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Showing Up for You


Before anything else or anyone else, make sure you’re taking care of yourself. If you’re not treating yourself well on the inside, you will not be happy or healthy on the outside. Self-care is essential to your wellness. – Unknown

The thing about being a woman, and specifically a woman in the middle of a pandemic, is that the motivation to take care of ones self is particularly draining. I don’t say that statement lightly or without some “field research” to back it up.

As a woman who takes pride in honouring myself with self care and sharing the message of how important it is to “fill your cup”, I have heard from many women that they have felt it next to impossible to do so right now.

I have also had the privilege to hear from others, who say that, at this time and in general, their self care is non negotiable. The thing is, that no matter what woman you are, the reality is that life is DIFFERENT right now.

I am a part of a multitude of online groups related to working out, wellness and overall health, and in one of those groups I’ve had the privilege to mentor a few women, just like me. They have goals, they have kids and jobs and spouses. They are tired. They are home schooling, working from home and managing everything in between. With no break. With no change of scenery and with no end in sight.

Last week one of them said to me “I just don’t know how to even show up for myself anymore”. And the impact that had on me was intense. While I hadn’t had the exact same thought, I found myself reflecting on my week and weeks that had passed since March.

Some days, I had all the motivation for ALL the things. I was methodical, at times, about taking time for myself. But often, the basic things felt like A LOT. Three actual meals a day felt like too much. Taking a shower felt like a monumental effort. Getting outside was exhausting. Being social (socially distanced of course) felt trying and like too much effort.

These feelings have come and gone like waves on the beach crashing hard some days and more gentle on others. As in any time of life, it has days that are triumphs and days that are wrought with challenge but there is a difference. There is no precedent, in recent history, for coping with a global pandemic. We are having to experience these new emotions, fears and challenges with no frame of reference as to how we should proceed. Therefore much of our “coping” right now is trial and error.

Trial and error is exhausting.

It takes so much time, brain power, emotional fortitude and physical drain. No wonder so many of us feel exhausted. Notwithstanding the fact that we are also helping our children, loved ones and support circles navigate this as well. Many of us are “helpers” and empaths which adds additional factors making this “season” so damn challenging.

Now that we know what is exhausting us, it’s all about naming what we can do to build ourselves back up. And it really, in my mind, comes back to showing up. Showing up, not just for your kids, spouses and loved ones, but showing up for YOU.

Self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you. — Katie Reed

That Katie Reed quote, is one that I use to anchor myself. I use to to guide my life and how I teach my girls to look at themselves and their choices. Choosing to show up for yourself is making the statement to say, I am worthy of my own love, and those I love deserve the BEST of who I am and what I have to offer. I deserve that too!

We work tirelessly to ensure dinners are on the table, home work is done, date nights are planned, friends have someone to call. But if we are drained and cranky and resentful, what’s the point?

If we worked even a fraction as hard to thoughtfully and routinely practice our self care it would not only benefit us as individuals, but our homes, friends and communities would reap the benefits as well.

Here are 5 things you can do Right Now, for yourself care:

1. Schedule 10 mins a day for yourself to meditate, stretch or journal. And start right now!

2. Breathe. Taking purposeful, inhales through the nose and exhales through the mouth can slow our minds and bodies down.

3. Separate work & school & life. Turn off the “work”’at the end of the day. Even if you can’t physically put it away. Close laptops, close files. Tidy it up and reclaim your home.

4. Laugh. Play a silly game with your kids! Throw Throw Burrito and Twister are favourite choices here. Watch a comedy special with your partner. Have a tickle fight. Whatever it is, but LAUGH!

5. Move your body. Even if it’s just a stroll around your block or a few trips up and down your stairs. Moving your body is good for your mind and soul as well. Also, make this a daily priority. You’ll thank yourself for it.

Whatever you do today, even if it’s just reading this post and jotting down a few ideas. Start doing something that’s just for you every dang day.

Share with me your self care ideas on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/momdaymotivation

Until next time,

M

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Sometimes, we just have to Push Pause

I had big plans for this week and today especially but this morning I am realizing I need to take a beat and push pause for today. I have a few drafts of blogs I want to share with you, I have some personal admin that needs to be taken care of, and I have a mountain of laundry to fold and 2.5 bathrooms to clean. I’ve been working hard, like so many of you, at being mom, school organizer, barista, chef, janitorial staff and sometimes even sibling referee.

As a mom, a wife and as a woman, I generally harbour a lot of guilt when I feel like I can’t keep up to the demands of the day. Ironically, I place most of those demands on myself. I love my job and love to be an active and engaged team player. I like to be in the middle of the innovation and planning. I am a mom who strives to be present. I want my kids to have homemade lunches and fun games to play when we are in family time mode. I work hard to be healthy and fit but I like to get my workouts in while my family is engaged in work and school projects, so I don’t miss out on time with them. I strive to prep healthy meals in advance. I try to connect with friends and family via social media and texting every day to stay connected. The list of daily To Dos are so important but it can be intense. 

Today though, it’s a no go. It is time to press pause. I’m having a hot coffee, laying on the couch and catching up on some reality TV guilty pleasures. I am not tuning out of life but I am just realizing that to be my best, I cannot be giving ALL of me to every one and every thing. When I stretch myself too thin, I really start to feel the ramifications manifested in physical ways as well as emotional and even socially. Not only do I feel “tired”, but my patience is waning, my frustrations and/or ‘sadness’ rise to the surface and build a blockade for me to be openhearted and to enjoy the day. Subsequently, I become more closed off. I become less able to be present and engaged in the moment with my family and am less likely to connect socially. This kind of spiral can be so overwhelming.

After I enjoy my coffee and a little bit of a TV time out, I start the real self care. I break out the gratitude journal and immediately start to write in the 5 things I am grateful for this morning. They are simple but powerful. I think about the glorious day brewing outside and am instantly thankful for blue skies and palm trees. I hear my girls helping each other with a little creative origami and they are so sweet to each other; I am thankful for little girl giggles. I look around the room and see his beautiful house and am thankful for shelter and having more than enough. I hear the ding of a text on my phone and I am thankful for technology to keep us connected when we are physically distanced from so many people in our lives. And lastly, I take a deep breath in and am so appreciative for my health and the health of those who I love most.

After a bit of gratitude, I make a plan. What would I be proud of accomplishing today? What steps do I need to take to get there? What might get in the way of my success? I pick three things that would make me feel “successful” today and literally schedule them into the day. I have a planner that I use daily for work and appointments etc., but it the best way for me to also take care of me. One of the most poignant things I heard recently was that successful CEO’s don’t miss meetings, so be the CEO of your own life and don’t skip out on the “meetings” you set for yourself. Boundaries and making a plan help me to stay on track in so many ways, but especially when it comes to taking care and time for being my best version of me.

In these uncertain times, self love and self care are more important than ever. It may feel selfish to take time for YOU, but remember it is not self indulgent, it is self preservation. You cannot pour from an empty cup; so fill that cup friends. Fill it with love and care for yourself so you can care for those you love.

~M~

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Disney Cruise Line First Timers

Everything you want to know about planning your FIRST Disney Cruise Line vacay!

My Top 5 things to think about when booking with DCL

Honestly guys, in the past 4 years, we have started to become one of “those” families. You know the kind. They wear Ears on vacation, they do extensive research on park peak times, base all customer service interactions off of the standards of the “Mouse”, and really see the value in vacations that put families first.

In 2016, my husband was getting ready to live away from our family for a year as part of his training with the Canadian military, so we decided to surprise our girls, who were almost 4 & 6 at the time, with a trip to Walt Disney World in Florida. We had the BEST time! It was a sneak peek into what some of our best memories would look like in the years to come.

After my hubby’s year long stint in Alaska, we moved to Southern California, and only a 3 hour drive to Disneyland! Since our move we have been to Disneyland numerous times, Disneyland Paris for 5 days and we just came back from our FIRST every cruise and of course, we chose Disney Cruise Lines!

I have spent countless hours over the last year and a half researching, planning, asking questions, gathering intel and making choices about how to make our cruise perfect. And you wanna know what? The damn vacation was just that! It was as close to PERFECT as I think we can get.

Now don’t get me wrong, there were definitely a few “lessons learned” along the way but we truly had a spectacular week that was both relaxing and full of fun!

My Number 1 first time Disney Cruisers tip would be to put down the Google machine for a minute to really map out, and decide clearly, what you and your family want to get out of your cruise. Think about where you want to cruise from, and where you want to cruise to…Mexican Riviera, Caribbean, Europe?! Set your budget, and check to see if there are any promos/deals offered you can cash in on. For instance, when we booked our cruise, there was a 50% off your deposit offer so we jumped on it! There may also be discounts depending like if you are Canadian, active duty US Military, or if you are looking at travel dates during a slower vacation time versus a holiday timeline. Also think about what size ship you might feel most comfortable on and the types of port excursions you are interested in. I say dream big, and then see what you can make happen!

Also, in this pre booking phase I would ask the “experts” all the questions. Do you know anyone who has sailed on Disney Cruise Lines (DCL) recently? Do you follow any frequent DCL cruisers on social media (if not you should!)? Have you looked on Pinterest? Are you still looking on Pinterest?! Ha!Ha! There are endless Pins about DCL dos and don’ts so this can be both helpful and overwhelming.

One of the biggest untapped resources in the planning phase, in my opinion, is Disney Cruise Line Customer Service! And, that’s is actually my number 2, first time tip! Don’t hesitate to call or use the online Chat feature to speak with a DCL rep to talk about any questions or concerns you may have about cruising! In my experience, Disney customer Service is bar none, so this may be your best starting point for current and factual information. Frequent cruisers may talk about Customer Service “secret keeping” but at this point you are just trying to decide on whether or not to book, not in the weeds of planning things like, what movies are playing on board.

So, now that you have all of the information you needed to make the decision on which cruise to book, and you have booked the itinerary that speaks best to you and your family, the fun REALLY begins! Before I jump into my 3rd tip, you MUST download the Disney Cruise Line app, plug in your sail away date and start your countdown! Ours started at over 400 days when we booked, but it was AMAZING to watch our countdown during our planning!

So, my first timer tip Number 3 is, get on social media and find the Facebook group for your Cruise date! No, this is not officially endorsed by DCL however I feel 100% confident that you have read, during your initial research, about these Facebook Groups and the, ever so popular, Fish Extenders. Whats the big deal in joining a Facebook group 400+ days before you even sail you ask?! Well, let me tell you why?! It is like having a group of Disney pros helping you navigate the more delicate details of your cruise experience, like how to do online check in, what sail away day will look like, why they ONLY sail DCL, the ups and downs of cruise life, and a MILLION other things you didn’t even know you wanted to know! And the best part, you get to make friends along the way!

The absolute BEST part of my DCL Facebook page, even more than all of the extremely helpful information, was that we actually connected there with another family who live fairly close to us and we now have friends for life! Our kids are similar ages, we have a million things in common, we had familiar faces on a cruise that held 2500 vacationers, and now we have these beautiful cruise memories that will last a lifetime! We even spent a part of our “pre-vacay” vacay together near the port! How cool is that?!

I bet you’re thinking, ok now that I have paid all this money for this cruise, what is actually included?! First timer tip Number 4: know whats included with your vacation! Disney prides itself on having many of the amenities, that you think you may need to pack, ready for you on board! Additionally, It is one of the only cruise lines that has life jackets for kids! All you can enjoy soft drinks, coffee, tea and hot chocolate & soft serve ice cream, many quick service and snack stations, an included room service menu, Disney Character Meet & Greets and amazing Entertainment including live Broadway-style productions and Disney movie classics and current first-run films at the Buena Vista Theatre! But wait, here is the BEST PART! For children ages 3 and up, their amazing kids clubs are available at NO EXTRA COST!

Lastly, my Number 5 first time DCL Cruise tip is to be prepared to have your expectations matched and exceeded! Our family had read all the Pinterest info we could find. We watched more YouTube tours of the ship and reviews of the restaurants than I can count. We talked to tons of people about what to expect and how to best prepare. I was honestly worried we would feel underwhelmed or that the Cruise would under deliver but that was far from the truth.

From the familial feel of the staff during our rotational dining, and the motherly attention from our cabin attendant, Dolly, to the high level customer service and the fact that this vacation allowed us to have quality family time as well as time doing our own things, like Kids Club and Adults only Cove Cafe, it was the trip of a LIFETIME! We were already planning out next DCL Cruise before we even got off of the ship!

Over the next little while, I will be blogging about all aspects of our Disney Family adventures both on the Cruise Line and at Disney Parks! For now, check out a few of the photo highlights from our time on the Disney Wonder!


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When are we going “home”?

When you are a military family, you get a lot of questions, especially from your own children, as they start to recognize that their lives are different than the lives of their peers. As April is the month of the military child and celebrates the remarkable resilience of our children, it was “perfect” timing for our oldest, to truly express the weight of this lifestyle on her shoulders.

Two years ago, my family got notice that we would be moving out of country for at least three years. From that moment we put on our resilient game faces and have made the absolute most of our adventure thus far, but it is not always sunshine and palm trees friends.

The first military move for my husband and I wasn’t a big stretch. We moved an hour and a half from where we had been living and most of our family and life long friends were a day trip away. Also, and this is the kicker, we didn’t have kids.

Seven years we lived in the same place. We brought our newborn babies home there, they took their first steps there and every milestone imaginable, for SEVEN years. Our daughters started their lives with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins close enough to be around for every occasion, and to be ever so present in their day to day lives.

We included our children in every aspect of our move to the United States. They participated in anything they could. They came on the house hunting trip, saw schools, picked out new bedrooms and enjoyed the beauty of the California sunshine and all the palm trees (we LOVE palm trees). They helped prepare the house for movers and attended “see you soon” parties like seasoned socialites. They shed big tears in painful goodbyes. And they did it all with love and support surrounding them.

When we started our move, they loved the two week long road trip across North America and ate up every bit of fun, food and culture we could feed them, showing them places and things neither my husband or I had ever dreamed of being able to show them. The the hustle and bustle of New York City, the majesty of the Grand Canyon, and every damn thing we could experience in between.

We worked tirelessly in our new community to put ourselves out there; I literally stayed at the school for all of morning recess every day and was early to every pick up to make sure we could connect with the parents of their ‘new friends’ to arrange play dates and to start to tend to the delicate roots of our newly blossoming life. Were there tears? Yes, lots. Were there days when we all just wanted to pack up and head home? Yes, a few. But mostly the days were filled with new experiences, new memories and slowly but surely, new relationships. We were indeed making connections and building capacity for a life and community in our new ‘home’.

As our oldest has matured through this experience, she has always held onto a piece of our ‘old life’ in her day to day. As her mom, I see it. I see it in the way she is hesitant to get too close to people. I see it in her face when our family aren’t in the crowds of dance recitals and concerts. She voices it loudly on the days when it hits her heart so hard she can’t bear it. But this week, for the first time she asked the question I was dreading. “Mommy, when are we going home?”.

My heart sunk. We had to really spell it out clearly for her now. We had to include her in the tough conversation and understandings of military life. We had been back “home” for a vacation about 9 months prior, but she wasn’t talking about a summer trip. She was talking permanence.

With a heavy heart, I said it. “Babe, this IS home, for now. And when we move again, that is where our home will be”. Trying to explain to an eight year old that the greater worlds definition of home will always be different than ours as part of the military community. We had to talk about, through all the tears, that although the physical location of where our extended family is back East will ALWAYS be our definitive home, in our world, home is defined as where we are together. We spoke, at length, about building a global community of friends. She smiled when we regaled anecdotes of times in our old home, and our new home. She was in awe when we listed the number of friends and families we know that had moved with the military and all the places we may run into them again in our travels.

Her doe-eyed, chocolate brown eyes looked at me with a sense of pride and also sadness. She knew that all of what we shared with her was true, and in that moment I felt it. She had lost something. She was changed.

That little glimmer of hope that she had held onto, vanished. In front of my eyes, her heart and soul was growing up. This experience and these realizations were building blocks in the evolution of her resilience. Building resilience, as it would turn out, is both the plight and blessing of life as a child in a military family.

While April is the month of the military child, the daily experiences of military children are shaping their lives and those are the lives of our future leaders. Recognizing their struggles and celebrating their strengths, is so much more powerful than pitying them for “all that they have to go through”. The beautifully determined, open-hearted and open-minded girls whom I have the joy of calling my daughters, and all of the children of military families around the world, deserve our recognition and commendation today and every day.


Home truly is, where the heart is.

Motivation…

The thing about life is that, sometimes, you find yourself in a season where you lose your drive, your mojo, well let’s call it what it is, your motivation. Ironically, given the title and essence of this blog is ALL ABOUT freaking motivation, that didn’t keep me immune to losing it.

For me, in this current state of the world, it has been increasingly challenging to figure out what I am motivated to work on. It feels selfish, at times, to be working on myself: my self-care, my fitness, my weight loss, but some days it seems like a very right time to do so. I am also wanting to ensure my children are educated well and not just at school, but on kindness, equity, equality, empathy and empowerment. This, on top of wanting to be motivated in my work, both personally driven (like my blog) and in my work place where I am afforded the opportunity to help others and support them through challenging times. But dang it, that’s A LOT on this mama’s plate, and you know as well as I do, that what I mentioned above, isn’t even half of it. The weight of expectations is real and rather than being motivating, it can truly leave one feeling parallelized.

Ok, so now to the good stuff. What I am I going to do about it?! So, first things first, I’ve recognized that I WANT to and am READY to take next steps toward reinvigorating my motivation. If you aren’t there yet friend, that’s ok. If you’re trying and you are thinking you can’t do it, well that’s where you are wrong. You, my friend, are capable of ANYTHING. Here’s one of the best pieces of advice I have ever heard, and it can apply to just about anything in life…

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

Arthur Ashe

How good is that?! And how simple?! Guys, I’m obsessed with this concept. If you have a goal, a dream, a hobby or maybe even a deadline that’s looming; circling like a hungry shark in a stormy ocean, get to work. You don’t need to wait until you’ve lost 5 lbs, or you get the right equipment, or you go back to school, or you get a raise. Work NOW to get there. You will never regret working hard to get where you want to go. You won’t look back and wish you hadn’t started rooting for yourself and watching yourself rise to the occasion. You WILL, however, find greater confidence, reach for even bigger goals, become the person you KNOW YOU ARE inside your heart, and dang it, you will feel so proud.

I realize that I am totally running off on a self-help/positive self talk tangent here but the thing is that I KNOW this feeling first hand. I know how much better I feel when I pour into the goals and dreams I have for myself, my life, my family. I lost over 100lbs about 8 years ago and many days I felt selfish for leaving my then babies, to go for a run or to get a workout in or meal plan and prep. I felt selfish for putting myself first. But the kicker is, that by INVESTING in ME, I am giving THEM so much more. I am giving them a mom and giving my husband a wife who is fun, playful and HEALTHY. I gave myself permission to understand the true meaning of self worth and self care. IT IS NOT SELFISH! IT IS NECESSARY! Say that out loud with me right now! Self Care is not Selfish! LOUDER!

Print the image for your journal or somewhere where you will be reminded to take care of YOU.

Alright, so now that you are pumped up, let’s tap into what you’ve got. What is ONE thing, one goal, that you really have your eyes on? Let’s look at one. Once you have it, write it down. Next, listen to the incomparable Mr. Arthur Ashe and start where you are. Right now.

If you need help staying motivated, or want more fuel for your motivation fire, here are 5 things you can do daily to get and stay motivated:

  1. Chart Your Progress: use a journal, calendar or whatever is a tangible way to watch how far you go!
  2. Find Your People: find a friend, group or support team who can help you stay accountable and are like minded in the pursuit of your goal.
  3. Start Now : I keep saying it, but really START NOW, no excuses.
  4. Make it Enjoyable: You’ve got to love it. You’ve got to find JOY in the process. This can be difficult at first, but you will get there.
  5. Be Patient: Good things, the BEST things, take time. Breathe. Keep working hard. It WILL happen.

Now, you’ve got some tools for the proverbial motivation toolkit and you’re ready to go! I want to hear all about it so check me out & tag on Instagram or Leave a note here on the blog! Also, if you subscribe to my blog, I will send you a FREE motivation checklist printable via email! DON’T MISS IT!

As always, cheering you on from the sidelines and working hard on my own goals too! Cheers!

Forgot that you Existed

Haters Gon’ Hate…and motivate

Today is one of those days where I am motivated to take on ALL of the things. I find myself sitting here, in a very busy Starbucks, happily sipping my latte & wishing I could figure out a way to bottle some of this energy into a reusable container for another day! Wouldn’t that be a helluva market to break into?!

I digress. Getting back to my day of feeling motivated. I was out for a run today and, on one of my intervals, the melodious pop stylings of the incomparable Taylor Swift flooded into my ear buds and the lyrics literally stopped me in my tracks. The track , I Forgot that you Existed, from her Lover album, was the message I didn’t know I needed to hear today! Have you heard it? No? I suggest you take a hot minute, click on your iTunes and download this one! It will make reading this post more relatable. But if you’re not willing to do so, read on anyway and I’ll do my best to paint a good picture!

How many days did I spend
Thinkin’ ’bout how did me wrong, wrong, wrong

Lived in the shade you were throwin’
‘Til all of my sunshine was gone, gone, gone

~Taylor Swift, I Forgot that you Existed

Over the course of my nearly 41 years on this planet I have certainly had shade thrown my way for a number of things; my weight, my gender, my values, my good choices, my poor choices, and sometimes for no damn reason at all. Additionally, if you know me well, you know that I am one of those people who can vividly relive and describe certain moments in life. Some of those moments are those when someone was so hateful toward me that it has become a defining moment in my life. For instance, in high school, a few of us girl friends went to McDonalds on a lunch break and one of my “best friends” proceeded to tell us how a guy friend was surprised that she was friends with the new girl at school because none of her other friends were “pretty like Heather”. And her response to him, instead of saying “and then I told him to F$#k off” , was “yeah, I know right!?” essentially calling her group of best girl friends UGLY! Wow, even typing that out feels awful. Luckily, I now know that I am beautiful no matter what she thinks/thought and beauty is defined as much by actions as it is by physical attributes. Clearly, she was in an “ugly phase” in her heart. PS: we haven’t spoken in years.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because I am DONE living in the gross place that grows when you “live in the shade” that people throw at you. I am so over feeling defined by someone else’s definition of beauty, success, importance or worth. I’ve been done for a while now, but sometimes that realization just strikes you the right way and empowers you to live your authentic life. Hearing this song today simply reiterated how much I have grown and how far I have come over the years.

I have an extraordinary life. I have made and will continue to make incredible memories; set and crush goals and show my daughters that haters are ALWAYS going to hate! Instead of hiding away, or being crushed by those kinds of people, they will know that the energy the haters throw out into the universe can be harnessed into a beautiful source of motivation. A force that will propel them to be the exceptional individuals they are intended to become. They will set their standards high and achieve their dreams no matter what the “crowd” thinks.

I firmly believe that the antidote to these “haters” is complete indifference to their perception of YOU. Putting energy into “hate” or trying to change the mind of someone who can’t see your worth, is just fuel for the fire of their critique. It also forces us to continue to live in a mindset that isn’t healthy or productive for us as individuals. Subsequently, that can, and will, trickle into your other relationships.

I remember feeling that if I disconnected from certain people who had been in my life for ever, that it would hurt them. I was so concerned about their feelings, I never took the time to think about how they were hurting me. I feel so free now that I am living into my values and no longer moulded by the picture that others paint of who I am/who I should be.

And if YOU need a cheerleader in your corner, or someone to remind you that you are amazing, worthy and that your haters are not worth your time, I’m your girl! And to all of MY haters……


I forgot that you existed
And I thought that it would kill me, but it didn’t
And it was so nice
So peaceful and quiet
I forgot that you existed

It isn’t love, it isn’t hate
It’s just indifference


~Taylor Swift, I Forgot that you Existed

Music, makes the people come together…yeah!

Ok, so now that you have that 90s Madonna jam stuck in your head, let’s talk about music!!! I have been revelling in some old school jams of mine for a few weeks now and it is like a new part of who I am has come alive. Actually, it’s like an old version of me, met the new (and more awesome) version of me and opened my eyes to music all over again!

One of the things I love about music is the ability to be transported to a specific place, time, smell, touch, memory. And, in each note, thumping beat and guitar solo, you can feel that memory with your entire being.

I can hear the notes of Chantal Kreviazuk singing “Surrounded” and I am in my university dorm TV Lounge watching Dawson’s Creek, with 10 of my closest friends. We are waxing poetic about the boys in our lives. The tumultuous nature of being late teen, 90s kids oozing out of our late night talks of philosophy, politics, religion and boys. It was never really about the guys, but it was always about our camaraderie, growing up and shared experiences. Recently, I was binge watching some episodes of Dawson’s on Hulu and this song came on and BAM, it all flooded back. It was amazing to be there in that moment again, in my heart and soul I could feel everything that was great about it. I was awoken in a part of my heart and head that had put a lot of “that girl” away for safe keeping.

This prompted me to think about the power of music to heal, move, enlighten and bond us together as friends, family, community and humanity. Ironically, this was all coming to me just as this years Grammy Awards was coming on and Alicia Keys spoke so eloquently about the power of music, flanked by powerful women in the entertainment industry and it really spoke to me.

Music helps us share ourselves, our dignities and sorrows, our hopes and our joys. It allows us to hear one another, to invite each other in. Music shows us that all of it matters, every story, every note, within every song.

Michelle Obama, 2019 Grammy Awards

I have been able to use music to be the “storyteller” of many an era in my life. My most poignant moments, flanked by a soundtrack of songs that truly allowed me to let people in; to feel my joy and to feel my pain.

When my husband and I got married, I was a bit of a Bridezilla when it came to our “songs”. I had some very specific instructions on songs that needed to be played and even a few that needed to be avoided. I put so much time and care into the soundtrack of our wedding so people could be even more in the moment with us than just watching. It had to be a combination of playful, but wrought with emotion. I chose to dance to “My Girl” with my dad, because I felt it was fun and spoke to the nature of our relationship, which hasn’t always been easy, but I never forgot that I was his little girl, always. I chose a Hedley song called “Old School” for the bridal party dance because it really spoke to the core of friendships and the “good ol days”. But, the most memorable soundtrack moment came when the DJ started playing the wrong song for the Father/Mother dance and this Bride, well she full on stood up, walked mid dance floor and yelled cut to the DJ and promptly told him to fix his mistake so the proverbial show could go on. Girl don’t mess around when it comes to those moments.

Then came the painful moments. The inconceivable heartbreak of having to plan a memorial service for the loss of our Addison. I felt powerless, grief stricken and there was little I could do without being in physical or emotional anguish. But, while my brave and amazing husband made funeral arrangements for his baby girl, I threw myself into planning the readings and music for her ceremony. It was what I needed to do to help my heart heal. It was the only way I felt people could even begin to understand our feelings and heartbreak. To this day, I cannot listen to Billy Joel’s “Lullaby” without sobbing uncontrollably. And it was probably 6 years before I could hear “When you Wish Upon A Star” without feeling a pit in my stomach. During that ceremony, there is little I remember. But I do know, with out a doubt, I felt we had been able to celebrate her, say goodbye and express our grief through the readings we chose to have read, and the music we chose to play.

As I sit here writing this I can think of so many songs that are “transporters” for me. If I hear the initial “high hat” from “ICE ICE Baby”, I am 18 and in Windsor, England on a class trip, having a pint and once the hops hit me, I am convinced I am the coolest of White girl rappers ever and singing every word loudly and proudly!

Give me the piano riff and harmonica at the beginning of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” and I am at St.FX listening to a live band, at a ‘Super Sub’, waiving drink tickets and telling my friends ‘I love you guys’ while we clumsily sang/yelled every word passionately and full of life! Revelling in the moment and trying to soak it all in!

Play me “Ain’t Seen Nothin Yet” by BTO and I am full of giggles, laughing hysterically with my mom about the back story of the song and making memories together!

Play me, Maroon 5’s “She Will be Loved” and I am at the Youth Centre, singing Karaoke with friends and knowing in that moment that my boyfriend (and now husband) was beyond words in love with me as he sang it to me, a little off key, but with his whole heart.

If I hear the Glee Cast version of “Rollin’ on the River” Im at a private 3D ultrasound centre seeing my baby girl (Ava) on the monitor rolling around in my uterus, dancing her way into my heart.

When the bass line of Uptown Funk starts to pump through my speakers, I can see my 3 year old Mackinley dancing in her car seat, singing along with out a care in the world and loving every minute of it!

I could go on and on and on. But the point is, music movies us. It adheres us to a place, time, person, space. It gives us the power to feel. It can help us cry through heartbreak, rage through the anger and speak to our power. It can be the conduit for us to ‘dance it out’ when things are hard and it can be the joy in our hearts, that we can’t quite verbalize on our own.

So, the next time Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love” comes on and it makes you strut your amazing self down a hallway, own the power it gives you and work it! I know I will!

Where words fail, music speaks.

Hans Christian Andersen

~M~

Things I LOVE Thursday

It is THURSDAY friends! And, its official, T.I.L.T. (Things I Love Thursday) is making a comeback!

Having such a large gap between these T.I.L.T. posts, I have so many new things that I love, that I cannot possibly share them all with you today BUT I do have FIVE (5) random, fabulous things to share with you!

First, when you live far away from people you care about and you want a fun way to keep in touch that feels more personal than a text, but less gimmicky than SnapChat, you MUST download the MarcoPolo app! It is a way to leave video messaging with your friends and family without any limit on length of time. There is no cost attached to download and the ‘calls’ are free! Also you don’t have to hold down the record button while you’re talking so it can be completely hands free! I have been using this app as recommended by a dear friend of mine and this has allowed us, and so many of my friends, to reconnect or stay connected in a completely unique way! If you do check it out comment below or DM me on Instagram or Facebook so I can hear about how you like it!

Next up, is my new favorite snack! If you know me at all, or you’re just getting to know me, staying healthy and maintaining a healthy weight is super important to myself and my family! I don’t really conform to any fad diets or assign myself to one particular way to eating except for the fact that finding balance in my diet is important. As a working mom of two, who is often running from place to place, having a healthy and filling snack option is imperative or I go off the HANGRY deep end or I opt to grab fast convenient foods (aka. garbage) that aren’t good for me. My go to snack these days is a cup Non-Fat, Plain Greek Yogurt (I buy the organic Kirkland tub at Costco) or any plain Yogurt that suits your dietary needs, and I add a scoop of Quest Chocolate Milkshake protein powder. Again, you can add whatever protein powder suits your tastes and needs. This carbs any sweet tooth cravings I may have as well as keeps me full and satisfied! My go to is usually Quest products because I like the taste and their products are clean. Quest Protein Powders are highly versatile. … It’s made from a proprietary blend of high-quality proteins including whey isolate, micellar casein and milk-protein. It’s gluten-free, with two grams of sugar or less, and has one of the highest protein-to-calorie ratios of any protein powder on the market (Prnewswire.com November 12, 2014). This is not an Ad of ANY sort as I get nothing in return for saying I use Quest, but wanted to include WHY they’re a favorite of mine.

Third, and switching gears entirely, is my love for Pixie Pants from Old Navy! OK, random and very specific I know, but hear me out! These pants are classic in every sense of the word. They are easy to transition from work to dinner out. They can wear well in ANY season and they come in so many colours and patterns, there is literally something for everyone! This is not a new fave for me as I have been wearing them for a few years now, but the last time I was in my local Old Navy store, they had them in this beauty of a new colour! It was love at first sight and then BAM, disappointment. They didn’t have them in my size in store! Thank goodness for online shopping right?! I have friends of all shapes and sizes who wear and ROCK these pants. I have them in about 8 different colours and cannot tell you how many times they have been washed and worn, but they take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’! Kudos to Old Navy for having such awesome staples in their regular collection and to appeal to a wide range of women!

Next up, who doesn’t love something even more when it comes in an itty bitty version?! Like when you go to Starbucks and you get the wee little sample cup. Any way, it could just be me, but I LOVE mini versions of things and at my local BevMo I found a four pack sampler edition of Strongbow Cider. Four different flavours and all are delish and perfect for when you want to partake in a sociable but you dont want to entirely blow your calories/macros/points for the day! These are going to be a MUST for my fridge from now on!

Lastly, I am mildly obsessed (in a healthy way, I promise) with Busy Philipps! Actress, Writer, TV late night host, InstaStory Icon! Her wit, authenticity and “sparkly” nature all tell me that, if given the opportunity, we would totally be BFFs! Her book This Will Only Hurt a Little is raw, honest, heart breaking and hilarious! If you haven’t read it, or listened to the Audio Book, you should!!!! And at least follow her on Instagram, she’s brilliant!

Ok folks, those are some of my current faves! Let me know what you think!!!

Happy Thursday ! ❤️

M

For REAL Friday

Real life is tough. Its super simple to sit back and post the ‘Insta” worthy photos, and have glimpse into a highlight of our day. Social media has become this place where it can be very tough to discern what the reality is and where the filters and hashtags stop. Now, before I go any further, I will state loudly and clearly that I LOVE posting the happy, the fun, the memories. I eat up the filters and hashtags and enjoy the heck out of the entertainment that is social media. That is WHY I personally use social media. That being said, I strive to be authentic, positive and part of the reason my friends and family take a moment to check their “feed” on the regular. I am not photo-shopping any photos, I am not trying to force feed over indulgent B.S., but I AM going to be myself and put it out there, good and bad.

In my journey to motherhood, my journey to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle, and in my journey as a military spouse, I have been told, on more than one occasion, that people appreciate my authenticity and approach to life. I share my journeys through my writing as a method of practicing gratitude; as a way to cope with harder days; as a way to reach out to my friends and family near and far; and really as a way to support ANYONE who feels any connection to what I am sharing.

So, if you choose to take a peek in on my journey every now and again, remember that I am here in the trenches of motherhood with you. I am here for the cheat meals that spill over into cheat months. I am here for the long deployments and the homecomings. I am here WITH you. No one should compare themselves to the social media “highlight reel” when everyone has their “behind the scene” real life happening.

My reality today is that I feel LAZY! Like the week ate me up and spit me out but in the BEST kind of way. Work was busy, but I LOVED every minute. Kids were loud and energetic then tired and grumpy, but that is life. And honestly I just want to sit and eat an entire tub of rocky road ice cream with a side bottle of Argentinian Malbec, but I also wanna feel and look healthy. Ohhh the humanity. Ha!Ha!

If you’re having one of those days where you find yourself less than confident, positive or grateful, remind yourself that you are NOT alone. Remind yourself, that you are WORTH some self care (a nap and a hot coffee are self care!). Remind yourself that social media is a HIGHLIGHT REEL, not the backstage drama. Take a deep breath and look for one moment in your day that has been a highlight and RUN with that. Some days are easier than others, but friends, that is the beauty of this life!

Comparison is the thief of Joy.

Theodore Roosevelt

PJs at 545pm? Yes, please!

So the thing about being a family where one parent can go away for weeks and months at a time, is that even in the days that are doing well on the home front, the team is missing a key player.

When you’re on a hockey team, for example, and you’re on the top line, you are expected to show up and play your best every time you hit the ice. Imagine that not only is your top line missing a player, but another one of the players is exhausted and can’t call for a line change.

Today, my girls and I all hit the proverbial ice and we were tired before the start of the third period.

Ok enough with the hockey metaphors, but I am Canadian and I love me some hockey! Haha!

Today was one of those days was jam packed from the time the feet hit the floor at 530 am. Multitasking was my middle name today and I know you can all relate. I also hope that you Can relate so I am not alone on this. I was literally working from my smart phone via email and our team share software while on the elliptical at the gym. By the time I finished my last meeting of the day, where I hope I made a decent impression, I needed 39 mins (yes, 39) to decompress. So I head into Kohl’s near my kids school and wander aimlessly looking at clearance items trying to get out of my own head.

Then IT happened.

I literally couldn’t stop it from happening either. I had tears streaming down my face and yep, I was definitely crying in the middle of a department store. My brain had been swirling with the nights plan : make dinner, clean up, homework, multiplication table practice, baths, laundry and I was running full throttle on the hamster wheel.

I left Kohl’s, with new PJs in hand, hoping the cashier hadn’t noticed my red eyes and I left to do school pick up. The swirling continued as my oldest was so upset that she was in a bit of a spiral of her own and my little was blissful, thank the Lord! 1/3 of us was hanging in there!

But there it was, my slap in the face to say “today is heinous & you need to take a step back”. So we drove from the after-school program directly to not one, but two take out spots and picked up dinner. We came home and did the bare minimum to meet our responsibilities and are now sitting on the couch, in our PJs and eating snacks while watching Ellen’s Game of Games.

I truly believe that taking tonight as a family “time out” was the best plan for my little ladies and I. And doing so without guilt or apology was even better.

Moral of the story is that if you need to let go of expectations and guilt that you aren’t “doing all the things” that you’re “supposed to” then do it! Grab your favourite PJs (or buy some new ones as you try not to cry in a department store) and take an evening off, you deserve it!

❤️M❤️