Friday, April 29, 2011

Love And The Royal Wedding

I got up extra early this morning in order to watch William marry Kate. I've been watching coverage all week and knew I'd be up with the birds (crows,specifically) in order to not miss a moment.

You'd think I was a big romantic, not wanting to miss a single lovey dovey sigh. SO not the case. I'm not typically sentimental, or romantic. Even at the height of being "in love," I've never been the type to get all giddy and sappy about romantic overtures or gestures. Some girls might see that as cold, I see it as being a realist. I'm a total cynic, and since more than half of marriages end in divorce and most people take their vows with a grain of salt in the long term, I'd say the stats are on my side.

That said, I watched with tears in my eyes.

My family, specifically my Mom and Granny, are/were Royal Watchers. I was 8 years old when I watched the courtship of Charles and Di and then watched their wedding on TV. We had books of engagement photos in my home, and trinkets of the event. I also watched Fergie and Andrew's wedding, Williams first baby outing, and ultimately, Diana's heartbreaking funeral. I even remember the moment when coverage showed the car crash and sitting in my ground level apartment on the edge of my couch, tears streaming down my face.

This morning found me sitting on the edge of my couch once again, tears streaming down my face. I watched the whole event with Diana in my mind. William looks so much like her, from the shy mannerisms, small smiles and red flushed blushes. It's shattering to me, as a Mother, that he doesn't have her there. I believe she was in spirit, however.

My favourite moments were Harry whispering, "wait til you see her!" to William with a cheeky peek, when William saw Kate and said, "you look beautiful!" and Kate's questioning, "are you happy?" once in the carriage. I also loved the furtive glances and the shy, polite kisses on the balcony.

I'm glad that while they followed some traditions, they also chose to buck others. Kate is the first Royal bride to wear her hair down (shocking, I know!) and to do her own makeup. They blended their own sense of selves with the decorum of a Royal wedding.

One thing this marriage may have going for it is that they have already been together for 8 years. By now, they should have a sense of who they are and what they want in future. Hopefully, they've worked on their communication and are realistic about each other and themselves.

Even the grand cynic in me hopes for love and trust for them both. I can't help it. While I am by far a practical person, I seem to still cling to that hope that they will find happiness and security for a lifetime, together. After all William has been through and the losses he's already suffered, I wish this for him.

Being a tomboy, I never got into that whole "Happily Ever After" fairy tale whimsy, but maybe, just maybe....this WILL be a happy beginning to a wonderful life together.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

No Lack Of Confidence Here

I'm a big GLEE fan-I really love the show and have watched from night 1. It pretty much goes with my love of any type of musical, which has been the case since I was very little. I've seen a few Broadway shows as well, and just can't seem to get enough of the genre.

I've passed along that love to my girls. Obviously, not all GLEE material is appropriate for their viewing though, so I let them watch with my hand on the fast forward button. Sometimes that means they just get to see the songs, sometimes they see parts of the show, and sometimes they watch the whole thing.

Last night's episode was all about accepting yourself as you are, acknowledging the things you don't love, but taking it all as part and parcel of what makes you uniquely you.

My girls and I watched some of the episode today and it started a rather interesting conversation.

My eldest said, "Well, I'm totally awesome but I guess if I HAD to pick something, I'd say my toes."

My youngest answered, "I don't have ANYTHING about myself I don't like! There may be things OTHER people don't like about me, but I like everything!"

There is no lack of self-confidence or self-esteem in my girls, clearly. How refreshing to see such total acceptance of themselves! I hope they can take those attitudes with them throughout tumultuous teen years and beyond.

Maybe tempered with a "wee" bit more humility.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

'Twas A Glorious Time

We had a totally fantastic Easter weekend, the weather was great, the food was delicious and I got in a lot of family time and exercise! Even though I was kind of glad for routine to return (sort of) this morning, I DO love having my little family all together, all day.

Friday my youngest went to a playdate where they did an Easter Egg Hunt, dyed eggs, made cupcakes and did a craft. She had a blast! My hubby, eldest and I all went to the market and got some apples and then picked up a bunch of seafood. I made a veritable seafood feast that night! I wrestled (literally) lobster into a steaming pot, pan seared scallops, made mussels in a scrumptious broth, did some haddock for the girls and brought out a baguette. It was so delicious! I'm amazed at the price of seafood here and could eat it daily. How was I not born a Maritimer? Given my love for all things ocean, seafood, Celtic and such...I feel like I'm where I was meant to be. Corny, perhaps, but true.

Saturday the gang and I played outside with chalk and water and mud. Kids just seem to love that sludge and it's a nightmare to clean up, but that's what being a kid is about, right? That night, we gathered round the table to dye eggs. We all did various colours, with my girls mixing a little "too" much and getting brown a few times. My husbands' egg was the best though. He did a green and orange top and bottom, leaving the center white. Ya, the Irish flag. I felt a little misty eyed.

Easter Day I kicked some exercise BUTT. I ran a straight 35 minutes, walked on an incline for 5 minutes to cool down. I then did yoga for 25 minutes. Finally, after dinner, we took the dog and went for a 30 minute walk. I TOTALLY exercised off all the calories from my delicious roast and scalloped potato dinner. I actually managed to get exercise in and stay within my calories most of the long weekend. When I weighed in yesterday I was a bit scared, but the scale rewarded my efforts with a 2 lb loss. I'm down 4 lbs now since I really started recording, but more importantly, I'm feeling like I'm being truly accountable to myself and not for any reason but my own betterment. That's a personal victory, right there.

Next on the agenda, I mentioned we had painted my youngest daughter's bedroom. We spent some of the weekend putting up her pictures and hooks and such. Yesterday was room painting day for my eldest. The best part? SHE worked alongside her Dad, doing all of the lower cutting in. That means that "I" got out of it! Yay! I had to help around the window frame and door, but otherwise I spent time with my youngest out in the sun. We took our pooch for a long walk, through woods and up gravel paths, stopping at the park for some swinging along the way.

Today, I put my eldest's room mostly back together. There's picture hanging and stuff to be done, but it's almost complete. I rearranged her furniture how she wanted it and reorganized her closet and drawers. That in itself was a workout! I also took the liberty of chucking some stuff out that she hopefully won't notice. (fingers crossed she's not reading!)

All in all, it was a busy, fun, active, happy weekend. I've never felt more truly blessed.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Running Part Deux And Eating Non-Stop Part.....

I've been fighting a constant snacking urge since Wednesday-ish? I'm totally sure it's a hormonal thing (if you know what I'm saying, and I know you do) but I've been more acutely aware of it this time. That hasn't STOPPED the overwhelming need for salty/spicy snacks, or little bites of chocolate, but it's first steps I guess. I've been under my calorie range every day, and I'm exercising five days a week, so I have to look at the week as a whole and not just "today." That said, I also don't want to start excusing these little overages because THAT can be a slippery slope. So, on to tomorrow and a new day. It's kinda not the best day to get my mindset refocused, being Easter Sunday and all! I figure I'll just look at it as the ULTIMATE CHALLENGE instead!

It's just my wee family here for dinner, since our extended families all live in another province! I'll be making the meal for all of us, which has it's perks. I can keep my eye on how things are prepared and what goes in them. I did a vote with the fam, and we've decided to have a roast. (I also had a turkey breast and a ham!) I'm making scalloped potatoes with it, green beans with almonds and grilled asparagus. Dessert is cupcakes for the kids, and I'm making an apple streusal for the adults. We also always have hot cross buns for breakfast before heading to Church.

Now that the bad news and Easter news is out of the way, on to the running news!

Yesterday, I hopped on my treadmill to do another 25 minute run. I had my music going and after the 5 minute warm up walk, began jogging. I got to the 25 minute mark and still felt awesome, so I figured I'd keep going since 28 minutes is in the Couch to 5k in the next day or two. Once at 28 minutes, I STILL felt amazing, so I continued on to 30 minutes. I then walked 5 minutes at a 5 incline to cool down.

I was totally sweating bullets (well, my head anyways) but I felt incredibly fabulous! I did my yoga to stretch myself out and cool down and then just lay on the floor a bit savouring the moment and how fantastic I felt.

Writing this all down now, makes me realize what a difference a day makes! I went from feeling terrific and on top of my game yesterday, to total mess today. Big picture has been mostly upswing though, so I'll keep those feelings and that momentum in the forefront of my mind as I go into the holiday tomorrow.

Hoppy Holidays to you and yours!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Runnin' Runnin'

So, all week I've been running on my treadmill as opposed to outside, whether due to time constraints or rain and wind. I'm on Week 6 now of my Couch to 5k, but I'd like to do some of the Week 5 outside before I proceed on the outdoor path.

Anyways, I did Week 6 and completed it on my treadmill yesterday. I've been struggling all week with my running though. Each time I've stepped on the treadmill, I have been really NOT feeling it. I've still pushed myself to "get 'er done" though.

Well, yesterday's run was to go for 25 mins straight, no walks. After my warmup, I was already dreading the run component. I set my incline and speed and started chugging along. Now, for the first 15 mins my mind kept going over how much time was left. I mean, like, repeatedly. I kept counting and counting. I finally decided I needed to concentrate on my music or think about my Easter weekend plans or SOMETHING, ANYTHING other than watching the time tick slowly by.

Around the same time, I started the inner dialogue about walking "just for a minute." While my brain argued back and forth, I kept on running. I was telling myself that "you got this" and "don't give up, there's only 5 mins left!" I'm pretty stubborn, which in this case worked in my favour. Other times? Not so much.

I ended up finishing the whole run without one single moment of walking. I was totally impressed with myself and mentally gave myself a high five! I did all of my
C25K program this week as it was designated, even though at no point did I want to do it. That's a huge step for me, and I know it's largely due to inner fortitude coupled with a great support network. I KNOW the ladies on myfitnesspal will be checking in, and I feel like I need to be accountable. That's a great motivator!

My goal this week was to workout at least 5 days. I have not a one doubt that I'll do it.

Now about that getting to bed earlier goal.....hmmmmm

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Goals And Rewards

So, my new friends here have been really recommending Jillian Michaels podcasts. I've never been a Jillian fan so I was leery-but they assure me it's worth hearing what she has to say. I have yet to get on that, but it's on my radar. That said, they were discussing Jillian's belief in goals. The theory goes that without goals, you have nothing to work towards and you will give up or throw in the towel sooner.

That whole discussion has really got me thinking. On the one hand, it's like what I've taught my girls. The goal isn't to get a reward, but rather just in the doing. An example, we don't pay or reward them for good grades. We want them to just get inner satisfaction of doing their best and having the grades show for it. It's an intrinsic reward rather than an extrinsic one. The reward is in the hard work showing. It's kind of the same with weight loss for me. The reward is getting healthy, fit and meeting a goal weight. That's my "end goal."

That also led me down the path of rewards, though. We were discussing rewarding yourself for meeting certain milestones. One could be hitting a certain weight loss number (say, the first 10 lbs) or reaching a significant physical challenge (running a 5k.)

Once again, I had nothin'. I don't have any real "rewards" set other than just meeting my goal and feeling better about myself or fitting into my clothes from back in da day.

I DO believe that as women, we often don't pat ourselves on the back. I know I'm always sure to let my girls know how proud I am of their hard work and dedication to an endeavour, yet if things get hectic, the first thing to go out the window is me taking time to do something for myself. How come I don't treat myself with the same support and enthusiasm?

I know that, for me, setting a long term goal often seems surreal or so far down the line it's abstract. It works well if I set several small timelines that I can have the satisfaction of checking off on my path to the big goal.

As of today, these thoughts are mere swirls in my headspace. I'm going to ponder them throughout this week and next week I'll put in writing what my rewards and small goals will be. From there, how can I NOT help but look forward with optimism and anticipation?

On a totally unrelated note, my friend Angie posted on her blog about her hummus addiction because of it's crack like quality. I, too, have a total hummus umm, problem. I had recently purchased the PC chipotle and roasted pepper topped hummus. I also had some Garden Fresh medium chunky salsa on hand. Angie's idea was that hummus can be high in calories if you go over around 2 tbsp's at a time but it's so dang yummy that it's easy to do that. She had the BRILLIANT brainwave to make it stretch and keep the calories down by mixing it with salsa. I tried it today and WOW. I don't know if this will just create an even WORSE addiction, but it was DELICIOUS. So delicious that I found myself using my finger on the bowl to get every last drop. Yikes. To me, it kind of tastes like a chipotle chip dip? Whatever it reminds me of-it was seriously awesome. I was skeptical at first, but am SO glad I tried it. I can feed my hummus addiction while still watching my calories. Take my word for it-try it!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mostly Odds, And Some Ends

So, I haven't updated since "Free Range Chicken" day. It was, to say the least, delicious! I roasted it in the oven with some herbs and lemon, potatoes and carrots. We ate it for days! Right after that meal, I took all of the chicken off the bones and stored it in the fridge. I made a broth that night. We had sandwiches, I made a Thai soup, the kids had it in their lunches, plus the main meal. I also made a casserole. There is no way in heck a grocery store chicken, which contains a lot of water to increase the weight and therefore price, goes that far. It was definitely worth the cost, to me. I'd think buying a few in bulk would be more price effective, so I have to get on that. Really, it was more like buying a turkey. I didn't take any pictures, however. D'oh! I keep forgetting to do that and adding them to the blog. I guess I haven't come out of the "privacy" and "creepy people looking at my stuff" phase of blogging. I'll get there!

On Sunday, I headed out into the rain to meet a bunch of new friends for brunch at Cora's. I ordered the "Good Morning" breakfast with two poached eggs and whole wheat toast. It comes with 4 slices of bacon and home fries. I drank tea and water, ate my eggs and one piece of toast, and two of the bacon pieces. I did good! We then headed to Starbucks for more chatting and laughing and I indulged in my current addiction-the Tall, Skinny, Caramel Macchiato. Dang that thing is delicious! I was so full that I didn't feel the need to eat again until dinner! Food aside, those women are all so great and I'm SO happy I met all of them. They are all bright, funny and interesting. It was an awesome start to a dreary day. The rest of the day was less fab, consisting of grocery getting and errand running. Boo, hiss!

Yesterday, my husband and I decided to tackle some things we've talked about but put off since moving into the house. He built me a large chalkboard for my kitchen. The idea isn't for the girls to colour (though they'd have you believe otherwise) but rather for me to write down the menu for the day, or inspirational quotes. I'm totally loving it!

We also took the kiddos to Home Depot on Sunday night and let them pick out their own paint colours for their bedrooms. My youngest picked a Disney pinky/purply colour (called something and my eldest picked a soft baby blue. I helped my husband do the cutting in and then he painted the walls afterwards. We only got my youngest's room finished and I put it all back together today. It looks FANTASTIC. We'll finish my eldest's room this weekend. My girls are at that age where they have SO many toys, but they don't want to get rid of anything for sentimental reasons. Let's not even talk about their Webkinz collections. It's difficult to manage all of the toys in an organized way and still have the room look decent! You know me and organization though! Love! So, they each have many bins in the colours of their rooms, and now have a hanging shelving system to contain some of those stuffed toys. There's still more "stuff" on surfaces than I'd like, but you know what? It's not my room.

I have to also say, I was struck yesterday by the fact that I'm pretty darn lucky to have a husband that is so handy and capable. He's pretty much awesome at building stuff, fixing stuff, painting etc. His family had a painting/fix-it business on the side while he was growing up, so he grew up doing all kinds of things. I, on the other hand, am the least handy person alive. I don't know how I'd do anything "home improvement" wise without him. Thanks hubs!

I will make this promise right now, so it's in writing and I can't forget! Once both girls rooms are complete-I'll post some pics on here for you all to see! Sounds like a plan! Now, just have to find a way to minimize any identifying features! HA!

I also picked up a bunch of little accessory type things for the powder room. We haven't really decorated much since we still plan on painting the whole ground and upper levels, but I figured why not. I got two pictures for a steal, a candle, towel and various other decorative pieces. It's starting to shape up around here!

Now that we've almost painted the girls rooms, I'm contemplating painting the rest of the rooms ourselves. We had talked about hiring painters but since I'm home-I think I could get a room done a day or so. What would likely happen would be I'd do cutting in and let my hubby do the rolling but ya know. Same idea. I have a bunch of other decorating ideas I'd like to tackle in various rooms, and front and back door painting, deck painting, deck building, shed buying, front step painting, flower planting.....Wow. My husband is going to be REALLY busy!!! I'm really, really good at supervising though. Really! Just ask him! He LOVES it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rainy Thursday

It was kind of a dark, grey, windy day and I was bummed when I woke up that I wouldn't be able to get a run outside. I was also super tired, again. I don't know what it is with me lately, but I'm EXHAUSTED. I guess I'm still fighting whatever, because the cough at night is also still ridiculous.

I got up and had some breakfast, and then decided I better get my gear on and hop on the treadmill ASAP before I talked myself out of it in favour of snuggling in for a nap with my hubby. He had crawled back into bed after the girls went to school and slept cozily until he had to go into work a bit later.

I did my Couch to 5k Week 5, Day 2. Today's "run" was running 8 minutes at a time, several times. I didn't struggle at all. Now, obviously, when I take this outside again it won't be that easy. The sun better be back soon because I need to get this down so that I can actually RUN my 5k at the end of May.

After the treadmill, I threw a load of laundry on and did my yoga. My dog was a nutcase today, licking me and sitting on me. It wasn't very relaxing. At all.

Once done, I switched laundry loads, cleaned the kitchen counters and surfaces, and got out my free range chicken.

We had bought a free range chicken at the market the other day, our first. Everyone I talk to says that once you eat a free range, you'll never go back to grocery store chicken again. Guess we'll see! I rinsed it all off with salt and water, and then put it in a roasting pan with lemon and herbs and roasted it in the oven. My plan is to get three meals out of this one bird. Tonight is with roasted potatoes and carrots and steamed green beans. Another meal will be chicken soup. I'm hoping to use meat from the bird for sandwiches as well as in one other meal-a casserole of some sort perhaps.

So, our dinner is almost ready. I've updated myfitnesspal for my day so far and encouraged and supported my peeps who are kicking BUTT, by the way! I did most of my "chores" though I have folding ahead of me tonight.

I feel like, despite the weather, I got almost everything on my "To Do" list done. I didn't get to cleaning the bathrooms....but tomorrow is another day. Besides, I'd rather enjoy my time with my girls tonight than worry about dirty bathrooms.

See ya tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Yoga Zen

I really love yoga. In fact, I don't know why I don't do it more often, or haven't really been "into" it much.

I just started doing it again, following a simple program that's filmed here. It's repetitive and not really challenging in any way, but I enjoy it. Why? I've been doing a lot of cardio, running and climbing on my treadmill but also pounding the pavement outside. My body sometimes feels a little tight afterwards, and the yoga really helps to stretch it out. I can actually physically feel the tension leaaving.

My favourite part, honestly? The end where I get to just lay there and concentrate on my breath. This program also has a few minutes of meditation time. I'm amazed that I'm able to have ZERO thoughts in my brain, and just focus on my breathing going in and out. I seem to really need this practice, and I've been sleeping better and deeper. (well, except when my kids wake me up several times a night.)

I took a class many years ago and really enjoyed it. It was a small class at the local college. Now, I'm not the "New Age" type so sometimes some of the Yogini talk that goes on is a bit weird for me. I just want to stretch my body and increase my flexibility. Maybe I'm immature, but some of the "touchy/feely" stuff makes me giggle.

One class, as we were doing some pose or another, someone tooted. Pretty loudly. Now, generally most people just ignore that and don't talk about it, right? Well, the teacher went on and on about how it's natural and normal and I can't even remember what else. Why can't I remember? Me, with the photographic memory? What she said is fuzzy because I was cracking up, hard core.

I took the class with a friend who luckily was as immature as I was. We both lay on our mats, shaking and trying not to laugh out loud. At one point, I had to put my towel on my face. I was trying not to make any noise, so I was just twitching and shaking on my mat. I am pretty sure my friend at the time did a few snorts. It was awful!!! You know when you aren't supposed to laugh, and it makes you nervous, and then you laugh more? Ya, that. That was me. I was contemplating having to get up and actually run out of the room!!! It was bad.

So, I'd love to try a class again, but I'm nervous. It's been many years and maybe I wouldn't react like that.....but knowing me? I probably would!

Hmm, maybe it's more Zen for me to just keep searching for the perfect DVD and find my practice at home.

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What A Difference A Day Makes....

After my last post, my eldest daughter was home for a few days of sickness as well. I still felt kind of exhausted myself, since I spent the time when I was sick caring for other people that were sick! Dang motherhood!

By Thursday, everyone was back in school and I was back to feeling pretty A-Okay. I decided to really get on the bandwagon with my eating and exercise, even though I was (and still am!) coughing quite a bit.

The best thing that could have possibly happened came along to help nudge me on my way. The SUN came out full force. We had a beautiful few days with warm temps and awesome sunshine.

My kiddos and I spent all day Saturday outside. We played in the front of our house with chalk and bubbles and skip-it's and skipping ropes. The girls biked and played with friends. We took the dog for a nice walk around the neighbourhood. Once my husband got home, I strapped on my sneakers and even headed out for my Couch to 5K training outside!!! It felt awesome.

Sunday brought more sunshine, and once again I found myself running along with the heat radiating on my face.

I've also been doing a quick yoga practice since Thursday. I just follow along with a show that's "on demand" here. I find it quite easy and repetitive, so I don't think it'll work for the long term, but for now it gives me a half hour by myself just stretching out tight muscles. I kind of love yoga and don't know why I don't do it more. Once I'm finished, I just feel all limber and my mind feels more at peace. I'm guessing that's partly because for once in my day (maybe life!) I shut off all of the noise that is usually shouting at me in there!

Lastly, thanks to my new group of friends, I joined If you haven't checked it out, do! It's free and let's you enter all of your exercise activity and food consumed and tallies up your calories taken in, and spent. There is also message boards, but I haven't even checked them out because I'm just enjoying the tools and my friends. I can't stress enough how much having people encouraging you and taking an interest in your journey helps with pushing you into wanting to do "better." Since joining on Thursday, I've been super accountable with myself because I know they are there doing the same thing. It's been amazing.

The week is just beginning and it looks like it's going to be a mostly rainy one. I'm okay with that, because I know that the sunshine is just around the corner, and more importantly, I'm feeling like my inner glow is burning bright already!

Monday, April 4, 2011

I'm ALIVE! (Mostly!)

Well, after that last post where I said I was starting to feel under the weather, things quickly fell completely apart. My youngest daughter started a flu on the Saturday with a high fever and extreme fatigue. I spent the night putting tepid cloths on her forehead and taking her temp and giving meds. By Sunday, I couldn't get out of bed myself.

My fever was 102-103F and lasted, brace yourselves, 6 days. WHAT?? That's seriously crazy. I don't remember being that sick since I was a kid! I literally was totally exhausted and coughing and stuffy.

On Day 4ish, I thought "maybe" I would have the internal stamina to unload the dishwasher. You heard that right, folks. Unloading the dishwasher seemed a monumental feat. When I finished, I was sweaty and dizzy and had to nap 3 hours. Craziness!

There were many instances of tears and total breakdowns. That's very unusual for me, and I'm embarrassed to even admit that, but there you have it. On Day 5, I kind of felt better somewhat and felt hopeful. By 8pm the fever was back, and the waterworks began. I was just THAT frustrated.

Luckily, my husband was super amazing during this whole debacle. He made meals and ran errands. He picked me up Pho too many times to count. He took care of the kids while I basically lay in a ragged heap. I still made the girls lunches and snacks and stuff-but he really held down the fort. Hallelujah!

Today is Monday, and a brand new week. I'm feeling much, much better. I'm still not 100 percent, but I'll take it. My eldest is home today, she started on Saturday. I'm back on my Nursing duties for her, but hopefully we're nearing the end of the Plague.

Fingers crossed my husband stays healthy!