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L I F E | Life Lessons From Children Books

Lifestyle, ParenthoodSunny ShumComment
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This is a short post, but I wanted to get this down while the thought is in my head. Having a child has truly changed a lot of things for me. The way I manage my time, my work, my relationships - My life. Another thing that has changed drastically, is my literature. I only have a certain amount of head space and a lot of that headspace is reserved for everything I need to read and consume for the office. There is very little space for "extracurricular" reading. Gone are the days of picking up a great book and taking 2 to 3 hours to myself to read. 

Now, instead of picking up that book I want to read for fun (a couple that I've been wanting to read like: "Everybody Lies: Big Data and New Data..." by Seth Stephen-Davidowitz and "PAUSE - Harnessing the life-changing power of giving yourself a break", by Rachel O'Meara), I've been reading a shit tone of kids books. I've read so many, I can't even begin to list them all off. But some of the favorites in our home: Drumheller Dinosaur Dance, Goodnight Moon, L M N O Peas, and basically any book with BUGS in it, (especially ladybugs). 

But let me tell you this...there are so many lessons to be learned from children books. The simplicity of the words and all the wonderful pictures that help stir the imagination. Reading to my son has really re-activated the left side of my brain, something most of us as adult loose or forget we have. One book I remember from my childhood is "The Little Prince / le petite prince", by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. I remember the images, I remember the plane, the fox, the rose and the stars. I remember the The Little Prince going on an adventure and that was about all I got out of the book. I recently watched the movie version of this book with Luca, (I've watched it 4 times from beginning to end in under a week) and I have once again fallen back in love with this story. So many life lessons that as adults we take for granted or we forget because we have been too busy "adulting". I have a whole new appreciation for "The Little Prince".

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LESSONS ON LOVE

And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
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LESSONS ON FRIENDSHIP

I am looking for friends. What does that mean — tame?”

”It is an act too often neglected,” said the fox. “It means to establish ties.” 

”To establish ties?” 

”Just that,” said the fox. “To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world....
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

LESSONS ON EMOTIONS

It is such a mysterious place, the land of tears.

LESSONS ON LIVING

All grown-ups were once children... but only few of them remember it.
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
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LESSONS ON GROWING UP

Grown-ups love figures... When you tell them you’ve made a new friend they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies? “ Instead they demand “How old is he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make? “ Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

 

I guess what I'm trying to say is this - We can learn a heck of a lot from our kids. My husband and I have always said, we wouldn't know what kind of parents we would be until the baby arrives. Our kids change us - For the better. They bring out in us what we have lost and they make up for what we are not. For those days when I feel lost, tired and frustrated with Luca, I think of this quote from "The Little Prince" - 

Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.

What a light bulb, ah-ha moment! When I'm frustrated with him, he's just as frustrated with me. It's basic "Empathy 101", which is something so essential to building relationships with our children, let alone with other people. So here's the solution in our household...On those days when life seems to be against us, we stop what we are doing, (reading that work email, look away from our phones, that laundry can wait), we put on some music and let ourselves go and DANCE. Stop being an "adult" for once and just, LIVE. Life is definitely funny that way. It truly never gives you what you want all the time, but most definitely what you need. 

 

xo S

PRODUCT | Things For Kids, Loved By Mom

Lifestyle, Beauty, Home Decor, ParenthoodSunny ShumComment
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When you become a parent, you will end up most times sharing everything with your kid. The food he doesn't finish, you'll finish. The snacks you pack, you'll sneak a few nibbles. The wipes are always communal, great for wiping up just about anything. I wanted to share with you all, the few things I've been using or loving lately, erm...I mean, I got for my son and HE is LOVING and USING!

Be Good Bath Products - I was a lucky winner of some Be Good bath products, body wash, lotion and hair wash. Be good formulas are naturally derived and are safe for children of all ages and the formulas are free of parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals, gluten, synthetic dyes, palm oil and more. The bottle shape and the non-slip material are great for little hands which makes it a nice "play item" in the bath while I do the washing. The body wash is great for bath time with a delicate baby powder like scent. I love and also use on myself, the all-in-one hair wash and conditioner, great for quick cleans for busy moms. 

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Drink Box - My son still uses a sippy cup but loves using straws now. To save on the plastic straws, I found these juice box "Drink Boxes" from BestBuy.ca. We carry one around with us all the time and we fill them up with whatever we like. My son loves drinking steamed almond milk out of these boxes. I'm not going to lie, I've used these and have taken them to work.

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Kids Furniture - My little guy is now 20 months old and climbs furniture like a monkey. I knew at this point it was time to get him his own little table and chair set where he can sit and do his crafts. The other dilemma, of course, it needed to fit in with the decor of our place. I was completely blown away with the little set I found at Walmart. For under $80 I was able to provide my little guy with some independence, not break the bank account and match the decor in our living room. 

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We love the Love Child Organic line, they have such a great variety of snacks. The "Love Ducks" corn snacks have always been a household favorite. They just released some new flavors and we particularly like the "Herb and Cheese". Love Child Organics is offering a 10% discount off orders from Snugglebugz until Nov 30, 2017. Use code: LoveChildFall at check out!

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Wipes are one thing a household can't get enough of when there are kids involved. It's to the point where we have them everywhere now, in the diaper bag, in the car, a pack downstairs, one pack upstairs. I was handed over a pack of WaterWipes to try out. There are a lot of options out there so you'll find one that is best suitable for your needs, but if your baby has sensitive skin or has experienced eczema, WaterWipes is one of the best wipes to use. 

WaterWipes are the only wipes made with just water (99.9% to be exact), specially purified and softened, and a tiny drop of grapefruit seed extract, a natural skin conditioner. Because they are hypoallergenic, WaterWipes don’t irritate the skin and are safe for use on sensitive skin. The National Eczema Association has awarded the Seal of Acceptance™ to WaterWipes. I have fairly sensitive skin myself and I'm using them to remove makeup at night! Dual purpose is what I love! 

 

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There you have it, stuff for your toddler, loved by mom too!

xo, Sunny

 

LIFE | I'm Done With Multi-Tasking to Create False "Life Balance".

Parenthood, LifestyleSunny ShumComment
Photo by: Paul Melo

Photo by: Paul Melo

 I use to pride myself as a great multi-tasker and I think a lot of us do. I've even stated it as a strength on my resume, "I can multi-task like nobodies business"! I've taken that off my resume now and I definitely do not pride myself as a multi-tasker anymore. I've realized that I'm just too busy to multi-task, if that makes any sense at all? When my son came along, it totally rocked my world and gave the terms "multi-tasking and "life balance" a whole new meaning. I'm done...through with it all...screw "false" life balance because an equal life balance DOES NOT exist. I'm done with multi-tasking because I just need to S L O W everything D O W N and I'd like to be more productive.

A day at the office for me consists of 3 computer screens with applications open on each one. I would compose an email while having a phone conversation. Oh, I got a text message...quickly glance at that and go back to the phone conversation - Oh wait, was I typing out an email? And why did I open that excel sheet that is on one of my 3 screens....hhhhmmmm? That project I was working on for that last 3 hours that should have only taken an hour...Does this all sound too familiar? 

At home, I have partial laundry going and then I run down to the kitchen and load the half full dishwasher. I perhaps walk away from cleaning altogether and check my emails and then jump over to my blog and start a post (don't even get me started on how many half-finished posts I have in my queue). Oh wait, I have to prep dinner. No actually, let me get to my bills and where can I fit in a work-out? Not enough hours in the day you say? Well, there isn't...there is always something that needs to be done, to be cleaned, to be addressed and this is why attempting "the balance" is a falsehood. 

I multi-tasked in order to achieve some normalcy and some "balance" but found myself usually not getting much done at all which created more stress and anxiety. I've discussed this idea of balance with my girlfriend Kim, and we both agree that a better way of living is trying to achieve "HARMONY" in our lives, not balance. I've found that multi-tasking has become problematic for me and after doing some more reading, it seems like I'm not the only one that thinks this way. Apparently, there are studies that show multitasking can actually kill your performance and may even cause damage to our brain?! What?! Listen, I've already lost a tonne of brain cells just from becoming a mom, I don't need to lose any more brain cells from the act of multi-tasking!

Research conducted at Stanford University found that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers also found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time. Here’s the problem: Only two percent of us multitask effectively. That means the remaining 98 percent of us are running around like headless chickens in the name of “productivity." 

L I F E will never be evenly balanced. You'll have stages when it needs to be all about work, times when family will be the only thing that matters,  moments when your focus will be on your partner and not your friends and vice versa. My CEO sent over a great article he wrote the other day, talking how he manages his time. It always comes back to the 80/20 rule, which is a rule I use for every aspect of my life. Look at your work, the stuff that needs to be done at home, who you want to spend your time with and how you'd like to spend it - What are the things you need to do and like to do? Attack the 20% actionable items that will make 80% of the impact. 

So, as I sit here finishing off this half written post (I started 2 months ago and I'm itching to open an email that just came through), I've committed on finishing this today, writing straight through so I can notch this off my "to do" and move on to the next thing that will get 100% of my attention. 

20% effort - 80% impact.

xo S

PS: Another TIP for you all - TURN OFF ALL YOUR NOTIFICATIONS! Nothing is more distracting than a pop up notication that derails your train of thought. 

PARENTHOOD | Mom's Don't Always Know Best

ParenthoodSunny ShumComment
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WOWZA, entering parenthood has been like a roller coaster ride. Actually more like a tornado, clearing everything in our paths, disappearing and leaving us breathless, confused and bewildered. Being a parent is a full-time job and yes that would be full-time for BOTH my husband and I. Like most new moms, I joined a lot of mommy facebook groups, I follow a ton of mommy bloggers on Instagram and for every 100,000 mommy bloggers out in the blogosphere, there is probably only 1 dad blogger (ok, a bit of an exaggeration but I'm trying to make a point). 

Parenting and learning to share the responsibilities with my husband was rough the first few months. Layer in sleep deprivation, dealing with Jekyll and Hyde changing emotions - My poor husband felt like he needed to walk on eggshells around me most days. It was hard for me to let go of the "mom guilt", thinking I had to do everything myself. I learned very quickly that I couldn't do it all on my own and a lot of times, my way of doing things was not always the best way and I needed a lot of help from my husband. My husband is the ROCKSTAR of all fathers and squashes all the traditional stereotypes of being a dad. Because of this, I have to say it - We have to give dads more credit and moms don't always know best. 

That saying "moms know best" is a load of crap because I actually feel like in a lot of cases, "dad knows best" and I'm totally ok with it! We've all seen that movie or that commercial where there is a man at the grocery store picking up diapers with a very puzzled look on his face. Or when the mom goes out with her friends for some girl time and cut to the dad at home with the baby looking all clueless. Sure, sometimes these moments can be funny and we have to be able to laugh at them from time to time. But both parents, not just the dad, experience these feelings of cluelessness and puzzlement. I'm just tired of these portrayals of father's that are basically telling us that the roles of mother and father are not interchangeable. BOTH parents play equally important roles in a child's life, not one more over the other.

Yes, we need to give father's more credit but we need to stop giving them credit for simply doing what they are "suppose to be doing". Like giving them praise for changing diapers. Really? You think that my husband, taking my son to the bathroom is a favor to me? Or when other people think I'm LUCKY that I can sleep in a little because my husband has decided to take on the early morning shift or has dinner ready when I return home from work. Or that he’s doing me a SOLID by taking our son to his art class while I go to the gym. Typically, mothers do all of this and we never get praised for it, can you imagine what that would look like? Absurd. 

Ladies, think about it before you say it, sometime it comes out automatically and it’s all well intended. But when we praise the fathers for doing what they are supposed to be doing, we fuel the fire and this stereotype. We are also undermining and devaluing the role father’s play in their children's lives and when it comes to their ability to care for our children. And to my husband, the rockstar dad - I won't praise you for all you do for our family, but I sure do appreciate the hell out of all you do for our family and love you to the moon and back. 

xo S

TRAVEL | Family Palm Springs Trip

Travel, LifestyleSunny ShumComment
On the plane! Baby was much more difficult to deal with on this short flight compared to his Toronto flight when he was 4 months old. YIKES!

On the plane! Baby was much more difficult to deal with on this short flight compared to his Toronto flight when he was 4 months old. YIKES!

Ahhh, anyone who knows us, knows that we love Palm Springs. It's a great place to unwind, catch some rays and take in some good food. It's been about over a year since our last trip and every time we go back, a few things change. For us, this was the first trip to Palm Spring with our son!

STAY - My husband found a great spot for us to stay called "The Twist". I believe it was an old 2 level motel that was renovated. They provide long term rentals as well. Location is spot on! Located in the heart of Palms Spring and within walking distance to shopping and food. It has a full kitchen and private patios on the lower level, both very handy when you are traveling with kids. There's a swimming pool, hot tub and also a couple putting greens to practice your golf. The Bootlegger Tiki Bar is around the corner if you fancy a drink in the evening and Ernest Coffee Cafe is also around the corner so you can get your immediate caffeine fix. 

Ernest Coffee

Ernest Coffee

The only complaint I have with the place is that the walls are as thin as paper. We could hear the people above us walking around as well as the neighbor that liked to watch TV really loudly. Also, a couple things I think that were missing from the kitchen: a strainer, peeler and perhaps a couple of baking pans or ovenware. Otherwise, they provided every else!

Baby enjoying the bed at The Twist. Also color co-ordinating.

Baby enjoying the bed at The Twist. Also color co-ordinating.

Practiced putting while baby was napping, wiht coffee in hand.

Practiced putting while baby was napping, wiht coffee in hand.

Family pool time.

Family pool time.

Catching some rays. 

Catching some rays. 

EAT - It's always nice to head back to some oldies and goodies like Birba, Workshop and Cheeky's. Sad to see that Jiao is gone, but it has been replaced by a rotisserie chicken place called "The Chicken Ranch" and they serve up locally sourced chicken and chicken every way possible from sandwich to salad. We hit up Norma's at the Parker but, to be honest, it's a very OVER PRICED brunch. But if you like to be seen and want to take some good selfies and pay over $100 USD for a meal for two people, Norma's may be the brunch spot for you. 

Arranging the sofa pillows at The Parker Hotel. 

Arranging the sofa pillows at The Parker Hotel. 

Two new places I would like to bring up and totally worth checking out:

1. Reservoir at the Arrive Hotel. Firstly, we went to Reservoir twice for brunch because we liked it so much. They also do lunch and dinner. You can get a really great brunch meal for under $13 (and the food was WAY better than Norma's). I highly recommend their Egg Sandwich and Savory Crepe. They have bocci ball and ping pong in the ground, which is part of the hotel. 

Photo by Paul Melo, at The Arrive Hotel

Photo by Paul Melo, at The Arrive Hotel

Photo By: Paul Melo, at Resevoir for brunch. Family friendly with high chairs.

Photo By: Paul Melo, at Resevoir for brunch. Family friendly with high chairs.

Photo By: Paul Melo, Bocci ball lane.

Photo By: Paul Melo, Bocci ball lane.

Anyone for some ping pong?

Anyone for some ping pong?

2. SO.PA is located in the newly renovated L'Horizon.  We decided to dine here to celebrate my man's birthday. All seating is outdoors and super romantic with fire pit and stringed lights and chandeliers hung over top. They serve up a seasonal menu with a Mediterranean flare. FYI - They do not have high chairs for little wee ones, but we were in at 6 pm (their earliest reservation) and they placed us in a nice booth and provided us with extra pillows. 

SEE - If you are looking for a peaceful place to walk, hang out and perhaps have a tea, you must visit Sunnylands. in 2001, Walter and Leonore Annenberg established the Annenberg Foundations Trust at Sunnylands. What they had envisioned and hoped for the place was for it to be "a place where intimate and solution-driven meetings could take place". The additional 17,000 sq ft building and nine-acre garden was added in 2009 and the grounds are immaculately kept and in the building, they have a small gift shop and show case a small collection of art. 

Every time we leave we miss Palm Springs immediately and we can not wait to head back. Until next time! 

 

xo 

 

S

Wasting some time at the playground in the airport before our flight home. 

Wasting some time at the playground in the airport before our flight home.