Mid-level Mom

April 25th. 9:30 p.m. The girls are in bed and I’m sitting here considering the end of our April birthday blitz.

Violet, who has to wait another 3 months for her big day, is certainly not finding it too fair that her sisters are getting all this attention, this money, these gifts – while she is told her turn will come soon enough. But it will – too soon.

Tonight we had our traditional restaurant supper at a local favourite (family friendly) spot for Meaghan’s eighth birthday.   Almost exactly two weeks ago we were trying a new place because Layla decided she really wanted sushi for her tenth birthday.

By the time July roles around, I will have a five year old, an eight year old and a ten year old. My oldest is ten. TEN. My youngest will start school next fall. It feels like we’re entering a very new phase of this parenting/family gig. Continue reading

Always growing

I’ve recently had a few good reminders that I don’t know it all. I can’t do everything 100%. I have more to learn, more stretching, more strengthening and more growing to do.

At 35, I am young enough to still be considered young (particularly by my doctors or my children’s  teachers) but I’m old enough and have lived enough… that I know I’m really a grown up now. Like for real. And as I’ve  “grown up” and lived different life experiences (as an individual, a friend, a wife, a mother, a daughter, an employee, a boss, a colleague… etc.) I have also gained some measure of perspective and confidence.

I worry less (at least a little) what others think, I am becoming more and more sure of who I am, and more inclined to stand up for what I feel is right. I also, for whatever reason,  actually feel more attractive and dareIsayit “sexy” than I did in my 20s (before 3 kids and stretchmarks and early white hairs and wrinkles…) when I really should have been like “damn, I look good!”.  Go figure. Aint hindsight 20-20.

But; despite all I’ve learned, all the “tools” I’ve acquired to navigate through life’s ups and downs, successes and failures… and all the in between; I’m realizing more and more that life is rarely (if ever) a journey from point a to point b. One where you build up all the experience and knowledge and tools you’ll need to get to a specific destination; and if you do things just right, you’ll get there, safe and sound. Continue reading

Winter: you don’t own me (anymore)

cropped-20161023_092800.jpgThis week I finally completed the yoga challenge (Revolution 31 days) that I started on the first day of 2017. Kind of embarrassing to admit but considering that I did about 25 consecutive days in January, but couldn’t find the motivation to finish until now (among all the other resolutions I set aside during the same time) – it would seem it’s just a symptom of the creeping negativity that high-jacked my  thoughts, drive and motivation through the better part of February.

Do I suffer from the winter blues? Is that even a real thing? Come on Andrea. Take control. Snap out of it. Sigh. Before I go on, I’m not saying it was all bad. There are lots of happy moments, laughter and good memories from this winter, but my spirit – sometimes for real reasons, sometimes for no reason – just kept “slumping”. Continue reading

Politics, a carnaval and intro to lice

This next post was supposed to be a bit lighter after a family weekend in Québec city. Alas… the public events of the last week or so have left me disturbed, frustrated and… grateful for my ordinary life.

I have kept my political views and opinions relatively quiet because, honestly, I still don’t really understand how what is happening is actually happening. I  opted not to share pictures and updates on social media of our family adventures, challenges and mishaps over the weekend because it felt wrong  to be focusing  on everyday ups and downs with everything else that was happening.

The simple excitement of a family getaway… of staying in a hotel with elevators, a pool and continental breakfast, of spending too much on a poutine supper, waiting in line to slide, failing miserably at axe throwing, watching Layla ride a mechanical bull (or moose?), watching Trolls in our hotel room, exploring the Quebec aquarium, meeting Boris the walrus and petting the sting rays…

The stress of finding lice in one of the girls’ hair at said-hotel a few hours after arriving and turning into a crazy person because this is what I’ve dreaded and feared since they started school… and how the heck do we take care of it… at a hotel?!

And then chastising myself for being so upset about something so trivial and mundane when… well… when…!!

And then soon after arriving safe at home and going on a hot water laundry and cleaning frenzy, I read about the shootings at the mosque in Quebec. Everything slowed down a little. What? No. Why?

My heart breaks for the families, for the community, for my Muslim friends…but also for the young man and his family… and all the people who can’t seem to see that our multiculturalism, our differences, and our many commonalities despite those differences, make us better, stronger, richer. That our differences don’t pit us against each other.

Like many, I am deeply concerned about what the future holds. I wonder how we heal, connect, prosper and avoid disaster as we move forward.I wonder how our country will be affected by the policies and deep division of our powerful neighbours across the border. I wonder how we teach our children – the next generation – to be critical thinkers, and wary of strangers, but not to be afraid, fearful or judgemental.

And the lice… well they still bug me (no pun intended). And I’ll keep searching the girls’ hair to make sure they’re gone, probably for weeks to come. But in the grand scheme of things, if this is my  small burden to bear this weekend, this week or this month… it’s pretty insignificant. I am blessed. I am lucky. I am privileged. I am fortunate.

 

Building strength and letting go

With the beginning of the new year, a friend – who I’d been chatting with about resolutions – sent me a link to Yoga with Adriene‘s 31-day revolution along with an excited “I’m doing this!”. I hesitated for a second and then, thinking, “what have I got to lose?” signed up too.I have about 10 resolutions this year, so why not add another?!

I’m pretty happy to say that I’ve made it to day 17 and only missed one day of practice (for a massage…yes. a massage!!) It’s been surprisingly easy to make it back to my mat every day. But I won’t lie. Some days are easier than others. And not just the “getting there” part.

Is that just a yoga thing?  or maybe just a human thing… 😉

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A new me: building on all I’ve learned

 

2017 is a year of new beginnings for me in more ways that one.

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Running late. Or just running.

Last week I wrapped things up at the organization where I’ve been working since last May. I was taking advantage of an opportunity to work somewhere else, take on different responsibilities and gain experience that I couldn’t get where I was. It was quite the ride and I’m very grateful for the challenges, the lessons, and the team that welcomed me (like really welcomed me). I worked hard, I laughed, I struggled, I grew…. and I felt very appreciated, professionally and personally, by those around me along the way. It wasn’t always easy, but it was definitely rewarding.

Tomorrow, I go back to my former agency. The place where I’ve worked since (and during) my undergraduate studies. I’ll be re-integrating into a team and organization that I know well… but I’ll  be starting a new job, taking on a new role, with different responsibilities.

When I left last May, I was nervous, but that seemed normal. While I’d taken on development opportunities before and have consistently welcomed new challenges throughout my career, this was really the first time I was stepping outside the world that I knew. Outside my comfort zone. It was hard to leave.

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To new beginnings

It’s a new year.  Again. Typically a time to reflect on where we’ve been and set new goals to help continue the process of becoming a more authentic and better version of ourselves.  I’m into accepting and learning to truly love who I am these days, but there’s always room for a little self-improvement and refocusing. 

Two questions from dear friends this past week have brought me to start writing today.

 1:  “So Andrea… top 5 goals for 2017?”

Hmmm… despite anticipating the New Year and new beginnings, I hadn’t really thought about tangible, (measurable) goals. But okay. I naturally started with goals for “more of”. For instance, I want to: 

  • be MORE active (I’m on day 3 of yogarevolution and  toying with the idea of signing up for a 5 km with my bestie)
  • read MORE (of everything – factual, inspirational, self-help, novels… maybe start that book club I’ve been wishing for?)
  • have MORE fun (i.e. skiing, playing silly board games and going on mini adventures with the kids, going on more dates and having more sex with my B, and spending more time sharing and laughing with friends)
  • save MORE money (or spend less?!)

… and that’s kind of where I left off.

Then she asks: “And what about writing again?” and proceeds to encourage me to do so. And the wheels started  to turn.

 2: “What’s your word for 2017?”

Confusion. My word? Yes. A word to describe my intention for the coming year. Hmm. For my friend it was contentment, for her sister it was acceptance. I struggled to find a word that would reflect my desire to come out of the heaviness that characterised 2016; and to grow and bloom right where I am while building upon the many lessons I learned this past year. 

I couldn’t put my finger on it right away. But the next day, another friend wished me a “gentle” new year and just like that, my word for 2017 was named:  “gentleness”.  Not less, not more, not free of challenge or effort… but softer and gentler. It reads weirdly when I write it out… but it makes sense it my head.

 So now what?

And somehow this all comes together to bring me back here, to AOK, to write again. No doubt the encouragement to do so is a strong motivator. But so is the desire for gentleness (and personal growth and healing).

I abandoned blogging (and any form of personal writing) over the last few years. Not because I was lacking inspiration or things to write about, but because life got busy (as it tends to) and complicated. It became harder to make the time and more difficult to decide what to write about.  But that’s so…  2016 (!)

It’s now time to get back to writing out my thoughts and ideas. These are often complex, intertwined and somewhat (or very) messy. At times, you might even think there’s a ping pong ball bouncing around in my head making the strangest links between different things.  I kid you not.
However, the process of putting them in black and white helps me sift through, analyze, find links, accept, learn, remember and celebrate this life I have. 
I have no specific goals for frequency or subjects to write about.  I’m just going to start. Gently. One day, one week, one month at a time. Sometimes here. Sometimes in a private journal.  And we’ll see where it takes me.
Here’s to a happy and gentle 2017.
A. 

Sweet Vi is Two… and a bit…

I started writing this back in the summer… just around the time of Violet’s Birthday. Alas… life got busy and true to all the tales of how the third child gets a little less “attention”… I am only now (finally) taking a moment to complete this little narrative “snapshot” of just how uber cute and wonderful (and mischievous) Miss Vi is at two years old…

To my sweet baby girl,

All too often I find myseIMG_0873lf sheepishly grinning; shrugging and saying “third child” to excuse or explain the fact that I am more permissive or less cautious… less concerned… or dare I say it… increasingly lazy (!) than I was when your older sisters were your age. As a case in point, it would have been all too easy to let your 2nd birthday pass without taking the time to sit down to consider, reflect on and attempt to put into words (and somehow freeze in time) the way that you are today, at two, and what you bring into our lives that is special, funny, sweet and uniquely… “Violet”.  Continue reading

The words escape me…

I want to write again.

It seems like a pretty simple thing, no?

The problem is… every time I sit down and start working on a post my thoughts go in a million different directions. Family, love, religion, school, friendships, success, career, struggles, exercise, food, fashion, home decor, wine,… what to do with all this bloody Easter chocolate that there is no way I’m letting the girls eat every last bite of… no seriously, what do I do with it?  Continue reading

So late… no Christmas cards this year…

To our family and friends:

I prepared this holiday letter on Christmas Eve, but mailing it out in Christmas cards after New Years seems a little ridiculous. Please forgive us for our “neglect” this year… on a positive note, most of my envelopes are already addressed for next year (as long as I don’t lose them between now and then…)!

Happy New Year to you all – may 2014 be a wonderful and memorable year!

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Merry “Belated” Christmas!

December 2013 (and just maybe the months leading up to it…!) was slightly nuts for our little family and as a result; we’re behind in just about everything Christmas/holiday related (sigh…whatch’ya gonna do, right?). Although we know there’s little to no chance we’ll actually get our Christmas cards our before gifts have been opened, leftovers are all eaten up and you’ve had the chance to take advantage of some of those post-holiday sales, we still wanted to take a little moment to let you know that we’re thinking about you… (and that despite evidence that may indicate otherwise, we have been thinking about you) and give you a run down on the highlights of the past year.

It doesn’t really need to be said again but WOW TIME FLIES! This time last year Andrea was at home, Violet was just barely 5 months old, Layla and Meaghan were getting used to a new school and a new daycare, we had an old and (as it turned out) very sick pup, our basement had just flooded with sewage (gag) and there was a wall separating our kitchen and living room. This and more has changed since then. What…A… Year…

Through the ups and downs, the activities and renovations and brilliant ideas (okay…so they aren’t all brilliant….) we really make an effort to regularly take a step back and appreciate the many many many things we have to be thankful for. Did I say many? I meant it. Life is not always perfect and we don’t always have everything we’d like or the way we’d like it… but we have so much more than we need and a whole lot of the most important things in life with cuddles and giggles and little grimy hands reaching and grabbing at us – reminding us to try harder to be present. to be better. for them. Enjoying the journey, right? Right. Easier said than done – but certainly a worthy objective!

Some highlights from the last year… and maybe a couple of lows (sigh… just keeping it real) 2013 actually started on a bit of a downer. Over the holidays, our basement flooded (gag… again) and we quite unexpectedly lost our first dog, Reuben. Brutal (Losing Reuben, that is. The flood sucked, for sure, but losing the dog was way harder than we ever would have imagined).  As difficult as it was at the time, we pulled through and moved on. 555815_10151474637576217_495864433_nBefore you know it, we had a crazy little puppy, Quinn, running around our newly renovated basement. As much as a special (spazy!) dog like Reuben was irreplaceable, Quinn, who just recently turned one, has turned out to be a really great dog.    And we took advantage of the basement situation to downsize the “Rodgers zoo” (score for Andrea!). The rest of the winter seems uneventful in comparison but we benefited from Brandon’s 5 weeks of paternity leave (which in typical Brandon fashion, was used more to care for the new puppy), lazy days at home and the cottage and Andrea finally got into a workout routine that worked for her (seems like small news, but it changed her life!) and discovered the Looneyspoons Collection cookbook (absolutely fantastic!!!)

With the arrival of spring came numerous projects (some more necessary than others of course) and the countdown to our much-anticipated summer off all together. The best renovation projects from the spring/summer have to be the addition to the mezzanine at the cottage and the new deck at home. Both of which were realized by Brandon and his Dad. What a team!

582345_10151951978296217_1642385809_nThe summer… was incredible :)… and it went by so fast 😦

We thoroughly enjoyed the cottage, discovered how wonderfully content a campfire can make Andrea, found a hidden path to explore and spent lots of time looking for frogs and other critters. We took advantage of the intensive outdoor swimming lessons and spent hours and hours at the soccer field with both Layla and Meaghan playing this year. The summer FLEW by, but by the time school was starting up again, we were all ready for a little routine in our lives. To say we got more than we bargained for us an understatement…

Ooof… Change is great. I love it. But too much change at the same time is… really really difficult (to put it simply!). The fall hit us all pretty hard as our weeks filled up with various responsibilities, commitments, activities and events… oh… and more renovations (of course!)…

Brandon went back to work and continued working towards his masters’ degree in teaching. He prepared (weekly tutoring) and studied for the infamous and very difficult “French test” that is required for him to receive his diploma (which we just found out he passed – with a high enough percentage to teach French! Bravo!). He also kept up his regular exercise and continued playing in a weekly basketball league… among other things.

1013924_10151750423136217_759018254_nLayla started grade 1 (and we said hello to homework in the evenings. um. not fun.). It is incredible to see her learning so much and we’re both thrilled and proud that she’s doing so well in school – and especially math! Meaghan returned to daycare 3-days/week and is very interested in her sisters homework, trying hard to keep up despite the two-year difference. You wouldn’t know it to look at them though – Meaghan is almost as tall as Layla now and we are asked regularly (by strangers) if they are twins! Violet started going to daycare in September (sniff sniff!) but integrated with ease. Despite the onslaught of germs leading to sickness after sickness over the last few months, we’re confident that she truly enjoys her days playing with other little ones.  The “big girls” also did cheerleading and gymnastics through the fall. They are all growing up way too quickly and although they drive us a little wonky, we’re so proud to often get really positive feedback about how good and sweet and polite they are.  I guess we must be doing something right!

Andrea (who always needs some sort of project – if it’s not a baby on the way, it’s a mountain or… a masters…geez) returned to school and work in September. She thought she had it all worked out quite perfectly… the various pieces of the puzzle falling into place… but once again she learned the important lesson that it is impossible to do everything part-time and do anything very well at all (sigh!). Her first class in over 7 years turned out to be the most challenging class that she had ever taken. Foreign Policy Theory is interesting (to some!) but particularly complex… and introduced her to her first school related all-nighters ever (EVER!) She handed in her term paper on December 19 and is crossing her fingers that next semester will be easier. She’s also still REALLY happy with the kitchen/living room renos that we managed to complete in September/October. That white subway tile backsplash was a real tough job on her weenie arms but it turned out exactly like she was hoping it would!

1468811_10152063166921217_1714347926_nOver the next couple of weeks, we are going to take a step back… and enjoy some much-needed down time with each other. We’re so blessed to have the cottage for that. Meaghan said it best when she said grace before dinner a few weeks back “Dear God, thank you for the food and thank you that it’s Friday because we get to go to the cottage and I love that”. Aw. Needless to say, we are so happy to see that they realize how special it is to get away and enjoy the simplicity of spending time together… away from distractions… away from the hectic… away from the “just wait a minute while I…”. This Christmas (or slightly after!) and in the coming year, we are wishing you all the same in some way or another.

Merry Christmas and Happy 2014. It’s going to be a good one… I can feel it!

With love,

The Rodgers’ Family