Author Archives: chelle

About chelle

The ongoing adventures of our family, as we enjoy life. Creativity, inspiration, family and enjoying the little things.

Blessed n’ Stressed

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I have started a new venture with my very talented friend, Suzanne. Check out our blog at Blessed n’ Stressed!

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My Boy is Six .. Seriously.

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Today is E’s 6th birthday. I am in awe that it was that long ago that I gave birth to him in California. In some ways it feels like a second ago, in others it feels like a lifetime ago. Three or four moves later, here we are with an amazing 6 year old boy!

My six year old loves all things lego, super heros and of course Minecraft. This year he decided he wanted to have a Minecraft party (which was barely second to a Skylanders Party).

The kids had a fabulous time. I swooped them to our house after school on Friday and started the party with just open play. We did attempts  craft but seriously the kids really just wanted to have fun and enjoy each other’s company. It was a great group of kids!

Happy Birthday Boy

The kids showing off their new Creeper T's

 

See more of E’s Party here http://www.flickr.com/photos/chelle/sets/72157633176045953/

Happy birthday my sweet, awesome, creative boy!

Fitness Friday – On Saturday

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I was totally planning on writing this yesterday, best intentions blah blah blah. So then I was all, well I guess I have to wait till next Friday … wait? Why? It is my blog and if I want to write a fitness post on Saturday, well rebel me is going to!

Since the beginning of the year I have been kicking butt following a Program called the, 60 Day Body Transformation Challenge. I found it in the Fall, on the Parents Canada site. Parents Canada is like a group buy site, they advertise all sorts of things at relatively good prices and the first time you use it, you save $5! So the 60 Day Body Transformation Challenge, actually cost me $5. I have to say it has been the best fitness investment I have made, ever. By way, I am so totally not affiliated with either website or company, nor have they given me anything for free, ever.  This is all me saying, damn this program is AWESOME.

I started with the initial 30 day primer. It was HARD. However everyday I stuck with it. You know what I didn’t do? Eat good. I kept eating like I didn’t care about the effect of certain foods on my body (secretly I did and it bummed me out that I was not getting the results that I craved).

Low and behold by the end of 30 days I was doing push ups, squats and lunges!! It was awesome. So Christmas. Yup I celebrated like really really well. So back to fitness … new year new me. I have come so far, I was ready to push myself further. I started the 60 Day Body Transformation Challenge and started to see results. I have cute cut arms, and my thighs are even more defined. I feel incredible! SO much energy, and yes I am still running like 3-4 times a week. Who knew adding muscles would be so awesome (oh yeah all those fit people!)?

This all sounds wicked awesome eh? Well guess what? That first month I did not put as much effort into my food as I did my fitness. I was getting results. I lost 10 lbs (that I had gained back during Christmas ARG!) however they were not results I wanted.

We have made some changes in our lifestyle, shifting away from conventional foods and meals and moving more towards healthy eating for awhile, yet I knew if I really really wanted to make the changes I craved I would have to step it up. A few months ago, I spotted a tweet from George Stroumboulopoulos, about doing the Whole30 challenge. I being curious and perhaps having a small totally non-stalker crush on the famous Canadian, googled it.

I am on like, day 13 of the Whole30 challenge, and so far it has been AWESOME. I totally suggest you go read about it yourself because I cannot give it full justice here. I would have liked to tell you I have already lost weight but part of the challenge is no scale, no measurements for the 30 days. Me being numbers girl, that was harsh. However the whole idea is it is not about losing weight (although I so have and dropped a size since Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!) it is about resetting your body and dropping out foods that perhaps are not so good for you.

No processed food. No sugar (not even natural stuff like honey). No beans (weeps). No grains (eh whatever). No booze (I visit my wine bottles and repeat the mantra .. it is only 30 days).

So what am I eating?

Well it all starts with meat (being not so much of a carnivore I was like ugh but it hasn’t been all that bad it is not loads but it has to be there) then a whole LOT of vegetables (my favourite part!). Not a lot of fruit but it is not a no, just a not so much.

I had a few days in the beginning that although I felt ok, I hated people. They irritated me beyond belief and I so wanted to find a lone cabin in the woods and never see another person, ever. That faded and I became more like myself and people were, well bearable again.

I have been able to stick with the challenge and I look forward to seeing more results from all the effort. It is the first time since I have tried to get into shape that I have balanced my fitness & food, it is working.

 

Have you ever completed a fitness or food challenge? How did it go? If you haven’t would you consider it?

 

Yoga continued

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Wow another week has gone by. I was frustrated that I had a cold part of last week, so I was unable to workout everyday. I have to be more dedicated to taking vitamins. A friend of mine was kindly reminding me that I am an athlete and need to replenish and feed my body. At first I was like, “pfft I am not an athlete” yet the more I let that statement sink in the more I realized I need to allow myself to be an athlete. I workout daily. I run 5km regularly. I swim 1500 metres in the pool regularly. I have been doing yoga daily. I am an athlete. ((wow!!!))

I have another week of homework from the Yoga Journal’s 21 day challenge.

Which “yoga break” did you prefer—the breathing exercise or the physical exercise—and why?
I still need to work on my breathing, it helps with the running and swimming so much. I really noticed this week at the pool!
How did you feel before you took your break?
Some days I was really tense. Being sick, managing the household not fun.
How did you feel after your break?
I always feel phenomenal after breathing. And yoga so centres me.
Can you see the value in taking time each day to relax and reset your body and mind?

oh yes yes yes. I am a go go go go go go person. With three kids I am constantly moving, doing, cooking, cleaning. reading … stopping. relaxing. reflecting. very good for me.

 

The Yoga Journal has a 7 day detox I am tempted to try. Have you ever done a cleanse? Good, bad, ugly?

Challenges

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phew. Survived the first few weeks of school. When people ask, “Wow so what are you doing with all that extra time now that two of your kids are in school?” I am at a loss how to respond. I am sure I have a look of utter bewilderment on my face. I do not have any “extra” time. In fact I am busier than ever. Granted it is by choice. I am helping at the school more, at the church more, trying to maintain my fitness levels, immersing myself in the child’s activities and lives as wella s cooking, cleaning, organizing ..

The summer was fantastic. I ran a lot. The kids and I were super active and I worked off an additional 5 lbs. Now that life is crazy busy, I am stuck again. Maintaining (Yay for that). I wanted a more relaxing of a exercise, something to recharge me during this transition time in my life. I presumed I would add yoga easily, so do yoga and run. I was wrong.

Yoga is HARD.

My upper body strength is not what I would like it to be. In part because I do not get swimming laps as often as I would like (I also do not lift weights though I had added a few simple exercises over the summer I have not continued with them lately) and well as a runner I have wicked good legs and butt. I saw the crow pose on Facebook over a month ago and the pose sparked my curious nature. I decided that I needed to be able to to that. Much like running it has become a tad bit of an obsession and the Yoga Journal 21 Challenge is perfect to get me into it.

The one day I was able to run after completing yoga in the morning drained me so completely I was a zombie by 9 pm and zonked out, unconscious for 10 hours. Some of the Yoga segments had me sweating like I had run 5 km! Other segments I was shaking, my muscles screaming as I maintained the poses. It was awesome!

Part of the Yoga Journal 21 Challenge is homework, so I was inspired to share it here.

What was your favorite part of practice this week?
– Challenging my body and holding poses longer and better each time.

What kinds of physical or mental challenges came up?
– I am not as bendy as I could be. So I really felt stiff and awkward at times. I really should have blocks and a strap.

Was there a tool that got you through the tough parts—either the teacher’s encouragement, your breath, or a practice partner?

– The reminders to breath were good for me. When it is a really tough pose i do have a tendency to hold my breath. Not good!

How did you feel after the practices physically?

– Sometimes I felt really sore, however the muscle tenderness did not linger like it does when I lift weights or run. That was amazing to me, the restorative poses and moves really worked wonders for me.

What was your state of mind after the practices?

-Wow! I felt full of energy. I tried to do the practices first thing in the morning (though that was not always possible) and it filled me with energy for the day. Even mid day it was a great boost!

I can’t wait for tomorrow’s practice! I hope that this challenge will help me incorporate yoga into my daily fitness.

Have you ever committed to a fitness challenge? How did it go?

Fitness Friday – Never Giving Up

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I have been making attempts at fitness since I had my first child. Before that like in high school I was fit because I was active. I was a lifeguard and swimmer, I rode my bike a lot, walked a lot and played softball. When I went to university my physical activities slowly dropped off, and I gained weight. It was gradual and in the grand scheme of things it just did not matter to me at the time.

After  I got married I weighed the most ever. We got home from our honeymoon and I cried. I had tipped the scale over 200 lbs. That was a breaking point for me and I went on a strict diet, lost 40 lbs and was so excited. Then we moved, I did not find work that I wanted right away, I was an introvert trying to make friends in a strange city, and stressed. I gained most of the weight back.

While I was pregnant I ballooned. Not only weight but I was swollen and sick. It was awful and crushed my self esteem. After she was born I was determined, I would be a good role model for this teeny tiny little girl. I just didn’t know how to start, we still lived the student lifestyle as my husband was still a student and I was lost. But I took baby steps and lost a bit of the weight.

We moved to California and I had a miscarriage. I was devastated. My lifestyle was not healthy, I was depressed and had no friends. I cried to a doctor saying I wanted to get pregnant so badly, her response “If you mean it, change your lifestyle” I was like whoa, don’t hold anything back (bitch). However, she was right and telling it to me straight. So I starting walking every morning before my husband went to work. I made major life changes. Yet there was so much more to do. I did get pregnant again and I gained again (in part because I was afraid to have another miscarriage, part stress, part slipping back into bad habits).

We moved and moved again. I lost the pregnancy weight and was still very unhappy with how I looked. My body was not what had once been. I started walking again.

I walked and walked and walked. It felt great. I was relieving stress and feeling good about myself. Then down hills I would pick up my feet. I started to run, just downhill mind you. But I was running. And it felt good while I was running. It felt so amazing. I was free! I was making my body do things I never imagined.

Then I would get home and my bones and muscles would scream in agony. Being not active, had really affected my bone density and my muscles. But I kept at it. I started to run (granted I should have started out much slower, Couch to 5km has a great program for beginners). The fact that I could do it was such a high for me. I would come home, lie in bed in tears my body would hurt so badly. Did I mention I was running in hiking shoes? Yeah I did not even have a pair of running shoes. My husband would massage my legs and quite honestly he was my biggest supporter. I got a pair of running shoes and kept at it.

At that time I started swimming lanes again. I was not in good enough condition to run everyday but needed something daily. I lost more weight but never got down to what was healthy for me.

We bought a house, I got pregnant, again. We moved. And instead of buying a new couch we bought a treadmill.

Best. Decision. Ever.

Fast forward three years.

I am still running. I ran in my first charity road race last October (that was AMAZING).

Some times I do not feel like a “real” runner because I run indoors. I have three kids I run they watch educational videos. It works for me. I am making it happen.

I have hit plateau after plateau. I have lost weight then stalled so many times.

At this time, I run 5km everyday on my treadmill. Afterward (or before) I do some simple weight exercises to build more muscle though I am always feeling rushed during this. I have run 10 km a few times but time is always crunched for me.

The changes I need to focus on now are cleaner eating. We are making progress. It so helps that for the last six months my husband is actively being fit and eating well too. He has been so supportive and he has lost 40 lbs!

Time is a big factor for me right now. Three kids, a husband, house and yard makes it tough to do all that I want to do.

I have been on this journey for 8 years. I have come so far and I am so proud of myself. I am in the best physical condition, fitness wise I have ever been in my life and I am about 25 lbs away from being in the healthy range for my BMI. I am so excited to be this close to my goal. I hope to share more details but I wanted to lay it all out like this, sometimes it is easy to only see now and not see how far I have come.

I came across this video today, and it inspired this post. This man made an incredible journey and is so very inspiring. Please take 5 minutes, witness what may come to be, if YOU never give up. Happy Friday.

Moo-over Milk – Why our family switched to Almond Milk

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I have considered this transition away from cow’s milk for years. Well pretty much since R was a year old and started drinking cow’s milk in addition to breast milk. J is lactose intolerant so cannot drink milk at all. I however, was a milk-aholic. Seriously I loved milk. A tall glass of skim milk. Geez it still makes my mouth water. However, a few years ago when looking at what I was consuming, I gave up the delicious milk to save on calories each day.

Time passed. More wise than I parents, were realizing that cow’s milk just wasn’t what they were telling us it was. So why is it we believe that we must drink cow’s milk or we will not escape the wrath of osteoporosis, broken bones & gosh we will not look incredible like all those milk ads. My kids need milk … right? RIGHT?

Wrong, maybe.

If one googles err searches on Google (did you know Google does not wish to be a verb? Yet has been added to the dictionary as such anyway? Yeah me neither that is a random fact from J) “Is milk good for you?” one will get a whole range of experts claiming, gosh darn it, milk is good for you, drink it. Yet if one searches “Is milk bad for you?” one then gets a whole whack of experts claiming, holy smokes milk is so so not good for you, stay away from ALL dairy.

eeps.

What is a parent to do?

We have three, calcium thirsty growing munchkins that we love so we must make the very best possible decision, ever.

I have been on the milk fence for a while as I previously mentioned. My ultra practical, budget minded husband has had his wallet firmly planted on the “milk is way cheaper than the alternative and they have yet to break any bones, besides too much soy isn’t good either” side of the fence. Then one fateful morning at our Mom’s group, I mentioned how yes I would like to switch but to give copious amount of soy to the kids wouldn’t work and egads it is expensive. That is when one gorgeous mom pointed out that Costco (insert harp sounds here) has Almond milk by the case and if one buts down the amount consumed it is quite a reasonable option.

gasps.

Here it was the solution to my dilemma, now to convince the ever logical husband that we should do this. I was surprised that I was up against little resistance. It was time to switch and would not cost us more (whereas in fact because we reduced the amount given each day it is cheaper & perfect for camping). Besides if husband craves a bowl of cereal there is now an option for him. So the kids used to drink 3 glasses of cows milk a day (excessive) now instead they drink one glass of unsweetened Almond Milk at breakfast and water with every other meal (except on occasion they receive a juice).

Did you know almonds are not a nut? Yeah me neither. They are a fruit. Almond milk is said to have less fat and protein than cow’s milk so when substituting it for younger toddlers that is important to keep in mind. We have not swore off dairy (yet) completely and though were are very limited in the meat meals we are eating we are still carnivores so I worry not about the fats and proteins and have focused on the benefits instead.

In this modern world of an insane amount of information it is so difficult to always know what is best for our families. I have made peace with slowly making transitions, looking at not only one source and just doing the best we can. You will know what works for you and yours. I hope by me sharing our experience and choice you will be inspired to look at the choices you are making to ensure they are still working for your family.

I really liked the following video I stumbled across on Huffington Post, I hope you do too 🙂

Does your family drink cow’s milk? Have you made changes that go against convectional wisdom?

The girl’s 8th birthday

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For the past few months the girl and I have been reading through the Harry Potter books. It seemed like the logical choice post Narnia. We very much enjoyed the magical aspects of Narina, besides Harry Potter is very very cool and current. We are currently on the sixth book, after each book we watch the movie together, comparing notes, snuggling and enjoying the time together. It is our special time.

When R & I started talking about birthday parties like forever ago, we both agreed that it totally had to be a Harry Potter birthday. So I have to say right now … the internet is evil. There is so much goodness out there, my mind spun with inspiration. I so did not reinvent the wheel for this party, but I took inspiration from many places.

The House Signs

In the beginning I decided that instead of loot bags, each guest would receive a Wizard/Witch robe that I would sew. I spoke to the girl, so that we could keep the guest list small in order to create these robes. However I totally underestimated the cost, even though I used inexpensive fabric, the metres totally added up fast. Still I really love that I made it happen though especially when the kids were all at the party , wearing the robes together it just made it that more magical.

The Wizards & Witches

The invitations were delivered by owl mail (of course!) R very much enjoyed running up to the mailbox, placing the invite in it ringing the doorbell and running off! The guests were very excited to receive owl mail (though one guest felt I *could* have trained owls in time to deliver the invites)

Owl Post

Owl Post close up

HP-invitation

I was so not sure what to do, then I stumbled across the idea of having a similar cake to the cake Hagrid gave to Harry when they first met!

The Cake

I have a confession. The preparation for this party was so much fun. I enjoyed sewing all the robes, hand painting the Hogwarts Express & Honeydukes signs … all the little details. The icing on the cake … the kids noticed all the little details (except the floo powder). We did not have any organized games per say. We had a short potions class, then the house elves prepared hotdogs for dinner in the great hall (that looked a lot like the potions classroom). After dinner, the kids headed to the Gryffindor common room, to hang out, look at spell books and then test Every Flavor Beans, trying to guess the flavours. R opened her presents, we had cake then the kids headed outside to fly about on their brooms and used their imaginations to create story lines. It was magical to listen to them.

Hogwarts Express Sign

HoneyDukes Sign and variety of candy

MmmChocolate Frogs!

So remember how I said I did not reinvent the wheel here? The following are some of the amazing places I got inspiration for this Harry Potter birthday … I looked at so many places, I am so hoping I did not miss any links!

http://justsweetandsimple.blogspot.ca/2011/07/harry-potter-party.html

http://www.britta.com/hogwarts/index.html

http://www.chicaandjo.com/2011/07/08/harry-potter-chocolate-frogs/

http://gracesscrapattic.blogspot.ca/2012/04/harry-potter-invitations-delivered-owl.html

http://www.3eyedbear.com/2011/01/14/owl/

http://www.overthebigmoon.com/halloween-decor-harry-potter-house-posters-free-printables/

http://diyfashion.about.com/od/costumes/ss/gryffindor_robe.htm

http://dirtandsunshine.com/harry-potter-party.html

The Birthday Girl

Happy Eighth Birthday to my magical girl!

(be sure to check out our Flickr for more pictures)

Some where that I used to blog

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So I have been thinking about blogging a lot the past few weeks. It used to be a place where I found such peace, amazing friends from all over the world and sharing was such a creative, wonderful outlet for me. It seems as though as soon as I had three children, time to write was nonexistent. However it wasn’t just the extreme busyness of parenting that has kept me from writing.

For a while I felt there was little left to share. I am not the insecure new parent I was when I started blogging 8 years ago. By no means do I feel that I am a parenting expert, yet I have found my groove, I have matured into a confident Mother.

I also spend time doing new to me things, rather than what I used to do. Though I adore knitting, crafting and all that I just rarely sit long enough to do it anymore. Granted now that soccer season has started I did start a new knitting project.

What am I doing now?

Well I run daily, something 8 years ago I would have NEVER contemplated. I was in the camp that if there was a bear, I would run if not .. why? Silly girl. Now I have to run. it is not an option, I have to make time, it is like a drug. I am fully addicted, my brain needs to feel that balance that I get from running.

We are attempting to eat more “clean” though that is a learning curve.

I am very busy being a Mom. Running errands, getting the kids to their activities. Participating. Being Active. Not on the sidelines writing about it.

Yet I feel a pull to write again. To share again. To feed my creative soul that has been suffering a little with all this other stuff. It is hard to fit it all in. Sometimes I have to chose between running and cleaning the house. Or chose to read versus taking the children on an outing. Life is about choices and how we live it.

I want to live each day to the fullest and perhaps if I share how I do that it will help me to continue to keep at it and if I am lucky inspire others to do it too.

So here I am some where I used to blog, starting fresh, I hope you can come along for the run *smiles*

this is the song that inspired the blog title …
oh and today it is 8 years since I became a mom … amazing … and we are throwing B a Harry Potter Birthday Party! I will be sure to share it with you over the weekend 🙂

I just Ran my First 5km Race!!!

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Race day!!

It was amazing. It was very wet. It was so exciting. And so much fun.

The Start of the Race

I never thought I would be a runner. I never dreamed that I would participate in a race. I feel so empowered, strong and proud of myself for achieving this goal. I could not have done it without J’s love & support … letting me escape and go for runs, watching the kids while I stretched, hearing me whine about the pain. The kids were awesome and so excited that their Mommy was running in the race.

#RunForTheCure. Post race with the kids!

It was such a surreal feeling being lined up to run with so many people. Being the CIBC Run for the Cure charity race there were all sorts of people some runners, some walkers and everything in between. I am happy with my choice to do this type of race first. Not only an amazing cause, but it was a tad less intimidating for me.

Race day!!

The rain only poured for the first half of the race. I kept my pace though the start was slow with the mass of people starting. There were puddles to avoid, dogs, strollers, and people everywhere. So different than my treadmill runs, or my experience on the track.

Race day!!!!

It was so exhilarating to finish! I almost started to cry but there were so many people my vanity stopped me before I burst into tears. The kids and J were there and we celebrated as the rain started to come down stronger. My legs are tight and sore form not doing my yoga stretches right after (how do racers do that? I did not see anyone stretching post race! Mind you it was raining).

After just crossing the finish line

I think running in races is kind of like getting a tattoo. Once you have had the courage to take that step and do your first one, you can hardly wait to run another. So as winter approaches I am going to jump back on my treadmill, and start swimming laps at the pool on gym days. Perhaps in the spring I will have the courage to run in another race.

Race day!

Thank you again for all the support. The donations, the messages on here, facebook, twitter … It all makes a difference! You guys rock! I was able to reach my fundraising goal & over double it!! Amazing … Thank you!