Too Tired To Think Of A Title

I’m having one of those days where I can’t seem to find a positive light in anything.  These don’t come often, but when they do, it’s hard to snap out of.

We have so many positive things going on in our lives right now but it seems that when anyone asks about them, I’m all debbie downer about them.  I’m putting it all down to being plain ol’ exhausted.  I haven’t whined about being tired in quite some time, so let’s count this as my quarterly whining session about tiredness.

Where do I even start?  Maybe I should be starting by not putting my whining into actual words on a screen and instead telling myself to suck it up and keep moving forward.  But if I can’t write it here and get it off my chest, then it won’t help me get the release I need.  So let me start with whining about selling our current house.  As mentioned previously, we went through a bit of a rushed process to get our house on the market after we found our ideal home.  We decluttered and now are in the stage where we have to keep our home spotless just in case someone requests a showing in the evening and our realtor asks us to do it the next day while we are at work.  I don’t know about any of you who read this, but have any of you tried to keep a house with a toddler and a messy husband spotless every single day?  The husband does pull his weight more than he ever has when it comes to cleanliness, but gone are the days where I could decide to not do the dishes one night so I can relax on the couch instead.  Every night they have to be done, and they have to be timed with being done after dinner is cooked and after lunches are made and packed away in the fridge.  Gone also are the days where I could just leave a stack of laundry on the chair in the living room, to be dealt with another time, and instead lie on the couch next to it and pretend it doesn’t exist.  My evenings have now become all about attempting to get to the gym with my trainer at least twice a week, doing my Tuesday volunteer thing, and then basically coming home and being on my feet from 7:00 to 10:00 dealing with a bunch of stuff I don’t feel like dealing with.  We used to order pre-made meals that were healthy and we would toss into the microwave and heat up for dinner, but we decided to try one of those companies that sends you all of the ingredients and you make the meal yourself.  I told my husband that we can’t live the rest of our lives on pre-made meals and need to figure out how to fit proper cooking into our lifestyle.  We are now three weeks in to cooking for ourselves again from Monday to Friday (the weekend is the husband’s job to whip up tasty meals) and I’m sitting here wondering why the heck I felt it was necessary to make this change.  It’s only adding more stress and time into our evenings, so why the hell did I decide we needed to force this into our busy lives when there is a suitable alternative that means that we aren’t eating dinner at 8:00 at night?  My weight loss is suffering from eating so late at night, so why the hell should we keep going with this cooking for ourselves thing and why shouldn’t we go back to the pre-made healthy meals?  I’ll have to have this conversation with the husband as I know he’s likely tired of hearing me standing over the dishwasher (thank god we at least have that!!) and moaning about how I would rather be reading my book.

Because of this exhaustion, I seem to be doing incredibly well at making mountains out of molehills.  For our upcoming trip to Costa Rica I needed to make sure that we have all of the basic necessities as in some areas, these things are hard to find.  Things like immodium, tums, band aids, sunscreen for adults, sunscreen for kid….all kinds of glorious things.  On Sunday night I was whining away to my husband about how we need all of these things and I don’t have time to go and get them before we leave.  I was so caught up in my whining that I didn’t realize something that he was kind enough to point out.  On Tuesday (last night) I have a few hours of kid-free time and I could do it then.  I completely forgot about those hours of child-less bliss because I was so stressed out about the house and travel plans.  So last night, after work, I went and wandered the aisles of the drug store and spent up large on things we need…and a bunch of things we likely don’t need but they seemed fun so I got them anyway.  I also grabbed two magazines for myself thinking that maybe, just maybe, on our trip I might have a moment to myself to read them.  I was feeling a little optimistic!

Part of the reason for this new found tiredness that I had been having a nice break from is because I’m now working out in the evening, instead of the morning.  My trainer prefers to work out at 6:00 so I basically rush home from work, toss the ipad in front of Hunter while I quickly run upstairs and change into workout gear, stand in the living room to appease Hunter while I wait for Eddie to walk in the door, then basically run out the door to get to the trainer in time.  I then get my ass handed to me in a workout then head home.  Once home, Hunter is still awake because I’m arriving right at his bedtime time and Eddie is cooking us dinner.  I have two options.  Put Hunter to bed at his usual time and get more hands-free time and be hungry.  Or keep him up until about 8:00 and eat dinner while dealing with a tired little boy who is so pooped he’s miserable.  It’s a tough call….but I almost always go for the first option.  By the time I get him through his bedtime routine, it’s usually just before 8:00.  I scarf down the dinner eddie made and then I get into the swing of cleaning up his cooking bombsite, doing the dishes and then making lunches for the next day.  I sit down on the edge of our bed at 10:00 and have to will myself to have a shower.  I love working out with my trainer, but I’m losing a lot of my own down time because of it.  I know that my workouts are me time, but they are intense and exhausting and are definitely not a moment to relax!

I’m also dealing with a few small levels of anxiety about leaving my job for someone else to do for two weeks while away.  I have done about three hours of training with her and tried to cram in as much as possible, but there is still so much she needs to know, and there now isn’t time to show her or teach her.  So I’ve been putting my work aside and have been creating “how to” type lists or guides so she has something to refer to when she for sure will be asked to do it.  I’m trying to save her from looking like she doesn’t know what she’s doing, and also trying to save myself the extra rush work when I get back from my vacation all rested.  But because of doing this, my other work is falling behind, so now I’m scrambling to get that caught up.  It will all be ok and I’m working a bit later each day this week to try to get everything wrapped up.  But it’s hard to prepare someone for every aspect of my job and also hard to feel trusting enough to leave it all in her (likely) capable hands.

And now I’m feeling tiny levels of stress slowly building up inside of me when I think about when I’m going to have time to pack not just my bag, but Hunter’s bag too for our upcoming trip.  I could ask Eddie to pack Hunter’s but it would be one of those situations where he has no clue what to pack, and by the time he asks me about a million things, I might as well have done it myself.  I’m trying to go with the bare minimum essentials for the trip as we will have access to laundry facilities, but then the husband throws at me “Oh we are going to bring a few boxes of Shreddies over for the owner of the house we are renting”.  Uhm…say what?  Turns out she’s Canadian and misses Shreddies like mad so Eddie promised we would bring her two boxes over.  And we all know they are going into my suitcase since Eddie isn’t capable of packing a suitcase that doesn’t require basically standing on to get it closed.

If you’ve read this far you’re probably thinking to yourself “Woman, get a grip!  These are a ton of first world problems.  Get over yourself”….and I completely agree!  In the grand scheme of things, these are the good problems to have.  The exhaustion…not so much.  But the rest….they are good.  But sometimes life can feel a little overwhelming and even the good things can become overshadowed easily.  I already feel better since I started to write this, so there’s something to be said for simply writing exactly how I feel, despite how ridiculous it all seems after I get the words out.   Soon we will be on the sunny beaches of Costa Rica and all of this exhaustion will be a thing of the past!

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The Dream Life

This is going to sound weird, but sometimes I wonder if in a previous life I was a super outdoorsy person who lived a much simpler life than my present one.  In my current life we are outdoorsy and we aim to spend even more time outdoors in the woods camping and adventuring on our ATV and snowmobile, but it feels like my heart is pulled towards even more extreme outdoors adventures.

I’m not talking flinging myself off of cliffs, or climbing up cliffs, or even white water kayaking, but more so the things that we do now….but to a bigger extreme.

My day to day is work, home, kid, exercise, eat, sleep.  On weekends most of the time is spent around home or entertaining Hunter by going to various areas of our town.  But I see pictures of people from my past who are traveling and living out of little cabins right on the beach, or current friends hitting the slopes every weekend to snowboard and somewhere deep in my heart a little voice is saying “I want that too”.  Because of my husband’s hard work, my little family will be very financially comfortable, if all things go to plan.  But when he tells me about how much money he’s going to make on this or that, I’m kind of “meh” about it.  My typical response is “Oh yeah, that’s cool” and the conversation goes in a different direction.  Do I like money and knowing we will be ok?  Heck yes.  But does it mean everything to me and make life totally fulfilling?  No.  But I see the people I mentioned above, living their life differently and to the fullest, and I feel tinges of envy build up inside of me.  They are experiencing life to the fullest.  They aren’t living their days with every moment being almost the same.  They are doing the coolest things and pushing the limits of fun.  And to me…that is pretty fricking cool.

This past weekend I got to use my Christmas gift from the husband and I loaded our snowmobile up into a trailer, rented a second one for my sister, and we drove about an hour and a half up into the mountains to take part in a women’s beginner snowmobile clinic.  It.was.amazing.  Seriously amazing.  Even though I was scared beyond belief during a lot of it because I was so inexperienced and our instructor was pushing us all way out of our comfort zone.  I learned so much and now our snowmobile isn’t the big terrifying beast that I thought it was, and it’s actually pretty frigging awesome.  The best part was that I was out with a bunch of other women and had a female instructor.  If I had gone out with Eddie and had him showing me the ropes, guaranteed I would have ended up frustrated and stressed out.  Men teach differently and they also ride the snowmobile differently than a woman would.  I would have been miserable and never realized how much I truly love the sport.  It was hard.  I was sweating the entire time because of how much of a workout it was.  When we came down from the mountain at 4:00 after almost 5 hours of riding, I was absolutely exhausted.  And now…I am dying to get back on it and expand my experience on the sled.

But what I’m getting at with this story is that during the clinic, I developed a massive girl crush on our instructor.  She was totally bad ass, fearless and tough.  From her cute little log home to her truck loaded with sleds, to her insane knowledge of the backcountry on a snowmobile all the way to how she rides a sled just made hearts form in my eyes because I was crushing that hard on her.  I want to be that girl in the pick up truck with sleds on the back, headed into the mountain to do a sport that is mainly male dominated too!

julie-ann
Seriously…how bad ass is this woman?? Hardcore crushing right here!
julie-ann 2
I want this to be me! I already have the truck!

But I’ve realized that it isn’t so much that I have a girl crush on her.  It’s more so that I envy her lifestyle.  She is doing what I would love to do.  I know that whole lecture about adjusting your life to making it one that is exactly what you want to do and finding a way to make it happen.  It’s exactly what she did.  But I’m not as fearless as she is.  I’m scared of heights and I’m scared of speed (except when driving in my truck) and I know that I will never be flinging myself off cliffs on my sled or carving up the powder on steep hills like her.  But I will forever wish I could be as cool as she is.  I don’t look at people with loads of money and think “*sigh* I wish I could have that too”.  Instead I look at people who are adventure junkies and spend every weekend or day off of work up in the mountain doing the coolest things ever.  But…I’m a mom of a young child, I work full time and the opportunity to be carving it up in the snow every weekend just isn’t there.  Not until Hunter is older and can be on his own kid-sized sled (they exist!) and we can go out together.

 

So I guess that I realize now that while I may never be a career snowmobiler like my instructor crush, the life that we have right now does build us the opportunity to have our own version of bad ass outdoors people.  But as a family.  Hunter is already obsessed with our snowmobile, but he’s never been on it.  He loves our ATV and any chance he can get, he wants to go out on it.  He has his own toddler sized ATV that he bombs around (at a whopping 3km and hour) our neighbourhood on it and we have plans this summer to get him one with a little bit more power.  So he’s already showing that he is likely going to be into motorized sports as he gets a little older and that the adventures I want to have will be possible.  I mean, what boy who lives in a small town, with nature as their backyard and the opportunity for motorized toys wouldn’t want to be doing that?! Or even a girl for that matter!!

 

This is the lifestyle I want for my family and one I will strive to achieve.  We live in the perfect place for it where the trails are mere minutes away from our front door.  And for my own motivation, I will continue to live in awe of those amazing women who are out in the backcountry, shredding it up with the guys like the bad asses they are!

Friday Updates

A few fun little things to write about today!

First off.  Does anyone else have this problem with their spouse?

messy

I love that my husband has started cooking more meals so it allows me to get to the gym in the evening to workout with my trainer.  I am the kind of person who will cook out of necessity.  I don’t enjoy cooking.  I prefer baking.  And this mama doesn’t need to be putting all the baking in her tummy right now.  When we first met, my husband did all the cooking.  It was glorious as he’s clearly very talented at it.  We made the agreement that he would cook and I would do the dishes.  Well one thing turned into another and his career took off and I started doing more of the cooking because I was home before he was.  But somehow the agreement of “whoever cooks doesn’t have to clean” didn’t stick when it came to me taking over the cooking.  It got to the point where I just stopped asking him to help with the dishes because he would say “Yep I will do it before I go to bed” and then the next morning I would wake up and the dishes would still be on the counter.  So I have learned how to clean as I go when I cook. Before I even start cooking I empty the dishwasher so I can load things up as I’m moving along.  My husband is one of those men who, if you ask him to do something too many times, in his mind I’m immediately nagging him.  And, in his head, once I’m nagging, there is no winning, no matter how many different directions I try to approach it from.  It’s frustrating at the best of times.  I’m not a lose my shit on my husband kind of person unless he does something horribly wrong.  It’s just not in my personality, so this is one of the things I can just keep firmly asking him to respect my time and try to help by being a cleaner cook.  Thankfully, most of the time if I ask him to do anything else in the house, besides dishes, he will do it without a 24 hour procrastination window on it.  But now that he’s cooking about 2 meals during the week and all meals on weekends…it’s like a bomb goes off in the kitchen.  He uses endless paper towel to mop up mess, spice bottles never have their lids put back on, and often I will find the lids in the most obscure places, food waste is all over the counter, instead of putting it into the green waste bin under the sink, AND SO MANY DISHES!!!  This particular meal…he used three cutting boards.  THREE!  WTF?!  I won’t even get into the cooking oil smeared on the counters and the crumbs everywhere.  The craziest part is that this meal is one of those ones that the company sends you all of the ingredients you need, already portioned out, and all you have to do is put it all together and cook it.  So he definitely takes the top of the podium for creating this kind of mess for something that is already 50% done for him!  I have stopped asking him to put the dishes into the sink, because he has a chronic habit of putting packaging in the sink, instead of the garbage can, so when I move the dishes to put them into the dishwasher, I’m finding soggy, soaking wet plastic meat packaging underneath.  I’ve asked him over and over again to try to cook a little tidier, and he’s done it once.  Just once.  Every other time it’s the Eddie bomb in the kitchen.  And last night, I came home from the gym and he was lying on the couch, and this mess was hanging out in the kitchen.  *sigh*…men.  The thought never crosses their mind that “hey, the wife is going to want to sit and eat dinner and unwind for a bit this evening, so maybe I’ll quickly take care of the dishes to surprise her when she gets home.”  The most simplest thing would go a long way.  But, at least I have learned to set my expectations low on the nights he’s cooking.  I know I will walk into a mess for me to clean up.  So if he actually does clean up, then it is a pleasant surprise!  It’s a tough balance because we both work long days and commute over 100km every day, and we both want to relax in the evening instead of dealing with household things.  So I have to focus on the positives of that he’s actually cooking dinner now and I don’t have to, which he hasn’t helped with in a few years, except on weekends, and occasionally he does tidy up the kitchen for me.  He doesn’t complain that the meals I cook are bland and unimaginative, he just eats them and thanks me for them.  So I can’t complain that his cooking style is a little more messy than mine is, so I eat the delicious dinner and quietly putter away on cleaning up the mess he made.  And instead focus on the other things he’s started doing around the house without any nagging coming from me.  It’s all about the baby steps here.

My trainer sessions have been going well.  Scheduling seems to be an ongoing problem as she keeps forgetting that I have to work around my husband’s meetings schedule and I can’t do any Tuesdays.  But it’s still the early stages and eventually she will figure it out.  She’s brutal and tough and I love it.  Last night my legs were shaking as I walked back to my truck.  It’s exactly what I’m needing.  She has suggested that maybe we do two personal sessions a week and one other day a week I join in on the group workouts.  She figures I would be good to have in one particular class because apparently I’m strong (she keeps boasting about that!) and she thinks my energy might help with motivating others in the class.  I guess my willingness to keep going despite feeling like I want to puke is “good energy” in the trainer world.  So tonight I’m going to jump into the one class and see how it goes.  I’m not usually big on group workouts, but maybe it will be ok.  The only challenge is that it lands right at Hunter’s bedtime, so it messes up our original agreement of eddie does morning Hunter duties and I do evening.  Eddie has said for me to test out the class and see if I like it before I start worrying about how he’s going to be taking on 2-3 bedtimes a week with this and my Tuesday selfless act that I do.  It’s all a work in progress where we are figuring out our new routine.

In other fun news.  Remember that post I did before last weekend about how we aren’t exactly banging down the doors of houses that are for sale to try to get out of our current one?  Well…on Friday evening we were looking at the local real estate pages and a house popped up on it that was in what would be our price range.  We contacted our agent to ask for a viewing and she managed to score us one for the next day.  We went and checked it out and really loved everything about it.  It’s been on the market for a few months now so we wanted to know why and also had a few more questions about the place.  We found out later in the evening that 8 other groups viewed the house that day and one was likely putting an offer in.  So we had a quick family pow-wow (is it culturally insensitive to use that word now?) and decided to put in an offer on it.  We tossed one together and submitted it on Sunday night and included a very long closing date of the end of April, and crossed our fingers.  We had a counter-offer back quite quickly with a fair price, but they wanted more deposit money but agreed to our longer closing date.  We hummed and hawed on it until early Monday morning when we got a call saying they had received another offer and we basically had 15 minutes to accept theirs or they were moving on.  We thought they were playing games, but our realtor confirmed that it was true.  We were ok with what they had offered, so we went with it.  And by Monday evening we were filling out the paperwork to make the home ours.  The other people who put an offer in kept their offer in place, just in case we can’t come up with the deposit money by the date needed or get the mortgage approved (the stage we are at right now.  Money is already secured and ready to go).  So now we are into the full swing of trying to sell our current house.  Sunday night we were rushing around cleaning the place top to bottom.  We were decluttering and making the place the tidiest it’s been since we moved in.  We were up relatively late doing that as, our realtor pre-emptively booked a couple showings for it for Monday afternoon even though we didn’t even know if we had the other house secured.  Funnily enough, one of the showings was to the family who had the second offer on the house we bought.  They loved our house, but they needed four bedrooms, not the three we have.  I’m not allowing myself to get excited about anything until we know that we have sold our current house.  Our realtor assures us that she doesn’t think it will be a challenge, but you never know.  There’s a house down the street that has been on the market for months.  But I hear that it is extremely poorly built, despite looking beautiful from the outside.  Our house has its issues, but they are being remedied as we speak, and they are quick fixes.  I still get nervous that nobody will want it though.  We have an open house tomorrow so hopefully a few people will take a look and not just be nosey neighbours.  It’s now kind of funny how we can go from “yeah, we’ll sort of keep an eye on things” to now knowing that we are moving at the end of April.  I feel sick about leaving our awesome neighbourhood with all of our amazing neighbours, but the ones I talk to the most said we are still going to get invited to their gatherings or over for wine and stuff.  So we will have to make sure that still happens.  In the meantime, I will start to let myself get a little bit excited to enjoy this.

Step by Step

It’s so easy for a man.

No, this post isn’t about the current trend of #metoo or about unequal pay in the work place…it’s about freaking weight loss!

My husband has been working three times a week with a trainer who is pushing him harder than he’s ever been pushed in a gym.  Besides that, all he’s done is cut out alcohol completely and reduced his portions.  He’s still eating out for work but making healthier decisions, but still no major drastic changes.  And the weight is literally falling off of him.  One day he had a big belly and it seemed like the next day he didn’t.  His shirts are fitting way looser, his pants are falling off of him and he needs to buy new belts.  This is all with only a month of the change.

Then there’s me.  The last 2.5 weeks I’ve been so diligent with my eating.  I meal prep every Monday night so I eat all the healthy stuff, as per my food coach’s instructions.  I enter it all into Myfitnesspal to make sure I’m hitting what he wants me to hit.  I have wavered once or twice on a couple small things, like a sugar free chocolate I bought to make some peanut butter fat bombs (every Keto user’s friend) and I’ve picked at a couple pieces here and there but haven’t indulged in entire chocolate bars.  I have upped my water intake drastically.  I completely cut out the coffee and milk I was having.  I make adjustments to my dinners so they are lower carb every night.  I am constantly reminding myself to not indulge in all the things because it just leads to a slippery slope down, downhill.  I have worked out twice this week with a third one planned for tonight and another planned for Sunday.

And yet….the scale went up.  How is it possible that I do absolutely everything right, and the scale still creeps up?  It’s like a see-saw where it goes up and down and up and down.  I know some people will say “well andrea…you’ve been lifting weights and muscle weighs more than fat”, but at the weight I’m currently at, there SHOULD be weight loss.  Since October I have lost 12 pounds, but my body has totally stalled out at that weight and can’t seem to push through it.  I can get it down to 13 pounds lost and then it will go up to 11 pounds lost and just hang out between those numbers every week.  So of course when I have this struggle for myself, and my husband comes waltzing into the house in the evening announcing that he’s lost another 2 pounds on top of the many he lost the week before, it starts to grind on me a little.

So, after one particularly mopey evening where I was frustrated with being bloated and clothes fitting tight, Eddie finally said the magic words I was hoping to hear….”Why don’t you look into hiring an actual trainer and go in the evenings?”  It had been something I was wanting to do, but I didn’t know if money would allow it or if his wonky schedule would allow for it.  So I had to wait to see if this was even an option to consider.  I dropped lots of hints but had to wait for it to become his idea as the money for a trainer would be coming out of his “sanity” (personal) money because mine won’t allow for that cost.  And I couldn’t take it out of our household money that covers our two mortgages, bills, groceries, etc.  His sanity money is significantly higher than mine, which was something I had requested awhile ago as I didn’t want to feel that I had all this money to spend and then just start spending it frivolously.  Anyway, he agreed to it so I started the search for the best trainer in our town.  I found the highest recommended woman and I got in touch with her.  She immediately got in touch with me and some of her first words were “I’m not easy”.  My response was “Perfect!!”  She also isn’t cheap.  But if my husband is dropping big bucks on his fancy trainer, then there is no reason I can’t do the same thing.  No double standards in our family!  Clearly the sessions I’m doing at the gym right now are not doing what I want them to do in conjunction with the healthy eating.  They aren’t intense enough feeling despite my best efforts.  I met with the trainer on Wednesday at 8:00 at night and we talked about weight loss, she took my body fat percentage (I love having the calipers squeezing my fat everywhere) and weight.  She then took me through a quick session to determine where my fitness level is at.  She ended up being quite impressed that despite the weight I’m carrying, my strength and form is all still there, it just needs more conditioning.  She mentioned that the other trainer that I’m going to be splitting my time with, is going to love me.  When I asked why, she said because he is going to be so excited to get me conditioned so my body looks as strong as it is under the fat.  She said that because I have a strong understanding of the gym, movement and form, we can just jump right into it without having to do any basic sessions to get me accustomed to certain movements.  She also explained that the gym is a high intensity, cardio based gym.  Where strength and cardio are worked on at the same time for optimal fat burning.  She was saying all the right things to me! After our session determining my fitness level, she then put me through a quick half hour workout where I was literally running from one weight thing to the next with her running behind me barking “Go! Go! Go!”  She is tiny…but tough.  I loved it!  I’m still pretty sore from the session, but I will be headed back there tonight for another one!

The biggest challenge with hiring a trainer is that it has to be in the evening and it has to be someone who can be flexible with my ever changing schedule due to my husband’s ever changing work schedule and also accommodate my need to be home with Hunter on any given occasion.  This trainer has been nothing but accommodating, despite having her own 2 year old at home.  We agreed that every Sunday we will compare calendars and see what we can work out in an attempt to get me working out 3 days a week as well as me doing some of my own cardio (likely swimming) once or twice on top of that.  It’s really tough to work around my full time work and commuting over 100 km every day and also squeezing fitness in.  I know I can’t use that as an excuse to not exercise, so thankfully, with some extra work in my planning, we can come up with something that will work to get my butt into gear.

I’m really hoping that since I have my eating locked down, this will help me start to move the scale beyond the 12 pound loss and see the physical changes I’m eager to see in the mirror and in the way my clothes fit!

And because I’m a realist mom and want to show how having a kid can totally change a body….here is a pre-12 pound loss photo and a post 12 pound loss photo.  I still get upset looking at my stomach and the “apron” of fat that now hangs there as I can still remember my stomach being way flatter pre-baby.  I know, I know.  I should be proud I grew a human being in there.  But when I have to buy tops that are either loose and flowy and pants that are high enough waisted to tuck it in so it doesn’t uncomfortably sag over the top of the waistband….it makes me a little sad.  But I’m making good progress.  Slowly but surely.

12 pounds

Oh Perfect House…Where Are You?

How many homes does the average person live in before they die?  Seriously?  Because I think I have well and truly surpassed what the average is.  Since I left home in my early 20s (yes, I actually had to live with my parents beyond age 18 while we worked to get New Zealand citizenship), I have lived in:

 

5 houses in New Zealand

8 houses in Canada

 

New Zealand was a unique case as every house we rented, after a year of tenancy, the owners decided to sell their homes.  One rental ended because my long term boyfriend and I broke up and neither of us wanted to stay in the house.  Then the final house was my very favourite of them all, but I decided to move back to Canada, so I had to say goodbye to it.

 

Canada is a different story.  My sister and I moved back and rented this awesome heritage house and we got two roommates in with us.  It worked.  But then those two roommates moved out after a year and met their respective, now, spouses, and we got two new ones in.  One roommate was amazing.  Truly amazing.  But the other…she hid that she was actually batshit crazy until it was too late.  She eventually chased me and my sister out of the house with her craziness because it was easier to give up the house than kick her out.  We moved into a great little ground level apartment.  After a year there, the owners said they were moving into it, so we found a small, very small, basement suite to move to.  Shortly after that, I met Eddie and we moved in together after 6 months of dating.  This is when things started to go a little out of hand when it came to our homes.  We moved out of his basement suite and found a nice townhouse to rent in a new area.  Then we decided to move to half of house that had been turned into a duplex.  But we had an incident with a dog that we were fostering that really ruined the peaceful relationship that we had with the neighbours and cost us a lot of money, so instead of living in awkwardness, we decided to move again.  We moved into an apartment despite both of us not being overly eager on apartment living.  The apartment was great, but after a year of being there, I got pregnant and our financial situation improved and we could now afford to buy our own place.  Now we are up to home ownership.  We bought a townhouse in a small town near the city.  We knew it wasn’t a long term place as we wanted to be in an actual house.  We renovated it and after a year of being there found a house being built, that we could afford, and we put the townhouse on the market.  It didn’t sell due to the time of year (who buys a home at Christmas time?!) so we kept it as a rental and found a great tenant for it.  And that lands us in the house we are in now.  A house that we love…to an extent.  It has a lot of problems with it and we are fighting constantly with the developer of it to fix the problems.  It’s been a year and we are still waiting on things.  It’s been frustrating to say the least.

 

But one thing I have noticed is that I feel like I’m in no rush to really settle into the house.  I have two boxes of art work sitting in the closet that I would love to hang up….but part of me feels as though it’s only a short amount of time before my husband starts to make noise about moving again.  I’ve told him that I am open to moving…but I’m not lifting a single box.  We are hiring a moving company.  Part of the reason we have been able to jump from one home to another, since becoming home owners, is that the market value for our homes has jumped exponentially.  So we can capitalize on the increased value of our home and buy something valued at more than we would have been able to afford prior to buying the previous home.  There is no way we would have been able to afford a house if our townhouse hadn’t blown up in appreciation.  And now our house has jumped in value of almost $400,000 since buying it a year and a half ago.   But because of that, we are able to make our way closer and closer to our dream of one day building our perfect home.  My husband is a business man, and our moves are purely, basically, business deals for us.  The market in the area we live in is a tough one to get into, but once in, you can make many right decisions and over the years can end up where you want to be.  And right now, we are striking while the market iron is hot.  My husband is a smart man when it comes to this and I trust him 100% even though I know a lot of people are probably thinking “they are moving again??”  Without understanding the business end of what we are doing.  No…we aren’t moving right now.  We keep an eye on real estate listings but that’s about it.  If the perfect one comes along, then it will be considered.  Do I love all of the moving we have done?  Heck no.  In fact, our closet in our bedroom still has some boxes with stuff stacked in it.  Why settle in completely if I have a gut feeling that we aren’t there for long?  It’s started to become a habit of mine to not totally relax into a home until I know our game plan.  It drives my mom nuts!

 

I hope that within the next 5 years we can land ourselves in a house that will be one that Hunter will grow up in.  I don’t want him growing up remembering how often we moved and how we were always pulling him from one school to the next or from one group of friends to the next group.  I want him to feel his home life is a stable one without being uprooted constantly.  But I also want a space where we can all be comfortable and happy and there is space for him to grow.  Once we are in that perfect home, Eddie’s need to run our housing situation like it is a business deal will lessen and he will be happy to sit back and relax for many years to come.  He can then go back to his commitment issues with vehicles and let me finally nest in our home.  Because…don’t even get me started on how many different vehicles we have owned since I met him.

Desperately Seeking Toddler Fun!

I often find myself lamenting the fact that the town I live in does not have any options for entertainment for young kids on weekends.  The town clearly caters to people who either don’t work, work from home, have nannies or are on maternity leave.  Everything happens Monday to Friday at either 10:00 in the morning or 3:00 in the afternoon.  There are music classes for toddlers, sport groups, hiking groups, kid sessions at the library, even an open gym type of thing at our (very sad) rec centre.  And every single one of these classes is held during the day and come weekend it’s like a ghost town for toddler entertainment.  My only option is either the little bike park….assuming it’s not snowing or raining and my kid is actually interested in using his Strider bike, or taking him swimming at the pool near our house.  Right now he has zero interest in his strider bike, and he would get bulldozed by the bigger kids at the bike park.  And we go swimming often.  It’s getting old for me, but not for him.  So where are the other options?!  Why does everything shut down for the weekend??

Another mom in town and I started reaching out to a few of the people that hold classes during the week and asked why they don’t do weekend classes and if they would consider doing them.  The largest comment was that years ago they tried to hold Saturday classes, but come summer time, people just stopped coming because they preferred to be outside.  Because, let’s face it, our town is amazing for outdoor opportunities with all of the trails, rivers and explorative options.  I totally understood where they were coming from.  In the Fall I signed Hunter up for a dance class every Saturday morning at 9:00.  It was a 9 week session.  We went to only 2 classes.  Not because we couldn’t be bothered going, but because we were out of town, then my husband’s father passed away, and Hunter was sick….constantly.  So we just simply couldn’t make the class.  And more families are probably just like us.  But our town has grown exponentially in the last few years and more families of young children are flocking to town, and a large portion of those families have both parents working full time in the city.  Making weekday activities not feasible.  I pointed this out to the owner of the music class and she agreed with me and then said that if I can get 10 other families to commit to a Saturday morning, or late afternoon class, then she would put one on.  I worked my butt off to find 10 other families.  I found them and then excitedly went back to her with the news.  She didn’t respond to me.  I sent her another email.  No response.  I called and left a voicemail.  No response.  This was a clear sign that she wasn’t planning on following through with her offer, so I gave up.

The situation hasn’t changed, and as we are heading into Spring (hopefully), and likely within a few months, a toddler who will drop his nap, it means that there will be more time in the day to fill and I truly don’t know if I can go through another Spring/Summer/Fall following my son around as he explores the same places over and over again.  Or trying to convince him that hiking is fun and him loving it for 15 minutes then deciding he doesn’t want to hike anymore and insists on being carried the rest of the way.  I am dying for some other options that engage him in a different way and have him interacting with other local kids.  I hear about these amazing gyms with things for kids to climb on, hang off of, jump on, bounce, roll, run and I so wish we had that option in town.  The nearest option is a 45 minute drive away on a highway that is on the side of a mountain and I already drive every day of the week.  It also gets packed with tourists driving like snails (because of previously mentioned mountainside tight turns highway) every weekend and it could take two hours to get home instead of the usual 45 minutes.  It isn’t worth the drive.  I already feel anxious about what we will do once the rain and cold lifts and we have many days of entertainment needed ahead of us.

It’s now to the point where I actually planted a seed in my husband’s head about how, one day when the money is there, we should consider looking into the option of opening a play centre ourselves.  I have a vision in my mind of a nature themed, safe, open play area with all the things I listed above available for kids including things to build and create with.  It would be a parent supervised space, so cost of hiring staff would be low.  It would have an outside covered area with a playground of some sort and lots of spots for parents to sit.  I know that sometimes, after a long, hard week at work, getting 100% engaged and finding energy to entertain my child is hard and I just want to sit back and relax while he has a blast.  In an ideal world it would also have a coffee shop attached to it.  Even the possibility of themed rooms for families to host birthday parties in during the months where an outdoor party isn’t an option.  With more families moving into condos, they need space somewhere else to have their party.  And right now they have three options in town and one of them is just not good at all for a group of 8 or more.  Even having a space with a small movie screen to host movie afternoons for young kids would be amazing as we don’t have a movie theatre in town.

In my eyes…there is a need for this.  Maybe I’m completely out to lunch and the issue isn’t as big as I feel it is as most people are ok with having no activity options for their kids on the weekends.  Maybe it isn’t even a feasible business idea.  I know my husband would only open a business if it will make money.  I don’t see a play space being a big money maker.  The other challenge would be finding a building or piece of land where this could be built and then getting approval from our municipality to build something like this.  Or simply just finding the money to do it.  My husband has connections to many investors…but none of them would want to invest in a kid’s play centre.  So maybe this is a pipe dream idea that I have that will never be.  But it’s a fricking good one.  Maybe one day our little town will realize that it’s growing at warp speed and that there is a need for these things and someone else will do this for me.  But, right now, I would happily leave my job to open up something amazing like this and to keep families in our town busy.  A girl can dream.

Pura Vida Costa Rica

As we are approaching the end of January and sit drowning in the crazy amounts of rain we are getting here, I’m starting to keep a little mental countdown of our upcoming Costa Rica trip.  There are so many parts I’m excited about, but so many things I’m nervous about.  The last time we were in Costa Rica, four years ago, it was a very different trip as we were child-less and were able to go over there without anything planned ahead of time.  We literally got in our rental car and drove the country.  Each night we would stop and open up the laptop and select where we would go next, book where we would stay that night, and then the next morning wake up, shove our bags in the car and off we would go.  It was incredibly carefree and so easy.  The only tough part of the trip was when I got a migraine one day when we were out in the middle of nowhere on an ATV tour through the rainforest which left me holed up in the worst hotel room we chose, vomiting into a questionably clean toilet for hours and sobbing about how our trip was ruined.  While I was busy doing my migraine thing, Eddie grabbed his laptop and went to the little lounge area and had a couple drinks and planned the next steps of our trip, while occasionally checking in on me.  Thankfully his guilt of me being so sick made it so he did an amazing job planning our next steps and the rest of the trip went off without a hitch.  We fell immediately in love with the country, the culture and the people.  There was so much more we wish we could have done, but two weeks was not enough time.  We vowed we would go back before starting a family, but naturally, that didn’t happen.  Money wasn’t what it is now, back then.  So dropping money on flights and everything prior to getting pregnant wasn’t a possibility.  We sat on the beach watching the sunset one evening, drinking rum and pineapple juice, and we talked about how we would one day love to buy a vacation property there.  One that is big enough to accommodate having family or friends joining us every now and then.  That’s how much we love the country.

Costa Rica 1
Younger, newlyweds relaxed and happy watching the sun set.

And now we are finally going back!!!  But on a different, slightly better planned schedule.  But despite our planning, what am I nervous about?!

I might as well throw it into a list type of thing.  So here we go:

  • Even though Hunter has now been on four trips on planes, this one will be the longest one yet. It involves flying across Canada then having a short layover and getting onto another plane to go the rest of the way to Costa Rica.  We tried to pick the best flights that will have us traveling during the day, in an attempt to be able to fall into Costa Rican time when we land.  We land in the evening so the goal will be to get Hunter to bed at what will become his new normal time.  I know in every flight we have taken, Hunter has been a phenomenal flyer.  Ok…that’s not totally true.  Coming home from Hawaii last March was hell.  And he wasn’t even as bad as I thought he was at the time.  I was simply exhausted from the trip itself and him not sleeping on the red eye flight, and not wanting to sit in his seat, just left me stressed to the max.  You truly never know what kind of flight you are going to get with a toddler.  I’m going to be loading the ipad up with shows he loves, bringing all kinds of snacks and some surprise new toys.  But he may want to run wild on the plane by the time we get onto the second flight.  I’m really hoping the layover will be an opportunity for him to be a wild child at the airport and get some crazy beans out of his system before getting on the next one.  We booked our flights using the insane amount of visa points we have accrued over the years.  So we decided to splash out and use the points to upgrade our seats to business class.  The airline we are flying on isn’t fancy at all, so business class really only means slightly wider seat and a bit more leg room plus unlimited free alcohol…which I likely won’t drink.  We did early seat selection and made sure that Hunter and I got the very front row as it means even more leg room and floor space for him to sit and play, if he’s tired of sitting on the seat.  Eddie will be across the aisle from us and he will be able to help keep Hunter contained.  Although, knowing how past flights have been, he will likely pop his headphones on and be able to watch a movie while I deal with Hunter.  He will help out when asked, but there’s no way Hunter will agree to spend any time with him on the flight since he’s a mama’s boy and all.
  • Speaking of mama’s boy. That’s another thing I’m worried about.  Our Hawaii trip last March, as much as I loved it, there was a lot I loathed about it.  We were with my parents, siblings and their partners, and Hunter was the only child.  Hunter was fussy and clingy almost the entire time.  He legit screamed like Eddie was trying to murder him any time he came near him, which eliminated Eddie’s ability to help me with anything to do with Hunter.  Family were able to help out a little bit, but 90% of dealing with Hunter fell on my shoulders.  was.exhausted.  I started to resent everyone else while they lay on chairs by the pool and read their books in the sun.  Or when they could just get in their cars and go for a cruise because they simply felt like it.  No planning ahead required.  Hunter suddenly hated sand, and we had to start avoiding trips to the beach because he was so fucking miserable while there.  Eddie and I bickered…a lot while there.  And one night ended up in a nasty silent fight.  I say silent because family was around and we had to be pissed at each other without having an opportunity to talk it out like we would have in the privacy of our own home.  At one point, when we went outside to try to talk it out, my mom tried coming and butting her head into it.  We had big plans to all get dressed nicely and do a family photo on the beach.  We sourced a spot, Eddie and I left early so Hunter could sleep a bit on the drive.  But when we got there, Hunter was freaking.the.fuck.out.  He was beyond consoling.  He was hungry and he was tired and there was no getting him to stop screaming bloody murder.  I was snapping at everyone who was trying to help.  I was not myself at all.  It was not my proudest moment.  Eventually I stormed off back to the car and said they can do the photo without us.  The photoshoot was canceled and we all went back to our house while I had to awkwardly hang out with everyone who were unhappy with me and had absolutely no idea how overwhelmed and anxious I was feeling during the entire trip.  Eddie tried explaining it to them, but it fell on deaf ears.   At this point I was done with the trip.  I wanted to go home.  It wasn’t the vacation I had thought it would be.  I had visions of Hunter frolicking on the beach, finding shells and splashing in the water.  I had pictured in my head that I would get a little chance to actually relax because family would be all about hanging out with their grandson/nephew.  It wasn’t that at all.  And that’s what has me worried about this trip.  That I’ve again glamorized a vacation with Hunter and it will be absolutely awful.  And this time we are there for not just a week, but two weeks.  Except this time I’m going into it with a bit more understanding of how he is on beach holidays.  I’ve bought him water shoes because I’ve figured out that it’s the sand on his feet that he hates the feeling of.  I told Eddie we are staying places where there are flat water beaches.  No waves.  Because it’s the waves that freak him out immediately and that sets the beach opportunity of the trip off on the wrong foot right away.  I told Eddie that if we are renting houses while staying there, the house HAS to have a pool.  The pool was our only saving grace in Hawaii.  Hunter loved it and he killed hours in the water.  We are hauling along our own car seat since we haven’t had the best of luck with the ones that rental companies provide.  The houses we booked have two rooms, so he can be in his own space and we won’t have to sneak around at night for fear of waking him up.  But I think the one good thing about this trip is that we have only our own schedule to keep.  We won’t be with other child-less people who don’t understand how many steps it takes just to get out the door or working drive time to a new beach around a nap time.  There won’t be other people around that I can feel resent to as they live their carefree child-less days.  There will be no forced socialization because I’m not in a house with a bunch of other people.  If I want quiet time alone in the evening, I can have that.

But what about the things that will be awesome on the trip?  Oh there’s lots of those!

  • Friends of ours moved to Costa Rica over two years ago and we are going to get to see them and their beautiful baby daughter! We are spending a week near the town they live in and we are looking forward to them showing us around and just being there with other people who have a kid. Their daughter isn’t even crawling yet, so it’s a little different for them.  But they will understand and get what it’s like having a kid to work around.  We chose to rent our own place instead of staying in the resort that they live in, that way we can ensure we always have our own space to go to and won’t feel pressured to spend every waking moment with them.  As I’m sure they will appreciate that too.  They will be exhausted with a toddler racing around!
  • We have upped the quality of places we are staying at since the first time we went. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved (almost) all of the places we stayed.  From the little house on someone’s property way in the back of the rainforest, to the little apartment that had no windows and the entire front of it was open to the elements and we had to put a rock in front of the fridge so the monkeys wouldn’t come in and steal our food.  I loved it all.  This time, because of my stipulation that we need a pool, and that I don’t want to stay at resorts or hotels, we have found ourselves two nice houses that are probably a little fancier than we need, but will be nice to make ourselves at home in.  If mama is going to be exhausted from dealing with a toddler all day, she needs an oasis to relax in after the demon child has gone to bed.
  • Costa Rica 2
    The little apartment we rented our first time there and the one time Eddie did half an hour of work before calling it quits for the rest of the trip.
  • Costa Rica 6
    Our little apartment on the top floor of this house and the ATV that we rented and ripped around town on for four days.
  • While we love perusing Costa Rican grocery stores for fun little finds, it won’t be quite the same when perusing with a child in tow. So we have looked into grocery services for at least the first part of our trip.  We will give them our shopping list and they will ensure our food is in our fridge and cupboards upon our arrival.  This will make life a hell of a lot easier if we arrive late and don’t have anything in the morning to eat and have to search something out while hauling a potentially cranky toddler along.  We are going to get them to pick up the staple items for us like some fruit, veggies, meat and milk, then we will do our own shop to get the more unique things we may want for creating our meals.
  • This part is a bit hoity toity, but we have looked into having someone prepare 2 dinners for us while there so there will be a couple evenings where we don’t have to do the “what are we having for dinner?” thing. They even take care of the dishes.  So we can put Hunter to bed and then truly relax.  I thank the husband for coming up with this idea.
  • I’m not doing what I did for Hawaii and hauling along floatation devices and life jacket for Hunter. The floatation devices were a total waste of time as he didn’t want to sit in them.  He would rather fling himself off the edge of the pool into our arms.  The life jacket thing that I brought he refused to put on.  So I wasted valuable suitcase space for those things as well as money as we just ended up leaving them there for another kid to enjoy instead of hauling them back home.  I’m not doing it again.  That isn’t entirely true though.  I couldn’t help myself and I bought a pizza shaped blow up mattress.  For good reasons though!  I thought Hunter is more likely to want to jump all over a floating mat than he is sitting in a floaty thing that he can’t control.  And everything is better when it involves pizza!!!  It also folds up really small and will tuck into a corner of my bag.
  • The second part of our trip involves going back to one of the areas we loved the most. There is a fresh juice shack there that I will seriously cry if it is no longer open.  They made to die for tropical juices.
  • The sunsets. I seriously can’t wait to watch the Costa Rican sunsets again.  The sky is on fire for a matter of minutes as the sun speeds down.  They are the fastest sunsets I’ve ever seen, but the most phenomenal.
  • Costa Rica 5
    One of the many Mal Pais sunsets we got to enjoy
  • Costa Rican fruit! Hellooo papaya and mangoes in my breakfast!!
  • Costa Rica 4
    Ginormous fruit salads of tropical goodness…yes please!!!
  • I would say Costa Rican coffee, because it’s amazing, but with my insanely limited Spanish speaking and understanding, I don’t dare order it anymore as I can never confirm 100% that it’s decaf. Especially after last time there and we think my migraine was caused by being given a caffeinated drink when I asked for decaf.  Easiest to just avoid.
  • Getting the opportunity to spend time with my husband without all of the stresses of his work, my work, busy schedules, etc, etc, etc. I know he will have his phone with him on a roaming package as he kind of needs to, being the owner and sole employee of his company.  But I know he will do better at switching off like he did last time we were there.
  • Costa Rica 3
    This was the day Eddie finally announced that he (the person who never believed in taking vacations) understood why people actually use their vacation hours at work and go places to explore.
  • I’m remembering to bring a backpack. Seriously worst mistake of the last time we were in Costa Rica.  We did a lot of adventuring while there, and I had to rely on a crappy flimsy satchel bag I bought at a road side stand, because apparently it’s impossible to find backpacks in the smaller town locations we choose to go to.  So this time around, I’m bringing a backpack, a small collapsible soft cooler for beach trips, and a reusable grocery bag.  These three items will already make the trip a bajillion times easier!
  • And so much more.

I’m hoping that my fears for things to be not as I expect them to be, will not end up being that big.  And that anything that does happen can be overcome quickly and we can continue on enjoying our vacation instead of one thing snowballing into the next like Hawaii.  I’m trying not to let myself get too excited, because that can sometimes lead to disappointment.  But it’s a bit hard not to as we are slowly starting to discuss plans!

Bring on Costa Rica!!!!!!!!