The Way Old Stuff

By on 9-13-2008 in MobileMommyArchives, The Blogging Thing

These are my way old posts from the days when I blogged as Mobile Mommy. I didn’t get everything I don’t think, and  the pictures that copied over to Word I don’t have time to upload right now and well, frankly this is messy, but I wanted my old posts in my archives just in case, so here they are, all in one super long post for now dating back to 2008 (maybe someday I’ll break it up, but I kind of doubt it 🙂

 

***UPDATE Sep 19/13 – I am slowly converting these to individual posts, hopefully with the right posting dates, just for my own reference in the future, so this “post” changes regularly.

 

*Note this entry is from my previous blog’s archives (Mobile Mommy)

A Super Pink Makeover

 

by Laurie

You know I like pink right?! My blog has been pink for quite some time now, and once upon a time even my virtual legal assistant site had a pinkish theme, (I switched to green and gray to be a little more professional though). But I’ve longed for some help with my blog theme for some time and after seeing a recent tweet about such services by Sarah of One Starry Night, I decided to bite the bullet and have a custom theme set up.

It’s beautiful isn’t it?!! I am so excited to have this new look, I think I’ll feel motivated to post this weekend! After I finish up some other work of course and depending on how distracting the last weekend of Olympics is. Like if Canada makes it to the gold medal hockey game on Sunday!

Hope you like the new look too, even if you are cheering for the “wrong” team on Sunday (anyone other than Canada, lol)

 

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Feb 24, 2010 4:56 PM

WAHM Wednesday: Working Alone

 

by Laurie

I had a semi-productive day today. I got work done for a couple of clients, put together a newsletter and watched some speed skating!

Around 4 pm I was really feeling the lack of grown up conversation and gave my BFF a call at work. I’m jealous that she can keep getting paid while I bug her on the phone, lol, and she probably wishes she could work in her pj’s! Despite the whole grass is greener thing though, today I gave a lot of thought to the fact of how hard it is to work alone so much of the time. I’m pretty sure that over time I will get out to work more, but essentially I don’t see my business ever leading me to be a super social person. Most of my work requires me to really concentrate while at my computer, which doesn’t exactly lead to conversations even if you are working at Starbucks.

Sometimes I’m super grateful for the chance to work alone. I used to hate being interrupted at work by a chatty colleague right when I was getting down to business. But on the other hand sometimes I loved having someone to share things with, both work and personal. So now, while I have plenty of online interaction opportunity, I miss working with other people. I miss conversations that are NOT about Mario, Luigi or any other character in a Wii Mario Bros. game. I miss grabbing a quick coffee during a break, instead of having my toddler beg for a sip of my instant decaf. I think next year when two kids are in school I’m going to have to work harder at getting out of the house!!

 

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Feb 19, 2010 10:49 AM

Trust and the School Board Trustees

 

by Laurie

As I’ve said before, I moved a lot when I was a kid. Not all of my changes meant a new school, but I did change schools approximately 5 times in elementary school alone. Every change was hard, the first, the second, the last. I always had to make new friends, learn where the bathrooms and the music room where, decide which teacher was nice.

When our oldest child was getting close to school age, my husband and I relocated to a smaller suburban city where we knew we would live for a long time, because I’m strongly opposed to making my children change schools. Sometimes the change is necessary, for a new job or a house more suited to a family. If a family looks at all the factors and decides that it is best for them, I wouldn’t criticize them making a change.

Some changes aren’t a choice though and that makes me angry. And sad. Last year our school district changed a policy basically forbidding all cross-boundary attendance. A number of children had been attending cross-boundary and were allowed to stay at their current schools thanks to a grandfathering clause. The clause didn’t include younger siblings entering the system or kindergarten students moving on to grade one though. This meant a lot of families felt compelled to move all their kids to their designated school, to keep siblings together.

I thought it was a ridiculous change, especially given that the attendance numbers at each school affected barely changed. This year though we are seeing that it may have been a first step toward a new change. Redefined boundaries are being proposed and if they go through 60-90 families will be affected. One possibility would see 9 children to change schools for the second time in two years. The other option will leave 3 children changing schools for a second time.** And this time – no grandfathering is being considered at all. How is this acceptable? Consider the school board’s own policy:

“The Board is charged with the responsibility of providing, for its students and their parents, an education system organized and operated in their best interests (emphasis added). It exercises this responsibility through setting of local educational policy and the wise use of resources.”

How is changing schools in any child’s best interests?!

I’m trying to do my part to support the involved families. My kids are not affected actually, but I fear future changes that could impact them. And I feel morally obligated to try and help, because someone’s kids are affected, doesn’t matter if they are mine or not really. I’ve written to the board and I wrote a Letter to the Editor of our local paper. I’m attaching the text of that letter here, because if it is not published I still hope to be able to reach some people and help them understand how wrong these choices are.  So if you live in the Parkland School District – attend the special meeting on March 1st!!!!

I am writing in light of proposed boundary changes in the Parkland School District. I attended the recent School Board Trustee meeting to learn more about the boundary changes. First, I think the information at that meeting should have been made clear to the public in as visible a way as possible several weeks ago (or at least several weeks from any decision point).

This is a huge change for a significant number of parents in the Spruce Grove area. With either the possible Urban West boundary change or the Rural East boundary change, some children will be attending their THIRD school in three years.

In my opinion, no children who currently attend a school should be forced to change schools, all changes should only apply to future applicants and grandfathering of current students should be standard. The trauma of being uprooted from your familiar surroundings, your friends and activities should not be underestimated. I moved multiple times as a young child and the emotional impact of those moves is with me today. In my case my parents made poor choices, but in Parkland, parents are doing everything they can to provide a consistent and appropriate school for their families and are being denied that opportunity by a board of trustees lacking in vision. Only a few years ago an elementary school was CLOSED in Spruce Grove and a complete restructuring of schools was done.  Now the Board says we need a new elementary school and schools that previously housed K-6 aren’t big enough for K-4. Now they think we have too many kids for our elementary schools. They have mentioned Brookwood’s growing population too and I don’t doubt that it will be the next target for change.

Children are not just numbers and they deserve to be treated with more courtesy and respect that our trustees have shown them over the last couple of years. I hope parents from all of Parkland’s schools will attend the March 1st special board meeting to support Millgrove parents and to show that we want our children to be treated better.

**Numbers of children affected are what were given at the February 16 School Trustee Board meeting. If there are any inaccuracies I apologize.

 

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Feb 18, 2010 11:14 AM

Saying No Saying Yes

 

by Laurie

I was just catching up on some google alerts and general reading when I found this post from Tracey Solomon. Normally I would have just commented at her blog, because I think leaving a comment is the perfect way for you to connect with another blogger. I like comments here after all, and I know most bloggers do too! But Tracey, if you read this, it’s not so easy to comment on your blog and that’s too bad. I love meeting other work-at-home moms (especially of boys!) Of course I’m writing this late Wednesday (though it will post tomorrow) so maybe I’m just dopey and can’t figure out the comment system at Extreme Adventures in Motherhood.

So consider this a semi-blog post and a semi-comment:

I don’t often get called on to help out at the school. I’m not sure if I’m lucky or if I’m just so standoffish that the other moms don’t ask for me to get involved. The teachers appreciate when I come in to help, but they rarely ever ask parents for help specifically, they just send out notes and ask for volunteers. We seem to have pretty good parental support at our school, so they aren’t usually short on volunteers.

And that’s a good thing, because I definitely don’t find the work-at-home thing conducive to spending a lot of time on “other” tasks. I think it’s important to help out but I need it to be with lots of notice and organization so I can plan properly. I like to let my clients know if I won’t be accessible for long. I need to make childcare arrangements for BabyBoy sometimes. Oh the fun!

And double-booking? Been there and done that. It wasn’t pretty and I’ve worked pretty hard since then to be more meticulous in my calendaring. Although I think I have some dental appointments that need to be entered into my calendar – better go now and do that!

 

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Feb 17, 2010 10:23 PM

WAHM Wednesday: Working Out

 

by Laurie

One of the things I think I feel I should be able to find time for in my work-at-home day is exercise. I don’t love exercise but I don’t love my current weight either and I’ve been working hard to incorporate yoga into my day. Well, I want to be working harder to include it! I find that I often have to work my day in small chunks of time to work around what the kids need. And to fit in exercise in small chunks feels strange, but I know that it has as good of results as working out in one long block does.

I guess it’s all part of the work-at-home lifestyle. If I have urgent work projects, they get priority in the morning so I can be sure they are done on time. Getting my oldest (and sometime my middle) ready for school is non-negotiable so that block of time is always occupied. Eventually tasks like changing the toddler’s diaper crop up, or the inevitable “I’m hun-gwee” plea is shouted at me – usually 10 minutes after his most recent snack.

Naptime is my biggest block of “free” time, but I often have to devote that to work, as it’s the most peaceful and productive time available to me all day, plus I worry about making noise and waking up the sleeping child! That means I fit in a workout just before lunchtime if I’m lucky. The first rush of work is done and naptime is still to come. But if I miss that window I have a lot of trouble finding the necessary motivation to do more than lay around on the couch come mid-late afternoon.  And forget evenings – between dinner, homework and last minute work I never seem to find the time. Except on Grey’s Anatomy night. Or Chopped. Or Amazing Race. Um yeah, in other words – I like tv too much!

Well, the Olympics are currently my tv candy of choice – and they are calling my name. Good thing I actually got in a yoga workout today, I don’t even have to feel guilty!

 

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Feb 15, 2010 11:24 AM

Memory Lane Monday: Olympic Edition

 

by Laurie

I spent a LOT of time this weekend watching the Olympics. I let my boys stay up late Friday to watch the Opening Ceremonies, then I spent most of the day Saturday curled up on the couch in our tv room watching different events. I didn’t work at all on Saturday and that is unusual for me!  It was a nice break from the usual routine though! Now I just have to make sure not to let the Olympics distract me too much over the coming weeks since I do have a business to run!

My love of all things Olympic started in my childhood. I don’t really remember if we watched them as a family or not when I was a younger child, but when I was 12 years old the Olympics came to my province – the ‘88 Calgary Olympics! We lived a few hours north of Calgary, but my school organized a trip to the games and thanks to my beloved grandmother I was able to go on the trip.

We spent three days seeing events like luge, a hockey game and some downhill skiing. The feeling in the air was amazing, despite the cold! We definitely didn’t have the same weather issues as poor Vancouver has been dealing with so far! We slept in school gyms and drove around on a big yellow schoolbus. I don’t think we saw a medal event at all, but we were definitely caught up in the spirit. I remember the pin-swapping that was happening and was excited to have been able to buy a pin. Money was tight in my world back then and I was so grateful for even the littlest things. It’s probably one of my happiest memories of that year, as it was not long after my parents’ marriage ended and I started to grow up super fast. After that year we moved away from our little town, I lost touch to a large extent with many of my friends and I became the grown-up of our family, while my mother went back to school and my sister went wild.

Now, when I watch this first Canadian Olympics since that time, I am overcome with emotion. I am patriotic at the worst of times but times like this really bring out the love of Canada in me. Every time I hear the theme song of the Olympics, “I Believe”, I come close to tears. I know there are many haters and detractors out there, but for me the whole experience is just wonderful. I’m proud of the athletes who do their best and the ones who watch their dream spiral away. Of course I love seeing Canada win medals, but I also just like exposing my boys to so many different sports they might not be aware of otherwise. We don’t watch biathlon on a regular basis after all!

To my readers: Any of you ever been to an Olympics or are you attending the Vancouver Olympics? We thought a lot about going to them, but with our young family we just weren’t sure if we would have fun or be overwhelmed. TV lets us watch everything, but doesn’t capture the spirit as much as being there in person would I’m sure! I’d love to hear your Olympic memories!

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Feb 10, 2010 11:30 PM

WAHM Wednesday: Leisure Time

 

by Laurie

The simple fact that I’m finally typing this at 10:20 pm could tell you that I don’t have much leisure time. Or you might just know that I was watching tv for the last two hours instead of writing a blog post or doing a little work.

Yesterday I was reading over at Becky and Hollee’s blog about leisure time. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve heard about the leisure time experiment and follow up articles before, but yesterday I sat down and read this in entirety. And right there? That was basically leisure time, even by my standards!

I commented on Becky and Hollee’s blog that I don’t have much leisure time. And certainly I don’t feel like I have much leisure time and I absolutely am on 24 hour parenting duty most of the time. I go for a girl’s night out once a month if I’m lucky (my version of girl’s night usually involves dinner and shopping!) I go on a date with my husband every couple of months or three or four. And it’s taken us the two+ years since BabyBoy was born to finally start going on dates again. I’m not good about leaving my kids with a babysitter, but thank goodness I’ve found someone I like. If I lose her I’ll be in trouble again. I also have one day where my two oldest are in school and the youngest is at a dayhome. Which is sometimes a day full of leisure and often is a day full of work.

If I add it all up, and count the hour or two after bedtime on the couple of nights a week I’m not working like crazy, maybe it does add up to 30 hours a week. But shouldn’t leisure time FEEL like leisure time? Reading a book for 30 minutes before falling asleep is nice and I’m grateful for the option, but it’s so not the same as being able to go to a bookstore alone.

I guess us moms (well, this mom anyway) really do want it all – we want to work, we want to be with our kids and we want time for ourselves – real time. Time where we can do what we want to do, rather than fitting in ’sort-of’ me time. Sure I can do yoga at home, and that’s for my pleasure, but I can’t easily take a class because even when they are asleep I am required to be here. Even in Canada we have social services called on us if we leave young kids alone you know! So is the time when they are asleep leisure or childcare? Or can we really label our time at all? Maybe work life balance means that everything is mixed together, into a mish-mash of me and them and us.

Ah well, late night ramblings be damed – I love my life and whatever type of leisure I can find. Right now I think it’s waiting for me under a nice warm blanket and it’s name is sleep…..zzzzzzzzz.

 

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Feb 8, 2010 9:03 AM

Memory Lane Monday: Love Letters

 

by Laurie

Last week I officially made my peace with working from the main floor of my home instead of my pretty but cold and isolated basement office. I bought a new desk for the main floor (small enough to fit into a corner, on casters so I can sit where my mood indicates). Since I was at Ikea anyway….yeah, I bought more stuff! I bought a number of storage containers and boxes to set up my basement office a little better. Despite not actually sitting down there often it is a practical space for storing things and keeping my main area less cluttered. I also bought (and assembled myself!!!) a storage shelf to hold some of the containers.

It wasn’t until the past weekend that I spent some time sorting through all the piles of stuff to reorganize properly into containers. I put some business books on the shelf, moved some tax papers out of a plastic bin and into a proper file box. Then I took on the biggest, and most emotionally challenging task. I had four small metal containers that were dented and musty-they held my memories from junior high and into my early twenties. There are some birthday cards, class pictures, report cards and lots and lots of letters.

When I was in school we didn’t have email – we actually often wrote letters to one another! I have letters from friends, notes from co-workers and more love letters than I had realized. Love letters from boys I barely remember and love letters from the man who is now my husband. Love letters that make me smile and love letters that make me hurt to re-read.

I have sifted through those letters every time I have moved, every time I go through an organizing phase and occasionally just because I feel sentimental. It’s weird to go back to that time, which mostly encapsulates my high school years. I’ve always remembered that girl, the me who was thin and blonde and so unsure of herself, as having been a mostly good person. Maybe she was a little opinionated, but she loved her friends and worked mostly hard at school. But reading those letters today, with more life experience than ever before, I’m not so sure I like her that much. She was lonely and restless, unhappy and lacking something, I don’t know what. Maybe just time to grow up.

I read letters from more than one boy from the same summer. One where a boy proclaimed his desperate love for her, dated at a time when I know she was on vacation and meeting another boy. The next summer there were two boys again, and I think she ended up hurting them both. What was she thinking?

And even now, here I am trying to distance myself from her, even though she is me. And I’m not sure if I’ve grown up as much as I’d like to believe. I still tend towards selfishness. I still spend time dreaming too much about what could have been instead of looking to the future, or just too much time dreaming instead of doing.

I also realized I don’t write enough letters these days – life has been reduced to short emails or text messages, skype and phone calls, instead of long, thoughtful, meaningful letters than someone can cherish. My mom lives in another country, my husband works often away, my grandmother would be so grateful for a cheerful card with a few words in it. Time to add back in that kind of writing in my life, instead of just pouring my heart out online.

Oh something else I found in my box of memories, piles of poems that had meaning to me, and this one especially touched me Saturday, and I wanted to share it here. In some ways, it’s seems like a love letter to oneself, a reminder of who you can be if you learn from experience:

After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security,
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,
And you learn to build all your roads on today,
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans,
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure…
That you really are strong,
And you really do have worth.
And you learn and learn…
With every goodbye you learn.

Author: Veronica A. Shoffstall


(hat tip to Momalom and their post on love letters, it helped inspire me to post this today, even though I didn’t quite do the challenge they suggested, I still credit them with the creative nudge!)

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Feb 6, 2010 9:17 PM

My New Office Setup

 

by Laurie

So remember when I posted about needing to change my work setup? I did it!! Thank you Ikea, for inexpensive furniture that fits in small spaces. I went shopping Wednesday night, seeing as my kids are fans of Ikea for supper, it seemed like a good time. But really, it wasn’t so pretty. 5yo was tired especially and halfway through I wanted to go home. We live a 45 minute drive away though, so I just pushed through and got the shopping overwith.

And now, this is my office space on the main floor!

 

It’s small, but functional. Since it has a shelf for your tower if you had a desktop computer, I have a space to keep a small storage bin with some of my papers and a few pens. I also shove my headset in there when not needed.  I am already hugely appreciating the separate keyboard, which is much easier on my wrists than constantly typing on the laptop. My”breathe deeply” yoga block is there for both inspiration and as a reminder to do some yoga already! It works too, I just did a video with triangle poses and I feel great!

So what do you think of my little office away from office?! I’ll have pics of my also improved bigger basement office maybe next week. I’m sorting through and cleaning it up to work with some new storage stuff I bought the same day as my new desk.

 

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Feb 3, 2010 11:43 AM

Working on Wednesday

 

by Laurie

Wednesday is work-at-home day here on my blog! Being a work-at-home mom is a huge part of my life now, and it’s amazing how different it is from my previous “life” as a legal assistant and paralegal who worked out of the home, with two small kids.

My kids keep getting older and of course number three has been a part of the mix for over two years now. With two in school it keeps getting easier to manage my schedule, but when I read Work from Home Tips by Kim (MetroMom), I realized I still have some improving to do to better manage my time. Her tips #1 and #2 (searching for lost items /paper chaos) are not a problem for me. I’m pretty organized and am actually mostly paperless with a good setup on my computer for finding things.

Number three though? I do read email too often – it seems like every time I step away from my computer and email for an afternoon I miss something important, so I prefer to err on the side of caution and check regularly. I like to work on projects in time blocks and I don’t check email in the middle of a task, but I do check it a lot otherwise. And I check it practically upon waking and right before bed. I just can’t let go!!

Number four is something I definitely need to work on this year in particular. I like the idea of scheduling my days with certain tasks at the forefront. Maybe if I set a “cleaning day” I’ll actually keep my house in some shape too!

 

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Feb 2, 2010 6:05 PM

PROMPTuesday: Creativity

 

by Laurie

Prompt for this Tuesday:

What is creativity to you?

This is a boundary-less and limit-less prompt. You can write what you believe creativity is, or where it comes from, or post a nonsense poem. It’s all creative in my book.

Creativity is a hard to achieve thing for me, kind of like a dream that is on the tip of your tongue when you wake up but gone by the time you finish making coffee. I feel like I’m full of ideas and thoughts sometimes. Then I sit down to write. And then it’s gone.

One thing that inspires me and lets my creativity flow is mother nature. Talking a long, quiet walk outdoors can allow my mind to focus and relax all at once, so that that wellspring of creativity flows. My noisy, busy household often dries that creativity right up though – I can focus on work and tasks with my boisterous boys around, but to truly feel inspired I need peace and quiet. Sunshine helps too!

 

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Jan 29, 2010 12:01 PM

The Last Time

 

by Laurie

Baby firsts are marked with fanfare and photos, joy and excitement. But the last time? It sneaks away on you. The last time your baby crawled instead of walking, the last time your baby said a word in that cute little baby way, before learning to say it “right”. The last time he slept in his crib.

Two days ago I mentioned to my husband that I wanted him to set up the toddler bed for our 2yo. I didn’t know if he was ready for it, but I wanted to introduce it to him. My husband misunderstood what I wanted and not only set up the toddler bed, but also took apart the crib. The crib that has been the bed for all three of my children in their infancies. The crib I have leaned into so many nights, to pat a back gently or to beg a baby to please, please, please go back to sleep. The crib my mom bought for us when we just half-way through our first pregnancy, and we set up with such anticipation. The crib we no longer need, and cannot even give away, as it is a drop side rail crib, no longer considered particularly safe.

I thought it would be exciting to move my baby up to a big boy bed, but I find myself tearing up as I realize the baby days are truly over in my house. Well, you know, other than that my “big” boy at 2 years old still is addicted to his soother AND still has a bedtime bottle AND still wakes regularly at night! And don’t get me wrong, I have no desire to have another baby, I am more than happy not to start fresh with all that comes with newborns. It’s just a little bittersweet watching all of my babies growing up so quickly on me – just like everyone told me they would.

Well, let’s mark the end of crib days with a picture shall we? Bye, bye crib, you served us well.

 

Little Boy In The Crib

 

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Jan 27, 2010 2:46 PM

Work At Home Wednesday

 

by Laurie

In October of 2007 I left my office job and my wonderful DH bought me a laptop so that I could play online anywhere in the house while taking care of our three boys. Prior to getting my lovely laptop, I had an old, big HP desktop that needed lots of space, had lots of cords and basically was bulky. Good computer, but not exactly movable!

The first year of being a laptop mama, I loved the mobility! I could sit on the couch and surf the web, while nursing the baby, while the 5 yo watched tv and the 3yo played on the floor. I could take the laptop and hide in my bedroom while DH managed the kids. I could take the laptop on vacation to grandma’s house – perfect!

Then I started my business. At first everything continued to work just fine. I didn’t work that much, I opened up my computer when needed and put it away the rest of the time. Then I started getting busier, plus got hooked on Twitter, and now my laptop is on all the time. Most of my work doesn’t require paper (”real” paper anyway!) but I do use a headset frequently, and I do keep a small amount of paper for notes, and a stand for when I do transcribe from physical documents. I have ended up working from the kitchen table more and more, instead of the couch and now I realize I need to change something about my setup.

I do HAVE a proper home office setup. I just don’t like to be in the basement, which was where it fit. I store my files and paper there, I have my printer setup down there (and print wirelessly from the laptop), I keep my business books down there. Shhh, I even have two desks down there. Both are big though, and neither has a keyboard tray, and my wrists are telling me I need a more ergonomic setup. Most importantly, I want to be working in the heart of my home, near the kitchen and the living room. In short, I want a “mobile” office on my main floor that doesn’t take up much space, but is easy to work from! I tweeted about it last week actually, and my lovely friend Tamara shared that even though it’s tight she put a desk into her dining area for the same reason.

So for this week, my plan is to search for a decent and suitable small desk that I can somehow squish into my dining area or living room. Hopefully on wheels so that it can be easily shoved away into a corner when I have company.  I am thinking a trip to Ikea may be in order….(mmm, Ikea, love their meatballs!) Oh wait, stop thinking about food Laurie!

If you work from home I’d love to hear about your setup. Do you have an office? Do you use it? Do you sit at the table and pray no one spills juice near your computer?!

 

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Jan 19, 2010 9:34 PM

PROMPTuesday: Car Breaks Down on Trip

 

by Laurie

Courtesy of San Diego Momma’s PROMPTuesday:

Your car breaks down on a major highway during a cross-country trip. What happens next?

Been there…done that! And let me tell you it was an expensive and exhausting experience, lol!  A long, long, LONG, drive from Edmonton, Alberta to Las Vegas. In June. In the heat. With a 2.5 year old while I was 7 months pregnant with #2. Yes in fact, we were crazy!

Several more hours of driving to San Francisco. Cool winds and a much happier pregnant lady. Driving up Pacific Coast Highway to take a scenic route home to Edmonton. Made it as far as Petaluma and truck ground to a screeching halt. Bonus: 3 more days in San Fran waiting for repairs to be completed. Actually got to see the sights.  Bad: mega bucks in repair bills – ouch!

Tired, cranky and late for work, we sped through the beautiful petrified forest, not even stopping for a picture. Barely checked out the beautiful ocean and beach view that was flying by. Got lost one last time before finally making it home!

 

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Jan 19, 2010 6:08 PM

Breathe Deeply

 

by Laurie

It seems the days that I send two year old to the dayhome, and older boys are in school, are the days I have time to post! Also, they are days when I finally feel like I can take deep breaths and relax even a little. I don’t know if that is good or bad or both to be honest. When my boys are all home I’m busy running around and working and cleaning and oh my goodness there are scary piles of laundry growing in my basement. Who has time to really, really breathe? I have this tiny nagging anxiety all the time that I am forgetting something or missing something. I think it’s my mind. No, really!

Today though I put the older boys on the bus, dropped off the toddler, grabbed my Starbucks (and p.s. skinny cinnamon dolce latte since they were out of sugar-free vanilla = very disappointing) and came home. I was able to pound out some work, plan our summer vacation and chat on the phone with a friend. I feel like a different person on days like this, someone who is not a screaming, tense and overwhelmed mom. Someone who can actually concentrate and drink a coffee before it is cold. Nice feeling, too bad I have to wait a week to do it again!

 

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Jan 12, 2010 9:57 AM

Step by Step Daycare Dropoff

 

by Laurie

I’m writing this as part of PROMPTuesday (my first time trying!), today’s mission, should you choose to accept it:

Teach us something. How do you flirt? Make a smoothie? Achieve balance in your life?Step-by-step instructions please.

It’s ever so easy to drop your two-year old off at his once-a-week dayhome. First, make sure it’s finally Tuesday – wouldn’t want to get over-anxious and take him on Monday! Next, pack his bag and talk to him about how much  fun it will be at Sarah’s house. Drive over and comment on the buses passing by. Get to the dayhome. Listen to him start wailing in the backseat. Take him into the house where Sarah shows him the cute puppy she’s dogsitting for her mom. Give him tons of hugs and say “No, mommy doesn’t need her coat off, mommy will see you later.” Listen to more wailing and you make your exit, feeling guilty but also grateful.

Hit the first Starbucks you see – you deserve a latte now.

 

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Jan 11, 2010 1:07 PM

Memory Lane Monday: Too Many Houses

 

by Laurie

How many homes did you live in as a child? Before I moved out, at 18, I’d lived in close to 30 different houses. That’s my best guess after many talks on the topic with my mom and sister. I was born in a small Alberta town, and we moved to and from that small town numerous times, although many of the moves were just to different homes in the same town.

I don’t know how other people feel who’ve moved so much in their youth. I know how I feel though – I feel rootless, almost lost and like I have no security. I wonder what it would have been like to have some stability instead of lacking attachment to almost any of my homes. I can’t stand to have things change – I leave my furniture in the same spots year after year. I have never bothered to decorate my homes or even put up pictures much of the time. I guess I always expect to have to move on again shortly, so why bother? My sister is almost the opposite that way – she is so used to the constant changing and enjoys it enough that she re-arranges and updates her home constantly. She makes it look homey and inviting almost instantly too.

Today, for my first ever Memory-Lane Monday (a theme of my own making that I hope to continue all year), I thought I’d share some pictures and some memories from just a few of the homes we have lived in. These pictures are all from the general area of that first small town where I was born, I haven’t looked for any others yet.

This is one of the earlier houses that I remember, although it’s a pretty fuzzy memory to be sure! I know that I lived here when I went to kindergarten as somewhere in my baby book there is a picture of me on the front step in my first day of kindergarten outfit. I remember the park across the street, where my little sister kicked out one of my teeth “by accident” when we were on the monkey bars. I remember walking a few blocks from there past Grandma’s house, to catch the bus.

After that house we lived in a couple of different towns for a while (and another few houses of course).  I think this next house is the first one we lived in when we moved back to the hometown, but I’m not at all sure of that. I know I was around 8-9 when we lived here and in Grade 3. It’s where we lived when I first got glasses.

This is an apartment building where my parents were property managers for a short time. I remember helping vacuum what seemed like endless stairs and I know the wraparound balcony was a favorite playplace.

After the apartment building we moved to the house below, it is probably one of my favorite childhood homes. We actually lived in this house for about a year and a half (I think, lol) and while it may not look like much if you look at that window on the far left that is up higher – that was my lovely bedroom, full of built in bookshelves and lots of space. My sister and parents had rooms on the main level and there was a spiral staircase to the lowest level which had a pool table! Even better, the house is a lake house, just a few minutes from Thunder Lake Provincial Park, and I have so many good memories of our time there; waterskiing and swimming in summer, snowshoeing and ice-fishing in winter. I was in grades 5 and part of 6 when we lived here.

 

This was the first home my parents actually bought, rather than rented. It was a lovely house (not quite as pretty as the picture though – it has been updated by more recent owners!) and I actually can even remember my bedroom quite well in this house. It was in the basement, with beautiful dark wood bookshelves on two or three sides. I loved the privacy (being around 12 that isn’t surprising!) I remember living here and getting my period for the first time. I also remember sitting on the steps to the basement the day my mom told me she and my dad were getting divorced. Goodbye house.

My mother went to spend a few days with a friend after her and my dad decided to split up. While she was gone, grandma moved us lock, stock and barrel to a duplex. Bonus points go to this house just because my very best friend at the time, Karey, lived in the other half. It was also nice and close to school for walking.

Unfortunately this house was the scene of disappointment yet again. We lived there for only a few months, finished out grade 7 in school and then moved to the big city so my mom could upgrade her education. It was a good reason to move, but I was not at a fun age at all for moving so far away from my friends and my grandma. Up to this point we’d mostly lived in small towns, but for her schooling my mom moved us to Edmonton. It seemed so overwhelming, but I did eventually adjust. I don’t remember the first two or so houses in Edmonton though, and I wonder if that means much? I was 13 when we started living there, but they are just blurry images in my head.

Now, I’m happy to say, that I’ve lived in the same house for 4.5 years (and no plans to move!) and before this my husband I owned our very first house together for 5.5 years. This was our first home (can’t seem to find a decent one of where we live now!):

 

Hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane with me – and I’d love to hear what your house experiences were growing up, either in comments or a post linked back to here!

 

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Jan 9, 2010 10:02 PM

Sledding and Shopping

 

by Laurie

Did you go sledding when you were a kid? Do you remember the feeling of the wind rushing by and the snow spraying in your face as you prayed that you wouldn’t crash at the bottom? I experienced the sledding rush again today, for the first time in a fair number of years. BabyBoy has been a bit of a “hindrance” these past couple of winters. This year though, he is two and since he’s a pretty wild and willing 2yo, today I dragged my lazy behind out of the house into a wonderful wintry day.

Actually, BabyBoy isn’t my only excuse for not sledding with my boys the past couple of years, just the most convenient one. Truth? I am not a real winter person, despite living in Alberta all my life and realizing that if you hibernate every winter you’ll probably end up cranky and with a couple of extra pounds on you. When I finally get outside on a nice, cold day, I remember how fun winter can actually be. The snow sparkles, cheeks are pink and ruddy, your breath puffs look so pretty. And today wasn’t even cold, not by January in Canada standards anyway – it was a full 3 degrees and the sun was shining. People were out in droves enjoying the break from the rather harsh (-20) temperatures we’ve had for the first several days of January (and lots of December, but hey, let’s not be too whiny!)

So I took all three of my boys sledding – all by myself! I went up and down the hill a fair number of times. I got soaking wet, since of course I didn’t have any snowpants for myself. Once all three children were nice and worn out we made our way over to the big mall and I finally, after years of saying I would do it, bought myself some snowpants! Ready to hit that sledding hill again tomorrow – I’m sure it won’t be long before the warm spell is over, might as well enjoy it while it’s here!

Oh and I did a little more shopping today, in line with my yoga every day goal. This shopping was online though, at Lululemon. I know, I know, it’s a bit overpriced, but I actually did a bit of looking at the mall and couldn’t find what I wanted at all. I didn’t actually bother going into the physical Lululemon store, it’s so busy all the time and with a toddler in a stroller and the other two I just couldn’t face it. So anyway, I bought myself a pretty yoga brick! There was a cheaper brick, but I couldn’t resist this one. Then when I saw shipping is free when ordering from the site I decided to splurge and buy myself a nice motivational tank too!  That’s probably enough shopping for today this week I guess, huh? Now, off to do a set of sun salutation poses and then a little tv before I go to sleep early for the first time this week.

Good Night and Namaste to you all!

 

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Jan 6, 2010 12:38 PM

Work at Home Wednesday

 

by Laurie

Getting back into the swing of things this week is really making time fly by. It’s Wednesday already?! Today is going to be just as busy as the first couple of days this week – I’ve got about 6 projects for clients on the go, I need to get some laundry done and I might actually make dinner today. I skipped that thankless task yesterday by feeding my boys piles of leftovers!

Speaking of thankless tasks and cooking – I definitely have to put that at the top of the boring but necessary things I do most days.  I’ve been thinking a lot about boredom since reading this post from The Happiest Momyesterday. Meagan definitely put into words something that weighs me down. I love my life as a mom and a wife, but the routines that are so important to my growing children are the very routines that stifle me sometimes. Thankfully some of the suggestions in the post fit very well with what I want to do with my life this year anyway. I want to expand my mind and my thought processes. In fact, just yesterday I also commented on the Talk-Back Tuesday post over at Becky and Hollee where I decided I am going to make yoga a daily part of my life, even if all I do each day is ONE yoga pose. I’ve experimented with yoga off and on and I know I really enjoy it – I find it very calming and centering. And last night I actually, oh my goodness – followed through!!! I did the Warrior Pose – just for a couple of minutes. The first steps are the hardest though right? Taking even that one minute will lead to two minutes and three minutes and eventually enough minutes to help me grow!

Ok, enough blogging for now – must go do some exercise (Wii, EA Active today I think!)  Then it will be time for BabyBoy’s nap, aka quiet working time for a brief period of time. It’s the easiest hour of my day usually, when I can actually concentrate really well, instead of the usual juggling act of children’s needs, work and my own desires!

 

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Jan 5, 2010 1:38 PM

Not Ready Yet

 

by Laurie

Oh yes it is 2010 already! And no I am not organized and ready. I meant to have my first “Memory Lane Monday” post up yesterday. Clearly it didn’t happen though. I have it written – in my head, you know. Kind of. Sort of.

Next week for sure. Anyone want to join me? I’m going to be sharing some pictures and memories of the many (MANY!!!) houses I’ve lived in over the years. I wasn’t an Army kid, in fact, I bet I moved more than the average military family. Best count was about 30 house by age 20. Since then I’ve been in control and moved less – maybe 5 times total, only twice in the last 10 years. And we’ll be staying put in our current house for many years to come (I hope).

Anyway – just a short post today to share that. And to whine, yet again, that dropping BabyBoy off at the dayhome this morning? It was no better than last year. I wish I could shake the guilt I feel sitting here in my wonderfully quiet house. I met a client this morning to get some work. I have been drafting some documents for another client and making phone calls for a third. I AM working – but I’m also going to the pool this afternoon for some exercise. So yep, guilt as usual. I know it will be fine when I pick him up later – and it will  be fine until next Tuesday. Sigh.

I wonder if it would be easier if he went to daycare more regularly than once a week? Or worse? Any thoughts from other part-time childcare moms?

 

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Jan 3, 2010 1:34 PM

Book Review: The Brightest Star in the Sky

 

by Laurie

This is one of my occasional book reviews for Penguin Canada – no compensation received other than the book itself (no affiliate sales or anything either), honest opinions only. As usual, I’m going to tell a little about the book and provide a rating (my opinion only obviously) out of 5 stars.

The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes

I’ve reviewed a Marian Keyes book before, and after having first reviewed This Charming Man I actually went to my library and took out several other Marian Keyes novels. I really enjoyed them all and Marian’s newest book,The Brightest Star in the Sky, is no exception for me. It’s a thought-provoking book full of believable characters with a real energy of its own.

The book centers around a small apartment building and the various tenants who live within it. There are four flats total, and many of the tenants interact in interesting ways with one another. My favorite tenant is Kate, a single 40 year old woman who is not really sure where her life is heading. I also love Matt and Maeve, a couple whose lives seem to be stuck in a bad holding pattern, but as their story is revealed my empathy for them grew and grew.

There is one other character in the story – a mysterious presence who has come to the building for some purpose, that is not revealed for quite some time. You get a sense of what it might be, but as with many Marian Keyes stories, never assume anything – she likes to surprise you!

This book’s biggest strength is the cast of characters – they are beautifully developed and you will quickly become immersed in their lives and their stories. It’s hard to find any weaknesses for me, I don’t know if that’s because I’m not critical enough or just that this is truly a fabulous book. But I give it a full 5 out of 5 and absolutely recommend you run out and grab this book asap! It’s a perfect read for a cold winter weekend.

POST REVIEW NOTE

I’m hoping to feature a “book” post on my blog weekly, occasionally reviews, more often probably just chatter about my current list of reading material. I almost always have a book or two on the go, I’m working on reading some material found on a blogger’s favorites posts and I’m just generally trying to expand my reading horizons. Right now, I’m reading Wally Lamb’s The Hour I First Believed (from the wonderful Spruce Grove Public Library!)

Laurie, aka Mobile Mommy

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Dec 14, 2009 12:33 PM

Deep Freeze

 

by Laurie

Ugh. It is so super cold where I live. No, I mean REALLY, REALLY freakin cold. It was -41 degrees Celsius when I woke up this morning and now it’s even colder at -42. If you live in the States or somewhere where you only know Fahrenheit – well, it’s not actually that different when it gets this cold. It’s apparently around -43 F. Crazy right? And yet, I live here, so what can I do?! My oldest didn’t even have to go to school today as the buses were all canceled. We don’t really have snow days here, snow is so normal, but once or twice a year we get weather like this and the buses shut down. School is technically open but I am so not going out in this just to take him to school to play (only maybe a quarter of kids actually show up in this weather).

So, yep, cold. I spent all day yesterday baking, nice way to keep the house toasty while the world outside is frozen. I think I may do some more baking today, as my first attempt at butter tarts was kind of a mess. The shells dissolved upon baking. Oops. I did get shortbread cookies and chocolate crinkles made that were super yummy. And I have gingerbread dough waiting to be rolled out, cut and baked later today. Fun, fun!

In the midst of all this, I still am working on client work, December seems to actually be a bit busy, though I suspect it will be very quiet starting next week. I also did a pretty good spreadsheet with my own financial info for Halo Secretarial put together, so I can see how the business is progressing and what I should have as goals for 2010. I think it will be a great year – it’ll be the second full year in business for me, and I’m feeling really good about it.

I also am working on some goals for this blog for the coming year-but that’s another post!

 

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Dec 3, 2009 1:32 PM

Christmas Equals Busy

 

by Laurie

I love the holiday season – it’s a great time to focus on family and enjoy some of the biggest benefits of my work at home life. I can do a little baking every week, I can get my shopping done when the mall is slightly less insane and then I can work half the night! Oh wait – that part isn’t so fun, but I can’t complain too much – I’m grateful for the work I have. I just wish BabyBoy wouldn’t have his worst sleep in ages on the night I stayed up way too late finishing a project!

So the best way to keep a handle on all the crazy during this busy season is to make a list – or three or four! I love lists, they keep me on track. I have work to-do lists, personal to-do lists, Christmas shopping lists, dinner menu lists, baking lists. Today’s top priority is trying to set my baking list in stone, so I can buy some supplies and get going.

I have annual baking traditions and I also enjoy trying a new recipe or two each year. So far, this is what’s on my agenda, but I’m definitely open for suggestions if anyone has a favorite they think we should try.

  1. Whipped Shortbread (hubby’s favorite)
  2. Butter Tarts (my grandma always made these!)
  3. Gingerbread cookies (for the boys to decorate)
  4. Nanaimo squares (maybe)
  5. Date squares

I usually make fudge and/or truffles too, but not sure if I’m going to this year.  Chocolate is my biggest weakness and I really want to keep my calorie intake reasonable.

Close to the actual holiday I’ll also make a couple of pies to serve as dessert, and I may make this beautiful angel food cake recipe from the most recent Cooking Light magazine.

Good thing we have lots of people invited for dinner – got a lot of sugar happening!!!

Laurie

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Nov 29, 2009 11:10 AM

Book Blogger Recommendations

 

by Laurie

I contributed my ten favorite books (not that my top ten is ever the same from day to day, lol, I love books so much I have trouble picking, and I’m sure that was a similar problem for the other book bloggers) to a list that has been compiled by Reading with Tequila. 33 book bloggers contributed over 200 unique titles!

My top 10, in random order and  if I’m remembering them correctly, were:

  1. Clan of the Cave Bear, Jean M. Auel
  2. Outlander, Diana Gabaldon (read the whole series!)
  3. The Thorn Birds – Colleen McCullough
  4. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
  5. Remember Me – Christopher Pike
  6. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  7. Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
  8. The Angels Weep – Wilbur Smith
  9. Watchers – Dean Koontz
  10. The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom

I’m planning to use the recommendation list to put together part of my 2010 reading list. Certainly I’ll read many other books, as I tend to grab a few that simply catch my eye every time I head to the library, but it’s nice to be able to broaden my reading horizons a bit by reading things recommended by other book lovers. So here are the ones I’m planning to try and read over the next year or so from the list (in no particular order):

  1. Hush, Hush – Becca Fitzpatrick
  2. City of Bones – Cassandra Clare
  3. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
  4. Graceling – Kristin Cashore
  5. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  6. Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
  7. 11 Minutes – Paulo Coelho
  8. The Road – Cormac McCarthy
  9. Poison Study – Maria V. Snyder
  10. The Giver – Lois Lowry
  11. The Immortal Highlander – Karen Marie Moning
  12. This Lullaby – Sarah Dessen
  13. Dark Lover – J.R. Ward
  14. Northern Lights – Phillip Pullman
  15. Brisingr – Christopher Paolini
  16. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
  17. The Prisoner’s Wife – Asha Bandele
  18. Happiness Sold Separately – Libby Street
  19. Love You Hate You Miss You – Elizabeth Scott
  20. Somewhere in Time – Richard Matheson
  21. Breath – Tim Winton
  22. Gone – Michael Grant
  23. The Looking Glass Wars- Frank Beddor
  24. No One Belongs Here More than You- Miranda July
  25. The Agony of Alice – Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  26. The Unlikely Ones – Mary Brown
  27. The Wednesday Letters – Jason F. Wright

I could probably add another 20 to my list, but I do have a business to run too!! The year 2010 is shaping up to be a busy and interesting year for me – I can’t wait!

 

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Nov 25, 2009 1:47 PM

Blog Ambition

 

by Laurie

I was feeling kind of lacking in focus today during BabyBoy’s naptime, and although I probably should have been getting some work done, I started catching up on reading from my GReader instead. And my attention was totally caught by The Mom Slant’s semi-recent post The Secret of My Success. Julie talks about the misleading media information on blogging and other internet “careers”.

I think the topic particularly caught my interest today because I’ve been carefully watching my paypal account for when I have enough to commit to my BlogHer ‘10 tickets. Which of course reminds me of how one of the disappointments of my first BlogHer experience this past summer was all the talk about making money from blogging. I do NOT blog for money, I have no interest in blogging for money. My writing creativity is hard enough to find most days, let alone to feel like I have to blog in order to bring in money. I blog for ME. I blog as a way to share, to connect with like-minded people, to have some vague form of adult interaction on the days when I feel overwhelmed by the little boys in my world. I’m only trying BlogHer again because there was a lot of talk about more sessions on the craft of writing, something I could use (ok and the fact that it’s in New York was a big attraction, lol!!)

The written word has always fascinated me – I’ve been a huge reader since I was very young. I liked writing for myself when I was a pre-teen (short stories) and I’ve kept a diary almost as long as I can remember. Pretty sporadic entries, but a great outlet. So when I discovered blogging it seemed inevitable to me that I would want to have one of my very own. A place where I could attempt to develop my writing skills and let my passion for words flow. I haven’t accomplished that as much as I would have hoped, but I do get a great deal of pleasure from blogging and being part of the blogging community. So nope, no blog ambition here at all, at least not in the financial sense. Just an ambition to evolve as a person and a writer, and to share the journey with whoever chooses to share it with me.

Laurie

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Nov 22, 2009 7:26 PM

WAHM Weekend

 

by Laurie

It’s been a heck of a week and Sunday is always both an ending and beginning for my week. This weekend was pretty good – I managed to catch up on most of my work from the past week, host a birthday party for my two-year old and get hubby off to a work rotation. He’s finished working in the NWT and now he just takes calls and hopes for any shifts he can get, so when the call came for this one we were grateful – even though he’ll miss BigBoy’s birthday in a couple of weeks

Having the flu last week was a real wakeup call to me, about my health and my business. For my health, I suffered far worse from the flu than the kids, and it’s clear to me I need to work a lot harder on taking care of myself and building up my immunity so I can handle illness a little better. I was reading over at A Cowboy’s Wife about Lori’s desire to lose weight and was reminded that this is absolutely critical for me right now. I know that eating healthier will help me lose weight and feel better!

Workwise – I was reminded that a wahm cannot be an island. I am not always that busy with work, and yet I was having serious trouble keeping up with even the few things that absolutely had to be done while I was ill with the flu. I had to cancel a conference call and had to take an extra couple of days on one particular project. So this week I’m starting to train someone to assist me a bit more, so as the workload grows (and I did manage to sign another client last week!) I can get help with at least some of my tasks.

Now, as much as I want to keep writing, I have to get back to catching up on my work and need to clean my house to start the week off fresh!!

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Nov 16, 2009 10:02 PM

More Flu Fun

 

by Laurie

My kids had the flu over the last couple of weeks-taking turns, one after the other of course. So guess who’s turn it was next? Mom’s of course! Ugh.

I have been so sick I’d almost take back my belief that the vaccine wasn’t necessary. It was such bad timing-last Wednesday we went for a last visit with my mom before she moves to Mexico (posts in that vein coming – I was very productively typing blog posts on the trip to British Columbia!!) We got to her house Wednesday night after a lovely 7 hours of traveling with three little boys. Thank goodness for games on the iPod Touch that kept the older two pretty amused. BigBoy is definitely going to be excited when he gets his own iPod Touch for his bday next month.

Thursday I started feeling not great, mostly headachey and unwell, nothing specific. By Friday I was coughing and congested, even more congested Saturday and by Sunday all hell broke loose. I got the full fever with chills effect of the flu and that was so not fun. I barely left my couch all day, but thankfully even by today I’m feeling a little bit better and hopefully in a couple more days I’ll be close to normal. Probably then it will be DH’s turn.

Being ill right after a trip really plays havoc with your work-from-home responsibilities I have to tell you. My clients all knew I was going to be away, so thankfully things weren’t too busy, but I literally had trouble even keeping up with my email while I was gone because my head was so out of it. And yesterday and today I had set aside to get back into the groove and get some tasks crossed off my to-do list. Yesterday I couldn’t actually even stand to look at my computer, and today I needed a nap midday so that I could get just a couple small things done. Hopefully tomorrow I can rock my list though!

And as soon as I’m more normal  and caught up on my work (priorities you know) I’m going to reread/edit what I wrote on the way to my mom’s house and hopefully get some more posts going here. See you then!

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Nov 7, 2009 11:38 AM

Test

 

by Laurie

testing new feed (due to domain name change to mobilemommy.me)

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Nov 7, 2009 11:38 AM

Moved I Think (And Hope!)

 

by Laurie

Ok, I stayed up way too late last night because I decided to just go for it and do it. I moved my blog over to my new domain, mobilemommy.me. I tested it and everything looked good. I had used these directions.

Then this morning I got up and tested it. Big UH-OH!!! It wasn’t working. I didn’t know what went wrong. I sent out a tweet, and while hopefully waiting to see if any of my followers had a suggestion I did some good old-fashioned google research, lol. And this site provided me the missing step, did the fix in my wp-config.php file and voila! For now, at least, it’s fixed. Now I get to attempt at re-direct at my old blog url. Wish me luck!

Laurie

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Nov 5, 2009 1:09 PM

Moving Soon

 

by Laurie

I have had my blog for quite some time, starting with a blogger blog, importing the posts to a free wordpress blog, then switching over to a self-hosted wordpress blog on the domain mobilemommy.me domain. After a lot of thought, I finally decided to name my blog Mobile Mommy and bought the mobilemommy.me domain, but due to my lack of experience have put off actually setting the blog properly up under the mobilemommy domain. I’ve just used a re-direct so that I could use mobilemommy.me when commenting or whatever, but people still ended up on mobilemommy.me.

So, I’m getting ready to move domains, finally! I’m more than a little nervous about it but I have found a reasonably good sounding description of how to do this and I would love to say I managed it on my own (of course I may screw it all up, ack!)

Wish me luck and if you notice anything wonky you know why! And if you have tips or suggestions before I tackle this (hopefully by this weekend!) I would certainly appreciate it.

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Nov 5, 2009 11:04 AM

H1N1 Hits Home

 

by Laurie

Yep, I’m pretty sure my kids have/had H1N1. No, I haven’t had them tested just to be sure. It is sweeping across their school (and many other Canadian schools too) and they have the symptoms. Well, currently LittleBoy has the symptoms the worst, BigBoy is already on his way to recovery. Cough + two days of high fever and fatigue, then two days of still feeling fatigued and now, mostly better. Today is day 1 of fever for LittleBoy. BabyBoy should have it by the weekend I’m thinking.

So why is this important to me? Because, as I suspected, I no longer need to even think about getting my boys immunized with the H1N1 vaccine. And that is a relief to me, as I truly didn’t want to do it, and I know for sure now there would have been no point – it simply wasn’t available in time for us (given when they finally started making it available and how long it takes to truly provide protection). But I’ve read so many posts on the topic recently, trying to make sure if I was making the right choice, it’s nice to have it out of my hands now.

And much as I’d love to talk even more about the “swine” flu, I must go take care of LittleBoy!

 

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Nov 3, 2009 10:52 PM

Hiding From Them

 

by Laurie

Today was “my” day. The day I have no kids in the house for 7 hours. Except I did, because BigBoy was sick and stayed home with me. He was quiet and I barely noticed him in all honesty. He watched tv in our upstairs tv room with a water bottle to keep him hydrated. I asked him several times if he was hungry but he really didn’t have any appetite.

Still, it wasn’t the day I was looking forward to at all. The last four weeks I had volunteered on my free day in BigBoy’s classroom while they took skating lessons. It left me some time to get some work done, but none of the free time I so long for. Especially with DH working away I feel the weight of my responsibilities weighing me down. My free day is supposed to be the one day in a week when I can feel free for a little while. Free to go to the library alone, or to do some window shopping or maybe even get my hair done. Little things really – I have simple dreams!

So tonight I feel the weight almost crushing me. I’m the mom, I have to be here, I have to take care of them, especially when they are sick or tired or hungry or thirsty or just in need of hugs. But I haven’t had any time to take care of me it seemed and since the lovely time change has made BabyBoy decide to wake up at 5 am I was extra tired and cranky by the time 6pm rolled around. After yet another spilled cup of milk and a cranky baby screeching at me when I told him no, I ran and hid. Literally. I snuck to the basement stairs and closed the door behind me, knowing BabyBoy couldn’t open it. I went and folded a load of laundry (I know – what a rebel I am!), all the while listening to BabyBoy howl for me. He cannot stand when he can’t see me. And I didn’t want to go back up. How sad is that.

Thankfully they are all in bed and tonight the BigBoy has only a mild fever so I should be able to rest easier. Last night he was hovering close to 105 degrees and I was terrified. I put him in my bed to sleep so I could check his head regularly – he started to cool off in the wee morning hours, you know, just before BabyBoy woke me up for good  Now it is quiet and peaceful for a few rare moments and I think I should get off this laptop and actually go enjoy them!

 

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Nov 1, 2009 11:39 AM

Boo!

 

by Laurie

 

Don’t they look sweeet? Probably not the look they were going for, lol. They are tough guys you know!

So Halloween is over, the money is spent, the costumes are worn and too much candy has been consumed. It was fun, but not too long-lasting really. In my neighborhood the kids started coming around 6pm and very few showed up after 7pm. My own boys were only out trick-or-treating for about 35 minutes, the last five of that filled with complaints of cold and tired. I suspect a desire to get home and eat some candy was a big part of that.

This year was actually one of the warmest Halloweens I can recall. I was  able to just add sweaters under their costumes to keep them warm; many years you can barely glimpse costumes under the snowpants, coats and boots that kids have to don. We had a little snow on Friday morning, but it melted by Friday night and yesterday was a balmy 7 degrees or so, although it definitely was cooling off fast once the dark descended.

Now it’s November, hard to believe 2009 is already almost over. The time change also took place last night and while we’re not feeling the effects yet, I am hoping that this week isn’t too rough. Sometimes the time change really messes the kiddos up, especially the baby. Thankfully after this full week of school, next week we start the kids’ fall break and we’ll all (hopefully) get plenty of rest. No school for almost a full week this year – usually fall break is just a 4-day weekend, but they popped the November PD day onto one end and Remembrance Day gives a day off at the beginning of the break.

Hope everyone else had a happy Halloween!

 

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Oct 30, 2009 10:32 AM

10 Years of Wedded Bliss

 

by Laurie

A decade ago I married the wonderful love of my life, my handsome husband. We were both 24 years old, and it was a cold crisp autumn day. So cold that it snowed the next day and a couple of our poor little flower girls were just freezing during the outdoor photos, so they wore sweaters over their pretty little dresses. Thankfully I was no bridezilla, and I didn’t worry about that!

 

Our ceremony was perfect. I put the whole thing together myself, as we had a marriage commissioner perform the ceremony. Actually, the marriage commissioner was one of the best parts of the whole ceremony – my mom got a special one day license and performed it for us!

 

We actually had thought about eloping in Vegas or Mexico. A beach wedding was my idea of heaven, but circumstances dictated that might not be the wisest path (aka MIL drama). I am so glad actually though that we had a more traditional event, as sharing the day with our family and friends was wonderful.

And now, ten years have passed. We’ve gone from being a young couple in love with 3 dogs to being a slightly older couple still very much in love with 3 kids. And apparently we now suck at getting good family shots, because this is the best I could find laying around, from a family reunion this summer. We so need to get some proper ones done soon!

 

How do you reflect on ten years of marriage exactly? And there were four years of dating before the wedding, so together I’ve spent close to half my life with my husband (okay, I’m 34, not 28 – close enough!)  There have been amazing times and some pretty awful times.  Marriage is definitely like a roller coaster in my opinion – ups and downs, twists and turns. In the time we’ve been married we’ve seen friends meet people, get married and divorced. We’ve had our three boys and lived through a miscarriage. We’ve taken trips and buried our dogs. Ups and downs for sure.

You know what I can say with certainty after all these years? Marriage is work. It’s a lifelong commitment and you have to really work at appreciating one another, understanding one another and telling each other what you need. I wonder what new lessons I’ll learn when another ten years have gone by?!

And handsome, if you read this, Happy Anniversary!!

 

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Oct 25, 2009 10:48 PM

Scary Stuff

 

by Laurie

It’s almost Halloween Week – time for scary stuff! Well, ok, really my scary stuff this week is doing some real thinking about my business and considering a suggestion made by a client. It’s something I’ve considered on my own anyway, but I feel like I need to maybe move ahead sooner than I had ever thought to.

You see, right now my business is still growing, and not that quickly in general. But if I go in a certain direction a client may be able to direct some more business my way. So I have to start deciding if I want to have a team working with me and how exactly that would all work. It’s kind of exciting and kind of daunting – as it’s fairly different from where I am now – able to still fit my business in pretty much around my personal life. Even one or two more of my regular (and lovely!) type of clients will mean I have to really start buckling down and being in my home office a lot more than I am now. Good thing my amazing hubby just bought me a netbook – I can access my work while still being on the go, at least somewhat!

It’s crazy how much thinking about my work has consumed me this weekend – and of course nothing may come of it all anyway! Still, it’s important to start planning and preparing I think. Despite some rough days where I wonder what on earth I am doing trying to be an entrepreneur, I love my little business and I want to keep growing it.

Okay – now time for the other type of scary stuff – getting ready for Halloween! There is another pumpkin to carve, treat bags to assemble and parties to attend. Fun, fun, fun! Oh and I think I’m going to write a post over at Type A Mom about the costs of Halloween this year-one more item on my to-do list.

 

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Oct 19, 2009 4:01 PM

Book Review: After You by Julie Buxbaum

 

by Laurie

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m doing occasional book reviews for Penguin Canada – no compensation received other than the book itself (no affiliate sales or anything either), honest opinions only. I’m going to tell a little about each book and provide a rating (my opinion only obviously) out of 5 stars.

After You by Julie Buxbaum

It’s interesting to me that my synopsis of this lovely book by Julie Buxbaum doesn’t really match what is on herown website! Does that mean I’m “wrong” or just that we all see things so differently and get different things from books? Well, that is how I see it anyway!

To me, After You is about loss and the incredible journey one must undertake to move past a particularly significant or tragic loss. Loss can be a very hard topic to read about – if you are particularly sensitive right now in your life I don’t actually know if I’d recommend the book, although otherwise I absolutely do. It is a really wonderful book with a compelling main character in Ellie.

Loss is so personal. We all experience it at some point and we all hurt. But there is so much expectation around losses – you should feel this way, for this long and then you should be ready to “move on”. Of course it doesn’t work that way for so many of us. Maybe I’ll need two years to recover from something that you adjusted to in only six months. Maybe I’ll cry and rant and rage and maybe you’ll turn inwards and quiet.

In After You, Ellie has been trying to move on from her own personal loss for awhile, when another tragedy strikes in her life. Her best friend Lucy loses her life in a public murder, right in front of Lucy’s young daughter, Sophie. Sophie has a very difficult road ahead of her coping with losing her mother so violently and Ellie temporarily moves from the US to the UK to help Sophie.

Other than a slightly predictable ending, I really enjoyed the whole story in After You and I give it 4 out of 5 stars. Hope you enjoy it too!

If you liked this review check out my review of Julie Buxbaum’s The Opposite of Love or maybe the review ofThis Charming Man by Marian Keyes.

 

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Oct 16, 2009 12:14 PM

Winding Down for the Weekend

 

by Laurie

I am so glad it’s Friday! It was a hectic week here, and I don’t feel like I got quite enough accomplished. Thankfully I should be able to catch up over the weekend and feel like there is less chaos!

Well, there always will be some chaos, those three crazy boys aren’t going anywhere after all. And right now they are a high volume of crazy, ugh!!!! Well, the two of them that aren’t at school are. It will only get louder with all three around all weekend. Thankfully we may have an activity for tomorrow afternoon that should be nice. My sis will have visitation with her two older daughters so I’m going to drive out to see her at her new house. My 5yo loves to play with his same-aged cousin and my 7yo loves the older girls. Baby Boy just steamrolls over everyone, so he’s good no matter what.

And next week I’m planning on having a great week! The weather is turning slightly back toward fall, so I can forget about all the lovely snow for a little bit! My DH will be off of his two-week work rotation so I’ll have some help (yay1!) which is always nice.

Now, I’m off to do some more work before I get this weekend thing started!
Laurie, aka Mobile Mommy

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Oct 15, 2009 12:36 PM

Stay at Home or Not

 

by Laurie

I admit it, I watched a bit of the Dr. Phil show yesterday. Funnily, I never ever watch the show but it came on after something I had been watching and I was busy working so I didn’t bother finding the remote to change the channel. Then I saw what it was about and even though I knew how it would go I kept watching. The “mommy wars” theme is actually getting really tired. Sure there are tons of opinionated people who think they should decide for other people what they should do and what is right or wrong. But most of us moms realize that we all have to make our own choices and not worry about what other people think or what choices those people make.

We are all so different. I can only know my experiences, so how can I tell you what to do? Sure, if you asked, I could give you my opinion or tell you about my experiences. But that’s it. And I think what is right tends to be very fluid. For me, working at home is the right choice FOR NOW. It might not be the right choice next year or in 10 years. We’ll see! Not that working at home with the kids is often addressed in the SAHM vs WOHM discussions. Admittedly it is simply  not an option for everyone, but neither is the pretty ideal Dr. Phil talked about where a mom can work but still always be at every school event, every soccer game and home for every illness. He may offer that to his lucky employees, but in the real world not many employers are that accepting of parents who put home ahead of work to that extent.

Well this busy WAHM must get going – I have to start (finally!) putting together a book review for After You by Julie Buxbaum, do step 2 in my breadmaking, go to the post office to mail client materials and make a phone call on behalf of another client. Oh plus do some laundry and get the baby down for a nap in a couple of hours. Plus go to a parent teacher conference and make dinner and hang out with my best friend before she leaves on her vacation. Just a typical day!

 

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Oct 5, 2009 7:26 PM

Moms Opting Out

 

by Laurie

One of my new favorite blogs has a great post up about Why Opting Out isn’t the Whole Story. At the end, the question is posed:

So tell us, are the moms you know opting out for good, or is that only part of the story? Tell us.

This is a fascinating topic for me. I dont’ really think of myself as a “professional”. I have a college diploma, but secretarial college basically. Still, I think of myself as having a career and I both work with many career professionals (lawyers) and have several friends who are university educated and have to really think about how they are going to combine work and parenting.

I know of very, very few people who want to completely opt out of their careers. Okay, I do know one, she just doesn’t want to work anymore. She wants to win the lottery instead (hey, who doesn’t!!) Otherwise though, we like to work, we want to be independent and self-sufficient. It’s never a simple thing though – childcare is expensive and working in and of itself costs money (clothes, lunches, parking). So what’s a working parent to do?

In my case, I chose to semi-opt-out. I work from home and am working on building a business related to my previous career. It prevents me having a gap on my resume and may even be a long-term solution. But if it doesn’t work long-term, at least it gives me opportunities for learning and growth in the years I am busy raising my young children.

It’s not an easy option though and still has plenty of drawbacks. It is hard to manage caretaking with a growing business. It is hard to truly do your best at work when the demands of parenting escalate (car pool, lessons, sick kids, volunteering, etc, etc, etc) And it’s hard for many of us who take time off from our careers to give up the financial stability that comes with having a solid career. Not the luxuries that all the typical news articles seem to focus on, but the simple ability to have a reliable vehicle, live in a comfortable neighborhood or put your kid in swim lessons every year.

And most importantly, to me, is that fact that some of the “opting out” is almost about being “pushed” out. Few careers offer truly flexible work options. Few old-school business or law firms want to let their employees work from home even part-time or on days when the kids are sick. Businesses expect employees to just handle it – find a nanny, have a grandma available or “something”. No, they don’t really care what, not in my experience anyway. So people who want flexible work arrangements search endlessly for an employer who really means it or give up and quit for a while. It’s easier than fighting the establishment.

Once we’re out of the workforce and home with our kids, we moms have a lot of trouble knowing when or how to get back in the game. So while most moms plan to  go back eventually, who’s to say when they will be able to go back and how easy it will be to get their foot back in the door?

 

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Oct 1, 2009 3:43 PM

Work at Home Thankfulness

 

by Laurie

I was reading a post on Casual Friday Everyday about being able to do certain things because you are a work at home mom. And let me tell you – this week, more than ever, I was extremely thankful to be a wahm. First LittleBoy got sick. Then BabyBoy got sick and now, of course, BigBoy is taking his turn with the virus. Not that it’s the same virus – BabyBoy had a fever and now a rash (I’m thinking Roseola, because I like to use Dr. Google for my health questions, lol) and the other two had/have a nasty little stomach virus that results in vomiting and diarrhea. Fun or what?

I would have easily had to miss three days of work if I worked in my old office job. They would not have been impressed (I know from experience!) This week, it was a little hectic, especially Tuesday when I had a project to work on and a clingy BabyBoy, but I got it done by working around him, literally. Yep, he sat in my lap and I worked. Then he napped and I worked HARD!

In addition to my regular work this week, I’m putting together little gift packages for my clients to thank them for the opportunities to work with them – my first year in business finally being over and having been full of challenges and anxiety – I really appreciate the clients who have partnered with me. Without them I would not be a work at home mom right now – I might be a sahm, with less money, but I’m glad I’m able to have career goals still, and be here for these times – the sick times, the field trip times, the sneaking out to the park times.

 

Playing at the Park

Yep, I love being a work at home mom!!

 

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Sep 30, 2009 5:24 PM

Find A Moment of Inspiration

 

by Laurie

I’ve been having a rough week and I’ve been feeling so uninspired. I haven’t even posted to my blog since the sad post about my beloved Symba. The kids have taken turns being sick, which of course means I’ve gotten no sleep and I’m feeling just a lot of anxiety. Not helped by having to keep BabyBoy home on my one day of peace per week thanks to his fever yesterday.

I should be doing some work right now, as I have been lazy all morning and have to pick DH up from the airport tonight. But I just didn’t want to so I was reading a few random posts in my Google Reader instead. Thank goodness I came across a nice inspiring post from Linsey over at Me Too You.  Makes me think I should quit worrying about unimportant things, or things that will pass, and try to think of something nice to do for someone else who really needs a lift.

It’s a good lesson – when you are feeling down, you really need to either dig deep or search hard to find even a small bit of inspiration to perk you up. And now, feeling better, I should go do a bit of work while I can!!

 

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Sep 21, 2009 11:18 AM

A Tribute to Symba

 

by Laurie

 

Symba was 12 years old and in many ways he was my first “baby”. DH, way back when he was my boyfriend, bought him for me as a gift. I had a lot of dogs as a child – my parents were sadly the type to get and get rid of pets depending on a moment’s whim. Well, maybe not quite that bad, but I did probably have at least 10 dogs who they “couldn’t keep” for one reason or another. We never had a dog die of old age. NEVER. One did die as a result of an accident, but otherwise they all were given away because we had to move, usually because my dad lost his job. As soon as things were good he’d go right back out and get another dog.

Anyway, this post is about Symba, not my parents. So Symba was the very first dog that was mine from puppyhood all the way to the end of his precious life. He was so tiny when we got him! He had lovely silky black fur with a white patch on his chest and foot.  He hated to sleep alone and when he gave up trying to snuggle DH’s dog (she was his baby!), he found a way into my bed and slept with me for years and years. He only stopped sleeping with me when he was about 10 and started to prefer the couch.

We had some great times in the early days, with only two dogs and two adults! Long walks, trips to the mountains, cuddling on the couch. It was so easy, lol. Then we crazily added a third dog and it got a little hectic. Then we really went wild and started having kids. He (and our other dogs thankfully!) seemed to enjoy the new additions to the house. Here he is snuggling Little Boy. On the other side is Jack, our first dog to pass a couple of years back.

 

Snuggled up to Little Boy

Symba is the only dog of the three that was alive for the births of all three of my children. By the time BabyBoy was born Symba had definitely hit his senior years, but still, they have been known to cuddle.

 

Symba tolerating Baby Boy

Symba had a lot of nicknames, for silly reasons, or no reason at all.  Simmie, Timmie, Symba-oo, Princely Flag (after a beautiful horse we once saw at the racetrack!) He was a good-natured dog, likely as a result of his labrador retriever heritage. We never did know what other breed comprised his genetics, but it really never mattered either. He looked like a lab but he was only knee-height and 40lbs. He hated the water though – not exactly typical of a lab!

Symba started going gray early – probably because he had a really rough medical experience when he was still young. He ate a piece of tennis ball, a tiny piece really, maybe an inch? But it turned to rock in his stomach acids and then proceeded to puncture all through his intestine. By the time the doctors realized what was wrong (the piece was so small it didn’t show on x-ray), he was extremely ill. I thought we were going to lose him then and I cried and cried on the phone as we discussed treatment options. A week of intensive treatment and a long surgery later Symba actually did recover though.  He was never quite the same, but considering that he also stopped eating everything in sight, it wasn’t all bad!

Since Symba was 12, DH and I had already had some discussions about how we would handle illnesses etc. Having your third senior dog you start to learn to discuss before things get too emotional (like at the vet’s office).  That made it slightly easier to think about what to do when I saw how sick my poor Symba was last week. It came on very suddenly and in fact I thought maybe he just ate something bad. He was always “sharing” the kids’ food or trying to get into the baby’s diapers (yuck!) I came home after spending the day with my grandmother at the hospital and he had thrown up everywhere. I let him outside and right away knew something was wrong. He went out into a chilly, drizzly afternoon and promptly lay down on the grass and didn’t move for over 1o minutes.

I called the vet, but unfortunately they were about to close for the day. I could have taken my boy to an emergency clinic, but despite my concern I decided to wait until morning for our regular vet to open. I knew in my heart that the chances of him making the night were low, but I also knew it would be much better for Symba to spend one last peaceful night at home. He really didn’t like the clinic and I didn’t know if there was even anything they could do. He was not in pain, he just looked like he was done. There was something missing in his eyes-I knew the look from when we lost our first dog. I brought him a blanket to sleep on, since he didn’t seem able to get onto the couch as usual. I checked on him a couple of times throughout the night and he was still the same. I got up in the morning surprised, but pleased, he was still with us. I actually thought maybe I was being dramatic imagining that he’d decided it was time to go. Within minutes of my waking though, I heard him take his last breath. Just like that he was gone. I wrapped him tightly in his blanket and Baby Boy said “Night, Night, doggy”. Night, night indeed. I didn’t want the older boys to see his body-reality is one thing but no need for them to see that sweet little body empty of it’s spark.

In the spring, Symba’s ashes will fertilize a new tree in our yard, joining our other beloved dogs. The Jack tree (a lovely dogwood), the Fresca tree (a pretty apple tree) and now, the Symba tree. Not sure what kind of tree he will get yet – but I love the symbolism of the ashes helping to nourish new life.

There will be some nice things about living now in a dog-free home. But oh how I will miss the sound of little paws on the hardwood, doggy sighs in sleep and even doggy barking at the door. Rest in Peace my friend, rest in peace. I’m sure you are now with your friends at the Rainbow Bridge.

 

Friends at Play Long Ago

 

p.s. Can I say how super hard this was to write? It took me all weekend, cause I kept having to take crying breaks. I miss him already.

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Sep 15, 2009 11:54 PM

Time An Enemy or a Friend

 

by Laurie

I wish I could believe time was my friend, that it will wash away the bad memories and help me see the past with rose-colored glasses. You know, like I will somehow magically forget these exhausted years of frustration and crankiness and wondering what on earth I am doing! But time definitely seems like somewhat of an enemy for me lately – I think the precious moments of my life are flashing past, my babies are growing up and I’m a chicken with her head cut off, wondering why I can’t see anymore.

Ok, a little dramatic I know but while fall is a great time to get down to being productive (I have great plans still to try and use September as a self-improvement month as per Alyssa’s suggestions over at Sitepoint), things have been getting busier so quickly that I need to take a day or two to put some better systems in place. I do great on days like today when all three boys were gone (2nd day of dayhome for baby – woohoo!) and I can sit down and just WORK. But I need to work on my productivity other days. I’m getting tired of always working at night when they are in bed.

And when I get busy with work, which is good since you know– it pays, I put too much stuff on the backburner. I’d like to leave at least an hour open every night for some personal stuff like posting to this blog, writing some books reviews I actually want to write but don’t get to, I’ve even been twittering less lately-ack!

Oh well, Big Brother is over now for the summer – maybe those hours I spent watching it will help me out with my productivity, lol!

Time for sleep now – being rested definitely helps me be more productive!

 

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Sep 8, 2009 7:18 PM

A Child Free Day

 

by Laurie

Today was an amazingly quiet day in my house. I can’t even tell you the last time I actually had a fully quiet day in my own home! I finally took the leap last week and did some interviewing and found a lovely dayhome for my youngest to  go to one day per week. He’s going on a day my middle is in kindergarten (and of course oldest is in full-time school), so I have absolutely no children for about 7 hrs once per week. And if work continues to pick up like it seems it will, I may even go to two full days per week!

I have to say, even with only one day of childcare under my belt, that this is something I’d recommend for every WAHM – and probably most SAHM’s too, if they can swing it! Where I live it’s surprisingly affordable to do one day every week or two, at only $35 to $40 for the whole day. To give yourself some breathing space, a chance to run errands or make phone calls without a little one suddenly needing your attention, is really worth an awful lot. I feel so rejuvenated! Usually I use my rare child-free breaks for “something”. You know, a get together with friends, a night out with hubby, a meeting or work related function. These are important things but they don’t really offer that opportunity to just enjoy some quiet time. Now I think I better go enjoy the evening with my lovely boys – I feel much more up for it than I usually do!!

 

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Sep 1, 2009 11:35 PM

First Day of Kindergarten

 

by Laurie

Today my 5yo, Little Boy, started kindergarten. It was a world of improvement over my experience with the first day of kindergarten for Big Boy. For one, there were NO tears! Not by me, not by Little Boy. My little boy is a very social little guy. He is always making new friends wherever he goes, so it was little surprise that he was very happy to meet some other 5 year olds and he was talking about a couple of them non stop when he got home!

I realized how grown up he was looking after he got his haircut this weekend. He just turned 5, and in many ways he seems so young to me, especially compared to his more mature big brother. Size-wise though? He’s catching up to Big Boy, at least in height! They are almost three years apart but Little Boy is wearing just a size different in clothes and only a size less in shoes too! He is going to be very tall I think.

He still insists on smiling silly whenever I say cheese though! Too bad, he has a beautiful smile when behaves normally!

Of course, the day wasn’t all perfect. Turns out that we went on the wrong day. Yeah, I know. My information sheet said the first day was Tuesday, September 3. Obviously incorrect, so I called to check. Was told to come today by the office staff, but teacher was expecting us Thursday. They do staggered entry, with half the class one day, half the next. So no harm done, he still was allowed into class today and just doesn’t need to go on Thursday. Crazy!

His first “real” day, with all kids attending, is next week, so for a few more days I get to enjoy him at home with me. And I’m quite sure that Baby Boy will enjoy him being home too. When we went to pick up from school at the end of the day, Baby Boy ran straight to 5yo and gave him a big hug – so cute!

Only one more first day of school to go, but Baby Boy won’t be doing that for 3 or 4 years – I bet there will be lots of tears then (joy or sadness, I can’t say for sure, but tears nonetheless!)

 

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Aug 31, 2009 9:38 PM

Tales of Grade Two

 

by Laurie

It is the last day of August. August does NOT seem like the time for school to start, even if it is the very last day of said month. August is still summer, or always has been here in Alberta, to the best of my recollection. But this year, August 31 was in fact the first day of school for my Big Boy. Admire his latest big boy haircut if you please:

Can I say how old grade two sounds without seeming crazy? I mean it’s nothing compared to my nieces who are in their last year of high school, or even my lovely niece who is just starting high school. But for me, it feels old. He is starting to pull away from me. In kindergarten and grade one he still needed a kiss goodbye most days. He wasn’t embarrassed to hug me in front of his friends. Today, on the first day of school, I already felt him hesitating when I went to hug him goodbye. It made me so much sadder than I expected it to. I know he’s going to grow up on me. I know it will be fast. I though it wouldn’t be too hard until he graduated to middle school in a couple of years. I though elementary school would be a breeze, but it’s not.

He’s my very first baby – my beloved helper at home, my tall, sensitive and sweet boy. And now he is only partly mine I think. He belongs to his friends and his teachers and mostly, to himself. He is starting to feel his place in the world already – he knows he doesn’t always need me to take those steps in the world. I’m hesitant to even think about the end of this year – how much more mature and aware will he be? And how many pairs of shoes will he go through this year (had to lighten the mood a little, lol!)

It was a nice day though, and super-hot, so I feel like we started the school year right. And now I must prepare myself for tomorrow – another first. A BIG first. The very first day of school for my next baby. I won’t cry, will I?

 

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Aug 28, 2009 12:01 AM

Five Years

 

by Laurie

My middle baby, Little Boy, turned five today. That means five years ago yesterday I first went into labour and felt so excited about my newest baby’s pending arrival. Then he took his sweet time actually descending and being born of course, arriving a full 19 hours later. Still, it wasn’t a bad labour other than the whole panic at the end thinking I wasn’t going to be able to push properly and that whole icky episiotomy, vacuum, tearing bit. But hey, let’s not go there tonight! But if you ever for some strange reason read this Dr. S – yes I am still glad I did not have a repeat c-section. A VBAC was in fact worth it.

So anyway, today was a very quiet but nice day with my new 5 year old (and of course his brothers). We had the official party on Sunday while Daddy was around. Little Boy was most in love with his new Ben 10 watch I think, which we bought him knowing how much he loved (aka – kept stealing) the one his older brother got for his birthday last winter.

I made a real effort to be organized this am and got all my work done by the time the baby was up from his nap so we could spend some quality time together the rest of the afternoon/evening. We went for a longish walk to the park, well I walked and the older two rode their bikes. 5yo is not so fast/skilled at the bike riding thing, so I can unfortunately more easily help him while pushing a stroller than I would riding my bike with my cool Wee Ride seat for Baby Boy. We taught oldest to ride without training wheels when he was 6, so hopefully next summer we can do the same for middle and I’ll actually get more use out of my bike!

Then I took them all to MickeyD’s for supper, not exactly healthy but Little Boy got to choose since it was his birthday. Then we came home and watched Big Brother together. Quality family time or what? I know, I spent the whole summer not watching tv and still managed to be addicted to silly old Big Brother. That’s what YouTube is for right? And now DH has turned the cable back on, so I can turn back into a tv person for the fall. That’s another post though I think.

Happy Birthday Little Boy – love you more than you can imagine, even if I don’t let you spend every waking hour playing Lego Wii.

Love,
Mommy

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Aug 26, 2009 8:02 AM

The Semi-Single Shift

 

by Laurie

My coffee mug is gently steaming beside me. My eyes are still gritty with sleep. Suddenly I’m wondering why I couldn’t just record Big Brother last night and get an extra hour of sleep, I knew what today would hold after all. I could pretend I was being empathetic to my darling husband, who stayed up trying to reset his body a little in preparation for tonight’s first night shift.

In a couple of hours I’ll be back onto the “single mom” rotation, two weeks of solo fun while DH works 12 hour shifts far from our home. And in about 7 hours hopefully I’ll be napping to make up for this very early morning!

I actually am a little hesitant to admit it, but I enjoy a lot of my time on my own. It’s easier in some ways having only the kids to cook for, no one to disagree with over what we should do for the day or did I spend too much money at the grocery store. Of course there also is no one to get up with my early bird children except me, no one to do the dishes or throw in yet another load of laundry. Neither rotation is easy since both are at extremes – him here all the time or not at all, but the job does pay for our bills and he likes what he does. That is a great thing to have. And two weeks away is far easier on our family than six month rotations like Maree’s husband does. Especially since we can talk almost every day on the phone.

Now here we are, on the precipice once again. I am going to miss him terribly, although this shift is in a particularly busy period so I may feel less lonely than I often do when he leaves. School starts next week, I’m (finally!) looking into a little bit of childcare for my youngest, I have a new client and quite a bit of work to get done.  And then the two weeks will be over and we’ll be at the airport yet again.

Laurie

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Aug 24, 2009 4:22 PM

The First Time on the School Bus

 

by Laurie

**I’ve written this as an exercise related to the Momoir Project

First times are hard for me to remember to be honest. I have almost no memory of the first time I held my first baby. Actually, I only “remember” seeing a picture and thinking, “really, did I hold him in recovery?” I had a c-section thanks to a stubbornly breech baby, hospital protocol at the time and poor planning on my part (aka, assuming naively I would not have a breech baby, nor would I need to consider options other than the attempted external version).

I couldn’t really tell you much about the first times any of my babies smiled or even slept through the night. A lot of early motherhood moments seem to blend together in a blurry haze of exhaustion and wonder. As my beautiful boys get older, things seem to finally be coming into focus though. Each boy is so much more distinct now, their personalities were always so individual even as babies, but their needs were exactly the same. More milk mommy. Change my diaper. Carry me. EVERYWHERE. Blah, blah, blah.

My oldest is going into grade two soon and my middle is going to kindergarten. And, at least right now, I can remember the very first time I put my oldest onto the bus to go to kindergarten, two years ago, as clear as anything. I think it’s partially so clear because it was brutally traumatic for me. It was hard for him, but I’m quite certain the memory has faded much more quickly for him than it will for me.

Kindergarten started with a whimper. A whimper of pain thanks to a high fever and a throat infection. I fed the poor darling some Tylenol and proceeded to try and drag him to school anyway because after all daddy and I had already taken the day off. It was “the first day” and he was going no matter what. We made it all the way to the school before I truly looked at his pale face and his fever-glazed eyes and realized that of course he was not going to school. Home we went and to the doctor for some antibiotics.

As a result of staggered entry and 2-day per week kindergarten, the first day of school was put off until the next week. Unfortunately, as a working mom, my son would be going to kindergarten from daycare. He would get on a big yellow school bus, be dropped off at a large transfer station and make his way to bus number 213, which was then expected to deliver him safely to his school. His failed first day was meant to be the day I drove him to school and the 2nd and 3rd days of school I had also taken off of work to help him get used to taking the school bus. I delivered both him and his younger brother to daycare as usual, but waited at the daycare until the bus arrived. My body was swollen with my third child, I was tired and anxious about the new experience. I wanted nothing more than to quit my job that very day so I would never have to trust my baby to the big scary bus. I had no choice though, my notice was already set in stone for early November just before the baby’s arrival and I had projects to complete. The bus arrived and my biggest boy cried. And cried and cried and cried. And clung to me and asked why he had to take the bus. My heart was breaking and I knew I had to put him on that bus anyway.

I met him at the school 25 minutes later. Twenty-five very long minutes. He was still crying when he got off the bus at school. I walked him into his new class to meet Ms D, his wonderful teacher. He seemed better with me there, but despite plenty of experience being left for the day at daycare and a great deal of attempted preparation for kindergarten, he totally panicked when I had to leave that morning. He cried again and I fought my own tears. Being pregnant was definitely not helping me keep my emotions in check but I knew it would not help him to see my sorrow. His teacher peeled him off of me and I left to meet my mom and sister for a spa day. It was supposed to be a treat since I had the day off anyway. I cried through the whole appointment and then through lunch. I’m sobbing even now remembering that day. Letting your baby go for the first time is one of the hardest things you can do.

If you want to share a memorable mom first of your own, I’d love to see it in a trackback/comment.

 

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Aug 15, 2009 11:29 PM

My Mommy Is Coming

 

by Laurie

I’m always so excited when my mom comes for a visit. I have mommy issues I think. OK, actually I know I do. I’ve been cast in the role of mom for a long time myself. A lot longer than one might think since my oldest child is 7. I believe I started being the mom somewhere around age 12 when my parents got divorced and my mom went wild. No really, she started dating a 19 yr old, she fell in love with skydiving, had a boyfriend die on her and it just kept getting “better”.

I was in charge of getting us ready for school a lot of the time. By high school I was in charge of getting her up, quietly and with a cup of coffee waiting for her consumption. I spent weekends alone with my younger sis from the time I was 12 onward. I always felt the weight of being the responsible one in the family. She was a young mother (17 when she had me) and she was kind of tired of the responsible thing by then. Really, is it any wonder I thought about never having children at all? I’m glad I did of course!

But whenever my mother comes to visit (she lives about 6 hrs away and comes up 2-3 times per year), I feel like a kid inside, still hoping for her attention and approval. Hoping for her to notice my parenting skills or my housecleaning skills (yah, I don’t actually have any such housecleaning skills but I pretend for a day before she comes). Instead she comes and asks why I don’t get up early to make my husband lunch or politely and quietly does the dishes or sweeps the floors when I’m not looking. I wonder if she has any idea at all how hard it is to be the daughter of someone who seems so disinterested. Maybe that’s too harsh, I feel like she cares and loves me, when it’s convenient to do so. She likes to show off pictures of her handsome grandsons and we have long chats about interesting things. But her priority is her husband, her dogs, her friends, herself and then maybe, just maybe, her own children and grandchildren. She flat out admits that she wishes neither my sister or I had so many children (we each had three – I know it’s just an avalanche of grandchildren) because it’s overwhelming for her. For her? Seriously I’m the one who is actually responsible for them after all. You get to buy a present or two, take them to the park and then head on home. Very little babysitting has ever been asked for or received, she doesn’t call to talk to them, she’s moving to Mexico THIS YEAR to retire (at all of 52) and will maybe see them every summer. If her abusive husband actually lets her leave his side.

You know, I started this post in excitement because – yay – my mom is coming tomorrow for 4 days. That’s a long visit for her (again with the husband hating her to be away) and now I’m sitting here crying thinking about how frustrating our relationship actually is. And I’m sure I’m not that tired and these are not just exhausted tears, much as I can be prone to those.

It’s just been that kind of year though, you know? When she announced they were moving three years earlier than they had ever talked about, it really shocked me. I’d been trying to talk them out of leaving ever, because I fear that if she goes she never will come back. Her husband thinks we should just visit them every year. Because we should be grateful to have a free place to stay in a nice warm place and who cares that a) Visiting them can be like walking on eggshells on his bad days and b) we have 5 people’s airfare to pay and c) When we can afford airfare we actually want to visit more than the one place they want to live.

Is it really this hard for other people? Of course it is – how egotistical to think otherwise. But even knowing that doesn’t lessen my pain or make me question who I am inside. Am I truly my mother’s daughter and happy just to have her in my life? Can I ever see past the past and just appreciate her for who she is, instead of who I wish she was? Okay, starting to seriously babble now. More deep thoughts another day.

Laurie

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Aug 9, 2009 11:06 AM

Worn Out WAHM

 

by Laurie

Last week I did a little too much and I was so worn out this weekend. It was just one of those weeks where I was questioning my motives in being a WAHM and my sanity. DH was “home” from work until Wednesday but had to attend a safety course Tuesday, so we had two early mornings getting him off to the course and then off to his flight back to NWT. Thanks to getting rid of one vehicle the previous week of course.

The older two boys started swimming lessons and I *know* how important that is but why oh why does it have to feel like torture waiting for them? Baby Boy cannot stand sitting still and watching them swim. I have to chase him for an hour and take turns getting the other two out of lessons and into normal clothes again. So exhausting. Plus Big Boy had a dental checkup on Thursday and I had a new project Thursday night that I got started way too late and ended up not getting to bed until 3am. I am not normally that type of WAHM. I value my sleep excessively and consider 11pm a late enough night. Friday I was a mess but I’d agreed to take all the boys swimming for fun, in addition to lessons. It made taking care of Baby Boy a lot easier as he was so happy to finally be allowed into the pool, but by the time we were done we were all tired!

In fact, we were so tired I let the older boys play video games so I could have a nap when Baby Boy napped. They weren’t being quiet enough so I made them turn it off after half an hour and told them to play quietly. I woke up 2.5 hours later with Little Boy snuggled up with me in my bed. Left him sleeping, grabbed chatty Baby Boy who had just woken up and went downstairs to see Big Boy just waking up from a nap. Apparently he laid his head on the stairs to “rest” for a minute and fell asleep. Guess all the early mornings and swimming tired everybody out! Thankfully we’ve since had a quiet and relaxing weekend and we’re all feeling more normal. I might even be up to baking some cupcakes in a little bit!!

Every time I get this worn out, I start to wonder though. Is this worth it? Am I cut out to be a work at home mom? Am I putting too much time into building my business? I was reading a great book I picked up last week at the grocery store, Between Interruptions, an incredible set of essays by moms, for moms. These stories were by moms like me, who made choices, questioned themselves, had good days and bad days, laughed and cried and stumbled in despair. Not all of the moms were “like” me, but then again, they were ALL like me. It was the most real and moving tribute to motherhood I could ever have imagined and it inspired me to keep doing what I’m doing. Because what I’m doing? It’s being real to myself, living my life and working towards my dreams and trying to be a mother who is both there for my children but also a role model for my children of what women can achieve.

I realize that sure, there will always be things I don’t get done (floor mopping for example) but I’m living a pretty good life on the whole, despite the bad days and the projects that take until the wee hours of the morning. And I’m also inspired to learn more about The Momoir Project (from the editor of Between Interruptions, Cori Howard) and I think I might even buy the workbook and work through the writing exercises here on my blog. And yay!! In looking for links for this post, I found Cori on Twittermoms and then of course, my beloved Twitter!

 

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Aug 5, 2009 7:24 PM

Book Review This Charming Man by Marian Keyes

 

by Laurie

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m doing occasional book reviews for Penguin Canada – no compensation received other than the book itself (no affiliate sales or anything either), honest opinions only. I’m going to tell a little about each book and provide a rating (my opinion only obviously) out of 5 stars.

This Charming Man by Marian Keyes

I’m going to admit, I wasn’t sure at first what to think of Marian Keyes‘ latest book, This Charming Man. It was the first book I’d read by Marian and the “voice” of Lola, the first main character in the book, rubbed me the wrong way. After several minutes of reading I was feeling quite frustrated by Lola’s grammar and style, but a quick flip of some pages revealed that it would not be the only voice in the book. In fact, three women were given a voice in the book, and eventually I was completely won over by the stories they shared and how each story was woven into the others.

This Charming Man is a nice long, juicy read – 676 pages. So don’t expect to sit down and read it in one sitting, unless you have several hours free! I personally love long books, there is so much more time to get to know the characters and wonder what exactly is going to happen in the end. If you don’t like long books though, consider yourself warned.

At its heart, This Charming Man is, to me, about choices, independence and most critically, violence against women. Each of the main women featured in this book have seen or experienced violence exacted upon a woman by a man no one would even realize was an abuser. Isn’t that sadly too often the case?

I wish I could say I was shocked by the fact that certain characters in this book went back again and again for more abuse. I wish I could say I was shocked that other people suspected the abuse and did nothing about it. I am not though. The world can be a very ugly place and domestic abuse is prevalent around the world. I know it’s affected my life. My mother is in an abusive relationship right now. She lives in denial of the severity of her situation, like so many people who suffer silently. It is scary and sad and ugly and wrong. It has colored the way I see the world and how I behave with my amazing husband. It colors every choice I make for my sons, because I want to make sure they grow up understanding why violence happens and how to make better choices in their lives.

Thank goodness there are real choices and good people in this world. There is one woman in this book (no, I won’t spoil it and tell you who!!) who acts heroically in more than one way, by taking a stand against violence and it is people like that who give me hope. Fictional or not, I know that there are people just like that in this world and we need them!!

Overall, This Charming Man is a fascinating read with a well-developed and intriguing story, fascinating characters who feel very real and a ton of emotion. I cried through several parts (not surprising to you if you’ve read any of my other reviews, lol). What can I say, I love to cry through my books! Wait til I share some of my newer reviews with you, some of those books were serious tear-jerkers.

Despite my initial hesitation I actually give This Charming man a full 5 out of 5 stars. It had everything I want in a book and more and I loved it so much I’ve since read about 3 other Marian Keyes’ books from my library and I have another in my to-read pile!

If you or someone you know lives with domestic violence, please try and get help. There are many resources, and I can’t possibly list them all here, but here are a few links to check out.

 

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Aug 1, 2009 12:25 PM

Made in Alberta Muffins

 

by Laurie

Ok, any dear readers of mine who have an amazing muffin recipe, savoury or sweet, I’d love to hear about it! I’m thinking about entering a baking contest, not that I’m an amazing baker or anything. I do love to bake though and this contest is for muffins made solely from Alberta ingredients (awesome idea!!) Don’t worry about that part though – I’ll source local ingredients-just need help deciding what muffin I should bake!

One of the possibilities I’m considering is a version of one of my favourite muffin recipes – Raspberry Muffins. I just spent the morning at our local U-Pick raspberry spot and so obviously the made in Alberta part is covered for the fruit at least. I also know I can source local flour and such. But I would be interested in other muffin recipes before I decide for sure. The judging is on August 15 – wish me luck!

Other news in our house – it was a crazy busy week trying to play catch up after BlogHer. I was so tired I couldn’t do much Monday, then after that I had client work to catch up on, including a couple of new projects. I also had to get my Jeep in good shape so that we could turn it back in yesterday, right before the lease expired today. It was sad to see it go a little, but sure nice knowing we’ll save several hundred dollars a month in vehicle and insurance payments!

Today being August 1st we’re on the real countdown to end of school vacation – BigBoy goes back Aug 31st and LittleBoy starts kindergarten later that week (they do staggered entry for kindy). Before you know it only BabyBoy will be keeping me busy during the day! Which reminds me, need to look into some childcare for him so I can have a few hours a week where I can really focus on my work!

Well it’s a beautiful day here in the Edmonton area so I’m off to enjoy some family time!

 

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Jul 29, 2009 4:42 PM

Yup, I Hid In The Corner – My BlogHer Recap

 

by Laurie

I put the button on my blog and then I did it. I hid, literally, while attending my first ever BlogHer. Maybe my only-ever BlogHer. BlogHer 09 in Chicago was a real experience – some of it amazing, some of it not so much, and despite the fact that there are already numerous amazing recaps all over the blogosphere (there’s a Mr. Linky with bunches of them here) I need to share MY BlogHer experience, as one thing that is absolutely true about such a conference, and ya know, life,  is that it is a difference experience for every single person.

If you want a quick recap read this (but if you like rambling, just keep going, I promise to ramble on later in this post, lol!)

Quick and Dirty:

  • Scrabble makes flights go fairly quickly. And seems to be popular with flight attendants!
  • Chicago Deep Dish pizza – NOT my thing. At All. Sauce should be first and should actually be, you know, sauce. That’s all there is to say about that!
  • Chicago was humid, and I was told that what I experienced was not even that bad for Chicago in July! Alberta is way drier. My hair was not happy.
  • Keynotes: I teared up at the initial keynote speech. I felt a true sense of awe at being in that room as the conference opened. That alone was probably worth going for.
  • Sessions: Shouldn’t be an easy quick topic but honestly? I didn’t find any of them that illuminating. I think I missed some good stuff due to overlapping unfortunately.
  • Parties: Yep, there were lots of parties. I made it to only 3. I was overwhelmed by the people more than I expected to be. Oh well – I had fun anyway! I actually enjoyed the BlogHer 5k way more than the parties I attended!
  • Swag: Sure there was some. Personally I enjoy free things, but it was not my focus and therefore I really didn’t catch much of the swag-drama that apparently went on. If you like drama I’m sure you can find plenty of posts on topic!
  • Personal Issues: I could have tried harder and right this second I wonder why I didn’t. Yet I know in the moment I just felt so anxious and so not relevant that I didn’t know what to say or who to say it to. I can’t decide if I should try to attend anything similar ever again or if the same thing will happen. I don’t know what type of conference would really be a perfect fit for me, because I’m pretty sure BlogHer wasn’t the best one I could have attended, and let’s face it limited $$$ means I’m grateful to have had the chance to go to even one conference, I certainly won’t be attending multiple events per year. Nothing will be driveable from Alberta, that just isn’t going to happen, so airfare and such will always be a factor. And you know, the childcare drama thing could always come up. Ugh. Still if I found a conference suited perfectly to WAHM’s who blog and adore Twitter, I’d certainly try to go.
  • Overall: Totally glad I went to BlogHer. Learned things about myself, enjoyed a trip away from home and the usual routine of my busy life, had yummy Cherry-Coke and amazing cupcakes and now I can cross Chicago off my places to visit list!

Rambling Version

My experience starts Wednesday night. It was so hard leaving my older boys with grandma and grandpa. I cried halfway home (it’s an hour long drive). Then I got home, met up with my sister who was taking over BabyBoy’s care, finished packing, and got very little sleep. Thursday I was up way before my alarm, filled with anxiety and excitement. I headed over to my BFF’s house to pick her up and we were on our way to Chicago. First lesson of the trip – it is so much easier flying without kids!!!

Arrived at O’Hare at midday – what a nice airport! Not that I have much to compare to, but I was pretty impressed overall. Other than the free wifi that I couldn’t actually seem to connect to. The train to downtown was a nice cheap and fairly easy option. Easier on the way home when we knew better what stop to get on at and avoided some stairs that made the walk to the hotel a little annoying! Got quickly checked into the lovely Sheraton and was impressed by the beautiful view from my room.

 

View from 23rd floor Sheraton

Most exciting part of Thursday? Meeting Amy Derby, aka @LawFirmBlogger!! Amy was great to chat with and it’s so cool to talk with someone in a field so closely related to mine. I think it would be a good sign for future conferences if they were ones I’d meet people like Amy at!

On Friday I got myself up nice and early and made it to the BlogHer 5k organized by PHATMommy. It was a perfect start to the conference for me. Not so many people involved, sunshine on my face and some very nice bloggers to chat with.  After the walk I got myself registered and then the day really got going. I attended sessions mostly in the mommyblogging track. The panelists were excellent but I felt out of place much of the time. Maybe because while I enjoy my blog, I am mostly involved in the blogosphere as a reader and for the sense of community. I couldn’t care less about monetizing, statistics or the like. I’ve seen many comments on the fabulous feedback post over at BlogHer about a writing track for next year. THAT would be worth attending for sure!

I stopped in at the Cocktail Party very quickly Friday night and then grabbed a burger with my BFF in the Sheraton’s burger restaurant. It was okay – nothing exciting, but edible! Then we headed to the Nikon Party (which I was so excited to be invited to!) They have some amazing cameras and can I just say chocolate fountains? Oh. my. god. Yum.

 

Chocolate goodness!

Also dropped in briefly at the TypeAMomfluence party and the Mommy Needs a Cocktail party (more chocolate – yay!) Then fell into exhausted sleep before starting over Saturday!

Saturday I skipped some sessions, I had periods where nothing appealed unfortunately. But I got in some more sightseeing then and that was nice. Had dinner later at McFadden’s (I think!) and the soup was delicious. Decided I’d had enough of parties, as fun as they can be, and spent Saturday night playing some Scrabble. Sunday was a day full of sightseeing and picture taking. We even caught some glimpses of bike races over by Grant/Millenium Parks! We were surprised by how quiet the downtown area was on Sunday (not that Edmonton’s is much busier!), especially when we had trouble finding somewhere to grab breakfast. Even McDonald’s was closed!

 

Quiet Downtown on Sunday

We did eventually get lunch though and then took even more pictures. Walked even more. The fountain in Grant Park is beautiful and BFF snapped a pic of me next to it that I actually like!

 

Laurie in Grant Park

Not long after that our feet gave out and we made one last stop before heading back to the hotel to relax for a bit before going to the airport and then home! I had been following Chicago tweets in the weeks before the conference and one tweet was about several Chicago cupcake shops. I love cupcakes so of course I had to make sure at least one stop was at cupcake shop. We found Sugar Bliss Cupcakes not too far from Millenium Park and WOW. No, not just wow, SUPER WOW. These were the best cupcakes I have ever had. I tried a Chocolate Peanut Butter cupcake and the peanut butter icing was just amazing. BFF said a little peanut butter flavor would have enhanced the cupcake better, but the rich dark chocolate worked fine for me! I also tried a mini cupcake in Orange Creamsicle – also delicious!

 

Sugar Bliss Cupcakes

 

Mmmmm, peanut butter icing!

After all that sugar and a last Cherry Coke we made our way to the airport without mishap, boarded our plane with no delays and were headed home. Other than almost losing my wallet in Customs (thanks to Travis for calling me back and returning it!!!) and feeling shy and not introducing myself to Redneck Mommy who was right in front of me at the Edmonton Airport, it was a great trip back and I was so happy to be back in my own world!

So will I make it to BlogHer 10 in New York? Only time will tell!

 

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Jul 22, 2009 12:54 PM

Who is Mobile Mommy Anyway?

 

by Laurie

I see lots of other amazing bloggers who are going to BlogHer are posting a “get to know me” kind of post, and that makes good sense to me since hopefully people will be checking out my blog when they get my pretty card at the conference! So here are some fast facts about Mobile Mommy, aka Laurie Mapp!

I’m from Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada. I probably say “eh” a lot, but honestly don’t notice it! I would love to live somewhere warmer, but only in theory. In reality I love where I live and can’t really imagine living anywhere else (at least not permanently!!)

I have been married almost 10 years and have been with my amazing husband for 14 years total. I love him like crazy but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t drive me a little crazy sometimes. And I miss him a ton right now while he’s working up north, I cried yesterday when I hung up the phone from talking to him, not something I usually do, but the stress of travel and leaving my babies with other caretakers plus him being away was a little overwhelming!

I use too many exclamation marks. I can’t help myself!

Hmmm, you’d think I’d have mentioned them first, and they ARE the most important people in my world. I have three darling sons. My oldest is 7.5, heading to grade two next year, my middle is almost 5 and going to kindergarten in the fall (sob!) and my baby is 20 months old right now. He is the most challenging child of my three and he seriously keeps me on my toes. And then he gives me a million kisses and snuggles close and I forget what trial he was just putting me through! They are all gorgeous (of course!) and BlogHer is going to be the longest I’ve ever been away from them.  They will have fun without me though I’m sure. Grandma and Grandpa will probably spoil the older two rotten and Auntie is a total sucker for baby’s smile and curly hair, lol.

My other “baby” is my virtual legal assistant business. I officially opened up my virtual doors last September, but I spent most of 2008 prepping and setting things up. I’m gaining more and more clients as time goes on and I really enjoy being my own boss. Most days. Some days are hard and I donn’t get enough sleep and I hate being inside on my laptop instead of outside with a good book!

Speaking of books, I LOVE books. Almost all books – fiction and non-fiction, drama, science fiction, historical or romance. I’m currently reading about three different books, so I can choose whatever suits my mood of the moment. Someone told me when I had kids I wouldn’t have much time to read. They clearly were not as bookish as me, I nursed every one of my boys with a book in one hand!

Not like you couldn’t tell, but also, I’m not exactly a big name in blogging. But you know what – totally doesn’t matter to me! I blog mostly for me (well except over at Halo Secretarial where I blog for my business!) I first got involved in blogging because I loved READING blogs – I was hooked on them the way I used to be hooked on soap operas (until we turned off the cable!) and eventually I just had to join in the fun. Going to BlogHer is an experiment for me, to see what it’s like to meet other bloggers in real life, I only know a few in my community who do it, and most are a whole different type of blogger (not that that is a bad thing!) My friends just look at me in confusion when I talk about blogging or social media like Twitter. They all thought it was cool when I was on TV thanks to my Twitter life, and they thing my business is cool, but they Just. Don’t. Get. It. I want to meet people who do get it!

And I hope once we meet – we stay in touch!

 

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Jul 21, 2009 5:19 PM

Planning Mayhem

 

by Laurie

I had this big idea that maybe I’d get some really good posts up on my blog this week, you know to make sure any fellow BlogHers who check it out (pre- or post-conference) would see me as interesting or deep-thinking or whatever. Ha ha on me. Instead I spent the past weekend and this week in total mayhem mode.

First, DH got a call about FINALLY going back to his regular work, sort of. Same employer, same job title, different location. He’s in the Northwest Territories!! As you can see from my handy Google Map, that’s not exactly close to our home near Edmonton, Alberta.

 

So there went my children’s caregiver during BlogHer, since it was going to be daddy-time for them. Thank goodness for my stepmother, she stepped in and offered to take all the boys. After a few discussions back and forth, my sister actually is going to take the baby, but my dad and stepmom will take the older two. Children solved. Dog still presented an issue but with some bribery my sis is now taking him too. Yes, it’s a little sad that I feel the need to bribe someone to watch my lazy old dog who just sleeps all the time. Whatever, I’m over it.

New caregivers means new plans all around though – instead of my DH dropping me and BFF off at the airport, I was going to drive us to the airport. Wednesday night (flight is EARLY Thurs) I’ll be driving the hour to my parents to drop off older two. My sis will come here later Wed to stay with baby/dog.

And of course I still have work to finish in the midst of the arrangements, not to mention a house that is not at all clean, as DH had wanted to “prove” how he could do everything and was going to get things ship-shape while I was in Chicago. Now I’m stuck trying to make it at least presentable before I leave, especially with my sis staying here a couple of nights (she’s a little bit of a clean-freak, especially compared to my laissez-faire cleaning style). I got a new client today (yay!!) which should be nothing but good, but is one extra straw on the camel’s back, ya know? No worries though, everything will get done, I will get on that plane come Thursday and hopefully my cranky mood of the past few days will disappear with the miles!

 

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Jul 15, 2009 4:41 PM

Help Me Pick New Eyeglasses

 

by Laurie

Ok, so I had a little mishap with my old glasses this weekend. I don’t actually even know for sure what went wrong, but basically the lens coating got destroyed and it’s like looking through a fog when I put them on.  My vision is quite bad and so glasses are a mega necessity, thankfully I also wear contacts and have been wearing them in the meantime, but wearing them from wake-up to sleep is hard on my eyes.

Today I saw my optometrist and got a new prescription for glasses (old one was several years out of date!) and now I’m ready to get some glasses!! I remembered reading a post on Stop, Drop and Blog about affordable glasses and definitey like some of the stuff on Zenni Optical’s site – and the prices are fantastic! I can get a couple of pair for less than I would spend on just replacement lenses with my old frames!

Here’s where I need help though, I don’t know which ones to pick (or maybe which two?) So here’s a pic of me in my old glasses for guidance:

I liked my old glasses, but they were maybe a bit on the dark side for my face. Plus I am thinking about going a little funkier but don’t want to look like an idiot. Here are my top three choices – let me know what you think or if I should go a different way altogether!

 

Brown color

So anyone got some advice for a desperate girl? I need to order them asap so I can have glasses around again, probably won’t be in time for BlogHer though

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Jul 14, 2009 11:41 PM

HP and TypeAMomfluence Up the Excitement for My BlogHer Experience

 

by Laurie

I am so looking forward to BlogHer09 next week, not like you couldn’t guess by the many recent posts I’ve had about it! Or you know, all the party buttons on my sidebar, lol!

But yesterday I got news via twitter that made me even more excited about BlogHer and totally eased some financial worries I had!!! I won a $500 scholarship thanks to HP and the TypeAMomFluence ladies! This money will cover my hotel costs, a little shopping and a couple of nice dinners with my best friend! Speaking of which, if you are from or familiar with Chicago, feel free to suggest a couple of good dinner options – we’ll be eating out at least Thursday and Saturday nights.

With money pretty tight in our household I admit I was feeling guilty about going to the conference. I mean sure my tickets were bought months ago (while money was not so tight) and yes I got my flight by redeeming aeroplan points, and yes I even talked best friend into coming and splitting my hotel room fee with me. Still, DH has to take time off work to watch the boys, and I knew between my half of the hotel room fee and miscellaneous spending I’d probably spend at least $500 over the 4 days. So the scholarship money completely covers that estimate and thankfully DH totally appreciates why I want to attend BlogHer so he’s okay with taking the needed time off. And hopefully it won’t rain much between then and now so he can work consistently, unlike last week

Only 9 sleeps left until time to leave – now I need to work on preparing the boys to be without mommy for a few days….I’ll think about that tomorrow!

 

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Jul 12, 2009 12:19 AM

BlogHer Packing List

 

by Laurie

So it’s Saturday night and what have I been up to? Well,  I did a little work for my VLA biz, then realized I’m a bit too tired to keep using my brain, so I decided to do some organizing while watching Big Brother on YouTube!

I have a paper/business drawer that I tend to throw non-urgent stuff into for later sorting. You know, like my new calling cards, mail or the various lists that I can’t seem to stop myself from making. This week I also had sitting in my paper drawer, my beautiful new bag from Janine King Designs (purchased from Etsy specifically for BlogHer!!) that I wanted to start filling with stuff I’ll need on the way to Chicago. It’s large enough to use as a carry on bag, even with room for my laptop.

After I sorted through the paper piles and had a much prettier drawer, I started looking through my old laptop bag to see what I had set aside to take with me to Chicago. A new book (Kissed by an Angel by Elizabeth Chandler), my headphones, my blog cards, a notebook, some pens, my passport and a small amount of American cash leftover from our trip to Disneyland. Everything fits easily with plenty of room to add in last minute items like my laptop, camera and snacks of course!

I realized as I sorted though that I needed to make myself a proper list (yep, another list!) of what I need to pack for BlogHer, both for my carry on and my suitcase. I did some reading, got some good tips from Good Girl Gone Blog’s springpad list, and HeatherB’s What’s In Your Bag post over at Blogher (of course!) So here goes:

List for Carry On:

  • Phone
  • Laptop
  • Camera
  • Charging cords
  • Passport/Airline info
  • Folder with Chicago info (maps/walking tours/etc)
  • Books
  • Headphones
  • Business cards
  • Snacks

List for Suitcase:

  • Pajamas
  • Walking shoes/comfy clothes (for 5K walk and misc. use)
  • Capris & top outfit for Friday
  • Dress for Friday night with appropriate shoes
  • Outfit for Saturday (a double duty outfit to also wear to BowlHer Sat pm)
  • Skort/tank for Sunday
  • Cardigan/sweater
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Pedometer
  • Contact lenses and toiletries

Am I missing anything important? I sure hope not!

 

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Jul 8, 2009 10:06 AM

Q & A With Jane Green, Author of Dune Road

 

by Laurie

I recently did a book review of Jane Green’s book, Dune Road, for Penguin Canada.  I loved the book, and in fact have since read Swapping Lives and am halfway through Second Chance (yay to my library having a good stock of Jane’s books!)

So I was of course super excited when my contact at Penguin asked if I’d like to do a Q & A with Jane as part of her promotional tour for Dune Road. Typically, in my busy work at home mom life, with little childcare for the time being, I asked if we could just do it by email as I tend to have trouble having long phone conversations and there was a short time frame to do the Q & A in. So I sent my questions to Jane via Penguin and she graciously answered them AND posted them on her own blog too!

Here are the questions if you are interested – with a few comments added after the fact by me!

How much time do you spend writing each week? It depends whether it’s a writing week or not. If I’m on my fortnight hiatus, then it’s just blogging, which I aim to do every day, but of late, with the book tour, it has been a few times a week. If I’m on a writing fortnight, it’s three to four hours a day.

Do you need complete peace to work and do you have trouble getting that with your large family? Ha! Trouble? It’s practically impossible to have peace in the house, with sibling fights erupting every other second. Oddly, when I was in my twenties I was a journalist on the Daily Express in the UK, and worked on a super-busy desk with phones ringing and people chatting and editors shouting, and it never phased me, I just kept my head down and wrote. Nowadays I need complete peace, and so I put the kids on the school bus, then take myself off to my local public library, Powerbook under my arm, to write for the morning. I am always done by lunchtime, and back to being Mummy for the rest of the day.

(I totally need quiet to get constructive work done, which is why I’m typing this up at 11pm!)

I loved the independence Kit found in Dune Road and her appreciation for things that matter, instead of possessions. Did you have real life inspiration for her character? Is it obvious? I have lived the large life, in the large house, with the labels and the jewels, and I have never been more unhappy. It struck me then, and continues to strike me, what a fallacy it is that money should buy you happiness, and yet, up until recently, I think that is what we were supposed to believe. All of my protagonists are on a journey to find happiness, and peace, and all of them discover that it is never to be found outside themselves.

I’ve read a few of your blog posts – what do you think of blogging as a published author? Is it a good companion to your work, or a distraction? It is an enormous distraction, and increasingly hard to find the time, and yet, I enjoy it so. It seems that marketing and publicity are now increasingly self-generated, with blogs, and websites like Facebook and Twitter (to which I am horribly addicted, partly because they are quick and easy), and I love that I get to stay in touch with my loyal readers – it helps me, and them, stay connected.

(I definitely think blogging/twitter etc are great publicity – I use both for my VLA biz and have generated much interest that way. I can’t help but think it’s a perfect pr tactic for authors!)

Do you read a lot of blogs, and if so, what type of blog do you like best? I don’t, but my secret shame is the gossip blogs. I will say that I’m a regular visitor to Gawker – their comments section is hilarious.

(She doesn’t read my blog  I will have to work on that I guess, lol)

How do you treat yourself, either as a reward or just cause you’ve had a bad day?With a steaming hot and deep bath, and an early night. I am completely addicted to my bed. Me, my cats, a stack of books and magazines, a computer…life doesn’t get much better.

(Me? Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate, hmmm, not a good weight loss technique is it?!!)

Who is your favorite author. I don’t have a favorite author, as such. I’m more likely to have favorite books. I loved The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher all those years ago, and loved Bread Alone by Judith Hendrickson. And the Tales of the City series by Armistead Maupin are falling apart on my bookshelf, they have been read so many times.

(I can’t have a favorite author, I love books too much. I must say though that Jean M. Auel and the Clan of the Cave Bear series, for which I have been waiting forever for the last book, are way near the top of my list!)

Hmmm, think I’m going to have to go onto the library’s website tonight and request a couple of Jane’s favorite books – should be interesting reads!

 

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Jul 7, 2009 5:31 PM

Time and Money

 

by Laurie

So finances remain somewhat strained here in our household. Overall we’re managing for now, but we have one big money dilemma to deal with this month that of course is time sensitive.

I have a Jeep Liberty that I enjoy very much. It’s a big tight with three kids but we’ve managed just fine in it. The problem is that it is a leased vehicle, not a purchase. The lease is up at the end of July, and we have no idea what we should do. Best case scenario would be DH returning to work at his regular job asap, thus necessitating me having a vehicle and we keep it and make it work. Or even better, he gets a new position that does not require a vehicle at all, we give up the Jeep and I get his truck. It’s big but it fits us better and would be fine for a couple of years of use. That would take us down to only one vehicle payment which would be sweet right now.

If no work materializes though, we’d really be better off with only one vehicle payment. But I so hate the idea of not having a vehicle. I love where we live but it’s not exactly pedestrian friendly (too far to most things). I know I deserve it for living in a suburb, but I love my house and it’s been a great place to live. And moving is NOT an option. Well, not unless a job magically appears in Australia, I’d move for that! And we can’t share a vehicle if he goes back to his regular work, or really even easily with the work he’s doing right now with my dad. With his regular job a vehicle (specifically a truck) is a condition of employment.

In 6 months the work thing should be straightened out (fingers crossed) but in the meantime I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place so to speak. I don’t want to be locked into a vehicle loan if the one job works out and we don’t need two vehicles. It’s not like it’s easy to sell a vehicle you don’t want in the current economy. Ack! Yes, ack! I don’t know what we are going to do!!!! Any advice or suggestions? Commiseration? I’ll take anything!

 

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Jul 5, 2009 2:47 PM

BlogHer Party Time

 

by Laurie

You know, I’ve been totally excited about the BlogHer 09 Conference since buying my tickets months ago, but I really had no idea how involved and busy the weekend in Chicago was going to be! I suspect I’m going to be coming home very tired, which is going to make for an interesting Monday morning of work on the 27th, but it will be so worth it!

I get in to Chicago Thursday afternoon, with my wonderful best friend who is coming to do some sightseeing and who I’ve talked into attending a couple of parties/events with me. Thursday night I’m thinking about attending the People’s Party, but first BFF and I will wander around downtown Chicago and go for a nice dinner together. It’s rare for us to have girl time without my kiddos hanging around, so that is going to be so nice.

Friday is the really crazy day though. I’m starting the day off early with the BlogHer 5K, then the conference all day, then there are two parties I for sure want to drop into, the Mommy Needs a Cocktail Party, because well – there is talk of a chocolate fountain – YUM!! But the party I am most excited about is the Type-A MOMfluence party, sponsored by HP. I’ve been a Type A Mom editor since last fall, about the same time as I started Halo Secretarial, and I think it’s going to be so cool to meet some of the other Type-A moms in person! I’m not super-involved in the whole blogosphere thing otherwise – I read a lot of blogs and I sometimes remember to comment. I love writing my blog, but I’m totally scared I won’t “know” many bloggers at the big conference. But at the Type-A Mom party? I KNOW I will recognize some of their faces and that is so exciting!!

Then there is more conference on Saturday a BowlHer Party I’m thinking about attending Saturday night (I love bowling!!!) and Sunday BFF and I are going to have a whirlwind day of sightseeing, before our early evening flight home.

It sounds exhausting doesn’t it? But I am so thrilled to have this opportunity, only 18 sleeps till I leave!

 

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Jul 1, 2009 8:11 PM

Book Review – Dune Road

 

by Laurie

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m doing occasional book reviews for Penguin Canada – no compensation received other than the book itself (no affiliate sales or anything either), honest opinions only. I’m going to tell a little about each book and provide a rating (my opinion only obviously) out of 5 stars.

Dune Road by Jane Green

I recently received my copy of Dune Road (by Jane Green) for review and wow! It was a great read – had some intriguing plot points and kept me guessing what was going to happen until close to the end. I loved Kit, the main character, she seemed to be a fairly strong and independent woman, or at least she was finding her way toward being such a woman. I definitely seem to enjoy books more that involve women who are so real. Women who have flaws, who question who they are and where they want to end up in life. Women who question society’s expectations. Maybe because that is what I aspire to be – strong and independent. Not easy with my family history.  Why do I have to have such messed up women in my family – but that is a topic for another post isn’t it?

I also loved the rest of the circle of women in this book. We women really need to find our circles and take care of each other like the women in this book did. It’s hard enough to do all the things we must do in life – manage our households, keep the kids happy and growing, find time for ourselves – a great group of friends can encourage and push us when we need it and cushion the blow when things go all wrong. And share a pitcher of margaritas to celebrate a big achievement of course!!

I’m definitely recommending that my circle of girlfriends read this book and I think you should too! Then come back here and tell me what you think and maybe we can have a nice little discussion about the importance of having a support network (not that you don’t already know how important it is I’m sure!)

I give Dune Road 4.5 stars out of 5 (holding back just a little cause while I totally understand, sadly from experience, what life can be like for an abused woman, it just didn’t sit quite right how Kit’s friend Tracy, returns to an abusive ex.) Here’s a quick summary of the book from Penguin’s site:

The novel is set in the beach community of a tiny Connecticut town. Our heroine is a single mom who works for a famous—and famously reclusive— novelist.When she stumbles onto a secret that the great man has kept hidden for years, she knows that there are plenty of women in town who would love to get their hands on it—including some who fancy the writer for themselves. Dune Road is the story of life in an exclusive beach town after the tourists have left for the summer and the eccentric (and monied) community sticks around.

Oh and I liked this book so much I have a couple of Jane’s other books on request at my local library (I especially can’t wait to read Babyville!) And can I say how cool it was when I tweeted about this book and almost immediately was followed by Jane herself?!! She has a good Twitter stream going and even better, an awesome blog that I discovered as a result of Twitter and which is now in my Google Reader so I don’t miss a post!

 

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Jun 30, 2009 1:42 AM

Working on the Weekend

 

by Laurie

I started working with a new client this weekend. It was interesting, as I’m often busy on weekends and don’t always answer my business line then, but this Saturday I was around home with no real plans and so I answered when the phone rang. It was a client who had some urgent work and was glad to find a virtual assistant who was actually available on the weekend. It was definitely good timing!

It can be very hard to make yourself work on the weekends, when the kids are happily running around the house wanting you to join in, or the farmer’s market calls your name. Or scrabble – good thing I got in some scrabble last weekend, lol! It’s so important to grab good opportunities when they come your way though – you never know when things are going to align just right and you’ll move your business another step forward. So I keep telling my lovely sister who finally has finished her esthetics program and is ready to get going with doing esthetics from home. She did my nails a few days ago and they look so pretty, but she needs to work on her business attitude. Always a reason for not wanting to start just yet.

Anyway, not my concern is it. What can I say, I’m a bit of an overly-involved sister sometimes. Growing up we joked that I was the mom of the family (my mom is not so much of the “grown-up” unfortunately). But sis is a grown up and has to do things her way – and I have enough mothering to do with my three wild boys!

I didn’t just work this weekend. In fact I also attended a baby shower and read a couple of good books. Books are such a nice break from the busy parts of my week, and with the cable turned off I’ve been reading more than ever! In fact tomorrow I’m planning to get a post up about my latest review book, Dune Road by Jane Green. Oh and if, like me, you’ve turned back to young adult fiction ever since the Twilight Phenomenon, can I recommend the Night World series by L.J. Smith or books by Scott Westerfeld (The Uglies, The Pretties, etc) – I am so glad I’ve started reading YA novels again, they are a perfect break from my life!

Ok, really must go to bed. Not only did I work this weekend, but late last night and I just finished another urgent project. My eyes are tired and my back is wondering when I’m going to stop sitting at the table with my laptop and actually use my home office!!

 

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Jun 25, 2009 11:41 PM

School Year Ends With a Whimper

 

by Laurie

My poor Big Boy. Grade one ends tomorrow (yes, we have much later ends to our school year here in Alberta, we start later too!) and he missed today and will almost certainly not be up for attending tomorrow either. He missed a fun activity today (a garage sale – sounds exciting doesn’t it?) and tomorrow is the big end of year party. Kind of sad, but he has yet another throat infection and without advil is sitting around 103 degrees for a temp. Wednesday after school he was so wiped that he fell asleep for 3 hours. He could make it through the day hopped up on fever reducer, but really not the

We will have to stop by the school tomorrow afternoon to pick up the final report card and get his class assignment for next year. And of course pick up his shoes and any leftover supplies and stuff. Should be fun lugging all that around plus a sick 7yo and the 4 and 1 year olds. You envy me of course?

Guess we’re skipping the potluck party with friends too – no point in their kids starting out the summer vacation with sickness. Oh well – could be worse, at least he’s not missing exams or anything!

Bye-bye grade one. We had some good times, and now Big Boy can move on to grade two, sniff, sniff. Darn kids – keep on growing up on me!

 

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Jun 24, 2009 12:28 PM

Personal Calling Cards

 

by Laurie

Mostly as prep for BlogHer, I recently ordered some pretty cards. I am calling them personal calling cards, although technically they do also refer to my business also, so they are a business card. I have a simpler, more elegant card for my straight business card if you want to see that too!

It was hard choosing a personal card. I waited a bit long and so decided against having it designed for me. Not to mention I’m supposed to be controlling my budget right now, so expensive personal cards would have been a poor choice. So I went with VistaPrint and chose a pretty pink and white card with some brown accents. Kind of funny since my last business card was pink and I decided it was “too pink” but I figure a personal card can be more about my taste than appealing to my target market, as is the case with my virtual legal assistant business card.

So this is what I ordered – please don’t tell me you hate them, I already have them, lol!

 

Laurie Mapp Personal Card

I have about 250, hopefully plenty enough for BlogHer (will have some of my regular business cards too as a back-up).

 

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Jun 21, 2009 9:38 AM

Happy Father’s Day Handsome!

 

by Laurie

My DH and I are not the nickname type of people, no “honey” or “pumpkin” or what have you. I do always call him handsome though – cause he is!

Today is father’s day and we will be having a fairly low-key type of day, going to brunch with my dad and family and then hanging out at my father’s for a while. Considering DH has been working with my dad the past several weeks, I’m very appreciative of him being willing to spend father’s day with his father-in-law yet again! His own father lives a couple of hours away and we’ll be spending some time with him (and DH’s grandfather who is close to 90 now) soon at a big family reunion.

I’m not going to go on and on about what a great dad my husband is – hopefully y’all have equally amazing partners and know what I mean. But he really is something and I’m so glad I had children with this man, he really shares the parenting load with me, and enjoys being with his kids. So Happy Father’s Day to you my handsome husband – and to all the daddies out there – Enjoy your kids and have a great day today!

 

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Jun 19, 2009 8:19 PM

He Rides – Wee Ride

 

by Laurie

So yesterday we picked up our new Wee Ride front bicycle seat for BabyBoy to sit in while we go for family bike rides.

 

Wee Ride on Mommy’s Bike

Not the world’s best picture, but hopefully you can see his little seat there right in front of where I sit! There are places for his feet to rest and the whole setup seems very secure. It took hubby about 30 minutes to set everything up and then we were off on our first family bike ride.

It went, um, okay. My ride was pretty good, my knees were a little uncomfortable occasionally brushing up against the baby’s seat, but he wasn’t in my way otherwise, and I’m short so I was happy to be able to see over his bicycle helmet! BigBoy loved us all going for a bike ride together, the weather was perfect, only one little problem. LittleBoy could not keep up. At all. Uh-oh! Got to build up his endurance and comfort level so that we can maybe get him onto two wheels sometime this summer. The training wheels only go so fast you know.

As far as the product, I know I love getting a “real mom” review, so here you go (just my opinion, bought with my own money, not sponsored in any way, just fyi):

Seat Install – 9 out of 10 No real problems, had to use longer bolts to attach bars to front part of bicycle, but very secure and no difficulty

Comfort – About an 8 out of 10. Would love if my legs didn’t hit the seat, but really, there is only so much you can do when fitting something to a bicycle frame!

Stability – 10 out of 10 for sure. I know people with similar style seats that sit behind the adult rider and they all say that it throws off your center of balance quite a bit. This seat did not make it at all hard for me to balance, even when BabyBoy was moving around a bit.

Baby’s Comfort – BabyBoy loved, loved, loved the seat. He was very upset when we stopped at a park for a break. He wanted back in! He sat comfortably, seemed to love being able to really see all around us and I think that being in front of me made a big difference in that. Only one issue, the safety buckles were poorly designed and the shoulder straps would not stay up. Seemed way less safe and uncomfortable.

Overall – big marks for this  seat and definitely would recommend it. BabyBoy is 26 lbs and average height for a 19 month old, I can easily see him sitting in this another year or more. Hopefully through next summer when he’s almost 3 and then we’ll have to try something else.

 

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Jun 17, 2009 12:55 PM

TV Free For Summer

 

by Laurie

Yesterday DH and I had another long talk about money. His work situation hasn’t significantly improved (he is working, but not as his usual job, which pays much better than what he’s currently doing) and we’re both a bit stressed and anxious. In six months things will hopefully be much better, but in the short term we’re thinking about cutting some small costs and we decided to cut out the cable bill for a while! So here we are going tv free for at least the summer, for finances but also as an experiment in what life without tv is really like!

I admit I’m going to probably catch the occasional show online, but thankfully I’ve always been happy to sit with a book instead of watching television anyway. I have a couple of books and a library card so I’m set! And of course there will be plenty of time spent on long walks or hanging out at the park.

I’m also thinking about doing some bike-riding. DH and I bought ourselves bicycles last summer and to be honest I barely used mine. I love riding my bike, but tended to not want to go out when DH was home and couldn’t easily go with the kids, as 4yo wasn’t riding his bigger training wheel bike yet, he was still in love with his tricycle! And 7yo wasn’t really ready to keep up with me even slowly either. But this year they both are really enjoying their bikes and I just need to decide how to bring baby along easily.  I can either get a bike trailer or a bike seat. Last summer I should have just bit the bullet and bought a trailer – could have used it for middle child too! Now it’s just baby who needs the help though, although admittedly 4yo would probably be happy to ride in the bike trailer sometimes. Decisions, decisions – better do something soon or summer will fly right by just like last year!

 

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Jun 16, 2009 11:24 AM

Netbook Lust

 

by Laurie

Is writing about it going to make me want it more or less? I am so lusting over a netbook right now (the Asus 1000HE), especially with plans to go to BlogHer next month.  I am trying to make the case, to myself lol, that it is a good business purchase for my virtual legal assistant practice.

I admit my business is getting busier and busier. I admit that I feel the need to stay on top of stuff but still am longing for the sunshine of outside now that summer is here. I’m convinced that a netbook would be easy to carry around, at least easier than my laptop. They even finally got the netbook I want at Staples here in Canada, and while I’ve refrained from going to my local Staples to have a look, I know that I can order it online from them and even get free shipping.

Still, I have a good laptop and hubby has one too that I can use as a backup if needed (as long as he’s not out of town working, then he takes it with). My old desktop no longer counts as much of a backup, but in all likelihood my next computer should be a decent desktop or an upgraded laptop, not a netbook, right?

Oh the joys of techno lust – I’ll try hard to stave it off for a while, at least!

 

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Jun 15, 2009 9:32 PM

Book Review The Opposite of Love

 

by Laurie

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m doing occasional book reviews for Penguin Canada – no compensation received other than the book itself (no affiliate sales or anything either), honest opinions only. I’m going to tell a little about each book and provide a rating (my opinion only obviously) out of 5 stars.

The Opposite of Love by Julie Buxbaum

I really enjoyed this lovely book by Julie Buxbaum. As I wrote in a previous post I had fully intended to save it for a nice read on the airplane on my trip to Disneyland, but it called to me one too many times and I ended up finishing it before we left! I ended up having to watch soap operas (shhh, they are a guilty pleasure of mine anyway!) on the way to Disneyland and I bought a nice book at Target to read on the way home. And since Baby Boy kindly fell asleep in BFF’s lap on the way home, I actually had time to read that book too!

The Opposite of Love is the story of Emily Haxby:

When successful twenty-nine year old Manhattan attorney Emily Haxby ends her happy relationship just as her boyfriend is on the verge of proposing, she can’t explain to even her closest friends why she did it. Somewhere beneath her sense of fun, her bravado and her independent exterior, Emily knows that her breakup with Andrew has less to do with him and more to do with…her. “You’re your own worst enemy,” her best friend Jess tells her. “It’s like you get pleasure out of breaking your own heart.”

I loved Emily. She was so real and conflicted and struggling in the way that so many women struggle. I loved her relationships with all the men in her life – her grandfather, her father, her boyfriend. She loved them all and yet tended to push them away, with the exception of her grandfather. She was clearly so afraid of being left or let down that she needed some real help to really let them in and have healthy, growing relationships.

I also really enjoyed reading about Emily’s crises of conscience about her work. Being involved in the legal industry, and having much experience in the firm environment, I could understand how she could have taken such a job at first and yet become disillusioned over time. I’m glad she realized how many opportunities there are though for meaningful work within the law, rather than simply quitting altogether!

I definitely am going to have to check out Julie Buxbaum’s other book, After You, and see if I like it as much! It sounds sound but interesting.

My star rating for The Opposite of Love is a solid 4 – a real pleasure of a book to read and it really would have been perfect on the airplane, if only I could have waited that long, lol! Oh and while I can’t seem to find a release date yet, apparently the book is being made into a movie starring Anne Hathaway – I think it would make a very nice movie and look forward to seeing it whenever it does come out!

 


If you liked this book review try these similar posts:

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Jun 14, 2009 5:30 PM

Prepping for BlogHer 09

 

by Laurie

Ok, so quite some time back I bought my conference pass to BlogHer 09 and set the wheels in motion to attend my very first blogging conference. At the time of initial planning we were thinking of making it a family trip but since we took the family trip to Disneyland, it’s going to be just me going to Chicago in just a few short weeks! I’m a little anxious to take this trip I have to admit. I’m excited to meet so many people in real life, but the truth is that I’m more of a reader than a commenter (trying to change that) and I haven’t interacted that much with some of the bloggers whose work I admire and respect. I suspect it’s going to be a bit overwhelming meeting so many people in such a short space of time and I’m going to have to work really hard to overcome my shyness in such situations (not shy overall, but when first meeting people I tend to turn beet red and get a little tongue-tied, ack!) So I’m trying to be as fully prepared as I possibly can to help alleviate some of my anxiety. I’ve got my flight booked, my hotel booked, business cards ordered, map routes printed out for doing a little sightseeing, learned about taking the train from the airport to downtown and even signed up to do a 5K walk the first morning of BlogHer! I’ve learned a little about BlogHer parties and am really excited to be going to the Type A Momfluence one on Friday night where I will meet some of the other Type A mom editors and writers!! I’ve also prepped by reading a pile of blog posts about BlogHer (past ones and posts from people planning for this year), like:

And of course I regularly do a twitter search for #blogher to try and tweet with other people who are going to the conference!! So what else do I need to do to prepare for BlogHer? Suggestions really, really appreciated!!

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Jun 13, 2009 9:17 AM

Bye Bye Morning Coffee

 

by Laurie

One week ago today I gave up my morning cup of coffee. I thought it would be easy – I’m not a major coffee addict – I only had the one cup every day. Okay, it was a huge mug, not an 8oz cup, but still.

Saturday and Sunday I ended up with a brutal long-lasting migraine. Now, I do occasionally get similar bad headaches, but I doubt the timing was a coincidence. Usually my bad headaches are related to hormonal surges. Lots of Advil and a long Saturday afternoon nap helped. By Monday am the headache had gone down to a dull throbbing and I knew I was getting past the worst of the withdrawal.

Since the headache eased I have to admit I’ve noticed an increase in energy in the mornings – which is funny since most of us think we need that caffeine jolt to get moving each day! But the absolute best result? Last Saturday I weighed in at 151.7 – today, drumroll please………..147.4!!!! I lost 4 pounds somehow this week!!

I was trying to eat better this week too and I drank WAY more water. Still I also had a couple of cookies along the way so I was hoping for at beast 1.5-2 pounds of weight lost. Proof that the morning caffeine and sugar rush (I put a ton of sugar in my coffee, one of the biggest reasons for quitting actually) was a big thing holding me back. The morning coffee started my daily ups and downs and cravings for junk I honestly think now. So I won’t be going back to morning coffee anytime soon and I totally recommend giving it up at least for a week to see if it helps you feel better.

Now, it’s Saturday and supposed to be gorgeous weather for a change here in Edmonton, so I’m off to spend the day outside with the kiddos!

 

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Jun 10, 2009 11:30 PM

How Husbands Feel About Working At Home

 

by Laurie

So my husband, he is a good guy. We have our moments and our issues (he still doesn’t get the purse/shoe habit!) but honestly many of my girlfriends wish they had a hubby like Mobile Daddy. He works hard and he does his share of the housework. For example, not only does he do all the laundry, but he bought us a clothesline and hangs all the clothes to dry! And he’s the one who insisted I needed a laptop to help me more easily run my virtual assistant business while also keeping my eye on the boys.

The other day though, on the heels of the childcare discussions, it came up in conversation that while he is happy for me that my business is going well he never truly understood how much time I’d be spending on the computer as a work-at-home mom. He’s feeling a little neglected truth be told and I can’t even say I blame him. I take breaks from the computer more when he isn’t around to help with the kids. When he is here during the day, and when the kids are in bed and he’s watching tv, I do my best to get a bunch of work done.

I’m thinking this means I need to set aside an evening or two a week that I will turn off the computer before I put the kids to bed and focus on just hanging with the wonderful hubby that I’m lucky to have. Of course when you put those nights with the night or two of walking with the BFF and you see why I need childcare! I do not do well giving up that lovely thing called sleep, so there is only so much room left in the daily/weekly schedule. I’ll figure it out though!

 

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Jun 8, 2009 4:30 PM

Considering Child Care

 

by Laurie

So one of the topics that came up in my household recently (which frankly I thought we’d decided, but big surprise DH did not remember) was that of getting childcare next fall.

DH’s position is that he is concerned we can’t afford it, mine is that if we don’t afford it I can’t take my business where I want it to go. Of course, DH was similarly annoying when I went back to full-time work after Big Boy was born. He was frustrated by the cost, without acknowledging that without that cost we wouldn’t have had ANY of my income. Drives me insane and honestly, it makes me feel so unappreciated. I am working so hard to grow my business, but I’ve definitely realized I need some solid uninterrupted time to really make this work well. I know how much potential I have as a VLA, but I want to be able to offer the best to my clients, and that is hard to achieve with a toddler underfoot!

Hubby kindly points out that he thought I wanted to stay at home to “be with the kids”. Um no, actually I decided to stay home because I’d make so little money after childcare for three kids plus parking/fuel costs. I did work full-time after both Big Boy and Little Boy because I liked working. I liked contributing to our family income. And to be honest, I didn’t love being home all the time with little kids for my only company.

I didn’t like working full-time either though. I liked working, I liked my job, but I hated being gone for so many hours a day and I hated feeling pulled between the kids and work when they got sick (often) or when there were special events at school. DH never felt that of course, because I took responsibility for it all. Can you say arghhhhhh!!!!! I understand his job limitations but he didn’t/doesn’t understand mine. Working at home is still working after all, and wanting to leave the littlest with some kind of childcare 2-3 days a week is sensible, not selfish. Right?

 

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Jun 7, 2009 5:03 PM

Book Review, Three Times the Love

 

by Laurie

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m doing occasional book reviews for Penguin Canada – no compensation received other than the book itself (no affiliate sales or anything either), honest opinions only. I’m going to tell a little about each book and provide a rating (my opinion only obviously) out of 5 stars.

Three Times The Love, Lynn and Randy Gaston

Three Times the Love is a really interesting book by parents Lynn and Randy Gaston. Lynn and Randy have triplet boys and all three boys are diagnosed with some degree of autism. The book is the story of their journey, first starting with their not so easy journey into parenthood, as they unfortunately had much trouble conceiving and eventually had their triplets thanks to in vitro fertilization.

Other than the obvious challenges of raising triplets, the Gastons thought things were going pretty smoothly, until the boys hit about 18 months, when Lynn in particular started to notice several things that concerned her. The issues arose not long after the boys were vaccinated at their 18 month checkup, and although there is no conclusive evidence one way or another, it is clear throughout the book that Lynn feels that the vaccinations could have had a hand in triggering the autistic behaviors.

Before reading this book I had a relatively good understanding about what autism was, well better than the average person I think. I interact with moms on Twitter who have autistic children, I’ve read a lot about it and I remember conversing with moms about it before, especially on the Mothering.com forums. The Gastons really give an amazing and terrifying in-depth look at life with autism though, far more detailed than anything I’d read or seen before. Any parent with an autistic child would benefit from reading through the Gaston’s journey, to relate to the highs and lows of searching for answers, getting diagnoses, trying treatments and relishing in each accomplishment made by their amazing children.

The book is fairly short and easy to read, although not particularly emotionally compelling, especially when you consider the dramatic subject matter. It is worth reading though, and other parents struggling through life with an autistic child may appreciate the section on therapies and interventions. It is not exhaustive, but autism is such an unusual and challenging illness that no one book could possibly list all the various treatment possibilities and therapies.

Parents with autistic children may want to look into the Autism Expo, which the authors of Three Times the Love have created to bring hope and information to others in their situation.

I give this book a solid 4 stars and recommend it to all people whose lives have been touched by autism. It will give you a better understanding and empathy for the condition and how difficult life can be when your child is affected by autism.

 

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Jun 6, 2009 12:19 PM

Disneyland Vacation Recap

 

by Laurie

I so thought I’d be able to blog about my Disneyland vacation while on vacation but clearly that did not happen. We got back Wednesday night and this is the first time I felt like I had even a minute to think about my poor old blog!

 

Daddy, Little Boy & Big Boy on the Plane

We left on the 27th and had a direct flight to LAX. With all the

 

Mommy and Baby Boy on the Plane

waiting at the airport and the flight, it was already getting to be a long day, even though all three boys did really well in general, so it was frustrating to hit rush hour traffic in LA after picking up our rental minivan from Hertz. It took us 2.5 hours to get to our hotel and  we were wiped!! The hotel was quite nice though and we settled in and then headed back out to stock up on some needed supplies (snacks, milk for baby, water bottles, etc). I enjoyed the short stop at Target, which is a store we don’t have here in Alberta, then we headed back and turned in for the night.

We spent the better part of Thursday and Friday at Disneyland and California Adventure. My poor 4yo did not enjoy too many rides,  but he did have lots of fun. The 7yo was a perfect age to enjoy Disney and loved almost every ride he tried. Thanks to BFF travelling with us we were able to easily do swaps and stuff so everybody could try things out and still have an adult looking after the two younger boys.

 

Family with Goofy

 

Little Boy in California Adventure

 

Baby Boy in California Adventure

 

Big Boy climbing the rock wall

We went to Hollywood on Saturday am (kind of disappointing) and Santa Monica. The boys loved the beach but the weather was chilly so it wasn’t that exciting for us grown-ups. Sunday was some outlet shopping and then back to Disneyland for Monday and Tuesday, we also made a quick stop on Rodeo Drive Tuesday as that was the one place BFF really wanted to see. I say quick stop, but of course because of traffic we were gone the entire morning, ugh.

 

Visiting Hollywood

Wednesday we had a last swim at the hotel pool and made our way back through traffic to catch our 2pm flight home. It was so nice to be home that night, sleeping in our own bed and NOT in the same room as all the boys, lol. Overall it was a great trip and I’m really glad we went!

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May 25, 2009 2:08 PM

Baby’s First Haircut

 

by Laurie

I took all three boys yesterday to our favorite kids haircut salon, Beaners, in St. Albert.  I actually was only planning on getting Big Boy and Little Boy haircuts, I love baby’s sweet curly hair and wasn’t quite ready to make any change!

So Big Boy and Little Boy got their standard cuts – fairly short but long enough on top for a faux-hawk (with color spray gel of course!)

 

Big boy w/new cut

 

Little boy w/new cut

While the two older boys were having their hair cut though, I was chatting with the great stylist and she was commenting on Baby Boy’s cute curls. I told her about my hesitancy to get it cut yet, and she suggested at least doing some spray in conditioner to moisturize it, to prevent the curls from getting frizzy. She sprayed some on for me and as she put it in his hair she commented that he really could use at least a little trim.

So I took the plunge and let her trim Baby Boy’s pretty curls – and yay! Still super cute and curly. Probably not even a noticeable difference to anyone but me or DH! Plus she took some of the clippings and put them in an envelope for his baby book and gave us a certificate for his first haircut. So cute and I even actually put them in the baby book already.

 

Baby Boy – First Haircut!!

So now I have three super cute kiddos all ready to go on their vacation with nice light hair!

 

3 boys

 

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May 24, 2009 9:22 AM

Vacation in 5, 4, 3….

 

by Laurie

Yay! I can’t believe how quickly the time goes when you plan a vacation in a month! In three days or so I’ll be flying to Los Angeles with hubby, best friend and the three boys! We are all getting excited, especially now that it’s the weekend and we’re doing the packing thing. I’ve got lists galore and I sure hope we don’t forget anything (not like there aren’t stores in LA, lol)

We’ve got our general itinerary set for the vacation, which includes 3 full days between Disneyland and California Adventure, a day at Six Flags Magic Mountain, a day of shopping and a day at the beach.

I was chatting about the trip with a mom at Big Boy’s school on Friday. She is also planning a trip to Disneyland soon, although they postponed from this fall to maybe at Christmas time next year, as they are going with a large family group and couldn’t get schedules to match up otherwise. We were discussing how busy is too busy on a trip like this, as some of her group want to incorporate San Diego (zoo, Seaworld) into the one week trip. I explained that for us, that would be way too much. We’d rather have extra time at Disneyland itself (especially since the cost is better that way!) than spend 2-3 of our 7 days in San Diego. I definitely would love to see San Diego sometime but I’d rather make that a separate trip altogether! And we can’t simply add days to our current trip, as one week away from school seems like enough for Big Boy.

Okay, well I better get moving – 3 sleeps left only, lots and lots to do (especially to catch up on laundry – I love my new laundry line outside, but it means I have to pay attention and get the laundry done during the day!!!) Oh and of course I have a couple of client projects to finish up for my VA business! Thankfully, all my clients are so considerate of my need to take a vacation and have a lighter workload for a week. Yet another bonus to being a wahm!

 

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May 22, 2009 11:49 AM

Fifteen

 

by Laurie

One of my favorite songs lately is “Fifteen” by Taylor Swift. She’s truly an amazing songwriter and when I listen to that song I feel like I go back in time to when I was fifteen. You know, so often as I’ve gotten older I look at teenagers and see all their potential and how much life and choice they still have ahead of them. But when I listen to that song I remember that despite how it looks now, it was not easy then.

This is particularly brought home to me lately, as some family members are struggling through a very challenging time and I’m so reminded of my family’s problems when I was a teenager and realize how much they affected me then and continue to shape how I live my very life.

My parents divorced when I was 12, and part of the reason for the divorce was because my father committed adultery (does that sound better than saying he was a cheating ba$tard?) Knowing that he behaved in such an amoral way made me well aware of what type of relationship I would want when I was grown and I can certainly say it makes me aware of the impact of such behavior on the kids in a family. I never want my kids to feel like I did something that “ruined” our family. I wonder if other people think like this when they get involved in an extramarital affair. Do they think about their kids or only their spouse? Do they think only of themselves and their wants and needs? Does this make them selfish, immature, or flat out stupid? Am I being overly judgmental (I’d guess probably yes but I don’t seem to know how to have sympathy or empathy in this situation at all)

DH thinks I need to be more supportive of the adult in the situation, I think we all need to quit excusing people’s poor behavior just because life isn’t easy for them. How many of us have gone through hard times and NOT used it as an excuse to do something that can hurt every person we love?

But hey, maybe I just had a different attitude about parenting. I was able to choose to get pregnant, choose to be married and grown up first and I have been able to make many choices throughout my parenting time that allow me to put my kids first. And even still I sometimes fail and don’t do things I probably should.

Life is just crazy sometimes isn’t it? Oh well – while I have in the midst of the family drama lost my house/dog sitter I have one possible (and probably poor choice) to replace them and one pretty good choice to replace them. Somehow it will work out and my family can go on our vacation, get away from the crazy and have some great quality time together!

 

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May 20, 2009 6:09 AM

Sowing Seeds

 

by Laurie

Last year we planted a vegetable garden for the first time. It was an exciting adventure for us, I had loved helping my grandpa in the garden when I was a kid, although it sure seemed like never-ending work! So when we decided to have a garden last year we looked into a special method that would allow us to grow a great garden with far less time necessary to work on it. It’s called square foot gardening and it’s really worth checking out (Frugal Dad has a great post about starting a square foot garden!)

So this we planned on doing our planting for our second year of square foot gardening. We doubled the number of squares we are planting – last year we started small and had only 3 squares, this year we have six. Each of our “squares” is a 4×4, so we have 16 planting squares in each square. Some items will be planted in several squares (we’ll have several squares of potatoes for example), some will just need one (like the sunflower square).

 

Sq Foot Gardening

This is  what our garden looks like right now.  It’s just the bare bones though – no seeds added yet! Sunday was our planned big day for planting but if you look at this picture, you’ll see why we are on hold!

 

Snow in May!

Sucks to live in Alberta sometimes! Ok, I love living here, but am really, really, really tired of winter! We also bought a new apple tree to plant and it was sad seeing its little blossoms covered in snow.

My boys love helping in the garden and besides being a fun family activity I think it’s a fabulous way for them to really learn about the work needed for food to come to our table, growing cycles, etc. Big Boy picked out sunflowers to plant (last year too – he loved watching it get nice and tall!) Little Boy is excited about pumpkins and Baby Boy just likes the dirt, lol.

 

Baby Boy

My garden offers a special benefit to me as a work-at-home mom. It forces me to take a bit of time during the day to go outside in the sun, breathe the fresh air and pull a few weeds. Getting your hands dirty can do wonders for you mentally, especially when you spend far too much time cuddled up with your laptop! I love my work a little too much I sometimes think, I don’t walk away from it quite enough. Summers are not all that long here in Alberta (obviously since we’re only able to plant our gardens in mid-late May!!) and it’s really important to appreciate them, well I think it is anyway! And having fresh vegetables to eat at the end of it all is a great benefit.

Do any of you other work at home mamas garden in the summer? Flowers, vegetables, whatever? Or are you busy enough “growing” your children and business, lol?

 

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May 13, 2009 10:51 AM

18 Month Old Language Worries

 

by Laurie

So Baby Boy is 18 months old in 2 weeks. I’ve been worried about his language skills for a while, but have been trying to tell myself not to be paranoid. The rest of his development is perfectly on target and he communicates very well, but he has almost no words. He says “mom” – usually in an angry screech because I’m not doing what he wants, lol, but he does say it. He says something like “dada” but rarely and I’m not sure if he means his dad or something else, probably dad though. And lately he started saying “uh-oh”. That’s about it.

So yesterday I finally let myself look up normal language for an 18 month old. I found a few different numbers, but most suggested the average child of this age would have around a dozen (or more) words by this age.  Damn. I know that he’s probably going to be fine and I just need to really work with him on his verbal skills. I probably should also take that pacifier out of his mouth more often. My older boys were quicker with their speech and didn’t have paci’s. Yet another guilty mama moment. Don’t worry – not for long. I think I’ll take it away after our vacation this month.

If anyone out there has a suggestion or two for helping improve his vocabulary I’d sure appreciate it! For now my plan is to simply be more clear and at his level when speaking to him. For example, when he runs to the pantry and bangs on the door so I will get him a snack, I’m taking a couple of minutes to say “snack” or “hungry” and then I get him a snack and say “cracker”, “cheese” etc. I also have to talk his older brothers into not speaking for him so much, cause that is a common problem I see mentioned with slower younger children! It’s so easy to let big brothers do all the work!

 

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May 13, 2009 10:51 AM

#TwilightYEG Charity Event in Edmonton

 

by Laurie

charity tweetup is taking place here in Edmonton on May 20 – thanks to @ZoomJer! #TwilightYEG (yes that’s a hashtag for you non-twitter folks!!) sounds like a ton of fun and I personally am planning to attend. I bought two tickets actually, and now am deciding (or waiting for them to decide actually, lol) if I’m bringing DH or BFF. I think probably BFF and we’ll leave DH home with the boys. Lucky him!

The event is taking place at Hundred Bar Kitchen on Rice Howard Way and 100 St. I’ve never been there but the dessert menu alone has me drooling!

I can’t wait to meet some of favorite #yeg tweeps and the cause is very worthwhile.

Royal LePage Shelter Foundation Facts:
• Royal LePage is the only Canadian real estate company with its own charity
• It is the largest public foundation in Canada dedicated exclusively to supporting shelters and ending violence against women and children
• In addition to helping victims, it also aims to prevent domestic violence through a partnership with the Canadian Women’s Foundation to provide grants to provincial agencies that help women gain independence and economic self-sufficiency

Sadly, I’ve had enough personal experience with family violence to last me forever and a charity that helps women become more independent is definitely my idea of a worthwhile one.

I can’t wait! Oh and if you can’t make it, I’m sure you could make a donation to the charity anyway if you want – times are tough but any donation will help, right?

 

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May 10, 2009 3:18 PM

Book Review: The Household Guide To Dying

 

by Laurie

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m doing occasional book reviews for Penguin Canada – no compensation received other than the book itself (no affiliate sales or anything either), honest opinions only. I’m going to tell a little about each book and provide a rating (my opinion only obviously) out of 5 stars.

The Household Guide to Dying by Debra Adelaide

I received a couple of books last week from Penguin Canada, The Opposite of Love by Julie Buxbaum and The Household Guide to Dying by Debra Adelaide.  I think I may have been intended to read The Opposite of Love first, but it is a nice small paperback so I’m saving it for the plane on the way to/from Los Angeles at the end of this month. Yes, I’m crazy enough to think that I’ll find time to read on a plane with three kids! Hey, there are two other adults with me – it could happen! If not, I’m sure I’ll get a chance to read at some point during the vacation – what’s a vacation without a book?!!

So anyway, The Household Guide to Dying came in hardcover format which allowed me to justify reading it first. Really it just seemed like an interesting premise and I couldn’t resist getting started on it. And as usual I got so involved in the story I could barely put it down and finished it in just a few days. Considering how little sleep I got this week and that I had a fair bit of work to do, I’m impressed I got through it so quickly, shows you that reading is a priority to me I guess.

This book is a beautifully written and thought-provoking one. Delia is a mother of three who has terminal cancer, a freelance writer who chooses in her final months to write the last in a series of Household Guides, this one to be the Household Guide to Dying. Delia has a love of books, a love of words and a commitment to research for her books that make her the perfect person to write a guide to dying. Writing the guide gives Delia the opportunity to truly consider her options and the things she wants to do before time runs out. She makes lists for the future and revisits the past.

I’m a mom of three and I won’t deny that this book made me cry a few times and made me think (too hard almost) about how I would handle her particular tragedy. It’s not a place I want ever to be, and it also reminded me of a former co-worker whose wife battled cancer for years before losing her battle. They had three sons similar in age to mine. Of course we wouldn’t choose to leave our children, especially when they are so young and we never feel (well, I certainly don’t anyway) that anyone can parent them quite like we can. I found it quite poignant to read the author’s note at the end about her own son battling leukemia while she wrote this novel. How sadly ironic.

Oh and can I just say that if I didn’t want to visit Australia before – I really do now!! Debra Adelaide is from Sydney and her descriptions of flowers, gardens etc. made me feel I could see and smell them right here in my living room. Casuarina anyone?!

A book like The Household Guide to Dying is a wonderful read for anyone, probably will appeal more to women than men, but definitely a book that will make you think. It may make you uncomfortable, but it is, at the end, a novel of hope rather than despair, despite what one might expect in a book about a terminally ill woman. 4.5 stars without question.

 

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May 9, 2009 1:59 PM

Take Your Work on Vacation

 

by Laurie

I was catching up on my google reader a little this afternoon while baby sleeps and the two big boys play on the trampoline. I love the girls over at Freelance Parent, but Tamara’s post about her vacation and lack of internetreally made me stop and think!

Am I really going to be able to get much work done while I’m in California? For certain clients I know I will have no problem, I work for them hourly and only as needed – I usually know several days in advance exactly what their needs are. I do some fairly regular work for a couple of clients but the truth is that right now I rarely ever bill more than 10 hours a week anyway, easy enough to fit into my schedule. I think mostly my networking/interacting time will be affected. I won’t even try to blog on my biz blog I think and I may or may not get anything up here at Mobile Mommy.

I specifically chose a hotel that had free wireless internet and I have my cellphone as a backup for mobile internet access (a pricey option since my “unlimited” plan doesn’t cover out of country usage). I’m not taking my main laptop for fear of losing it, but I have a less expensive but usable laptop to take with me. My files are all automatically backed up via SugarSync so I can easily access all my files wherever I am, plus of course my project management and email are all web-based and easy for me to get to from wherever I am.

I really do think I’ll have it under control, but I’ll be sure to let you all know how it went after the trip is over (only 18 days before we leave!!!)

 

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May 7, 2009 8:06 AM

Sleep is for the Weak

 

by Laurie

And just to be clear, I AM the weak. Which is my way of saying oh my goodness I am so tired. Again. What is with that baby of mine, he is starting to sleep “well”, most of the time. But when he wakes up at 4am (he gets a bottle) he sometimes insists on crying for 30 to 60 minutes afterward. Unless you hold him forever (he cries whenever you give up and put him back down – and he wakes up even more if I try bring him to bed with me).

So anyway, I’ve had a couple of rough mornings this week. And I’ve been going to bed late. And so the grammar in this post – not so good, sorry! I’ll wake up soon, I hope!

I was thinking last night of this lovely post for my blog about how helpful it can be for a wahm to get out alone for some fresh air and exercise when possible. I’ve been walking a couple of times per week with my BFF at night and it is so good for me mentally and physically. We meet between our houses and the first 10 minutes of walking I’m alone and blog post ideas flow so freely in my head. There’s just one little problem with it all. She isn’t available to walk until 7pm or so. I’m usually waiting until close to then for DH to be available to take over the kiddos too. I don’t mind walking then, but we take fairly long walks and sometimes hang out and visit afterward at her house. And it gets late. If I’m caught up on my work it’s all good but some nights, like last night, I come home and try to work for a little bit, and before you know it it’s almost midnight and I get up at 6:30 am for the day (plus the fun at 4am with baby). That is just not enough sleep for me. At all.

So what is a wahm to do about trying to fit in alone time/exercise time? I am working on fitting in Wii Fit in the afternoons right after 7yo gets home from school. I have enough time before making dinner for that and since the kids love to do the workout with me, in their  to own cute way, it’s a decent enough time. But I really love to get out for walks too and I want start biking occasionally at night. Guess I’m going to have to be more dedicated about getting the work done during the day, instead of saving it to do at night as is my wont. Getting to bed at a reasonable hour is a priority I can not, and should not, change. My brain just works so much better with enough sleep!

 

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May 6, 2009 9:52 AM

Summer Gardens and Produce

 

by Laurie

We have had a beautiful summery weekend – the kind that makes you think of barbeques and picnics! And as you may recall from my complaining in April, this was a long winter in Edmonton! My grass still isn’t fully green and I haven’t even seen buds on the trees yet. But a summery weekend it was and it made me think about plans for gardening this summer and attending the Farmer’s Market. I checked and my favorite market (in St. Albert)will be open June 13th for the season. Another good one will be open even earlier – May 16th is the opening of the City Market in downtown Edmonton!

As for my summer garden, traditionally here in Edmonton we don’t plant until after the May long weekend. I do have most of my seeds purchased though and our square foot gardens are set up and ready to go! Last year was our first doing a square foot garden and I LOVED it! The kids helped a lot too. It was easy to plant, easy to weed and we had tons of produce out of just three squares. So this year we are doing six squares so we can plant a bit more of certain things (like potatoes – I love garden potatoes). Here’s our list of things we’ll be planting this year:

  • potatoes
  • carrots
  • peas
  • zucchini
  • onions
  • shallots
  • tomatoes
  • pumpkins
  • yellow beans (for pickling!)

Hmmm, think there is more but I can’t remember it all! I also just remembered that DH needs to put up a thing to help the peas. Last year we used some bamboo sticks for support but it really wasn’t enough support at all. We’ll hopefully have the weather to plant on the long weekend of May, and then a couple days later it will be time to leave for our trip to Disneyland!!

Any of my readers do gardening or even square foot gardening? I totally recommend it (the book that helped me was this one by Mel Bartholomew – got it from the library!)

Laurie/Mobile Mommy

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May 3, 2009 9:33 AM

Book Reviews: Loser’s Town & the girl next door

 

by Laurie

To keep book reviews from being overtaking my blog I’m combining a couple into one post! As I’ve mentioned before, I’m doing occasional book reviews for Penguin Canada – no compensation received other than the book itself (no affiliate sales or anything either), honest opinions only. I’m going to tell a little about each book and provide a rating (my opinion only obviously) out of 5 stars.

This week’s book reviews are both novels, although not at all similar otherwise! Both were decent books, although I far preferred one over the other. What can I say – I love romance in a book!

Book #1 – Loser’s Town, author Daniel Depp

Daniel Depp is apparently the brother of Johnny Depp and his novel, Loser’s Town is a suspense set in Hollywood. There are gangsters, actors and some stereotypical Hollywood characters. Some of the characters were interesting, but I’m not going to lie. I didn’t get pulled into the story all that much. It was decent, there was definitely a feeling that the writer understood Hollywood but it left me wanting more from the characters. The lead (P.I. David Spandau) was probably the most interesting, he had an intriguing background and his relationship with his almost ex-wife would have been great, especially if explored more deeply. I’d say that another 100 pages could have been added to add more context and expand on some decent plot lines.

I felt particularly dissatisfied with how things went down toward the end, but maybe it was just meant to mirror the “reality” of Hollywood. Essentially meaning that since Hollywood is a crazy and power-hungry world that you can’t expect a satisfactory ending to happen – other than in the movies themselves of course!

This book is a good choice for your friends or family who have a real thing for Hollywood stories, but I’d have to give it only 2.5 stars out of 5.

Book #2 – the girl next door, author Elizabeth Noble

Definitely my favorite of these two books! This book is a bit of a romance, although not in the Harlequin style or anything. It’s really just about people, lives, how things can change in the blink of an eye and how our choices define us as people. At least that’s my take on it!

the girl next door is set in New York City and follows a fairly large and diverse cast of characters, whose lives are intertwined as a result of them all living in the same co-op building. I think the cast of characters was actually a little too large, as there were some pairings/individuals that seemed superfluous, but overall the characters were very empathetic and interesting. I felt very connected to them and cried with them at more than one spot!

Another thing I really enjoyed about this book were some of the descriptions of New York – they didn’t overpower the story line or anything but they definitely made me want to explore Central Park (maybe some day I’ll get there!)

This book is a perfect holiday read or a great gift for a girlfriend and I give it 4 stars!

 

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May 2, 2009 2:24 PM

jump, Jump, JUMP!

 

by Laurie

This week’s excitement might be planning a Disney trip, but the boys don’t even know about it! Fortunately they are more than preoccupied and thrilled with the new trampoline they received this week! They love to jump, jump and then jump some more!

 

Big Boy and Little Boy

 

Baby Boy

And for the record, I suck at getting good trampoline shots. Maybe should have used the good camera, instead of my little one! I got some video too, but haven’t attempted uploading it!

DH ordered them this trampoline from Costco, pricey but apparently very safe! It’s a spring-free trampoline and it was a total b*tch to put together. You know, from what I could see in my position as official direction reader, lol. Still in about an hour we had it assembled, at night as the dark feel, and surprised the boys with it Wednesday am. Big Boy was too sick to really enjoy it, but now that the antibiotics for his strep are fully kicked in they won’t come off of it!

Laurie/MobileMommy

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Apr 30, 2009 11:10 PM

California Here We Come

 

by Laurie

Remember that long post about our crazy road trip? Cancel it, lol. We saw a great airfare to Disneyland later in May and decided to do that for our family vacation instead. I’m a little hesitant to take 7yo out of school for a few days but I think it will be a much nicer vacation for the kids than the road trip would have been.

No worries – I’m still going to BlogHer!! In fact I used air miles to buy that ticket today so I’m all set to go to Chicago for four days in July. A good friend is probably going to come with me, but even alone I’m sure I’ll enjoy the trip and the conference so much. It will be nice to not have to rush back to the hotel after to spend time with hubby and the boys, which I would have done had we made it part of our family trip.

So now we’re busily planning a trip to Southern California and I need to get myself organized! I think we’ve chosen a hotel already (given that we want a hotel close to Disney and that will offer a separate bedroom and space for 5, we have fairly limited choices in our budget!) and we know a few things we want to incorporate into the trip (Disneyland of course, Santa Monica Beach, maybe Magic Mountain) I’m open to suggestions though if any of my lovely friends have any to offer!!

It’s going to be an interesting week for work when we go. I’ll keep my schedule pretty light, but will try to keep up with a couple of things. We usually try to get the kids to bed at a reasonable hour even on vacation and I should be able to work a couple of hours a night. Hope I’m not being overconfident about that though!

Ok, off to do a little more research before bed – night all!

Laurie/Mobile Mommy

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Apr 29, 2009 12:45 PM

Book Love and Book Reviews

 

by Laurie

Ok, I applied to do some book reviews for Penguin Canada. And a couple of weeks ago I started getting books from them to read, I thought it would be a couple only but already I’m up to 4 or so and I’m thinking whoa horsey, lol! I’m going to start posting occasional reviews and wanted to share my reasoning behind signing up for book reviews first.

I love to read. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. I have used books as a comfort measure most of my life – I was reading adult-aged books by the time I was 10 (possibly too early for some – I still vividly remember the vice-principal of my elementary school questioning if my mother actually knew I was reading VC Andrews – and for the record she did know!)

Books were my refuge in a somewhat difficult childhood. I loved to escape in romance novels and grew to love many genres – suspense, fantasy, science fiction, historical novels, biographies – you name and I’ll at least have tried it I’m sure! Books were where I learned about conceiving my babies, about pregnancy and now I regularly read parenting books for advice and tips on helping my wonderful boys grow up into wonderful men. And when I decided to become a virtual assistant I immediately purchased a couple of books on starting a VA business specifically, and a couple of books on running a home based business in general.

My book habit would be brutally expensive if I didn’t also love my local library! The $15 annual fee (plus admittedly another $15-20 per year in late fees, lol) is so much cheaper than buying every book that catches my fancy. Some books I’ll read at the library and then decide I need to buy but usually I am able to just get the information I need and return it for someone else to enjoy. I’m pretty sure I’ve read every book my local library has on running a small business and countless romance novels!!

So you can see why I applied to do book reviews on my blog – books are a huge part of my life. I don’t want to overtake my blog with book reviews though, so I plan to try and only post reviews once every week or two weeks or so. I also plan to only post honest reviews and other than receiving the books themselves, I am not taking compensation for the review process. I’m going to add a disclaimer to my blog or each post, but never hurts to mention it more than once!!

So stay tuned, in the queue for review are some interesting looking books, including a novel by Daniel Depp, a parenting book, a book about a family with autistic triplets and a novel about a co-op in New York and the interwoven lives of the residents! I’ll also share some of my top picks or fave books in the occasional list post, especially books that I think will be helpful to my fellow work at home moms!

Laurie/Mobile Mommy

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Apr 25, 2009 11:23 AM

Earth Week Etc

 

by Laurie

Earth Day was this past week and I’ve seen several blog posts on the topic and I also watched a bit about it on television. I must say I find some people’s approaches to being eco-friendly to be mind-boggling. Now, don’t get me wrong, we aren’t the world’s most earth friendly family – we do a lot of things that are “green” and some that are not. We had three children after all – a big no-no in some circles (of course there are those who believe having no children is a solution – read this great post over at Canada Moms Blog for a good discussion of that topic).

Probably the thing I was most judgmental about this week though was when I was watching House Hunters (a fave show of mine on HGTV) and they had a couple looking for an eco-friendly home. The couple had one child. They bought a house that was over 4000 square feet and put in eco-friendly flooring and kept the heat turned down in the finished basement. I think they actually thought they were being green!  4000 square feet for 3 people is not green in my opinion. I see this frequently on tv shows like that. Now there are a few that make pretty serious efforts, like using solar heating and other techniques to be off-grid, so they maybe are more green than someone who just uses eco-friendly flooring.  Not that I’m an expert so who am I to say?

Anyway…if you need some ideas on how to be more eco-friendly go check out this post over at Suburban Granola. Bonnie shares her resolutions about being more earth friendly this year and she’s got good suggestions!

Laurie/Mobile Mommy

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Apr 21, 2009 4:46 PM

The Crazy Road Trip to Chicago

 

by Laurie

And so I start my planning/dreaming in earnest. I’ve got tickets to BlogHer for Friday/Saturday and I’m fairly hopeful that I’m actually going to make it there somehow. We’re waiting on DH’s job situation to work itself out to know for sure if we can afford the trip or to take the time away, but he thinks it will work out and I might as well start planning!

If all goes well we’ll be leaving our home on July 17th in the late evening and there a couple of possible driving scenarios. We have three kids traveling with us – can’t have just one scenario, lol. Also, don’t know for sure if it will be just DH and I with kiddos, or if BFF will be joining us. She’s great to have on road trips but she has her own work situation to work out first. Work is such a downer, lol. At least when you aren’t a self-employed virtual assistant!

Anyway, the plan:

Day 1: Edmonton to Saskatoon (evening driving around kids’ bedtimes) Approx 5 hrs

Day 2: Saskatoon to either Bismarck, ND (9 hrs) or as far as we can get, lol. Ideally would love to get as far as Minnesota, but that’s over 11 hours of driving time in the day and not sure how much baby can handle (or how much we can handle a screechy baby)

Day 3: Bismarck or Minnesota border to Minneapolis (6.5 hours or less). This is the first big stop along the way, because yes we’re stereotypical types who have every intention of stopping at the Mall of America! We don’t even expect it to be much more exciting than our own West Edmonton Mall (same owners!), but we still need to see it and the boys should love the LEGO attraction!

Day 4: Depends on a lot. May spend more time shopping and checking out Minneapolis so we can avoid the too many days straight in a car thing. We’ll have about 7 hours of driving time left to get to our ultimate destination of Chicago. While I have reservations for the night before the conference at the Chicago Sheraton, we’ll have three nights in Chicago before that. My husband’s biggest excitement of the trip is to go to Six Flags Great America, so we’ll probably stay as close to there as possible. We’re considering Key Lime Cove, Executive Inn or Hotel Indigo. Any suggestions? Our requirements include rooms that accommodate 5-6 people and free wireless internet.

Okay, so that’s our crazy plan so far. Any thoughts or helpful advice? We’ve done our fair share of long distances before, although only with the two boys, nothing over 6 hrs each way since Soy was born.

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Apr 21, 2009 4:46 PM

Baby Shopping Frugal Style

 

by Laurie

Having a baby can be seriously expensive if you aren’t careful or don’t have access to a big support network of friends to share items with you! I was the first of all my friends to be pregnant (and for that matter I had three children before any of my friends had even one!!!) I had a sister and sister-in-law who had children so many years before me they no longer had any of their baby or maternity items. I purchased my maternity wardrobe and all my baby stuff pretty much myself. Oh wait, I did have one friend (not a close friend at the time) who gave me a few things and they were MUCH appreciated. I just didn’t remember for a sec – it was 8 years ago people!!!!

Anyway, I found out about a really great sale happening in Edmonton (so pay attention #yeg peeps!) courtesty of Baby Bump and had to share it with you all. In July there will be a great consignment sale of maternity clothing. That means if you are preggo or hoping to be you should be on high alert for the sale (watch here for info) and if you have clothes you want to get a little money back on contact the great ladies over at Baby Bump for details. Happy Shopping!

 

Bump Consignment

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Apr 20, 2009 8:03 PM

Money and Medical Costs

 

by Laurie

Just wanted to quickly share my most recent TypeA Mom post about how you handle unexpected medical expenses.

If you are a work at home mom, particularly if you are the main supplier of household income, or if your spouse has not medical coverage, this is probably a big concern for you. Medical stuff sure does add up fast! So check out the post and leave a comment – and while you are there check out some of the other great stuff at TypeA Mom (I’m sure many of my fellow WAHM’s are a bit on the type A side too, lol).

On a related note – my unexpected medical expense is for our share of my son’s upcoming dental work. My poor 4yo needs 6 fillings for a grand total of well over $2,000 (our share is less than that!) Also a factor in that day is that both my husband and I need to be around (apparently one parent should drive while another sits with the drugged up and sore four year old). Thank goodness for being a WAHM that day – I can work while he sleeps off his anesthetic and I don’t have to explain to a boss about why I’m missing part of the day. I will let my clients know, but based on my workload it will not be a problem! Hmmm, need to be a little busier I think (in general – not that day!!)

Speaking of clients, time to go do a little more work!

Laurie/Mobile Mommy

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Apr 17, 2009 10:03 PM

Busy Week Over

 

by Laurie

It seemed like a totally crazy week this week – I think I put in my most billable hours ever (not that that is that many, lol) and spent time trying to stay a little on top of housework and the kiddos.  The weather went from snow to sun to rain and it’s kind of annoying, but not truly awful so I’ll try not to complain.

I received a couple of interesting looking books to review and I have to decide exactly how I’m going to handle product reviews on my blog (these are unpaid, but not at all the same as reviewing a book I chose and paid for). I’m thinking of setting it up as a sub-page or sub-domain maybe? Any hints?

I have plenty of work still for the weekend and next week and a couple of events at 7yo’s school next week (family lunch one day, parent-teacher interview and the pie social!) Plus tonight I actually am doing something fun – I’m on a Twitter panel for a site-warming party for Virtual Assistant Hub!! How fun, and it’s all about being a virtual assistant so obviously right up my alley. If you’re interested check it out around 9pm est/6pst on Twitter – hashtag #VAHub. Oh and don’t forget to sign the Mr. Linky at Resourceful Mommy to qualify to win some cool prizes!

p.s. and so cool, noticed the photo credit for the sitewarming post at Resourceful Mommy is by mastermaq – one of my #yeg twitter peeps!!

Ok, off to take a quick break from my laptop before the party – hope to see you there!

Laurie, Mobile Mommy

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Apr 14, 2009 7:28 PM

Gray, Cloudy Day

 

by Laurie

 

Backyard on Apr 14 2009

This is what I woke up to this morning. I know, it’s April. I know it was super warm all weekend long – that’s what living in Alberta is all about you know!

It was a little hard to get motivated looking out the window, but I had a ton of work to get done today and thankfully I read this retweet from @tishialee (a fellow VA!) and felt more inspired to make progress on my to-do list!

RT @ginaparris: Success comes to those who do what must be done, even when they don’t feel like doing it. Tip: Do those things first!

So I did a few of the biggest things right off the bat, then kept on chipping away all day today. I felt so good about myself! And even better, by afternoon the snow had all melted!! Of course it’s still windy and cold, but without the snow it feels better anyway.

What do you do when you don’t feel like working, but you have a lot to get done? Do you just push through? Do you make yourself a big cup of coffee to get your engines firing up? I have to admit,  I did that too today! My homemade lattes always help me perk up a bit (and they are way cheaper than my fax Starbucks drinks!)

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Apr 8, 2009 3:36 PM

WAHM Dreaming

 

by Laurie

Every wahm has a dream about her business – maybe that it earns enough to help with the household expenses, maybe we just want a little fun money or maybe we want to be the next million dollar mom! I’m putting into words my big wahm dreams, and I hope you’ll share yours with me!

Ok, this is part of my “series” (not officially, lol – just going to be several related posts over time and I may recap them into one post when I’m done!) on where I want to go with my virtual legal assistant business.

I had a list of business aspirations I set out at the beginning of this year, but my long term goals and planning has been more private – ok, not even private, more just not set out at all!! I’ve got vague ideas in my head, but nothing really committed to paper! So here goes nothing, a list of my big dreams for Halo Secretarial over the next couple of years:

  • Committed clients and total of 30+ billable hours per week.
  • Two conferences per year (one legal/one VA?)
  • One long vacation per year plus three or four long weekend mini-vacations
  • Busy enough to subcontract out some of my general admin work
  • Busy enough to hire someone to help clean my house

You know, it’s funny when I start writing it all down it doesn’t seem out of reach at all! In fact I’m pretty sure I can make these things happen. I wonder if I don’t dream big enough or if things just seem hard to attain until we really, really think of what we want. Cause really? All I want is to make a good living from doing something interesting and challenging and to be around when my kiddos need me. Being a virtual assistant offers me that possibility – the income part will come as I work on building my client base!!

So do you dream bigger than this? What do you want your business to provide for you and where do you want it to go eventually – post in the comments or link back to my post with a post of your own (hey – you need room to dream big!!)

 

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Apr 7, 2009 5:13 PM

Cupcakes and Quiet(ish) Time

 

by Laurie

Today was 4yo’s first Tuesday at playschool. Since January he’s been going on Fridays, but now he’s in a new session and goes 2 days per week instead, Tues and Thurs from 9-11 am. It was all new kids for him but he was excited to go to school and play. And not only did I get him settled in but I made arrangements for 1yo to go to childcare a few times btwn now and June so I can be a parent helper at playschool twice and so I can actually work out (or work, haven’t decided for sure yet!!)

While 4yo was happily enjoying some playschool fun, 1yo and I went to Walmart and stocked up on Easter goodies for the coming festivities. The boys are all set to decorate some eggs and the Easter Bunny is ready to visit our house – bringing a bit of chocolate and a few little toys. I think the kids are going to really love it!

After Walmart, 1yo and I had about 30 minutes to kill. Not enough to go home and work and too much to just drive around. Was deciding where to go when I spotted the Bake Me A Cake sign and remembered I wanted to check out the new local bakery! I had no idea what exactly type of bakery it was because apparently the sign wasn’t enough for me – lol! Anyway, we pulled up the truck and in we went. It turns out they are mostly a bakery for special ordering from (gorgeous wedding cakes – check them out here) BUT they did have cupcakes available for purchase. Yay!! I bought some vanilla and chocolate and have to tell you they were very tasty. Simple, basic cupcakes but nice and moist. I hate dry cupcakes. Oh and not only did they have yummy cupcakes but I spent some time chatting with the owner and she was so nice! Not a work at home mom, but an entrepreneurial mom for sure – and she had her kindy aged child there at the bakery with her – practically the same as being a work at home mom! Was nice to connect with a local mom like that and she knew what a virtual assistant was – how cool is that?!

So it was a very productive morning, although not really on the work front, lol. I have used my afternoon time relatively productively for work though and am set to do plenty tomorrow. I’m actually even expecting a call from a local business person who contacted me Monday and said he’d follow up with details tomorrow – always nice to get another client!

 

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Apr 6, 2009 11:46 AM

Spring is the Season of Renewal

 

by Laurie

Spring is finally really starting to arrive here in the Edmonton area! I love days when the sun shines and warmth starts to seep back into my bones. We bought some seeds for our garden this past weekend and I’m feeling a real sense of purpose and determination to be successful at gardening this summer!

 

Spring Blooms

**Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, by Withrow

I’m also feeling like spring is a great time to step back for a minute from the excitement and the newness of my virtual legal assistant business and re-visist my business plan. Things are going well and I’m definitely starting to build my client base. That doesn’t mean that I’m doing everything as well as I could be though so it seems like it’s well worth investing some time over the next couple of weeks into brainstorming, planning and dreaming.

As I’ve mentioned before I’ve been reading The Boss of You (by Lauren Bacon and Emira Mears). It’s a fascinating book about building your business, and it’s the first business book I’ve read that really spoke to the type and style of business I’m building. I’m not starting out planning a huge corporate enterprise – it’s not one of my goals to own a suite of fancy offices and employ hundreds of people.  To a large extent what I’m building is, for now at least, a lifestyle business.  Still, I don’t want to be one of many virtual assistants who is content with a few billable hours per week and a very part-time schedule. Nothing wrong with that if it’s what you want – a little supplemental income is never a bad thing. I’m fairly driven though. I always have wanted a true career – and I loved working as a paralegal. Well, I loved a lot of things about being a paralegal, lol. The things I didn’t love are the reason I’m self-employed now!

So, what’s on my agenda as I plan for the coming year (and more!) of business growth? First I’m going to look back at my early January posts that discussed what I wanted to see happen in 09. Then I’m going to do some freestyle brainstorming to put out into the world my wildest hopes and wishes for where my business could go over the next few years. Then I’m going to sit down with a friend and have her help me evaluate those dreams and wishes and discuss ways to make it really happen. I’m also going to look at working with a coach of some kind who can give me another type of input into where to take my business.

Then I’ll take all the advice, the dreams, the goals and put them into a true action plan and evaluate fitting the dreams into the financial budget (always a fun step!!) And I’m going to put into my calendar some checkpoints for evaluating my progress, with rewards along the way. Rewards are important right?!

It’s probably going to be a little bit of a roller coaster – but I’m already feeling energized and excited!

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Apr 4, 2009 1:31 PM

Making It Up As I Go

 

by Laurie

Spring break has kept me busy this week and while I kept thinking about things to blog somehow it just didn’t happen!

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about my business – on Monday I took my lovely boys to Chapters so they could each pick out a new book and so I could get a research book for a client’s project. Of course I ended up browsing the business section and found an interesting looking book (the colors just grabbed me!) called The Boss of You. I’m going to do a separate post about the book as I think it’s a fabulous WAHM resource, but today’s post is just about how reading that book and life in general, is making me think about my business.

I love being a virtual assistant and when I started this journey I was so glad for the many amazing virtual assistant resources that were available to me. But as I started to network, and build my practice, I realized that a lot of resources are aimed very much at beginner VA’s only. Also? I realized that whole pick a niche/target client thing is totally true!! So I went with my original plan to target lawyers (specifically solos or very small practices). Only guess what? Suddenly the great VA resources aren’t really so helpful for me, because I want information and advice on building my virtual legal assistant practice – I want to know if I should plan on using subcontractors or if I should be more team-based or if I should just grow to my own maximum client load and stop. I want to know if I’m undervaluing my services and if I should have branded myself differently.

A million other thoughts about the whole thing swirl in my busy little head, but I don’t want to bore you to tears or anything so I’ll just assume you get the idea!  Now I feel like I kind of have to make a lot of my business plan up as I go – because in a lot of ways I’m in uncharted waters. Oh sure, there are other virtual legal assistants and virtual paralegals out there. But honestly, there aren’t that many. I was asked by a lawyer on Twitter if I knew of any other Canadian virtual legal assistants for example, and I could only name a handful. Wow!

So anyway – I think I’m rambling today – good thing this is my personal blog not my business one! Better come back and read more on a day I make more sense! Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to be doing a series of posts dealing with business planning. I’ll be sharing my options, my hopes, my dreams and I hope I can offer some help for any other wahm in similar situations to me. If you are building a business from your home I hope you’ll share some of your concerns, worries and goals with me!

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Mar 26, 2009 1:57 PM

Canadian Maternity Experiences

 

by Laurie

Just read on Twitter about this Canadian Maternity Experiences survey and then went on over to bothPhDinParenting’s blog and Ann Douglas’ blog. And of course I have to participate!

First, let me just note that I’m from Alberta – a province where we have not had midwifery funding (I think supposed to soon or maybe just recently even – but not for any of my 3 births). Now to respond to the questions posed at PhD in Parenting’s blog.

  • How much choice did you have when it came to finding a prenatal care provider? Lots of choice? Or was the choice made for you?

I had plenty of choice. I live near Edmonton, which is of course a large urban centre. I chose a family practitioner who delivered babies for my first birth, but an obstetrician for my next two births (after a bad experience with the family practitioner’s office during a miscarriage between my oldest and middle child). I could have chosen an obstetrician or a midwife also, although would have had to pay personally for midwife services.

  • Where did you go for information when you were pregnant?

Well I did get some information from my doctor, but I definitely got a lot of my information from books and internet forums. I like to have time to absorb a lot of material and make my own choices, so having the doctor simply tell me what to do wasn’t my style.

  • Did you know about the importance of taking folic acid prior to conceiving? Had you heard about the new research about the role folic acid can play in preventing preterm birth (if you take it one year before becoming pregnant)?

Family doctor was great for this. She started tell me long before I was married or considering children about the importance of folic acid.

  • Did you feel you had adequate choice in terms of a place to give birth? Did you wish you had more options?

Not really, as I definitely would have liked the option of using a midwife (funded). I also ended up with a breech baby for first pg and felt very rushed into having a c-section based on hospital regulations. And here where I live you can’t choose hospital really – you choose a practitioner and then generally birth in the hospital where they have privileges. You can use another hospital but you give up having your regular doctor. And there are a very few midwives who you pay for and who are very busy so not always taking new patients.

I would have loved to have a birth centre option also, but again, we don’t have any near Edmonton. I delivered my first two sons at a very busy hospital and while I received adequate care it didn’t feel like the right place to have a baby. My third birth was at a lower level hospital and it was so much better. More relaxed and no moving from the delivery room to the postpartum room!

On a positive note, while my first birth was a c-section for breech, I had two successful VBAC’s with my other pregnancies and wonderful healthy children – so I’m pretty happy with how it all turned out overall!

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Mar 25, 2009 4:06 PM

Praying for Baby Stellan

 

by Laurie

I don’t even know what to say when  I read about a situation like MckMama’s. My prayers are with her whole family but of course most especially with her precious little boy.

Follow MckMama’s twitterfeed for up to date info.

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Mar 24, 2009 1:39 AM

Family Swimming Fun

 

by Laurie

DH and I took our boys to the wonderful local pool tonight (it’s actually one of those all-inclusive leisure centres – pool, gym, soccer fields etc). We had a great time – they really all love the water so much. It reminded me I need to get the older two into some more swim lessons pronto!

Anyway I just had to particularly note the great new thing (new to me anyway, lol) they had there for the baby. It was a SwimWays floatation device and it let him feel independent in the water and gave DH and I an easier time of it in also managing the older boys and playing with them. We were there over an hour and the baby barely wanted out of the float – although he did love going down the big waterslide with mom and dad! I so need to buy myself one of those babies for when we swim other places.

And can I say how proud I was of my two older boys – they finally found a little courage and trusted the lifejackets to hold them up while they took turns jumping into the deep end. It sure gave mommy a workout treading water for 20 minutes while they jumped over and over again!

It was a lot of fun and I definitely found a Monday night at the pool was much nicer than a busy Saturday or Sunday afternoon!

 

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Mar 21, 2009 4:39 PM

Business Banking Choices

 

by Laurie

Shhhh, don’t tell anyone! I know that it is smart to get a separate business bank account immediately upon starting your business. I receive most of my payments via paypal though and so I was kind of slack about signing up for a chequing account for my virtual assistant business.

Yesterday though I got my first cheque in payment from a local client – and it’s made out to Halo Secretarial Services! Guess I better get an account asap so I can deposit it!! So today I’m spending some time evaluating my choices for very simple business bank accounts. I’m still going to receive most of my payments via paypal, and I transfer paypal money monthly to my bank account, so there will be very few monthly transactions.

First choice on my list: Servus Credit Union (local to Alberta). They have a branch right here in Spruce Grove, the basic chequing plan is $5.00 plus $0.50 per self serve transaction (and I’m a self-serve kind of girl!). They have a good reputation for customer service too.

Next choice is ATB Financial (also local to Alberta). I use this bank for several things already including  my mortgage and my kids savings accounts. They’re pretty good although we’ve had a couple of service issues in the past. Their pay as you go account is $6 per month plus $0.60 per transaction, so a bit more than Servus.

I like the small banks like Servus and ATB but I’m also going to take quick looks at the big Canadian banks (CIBC, Bank of Montreal, TD Canada Trust, Scotiabank). I doubt any of them will have better fees though, so I think I’ll be getting my documents together and heading over to Servus later this afternoon!

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Mar 10, 2009 6:38 PM

Mama’s Got Game

 

by Laurie

I admit it. Ever since DH bought us the Wii, I actually like video games. I spent weeks playing SuperMario Galaxy a year ago when baby Soy was still a newborn. I’d even nurse while playing (although it did make it hard to do a spinning jump, lol!) My current game of choice is Zelda, an activity I limit myself to enjoying on weekends, as I can easily play for a couple of hours when I get started.

My boys love the Wii too – Lego Batman and Lego Indiana Jones are the current faves, although previously we all had a blast playing MarioKart together. So a week or two ago I got an email and then phone call from a reporter asking about my video game habits. It was kind of funny to me – as I can’t tell you how many discussions DH and I had at one time because I really didn’t approve of his playing too much video games. And now here I am discussing my game playing habit!! Anyway, here’s a link to the story that was published in the Globe & Mail today – featuring not only me but several other video game playing mamas.

Now I know there are plenty of moms (and dads and other people who don’t even have kids but who have an opinion) who don’t think kids should ever play video games. I twittered once about letting Xandy play Lego Batman and had a perfectly lovely but annoying mom tell me that I should make him play “real” lego instead.  The assumption on her part seeming to be that I overused video games. Like you can tell with one Tweet. For the record, my children are only allowed to play video games on Wednesdays and Sundays, for a certain amount of time. Not that it’s a problem if you choose to allow your kids to play more – that’s just a rule in my world!

 

p.s. To the people who put together the Zelda Wii Walkthrough? I love you! I get so frustrated when I hit a tricky part of the game (and that seems to happen a lot to a newbie like me) and you always have the answers!!

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Mar 7, 2009 10:52 AM

WAHM Weekend

 

by Laurie

I feel like I have a million things to say on here lately, but at the same time I’m not sure how to say them all! So while I let some thoughts simmer in my mind for a day or two I thought I’d share some awesome posts from the wahm world to give you some weekend reading!

A great topic! Productivity is a big challenge  for us wahms. WAHM Christie Chowder Chats on Productivity over at the Writings of a WAHM blog

Kelly McCausey had a recent post about being proud to be a WAHM. The Work at Home Mom community is pulling together to help someone in need (another husband whose out of work – but unlike mine he can’t even look for something else as he’s out due to physical injury)

Cindi had a post about how guest bloggers can add valuable content to your wahm blog. I’ve never had a guest blogger on my personal blog – but it’s definitely an idea to explore!

A leader in the WAHM world, Wendy Piersall has had a couple of really interesting posts about the frustrations and ups and downs in growing your business. She’s scored a major coup recently and I can’t wait to watch herthis coming week on the Today Show! It’s an episode about digital moms and something all us wahms will probably enjoy!! Also on the digital mom series will be a vlog from Adventures in Parenting mom Lisa and aninterview of Alli from Always, Alli. Should be a great series!!

And don’t miss this post over on April Tara’s blog about Surviving Mommy Burnout as a work at home mom. It is really hard sometimes to be a work at home mom juggling everything (well, it’s just hard to be a mom juggling things – WAHM, SAHM or WOHM!!) and she’s got some suggestions for avoiding or surviving burnout.

 

P.S. Speaking of reading – anyone have some great books suggestions for me? I need something juicy to really dig into – preferably a good series or something! Just got my BFF started on Twilight, now it’s my turn to find something good to read!!

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Mar 5, 2009 3:25 PM

Recession Gets Personal

 

by Laurie

Okay, I’ll admit it. I honestly didn’t think I personally had a lot to fear from all the recession talk. I live in Alberta – we’ve had a red-hot economy. My husband works in the oil industry – a red hot economy. Blah, blah, blah. Except it turns out the recession, in addition to being a truly sucky time for so many businesses, is also code for excuse to change things up whether it is “right” or not, because we can. We can hire cheaper people to do your job, so why wouldn’t we in these uncertain economic times. And all I can say to that is karma is a bitch.

But hey, on the happy, bubbly, pretend life is perfect front – I do get my husband around more, a lot more, at least for a while! And I’m lucky that my work is going pretty well. I guess I can focus on meeting my client’s needs even better than usual (and I might get more sleep!) Nothing is all bad, right?

Laurie

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Mar 4, 2009 10:46 PM

Value in Twitter

 

by Laurie

I have had a crazy couple of days (good crazy though!) Last week I was interviewed by @carriedoll, an anchor for CTV Edmonton, about how I’ve used Twitter to grow my virtual assistant business. You should be able to watch the video here (and watch also for @mastermaq, who also shared some  Twitter information – go #yeg!)

As a result of that interview I received a telephone call yesterday and was asked to be a part of a national radio show here in Canada,  Adler On Line. I only spoke for a few minutes, but I did get to plug Halo Secretarial and chat about peanut butter sandwiches!! My husband is bugging me about being a “celebrity” now, lol, but of course I’m the same ole me – a busy mom with three boys and a growing virtual assistant business. And in typical busy mom fashion I had to record the CTV broadcast to even be able to see it – it aired during my 4 year old’s soccer game!!

Twitter is so incredibly valuable in my world that I’m more than glad to have had these opportunities to share it with others. Especially since the first thing all the newbies seem to see is the potential for mundane and worthless updates. Now, of course both my interviews were short and couldn’t possibly address the complexity that is the Twittersphere, but I think I did make it clear that the value for me isn’t just in using it for business – it’s in the community of Twitter. For that matter,  I don’t think I would be successful with my business on Twitter if I didn’t treat the community with respect (that’s right – I don’t spam people!!) Twitter conversations may be short and to the point, but the exchanges so often hold tremendous value – a great link that is shared, a quick sign of support for someone who is in need, an answer to a question to solve a problem.

Yep for me there is a TON of value in Twitter and now I want to know:

 

What Are You Doing?

Laurie/Mobile Mommy

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Feb 27, 2009 10:38 PM

Moving Into March

 

by Laurie

Yay for March. I’m so, so, so, so, so (you get the idea!!) tired of winter. Now, I live in Alberta so March is still winter, but it’s finally (usually) the milder part of winter. We may get another snowstorm or two, but hopefully no more -30 degree days!

Also looking forward to a wedding reception in mid-March, was hoping I’d be mid-way to goal weight by then, not looking so good right now! Guess I’ll have to work a little harder the next two weeks!

Oh and yeah – I’m starting March off with a bang (a good one hopefully, lol). If you follow me on Twitter you already know about this but I was interviewed by an anchor for our local CTV station about my Twitter usage, including how I’ve used it to build up my VA business. The spot is airing on Monday night (March 2nd) and I should be able to link to it by Tuesday sometime. You know, assuming I actually get a blog post up on time for a change!!

Ok, planned to write more tonight but I had a glass of wine (and I’m not even a wine drinker usually!) and I’m feeling seriously sleepy. I think I may go to bed early for a change and catch up. I worked until 11 or 11:30 pretty much every night this week and while I know I made some clients happy, I’m left feeling worn out. Especially since last weekend was horrible for sleep due to all the sick kiddos. Soy still has a runny nose but otherwise everyone is pretty healthy, so hopefully this weekend will be much better. Plus tomorrow night I’m having scrabble night with the BFF, so it should be a pleasant weekend – only better if DH was home instead of still working away!!

Night all!
Laurie/aka Mobile Mommy

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Feb 25, 2009 10:32 PM

Baby Growing Up

 

by Laurie

I just had to share, my 7yo lost his first two baby teeth today!! He looks so cute!

 

Bye Bye Baby Teeth

Just another step on the way to growing up – his adult teeth are already visible, they pushed those baby teeth right out of the way!

And on that note – do you do the tooth fairy in your house? I’ll be leaving a couple of quarters under his pillow (he shared that was what his classmates have received – he’s one of the last in his class it seems to be losing his first baby teeth!)

Laurie/Mobile Mommy (hmmm, need a new sig to go with my new theme – after I finish working on that blog header!!)

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Feb 19, 2009 1:09 PM

Grandma is Coming!

 

by Laurie

I love when my mom comes to visit, even though it’s usually just for a few days and the poor woman has to try and spend time with me, my sis and my grandma! But I finally decided I need a decent bedding set for the guest room (she’s really the only guest I have sleepover) so this afternoon I’m hitting Walmart to try and pick something up. I also need to grab a new tea infuser or two or three (and maybe some new tea while I’m at it!)

After shopping we’ll have the ever so fun task of organizing the guest room. Between visits it is the disaster area known as a toy room and you can barely walk in there right now! Because it’s not big and has a dual purpose it doesn’t have a lot of floor space to begin with, so it always requires a bit of work before a visit.

Fortunately I got most of my client work done this am with a bit more to do later. I’ve actually posted semi-regularly on my own blogs this week and I’m feeling pretty together, especially considering DH is out of town for work!

Of course I do have one big dilemma for tomorrow and grandma may be my solution. I’m the parent helper at preschool and planned to put Soy in his first ever childcare program for a couple of hours (same building). Of course he’s getting a cold today, and can’t go to the childcare if he’s sick. But I can’t miss being the helper mom, it’s skating day and they really need everyone. So I’m thinking maybe grandma will be a helper mom in my place! I guess we’ll decide for sure tomorrow!

Hopefully I’ll also find some time this weekend to work on a header for this blog (interesting but not easy for me, so it’s taking some time!) If I could get some good recent pics of the boys I might just use that for a big part of the header, but I’m not too sure yet. It’ll be done eventually!

Laurie/Mobile Mommy

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Feb 17, 2009 11:15 PM

Not My Day!

 

by Laurie

I’m not going to say much, but today – it really wasn’t my day. Actually just the afternoon. The morning felt pretty good and it’s peaceful and quiet in my house right now so I’m counting my blessings that it wasn’t an all bad day. Sometimes things just aren’t quite what you wanted or hoped. And then you lose the shinpads at soccer and looking for them means you get home late and the baby is exhausted and the kids are going to be tired in the am. You know?!

And tomorrow I have to dress my 7yo as a 100 year old man. Like I know how to do that, NOT. Should be interesting – wish me luck!

Laurie

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Feb 15, 2009 8:30 PM

WordPress Wizard?

 

by Laurie

I’m so not a wordpress wizard!! I’ve been playing with wordpress themes lately, for a couple of reasons. One, I just want an update on this site and two, I want to help my sister put something basic together for her spa business. And as I experiment I see how much I have to learn!

I have a pretty site for my business, but I paid someone to help me customize it. My sister has no money right now and I do want to learn more, so I’m happy to spend some time experimenting. Some stuff I’m figuring out, or had figured out, but one big thing has totally stumped me. I worked around it for now, but I really, really want to learn how to do it – I suspect it’s not even that hard and I’m just missing something! When I want images in my sidebar (in a widget) and I want to link it to something, I can’t seem to upload the image to my host and then link properly to it. I can upload, but I don’t know if I’m uploading to the right spots at all and if I do have it uploaded to the right spot how exactly do I refer to it?

I think I’m going to maybe look for someone to walk me through the process a couple of times and then I’ll be set! If you know how to do this I’d be happy to pay you for some help!!

On that note, time to get some regular work done, enough playing with css and codes and themes for today! My blog is going to be messy for a week or two as I experiment with my header too, so just ignore any craziness for now!

Laurie/aka Mobile Mommy

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Feb 12, 2009 3:19 PM

The WAHM Week

 

by Laurie

There really is no concept of week in my WAHM world. Weekdays are differentiated by the fact that I have to get my oldest off to school, and weekend mornings instead are taken up by soccer and errands. I work pretty much every day though – in little bursts here and there. Some days are very productive and some days I only spend half an hour on work projects. I don’t in any way mind this though, as I would rather have time to go shopping on a Wednesday morning and work on a Wednesday night, if that is what works best for me that day.

I also have a husband with a COMPLETELY unpredictable schedule, so his assistance cannot be counted on at any given hour of the day, or even on weekends. Sometimes he’s home, sometimes he’s not, and what can you do? This week he was around a lot, with a couple of days off and then just attending some mandatory training for a couple of days, which is an 8-4 kind of day. It was nice, but next week he may be going out of town for some work and not around at all for a week or two. Gotta love it right?

I’m not going to lie, I long for the days when all of my boys (or even the older two, lol) are in school full-time and I can have a little bit of structure in my weekdays. I long for uninterrupted work time, especially on busy days like today. Good thing DH is home early tonight because between some family drama (sister stuff) and a baby who didn’t nap well and a 7yo who isn’t feeling good so doesn’t want to take the bus – it’s been hard getting any real work done. I did manage to complete some virtual assistant work but I have two things that need to be done for tomorrow and I think it may be a very late night!

Better get started on it-take care!

 

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Feb 9, 2009 1:33 PM

Sick Kids

 

by Laurie

I’m attempting to catch up a little on my google reader feeds and I came across this post from Scylla about how glad she was to not have an out of home job while her little one was ill recently. It reminded me of when I was still working and only had the two older boys. Xan was 2 or so I think and he was diagnosed with Scarlet Fever. I didn’t even think you could still get scarlet fever!! Anyway, I was told he needed to be kept out of daycare for a week and it was such a stressful experience. First I was terrified of my baby being so sick, he had a brtually high fever and was just miserable. Plus, I knew how unhappy my bosses would be about it.

When I told them what had happened I had one lawyer (who I actually really liked) ask me if I had considered a nanny service as a back-up for when I couldn’t miss work. I said no and um, yeah, kind of thought it was a crazy suggestion. My sick son needed ME, not a back-up nanny from an agency.

My same little boy (now 4!) was a bit ill this weekend. Just a virus of some kind I think, but it’s amazing how much less stressful it is to have sick kids when you aren’t worried about it affecting your employment. He could snooze on the couch while I worked away on my laptop. Thank goodness for having started my virtual assistance practice – it really has made a huge difference to my mental state!!

And now, off to enjoy another wahm perk – playtime with my 14 month old and the much improved 4yr old. And some lunch! Take care!

 

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Feb 3, 2009 9:55 PM

Motivate Myself

 

by Laurie

Know what it takes to motivate yourself to write a blog post? Umm, yeah – a deadline on a work project that’s what! I need to finish something up for a client before I can go to bed but I need a mental break quickly first. So here I am writing on my poor neglected blog.

It’s been a bad week or so for motivation. I accomplished plenty of VA work last week but didn’t get myself onto my Wii Fit. At all. Bad Laurie. I ate chocolate too, and made cupcakes. Why do I undermine my efforts this way? I want so badly to lose some weight and look pretty and skinny by this summer. I resolve to do better starting right NOW!

And that means, short post and back to work for me tonight. Lots to do before time for sleep! Good thing tomorrow is the last school day of the week (teacher’s convention Thursday/Friday) it means I can sleep in after tomorrow!

Take care – catch y’all later!

 

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Jan 29, 2009 10:37 PM

I Spent $100,000 Today

 

by Laurie

And it was so much fun! Ok, it was pretend money. My sister is in esthetics school and needed to draft a sample business plan with a $100,000 budget for opening her own salon. I think it was a great exercise for the school to have their students do, as it really helps you see how quickly money goes and how much work it truly is to own your own salon. My sister’s dream is to have a home-based salon, so that she can work a somewhat flexible schedule around her daughter’s needs.

It’s interesting to see how many of us dream of working from home, no matter how different our interests. Virtual assistance is pretty different from performing relaxation massages and pedicures, but we have that one desire in common. We want freedom. Freedom from arbitrary rules and regulations that seem to be so tied to regular jobs. I know, I know, I’ve been a WAHM long enough to know that it’s not all peaches and cream when you are your own boss. I still need to meet my clients demands and expectations. I have to work harder in my virtual assistant practice than I have ever worked in a job. But it is so worth it (most days, lol!) and I do get to take afternoons off regularly – then I get to work until midnight to make up for it!

Now, if only I had that $100,000 to spend for real…

 

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Jan 28, 2009 12:50 AM

Late Monday Weigh In Etc

 

by Laurie

Okay, only my second week in and I’m late! But I did check my weight yesterday and I’m down about one pound, perfectly acceptable, if not as quick as I’d like. Always wanting quick results, but I have to remember the whole slow and steady wins the race concept! I am proud to say I worked out with my Wii Fit 3 times last week and overall ate better than usual. I’m still fighting sugar cravings, especially at night when I’m working and everyone else is asleep.

Work has been going quite well – I received an extra couple of projects and heard back from my very first client who kind of quietly lost touch in December. He’s ready to push forward again and so I’m getting busy, busy! I love it though – it challenges me to do so much and makes my days fly by!

Tomorrow will be quite hectic, I have a couple of client projects due in the am, a research project to start, a potential lawyer client to contact and kindergarten open house for my 4.5 yr old! And a wonderful best friend coming to watch my other two boys in case DH isn’t home in time (love that unpredictable schedule of his!)

Oh and there’s been a lot of chatter on Twitter lately about some great contests to help you attend BlogHer ‘o9(like me!!) – enter and then get in touch so we can meet up in real life! Check out this one at Mom Dot(sponsored by Label Daddy) and this one sponsored by Mabel’s Labels! I’m lucky enough to have my trip already planned so I’m just watching to see who wins!

Night all!

 

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Jan 24, 2009 5:38 PM

WAHM Weekly

 

by Laurie

I’m planning to make this a regular feature on my blog – a weekly post following up with some of my favorite work at home mom bloggers. I have trouble blogging regularly (the VA business is keeping me busy, not to mention those three little boys I love so much!) but I always find time to read other bloggers – might as well blog about them too!

So here’s my first WAHM Weekly post. January is almost over (thank goodness – only another couple of months of winter here in Alberta, lol) and my favorite WAHM bloggers have been busy, busy, busy getting 2009 off to a great start.

Lorna and Tamara over at Freelance Parent made a big decision – they are going to have an out-of-home office now to help them as they grow their awesome freelance writing business! Of course they are still WAHMs though, right?! I’m sure they won’t get all their work done at the new office – but I bet it’ll be nice to have a place to escape to sometimes!

Kelly from WAHM 2.0 was a speaker at the wonderful Totally B.A.D. at Totally Her on Tuesday. I enjoyed Kelly’s chat about podcasting and definitely am going to have to look at adding podcasting to my repertoire sometime this year!

Jessica Smith blogged about her new endeavor where she will be a Rodan + Fields consultant. Sounds like a good product and skipping the home parties is a great option for some moms, especially if you really care about the product! Reminds me I was thinking about doing some research into Epicure (super yummy spices and other food products that you sell as a consultant)!

Alyssa wrote about how unsettled she’s being feeling, even though it’s clear she’s got a lot on her plate, she feels she needs to do more. Us TypeA type moms often feel this way I think – I know I do. But really, how much can anyone expect of themselves? Aim high but don’t be unhappy if you can’t get it all done!!

Addison had a very interesting post about Telecommuting Isolation. Personally, I think I’m pretty lucky most of the time. I enjoy the quiet of working from home (well, as quiet as working at home with little ones underfeet can be, lol!) and don’t really miss having co-workers. Probably related to the horribly negative environment of my last job. I loved the work and certain colleagues but there were a select few who worked to make it as miserable as possible for everyone. Plus I’m lucky now that I have a great husband to share my day with and my best friend is usually available for a phone chat during the day if I need some “grown-up” talk!

Hope you enjoyed the first WAHM Weekly and if you are a WAHM with a blog please leave me a comment so that I can make sure to include you in the future! I love my WAHM peeps!

 

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Jan 23, 2009 3:41 PM

Trying to Work Away From Home

 

by Laurie

My husband had a couple of days off work this week so I was so excited to make plans to spend an afternoon working out of the house for a change! First I had lunch with my BFF and then headed to a Starbucks to enjoy a latte and some quiet work time.

It didn’t exactly go as planned though. First of all I picked the wrong Starbucks location apparently. A small management team was having a meeting at one of the middle tables. They were fairly quiet but between them, the two young men on their computers and a few other customers the small seating section was too full but I decided to stick out anyway. So I got my latte (venti skinny vanilla is my usual order!!), sat down, pulled out the laptop, notebook and pen. While waiting for my laptop to start up I made some planning notes and then tried to log on to the internet. Couldn’t figure it out. Went onto my phone to try figure it out (via mobile browser). No luck there either. I think they were having service problems of some kind because I was getting a weird error message from the page you usually sign in on.

Gave up on the internt and opened up Notepad instead to do some brainstorming. I felt frustrated and disappointed that I wasn’t accomplishing what I had planned though. Guess I’m going to have to work a little tonight after all!

Oh well, I still am VERY thankful for the break and the peace and quiet. I love my kiddos but far too often some days I get tired of the noise level and the business and the constant needs (mommy I need a snack, mommy make Soy stop hitting, mommy Soy put his bottle down the heat vent AGAIN!).

Oh well, in a few years they’ll all be in school and I’ll be missing the noise, right?

 

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Jan 23, 2009 3:41 PM

A WAHM Works Out With Wii Fit

 

by Laurie

Last Tuesday I attend the Mom It Forward GNO night on Twitter, and the topic was getting fit. Now it’s a huge goal of mine to get more fit this year and I’ve been making some efforts to eat better, drink more water and work out a little. DH got me a Wii Fit just after Christmas and I’ve used it a few times, but not consistently enough yet.

But at the GNO party I “met” Twitterer Wiimoms and realized some people have truly gotten more fit just be using the Wii and eating better! And one of the main guests for GNO was cutiebootycakes and she introduced me to the Modern Mom Challenge, which will give me a great place to monitor my progress and find support when I need it!

And I definitely think using the Wii Fit daily will help a lot. For example I used it for 34 minutes this morning and I can FEEL it in my abs, lol!! I do yoga poses, a few strength exercises and a lot of aerobics – my favorite is the hula hooping!! It fits well into my WAHM lifestyle too, because I can do it any time of day right in my tv room. I would like to add some extra weight training soon too, but I don’t want to do too much at first, so the Wii Fit workout and eating well are my main goals for the remainder of January.

And to hold myself accountable I’ll make a quick note of my weekly “weigh-in” weight every Monday here on my blog. Today’s weight was 150 lbs (ugh). Need to lose at least 20 to be at a healthy BMI, I’m only 5?2? and small-boned, so 150 is quite chunky. I wear a size 10-12 depending on the clothing – I want to be a 6. Wish me luck!

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Jan 15, 2009 6:46 PM

Meal Planning for the WAHM

 

by Laurie

I used to think that when I was at home (working or not) that I’d be better at getting supper on the table at a reasonable hour. You know, I’d have so much free time for meal planning and such – lol! Learned that lesson fast. If I’m not playing with the boys, checking my email or throwing in a quick load of laundry I might remember to take some meat out for supper. Usually though I am busy all day and then at 3:45 I pick up the oldest from the bus, come in, give the boys a quick snack and realize that it’s already time to start dinner and I have nothing ready at all!!!

I have done meal planning in the past and it usually helped a lot. If I knew we were having tacos I could take out hamburger and if I knew we were having chicken I could make sure it was thawed. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood for what’s on the plan though (not even if I picked any one thing from the week’s worth of meals, lol), so I’ve decided to try something new.

I read a great article in the Edmonton Journal about cooking a bunch of meals all at once and freezing them for easy use at a later date. The recipes were from a book called The Big Cook, so I ordered the book from thecompanion website and it arrived very quickly in my mailbox earlier this week!

There are 73 recipes in the book, but, much more importantly in my opinion, there are helpful tips and lists for organizing yourself to cook large quantities of food all in one day. The authors recommend getting together with a friend or two and preparing dozens of meals all at one time. Now, I haven’t actually tried the method yet, but I can definitely see the benefits and have put together my first list of meals and a grocery list so that I can pick a day later this month and see how it works! I’m sure the day of will be a bit crazy, but hopefully worthwhile!

I’m planning to do some photographing and posting about the adventure here on my blog, as I’m sure many other wahm’s would love to try this technique! Who doesn’t want to make suppertime easier after all?! So stay tuned, by early next week I’ll have a prep post up (including the meals, shopping info and such) and hopefully by the end of January I’ll have a tale of my experience up for you all to read!

In the meantime, tell me, what do you do to make suppertime easier at your house? Can’t wait to hear about it!

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Jan 11, 2009 9:33 PM

Turn The Internet Off

 

by Laurie

On Saturday I took my laptop to 7yo’s soccer practice. There is no wifi in the sports complex so I’ve never bothered taking it with me before. I do often check my email and check in with my Twitter peeps from soccer, since I can do those things on my smartphone, but getting any “real” work done is difficult without the internet. Or so I thought. Turns out that soccer practice is the perfect place to draft up a few blog posts!! As much as I love being always connected it can be distracting! So I think I’ve learned a valuable lesson today. Sometimes you need to turn the internet off!!!

It kind of forced me to stop multi-tasking, other than trying to keep an eye on my 4 year old, watch soccer practice and type lol. I couldn’t have my email open, my client’s email open, my Tweetdeck minimized and a couple of search pages going. I simply opened up Notepad and started typing. I got a draft of a post for my Halo blog, a draft for a guest post over at Freelance Parent about virtual assistance (watch for it next week!!!) and a draft for this post started. It felt great to get all that done, as often I have all the ideas swirling around in my head but I don’t stop and get them drafted and next thing you know my blog is three days or a week with no new material. Not going to get my pagerank up that way, lol!

Now, it’s Sunday night and I have a pile of things to finish before I can get some sleep, plus I’m multi-tasking again – attending an online VBAC leaders meeting, while finishing up blog posts! I have a lot on my plate for the coming week too:

  • Need to go get passports for me and the boys!
  • Need to plan postcard for my VBAC group
  • Need to do some meal planning
  • Write an article for my new Type A mom editor role (changed from 30 Something Moms to Family Finances!)
  • Going with friend to an appt on Friday and then having lunch together

And of course, client work and plenty of Twitter networking!

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Jan 9, 2009 2:27 PM

Who Said He Could Grow Up

 

by Laurie

I dropped my middle child off at his first day of Fun Factory today. Fun Factory is a playschool type of thing that he’ll be going to once a week for a couple of months, then twice a week until summer. I finally got my act together to put him into the program so he has a little experience with a teacher/other kids before kindergarten next year.

Now, my house feels super quiet while the baby and I have a couple of hours alone. So weird! My middle child is very chatty, so you really notice when he isn’t around! It’s surprisingly sad not having him here – which is silly I know, but it totally makes me realize how quickly he’s growing up. I mean really – who said he could do that?!! Next thing you know he’ll actually be zipping up his own coat, lol. Yeah, he should know that already, he’s 4. He can manage the summer jacket but not the winter one for some reason and I just keep doing it for him cause I know my time for such tasks is running out.

I already appreciate the “ends” more with my second child than I did with the first. I never really saw how quickly things were changing with my oldest and then suddenly I’d think to myself, “wait, when was the last time I….” I can only imagine how bittersweet all these changes will be with the baby, knowing he’s my last baby. Really makes me see why parents sometimes seem to be so protective of their last baby for so long. Hard to realize as a child, but as the parent you know you’re losing them a little bit at a time with every milestone.

Ok, that sounds melodramatic – must be time for me to stop rambling and get a little more work done before the chaos resumes!

 

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Jan 6, 2009 2:59 PM

Return to Routine

 

by Laurie

Finally today my routine is getting back to normal. My DH was off of work all of the holiday break, in addition to my oldest being out of school, so life was definitely different around here for a while! That was good and bad – I had extra help around the house (well until he got sick, lol) and we could sleep in a bit, but DH hates to just sit at home when he’s off, which combined with holiday get togethers meant I was not at home anywhere near as often as usual. I was always able to get my client work completed, but my blogs suffered a little, I spent less time on Twitter and I felt a bit anxious most of the time!

Yesterday biggest boy went back to school and today DH went back to work. I breathed an instant sigh of relief. The younger two boys are easier to work around and today I’ve already posted about choosing a virtual assistanton my business blog and I still had plenty of time to get this post up! The baby just went down for nap #1 and I think I better go get some client work done now though, so bye until later this week! I’m going to be comparing mobile internet options as I hopefully find a solution to my need for wireless on the go!

 

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Jan 1, 2009 2:01 PM

Happy New Year!

 

by Laurie

2009 is promising to be a fabulous year and like so many others I am taking today to post some of my plans for the coming months.

2008 was my first year as a work at home mom and it truly was a wonderful, wonderful year! I love being a virtual assistant and I feel more filled with hope for the possibilities this amazing career path offers than ever before. I had hoped for the past couple of years to make this dream a reality but thankfully when I had my wonderful baby Soy I was given the opportunity to seize the day so to speak and make it happen.

Now, with my business progressing I’m in a place to make so many plans for this year. I’ve already madebusiness goals for 2009 over on my business blog, so this is where I’ll make plans for 2009 that focus more on my life. What is important to me, as a work at home mom, in 2009?

First – health. I am commiting to truly improving my health this year. I am going to hugely reduce the amount of sugar I consume and start getting more exercise. Typical goals of so many people in January, but I promise if you check back with me in June (in fact I think I’ll put into my calendar!!) I will be on track and feeling GREAT!!

I’m also going to work hard this year on one super important “mom” skill – my patience. I get far too easily frustrated when I feel pulled in all directions by my work, the kids needs, my husband’s needs, the housework, etc. I need to find that place inside of me that is capable of being calm and resourceful. Five minutes before reacting can save so much time in the long run – tickling instead of yelling, a hug instead of a “just give me a minute”.

My mama blog – well I feel like I truly discovered myself within this blog lately. Writing about being a work at home mom is just perfect for me and I plan to really invest some time into it this year. I’m also giving some thought to installing a really pretty new theme, but I have a couple other  financial goals first – including paying for my BlogHer registration after I receive payment for my invoices this month!

Finding my online tribe might seem like an odd goal, but it’s something I really care about. Business wise I’ve worked hard to become part of the legal blogger community and I’ve been relatively successful. I’m very involved on Twitter with other legal professionals and I was awarded a Clawbie for best new law blog of 2008 (so exciting!!!) Now it’s time to really start connecting with some other mom bloggers in a meaningful way, especially other moms who work at home or want to work at home. I have a great collection of Twitter pals, but I don’t spend nearly enough time on their blogs so I definitely want to do more of that this year! I also think meeting up with other bloggers at 2009 will contribute to meeting this goal. Meeting people in person can really change your interactions with them!

That’s enough for me to plan for now for 2009. I’d like to work super hard on each of these goals, I want it to be about quality, not quantity.  I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

Ok, I’ve told you mine – now you tell me yours! What are you doing to make 2009 a successful and exciting year?

 

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Dec 31, 2008 12:06 AM

Best Calendar or Diary System for a WAHM

 

by Laurie

Two days until 2009 and currently my to-do/calendar system is a little, well, interesting to say the least. Important deadlines are always put into my Google Calendar. I love the Google Calendar system, especially now that it is integrated into my Gmail! But I don’t really like to use it for all of my ongoing tasks and to-do’s. I prefer to keep it mostly for important deadlines and reminders so that when I glance at it I immediately see what is coming up, without having “pick up drycleaning” or “follow up on potential client” as part of the list.

Due to that desire, I’ve recently tried out a couple of online “to-do” style systems – Remember the Milk andToodledo. Both are pretty good systems, but to be honest, I still kind of like having a physical list in front of me. I like that I don’t have to have my computer or cellphone handy to look at the lists!! I spend enough time on my computer as is, I like to prepare my daily to-dos without the computer – it’s a good thing to do first thing in the am, while the kiddos eat breakfast, without the full distraction that turning on my computer tends to be.

My current paper system is very inexpensive – but hardly the most organized! It’s a spiral bound notebook where each week I make a page with about 5 lines for each weekday and about 7 lines for the whole weekend. I then list the tasks I want to accomplish each day, personal and work stuff. I like being able to cross it out as I finish the task! Fortunately, my work is picking up and with another new client starting Jan 1, I don’t really have enough space to fit everything in properly (I write kind of big, lol) and I’d like a proper book where each week’s info is spread over two pages. I’ve looked at a lot of calendars, but nothing really appealed to me enough to spend the money on it. At least my system is about $3 and lasts quite a while!

Still, I definitely want to upgrade to a real calendar, and definitely a paper one. I may try harder with an online system too, but for now I’m on the hunt for a great diary suitable to my wahm lifestyle! Here are a few I’ve found online so far:

  • Moleskins – seem to be a huge fave of a lot of people. I don’t want the whole week on one side with notes on the other though. I want a full column for each weekday and that doesn’t seem to be an option here.
  • Mom Agenda planners – hmmm, these may just be what I need. A little pricey (to me anyway!) but if it keeps me organized….
  • This also has a great format – a free printable planner from Busy Mom Resources. I’d have to print it and put it into a binder (and label it all), but I do have a great binder I could use for it. Definitely a more frugal solution!

Decisions, decisions! Anyone have any other suggestions or resources? Love to hear from you!

 

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Dec 30, 2008 9:23 AM

Twitter and “Real Life”

 

by Laurie

I introduced a “real life” friend to Twitter today. I have to say it was funny to watch her face as I tried very hard to demonstrate tweeting, explain about following, and have her look at my profile and updates with me. She couldn’t imagine how I can follow over 600 and some people (and that’s just on my business account – with some small overlap I also follow 700+ on my mobilemommy account!!) I had been telling her about how successful Twitter is for me for networking though, so I wanted her to see it in action. She’s thinking about starting her own home-based freelance writing business, and I think she can see the potential, even if it looked a little overwhelming!

Twitter has been a big topic for me this past couple of weeks, even though my poor mom Twitter acccount has been semi-neglected over the holidays. In fact I just posted about finding a virtual assistant on Twitter over on mybusiness blog!

It’s been so busy and fun with the kids on break and my hubby also off of work until early January, that I’m having to put all my computer time into my regular work, with much less time for Twitter and my blog! Things should calm down again next week (maybe, lol – I have a new client as of Jan 1 so who really knows!) and I am definitely doing some year-end thinking/reviewing/planning that I want to blog about soon. I’ll be watching for all you other wahm’s to share your plans for 2009 too – until then, take care!

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Dec 27, 2008 7:06 AM

Time to Rev Back Up

 

by Laurie

Well the holidays are flying by and now that Christmas is over I find myself completely invigorated and refreshed and ready to plan for 2009. I’ll have a detailed post soon sharing some of my goals and thoughts about being a work at home mom over the coming year, but right now I just had to say how great it was to take a little break!

I have been working a little over the past few days and I signed a really exciting new client which should push my monthly income into a much more comfortable place! This is a big milestone, since I’ll now be making very similar to what I did as a full-time, in house legal assistant, well at least what I took home after paying daycare, parking, union dues and such. Not even considering the cost of professional work clothes, birthday lunches, co-worker gifts etc! So I’m feeling very proud of my fledgling VA business and really, really excited about the coming year and all the possibilities that are unfolding.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday and are making your plans for the new year!

 

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Dec 22, 2008 12:16 AM

Holiday Happiness

 

by Laurie

I know I talked recently about having a plan for working when your children are on break. I have to say though, that right now I’m really, really glad for the school break!! It is brutally cold here in the Edmonton region (temperatures in the -25 to -30 range pretty much the last week and well into this week). Yes that’s in celsius since I’m Canadian but I know I’ve done the conversions before and at this level the numbers in Fahreheit and Celsius aren’t that different.

So I don’t have to drag myself out to the bus stop twice a day in this weather – I can stay in where it is nice and warm and not feel bad about letting the kids watch a little bit of tv while I work. It truly isn’t outside activity time anyway! They do spend most of their day in free, very creative play though, not just watching tv, I promise!! They drive boats (aka the laundry baskets), build forts, put their babies (aka teddies) to bed and basically have a great time. Thank goodness for the ingenuity of young minds!

I do have to venture out to the library for a research project tomorrow. Plus some last minute grocery shopping before the holidays (what would a turkey be without stuffing after all – and I have no bread crumbs!!) But we’ll be fine – the crowds won’t be as bad in this weather – people really stay home when it is this cold, even those of us who are born and bred Albertans who like to believe we’re tough, we really don’t love this weather!

Take care!

 

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Dec 20, 2008 2:28 AM

How Many Hours Do You Sleep

 

by Laurie

I commented on this fascinating post by Janice over at 5 Minutes For Mom yesterday, but the topic was so interesting to me, and the comments so surprising, that I had to post about it on my own blog too!

When I read how little sleep some moms get by on I was truly shocked! Janice spoke of getting only a few hours a night and going to bed frequently between midnight and 1 am (or later). And Janice mentioned a person who gets even less sleep, Lori of A Cowboy’s Wife. Lori apparently thrives (judging by her awesome blogs and Twitter activity!) on less than four hours of sleep much of the time. Oh my goodness, I would literally lose my mind on that little sleep.

There were a couple of interesting trackback posts:

Also, several commentors noted that they sleep in the 6-7 hour range, which I guess is enough for some people, but not me!! I truly need at least 8 hours, and my optimum seems to be about 9 hours – unbroken hours! When, like in the first two years of each darling child, my sleep is broken I seem to be perpetually exhausted and frustrated. All my life I’ve been someone who needs a lot of sleep – it’s so awful that I have children who don’t sleep well as babies, lol! Soy is almost 13 months old, so I’m hoping in the next 6-12 months he’ll sleep 11-12 straight hours at night and I can start to feel human again. Keep your fingers crossed for me, would you?!

 

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Dec 18, 2008 7:27 PM

Ready for the Holidays

 

by Laurie

Are you ready for the holidays? I’m not talking about having presents bough, decorations up or the baking done. I’m talking about whether you are ready to keep on being a busy work at home mom while your children are on school break!

My son is happily counting down the days until his Christmas break and as of today there are only 2 days to go! It’s sure going to be busy in this house with him home! Fortunately for me I’m not that busy with work right now and, even better, my DH is off for a week of the holiday break as well. I should easily be able to stay on top of my workload!

It’s not always that easy though – especially if you are getting holiday guests, or are going to be out attending gatherings and parties a lot yourself. For that matter, I will have a couple of days where I will be awfully busy!

So what can a WAHM do who really needs to get some work done over the holiday period? Here are my suggestions:

  • hire a teenager to come help out, even a couple of hours per day would probably be a BIG help!
  • Plan a physical activity early in the day (skating, sledding, a long walk) and try to tire the kids out so they will relax and watch a movie while you work later on in the day
  • stock up on craft supplies like playdough, paint, paper, etc; cold winter days are perfect for a full afternoon of crafts
  • Make sure you have plenty of easy to grab snacks ready to go so you aren’t constantly getting up to make them something to eat
  • New movies, books or video games are sure to please
  • If all else fails – get up really early or stay up really late so you can do a little work when it’s quiet

And of course, remember, these are the times to enjoy your children! I know mine are growing up faster than I ever expected and even when I’m busy and tired and overwhelmed I have to remember that these are precious times and then I close the laptop and I go and play!

 

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Dec 11, 2008 5:09 PM

Sugar Magic!

 

by Laurie

Yep, it’s that time again – another one of my hopeful entries into an HP Blogger Magic Giveaway. What can I say – I really, really, really would love to win this amazing prize package! It would be such a huge help to my slowly growing VA business, and a great way to share some fabulous equipment with friends and family who don’t have the cash to own it otherwise (this post and this one have more details on my ideas of how to share such a great prize with people who will appreciate it). And between the prize and my old equipment that would be replaced by a couple of the prizes (ok, I admit it, I’d keep the touchsmart, it’s so pretty!) there would be plenty to share!

But Sugar, from Living – In Theory, wants us to talk about what we are doing to make an impact on the lives of others for her HP contest. So that’s what this post is going to be about!

I think we all impact other people’s lives in so many ways – by being a good friend, by trying to be loving and supportive parents, by helping out our family when they need it. And I do all of these things, at least most of the time. Some days it is hard to make sure that impact is positive, when I’m tired and the kids are screaming!

I’m proud to talk about another area I work to have an impact in. When I first started planning my VA business, I read a suggestion that a great way to get experience was to volunteer. So I did some research and found an organization that needed my help AND that I cared about the cause! I started working as the secretary of my local VBAC association. We’re a small group but when a woman is pregnant with her second or third baby and wants desperately to finally have the vaginal birth she has wanted all along, we are there for support, answers and guidance. When we get emails saying that a woman is about to be pressured into a repeat c-section, it feels so good to be part of the group that can help her get the result she wants, or to be there for her if the c-section does happen. It’s not always easy finding the time to do volunteer work, especially with 3 young kids and a husband whose work has irregular hours and even works out of town. But I am committed to staying involved with this organization because I know that we can do good – and sometimes those little ripples of positive action can mean more than we can ever realize.

Well that’s my story and my entry – hope you like it! Now I’m off to read everyone else’s posts and to tweetabout the contest!

***ADDED Friday am – Reading all of everyone’s ideas for sharing the contest winnings – I have to say I’m so impressed, and if I’m fortunate enough to win I may take a further look at the suggestions and find something great to try with at least one of the computers! I quite like the idea of giving it to an aspiring VA!

***ADDED Dec 16/last day of contest! If you haven’t entered yet make sure you do so today!! I’ve enjoyed commenting on other’s entries so much that I just had to add a little postscript and share some of my favorite entries right here on my blog! Be sure to check out:

  • Nikolas’ great post – a young guy with a good heart who is coping with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  • I’m pretty sure I’ve been to Shera’s blog before, A Frog In My Soup (the name is so memorable!!) but I didn’t notice until after reading her entry that she does blog design, especially for mommy blogs! Beautiful work and I recommend you check it out, especially if you need some work done or maybe some mommy cards, which she also designs!
  • Courtenay had a great and inspiring post about community work and it reminded me to go and donate blood this holiday season. It is the gift of life after all!
  • Paisley Raven’s post shows how truly thoughtful some people can be. Not many of us open our homes so freely to those in need.
  • Gwynne’s post about living on so little really reminds me to be so grateful for all that I have.
  • Roguepuppet’s Bridges post was so wonderful!! And Roguepuppet found out after entering the Living in Theory contest that she actually had won one of the other 50 HP Magic contests – wow, huh?!
  • Definitely go watch the video at the Mommy Gossip entry if you have a chance – so touching!
  • A truly well written entry came from Sarah at The Third Degree – didn’t even realize it was an entry until the end!

Honestly – there were so many amazing entries and I’m so glad to have been introduced to these blogs. Some made me laugh, some made me cry and some made me want to jump up and DO something! Sure hope you all find time to read them, oh and don’t miss Sugar’s own “impact” post on her blog – it’s about a refrigerator….

Laurie

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Dec 11, 2008 5:09 PM

Paying for Peace

 

by Laurie

How much does peace cost you? Today it cost me $310!! Yup $310 and I get two free hours (well free of my lovely 4 year old!) several times over the January to June period. I signed my baby up for a Fun Factory program at my local rec centre. It’s basically a play-based preschool program – great for him since he does need to get used to being in that type of setting before kindergarten next fall, great for the baby who has never had me to himself and great for me, since it’s just that little bit easier to do some errands and other things with only one little boy in tow!

It’s a little bit of a weird set-up, they do two sessions; January to end of March and April to mid-June. I could only get him into a Friday only morning program for the first session and a Tuesday/Thursday mornings program for the second session. It’s a good way to work up to it though! I feel really good about this – I meant to put him into preschool this fall but it was very complicated finding a good and affordable program with availability. This program is a perfect solution!

Now the only question is will I get much extra work done or will I just get more shopping done, lol! If only the centre had wireless internet, then I could drop the baby off at the drop-in childcare and hide out with a coffee and my laptop! Guess I’ll just have to head home with the baby kid though!

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Dec 9, 2008 3:28 PM

WAHM Wishes

 

by Laurie

So have you heard the buzz about the WAHM Christmas Wish project? Kelly McCausey from Work At Home Moms Talk Radio (and many other ventures too, I just love WAHM 2.0!) is coordinating the project and it is a truly fabulous way to the Christmas spirit going! A lot of the wonderful people helping grant wishes are doing so via Twitter (my fave social network as you all know!!). Just follow Kelly or search the hashtag #wahmwish atTwitter Search.

I have to admit though, I haven’t made a wish personally. I feel very blessed this year, with a wonderful virtual legal assistant practice that while growing slowly IS growing, healthy kids and a wonderful husband whose job is pretty good. So I’m instead watching the #wahmwish tweets and hoping maybe somehow I can help make someone else’s wish come true!

Hope you all get your wishes and that 2009 is a wonderful year for us all – and Kelly, thanks for all the hard work you are putting into such an amazing project!

 

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Dec 9, 2008 2:07 AM

Working Hours and Visitors

 

by Laurie

Today my sister dropped in for a visit for the afternoon. She occasionally has Mondays off from school and we hadn’t visited in a long time. I of course welcomed her with open arms, but after she left I realized how much precious work time was no longer available to me! Fortunately today wasn’t too hectic and it wasn’t a big deal. But I realized that as I get busier and busier with my VA practice I’m going to have to be really, really careful about my weekday plans. It’s so fun to take a break and go for lunch with my best friend, but it’s also a 3 hour time slot that I can’t get back. And visits like today’s are easily 3-4 hours gone.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to give up all my perks of being a work at home mom! I think I just have to slot time in and be careful not to have too many such distractions in one week. Probably once per week is a maximum and maybe only once every two weeks for such long outings or visits.

Do you set regular office hours for your home office? Do you discourage visitors or do you regularly get out for long visits with your friends or family? Do you make it up that night?! That’s usually what I do, but let me tell you losing out on sleep is a bad practice for me, it affects my work for the whole next day!

Take care!

 

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Dec 7, 2008 7:09 PM

More Magic

 

by Laurie

Are you feeling the magic yet? Techie Diva is one of the newest bloggers sharing HP’s magical contest. This is my entry for it

If I win I will definitely be using some of the equipment for my home based business.  I desperately want to grow my business and eventually reach out to other work at home moms to help them have the flexible and rewarding type of career I’m now embarking on. I also will share some of the items with the world’s best BFF, for all the things she has done for me and my family. I also want to donate at least a few things to a couple of local charities (Santas Anonymous and Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation). Good luck to all the other entrants!

I hope you all aren’t getting too tired of reading about all these HP contests – and I really hope you are entering as many of them as you can! We work at home mamas definitely could benefit from updated equipment and we love to share the excitement!

I’m going to try hard this week to post some other stuff too though – it was a busy week last week and I didn’t post as much interesting content as I would have liked. And with the holidays fast approaching it’s a busy time for us all. My oldest is having his Christmas concert on Wednesday and I already have several projects to work on next week from my virtual assistance clients. I am committed to finding a little time for blogging though – so stay tuned!

 

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Dec 4, 2008 6:05 PM

More HP Magic from moosh in indy

 

by Laurie

I really, really love the HP Blogger Magic contests going on.  I’m entering several of them and while I know that my chances of winning aren’t likely to be high (come on, tons of people must want to win such an amazing package!) I have to keep trying! This is my entry into the contest that comes courtesy of moosh in indy’s blog.

I have blogged about this before but I really, really would love a netbook/mini computer to keep handy when I’m on the go. I am often out with my boys and have some free time that I could get some work done in (you know if they fall asleep and we’re sitting waiting for oldest to get out of school, or I’m waiting for someone to finish soccer practice or they are playing at the park). So I would definitely be keeping the HP Mini for myself! And remember Twittering counts as work for me, it’s “professional” networking people!! I really have gotten clients that way, even if it just seems like fun!

But this contest is not just about winning for me is it? Nope, it’s about sharing the magic! What a great concept! I really want to be able to share a laptop with my sister.  She drives me crazy sometimes, but she has had a very rough time lately with her separation, her crazy ex, custody battles and going back to school for the first time since she was 15. She can’t afford her own laptop, not even a cheap one, so I know how much she would appreciate the gift!

I’d also love to gift some of the wonderful prize package to a couple of local charities – Santa’s Anonymous and The Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation. I received a gift from Santa’s anonymous as a child when we were very poor and receiving welfare. Giving back to them is important to me. And the Stollery is an amazing charity that can always use some extra money. I figure they could easily auction off some of the stuff if they had no use for it themselves, then they’d have money for their needs.

So moosh if you’d consider granting me the prize package I would really, really appreciate it and definitely would share the love! Help me grow my business and I’ll really be able to share the magic – my hope is that as I grow my virtual assistant business I can employ other moms to work from home and spend time with their children! Magic all year round!

 

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Dec 2, 2008 2:26 PM

Busy Bee

 

by Laurie

Yep, today I am a busy little bee! I did some work for one client late last night and proofread and sent it off early this am. Then got oldest on to the bus and off I went with the younger two to get my flat tire repaired. Can’t be driving around in this snow (YEP! – Snowing today here in Edmonton!!) with a flat tire. Then I waited and waited for a client to call to discuss some things, but I guess he ended up busy – hopefully we’ll connect later! While I waited for the call I also got to check out the facelift in progress over on my VA blog/site. It’s looking pretty good so far, should be done later today and I’ll have a new design for my business cards too!

Now I have to run to the grocery store to pick up a few things quickly before baby is due for his nap. Oh and we’re grabbing lunch out (shhh, don’t tell hubby!) cause I need a new can opener before I could make my usual soup or tuna sandwiches or alphagetti.  Exciting lunches in this house I tell you! Leftovers often too, but I don’t have any of those around today either!

Then home for naptime (oh how I wish I was getting a nap, lol!), some more work, and then dinner must be made and big boy has a soccer game at 7 pm. Not my favorite time slot since we’re so rushed when we get home (usually the boys are all in bed at 8 – we won’t even get home until 8:15 or so today).

Plus I really need to find a few minutes to check out some more of the HP Blogger Magic giveaways – I so want to win a few computers!!
Take care!

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Nov 29, 2008 7:21 PM

HP Magic Giveaway

 

by Laurie

I bet a lot of you have already heard about the amazing HP Magic Bloggers Giveaway by now. 50 Blogs are participating (at different times) and the prize package being given away by each blog is AMAZING!!  It includes 4 computers and a wireless printer, plus a few other things – WOW! What work at home mom couldn’t use a new computer or two?! I would love the HP mini personally!

This week the contest is being run on 3 blogs:

  1. Bleeping Computer
  2. Gear Live
  3. Windows Connected

I’m entering to win and I hope you all do too! And if you are lucky enough to win, think about the spirit of the contest. Some of the blogs are requiring you to share the prize and some aren’t.  But wouldn’t it be a great way to celebrate the true meaning of the holiday season? To share this fabulous gift with someone deserving or maybe your favorite charity? If I win I’m thinking of giving part of the prize to a local women’s shelter, if it is something they could use. I’m sure they could!

Good luck! I’m sure you’ll see further posts from me about these amazing giveaways as the other blogs announce their contests!

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Nov 28, 2008 10:36 PM

It is NOT December Next Week

 

by Laurie

I know it’s not exactly a surprise – you know, that December is just around the corner. My oldest is having his birthday party this weekend and um, yeah, his birthday is in December so obviously I should be well aware how quickly the month of November is ending! But it really has just flown by!

I need to really get organized and use December in a productive way. On a personal level I need to get my house really organized and cleaned up, finish my holiday baking, quit eating my holiday baking, lol and otherwise prepare for the holidays. Oh and take an afternoon off of working at home to go to the school Christmas concert! Should be fun – my big boy informs me he is going to be a baker who is a good hip shaker. Not sure what kind of performance it will be, lol!

And as for my business – well things are definitely slowly moving along and I *might* even have a new client as of next week (fingers crossed!) So I need to use December to do some serious business planning for 2009, set some lofty goals and *ick* organize my stuff for taxtime! I’ve tried to keep everything together and recorded, but I definitely need to tidy the records and print off some of the info for my accountant. And maybe read that book on using my QuickBooks software!! I like non-fiction books, I love reading about marketing my business and growing my business, and I really, really love reading fiction, but accounting books? Not so much.

It’s going to be a busy month isn’t it? I think I’ll have to make a point of posting the lofty goals I dream up on my blog sometime in December – make me more accountable hopefully!

 

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Nov 26, 2008 2:08 PM

BlogHer Business Conference

 

by Laurie

Well I was excited to see they’ve opened registration for BlogHer 09 now.  I was pretty shocked at the price for the business day of the conference though. Early bird pricing for the regular conference on Friday and Saturday is $99 per day. Even after the early bird pricing is over it’s only $149 per day and that includes admission, meals and cocktail parties. Sounds fun right?!!

The Business Conference is technically a separate event and is held from noon to 5 pm on Thursday. It costs$540 for the one day!!!! I’m not so sure now if I’ll go to that day, even though I really wanted to. It is a business expense, but I think for now I’ll just pay for the regular conference and hold off on paying for the business day. If I could make some decent money over the next few months that will help me decide too! Business is moving along, slowly but surely, but I don’t believe in incurring debt for the business, especially not to attend one day of a conference!

I’d love to hear from any other WAHM’s who have attended BlogHer business in the past, or who are planning to attend this year. What did you get out of it? What are you hoping to get out of it? Mostly networking or will there be speakers who make the fee understandable/worthwhile? I see upon a closer look that the business portion is kept much smaller, which seems good, but I’m still a little hesitant. I’ll update y’all when I make a final choice.

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Nov 24, 2008 7:34 PM

Another Wild Weekend

 

by Laurie

This weekend was much more about being a mom than a work at home mom.  My sweet little baby boy is now officially 1 year old!!

 

Isn’t he adorable?!!

I also had to take the boys to a birthday party for my 4 year old niece and I went to a girlfriend’s 30th bday celebration at a local bar. I only got 3 hours of sleep Saturday night – not pretty! Thankfully I got a little more last night, so I could get some work done today.

I have company for a fair bit of time this week, which shows me another challenge in working at home.  It’s weird to try and get stuff done when I have company! I don’t want it to look like I spend so much time on the computer, but of course I DO spend most of my day on the computer normally!! This is cutting into my Twitter time, lol!

Hint to you other work at home mamas, build a little extra room into your calendar when you have company – don’t try to keep up with your full workload if you can help it! In this phase of my business I hate to turn anything down so I’m keeping up and I think I should be able to get more done later this week – Twitter will probably be quiet due to the holidays after all!

Happy Monday to you all – take care!

 

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Nov 21, 2008 12:23 AM

Pretty New Gmail

 

by Laurie

It’s the little things that make a work at home mom excited.  Yesterday there seemed to be plenty of buzz about Google’s introduction of themes for Gmail. But I didn’t seem to have them.  Then I heard something about a staggered rollout and so was thrilled when I saw I could use them this morning. It shouldn’t matter but I do so love to make things prettier! I love the notepad them and the mountain theme the best!

What little thing has happened to you lately to make you happy? A new piece of office equipment? A great comment on a blog post? Something else? Love to hear from you!

 

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Nov 19, 2008 10:54 PM

Crazy Days and Sleepless Nights

 

by Laurie

Wow, things have been a little hectic lately! Last night I went out to a concert and between it running a little late and the 45 minute drive home, it was after 1am before I got to sleep – then there was a 2:30 am wakeup call from my littlest angel and then the alarm at 6:30 to get the oldest ready for school.

Yep, that made for a tired mama this morning, and yet still there was work to be done.  Still is work to be done for that matter, lol, and it’s 9pm!! But I’m not going to get much more done, I think I’ll work a lot better tomorrow if I actually get a decent sleep tonight.

Things have been good though – I talked on the phone yesterday with a new client and was excited today to see them mention me on their awesome Sparkplugging blog – Freelance Parent. Make sure you check out their post if you are freelance writer, they have some possible opportunities in the works and I know they love to work with other work at home moms!

I also had a call from a potential client later in the day. In the typical nature of my work at home schedule, she called during the 10 minutes I was out picking my son up from the bus stop! I called back promptly and we’ve played some voicemail tag. If it’s meant to be we’ll manage to connect eventually!

The potential client mentioned Skype in her message to me yesterday – something I’d been meaning to check out but hadn’t quite gotten to. Lately though I’ve been making occasional long distance calls, especially to the US, so I finally went and signed up yesterday. If you are on Skype and you want to chat sometime look me up – I’m laurie.mapp there!

The new logo for my business site is coming along – feel free to check out the current version (some changes still to be made) and let me know what you think. The new one is on my blog and the old one is still up at my site. Sometime next week everything should be finished and both sites will have the new green and grey color scheme and new logo in place.

Ok, time to do a last few things and then bed for me – take care!

 

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Nov 17, 2008 11:56 AM

Tools for Working Away From Your Home Office

 

by Laurie

I call myself a work at home mom, and I mean, I am.  But I do not spend all my time AT HOME!! Life is too busy to always be tied to my house! So I have a few tools that make it easier for me to be out and about and still stay in touch with my clients and work.

Right now my best tool when I’m out is my Samsung Instinct semi-smartphone (lol!) It’s not a full smartphone but it lets me check my email, keep in touch with Twitter and make notes for later if I don’t have my notebook with me. This is essential for me, as I’m often out during “normal” business hours and I feel it’s important to be reachable.

Another handy tool is my laptop. I just have a standard laptop right now, but still it means that if I’m away overnight or for several hours I can take my work with me. We only had a desktop until about a year ago, then when I was starting to plan for opening up my virtual assistance practice my DH bought me a laptop. Wow, it opened up a whole new world! I never realized how helpful a laptop would be, even just at home! And the option to take it with me is fabulous.

A tool I want, but don’t currently have, is a netbook. Like a laptop but smaller, lighter and fairly inexpensive ($350 to $500 should get you a reasonable one) For me a full keyboard and a somewhat decent sized screen (9? to 12?) means I can do a lot more than I can with a smartphone, but it is still easy to carry in my purse when I’m at say, soccer practice. I read a great post today over at Mark Evan’sTech blog about whether netbooks or smartphones are the wave of the future – but as I said there – I definitely think both have their place! Personally I’m hoping to get an MSI Wind or maybe the Acer Aspire One.

 

Acer Aspire in Pink

Hmmm, anyone want to send me one for review?!

I’ll be doing a future post on great tools for working IN your home office, so stay tuned!

 

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Nov 14, 2008 12:19 PM

A Day In The Life of This Work At Home Mom

 

by Laurie

I started my virtual assistant business this past summer, and slowly but surely I’m gaining a clientele and having “fun” managing my workload and my children. I thought I’d share on a semi-regular basis what my actual working days are like, as it’s something I like seeing on other work at home blogs – it’s a better indicator of what it’s really like to be a work at home mom than almost anything! Of course VA work is often different from one day to the next so some days I’m really busy and other days I actually have time to do laundry.

Today is Friday which is a busy day of the week for me.  My oldest child is in grade one and we have an agreement that he takes the schoolbus Mon-Thurs but on Fridays I drive him.  So my day always seems a little shorter on Fridays! So we dropped him off at 8:30 and will pick him up at 3pm.

Before drop off I had time to check my email, email a potential client with some information, review my to-do list for the day and of course feed everyone breakfast and get them dressed and moving.

After dropoff we made a quick Starbucks run (a great Friday treat!) and the baby fell asleep and had a nice little nap. Then the baby and Xan (middle boy!) needed a snack and a little playtime with mom. After that I did a little client work, checked email again and popped briefly into Twitter. Twitter referred me to a couple of blog posts,(the first is about advertising on legal blogs, the second about awards for work at home mom blogs!) and I shared with my tweeple that my baby took his first steps yesterday!

I got a phone call from Ruth of Maplewood VA about VAnetworking (I’m a VAcommentator – got to love the VAnetworking team – they are great!!) Oh and I’ve been exchanging emails with my blog designer as she’s re-designing my logo and changing up the color scheme on my business blog (thanks to some suggestions from my Twitter pals!)

Oh and of course I’ve changed some diapers, put the 4 year old into his Halloween costume to show dad (who was away on Halloween), had a snack myself and written this blog post!  Busy day already and it’s not even lunchtime. Although that is soon so it’s pretty much time to shut down and make lunch so we can eat!

But hey, I did say a day in the life of so I’ll quickly share what’s on the agenda for the rest of the day:

  • Lunch
  • playtime with kiddos
  • a client project
  • couple of quickbooks entries
  • pick up oldest from school
  • family shopping trip (checking in on my email a couple of time from my phone!)
  • supper, playtime, kids bathtime
  • another hour or two of work after kids are in bed
  • BEDTIME for me!!

It’s a glamorous life isn’t it? And it could get even crazier next week if my new potential client works out – she needs a lot of work done!! It’s so worth it to me though, I love this life working for myself and being around for my kids. There are plenty of bad days – but I’ll save that post for another day, lol!

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Nov 12, 2008 10:00 PM

Focus Found

 

by Laurie

I’m so excited! I was just reading (and voting) over at WAHM 2.0 at Sparkplugging about the best WAHM blogs.  Kelly mentioned that she and her virtual assistant (yay for a VA mention!!) had trouble finding enough blogs to make a top 100 list of blogs that are about being a WAHM.  Made me think – I’m a mom, I work at home and my mom blog has never had a real focus.  It’s been so random and I’ve definitely been thinking lately that if I’m going to keep this blog up properly I need a real focus.  So now I will definitely be writing posts with a general theme in mind about what it is really like to be a work at home mom.

And now this work at home mom must go play with her kiddos for a little while before bathtime. It’s been a long day!

 

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Nov 12, 2008 10:00 PM

Wordless Wednesday Love My Boys

 

by Laurie

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Nov 10, 2008 3:37 PM

BlogHer In Real Life in Chicago

 

by Laurie

Which of my mommy peeps are planning to go to BlogHer next summer?  I really want to go but have to decide about the finances and talk to hubby to see if we’ll make it a family trip (which will be much pricier but he’s always wanted to go to Chicago!)

I’ve seen tons of chat about it on Twitter already, which is not surprising! I saw that @QueenofSpain is planning to attend and that her hubby usually goes too! Cutiebootycakes is planning to go and so is @firemom!@acowboyswife is planning to attend and mentions she’ll be getting a sponsor, now isn’t that a fab idea! Anyone want to sponsor me?!!

 

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Nov 10, 2008 2:00 AM

Bedtime

 

by Laurie

I know a lot of moms stay up late regularly to keep on top of everything. And trust me, I could use some extra time to catch up on everything, but my goodness do I ever need more sleep too! How do you win? Nights are my quietest and generally most productive time.  But if I get sidetracked then I’m in trouble and further behind than ever.

Today we had lunch with some friends, then I hung out with my sister (and she gave me my first eyebrow wax, ouch!!) and we got home just around suppertime.  Because of fall break Izzy has no school tomorrow or Tuesday, so they don’t have to get up early so I let them stay up a little.  But then I realized – that eats into MY time. UGH!!!!

So now it’s after 11 and here I am crazily getting in a blog post instead of going to bed.  And really I should be doing a blog post for my business blog too, but those require more thought than I’m capable of tonight.

So now I’m going to set myself some goals/to-dos for next week and head to bed. What will I do in addition to all the typical minutiae of daily life:

  1. At least 3 business blog posts
  2. Yoga at least 2 times plus weights at least twice
  3. Book birthday party for soon to be 7 year old!
  4. Book time for kids’ pictures at Sears

You know, it sounds like more in my head! Maybe cause I’m also thinking of the laundry, the soccer games, the floors that need to be washed and the client work I need to complete!  Oh well, I’m sure it will all get done (except, shhhh, probably not the floors, lol!)

 

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Nov 6, 2008 2:37 PM

New Haircut!

 

by Laurie

Okay first I have to say that while some people do a great job of dyeing their own hair at home, I always mess up. So a few weeks ago when I “needed” a change I should have known better. I wanted it darker for winter with some highlights. I ended up with VERY dark hair though and the highlights didn’t work at all. It was interesting but not really good with my colouring.

So then I made an even bigger mistake. I tried to fix it myself and proceeded to use another 3 boxes of dye over a couple of weeks – finally ending up at a much blonder colour – you know if you could ignore the orange tint to it!

So when my DH got back into town the first thing I did was book a hair appointment to properly fix my hair – yay!! Yesterday was the big day and now I have a much more natural looking and pretty blonde colour in my hair – and I got my hair cut to freshen it up a bit.  Want to see? Here’s a pic!!

 

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Nov 4, 2008 11:52 AM

Hubby’s Home!

 

by Laurie

My darling husband has been out of town working recently. He was home last weekend, but I was away!! Now he’s home for about a week and I’m so looking forward to it! Even better, my oldest is on fall break this weekend (Friday and Monday off) and we’ll have lots of time together as a family.

One planned outing? Well, it won’t include baby boy, but the older two desperately want to see the newMadagascar movie out this weekend! It looks good and I’ll be sure to share with you all next week if it was as good as I’m hoping!

There will also be soccer practices next Saturday and I’m going to set up a hair appointment while he’s home to watch the two youngest during the day! It should be a great week, now I better go get some work done while I can!

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Oct 31, 2008 1:51 AM

Happy Anniversary

 

by Laurie

Yep, today is my 9 year wedding anniversary.  I had big plans to post a wedding picture up but I can’t seem to figure out the wireless aspect of my scanner/printer today and I ran out of time tonight when I meant to just take my laptop down and hook it to the scanner. Trust me, I was a beautiful bride and one day soon I’ll put up a couple of pictures to prove it, lol!! (Besides, I think most of us are beautiful brides, it’s all that love and hope shining in our eyes)

All these years later (and really it’s been 13 including our years of dating/living together) and I still think my husband is the most wonderful and amazing person.  I’m so lucky to have him to share my life with. And how did we tell each other how lucky we are today? By text message of course!!! Poor man is out of town working and a quick text in the am was much easier than a phone call at the chaos hour of getting big boy off to school, especially on the day of the class halloween party when I was responsible for a veggie tray.  Hectic is an understatement.

So anyway, Happy Anniversary handsome husband – love you forever!!

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Oct 28, 2008 2:51 PM

I’m Baaack!

 

by Laurie

I hate a wonderful weekend getaway this past weekend! As you know, I I went to Banff with my best friend for a girls spa weekend.  We had a few glitches but overall the trip was well worth it.

First we had to wait until my sister, then husband, could get to my house to take over my darling boys. While we waited for my sis we picked up some supplies and filled up my Jeep with fuel.  Have I ever mentioned I have a diesel Jeep? Yeah, normally no big deal but right now in Albera (and much of western Canada for that matter) there are diesel shortages.  3 gas stations later and we finally found diesel, thank goodness!

So finally we were ready to go and my sister arrived.  Four hours later and we arrived at our lovely hotel, The Fox Inn and Suites.  The rooms were cozy and clean with HUGE fluffy pillows on the bed. Even better? There was a gorgeous hot tub room that looked like a cave, with misty steam and a trickling water fall.  That felt so good I must say!

Saturday morning we had enjoyed our free continental breakfast and then did some walking and shopping before our spa appointments in the afternoon. And we stopped for yummy hot chocolates with whip cream!  At the spa, I can definitely say the massage was the best part of the whole trip – why do I not get them more often?!! Plus I got a pedicure and now have pretty deep blue polish on my toes!

After the spa we hit a pub for an appetizer style dinner and a drink.  Then we made our way through the freezing wind back to our room for a night of scrabble and treats. Treats including fudge from The Fudgery – I love that place! While we played Scrabble we watched the news to see the reports of the awful weather back home (winds over 100 km an hour!) and then watched a very disappointing Oilers vs Vancouver game.  Hello Oilers? We want you to get fewer penalties – watching power play goals over and over is a FAIL!!

Sunday morning was time to make our way back home again! We couldn’t be too late as I knew that my darling husband had to make the return trip up near Cold Lake to go back to work Sunday night.  I got to see him for a couple of hours at least.  He said the boys were pretty good although my Xandy wanted me there Saturday when he had his first soccer game. And of course the baby cried plenty at night, but he does that for me too!

All in all, a definite success and hopefully a yearly tradition from now on!

 

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Oct 22, 2008 9:43 PM

Music Meme

 

by Laurie

I saw this meme over at BagMomma and couldn’t resist participating. The rules, should you choose to play along are:

A.) Go to musicoutfitters.com
B.) Enter the year you graduated from high school in the search function and get the list of 100 most popular songs of that year.
C.) Bold the songs you like, strike through the ones you REALLY hate.

Top 100 Hits of 1993/Top 100 Songs of 1993

1. I Will Always Love You, Whitney Houston
2. Whoomp! (There It Is), Tag Team
3. Can’t Help Falling In Love, UB40
4. That’s The Way Love Goes, Janet Jackson
5. Freak, Silk
6. Weak, SWV
7. If I Ever Fall In Love, Shai
8. Dreamlover, Mariah Carey
9. Rump Shaker, Wreckx-N-Effect
10. Informer, Snow
11. Nuthin’ But A “G” Thang, Dr. Dre
12. In The Still Of The Nite, Boyz II Men
13. Don’t Walk Away, Jade
14. Knockin’ Da Boots, H-Town
15. Lately, Jodeci
16. Dazzey Duks, Duice
17. Show Me Love, Robin S.
18. A Whole New World, Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle
19. If, Janet Jackson
20. I’m So Into You, SWV
21. Love Is, Vanessa Willlams and Brian Mcknight
22. Runaway Train, Soul Asylum
23. I’ll Never Get Over You (Getting Over Me), Expose
24. Ditty, Paperboy
25. Rhythm Is A Dancer, Snap
26. The River Of Dreams, Billy Joel
27. I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), Proclaimers
28. Two Princes, Spin Doctors
29. Right Here (Human Nature)-Downtown, SWV
30. I Have Nothing, Whitney Houston
31. Mr. Wendal, Arrested Development
32. Have I Told You Lately, Rod Stewart
33. Saving Forever For You, Shanice
34. Ordinary World, Duran Duran
35. If I Had No Loot, Tony! Toni! Tone!
36. I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That), Meat Loaf
37. Slam, Onyx
38. Looking Through Patient Eyes, P.M. Dawn
39. I’m Every Woman, Whitney Houston
40. Baby I’m Yours, Shai
41. Come Undone, Duran Duran
42. I Don’t Wanna Fight, Tina Turner
43. I’d Die Without You, P.M. Dawn
44. Whoot, There It Is, 95 South
45. Hip Hop Hooray, Naughty By Nature
46. Another Sad Love Song, Toni Braxton
47. Will You Be There, Michael Jackson
48. Comforter, Shil
49. Good Enough, Bobby Brown
50. What’s Up, 4 Non Blondes
51. All That She Wants, Ace Of Base
52. 7, Prince and The New Power Generation
53. Dre Day, Dr. Dre
54. One Last Cry, Brian McKnight
55. Just Kickin’ It, Xscape
56. I Get Around, 2Pac
57. Bed Of Roses, Bon Jovi
58. Real Love, Mary J. Blige
59. Here We Go Again!, Portrait
60. Cryin’, Aerosmith (love some Aerosmith but not this one)
61. Cats In The Cradle, Ugly Kid Joe
62. What About Your Friends, TLC
63. I Got A Man, Positive K
64. Hey Mr. D.J., Zhane
65. Insane In The Brain, Cypress Hill
66. Deeper And Deeper, Madonna
67. Rain, Madonna
68. The Right Kind Of Love, Jeremy Jordan
69. Bad Boys, Inner Circle
70. That’s What Love Can Do, Boy Krazy
71. Do You Believe In Us, Jon Secada
72. Angel, Jon Secada
73. Forever In Love, Kenny G
74. Again, Janet Jackson
75. Boom! Shake The Room, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince
76. When She Cries, Restless Heart
77. Sweat (A La La La La Long), Inner Circle
78. It Was A Good Day, Ice Cube
79. More And More, Captain Hollywood Project
80. How Do You Talk To An Angel, Heights
81. Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat), Digable Planets
82. What Is Love, Haddaway
83. To Love Somebody, Michael Bolton
84. Give It Up, Turn It Loose, En Vogue
85. Alright, Kris Kros
86. Check Yo Self, Ice Cube
87. Fields Of Gold, Sting

88. Ooh Child, Dino

89. Faithful w/ Go West
90. Reason To Believe, Rod Stewart
91. Break It Down Again, Tears For Fears
92. Nothin’ My Love Can’t Fix, Joey Lawrence
93. Three Little Pigs, Green Jelly
94. Livin’ On The Edge, Aerosmith
95. Hey Jealousy, Gin Blossoms
96. If I Ever Lose My Faith In You, Sting
97. Anniversary, Tony! Toni! Tone!
98. One Woman, Jade
99. Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love, Taylor Dayne
100. Two Steps Behind, Def Leppard

I think it’s proof that I have varied tastes (and that my memory sucks, I can’t remember so many of these, yikes!!) Of course my favorite music is usually country, maybe I should go find the top 100 country songs of 1993, lol!

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Oct 21, 2008 8:40 PM

Need a Drink?

 

by Laurie

So when I go away this weekend I’m planning to have a few cocktails – my friend and I never drink together, as usually we both are driving so we just have water or coke with our meals out.  We’re so excited to be staying somewhere where no driving will be required, so we’ll probably each have a couple of drinks with dinner out and then when we go back to our hotel room we have an exciting evening of scrabble and drinking planned.  We’re old and kind of boring I guess – but it sounds like fun to us!

I’m not a wine kind of girl, so I asked my Twitter friends to suggest some easy, yummy girly cocktails I could make.  I don’t want to take too much alcohol with me, so things with only a few ingredients are best! These are the suggestions I have so far:

@PhedreDysis Liquid sun! 1 1/2 oz Whisky 1/4 oz lime juice 1/4 oz simple syrup (eq parts water/sugar,boil 5min) 4 oz passionfruit juice YUM

@thatgaljill I enjoy what we call “boat drinks” rum mixed with the juice of your choice (orange pineapple is especially good). Quick & easy

@greenstew I don’t know if this counts, vodka fresca or 7up and a splash of cool aid powder

@SamyStClair I have one for a Dreamsicle! It’s so tasty and sweet. Fill a mixing cup with 1/2 way with ice. 1/2 oz. Vodka or Orange Vodka 1/2 oz. Triple Sec

@SamyStClair (con’t)1 oz. Orange Juice 1 oz. Cream Shake all ingredients well and strain into a cocktail glass.

Don’t those sound yummy!  Especially the dreamsicle one to me, but I like creamy, super sweet drinks! Now I am inventorying my alcohol supply and thinking what I need and what else I might make!

Hmmm, creme de cacao, vanilla vodka and baileys. No dreamsicle material, although I could use the vodka and buy the rest!

Oooh – here’s a recipe for a chocolate martini which just needs the vodka and creme de  cacao, if I make it tonight it’s just to make sure it tastes good, you know, a trial run?! Or there’s this one, I think I have some Kahlua hiding in the back of the cupboard, yum! OMG, I love chocolate and orange together, I so have to get some Grand Marnier or Cointreau to make this one!

Idrink has a great looking recipe for a Thin Mint shot that looks worth trying and one more to try someday. Don’t know if it’s worth buying cinnamon schnapps for this weekend though!

Okay, now I want a drink in the worst way, but I must make my boys some supper first!

 

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Oct 20, 2008 7:15 PM

4 More Sleeps!

 

by Laurie

Yup, only 4 more nights at home until my little spa getaway with my best friend! We’re both getting so excited, I even started packing today. I bought us some facial and hair masques too, including a chocolate face masque! I’m getting a pedicure and a full body massage at the spa, but to keep the cost reasonable we’re doing a couple of little things ourselves.  I’m thinking about trying to sneak in a quick haircut too while we’re away, but I don’t know if I’ll have time!

It’s going to make for a busy couple of days come Friday though. My friend is coming over around lunch time, we have to pick up snacks for the drive (it’s a 4 hr trip), some yummy stuff to drink Saturday night and the usual school pick up and dinner routine. Speaking of yummy drinks – anyone got suggestions for girly cocktails that are easy to make?! Going to go have to ask on Twitter too!

DH is working out of town and coming home Friday night just to take over the boys, as soon as we’re back Sunday he has to head back to work! I’d feel bad for him except while he’s away at work he gets to sleep all night long, no crying baby in the room next to his!! I haven’t had that in almost 11 months so I will happily make him come home just so I can go away!!

 

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Oct 18, 2008 8:15 PM

Weekend Reading, Twittermom Love

 

by Laurie

I joined the Twittermoms group on Ning a while back and I have to say it’s been a wonderful source of information and friendship. And many of my fellow twittermoms are also mom bloggers!

So I thought I’d share some linky love this week with some of my fellow Twittermoms! Check out these posts:

Working Mother wrote a helpful post about being a WAHM and needing childcare help

The View From My Fishbowl had a story about paying it forward. I like to think positive so I’m hoping the guy in question did pay it forward, just in another way!

Wine on the Keyboard had a post with some great fall pics.  Since fall is basically over where I live, I enjoyed the gorgeous shots! (yup, I’m in Alberta, we get a month of fall and now we’re into early winter almost!! Snow by Halloween usually!)

Tiny Mantras had a well thought out Blog Action Day post, definitely give this one a read!

Maternally Posh has a post about Living Local, something my family tries hard to do (especially hubby!)

Jennifer of The Dirty Shirt is getting a puppy for Christmas – got any recommendations for her? I vote for a lab!!

PMKU won a sling! I love my sling and think it’s a must have for any new mom!

Paper Bridges has a contest going on to win a copy of the book The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner.  Sounds like a great book, guess I better enter the contest!! I love to read!

Occasional Rambling shared a recap of her day at the BlogHer Boston reach out conference.  Oh I so want to go to the big BlogHer event next year!!

Days Go By shared about the Canadian federal election (I’m Canadian too! And yes I voted!!) In case you’re wondering, the conservatives “won”, if you can call a repeat minority government a win.  Still, for me it’s better than the Liberals winning!

I’ve got plenty of post material in the upcoming week (my spa trip is this week, update on vasectomy and parent teacher conference!) so check back soon!

 

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Oct 15, 2008 1:17 PM

Blog Action Day 2008, POVERTY

 

by Laurie

What can we do about poverty?  It seems like an overwhelming problem, especially when we look at the overall picture of how poverty affects so many people worldwide.  My suggestion: don’t think abou the numbers or the people you can’t help.  Not one of us can simply “fix” poverty all by ourselves. But we CAN all contribute to the solution.  Think small, think baby steps, but think of what you can do right now to help.

Poverty has been a strong influence in my life.  I grew up poor, and we lived on welfare while I was in high school.  I hated how beaten it seemed to make my mother, and in her turn, my sister.  When you are very poor you feel as though you have so few options in life.  My sister quit school in junior high, isn’t that terrible?  I was aware from a young age of our situation and determined to break free.  Still I lost my way for a little while after high school.  I worked at McDonald’s and a bank part-time, instead of going to university.  I had great grades and plenty of potential, but my family considered it a MAJOR accomplishment for someone to finish high school.  We didn’t dream any bigger than that.

Thankfully I went to college when I was 20 and my life is so much better now! It was education that really changed my life. It’s not the solution for all poverty related problems, but for so many of us it really does make a difference. So for my today is a reminder that to take action against poverty I have to help make education a priority. I’m looking into some local charities (maybe one of these?) to donate to and I hope that makes at least a little difference.

Because if we each made a little difference, wouldn’t the effect be amazing?!!!

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Oct 14, 2008 6:03 PM

Big Dreams, What are Yours?

 

by Laurie

Last month I commented on a wonderful post by Alexis Martin Neely on her Intrepid Mompreneur blog. She wanted us to share our big dreams and was offering a personal coaching session as a prize! I shared my dreams about my virtual assistant business.  They are big dreams for me, although they seem small compared to some other people’s dreams.  Maybe they’ll get bigger later, but right now my dream is of having not only a successful VA practice, but more work than I can handle and the ability to turn my one-woman show into a team of virtual assistants who excel at our work and live our lives with more flexibility and freedom! I want to be a role model for my kids, and other moms.

So anyway, I was finally catching up on my RSS today and read a newer post by Alexis and she is now going to provide coaching to each of the contest entrants!!! Yay!

And another cool thing? Kelby over at Type A Mom (where I am a writer/editor) also commented on Alexis’s post, so hopefully she’ll get some great ideas for the awesome Type A site!

So dear readers and fellow moms, what are YOUR big dreams? Share them with me!!

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Oct 10, 2008 10:40 PM

V is for Vasectomy

 

by Laurie

Today was the big day for my wonderful hubby!  He had his vasectomy first thing this morning – no more babies for us!

He said the procedure was pretty easy and fairly painless.  He had the no scalpel method performed on him.  He’s either acting tough or not feeling too bad – he even wanted to take the kids to the mall for a little while this afternoon!

Now he’ll take it easy for this long weekend (it’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada) and be back to work on Tuesday!

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Oct 9, 2008 6:52 PM

Tagged!

 

by Laurie

Julie of the fab blog Cool Mom Guide tagged me to participate in this little game.  So here goes – 6 things you don’t know about me from my blog.

  1. I love photography!  You’d never know it from the few pictures that make it up onto my blog though.  I have trouble remembering to download the photos from my camera!
  2. I have a wonderful dog (last year had two more, both passed sadly) that never seems to get mentioned on my posts!  He’s 11.5 years old and I’ve had him since he was 3 months old. He sleeps with me every night!!
  3. I get overwhelmed way too often by being a mom.  I love my kids but I think I’m pretty selfish sometimes – when I just want 10 more minutes of peace, even if they were being good the last half hour.
  4. I hide purchases from my husband sometimes.  I don’t know why – he doesn’t control the money and I am free to spend within reason (you know when there IS money, lol!) I just like to keep things to myself sometimes.
  5. There’s a little teeny part of me that wants another baby – even though the rest of me is SCREAMING that I’ve had enough!
  6. I worked at McDonalds for almost 7 years! Thankfully those days are long past!

Now I get to tag some more of my twitter friends!  Here’s my list:

And if you get tagged here are:

The Rules:
Now, if you’ve been tagged with the meme game from twitter, you must post 6 things no one knows about you on your BLOG. Then you have to tag 6 more people. (don’t forget to let them know they’ve been tagged.) Leave me a message letting me know that you’ve accepted the tag. Let me know when you’ve posted your list and make sure there’s a link back to my BLOG http://www.vamomof3boys.com/blog.  Have fun!!!

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Oct 8, 2008 8:42 AM

Wordless Wednesday

 

by Laurie

 

Cornmaze Crazy!

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Oct 5, 2008 12:35 AM

Wii Game for Mom for Christmas

 

by Laurie

I thought of another great Christmas gift today (at least for me!) A new game for the Wii!!  But I don’t know what game to ask “santa” for.  I loved SuperMario Galaxy and MarioKart and liked Paper Mario okay.  Liked some sports ones, but have had enough of them. I do not like games that are only about fighting.  I like games that have levels and challenge for several sessions (or weeks!)

So far I’m considering The Legend of Zelda and um, can’t find anything else!! HELP!

I do want a Wii Fit too, but that’s more for activity than to challenge my mind! Maybe even Dance Dance Revolution – also mostly for a vaguely fitness related activity.

So seriously, does anyone have any other recommendations for a Wii game for a mom who likes to play?

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Oct 3, 2008 1:21 AM

Picture Day

 

by Laurie

Today was picture day at Izzy’s school.  He looked super cute if I do say so myself and I meant to take a picture of him to post, but what can I say?  Mornings are pure CHAOS in my house!!

And can I just say how expensive it is to get school pictures?  I know I could just go to Walmart or whatever, but there is something about the tradition of school pictures that is so special to me and with only one in school right now it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal.  At least for my $40 I get a fair number of pictures and a cd too.  And quite importantly – we get the class picture.  I still treasure looking at my old class pictures and remembering friends from long ago.  Plus it helps me remember the people I’m finding now on Facebook!!

Well it’s getting late and I’m so tired today – Soy is still recovering from a cold and sleeping terribly so I should get some rest while I can!

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Oct 2, 2008 12:00 AM

Mompreneur Magazine

 

by Laurie

I just picked up the latest issue of Mompreneur magazine today – I so love this magazine!!  I buy an Alberta version so it’s full of local information and businesses.  Plus I’m always inspired by a couple of the featured moms.  This issue had an interesting Q&A from this company – Liandrea.  They are a multimedia company with a line of parenting dvd’s and they podcast too!

They also had a great feature this month called Mommy Millionaire, about Kim Lavine.  I totally need to check out her book – it sounds like a good read!

I’m such a twitter fanatic though that I tried to look up any of the parties (editor of the mag, the mag itself, writers, etc) and almost no one had a twitter id, at least not that I could find!  Too bad – I’d love to see them on there!

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Sep 30, 2008 12:26 PM

Handbag Contest (Handbag Planet)

 

by Laurie

Ok, I love, love, love new handbags – so I was more than happy to sign up for a chance to win one!  Go on over toHandbag Planet yourself and enter – they are giving away 24 handbags in celebration of their upcoming launch!

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Sep 26, 2008 10:46 PM

Christmas Gift Planning

 

by Laurie

As I seem to keep being reminded lately – Christmas is coming!  In fact it’s less than 3 months away now and I have to admit I’ve really struggled in the past to have my shopping done early.  This year I am working hard on getting my shopping done by the end of November and in fact I even have one gift purchased already!!  I was more extravagant than usual but what can I say – it’s been a crazy year in our house with baby #3 arriving a month before Christmas last year and I really wanted to thank my husband for how amazing he’s been.  Not to mention how supportive he’s being of me starting my virtual assistance business.  And bootstrapping or now there are several expenses associated with starting my business but he has faith in me and encourages me to attain my goals.  Anyway, that’s why I’m buying him an iPod touch!  He’ll be so excited!!!

That doesn’t actually leave me many people to shop for, we don’t have a huge group we exchange gifts with.  All the boys of course, my best friend, my grandmother, all the nieces and my mother-in-law.  The nieces are easy – 5 are tween/teen girls and get gift cards every year.  They love to do the shopping themselves!  Same for mother-in-law.  The other 2 nieces are 4 year old girls and I buy them pretty pink clothes to satisfy that urge since I usually only shop for boy clothes!

My boys aren’t too hard – they happily tell me every day what they want after all!  Bakugan is big on the list this year.  I’ll probably start buying their stuff asap, and I’m hoping to order a lot of it online, just cause it’s easier to hide from them that way.  I’m keeping track of some of my ideas (ok and a list of things I want too!) on Wishpot – it’s very handy!  I’m Laurie_Momof3 there if you want to friend me! Wishpot is a great place to get ideas for gifts for your family or any events you are attending!

That leaves best friend and my grandma.  Neither is easy to shop for – they have most things they need and want already!  But I just read this great post over on Personal Finance Advice about gift buying and it gave me some great ideas!!  My friend will have a new home soon so I might put together some kind of gift basket for that for her.  And my grandmother might appreciate a gift basket of teas and coffees and treats.  If I start buying little items to go into both now then I’ll be all ready come December!

Hmmmmmm – I think I’ll go shopping today and get started!!

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Sep 25, 2008 7:41 PM

Skin Care Do’s

 

by Laurie

If you, like me, are a 30 Something mom then check out my post this week on Type A Mom!  I’ve got some suggestions for how we should be treating our skin as we age.  And check back here or at Type A Mom soon because I’m doing a follow up article on some great home treatments for the skin!

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Sep 24, 2008 9:05 PM

Day Out and Diaper Shopping

 

by Laurie

Yesterday was a nice day!  I got some work done in the morning and then decided it was time for a quick trip into the city to pick up some new diapers for baby Soy.  He’s outgrowing his medium stuff and I hate having to try and get the diapers washed and dried every day!

On the way in Soy fell asleep and I decided to put in a quick call to my BFF and yay!!! She was free for lunch so we decided to make a quick run to BP’s before I went to the store.  We hadn’t been in ages and it’s our favorite lunch spot!  Unfortunately we got to the restaurant and only the lounge side was open – they are in the middle of a two week reno!! Ugh.  Oh well, we got our usual order to go and ate in the Jeep.  Not even close to ideal, but manageable and filling!

After we finished lunch I dropped BFF back off at work and me and the little ones headed south.  Of course they both fell asleep on the way and of course we were on a timetable to get home in plenty of time to meet Izzy’s bus.  So I had to wake them up to go into my favorite local organic store (ok well one of two favorites, but the other one is mostly food!), Earth’s General Store, where I was able to pick up some more diapers.  We love theMotherEase Sandy’s made mostly from bamboo.  They are so soft and stretchy.  The small size still fits Soy at 22 pounds, but I bought him the large now.  I also grabbed him a new airflow cover and I was really excited to see a good sippy cup in stock – they were out the last few times we visited the shop!  Lots of money spent our shopping was done (well we did buy some organic chocolate too – yummy and I, um, needed dessert didn’t I?!)

Then we headed home and made it with half an hour to spare before the bus arrived – yay!!!

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Sep 23, 2008 1:50 PM

Firsts

 

by Laurie

How to choose the important firsts of my mothering years? The first positive pregnancy test, the first maternity outfit, the first delivery, the first smiles?  I do remember some of those things, they were special moments (my memory sucks though so I admit I don’t remember all of it!!)  I think the firsts that are the most meaningful to me were the first moments I held each of my babies after they were born.

My first memory of holding Izzy isn’t all that happy actually.  He was born by c-section and I was shaking from the anesthetic (spinal) so I remember holding him and looking at his pretty and round face.  He was so amazing and perfect.  Then I had to ask for him to be taken from me, because I was shaking so bad I felt like I would drop him.  All by itself that is reason to wish I had been able to avoid that damn c-section.

My first memory of holding Xan is a triumphant memory.  I wanted so badly to have a VBAC and after a long labour and hours of pushing I was terrified I’d end up having a c-section – but a little help from a vacuum and there he was, my beautiful second baby.  Except he wasn’t that beautiful – he was soooooo long and skinny I was scared he was unhealthy.  Thankfully he was just skinny and has stayed that way to this day!

My first memory of holding Soy is another triumphant one.  He came fast and furious until the pushing phase and then I freaked out and held back.  Finally I realized I HAD to make it happen, it was all up to me.  And so I pushed and pushed and then a beautiful, huge baby boy was in my arms! It felt so good to know that not only did I have my second VBAC, but that I had no drugs at all this time and it was so different and wonderful.

This firsts post is in honor of the Writing Motherhood contest via A Frog in My Soup.  I’m looking forward to a “blog visit” from Lisa Garrigues, author of Writing Motherhood.  I hope to win a copy of the book, but if not I know that I will have to get a hold of a copy somehow – it sounds great!!

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Sep 20, 2008 9:45 AM

Mostly Reassured

 

by Laurie

Our doctor reviewed the test results and looked at Soy’s cyst and confirms that it is probably growing, but says that although they often grow minimally it can happen that they grow a bit more and doesn’t feel there is any cause for concern.  Just keep monitoring it continues to be the advice.  I don’t want to push for surgery if it’s not necessary yet, so we’ll do as suggested.

It’s going to be a busy weekend now – we’re off for haircuts for the boys and then the farmer’s market!! Izzy has a birthday party to go to tomorrow too.  Plus I should, you know, actually tidy my house at some point.  It kind of is a mess disaster!

Have a great weekend!!

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Sep 19, 2008 12:34 PM

Cyst Growing?

 

by Laurie

So back in June we saw a specialist for the lump on Soy’s forehead.  He had an ultrasound and the pediatric dermatologist was fairly confident that what he has is a dermoid cyst.  She said it could be removed but wasn’t urgent and in fact probably better to wait until he’s close to 3 years, since it would be removed under general anesthetic.

This week my sister saw Soy for the first time in a while and commented the cyst seems to be larger.  DH confirmed this today when he got back after a week away. I was under the impression that dermoid cysts were generally slow growing, so it concerns me (ok – freaks me totally out) to think it’s growing noticeably in only a few months.  Fortunately I was able to get into our family doctor for today and I will have him refer us to a surgeon.

The pediatric dermatologist had already sent the ultrasound results and the recommendation for referral to a surgeon to our family doctor so it shouldn’t be a problem – but we’ll see how long to get into a surgeon.  Another test of our Canadian health care system?  So far they’ve gotten the baby in quite quickly for this stuff – I guess infants are prioritized a little.  DH sure has had a long wait for his vasectomy procedure, but that’s okay, waiting for that is not exactly critical!

Wish us luck today!

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Sep 18, 2008 9:19 PM

Martha Blogs!

 

by Laurie

Have you all checked out the little contest running on the Martha Stewart blog right now?  She’s going to feature some bloggers on her blog – check it out here!

And yay – it’s almost Friday!!!

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Sep 18, 2008 1:05 PM

Meeting Moms

 

by Laurie

So I just got back up from a neighbourhood moms meet-up.  Wow – there are so many moms with little ones (and some bigger kids too) in my area.  There must have been about 15 moms just from a two block radius or so.  Babies as young as a couple of months and one mom whose youngest is 8 years and oldest is 13!  Quite the range.

I almost didn’t go – I’m kind of uncomfortable a lot of the time in this social settings.  And I could have used the time to get some laundry done!  I decided to make myself go though and it was good for me and great for my 4 year old to get to play with a bunch of other kids, plus, plus, plus….there were CUPCAKES!!! Oops, so much for the healthy eating thing – I’ll do better the rest of today I promise!

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Sep 15, 2008 10:13 AM

Healthy Choices

 

by Laurie

Ok, so I don’t make the healthiest choices lately.  After I had my baby I quickly lost 20 pounds, then slowly lost another 20 or so.  I still have about 20 to go and they aren’t budging.  Must be the chocolate.  So I’m resolving to start making some real efforts starting right now.

I want to be accountable to myself so I’m going to be brave and share my weight on here and hopefully every Monday I will post my weigh-in of the week.  Will that make me eat better on the weekends? I sure hope so!

So on this lovely September morning my weight was 147 pounds.  I’m only 5?2? so a good weight for me is around 125-128.  I’ve been at 130 before and been very, very happy with it.

Plan for today and really all this week – drink LOTS more water, I never drink enough, do some free weight exercises and consume less sugar.  Wish me luck or join me and we can be weight loss buddies!

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Sep 13, 2008 11:19 PM

Kiddie Coaster

 

by Laurie

Yesterday I took my boys for an end of week trip to West Edmonton Mall – we have a family super attractions pass for the next couple of months and it was a nice treat for them, since daddy is away for work for a while and I had been kind of cranky during the week.

Ok, kind of cranky is a BIG understatement.  I had the kind of week that made me feel *I* was the one on a roller coaster. I would love to blame it on post-breastfeeding hormones or something, maybe just lack of sleep, but it seems like I have these ups and downs a little too often. I hate myself when I’m like this cause I yell way too much at my wonderful boys.  I sometimes wonder if I have a problem or if I just need a break?  How do you determine where that fine line is between being a good mom on a bad day/week or a bad mom period?

Today was a much better day in general and it’s harder to write this today than it would have been on Thursday.  But you know the drill – Thursday WAS the bad day, so I wasn’t getting enough done, I had to go to an open house at the school, the baby whined all day and my 4 year old was being, well, FOUR.

Thank goodness today was better, another couple of bad weeks and I’m going to really need that spa trip.  Only how many more days to go?!

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Sep 13, 2008 9:04 AM

Spa-Cation

 

by Laurie

I am so excited!! Yesterday I booked my weekend spa getaway in Banff (going in October!)  My best friend and I have been talking about it for several weeks and I was half-heartedly researching, but to be honest I was scared it wouldn’t happen.  DH is awesome with the kids but I haven’t been away from the baby overnight yet and the first time is always so hard.

But I really, really need a little break and a good night’s sleep or two.  So we are heading off to this lovely hotel in Banff, Alberta. On the Saturday we’re getting massages and manicures!  It’s going to be so nice and relaxing.  And maybe it sounds silly but we love Scrabble so we’re taking along the scrabble board and some cards so we can play crib.  Yes we are only in our 30’s – we’re just a little boring!!

The countdown is on – a month and a half to go!

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Sep 13, 2008 9:04 AM

My Heart Stopped

 

by Laurie

What makes a mom’s heart stop at 5 am?  Waking up and realizing the baby didn’t cry all night and oh my god is he breathing, he never sleeps this long, oh no….oh wow, he’s still sleeping, yay!!!!

Yep, last night my baby finally slept most of the night.  It’s been months of misery in this household.  He wasn’t a bad sleeper from about month 3 to month 4 (you know for a whole month or so!) but since then he’s been a baby who wakes regulary every 1.5 to 2.5 hours.  Even with DH helping at night (and I was nursing at night until this past month) it was pretty exhausting.  Especially with the older boys keeping me too busy to nap during the day.

I’m an experienced enough mom to know that one good night means nothing, but once the shock wore off, I remain hopeful.  We finally gave in and tried a modified cry-it-out a couple of days ago and I think the new habits are kicking in – keep your fingers crossed for me please!!

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Sep 13, 2008 9:04 AM

Fall Traditions

 

by Laurie

What are your family’s fall traditions?  Without realizing it we started a fall tradition a couple of years ago of going to the local cornmaze on a fall Sunday afternoon!  Izzy loves findng the numbered posts and Xan just loves running around in the corn!

It’s a great way to get a little exercise, teach a little bit to the kids and just enjoy some of the last decent weather Edmonton will probably have.  Today is supposed to be 17 degrees (celsius) so it should be pretty nice and I’m sure we’ll have fun!  It’s baby’s first time going and I know he’ll like it, after all what’s not to like about being carried around all afternoon in the fresh air?!!

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Sep 13, 2008 9:04 AM

Grade One Week One

 

by Laurie

It was big boy’s first week of grade one this week.  It started off so much better than kindergarten did, but *I* was still pretty emotional that first day.

I think there is something about school that really brings home the fact that your child is growing up.  Not to mention that school means there are adults who your child really looks up to and trusts, the way that until now they have felt only about me, DH and people of OUR choosing.  I mean yes there are grandparents and family, but we have all the say about how often they see them, where, when, etc.  Now there is someone new in my baby’s life who I didn’t get to pick, and I find it a bit scary.

Miss K is the teacher in question.  She seems really nice and he was comfortable with her.  He LOVED his kindy teacher Miss D, so it’s good that he seems on track to enjoy this teacher too. This year Izzy gets his own desk, instead of sitting at a table, and he liked that.  We took a big pile of supplies on day one, and I took some pictures of course.  I haven’t downloaded them yet though!!

I think it was an emotional week for me too, because it made me look ahead to next fall when my second child will start kindergarten – then I’ll be all alone with baby a lot of the time, how weird!!

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Sep 13, 2008 9:04 AM

Chief Mom Officer Needed

 

by Laurie

Have you ever heard of a Chief Mom Officer?  I LOVE that title!! I learned about chief mom officers because the founder of Chief Mom Officer is Jessica Smith, who is one of my twitter friends!  Jessica is the Chief Mom Officer of Wishpot and now she’s helping companies who want to hire their own Chief Mom Officer!

Check out BabySpot’s announcement that they are recruiting for their own Chief Mom Officer, with the help of Jessica of course! If I had a great marketing background I’d so be applying for this! I believe interviewing is starting early next week, so if you are interested, make sure you apply asap!!

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Sep 13, 2008 9:04 AM

Breastfeeding Finished?

 

by Laurie

I counted all the hours of pregnancy and breastfeeding recently:

29 months of pregnancy (3 babies and one miscarriage at 12 weeks)

35 months of breastfeeding

64 months “Attached” to a baby in last approx 7.5 years

It’s no wonder there is some relief that breastfeeding is now at an end (well as long as I don’t give in and comfort nurse him tonight!!!) I’m so ready to have my body back, but I also feel a little guilt for wanting it over and definitely some sadness to be moving on from the baby stages.  Of course that all assumes that the vasectomy will happen in October, will work and we won’t have a surprise, but I’m definitely trying to avoid that!

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Sep 13, 2008 9:04 AM

Something Went So Wrong

 

by Laurie

I am the Secretary of my local and national VBAC support groups.  We were made aware of a very sad casehere in Alberta that occurred earlier this year.  The incident involved a mom who passed away within days of her c-section, and although the doctors aren’t releasing info, it almost certainly was related in some way to her pregnancy or delivery and her body’s reaction to the same.

Such a sad thing to read about on “labor” day – I know Labor Day isn’t a holiday that officially relates to childbirth, but many moms tend to make the association anyway.  The word labor is inextricably linked to our pregnancies and deliveries – we can’t help it.

My heart goes out to this lady’s husband and family – I am sure they are still grieving and looking for answers today.

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Sep 13, 2008 9:04 AM

Labor Day Meme

 

by Laurie

How long were your labors?

  1. Labored for about 3 hours total, then c-section for breech
  2. 19.5 hours
  3. 5 hours

How did you know you were in labor?

  1. Water breaking, never really felt contractions
  2. Water leaking, mild contractions that eventually intensified
  3. Water breaking and strong, regular contractions right away

Where did you deliver?

All three were delivered in hospitals

Drugs?

  1. Spinal for c-section
  2. Epidural
  3. No drugs at all!

C-section?

Just for the first baby, due to known frank breech presentation, we attempted external version but it was unsuccessful.

Who delivered?

Doctor for all three – would have liked a midwife, but went with obstetrician due to medical coverage (I live in Alberta, Canada – we have universal health care but my province does not cover midwifery yet – hopefully soon!)

Fun Meme for this Labor Day holiday from Rocks in My Dryer!!

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Sep 13, 2008 9:04 AM

Today is Blog Day!

 

by Laurie

I read about this over on Bird On A Wire (a great blog) and since I’m just trying to really get involved in the mom blogging community, it’s a great chance for me to do some mom blog surfing (as if I needed an excuse – sorry DH I’m busy this weekend, can you handle the three boys and the birthday party planning – lol!)

Here are 5 new blogs, undiscovered by me prior to this, that you might just want to check out:

  1. (Mama) Outloud
  2. Our Family
  3. 411 Mommy
  4. A Calm in the Chaos
  5. Law and Motherhood

Oh and stay tuned – there is another important Blog Action Day coming up on October 15 and I know I’ll be blogging about poverty that day- hope you are too!

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Sep 13, 2008 9:04 AM

I’m a Mom Editor!

 

by Laurie

I was thrilled this past week to get an email from Kelby of TypeA Mom, as I had applied a little while back to be a mom editor at the TypeA Mom site.  I’ll be responsible for the 30-Something Mom articles and I believe it will be a fascinating position.  I will also be contributing several articles a month on the subject and hope to hear from some of you too!