Posts in Category: Relationships
The 1st year we lived in this sweet town close to the water, I had a newborn and a toddler with a husband who toured a lot as a musician, 6 weeks of which were spent in Norway during the dead of said winter. THAT was fun. I thought to myself many a time as I bulldozed my way through the drifts, no way, never again. The next year we hooked up snow removal and the winter was light. So we said to each other, not next year!
But….isn’t it romantic? Isn’t it lovely? All of this snow? Had you pronounced such open-ended questions a year ago, I would have given you the side eye. Living in the north is not for the faint of heart during the winter. With snow that accumulates hip deep you best invest in a snowblower, snow removal service or reaaaalllly enjoy shovelling snow. Or, have teenagers. Or amazing neighbours. People who you let in and share your story with, the good and the bad.
The beginning of winter last year met us with sickness and injury. I had fallen and cracked a couple of my ribs, seriously messing up my arm and hip. My husband had just been diagnosed with chronic gout, was on a cane and had to keep his foot elevated a majority of the time. And because we are neighbourly, and because I share in our stories, our neighbours knew what we were going through. Time and time again, our driveway would be ploughed by the kind souls on our street. I can remember one early morning in particular, when I was aiming to get the kids to school on time and there was no backing out of our garage. Stupidly, I attempted it and got stuck. I began digging my way out …ribs throbbing, mind beginning to melt with frustration. Life just felt like a series of slams and I could not keep up.
I got out of that driveway and my husband and I focused on the hard work at hand. Complete health and wellness overhaul. Lots of relationship ho-downs and show-downs. In the end, our love prevailed and we met each seemingly insurmountable mountain and series of tasks, determined more than ever to get better, get fit and get ahead.
How are we today? Well, for starters, I’m romanticizing over the snow even though my hip is throbbing from falling on an ice chunk tobogganing with my kids (being clumsy, apparently, is something I can’t shake). My husband had his first gout flare-up in almost a year over the weekend, forcing us to completely cease-halt on a fitness program we had begun together. A year ago, something like that would have really gotten him down. It would have kept him from riding his bike to the train station, something he truly loves doing. We probably would have started fighting. There must be something to this personal development and self-care that we’ve been focusing on both individually and as a couple, because instead of going to separate rooms to binge out on Netflix, in attempts to blot out the dark, cold grip of winter, we lit some candles and did some PiYO instead. And we got a little sweat on, we laughed and we just ENJOYED ourselves.
I’m no spiritual guru, but I’m pretty sure we’re onto something. And we do it all for our kids just as much as we do it for ourselves.
It’s amazing how much can happen in a year. How thoughts and patterns and routines can change when an elevated level of self-care, self-love, momentum and drive takes front seat. How dreams can change. How people can change. This past weekend was a biggie. For my both my husband and I in little ways, but mostly for my husband in some big, defining, empowering ways. Trevor and I have spoken about me sharing some of his story with you all today as we’re both firm advocates in Mental Health and Wellness. This doesn’t just encompass nutrition, fitness and personal development. Or career goals. A large part of both our stories, both past present and in what lies ahead in our future, has and always will include a strong focus on mental health. I’ve always been more vocal (publicly) about the mental health part, concerning myself.
Many of you know pieces and layers of my story, and if you don’t, if you’re new (welcome), you can click the link embedded here. We’re here to focus more on Trevor, my husband today. Because he said I could. Not only that, he felt good about it, in letting me share about his long-term battle with clinical depression. He hasn’t always been so open about this part of his life. This year has been a turning point for him, his confidence and in how he excels in the day-to-day, in so many incredible ways. And in following with the generous, thoughtful, surprising way his colleagues and employer recognized him at his holiday work party this weekend, I too, shall follow suit.
We entered into the weekend feeling rather frisky. Perhaps overscheduled with events and parties, we’re also blessed with great friends who kept our kids overnight so that we might partake in the hotel room that was included with Trev’s company party soiree. For those of you who don’t know, Trev has been a long-time web developer. He’s the senior dude at the firm he works for and when I say we were feeling frisky, it began with aspects a little more shallow than what they evolved into over the course of the night. We felt damn good dressed in our sexiest and finest. Deservedly so. We’ve worked hard in shedding some pounds together. Usually, I would have a lot of anxiety leading up to such an event and agonized over what to wear. Silly to some, perhaps – but it’s the truth. I wasn’t comfortable in my body and I felt like crap. My panic attacks in social settings were debilitating and painful. I never knew when one was going to happen. This past weekend was the first time (in a very long time), where none of that happened. Does it all revolve around my weight-loss? Nope. But it sure hasn’t contributed to me feeling MORE crappy.
You see, we’ve BOTH been working hard on our nutrition and fitness over this past year, not just me. But I’m the coach, so I share in my journey. I don’t talk about Trev’s much. But the man deserves some kudos! He’s lost over 40 pounds and the REAL cause for celebration is that he’s been off of his meds for going on a year and a half now. The major contributing factors to this combined transformation has been the tone that I’ve set in what we eat at home sure, but the brunt of the work has been all him. He wakes every day before dawn rises, blends his vegan chocolate shakeology, and hops on his bike to the train station. Every dang day, he rides to and from that station. Every dang day he blends up his superfoods. Not only that, he’s really cut down on his meat intake with the diagnoses of gout that he received last December. And beer … as opposed the nightly event that it was, it is now something he only treats himself to a couple times a month. (Beer – alcohol in general – and meat are the biggest triggers to a painful gout attack.)
He is far from strict with his diet. He likes his snack foods at work, (which became glaringly apparent as he was presented with a ‘quilt’ made out of the snyder snack things he crushes while coding. Yea, his colleagues collected them in secret). When I first became a Beachbody coach he was skeptical. About all of it. About it being an MLM company, the cost of shakeology (he used to be a meat and potatoes dude who would scoff at the word ‘superfood’ or ‘supplement’.) As a few months passed and he watched how I was transforming in all of these intricate ways, (weight-loss, increased confidence, rocking time management, diving into personal development, building community and helping others, building income and mentoring other women), his interest became more than piqued. He, like no other – knew how I struggled. He knew that what was happening for me was LEGIT. Soon enough, he was crushing his own daily shake upon the approval of our Naturopath who had prescribed him to a generic protein powder shake anyways when he had to go completely vegetarian, (back in the beginning of 2015 for a few months).
***AGAIN: I do not tout that shakeology is a meal-replacement or a miracle product. It’s simply a quick way to get dense hit of nutrition for those we see and reap the benefits of having as such in their lives. Increased energy, more time to think about food and snacks (TRUTH), hauling one’s ass out of bed, etc. Trevor is a prime example. Much like me, the man loves his food. But what’s changed for us in the past year is that we are eating much more regularly and healthfully. As in 6-7 times a day. So no, we aren’t only eating 3 big meals a day and replacing one of those with shakeology. He’s not big in the kitchen as I am, and mornings are rushed. His morning shake gives him the natural boost of energy and nourishment his body needs to get out the door. Whole foods are embraced and consumed but a mere couple of hours later.
You guys, in all of the (many) years that Trev and I have been together, never have I seen him with such drive and determination. Not just in how he manages his career, but in his own health. The common thread that ties all of this together is that which we’ve weaved in partnership. US. We’re doing it, we’re making these changes, we’re creating new habits and routines TOGETHER. We lift up and support one another and even I myself am surprised with where these changes have been taking us. Our relationship is stronger, of course. This is just a natural side-effect, yet perhaps the most important one.
Listen, we’re far from perfect, we still have our struggles. Depression still rears its ugly head for Trevor now and then, but nothing like it used to. We firmly believe that it’a combination of all of the changes and attention to personal self-care he/we have implemented into our lives that contribute to more joy trickling into our lives on the regular; rather than struggle, stress, and strife. I don’t have to go into great detail explaining that exercise is commonly used to combat depression, as are natural supplements, attention to nutrition and eating specific combinations of food to keep serotonin levels in check.
Oh, and not to make it a side-note or anything, but Trev received more than a ‘Snyder-Snack-Quilt’ on Saturday. He was presented with a generous bonus to compliment being chosen as, ‘Rockstar Employee of the Year.’ A first for the company, something inspired right from the very depth of creativity and unique badassery that is Trevor. Once upon a time ago, he was musician who toured extensively as the bassist for an amazing band, and held down his own web development business. A couple of years ago he decided to take the great offer he received from ITS Dispatch, (the company he currently works for), for financial reasons and because it was just too much juggling. And he missed his family. He was away a lot. Anyways, the company knew this, and thus, the ‘rockstar’ addition to the company’s employee of the year award. This is SUCH a huge change. When he was touring, he did contract work for a company that constantly devalued the importance of family and pushed him way too far over holidays, and had the nerve to consistently drop subtle (and not so), subtle hints about him cutting his hair and shaving his beard, such things that they considered ‘unprofessional looking.’ Uhm, he worked FROM HOME then. I digress. But I just thought it was important to put that out there, because yet again, there goes Mister Trevor Mills, squashing stereotypes about what a person with clinical depression can and can’t be successful at, and how a man should look in order to be considered professional and successful. BOOYAKA.
My whole point with that little tangent is that this company is so damn cool for recognizing Trev’s unique way of functioning, that they granted him permission him to bring in his bass to jam out on when wading through difficult code, and a PIANO to tinker on as well. I mean, C’MON. Something tells me I’m not the only one who thinks he’s incredibly inspiring. I thought you all might too.
What’s on the horizon for this crazy couple come 2016? We’re going to begin doing Beachbody’s newest program together, The Masters Hammer and Chisel (beginning in January!) to see how far we really can take this whole bonding through elevated self-care and personal development thang! You can totally join us if you want, but I can’t promise we’ll behave. (And if Hammer and Chisel isn’t quite your jam, I have a bunch of other workouts I can offer you or we can build you a custom hybrid schedule!) Click down there to get plugged in for January immediately, or email us: wellnesswarriorsteam@gmail
All photos courtesy Laura Rossi Photography!
Fifteen?! Yes FIFTEEN. So bookmark this or PINNIT or whatever. This is a damn good list. Pinky swears. And I scaled back for sequel, so. There could be more, but I didn’t want to be obnoxious about it. Ahem.
So ‘Personal Development.’ The big ‘ole PD. Ugh. Is that what you’re thinking? For the most part, I suppose you could say that’s what I think about that whole world of know-it-all gurus too. It’s a saturated market. But then, aren’t all industries with professionals and would-be professionals? Keep in mind – there are a lot of self-help and PD books out there that DO SUCK. These don’t. You can take it from a converted skeptic who opened up her heart and mind a long time ago, to break free from pain, debilitating self-doubt and self-medication to begin crawling out of a black hole. So many of these book choices may not shout PD, but they’ve impacted my life in REAL and TANGIBLE ways. I’ve savoured all of them, four of which are in my current roster in the midst of being digested.
Being the wifey of a folkie has its benefits. Immeasurable in their direct association to the unique wonder that is Trevor, himself. A complicated, kind, funny, dark, charismatic, charming and sensitive man … but I’m not here to talk about all of that. I’m referring to all of the extras that I’ve gotten to reap from his direct connection to music in Canada. Born into an illustrious Canadian folk family, he is the son of an accomplised musician, gold record producer and deeply respected advocate/patron of the roots/folk music scene in Canada. Trev followed in his dad’s footsteps and as a result, has met and made many a friendship with other musicians on the scene.
Then there was that time BC (before children), when he was the Artistic Director for the Eaglewood Folk Festival. This is where we first began to work together as creatives on a big project. I suppose you could say EFF had a significant influence on how our relationship developed in those first early years together. Working and living together is not for the weak! Why am I giving you all of the back-story? Well, I’ve gotten a few questions from readers about how I know about or discover the talent that I feature here as a part of our “Feature Friday” series.
Well, it is in part, thanks thanks to Trevor. I have made some amazing friendships through him, in particular with other strong, creative women. The ladies, well, they like Trevor. Not in the way you might think! Well, yes … back in the day that way too. He did his fair share of camp-fire courting! That is, after all, how he reigned me in.
Which brings me to the particularly gorgeous and unreserved talents of T. Nile. An acoustic and electronic goddess, T.Nile comes from a lineage of one-man-bands starting with Jesse Fuller (wrote San Francisco Bay Blues) followed by her father, Dan The One Man Band. I fell in love with her luminescent vocals year ago, and when she started to combine usual her guitair, banjo, harmonica, kazoo with foot percussion, synth and electronics … HOT DAMN! It was like nothing I’d ever really heard before and immediately wanted more of. She began touring with her dad at the wee age of six so one could say she definitely has the chops and the experience to permit for such ballsy experimentation. Being quoted by Sarah Bauer of Exclaim Music as a, “banjo-plucking love-child of Beck and Lana Del Rey” … I couldn’t agree more. Her voice is sultry and strong. He lyrics and prose deep, throughful and spread throughout your atmosphere like honey.
So, without firther ado – I bring to you the avante-garde, west-coast folk roots meets EDM sonic stylings of T.Nile!
I found this short post I wrote on January 1 2012 . Seems so long ago, so much has happened since then. Man, I was deep in the fog back then. Fun to read and see that the old saying is true. ‘When you’re going through hell…..keep going.’ I did, I am here and I am committed to loving ME more deeply every day. Happy Thursday everyone. Love Yourself.
What’s a wedding without a party? Who likes to party? The answers are, not much – and we do!
I’ve thought long and hard on how I might prose this (largely) pictorial style wrap to the sharing of our wedding photos. Why? (Another question, oh yes.) Well, largely in part because the location of our reception turned out to be rather unfortunate. Not in our enjoyment for the evening of (more or less), but most definitely in the after-math.
I won’t say another thing about it but to link to a review (and other reviews at the end of the fun) when I’m good and ready at the end of this post. (I’ll edit and link-up when that happens.) Because – well – this was our wedding. We don’t want to continue to mar the beauty of the day with any more negativity than that which has already been attempted. We, our guests – our family and friends; set a stellar space, the music flowed (as did a few other libations) and the glow of love and joy was huge. That’s it, that’s all this post should be about; yet on the good word of some colleagues and those who are in the know…it wouldn’t be right to promote said business in a shining light given our experiences.
So I hope you understand the vagueness (I’m sure some of you want the scoop, who doesn’t love a dirty scoop – especially when it comes to a small wedding, in a small town at a local business?) You’ll have to wait for those reviews my pretties and just enjoy the positive flow of these photos. There is a video yet to come and a couple of posts over on Babble where I’ll highlight the kids’ involvement in our wedding a bit more.
Help us lift the memory of our evening up in the light, grace, style and class that it deserves…and leave the rest in the past, my friends. (All amazing photography by Ratul Debnath of Image Pros Photography. You can see PART ONE, The Ceremony, by clicking here.)
There are many things that I could share about our wedding; from the love and support that came pouring in from all directions to help with every little detail and DIY project, (in advance and in the very hour before), our traditional Midewiwin ceremony on the shores of Kempenfelt Bay just down the street from our home and our (questionably – we’ll link to some service reviews down the road) fabulous reception.
It was a day – and night – that we’ll always remember as being remarkable in it’s wild journey, yet final serene moment – that brought is walking through the Eastern Door to honouring our central and third fire. To honour our love, our relationship, our children, our family and let go of any pain from the past.
It was in said wildness of the day that as each love-filled, hectic moment continued, that I tried to savour and ruminate in what I un-folding – but, truth be told – as most brides expereince supposes – my mind was racing and my hands were in a myriad of projects to be finished in time. I definitely wasn’t at the spa getting my make-up and hair done, sipping champagne. Which is fine. I wanted to do a (mostly) DIY wedding and that’s exactly what it was, with everyone we love and who loves us, helping (as if they had a choice!) along on our (my?) quest.
When I received our wedding pictures last night I took pleasure in re-visiting our day, which is the point really. Everyone loves wedding photos – they are a visual, time-less testament and I am deeply grateful to our dear friend Ratul Debnath of Image Pros Photography for lending us his expertise. He is a kind and generous soul that has a place at our dinner table, in our hearts and in our family forevermore. (Thanks dude, for being you.)
We have A LOT of pictures so I’ve decided to break things up into two parts, today’s pictorial is all about the ceremony, beginning with some behind-the-scenes action in our home.
It’s been a couple of weeks since we came home from Mexico. The whole reason for the trip being my soon-to-be sister-in-law’s wedding to a charming, top-notch fellow. I was the official (or unofficial? I’m far from a profesh.) photographer for the weeding, as well as the co-host of the reception with the mister.
Today I spent much of the day (and last night), finally wading through all of the photos I took. Editing and choosing, and grinning much of the time. Don’t even get me started. How much do I love photography? How many jobs do I already have? Oh boy. Don’t even think it, right?
Without going into too much detail, because in doing so I would be sharing stories that are not my own – I’m here to pronounce, with all the weight of my voice and belief in my soul, that blended families? They are so much more than the media gives them credit for. They are twice the love. They are twice the support. They are twice the unity. They are twice the work, sure; in many cases.
I am a firm believer that we are the masters of our own destiny and that while life is never perfect and it throws cataclysms our way that we can’t control, our reactions and how we deal are purely our own. Leading a life with integrity – holding your relationships up high; with respect and taking responsibility for ones own actions goes a long way. Which has everything to do with humanism and nothing to do with perfectionism.
This extended family that I have been blessed into, inspires me. It gives me hope and heals the jagged tears of my mind that once (partially) defined what family meant. Fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, brides and grooms…to my new(ish) family, to Sarah and Jon the honeymooners – we are all living the dream. Aren’t we?
Some photo’s from the wedding…
Too see the rest of the pics, head on over to my Flickr page!
A day of dread is now a day of celebration.
This, an open letter, for all that is wonderful in my small life and so very different from that of parts of my childhood. I used to think that patient, gentle, happy, good fathers were a rarity. Ones that are ever present, right down to dirty diaper changing and late night rocking? Unheard of.
Perhaps that’s the way it is in some other peoples worlds. More-so the dirty, sleepless duties parts.
Not mine. I’m a lucky gal all over the place.
It would seem that no matter how much I used to think I didn’t deserve much more in relationships than what I had been witness to during my childhood; weird, challenging and awesome love? It found me. I didn’t go on ardent search for it – but surely, I did a lot of work within myself before it happened. And I’m still not there. The work is constant, the road is weathered and blossoming and I find myself rolling off into ditch somewhere at times, but still.
When it all comes right down to it – within this great unknown, my own imagination could not have dreamt up a better father for my children. Or partner. For all of our struggles, there is a connection, an acceptance and a passion (however dormant it may lie at times in the wake of newborn after newborn); that makes us solid. Even when we quiver.
It is said that the baby and toddler years are incredibly hard on a relationship. Sure.
They are also part of the glue that keeps us all together. Not all of it – because that would be sad really. No one should ever work to be and stay in a relationship for the sole, ‘sake of the kids’. But the honey of a toddler’s mind and a baby’s adoration is a predominant part of our little hive, my friends. The rest is up to us, to ensure that our sacred commitment; of grandeur and love, never fizzles out. And if it does? To know there will always be embers glowing, just waiting for me/us to get a little dirty at striking them back up again.
Okay, so enough with the metaphors. What I really want to share on the internets, with Father’s Day coming up and all – is a pictorial list of 31 things I love about him, as a father.
For the mommas and the pappas.
Seems nearly impossible. We are too tired. We are too busy. We are constantly in the thick of it: work, house and home, babies, toddlers, chores, repeat. It’s endless. And wide open. I’ve been on a slow and steady remembrance of this everyday. To not get caught up in the stress of the endless, but rather live the dream of the wide open peace. Wild, crazy, young family, peace. Not all peace has to be tranquil and quiet. But, sometimes, it should be.
To create a home filled with joy. Where we create moments, hours and days that flow more than they crash. Some would say this should come naturally. And sometimes yes, it does. But also? It’s hard work people. Sugar-coat I won’t.