.

It's not easy for me to purge, although it is getting easier. I still pull things out of my 'donate', 'sell' and 'trash' pile and put them back into the 'keep' pile hoping no one will notice. Brian usually doesn't, so in a way I have only myself to control my impulses. I am responsible for talking myself out of keeping something. As good as I am getting at purging I bet that if I had a day with one of those organizers/therapists from the show Hoarders I would even do better. Remind me why I don't need the empty champagne bottle from the night Brian proposed?

I think that the decision to down-size & move back into the city was a good for us for several reasons, one being that I am being forced to purge my hoard. You couldn't walk into our garage on Friday. Today, you could...well, hold a party in it. It's a good feeling but it came with an onslaught of terrible feelings. As I got rid of a trailer full of garbage & a yard full of 'stuff' (below) the reel that was replaying in my mind was exhausting

"What if I need this later..."
"This is perfectly good, someone might want this"
"Awwww, Miles used this when he was little so I have to keep it for his kids"
"We bought this in __(insert foreign country here)____ so I should keep it"

I forged on & managed to keep just a few things I know I will never use again or have an emotional attachment to (A tiny little Paul Frank bike helmet).

I've done the kitchen, the closet, the toys & now the garage. This coming weekend we tackle the basement knowing that it will be easier if we do it before the snow comes. The basement is the hard part. The basement is where the yearbooks, old ballet slippers, cabbage patch dolls & photo albums live. Somewhere in that basement is a collection of hula dolls (I know...), a collection elephant figurines (I know....) and every issue of my high school magazine 'The Voice'. How do I get rid of the newspapers from Sept 12th, 2001? (I am well aware it can all be found online). How can I throw away my sticker book from elementary school? But I struggle, to throw away the notes my high school friend Molly put so much effort into writing, illustrating & folding into cute origami creatures.

I did good in the garage. I am nervous that when I finish with the basement (I've 'cleaned' it every year for the past 5 years) that it won't be in ready-to-move condition. What then?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Soup's on!

A while ago I started a Facebook group called the Okotoks Foodies (open to anyone from anywhere). I was looking for like-minded women I could share with. And it was a success! It's become a great forum for all things 'food' in Okotoks. And last week I hosted out first event, a soup exchange. It was a great success! It's put together in the same manner as a cookie exchange. Each person makes two portions (1.5 cups) of soup to exchange for 2 portions of another soup with each guest. I made 14 portions of Red Pepper & Tomato Quinoa soup & in return, I got 14 various other soups.
On top of that, we all brought ingredients and made the biggest pot of vegetable soup (enough to feed 50, so we had a bowl while we chatted & the divided up the rest to take home to our families). It was great to find other people who didn't think of peeling carrots, stirring broth & shaking spices as a chore, and rather a therapy of sorts. I met some great people & was reminded how important is it to put yourself 'out there'.

The haul (above) plus a big pot of veggie soup for my family. Brian was grateful to have the soup for lunch each day and I am excited to try some more soups this week. Thank for coming out ladies, I had a fantastic time & I am looking forward to the next Okotoks Foodies event.

If you are interested in getting some great soup recipes, join our Facebook group, each recipe has been posted online.

Layout 306, 307, 308 & 309

Well look at me! All this blogging after such a dry spell! I have a bit of a cold right now so I thought I'd make myself a cup of Gails Organic Cold Remedy form Davids Tea (it works!) & do some blogging while Miles is at school & Molly is happily playing with his toys. I had all these layouts to post and a bit to blog about (I've been busy!).

I had a friend of last weekend for some last-minute scrapbooking. I got these four layouts done (in one night!!!). It pretty much brings me up to date with camping layouts. Feels good.

Layout 303, 304 & 305

I've been scrapbooking a little lately. I am committed to finishing Miles' baby album before the new year comes. I am pretty close to done. I finished his sisters a while ago (out of order, I know) so I thought it fair that he have one finished as well. It helps that I have gotten my scrapbook space in order... AND (drum roll) I might even be reclaiming my old scrapbook room (as opposed to the corner I have now). Brian and I have plans to move into the city where the kids will be sharing a room, so we're going to try it out a little early... we just need some bunk beds. That will free up a room in our house for an office/scrapbook room. Ahhhhhh, just thinking of it makes me smile.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The longest post ever about being HAPPY.

'He started to sing as he tackled the thing that couldn't be done, and he did it.' - Edgar A. Guest

Three years ago if you asked me if I would someday be happy, I would have said YES. Because let's be honest, even in the deepest pits of depression I was willing to lie about having hope. But the truth was, it was just that: a lie. Without going into too much detail about my mental state (because believe it or not, I do keep some things private) I was in big trouble. I felt like my life was happening around me, and not to me. I felt numb to sadness & especially to happiness. I thought it would always be this way. 

Fast forward through many trips to a therapist, a little chemical aide & some very deliberate actions on my part (although I could have never done this without help).

I don't remember rock bottom (I am sure Brian does) but I do remember emerging from the numbness and feeling happy, little by little. And thinking 'This is so great. I am going to chase this.'

I didn't realize I had 'caught it' until a couple weeks ago. I was chatting in an mommy group. A fellow mom had posted a plea for help. She felt hopeless, listless and depressed. She was unhappy with her life. I read the post & could relate, I had been there. But it was happened next that clued me into my current state of Happiness. Close to 20 other moms posted how dissapointed , unsatisfied and unhappy they were with their lives. Not one person posted a hopeful message. I thought about posting one but then remembered that I am never the girl that posts a hopeful and maybe even helpful comment. I am always the girl who can relate to the negative feelings.... until I realized, I'm not. Not anymore. And I posted a hopeful message. Nothing inspirational, but a comment with the underlying message: I've been there and I am not there anymore. I am happy. So I wrote this:

Haley Hopaluk-Ross A while ago, I got happy. It sounds weird, but it happened. I was the kind of person who would always end up a crying mess. Always. And then I just started to do things that would make me happy. Little things & big things (but when possible, not material things). And I guess they made a big difference because now I am happy. Not all the time. And not about everything. But I am happy. I know exactly how you feel, I felt that way, and I am glad it is over for me. All I can tell you is to think about what would make you really happy, in this life, right now. Just because it isn't what you pictured doesn't mean it can't be something super fucking awesome. Make a list. Things that would make you happy. Include "trips to paris" but also include "getting to read a magazine uninterupted". And then make sure everything you do, everyday will get you closer to making that list HAPPEN. It happened slowly for me, but it happened.

The response to it was expected. About 50 'likes' and about 1,000 people who ignored it & continued to lament. And one person who was mortified that I dropped an f-bomb (that's fair). But the thing that matters most is that I posted it. Because it was a declaration to myself: I got happy.

And it is infectious. Because once I put it out there, it was even easier to believe. And act on.
And I began to work even harder at being happy (everything else in life, you have to work at, I believe the same thing about happiness).

'Any happiness you get, you've got to make yourself' - Alice Walker

(these people make me happy)

I have to say that being a social media junkie (I blog, Facebook, Tweet & check Instagram religiously) has actually helped. Its kind of like scrapbooking, but more all encompassing (I usually just scrapbook my kids). If I think I have nothing to be happy about I just need to check my Instagram feed to see that if I feel as though I have nothing else to hang hope on, at least I have cute toe nails that match my flip flops. It's a starting point...

I am hyper aware of the things that make me happy. I come out of a things thinking 'I am so happy that.....'. It wasn't easy to train my brain to think this way, but I did it (90% of the time). 

A couple of years ago I bought this book: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. But the thing was, I was so unhappy that even thinking about reading a book with notions of happiness wasn't appealing. In August I plucked the book off my shelf. And read it in a couple of days. I am glad I waited. If I had read it when I bought it I would have been disappointed. It didn't provide the 'ah-ha!' moment I would have been hoping for. But reading it now, knowing the happiness requires works and awareness... I liked it. And I am, like what I would guess to be 99.99% of people who read the book, going to start my own Happiness Project.

I worked hard on preparing my project (which I will officially start tomorrow). I think it's perfect for me. And when I read it to my husband I think he was impressed enough to entertain the idea of doing his own. For a moment or two.

I told him I would start mine once 'wedding season' was over.

So, without further adieu, the end to this post & the beginning of my Happiness Project (I'll explain the specific goals tomorrow). 

Be More Active (September 14th - October 14th, 2012)

Get up & be dressed by 9:30am 6 out of 7 days each week
Do 60 minutes of an ‘activity’ that requires movement or play each day 
Go for an after dinner walk three times a week/walk somewhere