Category Archives: Self-care

Here’s a sample checklist for the curious…

Thanks to everyone who commented on my recent post about how checklists are making life a little easier around our household. A few of you asked for a copy of the checklist, so here’s the morning routine. Bedtime available as well (fyi – I’m using ‘Go to the can’ instead of ‘Use the washroom’ because it’s language the boys like and therefore will respond to!)

Each item has a corresponding box to check off, I just couldn’t reproduce it in the blog.

The Kirby Morning Routine

*all times approximate

 6:00 – 6:30                 Wake Up

  • Go to the can                                                   
  • Wash hands                                                     
  • Make bed                                                         

6:30 – 7:00                 Choice time                                                                          

  • Reading in office
  • Play with Euan
  • Other…

7:00 am                      Breakfast

  • Eat breakfast                                                    
  • Bring dishes to counter when finished           

 7:30 – 8:00                 Choice time

  • Reading at table
  • Play with Euan                                                                                  
  • Other…

 8:00 am                      Get ready for school

  • Get dressed (see list on dresser)                    
  • Brush teeth (see list above sink)                    

 8:20 am                      Get dressed to leave for school

  • See list above coat rack                                  

8:30 am                      Walk to school

 

 

 

 

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Reflections on 10 years of marriage

Credit: digitalart

We’re celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary this week. It’s a funny kind of milestone, since we’ve actually been together for 16 years (and have known each other for more than 20), but I’m a sentimental sucker so we went out for a nice meal and had a great evening. As we shared a few glasses of champagne I reflected on what particular brand of magic (or prayer!) helped us make it through the past decade which included: one move, two babies, one crib (unused), two diagnoses, five nannies, and the same old double bed.

My best friend often talks about 90% of parenthood being about ‘showing up’ and I believe her. Parenthood isn’t just about the big moments, like Ryan learning to ride a two-wheeler, it’s about all the little insignificant moments in between – the teeth brushing, story reading, bum wiping, sock sorting, lego picking upping, lunch packing, and sunscreen applying. In short, the stuff of daily life.

As I enjoyed a second, much deserved glass of champagne last night I realized the same held true for marriage – 90% of it is showing up. We just need to show up for slightly different things – like listening to each other’s work stories, or remembering to compliment, or to apologize, or to ask for something. And it’s not just about ‘being there,’ it’s about actually being present.

Here’s a few things that have helped with that:

  • Date night. Yes, it’s trite, but we have a weekly date night. I’d be embarrassed about it, but it really works! It’s the one night where we go out and talk, laugh, and leave our ‘business meetings’ about life and scheduling behind. Some of our friends book a night at home so there’s no sitter cost and that’s great too. I work from home, so I need to get out. We have a standing order with a babysitter and that’s worked for us.
  • Shared interests. We are nerds who love a lot of the same things in life: politics, newspapers, camping, birds, stars… it’s made a big difference in our ability to enjoy each other’s company and connect during good times and bad.
  • Anything said in the dark doesn’t count. This started when the boys were babies and in our bed and NOT sleeping. If the light is out there’s an amnesty on any cussing or complaining that takes place. Next morning is a new day.
  • Friends. Hanging out with friends really takes the pressure off your primary relationship. It also puts life back into perspective.
  • Self-care. When I started exercising again my outlook on life improved dramatically. When I started meditating the same thing happened.

I’m sure my friends are laughing as they read this post, since I’m certainly not a poster child for the ideal marriage, but I’m ‘dancing with the one who brung me’ and feeling really good about that. We’re laughing together. Crying together. Sometimes yelling together (or at each other). In short, we’re showing up – each and every day.

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Declaring 2011 the Year of ‘Being Enough’

I had a brief but wonderful heart-to-heart with a good friend of mine last night who has been an inspiration to me and many other parents. Her name is Louise Kinross and she writes a spectacular blog called Bloom, all about parenting kids with disabilities.

As usual our conversation started in one spot and meandered down a number of paths before arriving at a familar place. A few years ago Louise introduced me to the concept of the ‘Enough House,‘ a reference to the name of a mansion from the Dickens’ classic Great Expectations. “It meant…that whoever had this house, could want nothing else,” says Estella.

This is how I picture Enough House. Not Dickensian, but it is enough.

I remember when Louise talked about applying the concept of the Enough House to ourselves and our lives we both breathed an audible sigh of relief – as though the idea of ‘being enough’ gave us immediate permission to let go. To be who we were, flaws and all. To be whole despite, or even because of, our imperfections.

The topic has come up from time to time on Louise’s blog and after talking about it last night, I’ve decided the coming year is going to be about ‘being enough.’  

There’s an odd by-product that can come from reading inspirational memoirs or watching overcoming-the-odds movies – as affirming as they can be, they can also create high expectations among parents and children.

As Louise writes:  “Somehow it’s not good enough to simply be an ordinary person with a disability. It’s as though the value of a person with a disability hinges on them doing something considered exceptional in the typical world.”

As parents this can mean unrealistic expectations of ourselves. We feel we need to do more and more for our child so that they too can ‘overcome’ their disability. And if they continue to struggle, we wonder where we failed.

But that’s not what I picture life to be like at the Enough House. It is not a place of pressure, but of release, of celebrating the small beauties of everyday life and experiencing the joy that is already there, just waiting for us to walk in and enjoy it. Like looking over at Ryan as the pool today and seeing him spontaneously connect with a young boy and play for just a few moments.

So I’ve decided to take up residence at Enough House this year. I’ll save a seat for you, if you want to join me there.

With best wishes, Anne-Marie

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