The Power and Struggle of the Lotus {finding balance in all that we are}

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.” + Siddhartha Gautama

I have been thinking a lot about balance lately, especially when it comes to mental and physical health. As a true introvert; someone who desperately seeks quiet solitude on a daily (if not hourly) basis, and as a quite sensitive soul, maintaining some form balance is important.

I’ve watched these traits carry on in my son. He’s what has been labeled “spirited,” which essentially means that he is more, in every sense of the word and the worlds in which every part of him inhabits. He is more loud, more quiet, more sad, more happy, more talkative, more silent, more sensitive…ah, more sensitive. In parenting him – in loving him – I’ve been discovering more and more how to care for and love myself in deeper ways with an increased awareness of my intrinsic needs also.

Growing up, especially into my teen years and young adult life, I believed that my own sensitivities and spiritedness were wrong. These traits seemed to cause problems, and to be the soul reason why I would lose people in my life, especially romantic relationships. I’m fairly certain at one point or another, every man I’ve been in a relationship with has used the words “sensitive” and “intense” to describe me. I’m sure my female friends who know me at my core would describe me the same. And this always felt like an inconvenience. And I always wondered why I was different. Why I couldn’t just let things go, why things affected me differently, why things seemed to feel differently to me than to other people.

I felt different, and I felt wrong for feeling and being different.

I liked being at home, in the safe confines of my room with my sketch pads and journals, where I would draw and write to the steady beat of whatever CD I was playing on repeat that month. As a young child I would sit in the dark corners of our basement and write poetry and song lyrics. I took many mental health days off from school, where I would just lay quietly in my room regrouping. It actually wasn’t until grade 12 when I flourished at school work. I attribute that to the correspondence school I went to. I was able to do all of my work alone only seeking help when I needed it, working at my own pace. I graduated five months early and with better marks than I had received the five years prior.

As a child I loved flipping through books, examining the beauty of the pages and the way the words hung delicately on paper. I made countless books of my own. Ten pieces of loose-leaf stapled together at three points on the side. Each page numbered and titled. This felt like my safe place. But somewhere between childhood and adulthood I lost that place of escape where I found my solitude, where I felt safe to be myself and free with the pages between my fingers.

It wasn’t until I began writing my current book that I recognized how cathartic and deep this passion and need is in my life. There was a decade of my life that I likely poured all of those emotions, sensitivities – spirit – into people, rather than onto paper. I’ve always felt shame for this.

I had someone recently make a comment to me about how my son will have a hard time in school because he is so sensitive, and it hit a very deep wound. For years I thought I was wrong for being sensitive, that it was a burden not only for me but for everyone around me. The shame ran deep, telling me I wasn’t worthy, I wasn’t capable, that I would forever live in the tight confines of the boxes that read “sensitive” and “intense.”

As I’ve watched my son grow, I’ve been witness to how vital this sensitivity – vulnerability – is to relationships. I’ve seen how important these people are in our world. I don’t know if I ever would have come to this realization without fully, unconditionally loving someone like this. And likely would not have come to love these parts of myself if I had not been able to view the magic of the spirited through objective eyes. I’ve come to realize how incredibly beneficial and necessary sensitive people are in our world. When I look into my son’s eyes, I see him as a healer. He healed me, and I know he has the potential and capacity to heal anything he touches through the compassion and empathy he already encompasses. These are traits that need to be nurtured. These are good things. To be sensitive to others and to oneself is not a disservice. And perhaps those who believe it is ought to practice more sensitivity in their own lives.

When we think of sensitivity we often think of vulnerability. Which, as the lovely and talented Brene Brown reminds us, is the birth place of connection. Without this, healthy relationships would not form. With others and with ourselves. When I think of parenting my son, I hope that I can continue to mother his vulnerable side; that he be encouraged and always feel safe to lay it all down, to feel intense and quiet and sensitive and for it to be okay. We need this world to make these things okay, especially for men. To stop labelling. To start appreciating the balance.

To my precious readers who feel these parts of themselves, please nurture yourself, please continue to be vulnerable, sensitive, spirited, intense. We need you, the world needs you. Don’t feel shame in these parts of you even if others don’t understand them. You’ve got solace in me.

A sweet tooth ain’t no joke — tips to breaking a sugar addiction.


About six years while I was living in Connecticut with family after a very hard break-up, my Aunt – who is a raw food chef and has been active in the natural health field for 20 years – recommended that I stop my love affair with sugar.

Alone, the thought of it gave me anxiety. I flipped through some information and research on sugar detox and decided it wasn’t the right time for me. My sugar addiction was deep, even though I perceived myself as a pretty health conscious person.

One-year later while pregnant with Taran, I could barely stomach chocolate or anything sweet until my last trimester. After he was born, though, the chocolate cravings began creeping in again. I wasn’t able to drink coffee or espresso because it made me feel sick, so I turned to dark chocolate for caffeine boosts while I was up late studying. Over the years it never really got any better until Sascha was born. I felt sick when I didn’t eat chocolate or sugar. I didn’t think much of it because it was such a normal thing for me at the time.

After Sasch was born she had pretty intense GERD and I was at a cross roads to either give up a lot of foods (spicy, dairy, eggs, certain vegetables, wheat, gluten, chocolate and processed sugars) or give up nursing. The food I was eating was making her very nauseous and sick. This was incredibly difficult for me, but truthfully, the healthiest I’ve ever felt aside from when I lived with my Aunt (same Aunt, she’s also a raw food chef) and was eating primarily raw food. I drank a lot of vegetable juice, a lot of raw foods, and could not even drink tea without her feeling sick. It was an intense time, but she slowly got better and she slowly grew out of it. When she was about 8-months-old I began reintroducing these food items and went wild with it.

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I was putting a heaping tablespoon of brown sugar in my tea every morning — sometimes twice. I only ate cereal with sugar on it. Almond butter on toast? Throw some sugar on that too. There were occasions when I would be feeling crumby and realize I hadn’t eaten chocolate in a few days, so I would go eat some and then would feel better.

Brandon finally said something one day and asked me to watch the documentary Fed Up!…

Then I gained 12 pounds back from the 40 I had lost…

But the real motivation to change my habits came when I began getting deeper in to my research with Young Living. This company has truly changed my life. I started focusing my energy on changing the health and wellness of myself and my family, began introducing the products to my friends, and their friends, and their families, and I immediately started seeing big changes happening.

I have felt so motivated to get our home and lives cleaned up to be as pure as possible. When I read studies and research about how sugar affects the body I was…embarrassed. I felt ashamed. I thought, I am working so hard to take care of my children and my family but what about myself?! I want to be around to see my kids and to live a long life with them. I don’t want to bring on a host of diseases because of this addiction to sugar.

So, I picked a day, and I just stopped. And you know what, one week later, I feel great!

I wanted to share with you some tips that have helped me with this process. I’ve had many people contact me with their own desires to quit, but it seems that the running theme is that we don’t feel strong enough.  But guess what? YOU are in control of your own body. Sugar is NOT in control of you.

Here is how I’ve done it:

1. Pick a day. Plan for it. Identify what needs to change
I decided not to throw away any sugary foods in the house because a)I’m not the only one who lives here b) I wanted this to be a daily choice c) I don’t like throwing away food. The three big changes for me was the sugar I put in my tea, my “treating” myself to whatever treat I want whenever I want, and late night snacking after the kids are in bed. I picked a monday because I like starting things on Mondays, and I let people know so that I could be held accountable.

2. Go at your own pace
I am not a great cold turkey kind of person, I need to be eased into things. I took this an hour at a time. The cravings were strong. The headache was also strong. I must have rubbed an entire bottle of peppermint on me last monday to get through the day. But it helped, and I got through the day with no additional sugar than what was in foods that I didn’t want to throw away. So, really, I probably consumed the actual recommended amount of sugar or less that day. I wanted to finish my coconut creamer and my vanilla greek yogurt. I felt like, for me, going cold turkey meant that if I slipped up once that I would beat myself up about it and then go binge eat a box of cookies — which I didn’t want to do!

3. Focus on your motivation
A friend of mine sent me this article last monday, and it addressed so well how I was feeling. I didn’t feel as though I was holding something back from myself or that I was doing something challenging to lose weight. I was making a choice that felt like the correct one for me at this time because of the reasons I listed above. I felt as though giving up this substance which I sometimes have felt consumes me, was giving back to myself.

4. Don’t beat yourself up
This is so important. Be there for yourself. You’re your own best friend and you need to be there to support yourself. I’ve had wine this week. I had one morning where I added one TEASPOON (pat on the back) of brown sugar into my tea because I felt like I wanted it that day. And guess what, I actually realized that I prefer tea without sugar in it – crazy huh? You are making the choice to better yourself and that is what you need to focus on.

5. You may feel like crap for the first few days, but don’t give up.
It is generally common knowledge that as your body is detoxing from things like sugar, you may feel run down, flu-like, and just all together crappy. Don’t let it deter you from continuing on with your goals. Like I said in #1, plan for it and prepare yourself. Drink a lot of water, use some peppermint oil on your temples and on your neck (this was a huge saviour for me), lay down if you can and be easy on yourself.

Tell me what you want to cut back on in your life and why! I’d love to share in this journey to health and wellness with you.

Mon Pax – part one {a series}


Ahhhh, the house is so quiet right now, all I can hear is the whirling of the fan overhead. Peaceful. Sascha is fast asleep upstairs. I have a hot cup of tea, and the sun is shining in from the back yard. I love these quiet moments when it is just me and my laptop (how silly does that sound?!)…but really, as Taran says, when I am alone I’m always puttering away on my computer.

I’ve been pretty quiet around these parts for the better part of a year..and not intentionally, in fact, I always intend on posting…but I’ve just been, well, busy. I don’t know how many of you know but I wrote a children’s book, Love Is What You Are Made Of when Taran was a baby. We finally published it last fall!! It has been a dream come true watching it come to life, seeing Taran hold it and flip through the pages while smiling at the little pictures of himself scattered throughout the book.

For the past couple of years I have also been working away on a novel of sorts. In a nut shell, it is about an aspiring novelist and single-mother who turns old love letters to her lost love into a novel about her own redemption. It was suggested to me that I take some snippets of the novel and share them here. I have a working title which I’m not ready to share yet, so for the time being, I will call this series Mon Pax. These snips are in no particular order, and no rhyme or reason. Hope you enjoy! I can hardly wait to share this book with you when it is complete. xoxo

Mon Pax – part one

After dressing I paused for a few moments to stare in the mirror. I was terrified to see Grayson. Terrified to look into his eyes. Would he look at me the same again? I could feel his nerves through the walls that separated us. His goosebumps were on my arms. His cold sweat was moistening my palms, and his beating heart was pumping through my veins.

Ba boom. Ba boom. Ba boom.

I stared at my blood-shot eyes, studied my messy hair and the mascara smudged under my lashes. I pulled my shirt slightly over one shoulder, took one last hotly breath and turned my back on the blue room. It felt like one hundred steps to get through those etched glass doors. Time stood still as my arm reached out and pushed the curved wooden handle and stepped into the unknown. I watched the carpet threads change color beneath my feet as I walked back down the long hallway. As I approached the rows of men, I focused in on mine. His back to me. His dark black auburn curls caught the light perfectly. That small freckle on his neck. The collar of his jacket perfectly poised. And the fumbling. He was still pulling on his pant legs.

I placed one hand on his shoulder. He turned and our eyes met. I questioned him with my glance, as he did me. “Let’s go” I said, breaking eye contact before he could read my tears. He stood up and we began walking to the front door hands clasped tightly together. We hadn’t made it three steps before a nurse stopped us.

“Do you want to make another appointment?” she asked innocently.

He released his grasp and my hand fell out of his like a baby bird tumbling out of its nest too soon.
He knew I didn’t do it.
“Yes,” I responded. My eyes filled with tears again as we left the building. His head was low and he refused to make eye contact with me. “Grayson,” I paused, “please….” He looked up at me, tears in his eyes. “I don’t think you’re going to be able to do this” he said.

He drove me home on slick streets and we barely spoke a word. I asked him what he would do if I couldn’t go through with it again, but I was met with silence. When we arrived at my apartment building he let me go. I fumbled with my purse while I hung on every sweet breath of silence that filled the car as I waited for words of longing to escape his beautifully clenched lips. Nothing. Without a word I begged for his eyes to reach mine. To see the turn of his head, to catch any glimmer of hope in those deep black eyes. Nothing. I was only met with the back of his head — those perfect brown curls — as I whispered goodbye through tears while clamouring out of his warm car into the cold embrace of that cold February Wednesday.

xoxo. A.

Brave enough to let go {a hand to hold}

For the past four years my son snuggled up to me before bed. He has asked for cuddles as he curled up next to me, grabbing my hands as tightly as his little fingers would allow. He would burrow his forehead against mine, as if no matter how tightly he pressed his tiny body into mine, it was never close enough. He loved to cuddle. Naturally.

Last monday he stopped reaching for my hand at bedtime.

As we lay there, ready to sing The Ants Go Marching for the 15th time, I asked for his hand. “I don’t need to hold your hand tonight Mama,” he said, “I’m brave now.”

“I thought you liked holding hands while you fell asleep,” I retorted, shocked (and saddened).

“Remember before? I wasn’t brave then. But now I’m brave and I don’t need to hold hands anymore,” he explained.

I slowly pulled my hand away and held it into my chest as my forehead searched for the little forehead with side swept brown bangs that used to press so tightly into mine at bedtime. It was five inches away, pressed firmly against the little hands I used to hold while singing our nightly songs.

So many moments in parenting we are pushed, encouraged – forced – to let go. With first steps, first sippy cups, first hours away, first days and nights away, first days of daycare and/or school. My heart stings just a bit when I think of all those precious fleeting moments which passed without ample warning. Those days that older – wiser – parents and grandparents warn you about. Those ones that “fly by.” They really do.

Taran and I have spoken much about consent and what it means to consent to letting others touch us, even when it comes to small things like holding hands, hugs, pats on the back. I encourage him to do what feels best for himself while also taking others into consideration when it comes to things like hugging friends and family. I don’t ever want him to feel pressured to hug or hold hands if it isn’t something that feels comfortable to him. It’s his body and he should make those decisions for himself (even if some may find it offensive when he isn’t quick to return hugs).

So, I didn’t push. I didn’t ask for him to hold my hand. Even though that little mama inside of me was fighting back tears about my little baby boy growing up and now being “so brave” that he doesn’t need my hand to hold while falling asleep at night. I know that as I walk this journey through motherhood, there will be always be the inevitable time that I will be forced to step back and watch him – cheering – as he forges on with his independence, his abilities, his interests, his life. Him one day moving out remains top of the list of most scary motherhood moments which I am very much not looking forward to. And as teary as it sometimes makes me to see him growing up, and as hard as it is to wrangle him in for cuddles these days, I deeply cherish the gift of watching him grow up, of being here witnessing his development, and of course of those sweet moments when he does sink his little body into mine for cuddles only a mom can give.

But then again, he’s only 4.

Today he feels brave, today he doesn’t need the clasp of my fingers in between his to know he is safe. Maybe because he truly knows he is safe, which is invaluable. Maybe because, as he always dreams so hard, he really is iron man. Maybe one day he will reach over for my hand again at bedtime. Maybe he won’t. But until then, my palm will remain faced toward him, open and ready to embrace his precious little fingers for when they come crawling back.

Tonight, I’ll be brave too.

Whoa whoa whoa…it’s almost Christmas!

Well it is that time of year again (don’t you just love hearing that every year around this time?) Can you believe that Christmas is only 7 S-E-V-E-N days away?! It always sneaks up on me, every year…kind of like my birthday. Oh, you missed that whole story about how I forgot about my birthday this year, didn’t you? Yeah, that happened. Thankfully there are many reminders about Christmas and the holidays everywhere, so I don’t need to worry about forgetting this day.

I’ve had some fun experimenting with the kids lately, making small gifts here and there. I had not anticipated how much of a struggle it would be to get two kids out Christmas shopping, and let me tell you — it is not my favourite thing to do. So, for the most part, the things we’ve made are items that can be made with items found in the home. If you’re looking for some quick last minute Christmas gift ideas, here are a few of my suggestions:

1. The Gift Of Experience & Memories

Perhaps one of my favourites, and one which I asked grandparents for this year, is the gift of experiences. Kids are often overwhelmed with gifts. I remember one year we had to open gifts in shifts throughout the day because our son was so wired from it all. A seasons pass to the museum, butterfly gardens, science centre, or tickets to shows and events, and punch cards to recreation centres or enrolment in sport and activity classes are fabulous gifts. My son loves going to the IMAX and a trip there with Grandma is the perfect gift (complete with popcorn of course).

2. Sharpie Mugs and Snowman Soup

Materials required:
White mug
Hot chocolate powder (packaged)
Mini marshmallows
Mini candy canes

This is a fun gift to make with kids. We picked some cute mugs from Target and my son drew faces and his name on them. Then we stuck them in the oven (while the oven was cold), and turned the oven up to 350 degrees. We let the mugs sit for 30 minutes in the heat, then turned the oven off and let the mugs cool down with the oven. This is important so that they don’t crack. We repeated this step. After the second time through the oven, we took the mugs out and prepared the inside of the mug with a packet of hot chocolate, mini marshmallows and a mini candy cane. The mug wraps up nice in cellophane to keep everything contained. The mugs can be personalized so nicely, and the hot chocolate can be traded out for alternate ingredients like herbal tea and a steeper, or coffee and a sugar stick. Hand washing the mugs is recommended.

3. Homemade Play Dough Gifts

Our son LOVVVVVVES play dough and I love making it, so it became a natural transition into making it as gifts. I love this recipe here. I usually add a little extra oil and pure vanilla extract. You can store the play dough in small mason jars, separated by colour, and add a pack of winter themed cookie cutters for some play dough shaping fun. Perhaps the best part of this gift is that my son loves to help prepare the entire gift from start to finish and is involved in the making of the play dough.

4. Homemade Bath Salts

This was made and gifted to me at my baby shower and I adored it. Again, this is a gift that kids can easily help make (and will probably enjoy).

Epsom salts
Lavender (found at herb stores, like self-heal herbs in Victoria BC)
Lavender or lemon essential oil
1L Mason Jar

In the jar, mix together the epsom salts, lavender, and a couple drops of essential oil. Mix or shake well to prevent clumping and layers (although it is pretty to leave a layer of lavender on the top). You or your child can decorate the jar afterwards. You can even skip on gift wrap if you’d like, just add a piece of festive fabric under the top part of the mason jar lid and screw tightly closed. Then tie cord or ribbon around the top of the jar and attach a name tag or card.

5. Homemade Sugar and Salt Scrub

Epsom salts
Coarse brown sugar
Almond or vanilla extract (or both)
Olive oil
1L mason jar

Mix the epsom salts, brown sugar, extract, and olive oil together in a large bowl to a consistency of your liking. Then transfer into a 1L mason jar, and decorate the jar to your liking.

6. Handprint and Footprint Painting

This is one of my favourite activities regardless of season or holiday. Take those sweet hand and footprints and make a painting out of them. For Christmas, I love the idea of making each of the fingers a little snowman and the palm of the hand a snow hill. I have also seen a neat picture where the hand upright was a christmas tree (complete with a star and a stump). The possibilities are endless, but gift receivers will likely always cherish these time marking sentimental pictures lovingly created by you and your children!

7. Children’s Book Love Is What You Are Made Of

Also, if you’re looking for a sweet and beautiful book to cherish, my very first children’s book Love Is What You Are Made Of was just published with Balboa Press! You can order it through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Chapters Indigo, and Balboa Press bookstore, among others. As well, through my website here.  Also, if you are in Victoria, I have copies in stock and can likely get them to you before Christmas! It’s always important to remind each other of the special qualities we hold, especially love, whether child or adult.

Much love and write soon, xoxo

And with that, he’s four.

My sweet four-year-old,

I am still a bit shell shocked that you are four. Where has the time gone?! That’s a rhetorical question, I obviously know where it’s gone.image


Between diapering, rocking, and carefully playing with your tiny little baby fingers you grew. You grew into a little boy who climbs rocks and rock walls, and slides, and well anything you can climb (including the fences at school which you aren’t really allowed to climb). You love to climb and have the long monkey toes for it. You didn’t get those from me.


You’ve transformed into this independent person with independent thoughts. And boy, do you have a lot. You really don’t ever stop talking from the moment you wake until the moment you fall to sleep at night. And I love it. I love immersing myself in the beauty of your mind. You are mathematical and scientific and so logical. As someone who runs more on the ideological side of the spectrum, you intrigue me and keep me learning, constantly.


You are such a kind, gentle soul. My word, I feel warm fuzzies just thinking about you. The tender little hugs you give me when I hurt myself, and the way you promise me that “it’s going to be okay” makes me feel good about the person you are and the person you still have yet to become. You are strong, sensitive, and ambitious. You are also really funny and always up for a good laugh. You are also such a great friend and have such incredible friendships, even at such a young age.


I get quite sentimental every year around this time. Remembering the night at 6pm when you were cut from my body after a painful (literally and figuratively) and long labour. The first moments when I saw them carry you from me to the warming table. Those first cries. And when you first pressed your cheek against mine and our tears simultaneously ceased. “Hey Pumpkin,” I said. You stared back. I knew in that moment that my life had really started. Everything was different then. Everything changed. I changed. I became a mother. I discovered what love really meant.


These past four years have been the most beautiful in my entire life. Watching you grow and change, hearing the way you articulate words, your reasons for why things are the way they are, and seeing the burst of life and passion in your eyes has been nothing short of a gift. I can’t pretend to know why I was blessed to be your mother. But I can only hope that I can teach you and show you the truth about love and life, as you’ve shown me.


And it all comes down to love. Which is what you are.


Happy birthday to my boy, who grew one full centimetre in the past month. Who still pronounces crayon “craan,” and rules “roles.” To my boy who adores his sister more than chocolate, who showers her with more love and encouragement than I ever expected. To my boy who is constantly trying to find new jokes to make me laugh, who is already easily embaressed by my singing and dancing, but the one who will openly express his love for me at any given time. To the one who feels big feels and isn’t afraid to show it. Who wears his heart on his sleeve, whose biggest passion is having fun.


I have loved getting to know and discover the many layers of you over the past four years, and am so looking forward to this next year as you transition from preschooler to kindergartener.

I love you Taran!


Quick update

I have never updated my blog from my phone before, so here goes nothing!

Sascha and I are currently at the hospital — she was admitted last night.

In no way do I want to write a dramatic post about how sick she is, but I’ll just say this has been one of the worst nights of my life.

It appears now that she has a virus that has exasperated her GERD symptoms, but we are still waiting on bloodwork and they are monitoring her to make sure nothing else is going on.

I brought her to one hospital last night after she had been crying for essentially two days (hard crying), followed by less frequent wet diapers, refusal to nurse, and projectile vomiting. (I’ve never seen so much force…she looked like she was throwing up like an adult after a hefty party night)…they got her in immediately but then transferred us to the other hospital where there is pediatric care.

Aside from being lethargic and very congested and just not quite herself today, they are happy with how she is sounding as her chest is clear and she has been able to keep 4 feeds down (yay!)

I really really want to get home to see my little guy, to see her thriving again, and to get outside! I haven’t even been able to leave the room to get food yet (thank goodness for my dear friend who brought by food close to midnight).

Taran is doing well and happily playing with friends. He told my mom he is glad Sascha “and all her crying” are out of the house today. Shrug. Sorry kiddo!

Good news is we will be meeting with an OT to learn some ways to handle her GERD. And by we I mean Sascha and I. Brandon is away at work…but thankfully will be home soon!

So that is our quick update. Currently have a very loud snoring baby on my chest sleeping – not screaming – which is a success in itself!

Please keep our smiley little precious girl in your thoughts! Xo

(I can overhear them at the nurses station talking about how cute she is…beaming mama pride!)

Update {15 minutes}

You may be wondering where I am on my getting back into shape goals. Truth is, for a month after that initial blog post I was not able to lose any weight, and actually gained a pound. I was going for walks, but finally realized I was way, way, way over eating. I had this idea that I really needed to keep my fat and protein intake up for all of the nursing I was doing…but I just ended up consuming too much.

After Brandon left on his last turn around I was feeling kind of bummed that I wasn’t making any progress. Within one week of each other two good friends of mine joined Weight Watchers, and were seeing fantastic results! I was really curious about it and wanted to join to learn how to balance my meals better, but was also a little bit skeptical of my own dedication to it.

A few weeks ago I went for a walk with one of these friends and she explained the whole point system to me and how the program worked. To sum it up, a nursing woman is suggested to eat 40 points per day. I quickly realized I was easily eating anywhere between 60-100 points per day!!! I signed up that night and almost two weeks later, I’m finally seeing progress!

It’s been almost 6 weeks since I posted those first pictures. So far I’ve gained one pound and then lost six pounds. I would like to start taking measurements…next update!

I’ve been eating pretty clean meals. Sascha has been really reactive to certain foods I eat, especially with her GERD. So mostly salmon or chicken with rice and vegetables for dinner or lunch, chick pea salads, avocado and yam wraps, salads, oatmeal, and a lot of fruit and vegetables!!

I’ve been attempting a walk everyday that is 1.5 -2 hours long while Taran is in school. I have been mostly successful except for days when it is too hot for Sascha. This past weekend with Brandon home has been fabulous…we’ve been out and about walking around for 3-5 hours both days. My body is craving the exercise!!

I have pilates and yoga DVDs that I plan to start tomorrow. I have sort of planned goals around when Brandon is gone. I can definitely maintain my focus better when he is away – hah! My goal for this shift is to do three nights per week of one DVD. To go for 1-2 hour long walks at least 5 days per week. I would LOVE to go for a run, but that will come with time.

I had a real wake up call this past week when Brandon and I stopped for sushi dinner one night. We’d been out that night and had to make a 30 minute car ride with Sascha — she was so unhappy (a 30 minute car ride with her meant stopping on the side of the highway to comfort her). Her GERD makes car rides a horrible experience for everyone — she screams and screams and screams. On the way home she threw up while screaming and we finally decided to just stop for something to eat and give her time to rest in my arms, hoping she’d fall asleep and rest for the remaining car ride home. Anyways — we went for sushi, which I figured was a good healthy choice. WELP. I ordered what I usually would have ordered and ended up wracking up 115 points in ONE day! I was astounded that three pieces of tempura made up almost my entire days allowance for food. Needless to say, I won’t be surprised on Tuesday if I haven’t had much of a weight loss this week.

However, here are my current pictures! Yes…my arms are very rosy. I keep forgetting to cover them in the sun, and they aren’t sore…just itchy. Brandon sees the biggest difference in my belly!

I think the best thing for me in all of this right now is that I have more energy! And reducing my food and my minor exercise at this point has not affected breastfeeding at all, which is a huge priority. So that is good.

May 18, 2014

Week 6:

Total loss: 6 pounds

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15 minutes {My sister had a baby and my baby has GERD}

Phew. I’m tired! I won’t be here long tonight, I don’t even have anything in mind to write about…

Out for a Crumsby's date with Taran and Sascha today. And Iron Man.

Out for a Crumsby’s date with Taran and Sascha today. And Iron Man.

My sister had her baby! A beautiful little boy named Milo. He was born this morning just after 5am. It was funny (except actually just exhausting)…Taran came sauntering into my bedroom around 3am, and about 5 minutes later my phone rang letting me know she was having her baby soon. Taran continued to stay awake until after we had received word that Milo was born. At which time Sascha woke up. I don’t know why Taran couldn’t sleep while his cousin was making way earth side, but knowing how in tune he is with the world around him…I have my suspicions. (We were able to visit Milo tonight and he’s adorable…just like his parents).

Ready to get his art on.

Ready to get his art on.

Between the two kidlets, one was getting up as the other was going down and I ended up getting only a couple of hours of shut eye all night. YAWN.

His first picture of me.

His first picture of me.

First picture of Gramma.

First picture of Gramma.

Today I finally bit and picked up a prescription for some baby antacid for Sascha. She’s had bad reflux since she was born causing her to scream through most burps and spit ups, scream through about 90% of car rides from start to finish (resulting in me stopping numerous times to take her our of the car to hold her and calm her down — I just can’t drive when she’s so upset). I don’t mind the spit up or the laundry…I could care less about being covered in milky barf…but her crying…oh dear lamb…her crying nearly breaks my heart apart. The past few nights she has screamed for three hours straight due to excess burps and spit up. The discomfort pushes her to comfort nurse which makes the issue worse. Sigh. She is SUCH a happy and content baby that to have her so upset over burping has been tough.


We bought her a hazel wood necklace which she wears 24/7…it is supposed to help with acid.
She has been seeing our chiropractor.
She is on probiotic drops.
I nurse her upright, express milk before she latches, burp every few minutes…


Really, I’ve tried everything that has been suggested. I’ve even cut many foods and balanced out my diet…although I’m finding more foods to be affecting her. So far she reacts to: spice, garlic, chocolate (BIG SIGH), excess cheese, and eggs.

I love the distinct blur of the toddler...he never stops moving!

I love the distinct blur of the toddler…he never stops moving!

Everything we’ve tried has helped, but she is still in pain. So I finally picked up a prescription today and I’m curious to see how it works for her. I’m hoping I can start easing her off of it around 3 months. And I really hope it makes a difference for her!

I love her little faces! This is a common one for her...

I love her little faces! This is a common one for her…

As is this little half smile.

As is this little half smile.

And she has the open mouth squinty eyes down to an art.

And she has the open mouth squinty eyes down to an art.


Taran has been enjoying sleepovers with us.

Taran has been enjoying sleepovers with us.

Showing off his belly button to flamingos

Showing off his belly button to flamingos

Having snacks with the butterflies....

Having snacks with the butterflies….

And talking to parrots.

And talking to parrots.


Food & Fitness update:

I haven’t really eaten anything “bad” or unhealthy in the past two days…


Salad: Romaine, cucumber, tomatoes, eggs, chicken, black beans, goat cheese, ranch dressing...and lactation tea.

Salad: Romaine, cucumber, tomatoes, eggs, chicken, black beans, goat cheese, ranch dressing…and lactation tea.

I made this delicious stir fry...simple chicken and broccoli in onions and ginger. I added a bit of pad thai sauce for fun, not realizing it was spicy. I had to abort my dinner half way through.

I made this delicious stir fry…simple chicken and broccoli in onions and ginger. I added a bit of pad thai sauce for fun, not realizing it was spicy. I had to abort my dinner half way through (even though it was so tasty).

I have taken the kidlets to the park both days, so it was a short walk, but still a walk and a lot of moving around with Sascha in the wrap. That counts as exercise, right?! I haven’t been cleared to get into exercising from my Midwife yet, but am hoping that at 3-months post partum that I’ll be able to get to the gym for runs and weights.


I’ve also been taking note of my water consumption, making sure I have three litres per day.


That’s all for today…have a great one.


Thank you for your support {and every time you message me, I figuratively poop my pants}

Sorry to have no pictures in this post. It’s late and I need to get to bed. Next time, promise!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I’ve been apprehensive to check this space since hitting publish on my last post.

Apprehensive? More like palm sweaty scared shaking in my boots.

Posting those pictures? Hard. Really hard.

Thank you so much for the support I’ve received. I have to admit that with most messages I’ve read, I grimaced remembering that this is real (ha). I want to be as authentic and honest as I can be about this journey…and I promise I will be…hard days and easy days.

I’ve received messages saying it is amazing to put myself out here like this…and that I’m brave, and I have to say…what would the world be like if we all were a little braver and put our true selves out there a little more.

A couple dear friends of mine were over tonight and one of them asked me what my process was to get to the place where I decided to write my last post. I answered with a very jumble of words that probably made little sense…as I tried myself to even figure out the response. I’ve been thinking about it ever since and really I feel like the past four years of my life have transformed me from someone who was, let’s face it, rather superficial, to someone who really isn’t much at all. And I think for me right now, this feels like one of those last layers. I’ve pulled away the rest, whether by force or by choice and this is really something at the core for me.

Ever since I can remember I was dying my hair, playing with makeup, and working hard to have a nice body. I put so much into my appearance, letting my inners go unbalanced. I was always tanned, had my hair done at least every 6-8 weeks, my nails were perfectly manicured and toes pedicured. It’s easy to say I spent at least two hours each morning getting ready from start to finish. There might be others reading thinking that is their routine now…and I’m not at all saying it’s wrong, for some people this is normal and it’s good. For me, I didn’t have balance. I worked on looking good for the sake of looking good. I only began seeking fulfilment on the inside a few years before Taran came along, digging deeply into it the year before he was born but only truly understanding it after he came into my life.

After Taran was born it was like a switch went on inside of me. I was so consumed with him that I no longer put weight into my appearance. Of course I cared, but the balance definitely weighed heavier on his side. I remember one morning while eating breakfast with my mom, she commented on my freckles.

She didn’t even know I had freckles.

Because I had worn so much concealer she wasn’t able to see them.

And without much effort, my life just transitioned into a period of heavy work on my insides, on my spirituality and belief system. I began to care much more about who I surround myself with and why, and the person I am and how I affect others in my daily interactions.

It took me a year of not trying to lose my pregnancy weight after Taran was born.

It wasn’t until Brandon and I got together that I really started putting more and more effort into my appearance. I’m super laid back at home…definitely a sweats kinda girl who washes off her makeup at the earliest opportunity. Over the past couple of years I have found it interesting how I’ve gotten back into routines of self-care and began really addressing what is and what isn’t necessary in terms of needs versus wants.

Before Brandon and after he-who-shall-not-be-named, I began dying my hair myself and was having fun mucking around with it at home trying different colours. I tried different styles in clothing, makeup, jewellery. I felt really great. I felt really in myself, if you know what I mean. But when I started dating Brandon, I began caring more about my clothes and my hair. I started going to a salon because I wanted my hair to look nicer than how it looked when I was doing it myself (and I may have fried it a little with some home dye – whoops)…I think I began to shape myself to an image that perhaps I’ve had for years of what a partner wants in a woman.

I began to notice that when Brandon was away for work I was much more laid back about my appearance than when he was home. Which is funny because Brandon actually really likes my laid back appearance, always comments on how I don’t need makeup…and one of his favourite sweaters of mine is this very frumpy big baggy one (I don’t know why, it is one of my favourites too but only because it is so comfortable).

When he came home from work I straightened my hair, put on more eye liner, and wore nicer clothes. I even tried to leave my makeup on until bed time.


Well, this is what I’m in the process of figuring out.

I feel like I had a real expectation that when Sascha was born my body was just going to bounce back. Like, immediately. And I don’t know why I felt that way…media, friends, myself. I’d say the expectation has been largely placed on myself by myself and my own expectations. Based on…my own perceptions of womanhood I suppose.

And I’ve realized, and continue to realize that this perception is not only so varied and on such a huge spectrum, it can be downright wrong and damaging.

I have been yo-yoing back and forth between my need to impress upon myself versus Brandon and I still haven’t figured out exactly where those perceptions truly stem from..yet. I’m working on it. And maybe it’s half and half. An expectation to be a certain way for my partner, and also for myself.

And what is really important? Should it be 50/50? Should my appearance be 100% for myself? I don’t really know.

I feel beautiful. I look in the mirror and I’m not disgusted. I see a body lined with stripes and I don’t see what I’ve been taught is wrong and ugly…I see beauty. I know how hard my body has worked to house my two precious children. I know that with every kick and breath these two kids released within my womb, lines were formed. And I am so grateful that I was given that. Taran and Sascha are my greatest gifts, and I know what an absolute blessing it is to be able to conceive and carry two healthy babies to term. But I think most importantly, when I look in the mirror, I see past my physical appearance and see who I am on the inside. And I love her, I love that person.

When I say I don’t recognize myself…it’s because I don’t see myself on the inside as I appear on the outside right now. And I want those two to line up. I want to feel the same on the outside as I do on the inside. I want that balance.

And I want it for me.

But I know that doing it for me will pour over into my relationship with Brandon, and our children in positive ways.

I haven’t dyed my hair in over a year as I’ve been processing my needs and wants for having it dyed a certain colour (and why in our culture we spend so much money so often to alter our appearance). I haven’t really come to a conclusion about how I feel towards this…but Brandon has gifted me with some time at the hair salon…so I’m taking it. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Am I brave? I don’t think so…unless we are talking about the fact that I willingly walk around carrying a diaperless baby even though she has a 100% track record of pooping and peeing on me.

Am I amazing for being open and vulnerable? I don’t know…I mostly think I’m just being real and that there isn’t any point in faking it. I think this world would be a better place if we all could just open up to one another about our short comings and struggles, as little or big as they may seem. But also about our great accomplishments, what we love about ourselves and others, things that fill our snap cup. (If you haven’t heard of the snap cup, please refer to Legally Blonde 2. And don’t tell me you haven’t seen it.)

So my update for today is to say that coming off of sugar is a bitch. I have had a headache for two days (medicated by more and more water), and have felt more fatigued (I realize I have a new baby haha). I’m not dieting per say, but more so just cutting out the unhealthy foods from my diet and replacing them with healthier choices. I’m not trying to lose weight by eating less, but by making better choices & exercising. I did feel more energy to get outside today, but alas, it was raining and Sascha just isn’t old enough for rainy walks yet! Hopefully tomorrow will be sunnier.

Have a wonderful night~