September 30, 2013

gratitude day#11

Hi friends! I'm going to keep this short and sweet because it's late, but I wanted to keep the gratitude love going. Here's today's recap of three things I was grateful for:

  • thoroughly enjoying my first creative writing assignment for class -felt inspired 
  • I loved the fact that while everyone was sitting in a circle singing during my daughter's first music class, she stood in the middle dancing. 
  • I'm grateful that I got to visit with my friend this morning and we spotted a whale splashing around close to our vantage point. 

September 29, 2013

getting there....gratitude day #10

Hello friends! A few weeks ago, I was in my element, shooting photos of dear friends with their sweet little babies, in a gorgeous, sunny, park setting. I just wanted to do a little something to serve as keepsakes for them and their daughters because they have extended so much kindness to Stella and I. One of my friends grabbed my camera, and offered to snap a few photos of me since I am always behind the lens. When I was editing all of their photos, I came across the ones that had been snapped of me, and the tears rolled down my cheeks.  I always feel radiantly happy with my little girl, beautiful on the inside, but when I saw the photos - I was saddened that my outward appearance didn't reflect how I felt- I looked bloated and tired. Becoming a mom, I had viewed my body as more utilitarian - (breastfeeding attempts, carrying my baby everywhere, pushing strollers, scarfing down quick meals between caring for others, sleepless nights) - my focus was so outward, that I had stopped taking stock of the toll it was taking on me. (It's kind of like that SNL parody ad for "Mom Jeans" - "I'm not a woman anymore, I'm a mom!")
When relaying my photo reaction to one of my friends recently, she said, "Don't be silly the camera adds 10 pounds!" My response: "Well then, there must have been two cameras on me."
Don't get me wrong - I've never put appearance high up on any parameter - give me smart/funny/interesting any day. But I was sad that my appearance no longer reflected how I felt - and I wanted to take charge of that.
So, I'm only two weeks in, but have made some big changes - ramping up my exercise regimens to almost daily (even half hour stints when she is napping) - to boost my energy levels and get the endorphins flowing. I save the sips of vino for special nights out and have embraced seafood and salads (as much as one can get amped over lettuce). I haven't hopped on a scale yet to see if anything has shifted, because it's too early to expect much and I don't want numbers to deflate my progress.
I posted the photo above, because for the first time in a year, I got dressed up for a night out and felt like I was seeing my happy self coming through again.
Today's top three on my gratitude list are:

  • Being able to cook at a leisurely pace - with delicious results
  • running to a great song list and feeling the rain on my face
  • watching my hubby try to teach my little girl how to dance - so awesome/endearing, but his dance moves couldn't be whiter

gratitude day #9

Goodnight sweet friends, I hope you had a cozy day. Well despite what the song would lead you to believe, it didn't rain men. It didn't even rain cats or dogs. It just rained like a sonofabitch.

Three things I'm grateful for today are:

  • jumping in puddles together
  • having a lot of laughs over a delicious dinner with a great mix of women
  • watching how deliriously happy my little girl was leaping around a bouncy castle

September 28, 2013

gratitude day #8

Happy weekend friends! What's on your weekend line-up? Here's Friday's top three on my gratitude challenge:

  • Having a great catch up with the girls while our friend was up from Portland. I love it how easy it is to pick up right where we left off. 
  • buying a new notebook for my writing class and feeling inspired to fill it up
  • getting home in time to read my daughter a new book and tuck her into bed

September 26, 2013

here's your next party idea.....lip sync battles....

This little video solidifies my comedy crush on Ricky Gervais' right hand man: Stephen Merchant.
I love the little fun fact we find out: that Stephen Merchant originated this game with his pal John Krasinski. Which, led me to stumble upon this video of John working his lip sync magic: Check it out here. I think John Krasinski might be my new imaginary hollywood boyfriend. 

gratitude day #7

Hello friends! Well, we're one week in to the gratitude challenge - have you kept at it? Discipline is something I am striving for these days - with gratitude, parenting, exercise, and my writing class, which requires us to write daily.
Today was pretty much full of awesomeness, so I am actually going to have to limit myself to keep it to three:

  • Taking my little love on her first professional photo shoot for a friend's children's apparel line: Stonz. (testimonial: Our little girl has a pair of their yellow rubber rain boots, which are her favourite things to run around in.)
  • Perfect autumn weather - all day it was gorgeous outside - 20 degrees of glorious sun - we spent as much time soaking in all the Vitamin D that we could.
  • Running 5 km and feeling motivated/energized thanks to Strava Run, Songza and a delicious halibut dinner.

September 25, 2013

gratitude day#6

Good evening friends! I hope you've successfully been scanning your environment for the little standout moments that make each day feel uniquely yours. You'll definitely experience days where the lists easily write themselves, and days where you are scanning....and scanning....and thinking....well, that flower is kind of pretty, maybe I better lock that in as one of my things...

Today, the three things that stirred up feelings of gratitude were:

  • Having a laugh with friends over appies (sidenote: just to clarify, we weren't laughing AT the appies.)
  • my mom - for being amazing: taking care of my little one and feeding both of my loves dinner.
  • kisses from my family

September 24, 2013

gratitude day#5

The day is still young, but I want to seize this opportunity while my little gal is sleeping to write my three gratitude entries:
  • The fact that my view on our walk, is of this little adventurous girl who loves to be one step ahead, excitedly finding pine cones, sticks and rocks to show me--keeping me in the moment.
  • We're house-sitting and have been sleeping in a king sized bed. Is it wrong that I want to buy a bigger home now just to house a new bed? I have slept so well - there's something magical about being able to sleep with your arms and legs spread out like a starfish if you want, without disturbing your partner.
  • grabbing something from my dad's garage and being hit by the faint smell of cologne and engine oil - and being flooded in that moment with amazing memories of my grandpa, and the time I used to spend in his garage, watching him work.

September 23, 2013

gratitude day #4

Goodnight friends! What little silver linings did you pull from your day?
Today I'm grateful for:
  • running into friends at my little one's drop in class.
  • having enough time during my daughter's nap to workout and start my creative writing class.
  • the return of the Voice, and the goosebumps I get from watching so many talented artists-- and Adam Levine. Okay, I was mostly excited for the return of Adam Levine. 

September 22, 2013

Happy Autumn Equinox! Gratitude Challenge Day #3

Break out your Cosby sweaters (fresh reference) and start admiring your local foliage, Fall is upon us.
Three things I am grateful for today:
  • Driving home from work with a delicious coffee, listening to great music and singing at the top of my lungs (amazingly, might I add - you really missed quite the concert)
  • the little arms that wrap around me as soon as I walk in the front door.
  • Having a bath in a luxurious tub while we housesit - instead of my "dear god did you remember to keep the shower curtain closed so no one gets a glimpse of our tub?" tub. 

September 21, 2013

gratitude day #2

As you go through the gratitude challenge, you'll find your list of things you are grateful for increases as time goes on because you start seeing the good stuff everywhere.

Today I am grateful for:

  • Going for a 5km run in our beautiful city (I snapped the photo above with my phone during my run). (what is not captured in my photo - myself wheezing). 
  • Having friends invite us over for dinner. (seeing them, not having to meal plan, meeting new people at their place - WINNING!).
  • Enjoying a free bottle of J. Lohr Cabernet Sauvignon for helping a friend out with her dog

September 20, 2013


Hi Friends! Happy Friday! What have you got lined up for your weekend? I'm working, so there's that.
But I am also looking forward to squeezing in some visits with friends.
(My friend Tricia sent me these photos of our little girls - to me they epitomize what friendship is all about: Sharing time and space together and falling over laughing. I love those delicious moments.)
Tonight one of my friends suggested we try a gratitude challenge: 21 days of noting three things each day you're grateful for. By the end of it, you should be in a more positive mindset as you scan your days for the brighter moments. As the weather shifts into darker, drizzly days, I feel like her challenge is perfectly timed - I could use a sunnier disposition. And nothing is too big or small to make your list.
Will you join us in the challenge?
I'm going to focus my gratitude lists on the little things - because I am already acutely aware that I could easily rollover a big list each day that includes: my amazing little gal, my loving and super supportive husband, my extraordinary group of bright and hilarious friends, my incredible - I would do anything for them- parents and in-laws, the fact that everyone I love is healthy, that I have a great job, a roof over my head, food in my fridge.....and on it can go.
But sometimes I think you need to look into the smallest details of your day, to really take notice of what is happening around you to see what makes each day unique:

Day 1:
Three things I am grateful for today:

  • Starbucks baristas handing out free samples of their chocolate chai lattes. You had me at free. And chocolate.
  • Having a spare moment after work to enjoy a beer (and laughs) with friends.
  • My hubby putting our (cranky? independently minded?) little girl to bed and letting me relax

September 19, 2013

girl gone wild

Imagine hiking solo 1770 kilometres from California to Oregon along the Pacific Crest Trail, trying to piece back together your life after your mother has died and your marriage has collapsed. Oh ya, you're also 26 and coming off a string of affairs and heroin addiction.  Cheryl Strayed's brilliant memoir Wild takes the reader along for her harrowing feat of physical and mental endurance. It's hard not to feel frustrated with Strayed when she first sets off for her journey when you recognize how ill prepared she is for such a feat. For starters, her backpack is far too heavy (nicknamed "Monster" for it's ridiculous weight (more than half her own body weight), her boots are ill fitting and she is often down to her last few coins to buy food with when she arrives at various pitstops along the way.
With each blistered step that Strayed takes through this challenging journey, you can't help but cheer for her in recognition of how very brave she is. Meet ups with a rattlesnake, bears, creepy men - all encountered on her own in the depth of the woods. Or what about sleeping in a tent in the middle of nowhere, on your own, listening to branches snap outside your thin canvas wall.
One night, exhausted from a day where drinking water was at a minimum and the sun was beating down on her, she falls asleep on her tarp, not even strong enough to pitch her tent, and when she wakes up, she feels little hands all over her body, and looks down to see that she is covered in hundreds of tiny frogs. Hundreds. They have completely covered her body. Now I don't know about you, but when I think of my circle of female friends, I know I'd be hard pressed to find one who would want to take on such a journey on their own. I was so utterly inspired by her courage and her mental strength to keep going.  The trail eventually led her back to herself - back to a sense of fullness that had evaded her when life had previously felt hopeless. She said that in hindsight she realizes she needed to carry "Monster" and feel the weight in order to shed it.
Would you ever take on such a physically and emotionally challenging journey as the Pacific Crest Trail?
I would love to do a huge hike with my husband one day - I think it would be such an incredible experience to share- but I'm eyeing the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island- which is only 77 kilometres, baby steps compared to her 1770 km trek.
The book was so well received, that Oprah relaunched her defunct book club after reading it.
Click here for a little clip of Cheryl Strayed speaking with Oprah about being alone.

September 17, 2013

beautiful friends

I had so much fun shooting photos at the park this morning with this gorgeous crew of friends. We met through a public health workshop put on by the hospital a few weeks after we gave birth and quickly connected. It has been incredible to watch these girls grow up together and inspiring to have these moms to lean on and learn from. 

September 15, 2013

the country life

This weekend we went to Campbell Valley Park's country fair complete with animals to pet, hay to jump in, wagon rides, delicious carnival food (baked apple and gouda sandwiches? HELLO deliciousness!!)  - it was the perfect way to spend a leisurely morning. I hope you are having an amazing weekend! xo

September 8, 2013

random images from the weekend

I hope you had a fantastic weekend! We had a low key one, full of the great outdoors, which is fine by me. We even saw Elvis strolling through the park - I guess this beautiful weather brings everyone out. xoxo

September 7, 2013

Parksville, BC

I highly recommend Parksville as a great family destination. We visited there earlier this week for two nights and had the BEST time. We stayed at the Ocean Sands resort, which was located right on the beautiful Rathtrevor beach. The condo style suite was perfect for us, and being on the ground level, we could walk right off our patio to the beach. Heaven. Definitely one of the highlights from our getaway was a visit to Morningstar Farm where you are allowed to roam the grounds freely, pet all the animals, sample their homemade cheeses and wines, or if the mood strikes, watch the cows get milked. We even saw a wild rabbit steal a carrot from the garden and hop away. I thought that was something you only see in children's books. 
The playground at Parksville Community Park is bar none, the biggest playground I have ever seen, it just goes on and on as far as the eye can see. It's no wonder this park is rated 5 stars. It proved to be the perfect spot to let her burn off all her energy before bed. We call that a win-win. Some more little finds we were able to fit in our visit was Coombs country market , Qualicum beach (a very necessary ice cream break), and had our one meal out at Lefty's. Honestly, we've taken our little bundle of energy to quite a few weekend getaways and this was probably our family favourite so far. I definitely think you should add it to your weekend getaway list. xo