Four New Habits I’m Going to Work on Starting NOW

Oh hi there.  It’s been a while.  I won’t bore you with the details of why I haven’t written in a long time or make any promises about the future of Cultivating Habits, but I will tell you why I’m writing today.

I was out for a walk on my lunch break today (first week back at work after mat leave what what) and I got to thinking about all the things  I’d like to start incorporating into my daily routine.  Habits, if you will, that I would like to start….cultivating, you could say 😉

And I thought about how awesome if felt when I started Cultivating Habits and how this blog really, honestly, did help me to make some really positive changes in my life.

So I have a plan.

A plan I’m pretty excited to share with you.

The Plan

So in regards to the things I want to do, I think I can neatly categorize them in four areas: fitness, nutrition, home/family, and self-care.

My plan is going to be this: each week I’m going to chose one thing to do in each of these categories, and I’m gonna dewit.  All week long.

And then the following week I’ll do something different.  That doesn’t mean I’ll give up on the past thing, I’ll just decide then if it’s a sustainable one, or if it’s one that I need to maybe tweak.

This Week

So today is Thursday and I’m really not a fan of starting things mid-week, so this one is going to go for a week and a bit and then new things will come into the mix every Monday.  Or maybe new ones will just start on Thursdays – WOULDN’T THAT BE CRAZY!?

So here we go…this week I’m going to…

  • Fitness: do something active every day at lunch.  I bought a gym class pass here at work, so I have some classes I plan to go to.  And when there isn’t a class I plan to either go to the gym (HA!) or go for a walk (wayyyy more realistic).
  • Nutrition: drink a green smoothie every morning.  Danny and I are gonna do this together – great way to get in the greens and the kids can have one too.  Today I picked up some Vega Vanilla green protein stuff, so I’ll give that a try.
  • Home: no yelling at the kids.  Does that make me sound like a horrible mom?  This morning I yelled at Nathan (he’s 3.5) because I didn’t manage my time well and he refused to put on his pants and we were running super late.  I felt guilty and awful and it just wasn’t a good way to start the day.  So I’m going to notice my emotions and frustrations and just take a moment when I feel myself getting close to being ‘yelly mom’ (who is not as much fun as the name would suggest)
  • Self-Care: meditate every day for 10 minutes.  This helps me soooooo much to regulate my emotions and just feel calm and centered and all things happy.  I think the best time for me to do this is after Nathan is in bed – well, after he’s stopped coming out of his room 17 times before I have to tell him very sternly ‘it’s bedtime’.

Oh boy that seems like I lot. I”m going to have to write all this down somewhere to remind me.

Oh and obviously I’ll be keeping myself accountable by writing about it here.

But WOOOHOOO.  Are you as excited as I am!!????

I’m also thinking of reviving my Facebook page or maybe starting an instagram account for this…..I don’t really go on FB that much anymore and I don’t know if I can be bothered to post there.  Hmmm…..I’ll let you know and then you can follow along.

And if wanna do this with me, then, well let’s do it.  So if you have any things that you want to start doing let me know and we’ll TOTALLY DO IT.



A Day in My Life

I really want to keep this blog and my habit plans going but it’s a bit hard with a three month old and a two-year-old. So instead of writing about any particular habits today I thought I would show you a day in my life.

Now this is not a typical day because there really is no typical day. Isabel isn’t really on a schedule yet so her naps are a bit all over the place. Some days she only takes 45 minute naps and some days Nathan refuses to nap, which can make for a really long day. And our day he can start anytime between 7 and 8:30 pretty much depending on when Nathan wakes up.

So having said that here was our day on Friday, May 12.

Warning: My tenses are really off in this post – I hope you don’t mind!  Some of this is me recording it as it happens and some is looking back and I honestly just don’t have the time or mental capacity to edit it. Also, this is a long post because, well, my days are long.

7 AM Everyone is awake. I get Isabel out of her crib, bring her into bed with me and nurse her to the sound of Nathan jumping and chatting to himself. I leave Isabel on the bed, go down and make myself a cup of coffee because, well, priorities. Last night I was up with her at 2 and 5:30 so I’m a little tired today. I’m a little tired every day. I drink my coffee in the bedroom while Isabel and I smile and coo each other. I don’t hear Nathan so I think he might have fallen back asleep. I use that as an opportunity to take a quick shower.

7:45 AM Nathan is up. I go in and get them and say good morning good morning hello good morning. I change him out of his pyjamas and we eventually make our way downstairs for milk and breakfast which this morning is french toast and bananas. Isabel’s pretty fussy this morning so I put her upstairs in the crib for her to stare at her mobile which is her favourite thing to do these days.

8:45 AM Isabel’s up in the ergo carrier. Nathan is colouring on the living room floor and I’m trying to get him out the door to his daycare, which is just a few houses down.

Oh man, look at that tired face!

may 12

9:00 AM I’m back home from dropping Nathan off at the daycare. We always see a cat on our way, so we stop and talk about the cat for a little while. “Yes, it’s a cat.  That’s right, it’s white.  I know, I saw the cat too. Say bye to the cat, ok bye bye cat.  Yes, I know, it’s a cat.  That’s right it’s white.”  And so on…it usually takes a long time to get there but today was actually pretty quick. By the time I get back Isabel is ready for her nap.

9:10 AM Isabel is napping. While I was nursing her down today she started shaking which has never happened before and it scared the crap out of me but she stopped as soon as I said her name. I then spent the next 15 minutes googling it and apparently it’s normal. Still, I don’t like it. So while she naps I throw in a load laundry, clean up Nathan’s crayons, clean up the kitchen and  did this really great 20 minute yoga routine. It was hard but I modified where I needed to. I then made it through 12 minutes of meditation. Isabel cried out halfway through so my mind started wondering to what we were going to do today and I somehow ended up thinking about wanting to buy a piano. I then had a coffee answered some texts checked my email while listening to Yoga Girl’s latest podcast.

11:10 AM she’s up! Big nap today. This is her reaction to seeing me, melts my heart every time!

isabel waking

We have about an hour before we have to go get Nathan so I nursed her, change her, and we play a bit. I have lunch (left over chicken stir fry) and then I put her in the ring sling and we head out the door.

12:00 p.m. We walked down the street to pick up Nathan and on our way back we watch the squirrels climbing the trees. Nathan plays with the rocks in the backyard for a bit and then we come inside to colour and I nurse Isabel while Nathan eats crayons and pretends to shove them up his nose all while saying OK play? OK play? Yes Nathan OK play.

silly nathan

12:40 PM I bring Isabel upstairs for a nap while Nathan stays downstairs and colors. She went down quickly with no shaking (phewf). I come back to find him reading a not so child appropriate book (it’s A Game of Thrones graphic novel) and he wants to read it together so we spent some time reading.  Mostly it’s me saying ‘boy, eyes, hair, horse’ and ignoring the fact that there’s lots of fighting and blood and just not appropriate things.

nathan reading comic

I spend the next half hour trying to convince Nathan to come upstairs with me for his nap. What  finally works is putting him in the ring sling. He loved it. I think he likes to be reminded that he’s still my baby. It’s not easy having a new baby sister I’m sure.

1:20 PM Nathan’s asleep. Both kids are napping. I have coffee, text some friends and start this blog post. I put on some music and think about tidying up the house and folding laundry but end up surfing the net, staring out the window, and enjoying this calm moment to myself.

2:30 PM  Both kids are still napping.  This is unheard of!!  I’m contemplating another coffee, but I try to limit it to three a day.  I have a tea instead along with a handful of cashews, some goldfish crackers, and half a bagel.  And then a bowl of chilli.  Breastfeeding is hungry work!


I read my book, check on Isabel three times, and drink two glasses of water.

3:30 PM Nathan wakes up crying, as he does unfortunately.  I usually give him 10 minutes before going in, otherwise he’s an inconsolable mess, so I wait.

4:00 PM both kids are up we make our way down stairs and have a smoothie with spinach, banana, blueberries, yogurt, and coconut water. Isabel plays on her activity mat and Nathan walks around drinking his smoothie. He’s also learned how to unlock and open the patio door, so that’s fun.

patio door

4:30 PM Dad’s home! Danny orders pizza while I hang out with the babies.

5:00 PM We eat. Isabel eats my hand and drools all over me. I’m pretty sure she’s starting to teethe. More hanging out.

6:00 PM Isabel goes down for her last nap of the day and we read books with Nathan. He’s going a little crazy, we think it might have been the pizza.

6:40 PM Isabel is up and it’s bath time. Nathan wants to get in the bath with Isabel and 2 minutes later points at her and says ‘out’. I do Isabel’s bedtime routine and danny does Nathans.

Wine o’clock YAY! aka 8:00. Kids are in bed. Danny and I have wine and watch a little Netflix.

10:00 PM Time for bed.  I get up with her twice in the night and start the next day at 7:45.  Tired but happy 🙂

10 Minute Clean Up

Have you guys seen the movie Adventures in Babysitting?  You know that scene at the end when they all get back from their crazy night and Chris (the babysitter) does a quick clean up of the house?  That scene for some reason always stuck with me – weird, I know.  It just showed how quickly you can get shit done when you really need or want to.

Some days I look around the house and just feel overwhelmed with how messy it is.  And too lazy and tired to do anything about it.  But I know I can’t relax if the place is a mess.  So what I do is put on a good song and tell myself to just clean to that song.  Get as much done as I can and leave it at that.

Doing that not only gets me started, but I usually end up cleaning for longer.  But even if I just do clean for the length of that song I find I can actually get a lot done.

So if you’re like me and don’t feel like cleaning, try just doing it for one song.  Or set a timer for 10 minutes.

Here is an awesome example of the 10 minute clean up which I found pretty motivating.  Plus, I like the song a lot.


Oh and I didn’t really do my exercise challenge yesterday.  I did move my body though.  We went for nice walk as a family in the morning – Nathan pretty much ran the whole time.

A running toddler is pretty  much the cutest thing in the world, by the way.

When we got home I decided to attempt to do Monday’s workout instead which was pushups and shoulder thingies.  I did a few modified pushups and felt extremely wimpy.  Then Nathan climbed on my back and I did a few more and we had a good laugh.

So all in all, not a complete write-off.

Feel Healthier: Day 1

Yesterday was day one of my Feel Healthier plan and as promised, here is my daily update. I really hope these don’t get boring for you, but I find posting here really helps to keep me accountable.

So here’s how day one went.

Eating well.

My plan to start is just to track what I’m eating.  So yesterday I took pictures of everything I ate.  Looking at this I think it was actually a pretty good day.   I actually had about three times as much dinner as shown though. I’ve been so hungry!!


Sure I had chocolate and coffee and ice-cream, but I also had fruit and vegetables and I managed to keep away from things that don’t make me feel good – namely chips and popcorn.  I have absolutely no self control when it comes to these two things and I always (and I mean always) end up with a sore stomach.

Drinking water.

I made a conscious effort to have a glass of water within arms reach all day.  I think I need to get a second water bottle – one for home and one for work.  When we went for a walk I brought one of Nathan’s sippy cups with me haha.

Moving my body.

I’ve decided to change this habit from ‘exercising’ to ‘moving my body’.  Even though I grew up an athlete, I am now intimidated by the word exercise.  Feels so onerous.  I don’t want to exercise.  But I do want to move my body.  Yesterday was a good day.  It was Sunday so I moved around a lot with Nathan, went for an hour long walk, and even got on the elliptical for 20 minutes (I tried for 30 but got bored).

Sleeping well.

I was really tired yesterday and went to bed at 9:30.  I read one chapter in my book and then it was lights out.  Unfortunately I woke up several times in the night.  Ever since Nathan was born I’ve become a ridiculously light sleeper.  At least I no longer wake up panicked that he’s in the bed and I can’t find him.  And then he cried out at 4:15 and was up for the day at 5:45.  So yeah, I tried.

All in All

I’d say it was a pretty good day.  Not bad for day one.  I’m not going to attempt to make any changes to my eating habits or routine for a few more days.

I think for now just being conscious of these four habits is a step in the right direction.

3 Months

I can’t believe Nathan is three months old today.  I was going to say *only* three months because these have honestly been three of the longest months of my life.

I wrote about some of the challenges about life with a newborn when he was three weeks old.  Some of these challenges still persist.  Namely the sleep deprivation and the fact that I’m not sleeping well.

Did I mention that I’m really tired?

I know, it’s something you kind of expect.  It’s what people say to you all. the. time. when you’re pregnant – “get your sleep in now while you can”.  Ya, like that even happened when I was pregnant!  I went from being physically uncomfortable for, oh I’d say the last month or so, to being kept awake with a little dinosaur in my bed.  The sounds that this child makes are like nothing I’ve ever heard before.

Yes, I cosleep.  This was not planned.  If I could go back I would have not gone down this road because it’s a hard one to get away from.

Yes, the cuddles are great and it’s incredibly reassuring to have him next to me and it makes those 4 am nursing sessions super convenient, but I can’t sleep with him next to me.  He’s my little flailing dinosaur – all arms and legs and grunts.  That and I’m not able to fall into a complete relaxed deep sleep.

So now that he’s three months I’m going to try to get him out of my bed and at least into the bassinet.  We’re going to aim for the crib at six months (I’m honestly  not ready to have him out of the room).  In his bassinet I’ll still be kept awake by the grunts, I’m sure, but at least I’ll be able to relax more in my sleep.  And it’s a start to getting him to sleep on his own.  It would also be nice if he could stop napping only in the Ergo carrier.

Sorry if this is really boring.  This is kind of ,my life right now.

The other challenge that is persisting is the worry (I’m sure the lack of sleep doesn’t help this).  It’s actually getting to be really annoying and I seriously need to step away from the Google.  Like right now he has a cough.  So naturally, I Googled it and babies under three months should not be coughing and it could mean there’s something wrong with their lungs and you should call your doctor.  So what about if he’s exactly three months?  My intuition tells me he’s ok – we turned the heat on again and it’s really dry in here so I think I just need to run the humidifier in our room.  My worry, on the other hand, is not as rational as my intuition and thinks there might be something wrong with his lungs.  Afterall, Google said there could be.

I was telling Danny about my worry last night while I was caressing Nathans adorable little noggin, which seemed kind of hot to me, so I said ‘does his head feel hot to you’ and Danny was like, ‘you’re joking, right?’  ‘No seriously, feel his head.’ (It didn’t feel hot to him.)

But ya, three months old!  Awww this guy.


This has been a pretty awesome month in terms of his development.  These last two weeks in particular.  He’s super smiley, squeely, squirmy, observant and is now grasping at things.  And putting everything in his mouth.  He especially likes to eat his bunny. It’s super cute.

He’s grown from 5 lbs 12 oz (at his lowest weight) to over 14 lbs!!  He still looks pretty tiny, but I can feel that he’s a lot more solid.  A lot less breakable now 🙂

A Mothers Love

Before I left on maternity leave, one of my colleagues told me that when you have a child you understand the extent to which your own parents love you.

This love is something we kind of take for granted.  Of course our parents love us, they kind of have to.

(They may not always like us, but they always love us.)

It’s a cliche, I know, but I didn’t know that I could love this deeply.  I love my baby with every cell in my body.  This morning I woke up to some of the biggest, gummiest smiles I’ve seen yet and I felt what I can only describe as pure joy.  And when he looks up at me with his big brown eyes, my heart just melts.


To know that my mother felt this for each of us is really special.  To know that she too got up at 4 am to nurse us.  To know that she too worried the kind of worry that never really goes away, no matter how old her babies get.  That she too loved, and still loves us, this deeply.

My mom is one of the most loving people I know.  She is patient.  She is very affectionate and she always made us feel loved.  I grew up in a home of copious cuddles, kisses, hugs, and I love you’s.

This baby stage is very special (albeit difficult at times) and I know it will pass quickly.  There will be lots of challenges that we will face while raising Nathan, for that I”m sure.  But I take so much comfort in the fact that, although my mother doesn’t live in the same city as me, she’s only a phone call away.  I know that I can turn to her for advice and support through the difficult times.  And of course, to share the beautiful moments with as well.

I am so thankful to my mother and all that she is and all that she’s taught me about being a mother.


Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

Clear the Clutter Challenge Day 2: Night Stand and What I’m Reading

Oh hi there!  Welcome to day 2 of my Clear the Clutter challenge.  A whole 21 exciting days of making my home clutter free.

One of the nice things about staying at a hotel is the lack of clutter.  When you wake up in the morning you aren’t confronted by a bunch of stuff on the table next to you.  In most cases there’s a lamp and an alarm clock.

Ideally I’d wake up to flowers on the nightstand, but let’s be realistic here. For now I’ll settle with a clear surface.

My night stand is a bit out of control, but clearing the clutter only took a few moments.  The problem with decluttering, or cleaning in general, is I tend to just move the junk to another area of the house.  Which is kind of what I did here.  I moved the books that I wasn’t reading and were therefor just contributing to the clutter, to my desk in the guest room.  I figure I’ll get to them eventually!  The point here is that my night stand is clear 🙂

Now the challenge is going to be to maintain!

Here’s the very exciting before and after:

If you’re curious the books I have there are kind of my reference books for le baby.  One is on healthy sleep habits and the other is on breastfeeding.  The sleep habits book is one that I really want to start to help Nathan develop.  Our nights are HORRIBLE.  Really not ideal right now.  He’s out from 10 – 2 usually (sometimes up at 12 though) and then he’s pretty much up and fussing from 2 – 6.  It’s incredibly frustrating for me.  I don’t expect him to sleep through the night – he’s only 9.5 weeks afterall – but I’d really like to eliminate that whole 2 – 6 nonsense.  I would even be OK with him up every 2 hours to feed.  As long as he goes back to sleep – and not on me – which is pretty much the only way he’ll sleep now 😦  Ugh, OK enough about that!!  Coffee is good.

I’m also reading some books on my kindle which I keep in the nursery. I just read Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham (AKA Lorelei from Gilmour Girls) and I really enjoyed it.  Now I’m reading What Alice Forgot, and I forgot who it’s by but it’s OK so far.  I’m really into reading chick lit these days because honestly, it’s about all my brain can handle. Again, no sleep.

But yes, back to the challenge!  If you want to follow along, I challenge you to take 10 minutes to declutter your night stand. If you don’t have a night stand or you keep yours clutter free to begin with, then you can do any simple surface in your home.  Maybe a dresser or a shelf.

See you tomorrow!

You’re OK

Yesterday our little guy had his 8 week vaccinations.

As the nurse administered his two shots I stood near his head and held his little hands.  I didn’t have to see the needle to know when it went in.  Oh my heart just about broke!

As he’s wailing and gushing his poor little baby tears I found myself saying “it’s OK, you’re OK” and I only caught this as I heard the nurse say “that’s good, you tell us how it feels”.

And as he should.

He was not OK and he did not need me telling him otherwise.

Now I know he’s only 8 weeks only and he doesn’t really understand what I’m saying, but the more I say something, the more of a habit it will become.

When he’s hurting I don’t want to tell him he’s OK.  I want to tell him it’s OK to feel what he’s feeling.  To express himself and say, no mom, I’m not OK.

Having said that, I do think there is a time to put on a brave face.  When you know that the tears are more out of shock rather than pain.  To reassure them that they are, in fact, OK.

Getting two needles in the thigh is not the time.

Life with a Newborn

Nathan is now three weeks old.  These past three weeks have been interesting – both wonderful and stressful.  I can’t believe it’s only been three weeks since I gave birth.  I also can’t believe he’s already three weeks old.  Time has definitely done a strange thing – my nights are no longer spent sleeping and my days are broken up into time spent feeding and not feeding my little love.

Life with a newborn is hard.  It’s not that I expected it to be easy, I mean I did read a little about babies before going into this (funny though, I read wayyyy more about pregnancy and birth than I did about actually raising a human being), but there were definitely a number of things I underestimated going into this.  Such as:

How little sleep I’d get.

You hear it all the time, how sleep deprived new parents are, and I always thought, ‘don’t newborns sleep, like, all the time?’.  And ya, they do – like up to 18 hours a day – but that sleep is in two or three hour spurts.  Which means I haven’t had more than three consecutive hours of sleep in three weeks.  That’s really hard to adjust to!!   Though I must admit (and Danny makes fun of me for this) sometimes I don’t sleep when Nathan’s sleeping because I’m too busy staring at him.  He just makes the cutest faces in his sleep!  Little smiles and angry faces and confused faces.  So yes, I watch my child sleep when I should be sleeping.

I feel like things are on the up and up on this front though.  He’s been sleeping longer through the night and my need to check if he’s breathing is subsiding.  Which leads me to….

How much anxiety I would feel.

This one caught me a little off guard.  The second day we brought him home I peeked into his bassinet to find him back arched, body rigid, and purple.  Mucus was coming out of his nose and mouth.  It was the most terrifying feeling and just thinking about it makes me cry.  He was OK, but holy shit, my nerves could not handle it.  Then just last week something similar happened, he was choking on breastmilk and turned purple.  I was inconsolable the rest of the day.  It’s episodes like these which cause me to worry.

I have never felt so much worry.

I know what I need to do here.  I need to get back to my yoga, meditation, and get outside!  I’ve been a bit cooped up in the house, which is never a good thing.  Here is a picture of us before we went out on an adventure today.   We plan to go out again tomorrow too!

photo 4(2)

I also have been getting back to my meditation practice, which is huge for calming the nerves.  Lucky for me a new Oprah and Deepak Chopra 21 Day Meditation Challenge started yesterday and I’m happy to say that I am two for two!  My meditations suck right now as I’m having a hard time quieting my mind, but just taking time to sit quietly and breathe has been really good for me.

How much I would cry.

I blame this on points one and two and on a whole lot of crazy hormones.  I have never been so weepy in my life!  That first week – around day 4 or so – just looking at him would bring me to tears.  The love I feel is like nothing I’ve ever experienced and some days I just want to burst.  And I do.  I become a blubbery mess over how much I love my baby boy.  And sometimes it’s because of the next point.

How challenging breastfeeding would be.

I had been prepared for this one.  I had read it could be very painful and all that.  And for me, 80% of the time there isn’t any pain (and really, it shouldn’t be painful at all – that’s what lactation consultants are for), but oh man that 20% – let me just say I now understand the saying ‘chomping at the bit’.  When there’s a bad latch and it’s 4 am and I’m exhausted and he’s been up every hour and a half to feed because he’s going through yet another growth spurt it’s frustrating and painful and it makes me want to cry.  Luckily, this doesn’t happen every night.  Besides, as exhausting as it is to be up every three hours, I have to say, he wakes me up in the most adorable way.  He doesn’t really cry at night, he just grunts.  It’s so freaking cute.  I imagine he’s saying ‘ma, ma, ma, I’m hungry ma’.

How much help I’d need.

Danny was off work for the first two weeks, which was really wonderful and when he went back to work my parents came up to help out.  I am so grateful to have them here helping out.  How do women manage alone!?  Nathan doesn’t sleep in his bassinet (which apparently is very common for newborns) and being able to hand him over to my mom so that I can catch a few hours (or an hour) of shut eye, shower, or just take a moment to myself has been HUGE.  Not to mention, the other day I was feeding him in the nursery and my mom came in with freshly baked cookies and a cup of tea for me.  How spoiled am I!?  Also, I think they’re enjoying spending time with their first grandchild 🙂

So ya, life with a newborn is not easy.  But I’m also so happy.  And we’re all adjusting here to this new life.  I know that with a bit of time we’ll get the hang of it.  I’m just trying to enjoy and this stage as much as I can – even if I am sleep deprived and weepy – because I know it won’t last long.