Morning Madness

It’s no secret that I’m not a morning person. I have a hard time functioning at a basic level for quite some time after I wake in the morning, and until I’ve had a coffee it’s really next to impossible.

Why is it then that the time of day that I am least capable of functioning well is always the most hectic.

As I am sitting here this afternoon writing this for you I am thinking about the morning madness that we will experience tomorrow getting ready to get out the door.

I do as much as I can the night before to make sure that the morning runs smoothly.

We pick the kids clothes, I program the coffee maker (this is new but very effective since most of my kitchen conundrums occur while making coffee and due to the fact that I haven’t had any). If E has preschool I try to make her snack, and get out my running clothes so I can run while she’s at school.

And still we struggle to get out the door on time without frustration, prodding, and tantrums.

One of my kids is not a morning person. Strangely she is an early riser. At least three days last week she was up at 5:30. And yet, try to encourage her to get ready and she will LOSE IT. She wants to wear her jammies, lounge around, eat when she feels like it, and not be pushed in the morning.

So how do I balance this with our need to get out the door at a certain time?

When we have no morning commitments I can let both kids do the morning at their own pace which is great. However for one it truthfully doesn’t matter if it’s 6:30 or 10:30 getting the ball rolling is grounds for an apocalyptic style battle.

I feel like we’ve tried everything to make this process better to no avail. Every morning we go through the same kind of madness. It always comes down to the last five seconds before we go out the door and I hear myself starting to loose my patience as I ask for the millionth time to find shoes, get coats, and head to the car.

Part of me gets it. I don’t want to be rushed or told what I have to do and when either. So ok, I get it. It’s morning, leave me alone and don’t talk to me. Let me do my thing and I’ll be ready when I’m ready.

I’m just not sure what to do when ready when I’m ready is like 7pm and it’s time for bed again.

We’ve tried it all. Incentives, bribes, going with the flow, seeking the kids input into how they want the morning to go, and still we struggle.

So tell me friends is this just the way mornings go with kids? Do I need to accept that getting out the door is going to be a struggle and go with it? Or can this get better?

What do you do to make mornings go more smoothly? What does your routine look like? Do you have one kid that just isn’t a morning person? How do you deal with that child making it hard for the whole house to get ready to get out the door?

Let me know, I would LOVE to hear your ideas. Maybe there will be some gem that will help make things run more smoothly here!

Dare to dream

What do you dream about? Curtis and I have been talking a lot about our “dreams” lately.

What do we want? What kind of lifestyle do we ultimately want to live? Are we happy? If we could do ANYTHING what would it be? Is it what we’re doing now?

These are all things that we’ve been talking about lately. Why you ask?

Well partly because our house is for sale. We’re excited to be selling but not sure what we’re going to do after. We’re planning on staying where we are but for a number of reasons we’re not necessarily buying another house right away.

Being 100% debt free – even for a short period of time – will be AMAZING. I can’t wait!

It’s got us dreaming.

Eventually we’ve want to buy another house and right now we intend for that house to be here in Chilliwack, but not right away.

We’ve been going back to the days early on in our marriage when we had all kinds of dreams about the things we hoped to do with our lives. We’ve been talking about the experiences we want to offer our kids. We have some pretty big dreams.

We’ve also been talking a lot about what I want to do. I know this may sound funny, but for some reason being a stay at home mom is kind of like being a newly graduated high school student. I am regularly asked what I want to do when my kids go to school (much like the high school student is asked what they want to do when they grow up). Right now my answer is I don’t know.

So I’ve been dreaming. Trying to figure out what I want to do. Do I want to pursue another career path? What would that look like? I know I want to be home after school for the kids so that someone is here, so what kind of job would I be looking at? What would I like to pursue, what interests me, how much time do I want to invest? I have a few years to figure it out but it’s something that we’ve been talking about a lot.

It’s fun to dream. It’s brought Curtis and I closer and it gets contagious. To dare to dream is something that so many people are afraid to do which I think is so funny because really what are you hurting in entertaining a dream?

For us sometimes those dreams get us through.

Things get tough and we feel like we’re just slogging along so we start dreaming. We spend some of our spare time throwing around ideas. It helps keep us going and it makes life a lot more fun!

So what about you, do you dare to dream? Do you dream big? Do you find it encouraging? I hope so. If you haven’t had any big dreams in a while I would encourage you to spend some time dreaming!

Food Foundations – Back to the Basics

A few years ago I was writing about our experiments with “Real Food“. Basically we were working on cutting out processed food and added sugars from our diets.

Why would we do such a thing? Well, E was having digestive problems, I was trying to improve my fitness and when it came right down to it we realized that we were eating a lot of processed junk.

Fast forward a couple years and add another baby and we’re back at square one.

I would say that we made some significant and lasting changes when we made our initial push to clean up our diets. There have been some things that have really stuck – like always buying the whole food – as in the full fat model. Homo milk, full fat yogurts, cheeses, etc. none of this “light” or “fat free” diet foods.

What we found was that by eating the proper amount of the full fat food we were still able to maintain healthy body weights and we stayed full longer.

I’m no dietitian or scientist, and I’m no expert. I am just speaking from our experience, and we have found eating the whole food has been that it takes less food to fill the void so we ultimately end up consuming less.

Now, let me be honest here. We are far less than perfect. In fact that is the whole point of my post. I’m figuring this all out for us again.

Adding another person to our family threw a huge curve ball to my whole meal planning/whole food/make it from scratch philosophy. I got busy, and I got lazy.

I was still making a lot of things from scratch – I always will. I love baking and if there’s any place I’m going to putter in my house it’s my kitchen. But we had also let a lot of convenience foods creep in. I think the biggest thing that I was finding was that we were eating a lot of “treats”.

All of a sudden we found that E was having digestive problems again and we were repeating our visits to Dr’s, paediatricians, & specialists to treat a problem we had already treated and we had hoped we had solved.

So, here I am again, examining our food, and trying to figure out what works for our family now. Making nutritious homemade meals is important to me, and my go-to sites haven’t changed. I still frequent 100 days of real food when I’m looking for great healthy recipes. I also adapt a lot of family recipes to suit our needs, and being an experimenter in the kitchen I often throw things in a pan and hope it turns out – this has varying degrees of success for me.

I have also recently found the Weelicious website and purchased her cookbook Weelicious Lunches which is an amazing resource because E can look through the book and pick what she wants. I have found that a lot of the recipes include items that you would have around the house without getting into too many odd items. This has really helped to get better foods into both kids, but especially E. At this point L will devour anything I put in front of her.

Ultimately everyone will define “real food” differently, so what I deem to be acceptable at my house may not be what you would choose to feed your family.

Here are the things I have learned about us, and how I define “real food” at my house:


  • When buying a pre-made item I want the least amount of ingredients possible on the label. I also want to read and recognize all of those items – if I wouldn’t find it in my pantry I may reconsider my choice.
  • I don’t buy any pre-packaged baked goods, and very few snack items, this is largely due to food allergies here but also because I find they have a lot of unnecessary sugars and dyes in them.
  • I am not willing to spend the money to always buy organic produce. I would love to, but I’m not willing to break the bank on my grocery bill. Fruits and vegetables are the bulk of what we eat and I serve them with every meal. I always pick local produce first, and will buy organic if possible but for the most part local is good enough for me.
  • We will never cut out all sugar, or maybe even most sugar. Ok, I get that refined sugars and added sugars (and many sugar additives) are bad. I work hard to minimize them.
  • I don’t necessarily count a homemade baked good as a “treat”. I use sugar alternatives (honey, maple syrup etc.) on occasion, but I am going to continue to use white sugar in most recipe’s (like cookies). I think this is fine in moderation and a heck of a lot better than the store bought alternatives.
  • I use margarine. I would prefer to use butter, and I tried using butter exclusively for a while but honestly I was spending like $70/month on butter alone just for all the baking that I do. CRAZY. So sorry but my baked goods most often have margarine in them. I am not willing to spend that much on butter and if I cut back on the baking that I do I find we spend a lot more at the grocery store.

All that said, this is a journey for us. Sometimes we do better than others. I do plan our meals so that I always know what’s for dinner making it easy to avoid eating out. We are still experimenting. I find that I am constantly tweaking and making changes to the way we eat, or I plan, or prep to accommodate the stage that our family is in NOW. What worked six months ago doesn’t necessarily work now and what’s working now isn’t necessarily going to work in 6  months.

Let me also say that this is something that we have decided as a family is a priority for us. It may not be a priority for you – THAT’S OK! It has taken me a lot of time and energy to figure these things out for us and they may not be things that you’re willing to spend your time and energy on. We all do the best that we can to serve our families and we all value different things.

So how bout you? Have you been changing things up in your diet recently? What worked and what didn’t? Was it easy? Hard? I’d love to know where you’re at and what you’re doing because sharing ideas is one of the best ways to learn!

New Look and Easy Donation

2014 Goal Recap

Whew, I’m behind. Better late than never I guess.

I thought I’d do a quick review of my 2014 goals before I set my 2015 goals.

2014 brought with it many changes and adjustments as we added L to the family early in the year. It took me a lot longer to get myself organized and out of the new baby fog than I anticipated, and so my goals well, some of them were pipe dreams. But if you aim at nothing you’ll hit it every time (I think that’s a Zig Ziglar quote but not positive).

SO goals how did I do…

After looking at my post from last year I realized I actually did better than I thought. Some areas fell completely to the wayside, but in others I did ok. Here’s the re-cap:

Professional Goals

  • I pretty much bailed on this whole area. I tried to continue working for Curtis a few hours a week, but we ended up deciding that my time was better spent with the kids, so he hired an assistant in his business to take over my responsibilities. She is amazing, and a blessing to us and the business having her as part of the team allows me to focus on the family for now and later we can figure out what role I will play.
  • Read Entreleadership – YES I DID! And I enjoyed it. What a great way to grow a business from the ground up. I would highly recommend this book to anyone operating a business

Personal Goals

  • Run 1/2 Marathon – YES I did, I completed the Run For Water in Abbotsford last May and wrote about it here
  • Run a winter 5K charity race – I registered for the Winter Warriors race here in Chilliwack, unfortunately there was a miscommunication about the event START time – the time they sent out as a starting time was actually the registration time. We had other plans that day beginning soon after the race would have ended. Unfortunately when I showed up and found out that the event started a full hour later than I (and most of the other participants) had been told I was unable to stay. I made my donation to the food bank collected my T-shirt, and ran 5K anyway but was unable to participate in the official event. We’ll count this one as accomplished these things happen!
  • Run 5-10k, 2-3x/week Oct -Dec – YES I accomplished this! Jan/Feb/March were another story, but we’ll save it for another day 🙂
  • I’m just going to say that the rest of my personal goals happened/didn’t happen intermittently. I was a bit over eager in my goals.

Parenting Goals

  • Read two parenting books – I did! I had already read one when I wrote about my 2014 goals. I also read Parenting with Love and Logic which was great and I highly recommend it. I may even have read a couple of others you could check my 2014 Reading List to see. I also added the Podcast “Mom and Dad are Fighting” to my podcast lineup. It’s so nice to read or listen to these things and add tools to your tool box.
  • Responding kindly and being patient – I don’t think that these are things that I will ever be able to STOP working on. There will always be room for improvement here, but I worked on this in earnest, and I will continue to work on this. I think it will always be on my list of Parenting Goals.


  • one date/month – this didn’t happen, but we did get out a handful of times. We truthfully didn’t make it enough of a priority, and then we spent the fall/winter months cancelling dates repeatedly because kids were sick. Trying to do better in 2015.
  • I read the book Boundaries which definitely applies to marriage, though it’s not directly targeted at marriage I certainly learned some valuable things.


  • 6 month emergency fund – we’re almost there, so didn’t accomplish it. We again spent a fair amount of the funds that would have gone into the emergency fund on actual emergencies. I thank God daily that we got out of debt and started piling up cash because some of the things that have hit us over the last couple years have been huge and if we’d still had debt and no savings we would have fallen on some serious hard times.

There you are, a recap of my 2014 goals for you. Hopefully in the next few days I’ll be posting some 2015 goals to follow the rest of this year.

The importance of ME!

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I learned a valuable lesson about myself today but let me start by explaining how I got there.

L is sick. again. Again. AGAIN! This is a recurring pattern in our house. She is often sick AGAIN before she’s really better. Needless to say it’s been a long winter.

I got up this morning, dressed for a run, got the kids up, E ready for school and realized that instead of running with L in the stroller during preschool as I often do, I would be spending the morning trying to figure this out. I was bummed but you do what you need to for your kids, right.

I spent 5 hours in Emerg this weekend with her and I don’t question or doubt the treatment that we received there it was excellent. I left feeling confident that my baby was on the up and up. Yesterday she seemed fine. Today, not so much.

So, my morning run was spent calling the health unit (because I was wondering if this was a reaction to her 12mo shots), calling the nurses hotline – not sure why I bothered I have never found them to be remotely helpful but that’s a whole nother rant. Then calling our Dr’s office to see if they can squeeze her in – again. They rock and know me by name.

Sadly by the time this was done my opportunity to run with the single stroller was GONE. My stress level had also exploded through the roof and I found myself for the first time in all of this truly feeling like I had reached my limit. I wanted to cry and I think that those around me were just lucky that no one pushed the right button because seriously, I would have flipped.

I was still dressed to run at preschool pick up but I had not yet run.

I spent the afternoon being pretty short with E, holding a baby that was exhausted, sick, and very fussy, and feeling my anxiety level rising. But I was still dressed to run.

I took L to her Dr’s apt. Dropped her swab off at the lab, picked up some lettuce, and came home for dinner. But I was still dressed to run.

At some point this afternoon Curtis suggested that I go for my run after the kids were in bed. They’re in bed early enough and we now have light long enough that this was a totally viable option AND I could run ALONE no stroller. This may not sound like a big deal to you but seriously can’t tell you when I last went out without a stroller.

It would be a shorter run than I had planned but it would still be a run and I was on it.

So, kids in bed, I’m still dressed in my running clothes from the AM and I walk out the door for a short run.

Ahhhh! Heaven!

I should have done it earlier. I came home totally refreshed, in a good mood, having processed my day and ready to fly.

It was such a good reminder to me that I am important. That my time to process is important. That I need to prioritize me and my run.

You see I have this aversion to running with our double stroller. It’s nice. In fact it’s a beautiful stroller but packed with both kids it’s about 100 pounds. So when my opportunity to run with the single stroller and a sleeping baby was written off this morning by things out of my control I wrote off my run.

What I realized tonight when I came home was that if I had sucked up my aversion to the double stroller and gone out after preschool with the kids we probably all could have had a better day. I would have been WAY less stressed. My anxiety level would have greatly decreased if not disappeared AND both my kids love running with me. I would have been a much more fun Mom for E, way less snappy and a lot more motivated.

So, here’s to the reminder of the importance of ME. Of my time, of my run. I need it, we all need it. Taking the time out to do something that refreshes you as a Mom is SO important. Your family will thank you for it.

Oh, and the scenery was BEAUTIFUL. Painfully so. Can’t complain about that either.

Tomorrow morning I will remind myself of this and load both kids up to go. Everyone will be happier 🙂

Family Hike to Lindeman Lake

Family snack break at the lake (we didn't actually take any pictures of the lake this time!)

We decided to spend last Sunday on a family hike to Lindeman Lake. It’s a fairly short hike but it’s very bouldery so it’s a little bit of a challenge for little legs. It’s also one of the items on our Summer Bucket List, and the first one that Curtis has been with us to complete.


Curtis has been gone a lot (for us) over this summer and this was one of his first weekends home since the end of May. It was so nice to have him around! Normally we would go to church on Sunday morning, however we wanted to get in some good family time and Sunday was the easiest day to do it.


Curtis & E on the trail together :)
Curtis & E on the trail together 🙂

We have both been outdoor enthusiasts since long before we met. We’ve guided canoe trips, rock climbed, whitewater kayaked, and generally done our best to spend as much time outside as possible. Now we want to instill that love of the outdoors into our kids.


For me there is no better place to connect with God and myself then in the bush away from the many distractions that daily life holds. Something deep inside of me is at rest when I’m out. It’s not a feeling that I EVER experience when I’m home or bumming around the city. It is a feeling that I want to share with my kids.


L enjoying a little bit of freedom
L enjoying a little bit of freedom

Over the last number of years we’ve been trying to find our outdoor groove. Trying to find the best way to get ourselves and our family out there. We don’t own a Canoe and as much as we would love to we also have nowhere to store it. Whitewater kayaking isn’t currently a good fit for us or our family, and we just haven’t been climbing. Truthfully most of our climbing gear has probably sat long enough now to warrant replacing rather than using.


Hiking seems to be a good fit for us. E is happy to walk along and soak in the sights of the forest. The leaves, sticks, trail, rocks, streams etc. she enjoys them and chats away happily as we walk. L Loves to be snuggled against me in our Ergobaby Carrier. She sleeps most of the time, and when she’s awake she looks around, smiles and coo’s up at me. It’s fabulous.


Family snack break at the lake (we didn't actually take any pictures of the lake this time!)
Family snack break at the lake (we didn’t actually take any pictures of the lake this time!)

All that said we decided that we’d head up to Lindeman on the weekend. It’s such a lovely hike. The lake is beautiful, the scenery is great, and it’s a short enough distance that little legs can easily make it there and back without tiring too much. (Read before major whining sets in.)


Truthfully I think that E would have walked to the moon and back if it meant that she could be alongside her Daddy. That kid is Daddy’s girl and she has missed her Daddy dearly while he’s been away this summer. Watching her trot along beside him and chat away with him was precious.


Crossing the log bridge on the way down
Crossing the log bridge on the way down

It also helps that Curtis has promised to take her on her first overnight hiking trip later this summer. He still hasn’t decided exactly where he’s going but she is VERY excited and is always eager to practice. We picked up a small kids pack earlier this summer and she LOVES carrying it with a few little things in it – usually nothing more than a snack and some water. She wants to be ready to go with Dad!


All in all it was a fabulous day and I can’t wait to go on a few more hikes together this summer. Hopefully we’ll even get to do a few with friends!

McHale Family Summer Fun Bucket List 2014

Ok, so if you know me well you’ll know that I LIKE lists. LOVE THEM in fact. This summer we’ve decided to make a summer fun bucket list.

What is this you ask? Well it’s a list of activities we’re going to try to accomplish this summer.

We’re not taking holidays this summer for a number of reasons but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun! So the list. Most items as you’ll see are low/no cost which makes it easy to tick them off.

There are some things’s we’ll do more than once, there are somethings that we won’t get to. That’s ok. It’s all in the spirit of keeping us busy and having a TON of fun, so that we don’t waste the good summer weather doing nothing – or laundry.

I thought I’d share the list with you. Maybe some of you want to join us, we LOVE taking friends along. Maybe it will inspire you to make a list of your own!

Here you are:

  • Go camping
  • Take a family bike ride & have a picnic
  • Go to the waterpark
  • Hit up Castle Fun Park
  • Go to the Mill Lake Splash Park
  • Make a trip to the Zoo
  • Take Daddy to the beach at White Rock
  • Write a letter to our friend in Myramar (hopefully more than one)
  • Head to Portage Park
  • Visit Bridal Falls
  • Hit the beach at Chilliwack Lake
  • Get ice cream cones!
  • Hike Teapot hill & retire our old teapot (shhhh don’t tell)
  • Go to the beach at Hicks Lake
  • Play mini golf
  • Go canoeing/kayaking
  • Have a beach day at the river (Chilliwack River to be clear)
  • Enjoy the beach at Harrison & maybe fly our kite!
  • Go to Party in the Park
  • Hike Lindeman
  • Go to a Fair
  • Do an overnight Hike w/ Daddy (E & Daddy solo)
  • Hike Cheam
  • Make Blackberry Jam – YUM
  • Build a huge sandcastle – we may need to enlist Uncle Mark for this one he’s the best sandcastle builder 😉
  • Have a campfire
  • Go to the Library
  • Find a new park in Chilliwack
  • Have a family Beach day at Cultus

So far we’ve managed to do a couple things each week, and I’ve been helping E keep a journal describing the things we’ve done. I’ve also started using a journaling app on my phone called Day One to keep track of our summer fun. It’s neat I wish I’d started using it a long time ago!

Are we missing something? Let me know!