Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Post the World

Let me take you back to January 2015.  I had to drive to Calgary as I had a specialist appointment, it was just me and the baby in the car I was looking at the scenery as I drove and my brain was thinking, not just about driving but about a thousand things. I was thinking how I was sad I wouldn't get to see my friend because the baby was sick and I didn't want to spread his germs, I was thinking how pretty the mountains looked, I was thinking the roads were so much better than the last time I'd made that drive and I was thinking that I wish I could send post cards and get post cards from people from around the world.

I remember when I was a teenager I used to get those chain letters in the mail, and annoying as they were it was kind of fun to send off letters and to get so many letters in the mail.  I loved the idea of passing along Luck, because that's what all those letters were about, if you mailed that letter to 10 people you'd get something you wanted so why not!! I didn't like them as much when they were emails or texts they are kind of annoying.

I did think that getting a post card from all over the world would be kind of neat, especially if it was from people I didn't know, just saying hi, but it would be nice if they could also start to receive post cards from other people if they sent out their own. But it would have nothing to do with Lady Luck blessing you with anything or being cursed with bad luck if you chose not too!! And then I could put all the post cards in a scrap book. I realize that this isn't a totally unique idea, it's piggy backing off a couple ideas, I think there's a coffee table book that have different postcards and on the postcards people wrote their secrets.....  and it's taking the idea of chain letters to help everyone get new contacts and it's also sort of like a pen pal idea.

I'm calling it Post the World, because the goal is to send Smiles to as many people as I can and hopefully I will get post cards from around the world, every country in the world, that would be so COOL!!  I'm still working on the idea, but if you happen to get a post card in the mail you can be assured I have started Post The World Campaign and I'll have instructions posted how to continue on!!

Friday, 19 June 2015

Happiness!! Friday Five Link Up

I'm linking up with Mar on the run, Eat Pray Run and You signed up for what

again for their Friday Five Link up.  Today we are talking about our Five things that make us happy. It's like a loaded question, I mean the honest answer is life... but more specifically what about this life makes me happy.

So I started thinking about it, there are many things in my life that make me happy, surprising, or not, they aren't things that make me happy, but activities and people.

1) FAMILY: My family makes me happy. Yes they can drive me crazy, they can frustrate me to the point of wanting to run away at times, but I LOVE them and they make me happy.  How do I know they make me happy?  Mostly, because I recognize that without them I'd be very sad.  Very few people in life can make me smile and feel genuinely peaceful and happy like my family is able to.  So Yes my number one thing that makes me happy is my family.

2) FRIENDS: I love girl time, I love hanging  out with my girlfriends, in the kitchen, out at a restaurant, on the beach, at the park while the little ones play, hanging out with my friends is amazing!! (You should try hanging with us because we are a good time).  My friends are wonderful amazing, some I have known for 30 years, others it's only been a year but it feels like we've been friends forever.  Having laughs and chuckles as we make our way through this crazy ass life makes the insanity of the outside pressures (deadlines at work, unsupportive exes, etc) all the more bearable, because I know they have my back!!

3) YOGA: I really like yoga, I wish I could do it more and do it more at home on my own.  I've got a few great routines that I really like, it's just setting the time aside to do them.  But yoga makes me happy, I can be having a terrible day and 30 minutes of yoga will turn my whole perspective around!!

4) RUNNING: Yup still love it!! I love how I feel when I am running, I love how I feel afterwards and I love how I know that when I put my runners on, it's just about me and the miles, nothing else matters.  All the nattering in my head gets left behind and only the important things stay around.

5) WRITING/READING: This was a tie! I couldn't choose, especially since I go through spurts with both, sometimes I read and will, essentially, devour three books in a week, and then for a period of time I won't read at all.  The same thing goes for writing, I can write and write and write for months on end and then all of sudden I stop. No warning, no reason, well no concrete reason at the time, but when I look back it's usually because things start spinning out of control and writing is something, because it's not a money making activity, that is easy to put off until I get more time to do it.

What are the things that make you happy??

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Be-YOU-tiful: Beauty blog, BeYOU(TY)

The word beauty is interesting because it contains some very important information right in the word.  YOU.  You can't say the word beauty without saying the word you in fact beauty is a direction as well. It tells you to Be-you-ty.  I am an english teacher and I know that beauty is an adjective, a word to describe a noun, but what it we started to take beauty as a sentence, that would be a direction from the world.  BE YOU TY(thank you)

Beauty or being beautiful is more about being your authentic self.  Be True to you, stop trying to be what you think others want you to be.  It's such a hard lesson to learn at a young age, but if you can take these words and accept them to be true, it will change your life! Stop trying to be like the popular girl in school, stop trying to be like your best friend, stop saying you like everything your boyfriend likes so you can be 'closer', instead look inside yourself and discover who you are.  The funny thing is these people who you are trying to emulate initially liked you because they saw something in you that they were drawn to.  What they saw was a glimpse of your authentic self, so be you thank you!!

It doesn't matter what other people think, it matters what you think of yourself.  More people will be drawn to an authentic person than to a person of false faces.  And it gets so tiring trying to be someone to everyone, if you can be only person that everyone around you likes, then how much easier would your life be?  Seriously think about it........ did you think about it?  Are you your own authentic person?  Are you doing things in your life for you or because you think someone else wants you to do that?  How great would it be to know that the people around you like you for you, not because you do something for them?

Here's a story from when I was a teenager, not quite back in the stone ages, but you know way back then.

I had a good core group of friends, there were actually two who were my original friends but we each brought one or two other girls into our group.  So in the end there was a group of 7 or 8 of us that hung around very consistently, although there were factions within the group, some of the girls didn't get along with the others as much but on a whole we all go along.

Two of the girls, in hindsight mind you, were not very authentic.  But I remember being so annoyed with them from time to time. I always got the feeling they were SWFing (Single White Female the movie, if you've not seen you should) the person they were closest to that week.  See these two girls would bounce around from a couple girls in our group and they would be very flattering to that girl, in that they would imitate them; from the way they dressed, to the activities they enjoyed, to even how they would take their coffee.

To my teenage self it was annoying because you were always having to learn new quirks or new habits about these girls and when you felt you finally got it they changed again!! Very Frustrating!!  Even when it was me that I felt they were imitating, although this didn't happen very regularly which I was totally fine with.

I found it more frustrating because I did like each girl in our group for very specific reasons that were true to that person.  I liked my girlfriend because she was spunky and outgoing and enjoyed drama, I liked my girlfriend because she was a bookworm and we could share that interest, I like another of my girlfriends because we just melded really well, we had similar interests and we could talk for hours, the fourth girlfriend was very giving and always wanted to help, the fifth girlfriend was outspoken and spoke her mind, you knew what she was thinking, the sixth girlfriend was funny, she had a cool sense of humour and the seventh (the last one to join our group) was kind hearted.  You'd never know unless you really know me, who of these girls were the imitators, but two of them were.

It always felt when they were imitating others in the group they were playing some kind of false game with the rest of us.  Like they were trying to say to the outside world that they were more important to their chosen person then the rest of us were, which can be very maddening to girls who value their social circle.

But my girlfriends that were true to themselves, that were always their authentic selves,  I knew why I liked them, I knew why we were friends, I never questioned their motives and we are still friends to this day.  The two who weren't authentic well we've parted ways, and since then I've ensured that I surround myself with authentic people in my life.

So from now on when you think of beauty, change your mindset to the augmented sentence from above: Be YOU (ThankYou)!

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Good Bye my Muffin Top

So it's been awhile since I last posted. Things have been changing and at some points in the last few weeks I have felt incredibly overwhelmed and ready to quit life...

I have been struggling to lose this baby weight and nothing was working, not adding extra exercising, not watching what I was eating or eating by portion size, it was all just driving me insane.  I needed to do something, I needed to get more energy, I needed to dig myself out of my deep dark hole.

I knew about the Release program with Good bye my Muffin top I'd inquired about it a few years ago, but I was planning to have another baby so probably starting a protocol like that wouldn't be the best time.  But I kept in contact with these ladies and I participated in some Yoga in the Parks with them and went to some of there support meetings.  I really connected with their way of thinking.  I hated that at times I hated my body, that I would body shame myself and they talked about accepting your body for what it was in that moment.  It was all quite zen, but something I could buy into.  You've read some of my previous posts about Be your own Beautiful: Be YOU tiful so if you have read those posts then you know that it's not what's on the outside as much as what's on the inside that matters.

I've decided to take the plunge and try the Release program with Good bye my Muffintop.  It's a new way of thinking, it's harder to change my thinking about food then it is to actually follow the protocol. It's all about eating when you are hungry but not allowing your body to go into starvation mode.  It's using the HcG drops as well so you are on a 500 calorie protocol for a minimum of 23 days, then you can start reincorporating foods into your diet that have natural fat in them.  It's about using your body to burn your fat cells, instead of using the newly ingested food for energy.

Now I have spent most of my life dealing with diets of one kind or another. Sometimes I've been on a program from a gym that had me eating 2200 calories a day, which on days when I didn't work out were so many calories that I would feel ill while eating.  Days when I did work out I would need more and ingesting that many calories wasn't that difficult.  But it didn't make sense to me to be ingesting that many calories if my output was less than 2200 calories of activities per day.  Weight loss is about the mathematics Calories in vs calories out.

I truly dreaded the whole 500 calorie ideal, I mean that's not very many calories, but here's the thing, I've been doing it for a week and after I've eaten not once have I been hungry.  I eat a lot of vegetables and lean protein right now.  And 3 cups of vegetables for lunch and 3 cups of vegetables for supper is a lot towards the end of the meal I'm feeling quite full and very satisfied.

I'm also finding I have more energy, which I had lost in my last month of maternity leave and more so when I returned to work.  I was so tired sometimes that I couldn't stay up much past my kids and I felt very lethargic during the day, and I was eating according to the last meal plan I had followed.  I didn't even have energy to go out for a run, and if I did I was more tired after the run then before it.  Which is something I'd never experienced before.

The exercise restriction is the only thing I am not happy about, I enjoy exercising. I enjoy playing soccer on my women's team, I enjoy going for runs, I enjoy yoga and zumba classes, I even enjoy strength training.  I don't exercise for weight management, I know it helps, but I exercise because I want to be heart healthy (family history of heart disease) and I exercise because I love the endorphins that are released after I do exercise.  So this no exercising while on protocol is difficult but I'm doing it, knowing that I will have more energy when I'm off protocol and I will be able to start back into my training for my half marathon.

So the updates, why after a week I am continuing on this journey.  I have released 19 inches from my body, and 13 pounds. I find those numbers huge but I've been following the protocol and I'm learning to eat when I'm hungry.  I'm also kicking my sugar addiction, because if I'm honest I have a huge sugar addiction, chocolate bars, baking, double doubles, frappaccinos, ice cream, and when it comes to those things I have very little will power.  A mini blizzard from DQ is enough to satisfy the craving yet, I will order a large, a piece of a candy bar or a mini candy bar would be enough but I eat the whole thing etc etc.  I think the sugar addiction is the hardest part, but I am staying strong and I am not veering off this path.  I have 16 days to go, the first 7 were the hardest and it's really all down hill from here!!

Then it will be onto the maintenance part, but it will be eating to hunger and staying away from refined sugars and starches, but I KNOW I can do this, to get to a place where I am no longer a slave to the scale or a slave to eating protocols but eat to satisfy my body with balanced hormones that's the end goal!

Monday, 15 June 2015

Working versus Passion

Why do politics have to get in the way of you working your passion?  I love my job, I love what I do, and the results I see daily from helping coordinate programs for those in my programs.  It's so rewarding!!

But then politics get involved, be they provincial politics or just plain office politics, and then my passion is smothered.  It's not that I can't do my job in and around the politics, I can, but then the changes I think are necessary for moving the company into the next phase are never brought forward.  Because I can be a very good big picture thinker, but I can also break down the big picture into segments like a puzzle so that we can develop that big picture.

I tend to jump the gun a lot, bring things forward that aren't as well thought out as they could be, especially on the fly or off the cuff, as they come to me.  Sometimes my verbal diarrhea is hard to stop, especially when it's something I'm quite passionate about.

So here's my little Dear Diary entry about work.  We have a system at work that doesn't really work, to be honest it's quite cumbersome and there are too many people involved before the circle can be closed for the sake of standards.  It doesn't work, it's never worked, and it's never been standardized.

So I was trained in a system with standard operating procedures, as a teacher we have standard operating procedures that we all adhere too.  I like them, it means I know what I am responsible for and how to work to accomplish each task.  I brought forward a concern about our system that is broken, and wanted to have a discussion amongst the people who work with that system and with our managers so we could come up with a solution.

When I brought up the topic we started having a discussion and a few times a few of my co workers were passing dirty looks to me, and even some of my managers body language stated they were not happy I had brought this up.  In the midst of the conversation the one manager who did not look happy, said "We are done here!" effectively shutting me down and I felt like even though I wanted to work this out it wasn't something she would support so why should anyone else even want to talk about it.

My biggest concern with it is when another of my coworkers brings things forward she just brings them forward and we are to do them, there is never any discussion and I was trying to have a discussion so all of us who would be affected by this change would could voice our concerns.  It's very frustrating when we are told to work as a team, yet one person who has never done my job to the degree that my job is, is dictating all these changes to how we do our work but not giving any standard operating procedures to help us all move forward, nor is she telling us we will be doing this now instead of this, it's more we will do this now on top of doing this.

I don't play the politics game very well. I know I am very good at my job, I have a lot of self confidence in myself as a leader, that is not what I am concerned about, what I'm concerned about is that I am losing my passion for a job.

The question becomes is it worth it to keep going to work that I am not truly passionate about and leaving my kids to be at home with a sitter?  I've never felt that way, I do not believe that under any circumstance it's worth it to sacrifice your happiness for a paycheque, I  do not live to work, I  work to live my life according to my guidelines.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Summer Fun to begin!! Friday Five

I'm again linking up with Mar, Courtney and Cynthia for their Friday Five, I'm a day late, as well I took a mental health break from life just trying to get readjusted to going back to work again after being off for a year!! It's harder than you'd think!!

Today's Friday Five is all about my Five Favourite Activities to do in the summer, so here they are!!

1. Camping! This is new for me, I was never much of a camper, I did enjoy it when I was in high school and lived 30 minutes from the nearest lake, and I even camped in a tent! But as I got older the people I was friends with either didn't like camping or basically we couldn't afford it, so I lost my desire to camp. I for sure lost my desire to camp in a tent!! My husband loves camping, in a tent or camper he's fine either way.  He also likes camping in the bush, like not by a lake!  I don't understand it, I need to be by a lake or some body of water to enjoy camping, just sitting around an area where I pitched a tent or parked my trailer just doesn't seem like that great of a time.  So last year we bought a trailer, it's a nice one 32 feet long, sleeps 8 to 9 people (depending on their size) has a bathroom (necessity but as I came to realize not so much) and a kitchen and an outdoor kitchen.  So we went camping a few times this past summer and I have camping trips booked this summer.  I'm hooked camping is great!! Plus it's  a great time for the family to unplug and just be together!!!

2.Swimming! I love swimming, I will do it all year long, but there is something about swimming at the lake or beach that is just so refreshing and wonderful!! So swimming though I do it all year long is a summer favourite because I can swim outdoors!

3. Picnics! I love getting together for picnics at local parks and hanging with friends and the kids. It's such a great activity and the food is always so yummy!! Plus you get to see how creative other people are with their summer snacks.

4. Barbecues! Much like picnics I love barbecues in the Summer.  My husband will barbecue all year long, but I have a love for summer barbecues. It stems from my childhood, when dad would fire up the briquettes on the barbecue and he'd make us some steaks and potatoes. My mouth literally just watered thinking about it!! We have some great neighbours so now we have suppers together when the weather is nice and barbecue or Smoke (the husbands new fav activity) the meat to serve!  It's great and such a great way to get together with friends.

5. Campfires/Backyard fires! What a wonderful way to end a beautiful summer day!! With a campfire and friends! Stories and tales are shared, along with any number of campfire desserts (banana boats, s'mores, marshmallows) sometimes some one has a guitar and songs are sung or just having the radio play! What can I say, Summer is a wonderful time!!

Honorable mentions: Fairs, rodeos and outdoor concerts!!

What are your favourite things to do in the summer?

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Dear Prince T

It feels like only yesterday the doctor put you in my arms all wrapped in a blanket. I was so confused when Dr. Du Ploy announced your weight, because I was sure you were going to be bigger.  But you were the perfect size!! You were and still are perfect.

It's been the most amazing year with you in our life! You bring joy to everyone around you!  Your smiles are contagious and there is always a hint of mischievousness behind your eyes.

You have the same determination that your older brother, Lil Man had, but you have the chill disposition that Chandler had. If anything you are a very nice hybrid of your two older brothers, making you your very own person.

You love music and love to dance. Anytime music is on you are singing away and dancing to the beat. You have great rhythm already.

Though you aren't walking yet, you definitely motor around crawling.  You are up stairs constantly and are always looking for an escape route.  It is your new favourite game!  If you'd only listen and learn to go downstairs then we'd be rolling right along, but you refuse to go anyway but head first down the stairs.  No mater how many times I show you, you just sit at the top of the steps and yell until someone comes to rescue you. It's usually Lil Man, so know that you had your brother wrapped around your finger for a short time.

You are talking up a storm, just the words aren't always words we understand. You say Mama and Dada and baba most.  But you will often be heard saying Bra (for brothers) and Ler for Chandler.  It is very apparently you are ready to start talking.  I don't know what I will do with two little motor mouths, I may have to learn to be quiet sometimes haha.

You weren't the most cooperative at your cake smash, had no desire to touch or eat the cake, I don't know why it was very tasty.  Then you didn't even want to sit on the grass, it was a rough day for you I guess!! It's hard work turning one!

We celebrated your birthday with family and friends.  You were ok for most of the party but did have a nap right before it began and woke up half an hour later so it wasn't a big nap.  Once we put food in front of you though you were happy.  And you birthday Rice Crispy Cake was a smash for you, you definitely enjoyed that one!!

Well my dear sweet little boy, I write this with love and know that I love you to the ends of the universe and beyond!! You are a most cherished and loved little guy and I am so glad I get to be your Momma and watch you grow!!

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Kids Yoga

Back in April I signed Lil Man up for Yoga. My boy is a very active little guy and sometimes I think he needs to learn tools to help centre himself.  Since Yoga has been so great to me ( I'll get back at it I promise once I get paid) I thought this might be something that Lil Man would enjoy.

I was right!! He loves it, every Tuesday he is ready to go hauling my pink yoga matt out of the van, taking his friend Miss S's hand and off they go into 45 minutes of yoga bliss.  He loves it so much, he comes home and 'teaches' me yoga.  I am hoping he can find a few poses he feels comfortable doing when he is getting worked up at school.  He will sit in a meditative pose from time to time, so who knows.

The Kid's Yoga is offered at Universoul.  It is such a great facility and it offers so many unique and fun classes. If you haven't checked out Red Deer's newest Yoga studio you should stop in!!  Starting June 2 they have another 4 week Kids Yoga class and Lil Man is signed up already!! 

Would your kids like to join Yoga?  Check out the Little Souls class at Universoul, I promise you they will love it!!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

It's Coming......CHANGE

I live in a province that has had the same political party in charge for 44 years.  That's a long time for any one party to hold government.  And they haven't had a bad run, for years they were the party to get things done to make the province money, they got the province through some recessions, honestly they weren't all bad.  Ralph Klein was an amazing leader, but he had a pretty transparent approach, he told it like it was and he connected with the people.  Not to say that people were always happy, but the years speak for themselves, they were in power for a long time so they must have being doing something right.

Then Ralph resigned, I was new to Alberta so at first I didn't quite get it, I mean so what a politician was leaving politics big deal, open the door for the next crook.  (I know they aren't all crooks and most go into it meaning well, but all the political red tape changes people)  Then we had some years with a revolving door of new Premiers, and they just kept getting worse and worse.  No one could fill the big shoes left by Ralph.

Fast forward to two years ago, I think, my numbers might be off but Alison Redford was the Premier. And I don't know her personally, but her behaviour in politics has left me questioning her moral compass.  She played fast and loose with Alberta tax dollars, didn't do anything to balance the budget, ordered big expensive revamps to the provincial parliament building, took her kid and her kids friends on personal trips at Tax payers expenses and then told the middle class they would have to start paying more taxes, but corporations were given a by.  It left a terrible taste in Alberta voters and as a province we called for her resignation and that she pay back her exuberant expenses she charged to the voters that had nothing to do with politics.

Redford then resigned, Jim Prentice took over.  Poor guy, really his political parties reputation was left in shambles and he was to come in and be the next Ralph.  Again big shoes.  He started off well, reversed some decisions Redford had tried to put in place but Alberta was still struggling with a deficit budget, it wasn't looking good. Then Prentice made a comment that really got under the skin of many voters, in talking about the financial disaster Alberta was facing Prentice commented that "Albertans should look in the mirror" if they wanted to know who was at fault for this. EXCUSE ME!! I did not mismanage millions of dollars, take unnecessary trips for me and my children at the expense of the tax payers.  I did not look at the surplus we had in the bank as my own personal fund, so no Mr. Prentice I would not look in the mirror and shoulder this blame, besides that I NEVER voted for you!! EVER....

So then Prentice called an election after delivering a devastating budget that had no room for schools to grow, which they were doing, saw and increased tax for the middle class, no corporation tax, bad news for nurses and even though over the last five years MLAs had gotten about 30% in raises they only gave back 5%.  And Prentice was asking teachers to give up their promised 2% increase after taking nothing for the last 2 years.  Meaning he wanted them to give up 7.5% in earnings based on the raise in Cost of Living Allowance.  Yeah good one, call an election!!

Albertans were pissed, we were tired of the PC rule, we wanted change.  Now not everyone wanted to change, and many people were nervous about the other political parties, I mean no party has a really strong track record for doing everything right.  How can you it's impossible to please 100% of the people. If you did that you'd be a monarch because they would be happy to give away their rights and just let you make decisions, but that's not likely to happen in a country that prides itself on its political state.

So the results are in, and it looks like we are an orange province now, meaning the  New Democratic Party is in.  I grew up in a province that in my younger years was generally NDP, I share a lot of the socialist views but I try to be a little more balanced...

People are terrified, they keep saying what about what happened in BC, or Ontario.  Or they are against this or that.  I do find that when people aren't happy with the political power they become more vocal and you learn a lot about political views of your friends.  I'm happy that Alberta brought in a change, and NDP is a good change where Wildrose would have been more of the same.

Ok I'll clarify that last statement.  Wildrose is a different political party than the PC party, but their views are pretty much in line with each other, that's why many of the Wildrose MLAs felt they could cross the floor to become PC MLAs.  To bolster the PC party and support Jim Prentice, for some of them it worked but for Danielle Smith well she resigned and left after losing her seat.  Voting in MLAs has less to do with the person and more to do with the political party platform.  So Wildrose is just a different branch of the PC party in my opinion.

NDP is way over on the other side though from PC so it could be a drastic change to Alberta.  If you believe all the hype on social media it could be the worst thing for Alberta and all the Saskatchewan transplants (I being one of them) are heading home on the next train!  But I am a firm believe of waiting it out.  My dad taught me to wait it out, if you can wait out stocks you will be ok in the long run don't panic on the fluctuation.  So I hold the same view for politics, at the end of the day it's four years, then it will be time for a new election!  I think I'll wait to see what the NDP does with the budget and taxes and then I'll reassess this new political power in my province.  Maybe we all can, but if you are seriously put out, make sure you contact your MLAs and start letting your voice be heard, venting it on Facebook is not the platform to do it and expect anything to be done about it.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Let's talk about Suicide

There are a few things I rarely do on this blog, because I don't want this blog to turn into that kind of blog, I want this blog to be fun, with fun tips and interesting things I do with my family.  It's a way they can look back and see what happened over the years and stuff.  So I don't usually post anything political even though I have very strong views, and I don't usually post anything about those harder subjects either that parents have to face.  But today I'm going to talk about Suicide because it Sucks!!

On Monday there were 4 suicides in Red Deer.  Four families lost loved ones who were close to them, four families now have to face the reality of a world where that loved is not here.  And it SUCKS!! It sucks when you don't know the families because if  you are human you can empathize and you know they are going through hell right now.  It sucks even more when your kids were acquaintances and you have to talk with them about why someone would make that choice and how they can offer help to friends if they see them in that position ever again.  It sucks even more when you know the family because they are friends of yours who has lost someone to suicide.  It sucks when it's your friend, it sucks when it's your partner, it SUCKS!!!

And the truth is it can happen to anyone and it can happen for any reason.  When you are in that deep, dark place there is no exit strategy unless you have already built one in and sometimes that doesn't happen.  It's no one's fault, and you can "should" yourself to death but that won't change what's happened.  So don't dwell on those things that can't change this horrible ordeal, that will only make it worse,  suicide sucks and it's indicative of a bigger issue.  Sometimes people attempt and it's a cry for help and sometimes there is no attempt and loved ones are left with a million plus questions and scenarios running through their minds.  I've no other word for it Suicide sucks!!!

But what can we do about it? How do we help those we don't even know are calling for help?  How do we help those that shut us out, or have acted out time and time again and we are at our wits end with them?

I don't have a magic solution that will help everyone. I don't have the answer, and as much as I wish I did, because trust me I wish I did, I wish I knew what to teach people to help everyone from choosing Suicide, I just don't.  All I have are suggestions that come from my common sense.....they aren't fail proofs but I guess they are things that would help based on my training and education.

First I've taken A.S.I.S.T training for 6 years now. That stands for Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, it's a very good course but it can be quite emotional.  I've also taken some university counselling classes for my teaching degree. I'm by no means an expert, but if my writing this blog can help one person help another person, then this is worth it.

So here are some things I do that I've learned in communicating with kids.

1) Listen to what your kids are saying and what they AREN'T saying. Sometimes what they aren't saying is much more profound than what they are saying.  Don't interrupt your kids when they are talking and telling you things, especially if it's a question you've asked.  Let silence be your friend and the quiet prompter that encourages your kid to talk.  If you are always rushing them through their conversations they won't share fully, they will only share with you what they think you want to hear.

2) Invade their space!  It's your house, they just live there. You can go into their room from time to time, knock if they are in their and might be changing, but at the end of the day it's your house if you need to look in the room to figure out what's going on with them, to get a hint as to what their life is like when you aren't around then do it. Yes some parents are going to say that's an invasion of their privacy, my response is so what.  So what! It's my house and they are MY kid, I need to know what's going on so I can help them!! If I don't snoop and they aren't talking to me how am I going to find out.

3) Spend quality time with your kids.  I don't care what it is, but you should spend time with your kids each day.  Maybe it's supper, maybe it's watching a show, maybe it's going for a drive, cooking supper.  We are all busy, but giving your kids 15 mins of undivided attention does wonder for the kids.  I worked with a program called FAST (Families and Schools Together) that taught parents to spend 15 mins with their kids each night.  The feedback from the families was that it improved their relationships with their kids immensely and it helped them learn to have positive interactions with them.   We are all busy, there is so much in this world that is vying for our attention, sometimes we have to shut out the outside and just focus on the people that matter.  This 15 mins of quality time can change as the kids get younger.  I read to my littlest ones, but with my teenager, we cook together and then we also watch certain shows together on a regular basis, I would never watch some shows without him.

4) Ask the hard questions.  If you suspect, or fear or even want to know what they know about it ask them.  Kids aren't dumb and if you aren't asking they aren't sharing.  Don't think it can't happen to you, because it can happen to anyone.  And do not think that by asking you are putting the idea in their head, if they aren't thinking it when you ask they won't be afterwards, and if they are, it happened before you asked and their are other questions you are going to need to follow up on.  You are the parent or adult you need to be willing to have these conversations. If you aren't they won't think it matters. You can't put your head in the sand!!!

5) In the end if the person you are talking to says they are suicidal, don't condemn them! Don't tell them they shouldn't feel that way! Don't talk to them about all they would be leaving behind! Be present with them, be there in that moment with them and then work on a plan to get them to the next day or get them to someone who is a professional to help them.  Not everyone is going to tell you, not everyone will talk about it, but if you aren't willing to talk to them they won't talk to you.  Make a plan, and give them control.  So if you are struggling with helping them through this, due to emotions or it being a foreign concept for you to wrap your head around don't just thrust them on a stranger without their approval, let them choose the counsellor, let them make choices is different options.  If you don't know how to offer those choices call the kids help line, a suicide hotline, Health link.  Get help for you, but be honest with them too, let them know you are struggling, let them see that you are scared, be authentic. you don't have to have all the answers, but you have to be willing to look for them.

These are some other helpful websites you could go check for more information!! I hope this helps and I hope that anyone dealing in this issue finds peace!! My heart goes out to anyone who's been affected by Suicide!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Be-YOU-tiful Blog: Hair 101.2

So the last blog I talked about the hairstyles I've had through the years and which were my favs and why.  I don't think I posted one that I didn't like and really there haven't been any, just ones I like less because of the problems they bring (styling wise).  But today I want to talk about what I think makes beautiful hair and how to have beautiful hair.

I think the best hair is healthy hair!! It's not about the coif, it's about how healthy it looks, if it looks greasy or brittle maybe we need to fix that but hair doesn't have to have a fancy style, up do, whatever it just has to be healthy.

I suffer from dry hair.  It drys out really easy and then it gets frizzy. I have a natural wave (that's what I call it) so it has these kinks in it and can drive me crazy!! But the worst is when my hair feels dry, because then it makes me feel like it's unhealthy and that's when my split ends seem to multiple.  I use Hair masques and deep conditioning conditioners to battle my dry hair.  I don't have any one product that I've found that I love, I do like to try different things to find the one I love.  I guess because I don't have to deal with dry hair all the time (this is a brutal winter situation) I forget what I've used and love so I find new things.  Right now I'm using a product from L'oreal.  It's really good, and I love Redkins moisture shampoo and conditioner.

I was very disappointed recently by the Big Sexy Hair line. Their Big Healthy Hair shampoo and conditioner for moisturizing hair did not live up to my expectations of the other products I have tried. I didn't find that moisturized my hair but my hair did smell good!!

After my hair is washed I like to use Moroccan Oil to give it that added moisture that i need.  I also don't use a lot of product when styling my hair.  I don't use a lot of hairspray if any and like I said before I don't use irons on my hair that often either so that's one of my blessings.  I know not everyone has that, we will call it an opportunity, because some people have to style their hair because their hair has a mind of it's own.  I do love the Big Sexy Line of products they are my favourite but I also like the Chi line that's a very good line especially for my flat iron!

What hair problems do you have struggles with?  What products do you love for your hair?

Monday, 20 April 2015

I'm losing it!!

I'm seriously losing it!! Now not everything is telling me that I'm losing it, but the most important indicator is saying I'm losing it and that's what's important!

I feel conflicted by this news, I mean for years I've depended on the balance to let me know where I was and now I can't count on that, everything is off balance and nothing is being correctly indicated in that area. Now I've found a new way to test and it's almost compulsive the way I use this tool to check what I've lost, but at the end of the day I'm losing it!!

Now any of you who read my blog on a regular, semi regular basis probably have guessed to what I'm referring or are least know that it's not my mind (let's be honest I lost that a long time ago).  I'm talking about my journey to physical health and I'm getting there and losing the unwanted extras that have attached themselves to my body.

The SCALE, that horrible thing that rates how your body responds to the gravity on the earth is a horrible liar!! It keeps saying I'm gaining and not losing at all, so I am done with that thing!! I hate it!! (But to be honest, I'll probably still go check it once a month to check if I'm losing any weight, but it's not my big indicator of what's going on not anymore, because it is a liar)

No I am losing inches.  In the last 8 weeks I have lost a total of 32 inches.  Now this is from an all over body measuring total, my body was a scary 370 inches when I started, measuring my neck, chest (2 areas) waist (2 areas), hips, legs (2 areas) and biceps.  And today after my measuring I am down 32 inches, that used to be my band size, it's not right now but I'll get back there. To break it down more I have lost 3 inches at the smallest part of my waist, 3 inches across my belly button and 1 inch across my hips.  I've also lost 1.5 inches under the arms and above the chest, but I've lost 5 inches across my nipple line.  I'm so happy with these results and yeah to not nursing anymore!!

So I'm on my way, I'm seeing a difference and I have 18 inches to go to be at my goal measuring at this rate I should hit that before I'm back to work full time.  It will be nice to be able to fit into my clothes for work again and actually wear clothes that aren't just yoga pants. Nothing against yoga pants but I like to dress up for work and right now that wardrobe does not fit and I need it to fit!!

Friday, 17 April 2015

Friday Five: It's all in the Brand!!

Well today's Friday Five with Mar, Cynthia and Courtney is all about Brands that we love.  I sort of struggle with this topic because as much as I appreciate brands, I am always looking for a deal and deals and brands aren't always synonymous with each other. So I am that girl that will buy the knock-off because it's that much cheaper, but there are a few brands I love and I can definitely say it has a lot to do with the marketing.  So here are 5 Brands I love!!

1) Anything Saskatchewan Roughrider!! I'm a prairie girl and I love me some CFL and I LOVE the Roughriders!! During the CFL season I bleed green!! This isn't a brand per se, but this company has invested a lot of marketing into it's brand and it's become a recognized name around the world.  I have found Saskatchewan Roughrider Wine from Chile.  Yeah it's made it's mark around the world!! So I love anything Saskatchewan Roughrider, if it's got the S Flag in it I probably want to buy it!

2) Nike.  I am a Nike girl through and through, have been since I was 14.  There is just something about their shoes and they way they fit my feet that I am beyond in love with!  I've tried other runners Saucony, which are great, but Nike runners are where it's at of this girl!

3) Apple! I've converted from a PC to an apple user. After getting my first iPhone and macbook I was hooked.  I love them.  Not so fond that some of my games aren't as easy to operate on the iOS but I've found loop holes and got love me some loop holes.  Who knows how long this love affair will last, but for now I'm on the Apple B(r)and wagon and you won't see me stepping down for anything!

4) Kate Spade! LOVE HER! I love her bags, her clothes, glasses everything! I love it and I love ebay for allowing me to be able to afford my Kate Spade obsession.  After my first work pay check I will be treating myself to a new Kate Spade purchase!! I love the durability and classic lines of Kate Spade's designs! I'm all about Classic looks!

5) Old Navy or Banana Republic.  Ok I've put these two together because even though they are separate brands they sister companies.  I love Old Navy for my casual wear and jeans, but I love Banana Republic for my grown up business attire, I especially love Banana Republic Factory Outlet stores!! Banana Republic has these great trouser jeans that I adore.  I must own like 4 pairs of the same jean!! They fit me like a dream and look amazing on me so how could I not.  But I love Old Navy for their classic cut jeans and for their casual tops and even their workout gear is cool!  So if you ever see me out shopping it will likely be at one of these two stores.

What are five brands you love?

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Be-YOu-tiful: Hair 101

I'm going to do a few blogs on things that contribute to outward beauty.  I think beauty is a package deal, inside and out, so your outside has to match your inside and sometimes, just sometimes the outside is easier to understand than the inside so let's start easy.  Let's talk about finding your Hair.

Wait, wait, I know it's on top of your head (yes I have voices of my friends making smart ass comments like that, so I answer those voices in this blog).  What I mean is how do you find the hair style that goes with your personality.  In my life I've had many different hair styles, and hair colours.  Any time I've changed my hair I've loved it (I love change, I thrive on it) but there are some hair styles that I like more than others.

Here I had long blond hair for my wedding, it was great!! I am pretty proficient at doing various up does and it always allowed me to have different styles. Funny tidbit, I didn't think my hair was that long when it was this length but it was very long!!

Here I had my shortest hair ever and it was a brown with highlights.  I really liked this hair style because it was super easy to do, I would literally just wake up, run my fingers through my hair and it was good to go.  My hair has volume in it so that made it easy.  It's just growing it out from this length sucks there are so many in between lengths that are no fun to get through!

Here I have long hair and I went a deep auburn colour. This colour definitely makes my eyes pop and I loved it!! But I'm not a fan of all one colour for my hair, I like to have tones and highlights.  Yeah I'm picky that way

Here I have short blond hair in and angle cut. It was probably one of my favourite hair styles. It was still long enough to put in a pony tail, and it was off my shoulders and felt so light and nice.  I really loved this hair style!!

But this is my favourite hair style and cut.  It's just past my shoulders to the mid of my back when straight but it curled really nicely and it was a nice caramel colour with blond peek a boo high lights. I Loved this style and this is the one I want to get back to.  Plus it's easy to maintain and easy to style.

So as you can see I've gone through a multitude of hair styles and I've loved every one of them!! There are styles I've loved more than others.  I'm not the biggest fan of the really blond short hair, it was fun but it wasn't my favourite.  I didn't feel my best with that hair, but the caramel with blond that's the style I loved and felt my best with!  I have four more inches to go and I should be at the right length then it's just a matter of getting the cut right!!

One thing I've learned is that I need to take care of my hair.  I personally don't wash it every day, I've been blessed with great hair, it holds curl and it straightens well, it doesn't get too greasy EVER, so I wash it two to three times a week, like every third day or so.  There are certain times of the year when I have to wash it more, especially during marathon training, but I like to let the natural oils condition my hair to help keep it healthy and it does.  I also use Moroccan Oil on my hair once a week.  My hair can get dry so using the Moroccan oil helps it stay healthy.  I also try not to use heated tools on my hair too often. If I straighten it one day I won't straighten it or curl it until after I've washed it again.

I think it's very important that you find a hairstyle that fits your personality. Once you have that it bolsters your confidence in such away that it's impossible not to feel amazing.  It's why we love going to the hairdressers ( and for the shampooing and scalp massage) because when we leave we feel amazing, even if we know we will never be able to do the hairstyle we left with!!

So what is your favourite hair style?  DO you have a colour you prefer? Who is your hair role Model?

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

11 Months, seems like Forever!!

I remember getting Lil Man's school calendar in September and thinking it was going to be forever before May hit, 9 months away, and yet here we are two weeks out of May and I can't believe how fast the time has gone.

Prince T has grown into a delightful baby!! He's mostly happy, quite stubborn but easy to get along with, he just knows what he wants and he knows how to get it.  He's really started doing some neat things now.  He's not walking yet, but he's pulling himself up and standing with assistance, he claps, he waves hi and bye and he still blows kisses.  He loves his brothers and he enjoys spending time with Daddy.

There are some marked differences between him and Lil Man when Lil Man was that age.  Prince T doesn't fight sleep, he lays down for his naps without fuss and sleeps well during his naps. He's still taking two naps a day and he is in bed by 7 every night.  He's a creature of routine.  Lil Man wasn't quite this easy, he'd fight naps, he'd walk around and do anything to stay awake when he was tired and bed by 7 forget it, Lil man wouldn't go to sleep until 9 or 10 and he had to have you sleep with him.  Lil Man and Prince T have an equally determined attitude, when they get an idea in their head that's what they want and so help anyone who stands in their way.

Prince T loves to play with his brothers, he loves to be read to, and he really likes Justin Time (thanks Lil Man).  Prince T also likes to eat, but he's particular about what foods he feeds himself and what foods you are allowed to feed to him.  Going outside is another favourite activity of Prince T, he loves being outside as long as he's bundled up he'd love to be outside all day long.  I'm so glad it's nice out again, soon he'll be playing in the yard and chasing his big brother around.

Prince T isn't a fan of staying up for long periods of time, he enjoys his sleep.  He also is showing signs of an allergy to Milk, so we've switched him to Almond Milk, which has helped.  He's no longer having explosive diapers that require him to be showered twice or three times a day, hopefully he will grow out of it or at least not be so sensitive to it that he can't enjoy other things like cheese and yogurt and ice cream, but if it goes the other way we will figure that out too!!

I have one more month at home with him full time, but actually only two weeks because I'm going back to work on May 4th.  And then I return full time on May 19th.  I'm excited and sad at the same time.  I'm hoping to work more in the evenings then the day time so I can spend more day time hours with my boys while they are awake!!

Happy 11 Months Prince T, we LOVE you forever and ever!!

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Be-YOU-tiful: Defining Beauty

What it beauty? What makes a person beautiful? Who decides what the benchmark for beauty is? These are all questions society struggles with on an universal level.  But every culture, every society, every group has it's own definition which makes defining beauty one of the hardest tasks I've ever encountered.  Beauty is very subjective and we each have our own parameters for what makes someone beautiful, the funny thing is it's not often centred around physical beauty.

I've struggled with this term for most of my life.  I've never had self esteem issues that I wasn't physically attractive, but I've had self confidence issues that maybe I wasn't my best self and that others were better than me.  My friends were skinnier, better at fashion, funnier, had better hair and so on and so on.  And my battles have changed from year to year but they've helped me define Beauty for me.

Here are some of the big triggers of low self confidence for me!

1) I've struggled with having facial hair, not a lot but enough to be noticeable, at a time when I felt like I was the only one (I've since learned that most of us struggle with it, High Five Ladies who share my struggle) I eventually learned about waxing and well my life has never been the same!!

2) I've never been Kate Moss-esque.  I grew up in the height of Kate Moss as the "It" girl supermodel!! So depressing after Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Christy Turlington, Nikki Taylor who were all more or less built like me, then came Kate Moss, the tine waif like creature and that was the new look.  And she's pretty but for a girl with curves she is not someone to idolize, but she was everywhere, and people wanted her look, so because I was 16 I also wanted her look, not understanding that that look was an impossibility for me.  So I felt bad about myself because I could never been quite skinny enough. But beauty, or magazine beauty has a way of waxing and waning and now we are back to having girls with curves as our ideals.  I wish I could go back and tell my 16 year old self that I was fine just as I was.

3) My girlfriends were smaller than me.  I'm tall, I stand 5'8" tall, which isn't the tallest girl around but I was the tallest girl in my social circle, plus as mentioned above I have curves.  Therefore, I was bigger than most of my friends. So add this on top of not being like Kate Moss, which some of my friends were, and you have a compounding issue of self confidence destruction.

4) In my younger years I was very envious, and the traits I was envious of were those of physical beauty.  I envied my friend who could pull off all these neat hair styles regardless of the length of her hair. I was stuck in pony tail mode, with the rare occurrence of a braid.  I envied my friend who had tons of make up and could put on make up like it was no big deal, she knew different tricks and how to high light and contour before that was even something the general population really knew about.  I envied those girls who could wear single digit clothing, while I was stuck in my size 10-12.

5) I have imperfect teeth.  I never got braces as a teenager because an orthodontist told me that I had a gap in my teeth because my teeth were narrow and the braces could pull them together but they would still have a gap somewhere else in my teeth.  Not exactly a selling feature for having a mouth full of metal for two years at the pinnacle of my self esteem development.  So I never pursued it, and I have a gap between my front two teeth.  It's quirky and fun, but when having perfect straight teeth is desirable, well let's just say I have a lot of pictures where I'm smiling with a closed mouth.  I don't mind my gap now but I am still thinking of fixing it with braces. However, I am now at an age where I can afford some dentistry so maybe I will go for it, but it's not going to change who I am.

Those were and are my top five self confidence triggers.  Why is my self confidence important for defining beauty?  Well in my opinion, whenever I focused on my deficits, as I saw them, in any of those five areas, were the times I didn't feel beautiful, but when I accepted myself, with those "flaws" then I did feel beautiful.  See?

For me beauty isn't so much the physical attributes, they help, but your self confidence is what pulls the package together.  When I would focus on my flaws, I noticed more people noticed them, but when I would accept them and have a devil may care attitude about them I didn't notice people noticing the little things, I noticed them noticing ME.

So here is my definition of beauty.  Beauty is a fluid and subjective concept that takes attributes from physical and abstract concepts to create an ideal for the beholder.  One person's beautiful will be another person's ugly, but at the end of the day Beauty is about being YOU, being what you want the world to see and owning that part of you! At the end of the day it doesn't matter if you please everyone, it MATTERS that you accept yourself and that the people who care about you the most accept you for you!  Beauty is a whole package, it's not just the looks, but if the inside is incongruent with the outside it won't matter what the outside looks like.

What is your definition of Beauty?

Monday, 13 April 2015

Welcome back from Easter Break

It's been awhile since my last blog!! Not my longest break by any means, but a break none the less.  The last two weeks have been Easter Break in Red Deer.  The first week had the oldest son off and the second week the youngest was off.  I also had my nieces for the second week as they were off school as well. Needless to say this was a busy household and I was exhausted!!

I really don't know how people with lot's of kids do it!! I admire them, I mean I have three which is what I'd consider a do-able number.  Especially since there is an 11 year gap between my oldest and middle child.  So I really only have two children and a teenager, and my middle child, Lil Man, is becoming more and more independent each day so that leaves just the baby.

When my nieces were here they are 3 and 8 years younger than my oldest so they fit right in the middle of my kids.  I then had 5 kids from 16 to 10 months!! Scary thing is they could have all been mine with the age gaps.  I love my nieces but I'm so thankful I don't have 5 kids all the time.  It's exhausting!! How do you parents do it???

I suppose it's like anything, you get used to it, so then you aren't as exhausted as I am, and after awhile I'm sure things fall into a routine, but I'm sure you are exhausted by the end of the day and I don't blame you!! It also makes a difference that the youngest were off school the same time the nieces were here so there was a lot of what can we do, let's do something activities.  My personal parenting belief is that kids should be outside whenever they can be, for as long as possible! We have iPads, tablets, Netflix, Video Game consoles, but I like to keep those things for the weekend and not during the week.  I also think kids should earn those treats of screen time and it shouldn't just be something they do.  Not that giving your child screen time is lazy parenting, I've done it a time or too, but I would just rather they come up with other activities, and be active, burn off that energy as opposed to letting it build for the world's largest temper tantrum when you turn the screens off.  Or does this just happen in my house?

Well I'm back to blogging and I'm going to be doing a series of Beauty Blogs that I'm entitling Be-YOU-tiful!! They will be all about finding my beauty journey, inside and out.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I have been enjoying the journey!!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

I Don't Need to Drink the Kool-aid

I like to surround myself with people that have different view points on the world because as they share their view points it broadens my view of the world.  Maybe that sounds selfish, but I feel that when we stop trying to see different points of views we become stagnant and closed minded and I don't want to be closed minded or seen as judgemental.  I guess I should clarify a couple things before I start.

Closed Minded individuals, for the purpose of this specific blog, are those individuals who refuse to see things from another perspective.  They grab onto a view or belief and anyone who does not agree with them 100% are classified as stupid (which is not a true use of the word).  They also push their viewpoint on you vigorously and when you give them facts to refute their claims, they mention their expert and how they wish their expert could set you straight.  Closed minded individuals live in a very black and white world, it's black or it's white there are no colours and shades of grey, forget about it.  I feel closed minded people are those people who bomb abortion clinics, who throw red paint on a lady wearing a fur coat, who shame you for working in the Oil Sands, and so on and so on.

Being judgemental is a human characteristic, but there are two types of judgemental people.  Those who judge a situation and base it on their life and their understanding of what they have experienced and those who judge another person's way of life as being right or wrong.  I fall into the first category, I hear different view points, I've seen different documentaries some of them I've adapted to my life, some I've dismissed.  But I don't judge those people that choose to do differently as right or wrong, good or bad, they are just making different choices and it works for them so that is completely fine.

I always like learning new things, and often after a conversation with a friend I will process what they have told me.  In the midst of the conversation I may not fall down as a blind follower and tell them they are completely right, but that doesn't mean I don't take into account what they have said and think of how to apply it to my life.  But I like to come to things on my own, I'm not a blind follower and just because someone says this is the way of the world, does not mean that that is my reality.  I'd make a very bad cult follower!

I get frustrated though when people assume I'm stupid because I won't drink the Kool-aid they are passing around. I may hold the Kool aid for a bit or I may out and out refuse it, but at the end of the day that is my choice and so long as I am not speaking negatively about the person it shouldn't matter if we have different beliefs.

I find that people become zealots about different things in life.  So they buy into what they believe to be true and won't or can't see another perspective.  For example, PETA participants (not all of them, but some) have been known to throw blood or red paint on women who wear fur coats because the fur coat came from an animal and killing animals for their skin is wrong.  Ok that's all well and good that they believe that and that they live their life according to that, but that doesn't mean everyone has too.  How do these people know that that fur coat wasn't a family heirloom the only thing their great grandmother was able to save in the war and bring over to this new world, and it was the coat she wore to get a job because it was the only nice thing she had.  That animal then died well before PETA existed, in a time where animals probably weren't just killed for their furs, and if they were that was the way it was.  It doesn't mean the lady wearing the fur was sending out people to kill more animals to make more fur coats for herself, she just wanted to wear a coat to feel connected to her familial past.  Now it's ruined because a PETA zealot decided that their way was the only way and anyone else continuing to perpetrate an old ideal was wrong (stupid, soulless insert your own adjective).  I don't wear fur, but I have shoes that are leather so I obviously don't buy into the PETA ideal, but I don't think people who choose to live that life are bad either.  They are making a different choice, I just don't believe in everything they stand for so I can't count myself in as a believe of them.  I do agree that animals shouldn't be mistreat or abused, that they shouldn't be used for testing products on.  I agree to support companies that are actively not testing on animals but I'll also support companies that are working towards not testing on animals.

I also think their's a line too.  I mean in the above example the PETA person was very concerned with the animal that had died to become a coat.  Very admirable but that person completely disrespected another HUMAN being!! For me it's not wonder they get a bad reputation.  If you are all for the dignified treatment of animals then you should at least be willing to treat humans the same.  You can't sit there and say it's wrong to disrespect animals and mistreat them, when you are willing to disrespect and mistreat humans.  That doesn't make sense, how can we treat animals better then we treat our fellow humans.

At the end of the day that's what it comes down to, for me.  I'm very much for the fair treatment of all the creatures on this planet, I think it's important to keep a balanced ecosystem, but I also think it's very important that we treat HUMANS fairly. That we become more upset about a group of missing women in our country as opposed to someone still eating Beef.  That we become more upset about the women who are forced into the sex trade instead of being upset that a company still tests on Animals because it's required to sell in China.  I can't get on board with all this animal stuff until I see things happening that improve how we treat humans.

Saving that animals has not shown any indication to how we will save ourselves.  People that save the animals aren't always concerned with the ramifications it has on the people, (again I'm not talking extreme cases)  People who don't believe in the Rodeo and Chuck Wagon Races because it's cruel to the horses, refuse to see the other human side of the issue.  Families that are involved with these sporting organizations are multigenerational, it's how they make a living, if they have to stop, who is going to support them? Who is going to help them learn new skills to contribute to society?  And then what of the horses?  Horses that have been bread since the Chariot Races in the Coliseum, to race are all of a sudden being put out to pasture, even those horses that are born to be racers but don't make the cut still naturally run, and race hard on their own and if they don't get enough work they become harder and harder to handle and dangerous.

The point of this blog is to promote tolerance, and acceptance.  I don't have to drink your kool aid to respect you as a person. I don't have to be aligned with your beliefs to understand your point of view or respect that you see things differently.  But just because I don't see them they same way doesn't mean I'm stupid, it doesn't mean that I have not given thought to what you said, it just means based on my own belief system I will respectfully disagree with you. It doesn't make your views wrong, it just means I'm choosing a different path.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Week 9: Running to SeaWheeze!

Ok I know we missed a week here, but there was literally nothing to report.  I went through a lazy stage, and I just couldn't shake myself out of my funk.  I even binged on some terrible foods and then almost as soon as it started I was ready for it to be over and we are back in the saddle again.

My neighbour may be a huge inspiration to this as well.  In December she got a treadmill (I hate those things, but...) and after her birthday she decided that was it she was going to use the treadmill every day and she has, even if its just for 30 minutes, she gets on that treadmill and gets to work. It's been 11 weeks and you can see a difference already and because she has done it every day it's become a habit for her!! I sat and talked with her this weekend and I was inspired, I need to kick my work outs up a notch and need to get them to become a habit, something I just do every day.  I can't not do them, I have to do a little something everyday, it's the only way this is going to work for me.

So here we are at week 9, and we are making a fresh start.

I'm now going to start with my overall grade and I'm going to include my rubric for marking myself each week.

                  A                                 B                                 C                                D
-a long run was                 -3 short runs                  -2 short runs                 -1 short run completed
completed, with 3            completed                      completed                     -1yoga/ strength session
shorter runs                       -1 yoga session            -1 yoga session
-2-4 yoga sessions           -1-2 strength sessions   -1 strength session
-2-3 strength sessions

I'm aiming for As for the next 20 weeks!!

Overall Grade:

Because I gung-ho I have printed off some exercise sessions and some yoga routines to do each day this week.  I'm also joining a yoga studio in town, this week Universoul has $12 drop ins for each of their classes. I'm going to buy a punch pass and then incorporate some yoga classes into my weekly routine. Tonight's class was a Hatha Yoga class, it was amazing!! I love how it builds and builds upon the poses. I felt wonderful after that class, I'm going to try another couple classes this week.  I also went out for a walk again tonight, we completed 4.5 km, it wasn't a run but it was a brisk walk so I will count it as a short run.  Today has been an A+ day, I did some yoga at home, a yoga class and a walk. It doesn't get much better than that!!

I made it out for a walk today  again with Sara, we completed 4 kms and I did yoga at home by myself!!  It's definitely not as much fun as going to a class, but it will do in a pinch, I actually tried to recreate the flow from the class, that was fun, forgot some of the poses but I think I got a pretty decent workout in.

No run today, but I did a Zumba/Yoga class at Universoul!! It was Amazing!! I felt worked out and I felt stretched out!! I can't wait to go back to do it again!

I got my 5 km run in today and some yoga!! It was great to get back out there hitting the pavement!!

Today there was actually a lot of walking as the boys and I hit up Calgary Zoo!! We got a total of 7 km in while walking around the zoo.  The Zoo has changed their dinosaur exhibit and it's not animatronic so that was pretty cool to see, it was super busy there and they have a couple of interactive areas.  I really enjoyed it I'll write another blog about that soon!

I did some easy yoga stretches today at home, I was going to do my Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown DVD but we just got buys doing family things and cleaning the house.

Today was a day of rest, mostly because I went out Saturday night to a friends house and did not feel like moving at all on Sunday!!

Total Kilometers:20 km
Best Pace: 7:00 mins/ km, I finished my 5 km in 40 minutes and I was able to do the 8:1:30!!

Friday, 27 March 2015

Favourite Spring Time Foods Friday Five Link Up

I'm once again linking up with the girls from DC.  Make sure you check out Mar, Cynthia and Courtney's blogs and the other bloggers who join up!!

Today's topic is Favourite Spring Time foods.

I'm stumped, literally stumped, I didn't know there were seasonal foods, I mean I know fruits and veggies have seasons but for favourite foods I am not really sure.  This took a lot of thinking, a lot of deciphering what I consider spring foods.

1) Barbecue!! Anything really, I love Barbecue foods and I love them more in the spring or summer.  My husband barbecues all the time, every season and that's new for us. Growing up the Barbecue was only ever fired up in the spring or summer so I think that's why I love Barbecue in the spring and sumer.

2) Jello:  Mostly the red jellos, but I love jello! It's definitely something I make more in the spring than any other time of the year.  It's super easy and fun for the kids.

3) Ice Tea.  I know technically not a food, but I don't drink Ice tea in the winter like at all ever and I find Ice Tea so refreshing!

4) Watermelon... Need I say more?? I mean so juicy and yummy and sweet.  and the perfect fruit to make Yuk a futz with !!;)

5) Farmer's Market Vegetables: I get that I can get these all year long, with the way the world is now and we importing vegetables from all over the world to always have seasonal fruits and veggies, but there is something about going to the Farmers Market and buying locally grown fresh veggies!!

It was a hard list, but there you go!!

Do you have any favourite seasonal foods?  What season is easier to name favourite foods?

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Menu Planning

I hate coming up with meals at the last moment, it frustrates me to no end and usually it ends up with us eating something convenient and not entirely healthy (kraft dinner, frozen nuggets etc).  I am much more relaxed and willing to cook every night if I know what I'm cooking ahead of time and I'm not having to come up with a new meal at the last second.

For a few years I've used my chalk board cupboard and written our main meal on each day.  But I was having to come up with new meals each week and sometimes it seemed like I was just repeating the same meals week in and week out.  I needed something more long term, that I could use for my Costco shopping trips and buy all the meat at one go.

I decided to try something new this month, if you follow me on Instagram (@Jenn_loves_photos) you would have seen my calendar that I have for my meals for March 23-April 25th.  I sat in my van at Costco this morning working out what meals I was going to have. I am cooking 5 nights a week, with two nights dedicated to left overs, this doesn't mean I won't cook anything for the left over nights with the left overs it just means that the Left overs will be the big part of the meal.  I have to find some creative solutions for using my left overs, more often then not they get tossed and that is just not acceptable. I'm not sure if this menu plan will work, but I'm going to give it a go.  If you are interested in what I did you can read below and I will outline it.

1) I used a blank calendar that I have to put my meals into each day.  I cycled through Beef, Chicken and Pork for my meals, mostly Chicken this month, and cycled through Potatoes, rice and pasta. I didn't pick vegetables too often because we really like raw vegetables the most so it will kind of depend on what's in the fridge or what I pick up each week.

2) I then looked at each meal and created my shopping list (this can be done from week to week or at a month at a time like I did just depends on how you shop for your family) I determined how many Chicken Breasts (or pieces because I also like Chicken Thighs), how much Hamburger and how much Pork, and Roasts that I would need to fill my calendar.  I bought at least enough for each meal and when I was portioning it out I ended up having extra meat so that will carry over into May or be for incidental meals that may come up.

3) When I got home I portioned out all my meat, and because I usually ask others to get meat from the Freezer for me I also labeled the bags with a date, so when I send Chandler down to the freezer I can send him for Hamburger dated for that particular day.

4) I then packed the meat into two reusable shopping bags, two weeks in one bag and the rest in a second.  The current weeks meat is in the upstairs freezer.  This way I can be even more specific about where Chandler needs to get the meat from!!  (All about simplifying things so they can't complain that they can't find things)

5) I then re-wrote my calendar to be hung up (this wasn't necessary but as I'm just trying to make this system work I needed to include what incidentals ( bread things) that I may have to purchase yet).  Then I hung my calendar up where we could all see it and that way we all know what is for supper.

Surprisingly I have very few Crockpot meals, but that's ok for this month, as I get used to doing this system I'm sure we will get more and more. The best thing is that I don't have many repeaters of meals except for the Roasts and hamburgers, but I can always make them interesting by changing up the spices and stuff.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Hockey has come to an end

It's been a fun rookie season of hockey!! And by Rookie season I mean for all of us, Lil Man was in his first year and he went from barely being able to skate, to keeping up with the big kids on his team, and I was a first time hockey mom.
There were definitely things I did not enjoy (How come half our games were at 7 in Penhold???) but the thing I enjoyed the most was the most important thing for any sport, Lil Man's smile!! He loved it, and he never once complained about getting up early!

Lil Man was seriously so proud of his hockey season. He wants to be a goalie, and he was able to be the goalie twice, both times his team won.  He participated in the skate-a-thon and did 30 laps,
which is really impressive considering he could barely skate when he started this season.  He took some face offs, he started skating backwards, he learned to pass and he learned to be a good team mate!

He's still distracted when playing and you can often find him hanging out by the goaltender offering assistance.  His coaches told me he was very happy and very excited about playing every day. One coach mentioned he'd never met a kid so happy to be goalie.  It may be a position that he plays in the future, which means moving up to Minor Hockey.
 But I guess if it makes him happy I will do that for him.

I had 15 years of escaping the Hockey Mom title, but there's no escaping now!!

I just have to get better at remembering stuff..... I completely forgot about his Hockey wind up on Tuesday.  He was in bed, sleeping and his coach called to see if he was coming.  #Momfail!! But I was able to get him up and dressed and to the rink in time to play with his teammates.  Even then, he was the happiest kid ever!! He had a blast and I'm glad I was able to do that for him!