Thursday, August 21, 2014

A to Z – My Book Shelf

I saw this on Vandy’s blog The Testosterone Three & Me a long, long time ago, and had it bookmarked to do myself some day… and today’s the day!

Author you read the most books from: Hmmm…I’d have to say from a glance at my book shelf that the author I’ve read the most is Nicholas Sparks. However, I think I’ve kind of “grown out” of him & his books, as I haven’t really been wowed by any of his novels in the past ten years. Not sure why I keep buying them, actually!

Best Sequel ever: I’ve read a lot of series in the past few years, but I think my all-time favourite sequel (at least, I think you can call it that) – was Something Blue by Emily Giffin, the follow-up to Something Borrowed. I loved Giffin’s first novel and the characters she created, so the “sequel” involving most of the same cast was equally enjoyable.

something blue

Currently Reading: The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay (our next book club selection), as well as The Body Book by Cameron Diaz. I don’t usually have more than one book on the go, but these are two completely different genres, so I’m bouncing back and forth.

Drink of choice while reading: Water. I always have a big cup of cold water at my side. In the winter, I do enjoy cozying up in a quilt with a steamy mug of tea or hot chocolate to read, but even then, the cup of water is ever-present.

E-reader or Physical book: Physical book. I haven’t been won over by the e-readers yet. I love the smell of books, and I love holding them. I foresee eventually being forced into an e-reader (and I know they certainly have their advantages!) – but it makes me sad to think of no more real books. I’ll hold out as long as I can.

Fictional character you would have actually dated in high school: Oh, I’m always falling in love with the leading man in books I read! Most recently, the one that has fictionally “wooed” me was from Where We Belong by Emily Giffin. The story revolves around Marian, a successful career woman who gave up a baby for adoption when she was 18. That now-teenaged daughter, Kirby, finds her birth mother, thus turning Marian’s life upside down and unraveling many repressed memories from her teen years, and the boy she was in love with – Conrad Knight. Conrad was right up Jill’s alley, folks. The chapter when Marian goes back in time and describes falling in love with him and the romantic summer they spent together was pure bliss for me. Then when Marian and Kirby seek out now-adult-Conrad, we discover he’s still just as wonderful now as he was then. *sigh* Oh, and of course, he was a sexy musician. SWOON!

Glad you gave this book a chance: Okay, this is going to sound lame, but… Twilight by Stephenie Meyers. I swore up and down in the midst of the Twilight frenzie that I was NOT going to get sucked in by those dumb books. And I was NEVER going to fall in love with a sparkly vampire. Ermm… think again, Jill. The days I spent tangled up in Edward Cullen were total fictional heaven. I read only a few pages of a friend’s copy of the book, and I was hooked. Sign me up for the box set, the midnight movie premieres, the DVD’s… I did it all.  I even wore a Burger King crown with Edward and Jacob on it.  And I don’t regret one second of any of it.

Twilight (1)

Hidden gem book: The one that jumps out at me is Kit’s Law by Donna Morrisey. My Aunt Marion gifted me this novel for my birthday years ago, and it’s not one I ever would have picked out for myself – but only a few pages in, I was enthralled in the story of young Kit and her mentally handicapped mother Josie, living in a secluded Newfoundland village, and the secrets that swirl around them. I don’t suppose it’s really a “hidden gem”, as it’s a critically-acclaimed piece of Canadian fiction by a highly-touted Canadian author, but it was all new to me, and I loved it.

kit's law

Important moment in your reading life: I can’t think of an exact moment – but whatever age it was that I started reading “chapter” books. The Baby-Sitters Club, Sweet Valley High, and RL Stine’s Goosebumps books opened up a whole new world to me. I don’t think I’ve been without a book on the go since then.

Just finished: The last book I finished (that was a few weeks ago) was Jack of All Trades by Charlene Graham, a memoir by a local woman on the life, dreams and accomplishments of her late husband, Jack Graham. I worked one summer for Jack when I was in my late teens, and have heard many of the great things he did while acting as mayor of a neighbouring community, so it was really fascinating to learn more about him through the eyes of his wife. I really enjoyed it.

Kinds of books you won't read: At this point, I wouldn’t really rule out anything, because in the recent past I’ve discovered fantastic reads that were genres I never imagined I’d like. I don’t like anything too gory and gruesome anymore, though. I need to be able to sleep at night.

Longest book you've read: Probably something by Stephen King. Some of those books are monstrosities (no pun intended!) – I read The Stand the winter of 2013 and it took me months. It was so, so, so long.

the stand

Major book hangover because of: They keep coming up in my answers, but I have to go with Twilight again. I was so wrapped up in that series that I felt like I’d never find another book to love that much ever again…

Number of bookcases you own: Kind of hard to answer… 2 official book cases, I guess, but books find themselves in many places in my house… Plus, my mom still has tons of my books on her shelves at home.

One book you've read multiple times: Strangely, I rarely read a book more than once (although I’m known for watching movies over and over and over again!) – but there’s this one little old Harlequin romance… I can’t even remember what it’s called, or who it’s by, but I stole it from my mom when I was a teen, and I have read it twice since then. It’s been a few years, though – I should really dig it out again! Just a light, fun read, with characters that stuck with me and a feel-good predictable love story.

Preferred place to read: The big blue armchair in my living room, the back deck in my Adirondack chair, or in bed.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you've read:  It’s not exactly a warm and fuzzy quote, but it was from a book I read for a college literary course – the book was  called A Scientific Romance by Ronald Wright.  It wasn’t really my favourite book ever, but when I read this passage, it jumped out at me _ it so resonated with me - and I immediately wrote it down: 

Why is the echo richer than the source, and time remembered always grief?  People come and go, and you hardly notice how you feel, what you feel.  Then one day when you least expect it, remembrance slips like a blade into the heart: what you did and didn’t do, said and didn’t say; and suddenly you fall down into a cold and sunken place with only regrets for company, there gutted by sorrow and remorse and left to die.

Reading regret: Recently, that would be Don’t Go by Lisa Scottoline – I bought it at a local school’s book fair to support them, and the blurb on the back sounded interesting… but it was terrible. I forced my way through it, but the whole time, I was thinking, “Man, I hate this book. I can’t wait to be done it so I can read something else!!!” It was so sickly dramatic that you felt like screaming. I mean, the guy’s wife dies after accidentally stabbing herself in a “kitchen accident’ while he is overseas serving as a surgeon in the army, and then he comes home and drops his baby at his wife’s funeral? Like, come on now. And seriously, that was just the start of it! Soap operas pale in comparison to the over-the-top drama in this book. I’ve wasted some time on some silly reads over the years, trust me, but this one took the cake.

don't go

Series you started and need to finish (all books are out in series): The Divergent series – I read the first two, but haven’t gotten to the third one yet. I guess part of the problem is that I loved the first book, but was less enthused with the second. Not sure if the third is worth it.

Three of your all time favorite books:  I honestly don’t know if I can choose!  I need more time to think about this one!  But off the top of my head:  Twilight by Stephenie Meyers, Crow Lake by Mary Lawson, and Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen

twilight

crowlake-marylawson1

water for elephants book  

Unapologetic fan-girl for: Twilight and 50 Shades. I don’t regret or apologize for anything that wraps me up and takes me away to a different world for a little while – and those series’ did that for me. I was completely tied up in them while reading them.

Very excited for this release more than all the others:  I never really keep up on what books are being released… but somewhat book-related, I’m very excited to see the 50 Shades movie in February! ;)

Worst bookish habit:  Not being able to give them away… I mean, I already confessed that I rarely read a book twice, but somehow, I can’t ever give them away.  Even the ones I didn’t really like.  Also, I buy too many.  Especially when I’m at a used book sale.  My shelves are jammed with books I haven’t had a chance to read yet… But I love my collection!

X marks the spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:  A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews.  As I recall, a book club selection that nobody liked but me… it was darkly humorous and quirky and I enjoyed it.

Your latest book purchase: The Body Book by Cameron Diaz – it was my birthday gift to myself. Not the sort of book I would normally spring for, but because one of my goals for this year is to develop a better relationship with food and continue working on maintaining weight loss, it seemed a good idea to get started with a resource like this one. (Oh, OK – here’s the truth: I saw her pimping her book on Jimmy Fallon. And Jimmy could sell me anything.)

the body book

ZZZ snatcher book (the book that kept you up WAY late): Once again, gotta go with Twilight. I wish it was something more profound, more “elite” – but fact of the matter is, when I was reading the Twilight books, I’d climb into bed and tell myself, “Just one chapter” – and the next thing I’d know, it would be after midnight. If I’m still up reading, not head-bobbing, at midnight? Then you know this kid is totally enamoured by the book. I’ve read some really great books since then – but none that have ever kept me up reading into the wee hours of the morning like that book.

Feel free to steal this and do it yourself if you’re a book lover! :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A random Tuesday lesson.

  • Yesterday was my “fresh start”, as I re-committed to focusing on healthy eating choices while maintaining a workout schedule.  And I admit, I spent most of the day feeling pretty cranky about it all.  I had a glorious three weeks of eating junk, and so giving it all up again is hard.  In addition, I was extra-sulky because I could feel that my clothes were tight, and the number on the scale was alarming.  I let it all go for three weeks – THREE FRICKIN’ WEEKS – and it puts me THAT far behind?!  The human body is a sonofabitch, y’all.
  • I seriously contemplated chucking it all and resuming my old ways, permanently.  I mean, I liked having chips in my house again, and ice cream in my freezer, and making big cheesey macaroni casseroles, and eating banana cake, and going out to eat and enjoying appetizer, meal, AND dessert.  AND I damn well LOVED the two giant Reese Peanut Butter Cups I ate as my “last hurrah” on Sunday night.  I wasn’t really sure I was ready to let them all go…
  • But I didn’t like that pants were tight on me.  And I also didn’t like that when I did my workout last night, for the first time in over a year, my knees hurt and my shins ached.  The pounds were catching up to me, in a BIG way, and I knew I couldn’t let this binge-fest continue any longer.
  • Then, I sat down last night to start reading Cameron Diaz’s The Body Book.  Right there, on the back cover, it said something like, “Your body is amazing!”  And I was all like, “um, no, Cameron Diaz, my body is an asshole.  I’ve been working so hard for a year and a half to transform it, and it’s been great & all, but I fall of the wagon for just a few short weeks, and this is how my dumb body repays me?  It can’t just, like, hang tough for a bit?  Stave off the pounds for just a little while for me?  Where’s this supposedly amazing metabolism I’ve been building up and working on improving?  Why are SOME people able to eat whatever they hell they want and never work out and be skinny, while I eat whatever the hell I want and still work out every day and STILL gain 10+ lbs over a three week span?  WHERE IS THE FAIRNESS IN ALL THIS, CAMERON DIAZ???”
  • So, yeah.  My body is not amazing.  My body is an asshole.
  • But then, I managed to work up the gumption to actually open the book (even though the back cover had me seething mad) – and whaddya know, Cameron actually knows what she’s talking about.  As I sat reading the first few chapters, jotting notes in the margins and underlining parts that jumped out at me, I was saying to myself, “Yes…so true…I already know this… yes, Cameron, you’re right!  Thank you for reminding me!”
  • The root of it all for me comes down to this little lesson that Ms. Diaz preaches:  If you put crap into your body, you will feel like crap.  If you put good, glorious nutrition into your body, you will FEEL it.  You will have energy, you will feel lighter, and you will be happier. 
  • My body has been trying to get this across to me for a little while now, as the over-indulging continued and the pounds started creeping on.  I was getting crankier and heavier and sluggish.  My amazing body was saying, “Dude, whoa up.  Give me some good food and let’s get this show back on the road!”  I just didn’t want to listen.
  • So yeah, my body IS still a sonofabitch asshole.  But also kind of an amazing sonofabitch asshole, I guess. 
  • And that is random Tuesday lesson for today.

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Confess Sesh

Happy Friday, friends!

Let’s kick off the weekend with some confessions…

I confess… that I’m looking forward to Monday with equal parts anticipation and dread.  I always feel excited to get started once I’ve made up my mind that it’s time to buckle down and focus on diet or exercise, or both.  At the same time, it’s so very hard for me to go from eating whatever the hell I want to a strict healthy diet again.  It’ll take a good week or so to get used that lifestyle again.  In the meantime, I’ll be… cranky.

I confess… that I know it’s too soon – TOO SOON! – but I kind of really enjoyed the rainy, dreary week, and the chilly weather yesterday – because it fueled my craving for fall.  As I get older, I’m realizing it really is my favourite time of year.  I feel giddy at the thoughts of the leaves changing colours, warm sweaters and tights and boots, big pots of chili and pasta sauce simmering on the stove, pumpkin-spice-everything.

autumn cozy feeling

I confess… that the best part of an unexpected cold day in the middle of summer was the macaroni-hamburger-tomato-cheesey casserole I popped in the oven for supper.  It’s one of my ultimate favourite comfort foods, and I’d been longing for it for a while.  But you can’t just make a macaroni casserole in the middle of summer!  Unless it’s only 13 degrees out.  Thank you, summer cold snap.

chili macaroni cassarole

I confess… my plan to get through the initial difficult days of no longer eating whatever the hell I want is to try out some new fun healthy recipes.  I’ve got my sites set on spicy black bean burgers, garlic mashed cauliflower, cauliflower crust pizza, sweet potato crunchies (using my new spiralizer! woo hoo!), skinny meatloaf… I’m excited to try out all of these healthier alternatives!

I confess… the one thing I’m probably going to miss most is my bowl(s) of vanilla frozen yogurt smothered with either peanut butter, chocolate sauce, honey, or sprinkles – or all of the above.  I started treating myself with this a month or so ago, convincing myself it was “healthy” because I was using frozen yogurt instead of ice cream, natural PB, and raw local honey.  (I have no explanation for the chocolate sauce and sprinkles.)  If I had it once a week, it might’ve been OK.  But I ended up eating it almost every night.  All or nothing, folks.  I’m all or nothin’.

I confess… that this isn’t going to be a very busy weekend, yet I’m SO looking forward to it!  I’m helping my friend Stacy deliver cupcakes for a wedding tomorrow morning, going out to Montana’s for lunch (one last hurrah!), and having the kids over for a movie night (another last hurrah!)  I’m also hoping to go visit Baby Ariella at some point.  Can’t wait!

I confess… that I have another food confession.  I know.  Enough already.  But one of the treats I’ve been over-indulging in the past few weeks is my beloved chips, so they will be out of my life (once again) starting on Monday.  But before I cut them out of my life, I want to try some of the new Lays flavours that just came out.  Mmmmm…chips…

Bacon poutine chips

I confess… that I have a desperate need right now to watch Robin Williams movies.  All of them.  I feel like I need to honour him in this way.  The only one I’ve watched so far is Good Will Hunting.  I have Aladdin and Mrs. Doubtfire on my mind for this weekend.  And I really want to see Dead Poets Society.

Robin-Williams-movie-poster-9pk-set-1

I confess… that I thought Jimmy Fallon’s tribute to Robin on his show Tuesday night was perfect.  And also, a true testament to Jimmy’s talent.  I know, I’m biased.  But the guy was choked up and could hardly speak, then swung into a very accurate impersonation of Williams doing stand-up.  It was short, but it was sweet, and I thought it was just right.  He also showed a clip of Robin Williams in an appearance on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  A proper send off to a comedic genius from the king of late night TV.

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful weekend, filled with smiles and laughter and good times.

Cheers!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Getting back in the swing of things.

Some of you may have noticed that I slipped all  of the vacation and birthday posts in this week without actually addressing the whole 6-Week Plan and Bikini Project stuff.

Well, today is confession day.  And here it is:  The 6-Week Plan was only mildly successful, and no, I absolutely did NOT wear a bikini on my 31st birthday.  (And not just because it was only 19 degrees Celsius on July 28th, and felt more like a brisk fall day than the dog days of summer.  Like, seriously, we thought about starting a fire in the woodstove inside the camp.  It was that cold.)

The last week of the plan went amazingly well, to be honest.  I did a high-protein low-carb 5-day diet in one last-ditch effort to get into the bikini, and it brought me down to my lowest weight yet.  But unfortunately, it still wasn’t enough.  On the Saturday, I dug out the bikinis my friend Lindsay had loaned me, took pictures of myself in them, and decided it was a no-go.  There was still too much of a pooch on this ol’ belly.  I’m not sure it will ever go away.  (And after all of this, I’m not sure if I care anymore.)

I did get a second opinion, too.  I showed the pictures to my mom and sister, and they agreed that if it were them, they wouldn’t be comfortable showing off that mid-riff either – despite the fact that I have plenty to be proud of with what I’ve accomplished in transforming my body this past year and a half.

The fact that the day ended up cool and too breezy for any sort of swimsuit just cemented the decision for me.

That being said, I was more than excited to have two new tankinis that I’d purchased on-line from Sears that arrived just in the nick of time for vacation.  I felt totally comfortable in them, and got plenty of use out of them for the rest of the week.  So really, at the end of the day, I didn’t care about the bikini failure.

Camp 2014 Jill & Caden

I thoroughly enjoyed my vacation.  I probably ate too much over the course of the week, but I also never missed a workout (quite a feat to accomplish while on holidays, away from home with no DVD player!) – and after it was all over, I felt good about it.  No major harm done.

But then, last week came along, and with it, a whole pile of stress.  I won’t go into detail on the reasons for it, but basically I was a strung-out mess.  And what does Jill do when she’s a strung-out mess?

She eats.

I gave myself too much slack.  I told myself, “Okay, you’ve had a crappy day.  You’re allowed to have chips and ice cream for supper tonight.”  One day lead to two days, two days to three, and the next thing you know, the whole damned week was a write-off.

It culminated with an all-out food-fest on Sunday after Sam’s baptism.  I swear, I lost count of the number of cookies I ate that afternoon.  And the fistfuls of chips.  And the pieces of ice cream cake. 

*sigh*

Here’s where the real problem comes in:  After granting myself a week of eating whatever I want, it becomes really hard to reign it all back in again.  And I’m struggling this week.  Big-time.

I’ve been doing better these past few days, but it’s so hard when I know there’s still ice cream in the freezer and bags of chips in the cupboard.  Especially when the evening snack cravings hit.  Thus, I’ve granted myself a few more days to “get rid of it”all (which means, “eat it”), and then I plan to buckle down again on Monday.

Monday is going to be my “fresh start”, with the new goal now of developing a better relationship with food, as well as maintaining a regular workout schedule. I bought Cameron Diaz’s best-seller The Body Book as a little birthday present to myself, and I’m hoping it will help me in working towards this new goal.  I also have PiYo on order from Beachbody, with the plan of starting that program after Labour Day.

the body book

piyo 3 

I’m sick of this vicious cycle – the love-hate relationship I have with food.  I’m tired of feeling guilty when I eat too much, and regretting my actions.  I want to develop a healthier relationship with food, much the way I’ve cultivated a relationship with exercise.

On to the next step.  I’m a better person when my focus is strong.  I know that after just a few days of being back on track, I will feel better and it will get easier with each successful day.

Now I just need to get started.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

31 Random Things

I’m 31 now.

An insignificant age… Just a number, really, that only marks another year. Nothing very special about 31.

So in honour of that, here are 31 random and nothing-very-special things about me:

1. My favourite combination of foods right now is chocolate & peanut butter.

chocolate-and-peanutbutter-300x279

2. Despite my deep current love for chocolate (this is relatively new for me, I always said I liked salty snacks better than sweet) – my LEAST favourite flavor of ice cream is chocolate.

3. I still own a Blackberry. Yes. STILL. An ancient old relic of a Torch. I may never upgrade.

4. My latest old-man-who-is-actually-now-dead crush is Brian Keith.

brian keith

5. I hate being cold. And I feel like I’m always cold. I work in a frigging meat locker.  This is another recent development, one that I’ve discovered since losing weight.

6. I am a sun worshipper, but with the concerns now of old age, I actually pay a little more attention to sunscreen and hats. 

7. I may be 31, but I still sleep with my big stuffed dog, Zwillian.

8. Getting tickets to see The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon is now on my bucket list. Hence, a trip to NYC is also now on my bucket list.

TonightShowJimmyFallon_P

9. Watching movies is one of my favourite things to do, but lately, I can’t seem to stay awake when I’m watching one.  Like, ever.

10. Finally, after all these years, I’ve developed an understanding and appreciation for Seinfeld. I’m into Season 3 and enjoying it.

seinfeld 2

11. I drink coffee with just a bit of unsweetened almond milk in it. I like it that way, but I often wonder if I went back to my low-fat French Vanilla Coffeemate, if I would still love it that way more. I haven’t put anything but milk, almond milk, or a dash of cinnamon in my coffee since the start of Lent.

12. Cinnamon has become the most-used spice in my cupboard. I add it not only to my coffee on occasion, but also to plain Greek Yogurt or cottage cheese.

13. Cinnamon has booted garlic powder out of the #1 position as my most-used-spice.

14. I used to think the only purpose of cottage cheese was to put it in lasagna. I have since learned to love it mixed with fruit; in fact, I consider it one of my top favourite “healthy treats”.

Fruit-and-Cottage-Cheese

15. My favourite thing about the movie theatre is the smell of heavenly buttery popcorn that hits me when I walk through the doors.

16. I tell people I play guitar, but I’ve barely looked at the thing since Christmas.

17. I shave my legs every Saturday morning.

18. I still crave potato chips, but have realized that they (or the grease??) don’t really agree with me anymore. After a chip splurge, I end up feeling gross for a good 24 hours.  Like, hung-over-sick-feeling-gross.

19. I’m a big fan of Iggy Azalea.

20. I still haven’t had a poutine or McDonalds; it’s been well over a year for both of them. There was a time when I didn’t think I could go a month without either of them.

21. I have a deep love for peanut butter. And I have developed a taste for bananas. But the combination of peanut butter and bananas still makes me gag.

22. I recently looked at my list of goals for 2014 that I made on New Year’s Day, and realized I’m pretty much failing all of them except for one.

23. The only goal I’ve been consistent with is following the 52-Week Money Saving Challenge.

24. One of my goals was to read 20 books. To date, I’ve only read 8.  Yikes.

25. I like the idea of playing games, but I’ve realized it never ends well when I partake – board games, card games, sports. I am extremely competitive, I’m a really poor sport, and I rarely win, which makes for a really bad combination.

26. I love the idea of traveling, but I just wish I could take my own bed with me.

27. I used to hate when we were kids and on the rare occasion we went on a trip, my mom would complain that she didn’t sleep well when she wasn’t in her own bed. I now understand 100% how she felt.

28. Though my taste buds have evolved over recent years, and I now enjoy things like bananas, spinach, and fish, I don’t think I’ll ever come around on mushrooms. Or liver.

29. If I could do anything I wanted with my life as a job, I would definitely open up that little health food store I’ve been dreaming about and become my own boss.  Or an ice cream shoppe.  Although the ice cream shoppe would probably demolish my weight loss progress.

30. If there’s one thing my dad tried to impress upon me, it was to take pride in what you own, and keep it clean – especially your car. I can’t think of a chore I despise more than washing and cleaning my car. It is one thing that I can guarantee you who would not be proud of me for.

31. I’d love to get through a day without craving some kind of junk food.

Junk-Food1

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Happiness in pictures + Robin Williams

Yesterday, I photo-dumped my vacation, and I have to say, those pictures make my heart so happy.

But there have been other photos from the past few weeks that I haven’t had an opportunity to share yet, so forgive me one more day of reminiscing with pictures!

As you all know, I celebrated my 31st birthday while on vacation, and after returning from the camp that week, my family gathered at my sister and brother-in-law’s for a BBQ, games, DQ ice cream cake, presents, and just spending quality time with some of my favourite people.  My sister-in-law Amanda has recently discovered a passion for photography, and she captured this shot from that day:

Jill and kids 2

My favourite place to be – with my arms filled with my favourite little people and a big smile on my face!  This was right before they brought out the cake and sang happy birthday… you can just see the anticipation in their eyes, right?!  Love it!

(Oh, and PS – for those of you wondering how I did with my “Birthday Wishlist” – I was surprised and thrilled to receive a George Foreman grill from my mom, a vegetable spiralizer from my sister & her fam, and a gift card for H&M from my brother and his fam!  I was stoked!!)

Another happy occasion that took place recently was the baptism of one of my besties babes… Lindsay & Ryan’s son, Samuel, was welcomed into our church family of faith on Sunday.  Sam’s grandpa also happens to be a very talented photographer, and he captured these happy moments that I was thrilled to be part of!

Sam's baptism 2014

Sam's Baptism 2014 3 

Sam's baptism 2014 2

Sam is such a cutie, and he was such a good boy on Sunday – he didn’t even cry when Rev. Nancy put the water on his head.  I love him dearly!

As you can see, the little ones in my life are very important to me and I love each of them so much.  So is it any surprise that I was thrilled to welcome a new wee babe into my life yesterday?

Baby Ariella 2014

My friend Brenda’s daughter, Brittany, was the first child I was entrusted with to baby-sit as a 10-year-old, but Brittany was far more than just a kid I looked after from time to time.  I spent countless hours at their place with her (and, subsequently, her brother and my Godson, Cowan) – and somewhere along the way, I began to think of them as “mine”.  They have both always held a very special place in my heart. 

Britt made me feel very old when she announced that she and her boyfriend were expecting their first child.  When I received the news yesterday that their little one had arrived, I couldn’t wait to meet her.  I hurried up to the hospital after work to hold Ariella Hazel, all 6 lbs and 13 ozs of her, and it was instant love.  She is beautiful!  Congratulations to Brittany and Brandon and their families on the new little bundle of PINK!  (I guessed right!! hee hee!)

Despite all of the happy in this post, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the sad news that I was hit with after leaving the hospital last evening.  I was quickly scanning my Facebook newsfeed on my way to the car when I was shocked to discover post after post after post from my friends sharing the tragic news of Robin Williams’ apparent suicide at age 63.

Robin Williams

I can’t say I’ve seen every movie he’s ever been in, but I remember my cousin Patti taking her boys, my brother, and I to see Mrs. Doubtfire in theatres when we were kids, and it was pure movie magic.  I’ve seen in countless times since.  In fact, I watched it again not long ago, and thought to myself, “That man really is a genius.  This movie just never gets old!”  Aladdin is one of my favourite Disney flicks, and I thought he was fabulous as the Genie.  I’m also a big fan of Good Will Hunting and the more serious, Oscar-winning performance he gave in that movie.

At the end of the day, it makes me so sad to know that a man who brought so much laughter to the world was trapped in such a dark place himself.  A place from which he could see no way out.

I hope he has found peace.  He will be missed.

Genie, you're free

Genie.  You’re free.

<3

Monday, August 11, 2014

I’m back!

Whoa, dudes.  I didn’t mean to be gone that long!  I swear!

Last Tuesday, I begrudgingly returned to work from vacation.  It was hard.  I had a phenomenal week off, and I didn’t want it to end.  All week long, I kept reminding myself that I’m damned lucky to work somewhere that I love for people that are good friends, because otherwise, I think I would’ve cried.

So, I spent much of the week playing catch-up, and trying not to look at my pictures from what I consider our “little piece of heaven” – because when I looked at them, I just longed to be back there again.  It was too hard… too painful.

See what I mean…?

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Caden & Danica getting re-acquainted with the beach on Day 1

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Lovin’ the beach!

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The first fish

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Danica was unhappy with the pictures I got of her from last year at the camp – I told her it wasn’t my fault since she was always turning her head and refusing to smile.  Needless to say, she was much more compliant when it came to posing this year! ;)

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The 1st one to swim out to the floating raft (after Mom challenged Kara and I to see who could do it first.  I rarely back down from a challenge!)

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One of my favourite camp treats…corn on the cob! yum!!

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Kara in the kayak – one of my favourite activities at the camp

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Little beach babe!

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Aunt Marion, Mom & Kara

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We had a photo shoot one night on the end of the dock.  I got about 30 pictures of my mom, sister, and I – and Kara hated all of the ones that I liked, and forbid me for posting them.  So for that, she gets the goofiest one of all!

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Nothing like a sunset at the camp…

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My nephew the walrus

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I don’t ever want to leave this place…

It was the perfect week. 

I swear, if I could take my own bed with me, and find another room for my snoring mother to sleep in, I’d stay there forever.

So, last week kind of sucked, but this past weekend was a wonderful one and made up for the crazy-busy-stressful 4-day week that I was more than happy to see the end of.  The weekend made up for it, full of fabulous times with family and friends – and now I’m looking forward to settling back into a routine again.

Hopefully the blog neglect is over for a while! ;)