Life as a Party of Five

Where the inmates run the asylum

Get out of my head

Have you ever seen or thought of yourself in a particular way?  Or maybe you have told yourself that you can’t do something “because…”  Well, I hate to tell you, but I have the same disease!  I am my own worst enemy!

I have come to realize lately that I have a very old image in my head of what I should look like.  Sadly, this image is from about 12 – 13 yrs ago.  Back then I had a significantly different look to my body.  I was training regularly in Martial Arts, roller-bladed a lot with the hubby, and even took long walks along various trails in the area.

Since this time, I have given birth to four (4) children.  I now have realized that I can’t expect myself to be that person from so long ago.  Yes, I could put in lots of hours training in various forms of fitness and adjust my diet.  Even with all of that though, I still would not be that person.  I have learned so much over the last few years that I could never be that person again.

The “April of old” didn’t have children.  She didn’t know the joy (and anguish) that comes with being a parent.  She didn’t know what it was like to work and be relied upon to help with supporting the household.  She didn’t know what it meant to be a business owner.  And most of all, she didn’t know the wonderful feeling that comes with realizing that others look up to you as a source of inspiration.

So many times, we get stuck in our heads.  We see versions of ourselves that are unrealistic.  I mean, haven’t we all thought to ourselves at one point or another “if only….”?  If only I were taller, shorter, thinner, etc.  

I have decided that it is now time to love the person I am, not the person I used to be.  This includes all my perfect imperfections. 

Since taking up running 3 weeks ago, I have noticed huge changes!  It is now easier to get up on the mornings of my run.  That doesn’t mean that I haven’t tried talking myself out of running…trust me, my head tries really hard some days.

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I have also discovered that I have a new found energy.  I feel more alert that I used to.  My running has become MUCH easier.  I can honestly say that Day 1 was by far the worst day ever!

The most amazing part of my journey into running so far has got to be the number of people asking me about how my running is going and then telling me that I am an inspiration to them.

I have had people ask what it’s like to run with various conditions (knee and back pain, and weak ankles for example).  I run with them every day.  The only way that I am going to overcome these obstacles, is by getting up off my tush and getting out there and hitting the pavement.  Nothing gets easier without some effort on your own part.

The biggest thing to remember is that your mind will give up before your body will.  I have had first hand experience with this recently.  I had my first big run today and stopped a few seconds short both times because of my head telling me that I couldn’t run any more.  I know now that I can do this.  I’m not saying that it is easy but it is certainly worth it. 
With all of that being said, please…

reintroduce myself

My name is April.  I am not a professional athlete.  I do not have any major sports endorsements.  I am a normal human being…okay, well my version of “Normal”.  I am a mom, wife, entrepreneur, Disney-loving, sing at the top of my lungs (and don’t care who hears me) person who runs (at a turtle pace).  But best of all, I am doing this for me!

I am building the ME that I can be proud of!

So to all of you who have cheered me on…Thank you!  I love you all so much.  Having your love and support helps me to get up and keep going.  Thank you to my husband, Jeff.  If it wasn’t for you “telling” me that we were going to run, I wouldn’t be out there pushing myself to become a better version of myself.  Thank you to my children.  You have given me proof that what I do sets a great example to you.  To Torin, my Saturday morning “running buddy”, you are an inspiration to me and I love our time we get to spend together because of this.

I might be doing this for me, but I can’t do it without all of you!

 

Much love,

A.

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New Year, New Me — Update

At the beginning of the year I posted that I would take steps to become a healthier person.  Seeing as July is about to end, I figured that now was as good a time as any for an update on how things were going.

They weren’t!   I have had a few conversations with my wonderful hubby and a couple of our mentors recently and discovered exactly how selfish I was.

Selfish..it’s a strong word, I know.  I have been so focused on taking care of everyone else, that I neglected my own needs.  I mean, how can I expect my children to eat healthy and become more active if I am not doing it too???

My hubby looked at me recently and said that he was going to start running again.  Then in the very same breath he changed his mind…”no, WE are going to start running”.  I wondered what hen was thinking!  ME… run????  Was he mad?  I have never been a “runner”!  Then he springs this great idea of doing a 5K.

He found me a couple of apps to help me get started.  I am using one of the Couch to 5K apps as well as Map My Run.  I put my headphones on with lots of fun, upbeat music and go.

At first I was not fond of the idea of running.  Let alone the thought of getting up early to do it.  I’m not going to lie…the first run (and 2 days after) SUCKED!!!!

I could barely walk.  I found parts of me I never knew existed or could hurt like that.  And I certainly was not looking forward to day 2.

Day 2 of running surprised me.  I wasn’t sure the night before that it would even happen.  I have to say that I was impressed at how much easier it was than day 1.  I didn’t hurt nearly as much and the amount of energy I had for the next 2 days was the.most I’ve had in years!

To finish out week 3 1 (day 3, today) I had a running buddy join me.  I was very impressed that my else at son got up at 7 a.m. on a Saturday (after being at camp all week) and tagged along.  Now for those of you who arr not familiar with him, he mostly sits and plays on electronics all day.

We kept a decent pace and averaged about 5 min/km.  All things considered I think that is a great start.  Torin, my son, enjoyed it so much he asked if he can run with me every Saturday.

I have even made the decision to continue running for me.  I also plan on doing one of the Disney marathons in 2018.

My advice for those out there who are reading this and tell themselves that there is NO WAY that they could ever do is is to TRY!  You will be amazed at what your head will tell you that you can’t do.

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Happy Birthday to … ME!

Well, once again, it is that time of year…I am officially another year older!

Keep Calm - Bday Girl

My birthday present to myself this year is to make myself healthier!  I am looking to take my weight back to what it was 15+ years ago (and YES, it is possible).  More importantly, I am looking to make BIG changes in the foods I eat.  This means that I will have to make my family healthier too (OH NO!…hahaha).  Even if it means that I have to drag them with me kicking and screaming!

I want to set a good example of how to be healthy for my children.  I want to show them that there is more to life than just electronic devices, and that food can be fun.

Those who know me, know how much I love to cook!  My biggest issue is TIME!  I work full-time out of town and we own a business.  Throw three kids who all have different tastes into the mix, and you have my crazy life!

I have been fortunate as of late that my eldest child, Torin (11), has been showing more interest in cooking.

I look forward to sharing my journey with all of you.

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Heavenly Birthday Wishes

Our family is sending birthday wishes to our angel, Kaitlyn Sierra.

It’s hard to believe that six years ago you were born into our hearts and Heaven.  Far too perfect for this world.  I think of you often, and will miss you always.

Happy Birthday my beautiful Angel!

Perfect little toes

Perfect little toes

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I have died and gone to HEAVEN!!!

If someone had told me that you could find the most delicious, mouthwatering, knock your socks off baked goods that contained NO artificial colours, I would say that you were lying.  On top of all of that, they are gluten-free, vegan, healthy, and (for me at least) local!

Well, believe me…it’s TRUE!

I was fortunate to have recently received a collection of complimentary treats from Kelly’s Bake Shoppe for testing purposes.  This collection consisted of four cookies, two cupcakes and one brownie.
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Now, no one in my family has tried anything vegan or gluten-free before.  This was a whole new experience for all five of us.  We had heard that some items that were made in this fashion didn’t taste like normal (overly processed) foods.  And people were right…they don’t taste the same.  In this case, they taste WAY better!

Our adventure started Kelly’s famous Skinny Cookie.  This cookie is made with no added sugar or flour.  Instead these creative geniuses  used roasted bananas.  I know…a cookie with no flour, or sugar, but made with banana???  We had the same initial thought ourselves, but let me tell you, after that first bite we were hooked!

I have a family of cookie lovers!  The best part for me was the fact that each member of my family asked if there was more of everything.

We also had the pleasure of trying three other cookies.  The World Peace, Chocolate Chip and the Snickerdoodle.

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The World Peace was almost like a trail mix cookie.  While this was a very tasty treat, this was not a winner for my boys.  They both said it was “okay” but they weren’t huge fans of this particular cookie.  The Snickerdoodle (which is one of my personal favourites) is the perfect combination of sweetness and chewiness.

The overwhelming winner in our house was the Chocolate Chip cookie!  Now, over the last 35 years, I’ve had my share of chocolate chip cookies.  I can honestly say that these are the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever tasted!

For our family, if we had to rate our favourite cookies in order it would be the Chocolate Chip, closely followed by the Snickerdoodle, then the Skinny Cookie and the World Peace.

The two cupcakes we had the pleasure of testing were the Black and White as well as June’s feature, Blueberry French Toast.

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I let my husband have the Blueberry French Toast cupcake, seeing as I’m not the world’s biggest fan of blueberries.  However, I did try some of the frosting and cupcake.  The frosting was light and airy with almost a hint of maple sugar.  The cupcake was a nice mix of blueberries and cinnamon.

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Now, the Black and White…that’s a little more my style.  This is heaven if you are a chocoholic like myself.  This chocolate cupcake with a fudge-like chocolate ganache center, vanilla frosting and more chocolate drizzled on top was simply amazing!  Not too sweet, super moist, and a little taste of heaven in every bite.

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One bite of the Mile High Brownie, and you understand why this is an award winning dessert!  Okay, I know I went on about how good the Black and White cupcake was…well guess what, it doesn’t hold a candle to this brownie!!!  Let’s put it this way, I warned my poor husband that if he didn’t grab his half it wouldn’t be around later for him.

We all know what a brownie tastes like…so how can you improve on perfection?  Beats the heck out of me how they did it, but they did!  Not only do you get a HUGE brownie, but it comes with vanilla frosting, another chunk of brownie, as well as more chocolate on top of it all!

This was by far our favourite of all of the treats we were fortunate enough to sample.  Other than the fact that my entire family could eat them, I love the fact that nothing is super, sickly sweet like most baked goods.

Many thanks again to Kelly & Erinn from Kelly’s Bake Shoppe in Burlington, Ontario for allowing my family to try some of your tasty treats!  I look forward to many more trips to your shop in the future.

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Oh my…how time flies when you’re having fun

It always amazes me at how quickly time flies.  When we are younger the days and years seem to go so slowly, but gradually over time it doesn’t seem to go slow enough.

Today I have the pleasure of celebrating 15 years with my (now official) husband!  I still remember the day we met like it was yesterday.  That fateful afternoon in Port Dover.  Meeting up at the Tim Hortons (before it moved locations) only to be told to not “sit on my little friend”.  I thought it was a rather odd comment as we walked to the car, but appreciated it once I fully understood.

I am a romantic at heart, and to find a stuffed teddy bear with a dozen roses on the front seat was a wondrous start to our many “Jeffventures” that would follow over the next 15 years.  For those of you who are unaware what a “Jeffventure” is, it is what happens when my hubby becomes involved with some form of a project.  Big or small, it always becomes an adventure.  You never know what will happen or be said, but know that it will be a memorable event!

We, like most couples, have had many good and bad times.  We have had our share of ups and downs, life’s curve-balls and the most joyous moments to be expected with loving each other.  I can honestly say that we have made (what some would consider) risky chances.  Some of them good.  Some of them not so much.  Through all of our decisions we learned a lot about ourselves as individuals and as a couple.

A lot of people have told me that since we just got married, I’m not allowed to celebrate this “anniversary”.  To them I say phooey!  I would celebrate every day if I could…but I think that would drive both of us (and everyone around us) crazy in the process.

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Jeff, I cherish every moment of our lives that we have shared together over the last 15 years.  I am very excited to see what new challenges and adventures the future holds for us.  You inspire me with your sheer determination that you attack each and every day with.  I love the uncanny way you can keep me calm in even the most stressful of situations.  You are the most positive, patient and understanding person I know.  I love you more and more each day! XOXO

To those who are reading this, I wish you much love in your life.  ❤

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Thankful

I realized recently that it has been a while since my last post on her.  During that time, things have been a little crazy.

There is always so much going on in life these days, that most of us stop to take the time to realize what we have to be thankful for.  Most people only take the time out of their busy lives to think about this at Thanksgiving time.  As a mom of three crazy kids, a wife, business owner and a full-time employee at another business, I know how life can get in the way.

I have realized recently exactly how blessed I really am!

I mean, I could be totally upset with how things don’t always go “according to plan”.  God knows that I’ve had enough lemons thrown my way even over the course of the last couple of years.  I could keep a lemonade stand in business for ages with all of those lemons.  Or make a life-time supply of Lemoncello (your choice).  It’s still not enough to get me down though.

I have the most amazingly supportive husband and children a woman could ask for.  I’m sure that I’ve likely driven them bonkers over the last bit, but they have always stood by my craziness and helped keep me “sane”.  There were countless times where I thought I wouldn’t be able to get through a situation, and somehow they showed me that I was strong enough to survive.

For this I will be eternally grateful!!  (Love you guys!!)

Next comes my family…now I know what you are thinking…I just thanked my “family”.  Well, now I’m talking about the REST of the family.  Without the love and support from Mom, Dad, Jacqui and Andrew, things would have been difficult too! There are other bodies I would like to list here, but there are too many to name.  ( I love you all )

I don’t know how you have put up with me over the last 14+ years, but thank you!!!  You have accepted me in as part of the family since Day 1 and never once have you looked back.  You have been there through many highs and lows…and for that I thank you!

Next come my friends…

Some of you could be lumped into the “family” category, as you have been by my side through most of what life has thrown at me as well.  I have put you in this special category as I don’t know that I have many friends.  I know a lot of people, but only a few get the true glimpse at who I really am.  You have been lucky enough to see my crazy/silly sides, and some of my super low ones too.  You have been beside me through just about everything, either directly or unknowingly.  Some days it was just enough to say “Hey” that did the job.  Thank you!

I have had many a shoulder to cry on, be it happy or sad tears over the years.  I have also had the pleasure of returning the favour to many of you as well.

I can’t thank all of you enough for what you have done for me over the years.  All I can say is that I am truly greatful to know you and have you in my life.

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Saturday Afternoon Therapy

After a long morning of classes I come home to sit down and start working on my Saturday afternoon therapy session. Who knew that for such a small intimate wedding that there would be so many things to do. I am finding myself surrounded in a sea of paper, paperclips and petals that have yet to be formed into flowers.

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I am constantly reminded by my husband that things will all come together and our date will be beautiful. At times like this when I see all of these flowers I really start to wonder. Am I insane???

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Why does there have to be SO many choices???

Life, in general, is full of choices.  What to wear?  What to eat?  What to watch on tv or at the movies? …and the list goes on and on.  But recently my life is full of too many choices when it comes to our wedding.

When you first become engaged or start planning your wedding you may have an idea of what you would like.  Most girls have been planning their “special day” since they could remember.  I do not fit with this group.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been dreaming about this day, just not in as great of detail as most do.

I had always seen it as you pick a nice dress, the guy gets dressed up a bit too.  You have some friends and family together and have some good food, drinks and dance the night away.  No where in this did they tell me that there were (what seems like) a billion and one decisions to make!!!

Let’s start with the dress.  To start, I’m a sneakers, jeans and T-shirt/tank top kinda gal.  Nowhere in there does it scream I want a frilly dress.  I went into the dress appointment with the best group of ladies I could have asked for!!  (I love you Mom, Jacqui & Shelley!!)  I expected the appointment to take an hour at the most…not 3+.  I tried on all kinds of dresses.  Some were what I thought I wanted, some were totally out of left field too.  I lost count how many different words there are to describe “white”.  But at the end of the day (despite some dress regret initially) I walked out of the store with a breathtaking (designer) gown.

Now, I’m sorry to say that this is not where the list of options ends…it’s only the beginning!

There are a zillion options for hair and makeup, nails and don’t even get me started on colours or a theme for the “big day”!!!  There are invites and reply cards.  Do you or don’t you send “Save the Dates” to everyone?  What about a wedding website?

When it comes to the cake, we have both decided we want something a little different.  What that amounts to, we have yet to decide.  We are currently working with an amazing baker to get ideas.  (I promise we haven’t forgotten about you Cheryl!  We will be in touch shortly!)  ❤

Then comes the fun…the guest list! (ominous music plays)  There are so many people to consider.  Do you invite Great Aunt Gertrude (twice removed)?  Then on top of the guest list, you have to take into consideration the venue.  Will it be able to hold the 300+ people you have on your first list?  More often than not the answer will be NO!  For us, this was the easy part.  We are keeping our list very small due to the size of our venue.  For those who don’t receive an invite, it’s not that we don’t love you…we just don’t have the space for both of our large & extended families.  We are both on many social media sites and I can guarantee that things will be posted everywhere for all to share in the moment.

Just when you think that things are starting to smooth out and get back to normal again, you get to where I am currently…the ceremony options!  GOOD LORD!  Who knew there were so many options just to say “I DO”!!!  I printed out the files that our minister sent us and I could start a whole novel series with just the first set.

I understand wanting to make it special and different, but can’t we make things a little easier for girls like me?  I’ve never been one who’s know for making decisions let alone a crap load of them all at once.  Now you might be wondering…what about the hubby during all of this???  Well I let him off easy.  Gasp!  I know right?  HAHAH! (Love you sweetie!!!)  He is busy watching the kiddles all day while working on our business.  Plus he teaches all night too.  So when we started all of this, I told him that I would handle most of this and only pull him in on a few important things.  I did this so that he doesn’t go crazy too!  Someone has to stay sane to help with the kids (who are enough to drive anyone bonkers)!  🙂

I have been very fortunate that Mom and Jacqui have been by my side helping with everything too!  I might be having a girls night in to get these crazy flowers done soon…so be on the look out for that message ladies!!  🙂

Oh, I forgot to mention about flowers earlier too.  They are stupid expensive!  When it comes to flowers, ones for a wedding are almost as bad as buying roses on Valentines Day!  Why do we do this to ourselves???  So in my infinite wisdom, I decided I was going to make my own origami flowers.  Yeah…I think I got a little over zealous and made almost 1300 petals.  To give you an idea, it takes 5 petals to make 1 flower.

Well, I should probably stop ranting on here and get back to all these choices.  Otherwise I’ll find myself standing in a garden with just a dress and no one will have a clue what is going on.

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Merry Christmas

Greetings and Salutations!

The holidays are that special time to spend with family.  Children (in my opinion) are what make this season so magical.  Their wide-eyed amazement with Santa and the Elves, the mystery of how he sneaks into your home without being detected (especially when you don’t have a chimney), and the wonderment of what he leaves behind.  We are lucky…all three kids believe in Santa.  I dread the day that our oldest (10 1/2 yrs currently) doesn’t believe any more.  But until then, I will enjoy the mystical side of things.

My wish is that all of you enjoy your time with family this season.  I know we don’t always get a lot of time with them.  So take that moment to slow down, don’t think about work, or other things that need to get done.  Just think about how precious life is, and cherish those who surround you.

From our family to yours,

Merry Christmas!

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