Saturday, January 31, 2015

101 in 1001: Monthly dates with kids

As my family grew from one child to two, then three, then - within 15 months - four, I wondered how I could ever spend enough one-on-one time with each of my children. During the years I was homeschooling them I felt that they certainly had enough quantity time, if perhaps not always quality time. 

Now that they're out at public school and I'm working full-time, the quality and the quantity of the time are important.

I'm enjoying monthly dates with my kids. I'm usually off 2 Saturdays a month and I take them each out for about an hour. We go to Ikea, Tim Horton's, the Library, or even just to run an errand. They love the one-on-one time and that I buy them a little treat. I'm so happy to be doing this. I used to think I had "so many things" to do, but now I realize I don't have anything more important to do than to develop these relationships.

This article from Parents magazine, based on a great book (No Regrets Parenting: Turning Long Days and Short Years Into Cherished Moments With Your Kids, by Dr. Harley Rotbart), has some good ideas on how to spend more quality time with your child. And Club 31 Women has some thoughts on looking after our sons' and daughters' hearts.

What about you? How do you spend time with your children?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Weekly items for 101 in 1001: Nail Care

Weekly nail care routine

People notice well manicured hands more often than one might think. In the business world having beautiful nails adds a degree of professionalism. 

I enjoy getting a good shellac, manicure however my budget requires me to do my nails at home most often. This is also a nice "lady time" activity that I can can enjoy with my daughter.

Products I love:
Avon's green tea cuticle serum - non-oily, absorbs quickly, easy to apply with little spatula.

Avon's Nail Art stickers - good price point, easy to apply and remove, no damage left on nails.

Avon Speed Dry +30 Nail Enamel - with four children and a full-time job, I don't have a lot of time to sit around and let my nails dry. I like that this polish really does dry quickly.

What about you? What are your favourite nail care products?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

101 in 1001: Letters to Papa

One of my "101 in 1001" goals is to write letters to my grandfather, Papa. Since he suffers from Lewy Body Dementia, he won't be reading them... they're just a way for me to express what's on my heart.

It's his birthday today so I'm sharing this letter I wrote earlier this month.

Letters to Papa
January 2015  
Dear Papa,

It has been so long since we've been able to talk together.
When I visit you your eyes are closed. I'm not sure if you can hear me. I greet you saying "Hi Papa, it's Kristina." I touch your arm, I tell you again - "It's Kristina, your granddaughter." Sometimes you move a little, you squint your eyes and I think maybe you're trying to look for me. Can you hear me? Do you know who I am?

You've been in your nursing home since January 2010. I know this because the last thing you did before going in was attend my daughter's dedication. It's interesting how you spent your final days on "the outside." That one of the last things you did was go to church to see your great granddaughter blessed. If there had to be a final act, I suppose it's fitting that it was at church - somewhere that meant so much to you. That one of your final activities was to be present for this blessing.

You have been a blessing to me in my life. From my childhood, to my adolescence, to young adulthood, and now as a woman and parent. When I struggle to understand God's will in all of this, I think there must be something that I'm supposed to learn. I can't make any sense of it otherwise. I keep hoping that I, and others, will figure out what our lesson is. So that you can be free.

Something I've learned, that I already knew, is that people's value doesn't change based on how they can interact with us. You can't greet me, can't joke with me, can't even pat my arm, but you are still my Papa. You are the same Papa who could explain everything to me. The same Papa who let me squeeze into the armchair with him to sit close together. The same Papa who always loved me, and who I always love.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Weekly items for 101 in 1001: Journal

Weekly Journal 

I've been counting my blessings à la 1000 gifts for a while now. I tweet them, post them on Facebook, and write them in a gratitude journal.

The benefits of journaling are well know, having been written about by the Center for Journal TherapyPsych Central,Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, and lifehacker, among others. 

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, journaling can help:

  • Manage anxiety
  • Reduce stress
  • Cope with depression

Journaling helps control your symptoms and improve your mood by:

  • Helping you prioritize problems, fears, and concerns
  • Tracking any symptoms day-to-day so that you can recognize triggers and learn ways to better control them
  • Providing an opportunity for positive self-talk and identifying negative thoughts and behaviors

When you have a problem and you're stressed, keeping a journal can help you identify what’s causing that stress or anxiety. Then, once you’ve identified your stressors, you can work on a plan to resolve the problems and, in turn, reduce stress.

While I may not have time to write in depth journal entries, I can make time to write a sentence a day. That one sentence, when added to others, will give me a good insight into this time in my life. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015


January 10, 2015

My grandfather suffers from Lewy Body Dementia, a disease that affects an estimated 1.3 million individuals and their families in the U.S. He has been in a care facility since January 2010 and his health and mental capacity will only continue to decline until he is free from his body. 

It would be easier not to visit, to try to remember him as he was - a brilliant, powerful man with a great sense of humour. Perhaps he doesn't even know I'm there anyway. But I know. I know that I love my grandfather, that I remember our good times together, that I respect him as the man he once was. I know that staff responsible for his care need to know that he has family watching out for him, asking about skin conditions, ingrown toenails, and other causes of discomfort.

So one of my goals is to visit him every two months. It's not often, but it's better than letting time slip by and forgetting he's still here.