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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Yes, it was my first time!

So I went yesterday to finally start my fitness class challenge.  I signed up for Saturday morning yoga with Angela from Balanced Body Yoga here in Fort McMurray.  This class was a "good stretching class" and would be a good place to get my feet wet in the yoga world.  After having some anxiety about the whole "outfit" thing, and then realizing that my scaly dinosaur feet would be exposed for all to see, AND ten minutes before leaving thinking that I would probably need a mat, I pushed myself out the door before I found another excuse not to go.

Of course as I entered the studio at our local high school, Angela immediately put me at ease with a hug and some reassurance that she would walk me through the poses and help out if I needed it.  The soothing music in the background also help set the atmosphere for the next hour.  Luckily Angela is a well prepared teacher, and she had mats, blocks and other goodies to share with us newcomers, so I grabbed a mat, and a spot to experience something totally new.

The first thing that I noticed, and that stayed with me all day is that I lay there for those first few minutes and was suppose to be "leaving the outside world stuff to come to the yoga class" in other words I was suppose to stop thinking about the laundry waiting at home, if the baby was giving Tim a hard time while I was gone, if I had to go to the grocery store again today, if, what, when, etc.etc....and for me, I realized that I am not really spending much time in my body.  Sounds weird right?  But as I lay there I could not help but thinking when was the last time I paid attention to my breath?  When was the last time I was aware of how I was feeling?  I rush through the days making sure everyone else is where they should be, fed, dressed properly, feeling okay and having a good day....but I could not tell you the last time I sat with myself in silence for five minutes.  I am hoping if nothing else that yoga will teach me to do this better....every time Angela said to relax my shoulders, I realized that mine were completely tensed up.

So how did I do?  Not bad!  I did not know some of the poses, but others around me did, and Angela was demonstrating, so I could pretty quickly get into one...and my balance is not as bad as I thought it would be, as I proudly thought as I held my tree pose.  Oh, and I think the left side of my body is actually stronger, but if you had asked me I would have said for sure the right side would be(another weird find from the class).  And today my core muscles are feeling it, as are the tops of my legs, so I got a workout too.

But I think for my first class that I would say that I realized that the practice of yoga will be very relaxing for me, and it is going to make me aware of my body again....and that is something that I did not even realize I was taking for granted again.

Angela does drop in classes all through the week out here, and they are pretty cheap, so why not try one out with me?  You can look at her class schedule, prices and even some of the common yoga poses at her website,, or her facebook page.  I know that after one class I will be signing up for some more after this session.

And now this week to cross off my next class to try, Zumba!  If anyone in Fort McMurray knows of a good beginner class could you pop me a note?  Thanks, and Namaste!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

See what I did in an hour and a half!

Alright, so some of the bags of out of season clothes got stashed in the garage, mental note to not let the anal retentive garage loving hubby throw any of it out.

The lasagna is in the oven, the floors got swept, the baby was changed, and I got clean clothes on the bed!  I am off to get Shayleen, and then Grampie at the airport.  This is how the room turned out, not bad all things considering!  Thanks for joining me in my cleaning fun, over 100 messages in an hour and a half....don't you guys have something to clean?  LOL!!!!

Oh my Lord!

I was sitting here texting Tim(hubby), who is once again in Edmonton, telling him how extreme this day was going to be.  I had a list of things that absolutely had to be done, which included some running around, all while dealing with a cranky baby that was up since 3a.m.

And then the phone rang, it was my father-in-law asking if I could pick him up at the airport, "Sure," I said very confidently like, "See you at 4!"  And then I hung up and totally panicked, there would have to be an added trip to the grocery store to find something suitable for supper.  And then I stopped in my tracks....he would be staying a few nights, and that meant I could not put him on the couch....I would have to open the spare room door.  I avoid opening the spare room is a catch all spot for skateboards, out of season clothes and every knick knack that will eventually be a house warming gift or suitable birthday gift.  So while I got the hamburger on to cook for the lasagna for supper, I thought I would totally stop(and further delay the opening of said door) to post my panic, and a picture of what is causing the panic.  I have been proud of being open and honest with all of you about my weight, my life and my here is what I will be tackling for the next hour before I have to leave again to pick up Shayleen at school and head to the airport, all the while dealing the other said cranky baby.  For the Lords' sakes, wish me luck!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Rankins, and how they made my day more beautiful.

When people ask someone from Mabou where they are from, we say, "Mabou Harbour" or West Mabou or Mabou Coal Mines, like the outsider would know the difference.  And then we all add, you know the Rankin family?  Yes, well, we are from the same small village.  Growing up there we were fortunate enough to hear them play in the school band(I remember Jimmy being the cool band guy), and we would see them singing at church, with one of the girls taking their place beside the organ when the choir wasn't there.  They sang at our weddings, our funerals and all the Mabou Ceilidh concerts over the years.

The last few days have been mentally, physically and emotionally draining for me, but tonight just before supper I received an email from a foster child that was with us two years ago, in the email she had pasted the link for this song by the Rankins.
You see, when Shayleen, our little girl was small, we would spend hours walking and dancing her around the kitchen, and we were not sure if we were going to be able to keep her, and this song kind of became our theme, and one of her favorites to fall asleep in our arms to.  If you listen to the words, it fits perfectly for foster kids, if you can make them realize that your love goes with them where ever they go.  And so it has become a tradition of mine to either download or write out the words of this song when a foster child leaves us, and it goes with them either on their memory stick, or in their book. Today one of those kids felt the need to listen to it, and remind us that our love stayed with her.

As I headed out the door to drop Mitchell and his gang off at cadets I grabbed the cd, These are the Moments by the Rankins, and cranked it on the way home and belted out all the words like I could really sing, lol.  And here was where my second Rankin moment happened.  As I pulled up the lights in Thickwood and stopped, the woman in the van next to me rolled her window down and sang along with me to this song.
We grinned and sang the line, "Shake around your little behind." together and pulled away from the lights smiling.  By the time I pulled in the driveway, I was in tears again, as Raylene's haunting voice came on singing We Rise Again.  And I came in the door thinking about what a talented family they all are, but also thinking what a wonderful bunch they are....their mother was one of the classiest ladies I have ever met, and when I was sick years ago, she would give me pep talks every time she saw me.  She really had an air of grace, and she passed it on to her children, they are gracious and she would be so proud.  So this is my thank you tonight to the Rankins, from Mabou, who make us proud to be from the same small village.  Who showed us that you could go away and have a great amount of success and return to your roots and be as humble as ever.  They showed us younger crew that you could do what you love and make a living at it, and it didn't have to be a typical job.  They probably still don't realize how much they mean to all of us, how we treasure them, and how much we all love them.  The next time you run into one of them, tell them thanks for sharing their great talent.  And Raylene, you are still being missed.

Monday, May 20, 2013

A new week!

I am hoping a good start to the new week bring a positive change to the house.  I have to admit, the amount of hate mail that I received last week got the best of me, before all the love mail that I got turned it around.

So today I have lots to catch up on since I was avoiding the computer like the plague the last few days. First up, it is check in Monday!  And yes, I lost again tonight!  I am down another 1.6 pounds.  If I lose next Monday, I will have lost for 20 weeks in a row!  I think that is pretty cool, eh?  Now if I can just pull it off this week, I just want to be able to say that I hit that 20 weeks.

And I did not forget my house projects!  Here is what I did today....the before picture of my fridge!
Our fridge always seems to be overflowing...and it is the one thing that every time opens the door he is cursing, as being a typical man, he can never find anything in it.  I always remember his grandmother saying that a properly cleaned fridge had everything taken out, and all the shelves were scrubbed clean. So that is what I do every couple of weeks, and pulled it off today.  Here is the after pic.
Still a bit cluttered, but totally spic and span!  Tomorrow, I am starting on the kitchen book shelves.  But I might have to start kicking it up a notch, as my mother-in-law will be here in seven days!!  LOL....not that she has ever given me a hard time about my lack of housekeeping skills, but I would still like it to look nice when she arrives.  My poor parents when they landed, well, they surprised me, so I guess the mess of my house surprised them, lol!
Thanks again for all the love and support this last week, the people who know me were quick to jump to my defence and that made me feel better.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

There will always be haters mom....

The title of this blog is what my ever so wise, almost 14 year old son said to me this morning.  As a rule now I don't go looking for comments on my columns or blogs any more.  I don't look at the websites, and honestly, it is because some days I cannot handle the anger and hatred that some people send my way by way of their comments.  Don't get me wrong, I have met some fantastic people through my writing, ones that share their stories and their lives with me, and for that I am blessed.  But every so often someone gets to me by sending me a personal email to my email box, and I click on it and it opens, and it usually changes my day.  This morning I had a few emails, and I must have been visably shaken, as Nathanial, the said almost 14 year old, asked me what was wrong, when I read him some of the comments, he just said, "Mom, there will always be haters."  Isn't that an unfortunate statement?  Why do people feel the need to attack and spread hatred?  It is so depressing.

What is the cause for all the hate today?  I wrote a column for the Cape Breton Post about a rant that a woman from Fort McMurray had on her wall over a month ago.  Lisa Boutilier felt the need to defend her community, and I, as always was intrigued by the huge and strong response that she got on her wall.  Here is the column that appeared in today's Cape Breton Post:

Fellow Cape Bretoner’s rant about Fort McMurray goes viral

Now I try to avoid the comments, and any drama, but this morning my email box was flooded with emails.  I thought I would share one with you to give you an idea why it affects me so much.  The man(I am assuming it is a man) did not sign his name, and his email address was C really, it could be anyone.  It is always the personal things that people that say about my family that upsets me the is just one of the emails I received today:

Lisa Boutilier not only disrespected Nova Scotia and the other provinces ( not Alberta) but herself. All her views were from behind the dollar. If that was money talking that would be what money said. People do not hate Alberta. People hate the fact that they love where they are from. End of story. Alberta is full of drug addicts and or people who live well beyond their means and who post regularly of their wonderful new purchases. People in other provinces work just as hard as Albertans. Canada is a country full of hard workers. People who are proud of a hard days work. Do not take away from the fact that some people do not want to leave their place of birth, their mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers and these people are the true to themselves. Their love runs deeper than the pocketbook. Those who go out there and choose not to relocate have deeper family roots that  take precedence over money. They go because they are usually in a tight spot and have no choice. Those that relocate know in their hearts that they are  "greedy"  enough and they make the choice to live the high life on a constant. So dont find fault with good decent people who "have" to go and sacrifice but cannot bring themselves mentally to call Alberta home. Some make a choice to have it all.  Others make a choice to survive without selling their soul.  
Cape Breton is one of the most beautiful spots in the world. Those who stay and fight on make me proud. They didnt give up and all pack a plane outwest. Those that left, gave up. So show respect to those who know a good struggle. They are teaching their children what really matters. Love!

As I read this email, I found it ironic that I have now gone three nights of sleep to help a child in our foster home right now, my life, and my house is in chaos, and one of my best friends had to come so I could at least get in the shower today.  Lisa is a single mom, who has raised fantastic children who have all become contributing members of the community, all with hearts of gold.  To judge us and say that we are greedy and not decent tore at me today in my already vulnerable, sleep deprived state.  How dare this person judge us all, and not just me, but all Albertans so harshly?  All I can do is wonder, because this type of email does not do anything productive, it just makes me sad for the day, and wonder if I made wrong decisions along the way.  But then I pull up my boot straps and think of how happy we are...struggling, but happy.  For you see, Tim, hubby, was off work for months, and living in Fort McMurray for months with no full income is no easy task.  But let me tell you, we did it, we did it with for each other and our children, and love from our communities both here in Fort McMurray and in Nova Scotia.  Because no matter what, we all come from some where, and we may move away and make homes in new communities to try to make a better life...but we are all just trying to do our best.  I wish I was never personally attacked and have a sad day like today, but then I would have to give up having an opinion and writing, and that's never going to happen, lol, as much as some might like that!  When you read the article link, you can scroll down to see some more hate(I couldn't help but look when I went to copy the link).  Too bad I couldn't meet all the haters to show them parts of our lives in Fort McMurray and maybe the next time they might think before spreading such hate.  

And finally, the Muppets!  Yep, I watch the Muppets when the world gets me down...there is your secret info for the day!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

My problem is...

My problem is that I can never stay home long enough to clean things up!  But I finally tackled the table, well, I cleaned it up a is the after picture so far.

This morning between baths and cleaning up and work stuff, it never got tackled.  And then this afternoon it was the garage, school, grocery store(again), school(again) and other fun mom stuff.  So this is what I got done, I know, the papers are stacked instead of gone, but I need time to go through them!  LOL, but I got one excellent tip from Therese Reynolds, this is what she wrote to me:

I wish I lived close by Verna. De-cluttering is one of my favourite things to do. Don't bother with Kijiji. Get the stuff out the door asap before you change your mind. Have 3 bags or boxes handy. One for garbage, one for donation and one for keepers. Be brutal. As soon as you pick up an item deal with it. If you don't immediately know you want to keep it then it goes in one of the other bags. Put on some music and have fun. After each day get the garbage and give a-ways out of the house

The part that struck a chord with me is to get it out of the house.  I literally have bags of clothes sitting everywhere in the house because I am waiting for kids to get bigger, or to find someone who needs some boy clothes.  I need to deal with this extra clutter!  Hopefully this evening, when I finish supper, watch Montreal win, take Mitch to cadets, get the younger ones to bed, and make Tim a late supper when he flies in later I will then have time to go through these papers, and pick what tomorrow's project will be!  I bet hubby will be glad he has the day off!  

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The first pic of my mess!

Okay, so I have gotten such a kick out of the emails and texts that I have gotten about posting my pictures of the house and my mess!  You swear to God I was going to pose nude or something, and no, that will never happen, lol!  I am just hoping that by posting I am going to get great suggestions on what to do with my clutter and lack of organizational skills.  Funny how I can run the schedules like nothing, but there seems no time to do the extra jobs that keep popping up around the house...wait until you see my stash of pictures that need to be put in photo albums!

So I thought I would start in the kitchen, since it is the first thing everyone sees when they come in the door, and where we spend most of our time.  This first picture is of a little table that sits in the middle of the room, which I absolutely detest.  We have a big table right beside it where the kids will drop everything, and then I end up moving it to the little table, and there it sits until I go through it every week or so and put things where they should be, only to have it full of clutter again the next day.  This picture also gives a good indication of the problem that I seem to have all around the house, my bad habit of keeping papers, books and oh yeah, papers, in every room.  Even the bathroom has a stash of magazines and may be time to part with some of them, but it will take a bit of mental work on my behalf, as I cling to them like they are valuable treasures.  I have given aways dishes, jewellery and other things without a thought, but the thought of my books leaving makes me have a little panic attack.

I also had a little panic attack this morning when I reread my blog this morning and looked around the house, what in the name of good God was I thinking?  And then I thought, "I am going to clean up a bit before I post the pictures."  Well, that went out the window as I chased the baby around, read some books to Shayleen, did two baths, and finally got myself in the shower before taking Shayleen to school.  Then I spent the afternoon in the line up at the registry office, flew to grocery store with my spare 15 minutes before I picked Shayleen up again.  Sooooo, here I am, posting the pictures as the house is, in all it's messy glory!

So first project is to see what kind of difference I can make on this little table by the time I am ready to throw myself into bed tonight(did I mention that hubby is away until tomorrow night too, what a week I picked to start, lol).  I am hoping over the coming days to post pictures in the morning, and then have the result picture at the end of the day.  I already have some people saying that they are going to join me in decluttering, feel free to send me our before and after pictures, and I will post them so I am not alone in my challenge!

And yes, that is an Easter basket still on the table...told you this should be fun!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

I always say I am not going to do it....

If you have been following my blog at all, you know that this was the year that I was going to start putting myself first a bit, lose some weight, have some alone time, etc.   You know, stuff we took for granted before kids and crazy schedules, lol.  And in some aspects, I have been doing okay, but not great.  Last night I gathered with the other ladies from Tops(Taking off Pounds Sensibly), and found out that I had lost again...I have now officially lost every week for a consecutive 17 weeks!  And I want to do it for 20.  I have now lost about 18 pounds, so I am hoping next week, with some extra work that I will hit that 20 pound mark.  I am starting to notice differences in my clothes, and it feels good.  It is going a bit slower than I would like, but I also keep reminding myself that I did not gain it all in a few weeks, but over a number of years.  Patience, right?

But every time we get a new foster child life at our house goes a bit off the rails.  As you can imagine, it is a bit of a challenge to figure out their schedules, what they like, and don't like, add in some challenging allergies, or anything else that I am not use to dealing with on a regular basis, and the appointments for doctors, social workers and visits, and well, yeah, you get it.  This time around, I swore that I would not totally give up my Tops time, my me time, and I was still going to try to exercise, lol, funny how we can talk ourselves into things and make ourselves believe it.  It usually takes me a solid two weeks or so before I feel in control of the schedules and everything again when we have a placement.  This time around I am eight weeks in, and only starting to get a grip on things.  Needless to say, the "me" in the house once again lost her way, as I succumbed to the sleepless nights, hectic days and constant meltdowns(both mine and the new addition).

In talking to other moms and friends I found that many of them also felt like there was no balance in their lives....we make sure the kids get to everything they need to get to, but taking even a half hour to ourselves seems completely selfish, and almost an insane idea.  We do groceries, laundry, cleaning, errands, school meetings, practices for the kids, and don't forget the meals, dishes, and garbage duty...but the thought of taking a bath one night a week is such a foreign concept that Tim actually made me have one for my birthday...alone, and in peace, with a glass of wine and no one at the door.  It was divine.

But the one thing that is suffering besides my hairy legs, is the house, and it is time for me to go public! Yep, I figure that if me being accountable here with my weight is keeping me motivated, then the house can only benefit from being under a microscope.  So this is what I am going to do, and I would love if you share the pics, and talk about me as much as you will just be more pressure to get things done.  I am going to post pictures of my messy house!  Starting tomorrow morning I will post a picture of a spot that is annoying me lately, and I am going to focus on that spot until I get the clutter cleaned up, the dust bunnies gone, and the floors shining!  Then I will post an after picture.  For the tremendously bad spots, like my closets, the "spare" room, and the room that is suppose to be my office but is actually loaded with bags of clothes, old toys and boxes of books, I will ask you for your best decluttering tips, and I am purging it all!  Everything will either be put up on Kijiji or posted on the Fort McMurray giveaway site!  I want to impress, both you and myself, so I am even aiming on eventually painting our room(which we have never done), and the "spare room".  I am hoping since we will all be "doing it together" so to speak that it will be fun.  Because here is the thing, each day I get up I think, "This is the day I am mucking out this house",  and then life happens, and I get a bit done, and then the kids blow in, and it looks like I did nothing.  Like my body, the house did not get to be a cluttered mess in a few days, and it is not going to get miraculously done in a few days either....but this will give me specific jobs to do, and hopefully they will get done.  Because just like the extra pounds, the clutter and messes are really starting to weigh me down.  So tomorrow check in for the first pic, be prepared to be horrified(my mother is going to have a stroke I'm sure)....and give me your best tips, because house cleaning is just not my thing, a house full of kids I can handle, but a jam packed closet just needs to be ignored.  This may be a challenge!!!!!