Half full or half empty?

The age-old question of the glass being half full or half empty is sometimes used as an indicator of your views on life.  Are you an optimist?  A pessimist?


Or perhaps you don’t care either way and are just happy to have the glass.

the glass

Since I became a mom, I found another glass metaphor – the one that measures my energy level.  I remember talking to a friend about parenting young kids and how demanding they are with constant questions, needs, and wants.  She replied ” your kids will drain you all day long; they suck the life out of you, so you have to make sure that you start each day with a full glass” (no, not of wine).  And then she forwarded me a link to a blog post about nurturing yourself while nurturing your child.

After reading this article I realized that, at times, I was too impatient with my kids and frustrated by the lack of time for myself.  I chose to leave my career in finance to stay home full-time with my kids, but I wasn’t the mom I wanted to be.  So this year, as I approach 40, I have made an effort to put myself back on the never-ending to-do list.  I decided that I needed to take some time every day to do something that is just for me.  Something that makes me happy.

I exercise.  I make a cup of tea (and try to drink it before it gets cold).  I treat myself to a great pedicure.  I read.  I savour a square of sea salt Lindt dark chocolate.

If I had more time,  I would sew, paint, make jewelry, garden, but until my youngest is in school all day, I will keep pinning great ideas on my Pinterest boards for future reference; even this makes me happy!

What do you do to fill your cup?

the glass


“9 Daily Habits That Will Make You Happier”

I came across this article on the subject of Happiness and thought it worth sharing:

How many of these do you already do?

How many can you work into your daily routine with all of the competing demands in your life?

Happiness is

My personal favorite is “9. End each day with gratitude.”  How do you know if you’re happy unless you acknowledge all that you have already?  Every night I write in my calendar, 3 things that I’m grateful for and I find myself more grateful, more satisfied, and in the moment than I used to be.

But there is always room for improvement.


Baking with Gram

Those were the days.  You could lick the spoon, clean off the beaters and no one ever said “No!  You’ll get sick from raw eggs!”.

I used to spend a month every summer at my grandparents house in the Lake of the Woods region.  They would take us to the beach, fishing on the lake, blueberry picking and I loved it!  Now that I have 2 kids of my own, we travel there every year to visit their great-grandparents.  I look back fondly on those days and hope to be able to create memories that my boys will cherish, too.

Some of my best memories of those summer days are the times I spent baking with Gram.  She taught me how to make pies, cookies, muffins, and butter tarts.  I remember her original cookbooks, all worn, yellowed and sometimes sticky; the hand-written recipes for some of my favourites.  The coloured Pyrex nesting bowls and the well-worn wooden spoon.  She always wore an apron and made it all seem effortless:  mixing the ingredients, timing the baking, even the cleanup.  I would help measure and stir and then lick the batter off the spoon, mixers and out of the bowl!  Delicious goodness.  (I still prefer uncooked batter to the finished product and my recipes never seem to make a full batch!)  I was never told to “just eat one” or “save some for later.”  It was pure pleasure!

Over the years, I collected Gram’s recipes and must admit, they are still my favourites.

Now that I have kids of my own, we often bake together: muffins, banana bread, cookies, weekend waffles or pancakes.  But only recently have I given them the utensils to lick clean!  There’s a lot of deep breathing involved as I’m not as patient as my Gram was – the flour all over the floor and counters, the fingers always reaching or grabbing for something – but I try to relax and enjoy our time together.  It’s great to have home-made treats for lunches and snacks, knowing love was an essential ingredient.

I hope my boys will look back fondly on these times spent together or at least think of me when they order pancakes at a restaurant or buy a muffin to go with their morning coffee!

“An attitude of gratitude brings opportunities.”

My thought for today as quoted from my Yogi tea bag.  I love it!

As part of my Happiness Project, I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal, but I’ve fallen behind.  So today, I am picking up the pen again.  It’s great to be reminded of how lucky I am and to keep things in perspective when I’m facing a challenge!

It really is the little things.  A hug from my boys, tea made by my husband, ballet class . . .some days I have so many moments that I want to remember, I don’t even get to write them all down.  But I do spend the day trying to be mindful and appreciative.

Of course, this doesn’t mean I’m cheerful and perky all day – my kids still don’t listen to me when I ask them to stop bugging each other, there are still terrible drivers everywhere and petty annoyances, but focussing on the best of the day seems to make it easier to forget the rest.

Yesterday . . . my dishwasher.  I am lucky to be able to turn it on when I go out and come home to clean dishes – allowing me to spend time with my family instead!

Today . . .  I’m grateful for a much-needed morning shower and clean hair!

And you??

Duathlon Rookie

After “quitting” running last fall, I have taken up ballet following a 20 year hiatus and started Dailey Method classes to get my muscles toned, but I’ve been missing the cardio high I used to get from running.  The spinning classes I’d like to attend are so popular that I seldom manage to secure a spot so I dragged my old mountain bike out of storage.  I haven’t ridden my bike since my 5 1/2 year old was in my womb!  So I rode with the kids and felt good – keep in mind they’re not going far or fast so this is no indication of my physical fitness.

While dropping my bike off for a tune-up, I saw a flyer for a local triathlon/duathlon and stuck it in my purse.  A few days later, I found it again and asked my husband “how long do you think it would take me to bike 20km?”  I mapped out a 10km route and hopped on my bike; at a leisurely pace it took me about 30 minutes.  Good? Bad? I have no idea; I just know it didn’t hurt.  Knowing I could easily run 5km, I figured I’d challenge myself to this duathlon – the distances were reasonable:  5km run – 20km bike – 5km run.

I would casually mention the event to people and gauge its difficulty by their reaction and their level of physical fitness.  One friend said it’s very well-organized and I shouldn’t have any trouble at all.  A gal from my book club told me she did the triathlon at the same event and the cycle route is “uphill both ways” but again, encouraged me to go for it.  I looked to my husband for reassurance that I could do it and wasn’t crazy to try.

And then I signed up.

One week prior to race day.

I know better; you’re supposed to train for an athletic event or race.  I’ve run marathons, half-marathons and completed two sprint-tri’s.  But I haven’t done a duathlon before and, on a whim,  signed up a week before the event.  Obviously, this means I didn’t train enough, but . . . my goal was to finish.

At this point I decided I should at least get “slicks” put on instead of my knobby mountain bike tires.
I laid out what I thought would be appropriate attire, packed some transition gear (water bottle, towel, snacks and my jacket) and then forgot to pick up my race package.  “No problem” I thought to myself, “I’ll just pick it up on race day.”  My start time was 11am, so there would be plenty of time for me to get there, park, and get organized without rushing.

Except . . . I forgot about daylight savings time the night before so when I set out at 9:30 to head up to the race site, I was already running an hour behind!  With my adrenaline already pumping, I “warmed up” and rushed to the Start line.  After a few course rules were reviewed our race officially started.  The 5km run was easy,  an out-and-back that was scenic enough to keep me interested without any real hills.  I was on track to meet my goal of 30 minutes and got myself through the transition to my bike in a leisurely fashion.  I even changed my shoes so I could clip-in to my pedals – every bit counts, right?

The bike was a double loop of reasonably flat out and back.  I found myself relaxed in the saddle, enjoying the scenery, I counted 5 bald eagles overhead and then as I was passed by 2 people I had passed while running, realized, I should focus.  As I embarked on my second lap, I was a little envious of all the people on their road bikes.  They made it seem effortless whereas I could feel my suspension absorb just a little of every pedal.  Or perhaps, they had trained for this race?

Coming around the final loop to the water station, I spotted a kid that looked like my eldest, then my husband, and finally my little guy.  Is there anything better than being cheered on by your family?  I actually tear up when I see other families en route, even though they’re not there for me!  I was overjoyed.  Stopped my bike for some slobbery kisses and encouraging hugs and then pedaled  away to the transition zone to run the last 5km.  Which were a little harder.  Somehow there seemed to be more uphill.  But I finished without injury or tears.

Later that night, checking the race results, I was thrilled to see that I beat my goal time of “under 2 hours” by a couple of minutes. 27:50 – 1:00:48 – 29:06  for a total of 1:57:42.69

I didn’t finish last overall as I had feared I might, but I was slowest in my division.  Perhaps next time I’ll train.

My Daily Dose for 2012

Has anyone else noticed a plethora of “365” themed ideas out there?  Perhaps, it’s because of the New Year, but I’ve come across blogs, photo projects, writing ideas, cooking, fitness goals – the list is endless.  Others seem to be organized enough to not just cook a lovely meal or create an elaborate craft project, but document every step along the way with photographs and then post it for the world to see. 

I like the idea of documenting my life, my kids, my projects each day, but I know that’s not realistic – there’s not enough time in the day and I already have my “40 Before 40” list to focus on.  So I’ve been thinking about what I could manage.  Something that matters to me, but doesn’t leave me feeling stressed about accomplishing it.  Between shuttling kids to school and activities, cleaning up after The Wrecker, ballet and fitness for myself, and generally managing this looney bin that I habit, there isn’t much time for creative thinking.

Then it occurred to me . . . I’ll continue with my gratitude journal this year and document each daily dose with a photo.  I started keeping a one-line-per-day journal last year as a way of focussing on the positive in my life.  Being present.  Noticing the little things.  Appreciating what I have.  The conscious act of daily gratitude is supposed to be a form of meditation which has profound health benefits on the brain and body.  Every little bit counts, right?

So this year, I will continue with the journal, but take my pocket camera with me everywhere so I’ll have a visual record, too.  A flower, a beautiful fabric, seeing my kids’ toes peeking out as they sit on their knees.  Who knows what will catch my eye each day?

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