M-A-M-A ~ My Dream Job

When I was an adolescent, I wanted to be an actress. Part of me dreamed of starring in movies, like my favourite actress at the time Nicole Kidman. But, a bigger part of me longed to be a musical theatre actress, to sing, dance and act in my favourite plays, particularly Phantom of the Opera. I took vocal music lessons beginning in grade 8, up until grade 10, in the hopes of honing my skills to one day be on Broadway.

I’ll be honest, though, I don’t think my voice ever would’ve been good enough. I can be real with myself now, at 28 years old, and admit that I have an okay voice at best.

Yet, somehow, my voice is absolutely perfect when I’m singing to my son Dorian. 

When I’m performing for him, I hit all the right notes, both high and low. When I’m dancing for him, my feet are light and graceful. He doesn’t demand specific songs in so many words, but his chocolate brown eyes light up when I start the first notes to “Part of Your World” or “Tomorrow” or “Let’s Go Fly A Kite”. When I sing “Angel of Music” to him, he smiles and laughs, even if I can’t quite hit all of Christine’s soprano notes. When I swirl around with him, humming “Singing In The Rain”, his eyes shine even though my toes don’t twinkle as much as Gene Kelly’s. Dorian thinks I’m the greatest actress and singer in the whole wide world, because I’m his mama.

When I started university, I wanted to be a writer. Not a writer of a blog (no offence to this wonderful space) or a writer of emails, but a writer of fiction. I wanted to pen an epic novel like something Dickens or John Irving would write. I wanted to reignite the short story genre like Alice Munro and Mavis Gallant did. I wanted to see my own beautiful book in Indigo and have my best friend call me from there saying that she was rearranging the shelves to put my book right up front.

I’ll be honest, though, I don’t think I have an idea in me that could become a novel. Sure, I have tons of stories floating in my head at any given time, but if I’m being totally honest, I don’t see myself sitting down to write one single work for hundreds and hundreds of pages. I don’t know that I have that one stellar story in me.

Yet, somehow, I am a masterful writer when I tell stories to my son Dorian.

When I’m cuddling with him in bed at night, whispering about our future trips to Disney World, I have narratives coming out of my eyeballs. I have nicknames for him that seem to pop out of nowhere, and I can make up a million different voices to use for all of his toys, as if they are each distinct characters. Don’t get me started on when I’m reading his children’s book to him…then, I become a narrator par excellence, giving a dramatic reading of “Feed Me” or “I’m a T. Rex” that would make Dickens proud. Dorian thinks I’m the greatest storyteller in the whole wide world, because I’m his mama.

I’ve wanted to be a lot of things in my life: a university professor, a book reviewer, even a Bond Girl. But, to be honest, I never really wanted to be a mother until I was one. Theoretically, I wanted to have my own family, but I didn’t daydream about playing with my child the way I envisioned singing on a stage or giving a book signing.

Now that I am a mother, however, it is without doubt the dream job I have forever been looking for. It is the role I feel that I was born to have; I believe I was put on this Earth to love Dorian Lee and to give him the incredible life he so deserves.

A few days ago, Dorian said “mama” for the first time…and with just those two little syllables, he solidified the only identity I will ever need.

Janille N G

Mummy with a Green Heart

Why going on anxiety medication is the best thing I ever did…

I’ve wrestled with generalized anxiety since high school, if not earlier. I was always a high strung child, even as early as elementary school when I remember being mortified if I accidentally forgot to do my homework one day, and paranoid and fearful about very unrealistic and improbable things such as house fires and robot invasions. At that young age, I didn’t identify that I had an anxiety disorder or anything like it, but once I settled into my overambitious high school persona, it started to become clear to my teachers, my friends, my parents and eventually myself that I was a bit more, shall we say, obsessive than the average teenager. I called it perfectionism and the desire to be the best at everything I set my mind to. My friends called it being an overachiever. My teachers called it success. My parents didn’t call it anything…they just supported me unconditionally and lent me a shoulder to cry on whenever I needed it.

When I entered university and my desire to be perfect continued and at times became borderline unbearable, I started to admit to myself that maybe the way I was wasn’t exactly working for me. I became more aware of what anxiety actually was, and I self-diagnosed myself. But (and this is the crux of my experience of mental health concerns), I was reluctant to do anything to change my mentality or my way of life. I had it in my mind that if I sought help, either through therapy, mindfulness techniques, or medication, I would lose who I was irrevocably. I thought that my anxiety was a fundamental part of who I was as a person, and most importantly as a student, and I feared that if I did anything at all to lessen it, my academic success and hopes for the future would similarly disappear.

This is the main (foolish) reason I avoided seeking counsel and taking medication for my anxiety for so many years. As I entered the workforce and started to forge a career, I maintained this unfounded belief that my anxiety was important and synonymous with my intelligence, determination and dedication. I thought that I couldn’t care about my work properly or to the necessary degree if I didn’t feel sometimes cripplingly anxious about it. I didn’t want to feel this way so much, but I also didn’t want to lose the qualities that I felt made me unique, standout and special.

Then, in January 2019, I fell pregnant and my whole world turned upside down. Don’t misunderstand me…I wanted a child very badly and my husband and I had decided that it was the best time in our lives to try to have a baby. I’ll admit, though, that I got pregnant much sooner than I was expecting, and while I don’t think you can ever be truly prepared to get pregnant, I certainly wasn’t ready to see those two pink lines appear so quickly. In any case, because I ultimately wanted to bring a child into my world, I tried my best to embrace my pregnancy, even at times when the world around me seemed to rebel against it. I was, however, predisposed to higher rates of anxiety because of my history with it, and when I reached the end of my first trimester, everything came to a head. I was feeling an immense amount of pressure from a few corners of my life, and I started having frequent, overwhelming panic attacks unlike anything I had ever experienced. I had to take a step back from my professional and social lives and really re-evaluate what I was doing to keep myself mentally healthy (at that point, not very much). It was at this point that my obstetrician referred me to a psychiatrist and I started my official journey toward mental wellness.

For my entire pregnancy, I was plagued by the most intense and severe anxiety I have ever known. My psychiatrist was an absolute saving grace, and she led me through mindfulness practices such as meditation and cognitive behavioural therapy techniques, and she encouraged me to read and exercise and get out as much as I could. But, every time she mentioned medication to me, I resisted. Part of me absolutely wanted to try to stay off medication for the duration of my pregnancy; although many anxiety medications are safe to take while pregnant, I had never taken any medication before and so I wanted to be able to assess how my body and mind would adjust to it without risking any side effects to my unborn son. Another part of me, I must admit, was just scared to take that step I had avoided for my entire life. I still had this fear that if I started taking any sort of medication, I would become an entirely different person. Would I be financially responsible anymore? Would I be a great employee anymore? Would I be a conscientious and thoughtful friend, wife and mother?

I told myself that I would think seriously about taking medication once my son was born…and then, all of a sudden, the decision was almost made for me. I suffered from such severe postpartum anxiety that I was beside myself and more scared than I have ever been, and it was then that I knew something had to give. Nothing was more important to me than being a present mother to my son, and I knew in my heart that medication was the step I had to take at that time in my anxiety journey. Yes, I found meditation and self-reflection and exercise extremely helpful, but there was only so much I could do on my own and I was at the point where I was just so tired and wanted to give my brain the bit of extra help it deserved after years and years of dealing with anxiety on its own. I spoke at length to my psychiatrist and we decided on the best medication for me, and then I spent a difficult few weeks waiting for it to take affect.

Now, almost 7 months postpartum, I can confidently say that starting to take medication for my anxiety was the absolute best thing I ever did. I am not a doctor, of course, and so I cannot make recommendations for anyone else or say if medication is the best course of action for the next person…but, for me, it was the next logical step and it was the right thing to do. I am more me than ever, in a strange way, and while I haven’t had a proper panic attack since I started my medication, I still care about my role as a mother and about running my home. I’m still diligent and passionate, and I still like to have a handle on the things going on around me. But, I am also more relaxed, more logical, and I am able to step back in overwhelming moments and give myself a chance to reflect before flying off the handle. This doesn’t mean that I never feel nervous, but when I do, I am able to breathe through the sensation and actually silence my anxious mind enough to use the mindfulness techniques I worked hard to acquire.

I feel that medication has made me stronger and cleared my mind, and, as I said although it may not be the best choice for everyone, it is one that I am infinitely happy I made. I haven’t lost any aspect of myself…on the contrary, I have gained so much confidence and clarity, and that is something I wouldn’t trade for anything!

Janille N G

Girl with a Green Heart

Real Motherhood Talk ~ #BadFeminist

Let’s talk about what I really think of the term “feminism”.

I’ve always had a sense that I’m not a very good feminist. As you probably already know if you’ve read anything over here on my blog, I am the very definition of a hopeless romantic. I will consume any sort of romantic story, whether it be a cheesy Christmas movie, a chick flick centred on wedding planning and matrimony, or a 19th century novel with “happily ever after” as its final theme. I have longed, since high school at least, to be a wife and to find my own Prince Charming, and I often lamented during my university days when I was devastatingly single that I would rather have a husband and family than any scholarships or academic/professional renown.

Perhaps these are sentiments to be ashamed of, and, in this day and age, I have often hesitated to admit how important having a male companion in my life is to me. I felt that it would come across as a betrayal to womankind to give voice to the fact that, although I am intelligent and capable, I like to have a man to rely on and receive support from.

This past October, when I became a mother, I realized that nothing in my life will ever be as important as my son, and I feel this overwhelming desire to be the best parent possible, even if that means putting aside my other ambitions. If I never achieve any other success than being Dorian’s mom, then I will still live happily and feel incredibly accomplished.

So, I wonder again, does this make me a “bad feminist”? Does the fact that I would put my husband and son before absolutely anything else in my world, including my own goals, make me a disgrace to my fellow females?

With these questions in mind, I embarked on reading several feminist texts this past month. I haven’t ever been a huge non-fiction reader, but recently I’ve been getting into essay collections, and I thought it was high time to start thinking about some of these broader feminist questions. My reviews of these books are below, but suffice it to say that no one tome held the answers for me. That being said, Roxane Gay’s collection Bad Feminist touched me profoundly…she almost seemed to be speaking what was inside my own head with regards to feminist culture and misconceptions. 

What I learned from my reading, ultimately, is that there is no one right way to do feminism. I believe strongly in the capabilities and talents of women, and there is no doubt in my mind that women deserve to be compensated and appreciated in the same way as men. However, I do still adore my husband and son, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with believing in True Love and its ability to overcome and conquer all other emotions. If I choose, for myself, to focus on being the best wife and mother I can be, that is an active choice on my part and doesn’t take away from the fact that I respect myself. I want my husband and son to treat me with respect and value me, but if I take pride in loving and supporting them, that doesn’t mean I’m any less sympathetic to the battles my fellow women face every day. And, there is no need to give up my other pursuits and goals entirely to be a good wife and mother…I can, and do plan to, have it all!

With all that said, I think when feminism becomes prescriptive and limiting, it can be dangerous. I for one appreciate writers like Gay who recognize the subjectivity of feminism and the fact that women with various jobs and interests and feelings can still be feminists in their own particular ways.

What are your thoughts on the “feminist movement”? Have you considered any of the questions I’m wrestling with yourself?

Janille N G

Girl with a Green Heart

Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

This book was interesting, but I couldn’t really sum up what it’s about even if I tried. I learned a lot of facts about a variety of topics, from American frat culture to Trump’s criminal past to Queen Victoria’s pivotal influence on what we define as “wedding culture”, but I struggled to make sense of how all of this information related together and what ultimate argument Tolentino was trying to make. I don’t feel the text was all that accessible to a broad audience, and although I enjoyed the writing and found it informative, if I had to write out what I believe Tolentino’s underlying thesis is, I’d be hard-pressed to do so.

❥❥❥ (out of 5)

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

I loved this book and I am obsessed with Roxane Gay’s writing. The essay “Bad Feminist: Take Two” was brilliant and 100% describes how I feel about feminism. I wish I could talk to Gay in person…I could read her work all day!

❥❥❥❥❥ (out of 5)

All The Lives I Want by Alana Massey

This collection of essays was good, but it frustrated me in many ways because I often felt like, as a reader, I couldn’t get at Massey herself. It wasn’t until the essays about the Lisbon sisters, Anjelica Huston and Joan Didion that I really fell for Massey’s writing and began to understand her on a more personal level, and so I feel that this book was interesting but a bit inconsistent.

❥❥❥ (out of 5)

Wednesday Words #2 ~ “Love Again”

 

A year ago at this time, my life felt like it was falling apart. I thought that I would never smile again. 

But then, 3 doctors, 2 best friends, 4 family members, 1 husband and 1 beautiful (but at that point unborn) son saved my life. 

As of today, I not only smile…I dance!

from “Love Again” by Dua Lipa

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

Real Motherhood Talk ~ Self-Isolation, Books & Babies

Hi Everyone! ❤

I thought I’d hop on here just to write a quick post amidst the chaos that is our current world.

As you may know if you read my blog regularly, I have suffered for all of my adult life with severe anxiety (made much worse during my pregnancy and postpartum). Normally, at a time like this, when a deadly virus is running rampant in our society and we are all confined to our homes, my anxiety would be through the roof. I’m a restless person by nature, and although I love sitting at home with a warm drink and a long book, I also crave stimulus and fresh air. 

That all being said, for some reason, I am not all that anxious right now. Of course, I am taking self-isolation very seriously, especially because I have a 5-month old, and I am acutely aware of the dangers of COVID-19. However, I think I am about as concerned as everyone else in the population, which is a rare thing for me indeed. I’m not curled up in bed crying out of anxiety and I haven’t had a single panic attack, and that is incredibly unusual for me, particularly as a person who craves order and control living in a time of worldwide crisis and uncertainty. So, I decided to sit down and really have a good think about what it is that’s different about my mental state right now. This time last year, I was in possibly the worst place I have ever been in, dealing not only with the huge physical and emotional burden of being pregnant but also with some surprising and unexpected changes in other areas of my life. I was truly at my own rock bottom, and maybe that is why this year I am able to achieve some perspective and remind myself that there is nothing much that I can do about this situation other than stay home and that this will eventually (hopefully!) pass. Maybe it is also reassuring to know that we’re all in this together and everyone on Earth is being equally affected, so this is not a problem or burden that I alone have to face. I don’t know exactly what it is, but I do know that I worked very hard while pregnant and in this postpartum period to heal myself mentally, and I think my focus on self-awareness and mindfulness has begun to pay off.

With that in mind, I wanted to share two key things that have kept a smile on my face during this overwhelming time in history…

FRIVOLITY & FAMILY

It would be very easy to get trapped in a spiral of seriousness while sitting at home. I could very easily spend hours on YouTube watching news reports about COVID-19 and then more hours scouring Twitter for updates. I do absolutely keep up to date through my government’s website and official pages on Twitter because I want the most reliable data, but I also know that dwelling in the negative is NOT a good headspace to be in. For that reason, I focus on spending my time (when I’m not actively rolling around with my 5-month old) doing things that are fun and somewhat “frivolous”. These things have recently included bingeing the Netflix reality series Love Is Blind which is an absolute blast (HIGHLY RECOMMEND!), memorizing all the lyrics to the songs on Mandy Moore’s recent album “Silver Landings” which is positively DIVINE, and engaging in intense at-home workouts posted on Instagram by fitness guru Blogilates. 

Of course, the other pastime that I am naturally leaning on is my beloved reading. Late at night, when the lights are off and we’re getting ready to quiet down, I curl up on the couch with my son Dorian on my lap, my husband seated in a chair across from us, and I read for hours. Sometimes until 3:00am, which is ill-advised when you have a 5-month old but a lot of fun nonetheless! Dorian will be up and staring around for a little bit, but eventually he drifts into sleep and I just gaze at him and my book alternatively. It is without doubt one of the most calming and wonderful times, and it has made me so grateful for this life that I have, especially in this time when we are reminded how finite everything is.

I went to bed like this. 😉

And then, naturally, since we’ve all been up until the wee hours reading, Dorian and I like to have a good cuddle every morning, to start the day on a mental high. This is something I HIGHLY recommend to get the day off to a good start…so if you’re stuck at home with a loved one or a fury friend, make sure to schedule in some snuggles each day!

Love me some baby boy snuggles!

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy at this critical time! xox

A Review of the Book from the Photo Above:

The Royal Secret by Lucinda Riley

This was enjoyable and exciting for sure, although not utterly brilliant. I found there was actually too much insta-love for the characters to really touch me, and I feel the overall story was too long as there were several red herrings that just felt unnecessary and dragged out. This book was entertaining though, and a pretty GOOD mystery read.

❥❥❥ (out of 5)

Janille N G

Mummy with a Green Heart

My Most Anticipated Read of 2020 ~ House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) 🌙

Holy jeeze.

Okay, everyone who’s read any reviews I’ve written lately probably already knows that I am a HUGE Sarah J. Maas fan. It all started when I encountered the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, picking it up on an absolute whim when I was at the bookstore one day. It was my first proper foray into the fantasy genre, and I really thought I wouldn’t like it all that much…but by the end of the novel I was, to put it mildly, OBSESSED. I devoured the entire ACOTAR series (and have since read ACOMAF three times over!) and I delved a year later into Maas’ first series, Throne of Glass. That one started a bit rocky for me, but again, by the conclusion, I was a loyal fan of Aelin and her court, and consequently, a true Maas lover.

When I found out Sarah J. Maas was releasing her first “adult” fantasy novel this year, it immediately climbed to the top of my To-Read List. I preordered it as soon as it was available on my bookstore’s website, and when it came in the mail last week, I couldn’t rush to my mailbox fast enough. (I can’t say it was easy to make it back upstairs to my home with both this massive book and my 5-month old in my arms, but I somehow managed…where there’s a will, there’s a way…haha!) The thing is, I had no idea what to expect from this entirely new series and story, and I was both nervous and excited.

Now, more than a week later, my thoughts are all over the place. I adored House of Earth and Blood by the final (799th!) page…but I didn’t fall in love with it at first sight. Like Throne of Glass before it, and similarly to ACOTAR in many ways, it took me a little bit to get into this new world and cast of characters. Honestly, I wouldn’t say that I found my groove until around 400 pages in, which is a big commitment to make, especially if you’re not already a fan of Maas’ catalogue. I certainly wouldn’t recommend picking this up as you first encounter with Maas’ writing, but if you are a fan of hers, I do think House of Earth and Blood is a book you will really grow to appreciate. It is full of information that is really hard to digest at first (tbh, I still think I don’t understand 100% of the setting or magic system), but it is definitely worth slogging through some of the info dumps and letting the characters grow on you. There is remarkable pay-off at the end, let me tell you.

This review will be approximately 2.5 billion words long if I don’t condense it somehow, so I want to briefly focus on two of my favourite aspects of House of Earth and Blood that I believe Maas treated particularly well.

1) TRAUMA

“And though the path she’d been thrust onto was royally fucked, and had led her through the lightless halls of grief and despair…Here, here before her, was light. True light. What she’d raced toward during the Ascent.”

Ever since reading ACOTAR, I have felt that Sarah J. Maas handles trauma, depression and anxiety better than most authors out there in this day and age. As someone who suffers from severe anxiety myself and recently went through a very rough bout with postpartum anxiety and depression, I sincerely appreciate how delicately but realistically Maas portrays PTSD in her characters. Feyre and Aelin certainly go through their share of horrific events and are permanently changed by them, and Bryce of House of Earth and Blood is similarly afflicted. From only a few chapters in, we learn how resilient but also damaged Bryce is, and her entire character is centred on her experiences in the start of the novel. Sure, Maas’ characters don’t always handle their anxiety and depression in the exact same way that I would (they are decidedly more sassy, haha!), but they are extremely real and human, and it is touching to behold. I personally have found strength in thinking about Feyre and Aelin during my darkest times, and Bryce will be added to my list as a literary idol.

I also sincerely appreciate the way Maas portrays the struggle with anxiety and depression in male characters. This is most notable in characters like Rhysand (*sigh*) and Rowan, and Hunt Athalar is another hero who is largely in turmoil but is still able to emerge with grace and light. 

I was almost brought to tears on a few occasions while reading about the characters’ internal battles – one scene in particular, when Bryce undergoes a very painful procedure on her leg while Hunt supports her reminded me very much of my experiences during my emergency C-section, and I think the way Maas described the unspoken bond between these two characters was moving and poignant.

What can I say, Maas is an expert at creating characters that just jump off of the page and straight into your heart and those in House of Earth and Blood are no exception.

2) FRIENDSHIP

“‘That’s the point, Bryce. Of life. To live, to love, knowing that it might all vanish tomorrow. It makes everything that much more precious.’”

House of Earth and Blood feels wholly different from ACOTAR and Throne of Glass, to me, because of its focus on friendship over romantic interaction. Indeed, Bryce and Hunt’s relationship is firmly platonic for much of the novel, and this is a refreshing departure from the steamy and sexy relationships between Feyre and Rhysand and Aelin and Rowan. Having said that, even when Bryce and Hunt start to get, as they themselves say, “hot and bothered”, their love takes a backseat to the all-encompassing friendship between Danika and Bryce.

This was surprisingly fitting for me because my best friend of over 18 years and I actually decided to take the plunge and get matching BFF tattoos this past weekend. Ironically, we chose sun and moon symbols for our tattoos, and mine is a crescent moon…coincidence?

I did literally tear up as I read about Danika and Bryce’s encounter at the end of the story, it was truly that moving. I was so easily able to picture my best friend and me in the same position, and I knew that we would act in just the same way because there is nothing we wouldn’t do for each other. I’ve learned the hard way recently that sometimes friendships that you really think are going to be forever don’t always withstand life’s toughest tests, and it was a breath of fresh air to read a novel by Maas that emphasized the strength between two females who have weathered many storms together and emerged even more connected. Although Maas has definitely touched on that in her other books, Danika and Bryce’s relationship far surpassed anything she’s written before in the way of female friendship. Not only did Bryce grow on her own journey and with her lover, Hunt, she also grew because of her experiences with Danika and Danika’s constant presence in her life, and this was really touching. Even when their relationship seemed rocky, it was still somehow so firm, and it ultimately did conquer all, which was beautiful to behold.

Somehow this review did end up being super long, despite my best efforts…but sometimes I just can’t help myself. House of Earth and Blood is just plain good, and if you like Sarah J. Maas, I’m confident you’ll come out liking this read. One thing I will say, though, is other than a bit more swearing, it didn’t seem that much more adult than ACOTAR or Throne of Glass…just the right amount of sizzle and suspense without being too crass…utterly perfect if you ask me! 😉

Can’t wait to read everyone’s thoughts on it! ❤ 

❥❥❥❥❥ (out of 5)

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

Final February Reads ~ Hello Spring!

Hi Everyone and happy March!

Perhaps it’s a bit ambitious of me to be welcoming spring here on my blog, but I feel like March is definitely a month of transition, and although the weather still isn’t that beautiful in Toronto, we are certainly moving toward a warmer climate and nicer days. I personally can’t wait for the temperature to rise which is quite unlike me because I’m a true lover of Fall…however, I am eager to get out on walks around the city with my baby boy, and bring my book with me to local coffee shops and parks where he and I can sit and enjoy the sun. 

In any case, to cut my rambling short, I just wanted to post a few reviews of books that I finished toward the end of February. I had a good reading streak at the end of the month and got around to reading some books that have been on my To-Read List for a long time (mainly Roxane Gay’s memoir), so I am really pleased with how February shaped up for me on the reading front.

Hope you’re all enjoying your current reads! If you have any particular recommendations, please let me know in the comments! ❤ 

Gabriel’s Promise by Sylvain Reynard

“He was Clare’s father, and perhaps that was Professor Emerson’s most important title of all.”

I loved this book, and it is a new favourite of mine, for nostalgic, sentimental reasons. I re-read the first two books in the Gabriel’s Inferno series last January and then went on to read the third book, Gabriel’s Redemption, for the first time. I was moved by the fact that Julia becomes pregnant in that book, and little did I know at the time, that I myself was pregnant. When I did find out and realized what I was reading at the time I became pregnant, it felt like Fate. 

Now, with a 4-month old son of my own, it was a joy to read about Julia and Gabriel similarly embarking on the journey of parenthood. My husband and I met at the University of Toronto, and so this entire series has always been special to me…this book particularly felt like such a fitting addition to the story at this time of my own life. Fate again perhaps?

I adored this book and I do so hope there will be more books about Julianne, Gabriel and baby Clare to come!

❥❥❥❥❥ (out of 5)

Hunger by Roxane Gay

This book is beautifully written and I am now very eager to read anything and everything by Roxane Gay! It would do this wonderful, poignant, moving book a disservice to say too much about it other than, vehemently, READ IT.

❥❥❥❥ (out of 5)

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

What can I add to the discussion of this wonderful book that hasn’t already been said? It was a heartfelt, emotional and unique story that I thoroughly enjoyed!

What I didn’t expect, though, was just how laugh out loud funny the novel would be! There were moments when Cyril’s sarcasm actually had me giggling, and I really appreciated those moments of humour amidst some very tough subject matter. 

Absolutely excellent in all regards!

❥❥❥❥❥ (out of 5)

I’m a T.Rex by Dennis R. Shealy and Brian Biggs

This book is brilliant!!! It is actually hilarious! As I read it to my 4 month old son, I got so into the flow and rhyming that I was practically rapping it to him. It lends itself to doing a T. Rex voice, and my husband and I actually learned some cool facts about our favourite dinosaur. LOVED IT!!!

❥❥❥❥❥ (out of 5)

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

Real Motherhood Talk ~ Never Have I Ever…

…been a fan of coffee. But, now apparently I am. #tiredmom

Playing around with some Instagram filters!

No, just kidding, that’s not what this post is really about (although, I have been drinking caramel macchiatos and iced americanos from Starbucks a lot lately!). Before today, believe it or not, I had never been on a solo excursion with my almost 5 month old son. As I mentioned in a previous post detailing my severe post-partum anxiety, I spent the first 3 months of Dorian’s life staying with my parents in my hometown, and so I didn’t have much need or opportunity to go out with Dorian alone. When we returned to our home in Toronto after Christmas, the weather was too snowy, cold and grey to offer chances to venture outside, and although I would sometimes go out with Dorian on weekends with my husband, I never attempted to take him out during the week alone…that is, until today.

The weather today in Toronto is quite balmy for February, at a lovely 8 degrees Celsius. Although this isn’t necessarily considered warm by other country’s standards, in Canada, it’s positively spring-like, and I decided early in the day that I wanted to take Dorian out for a little walk to the local Starbucks during the afternoon.

We just got home and I have to say, we had a fabulous time, even if Dorian was a bit unimpressed with the fresh air at first. He didn’t smile at all on our walk over to Starbucks, but luckily, once we got there and he started to get attention from the other patrons (since he is, if I do say so myself, quite a cute baby), he perked right up! We then went on a bit of a longer walk around our block and the local park, and it felt incredible to be out with my baby as the proud mama that I am.

I remember when one of my good friends from university had a baby boy a few years ago and travelled over an hour on the train with him to visit me at my bridal shower. I was totally in awe of her and I wondered if I would ever be able to make a similar excursion myself when I was a mother. If you asked me this a few months ago, I would’ve said, Heck no! But, today, I feel like I could go anywhere and do anything with my beautiful baby boy, and I am so excited to show him my favourite places around the city once the weather gets a bit nicer.

All this to say that, today felt like a motherhood success for me. Certainly, not every day is this easy and who knows, tomorrow might be super hard and stressful. I’m learning to take the little wins as they come, though, and after the incredibly hard fourth trimester I endured, I am overjoyed to be coming out the other side with a huge smile on my face and a renewed sense of adventure!

Janille N G

Girl with a Green Heart