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I work in the city but I love living in the 'burbs so much we moved there - despite my crazy commute. The closer I get to home, the more relaxed I feel.
This Mama can't wait to share all the fabulous finds and 'must have' things that come my way. After all, if something's great I've gotta tell everyone! 
Join me as I share the ups and downs of suburban living, my journey to be more creative and organized (even with 2 super active little boys) and a whole lot of this and that. While I live in Fraser Valley, B.C., it's easy to translate the suburban experience to pretty much anywhere - and even city folk love to leave the hustle and bustle sometimes!
And living in the most expensive corner of the country, it takes a little savvy to keep it all together.  I'll share what I've learned - and hopefully you will, too!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Reality Check

The announcement of the winner of the Urbanmommies Mommyfit2011 challenge was announced this week and well, it wasn't me.  For a moment I felt sorry for myself - after all I'd worked hard.  But when I considered just how hard the winner - Caroline Alarie - had worked, well, the choice was easy.  Over 8 weeks, I lost 13lbs and a whopping 17 inches (5 off by belly and 3 off my butt!!) and I am ecstatic over it.  After all, this is me we're talking about. You know, the girl who never - ever - exercised!  And I've changed my life into one that's got plenty of activity.  Go ME, right?  Caroline - she lost over 20lbs, 28 inches and worked out damn hard for 50 of the 56 days.  Really.  I can't say that about me.  She didn't make excuses. I did, and I've learned a lot from that.  But still, a lingering sadness.

Then something I've suspected at work was made public that same day.  A woman I work with who has fought a very hard battle with breast cancer shared with her team and coworkers that her diagnosis is terminal.   I've had this funny feeling about it for a while, but have wished so hard for her to win this war.  She is close to my age, has a little one who is close to my son's age and should be thinking of summer play dates, tea parties, prom dresses and wedding gowns for her daughter. Not this.  Dear God, not this. 

I cannot imagine what she is going through - knowing that her dream is being stolen.  It's wrong on so very many levels that I can't even begin to find the words to express it.  Knowing what a strong, generous and caring person she is, I'd say she is trying to savour every single moment, build every single memory for her family that she can and is going to live her life to it's fullest - each moment precious and treasured for herself and those around her. 

And so, not winning this challenge isn't really such a big deal in the great scheme of things.  Knowing this strong and gracious woman is.  She deserves all my wishes and a prayers.  As one mother to another, as one woman to another, I can do no less than learn the lesson she is sharing and live my life to it's fullest, knowing how precious it really is. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Back on Track

The boys are feeling a little better and so today I've decided to get back on track.  After all, no one can pick me up and put me back on the rails but me.  So with a slow start (doctor's appointments/picking up necessities) I am coming back out of the station and getting ready to put on some steam!

Ally at Total Body Revolution has graciously offered us all to start our 8 weeks of follow up this week.  It seems I was not the only one to be lax last week.  I'm pretty excited about that and plan on making quite a difference in the next 8 weeks. One step at a time.  I've set activity goals for this week - and I think they will likely be the base for the following 7.  Nutrition wise, I'm still attending Weight Watchers, but I'm going to use much of the TBR plan as it makes it easy for me and I really like most of the recipes.  When I can't follow it, it's easy for me to substitute as I've figured out the points for everything and just need to find a healthy substitute that fits.

I go back to work tomorrow (likely leaving my very sick husband at home alone, poor baby) and the boys will return to their grandparents for the day.  I am extremely fortunate to have family that cares for them while we work.  They are in good hands with Nanna and her chicken soup.   There will be lots of rest for them, and lots of love.

I will go to yoga at lunch - it's something that has become quite important to me, this weekly block of time that brings me to my centre and allows me to relax and let go.  It not only stretches and builds my body, it works on my mind, too. 

And for my mind, my heart, my soul, I will set out some time to write.  Not just blogging, but working on my novel and continuing to put aside notes for the others I have in mind.  It's quite busy up there in my head - all those characters clamouring for me to put voice to them.  Some days they really push me hard, and so I've decided the best thing is to give in, write it down and keep moving in the direction of my dreams.  I've set a goal of an entry to the Surrey International Writers Conference writing contest - a must before I allow myself to register.  I've also set myself the goal of having a novel to pitch.  I might make my staying at the hotel contingent on that.  One has to start somewhere and I'm the type that needs incentive.  I'd say that's  pretty good incentive.  I stayed last year and it was well worth it.

I'm going to work on getting my home back under control - one little step at at time. While the reno goes on, who's to say I can't do little things along the way, right?  So I'll start with exercise and nutrition this week, and once my family is back to healthy, I'll add in a little time each day to purge the unneeded, highlight the things I love and make my home a place of welcome. 

I'm tired of being tired. I'm tired of feeling overwhelmed by all the things a working mommy has to contend with. I'm tired of my time being overtaken by 'should's'. And so I'm going to do something about it. Starting now.  Because someday is not on the calendar.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Too much of a good thing - stuff

Well, I've been trying to get back on track, but really, I feel like a train that's been derailed at high speed.  Lessons learned?  Absolutely.  But I'm still strugglingto get back on that track.  I'm currently in a holding pattern - one that involves going around in circles being unable to land on any one thing long enough to connect.  Have you ever felt like that? 

Oddly enough it's my stuff now that's send me over the edge.  I gave my keys to my four year old on Friday as we came in from the doctor's.  He opened the front door as I got my little guy out of the car and grabbed some bags.  I'm  pretty sure that's the last I saw of my keys.  So I've been frantically searching for them all weekend. As I'm trying to go through one room at a time in a sort of methodical manner, I've realized that my home is a disaster.  Even though I have purged and purged from here, we just don't have things fitting where they should. 

I know that having little toys around and out isn't a bad thing.  But the fact that, while they do it everywhere else, my boys do not tidy up properly after themselves is driving me batty. I'm a little tired of being the nagging mom.  I've already put 3 huge boxes of their toys into storage to rotate in once they kept what they had left tidy.  But I'm nearly at the point of having them come home to only 3 things and making them keep those tidy before they earn back their toys.  But then I think that  perhaps my two year old might not really understand that. And yes, I feel guilty. And really - can you ask your kids to do what you don't do?  My stuff is a disaster, too.  Just ask my husband, it drives him crazy.

What I need is a week to just be alone and  purge and move things around and decide what stays or goes and to catch up.  Or at least feel caught up since I know that really, one is never caught up.  (stuff always ends up in the laundry basket at days end to defy you). And lets be realistic - a week alone with no kids or husband or pets to distract me isn't going to happen.  I need to get with the program and do it a little at a time consistently every day. 

Perhaps I just need our reno to be done.  I think it's gotten to me. I just want to make our home nice and I've lost the energy and drive to even do my part back there.  I have to paint the ceilings and touch up the walls, order my indoor clothes dryer etc. and haven't done a single bit of it.  I'm perfectly capable of building the closet organizer - but have I?  Nope.

What I really want to do is crawl into my bed, pull the covers over my head and wake up to a sparkling new home.  Since I'm pretty sure the cleaning, organizing, cooking and painting fairies are all busy, I guess I'll just have to settle for pulling up my socks, putting on my shoes and doing it myself - one step at a time.  But first.. .I think I'm going to go take a nap. (and hope my keys come to me in a vision to let me know where they are)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Scarey nights and poor food choices

Last night was a bit of a scary one.   My two year old was having trouble breathing and when the ventolin inhalers didn't work, I called Healthlink BC to speak to a nurse as I wasn't quite sure what to do.  My four year old had gone through this the night before, but not quite as badly and I needed a little guidance.  We ended up in the ER.  With his oxygen level low and his breathing laboured we got to do all the fun stuff - nebulizer treatments, blood tests, xrays, rsv test (even tried flushing fluid up a crank, tired sick two year old kid's nose and sucking it out the other side - poor technician) and more nebulizers.   We got to go home around 1am with plans to take him to his doctor this morning.

All in all, I have to say they were great at the hospital.  I felt so sorry for the gentlemen in the bed next to us, though.  Emergency is a tough place to be as a patient when you've got screaming kids in there.  

We pretty much know now that he's got asthma, so a plan to get him stable and keep him there will be needed.  We'd suspected but this was the first full blown issue we'd encountered.  Even my older son who is the poster boy for having it all never ended up like this - close, but not quite.

When I'm in the middle of things, I manage to stay focused.  It was all about my son, asking the right questions, comforting him, helping them do the tests by being calm and caring and holding him steady.  Later, after we were home and I got him to sleep, it was all about feeling a little scared by what had happened, followed by a cup of tea (I'm British born, after all) and a generous helping of Cadbury mini-eggs.  (spoiling my  perfect day of eating - although really, I missed dinner so maybe they don't count?)
I think, when we are stressed, we tend to reach out for stuff that just plain makes us feel good.  I'm not saying this is a great thing - but seriously, carrot sticks weren't cutting it for me at 2am last night. I stayed home today to take him to the doctor so I will make something healthy for us for breakfast once he wakes.  And I'll make a good lunch for the two of us, and dinner for us all. Thankfully my parents kept my older boy overnight so I can just focus on the baby today. I do go to my first Zumba class tonight, handing the reins over to Daddy.  I think he'll be ok by then.  If not, well, I'll cross that bridge if it happens.  He comes first. 

It's been a bit of a rough week. I injured my back last week and it's gotten worse.  After my chiropractor visit, I'm feeling a bit better and even my hand (nerve pain happening) was feeling better, but then I ended up carrying a heavy two year old and I think maybe it's hurting again.   I'll be heading into the weekend carefully.  My exercise was interrupted, and may only be the yoga on Tuesday and tonight's Zumba if I make it.  But that's ok.  I have 8 weeks with Ally from Total Body Revolution (she's sticking with us to help us stay focused now that the challenge part of mommyfit is over) and I'll just have to work harder for the next 7 to attain my goals.   Life happens, and you go with it.  Even when it's scary, even when it takes you off track.  I'm learning you can always refocus and move on.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Thoughts on a sleepy night

Oh boy am I sleepy.  My older son woke up at 3am ( I fell asleep just before midnight) to go to the bathroom.  Now, he's able to just get up, go and head back to bed, but he always has to wake me to let me know.  Once he went back down, the  youngest one started to cry.  I got up, hugged him, changed him and went back to bed.  I did the getting up thing two more times for him.  Apparently when you are two and wake up, you want Chocolate milk.  The fact we have none is beside the fact. I told him we'd go to the store tomorrow and voila, he rolled over and went to sleep.  Why didn't I think of that the first time?

I have great news!!!  On Monday I went to pick up a couple of shirts and a pair of pants and... are you sitting down?... I shopped on the regular size side of the store!!  Gotta love it.  Yesterday I wore pants that fit to work, along with a top that fit right.  People noticed!  Someone even stopped at my office to ask if it was ok to make a personal observation, then told me they can really see how well I'm doing. It happened again today.  I'm afraid it's all going go to my head.  :-)

This weekend I shall turn my attention to my laundry room and the rest of the reno. I have some painting and some touch ups to do.  I need to get to some of this so that we can finish this project.  Well, actually I want to take pictures so I can share, so I have to finish it first, right?

Off to bed early for me as soon as I get the mini frittatas in the freezer!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Ultimate Blog Party is On!

From April 1st to April 8th, it's time for the Ultimate Blog Party, courtesy of 5 Minutes for Mom .  This looked like SO much fun, I just had to join in.  I'm a newbie at this, but I can see that all week long I will be blog hopping, making new blog friends and having a ton of fun doing so.

Hello Everyone joining in on the fun!  I'm so excited to be here.   I'm Jackie - Mommy of 2 beautiful boys - a toddler and a preschooler.   I'm on a journey to become a healthier, happier and more creative Mommy - one who won't look in the mirror and wonder who that person is, because I'm discovering more and more about her every day.  I started Weight Watchers at the beginning of January 2011 and so far I've lost just over 21 pounds.  It's made an amazing difference in my life.  I've also had a huge help in doing this as I've been a part of the Mommyfit2011 challenge, sponsored by UrbanMommies.com and Total Body Revolution.  I have to credit this for getting my mojo back, keeping me on track and finally getting me to be active.  It's been a most amazing experience!  You can read more about that over at the urbanmommies blog if you're curious.

I'm an over 40 mommy who also works full time - so I need all the help I can get to keep up with my kids! 

This journey is more than a weight loss plan, though.  I want to rediscover my creative side, and while I've been sidetracked with the never ending reno, I'm making time to write and pursue things to bring back out this side of me.  A mom's job never ends and I want to inspire everyone to make little changes that will add up to huge gains (or losses, as it were). If I can do it - anyone can do it! 

Welcome to my blog!  Leave me a comment if you like, as I'd love to come over and visit your blog, too.  There is nothing better than a cup of tea and a chance to meet new people.  :-)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Success - it does a body good

Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.   I heard this at my Weight Watchers (WW) meeting today.  I figure I’d say it differently.  For me, nothing tastes as good as SUCCESS feels!   And today, oh boy has it been successful.  I weighed in this morning and reached a milestone.  I got my 10% weight loss key chain!!!  10% of me is gone, missing, lost, and I’m never going looking for it, that’s for sure. 

I have to admit that having the stomach flu probably contributed to the loss – not being able to eat for a couple of days will do that to you.  But on the other hand, I’m back on track, satisfied with less, feeling great about me and I’m active.  HOW COOL IS THAT???

I have to give credit to Urbanmommies.com and their mommyfit2011 challenge.  With this I was lucky to receive the Total Body Revolution (TBR) package and this has helped immensely with getting me active.  After all, to move the fat off, one has to actually get moving, right?    Because the TBR program fits so perfectly with my WW program, by using their menus I was both sticking the WW plan and getting a chance to try new things.  Their menus are great and I’m eating stuff I wouldn’t have before (hello spinach, my new friend).

If you do the math, and I’m sure some of you will, you should be able to ball park my starting weight.  I’ve decided not to worry about it anymore. That’s the me that used to be.  The new me, she’s changing rapidly into the person I truly want to be.    I’ll share something with you, now that I’m at my first really big milestone, though.   I read an article about Hugh Jackman – you know, the Australian hunk, I mean actor?  In preparation for his Wolverine role he was told he had to gain weight.  The man was eating 6,000 calories a day because his 210 pound frame wasn’t ‘big’ enough. I read that and cringed.  I weighed more than him.  Yeah, so not cool or attractive when you put it in that context.  Trust me, that was one driving force in my route to change.

Honestly, I’d not truly noticed the changes in me.  I felt like the same size six girl I was in college, but year after year the pounds creeped on.  It was so slow that I barely saw it happen.  But lately, looking at pictures, I am astounded at how much I’ve changed.  I don’t want to be the woman in the pictures – I want to be the girl I remember.  I had a long talk with myself and decided that being a strong and healthy woman, who could be any size that made her feel that way, was my plan.  I still have no end goal – just a plan to lose an average of a pound a week for a year.  When I get close to that 52 pounds, no matter how long it takes, I’ll evaluate what a healthy goal weight will be for me. 

But for today I’m celebrating!  I felt better so I went to my spa day where I was pampered at Spa Utopia with a massage, facial, pedicure and manicure.  It was an amazing day, perhaps even better because of the awful week I’d had.  I feel like a wet noodle but in a good way.   Dinner is mostly courtesy of M&M meats as I feel like pretending I’m at a restaurant.  Won ton soup (fairly low in points) salmon, beans, a little rice and …. 1 crème brulée.  My big treat for the week.  I’ll savour every tiny spoonful.  Why?  Because life is to be enjoyed and I’m learning that everything, in moderation, is good.