My City

We moved to Ottawa when I was 4. I only have a couple of memories from Winnipeg (which is where we lived prior to our move). Since moving to Ottawa, I have lived all over this great city. I know it’s not the place for everyone. I have heard all of the negative remarks you can think of to describe my home. Boring, government town, no nightlife, blah blah blah. Today, the whole of our city and the whole of our country  have been brought together through a series of horrible events.

This morning, on our way downtown to meet up with my girlfriends for a play date, my sister and I heard the breaking news on the radio. There were reports of an armed man on the loose, with one person shot at the war memorial. I pulled over and called my girlfriends, all of whom were on their way through this affected area to the park we had chosen (Jack Purcell, off of Elgin). Thankfully, we were able to reach everyone and planned to meet in a safer area. I reached my husband, who was on lockdown. He works for a non-profit downtown, just on the edge of the affected area. I met up with my friends, we kept an eye on the news and paid attention to our surroundings. As we left the park, an hour or so after meeting, we noticed that all cellphones had been blocked and that reports had changed to state several shooters. Pat called and begged me to go home, which is what we did. Shortly after arriving home, the power went out, and cells went down again. We started to hear helicopters, so we moved ourselves to the basement and hung out there until the power returned.

I am no expert, nor do I have any sort of insider knowledge as to what is going on. You can follow those details on any major news outlet (Here is the CBC report). We were about 2.5kms away from where this was all happening before we decided to head home. The city is oddly quiet now. Lockdowns are slowly being lifted. Information is slowing down and we don’t know much about the current situation (other than that people should remain vigilant). Pat is home now, and now we are all just tired, and sad. Our poor city. Our poor country. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who was effected by these events today. My thanks and thoughts are with the first responders and those who assisted those in the core. Be gentle with yourself, perform self-care. I am going to snuggle my family close tonight. Our city is proud and strong. We will get through this.

Rogers

Thankful

thankful

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada. While the last month has been a bit topsy turvy for us (really, when is it not?), I have so very much to be thankful for.

I was able to spend another year at home with my boy, which is an incredible blessing. I have a job that allows me to work from home and in hours that I can manage.

I have a bright, charming and sweet boy that brings joy, frustration and so many laughs into my life. He is growing bigger, more daring, more expressive with every day.

I have a husband who has known me in good, bad and every bit of the in between. Despite the troubles we have faced, he remains one of my dearest friends and my partner.

I have family, both blood and chosen, who make me feel loved and who bring light and beauty into our lives. While I may not have much of the family that I grew up with left, I have this amazing tribe of people that surround Liam with all of the care and support that I have wanted for him.

In that chosen family, I have the most amazing friends. Jenn, Krista, Sarah, Crystal, the April Mommies, Nat, Jackie, and of course, my online girl, Kaitlin. You guys are my strength and my sanity. I love you!

While we didn’t have much of a choice in the matter of our current dwelling, I am thankful for our home. It has provided us with a warm place to eat, create, rest and play for the last 7 years. It is full of memories and so many firsts. It is where my mother came to Pat to cry and let go of her fears and pain. It is where our pets have come and gone. It is where Pat proposed, and where I laboured until I couldn’t take it anymore. It is where Tracy comes to visit and where many cups of tea and wine have been enjoyed with friends and family. It is where we brought Liam after his birth and where he points to and yells “We’re home!” every time we turn down the street.

I am thankful for my health and my body.

I am thankful for this little space and for you, dear readers, for giving me a place to share my family and my life.

Oh, and coffee. I am really really thankful for coffee.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

And just like that, my mood fizzled. Last night we decided we were going to wait until the spring and try house hunting again. I shouldn’t be so disappointed, but there are some days where that is harder than others. This is one of them. Thanksgiving is around the corner. With that comes the inevitable feeling of loss when I think of the holidays dinners and crazy chaotic family get togethers of my teenaged years. Thankfully, my sister arrives in a week and that is keeping me smiling and got me through a particularly bad day.

Last year, a friend of mine from the bellydance world went missing. I had just chatted with her about her new tattoo (she went to my tattoo artist) a couple of days before. We discovered later that her husband had murdered her. She had been missing for maybe a week? Two? before he was arrested. We were all so devastated, especially because we had never believed he was capable of such a thing.

Yesterday, a few people I know started posting about a friend of theirs that was reported missing on Tuesday.

nykmorrigan

I think I only met her once in passing, but I am amazed by how many people I know are in her group of close friends. I feel so sick for them. I hope and pray that she is safe and is found soon. It all brings me back to Melissa’s disappearance, and I hope that Nyk gets in touch soon.

Tell the people you love how you feel. Hug them, laugh with them, and give them your time and attention. These days are so hard, and they remind us that anything could happen. I spent the day, a rainy cold one, cuddling with my boy in our pjs. We watched an obscene amount of tv, played with his trains and turned laundry into balls (which we threw at each other between giggles). I chatted with my sister by email, able to reach out across the country while she was at work. I napped when little man napped and then we went back to playing. Pat came home and I held him close. We all played and watched tv in the family room, had dinner then and basically created a little family nest for the evening. Now, I linger near Pat while he plays his video games while our baby sleeps. Thanksgiving is this weekend. I may have lost family, but I have found one so very special, so full of love and so very mine. I am blessed and I am thankful.

October

October is such a funny month. I can’t get over the 20+ celcius days followed by frosty nights (and mornings). The sun is bright and shining, and yet the days are getting shorter and shorter. It’s a hard month for many, because of the cold and dark, but I am one of those people who shares Anne of Green Gable’s opinion:

octobers

Sweaters, tea, knitting and snuggles in the evening. I can’t get enough. Show me a tree that has changed to bright and beautiful reds, yellows, oranges and browns, and I am in love. Halloween? Don’t even get me started on how much I love Halloween.

I have started plotting and planning for Yule already. Funny how becoming a parent forced me to become a planner. Thankfully, some kijiji finds and a couple great fall sales have meant my kiddo is going to have a rockin’ time. We are actually going to have a bit of an early Yule celebration in the next while because my sister is coming for a visit! It’s been so so long since we have seen each other (Liam had just turned one!). I can’t wait. We are 10 days away!

We are continuing to truck along on our lifestyle change. We finished the first round of 21 Day fix, and had great success considering we weren’t hardcore about it (we missed almost a week worth of workouts, and cheated on 2 days). I lost a total of 7lbs and 8.5 inches (from head to toe, total). Pat lost 11lbs and has had his body shape completely change. He lost fat, and then gained muscles, for the inch loss (bwahahaha, oh my dirty mind) isn’t has much as we were expecting, but it makes sense.

Our plan is to continue eating well and work out as much as we can (we’ve both been slacking). Hopefully we continue on this journey to being healthier! Do you have any tips for not going nuts and gorging at Thanksgiving?

21 Day Fix, Week 2 Round up

Here we are, at the end of another week. I have one week left on this program. I don’t know if I’m thrilled or bummed.

This past week was tough. I am still feeling run down and only had one day where my work out made me feel energized. Otherwise, this promised “Energy Boost” hasn’t come. I did manage to do every work out this week, while also going for a walk with Liam and our dog, Maddie.

I am starting to really enjoy Shakeology, which weirds me out because I remember it being vile when I started. That said, I can’t say that it has killed all my cravings like it promised. This week was a tough one for wanting to eat ALL THE THINGS. I could have done bad things to good people for a french fry or 50.

I am down a total of 6lbs so far, which is fantastic. I am about 6lbs away from my goal (where I was before my recent weight gain, about 10lbs more than I weighed pre-pregnancy) I haven’t decided what my plan is for when I am done this thing. Will I continue on and do a second round, like most do? I’m not sure. I do enjoy that I know what portions are supposed to look like now, and how I wasn’t getting nearly enough vegetables and fruit in my diet.

My meal plan for this week is pretty lame, mostly because I am stressed and just want to do what is easy and relatively tasty. Not trying anything new here:

21daywk3You’ll notice I moved my shake from the morning to after my workout. I know we aren’t supposed to have purple or yellow after 6 (starches/carbs or fruit), but my body CRAVES that protein and full belly after busting my ass.

So, wish me luck. Here’s hoping I can finish this week strong and have some great results at the end of these 21 Days.

Indian Summer

Last week I was hunting through boxes and closets to find the winter items I packed away (thinking we would be moved and unpacked before I needed them. Oh, how plans change). Yesterday, I dressed my son in shorts and a tshirt for our afternoon walk. Indian Summer is upon us and it’s perfect. I love waking up to a chilly room, only to be comfortable enough to have lunch out on the deck.

This week was an odd one. We continued on our 21 Day Fix journey, while also trying to finish up this house business (Spoiler: Still not done. Who is surprised? Not me). Tracy and I have been plotting and planning, hoping to get here here before all the leaves fall. I’m not sure if it will work out, but it’s nice to have something to look forward to and dream about. I  miss my sister so much. She is my other half. It’s funny, how this distance between us was the catalyst to our relationship changing and strengthening, but it is also the thing that keeps us apart. I hate that our country is so freaking big and expensive to cross. We haven’t seen each other in over a year. The Sutherland sisters need a reunion.

30291_1391604722082_4998285_nThis past week also marked 6 years since my Dad passed. I am doing surprisingly ok, but I have found that it has made me nostalgic. I looked back at some old family pictures. It is still a shock to see how different my life and family were back then. I wouldn’t change what I have now for the world, but it’s hard not to miss people that you once considered siblings. I miss some of the friendships that I had then. How life seemed just a little less…complicated.

Easter 2008

Easter 2008

Of course, I was in my 20s then, a young woman who had just moved in with her long term boyfriend. It’s amazing how quickly living without a support system you have known your own life can become so normal. You adapt. You build a new family. You redefine. I’m on the other side of it all now. I wasn’t sure I would ever make it here, but I did. We survived.

Oh, fall. You do this to me every year. I’ve let my coffee go cold and my son has been watching far too much tv this morning. Have a wonderful weekend, all.

Equinox

I swear time is doing funny things to us here. I feel like it is both flying by and crawling forward. Perhaps that’s just life with a toddler.

Week one of the 21 day fix wraps up today. It’s been an interesting week! It has been a challenge to work out daily, but not as much as I thought it would be. I also thought it would be harder to follow the meal plan, but it’s amazing how easy it is once you wrap your head around it. A week ago, it took me nearly 4 hours to plan for the week. Now I can replan and day in 10 minutes, tops. (Which we had to do yesterday due to grocery limitations and other pain in the butt issues, such as my car being a total piece of crap). I have really enjoyed sharing this experience with Pat. He has been a massive motivator to me. No major change on the scale yet, but I’m not going to do an official End of Week 1 weigh in until tomorrow morning.

Other observations:

  • I hate cardio. I am screwed when the apocalypse happens.
  • I have very little in the way of work-out attire. In the process of remedying that.
  • It’s amazing how quickly your body adapts. I went from drinking almost no water a day, and 3+ cups of coffee (full of milk and sugar), to a TONNE of water and almost no coffee in a day (only a quick glug of milk and stevia now).
  • I freaking love balsamic vinegar. On everything. EVERYTHING.

For those that are into this, this is my meal plan for this coming week. I know it doesn’t look like much, but the portions are HUGE.

21daywk2

Aside from this massive lifestyle change, we got out to see some more houses and have a renewed hope. We are returning to getting our place done and will hopefully have it on the market by next week. We are moving our target area a bit and have fallen in love with a small town further south. We have FOUR places that we are really interested in now, so I am very excited.

Hopefully we get our acts together and get going so that it isn’t freaking February when we are moving. Ugh.

It seems fitting that all of this change is going on now, at Mabon time.

1f76137280f3ffe036863d048b01df0d

I have to say, I love this time of year. I never feel more like myself than I do now. I live for sweater weather, apples and spice, fallen acorns, changing leaves and tea. Seriously, my heart is set to burst with how much I adore it. I hate how short lived it is.

mabon

I don’t have any major plans for Mabon this year. Maybe a few crafts with my boy, a walk in the woods and a cleansing of the home (also a good idea for getting some welcoming vibes for the house hunters). I have some yard work to do, to both enhance the curb appeal and prep for the coming winter. That feels like it should round out the day perfectly :)

What are you doing for the equinox?