The Juggling Act of Life

Hello Hello!!

Well it has been (once again!) a while since I have done a blog post. And this does not mean that I have not been constantly thinking about writing, as it is such a therapeutic escape for me, I have just been juggling life!

Now, I relate more than ever to the quote, “You try so hard to make everyone happy but in the end you make nobody happy”. I feel mediocre. I want to be a better friend, a better nurse, more present in life, balancing the work/home life, get better at blogging, have my child learning at record pace as I supply her with all of the tools to do so, have “me” time to top it all off, etc. But in reality, I feel that every aspect is suffering in some way or another!

Feelings of guilt fester inside of me when I go to work and feel that I want to learn more about work! And then there is guilt when I am there and not at home with my child.  I want to understand more and really be an amazing nurse. I feel so exhausted some days that I just want to lie down and nap when my daughter is napping, but know there is so much that I want to accomplish in that 75 minutes of nap time. But then nap time comes and goes and I didn’t get nearly as much accomplished as I would have liked to.

I know that when 7pm rolls around, I should be working on one of my 500000 to-do list things, but often times I want to spend some time with my husband. By the time we have put Danica to bed, cleaned up after dinner and tidied up the house, I feel like I am just counting down the minutes until I get to go to sleep.

All in all, life is busy. For all of us!

But you know what? We all do it! And the way that I see it is that I am in a stage of my life that won’t last forever. The day is going to come where my daughter won’t be spending evenings with me, she will be with friends or working or just hanging out in her room. One day I will be retired and not have to think about work life. One day I may not be able to accomplish anything that I want to on my to-do list as I am physically or mentally unable to do so.

So as I reflect on this juggling act of life, I want to thank everyone in my life who makes it manageable. I want to thank the people who support and love me. The kisses I get to give every night and the lullabies I get to sing. Thank you to my family and friends who are like family who I can talk to. Thank you all for being patient with me, and understanding that maybe when I want to be more present, or talk on the phone more often, or come for a coffee, that sometimes it is not manageable as much as I would like, but I am always thinking of you! And its you guys who make my life so extremely beyond amazing!

I love you all!

XOXO JoJo

Time waits for no one..

Wow, months have flown by since my last blog post!

Back to work, busy summer life and no real excuse here….

I have started at a new job in the nursing world. Mental Health! For children! Wowza! My life really is not that bad compared to these little beings! They truly are resilient little kiddos that have been through more than what many adults have ever been through in their lifetime! And they are under 13 years old! Its hard not to take it home some (or most) days. But, alas, like most other nursing jobs you need to desensitize and try to keep work at work.

As for home life, the last few months have been an emotional rollercoaster here. My feelings have ranged from pure bliss to feeling downright depressed. One thing that really has gotten me through these emotions, especially the lower ones, have been an affirmation that I bumped into while randomly snooping around on Facebook.

Back story – I was looking at a girls Facebook page who used to work with me in Emergency some years ago. Well, she has transformed her nursing career to a more alternative nursing approach and she truly lives each day to the fullest. I love checking out her page for her updates. She had this daily affirmation that has a whole bunch of phrases flipping around and you take a screen shot to reveal what your daily affirmation will be. I loved the look of this idea and so decided to do it!

Well – my affirmation came up I am TRUSTING THE JOURNEY. And although some days/hours/minutes I find this very difficult, I am doing just that. I am trusting the journey.

My life has definitely not been an easy road in many aspects of life. But it has brought me to this amazing place that I am at today. And I wouldn’t change it for the world. Do I wish some things had turned out differently? Definitely. But I am trusting the journey and doing all I can in my power to live the best life that I can. I appreciate so much that my life has given me and I have worked hard to be where I am today!

So as I keep trusting the journey, I cannot wait to see what the future has in store!

XOXO JoJo

Pure Bliss…

Life does not get any better than this!

Feeling so grateful for spending a year getting to know this bundle of love!

She brings more happiness and fulfillment to my life than she could ever imagine.

Plus, it looks like she is going to love Tory Burch too!

XOXO JoJo

How I Motivate Myself in the Morning!!!

Good morning and Happy Valentine’s Day!!! It’s Danica’s very first one!!

The simple answer to how I motivate myself in the morning….

Coffee!! and more coffee!!!

Just kidding! Kinda…

Now, I am a firm believer that every day is a new day. Yes, cliche and all, it is true! It’s a second (or third or fiftieth) chance! And it’s a new day for a reason.

There are too many times where I choose to over indulge in food, beverages, laziness, procrastination, and so forth the night before and think to myself, “tomorrow is a new day”!

And then when the morning comes and the day is just beginning, I set out with goals and plans.

  1. First, I think about what is most important in my day and what I would like to accomplish today. It does not always happen, but making a mental note keeps me on track and focused. There are some must do’s (mostly grocery list related). And there are others that are only going to happen if I am a real eager beaver!
  2. Get out of bed!!! I am a morning person by nature. So I cannot lie in bed until noon even if I wanted to! Theres so much to do!! (Not to mention with an infant and a puppy, that choice really is not there).  Some people may also add shower. I, however, do not. I am an evening shower girl, so that is already done.
  3. Put on clothes! They can be PJ’s or sweat pants. Just, personally, waking up walking around in nothing but a robe (or less) will not keep me motivated! I need to have enough clothing on that, worst case scenario, if I need to leave my house I will not be flashing everyone in sight!!
  4. Look around. Really. Life is pretty good. Some days better than others, but in general, even waking up is something not everyone is going to get to experience on any particular day. I see my life, my house that is a home. I see my husband, who I adore. And my beautiful girl that I thank God for daily. I see my fur babies. I see the hope in every day. And that makes me want to be the best person I can be. I want to get things done, stay motivated, positive and real.
  5. Coffee!!! Now really, I don’t know when this total love/addiction to coffee came to be, but it is here! I love holding onto a hot cup of java. Too much makes me shakey, so I have to proceed with caution. But this stuff literally motivates me to take on the day! I love my Phil and Sebastian’s local Calgary company. (If you are ever in town and are a coffee lover, I highly suggest Phil and Seb’s). But on a regular day, Nabob or McDonald’s will do! And, believe it or not, my sister had a gift card for Dunkin Donuts in the U.S.A. at Christmas and I got some French Vanilla coffee from there that I love!

By starting each day with these small, but important, things I feel driven to accomplish what I set out for. Some days, I literally aim to keep my daughter fed and my house warm. And that is okay! Enjoy your day! Excuse me while I go and finish my cuppa!

XOXO JoJo

Reflections

I’m back! Happy 2018!

How did 2 months just fly by like that??

My little peanut is 11 months old and I am starting to get ready for transitioning back to work. My heart just aches…

Over this last year, I have really started to find myself. I have done so much more reflecting on my life and my purpose. It isn’t easy to do this. It is something that I seem to have shoved waaaaaay deep down inside of me. Why? I do not really know. Partially, it is because I didn’t want to deal with the nitty gritty reality of being unsure of what my life’s purpose is.

Well, I’m getting closer! And I cannot be happier! Now I just need to keep working at it.

So, for starters, I am returning to a profession that I hope is not going to be long term. Maybe my mind will change? Maybe I will find an area of nursing that I feel is my “niche”? Maybe not. Most likely not. But you never know. I can’t be negative. But it’s not something I am going to do for the next 30 years if I am miserable.

I love being at home. I have found great peace and tranquility just being at home. I have been lucky enough to get to go cross-country skiing in the field behind my back yard. It makes me really get into nature, unplug and exercise at the same time. My husband’s work slows down over the winter, so when he is home I sneak away for a ski when my munchkin goes down for a snooze.

We recently got a puppy, and that takes us outside more. And let me tell ya, if I want Danica to have a good night sleep, just get her outside. Grandma was right! There is nothing like fresh air to get a baby to sleep like a baby 🙂

Lastly, I need to tell you my “New Year’s Resolution”. It is something that will take some effort, but it will be worth it in the end. I resolve to stop giving my time to people who do not deserve my time. I let people take take take and it just drains me. I have some negative people in my life and when I spend time with them I just feel worse. This needs to stop. Or at least be minimized, Life is short, spend it with people who make you happier and build you up, right?!

Ahh it feels good to write again!

XOXO JoJo

My Big Move…

Moving across the country was the biggest thing that I have ever done.

The decision did not come easy.

But you know what? Once the decision was made, it was a done deal. I left behind my full time job in Intensive Care, my friends and of course, my dad and sister. “One year” I said. One year and then home.

To this day, the decision has felt like a blur. In my heart of hearts I don’t know exactly why I decided to come. But my life was forever changed.

It was 2008, I was a new nurse headed for Calgary and Emergency Nursing. I moved with a girlfriend from work who was coming to be closer to her sister. Hmm and I am leaving my family….

I was miserable for at least eight months. It was lonely, tough and eye opening. I was a country mouse living as a city mouse.

On the bright side, I was loving the shopping, nightlife and independence. But I was spending too much, working too much and sleeping too little. Life was getting too fast for me and I was quickly falling behind.

I got into debt despite working tons of overtime. My friendship ended with the girl that I moved out here with. I was tapped out, ready to move home. But I persevered. And you know what? I don’t know why, but I did. I think I needed to prove to myself that I could do one year.

Well, one year came and went. In that year I had visits from my sister and my friend Jenn, both from Thunder Bay, and that really made it tolerable. It gave me something to look forward to. I also went home to visit a lot. And by the time that first year was over, I wasn’t ready to leave.

Now it is just over 9 years later. I did go back home once with the intention of moving home but that didn’t stick. It wasn’t the right time, and there was a huge revelation. Things change. Life keeps going when you move away and things were different. I had also changed. So I returned to Calgary, and met my husband-to-be a mere month later!

And now we are settled here. There are often times when I think how wonderful it would be to move back home to Thunder Bay, Ontario. But this is where we are settled. And this is where we will be staying, as this is where the work is. So I have made it my home. Also, since having a wee one, this IS her home. And this will be her home base. So we embrace Calgary with open arms for that very reason!

XOXO JoJo

Christmas at the Nut House!

Well, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! This is our Christmas tree! Barricaded off because of a little 9 month old baby who loves to explore and touch anything! But we wouldn’t want it any other way!!! We have all been sick over here so I haven’t written in a while, but I am back!

Christmas is my most favourite season! The trees, the lights, the visiting, family bonding and the music!

But as much as there is so much magic with the season, there is always something missing. My parents. So, I like to make an effort to try to keep their memory alive . My mom, especially, was a true Christmas lover. And our family would do many yearly Christmas traditions.

After chatting with my sis, these are the most memorable holiday traditions that our family had!

Baking Christmas Goodies!

Of course! Shortbread, gingerbread, nuts and bolts, and some marshmallow/peanut butter/ marishino cherry bar! Yum! This tradition will be carried on for sure. Helping mom bake cookies and the fragrant smell.. ahhh!!! Dani didn’t help this year, however, I would say thats a good thing. She wouldn’t be much help at 9 months old!

Swiss Chalet

Okay , totally a festive dinner out for sure. Usually after shopping for Christmas gifts. I remember the quarter chicken dinner. And the meal always came with a pack of Lindor chocolates to take home! I’m not a total Swiss Chalet fan, although I haven’t been there in years, but we are going to go as a family …. and maybe have the chicken dinner.

Driving Around to Look at Christmas Lights

This was a Christmas Eve tradition. We would hop in the minivan as a family and go look at lights before attending church. Nice warm vehicle, appreciating other peoples hard work and dedication to their masterpiece light show! So much fun! We are keeping this tradition alive for sure 🙂

Kenny and Dolly!

How would we ever survive a Christmas season without the most magical Christmas duo of all! Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. First the record (and years later the CD) would play all the time at our house. Every time I hear this album I am brought back to my childhood, waiting for Christmas to arrive. One of the best tunes “I’ll be home for Christmas” still brings a tear to my eye remembering my mom and dad.

The Grinch

So anyone who knows me knows that I am a Grinch fanatic! I love the Grinch! And it is not time to celebrate Christmas until we have seen that movie at least three times! The cartoon is by far my favourite, although Jim Carey’s version is a close second haha! The best part of the Grinch movie is the moral behind the movie. Although I do love presents and stockings and the giving of gifts, I do also know that Christmas means a little bit more.

(We don’t generally give Dani any “TV time” but I had to make an exception for this movie).

Thanks for reading. I hope that this helps to remind us all of our favourite traditions during this time of year! And if you don’t have any traditions, or not enough, there’s always time to add some to the list 🙂 .

XOXO Jo Jo

Identity..

IMG_1540While on this soul searching that I have been doing, I have come to the realization that I have many different facets to my identity. What do I most identify myself as? Good question.

1. Mother

I would definitely say that now in this role as a mother, first and foremost, this is what I am identifying myself as. Having a helpless baby placed on my belly, after birthing her, has become my main focus. Being the best role model for my child is what I aim to do. I hope one day she says, “I want to be just like my mommy”. By no means am I anywhere close to the “perfect” mom, but who is?! I google, ask lots of questions, think I’m doing ok and then begin to second guess myself. But I love every minute of being a mom and I am so blessed to have the opportunity ❤️. It was a hard road to get here, but that is what makes motherhood even more beautiful.

Sean LeBlanc Photography - J&G Edited Wedding Images -237

2. Wife

By taking the oath of marriage, in front of all of our friends and family, made me a wife. I love the identity and partnership of marriage. We each have our roles, and while I am by no means a traditional housewife, I would like to think I’m somewhere between that and a working wife. Making dinners and doing laundry are things I enjoy, with some help! We are fairly even in chores and my husband is definitely the cook of the family. But I’m trying! Being a wife can make one very vulnerable at times, and having a husband who is both trustworthy and supportive makes my own vulnerability easier. Having that partner to sleep beside at night is a feeling of fulfillment. I have only been a wife for a mere 3 years, but it is something that I cherish.

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3. Sister

I am the best sister one could ask for. Just ask my sister. I’m her fave. (And only!). Everyone should have a sister. They make the good times better and the hard times bearable. Without my sister, I don’t know where I’d be. And as a sister, I love the bond that has formed between us. It’s an unbreakable one for sure. It’s who I am. From the day my younger sister was born, I got to add being a sister to my life. Growing up, we fought like cat and dog! But with maturity and time we now don’t go a few hours without connecting! It’s both an honour and a privilege to be in this role.

4. Friend

I am very fortunate to have an abundance of friends to stand beside me in this life. The amazing thing about friends is that there are varying degrees of friendships. And by that I mean you have best friends and you have the friends you talk to or see once a year, if at all. And then there is all of the other friendships in between. I love and appreciate them all. But with every friend in my life, whatever paths we travel on, we know that we are always a phone call away. This is a very important part of my identity.

5. Nurse

Being a Registered Nurse is something that I definitely identify with at this point in my life. It has been my profession for over 10 years. There are many positives and negatives to being a nurse. I’ve seen birth and death, happiness and sadness. I have dealt with many different patients, families and other healthcare professionals. Being a nurse has helped to mold me into the person I am today. There are experiences that I wish that I could “unsee” and others I will cherish all of my life. I feel that I am more compassionate and caring because of the nurse in me. And also maybe a bit more jaded and realistic then I used to be.

5. Woman
Part of my identity is being a woman. I am proud to say that I birthed my daughter. I have a strong shell when I need and am a softie most of the time. I love clothes, makeup and pampering! But I also love getting dirty, wearing sweatpants and watching hockey! I am definitely super emotional, cry at any sappy movie and take EVERYTHING personally! But it is me.

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6. Daughter

This is a tough one… I am an adult orphan, if you will. I have lost both my mother and my father . But I’m still their daughter. I had a mom and dad growing up. I was that rebellious pre-pubescent teen. I am sure that I gave my mom many grey hairs! But as I got older, I realized that my mom really only wanted what was best for me. And my dad and I became so close when he would drive me to my hockey games and help coach the team. They may not be on earth anymore, but I will never forget the life lessons my parents gave me. As long as I’m living my parents they will be!

Those are the six key roles that I feel make up my identity right now. Of course, there are many more layers to me. But those six are the highlights, the front and centre, of my self today!

If you are trying to figure out where you belong in this wild and crazy life, make a list! It really does hep to provide some insight to who you are.

XOXO Jo Jo

Pajama Party ALL Day!

Happy Friday! I cannot believe 3 weeks and 3 days until Christmas. We are so excited over here at our place! Danica will have her first Christmas in the U.S.A. We are going to spend it with my sister and her husband in Connecticut. Danica and her cousin will both get to celebrate their First Christmas together! I cannot wait!!!

Well, I did it!

I’m not sure if I should be proud or embarrassed, but I was that woman who wore her pjs ALL day long! I literally woke up, changed my skivvies and put my jammies back on.

Now, when Dani was first born I did the same thing. But that was a totally different circumstance. I had just given birth to a baby and the only thing I could concentrate on was keeping a newborn baby alive !

I won’t make a habit of it but, it felt pretty darned good to do it! Not putting on clothes, makeup or straightening my hair made me feel rebellious. In a “bad mom” sorta way!

I do fully understand why the advice is given to “always get yourself ready for the day, even if there is nowhere to go”.  I agree that you feel better even just running a brush through the hair and a little mascara on the peepers. Who knows what the day will bring about, and you want to be ready.

But, on this one amazingly relaxing day, I felt great! And not ashamed! Well, not really ashamed! Although, I am glad that no one came to the door to see me at 2pm, hair in messy bun (not purposely) and pj pants on!

So I challenge you , if this is totally out of your comfort zone, to try it! You can even start by wearing sweat pants around the house for the day! It won’t turn into a weeklong episode of not bathing at wearing the same underwear, ew. It will just give you that Christmas morning, chilling’ with no makeup on, letting hair do its own kinda thing feeling! And, if its that terrible, you NEVER have to do it AGAIN!

It’s a wild wild world out there. We have to tackle it daily. So why don’t you take one of those 365 days to just enjoy those pjs night AND day!

XOXO Jo Jo

Enjoying the Finer Things in Life

There is nothing like supporting local. And even better is to support someone who is near and dear to you!.

My sister-in-law, Shelley Nutma, is one extremely  talented self-taught artist. She creates art that depicts our beautiful country so well. She expresses, “Through my art I aim to capture the Canadian wilderness and it’s ability to inspire wonder and awe”. That is definitely acheived through her artwork. Shelley lives in Calgary, Alberta with her husband and adorable daughter, Bella. And we cannot forget her two dogs!

I recently purchased the beauty shown above. It is called “An Autumn Story” and really gives the feeling of the title. It is a watercolour print that is of very high quality. I asked Shelley to describe her painting,

“An Autumn Story” was the first piece done in what would become my “Storybook ” series. I wanted this piece to be more illustrative, as if it were found in a storybook. I started off with sketching the scene in ink, no pencil; I wanted it to be raw and organic. Then I filled it with watercolour paints. Summer was coming to an end when I started “An Autumn Story” – This was my inspiration!

Creativity and heart are the words that come to mind with Shelley’s artwork. She captures the true beauty of Canada and brings it to life on paper.

My family and I enjoy camping in the summer, and this painting specifically gives a feeling of nostalgia and longing to be camping again. Since it is winter here, we won’t be getting out camping until the spring, May, at the earliest. The river flowing through the trees and the rocks along the banks depict the type of camping landscape that we search for.

Here is another beautiful picture (in sticker form) entitled “Kananaskis”. It reminds me of the stunning drive to the Rocky Mountains. Which, I must add, are just a short drive away from us here in Calgary, Alberta. The road driving towards forest and soon into the mountains to get away from the city for a while is my type of therapy.

“The vast majority of my artwork is nature-based. The Canadian landscape has always been a fascination of mine and it’s ruggedness is ever-inspiring. Living in Calgary, the neighbouring mountains are something I see nearly every day and they make a frequent appearance in my artwork. Their unmoving, wild and vast size never cease to fascinate and inspire me. I work in a variety of mediums and choose whichever I feel will best suit the place I have in mind”

-Shelley Nutma

Thank you so much for letting me learn more about your artwork Shelley. And for letting me write this post!

If you would like to check out more of Shelley’s artwork or purchase any of these prints, you can check out Shelley’s Etsy store;

https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/ShelleyNutmaARTShelley Nutma Art

 

Thanks so much for reading! If you have never been to Western Canada , specifically Alberta and British Columbia, I highly recommend visiting. You can see these stunning pictures come to life!

 

XOXO Jo Jo