Thursday, April 28, 2016

On returning

Hello friends.

I'm not quite sure what to say. It's been so long since I've shared my adventures (such as they are) with you. One moment I was busy blogging and sharing my goals and projects, and the next moment I was closing my computer and stepping back. It just didn't feel right anymore, and I'll tell you why. 

Things sucked.

Now before you kindly reassure me that I'm so lucky to have had the time off from the stress and chaos of full-time school or that I am blessed to have the experience of staying home with my daughters, please know that I know all this. And in between all the times my year off from school has sucked, I've loved the time I've spent with my children, and the quiet hours at home while they're at school. But this doesn't change how I've felt this past year, and I don't want to brush these feelings aside anymore.  

I had taken a break from my midwifery program for a few different reasons, but mostly it was about taking a year or so to become my healthiest self. Midwifery is demanding, parenting is demanding, and I wasn't getting any younger. I was out of shape, in pain, struggling with my moods, and in need of a reset of sorts. I believed that I owed it to myself to spend some time getting healthier in order to both meet the demands of life and to enjoy the hell out of it.

But then life got hard and I wasn't ready for it. There I was, with all this time in front of me, and yet I couldn't seem to find a single moment with which to devote to the changes I knew I needed to make to my life. Yes I was working and spending a lot of time with my girlies, but I also had a lot of freedom that just brimmed with possibilities. I would go to bed at night with big goals and plans for the next day, but then the next day would come and nothing. All I felt was unmotivated, grumpy, and still out of shape, in pain, and struggling with my moods. Nothing seemed to change. So I'd just take a nap and see if tomorrow was better. And it wasn't.

Looking back, there were many reasons why I felt so low this year. It was a shock to my system to go from a hectic midwifery placement to life at home and I needed more for an adjustment period than I realized. I was struggling with Alyce and all of her new eight-year-old needs. I'm not the greatest at self-motivation. And also--the biggest reason--change is fucking hard.  

But here are a few things that I've learned about myself this year:

  • It's dangerous to spend too much time on my own. I am one of those tricky extroverted introverts and if I'm not careful I'll stay home in a quiet house for too many days in a row. Do you know what I do while I'm home by myself (besides obsessively clean)? I dwell. I sit on the couch and dwell. And that's not good for anyone. I have the kind of job where I work by myself, but even leaving the house to go work in a coffee shop or library forces me out a good rut. And friends--I need more time with my friends. They soothe my soul.
  • I need get more exercise. I've surprised myself lately with regular walks and I'm always in a better and more productive place after these excursions. Fresh air + moving my body cures so many ills. 
  • I need structure. Like I REALLY need structure. Cue my husband rolling his eyes because all he ever does is tell me this.
  • I'm a good parent. While Alyce might find it terribly annoying that I'm around all the time, I know deep down that she's needed me this year. Shira has been overjoyed by my omnipresence and it's nothing short of magic to be loved that hard. 
  • I need to be okay with doing hard things. I started the year with so many big goals and then I crumbled under the pressure because it was difficult. It isn't easy to quit smoking or to change how you eat. But I'm starting to see that life won't fall apart just because things get hard. I have to believe that I'm stronger than I realize. 
  • I really just want to be a midwife. How wonderful that I've taken this year off school and realized just how badly I want to be a midwife!  
  • It's okay to take a year off and hate it.

So why am I back? Because I think I'm feeling better. I have four months left before I return to school and I'm ready--really ready--to move forward. Spring is in the air, there's sunshine on my face, and I'm ready to go. I've decided to show up here and again and share my days and efforts and challenges with you all over again. Maybe you are too, and we can do this together.

Get ready for goals you guys. 

Be well!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Taking Stock: April

Oh, hello there. I've been away (for a very long while) but I think I'm back now. I thought I'd dip my toes into the water with a little taking stock.  I hope you've been well all these months! I've missed you.

Here are a few other things I've been up to lately:

Making:  I just made my first dress for Alyce! Now I'm back to knitting my first sweater for Shira.
Cooking: Passover dinner.
Drinking: Trying to drink more tea (but the pull of coffee is always so strong).
Wanting: Some sunshine.
Looking: At the flowers poking out from the earth.
Wishing: That I had enjoyed my year off from school more.
Enjoying: That I still have four months left.
Waiting: To leave for my first trip away with Matty in nine years. We are going to Athens and Rome!
Liking: My new routine of walking in the mornings.
Wondering: If I'll remember anything when I return to midwifery school this fall.
Loving: My morning snuggles with Shira. 
Pondering: What life will be like as a non-smoker.
Considering: Getting my nosed pierced again (much to Alyce's horror).
Buying: This dress.
Watching: House of Cards, my newest guilty pleasure.
Hoping: For courage and confidence.
Marvelling: At Alyce's growth this year.
Cringing: At the news of pretty much everything these days.
Needing: Some time with good friends.
Smelling: Spring!
Wearing: Skirts and dresses, never pants. Comfort over pants wins every day.
Following: My children around. 
Noticing: That I need to get out more.
Knowing: That I've needed all this time to myself.
Thinking: About fixing up my bike.
Admiring: The faces of those I love.
Sorting: Through everything.
Bookmarking: The pages of so many cookbooks (like this one, this one, and this one.)
Coveting: All of the shoes.
Disliking: My sore feet.
Giggling: At my ridiculous children.
Feeling: All of the feelings.
Snacking: On popcorn.
Hearing: The rain.

Do you want to take stock? I got the idea from Pip.

Be well!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Taking Stock: November

Hello there! At the last minute this week I ended up working overnight with tiny newborn twins! Not a bad way to spend a couple of nights. I loved watching them calm each other down when they were able to snuggle together.

My last minute work threw a wrench in some of my plans, so I'm feeling a little behind on some of my projects for the week. It happens. I'm hoping to spend tonight in the kitchen cooking up some gluten-free meals for the next few days and prepping some greens. I also expect not to stay up too late tonight because my sleep needs a reset after working overnights. While I was able to close my eyes now and then with the twins, mostly I was up snuggling.

Here are a few other things I've been up to lately:
Making:  Almost finished the scarves for the girlies, and I'm about to start my very first sweater!
Cooking: Lots of vegetables, she says hopefully.
Drinking: Coffee. I'm so predictable.
Wanting: A personal chef.
Looking: At the few remaining leaves holding on for dear life.
Wishing: That I could remember more what it's like to be seven.
Enjoying: No longer having cable.
Waiting: For the snow.
Liking: The feeling of hibernation brought on by the darker evenings.
Wondering: How I'll feel at the end of my first month.
Loving: The music that has been filling our house lately.
Pondering: What life will be like upon my return to midwifery school.
Considering: Painting the girls' room pink.
Buying: Little gifts of Hanukah, less than a month away.
Watching: Gilmore Girls, for the first time. How did I never watch this before?
Hoping: For the discovery of a morning routine with the girls.
Marvelling: My goofy children.
Cringing: At too much time spent of Facebook.
Needing: A bit of a social media break. 
Smelling: Roasting vegetables in my oven.
Wearing: Scarves.
Following: The Celtics, because Matty gives me no other choice.
Noticing: That Alyce's needs are changing now that she's almost eight. This is all so new to me.
Knowing: That we will figure it out.
Thinking: That I wished I'd gone to the gym today.
Admiring: Rainy, grey days.
Sorting: Through the kitchen and adding some gluten-free baking ingredients.
Bookmarking: Soup recipes, like a madwoman.
Coveting: A vitamix blender.
Disliking: Depression.
Giggling: As much as I possibly can.
Feeling: All over the place.
Snacking: Chips and fresh salsa.
Hearing: My snoring cat.

Do you want to take stock? I got the idea from Pip.

Be well!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Another month, another plan

Hello friends. If you've been following on since the summer, you know that I've been trying to make some really big health changes. The short version of the story is that I have fibromyalgia and depression, and the consequence for me is feeling as though I inhabit the physical body of an unhealthy 98 year old, instead of the healthy and vibrant 38 year old that I so badly want to be. Emotionally, I too often full like a slug.

The good news is that I'm unwilling to continue this way.

I want to live a long, long life. I want to be a great-grandmother one day. I also want to take on a very demanding career as a midwife,  for which I'm training now. I have chosen to believe that I can do all of these things, so here I am, willing to make the necessary changes in my life in order to allow for these dreams to come true. I have the motivation and passion to blow my own mind and succeed.

I spent an hour with my naturopathic doctor last week dreaming up a plan. Having consulted with my family doctor earlier in the week, who kindly informed me that I am currently at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and could I please start eating better and lose some weight, I was finally ready to accept that I needed a new plan. I explained to my naturopath, who has watched me struggle now for two years, that I was feeling seriously overwhelmed by the enormity of all these changes I wanted to make, and she told me that I can do anything for a month.

Just one month.

And you know? I think she is right. I'm strong and committed and eager to feel good, so I can do this. Healthober didn't work out as planned, and that's okay. I learned a lot about myself that month and it's time to try something else.

I now have a plan. No gluten. No smoking. Exercise four times a week. Eat a ton of greens. Take my supplements (chosen for my fibromyalgia).

This one month is intended to bring about a victory. While we learn so many important things from our failures, we still also need to win sometimes. When we devised this plan we decided upon the things that had a chance to make me feel better in four weeks. This isn't to say that I'll drop my plan upon completion, or that my next steps might not look different, but I wanted my plan to be guided by reasonable, doable changes that will bring about some successes.

This plan for eating and exercise is intended to address both my physical and mental health. Gluten sensitivities have long been linked to mood problems and we all know that exercise makes us feel better. Eating real food, moving my body, and not smoking is going to have a positive impact on my life.

I am driven by a belief that I can feel better and I'll sing it from the rooftops until I do. 

Is there something you want to change, something you can do for one month? We can do this together. Share your goals and let's declare our commitments together!

Be well!

Monday, November 9, 2015

It's Monday!

Hello lovelies! It's Monday again, already, just like that. I read a book with the girls this weekend about a girl who loved who loved Mondays because they were shiny and sparkly. While she loved all of the days of the week for different reasons, I especially love her take on Mondays. It's like she knows me.

I've still been feeling a bit blue this week, but nevertheless the week was full of some important moments. I had roughly one billion health-related appointments that took up most of my time, but they were important for many reasons and will all help me move forward with my health goals in different ways. Around our house we were busy talking about/playing/watching basketball, as Alyce decided to try out for the basketball team at her school. She had never played before but she tried out with all her might. She didn't even seem to mind when she didn't make the team. I'm so proud of her courage. 

Some things that have cheered me up lately include, though are not limited to: my mother's cooking, the beautiful weather, time with Matty, coffee dates with good friends. This week looks promising, with the exception of the dentist appointment I have today. I have plans to spend time with friends, time set aside for cooking, my mum's birthday to celebrate. The girls' birthday party season begins this upcoming weekend (their social calendar boggles me) and so we will prepare with many homemade cards.  

My list of the week:

  • Bake a chocolate birthday cake for my mum and a gluten-free alternative for me. (I'm thinking peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.) The girls are home from school this Friday so I expect that I'll have some help.

  • Cook lots and lots of greens! More on that soon.

  •  Clean out the girls' room while they're at school, with the goal of donating some of the toys they don't use anymore. This will probably not go over well.

  • My mood over the past few weeks has kept me from posting here with any regularity. It's my goal this week to post every day during the week. It's a big project, but I'd really like to try.

  • Moving my body in the following ways: three days at the gym and impromptu dance parties in the kitchen.

Alright, let's get to it. This week isn't going to start itself. What's on your list?

Be well!

P.S. Are we friends on Instagram

Monday, November 2, 2015

It's Monday!

Happy Monday, lovelies! Did you have the greatest Halloween? We did, most definitely. Alyce and Shira were a vampire and skeleton, respectively, and I think they were just the right amount of scary. We went trick-or-treating in the neighbourhood and it was so good to see familiar faces everywhere we turned. We've lived in this community for three years now and it's really starting to feel like home. Such a nice feeling. Oh, and we forgot to carve our pumpkin, but you can't win them all.

Another week. I'm feeling better, trying hard to be gentle with myself on the one hand, while (gently) pushing myself to move ahead with things that help me to feel like myself. I sat down this morning and wrote my intentions for the week and they include going to they gym five days this week. (In related news: I went to the gym this morning, suited up for my water aerobics class with the seniors, only to find out that my class was cancelled. Sigh. It wasn't a total waste, though, because I took myself out for coffee instead.) 

My reintroduction to exercise has been a bumpy one over the last few weeks--it feels amazing to move my body again, and even to sweat (even though I hate sweating), but my sore feet yell at me throughout my workout, no matter what I do, and I end up icing my feet most nights after working out earlier in the day. I should probably see someone about my feet but I'm so exhausted by the thought of seeing ANOTHER care provider about ANOTHER pain problem. Story of my life these days. End rant.

Last week I wrote about missing school, but I'm also beginning to notice that time is speeding by at an alarming rate. Did anyone notice that it's November already? Good grief.

So here is my list for the week:

  • Check-in with my family doctor and my naturopath about my moods and some strategies for dietary changes.

  • Get my hair cut!

  • Visit with a good friend, who will be helping me to get started on knitting my first sweater. I'll be making this one for Shira in purple.

  • Bake some banana bread. I've been making this one for years, though I substitute the vegetable oil with coconut oil and I add chocolate chips. Obviously. This time I'll be using gluten-free flour instead of the whole wheat.

My week feels full, but in a good way. What about you? What's on your list this week?

Be well!

P.S. Another Monday post.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Some things to do when you're in a slump

So, I'm 38 now. I had the nicest birthday filled with tiny celebrations over the course of four days. I am eternally grateful for all the goodness I have in my life. And all the delicious cake. And tiny little gifts from Shira. 

I'm having the quietest couple of weeks, in part because I've been sick with a bad cough, but also because I'm feeling like I need a lot of alone time lately. No wait, let me be honest. I need a lot of alone time right now because I'm struggling with my depression. It happens. It's not the "I can't get out of bed" depression, but more like the "I'm walking from room to room wondering how to get started so I just sit down on the couch and knit" kind.  

You guys, I miss being in school. I just want to forget about getting healthy and strong and instead go out and learn to be a midwife. Blah, blah, blah, I know this break is good for me, but I'm really struggling. This liminal space is filled with so much discomfort. While I know that taking this year off from school was a good decision, it's not been an easy one. I'm working a little bit each day, but most of my time I am left to my own devices to make my days my own. I have all this time to fill with Getting Healthy! but I often end up feeling overwhelmed by it all, and then I find myself daydreaming about reproductive physiology or starting IVs.

In these moments I need too work hard to push myself out of my slump. (This isn't to say that depression is just a slump. It's a mental illness. But for me, when I'm doing other things to support my illness, like taking the medications that work best for me, I know that there are other things I can do every day that can help make a difference.) Here's a list of things that work for me.

Some things to do when you're feeling slumpy


We've all heard it before, but seriously, go for a walk. Or to a yoga class, or run like crazy on the treadmill. I am the worst at not following this advice, but I'm working on it. I've got the gym membership now and I'm exercising on the most regular basis I have in years. I let myself stay home today and snuggle on the couch when I know I should have pushed myself to get out and exercise. Tomorrow I will push.


Call your best friend. Let someone make you laugh. Do not dodge their phone calls when they reach out to you because you're feeling blue. Push yourself to answer the phone. If you're feeling even more daring, make a coffee date to laugh together in person. Last week I did just that with a dear friend and it did amazing things for my mood. And we ate scones and jam, which was an added bonus.

Eat your vegetables

Just say no to the leftover birthday ice cream in your freezer, says the woman with personal experience. Decide to make yourself at least one nourishing, healthy meal and consider it a victory.


Clean your house. Or maybe that's just me. And I don't mean do the dishes (though that might not be a bad idea while you're at it). I mean clean out your bedroom. Change the pictures on your wall. Rearrange your living room. Tiny fresh starts can do wonders for your soul.


Dye your hair. Get your nose pierced (it's on my list). When I'm feeling slumpy I'll sometimes put on red lipstick just to fake it and it helps.

Sit with it for a day

Give in for a day and binge on Netflix. Invite all four cats into your bed to snuggle while you cry over another episode of Grey's Anatomy. Knit a scarf. Read a book. Do absolutely nothing. Indulge in a day of being gentle with yourself.

If you're in a slump, I hope you're feeling better soon. It happens. We can do this.

Be well.

P.S. Another post on depression.