September 28, 2011

making a change

A change is gonna come. I have learned too much to keep eating the way I have been. A few recent big happenings have sparked something deep within. Pregnancy has made me more conscious about what I am putting into my body; I have to think of someone else my decisions are impacting. Cancer has impacted people I care dearly about and it has made me look closer at what is going on with the food industry, because as you know, it has most certainly become a big industry. Another major influence in my decision to research vegetarianism and vegan diets is simply my love of animals. I cry when I see roadkill, when I see animals being used for testing and when I see delivery trucks full of pigs or chickens, stacked to the rafters, passing by me on the highway. It has gotten to the point where I simply can't ignore that my love for animals is a huge part of who I am, so I have to show them more respect by not participating in their demise. Believe me, I am not going to preach to you about what you choose to eat. I  just wanted to be more aware of what goes on behind the scenes so that I am an informed consumer. I gave up eating meat about 25 years ago, but I fell off the wagon with chicken. I used to think, "well, at least I only eat chicken."Unfortunately, it was easy to just see store bought chicken breasts as packaged beige lumps and disassociate them with what I was really eating. If there were chickens in my backyard, you can bet sure as shit that I would never eat one again. They'd all have names. 
If you feel like reading on, here's some interesting factoids I've discovered through research, but I warn you, they are graphic:

Cows: often are not stunned properly before being strung up for slaughter. They are often struggling and conscious while their throats are slashed open and they are skinned. In the Humane Farming Association's investigation of slaughterhouses, every worker admitted to the mistreatment of animals.
I was mistakenly under the impression that cows just produce milk, like hens can produce eggs. I never realized that for cows to produce milk, they are continuously impregnated. As soon as their calves are born, the males are crated for veal and the females are bred to be dairy cattle (and subsequently impregnated). It's an ongoing cycle where the mothers are continuously experiencing real separation anxiety from their calves. The mothers only get to live 2-7 years, before their bodies are deemed burnt out by industry "standards" and they are sent to slaughter - even though cattle should normally live 20-25 years. I haven't even touched on the hormones injected into the cows to ensure mass production of milk ten times their normal supply. This is a huge indicator of why young girls are now getting their periods 3-4 years younger than when I was a teenager. 
Did you know that cattle nurture friendships and can solve intellectual challenges? Vegan enthusiast (and wife of Ellen Degeneres), Portia de Rossi said when she first bought her horse for their farm, she was worried about it because of the long journey it took by transport, so she stayed up all night watching over him. She looked on as the cows came up one by one and rubbed noses with the horse, as if to welcome him to their farm. At that moment, she knew she had to become a vegan.

Pigs: Often before they are strung up for slaughter, they are dunked fully conscious into 140 degree water to remove hair from their bodies. A mechanical arm pushes their flailing bodies under water. Pigs have been labelled by scientists as more intelligent than dogs and three year old humans. Slaughterhouse workers have said that pigs will come up and nuzzle them like puppies before they are forced into the scalding tanks of water.  

Chickens: make up 95% of all animals slaughtered for food. They are often stuffed and stacked in cages with no room to move. Their beaks are cut off so they don't peck other chickens or workers. All of their natural instincts to move, to flap their wings, are denied. If they are in egg laying factories, baby male chicks are tossed out, deemed useless because they can't produce eggs. Over 300 million baby chicks are killed in the U.S. every year, often just tossed into dumpsters or ground up and fed to livestock. Chickens are as smart as mammals, including some primates. They are apt pupils and have shown the ability to use levers to control the temperature of their environment.

I'm sorry this entry is difficult to read. I just wanted to let you know why I'm changing my ways.

September 25, 2011

September 24, 2011

the best sidekick

the simple life

Getting out in nature always makes me appreciate the simple things in life and helps me re-focus my perspective. I don't know about you, but I find when I've had a really busy week (this week we were out three out of four nights) - I need time to just decompress and be in the outdoors to re-fuel. These photos were taken at Campbell Valley Park, one of my favourite local spaces. 
One thing I was thinking about today is the question of "enough". Do you feel like at this point in your life that you are satisfied? Do you feel like your cup is full? It's easy to get caught up in always projecting your happiness into the future. What's your weakness? How do you usually finish this phrase: I'll be happy when..........I'm skinnier? I'm richer? I meet someone? I'm a parent? I have a better job? I have a better home? When is enough enough?
My weakness tends to be that I can't wait for a bigger living space. I daydream of having room to entertain, to have an open concept space to cook for our friends and family, to have a more modern home that reflects my love of contemporary architecture.......Our home is 1050 square feet, pretty cozy by today's housing standards, but it is definitely big enough for the two of us and our soon-to-be-bundle. My husband's entire family of four grew up in 850 square feet (one bathroom) and had a wonderfully happy life together. I hate the fact that I get caught up in thinking that more will be somehow "better". Our home right now is entirely within our means and is a happy, bright space  - so why do we catch ourselves getting caught up in the rat race? If there's one thing I've learned from life experience and books is that to live in the present is to be truly happy. This is why the art of meditation is so truly important.
Today we went for a two hour walk through the park and often chatted about how wonderful our friends and family are and what we adore about their unique personalities. When you're away from the storefronts, the advertising, the competitive rat race, it's easy to be reminded in the richness of all that we do have - a beautiful province to live in and a lot of great people in our lives to love. That's why I crave to be in nature - it has such an abundance of beauty and possesses the ability to make me feel full and grateful. Have you heard of the documentary called I am? It was created by Hollywood director Tom Shadyac - a man who had it all - the 10,000 square foot mansion, the private jet, the huge bank account - and gave it all up to live a simplified life. He was gravely injured in a biking accident and reflected on what was truly important in his life. He donated everything away and lives in a modest home. He admits to never being happier. I love how through his research he discovers that contrary to popular thinking, nature's fundamental operating principal is based upon cooperation, not competition. Societies function at a healthier level when operating under feelings of gratitude and compassion versus anxiety, anger and fear. Even Darwin's Descent of Man discusses love 95 times and only mentions the phrase "survival of the fittest" twice. So where'd we get it wrong? Why is our society under the impression that we have to outdo one another in order to measure happiness and success? 
So my task for you this week is to make a gratitude list of all that makes you truly happy at this point in time. Don't look forward and don't compare your life with others. I bet you'll be surprised at how long your list is and how little of it is tied to anything material.
Sorry I waxed on a little long about all of this - but it's a big topic that I think we often need reminding of in today's society. 

September 23, 2011

29 weeks

A lot has developed during this week's edition of "The very young and extremely restless". I had an ultrasound and found out the baby is lying transversed with their legs stretched out and crossed (as demonstrated in the photo above). I couldn't stop giggling when I saw the image because the tech said she's never seen such a relaxed little baby. It doesn't surprise me that our child is chilled right out given that we're both quite laid back people. However, if the baby doesn't turn to the vertically-aligned, head down position during the next six weeks or so, I will have to have a c section. Even the most talented of women can't deliver a sideways-turned baby. I have found some great yoga positions that help try to naturally turn the baby, so here's hoping that he/she doesn't get too attached to their reclined lifestyle or maybe I'll have to buy a child sized lazyboy chair for their room. I also found out this week that I'm Anemic (from lack of iron), which didn't surprise me too much since I don't eat any red meat. And last night I discovered that spicy foods trigger projectile vomiting: the baby simply has no appreciation for my love of curry. What a wussy! Each week this baby teaches me a lot about our co-habitation. Sorry for all the baby updates, but I have found this whole experience quite fascinating. Have a great night!

September 20, 2011

September 19, 2011

Redheads need not apply

Tonight on the news, there was an interesting little story on how the world's largest sperm bank, Cyros International, has stopped accepting ginger-haired donors. For more information please read here. A lot of families don't want redheaded sperm donors because they'd rather their child looks like them, and since red hair is so rare, they simply aren't in demand. But why do we have to all look the same? Before getting pregnant, I was very close to adopting a boy from Korea and was so excited to celebrate the fact that our family would be a wonderful mix of cultures. I just thought the news article was pretty funny given that I always have tried to dye my auburn hair as red as I can. I always thought red hair was exotic. Maybe because I am a shy gal, I thought the bolder the red the better to help let others know that if you get to know me, I really do have an edge. Only 1-2% of the population are natural redheads. Why is there a negative connotation about being unique? Why are all redheads portrayed as hot heads or fiery? I always knew there are people who for whatever reason, think it's acceptable to pick on redheads: a clear example of this is kick a ginger day. Will redheads eventually be left at the sidelines, not allowed to dip their toes in the gene pool? Wouldn't you miss seeing beauties like this? 
or what about these comedically gifted men, two of my all-time favourite redheads:
Check out this clip of the two of them together: Conan & Louis
What do you think? Are you more partial to blondes/brunettes? Do you think it's time for me to pack up and be around my people in Ireland?

Sunday's 365 photo - Cat nap

Whenever he is resting anytime/anywhere in the house, she finds him. She adores her papa. 

September 18, 2011

skinny mini and the three bumps

Even though we're a little spread out these days (both geographically and literally ) - we all had a chance to converge in Vancouver for some much appreciated face time this weekend. I often think of these girls as my lucky angels. I had been trying to get pregnant for years and the fact that it finally worked within 6 weeks of two of these lovely ladies is pretty amazing. It boggles my mind that the next time we meet up there will be three new babies in tow (due dates Oct. 23, Nov 4th and Dec. 11th). We hit the town for some pedicures and delicious Italian food (another round of sparkling waters please so we can continue all of our dorky toasts to one another). Of course, my favourite part is always just lounging in our lulus and catching up on comfy sofas. We're all quite different from one another, but there's something about the mix of us together that feels like such a great little family. I always feel a sense of renewal and gratitude after I get to have time with these amazing ladies. I really have learned so much from each of them. Make a date with your friends and celebrate the fact your paths all came together. xo

September 16, 2011

28 Weeks

Today I hit the 28 week mark. It's so hard to believe it's been 7 months already. At the 28 week mark, babies are approx. 2.3 pounds and measure 15 inches from head to toe. At this stage they are already blinking their eyes and can see any bright lights shining through your belly. Isn't that wild? There's a tonne of kicking going on and a lot of movement. The baby also reacts to what I eat now. The other day I had Indian food and the baby kicked from 4 - 6 am continuously.  It was fun (at first). But I think I will hold off on the spicy foods for now because I need sleep. At this stage of the game, my biggest craving is lemon. (Lemon slices in ice water, lemon iced tea, lemon bars, lemon juice on salad - you get the idea). My waddle is getting a little quicker, I'm getting more used to these wide strides. Speed waddling might be my new exercise form. I've been blown away at the kindness of strangers (people always offer me up their seat on the bus or Canada line) and they always ask how I am doing/feeling - so sweet. It really is an amazing feeling of gratitude I have for these people. The trickiest part at this stage of the game is sleep (you can only lie on your sides and when I lie on my right side the baby gets pissed off because that is the side of my body they prefer to lie on, and they don't like being squished so they boot me until I turn back onto my left side). Yes, the baby is already getting their way. I'm screwed. I hope you have a fantastic weekend! We are off for a long overdue catch up with some friends tonight. Have a drink for me would you?

September 15, 2011

a little romance

It could have been triggered by the sun streaming in after a drizzly day. Maybe it was because I felt like celebrating after a bit of a scary night last night. I just felt like the evening called for romance. I love how each person carries a different notion of what stirs up their heart. I'm not talking about the romantic connection you feel for your love. I am talking about little things you can do in your day that trigger your feelings of romance. What puts a little extra flutter in your heart? Cooking a beautiful meal for your loved ones with a glass of wine in hand and your favourite music in the background? Picking yourself a bouquet of wildflowers? Anything and everything by candlelight? Cozying up by a fire? Hiking in the great outdoors? For some reason, tonight's remedy called for baking pie and going to a movie.  I know there isn't a lot of poetry based on pie baking, but I think there is something beautiful in the creation of anything delicious. You put something personal into it and get to treat your loved one after. After dessert we caught Woody Allen's latest gem: Midnight in Paris. It's such a sweetly told little charmer with the main character finding himself in the most amazing company once the clock strikes midnight: Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Picasso, to name but a few. The steady stream of literary and artistic talent he encounters captivate him and inspire him to complete his fledgling novel. Being an English major, I loved the concept and think Woody did a great job of capturing the real whimsical romance of Paris. Do something special for yourself tomorrow. 

September 13, 2011

the nest is almost ready

*the second photo is the wall mounted book shelf that my father-in-law cleverly designed. He is pure awesomeness. 

September 11, 2011

Ann's 70th

Caroline and Murley
Janet and Ann
Mom and I

I grew up in a great little neighbourhood in Richmond with Caroline and Janet (pictured above). We have literally known each other since we were babies and our moms quickly became close friends. Ann turned 70 the other day, so we gathered the troops for a great celebration. We spent the day having lunch in Murley's garden, browsing Fort Langley's shops and cafes, wine tasting at Township 7 and topped the day off with wine tasting and a delicious dinner at Domaine De Chaberton. (note, I just had an appetizer for dinner - their main meals pack huge portions, but well worth it if you carry a big appetite).  I was the designated driver and the wineries were sweet enough to keep me replenished with ice water and a stiff shirley temple.  Langley has five wineries in really close proximity (Township 7, Domaine De Chaberton, Neck of the Woods, the Fort wine company, and Vista D'oro Winery) but we simply ran out of time to visit them all. I really loved Township 7. It has a beautiful farm-like setting. The ladies bought a bottle of wine and sat in the pretty picnic area by the vineyard. The wine is really reasonably priced - $3 for tasting, which is knocked off the price of a bottle if you purchase one (and most of their wine is priced under $20) - or you can purchase a glass of wine for $5 and sit in the garden. I'm looking forward to returning there once this baby is born and enjoying their delicious vino! 

September 8, 2011


We've almost got the baby's room done. It's been such a fun project to share together. We've got a few more shelves to put up for toys we have bought throughout our travels over the years. My handy-dandy father in law also gave us a great wall mounted book rack that he designed. I can't wait to put it up and show you. It may seem a little funny to have our desk in the baby room, but when your house is on the "cozy" side, like ours, you have to streamline your living space. I know I'll be spending a lot of late nights in the rocking chair, but I can't wait. I've already sat in it a few times just looking around, daydreaming of what's to come. 

September 6, 2011

Whistler fun

This past weekend, my parents rounded up the family for some Whistler fun. My hubby and I booked an amazing deal via: Jaunt. For $240:  we got two nights at the Aava hotel, a $50 gift certificate to the White Spot, and two adult peak to peak passes. We paid for a third night to coordinate the visit with my family. As luck would have it, the hotel was packed for the weekend and they offered the hubs and I a free upgrade to a suite for all three nights. Sweet! The day we spent doing the peak to peak was truly incredible. We took a gondola from Whistler village up the mountain, had a drink at the Roundhouse Lodge, with stunning 360 degree views from their giant patio, rode an open chair to the peak where we hiked around up top, took the peak to peak gondola over to Blackcomb and rode two open chairs (the solar coaster express and the wizard express) back down to the base. The entire experience was such a great part of our hotel package. I was in absolute bliss spending that much time on the mountains and in the fresh air.  If you planned ahead, you could pack up lunches and do some amazing hiking up top. It truly was a great experience sharing so much fun time with my parents and my brother's family. I can't recommend Whistler enough.