May 31, 2016

A Slice of Brie Book Club: June's Pick!

Hello Book Clubbers! It was another close call this month, but the winning book for June's pick is, The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan! I've actually had this book sitting on my bookshelf for months now, so I'm really looking forward to finally reading it. I've heard nothing but good things about it!

The Royal We - online book club via A Slice of Brie

The Royal We is loosely based on the love story of Prince William and Kate. Bex, an American attending Oxford University, falls for another student who just so happens to be Prince Nicolas. Before Bex knows it, she's immersed in all things ritzy and fancy, while also dealing with tabloids, ex-girlfriends, and the rising pressure of what life in the royal family is really like. On the eve of her wedding, Bex contemplates whether everything she has sacrificed for love and her relationship with Prince Nicolas is worth it.

If you're new to book club, then welcome! You can read more about book club in this post, but here's the gist of it:

  • Book Club for The Royal We will be on July 6. My post with review and thoughts, along with some discussion questions, will go live the morning of. I'm giving us all an extra week to read this book since it's a bit longer than our last few and I know people are busier this time of year.
  • Come visit the post, share your feelings and opinions on the book and participate in the discussion! (Of course, participation isn't mandatory - you're more than welcome to just read along quietly!)
  • There will be a link-up for bloggers who have written their own review post, or have reviewed the book in another post. You can use this graphic to link back, or grab my button from my side bar. Writing a post is totally optional and not mandatory.
The Royal We - online book club via A Slice of Brie
  • EVERYONE is welcome! You do not have to have a blog to participate. My blog is just the space where I host the book club, but I encourage everyone to join :)
  • On July 6, we will vote for August's book pick. If you have any books you'd like to suggest for voting on, please let me know and I will try to include them!
  • Most importantly, have fun! There's no pressure or obligation to "sign-up" or "RSVP". You can choose to read the book now, or closer to the date we meet to talk about it. It doesn't matter to me! 
  • For my local friends: there are 13 copies of the Royal We at the Calgary Library, but only about 3 copies available at this time, so get your holds in! There are copies of the e-book at the library, but the hold list is a bit longer. You can also order this book through Chapters (<---affiliate link) and it was just released in trade paperback (and apparently has a bonus chapter), or Amazon

I hope you'll be joining us this month! If you have any questions, please ask! Otherwise, happy reading and see you back here in 5 weeks to discuss The Royal We! 

May 30, 2016

Monday Musings

Hello there! Things have been a little quiet around here this past week, so I just wanted to pop in and catch you up on what's been going on over in my world. I can't believe June is just a day away, although I do feel like May was a really long month! Probably because a lot happened in May. I think last week, everything just kind of caught up to me and I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with blogging, reading blogs and just social media in general. When that happens, I just naturally disengage and I think a little break is always nice. We also had some really late nights last week, visitors from out of town, and lots of home projects we are trying to get somewhat accomplished before Jim's folks arrive later this week.

This past weekend, my dad and brother visited us for the day on Saturday and Sully was just delighted to have them here. He seriously adores my dad and it's the sweetest thing ever. I actually felt a bit teary when they left, especially since for about ten minutes after their departure, Sully just keep saying "Deda gone. Deda gone. Deda gone", with a look of absolute rejection on his little face.
Yesterday, Ange picked me up in the morning and we drove out to Canmore to run the Rocky Mountain Soap Factory 10K run. I haven't really been running much lately and I was definitely not looking forward to this race. I was prepared to walk most of it if need be even. Luckily, Ange has been running races for fun lately so she was more than happy to stick with me and we ran the whole thing together. I have to say, running with a friend, even on race day, is so much more pleasurable (for me) than running alone. I'll recap the race later, but we had such a blast yesterday. We mostly ran, walking up the huge hills, but we also stopped to take pictures and we talked almost the whole time.
When I got home yesterday, I was exhausted and my body hurt all over (hills are hard work!!). I also had some terrible chafing on my chest where the bottom strap of my sports bra rubbed. I just hung around home with my boys for the rest of the afternoon, then finished off the evening with yoga and a nice long bath. I'm not really a bath person, but I knew I needed one last night.

Overall though, May has been a really busy month. I've run three races, tried out Surf Set Fitness and I've been going strong with my workout streak. The past week and a bit, I've been pretty tired and so my workouts have mostly been yoga based, but even that is a huge improvement for me! I've always been one of those people who does yoga here and there, so the fact that I've been doing some type of it everyday is a big accomplishment.

I'm also trying to get in my beloved BodyPump at GoodLife Fitness whenever I can and I realized I really miss meeting up with some of the #BlogSquad for a class on Sunday's. That's the one downfall of warmer weather and summer months - we all get too busy to meet up more regularly. Let's change that, ok guys?! With the longer days, I'm also finding it hard to want to leave Jim and Sully at home while I go to the gym which means I think maybe I need to attempt Child Minding at the gym again. Our first attempt didn't go well, but now that Sully is older, maybe he will do better. I guess we can only try!

{throw back to a #BlogSquad BodyPump date!}

As I mentioned above, Jim's parents arrive on Thursday from Nova Scotia and will be in Alberta for an entire month! I'm actually really looking forward to their visit (which will be shared between us and Patty's sister in Red Deer) and I know Sully will be so excited to have them hear. He asks almost every day to call Nanny and Papa on Skype! I'm looking forward to having company during the day, and I'm also hoping that Jim and I will be able to get in a few date nights while they are here. We also have lots of things planned to do with them while they are here, including a little trip to Waterton next week! Ever since I went last fall, I've been waiting to go back, so I'm really excited to introduce Jim and his parents to it.

I have a feeling June might be a bit quiet over here since I always struggle to balance blogging with visitors, but I'll pop in when I can. And I'll definitely be here for book club which I will announce tomorrow! And for all my lovely blogging friends out there - I have been reading your posts, just not commenting as much!

Anyway! I hope everyone is having a lovely Monday!

How did you spend your last weekend of May?

*This post was written as part of the GoodLife Fitness Blogger Ambassador program, 
however all opinions expressed are my own.

May 25, 2016

A Slice of Brie Book Club: Remember Mia & Next Month's Book Pick

Hello Book Clubbers!
A Slice of Brie Book Club
For those of you new around these parts, today is book club day and we will be discussing this month's book, Remember Mia by Alexandra Burt. Spoilers will be part of the discussion since this is a book club after all, so consider yourself warned! As I did last month, I will have a few questions at the end of the post to encourage discussion on the book - feel free to answer them in the comments or not! And I also encourage people to comment on other people's comments to really get the discussion going. If you have a blog post in which you reviewed or talked about Remember Mia, I'd love for you to link up at the end of this post so that I can be sure to check out your post!

Also, there's a poll at the end of this post so make sure you vote for next month's book! If you're new to A Slice of Brie Book Club, in a nutshell, it's an online book club for fellow book lovers. A place to talk about a chosen book from the comfort of your own home/computer! Everyone is welcome, you definitely do not have to have a blog to participate! Every month, we vote on which book to read for the following month. The poll will stay open until Sunday night and I will announce the book next Tuesday. No commitment to join, but if you've ever wanted to join a book club, this is a great place to start!


OK! On to this month's book...Remember Mia by Alexandra Burt. As I usually do, I waited until the last minute to read this book. I like to have it fresh in my mind before talking about it. So basically, I read all but 30 pages yesterday (and then finished it off yesterday morning). I couldn't put it down!
Remember Mia a Book Club discussion
Quick summary: Remember Mia is the story of Estelle and the disappearance of her 7 month old baby girl, Mia. Estelle is clearly suffering from postpartum depression and has no support systems in place. One day, Estelle wakes up on the couch and all trace of Mia (her bottles, her diapers, all her clothes, everything, save for her crib), is missing. Estelle has no idea what has happened to her daughter, but instead of going directly to her husband (who is living in Chicago for work while Estelle and the baby are in NY), or the police, Estelle tries to make sense of what has happened on her own first. Then, 3 days later, Estelle wakes up in the hospital with no recollection of the past days events. Estelle was found in the ravine in her car, with a gun shot wound to her head. Unable to explain the disappearance of Mia or how she got in the accident, the doctors diagnosis Estelle with amnesia.

Estelle's actions and non actions, and lack of emotion over her missing daughter, make her a suspect in the authorities eyes. But instead of being charged, Estelle's husband forces her into voluntarily admitting herself into a psychiatric hospital for treatment. Here, Estelle will work with Dr Ari to uncover her memories leading up to the disappearance of Mia.

This book pulled me in from the get-go. Maybe because I'm a mom, I could easily relate and empathize with what Estelle was going through during those first months of motherhood. I didn't personally have to deal with postpartum depression, but I can definitely appreciate how hard motherhood can be. My heart broke for her - I wanted so desperately for someone, anyone!, to recognize that she was suffering and get her the treatment and support she so clearly needed. I was disappointed in her husband for not taking her situation more seriously. I was mad at the doctor she finally did see for just slapping down a prescription for an anti-depressant and dismissing her. And I felt sad for her that she didn't have any mom friends or a mother of her own to help her out.

I really enjoyed the relationship Estelle had with Dr Ari at the psychiatric facility though. Finally someone who recognized that Estelle had gone through postpartum depression and psychosis, and was determined to help her without judgement. I liked the therapy sessions, and how Dr Ari assisted Estelle in recovering her memory. But I also couldn't help but think about how much time was passing while she was in treatment - precious time that Mia continued to be missing.

I didn't feel like this was your typical thriller though. While some parts definitely had me on the edge of the seat, for the most part, what kept me wanting to turn the pages was the desperate need to find out exactly what had happened to Mia. I was pretty confident that Estelle hadn't harmed her own baby. I had some suspicions that her husband might have been involved, and at one point I wondered if Mia had died from SIDS and Estelle didn't know how else to cope with this reality than by blocking out the memory entirely. I also of course had my suspicions about the contractor, David, but I wasn't really sure why he would get involved.

The story of what actually happened to Mia was pretty crazy. Not unbelievable though, just unimaginable as a mother. What I wasn't prepared for though, was that even once we found out what happened to Mia, she wasn't actually returned to her parents. I was expecting a nice tidy ending once Estelle got her memory back. I was not expecting Mia to be missing for 4-5 years! My heart sunk when I saw that. I can't even begin to imagine that life. I honestly don't know that I could go on every single day. How do you not spend every waking moment obsessing over where your daughter is and looking for her?! I wasn't sure how the book would end (would Estelle or the police finally locate Mia, or would she be missing indefinitely), but I was glad with how it ended. I felt like it wasn't the typical ending one would expect - I thought the police would catch the "bad guys" and Mia would be returned to her parents and all would be well. I think given the incidents in the book, it was a good ending. The odds of a missing child being returned to their parents years later isn't common, but it isn't unheard of either.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I try not to have too many expectations for a thriller - I just want to be entertained and not be able to guess the ending right away, and I feel like Remember Mia met these requirements.

QUESTIONS FOR YOU!: (Feel free to discuss in the comments!)

1. Do you think Estelle's character would be harder to relate to if you weren't a mother? Moms and non-moms, thoughts? I think it can be hard to empathize with someone if you can't picture yourself in their shoes. Postpartum depression isn't something people talk enough about it my opinion, and I truly don't think you can appreciate how hard motherhood can be until you are one. 

2. Did you think Estelle was responsible for the disappearance of Mia? If not, who did you suspect was? At one point, I thought maybe Mia had died from SIDS and this was Estelle's way of coping, but I knew that couldn't be the ending of the book. I was frustrated at times that she didn't go straight to the police when Mia was first discovered missing, but given her mental state, I'm also not surprised she didn't act in a normal fashion. I had my suspicions about Lieberman but I wasn't sure why he would get involved. 

3. Did you see the twists coming? Did you find the book predictable or were you kept guessing? I honestly didn't. Even once I realized that Lieberman was responsible for Mia's disappearance, I did not see the events leading up to the ending coming. I couldn't figure out how the car crash and gun shot wound would come into play. 



Here are the choices for June's book club pick. I thought since we are getting into summer months, we should read something a little more fun and light-hearted. Feel free to vote even if you aren't sure you can participate. I'll announce the winner next Tuesday and you'll have a month to read the book!
A Slice of Brie Book Club - June vote
Links to check out these books on Goodreads: Happiness for Beginners, How to Fall in Love, and The Royal We
 **Local friends: All of 3 of these books are readily available at the library

And now to vote!

Happy voting! Don't forget to link up your posts so I can check them out! 

May 18, 2016

Surf Set Fitness: What to Expect

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to try out a private Surf Set class at Illume Hot Yoga here in Calgary. My friend, and fellow "Blog Squad" member, Alison, organized the class for ten of us. I remember seeing the episode about Surf Set on Shark Tank a few years ago and ever since then, I've always wanted to try it out! I've never surfed or done stand-up paddle boarding, but I'm always up for trying out new things.
Surf Set Fitness What to Expect
In case you aren't familiar with Surf Set, it was founded back in 2011 by professional hockey player, Mike Hartwick, after he spent his summers during off-season, surfing in California. He quickly realized that surfing resulted in his most toned and lean body ever, and he was unable to achieve these same results with any other type of workout. Hating to leave the ocean behind, he designed a way to mimic the workout he got while surfing. Surf Set Fitness was born.

Illume Hot Yoga where we took the class, offers Surf Set classes, as well as hot and warm yoga classes. The owner of the studio is Telara, and she also taught our class. We all arrived at the studio 15 minutes prior to our class to sign forms, give us a tour of the studio, and to go over the basics of our class.

The studio is stunning. The moment you walk in the door, you enter a peaceful oasis. There is a spot to take off your shoes, along with a little sitting area. Down the hall, you find two studios - one for Surf Set and one for Yoga. Further down, there is a change room. All of the wood used in the woodwork and decoration in the studio was commissioned from local artists utilizing reclaimed wood.
Surf Set Fitness A Review
The Surf Set class caps out at ten participants, and the boards are arranged in staggering order facing the front of the studio, and not in a circle like I envisioned! I was so nervous that we'd all be staring at each other for the whole class. There also weren't any mirrors which I really liked as it meant you could just focus on you and the board, nothing else. At the front of the room, a compilation of surf related videos was projected on the wall which I really enjoyed and just added to the overall ambiance of the experience. Telara taught on a board from the front corner of the room.
Surf Set Fitness What to Expect
Surf Set Fitness What to Expect
Surf Set Fitness What to Expect
I really wasn't sure what to expect from the class. Our class was a "blend" class, consisting of a warm-up, a lower-body strength set, cardio, an upper-body strength set, more cardio, core and balance work, and then a cool-down. We did exercises such as burpees (way more fun on a surf board, let me tell you!), planks, pushups, lunges, squats, tricep dips, downward dog, swimming & paddling, and balancing on one foot! My heart rate was up from the get-go and I was dripping sweat early on. It was hard, but not in an "in your face way". It was so different, and so fun, that you almost didn't notice you were working out.

The class is only 45 minutes long, and it's great to achieve such an efficient, total-body workout in less than an hour. We all agreed that class just flew by, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who wished it couldn't have gone on a bit longer. That's just how much fun we were having!
Surf Set Fitness What to Expect
Surf Set Fitness What to Expect
Surf Set Fitness What to Expect
The surf boards mimic the movement it would make in the water, and there are bungee cords that determine the level of difficulty your board is set at. All of our boards were set to "easy", but to increase the intensity of the board workout, you can release the bungee cords. Laughing is encouraged in class, which is good because there was a lot of that going on. You can't help but lose your balance at times or even fall off the board completely. It's tough, and even humbling at times, but honestly, it was the most fun I've ever had in a fitness class!

Surf Set Fitness YYC
{Thanks to Ange and Chase This Skirt for providing the Blog Squad with these awesome custom tanks! }

There are lots of fitness studios that offer this class now, which I think is great because everyone needs to try this at least once! Illume Hot Yoga even has a fantastic introductory rate to try out Surf Set for one month unlimited for just $40! Unfortunately, I live far, far south from the studio and wouldn't be able to make use of this offer, but I'm on the look out for a studio closer to me to get in a few more surf sessions!

Thanks again to Illume Hot Yoga for the private class and working our butts off!

Check out the links below to see what the other girls thought of the class!

Have you ever done a Surf Set class?

May 16, 2016

Weekending: Eat, Run, Surf

I was pretty sure I couldn't top last weekend's fun, but I was wrong! I was exhausted last night which means I chose my bed and my current read over blogging. Which are good priorities to have, don't get me wrong! But I do love having these recaps to look back on.

ANYWAY! Another jam-packed weekend in the books. I need a weekend to recover from my weekend!


To kick off the weekend, I met my Calgary Book Club at an Indian restaurant near-by, Moti Mahal, to discuss May's Book, The Hero's Walk by Anita Rau Badami. Since I was running a race the next morning, I decided to keep it safe with my food choice, and went with the butter chicken, naan bread and jasmine rice. It did not disappoint! I got to sample a few of the other ladies dishes and everything was delicious. I already can't wait to go back.
Butter Chicken with Naan and Rice @ Moti Mahal YYC


Ange picked me up bright and early and we headed over to Sicome Lake in Fish Creek Park for the first race of the 5 Peaks Trail Race Series. It was my first trail race ever and I loved it! I'll recap the race later this week.
5 Peaks Trail Race #1 (Sicome Lake)
After the race, Ange dropped me at home and I had just enough time to shower and snuggle with Sully before his nap, before heading downtown to meet up for lunch at Craft Beer Market with some friends. It was the last day for the Burger Fest and since none of us wanted to miss out, we all ended up ordering the competition burger: The Backyard Burger. This thing was insane! We all kind of sat there for a few seconds unsure of how to attack eating such a big burger! It was delicious though, and while I'm usually not a fan or messy foods or chips on my burger, Hickory Sticks takes the burger experience to the next level.

The Backyard Burger at Craft Beer Market YYC
{The Backyard Burger: Beef & Bacon Patty on a Velvet Fog Brioche bun, with Tomato and Chili Relish, Lettuce, Onion, Tomato, & Pickles, topped with an Apple-Dijon Aioli, Smoked Cheddar, & House Made Hickory Sticks}

After Craft, Becky and I headed back to my place where we just relaxed on the back deck with Jim and his friend. Eventually the boys got hungry so they ran out to the grocery store and came back with ingredients to make homemade burgers (more burgers!!). And after hearing us rave about our burgers, Jim also bought a bag of Hickory Sticks, haha.

We ended the evening playing a million rounds of my favourite game ever - Dutch Blitz.


Sully bless his little heart, slept in until 10:30! Everyone was up by that point, and Jim fixed us up breakfast before Becky and I hit the road to a private Surf Set class at Illume Hot Yoga with the Blog Squad. Surf Set was by far the most fun workout I have ever tried! I will have my full recap up tomorrow. After the class, some of us walked over to Pour Beer Market for appies and drinks.
Surf Set class at Illume Hot Yoga YYC
Once I was back home, I helped Jim finish installing the new ceiling fan in Sully's new bedroom, and then we took Sully out on his new bike. This was only his second time out and he's already Mister Independent. We don't dare offer to help him! He goes slow, but he's definitely got the hang of it already!
Strider Bike for Toddlers
We wrapped up the evening with a light dinner, a bath for Sully, and then I crawled into bed just after 9 where I read before passing out.

I love weekends like this - full of good food, good friends and fun activities!

How was your weekend? 

Have you ever had Hickory Sticks on a burger? You need to! 

*affiliate links have been used

May 13, 2016

Mother's Day Run 2016 5K Race Recap

Last weekend, my aunt had asked me to join her in running the Annual Sport Chek's Mother's Day Run. I figured running with my aunt (my mom's sister) was a great way to kick-off Mother's Day!  My aunt's husband's company was a big sponsor for the race, so I got to join their "team" for the run.
Annual Sport Chek Mother's Day Walk, Run, Ride Race Recap Calgary
This was the 39th year for this run! And it showed! I knew it would be a packed event, so I got up early, took the bus to the train station and then the train to Chinook Mall, where the race started and finished. It was a windy day and not as hot as the day before, and I was glad I wouldn't be running in the hot sun again.

When I arrived at the venue, I made my way over to the VIP tent where I enjoyed a nice hot cup of coffee. I took some before photos with my aunt Max, and her husband Barry (who was running the 10k), then made use of the porta potties. There was also the option of using the washrooms inside the mall, but that seemed like an unnecessary hike away.
Annual Sport Chek Mother's Day Walk, Run, Ride Race Recap Calgary
There was so much going on before the races even started: bouncy castles and craft tables for the kids, a pre-race warmup put on by GoodLife Fitness and even a Tim Horton's tent, plus tons of other sponsors. I felt kind of bad that I hadn't brought Jim and Sully even though they were fast asleep when I left the house. Next year, I'm making the whole family do this run! There are even a few different race distances for little kids.

We lined up for our 5k run just before 9a.m. It was so packed and seemed to take forever to finally cross over the start line, but eventually we did get moving. I didn't go into this race with a plan, I was just there to have fun, and even though my aunt kept telling me I could run ahead of her, I didn't, because she was the whole point of why I was there! My aunt used to run a lot, but do an injury, she hasn't been running like she used to, so I followed her lead. We did 10s and 1s the whole time.
Annual Sport Chek Mother's Day Walk, Run, Ride Race Recap Calgary
The first bit of the race has you work through the mall parking lot, and then you head into the residential streets before finishing the race along McLeod Trail. There were so many people running that the crowd never dispersed as much as I'm used to at other races, but the energy was great! And there were so many people on the streets cheering everyone on, and even some small bands. There was a water station at about the half-way mark too.

I thought this sign on someone's balcony was so sweet!
Annual Sport Chek Mother's Day Walk, Run, Ride Race Recap Calgary
Annual Sport Chek Mother's Day Walk, Run, Ride Race Recap Calgary
It was a great run - I felt really great the whole time and I definitely could have ran faster, but I had so much fun running and chatting with my aunt the whole time. Our chip time was 41:52. Barry kicked ass at his 10K though - clocking in at 47:48 and 10th place in his age category and 112th place overall!
Annual Sport Chek Mother's Day Walk, Run, Ride Race Recap Calgary
As we wove our way back to the VIP tent, I made sure to stop and grab all the food and drink options that were presented to us. I think this was the best post-race drinks and snacks I have ever seen. Back at the tent I helped myself to a bacon and egg wrap from Sunterra, some fruit and more coffee! How will I ever run a race again and not be privy to the VIP tent?!
Annual Sport Chek Mother's Day Walk, Run, Ride Race Recap Calgary
Annual Sport Chek Mother's Day Walk, Run, Ride Race Recap Calgary
Anyway, I highly recommend this race if you are local! It's a great event, very well organized, and supports a good cause. This year, all proceeds went to support the NICU units at the hospitals in Calgary. It's also very family friendly - there were tons of people pushing strollers and also young kids running/walking the 5k. As well, if you wear your race t-shirt or bib, you can take public transport to the event for free that day!

I'm already looking forward to doing this run again next year with the whole family!

May 12, 2016

Will I Have Another Child? {An Honest Reflection}

We're at that point in our life when people and family members gently start asking us if we are planning on growing our family. Sully is now two years old and Jim and I aren't getting any younger. It's pretty common for people to have their children 2-3 years apart, so I'm not surprised that inquiring minds want to know if we have plans to have another child .
Will I Have Another Child? An Honest Reflection via A Slice of Brie
It's no secret that I do want another child. While I would be completely and utterly happy with just Sully in my life should we not be able to conceive another child, I never pictured having an only child. Before I even had Sully, I always assumed I would have a second child no more than 2 years after my first. But then once you become a mom, you realize how quickly you actually have to get pregnant after your first in order to make that age gap happen! Obviously it's done all the time, but when Sully was just over a year old, I knew I wasn't ready to be pregnant again. And to be honest, I was glad I wasn't pregnant. I adore and cherish this time that I get to spend with just him.

So we held off on trying to get pregnant right away. It's amazing how fast time flies though. As Sully got closer and closer to turning two years old, I couldn't stop thinking about how we had missed the two-year age gap boat and are closing in on the three-year age gap soon. I was glad to not have a newborn and a young toddler to take care of, but I also somewhat regretted that a possible future sibling for Sully wasn't going to be as close in age to him. The reality is a bit bitter-sweet - I love having all of this time with just Sully, but having that time means a bigger age gap between him and a potential second child. And now, I'm realizing how easy it is to miss the two-year age gap and have a three or even four-year age gap. Time passes so fast. I'm also not even sure anymore that there is a "perfect" age gap. I think it's relative to what each parent experiences and I've met people with children with small age gaps and larger ones and they all think their children's age gap is great.

Having a second child is something I think about all the time. But it's also something that terrifies me. It's something that makes me question every part of my capabilities as a parent. Am I patient enough to have another baby? How will I care for a newborn and a rambunctious toddler who is used to spending all of his time with me? How will I give my new child my undivided attention like I was able to give Sully? Will I be able to devote as much time to breastfeeding as I did with Sully?

And then there are all the selfish thoughts that go through my head. I'm finally at a place in my life where Sully doesn't need me 24/7 or depend on me like his newborn self did. I have my social life back (and one I really enjoy), I can go away overnight without worrying about whether he won't take a bottle or not, I'm finally back on track with my fitness journey, and I get an uninterrupted night of sleep every night.  How can I go back to sleepless nights and getting up multiple times a night and then also take care of a toddler the next day? How will I ever get out of the house with two kids - I can't even get anywhere on time with one! I won't have as much time to read books. Or blog. Or do things for myself.

And the biggest thing I think about: how do you go backwards in life? Because in my mind, having a second baby is a lot like going back in time. Just when you get passed the difficult newborn and baby stage, you have to start all over again. And your body no longer belongs to just you. You're nursing around the clock and a tiny human is dependant on you for the first several months of life. Your body will change again, weight gain will happen, possibly more stretch marks will appear, and I'm really not sure where the time or the energy to workout again will ever come from.

BUT. (Of course there's a but!). This chapter of my life is so short in the grand scheme of my life. When you're in the throws of taking care of a newborn, it's hard to see the light ahead some days. But it's true what people say - before you know it, your baby is no longer a baby and they are a walking, talking, tantrum-throwing toddler. I know one day, not too far away, I will look back on the early years of parenthood and wish for them back. So while I may be scared and feeling selfish about having another child, I know that ultimately, it's exactly what I want. When I think of our future, I don't see a family of three. I envision four of us - out there, exploring the world together, loving each other and growing together.

It's inevitable that you have to give some things up in those first few months of your baby's life, but the reward is worth it. I know this. And even though the days can be hard, I truly believe that we aren't given anything in life that we can't ultimately handle. So should I be blessed with conceiving another child, I know I will be ok. I will be more than ok. And I will give thanks everyday for being lucky enough to provide my son with a sibling, my parents and in-laws with another grandchild, and my husband and I with another child.

So for those inquiring minds out there...yes. My answer is yes, I would love to have another child. I hope I have another child. And I say that with all sincerity because in my opinion, conceiving a child is a miracle and something that shouldn't be taken for granted.


May 11, 2016

St. Patrick's Island Fun Run Race Recap

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to meet up with a bunch of my girlfriends to run in the inaugural St. Patrick's Island 4k Fun Run! I was lucky enough to win an entry for the race from Ange, but either way, I would have ended up signing up for this race as it sounded like a lot of fun!
St Patrick's Island Fun Run Race Recap
This run took place in the East Village of Calgary, an area I have yet to explore. The East Village has been undergoing some major changes and redevelopment lately, in efforts to turn it into an Urban Village. St. Patrick's Island was revitalized in 2015, and is accessible from the East Village by a short walk over the George C. King Bridge. The island consists of 31 acres and hosts playgrounds, running and biking paths, picnic areas, a spot to wade in the water, as well as a "Rise", which offers a great view of the city. It's absolutely beautiful down there and I will definitely be returning to explore more!
The view from the Rise on St Patrick's Island YYC
The logistics of getting to the race though, left much to be desired. Unfortunately, there was minimal information on the race website about transportation to the run and parking. It was recommended that people utilize the C-Train, as the stop at Bridgeland is just a short walk away from the race's starting line.  I had no idea what the parking situation would be like down at the race (I assumed there would be none, and if there was, it would be full or outrageously expensive), and since Becky and Liam were travelling down with us, I suggested we take the train.

Of course, the train was a big hit with the two young boys, but when we got off the train, the overpass over the freeway to access St. Patrick's Island was closed! Cue massive frustration on our end. We ended up having to backtrack on foot along the freeway until we came to spot where we could actually cross over. In all, it took us an extra 30 minutes to get to the race start. Not fun in almost 30 degree weather and when one of you is piggy-backing your kid.

Once we made it to the race start, we met up with the rest of the girls and pinned our bibs on our shirts. Race package pickup wasn't convenient at all unless you lived downtown and didn't work regular hours, so thank you to Leigh for picking our packages up for us! The race start was at 11 which was nice, since it can be tough to rush out the door in the morning with toddlers! Jim ended up taking both Sully and Liam to the playground on the island while we ran.
St Patrick's Island Fun Run Race Recap
St Patrick's Island Fun Run Race Recap
The race started on the bridge, which was silly, since we immediately turned right onto the path once we crossed the start line. The first half of the race was an out and back portion along the river, and then we crossed over the George C. King Bridge and ran into the park. The finish was right at the Rise. This event is untimed, so Becky, Ange and I fell into a comfortable pace together and chatted while we ran.

I really didn't feel like running at all the day leading up to the race, but I ended up running the whole thing and was glad I did! I remember why I like running with my friends so much! It makes the experience so much more fun!
St Patrick's Island Fun Run Race Recap
St Patrick's Island Fun Run Race Recap
At the finish line, every racer was awarded with a lei and a popsicle stick with a number on it which was meant to represent your finishing place since the race was untimed. We figured we ran it in just under 30 minutes though. After grabbing some water (which they actually ran out of!) and a banana, we started lining up at the food truck for our free hoagie from Jane Bond BBQ! The food was delicious, but it took about 30-40 minutes to get it. Not cool, especially when there was no shade to stand in. My biggest suggestion about the food truck would be, don't offer so many options! When food is free, offer a meat option and a veggie option and be done with it.
St Patrick's Island Fun Run Race Recap
St Patrick's Island Fun Run Race Recap
St Patrick's Island Fun Run Race Recap
Our group enjoyed our food while sitting in the shade and chatting, before we started the long journey home. I was exhausted from the heat and ready to get home to relax. That's the only downfall of a later start time in the summer - you end up running when the sun is hottest and you lose most of your day.

St Patrick's Island Fun Run Calgary Bloggers

Overall though, I had a great time, and I will definitely do this race again next year! 4k is a great distance when you want to run and chat with your friends.

Local peeps - this race is a great one for the whole family! There were tons of kids walking/running it and people pushing strollers. Mark your calendars for next year!

May 10, 2016

The Books I've Been Reading {9}

I had a great month, reading wise, in April! I read 6 books, which is a lot for me. I owe it all to a couple audiobooks which really lets me maximize my time spent reading. I stuck to all fiction this past month (not on purpose though), with two of them being YA. My biggest flop was the novella by Tim Lebbon, but at least I didn't invest too much time into it.

Anyway, let's talk about the books!
The Books I've Been Reading - Short Book Reviews on Books for Adults

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han: This book was just a little bit too "sweet" for me. Almost read as more middle-grade than YA. I had high hopes for this one as I LOVED Han's Summer series, but this one didn't hit me with all the feels like those ones did. This one is the story of Lara Jean, middle sister of 3 girls, and what happens when her love letters (that were never meant to be read by anyone else but her), somehow find their way into the hands of the boys she wrote them about. When her next door neighbour Josh, her best friend, crush and also her older sister's ex-boyfriend receives his letter, Lara Jean tries to convince him that she is no longer in love with him, by entering into a pretend relationship with Peter, another recipient of her letters, who wants to make his ex-girlfriend jealous. What enfolds is a cute story, but the unresolved ending was a bit annoying. I'll probably still read the second book in the series just to see where things go. I listened to this on audio and it was a great listening experience though!

Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom: I've talked about this book a few times already, and its counterpart, The Kitchen House, but I'll say it again - I loved this book. I wrote a full review HERE, but basically, it's the story of Jamie Pyke, son of the master of Tall Oaks Plantation, and a black slave,  and what happens after he flees the plantation. Living as a white man, Jamie is forever worried that his true identity will be discovered, so when a turn of events leads him back to the South, to find a stolen slave, Jamie must face all his fears in order to rescue the boy. An intense read and I was hooked from the beginning!

The Thief of Broken Toys by Tim Lebbon: This novella has been sitting on my bookshelf for years so I finally decided to squeeze it in between some longer reads. I didn't dig it. Sometimes I'm not sure if I just miss the point or I just don't "get it" when I read a novella or short stories, but ya, this one didn't do it for me. It's a strange little book, with a weird twist at the end, but essentially it's about a man, estranged from his wife after his son died a year ago. Unable to move on with his life, he decides to start fixing all his son's broken toys that he never got around to doing when his son was still alive. In this process, he meets a mysterious man in the woods, a man who miraculously fixes even the most broken of toys. But his "charity" doesn't come without a price. I posted a full review on my goodreads.

Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova: I read this book for the first book of my online book club (A Slice of Brie Book Club) and it was such a great book to discuss. So much food for thought. When our main character, Joe, is diagnosed with Huntington's disease, a deadly and hereditary disease, his 4 adult children must decide if they want to be tested for the gene. While it wasn't Genova's strongest book, writing wise, it was a great story and provided lots of insight into Huntington's disease and what a life with it would look like. Full review and discussion post HERE.

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen: I listened to this on audio, and really enjoyed it. This is exactly what I expect from a great YA novel: great characters, enough depth over-all that you feel connected to the story, and not too much fluff, and no insta-love. The subject matter was serious, and it wasn't just a book about boys or young love. Our main character, Sydney, meets brother and sister, Mac and Layla, after switching high schools. Sydney's brother has committed a horrible crime and must pay for his misdoings, and all Sydney wants (and needs) is to be seen for who she is separate from her brother, and to find her own place in the world. Within her friendship with Layla and Mac, Sydney finds a comfort and belonging that she had been yearning for, for longer than she realizes. A great story about friendship, trust, relationships (of all kinds), and acceptance.

Irma Voth by Miriam Toews: I've read a few of Voth's other books and really liked them, but this one fell short for me. The first half was slow and boring, but it did pick up in the second half. It's about a 19 year old Mennonite girl (Irma), living with her family on a farm in Mexico. Irma falls in love with a Mexican boy and marries him, thereby being shunned from her family. Early in the book, Irma's husband leaves her, and fearful of their father and his temper, Irma and her younger sister take off to Mexico city in search of a better life. The story seemed unrealistic at times, but considering where it took place, I imagine anything is possible.

*affiliate links have been used

Read any good books lately? Worst book you read?

Have you read any of these books?

How do you feel about novellas or short stories? Love 'em, or leave 'em?

P.S.! It's not too late to join us for May's A Slice of Brie Book Club! Details in this post!

*Linking up with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books!

May 09, 2016

My Birthday Weekend Recap!

What a busy and fun weekend I had! So busy in fact, that I could just not muster the energy to finish up this post last night, instead opting for a 9p.m. bedtime. That's right, this night owl was fast asleep hours before midnight! And I'm so glad I did because I feel so much more rested this cool and blustery Monday morning.


Friday was my birthday! I love being surrounded by people on my birthday and Friday did not disappoint. Sully and I spent the day at home together, and then my aunt came over in the afternoon, and surprised me with these beautiful flowers from my mom! (Thanks, Mom!!)
She hung out with us for a few hours until Jim got home from work, and then we we were joined by Becky and Liam, and Ange for the night! Becky brought all the fixings for a delicious BBQ dinner, and Ange brought buns and dessert in the form of Jelly Modern Doughnuts (and gifted me a beautiful bracelet from Stella & Dot!)! Jim always talks about these certain "fancy" donuts from a place near his work, but has yet to actually bring one home for me, so I was so excited that Ange brought a whole bunch of different flavours for us to try! (I have a week spot for donuts if you couldn't tell). Once the two younger boys were in bed, we spent the rest of the evening chatting and drinking before heading to bed sometime after 11.
Jelly Modern Doughnuts


Saturday, after a big breakfast, we all headed out to the East Village for the Inaugural St Patrick's Island 4k Fun Run. A bunch of my running buds were running it too, so it was great to meet up with everyone! Jim and Sully also tagged along to cheer us on. In efforts to keep this post short, I will recap the event in another post!
St Patrick's Island Fun Run
St Patrick's Island Fun Run
Saturday was a gorgeous day out! Too hot for a run in my opinion, but it was nice to actually be outside enjoying it. The East Village is an area of Calgary I have yet to explore, and it's gorgeous down there. The trails and parks around the river have recently been rebuilt and there's lots to do and explore. We will definitely be back to spend more time down there!

After taking the train home, Sully went straight upstairs for a nap, and Becky and I hung out for a bit longer before her and Liam took off back to Red Deer. While Sully was napping, Jim and I got on the first coat of paint in Sully's new bedroom. The rest of the evening was spent at home hanging out.


I had another run on my schedule, so I was up and out the door just before 8a.m. My aunt had asked me to run the Mother's Day 5K Run with her so I caught the bus to the train, and met up with them at Chinook mall at 8:30a.m. We ran the whole race together which was really nice to do! Her husband ran the 10k and killed it. It was a great morning, even if my cheer squad wasn't there. I'll probably recap this run in another post too!
Mother's Day Run YYC
After the race, I headed into the mall and picked up some summer clothes for Sully, before heading back to the train station. When I got off the train, I realized that the bus to take me home wasn't due for almost 20 minutes so I said screw it, and decided to walk the 3km home. It was such a beautiful day for it and it was great to stretch my legs and get in some more steps! (Overall, I walked/ran almost 15km on Sunday!).

When I finally arrived home, Sully was still napping, so I showered and got ready to go out for an early Mother's Day dinner. Jim asked me what I wanted and I said Pho, so we found a place that was open on Sunday's, not too far from our house. The service was great and Sully had a blast slurping up the noodles. The Pho wasn't the best I've had, but it wasn't bad either.
We came home, had some more birthday cake, and Jim tried to give me the card he helped Sully make for me. All I wanted for Mother's Day was a homemade card and I couldn't believe what a good job my boys did! Sully is currently going through the stage where one learns about possession, and everything is "mine", "Mommy's" or "Daddy's", so he didn't actually want me to hold or have the card, haha!
Homemade Mother's Day Card
We then spent the evening hanging out in our bed, watching TV, reading books and Skyping with Jim's parents. At 9p.m., I told Jim I was done for the day and needed to get to sleep. Sometimes I hate going to bed on Sundays, because it's admitting that the weekend is finally over, but after such an awesome weekend, full of good company, good food and tons of activity, I went to sleep with a full and grateful heart.

Thanks again to all my friends and family for all the phone calls, texts and messages wishing me a happy birthday, and thanks to everyone who made my birthday and birthday weekend that much more special! Love you all! xoxo