WE WERE ON A BREAK! (and it was a BIG mistake)

This was 15 weeks ago.

I was elated. Happy. Proud.

I was Icharus.

Dammit.

What the hell was I thinking?

I am not the kind of person who can stop a thing. I am the kind of person who, in order to be healthy and happy, needs to follow through every single day.

I know I am not alone, but I am embarrassed and sad that I flew too close to the sun.

On the upside Wax Wing soup is scrumptious!

Okay. Okay. I didn’t actually eat Wax Wings à la Icharus, but it is one of the very few things I did not eat over the summer.

I planned to loosen the reins a bit and maybe adapt to an 80/20 approach (which works really well, by the way), but then I heard the ice cream call my name … and it was summer … and it was Friday … and we were on vacation … and when would we be all together in this place again?

And … and … and …

You can see where this is going right?

I’ll just wait here for your eye rolls to stop and your judgement to wash over me.

I KNOW! I know better. I know. It’s true. I do.

sigh

So now what?

Well, for one I am not starting all over again, so yay me. Secondly, I didn’t quite throw the baby out with the bathwater. I know what works and I know what makes me happy and guess what, people? It is not ice cream. (or potato chips) (Hmm. What’s that? I didn’t mention the potato chips? Gee. I was sure I did. looks down and kicks invisible pebbles)

As it turns out, I feel so much better–mind, body, spirit, soul, mood, attitude–when I stick to eating a variety of yummy foods (including a few sweet treats) that are gluten free (this is old news) and also mostly dairy free, corn free, and devoid of sugar. Oh yeah … just one more thing … coffee. Yup. Coffee is on the chopping block.

It sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? I know.

This is partly why (and how) I allowed myself to be stopped.

I am not proud of it, but I am honest, so I will tell you what happened–I let people, who (mostly) do not matter, get in my head.

How sad is that? How silly? How ridiculous? How ludicrous?

How sad.

I literally know hundreds of people who exercise, eat, live, and share their journeys to wellness. There are so many different ways to find what works for you as an individual and I know as well as anyone that it should not matter what anyone else does or says or promotes or buys or endorses.

Yet here we are.

I allowed doubt and fear and alright, maybe a bit of defiance and self-sabotage, thwart me and my efforts.

It isn’t the first time.

When I first went gluten free (or even low carb, waaaaay back when–remember “Protein Power” by the Drs. Eades?–you see.. I was onto something then, too!) I felt so much better, but I let the opinions of others convince me that that couldn’t possibly be what was wrong. I was just fat and Lord knows fat trumps all when it comes to feeling like hammered poo. Amirite? (I know for a fact that if any of you reading this have now or have at any time carried extra fat on your body you know exactly what I am talking about. Every medical anything. Every ache or pain. Each headache or tummy trouble. Anytime the baby nurse takes out the “fat” BP cuff to use on your happily pregnant arm–for God’s sake! Just stop that. Let the Mamma be happy for a half a minute, will ya?!?–the looks, the digging questions, the judgement. All cause a huge heaping helping of self doubt.

Really. Is it any wonder I (I just typed “we”, but this is on me, so here I stand, heart in hand!) doubt myself when for so long clearly any and all of my issues were essentially my fault and my fault alone?

Right?

Right?!?

excuse me for a minute while I take a few deep breaths and go to my happy place

Wrong. Humans are complex creatures and sometimes we carry burdens that we did not create, that we were never meant to carry. For some of us, that burden happens to be visible. When I have the wherewithal to have a sense of humour about it I think of it as my fat suit of armour. I know the truth.

Anyhoo …

Where was I? Oh, yeah. Be nice to people! If someone is doing something and they seem happy and excited or slightly anxious and excited (ANXCITED!) and they are brave enough or trusting enough to share that with you or be open publicly about it, support them. Ask if they are happy about it. Encourage them to go for it. Maybe check in now and then in a non-judge-y way and see how it’s going.

I don’t know.

All I do know is that when I am having doubts and someone swoops in to immediately say the worst of the stuff I am thinking about me (or it or whatever) or point out how difficult a thing is or how they could never give up x, y, z … well, let me get straight to the point (HAH! Have you met me?!) it isn’t helpful. Not even a little bit.

No one really wants to suffer for their art-or for their heart!

So, what is this all about?

Well, to sum up, be nice to people, not just nice–kind. Think before you speak. Certainly, be careful with your say-it-right-out-loud words. Listen more. Pay attention to what you are thinking. Maybe do a double check now and then when you think you have that internally screaming thought and/or eye roll under wraps, and make sure it isn’t written all over your face.

Mind you, if that’s 100% you, by all means, you be you. That is important.

You’ll understand, of course, when I don my eye roll deflector.

Oh, just one more thing–my break is over!

Christmas, Naturally.

It was a very rainy and windy weekend, but for a little while today the rain stopped and I went out to run a few errands.

First stop was at the local farmer’s market which is undergoing major renovations, so it looks at once dilapidated and delightful. It’s confusing, really. I can no longer even imagine what it will look like in the end.

There was a point last year around this time when it stared to feel cozy and nice, but yesterday the makeshift roof was leaking and dripping rainwater on all the things.

I looked around for a minute at the nice, simple homemade, natural wreaths, with their red ribbons and berries, then at the winter holiday planter boxes filled with evergreen boughs, glittery twigs, ribbons and bright red ornaments (which I was coveting, if I’m being honest) and pickles (yes, that’s right) and it just felt odd, but I digress …

Where was I?

Oh, yes.

Outside, where I parked the car on the new makeshift (?) parking lot there was a table filled with plain evergreen wreaths. They were so festively fragrant I wanted to just stand there the whole time. I took a photo to try and capture it. Can’t you just about smell Christmas?

Then just before entering the building there was another table covered in these gorgeous, bright red, bunches of berries. I don’t know what these berries are, but I know I want all of them. They look so festive, don’t they? These were used in some of the wreaths and planter boxes inside the market.

I have always found the idea of a simple Christmas very appealing.

Every year we say we will keep it low key and simple and we typically do a good job of not going over the top, but when I see things like naked Christmas wreaths and – what I am going to call – winter berries, I am convinced that I would love nothing more than a house in the middle of the woods, filled with the people I love, a real Christmas tree decorated with our treasures and memories and a few homemade additions from nature, and an honest-to-goodness old fashioned Christmas.

That’s the problem with simple. It never really is, is it?

Wordless Wednesday: Advice From A Children’s Book Edition

The More We Get Together The Happier We’ll Be

We are not at home this weekend, but we are together and that makes me …


We are spending our weekend in Moncton, NB to celebrate a birthday and since it is pretty chilly outside we are making an effort to thoroughly enjoy …


We made an effort to get out for a bit today and wound up at one of our favourite places – Chapters!

With a new Star Wars movie merely weeks away from being released into theatres, the merchandising is at its peak. Chapters has a tonne of fun new things for Star Wars fans – young and old – and a really cool selection of Star Wars themed books. There is even an adult colouring book! I mean really. How awesome is this?

Light Sabre Mandala Star Wars
We found what we wanted and needed. Then we bought what we needed and left the Millenium Falcon Bluetooth speaker and somehow bid the two foot tall talking Yoda adieu.

Daddy-O took our purchases to the car (along with Thing 1’s hoodie and my fleece jacket, because it was a thousand degrees in this particular Chapters today) and we went to find a spot where we could sit inside the very crowded Starbucks.

We walked to the back of the store to where Starbucks is located and we all agreed it was very strange to see the windows which used to gaze upon Crystal Palace – and a whole lot of natural light – completely blackened by the walls of the gigantic retailer that now occupies the space. That’s going to have to be fixed because holy darkness! It didn’t help that there were also a couple of lights out.

We found a table and asked our table neighbours if they could spare a chair. They were happy to oblige and we were very thankful. So we sat and waited for Daddy-O to return.

As soon as he was back we ordered two for one hot chocolates for the kiddos and two for one Praline Chesnut lattes for the parents. The hot chocolate was a hit as usual and we liked the lattes which we were trying for the first time. Yum!

This was supposed to be a coffee date. Just the adults. An hour or so alone with decadent Christmassy coffees. Solving the problems of the world. Making plans. Just the two of us.

You know what they say about plans …

Oh well.

After recent world events (that I definitely cannot solve alone) I could instantly think of about eighty-seven things worse than our date turning into a family affair.

One coffee was all I needed.


Two made it a date.


Four made it family fun.

Who am I to argue with that Math?

How was your Saturday?

Silent Saturday (A Weekend Twist On Wordless Wednesday)

Every year we visit Moncton, New Brunswick for Thanksgiving weekend.

Every year – at some point during the weekend – we make a point of going for our Thanksgiving Nature Walk.

This year was no exception and we had a great little trek. We were not in a hurry, the leaves were really beautiful in their new autumn colours, and there were all kinds of little creatures to appreciate.

We stopped to take a few pictures and I noticed there were a few Dragonflies on a nearby picnic table.

I was intrigued by them and hoped to get a decent photo after we snapped a few silly selfies of our little thankful family.

The wings of this Dragonfly remind me of a Frank Lloyd Wright design.

Can’t you just picture a window with a little rectangle of red stained glass?

Dragonfly on picnic table

We Like The Moon! (‘Cause It Is Close To Us.)

Behold, the Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Moon!

img_2194

Oh? That’s not what it’s called?

Huh.

Well it should have been!

My photos – hard earned, mind you – don’t even come close to doing this situation justice.

img_2196

If you could know how long it took to get one half-decent photo, you would laugh. Or cry.

I nearly did.

Mostly because of the beauty of the night, though.

Did you go chasing after the perfect shot of the amazing Super Blood Moon in September? How did your photos turn out?

Why is it that our eyes can see it so clearly and so gigantic and yet when we look through the lens of a camera it is suddenly puny and not at all the image we are trying to convey?

Do you know?

Why?

It is all an illusion. Isn’t that amazing?

Our brains want everything to be awesome! Logic doesn’t always provide what we want.

Here is an explanation of why we can’t capture the Moon unless we have very fancy photography equipment.

Oh well. Even though I know it is an illusion, I am sure when the next Super Moon event rolls around, I’ll be excitedly rounding up the Things, checking the moonrise times, charging my iPhone, grabbing my camera, and trying yet again to capture the moon.

Maybe it’s the romantic notion that I can get something really special if the conditions are just right. Maybe it’s all my exposure to George Bailey and his promises of lassoing the moon. Maybe, every now and then, I simply must give in to my childlike wonder of celestial things. Maybe the (somewhat futile) exercise of photographing the moon is about more than the final product.

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps …

Oh, science! You may be right. I may be crazy, but (as Billy Joel sang) it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for.

 

Sweet Sunflower Snacks (A Pictorial Snack Tutorial)

Did you know you can cut an apple almost all the way through, pop out the core, let the flower petals fall open, then add a dollop of peanut butter and a few mini chocolate chips, to make a delicious and nutritious sunflower?

You can!

See?

Isn’t that fun? It is a favourite around here, especially in Fall, when the Nova Scotian apples are at their absolute best. Delicious!

Easy, right?

Totally.

You can use what you like best, of course, but I tend to use a Golden Delicious Apple, Natural Peanut Butter*, and gluten free mini chocolate chips. You only need a few chocolate chips. They are chocolate chips! They seem to have a magical power over kids. If they find 2 in a mini muffin they’re thrilled, so I just go with what I have worked so hard to achieve. Happiness!

So, what do you think? Do you think your kids would like to try a Sweet Sunflower Snack?

I am willing to bet they would.

What is your favourite snack food? Do your kids have special snacks after school?

Let’s talk about it!

If you give this a try, I’d love to hear what you think.

Oh, just one more thing! I nearly forgot!!

Look!

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It’s a teeny tiny Thing 2 enjoying a Sweet Sunflower Snack a few years ago! Aww!

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This small Corelle bowl might be the ideal serving dish for this snack. Notice how it helps the apple slices keep the flower shape, while containing the Peanut Butter? That’s better than the larger plate for presentation. (Though the larger plate was best for an after school snack with extra Things!) I also like the mix of white chocolate and dark chocolate chips here. It seems more flower-like, to me.

*Of course, if you have a peanut allergy you can use another nut butter or a soy butter in its place. Still yummy!