Wednesday, December 31, 2014


It is almost the new year!  I love this moment.  The start of the new year for me is filled with a million plans.  Excitement for the 52 Mondays ahead of me!

And I am such a goal setter.  Give me a to-do list and I am one happy camper.  I need to have goals written out to work towards.  That type of organization in my life gives me focus, energy, and I feel calmer with them in place.  I always have my list of big overall goals for the new year.  But then I usually have small lists for each month and week as to what I want to accomplish.  Yep, bit of a nerd with my lists (must be in black pen, in a coiled book) but I am one with that.

So how did I do with last years goals?
  • get my fitness level back up.  Well, still not there.  The recovery after my reconstructive skin surgery took a hell of a lot longer than I thought it would.  And the mental part of the recovery has been rather hellish for the last 4 or 5 months.  But my body has healed, so that is a big positive.
  • more math and science with the boys.  Check.  Done and done.  There was an awful lot of fun learning going on in our house over the last year.
  • hiking training.  Well I did a lot of walking.  Even ran a 5k.  But there were no big hikes for me last year.  Sad face.  
  • grow more food.  Wooot!  Huge success there.  We are still eating my garden potatoes and food that I canned.  The greenhouse my husband built was so much fun.  I still have a lot of learning, but it is fun learning.  
  • spend more time camping.  Yep.  We spent well over 40 nights in the camper all around the territory.  Even a quadding camping trip with the boys.  With the boys just that bit older, I was able to go camping with them even if Matt wasn't able to come with us.  It was one of the best summers camping I have ever had.
  • sew new things.  Well the sewing hobby is done.  With my time devoted to my family, being active, my school work, and volunteer commitments, I decided to give that hobby up.  I thought I would feel sad about it, but I feel relieved!  Now I am not stressed to get custom orders done or trying to always have the right supplies on hand.  And I don't feel like I am missing out on anything by giving it up.  Good decision.
  • deal with that rubbermaid of photos.  um yeah.  So you know how something gets put on that goal list year after year?  I think this is about year 8 of this goal.  Why break with tradition?
  • get a kayak and learn to use it.  BEST GOAL EVER!  My parents gifted me a kayak and the boys each got a little one as well.  Some of my favorite moments camping this year were from us paddling around the edges of lakes exploring.  I haven't gotten lessons yet, but I felt comfortable enough to explore.
So what is on the list for this year?

1.  More self care.  I have learned an awful lot about myself in the last year: how I deal with stress, how I feel guilty not helping everyone all the time, how I need to take time to re-charge myself, how this isn't my fault it is just my personality type.  This year I am going to put more time into helping myself.  I have a list of books to read this year that are about identity after weight-loss and eating disorders.  The more I learn about myself the more I will be able to create positive change in my life.  I think I will be blogging more about what I learn too.

2.  FIT!  My body has healed and exercise definitely can help the mind heal as well.  I want my fitness to include more activities that I enjoy like snowshoeing and kayaking.  I am going try and gear my gym workouts to helping me perform better at the activities that I truly enjoy.  I am also going to work on doing more activities together as a family- maybe convince my husband to take up squash with me!  My goal of weighing 160lbs is still there.  I know, having a number shouldn't be important, but I just want to say that I am half my size.  I really want that.  Again, I think I will be blogging more about what I am doing to increase my fitness.  Sharing helps me feel accountable and maybe it will help inspire others.

3.  Find more ways to encourage active learning with the boys.  My boys definitely inherited my curious-mother-fracker gene.  They want to know about everything.  I want this to be another fun year of learning. 

4.  Veggies and eggs.  This is going to be the year I get chickens!  Well, I hope so anyways.  Fingers crossed I learn how to take care of them and eggs are the delicious result.  I have a few plans to expand my growing space with help from Matt.  I already have my seed catalogues in hand and lots of ideas about what I am going to grow this year!

5.  Just say no.  I need to work on saying no so that I don't stretch myself too thin.  My family needs my time and energy first.  I also have a lot of school work that I have to finish this year.  I am going to work hard at not feeling guilty to saying no to people and not volunteering myself for everything. I need to learn to not worry myself sick that people will think negatively of me for doing so.  Easy to write down.  Hard as hell to follow through with.  I feel guilt so badly over saying no to things that I get physically sick.  Bring on the self-help books for this one!

6. Learn to be content where I am.  We have a bunch of really great friends moving away this year and others that left last year.  When that happens it is easy to think that maybe we aren't happy or that we would like some place better.  But we know we are happy here and I have to always come back to what is best for my family.  Right now, right here is best for us and I have to be confident in that.

7.  Finish my school work!  I am working hard at completing what I need to do to become a personal trainer and nutrition coach.  I am lacking a lot of confidence in myself that I will be good at doing this when the time comes.  Mostly I think it is just nerves about doing something new and fear that I will be shitty at it!

8.  And back on the list for year 9 or so.... deal with that damn rubbermaid of pictures.  Uh huh.  Going to do it.  Yep, totally going to do it this year.

2015 is going to be another fantastic year.  My family is happy, healthy, and just as odd as ever.  I have a lot to be thankful for and a lot to look forward to.  All the best to you and your family in 2015!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Why 2014 was an incredible year

2014 was an incredible year because of this:

Family time.  And even better, family time outside.

Here's to even more of this in 2015.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Goodness

The holidays were perfect.

We did a lot of acts of kindness around our community.

We are having lots of family time.

We are having lots of friend time.

We are having a lot of laughs.

I love this life we are leading.

Dressed up for the school concert.

Skating with Santa!

Family sledding time!

Snowshoeing/beating each other with sticks.

Sparklers with friends to call in Santa!

Excited little boys!

Note reads:  Dear Santa, Take brother to bunk.  Leave presents.  Travel safe.  Love Hunter

Holiday traditions.

Such a hard life.

The rarely seen affectionate Went Brother moment.

More outside fun on Christmas Day.

Turkey in a brine to feed lots of friends!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

How do you develop passion?

I spent 32 years of my life avoiding exercise.  Well, maybe those first few years I was a force to be reckoned with, but my earliest childhood memories are of me avoiding exercise.  I was the fat kid.  The kid who always came in last.  The kid who really had zero physical talents, although I had a pretty impressive tumbling roll that showed up whenever I tried to run.

I pursued my other gifts, talents and passions.  Education.  Helping others.  Kindness.  And I did well at them.  But my life was missing something.

I would see friends going on adventures.  Hikes!  Kayaking!

Friends were participating in organized sports.

And I avoided it all.  And I honestly felt sad.  But embarrassed at the same time.  There was no way at 320lbs I could hike.  Heck, I could barely climb a set of stairs without being winded.  Kayak?  Um no.  I was over the weight limit by a hundred pounds.  Organized sports?  I was way too embarrassed to even think about signing up for anything.

But now, at 35 years old, I am trying to fill that void in my life.  That part of myself that wants to make up for lost time.  I want to be physically fit.  I want to be strong.  I want to find something active that I am passionate about.

I read a blog post by the highly insightful Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson last week.  Here is the one part has really had me thinking:

"If you want true fitness you need to find a sport you love and develop a fitness program around getting better at it. Suddenly your efforts will have real purpose. It does not matter what the sport is so long as it puts a smile on your face."

So what do I want to do?  What will give my efforts purpose?

Over the last three years I have been trying out a lot of new activities.

I now snowshoe.  Enjoy it and I love being outside in winter!
I skate.  Meh, it is okay and I will keep doing it because my boys like to skate.  
I play squash!  I think I love this above and beyond anything else I do for exercise.
I ran.  Yep.  I did a 5k this summer.  Hated almost every minute of it.
I paddle.  Got a kayak this summer and loved it.
I do cardio and weights in the gym.  I want to enjoy this more because of my desire to be strong.

But how do I become deeply passionate about these?  I just don't know.  Maybe the passion will just start to grow?  I want my day to day exercising to have more meaning.  I want my time at the gym to be more focused into pursing my unknown passion.

And maybe I just need to combine passions.  I am still working on my personal trainer and nutrition coach certifications and should be done by next fall.  Helping people is something I am really good at.  Maybe my time at the gym working on myself can help me become more passionate about helping others when the time comes.

I am also overcoming 35 years of avoiding exercise.  Is it just bad habits and that dark side of my brain telling me I don't want to do it/can't do it?  Do I actually love running but am just telling myself I hate it?  Wait.  No.  I really do hate it.   How do I break out of my embarrassment at being horrible at sports?  How do I overcome not being a natural athlete?  How does I not become discouraged at coming in last?

So what am I going to do?  I guess just keep on doing what I am doing and hope that one of these activities really starts to become a part of my life that I cannot live out.  A part of my life that inspires me to live healthier and gives my efforts purpose.  And I don't want to go back to being 320lbs.  I need this active part of my life now. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

24 Days of Kind Acts

This is our third year using our advent train as a way to perform acts of kindness over the holidays.  I bought the train out of a Regal catalogue and the boys have really embraced our family tradition.

Every day they take turns opening the door and reading what the note asks them to do.  It is always some sort of kind act that they need to perform.  Some are simple like being extra kind to a friend that day (and they need to report back to us at supper time with specific examples) or delivering soup to their teachers.  Others require a bit more work like shoveling out neighbours driveways after it snows or delivering homemade cookies they have made to neighbours. 

Today their act of kindness was to prepare 10 jars of dry soup mix into quart jars.  Closer to Christmas they will have to deliver these around town.  It was a fun and messy task that even incorporated math!  I always love a task that includes math.

We hope you find time this holiday season to perform acts of kindness in your own community!

The advent train!
Preparing to make a mess!

The end result!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Bring on Christmas!

This is the weekend that really sets off the Christmas holidays for our family.  Our bible chapel hosts a community potluck supper at the recreation centre on Friday evening and about a third of the community was there this year!  The very next day, the rec centre played host to Santa at a big luncheon and games afternoon.

Both events are so well done every single year.  The volunteers and town staff put in a lot of hours to get everything looking festive and their efforts really show.  Watching the boys' eyes light up when  see the stage where Santa is going to sit is so special.  Santa calls each child up to the stage to receive a gift.  When Santa calls out a name, all the kids start to chant that name over and over and cheer for the kid whose name was just called.  I love the kids in this town!

We went out for a drive and walk in the woods and found our traditional Went Family Fugly Christmas Tree.  They always look better in the bush.  I got a bit out of control with the branch trimming in the house.  Now it looks like our tree is in its stand upside down.  So awesome.  The cats have already taken about half a dozen ornaments off the tree this evening. 

We are all decorated and ready for the festive season!  Bring on the chaos!

Ready to eat!

I asked them to put on nice clothes to go and see Santa.  This is what they chose.

Sometimes they are pretty darn cute.

Cavan taking down the tree with his hatchet. 

Tree looks pretty good in the bush!

Cavan hauling home his own trees.

Hunter cut down a couple to take home too.

The Went Family Fugly Tree in all its fugly glory.