Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Edmonton Part 2: Family Vacation Hightlights




As you may have read last weeks post the trip to Edmonton brought a pleasant surprise for me at the half-marathon, read about here,  but today I want to talk about the amazing opportunity this little mini-vacation brought to our whole family.  Initially Logan and I were going to just drive  in for the weekend alone but then we decided to take the kiddo's along and make it a mini-mini-vacation, jammed packed of family goodness.


1.  Friends and babies.  We stayed with our good friends, Shaun and Karli, and their sweet littles, Will and Libby.  Karli and I have been friends since high school and the husbands totally hit it off years ago when we brought them into our circle.  We were thrilled when they added Will to their little family, shortly followed by Libby. Halie especially took a liking to hanging out with Will and playing trucks with him, reading stories, blowing bubbles and carrying him around. 


2.  More Friends.  We were also hosted for dinner by  our best man Nick and his family.  Logan and Nick have been best friends since primary school and we were pretty sad when they decided to move away.  It was awesome to spend  time catching up over dinner with them and to have the kids reconnect after a few years of not seeing each other.  Nick also ran the half with me, I was so extremely proud of him as he is not really someone that runs.  Kendra, his wife, is wonderful at navigating through the city closures and got us there in time!

3.  Waterpark.  Highlight of the trip for the kids for sure.  They spent 7 hours there!!!!!  They loved the wave pool the most but we also hit many of the waterslides.  Halie is a total ride junkie, while Anya could take it or leave it and as a rule of thumb doesn't enjoy the funny feeling in her tummy that you get on rides.  Logan and I did the big huge pink slide, refer to pictures, and I almost bailed waiting in line but it was such a thrill.  You stand in a tube at the top, it starts a countdown and  all of a sudden the bottom gives out and you are flying through the waterslide tunnel.  It's over before you know but it's an adventurous waterslide.   I bailed at hour 5 and spent 1.5 hours shopping by myself.

4.  Shopping.  I basically went into two stores, H & M and Simons, and bought everything there.  I was hoping to mull things over and pick them up the next day or try a few other stores, but that didn't happen.   I will post the things I purchased over the next few weeks but here is a quick shot of the embroidered skirt and stripped top that I picked up (full details on Friday).


The girls hit up the American Girl Store.  WOW!  That store is impressive and expensive.  LOL!  Since that day Halie has purchased her very own American Girl doll through Indigo.  She takes her everywhere and the girls have spend endless hours playing with their dolls.  Honestly, I am thrilled to have her hold on to some childhood play for a while longer.

Halie is obsessed with Harley Quinn.


5.  Ikea.  We went to Ikea with kids and actually they loved it.  How is it that you walk into that store with no real list and walk out with a $350 bill?  I love all the things I bought.  I love fresh cut flowers but since I can't always have them on the table, I splurged on this arrangement for the home of fake flowers.  I think they look really nice and I love seeing colorful colors in my living space now that the days are getting shorter.




Shop Ikea: white rug; cookbook/iPad stand; old-fashioned milk jug vase; flowers (lilac, snowball green flowers, hydrangea); napkins (watercolor, fall leaves; old-fashioned floral)


Overall an amazing get-away.   As we drove away our hearts were full from all the visiting we got in with our sweet friends and the fun memories we made with the girls.  Traveling is much easier now that we don't have nap schedules, food needs, diapers and diaper bags to attend to. 

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Fashion Friday: How To Dress For Family Photos


I am back to hopefully posting a fashion related post on Friday's and life happenings on Wednesdays.  It's good to be back at work and to be getting back to somewhat of a routine after a completely laidback summer. 


Every couple of years I try to get family photos done and this year it was especially important for me to have the family photos taken at our lake to commemorate how special this summer was to us as a family and to celebrate this new chapter of our family life.  It just happens that my best friend Ashley is a photographer and was going to be staying with us for five days with her family!  How perfect is that!  


If you are like me, I don't want to drop a ton of extra $ on getting everyone new outfits so this is how I plan for  picture session:


1.  Pick your season.  Seasons are critical and as well as time of day.  Last time we did fall photos so it was all about jewel toned colors and boots.  This year though I wanted sunset, blue lake, soft pastels, to represent the warm summer nights and the golden sunset.


2.  Pick one outfit or a couple that you want to wear and build around that.  I knew I wanted to wear my chambray dress for the photoshoot and since the girls have lots of cute dresses, I thought we could find a color combo that would work.  My husband is always the hardest because he has the least in his closet. 


3.  Start creating a Pinterest board that has color schemes to go along with the one outfit you want to build around.  Here is my Pinterest Board for summer photos.  Also I think this is great for getting ideas to share with your photographer or to give you ideas of props you might want to bring along.


4.  Create flat lays of the different outfit combinations and take pictures to see how they show up together. 


5.  If  you have certain frames that you want to fill with certain combinations of family members, note to self if you want the photos to be vertical or horizontal.  We didn't do that this time but I always ask the photographer for  certain shots so that I can switch out the photos in my frames.


Here is a sample of some of my favorite shots from the shoot.  (p.s. I took a few these)





Have a great weekend everyone! 

Monday, 11 September 2017

Edmonton Part 1: A Pleasant Surprise



You know when something WONDERFUL happens and it's a complete SURPRISE?  Well that's what happened during my half-marathon in Edmonton.  I want to preface this post by saying that I don’t intend this post to be braggy but rather I am allowing myself to share my pride, and happiness, over this unexpected result.  Sometimes as women I feel like we don’t celebrate ourselves as much as we should, or be happy with where we are right now, and that’s something I’ve been trying to work on and model for my girls so here is my celebration.

A few weeks ago I ran my personal best at the Edmonton half-marathon and I can’t even begin to describe my emotions. to you all.  Some of you may recall last years half-marathon disappointment, read about it here, after training hard for months and hoping to achieve 2 hrs flat and then having the worst run ever.  Since that race, I haven’t been able to commit to anything.  Finally in June my close friend Kristi called me out.  She basically said that I could do it, but mentally I was stopping myself because I didn’t want to face disappointment again or having to adjust my goals to suit my needs.  TRUE!!!!!  I am terrible at the mind aspect of running and often sabotage myself.  So when my buddy Nick decided to run the Edmonton half,  I signed up too.  I trained but really took it easy by following the moderate training schedule.  I didn’t want to get hurt again, physically or emotionally, and I didn’t want it hijacking our family time in the summer.  So I did what I could and stayed pretty true to getting in 4 runs a week and some cross-training. 



Then came the illness curse.  Like 2016 I got sick, except this time I was sick for over 3 weeks and when I went o the doctor finally she told me it was a chest and sinus infection and that she would put me on strong antibiotics but she wasn’t sure that I should run.  I ran, with a little help from Advil Cold and Sinus, and somewhere around 16km I realized that there was a good chance I would get a PB.  After just hoping that I wouldn’t be slower than 2:10:00! I just couldn’t believe!  My official time was it 2:01:16!!!!! I ran across the finish line feeling strong, powerful, speedy and with a heart full of pride.  I didn’t reached that flat 2hrs but I am beyond happy with the result and it’s nice to feel that "it's good enough". 



Would I like under 2 hrs?  Of course, but I don’t feel like I need it.  I don’t feel any disappointment.  I just feel happiness, pride, perseverance.  It’s nice to have positive feelings about ones accomplishments rather than despair.  So whatever your goals are and whether you achieve them on your first attempt or not, or ever, I hope you can be better than me and always give yourself a pat on the back and are able to get back to whatever it is that you love. 


My husband refers to them (my family ) as my "running groupies".  Best cheering squad ever! 


My buddy Nick got an incredible first time half –marathon at 2:07:00!!!!  AMAZING.  I couldn’t be happier for him.  He set out to do something and in the midst of a busy family life, with little training, and little running background, he crushed it. 

In closing, I will say that this course was the flattest course I have ran, beautiful route, calm winds, it was really just a dream. I am well aware that I may not be able to replicate this time on a different course, but I am okay with that.  I am moving forwards with just reminding myself that I run 

 a) because I love it

b) to feel healthy and strong, and

c) to manage my stress.  Thee shirt below summarizes it perfectly.



Monday, 4 September 2017

First Day of School Outfits 2017 Style

I am back with a special first day of school addition with my mini-me's!  Halie (Gr. 5) and Anya (Gr.2) are ready for another school year tomorrow, well as ready as they can be.  I on the other hand officially started last week, but have been going into the office for a couple of weeks now.  I love the excitement of a first day of school/work outfits.  You are ready to see all the people you haven't had a chance to meet up with all summer, to exchange summer stories and to start fresh with new goals.   It's still fairly warm here so we choose outfits that can be layered.  Youngest to oldest, lets take a look. 

Disclaimer:  I let them choose their own clothes, gone seem the days when I could dress them myself.

Anya (Gr.2)
Anya is going into grade 2 with a positive attitude and is very hopeful to get Halie's old teacher that we all loved.  She is a spitfire, quick talker, sweet manipulator, ready for action and still loves to cuddle.  She recently purchased this Mal (Decendents) jacket from the Disney Store as her back to school gift from us.   It's an adorable, faux-leather, moto jacket and worth every penny.  Everything else she already had in her closet, skirt (Gap), polka-dot top (Joe Fresh) and these sweet little tie-up flats are a Walmart special. 

Halie (Gr.5)
I have been so thankful this summer for the time I had to spend with Halie.  She is in a time of change and I was so grateful that we had so much time to connect this summer as I know she is entering an age that is generally out of my comfort zone.  She is really into MAKE-UP and clothing.  At first I wasn't sure how I felt about it but I realized this isn't something I wanted to fight her on, so instead I embraced it and taught her to put on make-up so it's neutral rather than LOOK-AT-ME. Her favorite clothing lines are Jessica Simpson and Material Girl. My sister took her shopping at the Bay and she put two outfits together depending on the weather on the first day of school. 


I purchased this dress on the internet while on a road trip (I was the passenger).  This beauty was a steal of a deal  for $17.99  from the Bay (sorry sold out).  I had so many complements on it, and several people said I looked Greek, bonus!  I think it's the way the stark white of the dress really pops against my tanned skin color.  And who doesn't just want to gush over these oversized bell sleeves. 

Dress:  Moonrise (sold out); similar top

I am also playing along with the ladies of The Blended Blog to answer some Back-To-School questions.

1.  Did you love school or hate it?
LOVE!  I am social so it was a great place to meet people.  I also had my ups and downs, but overall it was a positive experience for me.

2.  Start school before or after Labor Day?
I start before as a teacher/consultant and the kids start after.

3.  Wake up: eager beaver or slow poke?
EAGER BEAVER!  I love morning and often annoy my family with my morning energy. 

4.  Favorite breakfast?
I eat the same thing everyday.  Peanut butter, jam (sometimes I switch it up with honey), toast. 

5.  Favorite cereal?
Before celiac diagnosis, cream of wheat covered in chocolate chips. 

6.  School uniform or no uniform? 
Thankfully I can dress the way I want to. :)

7.  New outfit for the first day or no?
Totally depends.  We usually have some new things but I didn't grow up with a 'back-to-school' shopping trip and so my kids really don't either.  We might just buy one thing or create an outfit from what we already have.  Totally different every year.

8.  Walk to school or bus> 
Drive to work.  Kids walk.

9.  Backpack, tote, or messenger bag?
Lots of bags.  LOL.  When you are a teacher you always seem to be carrying endless bags.

10.  Eat school lunch or packed lunch?
Packed.  Leftovers preferable.

11. White or chocolate milk?
Neither.  Hate milk.  Unless you consider ice cream a milk group in which case I will take any color and almost any flavor. 

12.  Paper bag or lunch box?
Lunch bag.

13.  Favorite thing to o at recess?
4 Square!!!!

14.  Favorite back to school supply item?
Colored pens and a organizer all the way.

15.  Chalkboard or dry erase board? 
Chart paper.

16.  Regular pencil or mechanical?
Mechanical is so much more fun.

17. Homework as soon as you get home or after dinner?
Right before class. 

18.  Favorite after school snack?

19.  Favorite after school show?
Saved By The Bell

20. Favorite subject in school?
Math.  I loved worksheets and right answers.

21.  Least favorite subject in school?
Gym. I was very uncomfortable with myself in high school.

22.  Name of your best friend in high school?
Amber and Ashely were among them.  There were others but those two are still my closest friends.

23.  High school mascot type?
No idea.

24.  SAT or ACT?
Neither thankfully.

25.  Favorite year in school? 
Gr. 5-7 spent in Kenaston. 

26.  Class ring or no class ring?
NOPE.  I do remember them having the class jackets which were not my thing and honestly my family just didn't have the $ for that.

27.  Attend or not attend high school reunion? 
If we had them I would totally attend.  I'd love to see people and hear their stories.  Many of the people I went to school with are on FB so I can see them off/on.  More than that I would love to meet the people that I went to school in Bosnia with.  I would be fascinated to find out if they are still alive, who they became and just be in their presence.

That's all for today!  Happy 2017-18 school year all!