Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Rezzies

Resolutions are made because throughout the year we get so caught up in just existing that we continuously put off what needs to change. The start of a new year is a natural moment in time to start afresh. We can procrastinate about making change all year long and tell ourselves that we will make that list for the new year. Then we don't have to do anything about it until then.
This year it's not about finally making it to the gym (who, by the way is MOST welcome for my monthly donation), or quitting smoking (kicked that in the BUTT in 2010!) or paying off debt (I have become accustomed to the lifestyle of indebtedness ): It is about identifying what's stopping me from moving forward and then doing something about it. Still with me? Here we go!

1) Feel the fear and do it anyway. I bought the book for the title alone and never really read it. The title is a great mantra. I may never know if the book is a great read. I will step out of my comfort zone unless my gut starts to scream a la Meg Ryan in French Kiss "LACTOSE INTOLERANT!" I will take that as a clear sign that I need to take one step back and THEN I can take two steps forward.

2) When I am paralyzed with anxiety I will ask myself in that moment what is stopping me. I will break the goal down into tinier, less intimidating tasks until I am done. I started doing that this year with myself and my children. Case in point:
Me: "Daughter, clean your room."
Daughter (whining): "I wiiiiiilll"
Me: "What's stopping you? Is it too much? Do you want help?"
Daughter: "Yes!"
I'm not going to go so far as to say she cleaned her room, but I stepped out of my usual M.O. to break down what was stopping her and we did get through some of it together. The rest I did myself but we will file that under "A Moment for Quiet Reflection."

3) I will congratulate/reward myself for my accomplishments. I spend too much time reminding myself of all I didn't do and all that I am not. I want to devote more time to giving myself a proverbial pat on the back. This will take the form of "shopping just for the heck of it" and other activities that remind me I'm a girly girl who deserves some girly girl moments. There will be a reward for all of my hard work and I will get to see why I am working so hard. I will be re-energized.

4) LISTS! Oh yes, I will make the lists. The lists are my daily check-in that I am on track. They stop me from waking up in a panic at 4 AM (see the TEDx video on 4 AM) with a fiery arrow to my heart that I have forgotten something. I mock my Dad for having little yellow sticky notes all around the perimeter of his monitor so we'll just have to keep my list-making between us. Good.

5) Finally...SOUL NURTURING! I will identify and revel in what makes my soul sing. We all need a little soul singing in the key of "I love me", once in a while. Especially in February: bright colours, bright lights, music with a solid beat, dancing, singing, family, friends, scents and tastes to enliven the lazy senses. And humor. Daily injections of frivolity. This soul nurturing will be like an neti pot to my blocked thought processes. My creativity will flow like...okay we're done with that metaphor.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Huge Hippo Hugs to the Helpers

Wow, what a year! In our third year, Hullabaloo has seen some fantastic partners join our parties such as Bre Creative, Pawley's Reptiles and Bears 'n' Buddies. We have grown our roster of themes to include Star Wars, Harry Potter and Superheroes. Our list of helpers has doubled to meet the demand. I sit here near the end of 2010, reflecting on this past weekend which included our last corporate event of the year. Almost 100 children in total wore big smiles because they loved the face paint, balloon animal, games, crafts, Becca the Princess or our hippo mascot, Balooberry.

Through it all, these parties are my labour of love but also through it all I've seen my helpers GIVE their all. In the hour before a party they rush to blow up balloons, arrange scenery, lay out costume accessories, and set up the craft table. In the first thirty minutes of a party these helpers welcome the little guests and invite them to have face painting, tattoos, to try on something or maybe work on a craft. It's high gear and high pressure: no two parties are the same and they manage to adjust quickly to any demand.

The helpers run the games, belting out instructions with enthusiasm and ensuring every child's prize is labelled and put aside for home time.

Ahhh, home time: the flurry of reclaiming costume accessories and ensuring everyone gets his or her loot bag, thank you bookmark, and prizes. There are parents to add to the frenzy but again the helpers keep their cool and keep the situation under control.

Clean up is a rapid, organized effort so we can get out of the family's hair as quickly as possible. We try our hardest to pack up everything we brought, but sometimes we find a return visit and quick "hello" is necessary to collect an errant item.

I spend hours in preparation before a party even starts. It's hard work. But my helpers have only a brief moment in time to make an impression. They come through for me over and over again. If 2010 is a hint at things to come in 2011, I say bring it on - and HUGE HIPPO HUGS to my helpers (past and present) for getting us here.