First Post on Wonder Blog

This is my first post from my new blog Wonder the World. Head there if you’d like to read more.

I am a traveler. And a mother.

I have learned innumerable lessons on my journeys around the world.

But none so much as my kids have taught me.

One of the greatest being that,

It is the wondering of the world that brings joy, not the wandering of it.

Doing both, a true gift.

For now, travels far and wide are not my reality. That need not mean my travelers spirit sit idle however. No, my itchy feet combined with two curious, energetic girls, means there are boundless adventures to be had. From marveling at seeing our breath in the cold (We’re dragons mom!) to treasure hunting, to dancing with the trees in the wind, seeing the world through the eyes of my kids, makes it the grandest journey of all.

Kids or not, I hope you will join us and share with us the wonders in your world, wherever in the world that may be.

Gone But Not Forgotten

Hi all. Long time no write. Miss me?

Sorry, I was doing some non-blog writing along with experimenting with another blog. I was waiting to direct you that way until I knew what exactly I was doing with it, and with this one.

Turns out I still don’t know…

So, my new blog is attempting to combine mamma-me with traveler-me. I find myself missing traveling immensely these days, but when I open myself up to it, when I see the world as my kids do, I’m humbled by the wonder and awe all around. Wonder the World is a more niched blog aimed at exploring the world, whether that means in our backyard, using our imaginations, road trips or travels far, far away.

Please join me there! I would love any comments, suggestions and guidance in helping me to shape it into a resource for travelers and parents alike.

Posts here will be light I suspect, but I still plan to add my letters to the girls here amongst other posts. In the meantime there is a whole whack of articles to read at my new site. Enjoy!

http://wondertheworld.wordpress.com/

A Brennyn Post

Brennyn wanted to say hi one last time in January.HI!This month (whatever that is) my Daddy is trying to take my su-su away. I am lucky my mommy likes my naps so much and lets me keep it!Mommy thinks you need muddybuddies (and coffee) to go outside to play in the rain but I don’t like muddybuddies so we haven’t been outside much. She hasn’t had coffee much either so she’s kind of grumpy. One grumpy day I made her laugh by wearing Kaya’s swim goggles outside while we played at the park. She laughed so much she forgot to try to wrestle a muddybuddy on me. I’m so smart! Another day the sun came out which made her forget to put on a muddybuddy, but when we got there the playground was one giant puddle. Mommy made me promise not to fall in so I jumped in instead!Being a little sister is not really fair. I have to go drop off Kaya at dance, at birthday parties, at playdates… Why can’t I go too? I could ski, I know I could, but we just drop her off there too. Oh well, Mommy thinks it’s funny that I’m learning the aprés part of aprés ski before the ski part. I don’t really know why she thinks this is funny but maybe I would if I got to drink the big drinks all the adults have that makes them laugh a lot.

When Kaya skis I get to do fun stuff too. Like swim in the lazy river with spitting bears. Mommy never swims with us so Kaya tells me I am a very lucky girl. I also get to play in the snow and go on Goblin rides! Goblin rides are my favourite because you go so high and up to more snow. Mommy and me even lay underneath the Goblins and sing them songs and have a picnic.After a snack (I always like to snack before doing anything) we roll and slide in the snow and giggle a lot. Mommy wants to take a picture (she always wants to take a picture) so after a couple pouty pictures, I finally let her have a smile.Then make her do a funny picture. We don’t say ‘Cheese’ because that’s really boring. Instead we say ‘Googoo gaga poopoo’ which is so much funnier and silly.Anyways, I guess January has been fun. Lots of sneaky time (moms note- Lil Sneakers play gym) with my best friend Hailey and gymnastics and hot chocolates. Lots of hanging out at home with mommy playing Baby and dollhouse. And reading. My mommy sure likes to read. Me too. My favourite book is Press Here cuz those yellow balls are so funny to press and move around and I get to shake the book all around which is fun because mommy always tells me to be gentle with books and so I like not being gentle with a book.

What? Su-su and bankie time? Gotta go!! Bye!

Adventures in Reading

January has come and almost gone. Throughout it, I have been lusting for adventure. This is as close as I’ve come,

I’ve transitioned from pouting about being house-bound, to falling into the doldrums, to nestling in to a quieter sort of adventure. Where I am immersed in grand stories filled with explorations and discoveries, communicated to me by authors, my kids and even myself.

Oh, how thankful I am to read a really great book, one that sits with me, speaks to me long after the last page has been turned. I began searching for a ‘light’ read. Unfortunately, that led to Sophie Kinsella’s book An Undomestic Goddess which I had on hand. Light, my friends, does not have to mean dumb. Which this book was. To its core. I despised every moment that I was reading it, and in the end skipped to the end to see what happened.

My quest was on to find a smart, light read.

Which I found in Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Absolutely breathtaking, brilliant book. A story in words, and in pictures, part mystery, part character study. I truly was swept away into this world. I look forward to seeing the movie too once it’s out on DVD.

In other big reading news, Kaya is reading now. Whole books! Remember these?

Every time she begins to sound words out, putting letters together, forming words, then sentences, my heart literally clenches, my breath literally catching. Joyous pride mixing with shock at the passing of time.

My girl, she can read!

My girl, she can read?

My girl, well she’s also something of an artist. Taking her home-reading book & buddy, she draws what she read, then writes what she read too.

Yah, my girl she can also print…

Time for Daddy to put away his Tap that Ass Tshirt.

On Friday I asked Kaya what another Mommy helped out with in class that day. She told me they were writing their ‘favourites’ sentences. As in,

My favourite colour is __________.

My favourite food is __________.

My favourite song is ___________.

Kaya told me her answers. Pink, of course.

Bacon. Huh? I ask her why she said bacon. She tells me another girl did so she did. We have another talk about how she doesn’t need to copy everyone else and just to give her own honest answer. She tells me she wants to say rice. That’s my girl.

And favourite song? I ask her. She gets quiet. “Baby Beluga” she whispers. Hmmm, that hasn’t been your favourite song in forever, I suggest. How did you know to write Beluga? “I just wrote Baby” Which is when I knew. Her favourite song was not meant to be Baby Beluga as her teacher had assumed, it was Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’ that was her favourite, which Kaya confirms with a twinkle and a giggle. Hilarious.

Brennyn, as always, playing catch-up, reading me stories too, though I’d suggest it’s more in Beat Poet form, mixing wheels on the bus and rainbows everywhere with twinkling stars and oh yes, a little ‘Like baby, baby, baby oh…’ too.

This, actually, forms one of those truly great moments that will forever stay in my brain. Cozied up in bed finishing the last 30 pages of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (another great read though by no means ‘light’) Brennyn comes in wanting my attention. At first, I am annoyed as I just want to finish my book, but I see she just wants some Mamma cuddles so I suggest she goes to get books so she can read beside me too. She grins and toddles off to get some books, then crawls up and nestles in to read beside me. Of course, I get no reading of my own done at this point what with all her beat poet slamming. Then Kaya comes in, Hello Kitty headphones on and Justin Bieber blaring, cozying up amongst us.

I sink further into the pillows, blankets, and my two girls and just gaze at these two kooky, brilliant characters, knowing that I am immersed, this very moment, in the greatest adventure of all.

My family.

A Cleanse Finale

Last day of cleanse! In many ways it was much easier than I expected. In others, harder. Overall, it was definitely beneficial and many of the habits I have formed, I will continue.

Like green juices in the morning. Lovin me my morning veggie juice! A huge pile of whatever I have in the fridge- kale, spinach, carrots, beets, celery, parsley, peppers, radishes- and a large glass of nutrients downed that I would NEVER have had otherwise. There is just no way I could eat that many vegetables, or be inspired to.

Two bonus benefits of juicing are 1. Brennyn thinks it’s hilarious to ‘steal’ mommy’s juice so she too has been enjoying some added veggie delight. Kaya- not so much.

2. There is absolutely no waste anymore. I don’t know about you, but I could never finish a thing of celery before it went bad. Or lettuce or even broccoli (especially their stems). Now, the first sign of it getting old and it’s tossed in the juicer. Love it!

Along with juicing, this cleanse guided me in the multitude of ways to enjoy veggies. I thought I would be eating salad, after salad, after salad, and I did actually, but the salads were so varied and diverse that it didn’t feel repetitious at all. Here’s an idea of my daily eats:

(Most recipes found online at allrecipes or here or by googling, or by modifying from my own recipe books (instead of cream, using almond or coconut milk for example)

  • raw veg with hummus (or lemon white bean dip or edamame dip…)
  • nori rolls
  • rice bowls with shredded veg mix
  • stir fry’s with brown rice or rice noodles
  • quinoa salads
  • lentil quinoa spinach soup
  • pesto with gluten-free pasta
  • baked tofu & asian salad
  • moroccan stew
  • black bean burgers topped with guacamole and yam fries
  • Indian korma
  • veggie chili

Many of these were accompanied by big salads. I mixed these up by adding things I normally don’t (radishes-thought I didn’t like them but yum!- and beets or different nuts, seeds and/or dried fruit) and switched up the dressings all of which were super simple and delish.

By far the biggest challenge of the cleanse was no coffee. I made it two weeks and then it turned nasty and cold out and all I could think about (obsess about) was coffee, so I caved. Once I caved once, I caved again. And again. In the last week, I had one coffee a day four out of the seven days.

This, though totally cheating, did help in the meditation part of the cleanse. With no coffee in me, my attempted meditation times were filled with coffee daydreams. With one coffee in my system, I managed some true moments of a calm mind. Yay!

The exercise part of the cleanse was a no-go. The first week was seriously impossible. After that, the weather turned nasty and I wasn’t about to go for a run in -20 weather. Oh, okay, yes, I could have turned on Jillian Michaels. I should have. But I did not. I feel like sticking out my tongue and spitting now…

Despite that, eating all those vegetables did increase my energy. Dinners were easy because most everything was what I would normally eat. However, having the juice and then a whole lot of veggie goodness for lunch transformed my energy levels in the daytime. Not only do I have more physical energy, but my creative energy has been soaring. So many ideas, thoughts, plans, writings, and readings in the works. So much so, that there has just been so much going on that I’m having a hard time focusing on one thing. Right now I have got two novels, a biography, a spiritual book and a kids book on the go. I am immersing myself in three writing projects I want to explore. It is time now, to slow down and focus (always something to work and improve on in life isn’t there?!)

Okay, how else did I cheat?

  • I did not go out and buy vegan soy sauce.
  • I used yogurt in a couple smoothies
  • I had milk in my coffee (though a couple times I did also use almond milk which was good.)
  • I made corn muffins with the veggie chili for the fam but could not resist having one myself.
  • Bailey’s and coffee at the City and Colour concert (it was that or wine and it was coooolllddd so went with the hot + alcohol!)

Maybe kinda-sorta cheats:

  • Larabars. First off, YUM! Second off, I don’t think this is really a cheat since it’s dates, nuts, unsweetened cocoa and unsweetened coconut only but it’s not the raw veg that I probably should have been eating!
  • One Lindt 75% cocoa bar over the course of 2 weeks. One or two squares at night as opposed to the one chocolate bar (or cookie or bar or cake or donut) nightly, that December saw.
  • Probably more soups and cooking the vegetables than the cleanse would like (instead of raw) but hey, I was LOADING those dishes up with veggies.

Did I miss stuff? Coffee, obviously. Wine, occasionally.

Like Tuesday nights watching Parenthood. I kid you not, there had not been one episode that I hadn’t got all teary (if not full-out blubbering) at but the last two episodes, during the cleanse, with NO WINE, not a tear shed. Coincidence? Don’t worry, I will test this out this week by having a wine in hand. If I do cry, well, I will continue with my Tuesday winetherapy thank you very much!

We had friends over one night and there was wine and cake, both of which felt horribly awkward not to participate in.

Meat, I didn’t miss terribly, though I am craving a chicken pot pie. A couple of years ago, I started, unofficially, doing one night a week as no meat. This quickly turned to at least two nights a week. Now, I think I can quite easily transition my family to 4 nights meatless after seeing, and eating all the delicious vegan meals out there.

I thought no cheese would affect me more than it did. What I learned though, is a flavourful hummus or spread with veggies makes a far superior sandwich than cheese and mayo with veggies. Having said that, I will be enjoying a cheesy casserole at some point this week!

So yah, that was my cleanse. More a lifestyle transition than diet. Rather than fasting (although that is an option one day a week on the cleanse that I did not partake in!), starving, eating strange foods or limited to one or two ingredients, this cleanse introduced me to new recipes, alternate choices, and woke me up to the fact that I need to take better care of myself for 3 meals a day instead of just the dinner.

Looking forward, I expect I will be drinking coffee and wine, but also green juice. I will be eating meat and dairy, though much less than before. I will begin running again, with water and Larabars by my side. Oh, and I see a certain local BBQ pulled pork in my near future too…Mmmmmm

I Can See Clearly Now…

On this, my 5th day of cleansing on the Crazy Sexy Adventure Cleanse, I am coming out of my fog. Though it is still not easy.

This is the first weekend morning of the cleanse. Most weekend mornings begin with Bal bringing me up to bed a delectably strong Americano (yes, I am spoiled!) Today, he brings me a hot water with lemon and a pinch of cayenne. (should have been a dash cuz his pinch is strong!) Just not the same but I drink it, shower, and head downstairs to make my morning juice.

Before heading down the stairs, I am absolutely convinced that Bal rudely decided to make pancakes. I could smell them! It haunted me. But no, there was nothing going on downstairs except some peanut butter toast for the girls.

So into the kitchen I head with the lid of the PB jar off and PB calling my name. Cover. Breathe. Pull out the veggies. Today’s juice? Carrot, cucumber, parsley, tomato, kale. It looked revolting to be honest but tasted delish. Really!

Awhile later Bal decides to take the girls for a swim so I drop them off and head to the store to buy more vegetable along with ingredients for tonights dinner, Curried Lentils and Quinoa with Spinach and Warm Indian Spices. Sounds good right? I will let you know.

While shopping, my stomach starts gurgling. I need some real food, not just juice. Shopping for snack foods for the girls and passing chip aisles and brownies do not help my cause. But I’m a mom and I do what I have to do. Beets and radishes for me, yogurt pretzels and fishy crackers for the girls. The cart looks rather schizophrenic actually.

After getting home and putting away all the groceries, it is finally time for me to eat! Pulling out the rice crackers, I lather them with hummus and load up with spinach, tomato and cucumber.

Looking good!

So good that I don’t even take the time to grab a plate to go sit down to eat. No, I just scoop one up right where I am standing, lift the tasty goodness that is satisfyingly crunchy food, put it up to my lips, and before I can take my first bite,

BZZZZZZ

A text has come through. From Bal.

We’re done. Come get us.

Seriously? Seriously! How do they know? I don’t just want to eat people, I need to eat. Listen, I knew that the kids must have been grumpy and hungry to have had such a quick swim, but I am cleansing and I don’t give a shit. Daddy will have to deal.  I text back a haughty,

About to eat. Distract them. Give me 10.

He buys them a snack to wait, I eat (with no guilt even) and all is right with the world.

After getting them and returning home, hunger grumbles still persist, so I have carrots, peas, and green peppers dipped in Hummus. Yummus!

2pm has been my crashing point all week. Today I decide I can treat myself to a Soy Chai Latte from Starbucks. Until remembering that Chai is black tea. Damn. But have no fear my friends, I whip up a Rooibos Tea Misto of my own using Almond Milk and it is freakin amazing.

A shaky morning but feeling great this afternoon. Lots of energy, clear-headed, and hope that it will only get better.

5 days without coffee… I am a superstar!!

Cleansing Doom Days

Since my brother and some friends are curious about my cleanse, I thought I’d post updates on my progress, recipes, cheats and the like. Basically, the cleanse calls for no meat, dairy, gluten, refined sugar, or processed carbs. Oh, and no caffeine and alcohol. Fun!  Days 1-3 sucked ass but please note that day 4 was good and day 5 (today) is even better.

Days 1-3 (2 & 3 especially) left me foggy, listless, and exhausted. Like the first trimester of pregnancy exhausted. Like, could not make a fist exhausted. The Crazy Sexy Diet book suggests that ‘you may feel ‘fatigued’. Try bone-weary or knackered.

I did not take any notes on the first 4 days, but here, from what I can recall in my haze, is what transpired.

Day 1 and I cheat. I decide I may need to ease into this no coffee nonsense so I make one final coffee hurrah! Only I use my bodem. And make it way too strong. So that instead of being a loving goodbye it is a wretched gag. I maybe drink half and only because I know it is the last time.

Cheat #2. There is no way I am making dinner. I can not move. Bal steps in and makes pasta, a meaty sauce with garlic bread for him and the girls, a tomato, veggie-loaded sauce for me. The pasta was not gluten free however. Baby steps…

Day 2. From what I remember I made the Green Juice from the Crazy Sexy Diet book. It was okay. Fortunately, I had signed Brennyn up for a Kindermusik class on this day so I got out of the house with other people that I had to be polite (if not cheery) around. We danced and sang and banged (Brennyn stole the music sticks from me or I totally would have introduced heavy metal to the toddler set!) then headed off with friends for lunch. There is a fabulous cafe in town that provides a ton of vegan-friendly dishes and I oh so happily indulged in a gluten-free Soba Noodle Veggie Bowl. Huge, filling and delicious!

Unfortunately, this did not stop me from absolutely crashing by 1pm. The sun was shining in the bedroom so I sat at it to catch some Vitamin D and totally crashed for as long as Brennyn did, and only managed to get up because I had to go get Kaya from school.

Dinner was up to Bal again. Fried rice with no egg and tons of veggies.

Mint tea that evening to combat cold and cravings.

Fast asleep by 9:30pm!

Day 3 doesn’t fare much better. Mornings are okay. Juices are good and pretty filling but definitely hungry by noon. Veggies dipped generously in hummus that is sprinkled with Holy Crap cereal (love this stuff but Holy Crap is it ever expensive!)

Somehow I find enough energy to make dinner tonight but all I really remember is maniacally laughing (think Wicked Witch of the West) at adding 2 TBS white wine into my dressing mixture. My only cheat of the day though one I enjoyed immensely even though I couldn’t actually even taste the wine!

More tea, more sleep by 9:30pm.

Day 4 and I see a light. Less fog of the brain, more energy. Still, I wake up starving and decide today I will do a smoothie instead of juice. I add a wee bit of yogurt to get the texture right but add some spinach to counter balance my a slight dairy cheat.

Dr Oz’s blueberry avocado smoothie is recommended!

Lunch is corn krisps, hummus and veggies and the 2pm crash is lessened with herbal tea and some almonds. The rest of the day goes well until I realize it’s Friday night and how can one do Friday night without wine? The book tells me that if I’m going to cheat then having a couple squares of 70%+ dark chocolate is a reasonable way to do it.

So I do it.

Stay tuned for Day 5.