Download Milestones 2 for free!

>> Saturday, February 22, 2014

Blogging from my phone so this will be a super short post. I had to share though that for a limited time only (one day in fact), Milestones 2 (Return to Camp) is free to download on kindle! Tell all your friends,
Post it on every social media site you own and make sure to download it too! Click here:

http://www.amazon.com/Milestones-Return-Camp-Milestone-ebook/dp/B0096R15OS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1393075511&sr=8-1&keywords=milestones+return+to+camp

Am diligently working on Milestones 3 and hoping for a spring release. More blogging to come soon!
Have lots to share,

Thanks for your support!!




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Becoming a native

>> Friday, February 14, 2014

Those who have been reading my blog know I consider myself to be, first and foremost, a Canadian. I am a poutine eating, hockey loving, snow appreciating, Tim Horton's addict. I eat Swiss Chalet with the best of them, hate light beer and love to ski in the snow. But I just gave myself away. A true Canadian would not clarify where they love to ski. Skiing, to a Canadian implies snow. Skiing, to a Texan, could either be in the snow or on water. Therefore, a Texan calls it "snow-skiing". Which brings me to my blog topic of the day.

I have now lived in Texas for almost 5 years (holy crap time flies). Moreover, I've been a non-Canadian for the last 9 years. Essentially since I began medical school. So, I haven't lived in Canada for the last 9 years. A few years ago, I was still a die-hard Canadian. The question "Where are you from?" inevitably was followed by an instinctive "CANADA!" - as if my life depended on it. I would still sing "Oh Canada!" in my head whenenver the Star Spangled Banner would play around me. But somewhere along the way, I lost my accent. Then, I started getting used to warm weather. Very used to it. After that, I stopped saying "eh" as much. And most recently, I started to sound like a Texan. I may or may not even sometimes be using the word "y'all". And now, when people ask where I'm from, I uh....I hesitate. I explain. I ramble. "Well, I'm living in Texas but really I'm from Canada, but I haven't lived there in almost a decade".

I will still never get used to scorpions, snakes and the vicious Texan bees and wasps, but I prefer the winter here to the one I used to put up with up north. My daughters are both Texans. Plus, I have no plans to move back up north any time soon. Which begs the question: when does one become part of the society in which they live? Madonna once got in trouble for adopting an English accent, after she had lived there for several years. People made fun of her. I believe the same thing happened to Gwyneth Paltrow who used the word "lift" instead of "elevator" or something of the sort. But isn't there a statute of limitations on that? Isn't there a point, after you've adapted to a new environment, after you've lived there for a certain amount of time, where you become a native? A point where people cut you some slack? A time when native people start treating you like one of their own? When does that point exist? I've accidentally said the word "y'all" a few times when talking to my best friends and both of them have blown it off. It's like they've accepted it. My red cheeks however, are still a dead giveaway that it's still not an instinct for me. It's a slip. I still remember when my best friend M lived in Australia for a year. At one point we had the following conversation:

Her: And I made a dish, with chicken, and veggies and capsicum.
Me: What?
Her: What what?
Me: What did you say?
Her: Capsicum?
Me: Yah. What the (censored) is that?
Her: Oh you know, bell peppers.
Me: OH. COME. ON!!!!!!!!!!!!
Her: WHAT?
Me: You've only lived there for a year!!! It's a bell pepper! Stay strong! It's not a mobile! It's a cell phone. You sell out!

And she proceeded to tell me that she was merely adapting to her new environment and that it was second nature to her to use those words. That nobody in Australia knew what the heck a bell pepper was so she was used to saying it that way. I, on the other hand, expected her to switch back and forth. When speaking to Canadians, say "bell pepper". When in Australia, say capsicum. She refused. And she kept using the Australian terminology while we continue to making fun of her every time she used the word "mobile". Now, she could easily point out how the tables have turned. Because here I am, y'all-ing all over the place.

Have any of you seen the Friends episode were Monica and Phoebe meet up with their old friend (can't recall her name) who was in town from London? And she leaves them a message on their answering where she has an english accent and they make fun of her? Monica basically yells at the answering machine: "YOU'RE FROM YONKERS!! YOUR LAST NAME IS BUFFAMONTEEZI!!"

Same question applies: Is Monica right for making fun of her? Or should we cut the friend some slack and let her adapt to her new environment? So my question for you is, what do you think I am? At this point...am I even a Canadian anymore? I don't talk like one, I don't act like one, and I haven't been there in 10 years. But as far as comparisons go, I have still lived more time in Canada than I have in Texas. So will I become a Texan when my time here exceeds my former time in Canada? FYI - that would be another 15 years. (Wait. Hold the phone. Suddenly I realize I'm getting old and this conversation is depressing me. Why am I not still 25??! Sigh....Oh well.) All this to say, that over the last year, I've felt more like a Texan and occasionally, I see parts of my former Canadian self fading away...That's not necessarily a bad thing. It took me 8 years to slowly start letting go of my Canadian alter-ego. It took 8 years for me to stop following Canadian news and politics and start following the US'. It took 8 years for me to become a nashville fan and start appreciate country music (a little. Let's not get carried away here). I think Canada will always be my "home" and it will always have a special place in my heart, but there's a point where it becomes easier to conform to one's surroundings. I'm sure there's a sociology lesson in that somewhere, but as far as I'm concerned, I just may be a little Texan y'all.

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Frozen

>> Thursday, February 6, 2014

Have you seen it yet?

If not, and I'm talking to you my friend Andrea up in Canada, why the heck not? This is probably the best Disney movie since....I don't know, Alladin, Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, take your pick. Though I may be one of the few fans of Tangled, clearly, it hasn't transitioned into the realm of "classic Disney movies" - though Frozen, absolutely has.

If Frozen doesn't win at least ONE Oscar (for best animated, but really, should also win for best song) , I may boycott the Academy Awards forever. It is truly one of the cutest, most endearing, funny movies I've seen in a while (including adult movies, so that says something). The music though, is pretty awesome. I think the entire movie watching world has downloaded the Frozen soundtrack by now and those who don't admit to having sung their hearts out to LET IT GO, are lying. Plain and simple.

It's the best.

My daughter has seen Frozen twice in the theater (I've never seen a movie twice in the theater before, have you?) and she's already counting down the days until it comes out on DVD. Our entire household has memorized the soundtrack and we quote the movie the same way we quote Tropic Thunder and Dumb and Dumber around here.

"We finish each other's....-"
"Sandwiches!"
"That's what I was gonna say!"

Though, rumor has it, that was originally a line from Arrested Development (which is fine by me because that's a show near and dear to my heart too).

There's also the notorious Olaf (the snowman) who truly provides adorable comic relief such as:

"Winter's a good time to stay in and cuddle,
But find me in summer and I'll be a.....
Happy Snowman!"

Or , my personal favorite:

"Who's the funky looking donkey over there?"
"That's sven"
"Okay, and who's the reindeer"
"Thats....Sven...."

It may be funnier if you've seen the movie. Another interesting factoid, Kristen Bell (think Veronica Mars) sings all her own songs in this movie. I had to google that to confirm because I never pegged her as an actress who could sing. But she SINGS. Like better than Mandy Moore, sings.

Very impressive.

And now, my ipad is acting up and isn't allowing me to review my post for typos or even to scroll much further down, so more to come....BOTTOM LINE: SEE THIS MOVIE. It's worth every penny.




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Guilty pleasures

>> Saturday, January 4, 2014

Guilty pleasures. We all have them.

They make passing time a little more fun, don't they?

Today, I wanted to share with you a few of my online guilty pleasures. I have a good handful, but there are a few websites in particular I consider to be my favorite time-passers. In case you get bored, or you need a good read, here are a few sources that are guaranteed to keep you entertained.

1- Laineygossip.com

This is my most sacred guilty pleasure. I was introduced to Lainey almost a decade ago. She is a gossip blogger from Canada, who updates her site every weekday and posts very interesting and eye opening articles about celebrities. Her blog has come a long way over the last 10 years and Lainey has become somewhat of a celebrity herself. What sets her apart from the other celebrity bloggers is her great writing style and sense of humor. If you're even remotely interested in celebrities (and if you're not, I truly commend you), I would give Lainey's site a quick visit. Trust me, you'll laugh.

2- Kellehampton.com

I came across Kelle's site after seen a pin about it on Pinterest (my true truest of guilty pleasures). Kelle's a mom blogger who, I believe, became somewhat of an icon when her second child was born with Down's Syndrome. You can read the heartwrenching story on her website, as she bravely tells her daughter's birth story. She now chronicles her life (she has 3 young children now) and shares gorgeous photography as well.

3- Lilbooblue.com

This blogger has cancer. I believe it is/was choriocarcinoma and I know she is undergoing aggressive chemotherapy. She's quite young and also has a young daughter. I heard of her through Laineygossip actually, when the blogger's story went viral after she shared a video of her shaving off her hair. I believe the video is entitled "a rite of passage" or something like that. It's quite extraordinary and humbling. The blogger has also won a bunch of craft awards too (but I usually skip over those as I am the least craftiest woman on the planet).

4- Pinterest

Okay fine, it's not a website per se , but it may as well be. I waste way too much time on this app, and I justify it by telling myself I'm pinning things I will actually do or try. It's not at all like Facebook (lie), because I have no followers (lie) and I don't care about what others pin (double lie). But in my defense, I actually have done quite a few of the things I've pinned, and one of the reasons I love Pinterest is that it inspires me to be better. Unlike Facebook (there I wrote it down so it must be true!). So it's a somewhat productive waste of time (or so I keep telling myself).

5- Fitsugar.com

Fitsugar is a brand. It is partnered with People.com and gives daily updates about health, wellness and fitness. I love to peruse it once in a while. Also highly recommend it if you're in the time-wasting business.

Do you have any guilty pleasures you want to share?

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Happy New Year 2014!

>> Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year! I can't believe it's already 2014. I truly feel like I'm from a different time, a different era. To me, oldies music includes the Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel. Kids these days consider Aerosmith to be oldies. I grew up on Aerosmith, Nirvana and Guns 'N Roses. When I see Britney Spears, I remember blaring "Baby one more time" in my dorm room in 1998. "My loneliness , is killing me..." Now, Britney is a grown up with 2 kids and the new generation of pop stars look up to her the way she looked up to Madonna. Time is a weird thing.

I love New Year's. Partially because I love new beginnings. To me, it gives me a reason, or an excuse, to start fresh. I was just having this discussion with my best friend M. She texted me, in a somewhat intoxicated state from Australia, where she celebrated the New Year hours before we would, here in North America. The string of texts started out cute and comical but before long, they had become serious and analytical (which , if you knew us, would know how a propos that is). I asked her what her new year's resolutions were. She told me she didn't believe in making them, that it's just another reason to be disappointed, and that she was always trying to better herself . She then asked me what my resolutions were. I told her I was the complete opposite of her, and that I loved making lists and resolutions and my current list was about 2 pages long. For New Year's, I like to take every aspect of my life (work, marriage, friendship, family, health) and write out how I want to better each of them. I'm usually pretty specific. Exercise 3 times a week, or drink 2 liters of water a day or CUT DOWN TEXTING (especially in front of the kids). And when the year ends, I look back on what I've done, usually in a glass-half-full type of manner. I don't care about what I wasn't able to accomplish (that gives me more to put on my list for next year).

This year, I even started two new traditions. With the birth of my second daughter, I can't tell you how complete my family suddenly seems. Being an only child myself, I never realized what the addition of a second child would do to my little family. Suddenly, I have so many more reasons to create a loving home with traditions, happiness and comfort. Suddenly, I'm complete. That's a difficult concept to understand when you didn't realize you were incomplete in the first place. It is also a difficult concept to overcome when you realize that you would feel this way with any additional child you would bear. So truly, if you are going to love each of them so much, and wonder what life was like before they were ever a part of it....where do you stop? Is that why the Duggards have a million kids? Again, as someone who never had (and never craved) any siblings, this is completely new territory for me. But I digress . The point is, I started two new traditions this year, for my kids. One is a jar (thank you pinterest), we have dedicated in the kitchen where we will write all major and great things that happen to us in 2014. At the end of the year, we will read them out loud and video record our year in retrospect. The other is a journal (thank you again, pinterest), that I'm writing for each child, starting now...that my husband and I will update, once a year, and that we will give to them in , oh...I don't know, 18 years or so.

I should also mention that I just had this Eureka moment where I wanted to purchase bottles of wine from their birth years and save it for when they turn legal drinking age and shared this brilliant idea with my husband. I'm very grateful that I have a husband who supports all these random ideas I have, most of which don't amount to anything. And to my friend , M , who worries that I will only set myself up for disappointment with all these lists and ideas, I will rebut with this: But isn't it so much fun to just plan it all? Does the execution really matter that much? It's like the Christmas tree we had this year. I wanted so badly to chop one down that I begged my husband to take us to a tree farm and gave him a saw and videotaped him sawing down an authentic tree we had all picked out. Two days later, when we had all broken out in hives from the tree, and 2 weeks later, when it almost fell over (ornaments and all) and we had to duct tape it to the wall (that's right, it happened), we could only laugh at our tree adventures....and take tons of pictures of course. So I repeat: isn't planning part of the fun? Does the end product really matter? It's a metaphor for life I'm using. The ride really is the best part, isn't it?

Case in point: I was taking a walk to the park with my daughters the other day and about 20 minutes into it, I realized my face was hurting. And then I realized it was hurting because I had been smiling the entire time. It was an ear to ear grin, as I stared in amazement at their little bodies. One talking and walking, the other cooing and smiling. Both so innocent.

I'm grateful for a new year. Did I mention my resolution to blog and write more? I'm going to try doing this from the comfort of my new ipad (which carries the risk of many typos), but oh well. Let's see how far this one goes....
Thanks for tuning in!

Stay classy San Diego (no I haven't seen Anchorman 2 yet. Must put that on expanding resolution list....)



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Turning 40

>> Saturday, September 21, 2013

So... I'll be 34 years old soon. When I was a kid, 34 seemed so ancient. Anyone who was 34 years old was, for lack of a better word, "old". They already had a career, kids and they were a grown up. Okay, when I put it that way, I am all of those things but still. I now know that being 34 is still pretty darn young (though technically, I could be more than halfway done with my life, which is quite a depressing thought and I only let myself go there once in a blue moon otherwise I go into a deep depression and oh no, now I've gone cross-eyed).

But the point of this blog isn't to depress. The point is to talk about the wonderfully hilarious movie called "This Is 40". I know I'm a bit behind the ball but I've been meaning to blog about this movie for a while. It's a movie by Judd Apatow, same guy responsible for Knocked Up and Anchorman. His daughter is Maude Apatow, a clever girl I blogged about last year. His wife is Leslie Mann, who I will always know as the "Hooters girl" from Big Daddy.

When I first saw the preview for This is 40, I laughed super hard and immediately got very excited to see the movie. I told my husband we just HAD to see it in the theater (and I rarely say that. I'm okay waiting for the DVD most times). Here's the trailer for those who aren't familiar with the movie. Watch it twice.



I just laughed out loud seeing it again. The thing is, it's a very vulgar movie. And vulgar is not exactly my cup of tea. I don't think those types of jokes ever add anything to a movie. But sometimes, movies are so perceptive and accurate that I am willing to look past the vulgarity and enjoy the message. Case in point: Tropic Thunder. Or Bridesmaids. Or, This is 40. I think the movies would have been just as funny (or maybe even funnier) without the vulgarity, but I'm willing to look past it and laugh at the delivery.

The whole point of the movie really spoke to me. Here I am, only a few years away from turning 40 (sweet lord, somebody be prepared to pick up the pieces when that birthday rolls around) and I completely relate to the fear of turning a decade older, of seeing twenty-something year olds start the beginning of their lives, while I settle into the denouement of mine. When I went to see the movie in the theater, I laughed so hard at the part where Paul Rudd makes his wife look at his hemorrhoid, that I cried. I was laughing in my seat, with tears literally streaming down my face and my husband, who also had a hard time suppressing his laughter, finally leaned over and said, "People are starting to think I do this to you," to which I just looked at him, causing both of us to burst out laughing even louder.

The movie really captures the essence of getting older. When we are young, we strive to grow up, become independent, have all these hopes and dreams, and when we finally get there, we want to freeze time and stay young. It's a weird sensation; finally getting to the place you've been reaching for your entire life. I spent so long going to school and longing to be a Pediatrician that I honestly never thought I'd get here. Love, marriage, kids, career. Check, check, check, check.

Uh...Now what? Soccer games? Minivans? Yearly traditions and anniversaries? Seriously though. What's next? In a few years, I'll be 40. *cue scary music*. In most individuals, that elicits one of two reactions:

1- Panic
2- Denial

As part of the second reaction, more ambitions are thrown into the mix. I'm turning 40. I still have so much I want to do! Write more books, help my kids follow their dreams, better myself... holy! I have so little time. I gotta get cracking! (Does this post seem to have more exclamation marks than my other posts? Does turning 40 automatically invite more exclamation marks as an indirect sign that I'm still young and perky?).

And so there are these parts in the movie, that resonated so strongly with me. The part where the mother (me) decides the whole family is going to eat healthy (me), stop using technology (so me), start going to the doctor (me!) and tries to give the family a makeover. Yah, that's me. The parts where the wife and the husband disagree over what constitutes "happy" music. Have you seen this? Paul Rudd is my husband. I'd like to think I'm a little nicer and smoother around the edges than Leslie Mann, but I think I've definitely said some of her quotes verbatim at times.

"We're going to blink and be 90. We have to make a choice to do things different. I've made a list. It's the do better list. We're 40 years old, if we don't do something now, when are we going to do it?"

I make lists all the time. Like all the time. Even in my bed, I'm adding to my list. Have you seen the movie "I Don't know how she does it?". Another perceptive movie about middle-aged women. They discuss women's "lists" quite well in that movie.

"We have to exercise everyday. We have to get more involved in school. We have to have more patience with the kids. We're in it together, we're a team."

I truly wish I could exercise more. I wish I could be move involved my daughter's school. And patience is never my forte.

I could go on forever. But as I sit here blogging, my lists, my tasks, chores and adult life all call to me. It was a nice break, having my children nap together while I typed away to you. And that's why I love movies lke This is 40. They so accurately describe something we are all living, that sometimes, the "it's so true it's funny" phenomenon actually helps you escape your own life, by looking directly at it from another angle. It's a happy movie. And I'm always down for a happy movie.

Stay classy! Until next time....

(Ps. Requests on a blog topic for next time? Anyone?)

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Cyber-bullying, the new generation and a mother's dilemma

>> Sunday, September 8, 2013

Like every person out there, there are aspects of my job I love and aspects I hate. Things I love include talking to adorable kids and counseling new parents. I also love doing office procedures and treating asthma. Things I hate include seeing people be mean to their kids....and talking to teenagers about bullying.

It's like a freaking epidemic.

I mean, I know bullying has been around forever. And I know I can't change that. I also know that kids are mean. What is different nowadays is the internet.

Hello internet. Thanks for being here. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to Google in less than 5 seconds. Thank you for giving us the option of researching with so much ease. Thanks for letting us save some trees. Thanks for letting us email and keep in touch with our friends. But no thanks to you for the introduction of social media. Because back in my day (and I can't believe I'm saying that at my age), when kids were bullied at school, they were at least able to go home and find some kind of sanctuary. Nowadays, they get to go home, hop online and see people bully them in a whole other magical way. I see teenagers every day and as part of my job, I ask them about what sports they play, what foods they eat, whether or not they are sexually active, do drugs and partake in social networking. Every teen, regardless of class or stature, is on Facebook. Did you know this?

I had one teenager cry to me the other day because a bully kept hacking into her Facebook account and posting hurtful things and pictures. She had changed her password three times. The bully kept at it. Now the teen was in my clinic and could easily be diagnosed with clinical depression. Tell me, what am I supposed to say here? I mean, I feel like I should start going to high schools and giving speeches about this stuff. Do you hear me Stephenie Meyer? You've got the teens reading every word in your books, maybe this should be a pass-time of yours? I can't tell you how many of them are going so far as hurting themselves. It's truly sickening. And I feel voiceless in all this. I try to tell them that high school sucks and that bullies never win. But they don't hear me. I try to tell them that nobody wants to peak in high school, and that this too shall pass. But they don't listen. I try to tell them that this won't last forever, and that the world becomes more human in college and most enjoyable in adulthood, but they don't believe me.

Even though it's true. Once you're out of high school, you realize there are so many people in the world that you actually get to choose who you socialize with. You can interact with whomever you want. It's fantastic.

Oh wait.

You can't do that if you're on Facebook. If you're on Facebook (and I was for a few years), you can justify everything you want, but your life suddenly becomes more complicated. People come out of the woodworks and want to "friend" you. You are either happy to "friend" them, or annoyed that they found you. Then, when you "friend" them, you get to see who they are friends with. You then become annoyed because they are friends with someone you don't like. It's inevitable. Then, you get another friend invite and accept it so you don't hurt their feelings. But it's someone you'd rather not know much about. Now you have no choice. Even if you're great at getting your settings just right, something will still slip through the cracks. And suddenly, you find yourself reading about how wonderful their life is. And how grateful they are. And how blessed they are.

Did you know everyone on Facebook has the perfect life? They do.
DId you know everyone on Facebook goes to the best restaurants and eat the best foods? It's true. They have the pictures to prove it.
Did you know everyone on Facebook has the most friends and is super popular? Yup. Another fact.
Did you know everyone on Facebook takes the best trips? Mmmm-hmmmm. Suddenly, traveling is a bragfest.

Oh and everyone's a professional photographer too.

Did you know everyone on Facebook is happy? They are. Can't you tell by their fake smiles and "candid" pictures?

Back in my day, I used to walk to school in the snow without shoes, uphill both ways. No wait. That was my grandfather's generation. I'm the new-age "old" person. Here's the truth. Back in my day, we had no internet. And when it came about, it was dial-up so nobody wanted to spend the time on it. Thank goodness for that, because looking at teens these days makes me fear for my own girls. If I can't get through to my patients , how will I get through to my girls? How will I explain to them that there is no positive to social networking? That their future bosses will look at their Facebook page and judge them for having one? That there are other ways of networking that don't condemn you to a life of unhappiness and feeling mediocre? That Facebook is just an extension of high school and for some reason, when people go online, they show the worst sides of their personality? That they suddenly all become saints or bullies? There's no happy medium.

How can I teach them this lesson when the internet is ubiquitous and their friends will make fun of them for not being on Facebook? How will I stand my ground when they cry and beg me and promise me that they will use it responsibly? I don't know how to fight that war. I don't know because I don't belong to that generation. And I don't get it. I don't get the nastiness. The facades, the fake pictures and status updates. I don't get why people feel the need to talk to people they don't like. And I don't like to go online and lie about my life. My life isn't perfect. Nobody's is. And seeing people do that makes me angry. It makes me want to call them out. It makes me want to hit reply and write, "Get off your high horse and quit being annoying!". But that's the lesser side of me speaking.

So I choose to ignore that side and get off Facebook.

I just wish everyone else would do the same. Especially teenagers who aren't mature enough to be comfortable in their own skin yet. Because, as evidenced by the tears I see in my clinic every day (and I mean EVERY day), Facebook is evil. And the bullying epidemic is really sad to witness from where I'm sitting.

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