January 31, 2012

Our Family Rhythm

You know when you're reading a good book, how you can't put it down? I find those books have a sort of rhythm to the words. Not in the way of a rhyme or beat, but just that cadence that draws you in and carries you through the pages effortlessly, with great intrigue. It's easy, it's fun, it's interesting. You enjoy it, want more of it, and hate for the last page to come. Families are the same. There's a rhythm to the days that you come to enjoy and expect. Yet, more often than not, that rhythm inevitably changes and you find yourself in the pages of a new story.

For the past five plus months, our family has enjoyed a very nice, peaceful rhythm. As some of you know, Des had taken a leave of absence from his ad agency position and, from August until last week, he had been home with us. While the instigation for the change was not ideal, having him home was awesome. We quickly settled into our new routine and the changed cadence of our days.

Two parents to one child - albeit one very sleepless child - made life a lot more sane. We settled into taking turns on the night shifts and early morning shifts. We could trade off on midday naps when necessary {which was much more often than we would have preferred}. Mid-week afternoon coffee dates were a common occurrence, as we were walks and hikes and hanging out in our PJs. One of us would do grocery runs and banking and other errands sans baby, getting it done faster and at more convenient times, while the other enjoyed playtime and snuggles at home. We could head out of town to Nanny's on a whim and stay as long as we wanted {thanks again Nanny!}. The rhythm of our days, even if they followed many a sleepless night, was good.

More importantly, HP got to spend lots of one-on-one time with each parent and even more time as a family together. That his first word was Dada is evidence enough for me that having Des home with us was worth the financial strain {let's be honest two people on leaves from work does not pay well}. In fact it was so worth it that it makes me want to advocate for all families being able to benefit from some joint parental leave time. Especially in those very early days when life goes topsy-turvy on you. Alas, I expect the national EI system wouldn't be so quick to pay out. I digress.

Last week, those family days came to an end. Late in 2011 Des resigned his agency position and accepted a new gig, which he started last Monday. Des went off to work, coffee in hand, waving bye-bye from the driveway. Then it was just me and HP for the whole day, for the first time perhaps in months. The rest of the week came and went. While Des went off to work, HP and I filled our days with play + snuggles + naps. We got groceries together, a little slower than going solo, but fun too. We ran errands - I was never so grateful for drive-through banking and coffee shops before! I figured out that morning naps are better times to fit in my run and, if lucky, a shower too. We met other mamas-n-babes for a winter walk in the park and a post-walk cocoa, so nice. We visited Grandma and cousins. We even fixed a car.

Before we knew it, the weekend was here and daddy was home again. This week we're planning more of the same. The rhythm of our family has changed. The cadence of the days is different and we're getting used to the way it feels now. Like any good book, I was enjoying the story of three at home so much I almost dreaded the arrival of that last page. Yet, at the same time, I was so very happy to see what would come next, what the sequel would hold in store if you will. So far, the rhythm of the sequel feels ok too.

January 30, 2012

Runday Monday: Rewards

I officially began training for a half marathon this month. In doing so, I decided that I would throw in some extra motivation with a reward at the end of each month if I stuck with my training plan. I figured knowing something special was in it for me in the short-term would help me get to the end reward of accomplishment in crossing the finish line.

The reward I decided on at the beginning of the month was new sneakers. The ones I have need to be replaced, but I had been putting it off as I hadn't been running regularly. I was having a hard time justifying new sneaks when the ones I had were ok enough for a run or two a week. I figured if I stuck with my training plan all January, then all those extra miles would add more wear and tear to already worn shoes and I could easily justify the purchase price of a decent new pair. And c'mon, who doesn't love shoe shopping, even if it is sneakers?

It turns out I probably should have started the month with my reward. I had been experiencing occasional foot pain over the fall and it increased noticeably as I started logging more miles. I checked in with the doc to make sure I wasn`t injuring something and to see what the triggers might be. Turns out both my orthotic inserts - they`re a few years old now for sure - and my sneakers need to be replaced.

Having run for almost ten years now, I know that sneakers should be replaced regularly. The general rule is about 300-400 miles, or in Canadian terms, about 500km. I knew I hadn`t run quite that much on my current sneaks, so I felt I was ok to give it to the end of the month and use that as my motivational reward. What I didn`t know, and my uber-fit doc filled me in on, was that the cushioning and stability of sneakers break down over time, even if they are sitting unworn. So, despite not clocking the miles over the last year or so, my shoes were the most likely culprit of my foot pain.

On the upside, I had already prepared myself to spend moola on a new pair of sneaks and really this just adds medical justification to my reward. Worn out sneakers are one of the biggest causes of running injuries and what starts as a small niggling annoyance can quickly bloom into full blown issues. Not what I want at all. With this being the end of the month or thereabouts and I had stuck to my training plan all month,  I had hoped to get out to the clinic on Saturday passed to get fitted for orthotics and check out the new sneak options. The weather nixed that pretty fast, so I guess I`ll try cashing in on my reward sometime this week.

Until then, I`m having fun planning a February reward. I`m thinking maybe a pedicure to soothe those tired soles. I expect that when I`m debating whether to head out on a recovery run after logging 10 or 11km just the day or two before, thoughts of a paraffin treatment will certainly make it more palatable. The miles begin to add up this month and I`m pretty sure my soles - and my soul - could use a little extra TLC come February 29.

What about you... do you use rewards for motivation too? What helps you get through?

January 26, 2012

The Story of Today

In doing the Project Life album over the past 3+ weeks, I've realized how full and busy our weeks seem to be. Yet, in the midst of those weeks are mostly quiet, ordinary days. I guess its when you add them all up, the little ordinary moments write an extraordinary story. The story of today is more on the quiet and ordinary. The simple story of today includes:

    - Starting as a two car family for the first time in years.
    - Round one of playtime, snack time, and nap time.
    - Re-rolling the toilet paper. Again. Sigh.

    - Much easier-than-expected baking for a weekend dinner. Love that.
    - A few storybooks with momma and on his own.

    - More playtime, snack time and, with any luck, nap time.
    - An overdue trip to the grocery store on the agenda, baby permitting.
    - Some form of fish for supper, accompanied by veggies galore. Mmmmm.
    - After work cuddles and pre-bedtime fun with daddy.

    - And hopefully some reading and craft time for momma in there somewhere.

Nothing fancy, nothing exciting. Just an ordinary day contributing to our extraordinary life.
Yep, that's the story of today.

January 25, 2012

It's Story Time

What would a week of story-related posts be without a look into what we're reading right now?

Growing up I devoured books. I read and read and read. When other kids were playing tag and spotlight, I`d prefer to be curled up with a book. I credit this early love of reading to my success in school, university, and beyond. Adding to that a writer and fellow reader for a daddy and story time is a regular occurrence in our house. 

We try to expose HP to an array of books from early learners about alphabets, colours and shapes (thanks again Su for the great set of books!) to the traditional must-reads for kids of all ages, such as Dr. Seuss, to more advanced age books, such as Where the Sidewalk Ends (thanks cousin Emily!) and the Giving Tree (thanks Auntie Brooke) by Shel Silverstein.

In fact, we have been the lucky recipient of many books for the little man as gifts from family and friends. We love seeing what they enjoy and how HP responds to each new story. In fact, one of our favourite gifts from Christmas was a huge bag of Scholastic books from HP's grandparents. There must have been about 35 or 40 books in the bag for various age ranges and we are looking forward to making our way through them as he grows.

Right now, we`re enjoying reading The Very Cranky Bear (thank you to the Wellsmans for that one!).

It is a board book that is easy for Hudson to handle and play with (and chew). It is also long enough to tell a story, but short enough to hold his attention. The brightly coloured pictures help with that too, as does the easy rhyming rhythm that just rolls off your tongue. You can see his enjoyment of the book finale here:

Of course, Hudson has also expressed his preference for a few books as well, particularly those with a touch and feel component. He has this fascination with flicking things to see how they feel and what they do. The toilet paper roll being just one example, but I digress. The touch and feel books are perfect for that. This one, also from Harrison Wellsman, has been devoured. Literally.

The top/title is missing: The Wheels on the Bus
We have read and read and read and sang and sang and sang this one over and over and over. Several times a day it makes an appearance. To the point that Hudson has learned exactly where to touch on each page as soon as that page is opened. Also to the point of destruction. I guess HP will also be a devourer of books.

Touch and feel indeed!

Of course, kid lit isn`t the only thing being read around here. I also believe that Hudson should see us reading. Living by example and all that. So right now, I`m enjoying the latest selection for our book club - 11/22/63 by Stephen King.

It`s not the traditional scary fare he`s known for, rather more of a character story with a bit historical fiction and fantasy mixed in. I`m loving it and eager to find more time in my days to finish it before we meet in early February. Waiting in the wings is this one by Tina Fey, which I hear is very funny. And Daddy, well he's been skimming this one of late, which satisfies his love of reading and music simultaneously:

image from amazon.com

There you have it, that`s what we're reading right now.

What story is in your hands these days?

January 24, 2012

Project Life 2012: Week 2

On the weekend I read a bittersweet, yet heartwarming blog post by Vicki of MotherBlogger. Her posts are always emotion-evoking, usually in the form of happy, genuine laughter as you can relate to her most recent tell-it-like-it-is mothering experience. This post, however, evoked an mix of empathy, appreciation, and sadness as she shared the story of a letter from her late father to her nephew.

As she notes the letter, written long before her father's death, "a paper portal into how wonderfully, unforgettably crazy he was. When the memory of him starts to fade — the inevitable desaturation of time — we need only reach for this letter and there he is, his voice plain as day in that beloved scrappy handwriting."  You can read Vicki's post full here, though I recommend you grab a tissue.

In reading the story she so generously shared with us, I was reminded of why I've embarked on this journey of documenting a year in our lives in the form of Project Life. In some way, this is my letter. Through these photos, word, and little snippets I am hoping to capture what our everyday looks like. These are the moments that make up the story of our life together. I am creating this book for right now, to help me focus on the present. I am creating this book for many tomorrows from now, so all three of us can look back and remember. And while I hope my days are plentiful yet, I am creating this book as part of my family legacy - leaving something for Hudson and his family to enjoy years down the road.

With that in mind, here's a glance at Week 2 in the Project Life Album less one insert page that I'm still working on covering D's excursion to Montreal. I'll share that with Week 3.

This is the two page spread, plus a card from D's sister. I just punched a hole in the card and the envelope it came in and stuck it in. The card included some photos from the holidays, so I used the envelope to hold a few of those in the album.

The left side. A couple of the stories captured here include the seemingly constant 'no' we're saying to HP as he continuously stands up to the TV stand, playing guitar with Poppy, and HP's first mall ride with his cousin Logan. The to-do list is of the things I wanted to remember to do before heading out to mom's for a few days. I just used one of the cards from the kit to jot the list down and then added letters. Done and done.
Add caption
The right side: On this side you see the stories of our new Jetta, the sickness that drowned us early in the week, and Hudson fascination with doggies and how they crack him up. He laughs like tickle me elmo every time!

This is a card that opens up to allow for more journalling. In this one I've written a letter to HP about just holding him while he napped when he was sick. This is so not something we do regularly, but it seemed to be the only way he'd settle that day. I wanted to share that whole story with him. To the right of that is something much more mundane, our grocery list.

This page also captured the story of HP's first word ... da da da, spoken first on January 8 and then continued repeatedly ever since!

These really are the little stories that add up to a much bigger one. I am so grateful to be telling it.

January 23, 2012

Runday Monday: My Running Start

Yesterday I shared a photo and the multitude of stories it tells. That got me to thinking that a whole week of posts related to 'stories' would be fun. Today, Runday Monday, you get to share in the story of my running start. It is a story that, without exaggeration, changed the story of my life. The moment I decided to start running ... more specifically, the moment I decided to run a marathon changed how the next chapters of my life would unfold.

I remember the moment as clearly as if it were yesterday. It was 2002 and I was sitting in my black Kia Rio in the underground parking garage of the Fortis Building in downtown St. John's. I had left my apartment a little early and caught an interview on the radio with the Arthritis Society's Executive Director. She was talking about the Joints in Motion program in which participants voluntarily fundraise and run a marathon in another country. The whole thing intrigued me and, even though I had arrived at work with a to-do list a mile long, I sat in my car to hear the end of the chat. When she said that the next race provincial Joints in Motion team would participate in was Dublin, Ireland, that was it, I was hooked. Keep in mind I was a 23 year old girl who enjoyed travel, partying and fun. Dublin, Ireland just about summed all that up.

That day I called the Arthritis Society for more details and attended the next Joints in Motion information session shortly after. I committed to the run at that session. In hindsight, I probably should have been committed. You see, not only was I a 23-year-old who enjoyed socials and sociables, I was also overweight and led pretty much a sedentary lifestyle. I didn't run, in fact unless I was going to grab lunch or a coffee, I didn't even walk very far. Going from crossing the street to crossing the finish line in just a five month window wasn't necessarily the wisest decision.

Nonetheless, I was in with a heart and a half. Good thing too as it quickly became evident I might need that extra half heart if I was going to survive the training. At the time, I lived in east end just a short walk from Quidi Vidi lake. The introductory run of my training was going to be a walk/run from my house to the lake, around, and back home again. All in all, it would have been about 5km max. It turned out to be a run to the lake and a barely made it run-to-jog-to-walk back home. Probably not even three-quarters of a kilometer. Seriously. I entered our apartment and pretty much collapsed in the middle of the living room floor. My roomie/bestie witnessed the whole end scene and can easily share her memory that likely goes something along the lines of me being beet red, gasping for air, and repeatedly wondering aloud "what in the world have I done?".

A good part of me wanted to quit. Right then. Right there. Be done. And pour myself of big dirty glass of red sorrow. But a bigger part of me is stubborn. No really, I know you don't believe me, but it's true. And I'd already told my family, my friends, and my co-workers that I was going to do this. I also had a good friend sign up with me after she heard I was doing it. I even had a few sponsors give me money for the almost $5,000+ fundraising component. The fundraising is another story for another time. In any case, turning back wasn't an option. I was way too dedicatd stubborn for that.

I plugged on with the training and gradually began making progress, with big thanks to the Running Room program and my running partner. My next HOLY SH*T moment came when someone at work asked me whether a marathon was 26.2 miles or 26.2 kilometers. I honestly didn't know the answer. No joke. I nonchalantly shrugged it off and said something like I guess I should find that out. Quick research proved there is a big, no huge, no colossal difference between 26.2 miles and 26.2 kilometers. Turned out a marathon was 26.2 miles or 42 freaking kilometers. Who knew?

Still stubborn, I soldiered on. I suffered bruised toenails, foot blisters, sunburns, muscle pain and strain, nausea, and even threw up once mid-run (the late night and greasy breakfast probably instigated that more than the run itself, but still). I wore out sneakers and got my first pair of orthotics. I hit physical and mental blocks. I played mental games to just get through. But somewhere along the trail I also I learned to do more run/walk than walk/run. I completed my first 5km, followed by 10km, followed by 10 miles (or 16km). I ran from St. John's to Mount Pearl and back. I stretched and loved the feeling being finished. I got thinner, but better than that I got stronger and faster. While I never learned love running during those five months of training, I did learn to appreciate it.

Somehow, October 2002 arrived and I found myself sitting in a hotel bar in Dublin drinking my first pint of Guinness to mark the occasion. Then I found myself eating pasta, drinking water and preparing for an early turn-in to get a good night's sleep. Then I found myself standing at the start line with amidst thousands, next to my friend and training buddy. I heard a gun shot and we were off. It was surreal. And awesome. And scary. And even more awesome.

One injured knee, two exhausted legs, and 5 hours 18 minutes later I crossed the finish line. Strangers wrapped me in space-like blankie, passed me a medal, hugged, high-fived, and congratulated me. I found my teammates and we did the same thing all over again. That was it. I was done. I wasn't a speed-demon. I didn't set any records. But I laced up, ran, and finished my first {likely my only} marathon. All 26.2 miles of it.

And in that moment, I was not one to jump on the bandwagon of I must do this again. Nope, I took a cool bath, re-satiated on good Irish carbs, re-hyrdrated on Guinness beer, and literally danced in the streets of Dublin while swearing in my mind I'd never run again. But somehow, two weeks later, back home on the Rock, I found myself lacing up my sneakers and heading out for a run.

And that's where the story of my life changed with the decision to run a marathon. You see, thanks to the freshman 15 plus the several years of 15s after that, I weighed somewhere between 180 and 185 pounds before beginning training. Fortunately I'm tall and managed to carry the weight somewhat well, but was still overweight. I was also not strong or fit. I didn't eat well or with purpose. Not yet unhealthy, I was certainly paving the way down that road. With all of that comes challenges in confidence, social networking, and self-worth. Despite being educated, employed, independent, I felt blah. Only I didn't realize it until after I came home from Ireland.

By then, I had lost about 45 pounds. I built muscle all over. I completed a marathon and raised almost six grand for a charity over the last five months. I felt strong. I felt healthy. I felt confident. I felt empowered. I felt freakin' awesome. I realized that to stay that way I needed to eat well and exercise regularly. So I continued to run and enrolled in a gym. I gradually changed my diet and ate healthier. I began reading health and fitness magazines to teach myself how to keep on keepin' on.

Given `er :)
I know in my heart and soul that had I not {foolishly} decided to tackle the marathon and {stubbornly} tuck it out, I wouldn't be who I am. My health, my fitness levels, my confidence, my personal life, my goals and aspirations would not what they are on this day in 2012. If I had not done it, my story of today would look different. And I am so grateful that is not the case.

January 22, 2012

Simple Things Sunday: Waiting

Taken this past week at the airport waiting for daddy to return from a trip to see the Canadiens, this photo captures many stories about our life right now. It tells the obvious story of waiting to see daddy and having missed him. It tells the story of Hudson`s never-ending curiosity, his desire to always be looking and exploring and touching. It also tells the story of how quickly he is growing up. At just nine and a half months he is standing up at every chance, trying to climb up, and walking very well (and quickly!) with assistance. It tells the story of travel; how Hudson has been at the airport several times already to drop off and pick up various family members, how he has already been on a plane in his young life, and how more world exploration will be inevitable for him as a member of the Ryan Trio. Lastly, for me, it tells the story of taking pleasure in the quiet moments. Waiting at the airport for a delayed flight that the information screens were saying was on time could have been frustrating. Instead, I sat back and enjoyed Hudson exploring the rows and rows of seats in the waiting area, looking out the windows, walking around the observation deck, sitting and standing and sitting and crawling. We easily and enjoyably passed the time until daddy was home again.

What was one of your simple joys this week?

Linking up with Rebecca Cooper`s Simple Things:

January 19, 2012

Don't Carpe Diem

I read a blog entry yesterday on HuffingPost.com and thought it was worth sharing. Yes it's a post about parenting. Yes it's a post by a momma. But it is also a post that offers a refreshing perspective on viewing the daily challenge that is childrearing. Enjoy Don't Carpe Diem by Glennon Melton.

Oh, and I hope you Carpe a couple of Kairoses today!

January 18, 2012

One Little Word 2012: DO

Having followed Ali Edward's experiences in choosing One Little Word for a few years, last year I decided to join in and choose my own word for 2011. I wanted this word help me focus my thoughts and energy throughout the year and, in a way, to replace the traditional New Year's resolutions. I chose the word open.

I was inspired to choose open as I thought about what I wanted out of 2011. At the time I was pregnant and about to have perhaps one of the most meaningful, life-changing experiences in becoming a mother. I knew I wanted to be completely open to all that it would be: the changes, the love, the challenges, the life. I knew though that just choosing the word wasn't going to be enough for me. The year was going to be busy (oh how little I knew then!) and I felt I needed something more to keep my one little word top of mind. For this, I took Ali's One Little Word class, which involved monthly prompts related to your word. The end result of that class was a sort of art journal. I shared some of my journal here. I loved the process and really found my word stuck with me. I ended up with a personal album of thoughts, photos, challenges, and accomplishments.

Better than that, through the class, I found my word really worked for me. There were wee hours when a crying, sleepless baby had me exhausted beyond words and I found myself rocking him with my word in mind. Reminding myself that this was part of being a parent, being his mom. There were times when I called my mom to come and relieve me for just a night and when I accepted the meals from friends, the many family hands that wanted to hold, and the advice of the more experienced oh so openly. And of course, there was opening my heart to more love than I ever thought it could hold.

My one little word experience in 2011 was all good and I've chosen another word for 2012: DO. Open was more passive and exactly what I needed last year. I'm entering 2012 with a desire to be more active in daily life and to accomplish a few specific things off my life list. I also know I "waste" time and a bunch of those things I never seem to get around to but want to - running, scrapbooking, DIY projects - go untouched. And I'm a procrastinator, particularly at times when I know I should be but would rather not be. In all these cases, the word DO, is fitting. In 2012, I want to do those things on my life list, I want to do those things that make me feel happy + productive, I want to not procrastinate {as much} and just do it, get it done.

So, there it is, my one little word for 2012: Do

My OLW as seen in Week 1 of my Project Life album
What about you? Did you choose a word for the year?

January 17, 2012

{Pin}spiration: DIY Family Dates Print

I dunno about you, but I lurrrve Pinterest. I use it to save recipes, scrapbooking + card inspiration, party ideas, crafts, fashion and more! My pins often lead to some sort of creation in the kitchen, closet, or craft corner. Most recently I pinned a few prints from etsy that I really liked and I decided to recreate my own version here at home.

The base inspiration came from an assortment of prints that took special family dates and used a font treatment to create a personalized print for your home. I figured I could easily recreate that here at home (at almost no cost to boot!).

Edited Photo - Blurring to protect privacy :)
Inspired by the print below, my version uses our family birth and our wedding date. I created it using an existing font in MS Word, adjusted colours and spacing, dropped in a heart, and added our family name to the bottom. Printed out on a heavy white cardstock and placed in a frame I had on hand, easy peasy lemon-squeezy.
Inspiration print found here
It now sits on a ledge in our entry way. I love having a little something special there, created by me, and inexpensive enough that I can change it out anytime I want.

What about you? Have you DIY'd anything you've pinned? If so, please share!

January 16, 2012

Runday Monday: Making Time

With D off to Montreal for a boys hockey/cigar/dining weekend, I headed 'round the bay to Chez Nanny. Knowing I had a long run to do, I took my outdoor running gear so I could get that run in. But I woke up Saturday morning to a gale force wind and a similar forecast for Sunday, and that inner fairweather runner immediately came out.

You see, when it's windy everywhere else, at Chez Nanny's it's near 'bout hurricane force. No joke. And as I`ve said before, that sort of weather does not make a runner out of me. Nope, instead it turns runner me into couch potato me. A little while later, my parents made mention of how I should have gone over to me sister`s and used her treadmill. I had totally (conveniently?) forgot that she had one. In fact, she has a mini-gym set-up in a spare room complete with treadmill, elliptical, gazelle-thingy, and hand weights.

But as my sister lives about 40 minutes away from my mother, it seemed a long way to go for a short long run. I hemmed and hawed for a bit and then remembered if I didn't make time for the run now, I won't make time in the half marathon four months from now. So I packed up my sneakers, my mother, my son and headed to my sister's. Now if you know me at all, this is a generally unlikely scenario. I try my best to exercise, but generally only when it's convenient and comfortable. Packing my bag, a baby's bag, and driving 40 minutes to a treadmill for a run only to have to turn around and do it all again to get back home after I was done - all when I'm enjoying some R&R at my momma's - does not meet that criteria.

Nonetheless, I did it. I guess it's the accountability factor after tellin' y'all about my half marathon plans. Was it convenient? Nope. Was it what I wanted to be doing on a Saturday afternoon? Nope. Was it worth it? Hells yeah. I made time for it and so glad I did. It turned about to be an easier than expected run. I ended up running a half km longer than my training plan required. I even ran a slightly faster pace than I normally do. Better than all that, I felt really, really good after I was done. Whatever your current goal, make time to make it happen. I'm sure you'll feel the same.

Oh, and thanks momma for accompanying me on the drive and for looking after HP while I got 'er done.

January 13, 2012

Tis Soup Season

With Des heading back to (new) work in just over a week, I've been in the kitchen stocking the freezer. I'm pretty sure there are going to be many an evening where an already-prepared hearty-n-healthy supper will be appreciated, not to mention a necessity!. Lucky for me, we're soup lovers in the middle of soup season. A steaming bowl of soup on a chilly winter's eve is soothing for the mind, body, and soul.

We have a few standards that make the cut every time I stock up, including this one and this one. This week I decided to try this curried chicken soup from the Food Network to change up the flavours. Oh. My. Word. Was it ever delicious. It will definitely be added to the standard soup list!

image from foodnetwork.com
For the first pot (I made a couple), I followed the recipe as is sans fresh herbs (couldn't get any that were worth buying ... joys of shopping in NL in the winter). It was very good, but a just little too much broth and a little too little substance for my tastes. For the next batch I doubled up on the chicken and carrots and added in some cooked rice near the end for the added bulk that we like and it was even better.

We enjoyed large bowls for supper last night and more for lunch today (hence the double batch). Even HP lapped into this dish with no fuss no muss - that alone makes it a keeper in my books. Mmmmm.

Do you have a favourite soup recipe? If so, please share!

January 12, 2012

Project Life 2012: One Year

One of the most recent additions to my life list (things I would like to do in my lifetime) is documenting a year in our family's life. I have documented a week in our lives in both 2010 and 2011 and loved it. What I love about it most is looking back at the week once it's months gone and seeing the details of our everyday. What seems mundane at the time, isn`t so much once time has passed. Looking back at these two albums inspired me to do something similar for an entire year.

Now, I`m not crazy. The Week in the Life documentation, hosted by well-known scrapbooker Ali Edwards, is intense. It involves taking pictures all day every day for a week. What you eat, what you wear, where you go, what you do. I had literally hundreds of photos for both weeks that I did it. Some days a hundred plus for one day! That`s challenging enough for a week, but for a year? Simply unrealistic. This is where Project Life enters for me. Another well-known scrapbooker, Becky Higgins, created Project Life a few years ago with the intent of simplifying scrapbooking and preserving memories. Only one week in, I can already vouch that it does exactly that.

There is a complete kit that makes the whole process super easy. It comes with a binder, journaling cards, page protectors, day + number stickers, and extra paper, all designed to coordinate. All you need to do is add photos, personal memorabilia, and write some notes. You certainly don`t need it to do this, but it makes it much more manageable.

image from here: http://www.beckyhiggins.com/products/

Originally created with the photo-a-day concept in mind, the basic system is set up so there`s space for seven photos, one for each day of the week, and eight journaling spaces to explain the photos. (See, way less intense than the week-long process). For me a photo-a-day simply may not happen. Some days there are lots and lots of photos, other days there are none at all. Instead, I`m following the approach many others who do Project Life are using and taking a week-at-a-glance format instead. I`ll be inserting pictures and stories that make up our week, which may or may not include a picture from every day that week.

That`s what`s fun about this whole thing - it is totally customizable. The complete kit is designed so you don`t need to be a scrapbooker to do it. Just think of it as a more detailed photo album. Or, if you`re into the scrapbooking scene, than you can go hog-wild with the creativity and treat each space as a mini-scrapbook page. You can also purchase just pieces of the kit if that`s more your thing. In my case, I have the whole kit and will fall somewhere between basic and hog-wild. I plan to add a few bits and bobs from my scrapbooking stash and jazzing it up a little as I go and as time allows. If I have an easy week with time on my hands, I might go a little more hog-wild. If not, I`ll go with just the kit. My goal is simply to DO it. To document one whole year in our life.

Without further ado, here`s my opening page for the year and our first week:

The opening page for the album.

I did some add-ons to this page. The base card came with the kit, and I added
and layered a few word stickers, button, and twine.

Our NYD family photo makes the front page. I sized it smaller than 4x6 so
the background card could be visible and then added some tape and stickers.

Here is the first week in a two-page spread.
Some pics + some journaling + some life "stuff" = simple. Love.

a closer look at the left side. The card in the top left came with the kit and has the dates Jan 01-Jan 07 stamped.
The rest are 4x6 and 3x4 pics, some notes and some add-on stickers and such.

Love this face.
On the right side, I included a couple of movie stubs from our date night.
The movie was great. The company better!

I started half marathon training for real this week. Pic of sneaks obligatory.
Jazzed up with some letter stickers for fun.
So that is it. One week captured, easy peasy. It feels great to actually use some of the stuff I normally accumulate into a "to be scrapbooked someday" pile now instead of someday. It is truly nice to just capture, document and preserve memories now. I plan to share more of this project as our year goes on.

Wanna know more about Project Life ... go here and view the video on the bottom and follow the plethora of links Becky provides.

January 11, 2012

{Almost} Wordless Wednesday

These are our countertop staples this week. Lingering holidays sniffles for me. Strep throat for D. Yet another cold and more teething for HP. Right now, we're doing lots of rest, cuddles, and patience.

January 9, 2012

Runday Monday: One Half

Throughout the spring I vowed I`d run once I got the hang of caring for a brand-spanking new babe. During the summer I vowed to run, sometimes. In the fall, I vowed to run more and more consistently. Though I did run, it certainly wasn't more often or more regular. With the onset of the new year and the winter, I will keep this vow. You see, I have no choice. I've committed to running a half marathon in May. Committed to who you ask? Well, committed to me. But as that's sometimes just not enough to get my patootie off the couch and putting one foot in front of the other, I'm also committing it here online, in writing, to all of you.

There it is in black and white. No takesy-backsy. Nothing like putting something in writing and telling someone about it to make it real. To make me accountable. I know this from experience in running a marathon 10 years ago. OK, wow, where did that time go? Anyways, I signed up for the race, in writing, I told people about it, and even had a friend on board with me before I truly realized what I`d done. I guarantee you I would never have seen it through if I hadn`t. And there were many days on that gravy train where I was rueing my lofty ideas and big mouth. Many, many, many days. But alas, I said I would, so I did, and once it was done, it was awesome. So here I go again.

You may ask why, if I`ve already done a marathon, I`d bother with the half. Well, first of all, I have a life list of things I want to do in my lifetime. Both a half marathon and a marathon were on that list. Most people would have started with the half and then moved onward. Being me, I went in reverse. Good thing too, as I think if I`d run the half I may never have the gumption to do the double distance. As it is, it took me 10 years build up my reserves for the half! I also swore I`d never do another marathon and, while I believe one should never say never, right now I can muster the 13.1 miles, not another 26.2. At least not yet. So a half marathon it is.

Yes, I guess I could have crossed off both when I did the marathon, as technically I did the half and then finished with the full marathon, just all in one race. But that wasn`t my intent when I wrote up my life list (which I keep intending to share here and will soon!). I want to be true to myself and mark both complete,  in honesty. With that, training for the 2012 Bluenose Half Marathon in Halifax, NS began last week with my training plan`s first tempo, easy and long runs. I got my sweat on and loved it. But it`s early and the hard parts are really still weeks away, so stay with me on this one ok?

Oh and BJA? I`m counting on you too ;)

January 6, 2012

Our Holiday Lens: Part 2

Our Christmas adventures continued after we left my family's house in Kingston (near Northern Bay) and headed to Des' family home in Southern Bay, back to Kingston, and finally home again. It was a good thing Santa took it easy this year as there were seemingly more and more and more gifts for HP at every turn. He is a loved little boy indeed!

Round two of Christmas present opening started. Thankfully there were older cousins to help!

Sporting some new kicks from Aunt Lou.

And HP wasn't the only one spoiled with awesome presents.
Des showing his glee at his box set.

Our first attempt at a family photo.
Ok, but would be better if we all looked at the same lens ;)

We enjoyed a visit with Michelle, who snuggled HP
while momma and daddy had their first morning coffee.

We played more music at Nanny & Poppy`s.

And enjoyed a semi-quiet ride back home thanks to Fisher Price.
Ipod holder perhaps the best used gift this Christmas!

We enjoyed a quiet family NYE at home, starting with appy`s and wine by the fire.

And a toast to the year gone by and the one ahead. Even HP joined in on our cheers!

Finally, NYD dinner at Aunt Sherry & Uncle Terry`s meant even more hands to hold HP
including cousin Chris

And Aunt Pauline, who spoiled HP with some stylin` clothes

and the always happy-to-see him cousin Emily. HP (and we) loves her.
And the festivities all wrapped up with a striped down bottle and cuddle with Aunt Sherry.
T`was a wonderful season for our little trio and a perfect way to a very happy 2011.
We`re now ready to take on 2012.
From our home to yours, we wish you a very happy, healthy New Year!

Ahhh... a family photo where we`re all looking at the right lens AND smiling.
Hello 2012.

January 5, 2012

Our Holiday Lens: Part 1

Our holidays were hectic and happy. There was good food, great fun, and lots of love. The days were filled with travel, visiting, family and friends, games, and  laughter. There were many hands to hold our sweet boy while momma and daddy rested, relaxed and rejuvenated. We played, we napped, we ate, we talked, we cuddled, we drank, we rested. We celebrated the birth of Christ and our sweet cheeks' first Christmas. All in all, it was a great way to wrap up an amazing year. 

We hung out by the tree.

We snuggled with Auntie.

We played lots of music and had fun.

There was a bedtime story on Christmas Eve.

And of course new matching PJs for the little cousins.

We sprinkled reindeer food for Rudolph and friends.

And peeked to see if Santa could be seen before heading to bed.

But alas, he didn't show up until all the little boys and girls were sound asleep. 

Santa left a very cool ride for HP.

And momma and daddy gave him a retro ecord player.
(And a modern day Fisher Price Ipod holder!)

There was plenty of dog chasing, though B didn't want to be caught.

There was the start of a new hockey fan.
Daddy got tickets to a game in Montreal.

Momma was happily surprised with a mixer.
And yes, that's honest-to-goodness happiness with a kitchen appliance for Christmas.
Serious glee people. Serious glee.

I think HP can taste the cookies already.
There was oh so much laughter.

And happy visits with loved ones.
and too many cute expressions to count!
And this was just up until Christmas Day! There will be more from our holiday lens tomorrow...