Separating the “wets” from the “drys”…no time for soggy messes. #LilBeanzBoutique

Have you ever taken the kiddos swimming and somehow, after you’ve tossed all their wet gear back into the pool bag, a sneaky sopping swimsuit managed to find your cell phone and grocery list and decided it was a great idea for a group hug?

Wet cell phone

This happened to me, and went un noticed until we happily arrived at the grocery store 15 minutes after leaving the pool.

My phone was wrecked and I had no idea what we were to pick up at the store because my list had disintegrated and I suffer from a serious case of Mommy Brain.

A friend told me about the Wet Bag that Lil’ Beanz Boutique carries.

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Wet Bags

This bag is great to use with cloth diapers. When you have a bum change, instead if tossing the soiled diaper in your diaper bag and contaminating the world or using a plastic grocery bag, this bag contains the soggy mess and keeps it’s contents from leaking out and having your diaper bag smell like a port-a-loo. It can also be used for wet swim duds or soiled clothing and also to keep your valuables from getting wet. It’s water-resistant and completely washable.

I use ours to keep my valuables safe and dry. No more messed up phone and my shopping list will remain legible.

We’re planning a beach holiday soon, so this fabuloso bag will be joining us and keeping our electronic devices, passports, money, keys and books safe from sun, sand and water while we get in some much needed quality family time.

There are so many more awesome products available from Lil’ Beanz Boutique! Be sure to visit their website or Facebook Page to check them out. I personally am in love with the Head/ Neck Pillows and the Minky Blankets!

Lil' Beanz Products

Lil' Beanz Boutique

Adolescence…had to figure that one out on my own. #GDayforGirls #YMCCommunity

Entering the realm of adolescence was a scary journey for me.

I was never given “the talk”, but instead learned everything about the Birds and the Bees from the sex ed teacher that showed up one day when I was in grade 7.

We watched the 1970’s graphic video (they had converted it from the movie projector reel, by now) about what happens to your body and emotions when you hit puberty. The room was full of “Ew!”‘s, giggles, notes being passed and at the end, the obvious question that “anonymous” asks during the Q & A part of the discussion. “What’s a…?”

Once I entered high school, I immediately became quite shy. There were kids feeding in from a few different elementary schools and it terrified me. I had intended on taking drama classes, but opted for art classes because of pressure from my family. In elementary school, I was involved in school plays, choir, band, a lip sync contest, I even wrote a play based on the teachers and principal and cast my fellow classmates to portray them. I wouldn’t consider myself part of the popular group, nor the kids that got picked on…badly. I pretty much flew under the radar, but was the butt of ridicule more times than I care to remember.

I was overweight, still learning how to do my hair and make-up, and VERY self conscious. One boy even announced loudly in class one day, that I “had more chins than the Chinese phonebook” and another time, a girl wanted to see what size overalls I was wearing, so that she knew which size she should buy for herself, so she grabbed onto the back of my pants in front of a crowd and tried to look down as I spun around trying to loosen her death grip.

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First Year of High School. Grade 8, circa 1989.

I had enrolled in a cooking class, but when I saw who my fellow classmates were, I immediately transferred out and took PE.

Once in an art class that I was taking, we had to apply pieces of plaster casting to our faces and make a mask that we were to paint. I froze in terror when the teacher had us begin our project. I couldn’t let anyone see me without my makeup! I discreetly told her of my fear, and she suggested that I come in early the next day before classes started and she would apply it for me and I could put my make up on before anyone saw. I will NEVER forget this teacher, as she seemed to be the only person that was sympathetic to my plight.

I remember getting my first period at school one day in grade 8. Fortunately it was at the end of the day, so I wadded up some toilet paper and made it home before it became a problem.

My Mum had a supply of pads in our bathroom cupboard, so I just used hers. I think afterwards, my sister got some for me.

The following month, I was visiting my Dad when my period returned. Fortunately, I was also visiting my aunt, so she took me to get some pads. But while I was with my Dad, I couldn’t even throw the pads in his garbage, I wrapped them up, put them in my suitcase and took them home with me to throw out.

Being a teenager wasn’t too bad, but it also wasn’t smooth sailing. I was never able to eat in front of strangers or peers until I was 30 years old.

This year is my 20 year high school reunion and a small part of me is fearful of seeing the people that weren’t very kind to me.

High School Graduation 1994

High School Graduation 1994

I graduated early because I wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. I went to my graduation ceremony, but did not attend any grad events or the grad dinner itself. I’m certain that I wasn’t missed. I also did not go to my 10 year reunion because I felt that 10 years wasn’t long enough for people to “grow up” and I hadn’t found myself yet.

I never want my children to feel the sadness, embarrassment or fears that I did. I will do my best to make them strong individuals, who are able to stand up for what they believe in, but at the same time be sensitive to others and appreciate who they are and what they have.

The kids & I

The kids & I

Funny though, the ugly ducklings tend to grow into swans when they get older. Not only in their appearance, but they grow up to have empathy for the new generation of ugly ducklings and they’re the ones who give strength to the underdogs. They see people for who they are beyond their outer layers and they’re the first ones to weed out the bad seeds when they see peoples true sides.

G Day is a new global social movement anchored by day-long events that celebrate and empower girls aged 10-12 as they transition into adolescence. Conceived by Lunapads Co-Founder Madeleine Shaw, the first G Day will take place Monday, April 28, 2014 at the Villa Amato Ballroom (3rd floor, 88 E. 1st Avenue, Vancouver BC V5T 1A1). Tickets are $75 and the event is limited to 300 girls.

To find out more or to get involved visit: gdayforgirls.com and follow the hashtags #gdayforgirls and #gdaystories.

To purchase tickets, click here.

Spend some quality bonding time with the kiddos, “Bear-style”! {GIVEAWAY} WIN a family pass to the screening of Disney’s BEARS

When I was little, I LOVED watching nature shows!

They were always so interesting and I learned so much about how wildlife made it in this world.

And Disney movies were the cat’s pajamas! Every Sunday night, I’d plunk myself down in front of telly and go on a mental adventure through the stories brought to me by the magical kingdom.

Now, being all grown up and having a couple mites of my own, I want to share with them the stories that I enjoyed so much and even go on new adventures with them now.

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Disney’s Bears is an epic story of breathtaking scale, Disneynature’s new True Life Adventure “Bears” showcases a year in the life of two mother bears as they impart life lessons to their impressionable young cubs. Set against a majestic Alaskan backdrop teeming with life, their journey begins as winter comes to an end and the bears emerge from hibernation to face the bitter cold. The world outside is exciting—but risky—as the cubs’ playful descent down the mountain carries with it a looming threat of avalanches. As the season changes from spring to summer, the brown bear families must work together to find food—ultimately feasting at a plentiful salmon run—while staying safe from predators, including an ever-present wolf pack. “Bears” captures the fast-moving action and suspense of life in one of the planet’s last great wildernesses—where mothers definitely know best and their cubs’ survival hinges on family togetherness.

I have teamed up with Three Chickens and a Boat to run an AWESOME giveaway for a Family Pass for 4 to the screening of Disney’s BEARS, on Saturday, April 12th, 2014 at 10am at SilverCity Metropolis. BEARS hits the theatres, April 18th, 2014 in celebration of Earth Day. This giveaway runs until April 7th, 2014 and (1) winner will be chosen. Please enter via the Rafflecopter link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Toilets and toddlers…a bad combination. #YMCCommunity

We NEVER had issues, when our daughter was a toddler, getting into drawers or cupboards, climbing on things or throwing stuff into the toilet.
I know, you’re jealous right? And probably thinking of nasty names to call me and curse our fortune.
Well, payback is a B!
Enter our 19 month old Little Dude.
This wee maniac, does ALL of the above, and then some!
He’s walked throughout the house with a box of tissue, thinking he was a flower girl. But before he casually tossed each tissue over his shoulder, he blew his snotty nose in each…and…every…single…one of them.

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He’s climbed atop his sister’s dinner table and thrown, our iPod, iPad, cell phone, remotes, books, and pens from the TV shelf.
Our cupboards now don the ever popular toddler padlocks. All of the doors are kept closed because he has an urge to see how everything operates.
Every so often, we are awoken by our alarm clocks turned to full blast static because he’s been mucking with the dials.
The baby gate is practically falling out of the wall because it’s so much fun to run full steam at it like a charging bull.
The other day Captain Distruct-O was keeping me company in the washroom. As a stood up and flushed, he chucked his soother at the toilet as the lid was closing and it went in! There was no stopping the process. I quickly opened the lid, but everything had gone the way of the dead pet goldfish.

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Perfect, I’ll I need now is to get blamed by Hubby for the toilet overflowing next time it gets used!
I look forward to this special phase coming to an end. I’m not sure I can handle anymore broken “things of importance” and our daughter has decided that she now requires wearing a helmet around her brother.
Do you have kiddos that reenact a tornado when you are momentarily preoccupied?;

Nothing makes a girl feel prettier, than a little mini makeover. {Review & Giveaway} BeautyByKeeley #YMCCommunity

What woman doesn’t love a facial and playing with make-up?

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I remember, as a tweenager, hanging out in the girls washroom with our teen mags and our makeup palettes trying out the looks that apparently suited our eye colours.
We usually ended up looking like Mimi from the Drew Carey Show.

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Eventually, once we reached high school, this transitioned to the hot 90’s look.

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I remember MANY girls who lined their lips with brown or black liner, what were we they thinking?!

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Flash forward 25 years, and I’m so happy that I established a good skin care regime back in my late teens! And me going through a Make-Up Artistry course helped as well. I don’t look nearly as old as I could if I hadn’t cleansed and moisturized twice a day.
Pre-kids, I had WAY more time to give myself mini facials, tweeze my eyebrows, trim my “lady stache” and dig out those unsightly blackheads. Fortunately, I have a skin care specialist as one of my girlfriends!
Keeley Saunders is an Independent Beauty Consultant with Mary Kay Canada.
Recently she invited me over for a facial and make-up application for her #50faces30days promotion.
Of course I showed up with a full face of make-up and dreaded not using my regular gear to chisel through my goalie mask.
First Keeley had me use the eye make-up remover, which easily removed my mascara without leaving me with raccoon eyes.

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Then she had me use the 3-in-1 Cleanser, Toner and Exfoliator all in one. Using the super cool Skinvigorate brush, I scrub-a-dub dubbed away, followed by Microdermabrasion 2 Step Refine and Replenish. My face was left smooth and refreshed. I finished up with the Age a Fighting Moisturizer, because I will continue to fight my age until the day I die.
Once I had a fresh palette to work with, I summoned my inner Bob Ross and began to create my masterpiece.

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Keeley had me apply the face primer with SPF 15, so that my newly applied gorgeousness wouldn’t slide off my face by the end of the day, liquid foundation, eye primer (to keep the eye shadow from slipping into my eyelid cleavage) mineral powder blush, mineral eye shadow, Ultimate mascara and Nourishine lip gloss.

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I am a huge fan of trying new skin care products and playing around with different looks that can be created with cosmetics. It makes Mom’s Nights Out so much more fun, when you try out the dramatic look that you’ve been mastering for the last month.
Keeley has generously provided a complimentary facial treatment to one lucky Raincity Parent reader and you’ll get to invite up to 3 of your friends to
join you. Plus you’ll get a $50 shopping spree to be used at your appointment!

Please enter via the Rafflecopter link below. This giveaway runs from March 20th, 2014 – March 30th, 2014.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you’d like more information about Mary Kay products or would like to contact Keeley, please visit her Facebook Page.

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Group nursing rooms in public places. #YMCCommunity

Have you ever been at the mall and gone to the “Parent Room” to nurse your baby, only to find that it’s occupied?

OCCUPIED!

OCCUPIED!

Ugh!

You’re boobs are about to explode and baby is wailing away wanting to eat “RIGHT NOW!”

But you wait patiently because if you were the Mom in the room, feeding or changing your baby, you wouldn’t want someone banging on the door telling you to hurry up. Well…hopefully you are kind enough to wait patiently, but we all know that it’s a stressful situation and you just want to get it started.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a “group” Nursing Room available in public places like Shopping Centres, Airports, Stadiums, Parks, etc?

There are a few places in the world that do cater to the breast feeding mama’s of the world, but I’d love to see more support for these lovely ladies.

Baby Care Centre at Singapore’s Changi Airport Terminal 1

Baby Care Centre at Singapore’s Changi Airport Terminal 1

Burlington International Airport even has Mamava’s Lactation Station, where you can privately nurse your baby or pump if needed.

Mamava Nursing Station

Mamava Nursing Station

Mamava station inside.

Mamava Nursing Station inside.

Even if they set up a large room with several chairs, change tables and outlets so the Mommy’s could get down to business in a comfortable environment.

I stumbled across the  MimmaMà Breastfeeding Armchair while I was looking around for images and info for this post.

MimmaMa Breastfeeding Chair

MimmaMa Breastfeeding Chair

These chairs can be mounted on a base so that there are several in a row.

Reception style.

Reception style.

mimmamaacurva
This would be a great idea for businesses to set up in a Nursing Room. They could accommodate several Moms at one time and potentially draw more business to them because  they would be showing their support of breast feeding mothers.
I remember when I was breast feeding, I just wanted somewhere to sit down, comfortably, privately (well at least out of the eye of others who weren’t doing the same job that I was doing), and because I was also pumping, it would have been awesome to, once we were done feeding, pump the rest for later as to not disrupt the schedule that I’d set up with my body. And if there were other Moms around me doing the same thing, I think there would have been more of a sense of support within the room.
A girlfriend of mine is currently living in the U.K. and she shares daily, the looks of disgust that she gets because she’s nursing her baby in public.
The look.

The look.

 Don’t get me wrong, I was comfortable breast feeding in public. I used a nursing cover, but found that it was so annoying when my babies move about and flailed their arms and in the summer, it got very hot under the cover. This idea is for the Mom who would rather have a little sanctuary when she wants to feed her baby.

When I was a first time Mom, I was shy about nursing in public, but when baby #2 came along, it wasn’t such a big deal anymore. It makes me think of this great diaper ad.

Grocery shopping with small children in tow. #YMCCommunity

I’ve never minded going grocery shopping.

I enjoy cruising the aisles, checking out new and different types of foods to try out. And if you go to some of the bigger grocery stores, there’s more than just food to get you excited!

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There are toys, make-up, baby stuff, housewares, clothing, the list goes on. I prefer the convenience of this kind of shopping…especially when you have your kids with you.

On our last visit, we went after swim lessons, when the kids are starving and it’s nearing nap time.

I had a smallish list, but of course, as we’re racing through the store, dinner ideas are popping into my head and extra items are grabbed. Probably not the best idea to have when the weelets are getting antsy and hungrier by the minute.

Soon, the little Dude is reaching nuclear meltdown range and the diaper bag with snacks, is sitting safely in the van. He’d already destroyed the shopping list (which is now making our shopping trip even longer because now I have to decipher what it says through the drooly, chewed paper and running ink) and thrown my keys and his soother across the store SEVERAL times.

My "once was" grocery list.

My “once was” grocery list.

I gave him assorted items from the shopping cart to keep him distracted, but this didn’t work for long. He even gnawed through the bag of Babybel cheese!

Was there a mouse in that bag?

Was there a mouse in that bag?

Normally I would NEVER open an item that I’ve put in the shopping cart, before I pay for it, but wee man needed something to eat, stat! I gave him a fruit and veggie pouch and that bought me a few more minutes while we went through the checkout.

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GET ME OUT OF THIS JAIL!

Then as we’re putting the groceries on the conveyor belt, my daughter advised me that she needs to go potty “VERY BADLY MOM!”, and she’s holding her backside. She did have a bit-o-the-runs in the morning before swimming, so I’m thinking that she hasn’t quite finished what she had started before we went swimming.

Mom, I need to go potty!

Mom, I need to go potty!

Perfect, all I need now is a screaming and kicking toddler and a 4 year old with poopy pants, drawing attention to us in the grocery store.

Fortunately our cashier overhead our predicament, and blazed through ringing in our lot, so that we could dash to the loo post haste.

We made it!

No accidents, no tantrum, now just to get home before something else happens to make it even more of a stellar day.

Do you have a funny or not-so-funny story about shopping with your kids?

Make cleaning your home just a bit more ENJOyable. {Review & Giveaway} #ENJO #YMCCommunity

Cleaning the home is always a lame, time consuming task.

To Hell with Housework

I’d rather be spending time with my kids or getting out and about the town. But occasionally frequently in Vancouver, we have, what I call Mother Nature’s appointment to get you to clean your home. Obviously I’m referring to a rainy day.

I take advantage of these days as I do nap time. An opportunity to catch up on my housecleaning.

The kitchen gets greasy from all the cooking that I’ve been up to lately and the bathroom…well we all have bathrooms, so you know exactly what kind of grossness builds up in there.

I personally, have been looking for ways to eliminate toxic cleaners from our home, but also don’t want to spend hours scrubbing away at things until I wear right through them.

I’ve recently acquired some ENJO cleaning products to test-drive and share with you my findings.

ENJO
ENJO is an Austrian produced product using microscopic fibres that get “pore deep” into the surfaces around your home, attracting and holding the dirt that causes bacteria effectively and efficiently like a magnet, without the use of toxic chemicals, only water. This two-step process, gets the grime out from deep down and dries the surface with a super absorbent cloth.
Each room in your home has a different surface and different kind of dirt. ENJO has developed specific fibres to combat the various cleaning jobs from light to, “Honey, we need to move!”

My first battle was the bathtub and shower.

Scrubbing the tub
I don’t recall the last time I cleaned the wall tile in the shower, so there was a good build up of soap scum on there and the tub always acquires the customary scunge around it. I used the ENJO Bathroom Glove to tackle this beast and was pleasantly surprised by the limited amount of elbow grease required to get them clean. The fibres in the glove, grabbed on to the wickedness that glommed on to the surface of the tile and tub and left them smooth and shiny.

Score 1 for ENJO.

Next round, I attacked the kitchen.

The sticky, greasy cabinets, hood fan and element drip pans were no match for the ENJO Kitchen Glove. A couple of wipes, and the baddies were trapped in the glove.

Score 2 for ENJO.

The other day, I switched the rotation on the ceiling fan, and was showered with dust bunnies.

Dusty ceiling fan
I pulled out the ENJO Dust Glove and gave the fan blades a good once over. Holy Dinah, the fibres in the glove not only grabbed to surface dust, but dug down into the wood grains and pulled out the dirt too! I gad to try it on the window blinds they I hadn’t cleaned since last Spring. Good grief Charlie Brown! It did an AMAZING job getting the grime out of those bad boys too!

And it’s a Hat Trick for ENJO!

At bedtime, instead of using eye make-up remover, I used the ENJO Eye Pad. With just a bit of water, I was able to remove all my eye make-up in a single wipe without ending up looking like I’d been watched a sappy Rom Com marathon.

Pleased? Ummm…yes, absolutely!

ENJO‘s cleaning gloves definitely sped up cleaning time for me, allowing me more time to spend with the kidlets, cooking and baking and let’s face in, not cleaning.

ENJO Consultant, Kate Bailey has generously provided an ENJO sample pack (a Kitchen, a Bathroom, a Dust, a Body & an Outdoor Pad, $50 value) to giveaway to one lucky Raincity Parent reader! Giveaway runs from March 10th, 2014 – March 16th, 2014. Please enter via the Rafflecopter link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, with a minimum $49 purchase of ENJO products purchased through Kate, she’ll throw in a FREE set of Eye Pads ($16 value)! To get your own ENJO cleaning system, contact Kate Bailey at http://www.enjo.ca/kbailey.

ENJO

Taking the kids swimming solo should be considered an Olympic sport! #YMCCommunity

Our 4 year old daughter is currently enrolled in her second round of swim lessons where she is doing it all on her own. I mean, sans Mom & Dad.

Swim lessons

I decided that it would be a good idea to have her do them on the mornings that she’s not in preschool because she’s at the age where she needs to be doing something active, daily or she turns into a pre-pubescent teenager with her dramatic outbursts and irrational behaviour.

While she’s in her class, our 18 month old son and I paddle around the pool and splash away, burning off some of his surplus energy in hopes of an epic afternoon nap for him. This usually works out very well and our daughter and I get to spend a few hours in the afternoon doing stuff together like colouring, her homework from preschool, cooking or baking. She loves this, because now she gets me all to herself and I’m relieved of the refereeing duty of keeping our spawn from tearing each other’s heads off or destroying more of the house.

So after swim class, neither kid is ready to get out of the pool. And of course they want to go off in different directions. With the “Arms reach under 7” Rule, this makes Mommy swimming solo with the mites a challenging venture. We grab a floaty pad, not a floating maxi pad, but a foam “sheet” that both kids fit on, that doesn’t sink under their combined weight, and head over to the “river” and quickly float on down. Then a quick detour through the waterfalls and bubbles before heading back to the shallow end where Little Dude does a belly flop into the water. A couple minutes in the wading bubble pool and Mr. Man decides he’d like to go for a walk run around the pool deck, prompting a hasty retreat from the pool area into the change room. Not before said micro man throws an epic spazz and protests being strapped into the stroller that we’ve parked along poolside.

Fighting the stroller
Screaming all the way to the change room, one imitating a 2×4 in the stroller and the other stomping and pouting, we manage to find an available shower cubicle. I park the stroller inside and tell our 4 year old to stand guard as I grab our things from the locker right across the way.

As my back is turned, Little Miss Awesome, closes the door and locks it. I load up my arms with all our stuff, turn around and smack right into the door, dropping everything onto the soaking wet floor that has little bits of grossness swimming about. Through my teeth, I growl for her to open the door and by using that tone, she knows that if it’s not opened immediately, the afternoon is going to turn out very badly for her.

Once inside, swimsuits are stripped off, shampoo is applied and I allow the princess to do the rinsing of her and her brother as I quickly get dressed. Bad decision, ’cause immediately, water is being sprayed everywhere getting all our stuff wet yet again. Hilarity ensues and the kids are having a ball. I manage to get everyone dressed and the wee lad returns to his backwards arch as I try to get him back in the stroller. Jeez Louise! I pick him up, throw the pool bag into the stroller, turf the swim diaper in the bin and head to the van. Our daughter is being more helpful now, but insists that SHE open all the doors en route and throws a hissy fit when a gentleman holds the door open for us because she wanted to do it.

I just keep walking. At this point, I’m beyond nuclear meltdown and just have to get everyone into the van before I lose my cool.
We arrive at the van, I let the diva unlock the doors, but Grumplesaurus Rex will not sit in his seat!

I hate my car seat

Photo credit : Illustrated with Crappy Pictures™

Patience, don’t fail me now!

I wait for him to break his concentration and when he finally does, I get the buckles clicked. Touchdown!

The 10 minute drive home was filled with an awesome aria of screaming from the boy and the yelling from our daughter to “Be quiet!”

I couldn’t get home fast enough, but safely drove the posted speed limit, of course.

Have you attempted to take the little ones swimming on your own? What are your tricks to make it a fun and stress-free adventure?

Could your subconscious be altered to help your lifestyle? #NoahsArkHypnotherapy #YMCCommunity

Since having our two littles, my memory has been shot.

I used to have the memory like a steel trap! I could recall anything and even things for my family, friends, and work collegues. Now, as soon as I think of something and get up to do it, I’ve already forgotten what it was.

Frustrating, as many a Mom can relate to.

Recently I tried a hypnotherapy session with Noah’s Ark Hypnotherapy, hoping that this would help with my “Mommy Brain”.

Hypnotherapy
What is hypnosis, you ask? It is a natural, relaxed state of mind. Daydreaming is considered a light form of hypnosis. Kind of like when you’re taking part in a seminar that doesn’t interest you or you get nabbed by that super gabby person at the play date or water cooler and you just seem to drift off into outer space. Yeah, that!

Hypnotherapy can help with issues like addictions, anxiety, depression, fertility, grief, sleep issues, weight loss and more. It usually takes about 6 sessions to start seeing results. Check with you health plan to see if this is a claimable expense.

During my session, I experienced a deep sense of relaxation. I could still hear what was going on around me, but the distant sounds became muffled and less distracting.

My mind has a tendency to start thinking of a million things at the same time, so as I was trying to relax, I was thinking of how our daughter was doing at my girlfriend’s house while she watched her for me, if our 18 month old son was behaving for my husband, what I was going to make for dinner and how I was going to write a blog post about this experience.

See I didn’t lie, my mind has a way of taking over and running amok!

Relaxed state

Once I gave my brain a mental slap for veering away from what it should be concentrating on, I was able to relax.

Since my session, I have been remembering things a bit better, but I think a few more sessions would improve my results. Now that I know what’s involved in a session, I’d probably be able to seriously relax and potentially fall asleep, being the sleep-deprived Mommy that I am, but the chances of me waking up without protest at the end of my session would have been slim to none.

Noah's Ark Hypnotherapy