Life Lessons Learned on the Rock Wall

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My husband works at a big fitness club – there an indoor soccer field, indoor basketball courts, squash courts, three pools, lots and lots of fitness rooms and lots and lots of weights and machines to choose from.  There are spa facilities and a hair salon.  But my eyes were drawn from the beginning to the three story rock wall.

I don’t know why it’s taken me until now to give it a try.  Well, I guess I do…  Until recently, there’s been a baby attached to my hip or wrapped around my legs.  But probably more importantly, I’d never done it before and, unlike Beth-Anne who likes to try new things, I kind of resist them.  I’m not crazy about this tendency, so challenging myself to actually try that wall for none other than this blog became my mission over the holidays.

I went with my niece, an athletic 16 year old who had climbed before.  We had spent the entire day at the club, and she had played soccer for over two hours, and was then given a good workout on the squash court by my husband.  The day before she had spent skiing which, as a Californian, used her muscles in unusual ways.  This is all to explain that when she tried the rock wall of moderate difficulty, she got a fifth of the way up and had to let go.  Her legs were shaking; she simply could not go on.

My turn.  Unlike my niece, I had only gentle swum with my kids that day; however, also unlike her, I don’t have a teenage athletic body anymore.  We were climbing walls that did not require a lesson first, strapped in with a harness that gently bounces you to the ground if you slip.  Having never tried this before though, I discovered that I had trouble trusting the safety device would catch me if I fell.  Suddenly I feared heights where I hadn’t before.  With no advice before climbing, no experience, and ultimately, no confidence, I let go almost precisely at the spot my niece had and fell.

As it happens, the harness did work.

My attempt disappointed me.  It would have been quite alright to not get to the top (and when my husband tried, he fell at the same spot – it really was tricky) but my effort was not solid.

I gathered my wits.  Then, with the genuine encouragement of my niece and husband, I got in line for the beginner wall.

I think I was the only person above four and a half feet for this climb, but I ignored any prideful urgings and strapped myself in.  The climb was much easier than the other I tried, and I was comfortable enough to play around a bit with what movements worked.  I reached the top, and my husband boasted, with no hint of irony, that I sped by the nine year old to my left.

The question was whether to try something more.  There were two climbs at moderate difficulty.  I asked a boy there, who had obviously done these climbs many, many times (he looked like a little Spiderman scaling those walls), which of the two were harder.  He pointed to the one I hadn’t tried, and said he thought it might be slightly easier.

With no real aim except to make a better attempt, some minor success under my belt (ha), and more assurance in the harness, I tried again.  It was a much harder climb.  I think I was the most surprised of everyone when I actually made it to the top.

The accomplishment felt at least as much mental as physical and got me mulling, as I’m wont to do, about the broader significance of this singular experience.  I’ve since concluded that there are several useful life lessons to be learned from a rock wall.

1.  Confidence Matters.  

It’s not the only thing that matters, but my initial lack of confidence on the first climb was fatal to the effort.  If you don’t believe you can do something, you’re unlikely to manage it.

2.  The beginning is a good place to start.  

Sometimes I like to fancy myself a little more advanced than I am, a quick learner or something, who can maybe skip a step or two.  Occasionally this works, but oftentimes it doesn’t.  The beginner rock wall was not so physically challenging but I’m positive I would not have succeeded at the harder one had I not started at the beginning.  And experience can bolster belief to develop needed confidence (see above).

3.  There’s not much success without taking risks.  

At some points in the climb, I realized that I couldn’t find the next fingerhold or foothold not because I wasn’t looking properly, but because there wasn’t one.  The only way to continue at these junctures was to set my sights on my next best guess, and spring over to it and hope it would work. I had to let go without knowing what there was next to hold on to.   There was no going higher without taking the risk.

4.  Small things really matter.

I knew that rock climbing tests both agility and strength, but I didn’t realize the extent to success hinges on the smallest things.  Like little protrusions from the wall that your foot can’t really stand on, but that might help your other foot or your hands hang on just a little longer.  Or like fingertips, or the tips of fingertips – these really matter. When I got back onto solid ground after the moderate climb, I couldn’t move my fingers or wrists – they were both burning and throbbing.  My thighs and feet and back must have played a part, but I think my fingertips were the star of the show.

5.  Fear must be dealt with or it will be a block.

To climb that wall, I had to get over my fear of falling.  Probably by falling.  And getting back up again.

6.  Everything that gets done gets done one step at a time.

Many times on that moderate climb where I made it to the top, I didn’t think I would.  I’d look up and the way looked awfully long.  At those times I lowered my head to look at where I was and paused. I brushed aside the temptation to give up and instead agreed with myself to just look for the next step.  When tired, I thought of just the next step.  Stacking enough of next steps together got me somewhere.

I knew starting out that many rock climbers are diehards about their sport.  I think, in some tiny way, I may understand why.  It’s about a lot more than fitness and really challenges the mental strength of the climber, and this can only be that much more true when climbing an actual rock face.  At it’s core, I think rock climbing is about overcoming obstacles that you once wouldn’t have thought possible.  No wonder it’s got such a stronghold on its followers.

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Getting on the Mat

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Along with basically everybody else, I have entered 2015 with a new resolve to take better care of myself.  2014 was a low point in this respect – I ate and slept badly, had regular stomachaches, exercised hardly at all (not even walking anywhere), and my back went out a couple of months ago when I was unable to walk for days, and has been sore almost everyday since.

I actually am so grateful to my body for this – it doesn’t suffer the stress I put on it in silence. It will complain, and if I ignore it some more, it revolts.

Change is needed, and I am trying.  Yoga helps my back significantly, and I love it.  It’s like a meditation for both the body and the mind, and unifies them.

I am, however, still in my life, so a daily yoga practice, though lovely-sounding, is looking kind of lofty.  So is any practice that is 90 minutes long outside the home (which was how I used to practice in a previous lifetime).  I’ve tried to schedule it in, but this doesn’t usually work for long.

So what’s a mother of three with an overflowing life to do?  I’m getting on the mat, whenever I can.

My resolve this year is to roll out my yoga mat whenever I think of it and it’s even kind of feasible.  I’m not looking for the hour-long window anymore, I’m just looking for a door that’s open a crack.  This means that I will do yoga with my children (not so meditative but still with benefits) and that I will do it even though I know the chances of finishing are low.

I do this because even if it’s short I can still stretch and breathe, and maybe I won’t be interrupted as soon as I thought.  Just getting on the mat, even when I don’t know how long it’s going to last, means practices that sometimes finish, but more often don’t – they end up being 22 minutes, or 12 minutes, or 33 minutes long.  They are compromised, yes, but at least they are happening.

It’s not perfect or even great, but it’s something, which is infinitely better than nothing.  Also there’s something to be said for even a modest momentum.  I’ve done yoga quite a few times in 2015, and noticed that I went swimming over the holidays, walked the hour home from work in the winter storm, signed up for a group yoga practice next month.

Those minutes add up not just to hours, but to a life that’s closer to what I want and need.  It helps my back; it just helps.  And it’s not bad for just getting on the mat.

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My First Juice Cleanse

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I wish I were more original, but despite all good intentions about moderation going into the holidays, it ended up being a good old fashioned season of excess.  Low point:  December 25, eating (not even favourite foods!) until so full that I had to lie down on the couch.  Why?  Why do I do this?

It’s January now, and like everyone else, I am getting back on track and trying to cut out the bigger chunks of this nonsense out of my life.  I’m doing more yoga and eating more lightly (in between a snuck Turtle or four) and gearing up for a detox (eliminating certain foods) in February.

But if you must know, I was more in need of a detox in November than now, and I had a lot less time.  I was barely keeping my head above water:  no exercise, not enough sleep, watching the balls drop, and not managing to eat even my regular diet, let alone make modifications for an elimination diet.

When Cedar Juice contacted 4Mothers about a juice cleanse, I jumped in.  It was perfect for me at the time:  three days, organic cold-pressed unpasteurized juices, and all the work done for me.  I desperately needed to knock off some bad habits (existing in carb-ville, eating 5 or 6 Hallowe’en Snickers bars most nights, anyone?) but was too overwhelmed to add anything to the list.  Cedar Juice took me away from all that.

Working with Cedar was easy.  I chose dates for my cleanse, and got emailed tips and encouragement along the way.  The juices arrived right on time:  kale, pineapple, lemon, beet and cashew blends.  I was set, and here’s what I learned.

1.  It’s a lot of juice!  There are 6 bottles a day (and you drink them in a particular order), and each bottle is about 2 cups of fresh juice.  You’re supposed to space out the juices 2 to 3 hours apart, and drink lots of water in between.  I actually found this challenging.  I tried to drink some water but couldn’t get much down because I was too full of liquids, and I had to sip the juices over the day to get them down.  In fact, by the close of the first day, I didn’t even get to my last juice.  I did better the next two days and drank everything.

2.  The juices are delicious and varied.  Any of these alone would be a treat.  Also, the last juice blend of cashew, hemp, and vanilla bean is so yummy!  It’s also the most substantial and satisfying of the juices, probably because of the nuts.  The folks at Cedar know what they’re doing when they save the best for last (and it probably helps keep hunger at bay through the night).

3.  I wasn’t very hungry.  I mean, I craved solid food, but I was drinking juice and taking in calories the whole day.  i can easily imagine someone else getting hungry (maybe someone more active? remember I was in a busy survival mode) but as it was during the three day cleanse I was quite comfortable.

4.  Except for two occasions.  The first is when I had to cook solid hot foods for my family.  Then I was very aware of what I couldn’t eat and needed to exercise discipline to stay on the cleanse.  The other occasion is when my husband ordered in a pizza during the cleanse.  I had fallen asleep while putting the kids to sleep and got up later to watch a movie with him.  I stared at him and the pizza and he looked guiltily back at me.  “I thought you had fallen asleep for the night,” he said haplessly.  That man ate the entire pizza while I sipped my second night of liquids.  Yeah.

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5.  It gave me time.  An unexpected consequence:  I saved time eating and preparing food for myself because I just had to carry around my juices.  I’m not an advocate of not taking time to eat – I consider the slow food movement and sharing meals with others a beautiful thing.  But I was extremely busy at the time of the cleanse, and in the short-term I made use of the extra hours.

6.  My knees didn’t hurt.  I am sure this is the result of eliminating foods that cause inflammation of my knee joints.  Up next:  elimination diet to identify which foods do this.

7. My head was clear.  The most obvious change I felt during the cleanse, and it started quite early, was a mental alertness that, sadly, was a marked contrast to my usual state.  I could think clearly and was not tired or lethargic as usual.  I really had picked up some bad habits before the juice cleanse and I think dropping these and substituting them with some really healthful alternatives really had an impact.

8. Um… I think I got high off the juice.   Talking to my husband one night I suddenly realized I felt very different than usual.  Amazing actually, a sparkling clarity and flush of pleasure, like I couldn’t open my eyes wide enough.  It seemed so unreal that I almost wouldn’t have mentioned it here, until Nathalie said this had happened to a friend of hers too, and I didn’t feel quite so odd.  Cleanest high ever.  And no hangover, obviously.

9.  It did the trick.  Cleanses are reputed to have a wide range of health benefits, and I did enjoy more energy, clearer mind, and sounder sleep during the cleanse.  But true health comes from the choices we make everyday over the long run, and for me the real advantage of the cleanse is to knock off bad habits and kick start some better ones, to help me eat and live the way I really want to, instead of the way I end up doing when I’m run off my feet.  A detox is an opportunity to put some primary intention to my health and both times I’ve done it, I have improved my eating and self-care habits afterwards.  It’s so worth it.

And now it’s early January, and we’ve all done what we’ve done over the holidays, and the party is over.  For anyone feeling sluggish and wanting to shake off the holiday excess with some tasty  goodness, Cedar Juice is generously offering 4 Mothers readers a discount code for their amazing juice cleanses – just type “4mothers1blog” for $30 off!  Plus shipping is free in Ontario!

It would be a great way to bring in 2015.  Happy new year!

Carol’s Favourite Post from 2014: Hosting My Son’s Horrid Birthday Party

balloon burstI just hosted my oldest son’s 8th birthday party this weekend.  It was terrible.

Until now, we’ve opted for fairly simple birthday parties at home (once at the park) without formal entertainment, and an emphasis on children who are friends just quality spending time together.  These don’t end up being all that simple in the end, because we handmake decorations, food, cake, loot bags, and a pinata.  But you get the idea – we try to produce the party more than purchase it.

This year, my son opted for a small party.  At first I thought this would make things easier, but it didn’t:  suddenly it was really important that each invitee attend.  Working around the schedules of several kids was complicated, and the only available day was Saturday, when my husband works and would miss the first half the party (and all of its preparation).    

Attendance got more complicated when I realized that I’d invited everyone over for Sunday May 31, which will exist in 2015 but not 2014.  This confused one parent, and after much conversation, I was grateful that at least he could come for the last hour, along with two cousins we’d never met. 

May and June are so busy for parents and children everywhere, and I was on the haggard side going into the party.  But I got into it with the kids, and apart from a few stressy moments, we were quite ready when our guests arrived.

It started soon after.  The only boy who didn’t go to my son’s school was straggling behind the others, would he have a good time?  My middle son who was sleeping through the party – was he sick?  I started to fret.

Then I was making a dairy-free pizza from scratch for one child with a food sensitivity when his mother told me the grated dairy-free cheese I was using (bought specially at the natural food store after carefully reading every dairy-free label in the store) doesn’t melt.  I pointed to the bubble on the front of the package that says “Melts and Stretches Like Real Cheese” and said that’s why I chose it.  I got a shake of the head.  

We ate.  Some kids were fine, but others weren’t.  Demands – not requests – for food and drinks, including ones we didn’t have.  I had four kinds of juice, which was received by one child with:  I want blue Gatorade!  Another shouted he wanted grape Gatorade.  When I said I didn’t have Gatorade, they started chanting, at the top of their lungs, for Gatorade.  Not knowing what to do, next to a mom not saying anything to her son about his chanting (is it just me?), I left the room.

There was so. much. noise.  Nothing productive or contextual, just random shouting around the table, the pack joining in, for no other reason than to be loud.  It was like a premonition of a bad frosh week.  When I was serving the cake, my son screamed next to me out of nowhere.  I was completely rattled.  Who was he?

I called my husband over and over again:  Where are you on the road?  You’re not going to detour are you, please come straight home.  I need help.  And he did finally arrive and help, and he is way better at kid fun than I am.  But even he couldn’t turn down the noise or re-channel the energy. 

The party couldn’t end soon enough.  When one mom picked up her kids, she looked around and said, “I admire you for hosting the birthday party at home”.  I thought of her son’s party a week before – an hour in a party room for pizza and cake, followed by a movie at the theatre, the end.  I rarely feel this, but here it was plain as day:  envy.

The moment the door shut behind the last child, I beelined for the couch.  I would lie there in and out of sleep until my husband would kick me upstairs so he could clean the kitchen (and I would continue to sleep until morning).  Before I lost consciousness, my birthday boy walked over.

“How did you like the party?”  he asked.

“It was pretty wild,” I replied.

“Yeah.  Next year I want something more calm.  A lot calmer.”

I regarded my son.  I didn’t know whether he meant what he was saying or was mirroring what he knew I felt.  It didn’t really matter:  he was back.  He got on the couch and spread his body alongside mine. 

My five year old put on a record of Robert Munsch reading his stories.  All three boys arranged themselves on or next to me, at my head, middle and feet, and listened in silence.  I remember thinking that they looked three scoops in a boy sundae, and I’d be the banana encasing them at the base.  And then I fell asleep.

Carol’s word for 2015: Order

The word I wanted to choose for 2015 is equanimity, because I suspect the year will be characterized by change and I’d like to possess some composure through it.  Lacking confidence, however, I’ve shelved equanimity in favour of order, which feels plenty ambitious to me but at least has more to do with a state of things rather than being.

When things are running fairly smoothly on my end, there is still a level of disorganization in my life.  I don’t naturally have a particularly organized mind, but it’s good enough and most of what needs to happen happens.  It’s kind of like taking a country road, not always the fastest way to go, but a nice route.

When life gets overly involved, that manageable disorganization devolves into disorder, which for me is essentially unmanageable disorganization.  Life is more difficult in this state, and harder to execute, like taking the road with lots of lights and potholes.

Beyond disorder is a relatively new and stimulating place I’ve discovered called chaos.  This, my friends, is the wrong road.  Here, my kids come downstairs to an unmade breakfast half-dressed because there are no clothes in their drawers and I have started the day 30minutes too late, and things continues pretty much like that, over and over again.

My goal for 2015 is to rescue my adrenal glands and climb out of chaos.  I want to channel my best powers of order to return to a disorder or better.  I want my country drive back, or at least the chance to avert a pothole.

The other thing about order for 2015, is that I want to better sort out the order of my priorities.  I have little in my life now that doesn’t really matter, there’s little room in the car for hitchhikers or extra luggage.  Having winnowed out a lot of discretionary items and pleasures (some of which I rather miss), I’m still left with a full, full load.  It’s all good stuff but it’s unwieldy and more is more isn’t really my style.   What of all these great burdens matter most?  I’m hoping order will help me determine this.

What about you?  What’s your one word aspiration for the brand new year?  We wish you all the best for 2015, whatever it is.

Handmade Holidays: Trufflemaking at Chocolate Tales

115Ever since I tried handmaking chocolate a year or so ago with the kids, my eyes (and tastebuds) have been more alert to the possibilities of creating with chocolate. So when the opportunity to try a different route to making chocolate treats crossed my bath through the blog, I knew I was in.  Chocolate Tales and I booked a date for a trufflemaking workshop midtown at The Mad Bean, and we were off to the chocolate races.

Our workshop began with a history of chocolate, which for hundreds of years was consumed as a beverage.  The Aztecs ground the beans and drank a really strong, unsweetened version of chocolate – apparently Montezuma drank 10 cups of this a day.  It was also given to human victims before they were sacrificed, supposedly for the calming effects of serotonin and theobromine.  Personally I find it hard to believe that this could have had much effect but maybe that’s just me.

This grisly historical lesson out of the way, we could start focusing on the here and now (thank goodness).  We were working with high quality couverture chocolate, which gets all its fat from cocoa butter.  This is contrasted with compound chocolate, where the fat comes from fat substitutes – usually oils – and it’s difficult to temper because different oils have different burn points – this chocolate sometimes shows a white film which indicates it’s not properly tempered.  It can still be tasty – which is why most of us enjoy a good Kit Kat every now and then – but it’s more a candy than chocolate.

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At the Chocolate Tales workshop, we were messing around with the real thing, ie. the couverture chocolate.  Our stations were laid out tidily with rows of hollow chocolate spheres, and the various tools we’d be using to fill these into Belgian truffles, as well as to make French truffles out of slabs of ganache.  There was a giant bowl of melted chocolate on a double boiler at the front, which was ladled into plastic bags that we used as icing tubes.  With tips on how to best fill our chocolate spheres (try to fill it without air gaps, which reduce shelf life, for eg.), we set to work.

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I couldn’t take pics of us messing around with chocolate, but mess is the operative word here… we were given aprons and gloves for a reason.  Melted chocolate gushed out of bags and outside of our little chocolate receptables and into our trays (and up into our mouths).  After letting our filled chocolates cool, we set about enrobing them.  The technique for this is to paint your hand with chocolate, and then roll the truffle into our palms to cover it with melted chocolate, then repeat.  The gloves came in handy here to keep the mess at bay, but I wanted to feel this experience all the way so I removed my gloves (I was the only one).  There’s something luscious and decadent and playful about doing this with your bare hands, and although I spent a spell in the bathroom trying to get all the chocolate off afterwards, it was worth it.

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We all left satisfied, and possibly a little dizzy from eating chocolate spills and leftovers, with a stack of Belgian and French truffles to go, packaged prettily in decorative bags and a gift box.  It was a friendly group, led by a friendly facilitator, creating a perfectly pleasant way to spend a Tuesday night.

Trufflemaking is just one of a range of workshops offered by Chocolate Tales – there’s something for the sweet tooth in all of us.  One thing I’d mention… when I arrived at the workshop I thought we would be making chocolate from scratch, but the facilitator explained this process and it’s not at all workable for the end result sought – the process takes too long, is too complicated, and too mechanized.  It’s possible to make a simple handmade chocolate as I did, but it won’t have the professional and consistent qualities that you and I normally associate with a truffle.  The workshops are about working with the basic components of chocolate and putting them together in personalized and delicious ways.

I knew I would enjoy this DIY workshop but hadn’t thought of what a nice experiential gift this could make until I saw the friends and couples there, and sat down next to a mother who gifted this workshop to her teenage daughter.  They were completely engaged with each other and the activity, and the daughter may have had just a bit of a glow when she left.  I thought of my 13 year old niece, and I come December 25, she and I may be poised for more chocolate love.

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Ross Petty’s Cinderella – A Great Gift of Experience

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There’s a reason why Ross Petty‘s holiday pantomimes are a treasured annual tradition (their 19th year!) there’s nothing quite like it for geared-to-children but still lots-for-the-adults theatrical fun.  I was delighted when the Yummy Mummy Club gifted us tickets to this year’s production, Cinderella, The Gags to Riches Family Musical – I knew it would deliver lots of high-energy entertainment and that my three boys would totally enjoy it.

It’s not everyday that a parent can, with complete comfort and a warm sense of welcome, take an 8, 6 and 3 year old to a two hour show at the glorious Elgin Theatre.  This alone was a huge treat, but there’s a lot more to this particular kind of adventure.  If you’re looking for a special holiday present, one that focuses on experiences that last rather than things that don’t, check out the show.  Here’s why:

1.  The show takes the art of silliness to new heights.  There are few tones of distress in the show (which is nice for sensitive viewers) largely because the villains are preposterous.  Patty Sullivan and Cleopatra Williams portray the punky step-sisters as perfectly pestering and Ross Petty himself is in top form as Cinderella’s evil stepmother.  Together with Dan Chameroy as fairy godmother Plumbum, the two actors offer strapping renditions of these maternal characters – their towering, absurd presence on the stage provides a backdrop of humour even when they’re not centre stage.

2.  There’s magic too.  Spoiler alert, okay?  There’s a lot of goofy, slapstick humour in the show, but there is also some stardust.  The apex of these is Cinderella’s transportation to the ball.  Two small white horses pull a spherical carriage onstage, and it really is an apparition, a moment of wonder.

3.  The show is Canadian!  Ross Petty purposely focuses on great Canadian talent, including the inimitable Danielle Wade, star of CBC’s Over the Rainbow and the Mirvish production of The Wizard of Oz.  Also, the show is set in Toronto and full of references to our great city – the great ball is held at none other than Casa Loma.  Lots of jokes poke fun at local politics and culture (pretty sure I caught a poke at Ford Nation, among others).

4.  There’s something for everyone.  In addition to the adult humour just mentioned, there’s lots here for the boys as well as the girls in the audience.  The princess theme is still there but muted, and the gags are for everyone.  Recall the evil step-mother and the fairy godmother when considering the dissolution of boundaries, which the show does left, right, and centre.  Did I mention that Cinderella is trying to save her father’s Farmer’s Market from her step-family’s plans to overtake it with processed hypno-chips?

5.  Children are VIPs here.  Not only do you not have to worry about shushing your kids, you’ll be encouraging them to cheer and boo!  Petty-the-stepmother cannot take two steps on stage without being booed down, and responds to the audience for some direct theatrical interaction.  A few lucky kids climbed onstage and were interviewed for the show.  Some of the younger audience members were flopping around in their chairs, especially after intermission, and it was just fine.  Also, booster seats are available downstairs at the coat check – two of my kids used those (although one ended up on my lap in the end – also just fine (no one’s view was blocked)).

6.  You Get to Introduce Your Kids to the Theatre.  The Elgin Theatre is gorgeous and grand.  It was not designed with children in mind, and the opportunity to expose our kids to that kind of venue is a big thing.  I wish I’d taken more time to point out details of the theatre – the balconies, where the orchestra sits, the way the curtains fall, the art on the ceilings – but I was outnumbered three to one so I’m not going to dwell.  Even so, my boys knew they were somewhere special; their eyes were wide open and took everything in.

I watched my kids during the show (of course).  My favourite moment of the night was when my six year old tugged my sleeve and then clapped his hands lightly together with the tips of his fingers pointed upward.  This is my theatre clap,” he explained.

That moment, along with my eight year old proclaiming on the way home that he’d like to see Cinderella again, holds the essence of the night for me.  It was fun and entertaining, and it was a beginning.  If my boys go to the theatre more often because of it – and dare I hope, maybe even sometimes with me – it really will be the best show in town.

Cinderella, The Gags to Riches Family Musical! will be live on stage at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto until January 4, 2015.  Tickets range from $85 to $27 and are available online and through the Elgin Theatre box office.  Special discount codes available for Yummy Mummy Club members here

Memorable Quotes on Dreams

You’ve heard what 4Mothers has to say about our dreams… here is what some slightly (ahem) better known writers have to say about it.  Thanks for joining us this week – have a great weekend!

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The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

Eleanor Roosevelt

 

Yesterday is but today’s memory, and tomorrow is today’s dreams.

Kahlil Gibran

 

I dreamt that I dwelt in marble halls,
With vassals and serfs at my side,
And of all who assembled within those walls,
That I was the hope and the pride.

I had riches too great to count, could boast
Of a high ancestral name;
But I also dreamt, which pleas’d me the most,
That you loved me still the same.

Alfred Burns, The Bohemian Girl

 

It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

 

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

Henry David Thoreau

 

I have dreamt in my life, dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they have gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind.

Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

Loving My Dreams, Even If They Scare Me

I love dreaming.  Not daydreams, but the ones that come at night, deep in sleep.  I can’t always remember my dreams, but they’re vivid and striking and exciting to me – often complete contrasts to my quite regular life.

This is true even though occasionally my dreams scare me, sometimes in repetitive I-know-just-what-gets-her ways.  For instance, I have recurring dreams of going to university and getting my degree twice, realizing only in my second fourth year that I already got this degree and I have wasted a full four years of my life.  Or I’ll arrive at my finals completely unprepared, or I’ll forget the days of the exams, or not realize that I should have taken a course that I can’t graduate without.

Stress, people.  Can I tell you that I’ve actually gotten to a place with these dreams that I can recognize them – sometimes I’m able to tell myself in the dream that it’s just a dream, you’ve been in this dream before.  Or don’t worry about failing all those sets of university exams because you’re already a lawyer.  I am?  I am!  What a relief, you know?

I’ve googled studied precisely nothing about this and don’t want to know more about the doings of my brain.  I don’t want any dream analysis; you may know more about my dreams’ significance than I do, and that’s just fine by me.  In my little sleepyhead, dreams are mysterious and magical (if a little menacing), and I’d like to keep it that way.

The truth is, no matter how good (or bad) a day I’ve had, I almost invariably anticipate with pleasure the time when I lie down, those moments before sleep when, for better or for worse, you have lived the day, and the matter is closed.  Part of the reward is then rest and sleep.  But I also wonder:  what adventure waits tonight?

And I don’t think it’s just me.  One of the prizes of sleeping with the kids is being awoken by them laughing really, really hard while completely asleep.  I wonder what they’re dreaming about, of course, but mostly it doesn’t matter; I just laugh along like a crazy conscious person.  Laughter then becomes the lullaby for re-entering my own dream world, and all is well at night.

Do you remember your dreams?