Category Archives: happy

Cardio Win

So in my quest for rejuvenation, I have been hitting up the YMCA pretty hard this week. No more excuses. No more ‘I’m too tired’, ‘It’s too late’ or ‘Oh, M is looking particularly handsome tonight’… none of that!

Monday night I hit up some ‘Cardio Kickboxing’. Firmly planted right in the back of the room, which is kind of like the back of the bus or the back of the lecture hall. Ready for easy and quick escape and near the door.

Hoping to enter the class unnoticed, my plan went sour when the teacher started chatting me up before the class started. Well shit. I confessed my ‘back of the room’ plan and he just laughed at me and slapped me on the shoulder. “You’ll do fine,” he smiled.

Oh great.

I think about 10 minutes of the class was spent (stretched over the whole 45 minutes) was spent with me looking alternately confused and staring blankly at what the people around me were doing. There was a lot of sweating too. But it was a lot of fun.

Next up?

‘Cardio Dance’

*cue laughter*

Post-kickboxing class, I reflected on my lack of rhythm. Cardio dance cemented those thoughts. It turns out that Cardio Dance is a code name for ‘Zumba‘, which is something I have no business doing.

1) I have no rhythm

2) I have no kind of street edge at all and am not able to dance with attitude (or ‘tude’ as the teacher referred to it)

3) As I discovered, I am the whitest person alive.

4) I actually am not sure how to ‘shake my booty’.

5) Going to a sexy dance class, with gyrating crotch moves, booty shakes and pelvic thrusts in my husband’s oldest and most unflattering teeshirt made me slightly self-conscious next to the other pretty young thangs in their YMCA finery.

I wasted a lot of time turning in the wrong directions, facing the wrong way and staring blankly. And laughing at myself (out-loud too. It just was that ridiculous).

And finally?

Tonight was Spin Class.

Walking into the class with 2 other people who also had no idea what they were doing made me feel a little better. Our sweet and perky teacher, who looked like she was about 5, was so enthusiastic about everything I started to feel ok about it.

Class started.

Now here is something I can handle. Just good old fashion sweat.

Sweat combined with pumping bass and pop-music. And a bike. So simple. No fancy footwork. Easy rhythms. I can handle this.

I am in exercise heaven. I might have finally found something to replace Bikram.

45 minutes later, I was soaking and my legs were shaking. *fist pump*

Exercise win!

(and I remembered my vitamin AND flossed my teeth!) Health win as well!!!

* I’ll keep you posted on if I am able to walk tomorrow or not…

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Rejuvenation

Sometimes it's easy to forget the better things in life...

AtlanticMama rejuvenation project is currently underway.

And I don’t mean just the blog, which is an ongoing work in progress. I am in the process of trying to breath some life back into my ‘life’.

Not that Life sucks right now, or anything like that. And certainly not that life with M is bad or I am not enjoying motherhood. But more of an ‘I am not happy with myself’ sort of thing. Funnily enough, it was about this same time last year, that I was struck with similar feelings. Except at that time, they manifested more as anxiety related-heart palpitation-ish-I think I’ll go to the ER because my heart is racing so much I think I am going to pass out and the way it’s beating is freaking me out.

One ER visit, one follow-up trip to my family doctor, several trips to a cardiologist, one stress test and some medication later, I felt somewhat normal. And rather freaked out. I know it was a combination post-pregnancy plus stress plus sleep-deprivation and I am sure there were a few more factors in there too (those damn socks of M’s). As much as I thought I was handling it, I think I was internalizing it a little too much and the end result was the ER.

For the last few weeks I’ve been feeling it building. Not so much the heart palpitations, but the feelings. The dissatisfaction. I felt like I was watching myself and disapproving of everything. My weak excuses for not hitting up the YMCA. I have a mandatory membership! I have no reason not to go. And this stupid holiday season with all of the yummy things. And my apparent complete lack of self-control when it comes to these delicious seasonal treats.

Lets just say this path felt familiar. And I am determined to not get too far down it again.

Hence my rejuvenation. My pulling things back in line. My focus. My dedication.

Saturday night I gave myself a facial. Holy crap did I need it. It was so relaxing for the 10 minutes that peel mask sat on my skin. And then I ruined the balance by having 2 more glasses of wine and staying up until 1 am. Who am I! Certainly not 25 years old again, living in Japan. What was I thinking. Clearly not anything about how V likes to get up super early. Parenting fail.

Sunday started off strong with a lovely walk in the park and then a trip to yoga. However, ruined again by the stuff-fest hosted by yours truly and staying up too late. And then arguing with M about nothing for a long period of time.

Balance fail.

Today was a better day, so based on that, it is the official start of my Rejuvenation.

No sweets all day. Check!

Healthy lunch. Check!

No caffeine. Check!

Adorably greeted by Little Man at daycare with a lovely picture he painted himself. Check!

Kickboxing class. Check and check!

Parenting and balance win!

Here is a really sweet (as in sensitive and delightful) website about yoga, pregnancy and healthy lifestyles.  All of those preg ladies out there, embrace the yoga. Your body will thank you.

(important health message for the masses. Check!)

xoxo a.m.

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Filed under epic, family, Florida, happy, health, Mummy, parenting, patience, playtime, tired, Toddlers, yoga

Crochet, Part One

Crochet kitty-blog

Crochet, day one:   Crochet, unravel, crochet, unravel… repeat until eyes blur. Approximately 10 minutes. Starting colour of brown makes beginning of project look rather like a lumpy dog poo.

Hm. Doesn’t sound like the best of starts.

Day two: I ate a sub and watched Survivor instead. But I thought about crocheting a lot. So I made a blanket in my mind… So creative…

Day three: I finished the new Dan Brown book, drank a glass of red wine and looked at my bag of crocheting sitting on the table next to my wine. And then thought about my pizza cooling in the kitchen. 45 minutes later I picked that yarn up and commenced crocheting. And then I unraveled bits. And then I looked at it in a confused manner. And then I looked at the time (10:45 pm). And then I went to bed.

Total length completed on 3rd day? 4 inches. Good job A.M.

Day four: Who am I kidding. I am deliberately avoiding looking at that bag of yarn. It’s right next to me. On my right. About 1 1/2 feet away. Bastard. I can feel it sulking. Tomorrow darling, tomorrow….

 

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Hallo-Weenie!

IMG_7133

Post-Halloween over here, and the dog and I are chilling…

V was a marathon runner this year. Costume choice was decided last year and at that time was based on the fact that babies look cute in shoes. About one month ago, V learned to walk and so the costume suddenly became a way better one. How funny to see little man dressed up as if he is about to do a runner and then it watch him do one down the sidewalk!

I thought it would be hilarious…

It was. When I ever thought a headband would stay on his little head, lord only knew… But for the 30 seconds it was on, it looked awesome.

7 pm and little man was in bed. Tuckered out from the excitement of the evening. He got 5 pieces of candy (that I will eat for him).

I feel weird about giving my child candy. Apparently, I have no problem giving other peoples kids treats (as illustrated by the way I thrust it upon those trick-or-treaters), but I had a hard time even giving V a lollipop. It just seems wrong… Cupcake (that I have made for him), yes. Laffy taffy, no….

I proceeded to get knocks on the door until 9:30, despite an apparent strict policy  regarding front porch lights being on (indicating that you are participating). I turned mine off at 7:15, when I was about to run out of candy. Just as my mother-in-law left and I let the dog loose again.

Poor Chewie, barking his face off upstairs, locked in a room. The second I let him out, he became uber guard dog.

He is a chihuahua. And rather self-important.

Thank you Chewie for providing me with an excuse to not answer the door after 7:30.

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Thanks

thanks-blog

by Paige Pooler

Good lord, too many things are going on over here right now…

First things first, it is Canadian Thanksgiving this coming weekend and I am throwing dinner for 10 at my house a mere 2 weeks after we’ve moved in. The house is still in slight disarray. I hung up one picture last weekend (a very small one) and practically high-fived myself with excitement.

Americans are always baffled at the thought of Thanksgiving not being in November and are constantly asking me at  random moments what exactly we are celebrating.

“We are giving thanks” is generally my response.

Sounds goofy to say “I am celebrating the Harvest with my family”, which kind of sounds like, well, I am a giant hippie. Which is certainly possible, since I am West Coast to the bone.

Leading up to our fantastical Thanksgiving event, there have been some interesting things going on.

First week at proper day-care for Little Man. Which equals crying-jags times 5. Every morning. For me, I mean. Oh, and him. As in, he cries when I try to leave… and then while I am leaving (and he’s crying) I cry too. As I am driving to work, I mean. I am a highly emotional mess this week.

And every morning seems to start out the same way with me turning my back on Little Man for ONE MINUTE, when I turning back he was actually drinking from the dog’s water bowl. Before he drinks though, he first spills it all over his school uniform. After 3/4 of it is on the floor, then he lifts it to his mouth to drink.

Emotional mess.

Dog water.

Crying tears of sadness as Little Man is a big boy.

Crying tears of disgust as he and the dog slurp water together.

Apparently, mostly crying down here in the South.

Happy Thanksgiving?!

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Big time

walking-blog

We moved across town.

It was a typical move. The movers were late… although when I called them to ask when they were arriving, apparently it was in ‘the window’, which meant that, in fact, they were not late. Rather, they were on time. That’s OK. I had only been awake since 5 am, so anyone would have been late compared to me.

The moving part went smoothly.

The cable guy was 3 1/2 hours late. He arrived (after numerous phone calls on my part as to his arrival time) just after we sat down for Chinese food around 8 pm. His ‘window’ was 2pm to 4pm. Bastard.

He ruined these satisfying thoughts of BrightHouse being bastards by being the nicest man ever. And funniest. And most efficient. And then made random slightly off-colour jokes about himself being a nice bit of ‘chocolate’ that our dog wanted to nibble on…. I know, right? I was thinking ‘What the hell” too…. But it made me laugh.

And amidst all of this chaos, V decided that it was the perfect time to pick walking as a full-time career choice.

Way to make a great decision! His timing clearly comes from me.

So now Little Man is completely mobile.

Completely.

And man, is it the funniest thing ever. He walks all around with his hands up in the air like he is about to start ‘the wave’ or something. Most of this happens with a very serious face as well.

Very serious. Mostly sans shoes, mostly with Chewie following closely behind (dog-toy firmly clamped in mouth to prevent V from grabbing). I think he noticed that he was taller while walking. Now, he likes to walk over to tables and reach for what is on top, drag it off and then walk all over it. He sure can show that mail-keys-handbag-etc who’s boss!

This evening V and I took the dog for a walk.

We both put on our shoes. Some with a little more help than others.

Off we went, poop-bag in hand(s).

We went down the front steps, then up them, down, up, down, up, down, up and finally down. Then V was picked up and forcibly removed from the vicinity of the stairs.

We walked together (v in his little Transformer shoes, me in my flip-flops) down to the corner and across the street. And then about half-way down that street. This journey took about 20 minutes. I laughed a lot.

On the way back we stopped more times then we did on the way there. Stopped to check out the cement on the road. Stopped to see the plants on everyone’s front porch. Stopped to hit some plants with our hands. Stopped to hit some flowers with our hands. Giggled while hitting them. Hit them with such enthusiasm and giggled so much that people turned and looked at us. I affected an air of nonchalance. This is the best ‘air’ ever to effect when one is walking around with a child and talking out loud.

Usually I throw my ‘nonchalance’ cloak on every time I step out in public with V. It is quite an effective coverage…

Anyways, we went 1 block (and back). We investigated a lot. We waved our hands up in the air. A few little yellow petals bit the dust with our overenthusiastic over-handling. Shrieks of happiness echoed up and down our new street.

Walking, apparently, has hit the big time over here.

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Toast

toast-blog

Today I bought a sandwich for a homeless kid.

I wasn’t going to. To be honest, I usually avoid anything to do with people asking for money. It’s pretty much inherent. Part of living on the West Coast I think. I am immune to begging…

On the West Coast, homeless people have cats and dogs that they guilt you into feeling sorry for. Who, seriously, can resist giving money to help someone feed their dog. That is the hardest thing in the world for me. Poor animals.

West Coast homeless people also try to ‘jolly’ you out of spare change. Or insult you…. one or the other…

Case in point:

Once, my mother and I were ‘accosted’ by a young man who swore we were so beautiful that he had immediately, on the spot, made up a poem, just for us. He was so charming, that of course we said yes. And then he charged us a dollar. And my Mum, being the lovely person she was, gave it to him.

And then we watched him do the same thing to someone else.

It was funny though. $1 equals funny experience that I remember 10 years later. I guess it was worth the price…

There is a well known man who sits outside a church in downtown Victoria that chimes “Spaaaaaare a little chaaaaange…” He is elderly, white-bearded. Practically has become part of the landscape. I hardly notice him when I am back home.

One day, walking past the Eaton’s Center (that would be ‘The Bay Center’ to all of you young ones in Victoria), I was yelled at for ignoring a request for change. I am sorry. But, to be honest, I can only handle that request so many times… Once I hit 4 or 5, I have reached my limit. It is hard for me to avoid the pleading eyes, but after years of experience I have become a skilled professional.

Living in the South is a little bit different.

There is no real downtown core, so you are not slammed with the exposure that you would be in my hometown of Victoria, or even Vancouver.

M and I were checking out Orlando’s ‘downtown’ area one day, back when I had first moved here when we were approached by the skinniest, dirtiest black man you have ever seen.

He proclaimed “You are in LOVE. I can feel it”.

“I can feel you love, it’s so strong. I know you love this gorgeous woman. You love her. I can feel it…. let me dedicate a song to her beauty…”

And then he proceeded to sing, with a glorious smokey voice, an amazing, jazzy, 1920’s made-up song about my beauty and how it had M wrapped around my finger. For surely no man had ever resisted a woman such as I…

Oh god, how I was both embarrassed and flattered. We gave him $5 and he went on his way, down the deserted street that he had crossed to reach us.

This young man that I saw today was the skinniest boy you have ever seen. Clad in dirty jeans and a black tank top… those shoulders of his popped right out of his torso, they were so sharp and narrow. He asked me very politely “Ma’am, spare any change?” And unfortunately I had none….

So I bought him a turkey sandwich and a bottle of water instead. And apologized to him on my way out of the restaurant for not having any money to give him. I hoped he would like this sandwich instead. He thanked me, and gave me a shy happy smile.

Just look what motherhood has done to me….

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No Ghetto No More

ghetto-blog

Can I just say that I am a home-owner?

I figure if I write it here, that will help make it a little bit more of a reality. Right?

M and I like to play that game where you think back to when you met that person you married… and then you mentally trace all of the steps that you took to reach the place where you are now.

It never gets old, all of that retracing. I know you play the game too.

So we start back in Japan circa 2002 when we were both young and supple. All fresh-faced and wide-eyed at living abroad.

Flash-forward to 2005, M and I getting married in Florida lake-side (possible gator-sighting in back-drop).

Skip one more year (that year where we were apart as I couldn’t legally reside in the States as I didn’t have my citizenship sorted out) until we hit 2006.

Now that’s where things start to happen.

The first year I moved to Florida, we lived in a teeny one-bedroom apartment in MetroWest. At that time, it was still a nice neighbourhood. And just what out-of-staters think Florida should look like. Right on a golf course, palm trees everywhere, a pool. Ideal.

So small. Although, compared to what we had lived in in Japan, it was a palace. A PALACE. That same year we got Chewie, the needy, love-driven, attention seeking, ‘I hate everyone but you’, angry, super-licky, pain in the ass Chihuahua. That we love.

I still remember the first night we took him for a walk. He was extra little then. We walked him around the complex and just happened to walk near a storm grate.

M said to me, “Do you think he knows not to walk over that?? He won’t fall in, right?”

Me: “Of course he knows and he totally won’t”.

And then he totally fell through the grate. Those little chihuahua legs are not meant to be walking over things like that.

Suddenly that area of town became a hot-bed of crime. Drugs and prostitutes, man… and Jimmy Dime-Bags, our neighbour, smoking pot on the stairs every morning.

And I wanted a baby, an apartment with a hallway (or at least one other room) and somewhere that wasn’t full of prostitutes. And on we moved to Hunters Creek.

Such a good move. Much closer to the parents. And clearly my biological clock liked it too, as I instantly became pregnant the moment we moved in.

And we have been in this apartment for 2 years. And now have a one year old son plus our dog-child as well…

Now is the time for first time homeowners to make a move. And so we did. And are heading over to Lake Nona…

So as we drove to our new townhouse after closing this morning, these are things that ran through my head. We pulled up in front of our building, the birds of paradise were beautiful at our front steps and it was raining lightly.

M and I stepped out of his car, got out our new key on its orange puffer-fish key chain and opened that door. We stepped in to glorious uncirculated air and flesh coloured walls. A few carpet stains, a lack of blinds, some ceiling fans from 1987 and a few other little things to fix. It was gorgeous.

From a one-room Japanese flat, to ghetto prostitute-filled neighbourhood to country bliss in Lake Nona…

How amazing our travels through life have been.

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Normal life

ikea-blog

A wee excerpt from my normal life…

Taking the elevator from the top floor in Ikea, down to the bottom with my cousin. Oh, how do we love Ikea. So many things to think and plan about, meatballs to eat, lighting fixtures to drool over. It is a beautiful place for the female members of my family.

Let’s backtrack a little…. rewind back to the food court on the top floor, about 10 minutes earlier… focus in on our lovely Ikea meal we were having. Well, that C and I were having, as V was clearly not interested in having any part of it. This was  illustrated by the carrots and cheese that he spat out. Spat out with force, I might add. He got some serious distance. Where did this random ‘skill’ come from? No idea…(signs are pointing towards his father though…)

So, as we fought with the meal tray, dropped carrots all over the place, spat out some meatball, smeared things all over our very small 18 month-sized shirt….all of this heavy action was followed by a stealth-poop.

And by stealth-poop, I mean that there were none of the usual warning signs. No grunting, no red face, no nuttin’……

Just an unfortunate smell…. one that crept up on me. It took C a while to notice… and that is because she does not have a poop-machine at home and so doesn’t recognize the early aromas-slash-signs….

But when it hit her…. oh man. It really hit her.

By then we were already on our way to the ‘family’ change-room.

But. It was locked. Damn it!! My son’s poop-bottom is more important than yours!

So I headed into the main washroom which thankfully had a changing-station.

Oh, that poor ladies-room. It was quickly defiled the instant that my son’s pants came off. That movement was punctuated by C’s exclamation of  ‘Motherf’er! Jame. That. Is. Awful.”

It might have been, but honestly, my nostrils are immune to stank like that. And my eyeballs don’t even notice anymore.

The other ladies that exited stalls and washed their hands smiled at my commentary regarding Little Man’s stinky pants. His very stinky pants. And how nice that the changing table was situated so that his dirty little bottom faced the mirrors and was reflected down the washroom.

As I wiped, cleaned, wiped and wiped some more, ladies filed in and out. There were giggles. Some of them might have come from my cousin.

As I reached into my diaper bag and pulled out a stank-diaper bag (you know, one of those ‘green’ bags that you stuff your stink into when you are out in public so the trash doesn’t stink awfully?) and got ready to deposit the ‘deposit’ into it, my cousin exclaimed at its cleverness. Really, it is very clever.

Such a nice way to tidy up after a stinky bum.

The lady washing her hands at the sink chimed in “I use plastic bags to clean up my cat’s litter box. They are so handy.”

C: “But I bet yours aren’t Arm and Hammer”.

Bathroom Lady: “No. You are right. I just use regular plastic bags”. *laugh*

Jaime: “My bags come with a handy container to hook on your hand-bag”.

C: “Quite handy when you are at Ikea”

BL: “I don’t bring my cats with me to Ikea”.

*Silence*

And then we left the bathroom and headed down to the ground floor…

Just another normal day….

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Walk Hard

first steps-blog

Today was a good day.

Not only did I not forget my child anywhere, I also squeaked in a 5k (on the treadmill… don’t get too excited), went to Ikea, ate Swedish meatballs and liked them, drank Sangria, went swimming, met my sister-in-law’s new boyfriend, ate a yummy burger and painlessly put V to bed with a minimum of fuss.

It was a full and beautiful day.

V took a few unassisted steps. We pretended to not look. If we look and acknowledge those little triumphs, he stops doing it immediately and starts crawling. For real.

It is rather funny actually.

He crawls like a mother f’er. Super fast. This is probably why he isn’t walking. He thinks (probably) that he can’t go as fast and that might be true. He is one fast baby.

He travels along furniture and transfers from one thing to another with such finesse that you wonder why he isn’t walking yet. He pushes his little walker around, bangs it into walls, picks it up and moves it until he has a clear path and then off he goes again. How is he not walking again? ‘Cause he looks like he can. And people are quick to ask me this repeatedly. And then look amazed when I say no.

Well, he is, but only when holding onto one or more of your fingers or hands. He just won’t otherwise.

He will stand occasionally, usually when he is occupied by something else. Potato chip. Milk. Chewie. Sesame Street. Food. Food. Food. Random Tupperware. Dog treats. Remote controls to anything. Etc etc.

I feel like I look ridiculous when I am carrying him. He looks like a 3 year old. Or a young adult. He is a big boy. And its not that I don’t love carrying him everywhere (my incredibly huge muscles on my right arm [the arm I favor when I carry him]will attest to that), but sometimes I would love to put him down and not have his legs collapse immediately upon touching the ground.

I know noodle-legs are part of the whole territory of childhood. Believe me, I know. I have first hand experience at noodle-legs. As well, I am an experienced handler of the dreaded back-arch, that arch that appears as it is time to be seated anywhere… including, but not limited to car-seats, high chairs, Mummy’s lap, Daddy’s arms, the crib…

I digress…

It sure would be nice to put those chubby little feet on the floor and have those legs stay  firm and locked. That little hand clasped in mine as we toddle along. I have one of those images in my mind of  V and I, on a beach, walking hand in hand with the sunset in the background. Wait… maybe I mean me and M. ‘Cause that kind of sounds like a date…

Anyways, I am idealizing those independent steps that he is on the verge of taking…

Are we prepared for what will happen once he does? Probably not. But I bet it will be interesting…

xoxo a.m.

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