Oh, hey.

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I know it’s been a while. I graduated from nursing  and became a nurse and well, I work a lot. I’m so glad I went back to school because nursing has been the best choice I could have made. My life is rich with rewarding work and making a difference. Yes, there’s a lot of gross and challenging stuff too, but it’s all par for the course.

In the process of completing school and gaining employment, I managed to fall off the paleo train. Unable to fit into half of my jeans/scrubs/tops, I vowed to do something.

So I did. I’ve had several stops and starts. I’ve failed more times then I’d like to admit. Paleo isn’t easy. It requires planning and perseverance. There have been times where I wake up, ready for a paleo day and fail by lunch. Or dinner. Or make it all the way to dinner and falter with a horrific snack.

Here I go again. I made it thru yesterday completely paleo and hope to do it again today. One day at a time is about all I can handle right now.

I could have waited for New Year’s Eve to make such sweeping changes. But why? So I can muddle thru Christmas and visiting with friends and family feeling uncomfortable in my clothes? No way.

I’ve made some other major changes recently that have allowed me to shed some emotional weight, and I’m feeling slightly more empowered than I have in months. I’m still a bit fragile, and feeling like an unsteady baby deer, but I need to get back to my healthy roots – I know paleo and lifting weights does that for me. I know that if I give myself the gift of health, I will feel a million times better all around.

The weights can wait a bit -one thing at a time. So here I go.

First step: throwing my scale away.

 

Next steps include sharing more recipes with you!!

The Business of Narcissism

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It’s a mantra many of us grew up with.

“What happens in these four walls, stays in these four walls.”

For some, it meant family secrets of abuse and alcoholism were never spoken of, outside the home. With my own family, it meant we didn’t brag about me having a key to our apartment at the age of 9, and I certainly never boasted about watching my 6 year old brother at that age. I was to tell exactly NO ONE.

It also meant that special outings, beach trips, and ER visits were never documented in pictures or in print for the world to see. No stranger in another country could peer into our lives. No one knew when we were laughing around the dinner table, nor when my mother had drank too much and was threatening us with the wooden spoon. No one knew if our shoes were brand new or hand me downs that year. No one knew that my frugal mother cleaned up a pair she’d found at the flea market for 35 cents, and how much I loved them anyway because they were just the right shade of pink.

I’ll never know if my mother felt the pressure to ‘keep up with the Joneses,’ because she never really gave a shit what the neighbours were doing. She was a proud woman and our home was always neat. She liked to garden in the spring and shovel in the winter. We didn’t have igloo brick makers or a Flexible Flyer Snowball Maker – we had hands inside mittens. We hung our soaking wet snow pants over the shower rail and let the drips get caught in the bathtub and the bathmat, depending on where they fell. We hung beach towels over the back railing, and no one ever complained online about the unsightly un-matchy-matchy laundry hanging on our balcony. The only rants we ever heard was a repeated one from our mother: clean up your rooms!

My mother made most of our birthday cakes from scratch, and we invited a modest number of kids – usually 3 or 4, to stay for a couple of hours, eat cake and go home with smiles on their faces and maybe a goodie bag if it was a good year. No one who didn’t get an invite to the party would remark, “Oh, I saw your cake on Facebook,” There wouldn’t be 189 Happy birthday messages written on our wall, from people we hadn’t seen in years. Writing on walls was graffiti!

Since the internet really blossomed around the late 90’s, moms everywhere have really been able to find and relate to each other in some of the most challenging years of their lives: parenting. In doing so, many positive things came of this development. Women with sore nipples, and bags under their eyes, could talk to each other about all the trials they were facing. I’m sure that truly helped some mothers get through it.

In turn, these connections came fraught with ranting and judgement. Cloth versus disposable, breast versus bottle, and before we knew what hit us – we were in serious competition to be the Best Mom, at any cost.

Cost it did: before long, moms everywhere watched as celebrities snapped up designer strollers and car seats, while paparazzi snapped up pictures of their babies, sometimes putting celebrity families in very real danger, in pursuit of very real dollars.

Soon the Mommy Wars turned on working women (again), stay-at-home-Moms (again), and the work-from-home-Mom was a growing population. The problem was, the rapidly growing business was The Business of Narcissism. In the world of blogging, the Moms with the best writing was quickly overshadowed by the Moms with (sadly) the biggest tragedy, the most flair for drama, or worse, the Mom who was most able to market her brand to companies willing to bargain for exposure to the mommy population; after all, they hold the purse strings. The good writers that were business savvy enough to pursue additional things did well for themselves, and some continue to write and reach out to loyal readers today in a modern Erma Bombeck kind of way.

Surprisingly, money hasn’t proven to be the priority motive overall. Now, Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram hosts a demographic in competition to be the Best Mom, the best cook, the best fitness inspiration, the best of the best, and even better than the best. Pinterest has grown into the proverbial white picket fence with two point five children and everything is so beautiful and perfect and guess what?

We can’t keep this up.

Heaven knows we all have those friends who post Avery’s every fart on Vine, little Ashlynn’s progress at using the potty (complete with Instagram pictures!), Grayson’s every slapshot, Bryndlynn’s every dance recital, and the $120 Ironman cupcake tower that Finn insisted on for his 1st birthday party.

I don’t know about you, but when I cruise the internet, I see a generation of children who are being raised in what seems like a magazine-perfect world. It’s a façade, I know. I’ve been guilty of trying to keep up. I’ve posted pictures of filter-laden, perfect-angled shots that I actually had to tell my kids to help me set up. Years ago, I absolutely blogged for attention. I’ve tweeted things that I’ve later deleted. I’ve been asked by my children on more than one occasion to, “not put that picture on Facebook.”

Once, I did it anyway. It was an adorable picture of my son up to bat. In that moment, he looked so perfect in my eyes (and with my Instagram Valencia filter,) that I threw his request in the dugout and posted it anyway.

We cannot keep this up.

What right do I have to go against my son’s very direct, very reasonable request?

I don’t.

Furthermore, Facebook can really eat away at any insecurity you might already be feeling.

Why didn’t I put my kid in that sport?

So-and-so’s kid got WHAT for Christmas? And she put it on Facebook? Tacky!

SHE got a cleaning lady??? 

These feelings are ugly and I’m exploring them because since that summer day I posted my son’s picture, I have felt remorse about it.

He is a sensible nine year old.

The internet is permanent.

He asked me not to post it.

My motive for doing it anyway was an ugly one – call it what you want: competition, jealousy, the need for validation.

Part of “what happens in these four walls, stays in these four walls,” should be a sense of security for our kids. Things happened to all of us as kids that would have been embarrassing as heck if someone had told the whole school.

Like when I was caught stealing at age 7. Instead of posting the story on the local grocery store bulletin board, my mother marched me right back to the drug store and made me return the gum I stole and apologize to the manager. She never told family members or her girlfriends, as far as I know – she dealt with it swiftly and that was the last of it.

The Business of Narcissism is ugly. Despite those Pinterest pictures, those cheese-deli gushings by a new mom, those angelic faces on your Instagram, there’s an ugliness behind it all that makes me very uncomfortable. I worry for the new generations of brides who dream of weddings beyond their budgets, starting their marriages off in debt and stressed out. I worry about new moms who are sacrificing sleep for perfection. I worry about the kids who are getting shushed so Mom can get the DIY video just right, or take 56 pictures of the food as she makes dinner.

One could argue that me posting my son’s picture is harmless, but I maintain that he has the right to say what I share. These are his four walls too and he deserves to be heard.

Giveaway: Happy Mother’s Day from Canadian Tire

I probably don’t have to tell you right off the hop that this giveaway, sponsored by Canadian Tire, is for Canadians only. Sorry Americus, you know I love you, but this is how she goes, eh.

Canadian Tire reached out to me to offer Moms everywhere a chance to makeover their car.  If your car looks anything like mine, it’s needs to be set on fire.

Just kidding.

Mine could use a little TLC though – like a good wipe-down of the seats and dash. I did go through the car wash the other night, but I drive at sunrise and sundown to get to the hospital and back for those 12 hour shifts, and every bug in the country likes to bounce off my windshield. Yuck.  Even the hula girl on my dash is disgusted with me.

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(shaking her head)

So Canadian Tire (@CanadianTire) wants you to win a $300 prize pack that they’ll drop ship to you directly. All you have to do is share this post with your followers on Twitter, using the hashtag #MothersDayCarMakeover. 

If you don’t use Twitter, you can share this post on Facebook, and leave a comment below to be entered.

Included in the prize pack are these goodies, valued at approx $300:

Make sure you use the hashtag so I can include you in the draw. I’ll draw a winner on Mother’s Day!

Quick Paleo Dinner: Coconut Crusted Tilapia & Garlic Broccoli

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My weekdays are ridiculously busy. I get home from clinical/school, quickly ready by books & supplies for the next day, knock off any homework in pockets of time I find between making dinner and putting kids to bed, make lunches, make dinner, clean the kitchen, hit the gym, shower, finish any homework, and get to bed by 9 or 10.

Have I mentioned that I started the kids on chorebuster.net? Well I did and IT’S WORKING (OMG!) and I am LOVING having the help around the house. Plus bonus: they will grow up to know how to take care of themselves. I wish I had done this years ago.

Anyway.

You will need:

  • 4-5 tilapia fillets – fresh or thawed from frozen
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 3 eggs
  • sea salt, to taste*
  • Broccoli, cut into florets
  • Garlic salt
  • coconut oil
  • butter, to taste

Heat about 3 tbsp of coconut oil in a skillet (medium-medium/high heat), and another 1 tbsp in a wok or another pan. Throw the broccoli florets in that second pan/wok on medium heat.

In one shallow bowl, crack the 3 eggs and whisk them up with a fork. In another shallow bowl, mix the coconut flour & shredded coconut.

Dip each fillet into the egg, then into the coconut “batter”, and get them in the pan to fry. They take only a few minutes on each side – until the coconut ‘”batter” has browned. Once you’ve flipped them the first time, sprinkle them with sea salt (optional).

One your broccoli is done, sprinkle with garlic powder – your choice. I found out tonight that my oldest actually *likes* broccoli done this way.

Try not to eat all 5 fillets. They are insanely delicious.

I would have had a picture of my plate but uh… *burp*

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Paleo Party Food: Pecan Bacon Choco-Bark

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I’m heading to my sister’s place tonight for a girl’s night, and this is the first time I’ve stayed somewhere overnight since D & I started paleo.

We always do a potluck on these girl’s nights, and I had to really think through what I have to bring in order to still feel okay in the morning (plus pack a breakfast instead of hitting Tim Horton’s.)

The last time I was at a party, I had cake. I came home and my head was absolutely buzzing because of the sugar overload. (It was REALLY good homemade cake though and TOTALLY worth it. I still think about that cake. Is that sad?)

Anyway, I made some chicken wings with a dry rub (I’ll post that recipe soon), and this little dessert that I’ve brought to parties before. Last time I made this, we used macadamia nuts, but this time, I thought I’d grab my favorite: pecans.

You will need:

  • your favorite brand of dark chocolate, melted (try to avoid stuff with added sugar/chemicals/canola oil/etc.)
  • cooked bacon, crumbled (the crispier the better, obviously)
  • nuts of your choice – pecans, in this case
  • sea salt, to taste*

This is so ridiculously easy, you’ll love it.

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Melt the chocolate (I used the microwave – easy). Spread it on a cookie sheet that is covered with wax/parchment paper. Sprinkle the bacon, nuts and sea salt on. Gently press the top ingredients into the chocolate.

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Stick the tray in the freezer until the chocolate is solid again. Use a butcher knife to cut it up, throw it in Tupperware and watch it disappear in the car on the way to your sister’s house.

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The combo of chocolate and salty bacon and nuts? Orgasmic.

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Enjoy.

*Sea salt can be ridiculously expensive – at least in Canada. I found if you go to the section of the store where they sell kosher foods, you can pick up kosher salt for WAY cheaper, and it’s the same thing. 

What a Difference 20 Pounds Can Make!

I finally found some time to take a few pics to show you the difference in my weight. I *think* these before pictures have me at around 195 pounds, and the ones on the right show me today (172lbs). I still have A LOT of work to do, and part of that work is to stop stepping on the scale daily. (See #4 here at Mark’s Daily Apple, one of my favorite resources.) In a nutshell, I am gaining muscle, and I need to be mindful of that before that number on the scale in the morning determines my mood for the day. I’m sure many of you know exactly what I mean.

Anyway, on to the pictures. Pay no mind to my messy bathrooms. :)

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(I’m not an outtie bellybuttoner, that poke is from the tie on my pants!)

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I gotta say – I’m at a bit of a sticky part in this process. My boobs are shrinking fast & I feel like it’s making the rest of me look bigger, like my stomach and my butt. HOWEVER, I am definitely gaining muscle, and I feel like I can get through more reps and sets of the classes I’ve been taking.

Having said all that, I do see the progress. I’ve gone from an XL to a M in most clothing – and my bra size has shrunk from a D38 to a C34. So I know things are happening. More importantly, I see a HUGE difference in how I handle stress, how I sleep, and how I juggle everything.

I have several goals laid out for this year (and beyond), and I’ll share those soon. I just wanted to whip out this post before I head to the gym!