Hawaii honeymoon

My Very Own Name book

When Connor was a few months old, I found these personalized storybooks for kids that spell their names. I thought these were so cool and as he has grown older and realized it’s about his name he pretty much thinks it’s the coolest thing ever.

personalized-name-book

In typical second-child fashion, I neglected to do the same for Ethan and finally decided I had better do it so he doesn’t grow up and think he’s not loved and need therapy. He loves it as well. The idea that there’s a book about his very own name pretty much blew his mind.

reading book at bedtime

These books are from I See Me, and they have these and all kinds of other stories. In these, animals help to spell the child’s name.

my-very-own-name-cover

You can choose which names to include (first, middle, last)…

personalized-name-book-first-name

…and it unfolds as a story.

personalized-storybook

You can also choose a personalized inscription for the front of the book.

i-see-me-message-from-giver

Once you get to the end, there’s a list of all the animals and their letters, and you can have a look through the book to find them all. (You can imagine how much time we have spent doing this.)

animal-encyclopedia

I’ve seen other personalized storybooks but I really like these ones. They’re cute and good quality and less cheezy than others I’ve seen. You can also incorporate your child (including his or her picture) into stories about princesses or pirates or being a big brother or sister, among many others. Great for gift ideas too. (And if you want one right now, you can get free shipping to the US or a $7.95 credit on International and Canadian orders. Valid to July 8, 2015.)

Have you got personalized books for your children? What do they think about them?

I See Me gave me the book for Ethan because I asked them to and they’re awesome and wanted to help me share their books with you.

Where’s Pluto?

So, it turns out that if you put a diaper with Pluto on the bum on your two-year-old he will turn around like a dog chasing his tail trying to see it.

We’re trying some Huggies Little Movers Plus diapers and Ethan trying so desperately to see his bum made me laugh so I thought I’d share my terribly amateur video with you. (I’m going to miss the baby-bum-in-a-diaper phase…if he ever decides to potty train, that is.)

And look, there’s Mickey too!

Mickey

Love his little poochy tummy. :)

Here are the designs – sure to be loved by other Mickey-loving toddlers too. (These ones are available only at Costco.)

Huggies-Little-Movers-designs-Mickey-Pluto

Huggies-Little-Movers-designs-Mickey-Pluto2

Disclosure: I’m a Huggies ambassador and was compensated for this post, but all opinions (including those about baby bums) are my own.

RapidLash experiment + giveaway!

Did I ever tell you about the time I got my eyelashes dyed and it burned my eyes so much I thought I was going to go blind? I lay there with my eyes closed and wondered where the “esthetician” (yes those are air quotes) had gone and how long it would take me to go blind. Not my finest hour, but I didn’t go blind and I did quite like the effect.

I’ve always liked my eyes – regardless of what body part I have a hate-on for at any particular moment I at least appreciate having nice eyes. (Thanks, Mom.) What I don’t like is that my eyelashes are really light and sort of disappear if I’m not wearing makeup (hence the vain attempt at dyeing them). Ethan took this picture of me and I like it mostly because of my eyes.

portrait of my eye

A woman I work with has eyelash extensions right now, and if you had told me that was an option before I saw them I would have been skeptical, but they are seriously awesome.

It’s possible that I spend too much time thinking about eyelashes.

But I’m still at it because right now I’m giving RapidLash a try. It’s a serum for lashes and brows that promotes the overall health of lash and brow hair (which sounds much better than any vain reason I could give you for trying it). The idea is to strengthen and lengthen brows and lashes (and my brows definitely need some help).

RapidLash eye serum
I got it at Shoppers Drug Mart and felt a bit like an idiot because I wasn’t sure where to look for it and asked the clerk right as I noticed where it was, which was totally obvious. She was very nice about it. It has vitamins, minerals and moisturizing agents (which all sounds pretty good) and peptides (I don’t know what those are). You put it on once a day (at night after you’ve washed your face) and should have results in four to six weeks.

I’ve been using it for a few days and don’t notice it at all – it doesn’t bug my eyes in the least, which is big for me. I’m interested to see the results!

Do you want to give RapidLash a try? I’ve got a RapidLash giveaway so you can do just that! (Open to Canadian residents only, including Quebec. You can enter on more than one blog but can only win on one.) Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I am part of the RapidLash campaign with Influence Central and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog (and my fabulous eyelashes) are my own.

Before you grow up

It snowed a couple of weeks ago in Calgary. It has snowed every month of the year here, as Calgarians are fond of pointing out, but I still wasn’t expecting to see it. It was actually the third time this month it had snowed, though it never stays. I’m glad about that, because it seems sort of silly to be making a list of summer activities when there’s snow sticking around.

I started that list a few weeks ago and it doesn’t have much on it yet, but I pulled out my on-again, off-again journal and found the list I had made the year my one word was “explore.” I didn’t get through that list (do we ever?) and there are lots of things on there I still want to do.

illustration-kid-bikeI’ve been feeling guilty lately, and my bad-mom voice has been creeping in. The boys have too much screen time and not enough time getting dirty and poking around in streams. Getting dirty is not usually the first thing on my list of appealing activities (hence my aforementioned summer emergency kit that is chock full of things like crayons and washable paint). But I have boys, and they’re the sort of boys who like to get dirty, so my summer activity list is going to have to expand to account for that.

The other list we’ve had on our fridge for ages is the UK National Trust’s list of 50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4. It includes all kinds of things from playing Pooh sticks (totally in favour) to holding a wild beast (eep – does a caterpillar count?) and, thanks to living on the coast and having inquisitive grandparents, Connor has checked off a bunch of stuff from the list. Maybe we’ll have to work our way through that too and help Ethan catch up.

I’m looking forward to things like flying a kite and making a daisy chain (wow, how long has it been since you did that?) and less so to hunting for bugs (ick) and building a den (with a two-year-old, that has frustration and disaster written all over it).

I’ve started putting together my summer adventure kit, though, with some help from Boiron. They gave me a travel kit that includes a bunch of stuff that I’m sure will come in handy. This goofball here is especially excited about the insect bite cream (he’s not a fan of mosquito bites).

insect-bite-cream

The kit includes other stuff too – all homeopathic remedies for the kinds of ailments that might come from from doing the kinds of things any good, modern boy should do before he’s 11 3/4.

Boiron naturopathic remedies

I’ll let you know how it goes.
Arnica flowers

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This post was generously sponsored by Boiron (and they’re older than 11 3/4 so they know their stuff).Boiron logo

The Messiness of Mental Health

I have a friend who talks about her “work” – the personal and emotional things we all have to work through and the deliberate way in which she works through it. Her work is messy, she says, in that when she’s going through something, it’s not a quiet, internal process. Those close to her know it. She talks about it openly and shares the physical side effects of her emotional stuff. She also explores a lot – different ways to get at the heart of the issue, alternative therapies, finding meaning in things most people wouldn’t even notice. She puts herself and her emotions and her struggles out into the world and gets a lot back in return.

I have been privy to some of her “work” over the last several months, and it has occurred to me on many occasions how much better she is at dealing with her crap than I am. As much as I have shared here, I otherwise keep my own “work” very quiet. It’s very internal, and I’ve realized it’s very shallow. I don’t think I do really deal with my crap, in fact. It gets in the way of my desire for everything to be ok.

messy drawing

But sometimes things aren’t ok. We all have stuff. And we all have different ways of dealing with that stuff, and some of us are better at it than others.

I think I used to be pretty good at it. I know I used to be much better about self-awareness. And I recall in the past letting emotions in that for many years now I have mostly tried to keep at bay.

When I revealed my latest struggle with some of the people I work with, the consistent comment was, “I had no idea.” I had no idea you were going through something, they said. I had no idea you were dealing with something shitty.

That’s because, over the last several years, I’ve become pretty damn good at hiding that shitty stuff in my day-to-day life. Which is not to say that it hasn’t spilled over in other unintended ways, but it’s certainly possible to have things appear completely fine when they’re not.

And that’s really the thing about mental health, isn’t it? For some people it’s messy. For others, it’s a tidy package that gets tucked away in a box with a closed lid and only opened when it’s convenient or, perhaps more accurately, when the box gets too full to stay properly closed.

This is not to say that I feel the need to put my mess on display, but I do need to mess it up a bit. I need to unpack that box for myself, and find out more about what’s in it.

I don’t entirely know what this “work” is going to look like for me, but that’s probably okay. I just know, more clearly than I’ve ever known before, that it’s time.

Self-actualization doesn’t just happen, you know.

It’s time.
I'm Blogging for Mental Health 2015.