Thursday, March 01, 2018

Traveling With A Babe

 I feel like my trip went by in a blur... I know that Rudi and I were all packed up and ready to go Thursday and before I knew it it was another Thursday and I was unpacking...

 Traveling with a five month old alone is not easy.  There are a lot of things to potentially drop or forget.  I discovered that there always seemed to be a neverending abundance of considerate, kind and helpful strangers around to aid me when I needed it. There was the young man that was sitting right beside me on my last flight to Halifax that asked to move to an empty seat so "she can have more room for her baby." There was a gentleman that seemed uncomfortable with me having to breastfeed (covered and always discreet) a few feet from him yet he asked if I wanted him to grab my bags from the overhead storage. People constantly helped me pick up dropped items and offered to help me carry items (because I had so much with me!!)

Rudi luring strangers over to say hello to him. It worked! He lured three to come over and talk to him!
  West Jet.  A-mazing. On my first flight the flight attendant said she would hold Rudi if I needed to go to the washroom. She said I was one button away from her help and I took her up on that offer. I would never normally have asked anyone to do that but because she offered, I did. Once I was off of the plane she insisted on carrying my diaper bag and pillow to my next gate. She even stopped to help a couple from our flight find assistance getting a wheel chair. I believe her name was Brooke, she was from Calgary. She had dirty blonde hair and chunky white or lavender coloured glasses. She was a model West Jet employee. I adored her.
 On my way home, my flight from Toronto to Vancouver was five hours long. When we landed I had to head straight to my next gate because it was ready to board when I arrived. We hurried and made it with time to spare. While Rudi and I sat in our seat waiting for the flight to load our flight attendant approached us. She had Rudi's white bunny blanket from when Alina was a baby, Alina named it Bunny Wunny. Apparently the attendant from my five hour flight saw that we had left it and tracked us down. We were boarding, the flight was a small plane so we had to take an elevator to these indoor/outdoor gates way the hell out of the way. It took some serious effort for that West Jet attendant to track us and physically return Bunny Wunny to Rudi. I mean seriously. Best.Airline.Ever.
 I have nothing but great things to say about West Jet and their staff. Thank goodness we invested in a West Jet Mastercard because we will be guaranteed to fly West Jet from now on. (No, this isn't a promo blog to promote West Jet Mastercard. I am just that impressed!)
 People always go out of their way to slam an airline for doing them wrong. I totally get it, there are some serious horror stories out there. But my experience was super positive and I felt like it needed to be shared. There is just so much hate and negativity in the world these days. Internet trolls sitting on top of their soap boxes bitching and blaming and saying negative shit about anything and everything seem to be taking over the comment field of everything I read these days. Sometimes it's just refreshing reading about something going right every once in awhile...
  Rob upgraded us to first class for my long flight on my way to Halifax and he upgraded us on both of our long flights on the way home. First class is certainly roomier with a baby and there's a constant stream of drinks, free snacks and a meal on each flight. I was grateful to Rob for his consideration of the upgrades. I had very little time in between each flight to change Rudi's diaper and use the bathroom never mind find food. Rob made a good point that yes, it does cost a bit more money for each upgrade but, how often do I plan on traveling alone with a baby ever? It was certainly worth every penny.

  There seems to be a certain level of magic surrounding a pregnant woman or a woman and a baby. People are genuinely kinder, more considerate and patient. I didn't experience a single negative look or feel like I was being criticized or judged for having (at times) a crying baby in a small space. It was an enlightening experience. I shared my thoughts with a friend and she made a good point. She said, "People should be kind. He's a person too and he has every right to travel." Touche'.

Flying is so easy for a baby... 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Mr Mom

 As I've mentioned before I am going on a trip to visit my sister and her family in Nova Scotia tomorrow. I'm bringing my little sidekick, five month old Rudi Tootie. Alina is staying behind with her dad. So she is going to be in daycare full time for the week I am away. Which means; daddio has to step up his game.

  As a mom we just do a long of things without much thought or that aren't really noticed by dads. We make mental notes of items we see around the house. So when Alina asks where her 'credit card' is I can easily reply; 'in your owl purse on your peg in your room where you keep your house coat.' I know where everything is because I make tiny mental notes whenever I see her with items. 'Credit card' is going into the owl purse. She had the purse out for a day where she left it on the floor by the couch and then when I told her to put it away I noticed it hanging on the peg where she usually keeps it. It's kind of insane how many of those little scenarios are going on in my brain. Dads have their own qualities, like being insanely fun in any occasion, even stressful ones. But, they don't know how to answer those 'where is my....' type questions.

 Alina is used to me and how I parent. So she'll have to crack a whip when it comes to getting her dad ready for her in the morning. She already ran him through what needs to go in her lunch bag yesterday at dinner time. The mornings will take them a day or two to get into a nice groove but I have no doubt that they will accomplish it.
 I imagine Rob will do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done. No unloading the dishwasher in the morning (because he will forget to turn it on in the evening..), no feeding the fish (because he won't remember the fish exists until that evening when he's tucking her into bed.) or closing all the doors so that our Rumba "Gary" can clean the floors. It will be all he can take to have all of her things organized, packed and her dressed, hair done and teeth brushed in time for daycare and work. I guarantee Mr Mom will be able to pull off having her ready each day by doing the very bare minimum. And there's nothing wrong with that. I'm not writing this post to slam him by any means. It's just human nature of men and women. Moms and Dads are just very different kinds of people. The best part is that most families are designed to have one of each so that there is a nice balance to the parenting.

 I imagine the kitchen will be left in disarray and he may forget a few items of his own before he gets a good routine that works. Dads! They always pack A LOT of food in kid's lunches and the chunks of food are almost always cut really big. **Side Note: Does anyone else's husband or partner ever go to share a piece of steak or a scoop of food and it's always huge pieces or scoops?! I always have to get him to give me much, much less..!**
 But I do think Robert will do just fine without me. I know he's going to have a new found appreciation for what I do, which is always healthy for the relationship. We are rarely ever apart. I'm trying to think of the longest we've been away from the other and I can't see it being for more than a week. Rob is an exceptional husband and a complete treasure of a dad. He had Alina brainstorm ideas of what they were going to get into while Rudi and I are away. I looked at the list and it is impressive.
- Go swimming
- Go shopping and shop for a new bathing suit for her swimming lessons starting next week.
- Have a fire in the front yard and make s'mores.
- Ride her bike at the beach.
- Go to the movies of her choosing.
- Have a sleep over in our bed. This includes a fort that hangs from the ceiling and hovers over them like a canopy. He's already told me how he's going to do such a thing.
- Tubing at Mount Washington followed by clam chowder (Alina's favourite) and hot chocolates.
- Go out for wings on Wing Night Wednesdays.
- Go to the library. (I left her the library card and she has it in a safe place "so daddy won't lose it." Good idea Alina!)
- Watch hockey and eat pizza in the basement. (Her idea. She loves watching hockey with her dad during supper because that means she can eat in the living room.)
- Go to the park.
- Go out for brunch on the weekend.
- Go skating.

 He mentioned that he wants to do everything on the list because he wants to keep Alina happy and busy while I'm away. He also said that I do such a great job of keeping her entertained when he gets home from work that he's usually off the hook to watch hockey or complete projects or fix things around the house. He wants to make sure she's entertained and content. I like that. 
 Which means these two are going to busy. Alina keeps bragging to me that she's going to have so much fun and what am I even going to do in "Ova Scotia" while they're having such a good time. I assured her I would manage... somehow.

 To assist Mr Mom I'm putting together a guide to help him get ready with Alina in the mornings. I am going to switch to pure wife mode and write to Robert directly. (Feel free to skip over, this is really for his own personal use.)

 You have breakfast figured out just fine. Just keep on her about eating in a timely fashion because that girl can take foooorever to eat some days. 
 For her main lunch I always pack her left over supper. However, this could be challenging with all of the dining you plan on doing. SO! If you go out for wings - try to bring a few home and then throw together some cucumbers and snap peas or peppers chopped up along with it. If all else fails you could always whip up a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a peanut butter pinwheel. (Click HERE to see what a pinwheel is and how to make it!) For her morning snack at daycare she has fruit. I usually cut up two to three different kinds of fruit and put in a container. (We have nectarines and plums that should be ripe by Thursday..!) In the bottom of her lunch bag she gets a yogurt tube or cheese stick. (Depending on her breakfast. If she gets yogurt for breakfast give her cheese.) I usually pack her a bar (granola or fig) but she's getting pretty sick of the fig bars. I pack something savoury/crunchy in a ziplock like a rice cake and seaweed or crackers and almonds. I bought yogurt covered raisins to pack as a little extra treat. Pack her a water bottle but don't fill it with water because it leaks when it's tipped over. In the front pouch of her bag there are extra socks and panties as well as a toque and mittens. (If they're not there then check her cube in your closet for spares.) If she's wearing short sleeves make sure she has a hoody or sweater packed. Her muddy buddy is sometimes left at daycare because she never uses it on the weekends. And Sheepy..! Try to remember to bag him as soon as you think of it. Alina usually reminds me about Sheepy as we're pulling out of the driveway so I imagine she'll do that to you and cause you to be late!!

 Once she's at daycare I always put her shoes on with her. Those are hanging from the back of the door going towards the bathrooms. Put her bag and coat on her hook. She has to put her name up and wash her hands before she gets to play. And yes, there is a sign up sheet that I sign her in and sign her out each day. They don't care that much if you forget (obviously since this is new to you, hehe.) She will be so excited to have you do all this for her at daycare. It should be cute. 

 In all honesty, Rob doesn't need such an in depth explanation but I figure I have the time to write it out, I might as well. I think the lunch making guide with pictures would be informative and kind of humorous. Rob is a total Super Dad and he'll have his own system figured out in no time.

 I am beyond excited to go but I'm also especially content knowing that Rob and his Mini-Me will be busy having a blast doing all the things on their list. And my Mini-Me and I will be having an equally fun time whooping it up on our adventure to 'Ova Scotia'...!!

And Rudi is all ready to fly his first plane..


Friday, February 09, 2018

Building On That Sister'ship

It will be two years in April since I last saw my best buddy, my big sis Kyli. Now for normal sister relationship that sounds fine. But our sister'ship is much stronger, much more intense than any average sister-sister relationship. I recently asked Kyli if we were kind of sick because we love each other so much. She said we must have been soul mates in a past life. She's probably right if such a thing exists.

 The last time we reunited Kyli came to me all by herself! So she got one on one Alina/Kyli time which was incredibly special. Plus I took off the entire week she was here and we just enjoyed the hell out of each other. I was still blogging back then - so the lead up to her visit can be read HERE.

 For Christmas this year my sneaky, AMAZING husband got me a plane ticket to Nova Scotia to see my sister and her entire family ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! It was THE best present I have ever received by far.  To prove that it is by far THE best present I have ever received I have a list of valid reasons;

 Let's go back to the time when I saw Ky's entire crew.  It was waaay back in August of 2013 and that visit can be read about HERE. It was also the first time ever that I met my niece Sophie Shea who has my middle name. So basically my little namesake has only met her super cool, fun and best friend to her mom once. (Insert unsatisfied/unimpressed emoji face here.) She was only a year and five months old. I haven't seen her since and she is five turning six next month! It is time! Quinn, my nephew was born in Victoria and we had a strong bond with him from day one. He was our first baby. Rob and I slept at Ky and Joe's place the night they had him and I remember driving home all the next day and for days to follow we would say, "Remember Quinn!!?" Then we would both smile and say, yeah.. So it is time to see that grown up Mr as well!

Our girls

Us with Quinn

 Ummm.. I've NEVER been to the East Coast. I've always wanted to go for obvious reasons. (It's beautiful! It's on the other side of the country- so that's cool!! Halifax has a crazy good music scene AND the people are fantastic! To name a few...) Plus this will be my first big girl trip all on my lonesome. (With the exception of Master Rudi, my plane and trip companion. What can I say? He needs me!)

 The people! Kyli and Joe lived in Victoria originally. They moved to Joe's old stomping grounds in July of 2010. Joe's entire family lives there. I was lucky enough to have met most of his relatives when Kyli and Joe were married in our town in 2008. We hosted their engagement party and our house was like the central hub for their friends and family to meet up at. It was a total blast and I can't wait to reconnect with Joe's people after nearly ten years!

Ky and Joe's wedding

 Joe and the kids! I've known Joe since I was sixteen years old. He was living in Jasper and we lived in Hinton. Joe and Kyli met and shortly after they moved to Victoria. Joe and I have always had this little sis- big brother teasing kind of relationship. I did things to annoy him and he would make fun of me. It was our schtick, our act, our thing. But I'm not sixteen or in my early twenties anymore. I look forward to talking with him again, from an adult level. The kids! My niece and nephew. I get to see one of Quinn's hockey games while I'm visiting. I hear he's really, really good. I also get to see one of Sophie's dance classes which is also very exciting. I live for that kind of family stuff! I want to rekindle or recreate a better relationship with those kids. I'm a sucky auntie because of the distance but I can do better. Once I get a bond with those two I'm holding onto it and I'm never letting it go again. Ky and I did that the last time she was here. We both vowed to be relevant in the other's life. So I text her before I go to bed every week night and she returns that text every morning. It's a great way to stay connected in busy lives with a four hour time difference!

Joe abuse

The kids

 Kyli- duh!! She is taking the entire time off for me. She has an itinerary of fun things for us to do while I'm there. I get to be a tourist, a foody at all the great food places. I get to meet friends I have yet to meet but know are awesome. (Cough, cough, Jennifer!) I get to see friends I met here that moved back there. (Cough, cough Lisa!) Kyli has a good ol' East Coast Kitchen Party planned for me with Joe and his dad's band performing. (Check them out on Facebook HERE.) It's going to be a big East Coast sing song and I can hardly wait. I am beyond excited for this entire trip. It is going to be... something to be remembered.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Introducing- Alina's Corner

 Alina has been the star of my blog for several years now. I thought it would only be appropriate for her to have her own featured post called; Alina's Corner. I found this questionnaire through Facebook. I made a mental note to try the questions out on Alina to see how she would answer. There isn't filter on these answers. So what I write is exactly what she said. (Her answers are in bold and I have comments in italics afterward.)

Set the Scene: Alina, Rudi and I were sitting in the Acura waiting for Rob to come out of the hardware store in December. On most occasions we wait in the car for him because it is such a hassle bringing us all along for such a seemingly simple chore. Most questions were asked in the car and the last few were asked in a nearby bathroom. Kids!

1/  What is something I always say?
A:  No you can't. Alina can you stop doing that.

Hey- at least I'm direct and somewhat polite...

2/  What makes you happy?
A:  This is a secret... I like Rudi and I like when he smiles really nice. And I like when you buy me toys. 

Oh that's my girl! Right when you think she's the sweetest little thing, you drop your guard and BOOM- she reminds me that she's a greedy, little turd!

3/  What makes you sad?
A:  When you give me a time out. Really sad. And when I hurt myself. Or if one of my friends dies or Nonna and Papa have to get out of town. 

 I hope the order in which she answered isn't the order of what makes her the most sad...

4/  How do I make you laugh?
A:  When you say funny words. 

 I always go for 'monkey butt' to make her smile when she's getting her picture taken. She just informed me recently that 'banana pants' is the funniest. Hmm.. monkey butt vs. banana pants. I think it's obvious which is more hilarious. 

5/  What was I like as a child?
A:  Probably sad when Baba took away all of your toys. 

 Oh this story is forever going to haunt my mother. Once upon a time there was a little girl that didn't clean her room properly. Her mother threatened that if she didn't clean it good enough one day she would come home to a room without toys. Well one day that little girl came home to just that. That's right. My mom threw all of my toys away and I was horrified.  I forever shame my mom by sharing that story and scare Alina with it. I say- time out isn't so bad when you consider I lost all of my toys.

6/  How old am I?
A:  I have no idea. 43?

 That's okay. This is the same person that says she has so much money, "five-eleventy-seventy dollars." 

7/ How tall am I?
A:  I don't know. How you say... 45?

 Again, numbers. 

8/  What is your favourite thing to do?
A:  Have fun. 

 This is clearly the point in which sh begins to lose interest in my little question game. 

9/  What do I do when you're not around?
A:  Have fun and make wreaths. 

 There was a point back in December when I was getting out of the house as much as I could. I signed up for a sign making class, a wreath making class. I even made up a night called, Hot Tub Tuesdays and invited my girlfriends over to hot tub with me after the kids went to bed. All of these things made Alina quite jealous and a little resentful of my time away. (Even though every other waking moment was spent with her, serving her, loving her, paying all of my attention to her.) 

10/  What am I really good at?
A:  Painting and making wreaths. 

  Well at least she didn't say having fun for the third time!

11/  What's something I'm not good at?
A:  You're pretty much good at everything. Except what daddy does like fixing lights and putting up Christmas trees. 

 Hmm.. her dad pretty much does everything so technically she's saying I'm not good at anything...

12/  What do I do for work?
A: You sell cookies and medicine.

 Well I sell medicine but the cookies are there to lure people into the pharmacy...

13/  What is my favourite food?
A:  Chai lattes are your favourite drink. Is it cheese and potatoes?

  I think what she really meant was cheese and wine. I believe the cheese and potatoes were chosen because she hates potatoes and really only likes cheese sticks. Such a funny child! I may have tried to convince her on a few occasions that she's really missing out. Hence those being my apparent fav foods.

 Alina is constantly saying crazy things. Or she has very interesting ideas. She currently aspires to be a hair cutter and a mom or a grocery girl and a mom. Either way, the girl is convinced she's going to be a mom! She loves her little brother almost too much. I have to peel her off of him, she smothers him with wet kisses and loves 'booping' his nose. The kid sure has turned into someone I'm pretty fond of- imagine that! We have our moments where we're arguing over something and I have to remind myself that she's four and I don't have to argue my point. She's good at trying to strike deals or find ways to compromise and it's a little scary coming from such a young kid. I imagine I'll have to be strong for her teenage years... 


Friday, February 02, 2018

Head First

How do I jump back in?

How do I return from taking what feels like years off from blogging?

 I feel like I have betrayed that little girl inside of me. The dreamer that always imagined that she would become a successful, full time writer.

 I was talking to my hairdresser the other day and I explained that one day I would do it. I would write that story, that novel that has been brewing within. I feel like I am fortunate because anytime in my life that I've been asked, What do you want to be when you grow up, my answer has always been and will always be the same. I want to become a writer.


 It's been over a year since my last post. So much life has happened! But it occurred to me that what I need the most in my life right now, is to get back to some form of writing. I reflect on what has kept me from what I love to do and it is simply the people I love. Even as I write this, after putting the baby down for his nap, my oldest wakes from her sleep. I am reminded that moments to myself to write are very few and far between. It's not like it is difficult to open the computer or take pen to paper and write. It is the time and quiet thinking that is hard to come by.

 As anyone that writes knows, it is crucial to be able to let the ideas flow when they are there. Being interrupted instantly puts an end to that beautiful symphony of thought. I think that is the biggest reason I don't write. The fear; or wariness of starting and always being stopped, left only to feel frustrated and discouraged. Besides this isn't the time for me to shine as a writer. But it's my moment to excel at being a mom.

 I mentioned a baby. He is four months old and his name is Rudi. It was difficult to imagine loving a second child as much as the first. Rudi certainly put an end to any tiny voices of doubt the very moment he took his first breath. He's a gift, a treasure, a perfectly sweet namesake to my late dad. But that is for another post.

Photo Credit to Time and Tide Photography
  I plan on writing more frequently in my blog. I want to introduce some ideas I have for future posts. It's a way to entice any followers that still may be out there to continue reading. But it's mostly a way for me to return and be accountable for what I say I am going to write.

 My almost five year old Alina has grown into quite the character. I'd like to interview her from time to time without filter, for her to both entertain and likely embarrass me all at once.

Photo Credit to Time and Tide Photography
  In the past I have featured my husband Rob. The post was titled Crazy Shit Rob Does. Believe me when I say with all the time that has passed, the number of stupid, crazy things he's done has certainly piled up.
 Another common post I have done was to do with my fitness. After having Rudi I didn't bounce back to my pre pregnancy weight as quickly as I would have liked.  I just started watching what I eat and running regularly again. I will post my progress, more for me as motivation to continue to keep up with the hard work. Take a look at my last MHB post. (And forgive me, I don't remember what the MHB stands for!)
 I am a Pinterest recipe making fanatic. I love making new recipes every week and when they come out exceptionally well I pin each recipe to my Household Menu Board. I will start to record my experiences with the good recipes and create posts to share on my blog.
 Rudi is relatively new around here, so I'd like to write about him. I'd like to write updates on how he's developing and share funny stories. I would also like to write about my experiences being a mom to a baby again and about the changes that our household faces with a little one going into kindergarten in the fall, to name one.
 I also enjoy being relevant with what happens to be going on. I wouldn't mind highlighting the Oscars or the Winter Olympics this month, if something should spark my interest.
 I am a huge fan of Netflix and have seen SO many television shows. I'll have to weigh in on some of my favourites and see if my readers share my opinions. I really enjoy discussing characters that I love and hate and see how others feel about them. Here are a few series that I've watched on Netflix; Grey's Anatomy, Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, Shameless, The Fosters, The Good Place, Nashville, Switched At Birth, Grace and Frankie, Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, The Crown (currently watching) and more.

 There's much to look forward to and I'm feeling inspired to get started.


Friday, July 08, 2016

Be Accountable

 I remember writing a post about feeling super busy. I didn't find enough time for myself, to be who I wanted to be. But I managed to find some time to do something for me that made me feel really, really good every single day.
 Back in December my co-workers and I were complaining that we were all a bunch of monsters. Our customers were relentless, coming in with a variety of endless Christmas treats for us to devour. We decided that once Christmas was over, that we would compete to see who could lose the most weight in a three month period. We would do weigh ins every Monday and record our results on a chart to be compared later. We all threw in twenty dollars and the 'biggest loser' would win the money at the end.
 One thing I've discovered about myself is that I am quite competitive. If I'm being honest, I think I always knew that I was. But after having competed in this little competition I can certainly see that I am. I remember being in Thunder Bay at the end of December and weighing myself in the evening. I weighed in at 136 pounds. Besides when I was pregnant, that would definitely be my heaviest. Once I weighed in at work, that January morning for the first time, I believe I was at 133 pounds.
 At the beginning, I was very determined to lose the weight. I was very strict with my diet having learned that that is the key with losing weight. I also started running and using our elliptical every morning. I would say a few weeks into the bet, I discovered an app called Fitness Pal. Fitness Pal is amazing because it helps you log in your calories everyday, it trends your weight,it even calculates roughly how many calories you burn in exercise. In the beginning, I would say I was borderline obsessed with logging in everything. Even on Alina's birthday, we planned to go out for supper at Montana's. Hello ribs! I researched before what to order so that the calorie count was not ridiculous.
  Some things that I did learn along the way, was that menu items at restaurants can kill your calorie counter in a few bites. Beware of Boston Pizza Quesadillas! I believe one quesadilla is 1200 plus calories. I couldn't believe it! At my lowest weigh in, I came in at 127 pounds, but I couldn't stay at that weight. I did lose the most weight and won the prize money, which was fun. After our bet was over, I kept calorie counting and I increased my cardio and added weight lifting and many, many exercises to get my body into better shape.
How could I resist this food? (Alina with the antlers on getting happy birthday sung to her. A Montana Tradition..)
  I have discovered many helpful things along the way, in my journey to looking and feeling better about myself. I now know that I can stop stressing about the act of losing weight. There's a lot of emphasis and obsession on losing weight. I find that I'm not being hard on myself about losing pounds. I work out in the gym every weekday and I'm building muscle. I know that muscle is heavier than fat, so I have to keep that in mind when I get on a scale. I also have eased off on the calorie counting. However, what I really take away from my experience and want to share with the world or at least my few loyal readers, is that you have to be accountable for what you eat. That's what the calorie counting has taught me. I have to know what I'm eating and understand and give myself an idea of how good or bad it is for my body. I don't have to obsess, I don't even have to feel all that guilty. But it's important to understand. I still calorie count and when I get into the negative numbers (which means I've gone over my 'allowed' calories for the day) I make a point to try to stay within them the following day. A mental note is made and I move on.

My progress.. and the shot of me is a bit lame.. but I'm proud of what I've accomplished.. so I put it up..

  One thing I do have to work on, is feeling guilty. I feel guilt if I don't get up and work out. I am the type of person that is in all the way or not in at all. I'm very strict with my exercising because I know that if I start saying I'll get up every other day, I'll realize how cushy and soft my bed is after 6 am and I will find other excuses to stay in bed. I also need to work on allowing myself a day off when my body is telling me so. Overdoing it is also not healthy.

 I'm the smallest I've ever been. Rob commented that he just thought I just always had bigger calves. But now we both realized that my legs are capable of being smaller. I am in love with the way that my body looks and feels. It's fair to say that I'm drunk with fitness. I get why people that do it keep doing it. I understand that it's a huge commitment but the pay off is really worth it in the end.

 I haven't battled weight fluctuations like some people do. I've been very fortunate in that way. One thing that has always discouraged and annoyed me is that people always say, Ugh, you're skinny. You don't have to worry about weight. It is my choice or not, to worry about my body or my weight. A customer the other day said, "There's nothing to you.. you're tiny." And she said it in kind of a critical way. I replied, "Thank you, I actually work really hard for it." I think my reply may have caught her off guard. I wanted her to know that I look fit because I've put a lot of effort and heart into achieving just that. I've been watching what I eat and have been dedicated to exercising so that I can maintain this healthy look.

 My step dad Rudi was really big into fitness in his 30's and 40's. As he grew older, his work outs slowed down. But up until the last few years of his life, he still went to the gym as much as he physically could. I think my desire to be healthy and fit come from being his daughter. I feel closer to him somehow, when I'm pushing myself to my limits.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Keep Up

 I come from a time when computers were present in my schools growing up. However, they were certainly not a source of information until I was in high school. Even then, the internet was dial up and extremely slow. I remember that it sometimes took half of my class to load the page I wanted and if it wasn't the right page, then my entire class was spent waiting. Then I think about generations before me and can see why they are intimidated by using computers. In the last ten years the internet has really become our reliable and main source for information. I feel like I'm part of a generation that researches everything. What movie is that actress in? Oh I'll just check IMDB. Or, I was almost positive that accusatory was a word and that I used it proper in a sentence. Rob thought otherwise and within seconds he was proven wrong. It's mind blowing how much information we carry in our pockets, in our phones. I notice though, that generations before us can be hesitant to embrace it. My mom for instance comes from a place where if she doesn't know something, she jots it down on a piece of paper, to remember to ask me or someone later. She doesn't automatically think -- I'll just look it up. She bought a present for my nephew on Amazon. She was concerned that the transaction didn't go through because she didn't get a confirmation email. She texted me her concerns while I was working. I quickly messaged back that she should wait and see if it's just a delay in the reply, etc. Then I suggested she contact Amazon. She immediately asked how she would do that. That question alone floored me. I couldn't believe that a 59 year old woman wouldn't know how to contact a company. To me it's quite simple. You look it up. You can literally look up, "How to contact Amazon if I didn't receive my confirmation email." But because of her generation (and in her generation some are worse than others and she would be considered one of the worse than others) she wouldn't automatically think to do that.

  A downside to having all of this information at our reach is that we are less inclined to contact people in person. I work with two people. One is a 34 year old and the other a 45 year old. I find that the 34 year old would rather look up all of his information online and text rather than speak to a person. The 45 year old looks for a contact number right away and finds it much more effective to speak to people in person. I find that the ten year age gap truly makes a huge difference. However, they both have their positive and negative effects. Sometimes it makes more sense to simply phone and speak to a person and there are other times when looking something up online can be so much faster, etc. I think the key is knowing how to adapt to both ways. I most definitely lean towards the no contact side and Rob, my husband always wanting results right away will revert to phoning and speaking to someone in person.
 What really gets me thinking is what will the world be like in another 10-20 years? Alina will be so much more advanced than me for sure. Will she scoff and secretly laugh at my inabilities to adapt to that current world? Will my way of doing things be a touch outdated? Of course. I just hope I can adjust to the rapidly changing times.

 Just some thoughts I've been thinking. As for me and my life- all is well! We are already doing a lot of camping this summer. We stared in April and have gone three times already. We have a big camp out planned for Rob's birthday weekend in Tofino. We are really looking forward to this summer and all of the fun it has in store for us. Alina's at a great age and we are enjoying every minute of her.

Hi Bloggers I miss!!


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Let's Be Mermaids

Five words.....


 It will be three years this summer since I last saw my sister and I am beyond excited that she's coming to see me tomorrow. My sister lives on the East Coast of Canada and I live on the West Coast. So we're on opposite sides of the country. Think back to the Sleepless In Seattle map when Annie goes from New York to Seattle to visit Sam. That's basically my sister and I but north a bit. 

 My sister and I are incredibly close at heart. I never expected us to be this connected as a kid. Kyli often wanted me to get out of her way and was quite annoyed with my antics most of the time, but as she grew older, I grew up. She moved away first and I ended up near her and things really progressed from there. Our husbands got along really easily which helped more than I realized. I feel as though she is my friend version of a soul mate. It doesn't matter how far away we are, or how little we communicate on a daily basis, nothing and I mean nothing comes between our bond. 

 So I sit here, Thursday evening with a glass of wine, anticipating my big sister's arrival tomorrow. She is coming solo, so I not only get some very deserved one on one time with her, but Alina-girl gets to know her Auntie all on her own. I think that's pretty special. 

 So here's to my sister and the week of us catching up and having some well deserved fun!! We are a couple of moms that live for our kidlets and every once in awhile we deserve to kick back, drink some wine, eat great food, watch classics like Dirty Dancing, The Mermaids and old episodes of The Gilmore Girls and best of all talk until our mouths are sore! 

(Did I mention a weekend in Victoria to soak up the live music scene and for Kyli to see her old city again..?) 

(Ky shared this on my Facebook wall a few days ago. This is why we are soul mates....)


Sunday, March 13, 2016

A Day In The Life

 Well it happened.. I officially neglected my blog. I stopped reading my fellow bloggers' posts and have also lost contact with everyone. I thought with my schooling being over, that I would have more time for these sorts of things but it was quite the opposite. I think because I took so much time away from my family when I was studying and stressing with school all last year, I think subconsciously I feel like I have to make it up to them. I don't take the time for myself anymore because there just isn't any of it. Time, that is.

  Here's a taste of a typical weekday for me. Wake up lazily around 7 once Alina cries out that she's awake. I used to bring her into bed with me to snuggle but now she has a big girl bed and I will go to her and jump in her bed and snuggle. We talk and I ask her how her night was. I get her dressed which usually consists of her saying she wants to do everything herself and then half way through she wants me to help. I get her her breakfast of cereal and milk and I plop her butt in front of an episode of Sesame Street. This gives me a chance to make my one cup of coffee, do my make up and hair. I make up my lunch and Alina's and a lot of the time I am preparing a crock pot meal or something for supper that evening. I always empty and reload the dishwasher before I leave, it just makes me feel better to come home to a tidy-ish kitchen. I pack Alina's back pack with her lunch, spare clothes in case and her sheepy that she sleeps with. I have my lunch and purse at the door alongside her things. I get her to pick up all of her toys (we have a Roomba named Gary that I threaten will eat all of her toys if she leaves them out. ) I struggle to get her focused to put on her shoes, boots and hat most mornings. I get her out the door with all of our stuff and she sloooowly makes her way to the Jeep. Sometimes she surprises me with the fact that she has to poop or pee and that always sets us back.  I have her at daycare at 8:40 most days.  Once at daycare I stick around to have her put her name on the tree, put her inside shoes on and to wash her hands. Once she's done all of those things, I give her kisses and head straight to work. The pharmacy is a minute away from daycare, so that's super helpful. I work 9 until 5 every day and that has been a blessing. Having a job where I can work those hours that consistently is what keeps me grounded and happy. Once I've finished my day, I head back to Alina's daycare to pick her up.

Alina's new bed set. New drums. Helping in the kitchen.
  I get her in the house, empty lunches and get started on making supper by about 5:30. Alina is really into puzzles lately so that has been a good distraction for her while I busy away in the kitchen. Alina is a mama's girl and really likes to hang around me wherever I am. So she is usually nearby when I'm making supper. Once supper is eaten and put away, Alina will bath. Rob baths Alina most nights. Once Alina goes to bed by 8:00 I go downstairs to the gym and do my thing until 8:35ish. I shower and get my 'watching t.v. snacks' and settle in for the first time I get to relax. By the time we finish watching a show or two, it's 10:30 and pretty much time for bed.
  The blogging suffers, phoning friends suffers and I find myself looking back at months, wondering when I ever do things for myself. Someone always requires my attention and I know that with more kids this will intensify. But I also think of a life without a husband, or a family and I feel very lucky. I don't always have time to watch an old episode of Gilmore Girls or to read a book on the couch, but I do love my little family. I feel accomplished at the end of the day and I feel needed and that's a fulfilling feeling too.

   So that's my day to day song and dance. I am too busy doing completely ordinary things everyday to write about them. 

(Alina took this picture..!)
 So what takes up your time everyday? Same kind of stuff, or are you way more interesting?!


Thursday, January 14, 2016

You're Still Here

 It seems like it's been a long time since I've felt you near. I know that I can't just ask for you and you'll be here. It doesn't really work that way, does it..

 It would be a lie to say that I think of you everyday because there are days when I don't. But there are many, many days that you cross my thoughts and it could be the tiniest thing. It could be as simple as making Alina porridge in the morning to working up a sweat in the gym. Your face flickers in my thoughts and I don't always think much more about it. I simply feel comforted knowing that you're still in my head and my heart.

 Tonight when I finished my work out, I walked past the dart board to go upstairs and even started to ascend the stairs. But something made me hesitate and I don't know if it was the spotlight that hit the board just so or the fact that I still play with your favourite set of darts.. But something made me turn around and take our darts out of the board and tossed one ... 7 and as I was throwing the second it occurred to me that I feel like I'm communicating with you somehow when I play. I feel closer to you somehow. I threw that second dart and as I wondered if I would ever throw significant numbers, the dart plunged into the 16. Before I could think too much into it, I tossed my third and final dart and hoped it would complete my little wish.. It was a bullseye and I started to laugh and choke up as I took two stairs at a time to the top. It's my birthday- July 16 and the bullseye was what I hoped to hit when I threw the third.

 You're still here. And you're still letting me know it. I'm still here and I still love you.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Thunder Bay Christmas III

  I think my favourite part of Christmas is the preparation for it. It's the days leading up to the big day. People are shopping and baking, leaving for holidays, arriving in hometowns to visit family and friends. It's the hustle and bustle that I love the most.

 We arrived in Rob's hometown, Thunder Bay, Ontario over the weekend. We were greeted by Uncle Peter, Grandma Marlene, Nonna and Papa. We let Alina go around the corner on her own and we heard a very excited Nonna yelling "Hiii Alina! Merry Christmas!" She was wearing a Santa hat with a tiara on it. It was the cutest thing I've seen in a long time. From that moment on Alina was whisked away, checking out Christmas lights, the snow, the decorations on the houses leading up to Nonna and Papa's. Once we got to the house, she was taken upstairs to her very own bedroom, that was decorated and completed with a colouring table and chairs, Frozen bedding, stuffies and enough toys to keep her busy until next year. Oh and her very own Christmas tree that her and Nonna decorated together that night. It was pretty incredible. To say that Alina is loved would be an understatement. It definitely warms my heart coming here.

  I've known Robert for over ten years now. I've been to Thunder Bay five times and this will be my third Christmas spent here. I was explaining to Rob that I appreciate this trip the most. I appreciate coming 'home' to a home, whether it be mine or Rob's. I appreciate being able to go out and leave Alina without worrying about her. I appreciate the family and the friends I have been adopted by since I met Rob. It's just nice to be apart of his bigger picture.

 We've only been here for a few days and we've already finished our Christmas shopping. We went skating outside last night and today, after Alina's nap we're going to plunk Alina in a sled and take her for a skate. I've been appreciating the evenings, when Alina is tucked in bed. I sit on the couch in the living room upstairs, surrounded by the glow of the Christmas tree and decorations all around me. I sit and relax with a drink and some company. It's been great.

What part of Christmas do you like the best? 


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Evolution Of Alina &Santa

Year One- 

  As you can see, Alina's first experience with Santa didn't go so well. She was less than impressed at nine months old. That year, we went to Thunder Bay for Christmas and Alina was thrust into many laps and she got used to seeing new people by the time our trip was over. She even sat on Thunder Bay Santa's lap, with her folks and she didn't cry that time.

Year 2 

 Last year, Alina brought her baby with her to see Santa and let dad hold her, while she attempted to be brave. Unfortunately I tried to sit her on Santa's knee and she lost her cool pretty quick. So we took some photos of her on the stool by Mrs. Claus' leg. She did high five him which we took as a small victory. She talked a lot about Santa that year but couldn't quite make the trip to his lap.

Year 3 

 This year, Alina has been rehearsing what she was going to ask Santa. Every Santa hat or bearded man was pointed at and named Santa. Let's just say that she's a big fan of the guy. There was a wait list to see him so by the time it was our turn she was pretty excited to talk to him. She told him exactly what she rehearsed; ponies (purple and a pink one), more peoples (Little People princesses) and a unicorn. Santa also convinced her that she wanted some new things for colouring. Now that's been added to her wish list. She was very quiet and still but in the end she was totally thrilled that she was brave and asked him for everything she wanted.

 Christmas was pretty damn brilliant before but now that we have a kidlet, it is so fantastic. Every moment is memorable and she appreciates everything!! Before she understood that she could have presents for Christmas she told Nonna that she wanted a Christmas orange for Christmas. I mean, how cute... and simple. 



Saturday, December 05, 2015

He Won't Bite My Hands ...

 Visions of sugar plums are dancing through my head and it's barely December! It was probably two weekends ago that I found myself watching Christmas With The Kranks on t.v. Normally I would hold off watching any Christmas movies until December. But for some reason, I am eager to get right into it!
 Earlier in November Alina, Rob and I were at the mall. Alina saw her first Christmas tree of the year and ran over to it to inspect the snow and see if it was real. We saw that Santa was already there taking Christmas wishes. She watched in awe and wonder for a moment, staring as he talked to a little girl. She broke her Santa trance to say, "He won't bite my hands.." Kids are so funny. I reassured her that no, Santa wouldn't bite her hands and that I would like to hope that no person would ever bite her hands. What a goof.
Rob's infamous light display that is our house!
  Even my staff Christmas party was in November. We always get a great meal, fun presents and a kooky gift exchange. We have our party at an oceanfront beach resort so it's a great excuse to dress up too. We had a photo booth this year which was also a very nice touch to the night. Another reason for me to have those Christmas tunes forever playing in my head. That's another thing, I am so ready to listen to Christmas tunes every time I'm in the Jeep. I don't normally feel this warm and fuzzy about Christmas, but this year is different. I have a feeling it's going to be a good one!

The only photo of us all dressed up at my party.

We're headed to Thunder Bay mid December for Christmas. I imagine my mom in law is just vibrating with excitement at the thought of having all of her kids and her grand baby under the same roof at the best time of the year. I'm looking forward to all of the goodies she bakes and cooks in preparation for the holiday. She's probably going to have the house the most decorated it's ever been in anticipation for Alina's arrival. Rob's parents are definitely the best grandparents I've ever seen. Obviously they love her but it's shown in their adoration for her, their attention and commitment to making every minute with her a fun and memorable one. We Facetime with them all of the time and they were showing us that it snowed. Andrea was in her pajamas and rubber boots and had Rodney record her outside, building a little snowman for Alina. Now that is love. Best. Grandparents. Ever.

Eating supper, watching her grandparents build her a snowman in Thunder Bay.
   My excitement for Christmas started early this year and now every weekend leading up to Christmas is an exceptional one, filled with Christmas traditions. This weekend we got our Christmas tree and will be decorating it tonight. Alina and I went to the family swim this morning and Olaf and Elsa were there with fun pool games for the kids to play. I hope everyone else is getting into the spirit because there's nothing like this time of year. Everyone is a little more cheery and generous.

What is one Christmas tradition you can't live without!? I have a lot but one food tradition I have to keep up with is Mom's Crab Dip! 


Thursday, November 19, 2015

"I Okay Mom"

 It was Monday evening. I knew that there was a chance my results would be posted that night. The Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada is based in Toronto. (3 hours ahead.) People were posting on the Bridging Friends Facebook page all day the different times that the results would be posted based on passed exams. I was reloading the page on my phone, anxiously looking for a new column to pop up. Monday night came and went and I felt deflated by Tuesday morning. Rob and I have been getting up to work out in our gym in the mornings. I went on the elliptical and the tread mill, taking only one peek. Our workout ended, still no news. Rob decided to shower before me, so I was hanging in bed with Alina. Then, one reload later a new column appeared; Recent Exam Results. My heart began to pound in my chest. Alina was watching a morning cartoon and I found myself in my closet fumbling to hit the link to my fate... I searched through hundreds of numbers, knowing mine by heart; 312118. As I neared similar numbers I slowed down and my heart picked up its pace. 312116... 312117... 312120. Wait... My number wasn't there. Just as I realized that my number wasn't among the newly licensed pharmacy technicians', Rob entered the closet. I whispered, "I didn't pass." I'm surprised he heard me I said it so quiet. 

 This is not the post I wanted to write, this was never part of the plan. But, this is my reality. Bad things happen and what I've learned from those bad experiences is that you always have to take something out of it. I needed something to remind me that it was worth it. My co-worker J. was also going through the same anxious waiting as I was, so I figured I should text her to let her know that the results were in. I showered in hot water and tears, feeling sorry for myself. Alina came into the bedroom as I was getting dressed and asked me why I was sad. I told her that I didn't pass that big test I had been studying so long for. She simply said; "Aww.. I okay Mom." She crawled up my legs and hugged me. She hugged me for a long time, patting my back. The best part about that was that she actually consoled me and I let her. It felt really good to be held by her. And she was right. She was going to be okay, no matter what the results and I would be too. J. replied with happy,crying emojis and the word YES. She had passed. My friend J. has had a tough year and to be honest, if anyone deserved damn good news it was her. I was happy for her even if it made my wound sting a little more.

 Rob told me that this licensing exam was my Super Bowl. He said that it was really hard to even get to it and that winning the Super Bowl ring wasn't for everyone. Right again. (It would have been so much cooler if I had though.) Later, I packed my make-up knowing that I would need to reapply at some point in the day and headed out to face it. I got to work and J. gave me a long hug. I had e-mailed my bosses, wanting them to hear it from me but also not wanting to have to say the words to them. The phone rang and I was summoned over, it was one of them. I was touched that she had phoned me so quickly. She reassured me that I was still important and she lifted me up and genuinely made me feel better. It wasn't just the words she was saying, but it was the act in her phoning me. I was really touched. 

 The people I work for have been encouraging me not to give up. They think that there still is a way for me to get certified. I have looked into other options; taking the OSPE again in April and then going to another province that is still offering the bridging program and registering there. That would include more fees, money to travel, finding a place to stay, finding a store to work at that would offer me a short stay to get my 500 prescriptions checked and of course, writing the Jurisprudence in their province. (Learning the other province's laws, etc.) Rob and I decided that that would be too much. After the year I had, I don't think I have it in me to do all of that. But I'm making peace with it.

 So the big question is; what have I taken from this experience? I'm more valued than I ever realized. People care about me and it is a surprising and pleasant feeling. I wasn't meant to be a registered technician, so I won't be. Simple. I was recently inspired by Michael Strahan's book "Wake Up Happy". In it he mentions waking up inspired and excited to start the day. So I'm exploring the idea of my first attempt at writing a book. I don't know what it would be about yet. But I took one entire year to educate myself in pharmacy and it was really, really challenging. I took on doing something that interests me but is most definitely not something that I'm passionate about. It was an opportunity. But imagine what I could do with something I love? I imagine that if I just tried and dedicated some time into writing something I might just come up with something. I think I would wake up very happy and very excited about my days if I knew it included writing...

 And I can't help but listen and believe the wisest words that came from one 2 and half year old;
" I Okay..." 


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Inside Out - Spoiler Alert

 Inside Out is an animated movie by Pixar that showcases an eleven year old girl name Riley. The movie is primarily from Riley's mind or the workings of her mind. From day one she was simply influenced by Joy or Sadness. Shortly after, Disgust, Anger and Fear join forces. Each emotion that Riley has is depicted by a character. Each character takes a turn at running Riley's reaction for each situation she comes across. She forms memories which are later stored into short term and then long term memory banks. She has five core memories that fuel her major personality traits. There's Goofball Island, Family Island, Trust Island, Friendship Island and Hockey Island.
 The movie itself is cute and entertaining for sure. But it goes so much deeper than cute and entertaining too. Riley represents every single kid out there. She starts out with simple emotions but then life starts to throw her twists and turns. She can't simply feel one thing.. As the movie goes along, Joy who runs things in 'headquarters' begins to realize that Riley needs more than happiness in her life to get by.
I can't help but think of kids today, dealing with grown up situations and not totally knowing how to deal with them. The movie really spoke to me maybe because I grew up in a divorced home, but maybe more because of a young lady I know. She struggles with her emotions, much like most kids but I think more so because she is going through some adult, tough experiences at eleven.
 I loved the message Inside Out sends. Life isn't always easy but bottling up strong emotions like sadness doesn't make it any easier. It's okay to be sad. I have always felt compelled to reach out and help people, kids especially when advice is needed. If I could go back in time, I would have loved to study psychology to learn how the mind works.
 Another interesting part of the film was when Riley's personality traits (or islands) start to fall apart because she isn't happy and she doesn't have the chance to express her sadness she so strongly feels. It's true that as you grow up, those parts of you fade away. Her silly, good nature is shadowed by sarcasm and anger. We all go from innocent kids to awkward pre-teens to complicated, emotional teens.

 The relationship between Riley and her parents slowly gets tainted by Riley's unhappiness, her father's distance from his new job and her mother's pressure to stay positive. As viewers it is maddening watching Riley's dad disappoint her or react in the wrong way at the wrong time.
 I loved this movie because not only was it entertaining for my little buddy Alina who is pushing three, it was also really enjoyable for me. I feel like parents should watch this movie with their children of Riley's age and soak it all in. I bet everyone would learn a little something or at least be reminded of how life can get for kiddos out there, struggling with being a kid and coming into their own at the same time. It reminded me that Alina is currently in her simple emotions stage but that there will come a time when she will struggle within herself and I can only hope that we are there to do the right things and be aware of how much of an impact we have on who she becomes.. (Wow, that's deep and terrifying.)
 I love when a movie does it for me. I have thought about this movie after seeing it and I've spoken to people about how cute it is. I figured I made such a big deal about it, I had better write a post dedicated to my new favourite Pixar movie.

I wouldn't mind if she stayed this sweet forever............