Cook Book Connections

I love history.

More specifically, I love the stories that history provides us. The good, the bad, the horrific. Lives lived. When I think about what people endured, persevered against, or even put themselves through just to live a good life, it gives me pause to think about our place in this world, our human race.

I feel the connection to history, both recent and ancient, when I am able to connect viscerally. Touch, smell, sight; It is all tangibly evident. A hand flat against a sun-warmed stone on a building, holding a shard of pottery carefully brushed out of the dirt, listening to the recordings of people long gone, imparting their story. The aroma of baking that comes from a recipe passed down over so many generations, no one knows for sure which ancestor began using it.

I haven’t delved much into my family history. Most of what I know comes from my father’s side. I was raised rural, with an appreciation for the land, in my father’s family home, passed down from the original crown grant. The doorways and floor linoleum traversed by several generations before me. The cow paths and fence gaps older than that. The Oak trees in the back pastures stoic guards over all of us.

A few years before I met and married my husband, I discovered I loved to bake. My kitchen was woefully inadequate – at the time – to really pull off extravagant baking, but I tried my hands at various food like cookies, muffins, pies, cake; all the things that can soothe a hard day, sweeten the foulest of moods.


Amongst the arsenal of recipes I clipped from magazines in my quest to be more domestic was a tattered, patina-ed cook book, from the Women’s Institute of Drummond Centre. I hadn’t paid much attention to it, but had used the peanut butter cookie recipe once or twice to make my Father happy.

The recipe, in the book, is attributed to my grandmother.

My grandmother, and her sister-in-law (my great aunt Cassie) were members of this particular Women’s Institute. I don’t know much about the organization, other than what I can find online . In their time, I assume it was a place to discuss how to be the best wife and mother. Keeping a house, raising children, supporting one another through the issues, joys, and difficulties of being a woman in post-war Canada.

Now, married, and in a house of my own, I have periodically pulled that tattered old book down from my cook book shelf. I leaf through it, looking at the recipes, marveling at how simple cooking and baking was, how ingredients have changed. I have memories of some recipes from my Aunt’s home, perhaps even some my mother tried as she fumbled her way through her own self-education in farmhouse cooking and baking.

I never got to meet my grandmother, whom I am also named after. She passed away well before I was ever conceived of.

I had the book out last night while my father was visiting for dinner. He leafed through, pointing to ads of businesses gone, some still very much a part of the rural place I called home. People who are gone, some who are still here. We remembered people, we reminisced about food, the two types of memories intertwining, as they should.

A truth formed in the back of my mind that this small, spiral bound cook book is so much more than just a glimpse into my past, and a snapshot of the era. It is a direct link to my heritage. In it are all the recipes traded and passed down, tried and trusted, from my grandmother’s community. This was how they fed their families. These were the staples in their pantry transformed into the dishes you still see at church pot lucks today. Each entry in the book a recipe important enough to not only be recorded, but shared.

After my father left for home – which is the same farm house – The truth bloomed into an idea that I should be using this book.

I should be testing these recipes against modernity. Me, my Kitchenaid, ample counter space, and fancy oven, capable of even the most grandiose of celebrity chef recipes, should test our mettle against these simple, wholesome dishes.

I want to reconnect physically to my heritage, and this seems like a great place to start. ♥



A Collection of Easter Blorts

I have not even gotten close to organizing the 1,654,895 pictures I took in England. I have decreed I need to spend some time organizing all my pictures because I have six years of memories sitting on a hard drive. Scary stuff. So Dropbox will be getting a workout soon… Once I get through the rest of my to do list.

I use to scrapbook. I have a butt-tonne of scrapbook paper and tools that I do not use, and haven’t since my daughter was born. Part of me would love to get back to it, but I also love the idea of creating some digital books with my mad (read: basic) photo editing skills. Scrapbooking feels like too much work right now. All the cutting and pasting and designing and the crafting makes me tired even thinking about it.

Much like my writing, right now. I desperately want to write, an even had some alone time over Easter to do so. I was excited to have that time, after a busy day of cleaning and shopping with a friend. I was tired, but did not want to waste the opportunity. So I dug out my keyboard and set up.

I stared at a blank page for two hours on Saturday night, starting and stopping on different ideas, eating a delivered pizza, poking my completely blocked brains until I gave up and played Heroes of Warcraft Hearthstone. (PSA: Mildly addicting. You have been warned…)

So, I have some mini blog posts I have worked on over the past few days, here for your enjoyment.

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This time next week we will be three days into our epic UK Adventure. I am so excited right now I can barely concentrate on anything. Partially because I am in the throes of last minute list preparation. Yup, with tabs and colour-codes.

I have started to pack. Yes, I am aware we still have four sleeps to go. I think it may drive my husband crazy by the time we leave (read: *persternagpester* have you done this yet? *pesternagpester*). There is so much to do before Sunday, and all I can think about is “Will I forget anything? Did I remember to buy extra night time pants for the kids? Did I print enough copies of #alltheinfo for our trip? Did I list the comfy underwear? Should we have an extra toothbrush handy? Should I bring two scarves or one? Where are the light timers? Did husband inform the neighbours? I need to vacuum. Did I update my iPhone list with the changes I made on the spreadsheet? Should we take the whole shampoo bottle or buy travel sized?”

*flail* *gasp* *wheeze*

Yes, I am that kind of person.

I thrive off being over-prepared. I get positively giddy when I am packed and ready and I know I have covered the bases! Think of something you do that gives you immense satisfaction when it is complete (reading a book, cleaning the kitchen, wrestling the kids into bed…). That is how I feel when I am all packed for a trip two days early and with three of everything.

Remember, I showed horses. If I forgot to bring an extra pair of stirrup leathers, one would break. If I brought all the extra emergency bits and bobs, then the day would go smoothly. I used to keep a “show bin” ready with duplicates and second pairs of everything except my saddle (and horse… Heh). They would get re-arranged and counted before every show, even though nothing had been touched since the last show. A list was taped to the top. It was double-checked. The leather parts  would be cleaned each week the same as my primary show tack.

The day before the show, I was always scrubbing and oiling and polishing to exhaustion (Let’s not talk about the plaiting… That was always done with the midnight oil burning). Oi.

I think my need to plan like this has developed over time to be a superstition, long past my competitive days. If I do not have the “what if’s” covered, I don’t feel prepared, safe, and capable. I worry that if I don’t have the Advil packed, we will need some and will have to spend money. If I run out of underwear, and have nowhere to wash them, well… Eww. My worst fear is being somewhere and not having the right clothing, or enough of something to make do. God forbid we run out of money because we had to buy something that we should have packed! Poor planning, and failure on my part!

Let’s not go into how much &^%* I would lug to paintball tournaments, shall we? More than once I got labelled “Team Mom” because I had all the stuff people need at tournaments but would forget to bring. Yeah… Nothing like packing rolls of TP and having the security search your bags with a “WTF lady?” look on their face… Because hello… Porta potties never have enough and I didn’t want to break the budget to buy some when I got to where I was goin’.

No seriously… That was how tight I budgeted sometimes.

I am aware that likely, I would be fine, and buying an extra bottle of Advil is not really going to bust the travel budget now that we are way more financially strong… But from being broke for years, and traveling on literally nothing, old habits die hard. If I forgot a sweater and it got cold, there was usually no money to buy one, because I had to put gas in the car to get home. So I suffered. And that sucked, yo.

This has transferred over to parenthood, of course. I pack everything the kids might need. Extra undies. Extra wet wipes. Any and all medications that one could possibly need with small children. Their little bags bulge with the possibility of warm or cold or even rainy weather wear. Most of the time, we don’t need half of it… But in case one of my precious cargos develops a fever, gets covered in their lunch, get soaked in the rain, or has a hard day riding the potty train, I am covered. I am prepared. No one needs to suffer.

So now, with a trip far away from where I live, I am doing it again. I have to pack for the kids being at Grandma and Grandpa’s for the week, us going to Britain for a week, and organize all the important papers and things we need to get into the country we are visiting. I am wondering at what exactly I can bring and what I should leave. I am planning and re-planning outfits, footwear, hats and jewelry. I am allowing for a  bit of room to bring home awesome things for friends and family (and me! Can’t forget me!). I am doing the “what-ifs”.

But, by the end of it, on Sunday, I will be zen and happy, and satisfied with my efforts.


Because I am prepared. ♥

Keep Swimmin’, Kids

This weekend was Parent’s Day at swimming lessons, so all four of us were in the pool for 8:45 am on a Saturday morning on a day that the in-laws were visiting (which was awesome, it was a lovely breakfast and a great visit). We did fitness as a family! I know! We win Parents of The Year, right?

Additionally, I get an extra cookie for not freaking out (too much) when I stepped in poop. But that is another story.

On Saturday, I hustled the other three members of my family out the door early, my husband saying “We don’t have to leave yet, why are you freaking out?” and looking rather grumpy, so I hustled more, just to tick him off because marriage means you get to have those moments of love together and enjoy them thoroughly.

I did not want to have to get to the pool and do the quick-change thing, stressing us all out so that we are snapping at the kids and speaking to each other through clenched teeth before we are supposed to go get in the pool and have fun, DAMMIT! Besides, I hate being late to things. Hate it. So, of course, God has a sense of humour, because I married someone who has (on many occasions) made me wait until I am a twitching, ragey ball of fury because by the time he made it into the car we were indeed going to be late and had to banshee-warp speed to the day care to get the kid on time. (I also hate missing previews at movies).

I digress. Pool. Saturday. Right…

With all four of us needing to get changed, showered and out to the pool, I always account for shenanigans and extra time. I was a Girl Guide, and worked for years in the equine industry. It was drilled into me through special badges (that, and I can make a killer towel rack from rope and twigs) and the need to adapt or die (read: horses don’t care about your timeline). We were able to get ready without too much crazy, and we did not have to yell once. Go us! I was also able to secure a locker for our hundreds of winter layers that needed to be peeled off.

I think I could totally be a wicked wetsuit peeler at an Ironman. I can strip a vibrating child of their snowpants in 2.3 seconds flat. How hard could a fidgety, soaking wet, hyped-up triathlete be?

I went into the pool with our daughter so my husband could horseplay with our son (and help him practice his back float), and I spent half an hour singing nursery rhymes with a beefy, man-bearded instructor, dunking my daughter in and out of the water like a sacrificial cork. Fun times. She did, however, jump into the water all by herself, and was giggling when she came back up, so it was fun for her. My son was all smiles.

Whiny, tired kids on the way home. Checkpoint!

I was too short to kneel on the bottom of the pool, so I spent  the entire lesson in a squat position in the shallow pool. My hips, yesterday and today, are screaming at me. If you listen closely, you can hear them throwing the F-U’s around pretty liberally. Walking has been slow. Sitting was agreeable, but ascending stairs with full laundry baskets? Oh wow… That sucks. Motrin is my friend, and my bursitis was not a happy camper at all.

Screw this getting old &%$#.

I didn’t get to the gym last week, coping with flu, craziness, and generally panicking aboutdealing with the onset of Christmas Prep 2013. So I’m feeling a bit guilty about that. I’m wanting to get back to it, realizing that taking a week off is not great to keep going with the gains I am seeing. I have mentally slapped myself several times, and this week, am going to make sure I at least get three workouts of some sort in. I feel a bit pudgier.I feel a bit stiff, and slow. I feel creaky. I had a bubble bath last night. It helped.

Also? Grapefruit shower gel makes really good bubble bath, and can clear your sinuses right out. Awesome.

I am looking forward to seeing some friends on Friday night, and this coming weekend we get our tree. Our entire street got theirs this past weekend, I think, and we felt like we were breaking some rule about not buying our tree. But Sunday we simply hung around the house, went sledding with the kids, and relaxed. Necessary. Today I feel a bit more relaxed, and ready to tackle the week because we had that down day. Let’s see how long that lasts.

Just keep swimming, right? ♥

Base Zero and Metaphors

Holy *%^$balls, life went Kersplody.

Messy, happy, snotty, sick stuff everywhere. I’m still mopping up, and I am still deciding how to get through December without going bat@#$* crazy. The holidays are upon us. I have so far been able to avoid doing any cookie baking, and have done most of my shopping online. I have begun the Great House Purganization 2013, with some success. Now… If only the dust bunnies would move out (and take those darned Cheerio elves with them) and the Laundry Gods would continue to favour me, I could tackle the massive pile of baby stuff to sell, sort the toys currently lurking in the basement, and get that stain off the basement stairs carpet… We’d be almost back to base zero. Hoo! Think of the free time! Hah… Right.

I have ventured into a store or two for gift shopping, but at off-peak because I hate Christmas crowds. Also? I have no idea what to get my husband, so I am left wandering a lot, not inspired. Not a clue, honestly. And Dad? What do you want for Christmas this year? My creative batteries are on low, so let me know what would make you a happy Grandpa, and the kids and I will go get it.

We’ve also decided not to have a Christmas Open House this year. This will be the first year, since 2008, that we haven’t had one. We looked at cash, and time, and the fact that we are so stretched energy-wise that we’d be nuts to try and get the house company-clean and cook for that many people while maintaining the work/ home life schedule we have. I have to say I am completely relieved, but also sad. We love having people over, it is a chance to see as many of our friends as possible around Christmas, and provide some cheer. Plus, having 40 some odd people (17 of them kids in your basement watching TV) is quite an experience in a three-bedroom bungalow.

That said, friends are always welcome to give us a call, or come over for tea on the weekend. Just don’t mind the crumbs, constant noise, and bedlam, ok?

The past couple of weeks, truly, has been really great and really awful all at once. I have done a couple of runs, and they were awesome. I have been in the gym kicking butt. Also awesome. Missed a kick-butt Tupperware party. Not awesome.

The worst was that my wonderful, beautiful, never-replaceable Mustang Blue Running Room Run Jacket is gone/stolen (I think, since it is nowhere to be found and I was certain where I had left it). The realization, when it hit, made me break down sobbing. It was passed to me from a really awesome and inspiring friend, Ally ( and I am really at an emotional loss because that gift meant so very much to me.  I loved that jacket, it fit perfectly, and was a comfort on every run. I have to replace it, but I have to afford new running shoes too. *^&%. I am still looking for it, checking the lost and found at work periodically, but… Hope is fading.

Curse you, whomever took it out of the locker room at work, if that is what happened. CURSES UPON YOUR BLACKENED SOUL! *ahem*

Finally surfacing after my stomach flu is great, but with the massive green and red twinkling freight train of Christmas approaching, I want to dive back down. Let’s not talk about piles of snow, holes in my winter boots, tense school meetings about my son, my lack of gym visits in the past few days, or the entire family having colds all at once. I sound whiny. I’m not, really. Just tired. Really, really tired.

I think it is time to start Vitamin D and iron again. Blargh.

Finally, along with being bedridden and achy for the past few days, I’ve been thinking in metaphors, and I wrote some down in my flu-like haze. After re-reading them, I wanted to share some of them with y’all. I kind of liked them. Note, I am not sad. Ok, some of these may sound sad, or depressing, but they aren’t. Just snippets, ideas. Playing with the ideas. See after the More. ♥

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I tried a purifying face mask the other night that you slather on your face, leave on for thirty minutes (while you breakdance, clean the hampster cage, or make dinner), then peel off. It was a sample, so I had to squeeze it out of this ridiculously peanuts-on-an-airplane hard to open packet. I suppose I could have used scissors, but I was lazy and there weren’t any in the bathroom, because my daughter can climb, and decided to “cut her hair” (she’s two) the other day, so we had to move them.

I haven’t really ever been a fussy 12,432 step skincare kind of person. I do the wash with water, rub in some lotion and go. Maybe some eye cream if I look like a Basset Hound, or a scrub if my skin is greyer than the November sky *cue dramatic pose*.

Besides, ain’t nobody got time for that with two toddlerists in the house. But, *sigh*, with the change of the seasons, my face has been flaking and freaking out like a molting snake.You’re welcome for that visual. Can’t say I’m not accommodating. (Freaky, Dude… That’s what she said… etc.)

The face mask was pitch black. The brand was Boscia, if you’re interested. Was supposed to purify me like the angel Gabriel, and make my skin glow like an LED Christmas bulb, and stuck to everything I touched. I am a dork, so it got everywhere. Yeah. On the mirror, the ceiling (don’t ask) and my (thankfully already ratty) shirt.

I was safely in my home, using Science!© to make my skin glow like a photoshopped model in Vogue, so it was not inappropriate… But yep, as I gazed at my husband-terrifying visage in the mirror (Uhh honey, what is wrong with your face?) I did think about Halloween and all of the ridiculous people who decided that wearing what has been coined as “Blackface” as a costume was ok. *shakes head* Ridiculous, and how on earth is that ever ok? Ever? Yikes. (Julianne Hough I’m pointing at you, dearie… Crazy Eyes or no, sweetheart…)

Thirty minutes later, I remembered why I never, ever use peel off masks. Like ever.

OW. %&^*$ity OWWWWW! I have too much peach-fuzzy hair on my face to be pulling that &^*% off. I think more hair came off than good went into my skin. *&^(. If I’d wanted to scream like Steve Carrell in the 40 Year Old Virgin, I would have gone and gotten a Brazilian. It was that painful. I was left with remnants of sooty facemask, red, angry skin where I had violently ripped hair out, and a lingering rage that I could not take out on anything.

It was after, when I read the packet, that I noticed “You can wash off, if preferred”. Derp. Double Derp, in fact.

You see what women do to look beautiful? Do you? Take note husbands, spouses, lovers… We poke, prod, stuff, tweeze, polish, scrub, puff, fluff, dye, strip, flip, scrape and peel ourselves to oblivion (and to empty wallets) to look beautiful. We apply strange ^*%& to our faces in hope it will have some modicum of change, deflate our puffy eyes, erase our wrinkles, even out our (likely already beautiful) skin tone.

And sometimes it *&^%ing hurts. So be nice to us. And buy us pretty things to soothe the lingering rage. ♥


I bought my daughter the most toddler-girl-appropriate ladybug costume dress ever while out shopping with a friend. It was adorable, with ping-pongy antennae, and the wings velcro on and off which makes for waaaay less hassle when dealing with a fickle two year old.

On a whim at the dollar store not long ago, I bought myself ladybug wings, some long red gloves, a mask to match the wings and voila! We will be matching! I intend to wear a red dress and some heels (and thermal tights brrr!), and do my hair up. It will be fun! My own version of a Ladybug-Fairy-Princess, I suppose. Or wait… is she the Ladybug-Fairy Princess and I am the Ladybug-Fairy-Queen?

I did look at getting a ladybug costume from a costume store. I decided I did not want to be a Slutty-Ladybug-Queen. Some of the costumes were scary tight, short and ohmygod revealing. Why do all the costumes for adult (and teen) women need to be SexyEverything™?

I am hoping she likes dressing up with me, it is a surprise for her to have Mommy dress up as a ladybug too. I was all excited about doing eye makeup to look like a ladybug when I realized I have a Masquerade mask to wear. It is dollar store quality, so I will be picking glitter out of my skin for 12 days afterwards, guaranteed. Also? The gloves may not fit up my arms. People in China who made these assume women in North America have tiny, pole-like praying mantis arms. Heh…

My son, true to form, is an Orca, his favorite ocean animal. My husband found him an adorable costume at the local Winners, but he can’t wear it to school (He is a boy. He is a noise with dirt on it. White and black plush costume? It would come home no longer white in the white places). I know he’ll be a bit disappointed, but them’s the breaks, kid. Maybe I can swipe a Halloween shirt from Old Nay on the way home.

Two years ago, I wore my (beautiful) wedding dress as a costume with a scary black wig and cape. The dress fit me perfectly, which made me kind of feel terrible despite enjoying being able to wear such an expensive dress around for fun. I made a vow that by Halloween next it would not fit. I know, I know… I loved my dress, I loved how it looked when I married my husband. It was the perfect dress. But…  I did not want to fit into it any more. You see, when I got married, I was four months pregnant with my beautiful son, and a bursting at the seams size 22, almost a 24. When I tried the dress on right before my wedding, the couturier had to let it out a bit. Yes, I was pregnant, but not in the hips, back, or butt… I can remember trying desperately not to cry, since my hubby to be (Yes, he helped me pick out the dress) was standing right there, oohing and ahhing over how wonderful it looked (which it did).

Oi. Memories.

Last year, I tried my dress on and it was loose (stick my whole arm down the front kind of loose), but I could still wear it about without too much trouble. I was disappointed, but the fact that it was loose made me feel a bit better. I hid at home while my husband took the kids out. I was not really wanting to squeeze into a costume. instead I wolfed mini chocolate bars, had a glass of wine, and felt terrible about myself.

This year, I tried it on the other day while at home, alone.

I did it up, wrestled the bodice up past my girls… And it slid off of me. Right to the floor.

I calmly stepped out of the puddle of silk and sequins, shook it out, put it back into its dust-jacket, and then burst into happy tears. My secret (well, not so secret, I did tell a few folks) goal had finally, FINALLY happened.

I looked at my ladybug wings, mask and gloves after that. For the first time in a long time, I was looking forward to getting dressed up to go Trick or Treating without feeling self-conscious about my body. Yes, it may be shallow that not fitting into a dress I wore once when I was fat(ter) can alter my body-esteem, but there it is.  Yes, it should be about making my kids happy, and having silly fun, not my body shape or size. But… Costumes are always a sore point for me. I always feel exposed, all my flaws on parade.

Not this year. I am in a totally different place.

I am going to be a great Ladybug-Fairy-Queen.




Making it Up as I Go

A few mornings ago, I was about to apply mascara wand to my puny lashes when my daughter, dressed in her winter boots and coat, came into the bathroom. With mittens dangling out her sleeves, and her hood up, she announced “I have to put my makeup on!”.

It was adorable, I relented, and pulled her stool over to the counter. She climbed up, and I took out her “makeup” for her so I could continue to poke my eye out put my lashes on.

She is starting to want to do things with me, and explore her differences from her brother because “I am a girl!” gets announced frequently in our house (She also likes to announce she has a bum, a va-jay-jay, and sits down to pee). I am somewhat deer-in-the-headlights about it, and partially pleased she wants to do girl things with her dorky mom. She loves trucks and superheroes and idolizes her brother, but she does all the “boy” stuff in her Butterfly Princess dress and flashy pink Skechers.

Despite my endorsement of her purple, glittery tendencies, there is no way in H-E-Double Hockey Sticks I am letting her play around with my Dior, UD, or Clinique compacts, and I am not letting lipstick get smeared on everything in sight. Not only is that &^*% expensive, but higher end shadow or blusher pigment doesn’t come out of anything. Even with that stain remover hocked on TV by that dude who needs to stop yelling or he’ll pop a hernia.

Gathering the materials to make fake play makeup.

So, faced with her wanting to “Be like Mommy” at the tender age of two and a half, I dug through my old, dried out and cracked compacts a couple of weeks ago.  Armed with a Pinterest-gacked idea, and some spare time (I know! WOOO!) I made play makeup.

I picked up dollar-store nail polish (FYI, this stuff REEKED for days after I made the compacts. Air them in a well-ventilated area) and some stick on jewels (which are not very sticky) and prepared to do my best.

I was able to pop out the green eyeshadow duet easily (Seriously, green? What was I thinking? They never looked good on me.) and the Lise Watier popped out with minimal effort. The lip gloss/lipstick pallete, however, was greasy and stubborn.

The finished compacts, complete with bedazzled covers and brushes

May I suggest wearing gloves if you are cleaning out any kind of compact with lipstick, gloss, or otherwise oil-based makeup? My hands were a tinge of pink for a day after washing that puppy out. And let’s not talk about the glitter… (Herpes of the craft and makeup world, I tell ya)

Once I got them clean and dry, I poured the nail polish into the former makeup reservoirs. I filled them halfway, so that when they dried it would “coat” the inside of the compartment, and not “fill it” which would likely stay soft. Which would be bad news for anything within the vicinity of my daughter, once she got poking at them with a brush.

Nail polish fingerprints do not come off denim easily, youknowwhatI’msayin’?

Remember, as you pour, that there are those tiny ball-bearings in the bottles, and try not to drop them into the compact. I had to fish mine out with Q-Tips, and that was messy. I kept poking at them going “Stupid bubbles” wondering why they wouldn’t pop.

The compacts in all their blingy glory

They weren’t bubbles. Derp.

Next, you let it dry (ummm… Duh?). Which takes awhile (overnight). This is where you ensure you have placed them where they won’t make you pass out from the fumes, or have a little girl get into them. Yeah. *cough-snort* cheap nail polish = lots and lots of narsty smells. I was not about to use my OPI or more eco-friendly bottles though, and if this turned into a PinterestFail, I wouldn’t be out a ton of money.

Once dry, I stuck some jewels to the tops, to make them toddler-girl acceptable (I also used some of them on my own compacts… Because I felt left out and wanted bling). They don’t stay very well so I will have to go back and superglue them on. They keep coming off, and my daughter sticks them to other things, like her eyelid, or her tongue.

She loves them. She puts them into a little silver play purse and carries them around, puts them in the bathroom “Just like Mommy”. She paints the “glitter blusher” on her cheeks with a fierce focus, and the tiny brush that came with the gloss palette gets used to put her lipstick on. All the colours. Every time.

If it was real makeup, she might be mistaken for one of the citizens from the Capitol. But this is ok. She says her favorite is the glitter. Of course it is! I have glitter eyeliner that sometimes makes its way onto her cheek in the form of a star. She loves that. So every morning I am getting ready with the kids, she is beside me on a stool putting her “makeup” on.

I’m still getting used to this, being a mom to a girl. It felt like only yesterday I was at the hospital, having the ultrasound tech tell me I was having a girl and having a mini-internal freak out about massive hair bows and how I was going to deal with all the frouffy-frouf and tulle.

It has been easier in some ways, and harder in others. I am not used to the pink, the bows, the glitter, or the unflinching, glorious desire to be a princess. I am more used to the dresses, pretty shoes, and playing Dolly Tea Party (The best parties are when Dolly gets a tupper of single malt while we are having tea.. .or wait, is that me…). I have worn a tutu on my head, dealt with the chopped liver sensation when my little girl needs her Daddy more than me, and bought more pink and purple frilly things than I have ever before. I’ve even contemplated, while purchasing every day fun jewelry pieces, if they would be able to pass down to her at some point as play jewelry, and if the answer is no, putting it back.

Hopefully she knows (or will know) I am trying my best.

Trying to be a good example to her, foster her ability to be as girly/frilly/glittery a woman as she wants, yet have balls to take on the big things in life, and toe the line with the Boy’s Club if she needs to. I want her to be able to do all the Tom-Boy stuff she ever wants to do, but I will not say no if she completely geeks out over more female oriented toys and past times like those rainbow elastic looms that are giving all the cool kids carpel-tunnel.

I just want her to experience everything she can to help her find out who she is as she grows. I know she’s only two, but I have been thinking about it a lot the past few days (hence the long-winded navel-gazy post hidden in a tutorial). Call me crazy (wait, you already do…) but I feel like I need to ensure I have this right. If I do nothing else right, let me be the best role model for my children I possibly can.

Even though I really do feel like I am making it up as I go. ♥

Hump Day Drama

What an absolute &^*% of a week.

Seriously… If Friday had not gotten here today, I think I may have revolted. Or at least been mildly annoyed. It has been an up-and-down rollercoaster ride of crazy, funny, happy, and sad. My ever-lovin’ TV boyfriend Nathan over here sums it up best.


Over all, I’ve been feeling good all week despite the craziness that has happened. Bouncy, full of energy, alive, happy! The positive energy tap got turned on again, and it has been a lovely change from having no energy and having negative emotions swirling in my head. I have been trying to wake up, greet the day, and wear nice things so I feel good. I’ve even shopped the bargain jewelry rack at the Bay and found some really nice pieces to add to my collection for not much money. Yesterday I bought a ring for $4 that was normally $60.

Boo-yeah! I win deal of the week!

I think a main reason for this slow unravelling back to a more normal feeling is that I am pain free. No hip hurting, no leg pain at night, and my foot feels a bazillion times better than it has in months. Once I get my new running shoes all figured out (thank you Solefit!) I am going to be able to run again.

I know! I need a parade or something to commemorate this. TWO MONTHS of no running. TWO! *flail*

I am also feeling creative again. I am seeing art in every day things. I am noticing the colours of objects, the sun hitting a rooftop, the ebb and flow sounds of life around me. Being in pain really dulled me. I couldn’t muster effort to smile, slept badly, ate poorly because I was tired… And hello, blood sugars! How ’bout you freak out too! Stress receptors on overdrive + pain + lack of sleep…

The end of my summer was sucky.

But I am back now, or at least feel back. I want to listen to music again, I walk with a bounce in my step. While chatting with a random man in line at Starbucks on Tuesday, he asked me what I was doing for lunch, and if I wanted to join him. I politely declined, and waggled my left ring finger at him.

It made me feel pretty and stuff, being “hit on” like that. Hey, I’m contently married, but I ain’t dead! That hasn’t happened since my swim instructor last winter asked me to dinner (Its ok sweetie, I think he forgot I was married, I take my ring off to go in the pool, y’see).

Levity and flattery aside, the second half of my week, especially, has been a neon sign reminder of how precious life is, and how we must not let it pass us by. It has made me think of what I am doing, where I am going, how I can do better. Do those things I want to do that make a difference. not sure what that is exactly, but I’m werkin’ on it.

On Wednesday, I was driving my kids to their doctor’s appointment. I was on a very busy street, traffic stopped in either direction, me slowing down for the light. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a black blur shoot out between two stopped cars, right at me.

The black blur turned out to be a woman, running.

The front corner of my car, and her body met with a very heavy and frightening thud. I couldn’t swerve. I couldn’t stop in time. She just…

…Hit the car and fell. As I leapt out of my seat and bolted around the car, I was fearing the worst, her under my tires, massive injury… Or worse.

I am thankful for new brakes on my car, because I stopped very quickly. I am grateful that my kids didn’t see what happened, being engrossed with books in the back seat. I am beyond words of thanks for the nurse in the car beside me, and the military paramedic in traffic a few cars down who had his full kit with him. I am relieved that the woman’s coat got caught in the corner of my hood and came off of her instead of dragging her. We are blessed that no one was badly hurt.

The woman only hurt her leg, wasn’t bleeding anywhere we could see, and seemed completely aware. No one was put at fault.

I was a mess. Once I ensured the kids had fresh air in the car, and were distracted, I moved under a tree by the side of the street and lost it. Completely. Shaking, losing my breath, the whole kitten-kaboodle. Away from the kids because we don’t need more trauma. But I had to deal with what had just happened or I was going to explode.

I hit another human. With my car. I don’t recommend it.

That night, I spent a lot of time distracting myself with random videos and TV episodes (ok, so I was looking up random obscure movies starring actors I have recently come to obsess over admire). I was physically tired, and felt muffled. Numb. The moment of impact kept replaying in my mind, and my dreams that night were rather strange and disjointed. I woke up Thursday, took the morning to meditate, speak to someone about it, and then met friends for lunch before putting my game face on and going to work. I felt better, but was worried I was processing it too quickly, and shouldn’t feel this ok with what had happened. I was jumpy and cautious with myself.

Yeah… over-analyze much? Nah…

Today I feel normal again. I have indeed dealt with what happened, thanked God for watching over us, and tried my best to re-harness the happy that began the week. I think having this uptick in getting back to normal for me helped me deal with what happened on Wednesday in a much better way.

I felt guilty a bit this morning feeling happy and bubbly, but then reasoned with myself. I need to be this way. I need to get back to how amazing I was feeling, because when I do, I make better life choices, I feel better about myself, and to be honest, it is much less tiring. So again, the ruggedly handsome Captain Tightpants over here demonstrates my mood this afternoon as I contemplate a weekend of fun with my family, and a Sunday morning watching good friends achieve amazing things at their Triathlon.

I am alive, and it is good.

Morning Coffee

On the mornings that my husband is at the box (Crossfit, yo!), I wake the kids up solo, frog-march them into the bathroom to potty, then drag them bodily to the table. I then face the life-altering woe that an almost 5 year old can muster when it comes to Cheerios being “Sooooo boring, Mommy!” I read riot act of “This or nothin’, dude!” , give in, add raisins or chocolate chips to it, and walk away to pack bags, find shoes, and perhaps, maybe, wash my face (shower? Ain’t nobody got time for that!) before I have to referee a heated argument about who is cooler (I’m not silly, I’m cool! You’re silly! No, I’m cool! and so on…) which always ends in tears for one of them.

Then, I cajole, plead and beg the boy to get dressed, and bargain with my daughter to wear what I have laid out. Yelly Mom sometimes makes an appearance, immediately followed by Guilty Mom.

No matter how horrid the morning is going, the moment my sweaty, disheveled, stinky husband walks in the door, it is like the biggest celebrity in the world is spotted. There is running, shrieking, and a chorus of “DADDYDADDYDADDY!”. Chopped liver (me), then get a reprieve so I can finally pee and run a brush through the mop on my head. Then I blearily gather up my essential items so I can get to work (phone, bus pass, wallet, earbuds, lunch… What am I forgetting? Oh right… pants.)

So, by the time I get on the bus to go to work, I am already frazzled, my patience is thin. I narrow my eyes at the people on the bus that look serene, calm, casually sipping their coffee whilst perusing a paper (those of you who can read on a moving bus without tossing your cookies, I hate you.). They don’t have toddlerists, do they? Or if they do, they must have a nanny, cuz here I am, milk stain on my shirt, hair scraped back under a hat, dark circles under my eyes, wishing for a caffeine IV… and they look awesome. *grump*

I love my children with the force of a thousand runners with credit cards at a running store sale, but sometimes, on “box” mornings, I want to just RUN AWAY. (

Am I allowed to do that? Didn’t think so.

This morning, on a non-box day, we had spent a rather grueling night dealing with a wakeful, restless little girl. Both of us looked like we’d been through &^%*. I was lieing there in bed, gathering the will to face the day, my husband semi-awake on the other side, groaning softly. My daughter, wedged between us and insistent to get up, slid off the bed, walked into the hallway, and exclaimed in delight as her brother opened his door. She said “Good morning, broffer! I glad to see you!” and then they held hands and walked into the dining room, ready for their breakfast.

WTF? Why can’t they do that when I am by myself in the morning? It’s a conspiracy.

Now that my husband has witnessed that event of complete adorableness, he must think that I am making up the temper tantrums, time-outs, spilled milk and cereal stories. He likely now believes I am CRAZY, as how can these two angel-faced, happy children be the little demons I describe?

I give up. I do! If you want me, I will be under my desk, making a fort out of old duotangs, binder clips and broken pencils.

In truth, as I take my break this morning, there is not enough coffee in the world to prevent the Zombiemom tendencies to be on full display. If my head hits the keyboard, hopefully it will be enough to wake me up before I add thousands of the letter B, N, M and commas to my document. Guh…

Sharing Me

This week has been hectic, and I am ready for it not to be. Meetings, dentists, yoga, running, epic groceries…One last stop at the LCBO tonight… heh…

Despite my hectic week, and the longing glances at my couch and iPad, this weekend I have done some scheduling for us. I am sure husband has that “Grumpy Bear” face on because I am all efficient and wonderful planning our weekend.

Yup. He never mentioned wanting to do much other than cut the lawn and go for a long run so… Give me an inch, pal, and here you go! Your itinerary! Colour-coded and cross-referenced for travel time! Would you like it laminated?

Eh… Heh… yes, I am aware I have a problem.

However, If my husband (and my inner lazy girl) had his way, we would spend the weekend at home, and while I am ok with that, I know by Saturday afternoon, I would be going bonkers, and so would the kids. We need to do some stuff, activities, get out, be social. The dishes and laundry and lawn mowing can wait until evening. Besides, I have a tendency to want to “lounge about” on weekends in my comfy pajamas, and end up kicking myself when I don’t get done what I want to, or feel guilty when the weather is nice and I wasn’t outside being productive.

Yes, I used to live on a farm, why do you ask? *facepalm*

So… Out the door we go, family, so that we can be active, create memories, keep moving , and not waste this weather!

Saturday morning I am headed down to Carleton University (Early! gotta be parked by 7:45 am) to watch a friend compete in her first Triathlon. It is a cool event that has a “Try a Tri” category with shortened phases, to give you a taste of what the deal-io is. If I was a better swimmer or owned a bike…Right, like I don’t have enough on my fitness plate already… Another friend is running an 8k closer to noon, but husband already mentioned he would like me not to be out all day. Hmph. Ok, I understand. So I may not be able to see her and give her a “good run” hug. *sadface #1*

But I am getting ME TIME! MEEEE TIME! *happydance #1*

Sunday we are headed out to “The Farm” to see the garlic that has sprouted, decide what we are planting in our weed patch this year, and to go see my old horses. Well, one of them, anyways. The other one has shipped off to a boarding stable, perhaps to be reintroduced to saddle. That leaves two at home, which is an easier number than three to care for, for my Dad. Then it is off to a friend’s place for a run with her, and then some good food on the barbeque while our combined six kids crate havoc. My friend has just started running, and I am really, and I mean really, looking forward to putting shoe to asphalt with her and encouraging her. Also? I want to crush on her Kinvara 4’s. So pretty. So not for me. *sadface #2*

Ahhh social time and running. Excellent.

I am anticipating Monday the most, though. I am going riding! With friends! Husband is coming with the kids too, and we are headed to Captiva Farms for a get-together and some social time. There is a petting zoo and pony rides, and we are going to bring an epic picnic lunch. Hopefully my husband and the other husbands left on the ground when us ladies take off get along, and have fun. The kids will have a blast, I am sure. How can they not? Countryside, fresh air, sunshine (I hope!) and animals.

To say that I get to share this day with some friends is making me *happydance #2*. But the secret is, I have another reason I want to go. My children have never seen me on a horse, and this has bothered me for some time.

Something about getting up on a horse, and having my kids actually see me astride makes me kind of emotional, and excited to share “what mommy can do” with them. Horses were my world, my career, my passion… And I took a break from it all in 2005, when my horse died. So my children don’t know this part of me. My husband doesn’t really either.

I met my husband a few short months after my horse died, and by 2007 I was pregnant with our first. By then, horses, riding, competing, teaching, training… It just wasn’t part of my world anymore. I wanted it to be, but after a few failed attempts (and a very strange stint trying to volunteer for an equine sports group that left me kind of perplexed and disappointed) to get back to it, I accepted that with young kids, I had to alter my expectations. It is also harder when the person you live with doesn’t particularily like the equine species. We try to do recreational “stuff” together as a family, and he’s made it clear he doesn’t want to do that.

I find it a mix of strange and delightful that I am so excited about going for a simple (what most horsey folks would say) trail ride. It used to be that I rode every day, sometimes more than one horse. It used to be that hacking was part of the conditioning plan. Galloping with deer in the back fields was a regular occurrence. Colourful pieces of wood cupped together to jump over was every day, common-sight furniture. My world was eat, sleep, breathe horses. It was my first education, my grounding force, my savior, and my paycheque.

Which went right back into horses. They’re expensive, yo. $$

There is not a day that I do not sit down at my office, and wish to trade it for a “desk” made out of hay bales, muck forks and tack. I miss it so much. I miss the knowledge I had being put to use by my hands and head together. I miss the smell of a clean barn, the sound of happy horses munching hay, or listening to the cadence of a horse cantering. I miss the dirt-crusted sweaty skin, the horrific hat-head hairstyles, and even yes, the Spring shed. I miss the feel of muscle bunching for takeoff over a fence. The way whiskers feel on my neck. Or how much pride enters my emotional sphere when a good, hard day’s work is done.

I am planning on finding a place to take lessons once I can figure out how to afford it. I don’t want to compete, but it would be wonderful to school, and regain some of the skill I know I have lost. I want to present the opportunity to both my children. If they don’t want to, it is ok.

So now I have to dig out my gloves, my helmet and see if I still fit into my paddock boots and half chaps (I have had two kids since I wore them with any regularity, uh oh). I have no breeches that fit anymore, they have all long since been given away or turfed.

A long weekend of sharing. I am looking forward to it. All of it.


Tiny Running Shoes

I have begun the packing list for Tough Mudder. When my husband reads this, he will sadly shake his head and chuckle at my ever-lovin’ overplannin’, organizational obsessive self. Yes, I am creating a list of everything that has to go. I love being organized. I love being in control.

Which you would not think I am capable of, given the state of our house right now.

The weather is nice, which means we are not in the house. Hence no housework gets done. We are attempting to get it clean this weekend so that when we straighten up to leave for Tough Mudder on the 10th, we won’t a) have a mountain of housework that sends us into a spiral of defeat, and b) come home to stinky garbage, dishes, and mayhem (or at least minimal mayhem… We have kids) .We try to do this before every trip away. It doesn’t always happen, but hey, goals and stuff, right?

Right now I would give anything for a dishwasher, a Roomba, or a housecleaner.

Last night we dragged both kids out to Run Club. Husband ran with another husband, pairing up well. They seemed to match pace, and my husband was all zen and happy (until daughter would not sleep) after. I was super happy to finally get my husband to come out, and help him get a run in this week. He needs to get going on his Half training, and even though he works out 3 to 4 days a week (Crossfit, yo), I am worried he won’t have the long runs in to meet his time goal for Race Weekend. I need to stop worrying about him, and worry more about me, right? Heh… Yeah. Moms who worry about everyone else in their family before themselves? What woman does that? Pshaw…

Anywho, I walked with the kids, and they ran around and had a blast. I am glad I dressed my son in orange, so I could see him when he was running too far ahead of me. I am glad the other walking moms were ok with him tagging with them while I walked very slowly with a determined little girl who would NOT get into the stroller. She wanted to run, so run she did.

It was kind of adorable. She insisted on rainbow pants for her run too, even though I tried to change her into shorts. Rainbows! Wonder where she got that from…

We got home past their bed time, ate, and by 9 pm, my son was passed out. We didn’t even get to bathe them, and elected to shower with the kids this am (that went over super well… NOT. We’ll change the sheets tonight). My daughter? Hokey Doodles. She was wired. Let’s just say last night, nothing got done. The kitchen looks like a bomb exploded, the living room has shrapnel (aka toys) strewn everywhere, and don’t even ask about the laundry. I left for work this morning feeling harried, stressed, and wishing I could just stay at home and get some freakin’ cleaning done.

Or a nap. equally as productive, right?

But, last night, we were outside, in the gorgeous weather, being social, being active, and I LOVE IT. So much more important than squeaky clean floors, when I sit back and think about everything we need to do in a day. Yes, the mess is a little irritating, and I wish I had more energy once the kids were in bed to straighten up and such… But when I told my son he was going to Mommy’s Run Club, he got so excited! My daughter, once her tiny Nike’s were on, looked at me and said “I need to RUN!”

This is a major parenting WIN, and erases the Yelly Mom #parentingguilt when my son won’t get dressed, the exasperated sighs as more milk gets spilled, or the frustrated toe-stub on a book that I can’t see because I am carrying a two year old who screams and screams until she gets her “UP!” at the worst possible time, i.e. I have three other things in my hand.

They want to run, they want to be active, and they want to do it with us. I will put off shaking Cheerios out of the booster seat every time to go do that  with them.


Memories of a Norwalk

Here are some thoughts that passed through my head on Tuesday night when I was camping out in the bathroom at 3 AM, very, very ill:

  1. I wish I could take my knees off, take them back to the Acme Body Joint Factory, and demand a refund. “These knees are defective! They hurt for no good reason! I want a new pair. Also, can you direct me to the returns counter for hips?”
  2. I have too much crap in my bathroom drawers. Do I really need sixty-bazillion bobbypins? How did I even come to own sixty-bazillion bobbypins?
  3. I need to buy new road running shoes for summer. I want pretty ones. Brooks stability are awesome but their colours suck. PINK! I want screaming, radioactive PINK, people! Us stability shoe wearers want the same attention to splashy, tacky styling that all you minimalist and neutral runner folks get. IT’S NOT FAIR!
  4. Why can’t I move my ship, dammit! *pokes iPad screen harder * MOVE, YOU IMBECILE, MOVE!” This game is broken, I hate it and I am never playing it again. One star rating here I come! Oh wait… My bad, that’s not a ship, its part of the background. I think it might be a tree…
  5. I wonder if I am going to freak out in the tunnels of the Boa Constrictor obstacle next month. That looks a little intense, now that I just watched that really scary video with the screaming girl in it. Must watch more, because exhaustion and pain make these kinds of things much less anxiety inducing.
  6. Jenna Marbles is not funny. I want to punch her. Kind of like how I want to punch that airhead from 50 Shades of Grey, or the effervescent Bella Swan. Jeepers, ladies, grow a pair, will ya? Whoa, I just used the word effervescent in a sentence. Next I am going to wax poetic about gossamer TP… Oi.

Things I have learned never to do while sick, bored, and camped out in the bathroom at 3 am:

  • Do not Google your illness symptoms. You will invariably think you are going to die.
  • Do not watch videos that make you giggle uncontrollably. That never ends well when you have a gastro. Jes sayin’…
  • Do not try to sleep. You will fall over. Ow. *rubs forehead*
  • Do not count your stretchmarks for something to do. You will descend into incalculable woe.

So y’all, I had Norwalk. That’s where I went all week. It was sheer delight and restful contemplation. Right. It was &$*@ing &%$*. I never want to do that again. Never, Like Ever. Sucking cannot even begin to describe it. *cue melodrama*.

The 3 hour tour started Sunday, and I finally saw the light (in the form of a bagel sandwich) yesterday. The S.S. Mustangsabby sunk, folks. It was not a happy time.

Hooo man, was I sick. Training took a backseat to simply sitting upright, running was abandoned in favour of shuffling between the couch, bed and bathroom. Eating was non-existent except for saltines, Nuun, and noodle broth. Words cannot describe the level of awesomeness I achieved as I assumed parts of my body were being torn asunder, and my organs were revolting the current working conditions of my body in a very active way. My hair hurt. Yes, my hair. Combing it was very ouchy. It felt like I was made of tissue paper and someone was raking me with sharp tipped scissors, or an indignant porcupine.

I impersonated a marathon runner after a race while walking, or maybe a zombie since I was so flippin’ exhausted, since there was no runner’s high associated with said shuffle. My toenails protested being put into socks. I could hear them chanting as I attempted to put on a pair to go to the doctor… “Equality for all metatarsals! We demand a recount! All the piggies deserve ice cream!” etc…

*ahem* Yeah…

Now back in the land of the living, both kids back to normal, and my husband so far not falling ill, I am ready to get back at it next week. I gotta!

Three weeks to taper!





Mom of the Year

*I am in a silly mood today, and have a non-fitness post for y’all. Enjoy!*

Did you know that when you need splash pants for your two kids because you can’t find the ones you squirrelled away last year, there are none anywhere in the city? Lord knows I will find the old ones this weekend when I start the 2013 Annual Spring Purge of All the Things™.

I finally found some (not very waterproof… Seriously, taffeta? How is that going to keep my kid dry?) splash pants at two different Wal-Marts. I found a pink pair at one, the last pair, and ran to the cash with my random purchases spilling out of my arms, thinking I was going to get mobbed by the six other parents slowly doing laps in the kid’s section, eyeballing every rack for that other, elusive pair. The second pair I found at another Wal-Mart, and I think the same six parents had followed me there. More slowly revolving shopping carts, like some cruel game of musical chairs, only this time there are no chairs and everyone is ragey and pushing large metal weapons.

The victory is that my son is wearing splashpants today that I have to roll four times so they fit, but darnit all, he has some, as the school wanted! I think I need to go and hit Carters/OshKosh for some actual waterproof ones (and perhaps in his size?), but those kinds of stores aren’t open after 9 pm, which is when I went out. Also, we needed yeast, cheese, and freezer bags.

I am queen of the random late-night shopping purchases, yes I am. *fistpump*

I really wish stores would put their seasonal clothes out in the seasons you USE them in. I have no interest in putting my daughter in summer dresses yet, but that is all you see on the racks. *sigh* It is insane that I have to buy Christmas outfits in September, Winter clothes in August, and Spring clothes in January. It drives me nuts. I love consignment stores for being able to buy clothes for the season in the season, but it is a crapshoot to find size and such. Finding nice boy’s stuff on consignment, at my son’s age, is also mega-crazy hard, as most boys his age destroy everything they wear as they rapidly grow out of them (My son included). I look at his outgrown pants every time I put together a consignment pile and shake my head sadly as they get re-sorted to the “rag” pile.

I want some kid’s clothing company to come out with pants that do not wear out at the knees, or the butt, and have cuffs that are indestructible. Is that too much to ask? I’d also like them to not cost an entire paycheque either.

I’m lookin’ at you, Gymboree. *stinkeye*

I did, as I searched in vain for the proverbial needle in the Wal-mart/Joe Fresh haystack, want to buy all the cute raincoats and rubber boots I saw (yes, they have tons of those in the stores of course… Argh), which I did not since my kids already have that stuff. They have very traditional togs, black and burnt sienna-soled boots that you get at the local Co-op for $10 (In my case, Value Village for $2). Stylish beyond words, I know, but they are rugged and they fit right now. Neither kid seems to care that their boots do not have the latest Disney character, or some cute frog or ladybug on them. Can they splash in the mud? This is the top priority.

Give it a few years, I know, and they will be whining for designer boots because everyone else has them. Maybe by then the money tree will have sprouted. Mind you, if it does, we won’t be living anywhere that you need rain boots. Heh…

I saw some boots for my daughter last night that were adorable girly colours (pink with some more pink as accent) with these utterly over-the-top pink bows molded as part of the cuff of the boot. The adorable factor was blinding, and I knew she would love them, but I passed. Subsequently, I saw boots for my son with the foot part shaped like a car. Seriously? He would make that zooming noise wherever he ran, wearing those. But again, the cash is not there (I needed splashpants, yo), and they already have some.

And now they have splashpants. I win Mom of the Year. Right? *cricket chirp*

No? Eh-heh…

So, with my daughter’s yellow rain coat, new pink splashpants and black rubber boots, all I need to complete her outfit is a red rainhat or something, then take a zillion embarrassing pictures of her playing in said ensemble.  She can take the pictures to therapy with her someday, show the therapist and say “This is how my mommy dressed me! *sob* The scars!” . My son, on the other hand, will be wearing splashpants that go up to his armpits under his rain coat, but hey, he won’t be wearing snow pants in May, or have his backpack stuffed to the gills with extra jeans and socks because he always jumps into the biggest puddle. He won’t care, but I am sure I’m going to get a (slightly damp) note home from the teacher in crisp, slightly irritated handwriting:

“{Your son} decided to wear nothing but his splashpants outside today, since it seems they cover his entire torso and he thought it was a mud suit. Please talk to him about the importance of wearing a jacket, and not getting naked in the hall way at school.”

That will be a  Mom of the Year moment for sure.

Up and Down

I had wine this weekend, and a ridiculously good spiced Hot Toddy, and all kinds of sweets. I indulged. I also feel ok about it, and regret not one bite of the Snicker’s cheesecake. I regret no part of the rice stirfry for lunch, with the rice/pork eggplant moussaka for dinner (RICE! WHITE RICE!). I had some chocolate, I ate popcorn, I had lots of caffeine.

Whatev’s. Back to the smoothie this morning, and chugging water like I just spent a week in the Sahara with nothing but an empty bottle and a picture of Richard Armitage brooding. (Yes, this makes me uncharacteristically thirsty… I wonder why. *wink*)

We had some bad news about some friends that we really consider family come on Friday afternoon, but everyone is recovering, safe, and taken care of. It was stressful and extremely upsetting, and the McDonalds tasted extra comforting when we sat as a family for a treat meal before groceries. (Why yes, I abusefind comfort in carbs, hand over that loaf of Wonderbread and no one gets hurt.)

When we do groceries, we do them with the kids (My son loves helping, and my daughter is following in that), and we eat before we shop (we usually do not go home, and go straight from day care pickup to food). Believe it or not, if I insist on eating before, we spend less on groceries as a whole. Yes, it was Golden Arches this time, but you know what? I am ok with it. Besides, the Hex Bug that came with my son’s Happy meal was really neat, and he absolutely enjoyed playing with it once his meal was done. I just wish they would make the girl toys more like toys and less useless stuff that gets tossed the moment we can. The past three girl toys have been keychains… Keychains? WTF is my two-year old going to do with a keychain? It is disappointing for her. I should have just asked for a boy toy for her as well.

Not that we seek out McD’s for toys… It is a lovely bonus. They become great toys to keep in the car as emergency placation.

While my husband was off completing round 2 of his 13.2 Open WOD (Crossfit, yo) on Saturday, I did some core work, and some squats. Did you know that you can do plank with a child crawling all over you? Crunches are extra oomphy when you have a small 2-year old run and flop across your abs just as you are flexing up. Also? It is so easy for wee kids to do Paleo chair. Adorable, but frustraing as *$%#, because my Paleo chair is as thus: squat down, hold onto edge of couch to get into position. Let go of couch, count to three and fall over. Repeat. Meanwhile, she is sitting in a deep Paleo chair, clapping her hands and singing.

She can also still touch her toes to her forehead. ‘Nuff said.

I logged 10k on Sunday with a friend, and it was *$%#ing awesome. The endorphins raging through my system when we got back made me want to go bite the head off a chicken (nugget) and jump around (while taking off my running tights). I fell asleep cuddling the kids while watching Team UmiZoomi not twenty minutes later. AROOOO… ZZZzzz…

This was my first 10k since Resolution Run, and I felt happy with my effort. Some walking, a quick stop break halfway through (at the top of Heart Attack Hill), and we did some lovely inclines. We ran up Heart Attack Hill, which I had severe doubts I could do without walking. I chose to attempt it, I said “let’s do that”. Why? I have no idea. I like to torture myself. I was also thinking about Tough Mudder, and the mountain I have to climb several times over. That is more of a motivating factor to my fitness ramp up than the obstacles (more on this later). I really, really, really want to be able to get up those ski slopes without shredding myself. It is 16k, whether walking or running the in-betweens, and I have to have the leg strength to git’erdone.

Squats every day from now to Mudder. I declare it a Squat-a-thon! Anyone got a good app for daily squat challenges? What am I getting myself into?

But… By the time I got to the top of that wicked, awesome, hateful, spiteful, mean slope, I was wheezing like a half-broken accordion. My lungs had given me the heave-ho. My legs were fine, my body felt great, but my damned lungs said “%&$* you, lady, we don’t like this.” The phlegm was epic, the grape Amino Energy water tasted amazing. It could be the %$&#ing cold I still have hanging around, making me stuffy and headachey and generally blech. Stupid cold. Give me my lungs back! I felt it during the run.

Then I looked down the hill. *^%$ yeah! We did that! I was pleased. I hope my friend was too. She’s much better at hills than me.

I ended the weekend asleep on the couch, drooling on my tablet. Up and Down indeed, it was eventful. Today is a yoga day… I need some re-centreing, and a chance to reflect on the up and down of the past couple of days, both mental and physical. Namaste, dammit.

Internet is Essential

I sat at the door this morning, on one of the kid’s stepstools, my son curled up in my lap, both of us near tears. He has one wicked cold, and was miserable this morning. And those who know, 4-year-old miserable is miserable indeed. I did not want to leave him, and go to work. I wanted to stay at home, curled up in “the big bed”, watching back episodes of Mike the Knight or Team UmiZoomi, nursing Jellybean tea and generally trying to absorb the suck from my son into me so he would feel better.

My husband just informed me that the Internet is down. Problems with the provider in our area, apparently. No Netflix. No Youtube. No Facebook. No job search.

Despite worrying about my son… I am quite happy to be at work now.

Sorting it Out

Coming back out of the sickness that kept me down all last week, finally, and then it hit again. Today was a day where moving off the couch was difficult, and a three hour nap left me feeling worse than better. My back is about a 6 on the pain scale, my kids are driving me nuts, and my husband has been… Well, lately I wonder if he’s working through heavy *&$% in his head. He’s very quick to get grumpy, we are snapping at one another and not spending much quality time together. It is making me sensitive, and worried, and all that &%$^ing baggage that comes with me is rearing its head.

I’m being stu…. Well, overreacting, of course. Everything is fine. It’s no wonder, we’ve got a tad wee tich of the stress going. Must regroup. Must be strong.

As an aside (and maybe a factor to the grumps), Valentine’s Day kind of sucked, y’all. Not a big deal, but started with a big fabric flower the kids argued over and bopped me with, and ended with us falling asleep hugging our tablets. We cancelled the (tentative) baby sitter, since well, husband is still job hunting, and our anniversary is next week anyways. Let’s save the money, right? But… The sappy, marshmallow girl in me was at least hoping for some romantic notion other than a novelty rose that is almost as tall as me. My husband’s not terribly romantic, he’s more of a caveman, and I know this about him. I need to alter my expectations, perhaps, eh?

Ech. Enough about a fabricated holiday that causes more stress than it should. Moving on…

Truthfully, I’m grumpy for other reasons too. Being sick is terrible, but being sick knowing you are running out of time before The Big Goal™ is even worse. I could not work out all last week. No running, no gym, nothing. It was driving me nuts, thinking of the nice weather break we were having and me not out in it. I was crying on Wednesday morning, realizing I was going to miss a run with good friends. I was upset on Thursday and Friday when I couldn’t get to the gym. I didn’t even think about a run this weekend with the cold. I want to get moving again tomorrow, but my back has other ideas.

*$%^. I need to run, dammit.

I’ve been kind of quiet on my online support group too. Feeling like I have nothing positive to contribute right now, and no knowing what to say. Cat’s got my tongue, etc. Being in a funk, and not feeling well does that to me. I turtle. I go inside myself, usually fold into a book or a TV show or a movie I can latch onto and block out reality while mine sucks. That usually leads to not sleeping, or eating (always a good idea, right?), and putting pen to paper, cocooning into a meditative state where I loop ideas in my head, pushing them out, and losing the world to my Mind’s Eye. (This happened while I was sick last week. I watched all 44 episodes of Legend of the Seeker  as a marathon over 3 days. Yeah… I am a tad obsessive sometimes,  but this show is good, y’all. I wish it had not been cancelled. Plus, the hero is kind on the eyes. Very kind.)

I can’t really space out like that anymore, because I have kids (they have to eat every day? And wear clothes? Jeez…), a job to do, a life where others depend on me. Sometimes these creative benders would last days before I got married and had kids, and would end with spectacular crazy hair, sore fingers from typing, bleary eyes and shakes from lack of proper diet. I always came out of it emotionally drained too, but freshened in a weird, Pheonix-like way. Like I was cleansing *%$^ and got it out of my system and could function as a proper, contributing adult again, hitting the reset button.

My refreshed day, that was yesterday… Before the mall, and allowing myself to get low again .

Last night, we had to kill some time before meeting friends at a restaurant, so we went to the mall. The longer I spent in there, the more horrible I was feeling about myself, the more I just wanted to curl up into a ball and cry. I was assaulted at the choices of clothing, how inept I was at finding clothes that look nice on me and fit, how fat I still feel walking into a mall store, how expensive everything is… You name it, it was feeding Inner Critic Self. I had forgotten my new word of Strong, for sure. It wasn’t even in the same stratosphere as I was.

I think, at the root of it, I’m a jeans, T-Shirt, boots, and leather jacket kind of girl. Unfortunately, I love flower prints, soft, wispy shirts, and bold, rainbow colours too. On the shelf. I try them on, feel they look ridiculous on me when I step outside the change room, and don’t buy them. So whenever I go clothes shopping, I get overwhelmed and self-hatey, it drags me to the pits of “I suck”, and I go buy a three pack T-shirt bundle at Wal-Mart, plain old jeans, and put my hair up in a pony tail… Again.

That was last night. Husband was very supportive, and gave me hugs, but the horrible ick didn’t leave until we had left the mall. I felt better the moment our noses hit the fresh air. By the time we had finished dinner, I had forgotten the suck of the mall and was feeling better again. Perhaps having such a down week made it easier for me to not be mentally strong. Who knows.

This week has got to be better. And I need to put down the Netflix. Seriously. I just discovered a listing for a BBC series called Robin Hood.


Winter’s Day in Review

Today I am re-posting a blog post I wrote last January, before I went back to work from my mat leave. I think it is apt today, and a reminder that this crazy cold I am really wanting to not deal with shall pass.

I give you “Frozen”:

If you think about it, most of the world has no clue what a really, really cold winter day is like for drivers in Canada.

I mean, look at our cars. They are not designed for sub-zero weather. If we had any sense, we would only ever buy cars that would work super well in -20 degree temperatures (Celcius, for those folks on the other side of the border). Things like power doors and windows really aren’t meant to take the frigidity of our winters. Windshield washer fluid nozzles that get clogged with snow? I bet the dude who designed their location on cars lives in Arizona.

For example:

This morning my car’s doors were all frozen shut. After a few tugs, the driver door came open, and I was able to lean across and open the passenger door. My daughter’s side opened, but my son’s wouldn’t.

Just as I was about to start flailing and screaming at it give up, it opened with a squeal. Thank God. In loaded the kids and off we went. I should have turned off the child locks at that point. But noooo, I was too focused on just getting. my. cranky. child. to. daycare.

Now I don’t know about you, but when you try to turn a corner with a car, you expect the wheels to turn, right? Turn the steering wheel, tires follow suit. Yeah… As I backed out the driveway, I heard a popping, and a crunching noise, and the steering wheel wouldn’t budge.

It seems that the road sludge my dear, dear husband accumulated in the tires this weekend froze solid overnight. Thank you eversomuch for not cleaning out the wheel wells, darling love-of-my-life. I wanted a workout this morning. Tearing the doors off the car was great cardio, but chipping out frozen ice with your massive scraper (which I despise using, by the way)… Man my delts really burn now! *arrr-grrr*

I decided to get a coffee. I needed that coffee. No, I more than needed it. It was essential to keep me sane. As I drove up to the speaker at the coffee shop, the window wouldn’t budge. NO amount of pounding on the down button would make it move. Begging and pleading didn’t move it. I wanted to beat my car senseless with a tire iron.

Instead of elegantly ordering my coffee and feeling snappy and with-it, I had to look like a complete moron and order coffee through an open car door, and then get out of my car in the Drive Thru to get said coffee. I got a donut too, since I needed some sort of balm to soothe my tortured, frozen soul. *Omnomnomnom*

Baby was asleep when I arrived home, and I was silently thanking God for a small miracle. I would have a few moments to sit in my nice warm house, enjoy my nice, warm coffee, and think nice, warm thoughts. Nuh-uh.

I walked around the car, and when I tugged on the door handle, nothing happened. I pressed the auto-unlock button on the key fob. Nothing. I flailed and yanked. I begged and pleaded. I body-checked. It was as if it was crazy-glued.

It was then that I crawled monkey-like up the front seat and attempted to open the door from the inside. I did a *facepalm* when I realized the child locks were on. I was going to have to squeeze my round post-partum arse into the space between the car seats and pull the whole thing out the other side. I thought about taking her out the back hatch. It too, was frozen shut.

Cue a moment of foot-stomping, howling rage, and mitten waving here, as well as a well placed kick to a tire. Ow.

After some wrangling, shoving, pulling, and swearing, the car seat was yanked out past my son’s massive rocket seat. I only scraped my knuckles once (which hurts worse when it is cold, if you didn’t know). Baby stayed asleep, if you can believe it, and when we got inside, I sagged against the door, coffee in hand, silently cursing the makers of my fine automobile parked in the driveway. I also cursed the cold weather, winter, and my wonderful ever-loving husband.

Just another cold winter day for a driver in Canada.


My daughter, who has some weird viral infection that has manifested as a wonderful, bubbly rash all over her face, was running through the house naked on Friday, singing, carrying things around in a Christmas gift bag, depositing random toys in various furniture crevices and corners.

She didn’t seem sick, but doctor’s orders were to keep her home. I, of course, was at home, because my husband had a meeting, and since he is now looking for a new job full time, well, taking her to the meeting may not have been such a great idea. Got any job leads? Oh, and meet my crusty-faced two year old who has a thick-green goopy, runny nose. Want to hold her? My that is a nice Armani suit you have on… *splork*

I was curled up on the big comfy chair, watching her, half-absorbed in refreshing Facebook six million times (someone talk to me and entertain me and let me procrastinate on housework PLEASE!), playing a game of Carcassonne with a friend who lives an ocean away, and trying in vain to VPN into work to grab some files, so I could, you know, work. *shakes fist at VPN connection wonkiness*

I should have been sweeping, or vaccuuming, or doing laundry, or cleaning up while waiting for work network issues to get sorted out, but I was Just. Too. Tired. That has been a running theme in our house for the past week. Both Mommy and Daddy are frickin’ exhausted. Stress, my monthly cycle being a %#$@&, and two kids suddenly not wanting to sleep meant that the snapping and grouching and being pissed off at one another was at a record high.

Good thing he’s hot, and useful with tools, and doesn’t mind changing the odd diaper. Even when I’m so mad I want to crank him with a frypan, I resist, knowing I’d miss him too much if I did. *insert funny face here* Besides, marriage isn’t supposed to be easy, right? Right?

Today, the house has toys spread from one end of the living room to the end bedroom, and I keep stepping on them. You think LEGO hurts? Try wood castle blocks. They are ankle turners! Under the table is a minefield of Cheerios, dried noodles, broken crayons, and socks. My feet keep touching something – as I type this – That is mildly squishy. I don’t want to look. I really don’t. (Ok, I looked, it was a grape, nothing gross.).

I don’t even want to tell you about the kitchen.

I know all this talk of our pigstymessy house makes you want to come over for tea, doesn’t it? Come on over! We’re here all day today! Or come over, grab me, and spirit me away somewhere that has no children, mess, or men-who-are-starting-to-get-another-Man-Cold.

Please? I will pay with cookies, or cake, or something equally yummy and wonderful… I’ll use chia in it so it isn’t completely guilty. That works, doesn’t it?

I’ll get to cleaning eventually, but right now, the coffee sitting at my left hand is way too good to pass up, and I actually get to drink it warm for a change. GO ME! The rarity of a warm cup of coffee being consumed, when not at work, is blissful and exciting! *slurp* What is even better, it has Baileys in it! I love Sunday coffee.

The children, in the basement, are playing with the massive floor piano that Grandma and Grandpa bought them for Christmas. Random jalopy-like sounds are tinkling up the stairwell, and every so often, my husband bellows for my son to stop jumping on it. I can hear the TV above that, on some sports channel.

I am hiding upstairs, in the mess, with my coffee. And I couldn’t be happier.

Breaking Point

Warning: Apology in advance for a whiny, sad, woe-is-me post today. I wanted to share and be honest with y’all.

The other night, I was lieing lengthwise along a rumpled body pillow, using a pink, overstuffed sheep for a pillow, somewhat (read: not very) covered with a Winnie The Poo blanket, on the floor of my daughter’s room. One hand was up on her bed, my index finger grasped firmly in her tiny little hand. If I even tried to move, protests and squirms emanated from above me.

As I lay there, wondering how in $#%* I was going to function the next morning, I realized how ridiculous my situation was. My hand was asleep, there was something jabbing into my hip (turns out it was a wood block under the pillow) and I was freezing cold, having stumbled out of bed half-awake when she woke up, not wearing my jammie bottoms. It was 3 AM, I had a run to do the next day with Run Club, and once again, I was getting no sleep.

It ended up being an inside running kind of day the next day (skating rink roads!), and when I was done, I sat in the sauna, completely drained after only 3.5k. I felt morose, sorry for myself, and frustrated. Thank God I was alone, because I dissolved into messy tears while I sat there, slumped against the wall.

I was frustrated at the whole damned world, and I broke. I needed a hug, chocolate, and someone (other than my husband) to tell me I was doing ok, and could get through this.

I was doubting my ability to be ready for Tough Mudder, not seeing any measurable results on my body. I was fretting about my limitations to run more than 5k without having something hurt in a bad way. I was worried about doing proper work outs when I can’t grasp any energy from anywhere.  I was feeling left out because we pay two gym fees for my husband, and I can barely afford my gym fee, let alone entertain a personal trainer (which I need. Badly). I was grumpy at my husband going to the box six days that week, (leaving me with two children to herd every morning) when I had felt frazzled to make four days at the gym on my lunch hour. I was tired of hearing how Crossfit is the best thing in the world, my husband spouting about it non-stop (I’m serious, at some points he was interrupting me to talk about Crossfit… AUGH!). By Sunday morning when I stormed offleft for the gym, already disappointed that all the 5ker’s had cancelled for Run Club, that if I had to hear one more thing about Crossfit, I was going to lose it and smash things.

Yeah. &$#%. A little tense?

I realized that perhaps this was a sign I needed to slow down, maybe I was trying to do too much. Obviously I was low on energy, but I was also trying to squeeze blood from a stone. By Sunday after my treadmill run, I realized the no-sleep induced stress was affecting my outlook on things, making all these negative emotions come to the surface like resentment, jealousy, frustration, and anger. My interrupted sleep was messing with my blood sugars. That’s never fun.

I should be #$%^ing happy my husband loves something that is making him healthy, and hot. Instead I was resentful. I was craving carbs and sugar and all manner of bad for me things. A clear sign my body was not at optimal performance level. I was beating myself up for no other reason than the Self Critic Beast was in my head, romping happily through my self-confidence and accomplishments, using my wonky blood sugars as fuel for his path of mayhem on my emotions.

I was plain and simple overwhelmed by everything, and my body called “TIME!”.

The first two days of this week I was utterly exhausted, again getting little to no sleep at night, my stomach now upset. I was worried we might have a gastro bug, since my son was complaining of a rumbly tummy and my husband was also feeling  drained and out of sorts (Really honey, you don’t think six days of WOD’s might not be the culprit? yeesh *rolls eyes*).

So I worked from home. In my jammies.

With naps.

On a positive note, I managed to ask to go to a Flexibar class at the gym, which was last night. I was ridiculously excited to see my friends who were coming, maybe realizing I have been missing female companionship of late, and need to schedule some friend time. After the class, I did some cardio. It felt easier, and relaxing. I took the time for me, and asserted myself asking to go to the gym to take a class with my friends (I always hesitate to ask to go after work, it cuts into family time and my husband always gets that look on his face that means he doesn’t like it. He thinks he hides it, but I know… I see the grimace and the “Ok, I guess.” quiet response… Every time).

I know I need to be more structured with my work out plan, and I know I have to bust it out if I want to be ready for May. I would love to have a trainer help me out, and keep me on track. We just can’t afford it. I need to nut up, and ask for two evenings a week so I am not so harried on my lunch hours during winter season when I can’t run. My fitness is as important as his, $#%*.

I also know that I have two wonderful babies that I love, and who need me, a husband to spend time with, a house to swamp outkeep clean, and a job I need to be present for. How the &%#* do I fit it all in and stay sane so I don’t have another ugly cry in a sauna, feeling utterly overwhelmed with everything? Am I trying to fit too much in? Are my expectations of my ability to exercise and get fit while my kids are this small out of whack? Am I trying to be too strong, not asking for help when I need it? Should I be scaling back for awhile, until my daughter is sleeping better?

I have no &$%^ing idea. I don’t know what the solution is yet. Ideas, chocolate, coffe dates to girl-chat, hugs and winning lottery tickets would all be welcome. ♥