Hang In There Mamas… Christmas Is Almost Here

We are so close to Christmas mamas! 

Just a little reminder… if your kids are all hyped up and having extra meltdowns and are fighting with each other more than usual, that’s totally normal leading up to Christmas (and Halloween and birthdays).

It took me a few years of parenting to see this pattern, but once I did and realized most kids get like this leading up to an exciting holiday or event I totally relaxed.. and popped in my AirPods and poured myself a glass of wine. 

We’ve got this, hang in there! 

Are you doing anything for you?

Over the holidays you are going to be giving a lot of yourself! You don’t have to burn out. Remember to carve out time for you, and in turn everyone around you will get a better version of you!

Have you been following along on my CrossFit journey on Instagram? I have been sharing my new life-changing fitness journey and how much it has impacted all aspects of my life.

I encourage you to make time to do something for yourself in 2020, because you will never just find time.

You deserve it!

You can follow my journey on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Pinterest!

I was chronically busy and it had to stop

busy mom

“How are you?” a friend asked me at a conference a couple weeks ago. I could feel an inner push and pull as to how to answer this question. I had just checked into the hotel and was crossing the threshold from frantically getting deadlines done, making lunches, breaking up my kids’ fights, and keeping my home afloat, to two days away, to take a minute, reflect and reassess.

“Truthfully,” I started, “I’m burnt out.” I immediately felt guilt bubble up inside of me, scolding me for complaining about life, when I had it so good on paper. My business was booming, my kids were healthy and doing well in school, my marriage was solid and my house was in the midst of getting much needed upgrades and renovations.

But then if you scraped just below the surface, you’d see that my work was so busy that I was neglecting myself and my kids, leaving my body feeling tired and out of sorts, and my kids edgy and vying for my attention. Although date night was keeping my marriage copacetic, Mike and I have been craving more day to day free time to play with our kids and be intimate with each other.

And then there’s our house, oh our house… every room told a story. Whether it was my dining room table, unrecognizable under the boxes of products, random fall and Christmas decor scattered throughout leftover from hosting and filming videos, or my seven-year-old daughter’s room, so messy it was begging for little critters to find it, each room was screaming “I NEED ATTENTION.”

As I continued answering my friend’s harmless question, I heard myself robotically say, “works crazy, and life is a bit off balance, but that’s a good problem, right?” a nervous giggle followed.

“Not always,” she replied.

As I sat in on inspiring panels, and delighted in a mid-afternoon nap, (which only happens when I am away at conferences), it became clear what I had to do going home.

I had to fight for balance.

Balance, less stress, less frantic, how ever you want to put it, wasn’t going to walk up to me one day and say, I’m here! No, it was up to me to fiercely fight for time and to create a life which is less busy, but more manageable and healthy.

So, how am I going to fight for what I so desperately need?

I am going to say no.

I have a lot on my plate between now and Christmas. Social gatherings and work commitments and piling on top of each other. Now, it’s one thing to properly tackle what you have committed to. It’s another thing to close the flood gates and say, “I’m at capacity.”

I am going to drop perfection.

I can tend to have this personality that is very all or nothing. As a kid and teenager it made me tip into the “I don’t care” category, leaving me failing classes and skipping school. But as an adult, it’s tipped the other way. Perfection with work, neglect with myself and home. I will leave a little on the table when it comes to work. Know that I am putting my heart into everything, but quitting the second guessing and the tinkering and just get on with it.

I will make plans.

We’ve booked a BIG vacation. I will document it all, don’t you worry. But what this has done has created a hard end date to my busy schedule. I will take time off a hit the reset button coming back.

I will stop wasting time.

I know, I was squeezing them lemon pretty hard. But guess what? I have been setting my alarm pretty early each morning and doing a pathetic workout and playing on my phone. But today was different. I went to a 6am fitness class where I was held accountable and phones were not allowed. I plan to go to these classes every weekday.

I will stick to my work hours.

Although I may have to still do some work on the weekends due to the nature of the projects I am working on, I will stop working after my kids get home from school and shift into mom-mode. Even if I am not entertaining them, (which isn’t my job), I can be a listening ear while prepping a healthy dinner, making lunches, or tidying up. Actually my kids seem happiest when I am occupied with mom tasks instead of sitting at my desk, shut away in my office.

It’s been a week now since pledging these changes to myself amidst this busy season, and I am happy to report that the “frantic” is gone. Life feels more manageable. I will never get it 100%, but who does? What matters is a calm has come over me and my family. We have slowed down. That burnt out feeling has dissipated.

I am fighting for balance.



Week two of school and the honeymoon is over

Hiding from my kids

Yesterday at 6pm I had enough. I had a decision to make, either I let the tears come, as I felt them bubble to the surface, hot behind my eyes, or I just walk away and hide from my family.

I chose to walk away.

I put down the cooked chicken I was cradling in my hands, turned and walked out of my kitchen, away from my family. I was careful to be soft on my feet as I went upstairs, so that it was clear that I wasn’t angry at my kids or my husband, I just needed a minute. I walked along my hall ignoring toys scattered around me, through my bedroom, past the laundry basket of my clean clothes that I hadn’t had time to put away and straight into my bathroom, locking the door behind me.

I gathered up some towels, making a comfy-enough nest on the ground and collapsed into the quietness.

About twenty minutes later, after some much-needed, mindless scrolling through my phone and realized that my towel nest wasn’t protecting my sensitive (birthed four kids and twins) hips from the cold tile floor very well. So I hoisted myself up and went back downstairs determined to make it through the school night.

What had led up to this point?

It was a combination of things… our dog escaping and running down the street before taking our kids to school, meltdown after meltdown from our twins after school, the many forms that I had to fill out which seemed to be coming home daily, the lunches to make, the kids to dress, the playdates to organize, the evening chats about friends, the bedtimes…

On top of it all I was now juggling less work hours during the day with more deadlines than ever flowing in.

But, it was the chicken that was my tipping point. Remember the chicken?

Earlier that day I had ignored my messy house around me and proudly stared at our rare, empty sink without even one dirty dish in it. I had decided to go pick up a pre-made chicken from the grocery store to avoid new dirty dishes. Well, because it was earlier in the day, I had to refrigerate the cooked chicken, and when Mike arrived home, and I was completely spent, he made a comment about me refrigerating it, which to him wasn’t ideal.

Ughhhh…. I was done.

I am writing this the next day, a new day. Although I still feel spread too thin, and I am bracing for the after school chaos, I am determined to figure out our new normal. I know that this is the hard part, and we have to figure out how we can swing this and what our rhythm will be. But I know we will get there.

So if you are in the second week of school trenches with me, hang in the mama, and don’t forget, it is okay to take a few quiet minutes for yourself.

I’m actually enjoying Christmas vacation… well, so far

toddler playing with doll

I am a routine freak. I don’t try to hide it. I need my routine. When pulled out of it, even for a weekend, I unravel.

But here I am, Thursday December 28th, and I am intact, mentally sound, and have not crumbled. Not even during the three straight days of family events, (some with two events per day). Nope, I’m as cool as a cucumber over here.

At least for now.

Maybe this is the sign of the times. I have emerged from the baby haze and can actually cope with life. Okay, okay, our twins went back to full-time daycare yesterday, so maybe I am cheating just a little. But hey, I have learned what works for our family, and I am taking full advantage of childcare so that Mike and I can spend some rare one-on-one time with our big kids.

Christmas morning

Despite the plethora of toys our kids were given for Christmas, I have still heard, “I’m bored,” already at least ten times. My response… saying you’re bored buys you a ticket to play in the mounds of snow in our backyard. This redirects them pretty quickly, especially since it is -23° C outside here in Canada.

So, I survived Christmas. It was pretty great actually, despite some kids getting over colds, and Beau having a bad fall on Christmas morning. It was mostly magical. I’ve added our last couple vlogs below in case you want to catch up on our Christmas vacation.

Fingers crossed I keep going with the flow, and can survive the next week. But for now I am going to enjoy the all-day pj rule, the midday movie outings (we saw Wonder today, it was incredible), and Mike and my evening movie dates enjoying our new basement home theatre.

kids playing

I hope you are surviving the holidays too, and are finding the unstructured days manageable. Fingers crossed!

Transforming our cookie-cutter home into our dream home : A basement renovation and Christmas

Christmas mantle

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… Well, kind of. Okay, maybe in some rooms. Just don’t look in the rooms that still have fall decor up and random bins hanging around.


Over of the past three years, Mike and I debated back and forth if we should move. We wanted to settle into our forever home, (which I consider is at least ten years). We almost moved twice, but last minute something didn’t feel right.

As the years passed, our kids settled into their school, we put more and more roots into our town, and as we watched the housing prices sky rocket in Southern Ontario, we started to appreciate our big, suburban home with a decent sized yard.

We also came to terms with the fact that we may not be the people who could keep up with acres of land, (which we were considering), and what we have was perfect for our family.

So, we made the decision to take our home, which is a cookie-cutter, builder home and completely customize it to become our dream home. To do this we are flipping some rooms around, letting our imaginations run wild and getting really creative with typical spaces. We love home, and would describe ourselves as homebodies, so it makes sense to invest in the place where we spend 99% of our time.

First on our dream home to-do list… we are finishing our basement.

I cannot wait to share this project with you, which adds another third of space to our home.

You guys. We have been in the midst of our basement renovation since June and it has been tough.

Let me add a little disclaimer here.

Disclaimer: I get that people with real problems would love to trade and live through a renovation. 

I get it.

In fact, our family has had our own stressful moments lately. Don’t worry, we are okay. Just life, which no one is immune to.

But adding a layer of renovation to life with four kids has been hard. Between most of our kids’ toys being held hostage in our basement storage rooms, the rest of our house being turned upside-down, storing random stuff in each room and how much of Mike and my time it is taking just to keep things moving… it’s a lot.

Finally yesterday we fired our unreliable contractor and our wonderful brother-in-law, (well, technically my sister’s longtime boyfriend, but he’s like my brother), has stepped in to take our renovation across the finish line.

Spaceshape designs

Matt, our hero, sanding our drywall. Follow him on Instagram: @spaceshape_design

Insert praise hands.

The end is in sight. It will be so worth it. That’s what I tell myself everyday, (as I wipe a layer of drywall dust from my desk).

basement renovation

Shiplap: Metrie.com

basement hallway

This new space is going to be a game-changer for our family. Once we have this extra playroom/home theatre for our kids, I think the rest of our projects will be a little easier to live through.

I cannot wait to continue sharing our journey as we transform our cookie-cutter suburban home into exactly what we want for our family.

P.S. Wish me luck that we can find our elf-on-the-shelf tonight!