26 May 2010

Wordless Wednesday - FIFA Edition

A new obsession: The Beautiful Game

Since receiving this soccer ball as a gift at the CBC Soccer Nation event when we stopped by on Saturday, The Imp has been obsessed. First question every morning is, "Where's my soccer ball?" He would sleep with it if we let him. In between the picture above and the one below are about a dozen blurry shots of him running, kicking, and shrieking with laughter.

The Imp and his soccer ball - a pensive moment.

This post is linked with A Lot of Loves' Wednesday of Few Words.

23 May 2010

Things I'm Doing - Fit By Forty: Week 5

Week 5 (March 29 - April 4):  A Noticeable Difference

Week 5 marked the milestone of a full month of my Fit by Forty efforts. After the stress of Week 4, this week was all about getting back on track; back to the good habits I'd been forming. My husband commented at breakfast one morning as I was standing at the counter in my baggy old underwear making his morning cappucino (because I'm classy like that) that I was getting my figure back; apparently this week my waist decided to make an appearance at last. While I'm doing this for no one but me (and indirectly The Imp, I suppose) I'm not going to pretend that it didn't feel good when my mother in law, who knew nothing of my Fit by Forty mission, asked, "Have you lost weight?" at a family dinner. "Yes! Yes!" I practically shouted. "Nine pounds!!!" My vanity felt intensely gratified, I must say.

My skinny jeans. I am neither long nor lean, but Gap knows good marketing when they see it.

This was also the week that I tried on my "skinny" jeans for the first time since I was newly delivered of child. (Don't do that, by the way. The crying jag that follows takes way too much out of you. New moms need their energy for other stuff, like, oh I don't know, breathing.) I didn't fit into the skinny jeans yet, but I was getting closer. However, the "fat" jeans (we all have skinny and fat jeans, right? Please tell me I'm not alone in this) that I wore well into my fourth month of pregnancy now slipped off my hips without needing to undo the button or fly, so. Picture my happy face and me high fiving myself in front of the bedroom mirror. Which, by the way? Not so graceful. Find someone else to high five you. Trust me. If you do it alone you just look like you can't figure out how to clap properly.


I managed to get through the Easter weekend without a single taste of chocolate. And it wasn't even that hard. Now, if I'm to venture outside the Fit By Forty-compliant zone, it has to really be worth it. If I want chocolate, I take the time to go to Mink Chocolate and get the best. As far as regular eating goes, I use every trick in the book. Nothing revolutionary here, but some of the healthier habits I've developed include:

  • eat vegetables first, then the rest of my meal
  • stop eating the second I realize I'm not feeling hungry
  • exercise when I'm bored instead of snacking
  • make food from scratch instead of convenience foods
  • drink water instead of juice or pop
  • use smaller plates
  • use a smaller pot when reheating leftovers for lunch (we don't have a microwave)
  • treats in moderation (can't live without dessert ALL the time!)

This week I indulged in my favourite snack food of all time: a small bag of Cheezies. And they didn't even taste that good. I was so disappointed. I guess a month of fresh homemade no-additive food changed my system's definition of yum. Interestingly, after eating a small amount of junk food that I didn't even particularly enjoy, I wanted more. The cravings that set in were almost as strong as my first week of Fit by Forty. For me at least, eating The Bad Food only begets the desire for more; best to avoid it altogether.

Week 5 was more of the same as far as exercise goes; second verse, same as the first - lots of bike riding. I added a rule that when I'm not dressed up, carrying stuff, or with The Imp, I must take the stairs instead of the elevator up the 21 floors to our apartment. I don't do it every time, but even once a day makes me feel a sense of accomplishment.

Sneaking in more cardio without thinking about it - the key, for me, to sticking with it. If it's just a part of my daily routine, and not something special that I have to go somewhere else to do, it's far more likely to happen.

And now, for the numbers:
Starting weight: 149 lbs
Week 1 weight loss: 3.5 lbs
Week 2 weight loss: 3 lbs
Week 3 weight loss: 2 lbs
Week 4 weight loss: .5 lbs
Week 5 weight loss: 2.5 lbs
New weight: 137.5 lbs

I'm always looking for ways to keep this process fresh and interesting, so I'm asking for your advice: what are your good eating and exercising habits? Please let me know in the comments what works for you!

19 May 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Happiness is...

Happiness is a lazy Sunday morning cuddle with my boys.

This post is linked to A Lot of Loves' Wednesday of Few Words.

12 May 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Of Skinned Knees and Sunny Skies

Yesterday was a spectacular day - sunny and warm, and we spent a chunk of it at the playground, where The Imp learned that running headlong and falling down in the dirt while wearing shorts is very different than in long pants. There were tears.

He also learned that nothing beats hanging out with Grandpa and Daddy on a park bench on a sunny evening. There was great joy.

This post is part of A Lot of Loves' Wednesday of Few Words.

10 May 2010

Things That Are True - Seven Years

Seven years ago, I took a moment before the Getting Ready began.

Seven years ago, I actually shrieked in delight when I saw my fiance and his groomsmen running across the church lawn in their kilts - they were a little late, I was a little early, waiting in a vehicle at the curb. HWSNBN insisted that if he couldn't see my dress before the wedding, I couldn't see his either, so it was the first time I saw how great the boys looked.


Seven years ago, I walked down the aisle, arm in arm with both my parents.

And seven years ago, surrounded by family and friends, I married my best friend, my partner in crime, my reason for reason.

 And there was cake.

 It was a spectacular day in every way. 

Seven years later, there is still nowhere I'd rather be than by his side. Wherever he is, is home to me.

Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart.*

*And thank you for giving me permission to post pictures of you today.

09 May 2010

Things That Are True - Mother's Day

My mom, my baby sister, and me almost exactly 36 years ago.

Becoming The Imp's mother has made me strive to be a better person. More patient, more principled, more open to the small joys in life. I'm far from achieving my goals; I fall down often. I think I'm down to about once a day where I think I'm the worst mom ever. But I keep getting back up, so that's something.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I love you. 

07 May 2010

Things That Scare Me - Northern Voice

Today and tomorrow I'm attending Northern Voice 2010, a blogging conference. There are a ton of great speakers. Bloggers I've met and a whole bunch of people I've conversed with on twitter are going to be there. People I admire, people who are actually doing the things I aspire to. It's going to be a very cool couple of days.

For reasons unknown, I am terrified. Well, actually, I know the reasons, I just don't know that they're rational.

First, the usual litany of insecurities that plague me:

Who am I to call myself a blogger and attend a conference? A conference for real bloggers?
What if it's all tech-speak geek coolness I don't understand and people find out I don't know what I'm doing? I don't know the first thing about coding.
What if people scorn me because I'm on Blogger and not a self-hosted Wordpress blog?

Then, the fear of the unknown:

What if  I can't find the venue?
What if everybody seems to know each other and I'm standing on the outside of the group looking in? (How delightfully high school of me!)

What if I don't see anyone I know? 
What if I do see people I know and they avoid me?
What if I manage to overcome all this and get there anyway, and then they don't have a record of me paying for tickets and I can't get in?

Then it devolves into the strictly ridiculous:

What if I can't manage the big hill up to UBC on my bike and I get there totally late?
What if I'm all gross and sweaty after bicycling there and no one will talk to me?

And the classic:

What if I look fat in these pants?

Understand, I'm normally an outgoing, welcoming, and wise-cracking people person. I worked and excelled in an extremely competitive industry, meeting new people (some of them famous, some of them undeserving of their giant egos) every day on a movie set. I look forward to new learning experiences every day. I enjoy and excel at connecting with people. So what's the deal with the mind-numbing fear? Why the paralysis ahead of the fact - and this happens every. single. time. Every networking event, every family gathering, every trip to the playground with The Imp. Why? Why, why, why? (stomps feet, shakes fist)

So this morning I'm trying to think less about my specific fears, and philosophize more about the nature of fear itself. How it's just the mind's way of warning you you're trying something new; how fear is healthy and necessary but should never be the sole factor in making a decision.

Fear is ever-present for me, and has played a significant role in my life so far. It's alternated between stopping me from really going for what I want, and galvanizing me into action to reach higher and strive harder. It's a tricky beast, and I've never quite got both reins in hand at the same time.

For the next three hours I'll focus on what I need to do to get past it:
1) acknowledge it - done here for all the world to see,
2) ignore it - trickier, but The Imp will wake soon and more pressing needs will take centre-stage,
3) eat breakfast and put on my game face,
and have the great time I know the next couple of days, (hell, the rest of my life!) are going to be.

What do you do to overcome the doubts that plague you? Or (gulps, looks around nervously) does this just happen to me?

04 May 2010

Things That Are True - You Know You're a Mom When...

You know you're a mom when you notice you've gotten into the habit of double knotting shoe laces without even realizing it. Your own shoelaces.

You know you're a mom when your initial delight in the game your toddler wants to play with your bare feet quickly turns to dismay that you may be unwittingly setting him up to be a foot fetishist.

You know you're a mom of a toddler when you are no longer capable of completing a full sentence without stopping to admonish your child's behaviour. Even when they're asleep.

Okay, your turn - have at it in the comments!

03 May 2010

Things I've Learned - April 2010

I am often inspired by Amber Strocel's writing at strocel.com. Every month she puts together a review of what she learned during the previous month. What a fantastic exercise in recognizing your trials and triumphs on a regular basis - a sort of personal inventory-taking. So I am unabashedly copying her with my own look back today.

Things I learned in April:

1) How important exercise is to my emotional wellbeing. After exercising almost daily in March, getting back into a routine of good self-care, the days that I missed in April really drove it home for me how much regular activity has a positive impact on my outlook. Action begets action: when I'm taking the time to exercise, I'm getting more done in all areas of my life.

2) That I'd forgotten how great riding a bicycle is. I feel like a teenager again, pedaling my way through the streets of Vancouver. And I'm ecstatic to model a healthy, active, eco-friendly lifestyle for The Imp. I actually resent having to drive my car now.

3) That connecting with other moms in person is always a good time. Also, green shoes!

4) That if I blog regularly, I'm more productive. For several months, I didn't write anything in this space. I always felt like there were more urgent things that needed doing, that time to blog was a luxury I couldn't afford. But the not-writing had me mentally stuck, so most of the other things didn't get done anyway. Now that I'm blogging more regularly, I'm more productive at work, and more patient in parenting. And apparently, others like that I'm blogging too!

5) That my love for good food isn't just about eating, but about creating and sharing.

6) I love taking photos. Love. I'm not creating art (far from it), and I have a lot to learn from a technical perspective, but following through on my commitment to myself to post a photo of Vancouver every single day has made me ridiculously happy. I've especially enjoyed being more aware of and engaged with my surroundings, and finding things I never noticed before. Researching links for the paragraph I write to accompany each photo has me discovering a ton about Vancouver that I never learned in my 17 years of living here. And getting to photo locations by bicycle kills two birds with one stone. Photos + exercise = a really good use of an hour a day.

7) That I had no idea how spoiled I was with regard to The Imp's sleep habits, which went all to hell in the last few weeks with the introduction of the big boy bed. And I am a zombified version of myself as a result. Will happily accept toddler-sleep-inducing advice. At this point I'm on the hairy edge of locking him up in a wooden crate until he's old enough to leave home.

It's so easy with the busy-ness of living to forget to stop and look at what's been accomplished with all that activity. Do you ever take a step back and really look at the aggregate of all that daily "doing"? What have you learned this month?

I've been shortlisted for vancouvermom.ca's Best Vancouver Mom Blogger. I'd be ever so grateful if you'd swing by the voting page, tick my name, and click submit. Thanks!