Sunday, September 23, 2012


"The More I run the more I love my body. Not because it's perfect, far from it. But because with every mile it is proving to me that I am capable of more than I ever thought possible"

Just like Joyce Meyer once said. "Do it afraid"

I started running late spring... I had ran before but never really loved it and then I got pregnant with Jett and kind of quit... My sweet friend Tracey introduced me to Imagine. An organization that works to be a resource for those who are dealing with Mental Illness. There are a few people in my life that this affects including me. I struggled big time with postpartum depression after the twins were born.. for those of you who have been long time readers.. you remember. There is a stigma around mental illness, suicide, depression and imagine if we lived in a world where those who were struggling could feel comfortable to ask for help and not feel judged for it... Anyways when Tracey told me they were doing a run in September I thought it was the perfect goal.. do my very first official run.
Who is this girl? That crosses my mind a lot these days... making good choices, setting goals and conquering fears.

It felt good to run... I won't say I LOVE it or anything but there are times when I am running that I am just overcome with emotion... my body is fearfully and wonderfully made. I have used and abused this body in the past and with every step I gain strength. It's amazing and nothing short of a miracle.

I have been a jumble of nerves this past week... lots of excitement but also terrified of doing this with other people.. what if I was the last one?? what if I fall?? what if I just can't do it?? I was so thankful that the Stallion and my dear friend Jenelle would be there that morning. I even got Jenelle to sign up and run too. I picked the perfect playlist, packed my shoes, picked out an outfit and was determined... to at least show up.

So thankful for these two!


This was a pretty big deal... they put a lot of time of thoughtfulness into this race. They started the morning off with some people who shared their stories with mental illness.. sharing of loved ones lost to Suicide. Inspiration messages of hope and healing. Right before the starting bang these balloons were released.. it was beautiful. 
I stood in the pack of people and I had butterflies & goosebumps.. I don't know how many hundreds of people there were but it was alot.
The Stallion made it to one spot to watch us run by.. the route had random bands playing on corners.. it was so cool. Spectators cheering you on. This corner had a huge drum line up.. so fun!

I wanted to document what was going through my head and certain points of the race.. first of all I did NOT stop... not once. I was inspired by the people on the route, the strength my body felt and of course the music... Man at one point I wanted to stop and Christina came on with Fighter.. it was just perfect timing. :) When I rounded onto the main street knowing that I was close to the finish my emotions got the very best of me... there were no old tapes telling me I was garbage or not worth the feeling this was producing.. I thought things like I am really becoming the best me I can be. Each accomplishment comes with the decision to try. We gotta show up.
I was kind of glad I was wearing sunglasses cause I had a couple ugly cries... just really overcome. Then I passed a women in a wheelchair on the other side of the road... she was with the walkers... I remember her bib number. She rocked my world. She was smiling, she showed up.
David Crowder's song Shine came on right then... as I was minutes from the finish line...

Send me a sign
A hint, O whisper
Fill me with life
'Cause I am listening

Come break the quiet
Breathe your awakening
Bring me the light
'Cause I am fading

Surround me with the rush of angels' wings

Shine Your light so I can see You
Pull me up, I need to be near You
Hold me, I need to feel loved
Can You overcome this heart that's overcome?

You sent a sign
The hint, O whisper
Human, divine
Everyone is listening

Death laid low
Quiet in the night is stirring
All around the rush of angels

O the wonder of the greatest love has come

Shine Your light so all can see it
Lifted up, 'cause the whole world needs it
Love has come, what joy to hear it
He has overcome, He has overcome

I ran fast. I finished 8 minutes better than I have ever done before. I had a really good ugly cry when I passed the finish line. The lady at the end made me feel really special. 

 So thankful to have shared this with these two beauties. And thankful the Stallion was there to cheer me on, tell me I made him proud... and take pictures. 

 I am a runner. I am strong. Goal. Check.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

thursday ramblings

i am blessed. i mean i have always known that. but i have really been feeling it lately. but something i have come to realize is that it's a choice.. to feel it. i have been making a ton of good choices lately and although i am so tired... it's just way better to be happy!! my mind is working on overload lately.. so many little (and big things) going on.. here is a glimpse into my head.

- i love my job. my co-workers, the people. it's all good.
- bootcamp is in full swing.. we just finished our second week. these ladies are amazing!! they show up and work hard. it's not always easy but they do it! isn't that what it's about? showing up and getting it done! so proud of them.

-i am a blessed mama.. i mean look at these faces. family photos taken by the lovely lisa vandenberg of L Marie Photography. you should all book with her.. she's special.
- N & A are doing better in school.. it's not always there favourite thing but they love their friends, recess and gym. I see them changing and just generally they are so grown up to me.. sometimes I just stare at their perfect faces and wonder how we got here...
- i am planning a party. i love planning parties especially when they celebrate special people.
- i turn 33 next weekend... i love birthdays. i have gotten better and better every year. i gave myself an early birthday present.. i LOVE them. Worthy - because of the growing, learning, sacrificing and confidence this year has become to me. it's been painful but more than that it's been a treasure. i really like who i am becoming.

my flock of five. my perfect flock of five.

- i got an iphone. so fun.
- i run my first 5K on Saturday.. I'm nervous and excited... hoping it's not cold and windy. i am anticipating the exhilaration of completing it and conquering fear and accomplishing a goal.
- i have cut back on coffee.. usually having only one cup each morning... although i love a good skim milk americano misto or a coconut latte. i have been drinking tea in the afternoon.
-my afternoons.. they are quiet. i have success with a to do list and usually have some good down time in my quiet house.

i think i will leave you with that for now. i'll be back.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

lost summer treasures.

just didn't want to forget all the fun we had during summer 2012. it really was a good one. I enjoyed being with the boys more than ever. I felt relaxed and I feel we had the perfect mix of fun and relaxation. 

We got along for the most part....

The boys loved swimming lessons and we had awesome weather!!

and we passed!!!

we played outside ALOT

The boys went to camp! OVERNIGHT! they had an awesome time. 

I drank ALOT of tea. This is my new favorite. Thank you Ontario.

For the most part we played it safe.

Crafted on the deck.

We took in a few festivals. 

I picked up running. I run my first race the 22nd.... eeeks.

 I loved being with these guys. They really are so fun to be with. I am a blessed mama.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

goals for fall

So for me fall is a big deal. My life goes back into routine cause I go back to work. The summer is so unpredictable. I have found it overwhelming in the past to go back to the routine of fall but this year I think I got it! Staying organized and not stressed is the key. I wanted to share some of my tips with you!

-write it down. I sat down one afternoon and literally emptied my head of all my jumbled thoughts.. it was so random but it helped so much
-make goals. I have some pretty big goals for September. Helps me stay motivated.
-meal plan - this is huge for me. For the first time I am monthly meal planning. I feel such relief. I choose healthy balanced meals for my family and feel so much better just looking at each week when I need to grocery shop and it's all done for me!
-this will be my first year making lunches (my two oldest are in grade 1) I made up a simalur monthly calender to my meal plan one and choose about 5 lunches and stuck them in spots so that each week I can see what I need. I plan to give them as little processed food as possible.. so I have been coming up with healthy snacks to fill the freezer. I plan to spend one day next weekend baking and freezing ALOT of things.
-I also planned out my excercise for the month. I try to work out 5 times per week but need to be intentional. So aside from bootcamp I have some slots for running and doing 20 minute workouts.
-I am up EARLY. I get up over an hour before my kids do so I can spend time wtih God and then add in excercise on non bootcamp days. I still have time to shower before I need to get everyone breakfast and get out the door. This time is so precious to me.

These are some of my tips on living a healthy balanced lifestyle. I'd love to hear some of yours!! 

Thursday, September 06, 2012

grade one.

thankful that my small Stallions are: brave, strong, compassionate, full of life & energy, thoughtful, considerate, fun and loveable. I am such a proud mama and can't wait to hear the stories that this next year will bring. I was lonely this afternoon but loved walking with them from the bus stop hearing their excitement about all the great things that made up their first day of grade one.

Crazy what a year does!!

I love these guys. Blessed.

the day before

I was completely surprised and overwhelmed by my roller coaster of emotions as I prepared to send the small Stallions to Grade 1. I never thought it would hit me like it did. I never thought I was that mom. I mean I work outside the home and have for the last 4.5 years.... But I've always had afternoons. They were always ours.

For the last 5 years it's been us.

It's not always been easy but it's been ours.

Yesterday was a horrible afternoon. I don't know how it happened or why it happened but it was a fail. I had high expectations that was probably my first fault. It didn't start well and snowballed from there. I was just a basket case. Turns out so were they. After N and I finished a cry together he told me he was scared to go to school and do something different. I hugged him and told him I was scared too.

Today I send my two small ones to school ALL day. When I come home after work and put Jett for his nap the house will be quiet. Not only that but the ache in my heart is for them to be loved and to be known as they enter those big doors. It's a huge thing.

I found this letter on one of my go to blogs and decided to take from it and write my boys a letter. It is exactly what I want for them. This is part of it.. my hope for them. Their destiny.

 – We do not care if you are the smartest or fastest or coolest or funniest. It doesn't matter if your marks are perfect. We don’t care if you are your teacher’s favorite or not. We don’t send you to school to become the best at anything at all. We already love you as much as we possibly could. You do not have to earn our love or pride and you can’t lose it. That’s done.
We send you to school to practice being brave and kind.
Kind people are brave people. Brave is not a feeling that you should wait for. It is a decision. It is a decision that compassion is more important than being scared, than fitting in, than following everyone else.
Trust me.  It is more important.
Don’t try to be the best this year, honey.
Just be thankful and kind and brave. That’s all you ever need to be.
Take care of your friends and your teacher. You are one lucky boy . . . with all of these new gifts to unwrap this year.
I love you so much that my heart might explode.
Enjoy and cherish your new gifts this year. I am so proud of you.
And thank you for being my favorite gift of all time.

So their bags are packed. Lunches are made (the Stallion thinks they will get made fun of for the heart note) but I don't really care... 

I think they will love it... 

Happy first day of Grade 1 to my buddies. I am already so proud and love you to the moon and back.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

your life. your style.

Something unreal happened to me this summer. I actually still have a hard time believing it. A friend told me I should enter a contest that St. Vital Mall was doing for their fall marketing. It was easy. I answered a few questions on their site and submitted a picture. The idea behind the campaign was What's Your Style.. so the questions were mainly about your style and how it fits in with your lifestyle. A few days later I received a phone call that I was one of the FINALISTS!!! What??? I was asked to come in for an interview the next day!

I was so nervous.. it was funny. I wanted to just be me cause that's what they wanted .. but yet there was this pressure. I felt awesome going in and the panel of judges were SO nice and welcoming. I was just me and answered their questions. It was SO fun! After meeting with the judges I met with the Stylist and a couple other people where I was asked some more practical questions about my style.
It was quick and after I left I was just beaming. It was seriously just so much fun!!
I was super nervous the next day and at lunch when the Stallion got home I said I was sure they would have called by then and I guess I didn't get it... Literally after the words were out of my mouth the phone rang... Sweet Melissa told me I was chosen!!!! They would love for me to be one of the faces of their style campaign!! We talked a few details and I would be heading over there that Sunday for the photo shoot.

Sunday I headed to the city bright and early. My call time was 9:30AM. It was so surreal. I was let in to the mall and headed to the space where the photo shoot would take place. Everyone was SO nice.. The sweetest girl from Sephora did my make up. I literally felt like I was in a dream. I was on cloud 9. After make up I had my hair done. I admit I was a bit bummed when they decided to straiten it.. it just didn't feel like me. Everyone gushed about how amazing it looked but I admit it took me a long time to get over that... just not something I ever do. Alana the stylist had chosen clothes for me to wear and I got ready for my first shot. This was something I have NEVER done... thankfully they had people who were there directing where my feet, hands, head, neck, nose, chest, arms should go.. try this. try that. It was FUN (and a bit daunting.. just felt a bit out of my element) the shot they chose cracks me up because I was actually not even modelling at that point.. I had put up my arms and said " I have no idea what to do anymore" and we all bust out laughing.. that was the shot.

When I look at it I feel like me.. (other than the hair).. it's really how I felt at that moment. I heard through someone else that some people were laughing that they had chosen me and had muttered that I must have some kind of horse shoe up my ... this one hurt. Over the last half year my choice to be as vulnerable and authentic have been the most painful... I have lost friends who I thought cared about me and have felt poked and prodded and just wrung out... and yet the last year is laced with just AMAZING changes in me.. I have really become who I am meant to me.. I have worked HARD and have seen not only my body change but my heart has become full and life is just full. So for me this was SO much more than what it may have looked like. Over the last couple months I have finally begun to heal from the painful loss of some relationships and really begun to shine again. To feel good about myself and realize I am enough. I love how the ad is styled.. the weights, coffee and running shoes. So perfect. Love being a Casual Cutie!

So my ad is now in St. Vital mall...

You can also find me on on the website where you can go and take a What's Your style quiz and be entered to win a shopping spree!!! 
Check out this article!!
And of course you can follow Casual Cutie's Board on Pinterest!