Welcome! I'm Cookie's Mom. You can learn all about Cookie and why I blog here: About Cookie's Chronicles. If you're new here, you may want to SUBSCRIBE TO MY RSS FEED. Thanks for stopping by! Pull up a beach chair and be my guest, won't you?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Best of the Blogosphere:
January 2012 Blog Tour

It's time for my picks for Best of the Blogosphere, the January 2012 Edition.

January 2012 Edition

There is so much great content out there, and since there's also a LOT of content out there it's sometimes easy to miss the really stellar posts. Every day we bloggers give pieces of ourselves to the blogosphere. This feature is my way of showing my appreciation for your efforts and to thank-you all for supporting mine.

Won't you join me?

There are three ways to participate in the Best of the Blogosphere link up!
  1. Link up your best post from the month of January
  2. Recognize a fellow blogger by linking up someone else's awesome post
  3. Write a list of the January posts you enjoyed most, like I did, and link it up. (Remember to also include in your list the post you're most proud of writing this month!)
Please grab and display my button anywhere in your post. Follow me if you like (no pressure). Feel free to leave me a comment - it makes me feel loved! Be sure to visit some of bloggers I am recognizing this month and those who have linked up below, and make some new friends!


Before I get to my list just a word of thanks to my blogging friends for your patience. I have been without a working computer for... a week?... It feels like a month. Luckily, the mouse is away, so on his computer I will play... at least for today. Sorry. I'll stop rhyming now.

Here are some of my favourite January reads:

Thanks to Bianca of BitsOfBee for this laugh out loud post: Thirty Three (P.S. Bianca, I wish! ;)

Here's a super sweet post from Galit Breen of These Little Waves: Wisps of Hair

Loved this post from Shannon at My New Favorite Day: A Look Back and Forward at “Mynewfavoriteyear” through Music.

This post from Leighann of Multitasking Mumma just about broke my heart: Confessions From a Crazy Person (Send her your hugs, will you? I'm sure we can all relate in some way.)

Stasha B of NorthWest Mommy is a fabulous photographer, but she has a personal blog too and, at times like this one, it's hilarious: Fame and Toilet Habits 

This post by Deborah of MaNNaHaTTaMaMMa frustrates me - well, not the post which is very well written, the topic: beyond the bricks to the beauty shop: lego goes girlie 

Mary of My 3 Little Birds wrote a touching post about the loss of babyhood that I can SO relate to right now: For My Daughter 

This post by Sarcasm Goddess of For the Love of Writing is HI-larious - see #3 especially: Please be Gentle, I'm a Virgin 

Tonya of Letters For Lucas shared a helpful and very professional Vlog on the topic of workout tips: Tried and True (When am I ever going to do one of these new-fangled Vloggy things?)

Finally, the post that I am most proud of writing this month looks at the things we say we'll never do... until we do: Well, I Never! (Thanks to Greta of Not Enough Patience and Never Enough Jewelry for this fun prompt!)
My favourite January Pin:
Source: arttherapyspot.com via Sue on Pinterest
If you'd like to link up a list of your favourite January reads but are having trouble remembering just what you read, take a look at: your tweets and retweets for the month, your subscriptions, Facebook likes, Stumbles, and Pins.

The linky will be open for a week.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Opportunities For Growth

The last two weeks have been a challenge. Nothing Earth-shattering, just the passing of my laptop and the loss of a bunch of hard work. I'm typing this post excruciatingly slowly on my iPad. See, not all bad. I still have 'the pad'.

I did spend three hours at the Apple store surrounded by 'geniuses' who had no idea why data was not being transferred to my USB key, on a day when I was supposed to be baking treats for my son's music concert. Had to leave without my data to make it to the concert on time (which was really fun - Jack sang loud and proud and was, not suprisingly to those of us that know him, the loudest on the drum).

This quote comes to mind when I think back on this week:

"If you're not having problems, you are missing an opportunity for growth." ~ Unknown
True. Very true. My computer woes left me with time to reflect on my priorities, more time to spend with my son. Jack and I had a fun week. I embraced the fact that I was in the middle of something over which I had little to no control. There is some freedom in that recognition.

What I did have control over was the outcome. The result of this challenge was a positive one: I used it as an opportunity to connect with my son and to slow down long enough to take in the view of the terrain that lies before me, rather than continuing to trudge on, head low, seeing only my feet.

Without challenges, life would be dull. It would be predictable, true, but very, very dull. I say, Embrace the challenges! Rise above them and have a story to tell!

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I'm linking up with Bianca of Bits of Bee for her 
Quotable Bits link up. Come on and join the fun!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ten Things That Give Me Anxiety

Won't you join me for #MondayListicles with @NorthWestMommy?

This week, Ally from Two Normal Moms suggested we write a list of “10 things [we’d] like to see happen before [we] die”. Alternatively, she said we could write about “10 things that give [us] anxiety" but she figured none of us would admit to any. Well, I have news for you, Ally: It was hard to limit myself to just 10!

1. being late
2. public speaking of any kind (the reason why I have yet to Vlog)
3. clutter 
4. figuring out what to wear to a special event 
5. driving in a snowstorm
6. lunch 
7. wrinkles (I really just meant the ones in clothes and sheets when I first wrote this, but, ya... those other ones too and the grey hairs that come with them) 
8. earwigs <shudder>
9. deadlines
10. not having a computer to type my #MondayListicles on (mine is in Apple heaven - had to kick hubby off of his... which actually was kind of fun)

It has come to my attention that not everyone knows what an earwig is. I didn't want to have to do this, but you leave me no choice. Gawd, I can't even look at them - hideous, angry little creatures:

From Scienceblogs.com: 
Earwig in a typical threatening posture

In the animal kingdom, organisms with pincers on their butts are classified in the phylum "evil" 

Come on and join the fun: 

Monday, January 16, 2012

It's About the Moments

This plaque sits on my bookshelf, a daily reminder to slow down, look, listen, and breathe in the moments.

I have a tendency to want to produce, to achieve, and my natural state is one of business. So this plaque has a central place in my home, a gift from a friend, to remind me that there is more to life than a desire for more. It is here, already here, within reach.

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I'm linking up with Bianca of Bits of Bee for her 
Quotable Bits link up. Come on and join the fun!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Well, I NEVER!

It's Monday and you know what that means: Time for #MondayListicles with @NorthWestMommy!

But first, a quick reminder:
Bloggers, are you keeping track of your favourite posts? The Best of the Blogosphere link up returns January 28th through February 4th. I'm keeping track of my favourites in a post so I'll be ready to go on the 28th, and you can too. I'll hope you'll join me in celebrating our fellow bloggers and their hard work!
Now back to this week's Listicle! This week's topic is brought to you by the lovely Greta of Not Enough Patience and Never Enough Jewelry:
"I'll Never...": The Top Ten Things You Said You Would NEVER Do And Have Caught Yourself Doing.
Oh yes. Hindsight. Before actually experiencing a thing - puberty, adulthood, university, first job, and the mother of them all: motherhood - we know it all, don't we? We say things like, "When I'm a mother, I'll never do x." Unh huh. Just you wait future mama! Abolish the word 'never' from your vocab right now (and then prepare to hear it from your child ad nauseum around about the time s/he reaches age four).

One of the first things I did after having Jack was to call my sister and apologize for not recognizing what a colossal undertaking motherhood is.

As a kid, I frequently knew just what kind of mother I would be, as if simply willing it to be was enough.

Well, if I know anything at all now - debatable - it is this: You will be more sure of yourself as a parent before you have kids than after. Parenting is a humbling endeavour. That's a good thing. Most of us, before having kids, could have used a little humbling!

Before becoming a mom, you might have heard me say:

1. I'll never... have a child of my own. From the time I was 17 years old, I thought I would adopt if I ever decided to have children. My feeling was that there were so many children in the world already that needed parents. How idealistic I was back then! Not that my ideas were misguided or wrong, but I was putting the cart before the horse in a way. Once I met my now hubby, I wanted to have his child and no one else's. (Truthfully if resources were unlimited, I would adopt a bunch of kids too.)

2. I'll never.... rock my child to sleep. Okay, I'm not judging, but I didn't want to create a bad habit that I would later have to undo. I planned to help my child learn to get to sleep on his own in his own room in his own bed. What I didn't plan for was his having acid reflux - possibly because he was born a few weeks early - and the pain he would feel after every feed. So, I rocked him to sleep. In fact, he slept overnight in a swing for a couple of months until we got his medication figured out and the pain subsided. Poor little gaffer!

3. I'll never... be one of those parents that drives their kid around wasting time and fossil fuels just to get their child to go to sleep. Soon after becoming a parent I learned an important lesson: You do what you have to do. And everyone needs sleep above all else when there is a new baby in the house. Yes, I drove... and drove... and drove so that my baby could get some rest, while I continued to function in a state of hyper sleep deprivation, all with a smile on my face and an educational song on my lips! I'm still waiting for my medal.

4. I'll never... give my baby a soother. 'Cause, baby's teeth might come in funny, he might also suck his thumb, his language skills could be delayed, maybe he won't take a bottle or refuse to nurse, and those things are dirty, and, and, and.... and the world might suddenly hurl itself into the sun!!! Boy, did I worry before I became a mom, and then for a little while afterwards. Truly, as moms we will always worry some. But if my child would have taken a soother, I would have been all over it in those first few agonizing months. I spent a good hour one day trying to convince him it was the best thing since milk à la boob. No go.

5. I'll never... feed my kid junk. I try hard not to. I may create some kind of pathology within my child, truth be told, by being as strict as I am. But every now and then I have to let go of this. Kids are given treats, there's Hallowe'en, birthday parties... PLUS it's not like I never eat stuff that's not good for me, and we all know how effective the Don't do as I do, do as I say parenting technique is! It's about balance and moderation and I think we're doing okay there.

6. I'll never... bribe my child to do something. Oh, how naive I was to think I could go a lifetime - my son's - without ever bribing him. Bribes, rewards, consequences... all important tools in the parenting toolkit. My parenting expert friends might not agree, but here's my thinking: I'm not perfect, never will be, and if I work so hard that my child ends up being perfect how will I ever relate to him? And besides:

magnet displayed prominently on my fridge

7. I'll never... buy brand name clothes. I'm a bit torn about this one. I have a thing about sporting brand name wear as a statement of status. As cute as kids can be all decked out in the latest fashion, I just don't want to send the wrong message to my kid or to anyone else. I want my kid to shine... not his clothes. I DO buy some brand name clothes though if the company is socially conscious, if the clothes are well made and reasonably priced, and especially if they are on sale. Mama loves a sale!

8. I'll never... use the TV as a babysitter. FAIL. It was two years, in fact, before Jack saw ANY television at all. BUT... eventually I got tired of having to wait until he took a nap or hubby got home just to take a shower. And then when naps were no more, well... TV time is now the only time that my son is quiet! He talks non-stop! Love him dearly, but my brain would explode if it weren't for Treehouse and CBC Kids.

9. I'll never... have a house full of primary coloured plastic toys. Ah, yes. Oblivion. Ignorance. Absolute bliss, isn't it? I actually believed that not only did I want to maintain my relatively mono-chromatic existence but that it would be possible. Well, that rule was broken before the little guy was even born, and now? Despite my attempts to house my son's many colourful toys in baskets and bins, they're everywhere! I've learned to embrace the fact that my house doesn't look like the cover of a magazine. My house looks lived in, and that's pretty comforting.

And finally,

10. I'll never... do that! We humans have a tendency to rate, rank and otherwise compare ourselves. We also come equipped with all sorts of values and beliefs (aka baggage) that direct our judgements of others. Even after becoming a parent, there is still a tendency to judge the actions of another parent against our own expectations of ourselves. I learned to do less of this as I discovered that there's just no way to know ahead of time what decisions will be the right ones for my family. And then I vowed to try never to judge another parent's actions without first understanding the circumstances, especially a parent with kids older than mine!

Great topic, Greta, and a good reminder that uttering the word "never" practically guarantees I will be eating my words one day soon!

Here's to the future and the inestimable ways in which I will be proven wrong... again!

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I'm also linking up today with Just. Be. Enough. because letting go of too high expectations and laughing at our own inflexibility is part of motherhood! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Honk. Shooooo.

Jack, do you think you'd like a nap today?

No thank-you, mommy. I'm not tired!

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My Heart Belongs to You, Little One

I'm linking up today with Bianca of Bits of Bee for her new Quotable Bits link up. Come on and join the fun!

Today I am preparing to register my son - my baby - for Kindergarten. KINDERGARTEN! Sigh.

Big snuggles this morning. I love our lazy starts. I'll register him for afternoons to hold onto them a little longer. It's too soon for full days. Grade 1 will be too soon for full days!

It's a good thing that the letting go is gradual. Baby steps. But no matter how gradual it is, I feel it. I feel his move towards independence. It's a good thing. The natural order. Still my heart aches with thoughts of 'losing him'.

He's my only one. There's a whole lot of me wrapped up in him.

Today's quote says it all:

Boy, did she nail that! That is exactly how I feel.

I understand completely why mamas want to have more kids at this stage. This is the stage when snuggles are fewer and farther between. We long to feel that closeness that we knew nothing of until the day our first child was born.

Bitter sweet. But the memories are enough to sustain me for the rest of my life. Had I not become a parent - even just the once - I would not have known that my heart could expand to hold so much more love. 

Though it's hard to believe it myself, it feels as though my heart grows with love for him each day. Elizabeth Stone's quote articulated something for me that until I read I only felt. Intensely

Take my heart with you little one, for though it aches to be separated from it and from you, I would have it no other way. My heart belongs to you.

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I'm also linking up with Lovelinks @FreeFringes,
a super cool place to hang out!

Stop by each week, link up a favourite post.
Come back the next day and vote for your favourites.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Work, work, work!

It's Monday Listicles time again with @NorthWestMommy.

This week Squashed Mom asked us to write about the Top Ten Strange (odd/unusual/funny/interesting) Jobs we have held in our lives. I don't know how interesting my previous jobs will be to others, but they have each, in their own unique ways, shaped who I am today.

1. I sold magazines - for one week! Worst. Job. Ever!

2. I worked at an auto glass company, answering phones and generally trying not to overhear what insurance rules were being broken by my sleezy boss.

3. I was a salad girl in two different restaurants. Actually had a lot of fun working in kitchens with some very quirky characters!

4. I was a hostess and later a head hostess. Oooh. Ahhh. I know!

5. I was waitress of both food and later cocktails. In that latter job position I referred to myself as a liquor prostitute, having had to dress up in a skirt and high heels to sell alcohol. Sometimes fun, most of the time just exhausting, but it paid some of my university bills... by which I mean it kept me in Mac 'n Cheese.

6. I worked for a fancy schmancy car credit company. Every time I told people who I worked for they would be totally impressed and ask if I drove one (mostly I said, No).

7. I greeted people at the university and told them where to go - right up my alley! :P

8. I worked as a peer counsellor at university. Great job. I love helping people. Can you tell by the fact that all of my jobs have been in the customer service industry?

9. I programmed computers and fixed them when they broke. Okay this one may not seem to be about customers, but it is. Everyone is your customer when you are in charge of the computers!

10. I'm a mom. Hardest job ever! Best. Job. Ever!

There you have it - my working life in a nutshell.

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Have a list of ten things?

Link it up!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Enjoy every single moment!
Really? Even this one?

I just read an article entitled Don't Carpe Diem by Glennon of Momastery.com.

It's interesting to me that this article should come my way today (via @Deb_Bryan), having recently posted my One Word that I will focus on this year:

Moms, you've probably all experienced this. You're out with the kids, doing a little shopping, possibly looking a little frazzled - something to do with child A tormenting child B while child C empties the contents of your purse into a bin of rice in the bulk foods aisle. A nice (or perhaps not so nice) elderly lady looks at you knowingly and suggests that you, "Enjoy these moments. Enjoy every precious one. They'll soon be over. They grow up so fast!"

When this happens, I tend to recognize the comments as a wistful look back by the speaker. I try to see them as a gentle reminder of what is so wonderful about my kid at this age, and I try not to think of the millions of ways in which I am not Supermom and sometimes not as grateful and calm and patient and engaged and perfect as I might like to be. 

But... there are also days I would rather someone just commiserated with me than tell me I should be enjoying myself. It's wonderful - for these ladies - that they seem to remember only the joys. However, if they remembered at least some of the challenges perhaps they would be more considerate and more careful with their words. Glennon says: 
Being told, in a million different ways to CARPE DIEM makes me worry that if I’m not in a constant state of intense gratitude and ecstasy, I’m doing something wrong.
That really made me think. I do a lot of talking about gratitude myself, but the reality is sometimes reality just plain stinks.

I need to remember this when I am at that stage - when I pass through any life stage and feel the urge to give advice to someone at the beginning of it. I need to remember what it is like for me when someone else seems to know what's best for me, having 'been there'.

I just love what Glennon will say when she reaches that stage of reminiscence - when she sees a mom in the grocery store struggling to maintain order:
“It’s helluva hard, isn’t it? You’re a good mom, I can tell. And I like your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. She’s my favorite. Carry on, warrior. Six hours till bedtime.”
Take the time to read Glennon's article. It's brilliant. She has some great suggestions for a modified version of the elderly lady plea to treasure every moment.

I also loved this comment from "Rachel":
yes, yes, yes!

I will never forget the time an older woman came over to me after I had left my grocery cart where it was and was physically manhandling my screaming, limp toddler out the door. She said (and in hindsight, she must have been yelling!!!), “one day, she’ll be all grown up and you’ll miss these days.”

REALLY??? this one? you think?

As I replied to Glennon: "...I have wondered if I am doing a good enough job – not just of parenting, but of life in general – if I am not enjoying myself at least most of the time. In fact, I’ve felt enough pressure around that sentiment that I selected REJOICE as a word to focus on this year. It can’t hurt to try to rejoice a little more in the glorious things that happen... [but]... while rejoicing more where there are things to be joyful about makes sense, reacting in natural ways to the things that aren’t so great is no failure."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Do you enjoy every single moment of motherhood? 
How do you respond when people tell you that you should?
(I could use some witty retorts in case what happens to Rachel ever happens to me!)

Thursday, January 05, 2012

2012: One Word

I first learned about the concept of adopting one word to focus on each year when Lisa of Shwartz Chronicles spoke about it. I love her 2011 word, "Move". Something I definitely need to do more of.

I was reminded of the one-word concept again earlier this week by Amanda of Lilahbility (have you chosen your word yet, Amanda?), and again today by Robin of Farewell Stranger who is also looking to adopt one word for 2012.

Last fall, I bought a few painted stones that spoke to me. Each one contained a word that I want to focus on.

I pondered them this morning and selected one.

Can you guess which one?

Here it is:

Why did I choose it? The others are just as important, but I'm making some progress with those. In my life now, there are many challenges. What I need most is to allow myself to rejoice in the fun and the joyful, and to recognize my accomplishments. Too often, I gloss over those things, not taking the time to celebrate them.


I have decided something else too. I am not meant to be a hand model, and I need to moisturize more often.

Have you chosen one word to focus on this year? 
What does that word mean to you?

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year!

Resolutions: What I should do,
and what I actually will do.

I'm back! I had a nice break with the family - punctuated by two flus and a cold. I took a break from my personal blog, but there was still LOTS going on at the book club.
If you're looking for e-books to load up that e-reader, iPhone or tablet you acquired over the holidays, visit Cookie's Book Club (the list of giveaways is at the top of the right sidebar). Some interesting guest posts too from some of my favourite 2011 independent authors!
I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and are slowly acclimatizing yourselves to the new year. Happy 2012!

I can't tell you how happy I am to usher in a new year. In our house we dubbed 2011 'The Year of the Cold'. We had a minimum of twelve colds and flus last year (I lost track towards the end). In fact, 2011 went out with one final hurrah, as our tiny human woke up early on December 31st with the flu. Suddenly, today, January 1st of a brand new year, he is miraculously well. I've spent the morning feeling grateful and hopeful while at the same time crossing all of my digits and knocking on everything made of wood.

BOTB is on hiatus!
See you at the end of January.

Just a quick post to let you know that the Best of the Blogosphere link up is on a break. There will be no BOTB post and linky for December 2011 (you may have already deduced that since here it is January).

Start noting your favourite reads this month (I keep track of mine in a draft post), and come back at the end of January to link up your list!

Happy New Year! All the best in 2012!