50 happy things

I’m not really one of those “new year, new me” people. I like to think I’m pretty awesome, so I’ll just keep on doing that.

However, I do like lists, and I like looking back at the year I just left behind. When I read Julie‘s blog post about 50 happy things, I decided I would do it too. You should read it, she’s hilarious! Apparently, you’re supposed to list 50 things in 10 minutes, but I don’t like being told what to do, so I’m going to take as long as I want.

This is not in any particular order.

  1. Becoming an aunt.
  2. Baby kisses.
  3. Baby laughter.
  4. Watching my sister be a mom.
  5. Going on a road trip with my best friend.
  6. Driving to a monastary for cheese, while on this road trip.
  7. Being creeped out because it was in the middle of nowhere.
  8. Running away from a nun (or other religious person). I don’t think she saw us.
  9. Making (and eating) scones.
  10. Trying Crossfit.
  11. Falling down because of Crossfit.
  12. Yoga.
  13. Going to Costa Rica for the third time.
  14. Seeing a volcano.
  15. Hiking up a volcano in flip-flops because the airline lost my backpack.
  16. Being at Peace Retreat.
  17. Stand-up paddle board.
  18. Cooking Thanksgiving dinner with my cousins.
  19. Being really healthy.
  20. Books.
  21. Drinking lots of tea.
  22. Going to San Diego with one of my best friends.
  23. My fitbit.
  24. The Pacific ocean.
  25. Hiking.
  26. Watching Jessica Jones.
  27. Christmas.
  28. Going to Paint Nite twice.
  29. Road trip with my family.
  30. Making my niece laugh.
  31. Asking the flight attendant for help listing all 50 states, and having her sing us a song she learned when she was little.
  32. Wearing dresses.
  33. Dressing up as a cavewoman at school for a unit on the paleolithic era.
  34. Sleeping in.
  35. Starting the process of buying a house (it’s not official yet!)
  36. Getting a Kate Spade handbag.
  37. Little cousins.
  38. Reading “The life-changing magic of tidying-up”.
  39. Going all Konmari on my clothes.
  40. Watching my parents become grandparents.
  41. Seeing my niece make people laugh by fake-laughing (especially my mom!)
  42. Going to the San Diego zoo.
  43. Giraffes!
  44. Designing my new house on Pinterest.
  45. Sewing with my students.
  46. Laughing with my best friend. We are hilarious.
  47. Winning 20$ on a lottery ticket.
  48. Arranging my bookshelf by colour.
  49. Making apple pie with my mom, my sister and my niece.
  50. Redecorating my bedroom.

Wow, 50 is a lot! However, I could keep going. 2015 was a difficult year, as I lost a family member I cared for very much, but there was a lot of good in there too! Here’s to making 2016 even more fabulous!

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Happy father’s day!

Last week, a co-worker’s computer screen went all weird and she asked me if I knew how to fix it. I said no, but I could call my computer technician. She thought it a little odd that I had my own technician. I told her he also went by the name Pop.

My dad can fix anything, and if he doesn’t know how to right away, he’ll google it. When I saw this, it made me smile.

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I remember being a little girl and asking my dad how to do things. He let me help (get in the way) with whatever he was doing. I know if I asked, he would teach me how to change a flat tire or fix my computer, but I like having to call him for those things. I am a grown-up, independent woman, but I still need my dad and that makes me happy.

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I wrote about this on mother’s day, but it surprises me when people talk of trying to understand their parents, or being friends with them. I really lucked out in the parent department, because mine are awesome!

Family pictures

Whenever I’m in a bookstore (which is all the time) and I see books about how to be friends with your mother, or the experience of traveling with your mother, or baking with her, or anything else really, it makes me wonder who these people are. My mom is awesome. I don’t need a book to tell me how to be her friend or how to travel with her. I realize not everyone has a good relationship with their parents, and I think that’s too bad.

I was a kid who played in the mud, while wearing ribbons in my hair. It didn’t have to be one or the other. I was taught that if I wanted something, and I worked for it, I could have it. Be polite, be kind, and don’t let anyone walk all over you. Family is the most important thing. These life lessons have made me into someone who’s more and more like my mother every day, and I couldn’t be happier.

Today is mother’s day and my mom really wanted a picture of my sisters and I, and one of the whole family. Easier said than done.

Trying to make ourselves look presentable.

Trying to make ourselves look presentable.

We realized mom was taking pictures while we were still trying to figure out how to pose.

We realized mom was taking pictures while we were still trying to figure out how to pose.

My older sister and I trying out a few poses while my little sister looks embarrassed to be seen with us.

My older sister and I trying out a few poses while my little sister looks embarrassed to be seen with us.

I feel like this picture best represents our personalities.

I feel like this picture best represents our personalities.

We tried to get one of the whole family, but we look like we should be running away from a tornado.

We tried to get one of the whole family, but we look like we should be running away from a tornado.

And now we are playing ring around the rosy.

And now we are playing ring around the rosy.

Is it wrong that the best picture so far is the one where you can't see our faces?

Is it wrong that the best picture so far is the one where you can’t see our faces?

When we moved indoors, away from the elements, it was a huge improvement.

When we moved indoors, away from the elements, it was a huge improvement.

I think this might be enough pictures for today.

I think this might be enough pictures for today.

Success! We all look happy and normal!

Success! We all look happy and normal!

Joyeuse fête des mères maman! xxx

Thankfulness

Today is Thanksgivings. I have so much to be thankful for.

On Friday, I went to Montreal for a work conference. It was so-so, not worth getting up at 5 am. However, afterwards, six of us went shopping. We had a blast trying on clothes, finding things for each other, driving two hours there and back. We sang, laughed and acted like a bunch of little girls. I love days like this, be it with my work friends, my yoga friends, my forever friends or my new friends. I am thankful for my friends.

On Saturday, I went to a yoga class that was much too difficult for me, because of my ever-present glute injury and very low energy level. However, just before class started, the teacher asked us to think of three things that we were thankful for. The first thing that came to mind, no doubt because I was on my mat, was my ability to practice yoga. I may be temporarily injured, but I am still strong, healthy and free to practice whenever I want to. I am thankful for yoga.

In my family, we celebrate Thanksgivings on Sunday instead of Monday. It’s all about being together, enjoying each other’s company. In the middle of nowhere. That’s right. We celebrate Thanksgivings in a cabin in the woods with no electricty or running water. About 60 of us cram ourselves inside the small cabin, spilling out onto the porch and under a tent, to be thankful we are a family. This is not some weird Canadian thing. I don’t know any other family that does this. This is just us. I am thankful for my family.

This is the middle of nowhere.

This is the middle of nowhere.

Me and my momma. Everyday, I am more and more like her, for which I am thankful.

Me and my momma. Everyday, I am more and more like her, for which I am thankful.

I am thankful for a family full of kids.

I am thankful for a family full of kids.

I love fall.

I love fall.

Tree pose. In the forest. Get it?!

Tree pose. In the forest. Get it?!

Yoga with Elizabteh, one of my most favourite people ever.

Yoga with Elizabeth, one of my most favourite people ever.

The frog is like this.

The frog is like this.

Thnaskgiving dinner is about to happen.

Thnaskgiving dinner is about to happen.

So much to be thankful for. I am one very blessed girl. What are you thankful for?

Apple pie day

Every year, my mom, my sisters and I get together to make massive amounts of apple pie. Apple pie is fall’s most amazing food. I know everyone goes crazy for all the pumpkin flavored goodies out there (including myself), but let’s face it, there’s no better food than apple pie. This year, we made 22 pies. We froze most of them, to be eaten later, but to be honest, they’ll all be gone by Christmas. That’s how amazing they are.

First, you have to buy or pick many, many apples. These are lobo apples. Some apples are too soft, and then you get mushy pie.

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Then, you have to put on a cute apron.

That's my little sister and I. My apron says "Will cook for shoes".

That’s my little sister and I. My apron says “Will cook for shoes”.

You need to peel the many, many apples and make several batches of pie crust.

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Those are my mom's hands. she's the pie crust expert.

Those are my mom’s hands. she’s the pie crust expert.

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After that, you start assembling pies and you don’t stop until you have 22 (or 3 or 14 or 7, whatever your goal is. We don’t usually have a goal, we just keep going until we run out of ingredients.)

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After a while, it’s totally acceptable to stop for wine. We really had to work for it.

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But it was worth it.

This is my sister. She loves wine. So do I. Wine is delicious. Apple pie is also delicious. Good thing I don't have to chose only one.

This is my sister. She loves wine. So do I. Wine is delicious. Apple pie is also delicious. Good thing I don’t have to chose only one.

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Drinking wine really makes for better pies. Just don’t spill any in the pies, that’s wasteful.

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I don’t have a recipe to share because we don’t use one. It’s apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and flour, then repeat, add butter and that’s it. We don’t measure anything. I’m sure of you google “apple pie recipes” you’ll find some, but whatever you do, please, please, don’t use white sugar in an apple pie. That’s just wrong.

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It was such a great day, and now we have pie! Everyone should celebrate apple pie day.

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My dad is usually there to help. He peels the apples, but he was away this weekend. It’s ok Pop, you can still have pie. We’ll share because we’re nice like that.

A mini-break

This has been a really great weekend for several reasons. Wine and friends on a patio Friday night, then a beach day with those same awesome girls on Saturday (we didn’t go in the water, it was too cold!) and a mini-break from my 30 day yoga challenge.

I didn’t want to skip a day in my challenge, so last Wednesday, I did two classes and got to spend today, father’s day, with my dad.

Sometimes, I hear people say how they’ve become like their parents, and they’re horrified, like it’s the worse thing that could ever happen to them. I don’t get it. My parents are awesome.

I am my father’s daughter and I couldn’t be happier. He’s funny and smart and the nicest person you could possibly meet. He’s kind. He loves kids. Once, when my sister was younger, her friends came over to ask my dad to help get someone out of a tree. My sister wasn’t home, but those kids knew my dad would be more than happy to help.

When my dad is interested in something, he likes to learn everything there is about it. When I was little, he knew more about fishing than anyone I’d ever met. He’s the best poker player I know (he taught me how to play, and I play well enough not to embarrass myself!) When I decided to sign up for yoga teacher training, wanting to know more about this practice I love so much, my mom said I was just like my dad. She’s right. When I love something, I give it all I’ve got. It makes me happy and I’m grateful to my dad for giving me that.

This mini-break from my yoga challenge has given me time to relax and focus on other things I love, like my family.

Joyeuse fête des pères Pop!

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Running and flowers

I’ve been getting back into running lately. For the past three weeks, I’ve been following the couch to 5k program, and so far, so good. Except yesterday. Yesterday was not good. It was the last day of week three and I needed to get my third run in.

I did not want to run.

I went to a kick-my-butt yoga class in the morning, then ran some errands. All I wanted to do after that was crash on the couch for a while and read my book. The thing is, when my friend Suzanne and I started running together, I made us these motivation calendars. What’s a motivation calendar, you ask? Well, it’s a calendar where you get to put a sticker when you go running. Little feet for running, stars for yoga.

The only thing that made me go on that run was the thought of not getting a third sticker for the week. Not because I really love stickers (but who doesn’t love stickers?) but because if I didn’t go, that empty space on my calendar would mock me every time I walked by it.

So I went running. I’m not going to lie and say that as soon as I started running, I felt amazing. No. I felt like I was on a run I didn’t want to be on. But about halfway through, I got over my crankiness and enjoyed myself. I really, really enjoyed putting that sticker on my calendar!

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Today, Sunday, is mother’s day. My mom is awesome, which is a good thing, because I’m becoming more and more like her. There is no doubt that I am my mother’s daughter and I couldn’t be happier about it. I hope that, when I have kids, I’m just like her. She used to take my sister and I on all sorts of adventures, playing under a bridge (seriously the coolest thing ever when you’re a kid) letting us take all the lessons we wanted (figure skating, horsback riding and step dancing anyone?) and baked, played, danced, sang, read with us all the time. And I mean all the time. She was, and still is, always there for us.

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Every year, since I was little, I pick May flowers for my mom on mother’s day. Last year, I had a nasty cold and I still stopped by the side of the road and picked flowers for her. This year, don’t ask me what happened, but I forgot. I know! How could I forget!? My mom did not say anything, probably so I wouldn’t feel bad, but when my sister showed up, she asked “Where are the May flowers?”

I couldn’t believe I forgot, so I took my two little cousins and drove out to my “secret spot” so we could pick some for our moms. Sadly, my mom only got a small bouquet, as the kids were so into it, yelling “I found one!” whenever they saw a flower, that I just had to leave more for them.

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Here’s a tip: If you’re going to be walking in the cold, mucky woods, don’t wear thin little flats.

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The rest of the day was spent indoors, eating delicious food and spending time with family. And that included doing the dishes!

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Don’t lose your Christmas spirit!

When I was a little girl, I was always sad when Christmas was over. I waited so long for it, and after a quick blur of hugs, laughter, presents, Santa, cookies and family, it was gone. I knew I would have to wait very long for it to be Christmas again.

Now that I’m an adult, I know it won’t be long until Christmas comes again, because time seems to speed up the older you get, but it still makes me sad that it’s over. People are nicer around the holidays and I miss that when the world goes back to normal. To help people be happy, smiley and nice to each other, I’ve compiled a list of 10 ways to hold on to your Chirstmas spirit for a whole year!

1. Play

We play during the holidays, so why not play all year? Play whatever you want. Play a board game or play with your Barbies (you know you want to). Build a fort or go on a scavenger hunt. In my family, we play cards. The day after Christmas, we play poker. I dont usually win (ok, never), but that’s not the point. It’s fun! This year I made it to the final six (out of 13). Yay me!

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2. Sing

People who say they never sing can be heard singing Christmas carols if you listen closely enough. They smile while they’re doing it. If you recognize yourself here, then this message is for you: Sing!

3. Eat

At Christmas time, we let ourselves eat what we want to without feeling guilty. What if we did that all year? Now I’m not saying go nuts on the brownies or the french fries every day, but if you have a cupcake, eat it, enjoy it, then forget about it. That is all.

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4. Be nice

Being nice to people is not just biting your tongue when someone who got a really bad haircut asks for your opinion. We give to those in need around Christmas, but they need us to be nice all year round, too. We can’t give to everyone, all the time, but sometimes, we can give time, patience and love without it costing us anything at all.

5. Get excited

I love Christmas as much for the time spent with family and friends as for the days leading up to it. Baking, finding gifts for people I love, decorating, all this makes me happy. It’s good to get excited, to look forward to something we know will bring us joy. I’m still enjoying Christmas time, but I’m also looking forward to going snowboarding!

6. Love

We all have people we love, and we love being with them, but sometimes life gets in the way of us remembering how important that is. Spending time with loved ones is not just a Christmas thing, it’s a guaranteed-to-make-you-happy thing.

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7. Read

Maybe this one isn’t a Christmas thing, but more of a time-off thing, but curling up with a good book and forgetting the world for a couple of hours is magical. Bonus points if there is a snowstorm or a thunderstorm. When you finally tear yourself away from your book, you feel as if you’ve been on an incredible adventure. Unless your book is boring. Find a new book.

8. Watch TV

This is like the reading thing and the eating thing. It’s like reading because it’s not necessarily a Christmas thing, but if you have time, I recommend you watch several hours of television without feeling guilty (like the food thing). My mom and I spent a good amout of time (ok, 439 minutes) watching The Pillars of the Earth mini-series yesterday. Last year, it was The Thorn Birds. I don’t think it’s a good idea to this every week or anything, as you might lose all your friends, maybe your job and probably your dog, but once in a while, go for it. Enjoy it. Then go for a walk, you’ll need it!

9. Sleep

Ahh, sleep. For most of us, functioning on very little sleep is like wearing a badge of honnor. It might not be possible to sleep as much as you like, but we tend to indulge ourselves and sleep in during the Christmas holidays. Do this as often as you can. Well rested-people are 38% happier than other people (yes, I made that up, but it sounds good.)

10. See the magic

If you’re lucky enough to have children in your life, you get to see Christmas through their eyes. It’s magical. Santa might only come once a year, but kids are amazed daily. Imagine if seeing a butterfly take flight or finding the perfect snowflake still brought you the same joy it once did. You might have to find new ways to see the magic, but it’s there, if you look hard enough.

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I am thankful

Today is Thanksgiving. It’s a day for gratitude and thanks. I have so much to be thankful for.

I am thankful for beautiful fall days and walks in the woods.

I am thankful for my family.

I am thankful that my sister is my friend.

I am thankful for this dog, even if he did eat my contact lenses.

I am thankful for the ability to practice yoga.

I am thankful for babies in downward dog.

I am thankful for my parents.

I am thankful for my friends.

I am thankful for turkey and mashed potatoes, stuffing and pie. (I don’t like stuffing, but it makes a lot of people pretty happy.)

I am thankful that I have a job I love.

I am thankful for days spent making apple pie with my mom and my sister.

I am thankful to be living my life.

What are you thankful for?

When lawn-bowling becomes an extreme sport

I come from a large family. My mom has 3 sisters and 8 brothers, so I grew up with a lot of cousins. I think the family motto is “Any reason for a party is a good reason.” We used to have family olympics when I was really young, then we had a golf tournament. I played for a few years, but then I decided I didn’t like golf so much and I volunteered to baby-sit all the kids while everyone else played golf. It worked out well, because the kids and I hung out by the pool all day, then went to the party when everyone else got back all tired and sweaty. Now, we have a lawn-bowling tournament every August.

This is brilliant for many reasons.

1. You can play while holding a drink.

2. You don’t have to be any good.

3. You can talk while playing.

This year about 75 people were there. That’s most of the family. Some people were missing.

These are a few of the lawn-bowling courts. Or fields. Or whatever. I think there were 10.

It was HOT. So hot that the weather channel had an extreme heat warning and was telling people to stay indoors and avoid any outdoor activity. I have never been so hot in my entire life, except maybe the summer I went to Spain.

There was a big tree that gave off a lot of shade where everyone collapsed after a game to cool down a little. Someone also thoughtfully brought freezer pops and water guns so we were all wet and full of sugar. The kids kept pretty cool in the turtle pool.

Here are some of my favourite moments of the day.

This face. I don’t know what she’s doing or thinking, but it’s hilarious!

My partner and I. We didn’t win, but that’s ok, we didn’t really want to. The winners had to keep playing and we just wanted to crash under the tree. I’m all wet because I thought I could outrun all the kids after I sprayed them with water. They got me back.

Dirty feet from the water fights and the dry, dusty dirt that seems to be everywhere!

Trying to get a picture of six toddlers. It was never going to happen.

It was an awesome day. I really do love my family. There are a lot of kids and babies, and that’s my favourite part. I love seeing everyone and catching up on their lives. Many of my relatives told me they read my blog, which was great! My uncle Ray really wanted me to start a yoga session so he could be featured in a special post. Hi Uncle Ray! Even thought it was hotter than the surface of the sun, it was the perfect day.

Also, on a side note, I’m thrilled to report that this is my 100th post! I’m so happy it was a post about my family.