Friday 27 May 2016

Blink.. I don't want to miss a thing

Blink you are born.. Blink you have rolled over...Blink you have started to crawl...blink you had said Dadda for the first time... Blink your eating Solids...Blink your walking...Blink omg your talking...Blink your moving into big kids beds...Blink your changing so much before my eyes and I don't want to miss a second of it.

I think we can all relate to these "blink moments". As I lay outside Sawyers door to prevent him from escaping I reflect back on where we started, where we are now and how we got here.. I think.. "How are you big enough and strong enough to climb out of your crib, I feel like yesterday you were dependant on me to get out of your bed." 

I find myself panicked and trying to clamour onto having babies, and not toddlers.. Because before I know it they will be asking for the car keys and moving out. 

I feel blessed to have experienced everything I have so far with our children.. But I ask myself.. What have I missed? 

In today's society we are all "busy and distracted". It comes in many forms from busy work life, family life right down to the hours we all dedicate to social media or our phones in general. 

As we all know as parents, time goes by so fast. It's easy for us all to get caught up in everything and sometimes makes us miss the important things in life. One issue Brett and I have acknowledge as a growing issue not only in our home but in society as a whole is the need to be always "connected", "plugged in". Our dependence on technology and social media has taken away precious time that will never be given back to us. 

I noticed this as a major problem in our home around a year ago. One might say we both had an addiction to being "connected" 

Yes.. Hello, my name is Justin and I am a Phoneaholic.. Sounds ridiculous? Yes.. But I realized this was a problem and had two choices.. Take back these precious moments and ensure I do not miss the special memories life throws at me every day or miss out and place my family secondary to my phone.. 

Day one of Brett and i's phone challenge.. We placed our phones on the coffee table and mentally counted how many times we reached for our phones.. Wanting to scan through Facebook, Instagram, News pages, etc.. The amount of times we reached for our phones was terrifying.. 

It really showed us in the following days and weeks the incredibly dependence and importance we were putting on something that should be secondary to our children and our relationship. 

We also became much more observant to what was happening around us.. Particularly when we go out for dinner.. We would observe couples, once so in love with eachother, but that love being distracted so much that they spent their date night out, each on their own phones and not even talking to eachother. 

Through this realization we decided we needed to "park" our phones away from us when we got home from work to ensure our focus was on our children and eachother.. Are we perfect every day? No.. Do we faultier to our "addiction", yes.. 

The result in our efforts for change is a stronger relationship between Brett and I and being more present with our children. It warms my heart that my children see my adorning eyes as they learn and play rather then the back of my phone. 

What I have learnt through this entire process is life is precious.. And we can't take a moment for granted. 23 months have flown by and if I didn't make this realization when I did, what I would have missed out on is something I don't want to even imagine. 

Love for today my friends because we never know what tomorrow shall bring. 

Blog again soon ☺️


Thursday 12 November 2015

10 ways I was a "better" parent before having kids

I was a much better parent before having kids...

What a true statement that all new parents realize after their first year navigating through new parenthood. 

I remember the days before becoming a parent and Brett and I would talk endlessly about what type of parent we will be when we were lucky enough to have children of our own. We had everything mapped out on our do's and don'ts of parenting, or so we thought... 

I very quickly learned that we may have been slightly... Ummmn... Unattentionally judgement... 

Here's a few...

1. "Oh our kids won't watch TV..." 

Lasted 8 months and the world of Yo GABA GABA entered our life and so did 23 glorious minutes to actually accomplish what should be the simplest of tasks, like the dishes.. 

2. "Our kids will never sleep in bed with us"

Lasted 2 months and a sick little Sawyer entered and it took us weeks upon weeks to get him adjusted back into his own room.. Sometimes Daddy sleep overs are the only way to a restful sleep, and I will take it! 

3. "We won't change anything in our house, our kids will adapt within our space... 

Haha this was a great one and last about hmm 30 seconds as soon as the kids started to crawl.. By the end of the day everything was shifted out of reach and has continued to gradually rise higher as their reach continues to extend.. 

4. I will never raise my voice at my children... 

This one we are still pretty good at sticking too as I strongly believe in clear communication, however sometimes that can be a challenge with 17 month old twins.. When you turn your back for two seconds and turn back around and see one twin scaling the side of your bookcase and the other is standing on the table "walking the line".. it's pretty hard not to shriek in fear/frustration.  

5. Speaking of communication.. I believed...wait for it..."that I had the ability to reason with a tantruming toddler..." 

I was clearly oblivious with "how hard can it be"... While our tantrums are not often, I have spent months learning and adapting to dealing with this one. Deep breaths and cool heads thankfully have prevailed.. But reasoning not so much.. When I figure this one out I will let you all know! 

6. "Our kids will always eat the healthiest organic food and eat the food we eat..."

We are still strong believers in organic and healthy alternatives for our children but we have been blessed with an extremely picky eater (Sawyer). We could only take so much of his flinging of expensive organic food all over the floor. After sweeping/mopping up hundreds of dollars in food off our floor we realized we needed to make some adjustments and have accepted that our kids will not always eat what we want them to eat.  We are pretty good at providing a healthy mix of what our kids need to grow big and strong, but sometime it's a waffles for dinner kind of night for Sawyer.. 

7. "Our kids will never play with our phones or electronics... 

This one we are still pretty firm on, however we have caved a couple times while out for dinner to allow us to have at least two bites of warm food.. Oh look kids somthing shiny *quickly shovels food into mouth*

8. "Our kids will always get along" 

As someone who has grown up with siblings I have no idea how I ever thought I could pull this one off lol. While our kids do love each other, they also are very much brother and sister and have displayed this in the occasional hair pulling, block in the face or pushing/pulling.. I have had to learn to to take a step back and allow our kids to try and resolve some of there issues without our constant intervention. When I did this, I noticed a slight shift but definetly not my "our kids will never fight". They are learning boundaries together and we always inforce positive playtime, it does not always happen and we have to accept that. 

9. "I will never look like "that" parent"

A day I can walk out of the house not covered in snot or food is a day I will celebrate.. On my days in the house I have my dad sweatpants that start off clean and end with food, puke, snot and whatever else my kids attach on to me. I call them my "coat of armour".. At the end of my day with them I am generally wearing what we ate and did throughout the day, however the kids are as clean as a whistle. Go figure... 

10. Lastly "we will never fight over how we will parent our children"

As you all know it was years in the making for Brett and I to have our family. We had endless night talking about what would parent like together. 

While thankfully this has mostly been true, however we have had nights of no sleep and exhaustion where our differences on the "proper resolution" have been polar opposites.. Sometimes not our proudest moments as parents and as a couple, but we have come to the realization that we are not perfect but we can always strive to be better together. 

What I have learned is that you never know what type of parent you will be until your in it.. Life changes so quickly and so does your perspective on how you live it.. I now live in the moment and allow my experience to unfold in front of me naturally , rather then me trying to control exactly how I think they should happen.. 

Moral of the story, don't beat yourself up for your "failures" of what you thought was once wrong.. As a parent our jobs are big and we must learn to adapt on a dime, so being stuck in the world of "this is how it should be" will not get any of us anywhere. 

Share below some of your realizations in parenting.. 

As always lots of love and blog again soon! 


Thursday 1 October 2015

My wise 16 month old twins

Over the last 16 months I have learnt a lot as a man, a parent and a husband.. 

Life has changed substantially in our home and we are experiencing a whole new world that we are so fortunate to be in... I know I say this often, but each stage has brought new adventure and new challenges.. Many exciting, but some emotionally and physically draining.. 

it's been a few months since I have written, my intentions have always to post once a month but it's been an incredible busy few months personally and professionally.. But here we go.. 

I had a recent discussion with friends about something I have been reflecting on for a while now.. Our "genetic link" to our children and how it does not mean as much to me as I thought it would.. 

When Brett and I first started our process we  knew how badly we wanted kids and the thought of being genetically linked had its appeal and "importance".. But it was misguided... We had it in our heads that this link was what would build bonds and that "parental connection" every parent yearns for... 

Thankfully we were wrong and I would like to share how thankful we are for being so wrong..

As most of you know, each of our kids has a genetic link to one of us.. A question many have wanted to ask, but have been scared to is "do you feel a stronger connection to your genetically linked child"... Fair question and a question I may have asked myself before having the opportunity to experience the unconditional love, both receiving and giving between a parent and their children..

While Brett and I have never officially found out "who's who's" because it's never been important to us... Our connection to both our children is something so pure.. Our love is not a "genetic love" but rather a "true pure love"... Our bound with each of our kids is something I am incredibly appreciative of.. Wether it's Sawyers need for Daddy snuggles when he's sick or Jordyn needing kisses on a "boo boo" to make her feel better. They want it from their Dads, genetic or not. Our kids have taught us something so valuable.. The love and bond a family builds together has nothing to do with genetics, but everything to do with the love that surrounds you..

As adults, experiences sometimes force you to form opinions of what you think things should look like, but is this how we should be living our lives?.. I think it's time we start learning something from our kids, because I have from mine and they are only 16 months old. The things they will continue to teach me, I look forward to and am grateful for. One of my biggest lessons I have learned is that we tend to over complicate the simplest  of things.. Sometimes we just need to let be and allow the natural a progression of life, because these "opinions" can limit something beautiful from happening.. I thank you Jordyn and Sawyer for showing your Dads that love truly has no boundaries.. If we thought more like our children, we would not have issues like "legalizing same sex marriage", we would not have issues embracing differences and the world would be a much more beautiful place.. 

So let's not over complicate the simple things and live each day for today.. Drop what you think you know and make changes to make a better tomorrow. Life is so so much more enjoyable free of jaded opinions. I pledge to my children that I will not base my opinion on what I think I know from past experiences, I will not limit my life and I will be present for today..  This will in turn will make me a better friend, brother, son, and importantly a better father and husband.. I pride myself in being passionate in all these areas, but I can be better by making a very simple change..

Let's also chat about how the kids have been doing.. 

We recently just made it through our first real sickness and flu in our house with Jordyn and Sawyer... What seemed like it was never going to end, helped us grow as parents and as a family.. 

This time around Sawyer had the worst end of it all.. It started with my exciting usual rush home to see my kids and Brett turned into Sawyer greeting me with projectile vomit all over me as soon as I picked him up! And it was not a little bit, it was literally head to toe all over me.. Which was followed an evening of not eating drinking and dry heaving.. Those who have experienced a toddler dry heaving know how devastating and heart breaking this is.. 

Unfortunately the following days did not get better, Sawyer became inconsolable and refused to eat or drink.. He would not sleep and it resulted in no sleep for any of us in our house for over 24 hours. I spent the night sitting upright and holding him close to my chest as it was the only way he would not cry.. This followed a visit to the Drs office in the morning and a diagnosis of a severe ear infection, chest infection and early signs of dehydration.. We had a few hours to try and get some fluids in him or we would have had to take him to the hospital to get an IV... I am happy to report both Jordyn and Sawyer are much better and a hospital visit was avoided! 

This experience, in hindsight is something all parents experience and are rather minor on the scale what many parents have to deal with.. But as a new parent who's never experienced any of this, it was really overwhelming and brought a lot of emotions forward.. Once again our amazing friends love, support and advice helped us navigate through this.. Thanks guys ❤️

What has also helped Brett and I through was learning to better co-parent together while in "crisis and no sleep mode". We had one night where anything we said to each other ended up leading to arguments and disagreements.. I have been really proud of how we have parented our children together until this night... We were both defensive and not in aggreance in what we thought was best.. We were on next to zero sleep, had a very sad sick little dude on our hands and a little lady vying for love and attention which the balance for that 24 hours was an extreme challenge in our house.. After a day of sleep we sat down and discussed how everything was handled and chatted about were we went right and were we went wrong and how we would ensure the "wrongs" would not happen again.. We have always been a team since day one, and lack of sleep and being completely lost on what to do showed were our cracks were.. It was very good for our relationship as it showed us what needs to be worked on.. Emotions can get the best of any couple and it showed us we are no different than any other parents out there.. 

Other then that, things have been amazing.. They are growing and developing at an incredible rate.. And wait for it... "They are the smartest kids I know" #typicalparentcomment ... 

Sawyer has quickly gone from walking to running and Jordyn and still working on mastering the art of walking.. A friend of ours is a chiropractor she did a quick adjustment on one of her hips and we have seen a noticeable difference in just one adjustment.. With their new sense of freedom come no sense of privacy for anything in life for the forseable future lol... Going to the washroom will never be the same, I never expected to have an audience of three, two kids and the dog! Oh how things change with parenthood.. 

There comprehension and love for books has grown even more, which I absolutely love... There curiousity is at a an absolute high and they love to learn and experience new things. 

Each day is a new adventure for us and I treasure each and every moment we share together.. I also mention my admiration and love for my children in every post, as it's important for me to share just how special they are and what an incredible impact they have made in our lives. I am excited for them to read this when they are older and see how proud their dads have been since day one and how many people from every corner of the world love and adore them too.. 

Well time to spend some nice R&R time with Brett, we have learnt to maximize on these moments when they come! Chat soon and I will try and not make it so long next time! I have lots to share, just need to find the time to share it! 

Blog soon ❤️

Monday 1 June 2015

Our first year together - Happy First Birthday Jordyn and Sawyer

Today you turn one my loves, but I also celebrate one year being your daddy and what an incredible ride it's been so far!

I often find I repeat my love and admiration for your both quite regularly, but it's challenging not to though.. I find myself regularly overcome with my emotions when thinking of you inspire me to be a better man and fill my life with a unique and special love I didn't know was possible. You two are always on my mind in everything I do and that will never change.  

I knew from the moment I set eyes on you both that your impact on others would be incredibly special. Within hours of you being born we had a steady flow of visitors that traveled far and wide to come meet you both.. They all looked down in admiration in how love brought something so special into this world. As they gazed down upon you both you looked back with that same love and appreciation of those who make our lives so special. I remember the incredible team at RCH and ARH both saying "wow these are two loved little ones" as they saw the steady flow of loving friends and family that came to welcome you both into this world. 

I have several times laid in bed thinking about how lucky I am to have you both and your Dad. Your adorable smiling little faces, your silly little giggles and your playful spirit keeps me on my toes and feeling so complete. I love everything about you both, even our not so great moments as they have lead to growth in us all. We as a family continue to evolve and love each other for who we are, even at the tender age of one. 

In our first year together as a family we have done so much! We hiked and explored the most western parts of Canada together at the age of four months, made fun trips up to the okanagon to visit your adoring family, learned to stand, say Dad and Dada and most recently Sawyer you have taken your first steps! You both have built beautiful and very special bonds with so many far and near. We as a family have been able to inspire couples just like your daddies to follow their dreams to start families of their own.. Our story is so special as it was built on a foundation of love. 

With all great things come challenges that no one can get away from.. Everything from your first falls, first fevers and colds, to just plain trying to figure out this big new world. Every tear you shed breaks my heart, but warms when Daddy snuggles can turn those tears around to smiles and giggles. The future will come with its own unique challenges but please always remember how special you both are and how much your both loved by not only us but our incredible family, friends and your forever "Army of Aunties". 

So today I celebrate you both and I thank you for making my life so complete. I thank you for not only impacting our lives in such a beautiful special way but also the thousands of people around the world that have grown to love and adore you both. You reach so many through the special moments we share as a family. You are loved by many and I as your daddy will always ensure this love is shared and appreciated. 

I will hold tight to every memory we create together with excitement for what each day will bring. I will always remember the tickle monster moments, me sleeping on the floor of your room just so you knew I was there, to how silly we become when it's just the four of us.. As the years go by and we all get older, one thing will always be the same.. You Sawyer and Jordyn will always be my baby boy and baby girl..

Happy First Birthday Jordyn and Sawyer, my love for you is unmeasurable and I am so excited for the journey we will continue to travel together as a family. 

Love always and forever,

Your Daddy J