We’re Moving…and consequently learning a lot about home staging

It’s decided. We are packing up and moving later this year. After I landed a job in another city my husband and I decided it was no longer sensible to stay where we are. We only live here because it is where I always worked. My husband works in another town and now I am too. Both of us commuting is difficult. And with our son in daycare, it is nerve wracking to know that if there was an emergency we wouldn’t be able to get to him quickly.

We started looking late last year in the town where my husband works. I work in Mississauga now and the housing prices there are much higher than where we are now (Kitchener). With my husband working in Guelph we decided to look there. We ended up going with a new build and it will close in July 2016. That gives us plenty of time to sell this house right?

Well it turns out, if you want people to pay top dollar for your house you have to put some work into it. So for the last few months it seems weekends have been spent getting the house ready to move. Our realtor went through our house Room by Room and told us everything he suggested  to do to get it ready to sell.

This list is long.

At one point, I wanted to argue with the realtor. I said “Why do we have to stage? A lot of the houses we looked at weren’t staged?”

His response was something along the lines of “You didn’t want to buy those houses though remember?”

Oh yah, there is something unappealing about seeing a person’s dirty dishes in the sink when you are looking to buy their house….

Some of the jobs are not too hard and won’t be done until we’re listing. Like packing up most of Calvin’s toys and decluttering the house. But then there were bigger jobs, like installing a closet door in the front hall…yah, for some reason that was taken down before we moved in. I always hated it and we finally installed a new door and I can’t believe the difference. Previously, the first thing people would see when they walked in was a closet with no door. When you are selling a house and those people are buyers, it means the very first thing the buyer sees is a project. We also installed new counter tops in our kitchen. I guess the previous owners thought that cutting boards and trivets were optional items and decided to burn and cut through the existing laminate. The cabinets were a bit dated but we really didn’t want to tackle that job. So instead I bought new modern hardware and I can’t tell you the difference it made!

(If you hate your kitchen cabinets, try replacing the hardware. It made me stop hating them!).

These are items we noticed and didn’t like when we bought the house. But we also realized we could use them to our advantage and get the price down and we would fix them ourselves…as it turns out, we ended up living with a lot of the problems and are now only rushing to finish them as we are ready to sell ourselves. (Sigh. Lesson learned, next house, try to do some of the projects I want done so I can enjoy them too!)

A few weeks ago we took apart Calvin’s change table and rearranged his bedroom to make it appear bigger. And it really does make the room feel bigger. Of course, after 10 days of changing him on the floor constantly I was sick of that and now Calvin get’s changed on a bed. Which is actually rather inconvenient since the bed is not in the same room as all his stuff. I am not going to lie though. His face when we were rearranging his room was one of panic and stress. His facial expressions varied from confusion to stress to excitement about the finding of a random puzzle piece previously thought to be lost but reclaimed from the dreaded land of “under the crib”.

This week we have been working on touching up paint throughout the house which included repainting the bathroom ceiling completely. Cleaning out the trash left by the previous owner from the crawl space and taking a trip to the dump and recaulking the bathtub. (And yes, recaulking the bathtub was my job).

We are now a few weeks out from when we were planning to list the house and it doesn’t seem like the list has gotten smaller. In fact, it actually grew. We found water damage in the unfinished crawl space below the main level of the house and so we have a professional company coming in next week to fix that.

What I have learned so far from the tasks we have completed is that when you are selling your house staging is important.  Husband and I have both exclaimed how much better things looked after doing the changes suggested by our realtor. I know it is hard to take down personal mementos and remove furniture and keep nothing on your counter tops. Living in a house that is trying to sell is a pain in the ass. For that reason I hope our house doesn’t last long on the market) but when you are selling a house you have to think of it as “not your house anymore.” You want it to appeal to other people, and shockingly enough, your tastes are not the same as other people’s tastes.

So for the time being, we will suck it up. Spend our evenings and weekends doing projects and living in house that no longer feels like a home. But hopefully at the end of all this, we will get the a good price for the house.

 

Advertisements

I scared my child….and I feel terrible about it

There are many milestones parents watch for in their children’s lives as they grow. Since Calvin has been born we have watched him hit many with much enthusiasm. From the first few months of smiling (for real not just because he was pooping), to laughing, to rolling over to more recently as I watch him feed himself with a spoon, say new words, and communicate. He recently started calling me “Mommy” and my husband “Daddy” as opposed to “mama” and “dada”. It melts my heart every time he says “Mommy.” Last night he was home and when he saw my pull in the drive way he ran to the door yelling “Mommy, Mommy!” He showered me with hugs and headbutts (which is what he thinks kisses are from being constantly kissed on the forehead) and made all the stress of having just driven home in a snow storm disappear. 

Each milestone he hits is incredibly exciting to see and my husband and I are proud of him and try to praise and encourage him in his development. 

Last night he reached a milestone. At least I think it is a milestone. It seemed like one to me, I just don’t know what it’s called. Unlike the other milestones he has reached though this one broke my heart and simultaneously made me realize I need to keep in check how I act around my son.

It started with bath time after dinner. I don’t give him a bath every night but it had been a couple of days and we had a particularly messy dinner which resulted in mashed avocado and refried beans in his hair. Like many parents of young kids, we have a plastic, flexible jug for rinsing the soap out of his hair.

Calvin has been obsessed with this jug for sometime now. He likes when I fill it and pour water out so he can put his hands water as it pours. He likes to put smaller toys in it and then reach in and pull them out. Showing them to me with the enthusiasm of a children’s party magician pulling a rabbit out of his hat. 

Last night he finally mastered the skill for which the jug is designed though. He held it by the handle, submerged it under the water, lifted it out and proceeded to pour the water out. 

His face lit up with pride as he performed this simple act over and over again. I cheered him on, “That’s right! Good job! Look how big you are!” 

Until he lifted it up and held it out of the tub and proceeded to pour the water all over me and the floor. I am couldn’t believe it and I yelled, “Calvin! NO! What are you doing?”

Calvin froze.

He dropped the jug in the bath.

Seated on his bottom in the tub, he backed away from me and started to cry. 

My son, for the first time, was upset because I was upset. He seemed terrified of me. He didn’t want to let me pick him up. 

Watching my son react to my anger that way broke my heart. I had absolutely over-reacted to the situation. I was tired after a long day, I am up early every day to commute to work and usually bath time is a very pleasant and enjoyable time to unwind for Calvin and I but today I just lost it over some spilled water. 

I went towards him and he fought me, but I gathered up my wet toddler in my arms and hugged and kissed him. I apologized and told him I loved him. I told him I was wrong. He was good boy and I over-reacted. 

He still screamed.  

I wrapped him up in a dry towel and took him to his room. I cuddled him and got him in pajamas and even though it was well passed his bed time I made the decision to take him downstairs to play with his toys and read stories. I had to make it right. I couldn’t have my son’s last memories of me that night be that of fear and sadness. We played for 20 minutes and he calmed down. Soon he was cuddling up with me again. 

My mom tells me that one of the biggest pieces of advice she can give new parents is to respect your children. Just because they are little doesn’t mean you can belittle them. They are still human beings. She believes that often parents talk to their children rudely and condescendingly. She sees in public adults berate their children incredibly rudely and then turn on the charm talking to an absolute stranger. She says “if you wouldn’t speak to an adult that way, why would you speak to your child?” I told my mom that I agreed with her and said that I could see that was how she lived when I look back on how she raised me. It is how I want to be with my son. 

I want my son to be comfortable with me. I want him to know that I respect him and I don’t want him to feel like his father and I don’t respect him. I don’t want him to only listen to us out of fear. Respect is a two way street. We will show our son respect in the hopes that he emulates that respect in his own life with us. 

So last night when I had frightened my son with my reaction I realized I was not respecting him. But I also realized that this was the first time my son had reacted emotionally to my feelings, in this case my anger.

He was upset that he had upset me. 

I don’t know what that milestone is called. Perhaps it is a type of empathy? An awareness of another person’s feeling? All I know, is that my son was frightened of me last night and that was not okay. I messed up and I can’t excuse it. The only thing I can do is learn from this and remember the face of my crying, wet toddler trying to get away from an angry Mommy the next time I think I might lose my temper.

Who’s the worst blogger ever?

That title may solidly go to me. Apparently I can’t even maintain a blog!

Let’s recap what happened in the last 6 months. About a week before my son would be 1 year old I got laid off. My husband was home with Calvin for the last 4 months of his first year and so I had been back at work for about 16 weeks at that point. I was told on a Thursday. I wasn’t escorted out of the building so that was nice (I guess in terms of how lay-offs go). I was allowed to say good bye and give a heads up to people. Get personal files off my computer and clean out my desk over the next couple of days.

My husband literally didn’t believe me when I walked in the door that day. But alas it happened. He looked at me and I told him “Well you were wrong, Executives sometimes do lay off their assistants.”

I then had to adjust to the thought of not having a job for the foreseeable future. We had vacation booked the next week and we still went on that and it was enjoyable to relax but there was a nagging feeling the whole time because I didn’t know what was going to happen with my future.

I started applying for jobs. Got contacted by a few for more information and told I was too qualified. Got interviews for a few and made it through multiple interviews rounds which felt great.

When a job I thought was perfect for and I made it to the final round of interviews (and had a great rapport with the director) told me I missed the mark just so closely (“We hired 8 people and you were our number 9 candidate.”) I was a wreck. I started to doubt myself thinking there will always be someone better than me for a job.

I went back and forth between optimism and self-pity. I would see a posting and thing “I got this” and then not hear anything and think “Well I am worthless.”

We kept Calvin in day care part time as we hoped I would find work quickly and we didn’t want to scramble to find care for him if something came up. Plus we found that he was doing really well in day care and socializing. But every week that went by and I hadn’t found a job I really started to doubt myself. Did we make the right decision? We are basically throwing money away when technically I could be watching him. But anyone who has been unemployed knows, looking for work can take a lot of your time so we felt it was good that I was free to work on the job hunt while he was in daycare.

I ended up getting a job offer with 2 months lead time for it to start. It is in another city but is exactly the career I want. I have been doing it for 5 weeks now and it is going really well. My husband and I even decided to move and before Christmas bought a new house (it’s being built right now) and got to experience the joys of picking out interiors (and the not so joys of realizing that it’s considered an additional cost to have drawers in your kitchen…but that’s a blog post for another day).

So there you have it. 6 months in a nut shell.

  1. Job lost
  2. 4 month of alternating between feeling positive and wallowing in depression that I would never find a new job
  3. Get offered new job to start in two months
  4. Two months of freedom and house hunting
  5. Bought a new house
  6. Started new job
  7. Getting ready to stage the house –

 

What do you get when you combine a handkerchief with a notebook? Answer: More terrible Father’s Day Gifts

Welcome to Part two of my review of terrible Father’s Day Gifts. Due to unforeseen events happening over the last month in my life unfortunately this is quite late. But luckily the lessons contained below are not only appropriate for Father’s Day, but any gift giving occasion for the men in your life.

Part one of this review focused on some particularly bizarre gift ideas for Dad and highlighted some exceptionally poor food related gift ideas. Today I am tackling the classic Father’s Day gift theme of putting two (or more) seemingly unrelated products together in the effort to create a completely useless, bizarre or downright questionable offspring as well as a couple other gifts that just make me wonder.

1. Hankie Pocket!

For the man in your life that still wears pocket squares or Hankies on a daily basis but also struggles with taking notes comes this small notebook.

Hankie Pocket Square

I have already tackled the subject of notebooks and writing utensils as gifts in my blog post on Mother’s Day Gifts and those familiar with me will know that I stand firmly on the “let’s eliminate paper altogether” side of the fence. But apparently the gift giving geniuses over at Real Simple think that not only are men out there desperate to write notes, but need to do in sneakily by disguising the notebook as a pocket square.

The description says that it is fashionable for the “grab-and-go note-taker” which is about as niche a demographic as you can get. But I can’t see how fashionable it is to be carrying what is soon to be a dog-eared, ripped, ink stained book around as if it was a fashionable pocket square?

Instead – recommend some good note taking apps to your father. I personally like Workflowy. Or if a notebook really is his thing, I say stick with a classic executive or moleskin notebook.

2. I got a Rock

Do people actually need to buy bottle openers? If your house is anything like mine then you likely have more than a reasonable amount of bottle openers turning up in every other drawer in your kitchen. And yet, novelty bottle openers seem to turn up on gift lists for Dad all the time.

Since it seems that every other week one of the beer companies is giving away a bottle opener in a case or beer or another “Hip with it” company decides to give you one to show you how “cool” they are because it’s not just another personalized pen, I fail to see why anyone would ever actually need to buy a bottle opener. But thank you country living for showing me the error of my ways with this prime example of the bottle opener taken to the next level by attaching it to a rock. Obviously, the fact that it is attached to a rock makes it totally worth the price and totally better than the bottle opener I have been using since University.

"Crack open a cold one with style"  Is style a concern for the 2 seconds it takes to open the bottle? Are men really wishing they were more stylish when opening bottles?
“Crack open a cold one with style”
Is style a concern for the 2 seconds it takes to open the bottle? Are men really wishing they were more stylish when opening bottles?

3. Do Dads really want terrariums? 

I know that there are a lot of different types of men out there and some like to garden and like plants and there are probably men who would enjoy this next gift. I can especially see it if they still have younger children at home and watching the terrarium and taking care of it is something they can do together. The reason this is making the list is that I kept seeing the terrarium theme popping up all over the place. Since this seems like a fairly small subset of father’s who really want terrariums I was definitely confused when I kept seeing them suggested over and over again. Especially on Pinterest.

terrarium

Bonus: this one from Real Simple is made from a recycled wine bottle giving us another hybrid gift

4. Bookends

Bookends always make me think of the Episode of Friends where Rachel and Phoebe find the gifts from Chandler and they ask him “What is this weird metal AZ thing?”

To which Chandler replies, “Bookends, Those are a great gift”

AZ

Country Living seems to have sided with Chandler on this one, however I fall firmly in the Rachel-Phoebe Camp. Bookends are not great gifts. Outside of staged magazine photos I don’t think I have ever actually seen bookends in use in any house ever.  In my opinion bookends solve a problem that is actually already solved by the sides of a book shelf. As well, for a true lover of books, bookends actually take up valuable shelf space. Shelf space where one would conceivably rather be housing their books.

bookends

Thanks for tuning in this week I hope you enjoyed my take on Gift Guides.

What’s the worst gift you have received for Father’s Day or Mother’s Day?

Where have I been? An update on what’s happened the last few weeks

Well sorry for my hiatus there – I realize I have really dropped the ball here on a few things in particular!

1. Part 2 of Father’s Day bad gift round up.

2. Finishing Week’s 2-4 of the Buzzfeed workout updates.

3. Letting everyone know that Baby C turned 1! Happy Birthday to my little man!

Here’s what happened to me:

At the beginning of Week 2 I started out strong on the Workout plan. However, a colleague of mine was killed suddenly which really puts things in perspective and of course was emotionally draining. Near the end of the week I was laid off from my job unexpectedly. Two days after that we headed up North to a cottage for a week that we had booked a while ago and of course there was absolutely no cell service or anything. I also did not have any dumbbells with me so in reality it was a bizarre idea to think I could continue the challenge in the middle of nowhere. That said I went on a couple of canoe trips, lot’s of walks and hikes to stay active while there of course the food counteracted that and I came back a few pounds heavier (I have since dropped those pounds again).

The week away was great and relaxing time to think about what I want to do go forward without worrying too much about applying for a lot of jobs right away because as I said, no computer or cellular service. We came home and attended a really beautiful wedding of two good friends of ours (and it was an extra special wedding because even though Canada has had marriage equality for 10 years these two ladies tied the not the day after the USA Supreme Court Ruling!).

From there it was birthday week for Baby C who turned 1 on Canada Day (July 1st) and I had to get used to not going to work. We got ready for Baby C’s party on the weekend which was a fabulous day.

Which brings us to this week. Baby C was scheduled to start day care full time and we had paid for the first 2 weeks up front. So off Baby C goes to day care while I have no where to go. At least it was easy to clean up the house on Monday after the birthday party! And man, a trip to Costco is much easier without a baby in tow. For now Baby C will be going to day care 4 days a week to help socialize him and allow me time to work on applications, resumes and schedule interviews. Hopefully I have some more solid leads for work by September. So here I am now. Unemployed for the first time since highschool trying to find a new career.

This week I’ll do Part 2 of the Father’s Day bad gift round up which I know is going to be late but I think I saved some of the best items for this and it gives me something fun to write as opposed to Cover Letters!

I also will talk about where I am in my Fitness Journey at the end of the week. On Monday I went back to the gym (which was eerily quiet at 2:30pm) and did the Monday Buzzfeed workout again as well as some cardio. I also have gone on a few jogs with the stroller while off and have of course been having regular walks with husband and Baby C in the evenings.

Thanks everyone! I am really excited about what is to come in the future for me and my family!

“Maybe, just stick with the tie” OR Flavouring something with Bourbon doesn’t automatically make it a great gift

Welcome to the Father’s Day suggested gift round up. I have been looking forward to doing this since Mother’s day and even offered up a teaser post earlier this month. Today however I freaked out when I realized that I had a lot of material drafted and saved but nothing really put together and Father’s Day is this weekend and so I really need to get this going.

There’s a couple of common themes I see popping up in father’s day gifts and one of them is flavouring things like bourbon as well as a desire to reach out to tech savvy young fathers with ridiculous tech gifts that are borderline useless (“Gee Thanks sweetheart, a computer mouse shaped like a dolphin, this is great for my office…”).

You’ll also likely notice a trend that many of these come from RealSimple.com which shouldn’t surprise readers of this blog, as a several of my Terrible Mother’s Day Gifts also were courtesy of a website that apparently creates gift giving guides by

1. For the Dad who Loves Golf

Oh, Golf Gifts and Father’ Day. Go together like Peanut Butter and Jam. I am pretty sure you would be hard pressed to find a gift guide for Father’s Day that doesn’t include something golf related. I have even been known to give Golf Related gifts to men in my life – including Golf Gloves, Balls and even a new Taylor Made Driver to my husband. But there is a difference between useful golf items for avid golfers and ridiculous Golf Kitsch that no one really needs or asked for.

First we have a golf mug (recommended by none other than Real Simple) which comes with a miniature club and ball to try to hit into a hole at the base of the mug. There are so many reasons why this is just awful. First of all, never have I known someone who wanted to have the ability to aim choking hazards into their own drink. Second, has anyone every been drinking coffee at the office and thought to themselves “Man, I wish my mug was actually a golf game.” No, that has never happened. Any man day dreaming about golf at work is not going to satisfy his desire for golf by trying to hit a tiny ball into a tiny hole at the bottom of a mug using a tiny club. What is likely going to happen is the tiny club and ball are going to get lost to the abyss of missing office supplies, leaving your father with a mug that now actually holds less of the coffee he needs to get through the day because of the ridiculous cut out at the bottom of this mug.

golf mug

Our next golf gift is extra awful because of the description. This comes to us from Cosmo which is not surprisingly giving out terrible Father’s Day Gift advice. This article takes real people talking about what Dad wants and gives advice on it. This suggestion is particularly horrendous because they say “Victoria’s dad wants new golf clubs” GREAT! That is easy and you’ll know he likes it. But then instead of suggesting clubs they suggest the most ridiculous piece of golf paraphernalia I have ever seen. I can’t even believe that this product actually exists and they justify it by saying: “Golf clubs are crazy expensive though and very specific to the individual using them. Potty putters on the other hand, are universal and affordable!” I will give them that, coming at only $12.00 they are affordable but just because you can afford it doesn’t mean you should buy it.

potty putter

This is wrong on so many levels. First of all, it looks awful. It adds ridiculous clutter to a bathroom. Is a tripping hazard. Not to mention I am pretty sure this is going to get disgustingly germ filled very quickly.

If you know your father wants new golf clubs but you can’t afford them here are a couple of options that don’t involve adding what will become a urine soaked golf green to your bathroom.

1. A gift card within your budget to the store where he is buying the clubs.
2. Other usable golf items that wear out and or get lost (gloves and balls) because anyone who wants new clubs probably also will appreciate balls and gloves. My husband generally wears through a pair of gloves every season.

2. For the Beer drinking dad

A lot of Dad’s like beer and so I think that if the dad in your life enjoys beer there a lot of good options for him- craft beer samplers, beer of the month club, touring a brewery. What is probably not a good option is ridiculously expensive product to carry beer in.

I think most beer comes pre-packaged in containers and stores that do sell individual bottles or cans usually offer a disposable container for them. So if you have a Dad who absolutely loves to see you wasting money on overly expensive and complicated beer transportation systems then I guess this gift is for him. Otherwise move on.

Oh look. This comes from Real Simple's gift guide too. What a shock!
Oh look. This comes from Real Simple’s gift guide too. What a shock!

3. For the Dad’s who love to snack

I think that most of us know of a snack that our dad’s love. When I was a kid we used to like to buy our Dad Werther’s Originals. And I think it is really cute, especially with little kids who have used their own allowance, to buy their dad his favourite treats for Father’s Day.

What is not cute is the plethora of “Father’s Day” “Man-Flavoured” Artisinal food products making these father’s day lists.

I couldn’t limit myself to just one item here so I posted all these which are from the same list – why the list needed to have 3 over the top snack food products is beyond me.

bbq pecans

If you were to buy all three of these products and create a gift basket you would have spent $75.00 on 3 items!

The first is smoked pecans for $24.00. They are apparently “smothered in chili powder, dried thyme, brown sugar, salt, onion power and old bay.” How considerate of them! They just gave you the recipe. Save yourself some money buy nuts and make these yourself for a fraction of the price. Not to handy in the kitchen? Don’t worry about it President’s Choice has you covered for a fraction of the price. It may not be pecans but it gets the job done and doesn’t break the bank.

Next we havemarshmallows the most economical item of the bunch. At a very reasonable $8 for 16 pieces you can watch your dad make his best “WTF?” face when he opens these Bourbon Marshmallows. I can only imagine were thought up by drunk college students during a late night campfire at the family cottage.

Hey Man, I need to glaze my marshmallow before I roast it, give me the bourbon!

I have said it before and I’ll say it again, Putting bourbon on something does not make it a great gift for Dad.

Last but not least is a $43 tin of pop corn. Sure there are also potato chips and pretzels drizzled with three types of chocolate and caramel but somehow I think that spending $43.00 on this would cause many Father’s to start questioning where they went wrong in child rearing and teaching their kids the value of money.

Of course, this treat sounds oddly like the ridiculous concoctions I would make as a child with my friends when we had a sleepover and were staying up late eating whatever junk we could find and now I am just sad we missed out on marketing what was clearly a great idea.

popcorn

And I am sorry, just because it is “non-GMO…no hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup” doesn’t mean it is free of sugar, fats and calories so saying “he won’t feel too bad about indulging in the whole bucket” is a load of crap. I guarantee anyone eating an entire bucket of this is going to feel pretty crappy (pun totally intended).

4. For the tech savvy dad. 

This is definitely my favourite to make the list. I nearly peed in excitement when I saw it.

WIRELESS DOLPHIN MOUSE

No, I don’t have Tourette syndrome, those aren’t random words I am shouting. This is an actual product that is actually being touted as a gift for adult men.

In most professional settings, ditching the “boring office supplies” isn’t going to win anyone respect. Unless your dad is a Marine Biologist I think this gift is better left a the store. It just makes me laugh that this is considered a great gift. Logistically the tail sticking out like that is a nightmare waiting to get caught somewhere in the bag while in transit. Meaning it is going to get lost and you are stuck with a useless mouse.

Aesthetically, I don’t even think it looks that much like a dolphin when you consider that while in use the tail is going to be plugged into the computer, meaning you’re really just buying the ability to stick an oddly shaped receiver into one of your USB ports.

wireless dolphin mouse

Thanks for tuning in everyone! Unfortunately I am running out of time but not bad gift ideas so stay tuned next week for Part 2 of this post which will appear when I return from vacation.

Week 1 Review – I’m not as strong as I used to be, But I am stronger than I thought I was

As previously mentioned, I have decided that I really need to kick start my fitness and get back into shape. I decided after reading this workout plan on Buzzfeed that I would complete and review it.

As a quick recap, this program has you complete 30 minute circuits using only bodweight or dumbbells on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays with a Cardio workout (of your choice) on Saturday. For the full workout and descriptions, you’ll want to check it out on Buzzfeed.

Here’s my review after 1 week

Starting on Monday with the workout I wasn’t sure where to start with my weights. The article says that you have the amount of weight correct when you feel like you can lift the required sets with perfect form and maybe perform 1 or 2 more. Having not done much lifting in the last 2 years (other than an increasingly heavier child) I started out lighter and very quickly realized that it wasn’t enough weight.

You can see from the charts below that some of the exercises in the first Circuit I was increasing the weight almost every set. By Circuit B I had a better idea of what I could handle so I didn’t end up having to increase on the second and third sets.

However, for some reason even though this wasn’t a “Leg” day my legs were killing me Tuesday and Wednesday after this workout. Wednesday is the second day of this program and my thought was “OH my gosh, I don’t want to do this today!”

We had tickets to see a pre-show of Jurassic World (side note – AWESOME AND FUN MOVIE) and it started at 7pm. I really didn’t want to flake out on the program after 1 day. My legs were killing me though and I was struggling going up stairs which made thinking about the workout even more painful. I forced myself to work early so I could leave around 4:00pm and got a workout in before the movie. Luckily, my husband and sister arrived there before me and saved me a seat.

As much as I didn’t want to do it, I felt awesome about myself when I got to the gym and even more awesome when I was done. While I was there that day, I saw a dog in the corner. It was a guide dog and there was a blind woman doing a circuit using the weight machines. It looked as though she had an audio program guiding her through her sets and reps. She also navigated around the room with her cane so she could find the correct machine. In the end, it fondly reminded me of my grandfather who passed away last year. He was blind his whole life but accomplished amazing things. It also really made me think about the excuses I make for myself to skip a workout and realized that they are usually quite ridiculous.

I did a much better job at selecting the correct weight from the beginning during Wednesday’s workouts as you can see from the chart. I increased a couple of times but there wasn’t any increasing on every set like on Monday. Though I could definitely handle more weight next week on the Walking Lunge, and Glute Bridge.

For Circuit “B” I realize that I forgot the reps go up to 10-12 so on the first 2 exercises I only got 8 reps.

I also have to think the designer of the women’s section at my gym was a teenage boy who wants to see women take their shirts off! For some reason there are no fans running and it was so hot in there. But when I left and walked through the main gym it was totally cool and comfortable. So lesson learned not to use the women’s section at that location during the day when it is really hot.

Beyond that the workout went well though BUT I have to say WTF to the clamshell. I feel as though it is maybe a moderately useful exercise and you look like a real idiot doing it. It’s like here, allow me to lay down in the middle of the floor and while I air out my lady bits! That’s seriously how I felt – I may save that one for home for future weeks. Though, I think my husband will mock me doing it, whereas at the gym strangers just give you weird looks…which is better?

Friday I always knew was going to be tough to get the workout in. I had to work and then go to a bridal shower afterwards. I also hadn’t seen my son much that week so the free time I had before and after the shower I wanted to spend with C. This meant I didn’t get it completed on Friday. Friday became a rest day for me which I didn’t feel too bad about because I hadn’t had a rest day yet that week. I figured I would get the workout done on the weekend.

Saturday is supposed to be Cardio day but I still hadn’t done Friday’s workout. However, we had our first Dragon Boat Regatta Race day of the season. So I ended up going to that as it is an all day thing. I raced 3 races with my team, and jumped into another boat and raced with another team who was short paddlers. Between the 4 races which were 500 metre lengths where we paddle very hard for about 2.5 minutes and the warm up paddling out to the starting line I had a good work out. Husband and baby came to watch last race and we also decided to walk to the parking instead of waiting for shuttle bus which took about 30 minutes. What this means is that I technically didn’t get in the Interval cardio training that is recommended in this program for week 1, even though, I did have a very active day on Saturday.

On Sunday morning I got up and did Friday’s weight workout at home. I have less dumbbells at home so some of the weights I used were too light in some cases but I just went with it as I found they were only slightly light and it was still a good workout. Circuit “B” is all core work and it was harder than I thought. It really makes me realize the toll childbirth had on my core strength as this Circuit is something I could have easily done 2 years ago.

Overall, I am happy with week 1. The fact that I was adding weight on many exercises means I haven’t lost as much strength as I thought

The scale says I have lost 1 lb but given how weight fluctuates I don’t really hold much stock in that. I am more impressed that I was still able to lift 20 and 25 lbs dumbbells and get through all the sets fully. I also noticed a touch more definition in my upper arms this week, which is probably also partially attributed to the paddling.

Looking to Week 2:
Overall, I feel good about this program as a way to ease myself back into lifting. I think that it would get boring to do for longer than 4 weeks. I doesn’t have any barbell work and I really miss that which is another reason I probably wouldn’t do this plan for more than 4 weeks.

Stats and Results from Week 1:

week 1 review buzzfeed_Page_1

week 1 review buzzfeed_Page_2

week 1 review buzzfeed_Page_3

QCDA: When life hands you porn, try to sell them alongside your baby items.

Trying to fulfill my promise to post Questionable and Comical Classified ads on Fridays has led to this quick post which came to me from another Mom and Dad Facebook Sales site. Which is the obvious choice of venue to turn to when seeking out magazines meant for the adult-male demographic.

The description of this site is for Parents to sell new and gently used Baby and Children’s items. So of course it is obvioulsy inundated with ads for things that are categorically not baby and/or children’s items. I think that most of the time I let that slide. Sure sell your shoes, or home decor items. But adult magazines, really? I know that when I buy used kid’s items I like a healthy serving of soft-core porn on the side! I am not a prude in any sense but this feels icky to me.

magazine ad

In any case, I am not sure if this ended up selling*, but the poster did have it up there for a while trying to find a buyer with no takers, alongside ads for clothes her kids had grown out of. I am honestly not surprised there were no takers, I wouldn’t be too eager to publicly post that I want your used Playboy magazines. (Oh it comes with half of box of tissues? Even better…ew) Sorry. I think that was a little too far for even me.

To be honest, if I had a Playboy magazine autographed by WWE celebrity in my possession I wouldn’t be so eager as to post it for sale on a site that lacks anonymity. If you find yourself in possession of extra Playboys or similar magazines -signed or not- and you need to sell them, my suggestion is to save face and sell them through a site like Ebay where you don’t have to meet the person buying them face to face.

*Update-I just found the site and yes she does still have it posted for sale with seemingly no interested buyers so it could be yours!

I hope my son never comes out to me

I bet that title is getting some attention. I bet a lot of you are wondering where I am going with this, so just bear with me as I explain myself. This is not going to be one of my normal funny posts but I have been working on it for some time as I have been trying to find the right words.

I myself am not gay. I am a tolerant and accepting person. I would never look down on someone because of their sexuality. I have members in my family and friends in same-sex relationships. Later this summer, I’ll be attending a same-sex wedding for two friends of mine who are getting married.

So when I say that I hope my son never comes out to me what I am really saying is that I hope that by the time my son is old enough to be dealing with such things that he wouldn’t be afraid to discuss his feelings with me as they develop. I don’t want to have a son who through adolescence works through complicated feelings of love and attraction alone. I want him to understand he can always talk to me in a safe space without judgment.

Maybe I am naive and maybe I am not understanding what it is like to be young person dealing with these feelings and if that is the case I apologize. I would hope that as I raise my son he sees that through the person I am that it wouldn’t matter to me. I would hope that as he is growing and maturing that conversations about human attraction and sexuality are not verboten in our household. I want him to grow up seeing what a healthy relationship looks like – between his father and me, but also through others in our circle of family and friends some of whom are in same sex relationships.

By saying that I hope my son never comes out to me, what I am projecting is a hope that our world will get to a point where one isn’t expected to “announce” their sexuality. People should be free to be who they are and it doesn’t have to be breaking news when a person dates someone of the same sex or says the type of person they are attracted to. I guess I could be naive in this sense. Not being gay and never having gone through it  perhaps I don’t understand all the nuances surrounding “coming out”.

But I can’t help but think that if we were truly a tolerant and accepting society with real equality perhaps coming out wouldn’t be approached the same way. People would just accept you for who you are. In a truly equal society wouldn’t saying your gay be greeted with the same reaction to saying your straight?

I hope to be the type of parent who can really be there for her children, to know what they are going through and be there to talk about complicated issues instead of having them navigate the truth and misinformation that is out there from other sources. If I am truly this type of parent, I would think that my son would never have to announce his sexuality because hopefully I would already know who he is.

Watching the fights for marriage equality over my lifetime has been fascinating. To see the shift in public consciousness towards a more accepting world is liberating. While there are still roadblocks and people fighting marriage equality, I sense that we are moving in a positive direction in terms of LGBTQ issues. I had friends recently lament and express disappointment to see negative press related to Caitlyn Jenner and while it is disappointing to see that, I am proud of our society and culture by the amount of positive press and praise she has received. Five years ago, I don’t think she would have received so much support from the media and I think as a society we should be proud of that progress.

My son is only 11 months old. I have no idea what type of person he will grow up to be. But I want him to grow up in a household of acceptance and love knowing we, his parents, aren’t going to change our interactions or our relationship with him based his sexuality.

me and calvin

I’m putting Buzzfeed’s “Only Summer Workout You Need” to the test!

Guess what! Having a baby really changes your body. I know Captain Obvious here is not telling you anything you don’t know. But guess what, losing baby weight is super hard! At least for me. Whoever these magical people are that said Breastfeeding will make you lose the baby weight easily are full or sh*t because it did not help me. Maybe you burned 10,000 calories a day breastfeeding and see the weight melt off you like butter in the hot sun, but for me I have to work hard to lose weight and then I have to work hard to maintain it.

The last time I got fit and lost quite of bit of weight took about a year. People were telling me that weight was melting off me and it seemed so easy. Actually I would spend upwards of 7-10 hours a week working out and meticulously monitored everything I ate. It was not “Melting off me” I was working my butt off to get into shape.

I gained 50 lbs in my pregnancy. I know a lot of people do and it doesn’t really bother me because I was growing a person. But in the few months before I got pregnancy I gained about 20 lbs so in my mind I was up 70 lbs! Which was almost HALF my body weight. Of course, the first few weeks after baby it was great. I was losing like 5 lbs every day.

Walk up the stairs – boom – 10 lbs gone! Awesome. Only that doesn’t last.

Here’s where I am now:
I am still carry 10 lbs of baby weight, plus the 20 lbs I gained before I got pregnant, so really about 30 lbs that I don’t want to be carry. And yes I know that it’s not really about the weight or number on the scale but this goes beyond that. I am definitely not as fit as I once was. I can’t run as well and I definitely have lost strength. I use to pride myself on fitness. When I would spent 7-10 hours a week in the gym it was because I really wanted to be there! I loved watching my gains each week as I was able to load more and more weight onto the barbell. I loved seeing the improvements in my cardio performance. I took pride in the fact that I had a resting hard rate around 55 bpm because my heart was that freakin’ healthy!

So I have decided that it is time to kick it up a notch and really work on fitness. So when I stumbled upon this Buzzfeed article and read the work out plan I thought that it would fit with my current lifestyle and would be perfect way to jump start my new fitness journey.

I would commit to completing this 4 week program.

This article tells me that this is the “only summer plan I need” so I am going to give it a go and review it here. Keeping in mind that although it says it’s the only thing I need this summer, I am also part of a dragon boat club so in addition to these workouts I’ll also be paddling in 1 day of races over this 4 week period as well as practicing up to 3 times a week. As well. husband and I do regularly go for hour long walks with baby so I think that there will be times when I do more than just this program.

Here’s what I like about it:
Dumbbells – the only equipment is dumbbells. This means I can do it at home or work.
Exercises – the exercises are all ones that I am already familiar with. No learning new form for me.
Cardio-Flexibility – Cardio is anything you want to do on Saturdays only
Simplicity – the routines are the same each week. The reps and sets don’t change. The only change would be the amount of weight you are using.

Here’s what I don’t love about it but am willing to look beyond: 
Over simple: Since it is “dumbbells only” some of the exercises aren’t how I would like them. For example, on Monday Dumbbell Floor Press, I would much rather lay on a bench and do this as opposed to the floor.  Or Wednesday’s Glute Bridge I would prefer a Barbell instead of a dumbbell. So I will likely be adjusting the workouts while staying true to the spirit of the move. Also for a lot of the floor work you probably would want an exercise mat depending on the floor you are using but in trying to create a simple routine with minimal equipment that isn’t really mentioned.
Cardio is Interval: All the cardio is interval which isn’t my favourite thing in the world but mostly that is because I hate paying attention to a timer. I think I’ll download an app for that and just set it to buzz every 60 seconds.

I plan to complete this over the month of June (and first week of July) and blog about results.

Now, here comes the part that I really don’t want to do this but I figured it would be helpful in my journey so here are my BEFORE STATS and pictures. These were taken Monday June 8th before the first workout in the gym. I didn’t have anyone to take the photo so I did an “In the mirror selfie” and I think I lost a little bit of self-respect for myself in doing it.

The second photo is my "I can't believe I am taking a selfie in the mirror, I hope no one sees this. Is it lined up? Oh ya it is. Snap picture and be done with this" face
The second photo is my “I can’t believe I am taking a selfie in the mirror, I hope no one sees this. Is it lined up? Oh ya it is. Snap picture and be done with this” face

***Mental Note** When this is all over find someone to take the after photos of me so I never have to sneakily take my picture in the gym mirror again**

Now. Compare that to this photo of me from 2012. It was around my 1 year anniversary and I was about to run the Warrior Dash-because yes, that is what I wanted to do for my anniversary. Run an obstacle course. This was not the skinniest I have been as an adult but I would say it is the fittest I have ever been as an adult. So There’s the goal. To get back to that fitness level.  I may not have that same body but I want to be that fit again.

warrior dash
My motivation photo! Me when I was the fittest I have ever been! Let’s get back there!

That year I completed the Warrior Dash in just over an hour. Literally seconds over an hour.

Up next…a review of the first week of exercises and how I am feeling about it.