Music and butts

I believe music to be an amazing powerful all encompassing being that connects us all.

I know that’s a lot to ask from something as simple as music, but it’s true. It is powerful and it is important.

Lately there is a lot of music coming out about positive body images, and in particular, butts.

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I have a large posterior. I know it, hell if you met me you would know it. I do not at all mind that I have a large butt, and I am kinda happy about some of the songs coming out about the love of large bottoms. Such as “Wiggle” by Jason Derulo.

There is one that makes me do a dance and sing along. It is called “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor.

She starts off talking about how her mom always said that it’s okay not to be a size two, and that you should be proud of who you are. It reminds me of our mom and how she thinks we are all beautiful no matter if we just got up, or are sick and slightly green.

I am working on getting more fit and healthy (slowly but surely). I don’t get to do it with my sisters, but I like working out alone, so it isn’t too bad. A big part of getting to where I want is loving my body every step of the way, from when I was my largest size and weight, to when I was at my smallest size and weight. I learn every day to still love my body. Songs about body love are a good positive pat on the back to the world from artists who don’t look like models, because let’s be honest – not everyone can look like that.

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I have not always liked my butt, or my waist, or my hips, but I am learning to love them. Especially as I start to shed them.

~ Andreah

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Remember who you are

Growing up, there is one thing that I was told over and over again. Whenever my sisters or I would leave the house, my mother would tell us that she loved us, regardless of what recent teenage drama she was battling with us…

…and then she would tell us the most important thing: Remember who you are.

There have been many times since I left the house and started living on my own that I have heard my mom say this in my ear.

I am a “grown up” now, whatever that means, and my choices are mine to make, mine to regret and mine to complain about to the other sisters as they console me.

Whenever someone, male or female, challenges my beliefs, or the way that I was brought up, I start to think, “Am I wrong in my beliefs? Am I wrong in my opinion?”

In the family dynamic that is the Weather Vane, when your opinion is voiced, 100% of the time someone, or more than one of the sisters, will challenge you. I believe that this was and still is a major part of my up bringing. Whether it is fashion, the recent Ebola crisis, or religion (which is a favorite topic among the sisters, and for some reason we discuss this in VERY public places very loudly not because we make it that way, but because we are not afraid to let our opinions known, and we welcome outside thoughts), I never feel that my opinion does not matter, and if the conversation turns to an argument, which lets be honest does happen, then there is still a conversation.

We are four sisters with so many similarities and so many differences that it makes sense that we could and would argue about whether Katy Perry’s out fit at the VMAs was fantastic or horrible, or if the new health fad is just that – a fad or something that is substantial.  Whether it is philosophical or political, I respect my sisters’ opinions, and I hope they respect mine. One of my most favorite bloggers, Ken Breadner, posted something which really resonated with me:

“I respect your philosophy and political opinion, even when (especially when) it differs from mine (how else will I refine my views on things?) All I ask is the same respect in return.”

I respect other’s opinions, even if I do not share them, and I think that this is part of remembering who I am and learning and growing into the woman I am going to become, and Mom – I know who I am, thanks to you. I know that my opinion is respected within my family, Cody respects it and my close friends respect it.

I am not a prize writer, reporter, journalist, but I know that I look forward to voicing my opinion and hearing that of others, especially my sisters.

~ Jacqui

The difference a year makes

A year ago, I thought I had all the time in the world. My bag wasn’t packed. I was focusing on Sophie starting school. I was focusing on getting a not-for-profit for PPD/PPMD awareness off the ground. I was focused on loving my new niece and my broken sister-in-law. I had all the time in the world.

And then you happened.

First photo

First photo

I was sleeping in bed. Dreaming of steak, probably, because that’s all I craved with you. STEAK. And PORK. And anything barbecued. I wanted MEAT. Lots and lots of FIRE-KISSED MEAT. In my BELLY. NOW. (By the way, your dad couldn’t have been happier – I craved chocolate milkshakes and chocolate milk and fudgsicles with Sophie, and strawberry milkshakes with Lillian – but MEAT? Barbecued at all hours of the day and night? SOLD.)

First REAL clothes

First REAL clothes

And then, I started peeing the bed. Or at least, that’s what I thought was happening. Lots and lots of pee.

Father and son

Father and son

I got up, trying not to keep peeing, thinking that there was no way at 3:45 a.m. that I could have this much pee in me. I hadn’t been drinking all night long…I had gone pee before bed…and at 7468543 months pregnant, I had a bladder the size of a peanut. There was NO WAY I could be peeing this much.

First official photo as a couple

First official photo as a couple

When I sat on the toilet (TMI? Too bad.) a huge gush of water came out of me. My water water. It broke. I actually had a normal labour phenomena (I suck at birthing babies. Cooking babies, I’m a pro. Birthing, getting them out, not so much.)! Now to wake up my deaf (Ben takes his hearing aid out at night) husband while not spilling my innards (TMI again? Too bad again.) all over our carpet. I shoved towels in between my legs and waddled over to our bed. I poked the sleeping bear husband and got him to put in his hearing aid. He looked at me grumpily. I said, “My water broke.” He jumped out of bed. Correct response.

Official photoshoot courtesy of Close Your Eyes Photography

Official photoshoot courtesy of Close Your Eyes Photography

We called my incredible, favourite, most awesome midwife Cathy. And by we, I mean Ben, because people, I had to PACK A BAG TO TAKE TO THE HOSPITAL. With towels between my legs. Priorities. And then we had to call the mothers (someone has to take care of the current babies while we birth the next baby!).

First bath (aka his favourite!)

First bath (aka his favourite!)

Nana (Ben’s mom) came over and Cathy met us at the hospital. We had done something similar at 31 weeks. I had had contractions all day that wouldn’t go away no matter how many left-sided lie downs I had. They were able to give me the lung-boosting shots and the contractions eventually stopped on their own with two days of bed rest. But this, at 36 weeks, was leaking AND contractions. CRAP.

I love me some snuggly baby.

I love me some snuggly baby.

When we got to the hospital, Cathy told a nurse that my water had broke. The nurse asked if I was sure – sure that it broke and it wasn’t just pee, which apparently is a regular occurrence. Cathy said, “She’s got three towels in her pants (I DID, and I sat on a bunch in the van), so I think she’s serious.” The nurse was suitably impressed. I was suitably leaking.

Baptism day! Heathen no more.

Baptism day! Heathen no more.

I got hooked up to an IV, a fetal heart monitor, and a clicker for contraction tracking. Ben and I both got bracelets. This was the real deal. We had a C-section booked for 8 a.m. on Friday September 13. It was Tuesday August 27. BAH.

He's a suit man. SO CUTE.

He’s a suit man. SO CUTE.

The on-call OB came in, because although it looked like our baby wanted to come out the all-natural way, he was breech, breech, breech and with my super awesome (read: CRAP) history of getting babies out of my belly, a C-section was by far the best answer. I was in the operating room, getting my spinal and chatting with a new round of nurses, holding my breath and praying that everything would be okay, that Ben would be there in time (he had zero reason not to…I’m just a professional worrier), that our babies would be okay, that if anything happened to me everyone would be okay, that my baby would be okay.

First food. Success?

First food. Success?

At 7:11 a.m. on August 27th you were born. Isaac Earl Kenneth Mills. Our son. A boy.

You can see why I was freaked out by the boy thing, right?

You can see why I was freaked out by the boy thing, right?

You weighed 6 pounds, 7.5 ounces. You were in an incubator on monitors because of your early arrival (just days shy of being considered term) and because you were in withdrawal from the antidepressants I had been taking since my bout with PPMD from Lillian (you were jittery, but okay). You were perfect. And I got a nice little break from life since you weren’t in my room and your crazy sisters with hanging out with Aunt Toni and Grammie. It was kind of heaven.

Such a stud

Such a stud

After a few short days, we both got to go home, to reality and crazy and ramping up to Sophie starting school. The first day didn’t go as I had planned (go figure). Instead of walking to Sophie to school as a family, with a giant pregnant belly, we drove to school because I couldn’t walk that far with a new C-section incision or just after giving birth. I stood, against my midwife’s instructions, for 45 minutes, watching your sister get used to her new classroom and all the parents and children marveling at how small and new you were. Exactly one week old.

The beginning of the end

The beginning of the end

Things have changed a lot since then. I broke again and Aunt Toni and therapists (or super heroes, as Sophie calls them) Colleen and Victoria put me back together. I was in love with you from the start, which was different than the earned love I had with your sisters. I learned a lot about penis care, which is VERY different from vagina care (HOLY SCHAMOLY, who knew morning wood began this early in life?!). And I learned to love a son, which really is no different than loving a daughter at this point, but I’m told it will change, will become something unique to the love I have for your sisters.

Our almost-one-year old boy, eating dirt and taking names

Our almost-one-year old boy, eating dirt and taking names

You will be one on Wednesday. It’s been a year since we met you, a year since your punkish ways disrupted any semblance of plan we had for the transition from summer to fall, from no school to school. A whole year. And we are so blessed that you are ours and that you’re here.

Happy, happy birthday, mister. We love you.

~ Love, Mama (a.k.a. Julia)

Smiles to a stranger

Today I met a lovely woman.

Joe and I have been very busy getting rid of some scrap metal, and cleaning out some unwanted things from the apartment. One of these things was an old steamer trunk The Mom let me have when I first moved.

This is an old hefty thing, brown and gold, and it held blankets for most of the time that it was with me, and held toys when it was with our mother.

I was sad to see it go. I didn’t know if Value Village would take it, and didn’t really want to take it to the dump.

I knew it had memories, and not just ours, but from probably years past.

Maybe it used to hold treasures from someone’s past?

Maybe it used to hold an old wedding dress?

Maybe someone once packed it full of their most prized possessions in a move away from home?

I was bringing it out to the car and all ready to load it in, when a woman stopped me and told me how lovely it was!

I told her where it was going and that if she really loved it, that it was hers! She was so taken aback that she started thanking me over and over. She told me a bit about herself and her apartment, and how she was sure with a little attention that the trunk would live on to make many more memories!

We started talking more and I gave her my phone number and we made a plan that some time in the near future we would go have a tea or something.

It was such an awesome meeting, that I know I made a new friend.

My friends love that wherever I go, I always meet new people and always make friends, but it is so not hard. I just think of people as friends I haven’t met yet. Of course, I don’t always just randomly start talking to everybody, but when you get that feeling you just know that a smile can make all the difference.

Strangers

It was lovely to meet you Laurie, and I can’t wait for that tea!

~ Andreah

What no one told me about living with a boy

I have always wanted a brother – I liked the idea of a protector. I thought “If only one of my sisters was a brother, man what a life that would be!” – until I moved in with Cody and I had to start worrying about things I NEVER had to worry about because I grew up with all ladies females.

Suddenly my world changed…no one prepared me, no one sat me down and told me that things would change.

The Toilet Seat 

Gone are the days of carefree midnight bathroom trips. Now when I wake in the middle of the night due to nature calling, I have to somewhat wake up to make sure that I don’t fall in BECAUSE IT HAS HAPPENED. I have cursed Cody’s name in the wee morning hours as I submerge my bottom half in freezing cold toilet water, and try to roll myself out of the toilet still half asleep. Then to stumble back up to bed, with a half drenched t-shirt which I will have to replace. I have now started to hide an extra T-shirt in our linen closet in the bathroom. But, you know what would be better? If I could remember that the toilet seat might be up, or better yet…if the toilet seat were put back down.

Football…Hockey…Football…Hockey… 

I didn’t grow up watching sports. I didn’t play any sports growing up.  The closest thing that was found on our television set was the Olympics when they were on, or figure skating on Sunday afternoons as my mom folded laundry. Now, I know that my life for 6 weeks will be football, which then overlaps into hockey and then there is short break until football starts back up again. It’s not that don’t enjoy them. Sometimes when the games are good, and it’s not a bunch of nonsense, I will watch and I might even get involved and throw around some terminology, all of which Cody lovingly puts up with, because I honestly know nothing and I am probably giving him more of a laugh than anything else.

Beer…in the shower? 

There are beer bottles on the counter, in the living room, and sometimes in the bedroom, but Cody introduced me to the shower beer. Now this practice I have tried with coffee – it doesn’t work. Wine? Forget it. However, a nice hot shower with a cold beer has helped with the worst of days. I am not a big drinker, however this is one way of ending a horrible day that I have not regretted as of yet. Try it…trust me!

Unexpected Visitors

Being from a small town, on the main road, we get a lot of visitors. Some of them announced…and others not so much. At any moment in time I may have to dart from one room to the next without being seen because I don’t like wearing pants in my own house. No pants are the best pants. With my family and friends, 95% of the time there is a warning!

“Hey, Toni and Julia are coming over at insane o’clock to go running tomorrow, heads up!”

Cody’s warnings are more than likely 2 seconds prior to someone coming into the house, as Bacon is barking and I am trying to find a blanket or towel to wrap around me in order go find suitable visitor bottoms.

Why are there feathers?

Cody, as I have mentioned before, is a hunter, which means that at any given time there is some kind of wild game that I do not recognize in our freezer and during the fowl season, I may stumble upon a bag of feathers. I have learned to not ask questions, but rather to take advantage of the fact that Cody is out of the house, and I can watch every rerun of Friends and Sex and the City I can find.

 

Growing up with all females may have been intense every 4 weeks…but it also was a blessing. I learned how to cook, bake, clean, when to stay away and when to show up. At the time I was going through it I couldn’t wait to get out… and now that I am out, I miss it more than I could imagine.

 

~ Jacqui

You can’t control the hand you’re dealt

It really is all in how you play the hand, your attitude as you face adversity, what you choose to focus on.

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I believe you lose a lot of peace and joy in life when your focus is on the negative, when you stay and wallow when heartache knocks at your door, when you embrace and thrive off playing the victim.

In fact, I don’t just believe it, I know it’s true.

While compared to some, my life has been anything but challenging. Compared to others it’s not the easiest story to read. If I chose to sit here and list all of the damaging moments, the moments I didn’t think I could survive, the moments I questioned, “why me?”, I am sure I could make some of you, our faithful readers, feel sorry for me in some way or marvel at how strong I must have been to face those challenges.

But, what is the purpose in doing so? Other than to use these moments as examples of survival, there is no purpose. Other than to relate to another human in an intimate way by shedding light on the darkest scars found on my heart, there is no purpose.

While I do believe part of overcoming and rising above the situation presented to you is fully feeling and processing what is happening, I also know the most important part is 100% your attitude. It all boils down to your ability to gain perspective and how capable you are in accepting the situation as it is – as much as it does really suck sometimes.

HUGE difference.

HUGE difference.

If you’re in a constant state of struggle and life just seems to keep handing you the short end of the stick, maybe it’s time to reflect a little. Maybe it’s you. Maybe you’re causing the extent of the heartache. Maybe you’re drawing negative situations to yourself. Maybe, just maybe, you’re playing the victim a little too well.

Take a pause to reflect on how often you complain or find yourself in a less than desirable mood?

I used to let the silliest things take up rent in my head and space in my heart. I would focus on what was wrong and worry that it was never going to get better, that I would never learn how to deal or manage it, that I would never feel whole again.

And I know first hand that there will always be some aches that never fully disappear,  but you do learn how to take the lesson and make peace in order to find your happy – no matter how different it may look and feel after.

And I think that’s the key. I think that a great deal of peace comes from knowing, innately, that pretty much no matter what you face in life – you will be okay. Trusting completely that there is a greater purpose, that you will always be taken care of, that God has a plan. It really takes a fight to consistently remember that.

But after it’s been practiced, after it’s been applied to the crappy, non life-altering situations that in the grand scheme of things don’t define you, when it does come time for life to throw a big curve ball at you, you might not necessarily be ready for it, but you do have a better chance at dealing with it well, knowing that it’s all so temporary and that in five years, most of our today worries won’t matter so much.

~ Toni

One day

One day I’ll go to the bathroom without Sophie running to say she has to pee too, or hearing fighting from the other room the moment I sit down, or having someone sit on the floor to ‘wait’ for me, or someone wanting to ‘help’ me with toilet paper and then have a tantrum if I don’t let them help the right way, or even…and this one is RADICAL…with the door CLOSED.

Mom bathroom

One day I’ll walk out the door at the time I absolutely have to leave with just my purse and keys and I’ll drive away without a fifteen minute process to get out the door and into the van.

One day I won’t have to do the mom math on when the last feed was, when the last pee was, when the last meal was, when the last snack was, when we gave Sophie, the puker, Gravol, how long it’s been since they had naps.

One day I won’t be well-versed in the delicate negotiation tactics required for getting shoes on feet (never mind the right feet), pants on bottoms, and appropriate wear on little bodies who will complain if they are too hot or too cold, but will make sure it’s the end of the world to get them to wear the correct number of layers for the current weather.

One day it will be quiet in our house, with no one screaming for food, or crying because they pooped themselves, or singing at the top of their lungs, or growling incessantly for NO DAMN GOOD REASON, or squealing because they can, or squabbling.

One day I’ll wear my hair in a style other than Messy-Mom-Bun.

One day I’ll stay clean for longer than five seconds because people who are eating with me won’t demand to cuddle, be on my lap, ask to go pee five times, or suck on my knee while eating a banana.

One day I won’t be asked to put shoes back on, look behind me, or retrieve various items from the van floor WHILE I’M DRIVING.

One day I’ll be the sole backseat driver in our family and I’ll treat the position with the respect it deserves, unlike the five-year old who asks, “Mom, are you sure this is the place?” every time we go somewhere new.

One day I’ll sleep in.

One day I’ll be able to drink my coffee hot, from first sip to last drop, in one go, no microwaving.

One day I’ll be able to watch whatever I want whenever I want on TV (apparently Orange is the New Black is not suitable for children, go figure).

OITNB

Pornstache is completely G-rated

One day songs from incredibly awful children’s shows won’t be playing on a loop in my head…at 3 a.m.

One day I won’t have to worry about my necklace or my earrings or my bracelets or my watch getting stolen/broken/tugged at/yanked off/eaten.

One day I won’t have to calculate the mess-factor of foods before we take them on a picnic or eat them in the van or eat them in the living room vs. the kitchen table.

One day I won’t get yelled at for stopping someone from running into the street, or for making someone poop in the toilet instead of their pants, or asking them not to rock in their chair, or for stealing their boogers, or for telling someone that we have no plans for the day, or for reminding someone that no, Grammie or Nana or Daddy or any of the Aunts can’t come play because they have to work.

One day my shirt/pants/arms/legs/neck/face won’t be used as a booger catcher.

One day “This is disgusting. I’m not eating this. I hate this family.” won’t be the first reaction to the dinner I made.

One day carrying a baby on my hip while hauling a giant basket of laundry up the stairs won’t be the norm.

One day I won’t get bitten or pinched or head-butted or collar-bone slammed or smacked or have my hair pulled WHILE HOLDING SOMEONE WHO WANTED TO BE HELD.

One day my hands won’t go to sleep because I’ve been carrying a baby around the house.

One day the quietest moment in my day won’t be the time I spend walking around the van to my seat while all the babies are locked inside.

One day I’ll never have to potty train again…EVER.

One day I won’t be asked to push people on the swing only to have them yell at me, THEY CAN DO IT.

stuart

One day I won’t have to be super stealthy at night, dodging creaking floorboards, refusing to flush toilets that share a wall with a bedroom, and not breathing while checking on sleeping babies.

One day I won’t wonder where the day went because nothing has been accomplished and I’ve failed at housekeeping again.

One day I won’t wonder when the day will end because nothing has been accomplished and I’ve failed at housekeeping again.

One day I will miss little hands grabbing my pant legs to pull themselves up while I stand still as a statue and make dinner.

One day I won’t be the first line of defense against the owies or the bad days or the bullies or the crappiness that is life for my babies.

One day I won’t feel the tightest hugs, the biggest love, the most hero-worship of my babies every day.

One day I’ll have to call them or text them or email them or Facebook them to find out how their day was, how they are, if they’re eating vegetables, if they’re sharing nicely, if they’re okay, if they’re happy.

One day the trip to bed won’t include retucking and reblanketing and kissing and listening for breathing of my babies.

One day I won’t be given dandelions on every walk, pictures made just for me after every craft time, and birthday cakes made out of Lego and random toys just because.

One day our morning won’t begin with everyone snuggled in our bed until it becomes too chaotic and we’re forced to get up.

One day I’ll miss all of these days and wonder where the time went.

One day.

~ Julia

Thank you for being you

A lot has happened in recent days, and about 90% of it hasn’t been good.

I don’t feel like talking about it, and other things I can’t talk much about, but I will say it has sucked.

I live two and a half hours away from my family, so when there is a family emergency it is a hard thing for me and my family that I am so far away. I can’t be there to help, I can’t be there to make sure everyone is okay, and I can’t be there so my family can make sure I am okay.

It is all around a crappy experience, and in the end quite stupid.

We just had one such occurrence. I am not going into details, but I wanted to make this post about a couple of people.

1. Jess
jess
I had made a blog post about me and Jess and our friendship. How awesome she is, and all around how wonderful of a friend she is to me. She just yet again proved it.

She is working right now, as I type this on a Tuesday night, until midnight. Then she is going to be driving all the way here to come pick me up and we are going to make our way back just so I can be with my family, just so I can be there. She is amazing.

2. Greg

Greg!

Greg!

Greg has a lot of stuff going on right now, but I still got a phone call from him, and after he told me his things, I told him mine. He is there for me even when life is generally sucking for him too, and for that I cannot thank him enough. You are a rock star, Greg.

3. Elena

Elena

Elena

Elena is more than a best friend to me. She is like a limb that is missing, and it feels weird not to have her around constantly. When bad things happen she is a shoulder for me to cry on and a rock in my life. She is unmoving and is constantly there for me. It is amazing and awesome. Even if it is just a phone call, she is always there. Elena, My Kindred Spirit.

Now, when times like right now are hard, I try really hard not to be a big ball of emotion and tears, so instead of dwelling on the bad I just wanted to say thank you for these awesome people. I know with my friends, and family at my back anything is possible. I’m just thankful that we all have each other.

~ Andreah

Dear Baby Stuehler

I met Ashley at work. At first we were co-workers, then friends. Now I like to think we are soul mates. At work we call her Smashley. She has become another sister to me. I bring her along on hikes, she is known by my nieces, sisters, and my  mom. She truly has become a soul mate of mine, and someone I look up to.  She has shown me how to be more confident in my own skin, she has been there with me through some pretty tough times and I am so honored that she is standing with me on my wedding day.

Ashley and her husband Marty are expecting their first bundle of joy – a baby girl. This week will be the last week of work for her before she goes on her maternity leave. This pregnancy has been anything but easy on Ashley – although she has been healthy, she has also been blessed with “morning” sickness, even though it lasts all day, heartburn, back and butt pain, hip pain…and caffeine withdrawal.

To send her off in true, loving, sisterhood fashion, I have decided to write a letter to the future love of her life – her baby girl. I hope one day she will read this, and know that even before she could love them – they loved her.

I love you Smash, and can’t wait to watch you become an amazing mother.

Every brunette need’s a blonde best friend ❤

 

Dear Baby Stuehler,

Welcome to the world!

I hope you realize that you are one of the luckiest babies as you are born into such a loving family. Your Grandparents, Uncles and Aunt all can’t wait to meet you. I can’t wait for you to know how loved you are. 

Your mom has nurtured you since the beginning, and has has been anxiously awaiting your arrival. She is counting down the days until you arrive, preparing in every way. I wish you could see her face when she talks about you, all the worries for that moment melt away as she rubs her belly. I cannot say it enough – you are so loved.

Remember that as the years go on and you start to grow – your best interests are what she has in mind when she tells you that the shorts you are about to wear will not be worn out of the house, or that the makeup you have on is beyond too much.

When that first boy breaks your heart, it will be her shoulder you will cry on, as she promises you that the heartbreak won’t last. She will tell you how she met your Daddy, and she will tell you that one day the right one will come along.

She will be your shopping partner, your mentor and the wisest teacher you will ever come across. She will be your cheerleader and your coach. Your mom will be there for you when you call her late at night about anything – even if it is just to hear her voice.

Your Mother will teach you confidence, that I am sure of. She will teach you how to be a strong and compassionate woman, and to stand ever steadfast in who you are. She will teach you self love and self worth. She will teach you how to stand alone, and work as a partner.

Your mother is an amazing woman. She will love you even when you slam the door in her face and challenge her. She will love you when you sneak out or when you try to lie to her (just a suggestion…don’t…she knows everything!).

Baby Stuehler, the world you are being born into is not always kind, it can be quite scary, but that’s why you were given your Daddy. He is working so hard to make sure that you are provided for, and will always keep you safe.

You are his princess, his baby girl. When your dad talks about you, there is a twinkle in his eye. Everything he does is with you in mind. Your daddy will be your knight in shining armor. 

Your daddy will ward off boys who will try to steal your heart, he will be your confidante at times when you feel alone. He will battle you when you are a teenager, and side with your mother more times than he will with you (just let it happen, trust me it’s for the best).

Your daddy will teach you so many things you won’t know are useful at first, be careful to try and remember them all. One day these memories will be all you have.

Your daddy will be your first love, and your favorite dance partner whether in the kitchen or at your wedding. You will be always be his little girl. Your teenage years will be hard on your relationship, and you may break his heart. Don’t worry – he will still love you, and will always remember holding his little girl and kissing her bruises to make them better.

Baby girl, I can not wait to meet you. I can not wait to watch you grow up into a young lady. I can’t wait to listen to your mom brag of your accomplishments and look back with her on this moment when you were still in her belly giving her the worst heartburn. 

Your parents are two of the most amazing, compassionate, people I have ever known. They will do anything for their friends, and I can not wait to do the same for them. 

Welcome to the world Baby Stuehler. We have been waiting for you. 

 

Congratulations you two – I can’t meet your little one.

The expectant parents – Love you guys!

~ Jacqui

Five favourite fitness truths

In recent years, I have worked hard on getting healthy.

What began as a mission for our upcoming wedding, quickly became a lifestyle – one that I happily committed to. Along my journey I have found a few tid-bits of wisdom that stuck with me and helped me overcome some seriously bad habits in my routine.

While I am no expert, here are my five favourite fitness truths that made the most impact on my progress:

1. Making small changes can make the biggest impact: When I attempted to make too many drastic changes at once, I found I was setting myself up for failure. It was so much easier to slowly work my way up to a goal by gradually tweaking my workouts, eating habits and even my mentality. It’s like training for a marathon.

Small steps, sure steps.

Small steps, sure steps.

I went from a 2 milk, 1 sugar coffee at Tim’s to a 2 milk, sometimes black. I switched our whole wheat bread and white rice out for whole grains. I cut back on my intake of cheese (believe me, it was a problem). I added 1 more lap around the track or a sprint lap during my training runs or I pushed myself for one more rep of my workout. I went from walk/running 5 km, to running all 5, then 8 and sometimes even 10 when my knee allows. I started eating breakfast. I’m not suggesting your goals will be the same. I am suggesting, however, that you make the smallest changes, make them a habit and then switch up another element of your routine. Which leads me to my next point..

2. Your fitness is 100% mental: I once read the quote, “your body won’t go where your mind won’t let it”. Brilliantly true, beyond true. Your mind is an extremely powerful tool and can be used for both destructive and constructive purpose. If you tell yourself you can’t do or accomplish something, you are absolutely correct. If you tell yourself you can do it, that you don’t have a choice, you are going to reach your goals.

Your mind is so very powerful

Your mind is so very powerful.

On top of pushing yourself and getting your self-talk-track right – to be your cheerleader and convince your legs they’re not tired, tell your lungs to keep control of your breathing, that your body is capable – your fitness path needs a WHOLE LOT of positivity and patience. If your brain isn’t being nice to you because you’re not seeing results or watching the number on the scale drop fast enough, tell it to shut the hell up. Go with how you feel, how your clothes are fitting. Take note of the energy increase you have and the pep in your step because of the shot of endorphins coursing through your body – and then celebrate those important victories. You have to want it and you have to make sure your brain is with you.

3. Eat: Do not be afraid of food! Be afraid of the wrong food – the processed, chemical-filled, GMO food – be very, very afraid. Do not be afraid of eating a hearty meal of the right foods – whole foods. I’m not suggesting you attempt “eating clean”,  but I am suggesting that you attempt to learn how to eat to nourish your body. For starters, make sure your cart is full of foods from the outside aisles when completing the weekly shopping trip. Buy more perishables than not. Just this small change can change the course of your health. Add in moderate weekly exercise and you’re adding years to your life and subtracting inches from your waistline.

Scary and true.

Scary and true.

Hand-in-hand with that, do not deprive yourself, but do monitor and have some control over the amount of giving into delicious urges. If you crave chocolate, attempt to satisfy your craving with fruit or dark chocolate. If it’s just a craving that won’t go away, even with provisions, give in – but a little. Have a small amount of milk chocolate, or portion control your chips if you’re a salt fiend, like me, when a few pretzels won’t cut it. Allow yourself to be human, forgive yourself, and do better the next day.

4. Get your water in: This is my demon. I struggle daily to get my required water intake in. It doesn’t help that my bladder is the size of an upside-down bottle cap, or that I am a complete coffee addict, but aside from that I totally know the rules, yet just can’t seem to follow them.

ALL THE TIME

ALL THE TIME

Like I know that for every cup of coffee, your replacement water intake is 2 glasses. I know I should have water all damn day long. I know that when I wake up, the first thing I should do is drink a glass of water. I know, I know, I know. I’m looking into the cost of an IV, but in the meantime, I’m going to keep working on it. Maybe I should appoint a water reminding delegate… Hmm…yup! Now accepting applications.

5. Do what works for you: Personally, I hate the gym. It’s only because I find the atmosphere and equipment intimidating. I wish I could love the gym. Maybe one day.

Instead I love HIIT style workouts with my sisters and girlfriends. Instead I prefer a challenging hike at the crack of dawn. Instead I run – for the body buzz, and the feeling of freedom and the way it makes my heart fly – mostly I run because I can and why not? I do squat challenges like completing 25 after every visit to the loo. I do hot yoga. I do whatever feels right and makes me want to move and challenge myself. And most importantly, I do what I know works for me.

It’s 100% personal and you’ll know when you find what works for you.

~ Toni