Exercise or Torture?

What is it with me and exercise? Why do I hate it so much? Just the thought of putting on one of those cute spandex outfits and lifting weights or doing jumping jacks makes my whole body hurt. I am a firm believer that all things exercise are forms of torture. I look through magazines and fitness blogs and dream about one day looking like that… ya, not gonna happen! So how do I incorporate my dreams of being fit into working out in a way that I will enjoy?

After having two beautiful babies, my body no longer looks the way it did in high school, unfortunately. I would kill to be able to go back, just to let myself know that I should appreciate the way that I was looking then. Since I can’t go back, I can merely look at pictures and wish I looked the way I did. I have been doing a work out video, but have noticed my interest in doing it is waning. I lost a bit of weight doing it, but am still not where I want to be.

It’s not as though I need to look like I could bench press my husband. I don’t want to be muscular. I just want to look like I play beach volleyball on my spare time. I don’t think that’s too much to ask… haha. I talked to my husband and a friend about starting a running routine. They gave me some great tips and advice and made me want to take off down the street immediately on a dead run. Yet, here I sit on my couch, typing. Granted, right this minute wouldn’t work for going for a run. But isn’t that point. Is there ever a good time to work yourself into a sweat, making yourself wish you were dead?

The other MAJOR issue is that if you really want to look good, you have to give up all those sweet and delicious things that are destined to kill you in the long run (sorry about the bad pun). Why does bad stuff have to taste so good??? I am a big time foodie, and I don’t mean it in the way that some of you may think or in the way that it was most likely intended. I do not take hours to prepare food dishes that are both savoury and fulfill all our dietary and nutritional needs. I am a foodie in that I want to eat…all the time. If I could live off breads, pastas, and sweets, I would. I blame my mother for this intense love of all things carbohydrates and sugar. She passed on this lovely passion. But to achieve the fit body of my dreams, I have been told that I need to get rid of these things from my daily diet and supplement them with protein, fruit, and veggies. This is a very difficult undertaking for me.

I read all of these people’s meals that they so kindly post on Facebook, and think, “Why don’t I like these meals? Why can’t I include soy meal and legumes into my meal plans and enjoy it?” So I continue to cook my meals of potatoes, spaghetti, and tuna tantalizers, while dreaming of the transition to healthier things, that may or may not ever take place.

Long story short, if you see me run past your house with sweat pouring down my extremely red face, you are witnessing a miracle.

Oooops

I am one of those crazy people who becomes totally and completely involved in the lives of the characters from the books I am reading. This is most likely one of the reasons that I have a difficult time putting a book down once I’ve picked it up. This is also the reason for the bizarre post that caused a mild panic among those that are close to me.

A few nights ago I had been reading the novel, “The Invisible Bridge” by Julie Orringer. It is the story of a young man, a Jewish Hungarian, who travels to Paris for school, where he meets someone. However, it’s the year 1937 and he is not there long before he is forced, due to number of circumstances, to return home due to the start of the war. The book then proceeds to describe Andras’, the protagonist, life as he falls in love and later, as he is sent away to labour for the Nazis.  For those of you that take books to heart and become bothered by horrific, traumatic events: DO NOT READ THIS BOOK. I laid awake for hours that night going over the things that were happening to Andras. I finally abandoned my futile attempts at sleep and wrote out the thoughts that were raging wildly in my head. The problem was that it was one o’clock in the morning and I was no longer thinking clearly from a lack of sleep and a mind focused elsewhere. I neglected to mention in the post that I was writing in response to the events taking place in the novel. Once I had finished writing and publishing the post, I was able to go back to bed and to sleep. I woke later that morning to three missed calls, a panicky text message, and many messages on Facebook. Oooops. Apparently I gave people the wrong impression. I had written a heartfelt plea (from the protagonist’s perspective), but neglected to mention that it was not a plea on my behalf. I had become so entrenched in the story, that I had forgotten that not everyone would know what I was referring to.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I LOVED this book. It has caused me to laugh, cry, smile, and burn with anger at different moments through out. This, to me, is essential when I read a book, and this one fits the bill perfectly. In fact, I have become so involved in it, that my husband has to wait for me to put the book down before he dares to speak to me. He knows that if he attempted to discuss something with me while I was reading it, not only would I not hear a word that he was saying, but I wouldn’t even have the slightest idea that he was talking. The author did a wonderful job of this book. I felt as though I was living alongside Andras and his friends and family and that I was struggling with and experiencing the same things as him.

I highly recommend this book. It opened my eyes to another perspective of the war. I felt, after studying the Second World War in university, that I knew all there was to know. I was so very wrong!

My Mask

This is not a personal message. I am reading “The Invisible Bridge” by Julie Orringer. It is a story about a Jewish Hungarian man who’s living in Paris, then Hungary during the Second World War. It is a book that is continually making me cry, hurt, and think about my own privileged life. I wrote this as thoughts from Andras’, the protagonist, perspective.

I believe you think that I’m a Strong One; that I have my life together and can take whatever comes my way. That I can shoulder my way through the hard times and attack and defeat those things that try to stop me from moving forward. The truth is, you couldn’t be more wrong. I’m not strong. I’m weak and sensitive and there are times when I think my life might just be falling apart. Yes, it’s true, those days don’t come all the time. But they do come.

When I hear something that is hurtful to me or to someone who I love and care about, I may seem strong and calm on the outside, but on the inside I’ve just curled up and burst into tears. And as soon as I am alone, that may happen on the outside as well. I seem strong, but it’s a mask that I can’t seem to take off.  Maybe I need you to think that I am a Strong One. Or that I don’t want your help. The worse part is, you probably think that the mask means that I don’t want a helping hand. That I can take care of myself.  But you’re so wrong.

There are times when I don’t want or need you to tell me to buck up, to get through the rough times, to hold strong. Sometimes I need a shoulder to cry on, a hug, or at the very least, a pat on the back.

The weak ones without the masks are the easiest to help. They are able to cry out and ask you for it. It’s the quiet ones that are sitting back, observing and listening to the hurting things being said around them, internalizing, that are missing the helping hand because their masks prevent them from asking for it.

Don’t let the mask fool you.

I’m not strong, I bleed like everyone else… sometimes even easier.

The Velvet, Turquoise, Zebra Print Jumpsuit

I do not like following trends with fashion. I have never cared very much about what I was wearing or how I looked. To me, it’s all about comfort. If I am going to wear something for more than a few hours, I want it to be comfortable. This is not to say that I will go out in whatever I happen to find in my closet. I don’t like the idea of standing out. I do occasionally attempt to look nice and I try to blend in with the crowds as much as possible. So, I can most often be seen in jeans and a t-shirt or a sweatshirt depending on how cold it is.

Because I am obviously not a fashion expert, I try my best not to judge others on their choices in clothing either, but I happened to notice something while I was out the other day. There is no longer any sense of style for a lot of people. Yes, there were some people who looked amazing and put-together (if I saw you there, I’m sure I thought you looked great!) But for the most part, it appeared, anything goes. And I mean ANYTHING. If you feel like wearing your pajamas and a top that leaves very little to the imagination when you go out and do your groceries, that’s just fine …. apparently. If you want to wear a jumpsuit made entirely from velvet in a turquoise zebra print pattern when you go out to eat, knock yourself out. It no longer matters what you wear or how you wear it. If I so much as wear two different coloured socks, I feel as though everyone in the world is looking at me (and believe me when I say that this NEVER happens to me).

One particular individual had put together the following outfit (I kid you not): glass high heals that lit up as she walked (light up shoes are great: if you’re under the age of seven), purple socks with black polka dots (perhaps to match the purple and pink streaks in her hair), black leggings, a purple mini-skirt (very, VERY mini… I was appreciative of the leggings in that regard), all together with a neon green hoodie that matched her neon green hoop earrings. Congratulations, you made it into my blog. I applaud your individuality and lack of full length mirrors in your house. I don’t understand how some people are completely oblivious to the fact that other people just might see them and wonder what they were thinking. I do not want to be rude, I just can’t seem to wrap my mind around this phenomenon of wearing anything. Perhaps it has something to do with the celebrities and their interesting statements in fashion….Lady Gaga for example. I’ll stop myself now from getting into that or you could be reading a novel.

So I have to ask…. is it alright to wear absolutely anything now? Has society collapsed so much that it no longer matters how you look as long as you feel you look presentable? And lastly, do you really think you look presentable?

 

PS. Where would one purchase a velvet jumpsuit in a turquoise zebra print anyways???

It’s the Little Things That Matter

I have been working on a project that I am SO excited about and just had to share with you. I got the inspiration for it from another blog, and the minute I saw it, I knew I had to make it as well. It has taken nearly all my time lately and I love every minute of it. I have been scrapbooking for the last three years and I love doing it, but this idea enabled me to combine my love of scrapbooking with my love for writing and reminiscing.
It is called Project Life and is a collection of things that we have done, said, or seen each week throughout the year. I decided to start this project a few weeks ago, but as you all know, we are already quite a few weeks into the year. Therefore, I had to go back about sixteen weeks to figure out what we had done. This was a huge job. I went through all our pictures from both the camera as well as our phones to get an idea of what we had done. I also looked back through the calendar. I organized each week with pictures and write-ups of the things that had happened to us since the beginning of 2012, than put them into plastic page protectors and into an album. I only have a few weeks left to catch up on now and we have already spent a lot of time looking through and remembering special moments.
The reason that I wanted to do it this year and not just save it for next year is because Carter has just started talking a lot more and the things that he says and does are so funny and cute that we want to remember them. Also, as many of you already know, we had a baby at the beginning of this year. Having her has been such an amazing change for us and I wanted to include her birth in my year. Once you have children, time flies. We have to make efforts to preserve the special times in our lives and remember them.
Please do not think that you have to be a scrap booker or at all crafty to do this project. I am doing mine in a scrapbooking style, but you could just jot down some notes and take some pictures for your week and add them to an album. The idea is that you will be able to look back on it in a few years and read about the things you did that week or maybe even what the weather was like at a certain time. I especially look forward to going through it someday and reading and seeing about the things that my kids did while they were small. It’s these moments that I want to record. I want to remember the things they said years from now. We always think that we will remember the funny things they say or do or the special moments that we have with them, but we don’t. This is such a great way to help jog our memories and a fantastic way to walk down memory lane.

“Hockey?”

I have never understood mens’ passion for sports. I often tease my husband that he’s always doing one of the following: playing hockey on his Playstation, watching a hockey game, reading hockey updates or highlights online, reading a hockey magazine, or reading hockey updates on his phone. I, however, care nothing for hockey. I do not enjoy sports at all and never have. I don’t like to use the word hate, so I won’t, but very strong dislike might apply in this case. When our son was born, I knew that there was a chance that he would take after his father and his love for hockey. But I never, for a second, thought that he would become completely obsessed with the sport. And I never thought it would start so soon.

I have never met a child so passionate about something at such a young age. He’s going to be two in just over a month and would like to play hockey from the time that he wakes up to the time that he has to go to bed, at which point I have to pry his ‘hockey stick’ out of his hand and carry him crying off to bed. By hockey stick, I mean any toy that he has in his hand that he uses to hit another toy. His hockey sticks of choice lately have been a Mr. Potato Head arm or a plastic toy spoon. He uses the sticks to hit a ‘ball’ around our house. And by ball, I mean anything. Sometimes it’s actually a ball, but he’s not very particular. Just the other day he was hitting around a star-shaped, puffy sticker. His imagination knows no limits. He will literally use anything that he can lift up, to hit anything that will move when it’s been hit. It doesn’t matter if he has to play by himself or if someone else will play with him. Either way, he’s playing hockey if he’s awake. I’m sure that my husband is secretly hoping that his obsession and dedication to the sport continues and that he someday plays in the NHL. WHOA! Dream big!

I, on the other hand, just love to watch him play. He is very intense and obviously gets a lot of enjoyment from it (judging by how often he wants to play). He focuses his attention on the ‘ball’ then smacks it with the ‘stick’ as hard as he can. Every once in a while he even yells “Score!” if he thinks he hit it well. Sometimes, in my opinion, he hits it too well. It seems as though we are always looking for his ‘ball’. If he was using a particularly small item as his ball, it could end up anywhere after ones of his hits. I have found them under or behind the couches and chairs, inside one of my scrap booking bags (I might have to start closing them when I’m not working on something), inside the folded lawn chairs, in the baby’s pack and play (yes, she’s in there too!), under or behind the fridge or stove, in the kitchen sink, behind the TV, in the baby’s swing, inside a shoe, etc. I could go on and on, but you get the picture. He has the most unbelievable hit that when the ball goes missing, I never know where to even begin looking.

His fascination with all things hockey has become somewhat of a joke with our extended families. Whenever we are at my in-laws, he uses their Wii golf club as his hockey stick. It’s the first thing that he goes for the second he gets in the door. Initially, this was the only place that he was allowed to play it and that caused problems come bedtime while we were visiting. He never wanted to give up his hockey stick to have a bath or go to bed. This, thankfully, ended when I realized that I needed to learn to pick my battles and decided that I was no longer going to attempt to stop him from playing hockey in my own and other people’s homes. It was not worth getting him in trouble for playing it every ten seconds. So I changed the rules: he could play hockey, but he was not allowed to hit anything that was hard. There were certain toys that I would allow him to use as ‘balls’ from that point forward. At my parents’ house (once hockey was re-instated there), his hockey stick of choice was a toy spatula or frying pan and he used them to hit a plastic strawberry. When we get to their house, he is off to find those things.

One of the benefits for him of playing hockey at these two houses, is that he always seems to have someone to play it with. Whether it be cousins, uncles, aunts, or grandparents, he adores having someone play with him. “Hockey?” he asks the closest person. When he’s at home with me during the day, he holds out a Mr. Potato Head arm to me and asks, “Hockey? … Hockey? ….  Hockey? … Hockey? … Hockey?” …. you get the idea. I look forward to my husband’s arrival home and my rescue from hockey for a while. He’s happy to play hockey with him for a while and give me a break! I love you Carter, but I  cannot and will not share your intense passion for hockey.

It’s all thanks to you…

The night after I published my first post, I laid awake for a long time dreaming about all the many topics that I was going to write about. I was finally going to be able to write and write to my heart’s content. I was expecting to have to hold myself back from a daily post. I thought it was going to be nearly impossible for me to keep from writing about every thought that entered my head. I was sure that I was going to overwhelm everyone with the number of posts I was going to publish. But then it happened. I had an attack of nerves and fear. I suddenly started to second guess myself. Did I really want to write out my feelings in a place where the entire world can read them? Were the things that I planned to say even going to matter to people? I was terrified. What had I gotten myself into? I wasn’t sure anymore whether I was up for the challenge.

My first instinct was to delete my blog and hope that no one even noticed that I was no longer posting anything. My wish was that everyone that had read what I’d written up to this point would have selective memory loss that I’d ever even attempted to write a blog. My second thought was to write out a post about how I’d changed my mind after all and wasn’t going to be writing a blog. I knew that neither of these ideas were very good ones, but I was desperate to undo what I had begun. I was tormenting myself with thoughts about others judging me (especially about people correcting my grammar and spelling mistakes as they read). I know it’s not right, but I have always been the type of person who very much cared what other people think. It doesn’t matter how many times someone tells me that it shouldn’t matter, I know that, to me, it does. Now that I had put myself out into the very public world of the internet, I had realized that I was opening myself up to even more judgement than I’d been used to in the past. I had to decide for myself whether I was up for this. I wondered if it would just be better to keep my thoughts to myself after all. I attempted to fill up my days with family, scrap booking, and reading in an attempt to put the blog to the back of my mind. I was hoping that it would just go away until something happened to make me decide whether I was going to continue with it or delete it all together.

And then something wonderful happened. I received some positive feedback. Someone who I have a lot of respect for, was interested in what I was writing. That meant the world to me. That was all I needed to overcome my irrational fear. Even if this person was the only one who thought that something I wrote was enjoyable, knowing that they will not only read what I write, but be backing me as I do so means a great deal and gives me the desire to carry on. This is in NO way a plea for everyone to respond to my posts and to rave about how much they are enjoying them and learning from them. Of course I do enjoy knowing that people are reading them, but I don’t want you to think that I am asking for feedback. I merely wanted to explain my silence of the last few days. The fear put a damper on things for a bit and I had to overcome it. Thanks to the positive responses that I have since received, I now want to continue to write. Not that I am now going to begin posting on a daily basis (for your sakes), but I will continue to post when there’s something that I want to write about. And that ends my rant for today.

Being a Parent

It’s not my plan to post on a daily basis, but I’ve decided that yesterday’s isn’t going to count, since it was just my intro. Plus I was having some deep thoughts this morning and thought I’d share them.

I’ve heard it said that life is never easy, but that might be the biggest understatement of the world. Raising children has been the most amazing blessing for me, yet one of the biggest challenges that I have ever faced in my twenty four years. When hard times come up, you get through them… you don’t have a choice. Especially when you have two beautiful children who depend on you .  You just have to learn to take the bad times with the good and enjoy every moment, even the little things that you are going to want to take for granted. I absolutely adore being a parent. I don’t think that there is anything in the world more rewarding. I won’t be getting the ‘mother-of-the-year’ award anytime soon. But no one can say that I don’t think the world of my kids and try my very best to be the parent that they need. The problem is that we aren’t perfect. There are moments when I wonder what in the world I have gotten myself into. Is raising children rewarding? Yes. Are there plenty of challenges that go along with it? Of course! Is there such thing as the perfect parent? Doubtful.

I rediscovered that I wanted to write when I started to get back into scrap booking after my second child, Jordyn, was born. I had gone out and purchased the necessary supplies to add journalling to my scrap book pages, but what I discovered was that there was never enough space to say all that I wanted to say and to keep track of all that I wanted to record. I would write these long stories that I ended up cutting down so as not to bore those reading them in my scrapbooks and to be able to fit them onto my pages. Once you have children, there are so many noteworthy things that happen on a daily basis, but if I wanted to include it all in my scrapbooks, I would need a whole library to contain them. So I decided that I am going to attempt to say what I want to say here on my blog, instead of filling my scrap booking pages with mini novels.

We were married in January 2009 and couldn’t wait to start a family. The time between our marriage and our first child’s birth seems somewhat unimportant when I look back on it. Almost as though we were just wasting our time till a child would be joining our family. When I look back on our lives without children, I wonder how on earth we spent our time. Once children came along, free time was a thing of the past, but not for the life of me can I remember how we must have filled all that free time. More then likely we spent a good chunk of it wasting our lives on t.v. shows and movies. (And I say this because once the children are in bed for the night, this is often how we still spend our evenings.) This is not to say that we didn’t enjoy spending time together and getting to know one another better after we got married, but our lives seemed to have a more important purpose once our children came along. I am not trying to make any sort of personal dig at those that have chosen not to have children. I just cannot imagine a life that consists of work and coming home to dinner, a relaxing evening, bed, then starting all over again the next day. I just can’t. (Of course there are plenty of times when I wished that was what my life consisted of as well.) I am sure that having children of my own has biased me, but life before them seemed almost as though it was merely leading up to their arrival. I also want to state that I do not want to hurt or sound insensitive to those that are unable to have children. That is not my intention.

Now that our two beautiful children have joined us, I can’t imagine my life without them. Carter is nearly two and can be quite the handful. He keeps me running like mad (great way to stay in shape in case you’re looking for one). But he is also extremely entertaining. He keeps me laughing, learning, and/or crying from the moment he wakes to the moment he goes to bed. There are so many moments when my husband and I are in complete awe over these children that God created through us. What did we do that we have been so blessed? I often think that we don’t deserve these perfect miracles. Don’t get me wrong, they give us their fair share of grief, but it’s those moments between that keep us going and that we will look back on and remember.

But it can be difficult at times, especially for me, mentally. I often find myself thinking about the fact that the choices that I make in regards to parenting could potentially effect what my children becomes later in life. What kind of man/woman will they turn out to be? I want to be the best parent that I can. I want people to say that I raised wonderful children and did a good job. But having all this pressure of making the right choices is very stressful. How much TV should they be watching? At what age should I allow my children to play video games? Is it OK for me to send them to a public school system or will I scar them and take away their innocence? Should I be teaching my two year old more things, such as his alphabet and counting? I could go on and on. But I’ve come to realize that no matter what decisions we make raising our children and what rules we set and help them follow, they are going to have to make their own choices in in who they become on their own. With God’s help, we do our best and that is all that we can do. We love them, pray for them, help them when they let us, encourage them, and patiently assist them towards making the right choices. Yes, there is a lot of stress involved in making the right decisions, but I am working very hard to allow God to take away some of this stress. He wants to help me make the right decisions. And when I make the wrong ones, He helps me to understand that every day is a learning experience and I need to take what I learned and use it in the future.

I look forward to seeing the people that my children will one day become.

And so it begins….

This is my very first attempt at blogging and I am very excited about the prospect of writing out all the thoughts that run around in my head throughout the day. I used to dream about one day becoming a writer, but somewhere along the way, that dream got forgotten. School got in the way, than marriage (ok maybe that’s not a good way of putting that, but you understand what I mean), than kids. I wanted to write romance novels, since that was the genre that I tended to gravitate towards as an avid reader. Not the trashy kind that you find at garage sales, the nice kind without all the unnecessary details. But now, here I am, attempting to write out some of my thoughts instead of writing a romance novel, or any kind of novel for that matter.

Before starting this blog, I did some research about blogging and the most common piece of advice that came up, was to stick with a theme. I have zero intentions of sticking with one theme. Unless of course you can count LIFE as a theme. This blog will include posts about my children, husband, family, faith, hobbies, skills and serious lack thereof, dreams, goals, (getting a little deep here), etc. You get the idea. I am incapable of staying within a set goal. If this prevents me from attracting a wide variety of readers, then I suppose that’s how it will just have to be. If life was themed and stuck within that theme, it would be much simpler for me to stick within that one theme as well. But it’s not. Life is messy and full of spice and variety. I hope that my blog is full of the same….spice and variety.

Some people might wonder at my choice of user name, so I will take a minute to explain…

I LOVE Jane Austin’s books. I have lost count of how many times I have read ‘Pride and Prejudice’. There is a line in that book that always makes me laugh, but not for the reason that you think. Mr. Bingley’s sister makes a comment about Elizabeth looking positively medieval because the hem of her dress is dirty from her walk through the fields to their house. I love this line. Yes it shows how snobby and judgemental Caroline, the sister, is, but that’s not why I love it. I love it because it reminds me of me! I would be that girl…. not the snobby one (at least I hope not), but Elizabeth.

There’s nothing I hate more than dressing up. When I was in elementary school, I attended a school that required girls to wear dresses. This was a constant battle for me, as I detested them. And yes, detested is a very strong word and most definitely applies. To this day I feel sorry for my Mom who had to put up with my intense disliking for all things dresses. Those feelings about dresses, and just dressing up at all, have continued. I still dread fancy occasions where I have to dust off my one dress and attempt to look pretty. I am much more comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt, and a sweatshirt when it’s cold. That is who I am. And that is why that line in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ makes me smile. I am Elizabeth. I am looking positively medieval. I don’t dress up and I don’t wear make-up.

So that is my beginning. A bit rough. But I will catch on to this whole blogging thing. Just give me some time and your patience.

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