Thursday, February 28, 2013

My Heart, Sloths and Acedia

As I mentioned, but did not describe in my previous blog post, this past Sunday's message at church was a life changing one. For the past few weeks, I have been really struggling with my self-worth and my purpose in life. These feelings always coincide with how things are going at home with my girlies... and these past few weeks have been rough. For no particular reason, just hard. I found myself easily irritated, very short, impatient and wishing I was anywhere else except at home with my kids. My girlies obviously don't respond positively to my demeanor, reacting negatively thus causing the cycle to continue. Then, I feel like crap and wonder if there is purpose in what I'm doing, leading me to spiral down into a deep pit of self-pity and unhappiness. The title of the message on Sunday was "Stop Your Grumbling" and the premise was simply that... stop complaining. How can we display, demonstrate and give love if we are in a constant state of dissatisfaction, oppression and resentment? This really struck a chord with me and my heart began to open up a little... causing my tear ducts to ripple open and spill over onto my make-up streaked cheeks (I did not look attractive at the end of this service... yikes). The point was to simply be happy in the moment... to not wish it away, to not escape mentally from whatever it was before you but to ask God to change, unfold and sculpt your heart into something better... something willing, unrestricted and jovial. I did just that. My job right now is to raise my kids... it is to be the best mom I can, day in and day out. Motherhood doesn't stop when kids aren't listening, or Annie's a grumpy, red cheeked little babe, or Isla is a bag of sass... it continues on and it's in these moments where my unconditional, supportive, teaching love is needed the most. I want, more than anything, my girls to know they are loved, cherished, valued, respected, dignified and supported, no matter what. And that starts with me... how I treat them, how I respond to their individual needs and wants, how and what I engage them with etc... I know I can't be perfect, but I want to be the best ME I can be for them. I also understand that, like any job, there are good and bad days, but the good days need to outweigh the bad, and a lot of that comes from presenting a positive attitude and treating them as I though I want to be there with them... as though there is no place in the world I would rather be than at home with them, pouring out my love. And it's amazing that once I started to think like that, my heart believed it. And my actions displayed it.
Today, I met a dear friend for a 'mall walk' and a coffee. And despite the slight distraction of our 5 kiddos, I managed to tell her about this sermon and it's affect on my little heart. She then sent me this link to a blog that she follows. Scott Tolhurst was her pastor when she was a child and he continues to pastor in BC. This post really is eye opening... we've all heard of the 7 deadly sins but his depiction and explanation of 'sloth' really expanded my knowledge of this particular sin. He made me think of it in such a different way... not laziness but more of a "distraction" or as he calls it, acedia. It's very similar to what I heard on Sunday and it really is worth a read. It solidified my desire to really revel in each moment and not just be physically present.
Being a mom is hard. Really hard. And most times, it's not rewarding. But why are we doing it? We're doing it because we love our kids... unbridled, protective, deep deep love. And we want them to be the best versions of themselves. And that's a tough thing to teach them... we need to inspire them, discipline them and teach them how to be functioning, contributing members of society. The reward comes later. And on the days that I forget this (believe me, I know those days will come), I will come back to this post and the post from Scott and remember the words of my pastor and the importance of being present, always. And finding a way to truly enjoy each and every moment I have with my girls.

*wow. that was far more passionate then I envisioned when I started this*.

Monday, February 25, 2013


Yesterday was an incredibly emotional day for me. Annie, my baby, turned one. I spent the morning at church, reflecting on the past year and how ridiculously insanely fast it has gone by. For parts of this year, I feel as though I experienced it at a distance. I remember the first year of Isla's life and mentally documenting each and every little moment... the day she cut her first tooth, the day she smiled, the first time she crawled and the list goes on. With Annie, it's difficult for me to pinpoint these moments and when precisely they occurred. This makes me sad. By no means does it say that I love Annie any less (the thought of this makes me hurt) but it just says that life is busy. Life with 2 girlies is a whirlwind... a daily dose of distractions that really pull me away from being totally present in each moment with Annie. After listening to a heart-wrenching, heart-changing message from our Pastor, I understood that I need to re-open my heart to the little things. And celebrate them like I am experiencing this all for the first time. The thought also hit me that this could possibly be the last time I celebrate my child's first birthday. Soaking in the day was really my focus, and of course, loving my baby like crazy.

This year with Annie has been a difficult one. And yet, the best year yet. Transitioning from one baby to two was a struggle for me. A tug-of-war of sorts... with myself, with Isla and with finding balance. But our lives were forever changed on February 24th, 2012 and for this, I am so utterly grateful. Annie is a captivating baby... one look into her beautiful eyes and she's got you. Her ample, toothless smile makes my heart melt every time. She is now a crawler, a stander (assisted by me, furniture) and still a mediocre sleeper, at best. Her appetite is ferocious... there is no food Annie has met that she doesn't like. I pray this continues into her toddler years. Her personality is emerging as the days go by. She can be coy and introverted but can also be the life of the party. She is an extremely tactile child... she explores and discovers her world through touching and feeling. I am head over heels in love with her and am looking forward to the next year of her blossoming life.

We celebrated the big day with family. Her community of loved ones showered her in adoration and kindness. We are blessed. We had a lovely dinner, opened her gifts (our family has incredible fashion sense!) and sang to her. She went to town on her cupcake and by the end of the night, she was a grumpy tired little one year old. She had a lovely day!

our homemade decorations

my favorite picture of the day *note her special birthday shirt, complete with drool stains

getting giggles from Auntie Sue Sue


Annie, the abacus lover

her and tissue paper were best friends!

pure excitement

and now, determination (*note Isla's little hands... she was so proud of her little sister)

a little unsure...

and now, it's all hers!

There are no words.

Happy Birthday to Annie-Roo. Xo!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I Am Spartan!

So, as some of you know, I was hoping to do a triathlon this summer. And, again, as some of you know, that plan has changed. When I made that my fitness goal, I didn't investigate the logistics of such a challenge. After doing my research, I have realized that both finances and lack of time as caused me to change my goal. At first, this was really hard for me to let go of. I felt as though I was disappointing myself and letting others down. I did not want to be a quitter. In the mean time, I met a lovely lady at the gym (Cheryl) and she introduced me to Spartan Races. *Spartan Races are held around the world and are essentially a series of obstacles in a pre-determined distance.* I had, at this point, signed up for the Spartan Sprint (5 km, 15+ obstacles) race being held in Edmonton on June 29th. Cheryl mentioned that she had signed up for the Spartan Super (14 km, 21+ obstacles) race being held in Red Deer on September 7th. Immediately I knew that I was going to commit to training for the Spartan Super. A 14 km distance will be a massive challenge for me... endurance, endurance, endurance! AND, within those  14 km, there will be 21 plus obstacles that must be tackled! Examples of these include: hill runs with weights, army crawls through muddy trenches below barbed wire, burpies and the like. I am BEYOND excited for this and am ready for the physical challenge. Starting in April, Cheryl and I will be training with a personal trainer once a week for 2 months. He has participated in these Spartan races before and knows exactly what they are about. He will build us up, push us to our limits and make us work. I can hardly wait to begin. So, there you have it. My new fitness goal :)

For your viewing pleasure, I have included this Spartan Race Promo Video. Enjoy! And help me get fired up by keeping me accountable to my training. Pretty Please.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

2 Ingredient Pancakes!

As I was surfing various food blogs (which is for sure my favorite kind of blog to read), I came across 2 ingredient pancakes. I love pancakes but rarely eat them as they seem both a) way to much work to make and b) they sit funny in tummy afterwards. But when I came across these, I thought: "These are easy and are made from 2 of my favorite things anyway"! So this morning, I made them. THEY WERE DELICIOUS. AND EASY. AND SAT GREAT IN MY TUM TUM!

1/2 cup of mashed banana (which was one medium sized banana)
2 eggs

Mash up the banana very well. Add the 2 eggs and mix well. Heat up a frying pan on medium to low heat and either spray the pan or oil it (I used 1/8 teaspoon of coconut oil). Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, pour the batter onto the pan and cook. It was about a minute or 2 each side. Recipe yielded 4 pancakes.

I topped my pancakes with 1/4 teaspoon maple syrup and 1 teaspoon of almond butter. MMMMM.

They were so tasty! Definitely a once a week breaky for sure!

Other toppings to try in the future:

chocolate chips (mixed into the batter)

*Note: they are not fluffy like regular pancakes. They are thin but have a nice texture and a delightful banana flavor.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Fast Flavors

For Christmas, I received a cookbook entitled "Fast Flavors" by chef Michael Smith. And what can I say?? It is AMAZING! I find the recipes to be simple, quick, easy to follow and ingredients that I typically stock around the house anyway. I have made a few dishes now and each one has been received quite well by the family. Especially me.

Ones I've tried include:
  • Sweet Potato Steak Hash (cooking as we speak)
  • Apple Chicken with Rosemary Vanilla Chutney (one of my most favorite ever... delicious)
  • Marmalade Sweet Potato Smash (I am digging sweet potatoes lately)
  • Caribbean Rice and Beans (a vegetarian dish that was pleasing to the meat lover in my home)
Next on the list to try: Roasted Sausage, Peppers and Double Fennel 

I'll let you know how tonight's dish goes over.

Monday, February 4, 2013