Sick kids, self care and why I refuse to let myself fall apart

sick twins

There’s nothing like looking after your kids when they’re feeling sick. As much as it pains me to see my kids suffer from an awful stomach flu, being needed for lots of cuddle time and one-on-one comforting has to be the most rewarding things any parent could feel.

It comes with the territory, while some days your kids will want nothing to do with you as they attempt to establish some sort of autonomy from mom, dad or both (sad, I know). Other days, they’ll find themselves needing no one else in the world besides their parent, and as parents, you’ll want nothing more than the safety, health and happiness of your child to be at 100 percent.

Almost immediately my focus shifts and before I know it I’ve forgotten to shower, eat a decent meal at a reasonable hour and somehow my baggy clothes have managed to take over my wardrobe. With all four kids being sick from the flu, my priorities meant doing whatever needed to be done to get them back to a healthy state. This meant regular check-ups with the doctor, resting periods together and getting the kids’ appetites going.

You may also like, “When the stomach flu hits and 7 tips on how to survive”

Survival mode means doing whatever it takes to get things back into our normal groove. Without intentionally putting things on the back burner, I have a tendency to neglect everything else, (especially myself) the moment I try to gain control of a situation involving our kids.

It was only until I had time to decompress, between waves of kids being sick, did I realize how stressed I really was. Mike had taken over looking after the kids while I set out for a long-awaited manicure appointment. Although I wasn’t aware of it at the time, as I began to relax, my body recognized the huge contrast in experiencing overexertion and feeling a lot less tense.

As the waves of stomach flu continued through all four kids, (man, we have a lot of children), I felt myself becoming drained again and again. Over and over I pressed the reset button, either by sneaking in a quick workout really early in the morning, or nearing the end of the illness, getting a much-needed massage.

I had to make a conscious effort to do both simultaneously, take care of our our kids and take care of myself. Getting things done one after the other just isn’t an option. 

Watch as our weeks of illness unfolded in our home.


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Why I Created A Vision Board For Our Home – Digging Us Out Of Survival Mode: A Series

Home vision boardThe moment we walked through our house I knew I was home. It was ugly. No, really, it was so ugly that it had just been sitting on the market for months. Even when everything else was selling and despite it’s oversized yard. It just sat.

But I didn’t see the ugly dark brown and navy paint everywhere. I didn’t see the brown laminate counters or the hack job of a zipper-looking backsplash. I saw something entirely different. Something beautiful.

Thank goodness for the large yard, because Mike is so practical, that was what sold him. Otherwise, to Mike this house was a dark (literally) stepping stone to our next home.

I pictured the deck we would build, the lighter paint colours I would choose to highlight the trim and mouldings with, and the personality we would add to the house. But as an Interior Designer (at the time), it was much easier for me to picture this makeover.

Fast-forward almost four years later, and we have accomplished many items on my home-makeover list. In fact, you almost can’t recognize it. It’s bright, it’s happy and it’s home.

After a couple years of living in survival mode and only focusing on our kids’ rooms, but pressing pause on the rest of our home, it was time to put our energy back into the rest of our living space.

I would try my best to describe my vision to Mike, and although most of the time he got it, I could tell he didn’t see the whole picture.

I had a stack of design magazines that I have collected over the years and I would go back to them again and again. Back to my book marked pages to keep my eye on the prize.

Do people even buy magazines anymore? There is something about flipping through a real paper magazine that is heaven to me.

A couple weeks ago I began purging our house and was getting the ball rolling on a few more projects when it hit me… our house needed a vision board, not a design board, a vision board.Home vision board

Okay, maybe what I made can be considered a design board, but it’s more than that. It is our future. It is the vision I have for our family, where we spend 99% of our time.

I grabbed our under-used bulletin board I keep in our kitchen and my stacks of design magazines and began cutting. By the time I was done I placed what I see as a thing of beauty, back in a prominent space in our kitchen, and just stared at it.Home vision board

When Mike walked into the room and saw what I had done, he agreed with my vision of our home. We were on the same page.

Guess what? Ever since I created a home vision board, Mike (and I, but that goes without saying), has been super motivated. Plans are being made and materials are being sourced. We are both seeing our long-term future in this home.Home vision board

A spark has been lit. We each are working a little harder at our careers, (because we have to pay for all of these ideas somehow), and we are getting the not-so-fun jobs, like cleaning and purging done faster.

Our home’s vision board is our carrot. In fact we spend a lot of time just discussing it, and each time being filled with excitement and motivation.

Home vision board

It can be so hard to resurface from the baby-stage, and a lot of the time, you can loose a bit of your identity. I have learned over the years to not look that this phase as a negative period, but as an exciting time to push reset.

I have reinvented myself three times now, after each of my pregnancies, and it has been so exciting evolving over the years to where I am and who I am now.

We are finished having babies. We have closed up shop. I have entered a phase in my life that won’t be halted by pregnancy. I get to keep on moving.

I cannot wait to share this journey with you.

This post is part of a series: Digging Us Out Of Survival Mode. If you missed the first post, you can read it here: This Is What Happens When You Are Surprised With Twins.

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This Is What Happens When You Are Surprised With Twins – Digging Us Out Of Survival Mode: A Series

twinsIt was inevitable. I had to have seen it coming. But I don’t think I was ever prepared for the magnitude of what was about to happen to our lives.

The weeks leading up to finding out we were expecting twins were marked with unusual fatigue and illness which was peaking my suspicion. At the time I was running my mural painting company and business was booming. I had two large scale murals to paint and from the moment “you are having twins” were spoken by the nurse after my seven week ultrasound, I felt sick.twins ultrasound

I pushed through. I would climb up on my ladder, paint for twenty minutes and then climb down, eat a snack and lay on the carpet (the home-owners were away, thank God) and pray I didn’t throw up. Then I would start the process all over again. This went on for days.


When I would arrive home after a long day of painting I would collapse. Forget the housework, forget cleaning, I needed to rest.

“If I could just make it to the second trimester.” I would often think to myself full of hopeful optimism.

The second trimester came and I felt a little better. My husband Mike, and I had an exciting Vegas trip coming up and I couldn’t wait to get away. As we walked through the doors of Bellagio, I was in awe of the sheer size of our hotel.

As we stood at the counter waiting for our room key, my oversized baby bump was drawing a lot of eyes. Although I was only 17 weeks pregnant, I looked almost full term. I am sure people were thinking that a very pregnant woman in a casino looked a little out of place.pregnant in vegas

After being pointed in the direction to where our room was, we started to make the trek. Now when I say trek, I seriously mean TREK. It was about a ten-minute walk (at least) from the front lobby of the Bellagio to where our room was. That’s when it happened. It felt like someone placed a vice on my belly, and I couldn’t move.

Now, I have heard of Braxton Hicks contractions before, but this was cruel. I quickly sat down in one of the many chairs peppering the long halls in the Bellagio and waited for the searing pain to subside, which, at this point had begun to start shooting down my legs and even through my lady parts.

Las Vegas is a walking city. Here I was unable to walk, or at least walk very far. We made the best of the trip walking short distances, taking cabs and sitting a lot. Mike was very patient and took very good care of me.pregnant in vegas

Upon arriving home, the cleaning, tidying and clutter-clearing continued to wait.

By the third trimester I had completely thrown the towel in. I was living on the couch with a pillow between my knees, barely able to climb the stairs without blacking out. We scraped together what money we could and graciously accepted gifts from family to hire a cleaning company.

We continued to shove, store, and cram the items that needed to be purged, the clothes our kids had grown out of and all of the extra stuff that was slowly becoming noise, occasionally spiking my anxiety.

The day our twins were born, July 24 2014, was the next phase of survival mode. We had now reached the life phase of survival mode. Add on my new business that was gaining steam and I could barely fit any time for me in, especially not time for our house which at this point was screaming “I am busting at the seams.”IMG_1146

To this day, I have felt like I have been keeping a deep, dark secret. Clutter. Most days I have been able to rationalize the noise away, pushing it to the back burner, reminding myself I have bigger fish to fry.IMG_9281

But every once in a while I would gasp, looking around at the mess, the garbage, the stuff, the junk, the crap and feel like I was drowning.

So here I am, weeks away from our twins’ second birthday, and although I know that some days are a sh*t show, I have to admit, we are out of survival mode. It is time to face the mess.

I have made the decision to purge our house. To be ruthless. To make our home a priority.

This is the beginning of a series that I will be continuing… well… on and off until the process is done.

Digging Us Out Of Survival Mode will include my real confessions of mess, of motherhood and survival mode. I will be journaling the purge, my inspiration, some fun home DIY projects and sharing my nesting story both on the blog and on my YouTube channel.

You can follow along by liking Nesting Story on Facebook and subscribing to Nesting Story on YouTube. You can also find me purging our house in real time on Snapchat: nestingstory.

Stay tuned…

The Calm After The Storm

Toddler healing from HFMThe waves have stopped crashing onto us. We are not trying to keep our heads above water anymore and we can finally breathe again.

For the past few weeks we have endured a flat tire, two back injuries, all six of us having the stomach flu and our 18-month-old twins having a horrible case of hand, foot and mouth disease. We were hit hard.

You can read more about our experience with hand, foot and mouth disease on Yummy Mummy Club: Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease: The Illness from Hell

But a week has passed and although we have been left with some scars, it seems like the clouds are parting. scabs healing from HFM

My husband, Mike, and I have been realizing lately, that we haven’t really seemed to be able to move out of survival mode. Not just coming home from our long vacation, or dealing with tons of illness, but long term survival mode. In fact, if we are being really honest, we never shifted out of the phase we entered during my pregnancy with our twins.

Recently, Mike and I have been having a lot of discussions about where we are struggling, both as a unit and as individual people. As far as our relationship and marriage goes, we have a handle on that, thanks to date night and LOTS of communication.

But we have really started to discuss our future, our health, our finances and our happiness, and have had some eye-opening revelations.

Knowing we are finished having children and moving out of the baby phase is really exciting, but also scary. For years we bounced from planning, to pregnancy, to new baby phase and then back to planning for our next. All which gave us the constant excuse to live in survival mode: slack with tidying up, allow clutter to build up, be relaxed with our spending, stay cooped up and let our weight and health slide.

But, we are on the other side now. We are trying to learn how to be responsible, well rounded adults again. We dug ourselves into a survival hole and now we are figuring out how to climb out.

It’s going to take time, but we are on the same page.

What do you call not being in survival mode? Living? Thriving? Routine? All of those sound great to me!Toddler

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