Monday, 24 November 2014

The Joy of Missing Out

Last Sunday I had 2 separate commitments with friends. Earlier the week before I ended up cancelling each of them. It had been a busy week, and I felt I needed to stay home and get some work done, and really, just spend time with my family. Then Sunday morning Seb woke up with a fever and that plan was also thrown out the window.

Such is my life these days. I feel like I've been saying "I can't right now" to my friends so much lately.

And for the most part, I'm ok with it. It's called the joy of missing out.

This article  describes the joy of missing out as, "a rebellion against saying yes to everything... about giving yourself the space to think and experience things without freaking out about what you 'should' be doing instead." Oh, how this speaks to me.

I wasn't really feeling the 'fear of missing out' before. But if someone asked me to do something, and there was nothing planned in my agenda, I would usually say "Yes." and just make it work. What I've been learning this fall is that just because my Google calendar is free, doesn't mean my brain is. It makes me a better mom, wife, friend, and employee to make sure I'm not constantly running from one thing to another every minute of every day.

I don't like saying no to my friends, and I feel even worse saying yes and then cancelling. But I'm not saying 'no' to do something I don't love. Sometimes I do really need to sit down and work for the job that pays me. But more often than not, I'm saying 'no' so I can spend some time with Rob and Seb. I know I joke about how batshit bananas parenting can be, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. The moments that are crazy are worth the moments full of joy, love, and laughter.

We haven't made any permanent decisions, but it's quite possible that we may not have any more children, so I plan on enjoying the crap out of this one. Soccer on Saturday mornings, gingerbread cookie decorating on Sunday afternoons, a glass of wine and Netflix with my husband after a long week of work, these are the things I need more of in my life.

As someone who loves lists and organizing, I found this quotation from Dr. James Dobson really resonated with me, "Children just don't fit into 'to do' lists very well. It takes time to be an effective parent when children are small. It takes time to introduce them to good books. It takes times to fly kites and play punch ball and put together jigsaw puzzles. It takes time to listen."

So, when I have to RSVP no to something, it's not that I don't think it's going to be super fun or that I don't want to spend time with my friends. But I don't necessarily feel bad about saying no anymore. I both need and want to also spend time with my family, or even alone to recharge. I've realized that saying no to one thing allows me to say yes to another.

Joy takes many forms. It can be a fun ladies' night out, a crazy vacation, a date night with my husband, or watching Seb make the puzzle pieces talk like animals. I feel blessed to be able to choose between so many paths to happiness and joy in my life. Even when it means choosing the ones that are closer to home.


Image via Pinterest

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Toddler Hack - Stickers

I'm probably the one out there who didn't even think of this, but I love that my friend Sara told me the best way to give toddlers stickers to play with....take the backing off!  Seb sometimes finds it tricky to get the stickers off by himself, but once I take the backing off, it's independent play time!

Stickers before I took the backing off.....sticker madness in process afterwards

However, now I find stickers everywhere! ;)


Do you have any other simple toddler hacks that make play-time that much easier? Share them in the comments below.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Things I Learned After My iPhone was Stolen

My phone was stolen last week. Right off my desk at work. I share an office with 3 people, all of whom I've worked with for nearly 10 years. One of them was away for the day, another is the brother I never had, and the third person is a friend so close to me she was in my wedding. These people are not responsible. Find My Phone located my phone at an industrial park north of the city later that evening. My best guess is that someone who isn't normally part of our work community was in doing some kind of work for us, saw my phone on my desk and took it. Frustration and tears followed. Let's just say that last Monday was much more 'messy' than it was 'splendid'.

My phone isn't even particularly new. I've had it for 2 years, it is an iPhone 8G, and I know there are scratches hiding under the case. But what made me so angry and sad was not losing the physical phone, although a new phone was not an expense I had planned for this month, but the loss of my photos and videos. It's a sickening thought to lose those memories, but to think about someone else looking at them just feels so violating. I share a lot of photos, but on social media I choose what I want to share. And I choose what is just for us. There is nothing celebrity-phone-scandal worthy on my phone, but the sick feeling is still there nonetheless.

By the grace of God, I discovered (after many tears were shed, unfortunately) that my phone had backed up to my laptop at some point near the end of the summer. I swear I don't remember doing this intentionally. I must have been charging my phone or something on my computer, and it synched. Does that happen? Anyways, I found so many of the pictures and videos I thought I had lost. The video of Sebastian's first steps. The pictures from our first flight together as a family. They're all sitting safely in iPhoto right now. I did lose any pictures I've taken in the past 3 months or so, but it feels like nothing compared to what I thought was gone.

Since having my phone stolen, I've learned a few things...

1. Store your phone safely. The reason my phone was stolen was that it was on my desk at work. To be clear, there are other phones on other desks at my work all. of. the. time. It's a culture of bad habits I suppose. If my phone wasn't on my desk, but perhaps stored somewhere else, it may not have been stolen. #lessonlearned

Also, now I'm so paranoid about leaving my phone by my desk that I've turned into one of those people that carries their phone with them around at work. Ugh. I hate that. But I keep it on silent, and I can't fathom going through this again anytime soon.

2. Activate Find My Phone - This feature is built into your iPhone. It allows you to locate, lock or erase your iPhone and prevents it from being erased or reactivated without your password. The first thing I did when I noticed my phone was missing was meet with my tech dept and have them activate this feature. Once my phone was turned back on later that day by whoever stole it, Find My Phone sent me an email with a map of the location of my phone. Crazy!

3. Cancel your service - The next thing I did was log into my Rogers account online and suspend my service. Then later that night I called them to confirm that it was disactivated and to list my phone on the IMEI Blacklist. Because I still had the IMEI number from the original box, I could list my phone on the IMEI Blacklist. This ensures that my phone is unable to be activated on any phone network in Canada ever (Jenn 1, Mari Kondo 0).

4. Back up your photos - I need to get better at this. I mentioned I did have a lot of my pictures somehow backed up onto my laptop, but this was not planned. And I did lose any pictures from the last three months that I haven't shared via Instagram. Now I'm investigating options for backing my pictures up regularly. I've used Picassa in the past, but I really don't love it. I'm looking into using iCloud storage or Google Drive. Hopefully they're easier to use. I think I'll also back them up on an external hard drive. Finally, this is a good reminder that it's time to make a family photo book.

Edited to add - I have actually gotten better at this! Here is my post about organizing and backing up digital photos.

5. Prey App - Rob thinks we should now add the Prey Anti-Theft app to our phones. Basically it allows you to remotely control your phone by taking a picture or sounding an alarm. I'm a little on the fence though. I have a little uneasy/creepy/stalker feeling about this app...

So, that was what my week was like last week. Beaucoup stressful!


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Family Photo Shoot - Fall Edition!

Our family pictures tell a story. They're our family autobiography. They tell the story of who we were, who we are, and if we look really close, we can maybe see glimpses of who we will become.  One picture can instantly remind me of what it felt like to hold S as a newborn. Another can take me back to the memories of his first Christmas, his first steps, or a favourite onesie (I always loved the ivory one with the mama and baby giraffes...).

With cameras built into our phones, we have the capacity to build an even stronger bank of memories, to share with others forever if we choose. Pictures can be powerful. They can make us laugh, or bring us to tears. I know I have photos that do both. Maybe that's why I've become more interested in photography recently. Lately, I feel more aware than ever that these moments in life are fleeting. And I want them to last so bad. Part of me wants S. to be little forever. I wish that our pictures could somehow capture the smell of his hair when he was a baby, the way his little 2-year old arms feel when the hug me, the way he mis-pronounces tomorrow as tomano, or the sound of his laugh. But I can't stop him from growing up, so the next best thing is to have a collection of memory-laden photos to keep close to my heart.

Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still. Dorothea Lange

Last year I didn't get around to taking many family pictures before the holidays. This year, I wanted to be sure we got some great photos of our family. Just as fast as he grew beyond babyhood right before my eyes, I feel that the toddler stage will pass just as quickly.

After a little bit of searching online, I found the photographer Joanna Galant. Joanna specializes in baby, children, and family photography. I absolutely loved the photos from her gallery, so I contacted her to book her for a fall photography session.

I sent Joanna the pinterest board I'd been compiling of toddler family photos, and she also made her own board just for me with further inspiration based on the ideas I had shared with her.

We met in High Park at the end of September for our photo shoot. At first Seb was pretty shy, but after a few pictures he warmed up and really enjoyed just playing in the park with all of us.

 Toddler Tips

Clothing: Sebastian is in a phase where he is very particular about what he wears. I introduced the sweater he'd be wearing a few weeks before and encouraged him to wear it so it wasn't a brand new item to fight him into on photo day. His favourite old beat up white runners also "disappeared" the week before photo day, so he'd wear the more neutral navy ones. They were much nicer for our pictures, and then I brought the white sneakers back out the next day.

Bring books: Joanna suggested we bring Seb's favourite toy to the photo shoot. And I'm pretty sure she didn't mean the iPad. So, we brought a few of his favourite books. Rob even sneakily put a few leaves between the pages to encourage him to look like he was reading in the park. I know, I know...A couple of these photos belong right up there with my other Instagram photo lies. Ya ya...Seb's totally reading by himself in the park on a sunny fall day. We do this kind of stuff all the time. #nobigdeal

Bring a Grandma!

It just worked out that Rob's mom was visiting the weekend of our photo session, so we for sure wanted to get some shots of Seb and his avó together. And seriously, the pictures with Rob's mom in them are some of the best ones from the whole session in my opinion. Her love for Sebastian just radiates from her. And he just loves her right back.

One of these pictures will make it onto the holiday photo card I was talking about earlier this week. I think I've picked my favourite, but my friends and family will have to wait until they get their cards to see the final selections ;)

Thanks so much again to Joanna Galant Photography. We are so so so happy with the results of our photo session!