Sunday, May 14, 2017

Is it a competition or can we all just be fabulous!

Sometimes its easy to complain about how difficult being a mother is. When you haven't slept a full night in 4 years, your rational thinking can be at a minimum. Also the never ending Pinterest posts by moms who make magical kingdoms in their homes with sandwiches shaped like Disney princesses, can make the rest of us feel less than fabulous because many of us struggle sometimes just to keep our kids alive. Comparisons between moms start the minute we find out we are pregnant.

Things like:
1) How did you tell your husband?
2) She's one of those "cute" pregnant girls. Well I'm not. I'm just one of those giant ones?
3) She is carrying high. She is carrying low.
4) Is she going to breast feed or bottle feed.............and ON and ON it goes.

Ladies....ALL of us mothers are absolutely fabulous. Our decisions are our own and I beg of you to stop the comparisons and celebrate each of us for the unique qualities we bring to mother hood and the valuable lessons we teach each other.

We can GROW humans. Do you know how insane that is? We don't even have to think about it, our bodies just do it automatically! We might not look or feel the same after doing this, but that's ok. An "insane ability" outranks "looking good" every time! Whenever I feel down about my buddha belly and tiger strips I think "WOW. This body figured out how to grow 2 hearts, 20 fingers, 20 toes and 2 "you-know-what's" (I have 2 boys..need I say more). Amazing.

Navigating through this life is hard and when they say it takes a village they sure mean it. Women provide so much support for each other and if we could stop comparing ourselves and just learn from each other this world would be such an awesome place.

Today I raise my glass to all the women in my life and all the women I haven't met yet. You guys are awesome and thank you for being a part of my village. I challenge all of you to sit down and truly think about each of the women in your life and the lessons they have taught you. Its so refreshing to see that each person has their unique quality that contributes to my life and my kids lives. Cheers!

Some have passed; Most are present; 
ALL have touched me and helped me to develop into the woman and mother I am. 

"Always Look on the Good Side of Life". Nothing could break Gram's spirit. When they say "Go with the Flow" they were talking about Grams. Like Gram's I have a happy household of boys and a dog and I like to think she funnels her wisdom to me as I go along through life. My little family is very similar to hers; however, if my children put a snake on my front and back doorsteps like my dad and uncle did.....I will not be nearly as GO WITH THE FLOW as grams was.
Yes children that is your warning. Don't even try it.

There are very few people in this world that work as hard as my grandma. When I picture her it almost always includes pant legs rolled up, curlers in her hair with a rag scrubbing something till it's spick and span. Her strength is something I will always cherish and draw from.

Music....card making....quilting...decorating. Mom's right brain is so much bigger than most people's. I tend to be Left brain dominant, which I got from my dad, but lately I have been trying to tap into my right brain and further develop the qualities from my mom that I appreciate so much. So friends you can expect some home made gifts coming to you over the next few years. They may not be square and perfect, but they will be made with love (and you can thank my mom for them) :)

Whether it's going trampolining for birthday outings or Skydiving, I hope that I can be as adventurist as my dear mother-in-law! Being I'm an anxious nelly it can take a lot to get me to do adventurous things, but I have a feeling as the years go by Lois will convince me to do them. I look forward to the all the things I'm going to experience that I would have missed out if I didn't have her in my life.

Renee is basically me born 3 years earlier. We buy the same clothes, even when we aren't shopping together. We have the same thoughts and feelings. Our laughs sound the same. All I can say is that I don't believe it is only twins that have ESP. I'm pretty sure my sister and I have this and I think she is my soulmate. I value everything about her and I don't need to say anymore because since we have ESP she already knows that I think she's the coolest. 

From Crossfit to renovations, I love seeing how when she gets her mind set on something nothing stops her. Since Dani has entered my life, I have learnt that my only constraints are the ones that I put on myself. More than once she has inspired me to take on things that I wouldn't normal even think were possible. Like the Regina half marathon. Dani you rock :)

Her desserts and sangrias are nothing short of heaven. She knows everyone and somehow has connections all over the city to make girls night out fabulous. Carmen puts the F in fun. There are very few people that can get a party rocking the way Carms can. More than once I have come to tears laughing so hard with our heart to hearts over wine. So happy to call this lady my sister. 
 Put your pants on!

When I hear Myrna laugh, it feels like I'm transported back to the days of my youth. Going through all the same stages of life together is such a comfort to me. Having someone to call and talk about kids or school or books or TV. Having the ability to support each other through life is such a gift and bonds us together forever.  

Honestly my oldest memories of Kyla was how every time we went to Shellbrook she would orchestrate the cousin group to pool our money to buy grandma flowers. Over the years, I have gotten closer and closer to this lovely lady and cherish her to the bone. Any gift or card or conversation reminds me that there are people in my life who truly know and understand me.
Everything Kyla does she does with all her heart and I love that.   

These are simply the women that I'm related to. My lists could go on and on forever, but my fingers are tired and I need to go hang out with my kids and hubby. Cheers to you all.
You are amazing mothers and I wouldn't be the person I am today without your influence.
Happy mothers day :) 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Another Year Down for this Worry Wart

"Just stop worrying"
"Dear Lord......You're a genius....I've never thought of trying that to cure my anxiety...."
 ...............said no-one with anxiety EVER!!

Tonight is the Eve of my 28th birthday (fine...fine...35th birthday but man 28 was a good year). I'm one of those weirdos that LOVES having birthdays but for some reason when I hit 25 I had a tough one. I had dreams of being wiser and more confident and more useful, so on the eve of every birthday since, i've set a goal for something that I can work towards for my next birthday.  

So what did I work on this last year you ask?.....Have I stopped world hunger? No...Have I ran for office, so that I can stop world hunger? No....I finally dealt with the big ugly elephant in my life called ANXIETY. I decided to share my experience with this damn problem, so that you can be better equipped to support someone who struggles. And believe me helping does not EVER involve telling them to calm down or stop worrying. Just don't say that. Ever.

Anxiety sucks. Anxiety is so much more than what people realize. It's not just "worrying". You are more than just anxious...sometimes you know why you feel the way you do..sometimes you have no idea.....And it is not something you can simply wish away. The absolute worst thing you can say to someone with anxiety is "Calm down" or "Don't worry". Believe me, if they could do that. They would. 

Worrying has always come very natural to me. As my brother once said..most people who are walking along on a cold winter's day would come across a patch of ice and reminisce about playing hockey on a pond as a kid....In my mind, I feel anger at the home owner who has ice on their sidewalk and didn't salt it, because there is a good chance that my child, husband or I, will fall, hit our heads and die. You laugh...I know I can hear you...but that is honestly where my mind goes and it goes there automatically. I can't control it.

I never really knew I had anxiety, or at least I never called it that. I'm sure it was always vaguely present though as I was always a mother hen of sorts. Even now, I have a reputation at work for being somewhat of a meteorologist and highway hotline expert. If I hear the words freezing rain, my back stiffens, my hair stands on end, my heart races and I start to manifest icy highways in my mind and start to panic about getting home ASAP. 

I'm a chronic rule follower. You should hear me yell at my husband for going past the buoys at the lake. It is somewhat of a family joke, but I stand by my view that buoys are there for a reason! And that reason is so that boats don't drive over your head. So NEVER go past the buoys! This is also why I have NEVER been stopped by a police officer (and I'm 34! that's an accomplishment). I don't speed, I NEVER park where I'm not supposed to. In fact, I often experience significant anxiety about parking and if someone offers to drive on one of our coffee dates, I pretty much always let them, simply because then I don't have to worry about parking. 

The first time I identified that anxiety was problem for me was about two years ago. Our two year old son broke his femur at his day home, while I was at work. I had an extremely difficult time dealing with the fact that my child went through such a painful event and I hadn't been there to comfort him when it happened. Sam was a champ and adapted to his monster body cast almost immediately. He never really looked back after we got home. The day that stinky disgusting blue cast came off he was walking around like nothing happened. For me the experience hung on a bit longer. Gaining the courage to go back to work after his accident was the most difficult thing I ever had to do. Anxiety had become a normal part of me by that time.

I've been lucky. I have never had a full blown panic attack, but many people I know have. My anxiety is more of a nagging feeling that takes forever to go away. It shows up as a nervous gut feeling followed by flushing (I can feel the blood drain from my face when it starts coming on). I often feel like I could climb a wall and I have a heck of a time concentrating on what people are talking about because my mind goes a mile a minute. I have learned to adapt and carry on a conversation to hide that I'm feeling this way, but it takes a lot of energy and strength to hide it. Sometimes this can last a few minutes. Sometimes it lasted a few days. Luckily I don't feel like this all the time anymore. It comes in waves and in the past year I have been experiencing it much much less. Thank God.

The changes I made took a year. Tackling this beast was so tough, but I'm so happy that I did it and I did it my way.

What worked for me......
1) I started talking about it and calling it anxiety. A few times I have told my husband what is passing through my mind in the course of two minutes when I'm experiencing my heightened anxiety and he usually looks at me wide eyed and says wonder you're tired. When I feel it coming, I tell people. Sometimes they understand...sometimes they don't, but just vocalizing it seems to take away its power. 

2) I read lots! I've read several books about anxiety specifically, but also about meditation and self love.  If you or someone you love struggles, buy them the Anxiety Phobia Workbook. This book actually changed my whole perspective on life and was the start of me getting better. 

3) I started walking almost every day. I didn't put pressure to do it EVERY day, because pressure was the last thing I needed. I've always been active, mostly with running but since it was moderate-high intensity I only did it a few times a week. This year I changed to 30 min of fast paced walking most days and it has made a huge difference for me. 

4) Restorative Yoga. I'm not going to lie the first time I went, I almost started laughing because it was quite hokey and my mind is very scientifically inclined. If there isn't scientific proof or a peer reviewed study to support something I have a hard time allowing myself to believe things. I had a VERY hard time imaging some bright light was coming into my body through my breath and into my hips and spine and rejuvenating me, but by golly after that first session I slept better than I had in 5 years and my anxiety was gone for the whole week after. Since October, I have only missed 3 sessions. Learning to breath and learning to silence that monkey mind of mine has been life changing.

5) A friend told me about a speaker she once saw. This lady struggled with confidence in her abilities to do things. What she said related VERY well to anxiety. When I get that anxious voice telling me something bad is going to happen. I acknowledge it. I thank it for trying to keep me safe. And then I tell it to sit the F*** down because it is crowding out all the other voices in my head. This has been SO therapeutic for me. It's allowed me to pay homage to my anxiety. To allow myself to feel it (instead of ignore it and get annoyed with it). I can recognize that it does have a purpose and the best intentions, but that it doesn't know when to back off. 

6)  I started some meds. I bucked this for several months, but after many many many phone calls with my pharmacist sister I decided to try it and I really do think it has helped. I think the combination of everything has done wonders. I feel the best I have felt in years. 

7) The final thing I did was really concentrate on taking care of the relationships in my life. I am surrounded by some of the most fascinating and truly lovely people. I always knew that both Brenen and I had great families, but seeing the way they all came together when Sam broke his leg left a mark on me. I have never felt so loved and supported. Parents, siblings, aunts, cousins, friends, coworkers and complete strangers rallied around us. AND THIS WAS JUST A BROKEN LEG! It's so easy for us to take people for granted. I know it's not intentional but it happens. One thing we can be intentional about though, is being sure to spend quality time with them. 

I am so proud of the work I've done this year. I'm so proud that I have been able to talk about anxiety and to recognize that this is something I struggle with. I'm so happy and grateful that I'm here for my 35th year to enjoy all those people in my life. Sometimes I view anxiety as a gift. It allows me to see the value in every day. It allows me to take awesome care of my kids and husband. It forces me to pay attention to what happens around me and how every little thing we do impacts others in both good and bad ways. It has forced me to be more reflective and mindful and to learn about myself and others.

For next year, I might go back to a superficial goal because 34 was a busy (growing my hair out sounds good right about now). Whatever I end up doing.... Cheers to 35!

Friday, March 3, 2017

What's in a name?

“I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I've never been able to believe it. I don't believe a rose WOULD be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.”
Today I will grace you with: 1) a funny story, proving that it is essential to have a well-thought-out name and to make sure you ALWAYS google everything before naming anything ever; and 2) some thoughts on getting older (or becoming seasoned as I like to say).

Funny story: Last week I had my blog all ready to go. All the links were triple checked and my cousin Deena did hours of work to get it looking pretty and.....What happened you ask? Why didn't we get to hear from Lea until this week? Well, right before I decided to share it, I googled my blog to see what it looks like to the average Joe. To my horror, google showed me page after page after page of a German Pornstar (you couldn't even make this stuff up if you wanted to!). Needless to say, I never did find my blog and I did some major rethinking of the name from there. So I'd like to start by agreeing with L.M Montgomery that a rose by any other name may smell as sweet; however, a name can evoke many images in ones mind that are almost impossible to erase (believe me I've tried)......So you are now reading "Life on the Seasoned Side" and I have spared you from having to have a serious discussion about your googling habits with your spouse :) You're welcome.

Thoughts on getting older: (Also a book review of "A Man Called Ove" by Fredrick Backman) I recently joined an online book club (The Blended Blog designed by my awesome blogger cousin Deena, which you should follow and take part if you love books like I do). The book is about an older man, whose wife passes away and how he struggles to stay present in his life, when all he wants is to be in the afterlife with her.

Each night when I went to read this book, I felt like I was sitting watching a movie of my grandpa Harvey. The author captured so carefully the unique characterisics of men from his generation. Our society has changed so much and I worry that we are slowly losing the wisdom and skills of a generation of men who could honestly build anything from anything. I'm not saying that our current men aren't totally awesome and handy. (Nothing makes me happier than seeing my husband and sons pull out their tool kits and matching tool belts and fixing random stuff in the house); however, there was something unique about my father's and grandfather's generations. Their basic life skills were so strong and the didn't have google and You Tube to help them through fixing something.

Anyone who knows me, has heard me speak of my Grams. She was such a strong influence in all her granddaughters lives and we were lucky to have her around during part of our adult years. I had the opportunity to listen to her stories and savour many of her stories about growing up and parenting. Because I had more life experience under my belt, I think I was really able to hear her stories and incorporate some of her wisdom into my life.

Unfortunately my grandpa passed away when I was just starting university, so I never knew him during my adult years. I really wish I could have known him better as adult. I feel like your 20s go by in a way where you don't really know who you are and you aren't necessarily prepared to think deeply about what your parents and grandparents have to offer. The real turning point for me was when I had my kids. I suddenly realized that there isn't an instruction manual and that our parents and grandparents had no idea what they were doing either. Teenagers reading this, read this line carefully: You truly will one day say: " Wow mom and dad were right when they said...Wait till you have kids".

Because this book evoked so many memories of my grandfather, it allowed me to really reflect on some of the values and things that we could learn from our older generation. The advancement of technology is awesome, without it I wouldn't be able to share these words with you now; however, there is something to be said for embracing some of those basic life skills that our grandfathers and fathers shake their heads that we can't do, such as back up a truck and trailer, or fixing a radiator or building a dresser from scraps of wood sitting in your yard.

Apparently this book has been made into a movie and this does concern me a little. I'm sure the movie is fine, but the fabulous thing about a book is that the Ove you envision while reading will probably look like your grandfather. The movie will probably ruin my visions of Ove. Ove (or Harvey to me) was a shorter man that smelled like aftershave with combed back flowy grey hair, who could fix or build anything that was put in front of him. My husband didn't read the book, but when I asked him to describe who he would have pictured, his Ove (or Jim) was a tall man with suspenders and thick snowy white hair watching a Blue Jay game, saying "Jesus Christmas" those Jays are having a good game. My heart smiled several times throughout this book, because I didn't know my grandfather when I was an adult and this gave me a chance to somewhat have a visit with him now that I am.

Last weekend my son went down to the basement and brought up the giant wooden monster truck that I took from Grams and Grandpas house before it was sold. The hub caps made out of prescription pill bottle lids made me smile. Grandpa Harvey seems to live on in the hearts and minds of his grandkids and great grandkids and a big part of that is because he built so many things with those two hands. The bed I slept in my entire childhood life. The playhouse my brother and sister and I played in as a kids. The doll bunkbeds that matched our own bunk beds that he built. The list could go on and on and on. I hope our generation will continue to embrace these types of skills so that our kids and grandkids will also have little reminders of our grandparents and the totally awesome generation they were and still are. 

Some favourite quotes from the book. 

" They say the best men are born out of their faults and that they often improve later on, more than if they'd never done anything wrong."

"If you didn't have anything to say one had to find something to ask. If there was one thing that made people forget to dislike one, it was when they were given the opportunity to talk about themselves"

"Men like Ove and Rune were from a generation in which one was what one did, not what one talked about."

Monday, February 20, 2017

Big Dreams

Wow I remember a few years ago...(Well lets face it...I'm ALMOST 35 so it is potentially more than a few years ago, but I'm in denial and will remain that way)...... I remember a few years ago, hearing about blogs and thinking "well this has got to be a fad. What could people possibly write that would be interesting enough to keep others tuned in". Well I would like to apologize to all bloggers out there. As the inter-web (as my husband calls it) has evolved I recognize now that the world is full of so many interesting people and that we are so lucky to have access to this huge diverse network and to learn from each other. To not contribute would be a disservice to the world (or at least to the small following of people I hope to eventually have). So I figure it's time to get with the program and join the blogosphere :)

Let me give you some insight into why I decided to start a blog.

Reason #1
Reading and learning are probably the two things I love most in the world (besides my family of course). I hate to admit it, but my husband and two boys know that if I have a book in my hand, chances are I'm listening to them with one ear and will likely miss half the conversation. I went to university for 8 years and I would go back for eight more if life didn't require me to be an adult and help support my family. I have searched for a job that involves simply reading books all day and getting paid good money, but I'm pretty sure that job only exists in my dreams. My TO-READ list is almost longer than my already READ list (And I have READ a lot), and it grows day by day by day by day. Dr Seuss once said: "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go". So what does this have to do with a blog you ask? Well I find other people's words and thoughts SO interesting, so I thought just maybe other people might find mine interesting too.

Reason #2
I'm a Registered Dietitian who is overweight. Yup you heard that right. I'm an overweight Registered Dietitian (I will probably make a post later about the difference between a Nutritionist and a Registered Dietitian because speaking with any Dietitian you will find out that this is an important distinction for us, but we won't get into that just I give people advice about what to eat, when to eat, how to eat and I am darn good at my job. And yet I'm overweight. I'm sure I'm not what my clients expect to see when they show up to see me, but I feel like the moment they walk out they get it. I've lived what many of my client's have lived. I was thin my whole life......well I was thin until I wasn't thin, and then I was thin again and then I wasn't thin again. I eat well. I am active. I am healthy. I am overweight. I am so much more than my weight. I think I have finally reached a place in my life where I can let go of putting so much darn energy into "losing the weight" and just BE.

My energy is now going into the things that I love to do instead. I love cooking and eating healthy delicious foods and experimenting with different ingredients.  I also love eating not so healthy delicious foods on occasion.  I love teaching my two little kids about food and cooking. I love yoga especially restorative yoga; it truly does something for my soul. I love running. In 2010, I ran a half marathon and finished before the full marathon guy finished! (And on a side note, after a year of training almost daily, I didn't lose a single pound). It was one of the biggest accomplishments of my life. I'm an overweight Dietitian and I hope that giving people a small window into my life and my thoughts and my knowledge will help change the unfair treatment of people who struggle with weight.

Reason #3
I recently watched a documentary called "Embrace" by Taryn Brumfitt. The message she is sending to the world is SO crucial and I want to be a part of a worldwide movement towards body acceptance. We need to learn how to "press pause" on all the messages we get bombarded with every fact I would argue that with social media it's pretty much every single hour.......we see messages implying that our bodies aren't good enough. We are constantly told we are not good enough. Our bodies are AMAZING! We need to calm our minds and listen to our bodies. Listen to our hearts and just BE. I want women to quit worrying about whether they look pregnant in that new shirt they just bought that they LOVE. I want them to wear the darn shirt and feel fabulous, instead of leaving it in their closet with the tags on for "someday" when their belly goes away.

MY BIG DREAM is for our future generation of girls AND boys, and 20 somethings, and 30 somethings, and 40, and 50, and 60+ somethings is to finally have people love themselves. That they can feel at peace. That they can love their minds. That they love their bodies. That they love their hearts. That they know they are good enough just the way they are.

A BIG dream from a CURVY Dietitian đź’š....but I'm up for the challenge....are you?