The First Day

14th September 2015


I knew how it was going to go down.  I had prepared myself weeks in advance.

There would be tears and there would be tantrums, and if it was anything like last year his teacher would peel him from my legs and restrain my kicking and screaming son while I left.

I would walk down the hall to the sound of his cries, choking back tears of my own.

“He’ll be fine,” I would tell myself.

I knew he would be.

But that’s not how it happened.

We walked him to his classroom and helped him hang up his backpack and find his cubby. Nathan (who I had begged to take the day off, “just in case”!)  held Topher’s hand as he spun around us in circles.

Then it was time.

We each gave him a hug and a kiss, squished together for one last family hug –

And that was it.

Topher ran off to line up with his class.

With one final wave, he was gone.

Off to kindergarten.

No tears.

No tantrums.

Just a brave little boy, ready to face the adventure of growing up.

I was surprised – and a little bit saddened! – by his independence …

But isn’t that what we want for our kids?

When I strapped Ellie into her carseat I heard a little sniffle.  “Are you okay?” I asked, peering into her face.  Through the shadows I saw a single tear trickle down her cheek.  “I miss Topher,” was her wobbly response.

Me too, babe.  Me too.

Make Over Your Mornings

25th August 2015


I’ve never been a morning person.


It takes three alarms to get me out of bed before 7:15 a.m. – and that’s with my husband turning on the light, pulling off the blankets, and letting our hyperactive cockapoo loose on the bed.

Mornings have never been my thing …

Until this summer.

In June I signed up for Crystal Paine’s Make Over Your Mornings course.  It’s a 14-day online course that teaches you how to do mornings well.  It’s not about getting up early, it’s about making the first few hours of your day count.

Topics covered include:

  • Discovering why a well-planned morning revolutionizes your whole day
  • Establishing bedtime routines
  • Designing a morning routine centered on your biggest priorities
  • Goal-setting
  • Creating internal and external motivators
  • Establishing accountability
  • Battling lies
  • Building stamina when things get tough

I used to crawl out of bed, pull on my hoodie, and walk around the kitchen in a fog for the first hours of my day while the kids (and dog) ran wild.  Now I get out of bed with the first alarm – often before my husband is even stirring! – and head outside for an early morning walk with Chloe.  Then we curl up on the couch – me with my Bible and my journal, her with a dog biscuit – and wait for the rest of the house to wake up.

Mornings are now the time of day that I most look forward to.  

The course takes 15 minutes a day and includes a short chapter to read, a video to watch, and a project to complete.

I can’t say enough good things about Make Over Your Mornings – it really has revolutionized my day!  I’ve been slowly been setting the alarm earlier and earlier – my goal is to eventually be able to wake up early enough to get in some quality writing time during those early hours, since the rest of my day is so full.

TODAY THE COURSE IS ON SALE FOR $10 – and is also the last day it will be offered at this sale price until 2016.   Buy it here.  

* I am not in any way affiliated with Crystal Paine, Money Saving Mom, or Make Over Your Mornings.  I have not been compensated in any way for this review:  I just really benefited from this course and think you will too!

Love & Gratitude // 2

23rd August 2015


[Image Source]

I woke up last Monday to a chill in the air.  Even though I’m holding out for at least a few more days of warm weather, I’m beginning to come to terms with the fact that fall is just around the corner.  I wore jeans five days this week and took the dog for a walk wearing a winter jacket and toque.  IN AUGUST.  


I usually love fall but this year – much like last! – I’m trying to hold on to summer as tightly as I can.   This year, fall means kindergarten.   Topher is looking forward to it:  He has two friends in his class, and his teacher was Nathan’s kindergarten teacher – which is “the coolest thing ever!!” when you’re five.  I’m not looking forward to it nearly as much!  Change is not my friend.  

I’m still trying to focus on the good – so here is my love & gratitude for this week:


We always document the firsts but never remember the lasts.  A mom asks a simple question:  When Did I Last Wash Her Hair?

This post was especially meaningful to me this week:  Why Its So Important to Do What You Love.  There’s more to life than money.  When you do what you love, everything else falls into place.  

As hard as I’ve been trying to freeze time and keep him little forever, Topher starts kindergarten in just over two weeks.  I’m positive that I will be an emotional mess!  I loved this post:  To My Fellow Moms, on the First Day of Kindergarten.

Maybe it’s just my economics background, but I love reading about financial planning.  In the past four years Nathan and I have paid off all of our debt apart from our mortgage, purchased a new (to us) car with cash, and saved $30 000.  How?  Check out these  8 Countercultural Decisions to Find Financial Freedom.

I know most of my readers aren’t horse nuts like I am, but I really enjoyed reading about How a 10-Year-Old Trains Her Just Broke Horses.  Probably because my start in the saddle was very similar!

I’m a big fan of Emily P. Freeman, and I can’t wait to read her latest book, “Simply Tuesday”.  (Hurry up, Amazon!  Your shipping is SO slow!)  I loved her post, Let’s Keep Tuesday Simple: More Heart, Less Hurry.


Kind and patient teachers.  Topher just finished two weeks of swimming lessons – and he earned his badge!  The last time he was enrolled in a class he refused to get in the water at all, so the fact that he passed is a HUGE deal.  Nathan and I were ecstatic that he got in the pool – the badge is just the icing on the cake!

Wheels.  Nathan and I bought a new-to-us vehicle this week – a 2009 Toyota Matrix.  We’ve been a one car family for the past five years so it’s a huge change!   The kids and I don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn if we need the car during the day –  and our days feel two hours longer as a result, since we don’t need to drop Nathan off or pick him up!    I know we could have made one vehicle work but since Topher’s school is in a different neighbourhood (an hour away by bus, 8 minutes by car) – we decided to make the investment.  Having a second vehicle means we can broaden our search for a house as well, since we’re no longer bound to the neighbourhood the elementary school is in.  Most of all, though, to me, it means FREEDOM!!

Hot chocolate.  Fall is approaching, and with the drop in temperatures in Edmonton this week I’ve been very appreciative of our comfy couch, warm blankets, and a cup of hot chocolate.  Both Topher and Ellie are big fans of hot chocolate as well – they typically swarm me as soon as they see me holding a mug!  “Can I have some, Mommy?  Can I?  Please?”

What were you grateful for this week? 

On Being Brave

21st August 2015


The photo above popped up on a friend’s Facebook feed earlier this week and the words have been stuck in my head ever since.

I haven’t been writing much lately.  

I blame work.  I want to write – I love to write! – but it’s so much easier to push the job I love (that earns me pennies) to the side to concentrate on the job that earns me a living.

I blame my to-do list.  I can’t stand a messy house so instead of using Topher’s hour of Quiet Time to write, I spend it cleaning the kitchen, scrubbing the floor, or purging the hall closet.

Sometimes I even blame the kids.  On the rare occasion that I actually have an evening off, I’m too tired.  Our days are full and my brain is completely fried by the time I’ve tucked them in for the sixteenth time.  I don’t want to think about anything at that point so I crash on the couch in front of the TV.

I do have to work, I do have to keep my house somewhat tidy, and I love spending time with my kids –

So I can’t blame those things.

The truth of the matter is that I am my own biggest obstacle.

I’m afraid to write.  

I’m afraid to be vulnerable.

I’m afraid to put myself out there.

I’m afraid of criticism and rejection.

I’m afraid of failure …

And I’m afraid of change. 

I’m at the point where I need to get over myself and just jump in.

I need to be braver.



Make sure that the obstacle in your way isn’t you.

Art Gallery

19th August 2015


Our half bath is my favourite room in our entire house.  I call it my happy place.  It’s the only room that is decorated to the point that I would actually call it “finished” – with an ocean theme that reminds me of New Brunswick.  It’s also always clean, since we rarely use that particular bathroom – and it doesn’t hurt that there’s a lock on the door so I can barricade myself in to hide from my two sidekicks!

This afternoon Topher asked me if I wanted to see his art gallery.  He had been exceptionally quiet during his quiet time so I was interested to see what he had been up to.  He took me by the hand and led me through the closet into the bathroom.

“Look, Mommy!” he said proudly, waiting for my reaction.

He had gone through my pile of horse magazines and torn out page after page, carefully selecting pictures of the horses he deems “pretty” (mostly grays.  Who wants a gray horse?  They stain so easily!) – cutting around them and taping them onto pieces of white paper.

“This one’s for you!” he said, bending over to remove one from the stack.  “This one’s for Daddy, and this one’s for Ellie!”

The bathroom was a mess.

Pages had been torn out of magazines and crumpled into balls.    There were little bits of paper everywhere, and pieces of tape were attached to every available surface.

I was in my happy place, but I was not happy.


Topher didn’t know that I had been saving those particular magazines.   (I write about horses, so I keep back issues of certain publications to reference.)  He saw me cutting pictures out of magazines months ago, when I was working on my vision board, and he thought it looked like a fun project.


I was upset …. but thanks to years of watching Daniel Tiger, I took a deep breath and counted to four.  And then I sighed.


The magazines had been important to me – but not as important as Topher.

Bathrooms can be cleaned.

Magazine articles can be found online.

But words spoken, especially in anger and frustration, cannot be erased.


So I hugged my little artist, and thanked him for the masterpiece he had presented to me.

Then I knelt down beside him and reached for a magazine.  “Grays are pretty, bud,” I told him.  “But seriously?  Bays hide dirt much better …”