September

Where did the summer go? I mean, it’s still 40C out there with the humidex, but I can’t believe it’s already September. I don’t feel like we’ve been busy this summer, and yet it has flown by.

The past few weeks have been a bit tough here. I had some bleeding a couple weeks ago, and so my health team is keeping an eye on things and telling me to “take it easy” (which, you know, with a 3 year old is kind of interesting). There have been some miscommunication and a case of too many cooks I think, so I’m switching from shared care (GP and OB) to just my OB. I won’t lie. I’m a bit stressed about everything right now. I had an appointment this past Thursday, another this Friday and then another two weeks after that. Somewhere in there they want me to get an ultrasound done too.  As far as we can tell, baby is fine, but they want to keep a close eye on things.

This, of course, has ramped up project “OMG, time to get ready for baby!”, so I’ve been making lists, researching and started packing our hospital bag. I am mostly freaking out about how Liam will fair during Go Baby! time, but I am telling myself that we have a wonderful group of friends and family who will jump to the rescue whenever we need them. Also, it has helped me think about our birth plan/guidelines this time. Want to see what I’ve come up with? Click to enbiggen.

birthplan

So, with all of that going on, Liam and I took a week to hang with out friends and do what makes us smile. I booked the week off work and we did what ever felt right. We had a great time visiting parks, friends’ houses, having people over to our place and basically having a staycation. I managed to sneak out with my girlfriends one night and had a great time.

At the park, Liam plays on his scooter with his friend riding his bike in the background

Today we are going to be rearranging our master bedroom to prepare for Baby (I know, I know, 3 months away. Mama needs to nest!). I have been slowly working away on our mountains of laundry and prepping all the baby clothes for his arrival. We maaaaaaaay have agreed on a name, but I’m hesitant to say it’s chosen for sure. It was on our list for Liam, and I had somehow disregarded it this time until Pat brought it up again. It’s not as… unique or historic as I would have liked (RIP Finnigan, River, Rowan, and Ronan; the names that I loved and were vetoed) but I think it works and fits well within the family. If I feel more certain about it, I will share it (with the disclaimer of it being possible that we change our minds when Kiddo arrives and we see if it actually works for him). In the mean time, I am working hard to convince Pat to at least go with some alternative spelling, but I doubt that will come to fruition ;)

Oh, I wanted to add that I’m sorry for the lack of ipsy review this month. With everything going on, I just wasn’t into it. Doesn’t help that my bad this month was incredibly uninspiring and disappointing. Here’s hoping this month is better.

And with that, I am off to make myself a tea. Mama needs all the “get up and go” that she can get.

Women’s Health Month

With only a couple days left in May, I am definitely late to the party. Did you know that May was Women’s Health Month? I didn’t! That is until the great people at Oscar Insurance contacted me to let me know. I wish there was more information out there on this. It is so important that we take the time to make sure our bodies are working the way they should. It’s also the perfect time to prioritize going for the walk, hitting the gym or drinking more water.It’s never too late to start! It’s been difficult for me, with my morning sickness and exhaustion, but I’ve been trying very hard to eat a varied diet and to go out for a walk as much as I can. Small changes make a big difference, you know? Here’s a great infographic of important check ups each one of us ladies need to stay on top of our health. For my American friends, if you’re in the market for NY or NJ health insurance plans, be sure to look up Oscar and all their services that help make these check-ups and the rest of healthcare a simple, stress-free process. For example, they have tools like their Doctor on Call service that allows members to speak with their doctor within an hour through the Oscar app. Taking away the need to make a trip to the doctor for any health questions you may have!

Oscar Women's Checkups

An Early Mother’s Day Gift

It is my third Mother’s Day. The day itself isn’t really a big deal in our house. My family does a pretty good job of making me feel appreciated and loved without a hallmark holiday. That said, I am always fond of a day where flowers and cards are encouraged. This year is even more special.  I got one hell of a gift.

Superhero Announcement

Yes! We are expecting a Yule baby!

babybeanSo, why has the last few weeks been difficult? Well,  on top of everything you read here, we’ve been having a crazy time leading up to this good news.

Back in March, I found I was feeling incredibly run down and sick all the time. I went to see my dr to see if there was something going on. While waiting for results, I decided to take a pregnancy test to see if maybe that was the cause of my troubles. This started a very confusing and difficult few weeks for us. You see, some pregnancy tests were coming back positive (yay!), but others were negative (huh?). My dr informed me that it looked like I was having an early miscarriage and blood tests confirmed. Time passed and I still felt pregnant, and the miscarriage didn’t come. It was a rollercoaster. We were afraid to feel anything, because the future felt like a massive unknown.

Easter weekend came and nothing changed. So, I tested again and it came back positive. My dr sent me for more tests and this time, we were confused and excited to get a very strong positive! Because of everything that happened, we were still very cautious. We also had no idea when I was due, because my cycle had been hugely wonky. My dr. sent me for an ultrasound this past week to confirm everything was looking good and the result was good!

I am excited to share this journey with you. I am nervous about going from one to two, but I can’t wait to bring another little one into our family. Morning Sickness has been brutal this time around, and my energy is pretty much non-existent. I hope to get posting more regularly again, but I can’t promise. I am now medicated, which is helping immensely, but I am still having a hard time. Thankfully, I live in a world of netflix and diclectin.

So, happy Mother’s Day to me, and to you, fellow mamas.

Spring

I empathize with Spring this year. I don’t want to leave the house yet. I am comfortable under my layers of blankets and sweaters. I feel like I have more thinking and coping to do. That said, I think everyone is so very ready for the bleak cold winter days to be OVER ALREADY.

Mucha's seasons (just winter and spring)

Sisters, Winter and Spring.

The last few weeks have been rough here. I feel like the poor plants, trapped in the cold earth, waiting for the weather to change and welcome me back. My Mom’s birthday came and went, and I felt my heart breaking for my son’s lack. He will never know how her eyes sparkled and her laugh cackled when she was truly amused by something. He will never know her stern look over the frame of her glasses, paired by that Marge-esq grumble. He is at an age now where he remembers. He misses people and he asks about them. He tells elaborate stories about his best friend, Gus. He talks about his favourite person in the world, his Auntie Tracy. When my Mum’s birthday came, and he saw me crying while watching a tribute video made by my Dad’s family (estranged to us), he was so worried. He doesn’t understand who these people are that I miss so terribly. I have pictures of them up, I talk about them as much as I can, but he doesn’t know them. There are just some days where that hurts so very much.

Ostara was kind of quiet for us this year. We talked a bit about it, I made a crustless quiche (my Mom’s recipe), and some bunny buns. I gave everyone some mini-eggs and that was it. At least, that was it until my girlfriend, Sarah, called up and told us that she had some extra tickets to the Live Dinosaur Train show. Such a great time! Liam loved it.

Bunny Buns and Quiche

Bunny Buns and Quiche

Liam and I at Dinosaur Train

Dinosaur Train!

A couple days later, I was overcome by the need to do some spring cleaning, and basically attacked the house. Unfortunately, my health hasn’t been great and I very quickly lost steam. I’m doing a tiny bit each day. My back, neck and knee have been acting up. It’s been 5 years since my accident, and I am seeing now how this has changed my life. Even the most basic things, like sitting on the floor to play with my kid and a ball is hard for me.

Easter is around the corner now. Much like Ostara, I don’t have my steam or excitement for it. We’ve been doing some crafts and talking about it as an extension of Ostara, but I can’t help but think about how it was the last holiday I had with Mom, 5 years ago. I can’t help but deeply miss my sister and wish that I was surrounded by loud, insane, offensive family all over again (My Dad’s kids and my parents. Tracy and I are very alike in that we became very small and quiet at the big family dinners. Of course, we helped each other stay sane during those crazy visits).

20150328_09290120150328_092925(1)On the plus side, all of this reflection has given me the push to finally save my pictures from my old desktop that has been sitting dead for 3 years. Pat managed to get it going long enough for me to back everything up. My goal is to start making family photo books. Gives me the ability to celebrate the family, love and support that I do have.

What are your plans for the holiday weekend?

Recipe: Golden Milk

Cold and flu season is upon us. Working in retail, in a store that caters to families, means that I am around germs whenever I am not out at the park (germ heaven) with little dude. Don’t misunderstand. I am no germaphobe. I don’t bathe my house in bleach, nor do I carry around hand sanitizer. Instead, I try to eat healthy, take my vitamins and wash my hands. I have been looking for tips and tricks to boost my immune system just a bit more when there are bugs going around. Well, this week Liam developed a nasty cold. I knew it would only be a matter of time before it hit me.

So far, I have dodged it. I hope it is because of my improved diet and fitness, but it could also be my religious drinking of something called “Golden Milk”. Golden Milk is basically a spiced milk drink that is supposed to help you get through cold and flu season. A lot of the homesteading blogs and pages I have been following mention the amazing immunity boosting powers of tumeric, so when I came across this recipe, I figured it couldn’t hurt to try.20141027_135456Golden Milk

  • 2 cups milk of your choice (cow, goat, soy, almond or coconut)
  • 1 teaspoon dried turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon dried ginger (or one-half inch fresh ginger thinly sliced or grated)
  • A sprinkle of black pepper (fresh is best)
  • Unpasturized honey to taste

20141110_192800Add milk, tumeric, ginger and pepper to sauce pan over medium heat. Be careful to stir frequently to prevent boiling over and burning.

Allow to simmer slightly (small bubbles will appear at the rim of the sauce pan) for a couple of minutes. Remember to keep stirring.

Remove from heat, cover and let sit for 10 minutes.

You may want to strain this if you are using fresh ingredients or if you want to avoid the silty bottom. Serve warm and add honey to taste. 20141027_135511I actually quite like the taste. I am going to keep enjoying this warm spiced drink this winter as both a tasty nighttime treat and as a way to fight off colds. Let me know what you think, if you try it!

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.

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.

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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?

21 Days

Anyone who has know me for at least a couple of months knows that I am a joiner. I loooove joining and starting things. I love the excitement of starting something new and the hope that comes from taking those first steps. Unfortunately, I am also a quitter. I have a hard time following through and sticking with any one thing. I am flighty and can talk myself into and out of anything.

With respect to my health, this means a million diets and plans started and very few carried out to the end. After having some success losing about 20lbs a couple months ago, I fainted at home and immediately quit everything. I stopped working out. I stopped using my fit bit. I stopped eating well. Of course, I very quickly gained 25lbs. The fainting, as it turns out, was a result of the medication I am on. Apparently, it’s a rare side effect of Zoloft. It’s something I am now aware of and can be more careful.

Anyway, my weight is higher than it’s ever been (pregnancy not included) and I feel gross. I have no energy. I am tired ALL THE TIME. My IBS has been flaring up like crazy and I have noticed my mood is quite low. It is time for a change. I have been talking to a few friends and have decided to try a new routine.

Enter The 21 Day Fix. I know it’s one of these fad exercise programs, but I am still going to give it a chance. What has drawn me to the Fix is that it focuses on learning healthy portions of every day foods, rather than calorie counting. It encourages eating clean and cutting out a lot of the crap that I have been living on for the last few years. I have absolutely no notion of what normal healthy portions are. This isn’t good, especially considering one of the other side effects of zoloft that I’ve been dealing with: Constant hunger. I used to eat until I was full, but that doesn’t happen any more. I wake up in the middle of the night starving. I could eat constantly if I would allow myself to do so.

So, back to the fix. Portion control is accomplished through the use of these nifty little containers.

21dayfixcontainNeat, right? It takes the guess work out of the whole process. Key for someone like me, who has absolutely no idea what they are doing. On top of eating better, there are daily workouts that are only 30 minutes. Totally do-able, even for a busy mom. So, I am going to try to document my experience with 21 Day Fix here, in the hope that it will not only keep me accountable but will force me to follow through. After all, it’s only 21 Days, right?

So, here we go.

Impressions while preparing for 21 Day Fix:

  • This is not a program for people who don’t have time or energy for planning. It took me, no word of a lie, 3+ hours to meal plan for myself and for Pat (who is participating with me, Gods bless him) for the week. It definitely takes a while to do the math and plan each day within the container limits. On the plus side, it will save me time on the day to day when it comes to figuring out what to eat and what to prepare. Most of the people that I’ve talked to about how to be successful in this program recommend taking the time to really prepare. The key is not to find yourself unsure about what to cook or not having the food in your home when you need it.
This took FOREVER

This took FOREVER

If you are interested, I can post a PDF of my meal plans. Comment and let me know!

If you are interested, I can post a PDF of my meal plans. Comment and let me know! Note that I am breast feeding pretty regularly, so I gave myself a bit of wiggle room to enjoy coffee every day and almond milk in my shake.

  • Not a cheap program. Thankfully, a highschool buddy of mine is a Beachbody Coach and was able to hook me up with the latest deal. Even still, the whole shebang, including the Beachbody Shakeology powder (I hear it works miracles and is made of unicorns and rainbows) came to about 150CAD. Add to that all the delicious food, and you are looking at a lot of $$.
  • My kitchen is now overrun with produce
  • Holy crap I have to drink a lot of water.

So, here we are. it is day 1. Wish me luck!

Spring parties

As you could tell from my last post, we have had a rough go the last little bit. Right before Easter weekend, we were all struck down by a 72 hr gastro bug. It hit me first, right after work on Wednesday, and then slowly made its way through the family. We still weren’t over it by Easter morning, so we had a word with Humphrey and decided that the egg hunt and Ostara plans would have to be postponed.

Unfortunately, I had already postponed Ostara from the actual equinox, to Easter weekend (I’m trying to find a way to combine our holidays and practices. This time didn’t quite work out). As a result, we finally got to celebrating this past weekend, and its already nearly Beltane. Sigh. Oh well! Funny how once the weather changes, life seems to pick up the pace. This weekend was full of spring celebrations.

We woke up Sunday morning, went to get papa (I’m sleeping with Liam these days, as his flu and molars have done a number on his sleep again. He’s nursing like a newborn these days) and off he went on the egg hunt.

As you can see, Humphrey spoiled him nicely.  After the egg hunt, we celebrated Ostara by planting some seeds in Liam’s new seed starter kit and then I did a cedar and sage smudging of the house.

Planting some merigold seeds

Planting some marigold seeds

 

My new smudging kit

My new smudging kit

After the chocolate craze died down, and little man finally had his nap, we were off to Brewer park to hang out with our buddies! G, one of Liam’s buddies, had his birthday right around the same time as L. We decided to avoid the big party this year and simply celebrate these two awesome dudes by doing their favourite thing. We had a great time, despite the chilly grey weather.

park

A couple hours later, all the kids were turning into monster pumpkins. This mama was pretty toast too. It was a great weekend, with a ton of celebration.

I’m not quite sure what our plans are for Beltane later this week, but I’m thinking maybe a trip to the Experimental Farm and maybe making my Honey Lavender cake. Nothing too crazy this year. I was hoping to take Liam to the local Waldorf’s school May Day celebrations  this weekend (they even have a maypole!), but I’m working the Ottawa Baby Show this year! If you’re in the area, please come out and visit me on Sunday at the Belly Laughs booth. I’m there from 10-3.

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This coming week also marks the beginning of a new chapter in my journey towards living healthier. I recently came across a great blog called Bless this Mess (a sentiment I can definitely get behind). A week ago, or so, she posted about this great challenge called Feel Great in 8. I was intrigued so I checked it out. I really dig the concept: Striving towards holistic Health. We’re not just talking shedding pounds here, but rather working on fitness, nutrition, mental health and spirituality. I may be one of the few(if not only) non-Christian participants, but I think the challenges will still speak to me and my faith. I am about 11lbs from my first goal (my pre-pregnancy weight), and I’ve been slacking pretty bad lately. This is exactly the kind of boost I need. If you’re interested, check out their page. There’s time left before our round starts (May 5th). There are referral benefits, but don’t feel like you have to share that you got there through me.  I’d just love to have some buddies join me in this :)

TCBOTB

 

And with that, I’m off! We’re having our furnace serviced for the spring today, and I need to carve out a path through the toddler destruction for the guys to get in.

 

Rhythm – An update

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning here in Ottawa. I’m trying to get some cleaning in before the end of the weekend.

Today we are heading over to visit Liam’s Nanny,  Grammy and Aunties. We haven’t been able to visit them as much as I would like. Between busy weekends,  illness,  and pat’s classed we’ve been averaging maybe once a month.

I’ve been trying to establish more of a routine for Liam. I’ve talked about the Waldorf concept of rhythm and routine before. I think we’ve finally found a very casual rhythm that works for us:

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Mondays: Cleaning,  meal planning, groceries
Tuesdays: Arts &  Crafts
Wednesdays: Baking and tidying
Thurdays: Outdoor play
Fridays: Friends
Saturdays: Errands, tidying
Sundays: Family

We’ve also developed a bit of a routine for the day to day as well,  though this changes depending on our plans.

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-wake up
-take care of animals
-breakfast
-TV time
-play
-lunch
-nap
-activity
-make dinner
-eat dinner
-play
-bedtime routine

I’ve been trying to integrate gentle transitions to help with these changes. So far Liam has really responded well to them. The one issue we are having is bedtime. Suddenly,  he will not go to bed for me. We are playing with the bedtime routine to see if we can’t find something that works better than what I am doing.

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I can’t believe that in less than a month my baby will be 2. Where has the time gone? We have no real plans for celebrating. If the weather cooperates we will go to the park with his buddies. If not,  I may just take him to the museum and maybe a diner for dinner. Simplicity is our motto these days (she says,  despite the pile of birthday gifts upstairs.)

In other news,  my health journey is going well. I’ve lost a total of 8lbs and 11 inches, and feel great.  With the exception of my diet coke love,  I have been really good about eating much better. I no longer crave chips or candy (I do occasionally desperately want a burger and fries). I am not starving myself and am learning about balance. I have been less sore and my digestive health has been so much better.

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Kaitlin is trying to convince me to train for a marathon (you crazy woman). We shall see ;) I haven’t done much exercise since catching my cold. I have to get back to activity before I start thinking about a marathon.

I do have some news to share,  but I’ll save that for my next post.  Here’s a teaser: My good luck has served me well again and I’ve won another contest. More details to come :)