Through a Mother's Eye

Through a Mother’s Eye: Bathroom Counter Edition

For many moms the shower is a sanctuary.  A place where we can finally be alone and get some peace. A place where no one is asking questions and we can let our minds relax for just a few minutes.

{PS moms of toddlers that still knock on door every 5 seconds while you are in there and maybe even stick their fingers under the door in an attempt to gain access to you…give it a few years and you too will know this feeling of peace. trust me…}

And so it was with great frustration as I stepped out of the shower the other day that I took one look around the bathroom and was faced with a complete to-do list.

It was a to-do list that I firmly believe was born out of a mother’s magical power to see work where others see nothing. This magical power is not my favourite. And I know it’s not very PC of me to say this is only a mother’s power and not a ‘parents’ but I’m sticking with this assertion.

Women view things differently than men. Not better, not worse, just different. And mothers…well mothers view things differently than anyone else. It’s a combination of estrogen and hormones and instinct. We just can’t help it.

For the record, this was the view that greeted me:


And this was what my brain processed in just a few seconds:

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A – that’s the last of the Q-Tips. Must go to Costco.

B – the batteries are dead on the girl’s toothbrushes…can I replace them or do I need to buy a new one? Maybe it’s time to buy a proper electric toothbrush. Or is that just a waste of money?

C – Why did I even bother doing up this routine chart? They never follow it. Maybe it’s time to update it or let it go…

D – I really need to get new glasses. Must make an appointment for an eye exam. I think the girls are due as well. Should probably do them first.

E – Optometrist appointment next week. I really hope she’s been turning that retainer every two weeks like she should. Did I send that last cheque in yet?

F – must order more handsoap for little one. It really has made a difference in her eczema.

G – need to get some Drano next time I’m out shopping. There is so much hair in this drain I could make a sweater out of it.

H – I wonder if I can get a replacement band for my Fitbit. I really hope so. I love that thing and hate that it’s broken.

I – Just a general thought that I need to clean this damn counter…again.

Even for me that was a lot to process in just a few seconds…and I wish I could say it only happened that one time. But it didn’t.

My mama eyes are making to-do lists all over the place when all most people see is just what’s in front of them.

Excuse me…I got some stuff to do.

Damn this super power.






Mason Jar Salads 101

My least favourite part of working outside of my home is making lunches.  Come to think of it my least favourite part of working at home is also making lunches. Also – my least favourite thing about having kids in school is…you guessed it…making lunches.

And no matter how hard I try I can’t avoid this task. So I’ve been looking for healthy ways to make some changes.  One of the things I have always wanted to try was mason jar salads and so I did.

First stop was Michael’s to pick up 3 wide mouth mason jars ($5.95 each). Of course the day I was there the regular size mason jars were on sale and I was tempted…but don’t do it. They are way too small. You need wide mouth.

Next stop was Costco to stock up on all the ingredients I had decided to use in this first attempt:

  • Organic baby spinach
  • grape tomatoes
  • cucumber
  • baby carrots
  • organic quinoa
  • eggs
  • goat cheese crumbles
  • homemade dressing (oil & vinegar)


I prepared a cup of quinoa and had it cooled in the fridge before starting to build the salads. I also hardboiled the eggs in advance.

I had already washed and thoroughly dried the mason jars – its crucial they are completely dry before you start preparing. It’s the only way you can be sure the salad will stay fresh.

Now it was time to assemble.  First layer was the dressing. I made this from scratch – olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic & some herbs. Simple but delicious.


note: I would use more next time. wasn’t quite enough liquid.

Next layer is the hard vegetables  – cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots – those that can absorb the dressing and marinate in it:


Next layer would be the less hardier vegetables if I used any – mushrooms, etc. – but in this salad I didn’t so we move on…

To the layer of quinoa. No instruction needed here.  Just added a few tablespoons of the cooked grain and moved on to…


The protein layer. I thought about grilling some chicken and might do that next time but for this one I chopped up one hard boiled egg,  added a couple of tablespoons of goat cheese and a handful of sunflower seeds.


Finally it was time for the greens. By the point my jars were more than half full and I was concerned I wouldn’t have enough spinach to make my salad…well…a salad.

But I needn’t have worried. I crammed that spinach in to the hilt and then sealed the jars up tight.  Aren’t they pretty?


I couldn’t wait to eat them!

And the next morning – amidst all the chaos of breakfast prep and rushing off to swimming lessons – it was so great to just be able to grab the jar, put it in my bag and run.

The real test was still to come – the taste test.  They say there you can eat the salad right out of the jar – that’s one of the main draws actually, the fact you don’t need another bowl.  But personally I don’t think that’s really feasible.  I need to mix it all up. I need to have all the ingredients work together.

So I dumped mine into a bowl, mixed it up completely and dug in.

And it was freakin’ delicious! I was so full, so satisfied after eating it. My only thought was it needed a little more dressing. The quinoa dried it out so more liquid is needed. I feel like I can use this same basic salad structure all the time just changing up the veggies and protein options.

That said, if I had to eat this same exact salad every day for lunch I would do so happily. It was that good.

Now if only I could get my kids to eat the same I might actually stop hating making lunches.

just kidding…that will NEVER happen.


Lake Life – 7 Days of Bliss

Way back in 2005 – before we even had one kid let alone 2! – hubby and I started a tradition of renting a lakefront house in nearby Cultus Lake with my extended family.

For several summers in a row we came to the cottage – and introduced both our girls to the joys of lake life.  And then the house we usually rented was sold to new owners and we lost our “in”.

This summer – for the first time since 2010 – we went back. The 4 of us along with my mum, aunt, cousin and 93 year old Nanny! The minute I drink in this view for the first time…


….it’s as though my body exhales and I am at peace. It’s a truly amazing feeling.

The weather this time around wasn’t great for the first few days but it came around and gave us 2 spectacularly sunny days at the end.

And one of the biggest perks this year was access to a canoe! What a great way to explore the lake…


There were too many memories to write about so I will let the pictures tell the story:

What a wonderful week we had. So sad it had to end. But end it did…with the traditional family photo on the deck:


Do we really have to wait another whole year before we go back. Sniff…


post vacation blues

Post Vacation Purgatory

It’s Monday night at 10:40pm.

My first day back at work after a weeks vacation and I’m still at the computer. And even though I can see the edge of my bed down the hall…I don’t expect to be getting into it anytime soon.

Current status:  Post Vacation Purgatory.

After spending a glorious week off with my family at a lake where I did nothing all day except eat, swim and read – I am now paying the price for my freedom.

Even though I didn’t fully unplug for the entire week and checked emails daily to make sure there were no fires I still came home to 202 emails.

And that was just in one inbox. I still have two more to go through…

Was it always like this?  Have working stiffs always faced a reality where the effort required to get ready to go on vacation and the deluge of work waiting upon their return made it seem like the week off wasn’t even worth it?

Because right now it certainly doesn’t feel like it. After just one day back my stress level is peaking again and all I think about is that my next holiday won’t be until January.

148 long days away…

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Letting them learn the hard way…

Last night I asked my youngest daughter for the 400th time if she had done EVERYTHING on her bedtime checklist (knowing full well she hadn’t) and as she confidently nodded and climbed into bed…I felt myself start to lose it.

She saw it too and quickly scrambled out of bed to consult the checklist that hangs conveniently on the bathroom mirror – where it has hung for almost a year now – and figure out what she had missed.

“Sorry mummy…” she called from the bathroom. “I forgot to pick out my clothes for tomorrow.”

And then she proceeded to happily pick out an outfit, lay it on the end of her bed and climb back in. Smiling at me sweetly as she settled her head onto her pillow – her pink blankie clutched in her hand – not a care in the world.

“That’s one mark off for you.” I said and immediately her face changed into a mask of rage.

“That’s not fair!” she yelled.

A “mark” means a dollar off her monthly allowance. Losing just one seriously impacts her ability to add to a growing pile of annoying little Shopkins.

“Of course it’s fair,” I responded in a voice that was much more calm and composed than I felt. “If you don’t do your jobs you don’t earn your allowance.”

The argument that followed was not epic by any standards but she was certainly passionate about her defense. Which was that it was obviously all my fault for not reminding her enough to do her jobs.

And that brings us to the real issue. How many chances should kids get?  How many gentle reminders?  How many helping hands?  How long until we let it go and simply let them learn the hard way.

Because I know deep down that letting them learn things the hard way is important. That letting them fail and face the subsequent consequences is a valuable lesson…

“oh you forgot your gym shoes (after I reminded you 8 times to pack them!) well I guess you have to sit on the bench and watch your friends play without you.”

“You didn’t hand in that field trip permission form in time (that I signed 2 weeks ago and put in your planner for you!) I guess you can’t go then.”

“You didn’t eat your yogurt tube (again!) and now I have to throw it away (again!) so no dessert for you tonight.”

This last one – not eating the healthier parts of the lunch – has been a battle I have waged with both my girls for years. I hate the waste so much that I immediately go code red. They beg me to let them eat it now instead. They argue that I packed them too many things in their lunch so it’s my fault.

Then they cry and look at me with such betrayal and resentment that I feel myself start to cave. Because it just feels wrong – like against my nature – to not swoop in and rescue my girls from themselves. Even knowing it’s the right thing to do doesn’t make it any easier.

Because as important as the lesson is and as much as I know they must learn this for themselves – I hate how real the tears are. And how deeply they feel the anger and frustration – even though they have brought it on themselves.

I know every battle scar will be worth it in the end. But that doesn’t make each one hurt any less…



Fireworks & Flashbacks…

Every year when the Celebration of Light dates are released we say – “let’s take the girls right downtown this year and really experience them up close.” And it sounds like a great plan until we remember that means getting there 5 hours early to secure a spot and fighting crowds of thousands.

Suddenly the great idea doesn’t sound so great and we usually decide to watch from the other side of the water in stead.

This year that all changed thanks to a very kind offer I received at work for 4 tickets to sit in the reserved grandstand seats at English Bay.  We could arrive at 9:55pm if we wanted and still have some of the best seats in the house.

It was Disney putting on the show on Saturday and the crowd was expected to be record breaking – we found out later that it was so big they had to close down access to English Bay!

We decided to take the Canada Line downtown and then walk down Robson to fully experience the evening. We stopped for ice cream along the way….


We were in no rush – reserved seats remember? – so it was a lovely little Saturday night stroll…just us and 125,000 of our closest friends.

We got to Denman – which was closed to cars – and walked down the middle of the road pointing out the restaurants we used to frequent when we lived in the area.


Then we detoured down an alley to show them the building where we lived way back before we were even married.

It was very odd walking down that alley where hubby and I had walked so many times before – just the two of us – now each of us holding the hand of one of our daughters.


The view was so familiar and at the same time the memory so distant. We finally made it to the little building with its private courtyard and pointed out the window of the 400 sq. ft bachelor that first daddy lived in and then we both did.

The girls were kind enough to pretend to be really interested when all they wanted was to get to the fireworks already. And so we headed down towards the beach and the huge crowd.


I have to say – walking along that road – so many happy people around us my thoughts turned to the recent events in Nice and how horrific that must have been. I hate that is even something we need to think about but I was on high alert as we walked through the crowd and was definitely holding on a little too tight to my little ones hand.

Finally…we made it to our seats in the YVR observation deck and – oh my god! – the view was amazing!


It was 9:35 so we watched the crowds for a bit, hit up the washroom (no lines!) and then it was show time…


The show was really amazing and it was so much fun to sing along to the Disney songs. Of course, it was over all too quickly and then it was time to face the crowds again and make our way to the Canada Line station to come home. The line at the station was huge – and the girls were exhausted at this point…

Luckily it moved quickly (and very efficiently considering it was transit!) and we were soon on the train coming home. A very enjoyable night behind us and a promise finally fulfilled.

Let’s (maybe) do it again next year…