Joy to MY World

load

This week has been a bit of a struggle for me. Stress coming from lots of places and hormones kicking around everywhere. Near the end of the week I started focusing on joy – but ONLY because it was asked of me. What brings me joy…what is joyful about me…my life…my circumstance?

It seems like an easy thing to do…to look for joy. But in the day to day grind it is often really difficult and time consuming. We rush from one thing to another and don’t breathe properly. We don’t connect enough. We don’t treat ourselves enough. We ask questions, but sometimes don’t really hear the answer.

Because of the hectic schedule we have put ourselves in this summer, I am not eating properly. Because of some added stress elsewhere, I am not feeling confident in areas I normally excel at. I’m going from one moment to another without thinking. And that’s not fair to my family. And it’s not fair to me.

Today my husband picked me up for lunch. This never happens because he works in Mississauga, and I in Burlington, and I never go out for lunch – I’d rather take my hour at the end of the day. But he was off today and we spontaneously decided to get together. He took me to one of my favourite restaurants – and…it was such a beautiful treat. Something so small and it made my day a million times better – joyful.

I get to watch both boys play hockey tonight. More joy.

I get to watch both boys play football tomorrow and there’s no running from one sport to another. Joy.

I get to celebrate my husband, his brother and his father tomorrow…and I don’t have to cook dinner …double the joy!

I get to celebrate my father, my brother and my husband again on Sunday for Father’s Day but also my 5 year old nephew for his birthday. Again don’t have to cook dinner AND there’s cake involved…ha ha…Watching Noah open up his presents with his two best cousins at his side will be more joy than I can handle. Can’t wait.

I know I can’t get away from stress. It’s in the work that I do, it’s in my parenting style, it really is who I am. But I want to remind myself of why I am working so hard, what I am working for…in and outside of my home. Nothing is more important than life’s joys. I don’t want to be so busy, so stressed that I miss the joy. I feel that that is where I have been, missing the joy. I want out of that, I want back in to the beauty of my life. I want to recognize the things that bring me most joy and surround myself with it as much as possible. It won’t be easy because busy lives, stressful schedules and deadlines will take me over but in the end, I hope joy prevails.

everything

See you at the Squat Rack ~

Carm


Perfectly Imperfect – A Conversation with Sit With She…

 

kickass

I had the pleasure of meeting Lindsey, creator of SIT •with• She – an amazing blog that connects women regardless of age, religion, culture, ability or interest.

In her own words, “SIT •with• She” invites you to join the amazing journey back to yourself. Sitting first with yourself. Remember who SHE are despite the world that surrounds her. When we come home to our most natural self we can grow, change and impact others in ways we never thought possible.”

Lindsey and I talked for two and a half hours. We talked about raising and teaching kids, fitness and nutrition, being productive instead of busy, struggling with perfection and letting perfection go.

I learned a lot in those 2 hours. I learned – again – how so important it is to talk to women – friends, family, colleagues, neighbours…and even complete strangers like Lindsey was to me. The power in talking to each other…validating each other’s fears and aspirations, laughing, brainstorming, sharing secrets (like how to buy the perfect strapless bra!) is amazing!

It leaves us refreshed, inspired – and full of energy! I encourage you to follow “SIT •with• She” on Instagram and read about the incredible women of this City. We are all different and yet some stories resonate so deeply that somehow we are so much the same.

We are Powerful. We are Beautiful. We are Strong. We are Resilient. We are Perfectly Imperfect.

Read her blog on me. FYI …she didn’t write one note while we chatted and yet captured our entire conversation!

https://sitwithsheblog.wordpress.com/perfectly-imperfect/

See you at the Squat Rack ~

Carm


Date Night

jake1.jpg

Last night I went on a date with an 8 year old…oops, sorry…almost 9 year old.

His brother and dad were out for their own special evening and I wanted my youngest to have a great night too. I asked him where he would like to go and he chose McDonald’s. (Yes, I cringed…lol…so many other great places!!) Oh well, he’s 8…almost 9.

He wanted to wait until his brother went out at almost 8pm so that he was out at the same time. Thank goodness I already ate…8pm is WAY past my dinner time! I would have been eating my arm by that point.

He ordered his food and we sat in a booth and talked. He told me about his day – his first day of EQAO, the video they watched at school, his friends, his plans for the next day…and I sat there, leaning forward, my hand on my chin, listening but more so, watching him. One on one time is so precious and hard to come by in the busyness of our lives.

I told him…”this is like we are on a date.” And he smiled. Giggled. Then went on about something else.

Since he is like me in the way of loving to be comfy and in bed comfy even more so  – I mentioned we should get home, put on our pjs and watch Game 7 of the hockey game in mommy’s bed – all comfy and warm! He loved the idea as he never watches TV in our room.

We got home and of course, something was wrong with our TV (insert husband’s eye rolling). So as I tried to get it to work, Jacob yelled “don’t come into my room.”

I was so flustered with the TV; I didn’t even question what he was doing.

Two minutes later, he is standing beside me, in his Communion suit (one year later and now too short), jacket buttoned, tie on, belt in hand.

jake

He dressed up for the remainder of our date.

I will never forget how he looked. I will never forget his thoughtfulness.

He didn’t stay long in the suit because our plan was pjs and hockey, but it didn’t matter.

It was one of the best dates I ever had.

I am now planning more date nights out with my sons.

Even if it is at McDonald’s.

See you at the Squat Rack ~

Carm

 


Happy Mother’s Day…

IMG_3390

I’m a mom. Two boys. Loud house. Hockey games in my kitchen. Balls bouncing off my living room walls. Wrestling on the tiles. NHL. NFL. TSN. Anything with three letters.

Constant conversations hover around hockey statistics, scores, whose team is better than the others, who cheated, who started the fight, who left the mess, who is picking the game to play, who is sitting beside mom, who is sitting beside dad, who is not tired to go bed, who is not hungry, why lunch wasn’t eaten at school…

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. The only day really when the kids love me enough to get a long for about 3 hours, where I am served some food, when I am told to rest. Literally by 1pm last year I had to remind the boys that it was STILL Mother’s Day so threatening each other was not really part of the gift.

This year I will be up at out of the house to watch my youngest play football.

I could complain about it and say I am not getting breakfast in bed like I usually do, but my gift is watching him play.

I could complain that my house is so loud with voices and balls bouncing, loud with their own commentating, but if it wasn’t filled with these voices, my halls would feel empty.

I could complain that I’d like to talk about something other what the score was during football/soccer recess but then I’d miss their excited play by plays.

I could complain about the pillows, books, games, nerf gun pieces on my floor, but that shows me that they are home.

I could complain that they always need to sit between me and my husband but soon they will be out more than they are home.

I could complain that I am always in the kitchen making somebody something to eat, but then I think about when they are off living on their own and not telling me that I make the best peanut butter sandwiches anymore.

I could complain that I need some rest. I could complain that I need some peace and quiet. I could complain that I would like to go and see Beauty and the Beast and not Iron Man. But I know, soon enough, as they start to hover over me in size, as their voices start to change, as their priorities shift as ours did, I will get all of that.

They will be independent.

They will find a love.

They may move away.

And I will miss the balls bouncing, the brotherly fights, the excited play by plays, the zombie books on the floor, the hockey night in Canada theme song, and even…yes, the butt talk.

So for right now, I will try not to complain. I will try to live in THEIR moments. I know it’s easier said than done but maybe that’s my Mother’s Day gift to myself.

And when they are fighting and hating each other for the moment, I will remember Julian’s good night to me this week “Goodnight, Beauty” he said. I will remember Jacob running to me after I picked him up at school saying, “I missed you so much today, mommy.”

Heart melting moments – they make it all worthwhile.

But, if they do move away…guess who is moving with them?!! I’ll give you a hint. It’s me. Who needs peace and quiet anyway?

See you at the Squat Rack ~

Carm

 


Me and My BLTs…

blt

 

Are you like me and like to have a bunch of BLT’s during the day? Yup…BLT…Bites, licks and tastes (get your mind out of the gutter).

I know a lot of moms – and probably some dads – who, while clearing off the dinner table, take a few bites of their kids’ food that they left on their plates. Why waste it, right? We may pick at whatever is on the office kitchen table – but not eat the entire thing – just a taste of course. We may grab a few pieces of whatever snack we are putting in the kids lunches (those Nacho flavor goldfish crackers are super tasty -and very small – so very easy to pop a couple in your mouth!), and we may take a lick at the ice cream cone that our husbands are eating with our kids…oh wait, is that only my husband? 😉

What people don’t realize…and what I often forget …is that all of these little tastes ACTUALLY add up in calories! So if you are grazing 6 times a day and each time is 100 calories or more…you have, in reality, eaten 600+ calories on food you didn’t even really enjoy because it was not enough to enjoy!

I know that starting a healthy diet – or re-starting one, is sometimes overwhelming. In your head you hear “must drink lots of water, fill up on veggies, eat protein at every meal, don’t eat after dinner…” but I bet stopping the amount of BLTs you take during a day would show a result in itself. Actually I am sure of it as that has helped me in the past.

I’d rather savour my food and take into account WHAT I am actually eating. A bite here and there is definitely not satisfying so why even do it? I’m not asking you…I’m asking ME! Ugh!

So if you are following a healthy diet and still reaching for those BLTs and not seeing results – that may be the reason why. I have a feeling it’s a big part of my reason why.

Well, my kids will be happy that I won’t be asking them for one bite…just one bite…and actually I think my husband will be happy too!

The funny thing about BLTs is that I don’t think I have ever eaten a real BLT. LOL

See you at the Squat Rack ~

Carm


Unicorns & Other Fantasy Attractions

unicorn

 

I’m laughing at this meme about the Unicorn drink created by Starbucks. Everyone is going nuts about it. Some are going nuts to try it and some are going nuts in shock about how much sugar is actually in one of these.

I like this particular post because I felt the same way when I read about people going on and on about how much crap was in this. Firstly, it’s pink. How do you think they get it pink? It’s not strawberries lol. And if you thought it was – I am sorry for laughing.

Secondly, ALL their Frappuccino’s are loaded with sugar – whether it is regular white sugar or sugar free syrup, which is full of chemicals. So no real big surprise that this cotton candy coloured – with glitter – drink is loaded with 62 grams of sugar in only 16oz.

I also like this picture.

coke

I can’t believe how many people are still drinking pop…and as well, diet pop. I have said this a million times…I was a Diet Coke fanatic; I get the addiction. The amount of sugar and chemicals in pop is just completely gross. Admittedly, I do drink a diet coke a few times a year (usually when I am eating pizza- not that I only eat pizza a few times a year lol). But, even then, you will never see me finish a can. You can get over your pop obsession! I promise!

We all have our vices. And if you are going to have one of the above drinks with full knowledge of what you are putting in your bodies, that’s your choice. And if it is one of your chosen treats, I get it. Personally I don’t like to drink my calories – I’d rather splurge on a really good piece of cheesecake! Luckily for me, that is not as convenient as going into Starbucks.

Sugar is a hard thing for most people – including myself – to stay away from or say no to – but if you care about how much sugar you are consuming, pay attention to labels. If it is pink, creamy and is pictured with whip cream, don’t be surprised with what’s in it.

See you at the Squat Rack ~

Carm


Time Flies! 50 Blog Posts Done!

anniversary

A year ago I was vacationing in the Mayan Riviera with my family and our friends. It was a much-needed and glorious holiday despite my youngest son’s consistent puking throughout our travel home. Nothing brings you back to reality than pulling your child out of the “boarding now” line in front of the airline workers so he can fill up yet another plastic bag.

Ahhh….motherhood…

But regardless like I said, it was a great vacation! It was in the Mayan that I started to think about how I could incorporate my passion for fitness and health and wellness in my life in a bigger way. The friends we were vacationing with had recently begun their own company and were very happy in their new venture. It got me thinking how I could do this too (without quitting my job). I wish I would have had this passion younger in life – maybe I would have done somethings differently.  I thought about what I could do part time or even less than part time to start.  Here I was poolside in gorgeous weather lying beside my gorgeous husband when the thought of writing a blog came to me. I love to write – at one time my career path was journalism – and I do have people ask me a lot about workouts, meal plans etc.  and I figured this was one way to “do something” with my passion that covered all of this. Although I do teach boot camp at my gym I wanted to do something different.

Back home, after a few weeks, my blog, UpandLifting came to life!

There’s a lot more I want to do with UpandLifting but I am taking my time. I have abandoned my personal Instagram for my UpandLifting one where I primarily show pictures of my meals or post my workouts or food/fitness memes. I am learning how incorporating hashtags help spread your message.

I have had friends and family help me with my website although the majority of my followers are through Facebook. It’s amazing how social media works!

The biggest and most common compliment I receive is how women relate to what I am writing. And in truth, that’s all I ever wanted! I know I am not the only woman going through the things I write about. I often look for blog ideas so please send me what you are looking for – chances are it’s on my list to write about and/or other women are asking for it as well!

To date, one year later, I have more than 250 people following my blog on Facebook and more than 350 people following my UpandLifting Recipe Exchange page. It’s a start!

But more importantly I am enjoying this new venture. And I don’t know where it may lead…maybe nothing more than this, maybe something greater than this. All I know is that I have come a long way since that beach talk with my hubby…and now I feel like it’s been a long time since I was pool side…

Happy 1 Year Anniversary to UpandLifting!

Thanks for reading! Hope you stay with me on this journey!

See you at the Squat Rack `

Carm


7 Things Weight Training Has Taught Me… About Me!

lift

  1. Here’s the basic thing. I am stronger than I thought. And I want to get stronger. When I grab heavier weights than I did last week and I don’t have to drop them right away, it’s such a great feeling of strength -accomplishment. I am proud to say that I am strong.
  2. That I like to be challenged. I like to push myself. I pick up those dumbbells or barbells and immediately I want to challenge myself. Even if I am dying through a set and thinking “that’s it, I am done after this one,” I usually change my mind as I catch my breath and go for another. I like to carry this through other parts of my life too…I am typically not a risk taker in life, but a good challenge can also fire up the soul, test the mind!
  3. That I am dedicated to progress. Progressing with lifting weights doesn’t happen quickly. And sometimes there are setbacks…like getting pregnant and stopping the consistency with workouts, like getting injured and scaling back on what you can do. But staying consistent and dedicated means progression will follow.
  4. That I like to try new things. Being at the gym, for me, has me watching others as they work out. I see people doing exercises that I have never done before and therefore, motivates me to try them. From lifting weights at the gym, I got the bug to try CrossFit, which if it wasn’t so expensive, I would do! But it also got me started on kettle bell workouts, interval training and really, just trying new machines and exercises with the equipment.
  5. Lifting weights is such a stress reliever for me. Some people meditate; some go for long runs or walks and some read quietly. My stress relief comes from push presses, squats and lunges! Once you figure out what helps you deal with your stress, it becomes easier to manage.
  6. Although I don’t like to get dirty, I do like to sweat. Those who say you need to do tons of cardio to get a good sweat on never completed a good weightlifting session! Heart rate elevates, sweat pours, and breaths are fast and furious, plus lifting weights burns more calories in a shorter period of time. I swear you could kill me with cardio.
  7.  To believe in myself and my potential. I am so often looking at others for inspiration, motivation, but to understand that to some people, I am their motivation. I get them to my class, I kick their butt and they keep coming back. I constantly need to remind myself that my progress is for them too.

Weightlifting is not for everyone. I know that. But if you are hesitant because you are afraid of bulking – which if you haven’t already heard a million times already – that is the biggest myth out there – then give it a try. It’s so great for strengthening your core, so important for your bone strength, flexibility, muscle building and more! Here’s an article that details some great benefits – http://greatist.com/fitness/20-reasons-start-strength-training

And it may even teach you something about yourself that you never knew about.

See you at the Squat Rack ~

Carm

 


A Baby Story

There’s some thread trending on Facebook about a photographer refusing to take birth photos for a client after hearing her birth would not be a vaginal birth but rather the baby was being delivered by Caesarean section.

And of course, women everywhere are in an uproar about this. The photographer was rude in how she turned this woman’s request down – on what she said about what giving birth means. (To be honest, this thread may even be a hoax as you never know with social media, but it did get me thinking of my deliveries).

My first born, Julian, was born by C-section. Here he is, surprisingly, sleeping.

juju

Like many women, I always dreamed about what it would be like to be pregnant, even go through labour, and give birth to this perfect baby that they would place immediately on your chest for that instant bonding between mama and child.

I went off work about 2 months before I was due to give birth. During those two months, I watched the TLC show The Baby Story every day. Every. Day. I cried at every episode as the doctor excitedly said “it’s a boy!” or “it’s a girl”! I watched the mother hold her newborn – baby looking up at her and boom! LOVE!

I couldn’t wait for all of this.

My due date came. My due date went. This kid was quite comfy I soon learned. After a week, a doctor’s check up revealed that I was hardly dilated. I was scheduled to be induced on Sunday August 20th. After two stints that day at the hospital, I went into labour (back labour – that’s another story, dear God!) and I labored at home until I thought I was going to die. Or until Johnny thought he was going to die lol.  We arrived at the hospital around 10pm and I labored through the evening and although a nurse told me I was almost there early in the morning and although we called our parents thinking we would be pushing soon, nothing happened.

 I stayed at 9cm…and stayed…and stayed…then around 1pm, after every nurse, resident, student…hell probably even the janitor, checked on me, I was told I would need a C-section. There was no progress.

I cried. My husband asked why I was crying. I told him this didn’t happen in The Baby Story. My baby wasn’t going to be placed on top of me to hold when it was born. Honestly, I was heartbroken but also tired and wanted this baby out.

With great luck, I happened to have a wonderful anesthesiologist, who gave Johnny and I step-by-step or play-by-play on what was happening as Julian was being delivered. And he took some wicked pictures.

Although I didn’t get a chance to hold Julian right away, they brought him over to me to see his little puffy eyed face. And although I envied all the vaginal birth mothers on my floor as I walked preciously and painfully down the hall for that week and they beautifully flowed around their rooms, I only cared that my Julian was finally here. And Julian’s birth story speaks volumes of who he is. Although he is NEVER late, (which surprises me that he was past his due date) he likes things on HIS terms and WHEN he is ready.

And when I had Jacob, I told my doctor; I didn’t want to have another C-section. Some women prefer it. Some women can only have babies that way, but I was told that I didn’t have to have another section by force. So I wanted to try to push. I think I willed it so much that Jacob was born only 1 day passed his due date, in half the time of his brother and out after only 8 minutes of pushing.

But guess what?

After Jacob was born I was so happy that I pushed him out that I didn’t even realize until a few days after his birth that he wasn’t put on my chest upon delivery. He was cleaned up, weighed and measured and THEN came to me. And I obviously didn’t miss it. (But don’t tell me how wonderful that was for you or my ovaries may cry!)

Here’s Jacob, so little – before he met his big brother!

babyjake

Both my sons’ births were were amazing – empowering – beautiful. I gave birth to both. And their individual births tell the story of who they are.

No episode of The Baby Story could have ever given me that.

See you at the Squat Rack ~

Carm

 


Take Precaution…

gut.jpg

This morning I added some dairy to my breakfast. I really try to stay away from dairy like foods – cheese, milk, yogurt -etc. But this morning I added some ricotta cheese to some sliced banana and almond butter. Let’s see if I feel any effects from this concoction.

Do you have a food or foods that you eat with precaution? Something you know will probably bother your tummy, cause a headache or make you run for the bathroom? Or something that affects your energy, focus? Sometimes, it’s worth the pain – I know! Would love to hear what food or foods you eat with precaution!

See you at the Squat Rack ~

Carm