Sunday, 15 December 2013

Ketchup

Thursday: 
The blog world that I read has slowly declined in the last year or two.  It seems like the only ones left that have regular posts are the mega blogs with a bazillion viewers.   Reading other blogs and getting comments on my own often inspired me to post.   I'm pretty  sure there are only three of you who read my drivel by now but since I write mostly for me than what does it matter?  Here I go with a buch of random thoughts:

In two weeks Christmas will be over and I could, quite possibly, be elbowing my way through crowds for Boxing Day shopping.  Crazy to think that.  Although it is gradual and actually a bit stressful (a weird way to describe it but 'tis true), I am managing to get into a Christmas spirit.  Our decorations are up, the kids are super excited, we've been a part of our big church Christmas production, I'm a part of another concert next week as well as the two classical Christmas Eve services our church will have.  So if nothing else I will sing my way into a Christmasy mood.  Trevor and I had a chance to shop together one evening this week and it was nice to just be together and buy stuff to spoil our kids and family.  

I got on the scale today and am FINALLY down 1.6 pounds.  Consistent, hard-core workouts and watching my caloric in-take are the reasons.  Oh, and probably the lower stress level since Omas funeral.  I am meeting with a nutrition nurse once a week for accountability (she weighs me and we discuss what I've eaten) and my trainer once every three weeks.  The goal is to drop another 7 pounds and I've been told these will be super hard to do without a crash diet which I have zero interest in.  No surprise there!  The goal number was arrived at together with my doctor and trainer to break the 'average' status and achieve the 'fit' status.  I can do it! 
I'm short.  Every pound matters.  I'm getting closer to 40 than I'd like to admit and I notice that weight is much easier to gain and much harder loose with each year added to my age.  Yes, Christmas is a rather dumb time of year to be doing this but then again there is never really a time without some sort of excuse.  I figured this will help me not go too crazy with the holiday treats and even if I only maintain my weight it will be a victory.

I was sitting on the couch with Sawyer this morning feeling a bit lonely.  Coffee dates with friends have been scarce lately and I was facing a day at home, with nothing planned but laundry.   Yesterday we made the gingerbread cookies he's been requesting for a month.  Rembering the fun we had baking, I looked at my little boy and I thought, "I am going to just enjoy normalcy with him while I can."  Sawyer is growing quickly and before long will be in school full time too.  When he gets excited about just staying home with me how can I feel down?  
I have some special times with Sierra this weekend too.  We are going Christmas dress shopping tomorrow with my mom.  Saturday I am taking her to her gymnastics lesson, on a lunch date, then to The Nutcracker with my mom. 

Sunday afternoon:
I find that all the busyness of the last few days has made me grumpy rather than add to the spirit. It is tiring!  The kids are relentless in their needs and I find myself feeling irritable. So much for Christmas spirit!  I suddenly found myself with an extremely full weekend and week to follow.  I need to step back, breathe, and enjoy. After all, it is all fun stuff and it is Christmas!

I have to tell my current childcare that we will no longer be using their services after Christmas. Some friends,who are also neighbours, offered to watch our kids, and we gladly accepted because:
1. They have other kids and will play with and entertain Sawyer.  Now, he is with one five year old girl one day and alone (plus the adult) the other day each week. Lots of TV and not too much playing and he does not like going; he's bored there. 
2. They live around the corner rather than across town. 
3. They will use the money to help with their adoption from Haiti. 
4. They're friends. 
I'm a bit nervous but I have to think of my dear son and what's best for him! Many have backed out on me for care so I can't feel too bad. 

Whew! Long post. I think I'm done rambling for. now.  Time to go celebrate Trevor's birthday (which was actually on Wednesday) with my parents! 

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The Last Few Weeks.....

In the quiet, moonlit hours of November 15 my dear Oma was taken to be with her Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, in her eternal heavenly home.  I get a lump in my throat just typing it.
After Thanksgiving her decline was steady and quick; we noticed differences almost daily.  Just under a week before her death she was moved into the palliative care facility near by.  I had some very tender and special moments with her that still bring tears to my eyes as I recall them.  The Monday before Oma passed away, I spent a couple of hours with my mom in Oma's room while Oma slept.  It was very peaceful and holy.  Holy in that we were in the presence of someone God was preparing to take home.  Near the end of my time there Oma awoke and I was able to hold her hand and tell her a little about what was going on with me.   She still had a smile and a hand squeeze for me (she had lost her voice).  When it was time for me to go I laid my head on her chest, since hugs were no longer possible, and held her hands.  She tenderly stroked them and said she loved me.  Expressing her love verbally was not common for her.  That was when I said good-bye.

I came two more times after that.  Once with just Sawyer who still produced a smile from Oma despite her weakened state and brought a light to her eyes.  The other, less than twelve hours before her death, with Sierra who wanted to see her one more time.  Oma had been sleeping all day but when she heard Sierra her eyes opened and she blinked several times to acknowledge that she was aware of who was there.  That was the last time she opened her eyes. 
That night I couldn't sleep.  I cried.  I tossed and turned.  Finally, shortly around 1 A.M.  I got up and wandered into our kitchen.  The moon was shining brightly, not quite full.  It beamed right through one particular window and created a little patch on the floor.  I knelt down to look up at the moon and as I gazed at it I whispered, "I love you Oma."
The next morning when my mom phoned and told Oma did not make it through the night, I discovered that Oma went peacefully between 1:10 and 1:30 A.M.  
It was a whirlwind of emotions and extremely busy for the next five days.  We had four adults and a baby staying in our house, hosted the making of over 250 verenkiki (perogies filled with cottage cheese) and then served them to 18 people.  Vereniki are a traditional Mennonite dish that my Oma excelled at making.  There was the viewing, burial (in -15 degree Celsius!), memorial service and lunch.  Plus all the family time.  It was all very bittersweet.

That weekend  came down with tonsillitis (I know!) which I haven't had since I eighteen!  So I allowed myself to be a useless lump on the couch while the penicillin did it's thing.

Another two weeks have passed.   Trevor and I were a part of our church Christmas production which included a dress rehearsal and seven shows.  Phew!  Immediately following the last show Old Man Winter arrived with a vengeance and we survived a raging forty-eight hour blizzard that left us in a deep freeze and with beautiful snowy views.

Christmas is a mere three weeks away.  I am no where near ready.  It's been a bit hard switching focus after something so intense for so long.   Naturally, there is still sadness.  Nearly every year for the past 35 were spent with Oma at her place.  It will be strange not to do so. 
I miss her already.


But we are okay.  Gradually life is resuming some level of normal.   I am back into exercising regularly again, eating better, and sleeping.
  Trevor and I have plans to decorate and Christmas shop this weekend.
We bought an "Elf on the Shelf"and are all having a fun time with her.








Thursday, 17 October 2013

Yo-Yo

After church on Sunday I began typing an upbeat post of being thankful (imagine that on Thanksgiving weekend!) but was unable to complete it because, you know,  turkey!
By later in the afternoon and the evening my mood has slowly gone downhill and I ended up having a good cry.  That's how am theses days; happy and optimistic one time and fighting the tears and pit in my stomach the next.  
It is hard, so hard, watching someone die.  
There is so much unknown.  So many memories.  So many, many thoughts going around and around and around.
My mind and heart are struggling mightily to process it all.  We are all carrying on with our lives as we must but there is this black cloud that looms just in sight.  The reality of what we are going through permeates everything.

I keep myself as busy as possible and fortunately my energy has been on the up so I can distract myself.   Yesterday after a visit to my Oma with the kids I could not endure being alone with my thoughts so I joined Trevor - forcing Sawyer to as well -  in the Wednesday evening grocery shopping.  (Sierra has an activity at our church and usually I stay home with Sawyer while Trevor shops)

I have been diligent with my workout schedule and had a fantastic session with the trainer today.  He pushed me hard and I have a challenging week of exercise coming up.

I clean.  When I'm stressed and don't know what to do with myself I clean.  My house is going to be spic and span in all nooks and crannies at this rate!

I've really been looking to God and praying.  I know that the strength I have to keep moving is from Him.  It would be really easy to just sit and mope.  I have the hope and reassurance that Oma will go to our Lord in heaven, and someday I will join her!

That is where I'm at.  Right now I feel good.  An hour ago the lump was stuck in my throat.  

Up and down.  Down and up. 

Yo-yo.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Trainer Time

You know I couldn't go too long with blogging about my exercise and healthy eating goals!
Yup!  I'm on to something new.
Again.
I'm realizing a long-time dream of mind and have actually hired a personal trainer.  He is the husband of a co-worker of mine who goes to clients homes and works out with them there with the equipment (or lack of equipment) the person has.  Depending on what you want he has different options ranging from just setting up a home program with no training sessions, to multiple sessions and a program to training athletes for triathlons.
I've chosen a five week program where he comes to my house once a week and works me out for an hour and has four additional "homework" sessions for me to do on my own for the following week.  Our first session was today and he worked me pretty hard; I could perform all the exercises and was tired at the end but not exhausted.  
I'm hoping this propels me over the stagnant point that I've been at for a year in that the workouts are more specific to me and I'm hoping more effective.
   
Along with this training I'm going to also work hard with healthy eating, not much different than usual.  Perhaps a bit stricter because I'm actually paying money now and I don't want to negate it with a lousy diet.  

Here I go again!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

The Ugly C

We knew it would happen; it was inevitable.  But we all thought we had longer before the big C reared its ugly head again.

My Oma's cancer is back already, this time in a rare form of skin cancer.  It is possibly elsewhere too but we don't know.  She isn't in any pain but is often very tired which will only increase.  We have no idea how long she has.  Months likely.  This is and will not be easy but I think I feel better prepared to deal with it than I did last winter/spring.  
I think that and then I have periods of deep sorrow and pain and it's all I can to do to keep the tears at bay.  I see that the sparkle and enthusiasm Omas has always had is noticeably absent.  She walks so slow.  I realize that Sawyer will likely have little or no memory of her.  My cousins are suddenly making it a priority to come visit. 
Then I cry out to God and pray desperately for peace and comfort; I don't like this pain.  It's hard to explain, after all she is 91 and lived a long life.  But she is so much a part of my life...
I realized today that God has answered my prayer.  I haven't thought about her with the same grief since Sunday, and in speaking with my mom learned that Oma's energy and pep are up.  I know there will be many sad/hard days to come but for now I'm okay.  A huge source of comfort is that she is a believer in Jesus as her Saviour and when it is her time He will call her to heaven.  Heaven is a perfect place and when my time on Earth is done I, too, will go there.

Friday, 27 September 2013

36 going on 26

As September does, it effectively propelled us - no catapulted us - into schedules and busy.  The end of the month is nearly here and it feels like we were frolicking on the beach only yesterday, rather than sorting through the mountain of papers Sierra comes home with every day.

I turned 36 on Wednesday and for the first time in a very, very long time the weather was crappy on my birthday!  Seriously, that does not happen.   Weather did not determine the outcome of the day, however, I still had a nice day that ended with a family dinner and cake!  Sierra bought me a huge, pack of K-cups to take to work .  We have a Keureg machine but have to bring our own coffee.  There are many work days that I yearn for another cup of coffee and I either suffer or make the trek across the street and spend way to much on a cup of joSawyer gifted me with a pack of coloured pens.  I love coloured pens, I grew up on pens, computers are taking away the need for such fun.   I'm old enough to cling to and appreciate coloured pens.   My mom and dad gave me a denim jacket.   I see them paired with many items to make cute outfits and have wanted one for awhile but couldn't justify buying one myself.  
 Trevor..... he bought me a diamond!!!!!!!
Yes, a real diamond.  An honest to goodness sparkly diamond.  
You see, we got engaged when I was only 19 and Trevor was 22.  Trevor had been saving for my ring but all in all did not have a huge budget.  I love my engagement ring, always have and I'm pretty sure I always will.  The diamond is 0.25 carats and fairly high quality.  Back then that was a common size.  In the last few years Trevor has expressed some desire to buy me a larger one.  I always was fine with what I had, sure bigger would be nice but by no means necessary.  There are many other ways to spend the money.  He threw caution to the wind and bought one for me this year.  Off Ebay of all places!  0.6 carats and the same quality as what I have.  I'm still surprised.  He was so excited to tell me-it was cute. 
  I don't considering him much of a romantic but he definitely has romance in him.

I'm in a really good place now.  We had an awesome summer and autumn is also off to a good start.  I feel at least ten years younger than my number says!  My mind is....feeling alert most days.  I don't know how else to explain it.  I know that challenges will come but for now I'm going to rest in the good.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Unplugged

I am getting rather irritated by all the electronic distractions that have seemed to have taken over life.

In my life, namely the iPhone and TV.  One two devices but oh such giant time eater/wasters.  It is oh so easy to tap on Facebook, read blogs, scroll through Pintrist, window shop on line and the list goes on and the time goes by. I find that we constantly have our noses to our iPhone screens.  
In the evening the kids go to bed and what do we do?  Plop down in front of the TV.
 I think what has me at my peak was when I suggested to Trevor we get a babysitter and go out on a date all he came up with to do was go to a movie.  We have been super busy since coming backing form our vacation and I feel like Trevor and I haven't had any 'us' time.  Granted, a woman's ideas of a date are different than a man's, and Trevor can't read my mind but really, when we haven't spent much quality time together lately he comes up with a movie?   Then, when no decent movie appears to be playing the date idea was no longer talked about.

 I could go on with example, after example and I know I'm as guilty as Trevor with not knowing what to do with myself without those electronic 'things'.  

Something has to change and I'm not sure what or how.

I'm contemplating taking a complete break from the internet and limiting TV to one show an evening.  My phone will be used for texting/phoning only (neither of which I do a lot of) and the occasional scroll through emails.

What am I hoping to accomplish?  More connecting with my kids and husband; less zoning out.  Perhaps get to bed a little earlier.  I suspect more tasks will get done.  Hey, I might begin reading my Bible again, imagine that!  I'm sure if and when I actually do this I'll be amazed at the differences.  

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

School Girl

Well, we've inhaled a deep breath and taken the plunge into life with a child in school full time. Sierra was excited and enthusiastic and after only two days is exhausted but loving it!  

It's a different world than Kindergarten. This is the real deal. Desks. Less play. More learning and work. Increased responsibility on the students. (ie no more escort to and from the bus) 

As much of an adjustment it will be for Sierra it will also be for Sawyer. His best playmate/bud/foe is no longer here all day.  He was a bit clingy and needy but I'm sure we'll develop a groove of our own. 



I can't believe how big she's getting!

*sniff*

Monday, 2 September 2013

September

September is here.

I don't like it.

In fact I'm trying my best to deny it.

I love the sun, the heat, the relaxing, the playing, and did I mention the heat? We had such a fabulous day today going to Writing On Stone Provincial Park and soaking up as much of what's left of summer as we could.  It was 36 degrees Celsius according to the car thermometer when we left.

September means fall is near and summer is almost over; I see the long range forecast showing lower temperatures.   The days are getting shorter.  

September means that Sierra starts grade one and will no longer be with me every day that I'm home.   

September brings the beginning of activities and programs; routine will be a part of nearly everyday life.  I guess that's not so bad....

September marks the end of ladies league golf as we finished last week.

September will end me being 35.  

September  always causes me to sigh and then, grumbling, make a long list of 'to-dos' and slowly work through them.

September resumes the possibility of work on Saturdays again, of which I'm required to do once a month.

September.

You came way too fast this year. 

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Schooling

I've had so many blog-worthy thoughts swirling in my head lately but, frustratingly, they're always at completely inopportune times.

They come amid the cursing while scrubbing an inch thick worth of burned on food off of the stove in our revenue house.  Or while scraping up the congealed, sticky mystery substance in the fridge of said house.  Or scouring dirt out of carpet that likely hasn't seen a vacuum in at least a year.  Same house.  Needless to say, the previous tenants did not leave the place in liveable condition.  Unless you're a dog.  Even then.....
The work the place has needed has effectively ruined any feeling of rest we stored up from vacation.  I was so mad at the state of the stove and how much elbow grease was required to see that it is white that I polished off 2/3 of a bottle of wine when I came home that evening. 

Moving on.

I got the joy of purchasing school supplies for the first time.  It is a ludicrous list I tell ya!    
12 GLUESTICKS!!!
How much gluing will these kids do?  They are for personal use and that means more than one gluestick per month!  Good grief.  Not to mentions the 24 pencils per kid for classroom use - what, are they eating them????  Anyway,  I filled the list and choked at the bill and than tried to be thankful for mostly free good education for my child.

Speaking of....my baby is entering grade one in seven short days.  My sweet girl who can't go 0.003 seconds without wondering where I am or what I'm doing or at my side will be away from me for four and a half days a week. (two of which I work...)  Part of me is looking forward to the peacefulness but another part of me is twinging because Sierra is so growing up already!  Ah the pangs of motherhood and loving a child so very much.  Being a mom is all about letting go and allowing natural growth and maturity right from the day they are born.  Rightt?
.
We are fortunate to have a fantastic elementary school in our fantastic town.  I never once hesitated over sending Sierra to preschool, Kindergarten, and won't for grade one.  (By the way, my American readers, have you ever noticed that Canadians all say grade one, two, three etc. as opposed to first grade, second grade, third grade...,  I have no idea why.  We're just weird that way, eh?)  Sierra was getting bored at home by the time I sent her to pre-school two afternoons a week and absolutely loved going.  The same held true for Kindergarten - she loved it.  That being said we had to deal with a few minor issues but it was good to have had to do so.  We all learned and grew from them.  Now she is excited about grade one and I'm sure we'll be sorting through issues there too.  Our school, while public, models good morals and does not discourage religion.  In fact, the Christmas program last year contained both secular and religious components.  It's a large enough school to be able  to offer many fun things but small enough to foster a fantastic sense of community.

So next Tuesday I will walk my baby up to the school for grade one.   I will confidently place her into the capable hands of the teachers, aides and parent helpers.  I will trust that I've equipped her to deal with what may come and and be able to help her work through the many new experiences this next year will bring.  Above all, I trust that God will watch over her and guide her in ways that no one on Earth can!


Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Vay-cay

Ahhhh!  
The magic of vacation - and not just being away from life but the fact that it was good; everything went well.

Our kids did fabulously on the fourteen-hour-drive-all-in-one-day to the coast.  They are fairly seasoned to long road trips by now and each year the trip is less painful.  
Ironically we left cooler, rainy weather and arrived hot, dry (as dry as the West coast can get!) weather that remained all week. 

We watched Uncle Brian (Trevor's brother) race motorbikes on day one.  The kids loved it!  We thought it was pretty neat too.



We relaxed.  We SLEPT!!!!!  Trevor's dad is always up early and was more than happy to entertain our kids each and every morning while we SLEPT!  It was glorious.  We had more sleep that week than we've had in six years. We golfed one day (me and Trevor's dad and brother) and hung out with family.

Trevor and I went down to Seattle mid-week for an afternoon baseball game with one of my closest friends and her hubby.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I've only been to one live baseball game and it was fourteen years ago and I knew absolutely nothing about baseball.  Being married to Trevor that long has changed that.

 

We reconnected with some other friends, more family and before we knew it it was time to make the long trek home.

With one day in between to unpack and repack we then spent a week camping with my parents.  My phone remained mostly off because, you know, we were camping, so I have zero pictures.  We used our big camera a bit but we were so relaxed and enjoying being able have fun that it just wasn't much of a priority. (not that good, I know)   We went to the beach every day.   One day we visited Fort Steele, and Saturday morning checked out the local farmers market.  It was so fun to just play and be outside.  Most evenings we were still comfortably in our shorts and T-shirts after 10 o'clock.

We've been home now for nearly a week real life has made vacation almost seem like a distant memory. Except for feeling relaxed and that the little things are not such as big a deal as before. 

Ah. Vacation. 

Friday, 2 August 2013

Summer So Far the Not-Stormy Parts

My bags are packed and my lists all checked off and we are ready to go on holidays! 
I find myself with a few extra minutes, even, to touch base.

Despite all my worrying it has been a pretty good summer so far.  Most of my good pictures are on my big camera and I struggle every time I try and figure out how to upload them.  So you get iPhone:



Sawyer recently decided that using this large dog as his pillow was better than the real thing.
This only lasted a few days.



Buds at a park.


Fishing at a local mudhole lake.

Ice-cream during a day-trip to a local national park.  We never leave without getting ice-cream! It simply can't be done.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Let It Go

I can tell that my brain needs a holiday.  A real, few-weeks-away-from-life holiday.
Soon.
I'm starting to fret about work.   Getting enough hours, and whether or not I am doing my job well, relationships, and numerous other aspects.  
I need to just let it go.

Trevor and I recently made the difficult decision to leave our church care group of four years.  While we are all great friends there are certain dynamics that we are struggling with and our life is getting so busy that we weren't enjoying it the same way.  I worry about these friendships; that they will not survive the absence of weekly connection.  I worry that I'll be lonely and not have the support I require.
I need to let it go. 

We own a rental property and have had nothing but headaches with the upstairs tenants during the past four months.  They are out as of tomorrow which is good because it needs some serious TLC before it is habitable for anyone else.   But we have no new renters in place yet and we leave on holidays for two weeks right when inquiries will be the strongest and in its current state it does not show well and I have limited time to clean it......
I need to let it go.

I will be spending a week with my in-laws which I will endure.  I do not dislike them but I'm not sure I really like them.  I don't know them.  I mean really know them; I have no relationship with them.  I've had them in my life for 17 years but they offer little of themselves.  I've accepted it and mourned that I will never know them in the way I typically like to know people.  It sure makes for awkward times when we see them though for I feel I can't be myself.
I need to let it go.

I worry about driving all day.  I worry about keeping my sanity with my kids as we encounter new experiences over the next couple of weeks.  I worry about health.  I worry about good weather.  I worry.....

I need to 
Let. It. Go.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Still Storming

I'd like to say that after the pictures of my sad garden and yard we were done with storms.
But I can't
Last Wednesday my mom and I were at our weekly golf game warily eying the looming black clouds.  By hole three the rumbling was echoing among those clouds but we had yet to see the lightening.  The clouds had eerie bumps in them and the air was thick and humid.  My mom left, not wanting to risk another hail damaged vehicle.  I golfed on. 
Ay the beginning of hole 5 I actually saw lightening and before we could finish putting the air-horn sounded indicating that we needed to get off the course.  I raced home, (the storm literally right on my bumper) covered my newly planted second-round petunias and sought cover inside my house.  The skies soon opened up with torrents of rain that left many-a lake and puddle.  
I live a mere fifteen minutes from the city but what the city experienced compared to what we had was incredible.  We just had hard rain.  The south end of the city had what is a called a microburst, the opposite of a tornado where the wind pushes out instead of sucking into a funnel.  RV's were flipped over, road signs broken off, rooves and siding destroyed, large trees snapped like toothpicks -"like nothing ever seen before." (quotes I heard/read from many people).  No one was injured, thankfully.

It is just not ending.

So when the dark clouds circled again last night while we were on the golf course my mom and I golfed with one eye on the sky.  Our game was not very good.  But the evil clouds moved south and did nothing.

It is completely amazing how after these crazy acts of nature everything rebounds.  My shredded garden turned brown in the days that followed the hail storm and I was just pulling out the crispy pea plants when I noticed that some of them were growing at the base!  The same with the tomato plants.  Now it is likely too late in the season to expect to get tomatoes from those plants but they are still alive.

Now if only siding and fascia would do the same! lol

Monday, 15 July 2013

Summer

I am in a funk.
I hope it's just an end of a long day kind of funk.
I'm irritable and grumpy and feeling fat.
It must be PMS because there is no logical reason for any of it.
The hail and storms have tired themselves out here over Southern Alberta and we have been left alone for a week now.
Our yard actually needs water!
We've been enjoying some heat interspersed with a cooler day here and there.  Trevor and I said to heck with our yard (it's in a rather sad state anyway) and went golfing Saturday morning.  My mom was having grand-kid with-drawl and we were more than happy to remedy that.   We ended up puttering around a bit in the yard in the afternoon just to alleviate the guilt of not accomplishing anything.  Saturday evening/night and all day Sunday were spent with friends camping at a local Provincial Park that has a mudhole lake.  It was a lot of fun - our kids were so bagged it was awesome!!!
Work sucks in summer because, seriously, who wants to work in summer?  Especially when we only have limited summer to begin with.  Frame buying is still fun though; I'm getting free stuff!
In a little under three weeks our real holidays begin.  For the first week we are going on our annual BC coast trek.  Not so excited.  (inlaws)  Oh wait, I take that back.  We have many fantastic friends we'll hopefully see plus a ball game in Seattle.  Plus my brother-in-law's girlfriend manages an Olive Garden and there's a very good possibility we'll get a VIP meal there.   The second week we are camping with my parents.
But I don't want to rush the next few weeks because 'rushing' and 'summer' are a terrible combination.
Other than some yard work and day trips and enjoying both kids at home the days really don't hold too much.
That's ok.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

The Aftermath

A couple of weeks ago I posted some pictures of a massive storm that ripped through our city/town and the southern half of our province.  At the time I had no idea of the complete and utter devastation that would ensue.  
It kept raining you see.
The rivers rose.  And rose.  And rose.
The city of Calgary (250km north of us) has two rivers running through it and once it spilled its banks the entire downtown was flooded.  Many residential areas near the river also suffered.  I used to live in that city.  My heart sank.
 
 

The town of High River(south of Calgary) had barely a house or building exempt from flooding.  My heart sank with Calgary but with High River in broke.  Basements were full and main floors half full of water.  Residents were evacuated for over two weeks.  Now the clean-up is on and it is a race against time and the mold.  Debris from the cleaned out houses is piled everywhere on the streets.





 

Every. Single. Refrigerator/freezer had to be Duck-taped shut and removed from houses without opening them for proper disposal.  Imagine a fridge full of food left uncool for over two weeks because there was no power and residents were not allowed in their homes.  Toxic.  The stories go on.  I can't even.....

That first storm that pummeled usblo was not to be the last.  Two more ferocious hail storms pounded hail and rain upon us of epic proportions.  Plus there was more rain in between.
Yes, my yard is devastated and looks like a salad spinner went crazy with all the plants and I am sad.  We have a few pieces of cracked siding and may end up having our shingles replaced.  But I count my lucky stars that is all I have to deal with!


The hail did this to the post

Sawyer's pool.

Peas on the left, onions on the right.  Or once were.

The tomatoes themselves survived!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

OK Highlights

OK Okanagan. The gorgeous place Trevor and I spent three full days in. Here are some pics with details to follow. (Maybe:))






Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Fishin'

As a little girl, somewhere around Sierra's age now, my dad taught me to fish. 
Among the many memories of numerous fishing trips my brain holds strong to one in particular.  I was probably around five and went along on a fishing excursion with my dad, uncle, and cousin.  My uncle had a boat and we went out on a mountain lake.  I recall having to wear one of those dorky, uncomfortable, bib life jackets and envying the vest style my dad and uncle got to wear.  Anyway, it was a relatively quiet fishing day - aside from our chatting - with minimal action on the ends of our lines.  Then I must have had the lucky rod that hit the lucky spot because two large trout found their way to my hooks.  Nearly one after the other and they were almost half my size!  Much to the disgust of my dad and uncle those were the only fish caught that day.  There is an old photo me, wearing one of those vest life jackets going past my knees, holding those two fish by a chain with a totally disgusted look on my face. 

I was 'hooked', still am, and have passed on my love of fishing to my husband and now my kids.  The first time we went with Sierra was last fall and we thought for sure she'd be bored in ten minutes.  No way!  She had more patience than the rest of us and that carried on this year too.









 As soon as her rod jiggled she was reeling that 'sucker' in.  Typically girl and typically six she got frustrated and freaked out easily so one of us adults ended up helping a lot.  Her official first fish was actually reeled in and landed by me!  That didn't matter to her though, as far as Sierra was concerned it was her first fish.


My mom also bought Sawyer his first fishing rod.  There were no hooks on the end of his line though - too dangerous!  Various hookless items were tied to the end for him to play with.  Trevor would toss the line out into the water and let Sawyer reel it in.  Sawyer loved it.


 My big fish got away (don't they always) but I did land a small one so together with Sierra's little fish we had a enough for Tuesday's supper.  It was delicious and even Sierra ate it!

My kids are getting more and more able to do stuff and it is so great!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Still Here

Yeah, I'm still alive and very well!

We've been oh so busy with Sierra's birthday, MCC auctions, our wine trip, golf, torrential rains and floods, yard work, Sierra's finishing off kindergarten, and camping.  

Phew!

I love summer.

It is so short around here that we savour and use up every moment of it we can.

I'll try and provide you with some more details but no promises.

Sorry.

Such is summer.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Storming


When that east wind started blowing we knew we were in for it.  
West winds are normal and a near daily occurrence.  North winds are reserved for cold winter systems, and the occasional south wind usually blows in summer and is hot.  

But those east winds?


The colours are not edited.  Isn't that ominous looking?

Fortunately not all the hail was this size - but a good many were!




My mom and I had just finished our Wednesday night golf game when the storm arrived and we were assaulted with the it's first round.  Three minutes into our drive home the rain and hail were so so intense we had to pull over and wait it out; driving was impossible.  The picture above is the parking lot that we took refuge in.  All that white stuff is hail floating in one giant puddle.

The southern half of our province was pounded by rain and hail for hours last night.  The first round that my mom and I were caught in dumped approximately 50mm (2 inches) of rain in less than thirty minutes.  
Flooding!

As violent as the storm was, it was mostly a lot of water and noise at our house.  Other than a swamp for a yard we are fine.  We put the kids to bed, made a bowl of popcorn and drank wine while watching 'Breaking Bad'.
 Although at 11P.M Trevor thought it would be a good idea to check the drain of our lower, sunken patio.  Good thing he did - it was plugged and a half a foot of water had collected and was fast rising.  Had he not thought to check it our basement would have been a swimming pool this morning!

I'm sure many, many people were not so fortunate.  One town near Banff was evacuated and the Trans Canada Hwy was closed due to flooding and mud slides.  Basements are sure to be flooded and vehicles dented.  (My mom's car received a few)

A few things the weather constantly reminds of: it's awesome power, the fact that it can be vicious, and that it is so completely beyond our control in every sense of the word.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Back to Insanity

Yeah.
P90X - I started it and stopped it after three days in, too much time requirement (min. 1Hr/day)  for me these days.  However, I did complete it once and enjoyed it.

Ten minute trainer - I stuck it out for three weeks.   The time requirement is great (14-34min depending on what you do and including warm up/cool down).    While it did work me there was not enough heart pounding, swear inducing sweat. 
 Running - I enjoy it once I get going but since it is my husband's exercise of choice and he
 has commandeered our treadmill at 8ish every evening it isn't possible with any regularity.  I refuse to get up early, sleep is just too precious.  Run outside you say?  If you get your kicks running in wind, rain, snow, extreme heat, and/or dust 80% of the time than where I live is the place for you to run!  Not me.  I also often work out during the day, while my kid(s) are home so going out for a run isn't possible.

That leaves me with Insanity.  It works me the hardest and has given me results.  I love it and hate it at the same time. It requires 40 min. or less per day for the first month and then 50ish min. the second month.  The second month is tough for time requirement but I have split some of the workouts in the past. 

I've learned over the last number of months that my earlier spoutings of statistics where weight loss is 80 percent diet and only 20 percent exercise may not be completely as they seem.

Here's why (keep in mind this is purely what I think based on my experience and nothing else, I'm no semblance of an expert):  

1.  You can't exercise like a fiend and then eat whatever and however much you want and logically expect to loose weight.  I've used exercise as a means to be lax in what I eat and of course, no results other than perhaps less - no weight gain considering what was eaten.

2.  You can't be a lazy couch potato and only eat salad and cottage cheese and think you're going to get a nice lean, toned body.  I've done little or no exercise while properly eating with, again, minimal results.  I may not gain but the scale didn't go down either.

3. It is truly a combination of diet and exercise.  Perhaps in it's finest perfect balance a healthy weight and fitness level does show that 80% is what you eat and 20% is exercise.  No matter the ratios, I firmly believe that each is dependent on the other.

For me personally I need to keep my caloric intake up (reasonably so) or I get fatigued.  I've learned that the hard way.  I also can really feel it when I've been lacking in my fruit and vegetable intake even if I've been eating "enough". 
 I also need to be able to enjoy what I eat otherwise there's no point.  Along with that I need to control the quantity of the indulgences, and also not be ridden with guilt.  That is hard but really the only way.  I've tried more of a 'diet' approach in the past.  Eating healthy for six days and allowing myself a whopping cheat day was feasible when we both worked full time and didn't have kids pr much of a social life.  Now - not so much.

I've said it before and I'll keep repeating myself like a stuck record (oooh that comment just aged me!): it's all about moderation and making healthier choices whenever possible and practical.  Hey, sometimes one just needs to eat that half-bag of mini-eggs!

As for exercise, of course any level of activity is better than none but I need to have that intense, hard core work out to feel good and get results.  Hence Insanity.
I may not loose that much weight on the scale but my body tightens up and my mood swings up and my clothes start to fall down!

With dabbling in other exercises I found that even though I watched my calories I had trouble keeping the weight down.  I'd do nothing, eat little but be very tired and grumpy.  Or eat more/better, exercise and barely maintain.   Until finally a couple of extra pounds stuck on no matter what I was doing which motivated me to kick it up a notch with insanity again.  Obviously my six pound loss goal by our little vacation next week is not going to be attained but as I said, it's not that I'm unhappy where I'm at.  I just wanted to see if it was possible.

Maybe one day, when my kids are both in school, or out of school, I'll feel like I can attempt the perfect 80/20 balance.  Maybe not.

For now I'm okay where I'm at.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

J.O.Y.

I had the fantastic opportunity to sing in a choir backing up a men's trio called Tenore last night.  (the link contains some of their singing)
 
These three talented tenors sing classic hymns arranged in such a way that it causes me to forget the plodding, uninspiring way I learned them in my childhood.   I take in the melodies, internalize the words of old, and their meaning moves me to my very core. 

As I was singing the peppy chorus in our church this morning and listening to the sermon and once again absorbing the words and their meanings it hit me:
 
I. Am. Happy.
 
No, wait.
 
I am filled with joy!
 
 
Life has turned a corner of sorts and I feel rejuvenated and energetic and full of....
 
JOY!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Takin 'er Easy - Mostly!

I've done a fantastic job of just meandering around mostly relaxing.

Aside from getting Sierra up in time to catch the bus to school everything else has been on my own timeline, here's my day:

Drank my coffee and played on my phone.

Talked on the phone for almost an hour to three different people.

Had coffee with my dad; he was feeling as ambitious as me!

Decided not to get groceries today simply because I didn't want to.

Went for a little walk with Sawyer.

Did decide to make cheese-filled bread sticks from scratch.  They are baking now. 

Going to make squash soup to go with the bread sticks.

Must get out and weed the garden before they start to think they own the space.

Going golfing with my mom this evening.  We are once again in ladies league at a local par 3 course.  It is purely social, the golf part is just the excuse.

I'll be home in time to help put the kids to bed and then TV and wine time!

I feel like I have to take these days as they come because we have a rather full schedule for the next month.  All good things but full none-the-less.


Thursday, 23 May 2013

A Taste for the Good

Developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is work and a constant battle.  I don't know why, but my taste buds just seems to gravitate towards the sugar and the salt and anything high calorie and lacking nutritional value.  Some days I feel like I'm obsessed (oh! such a strong word - very conscientious?) with calorie counting/watching but I believe it is partly why I am not overweight. 

This past trip to southern Manitoba did not lend itself well to overly healthy eating, as expected.  Appies for supper one night, pizza the next, and the following day for lunch, coupled with a little extra wine and beer and other snacks I partook of resulted in a few too many  indulgences.  It wasn't that much bad stuff but definitely more than I'm used to.  I didn't beat myself up over it, though, I just ate with attempted moderation and enjoyed. Despite feeling like I often crave junk I was pleasantly surprised to find that I missed the healthy!

My palette is obviously also developed towards the 'better' tastes too.  And it is rubbing off on my daughter.  Several times she deliberately chose carrots and ate them saying that she knew it was important to have her veggies!!!  It feels good that all my persistence has paid off somewhat - for both of us.


Wednesday, 22 May 2013

3000kms

We embarked on a six day journey that took across the quite desolate Canadian Prairies for a long over-due visit to extended family  (mostly Trevor's side).
 Some noteworthy points:  (because that is all my sleep-deprived mind can muster!)

* The drive there took fourteen and a half hours while the trip home only thirteen.  The hour and half difference was largely due to several frustratingly inconvenient and long potty breaks and Sawyer upchucking a mere hour from our destination.  EVERYWHERE!!!!  We arrived smelling like stomach innards and needing to do laundry and clean out a car.  Nice.

*It was great to reconnect with close friends.  Sierra bawled when we left.

*Our kids will never know family like our parents and even us.  Trevor's grandma had ten younger siblings.  TEN!!!  His grandpa has numerous brothers and sisters too. Many of them stayed in southern Manitoba so when we go the the little country church out there 3/4 of the last names on their 'mail' boxes are relatives.

*Sierra and Sawyer took to each family member as if they saw them daily.  It didn't matter that Oma (Trevor's grandma) has Alzheimer's and is absent minded (to put it mildly) or that Uncle Harold talks only about himself and has a large booming voice and dominating presence.  It was awesome.

*I first met this family sixteen years ago at Trevor's grandparents fiftieth wedding anniversary as a newly ringed fiance.  They took me in and accepted me as one of them immediately and haven't looked back.    There's is no doubt that they are my family too.

*Country back-roads during a steady rain are rather treacherous and frightening while sitting in a little Honda Civic!

*I wish the distance was less and the visits could be more frequent.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

15!!!!


 I woke up this morning, in Southern Manitoba to the tap tap on my shoulder by my almost six year old. I rolled over and her cute, three year old brother is stirring from his bed on the floor beside me.  As I prepared for the day and saw my life as it is now, my mind rewound a decade and a half.   I woke up in my bedroom at my parents house for the last time as a single woman.  There were butterflies in my stomach resultant of much excitement. 
You see, it was exactly fifteen years ago today that said " I do" with my best friend. 





What an awesome 15!  Look how far we've come and how much there is to look forward to. 

Sunday, 12 May 2013

My Blessings!


Summer has arrived, for now, and we've been out as much as we can.  I determined Friday would be a family night so we picked up a pizza and had a picnic in a local park.  Then we walked to the river and the kids had a blast throwing rocks.  We rounded the perfect evening off with enormous ice cream cones from Costco!

It's times like these that make my heart full and immensely grateful for my little family the opportunity to be a mother.






For some reason my pictures didn't transfer very clearly - sorry!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Ten Minutes Part Deux

Two weeks ago I embarked on the Ten Minute Trainer workout videos and being more strict with my diet, again.

I have diligently done the workouts and don't mind them but they are not as intense as Insanity.  As of today there has been zero change in the scale number.  Maybe some inches or partial inches lost because my pants seem to be looser?

Food is definitely my downfall.  Why does it have to taste so good???
When I look back on my on myfitnesspal app I did okay and mostly stayed within the calories it suggests.  There was one day each weekend where I had to stop counting.  
It's normal living though, and I think perhaps to really see the numbers drop I'd have to actually 'diet'.  I could probably do that but then what happens after and regular, realistic, eating resumes?  I'm sure I'd gain it all back and more. 

As I said two weeks ago - I'm not really unhappy where I'm at.  The six pounds are to see if I can do it.  Maybe, maybe not.  I'll keep at it.  At least I'm holding.  Even three pounds would be nice.... 
But next week we're off to Winnipeg where the food offered me is beyond my control.  I can at least choose 'how much' just not the 'what' because we're staying with people and hopefully not eating out much.  Workouts could/most likely will be be non-existent. 

Monday, 6 May 2013

Clean



Friday proved to be very productive and satisfying.  I actually got my house tidy and clean in the same day.  Of course that only lasted 2.2 seconds but at least I know I achieved the clean and tidy status, fleeting as it was.





Tiny front closet.  Big mistake with this house design.  I should have fit a boot room into the budget.




A few things on the counter, but hey, not bad for us!


The kids' table in the back right corner is usually piled with junk.


Sawyer's room.




Sierra's room.  She's a pack-rat, it's difficult to keep the clutter at bay.




Our room.