6 Intentions for My Holiday Season

It was my birthday yesterday. It was not really what I was hoping my birthday was going to be – early morning to take my daughter to hockey, my husband having to leave my birthday lunch early to deal with a renter, leftovers for supper. If I had been really concerned about my activities for the day, though, I suppose I would have put together a detailed agenda.

It’s now December, which means that the Christmas Countdown tradition I started for my kids a few years ago begins today. We’ll be decorating our Christmas tree, which we put up a couple of days ago. Strangely enough, more of the lights on our pre-lit Costco beauty seem to be working than last year. I’ll take it.

December means a full schedule, holiday parties, sugary treats, lights and decorations, carols playing, and generally thinking I should be doing MORE. I am not alone in this, I know. Rushing is not the way I want to start my 40th year, so this December, I am consciously focusing on:

  1. being present in the moment
  2. simplifying my plans
  3. accepting the changes to my plans as they arise (because they will arise)
  4. being grateful, and encouraging my family to be grateful
  5. practicing self-care to keep me healthy throughout the holiday season
  6. listening to my body and resting when I need to

What’s your December looking like?


March Madness

My kids’ hockey seasons are wrapping up in the next couple of weeks, I’m happy to report, and my son’s soccer winds up this weekend. Looking forward to less driving and more time at home. If I’m totally honest, though, my husband has been shouldering the bulk of the running around for the kids’ activities, so I’m sure he’s going to be ecstatic come March 24th.

Workouts have not been happening for a couple of weeks. I have been totally exhausted (work has been really busy) and have tended to choose more sleep over workouts. On the other hand, my eating has been pretty good, and last week I started using the Lose It app (loseit.com) and totally love it. I had previously resisted my dietitian’s attempts to get me to food track electronically because I’ve always found anything online to be a pain in the ass (PITA), but this app allows you to scan food labels into your phone and then tracks the nutritional data, to enter your own recipes easily, and is, according to my dietitian, fairly accurate in calorie counts vs. other apps out there. I was already food journaling, but using this tool helped me I was eating plain ol’ too much, even though the food I was eating was generally good for me.

Still making my way through The Book of New Family Traditions (Revised and Updated): How to Create Great Rituals for Holidays and Every Day and have started Sundae Mondays for the kids. Basically, I’m putting together breakfast sundaes for them every Monday morning so that they have something to look forward to that day. Mondays suck for pretty much everyone, and I’ve definitely noticed that it boosts their moods at the beginning of the week to start out with something fun.

Off to do some yoga before bed. Today was a long, tough day at work and my back needs to decompress.

What are your favourite apps?


Derailment, and Pictures from London 2012

Wow, things went off the rails at work this week.  Spectacularly.  I wasn’t supposed to be seeing patients this week (I’m focusing on administrative stuff), but then the dentist who works for me called in sick Tuesday and Wednesday, went home sick Thursday afternoon, and took Friday morning off short notice.  Had a few other issues with him as well and ended up addressing my concerns with him Thursday.  On Friday morning he gave me notice, and we agreed to waive the 60 day notice period, so, assuming he signs the document my lawyer has drafted, he’ll be done Tuesday.  Definitely not according to The Plan.

My dental assistant also gave notice.  She’s trained as a dental hygienist, which pays more, and got a full-time job doing that.  Good for her, but not so good for me.  Trying to hire someone for next week.  We’ll see how that goes.

Decided I have to upgrade my practice management software, install digital radiography (x-rays), and install a panoramic x-ray machine.  Let’s just say my budget has changed significantly.

As you can imagine, my free time got highjacked as the week progressed.  I got a few workouts in earlier this week, but that’s it.  I have an appointment with a personal trainer/tri coach this week coming up though, as well as with a registered dietitian (although I’ll probably have to reschedule due to the stuff that’ll be going down at my office on Tuesday, with it being the other dentist’s last day).

Stressed? Check. Having trouble sleeping through the night? Check. Actually finding the whole experience challenging? Check.  Feeling empowered by taking care of business? Check. Even with what’s been going on, I’m still not even remotely as stressed as in my 3rd and 4th years of dental school, so I’m feeling pretty good about my ability to get through this stuff.

Enough of the work talk.  Here are a few pictures from the Olympics. Enjoy!

Usain Bolt at the starting blocks for the 100m prelims August 4th

Bolt around 55m mark. He won his heat, of course, and made it look easy.

Oscar Pistorius in the prelims

In the lead is Brianne Theisen, my husband’s cousin. She won her heat for the 800 and came in 3rd overall for that event.

My husband and me at Olympic Stadium. We were seated in the second row the morning of August 4th, around the 55m mark. Amazing seats.

All of the athletes competing in heptathlon take part in the victory lap. Jessica Ennis, who won the gold medal, is out front.

Canadian heptathletes Brianne Theisen and Jessica Zelinka

Will and Kate at Olympic Stadium the evening of August 4, 2012

Waiting for the women’s marathon runners to go by. Positioned on Westminster Bridge, about a block and a half from our hotel.

Americans Kara Goucher (red uniform, red cap) and Shalane Flanagan (red uniform, black cap) running by around the 6:30 mark.

Dental School is Ongoing (I Don’t Want to Jinx Anything)

Finals are done.  I am assuming I passed them all, because I haven’t heard otherwise.  Our college has a pass/fail system and doesn’t generally give us our grades, which I find totally annoying, so we often don’t get any feedback unless there’s a problem.  And then the feedback is often not even CLOSE to being timely.  Ah, the joys.

As for the big licensing exams I wrote back at the beginning of March, I found out that I passed:

Again, no scores were released, but I definitely will NOT have to be rewriting the darn thing.  When I got the e-mail and logged in to get my results, I was so excited that I literally jumped up and down.  More than once, actually.  I’m not sure I’m actually a grown up.

While I’m done the didactic component of dental school, I’m still working on some of my clinical work.  It seems like it’s never going to end, though I should be done everything in the next two weeks.  I’m not looking forward too much because I don’t want to jinx it.  Again, as I write about “jinxing” things, I’m not sure I’m actually a grown up.

I’m going back to my physiotherapist tomorrow to start rehabbing my left IT band in earnest. I started running again a few weeks ago (more walking than running, because I am mostly UNfit right now), but my left hip and knee definitely were worse for wear after I started running, so I figured I’d better leave it until after meeting with my PT.  I am really looking forward to getting some miles under my soles, but I also really don’t want to make my injury any worse than it is.  My left hip and IT band have definitely been bothering me for the past few months, even when I haven’t been running, so I’m pretty sure I’ve got some muscular imbalances that I need to deal with – it’s not just about running anymore.

As for good news, I’ve started focusing on my eating this week.  I have:

  • started food journaling
  • increased my intake of veggies and fruits
  • cut back on eating out
  • been making better choices when I have eaten out
  • decreased my portion sizes
  • started limiting my treats

The scale has started to move downward, which is good, because I looked back at my fitness log from last summer, and I gained over 10 pounds since the start of the school year at end of August last year.  Definitely not good.

I am absolutely knackered, so I’ve gotta sign off and go to bed.  Did I mention I seem to be waking up every morning between 5 and 5:30am for some reason and can’t got back to sleep because I’m feeling stressed out?  You’d think the stress would have ended after exams, but not so much.  I’ve been worried about finishing my clinical requirements.  Oh, and did I mention I’m in the process of buying a dental clinic?  Because, you know, I guess I didn’t want the stress to end – ha!  Anyway, can’t get into details yet, but holy smokes, I do feel like I’ve got a lot of stuff on my plate.  Still, it’s less stressful than it was back in February, so that’s something.

What do you do when you can’t sleep but don’t want to get up yet?

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Dental school is not done yet, but I do see a faint light at the end of the tunnel.  I still have lots of clinical work left to do and will be at school after finals finishing said clinical work, but at least things should be over with in a couple of months.  And that’s all I have to say about that. (Name that movie!)

With my school workload easing up and a whole lot less stress affecting me, I’m starting to turn back into myself.  I didn’t fully realize how stressed out I was and how just plain negative I was being until about a week after boards, when I found myself smiling and dancing around to a song I had in my head.  I didn’t realize that I had forgotten what it was like to be in a good mood.

Since then, I’ve been listening to my favourite songs more on my iPod; hugging, kissing, cuddling, and playing with my kids more; generally being nicer to my husband and remembering to hug and kiss him, too (and grab his butt every once in awhile *wink*); calling my family and talking about things other than how miserable school is; fitting in yoga; and doing household chores without dread. (It’s a bad sign when the idea of having to put a dish in the dishwasher overwhelms you because you are just so. stressed. out.)  Yesterday, not only did I make cupcakes with my daughter (with green, mint icing for St. Patrick’s day, natch), see a movie with my husband (21 Jump Street – super funny), but I also went for a walk/run for the first time in a long time.  It was fantastic.  The sun was shining, and 15 minutes into my workout, I decided to turn around so I could loop by my house and drop off the shell and midlayer I was wearing because it was so nice and warm.  There was a whole lot more walking than running (4 min walking/1 min running x 12), and I’m really okay with that.  My left IT band feels tight today and my left knee has just a hint of soreness, but I know that if I ease into this, continue with yoga, start seeing my physio and doing my exercises again, and start strength training that I will get this IT band thing under control.  I plan to do some 5k’s this year and maybe a couple of 10k’s (no details yet), but until I get stronger, I’m making myself hold off on racing any longer distances.

Speaking of future plans, we’ve also booked a post-dental school vacation (using travel reward points we racked up while I was in dental school – haha!) and will be visiting “the happiest place on earth.”  That’s right – we’re going to Disney World!  And also Universal Orlando, where of course we will be checking out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!!!!! It’s going to be so much fun.  My son, who’s nearly 8, has become a Harry Potter fan over the past year, so he’s very excited and wants to get a wand at Ollivander’s.  I want to try out the butterbeer…

We’re starting out a Universal, and will be staying at one of the onsite hotels for a few days before we head over to the Polynesian Resort at Disney World.  Let me just say that I am a total sucker for Disney and wanted easy access to the Magic Kingdom, which is my favourite of the parks and will hold the most interest for my kids, who will be 6 and 8 when we visit.  Thus, we made the decision to stay the Polynesian Resort, which is on the monorail line.  Only one stop away from the Magic Kingdom!  I’ve planned several character meals, because the kids really enjoy interacting with the Disney characters and who wants to line up for hours in the park to do that?  I would much rather be on a ride than be waiting in line.

Our last visit to WDW, 3 years ago

Being that I’m sort of hardcore about vacation planning, I’ve also scheduled pirate makeovers for all four of us at The Pirates League and that night, we’ll be heading out on a Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage.  On our last Friday at WDW, Star Wars Weekend will be taking over Hollywood Studios.  I wasn’t sure we would want to brave the crowds, but in addition to becoming a Harry Potter fan, my son has also become a Star Wars fan (and Indiana Jones fan – that’s my boy!), so we’ve decided that we’ll go ahead and check out the action.  Did I mention that my husband and I are also into Star Wars? Yeah, I might turn into a kid myself that day.  Oh, and I’m also considering matching family T-shirts for the trip.  (Why, yes, I am a big nerd!)

Once we’ve hit the theme parks, we’ll be spending a few days relaxing at the nearby Hyatt, which apparently has an amazing pool area but is way more affordable than the Disney hotels.  I love Disney and love the convenience of staying on-resort when we’re visiting the parks, but I don’t mind saving a little cash (or, in this case, reward points) either.

Goals for the Week

Today: yoga

Tomorrow: 30 min walk/run

Tuesday: yoga

Wednesday: off

Thursday: 30 min walk/run

Friday: yoga

Saturday: 60 min walk/run

Sunday: yoga





Mental Trickery: Talking Myself Onto the Treadmill

I’m still feeling overwhelmed, but I suspect that this feeling will continue until a) I write my licensing exams March 3rd and 4th, b) I have all of the credits I need to graduate completed, c) a job lined up, or d) all of the above.

On the workout and healthy living front, I got a couple of runs in on my treadmill and did yoga a couple of times this past week.  I’ve also been focusing on having healthier lunches by having sandwiches (which feature veggies, lean meats, and mustard) instead of greasier fare at the hospital cafeteria where I eat lunch most days (I’m aware that packing a lunch would be healthiest, but I’m also a realist and making myself a lunch daily is not a priority these days).

Unfortunately, I’ve also been feeling really run down lately: really tired, scratchy throat, nasal and chest congestion.  I’ve been trying to get lots of sleep and drink lots of liquids, but I think my body is just reacting to the stress I’m experiencing lately.  Guess I’ll just stick to the basics as much as possible: healthy eating, fluids, sleep, and moderate exercise.

This week coming up, I’m getting a massage and plan to run 3 times and practice yoga 3 times.  I am trying to stick to my resolution and treat myself with kindness, so I have been pointedly avoiding any negative self-talk about not working as much as I’d like.

I’ve also been talking myself onto the treadmill by promising myself I’ll just walk for 15 minutes, and if at that point I want to stop, I can stop.  So far, once I’ve hopped onto the treadmill, I’ve felt good enough to pick up the pace and get some running in. Sometimes just overcoming inertia is the most difficult part of a workout, non?  Once I get my sweat on and finish a workout, I feel great, especially when running is involved (although, not so much when running pain is involved).  And then I wonder why I can’t just save up this feeling when it’s time to start my next workout.  Anyone have an answer for that, because I really feel like I’m not alone in this.

Any tricks you have when you don’t have the energy to/don’t feel like/don’t have the motivation to workout?

Goals, Goals, Goals

It’s been a week since I last posted.  I had a single goal these past seven days: NO EATING TREATS.

I was sorely tempted at various points this past week to scarf down some chocolate or indulge in some baked goods while picking up a tea a Starbucks, but I resisted.  As a result, the weight creep I’ve been experiencing over the past few months has halted, which is a relief.

On the other hand, I could definitely pull up my socks in the healthy eating department.  Since I started doing more studying a few weeks ago (had a mock oral test last Thursday – went okay), meal planning/preparation and grocery shopping have all gone out the window.  This, combined with less regular physical activity, probably contributed to the migraine I experienced Thursday (lingering into Friday and Saturday).

Ever have the feeling that your body is trying to tell you something? I do.  Migraine late last week, and now have some swollen glands and a touch of a sore throat.  Clearly, I haven’t been treating my body with respect.  Must do better!

The game plan:

  1. Indulge in a treat or 2 tomorrow, and then keep away from the sweets for another 7 days.  Next weekend will be tricky, because we’ll be at a hockey tournament with my son’s hockey team and I’m expecting there to be snacks and stuff afterward, as the parents will be getting together.  I do plan to have a couple of drinks (I’m usually a G&T drinker), but am committing now that there will be no sweets, chips, or fries crossing my lips!
  2. Meal plan.  For the week.  I’m keeping it simple because I have GOT to get studying for finals, but there WILL be a plan, regardless.
  3. Go grocery shopping!  Tomorrow night.
  4. Bring a water bottle to school.  I’ve been better at consuming liquids during the day, but with this sore throat thing in the works, it’s no time to be slacking in that department.
  5. Put together a study plan.  By Tuesday at 9pm, I will have a study plan put into place for now until I write my board exams (dental licensing exams) March 3, 2011.  Hoping having a plan will = less stress.
  6. Get my body moving.  Run, walk, or stationary bike 3 times this week (Mon, Weds, Fri).  Strength train 2 times this week (Tues, Thurs).  Think I’m going to try out the strength training plan in The New Rules of Lifting for Women for now.  I’m not fully committing to the whole plan, but the moves are very basic, they allow for some variation, and the workouts are quick – exactly what I need right now.

Okay, those seem like some mighty ambitious goals to me, considering there’s also kids’ hockey and regular school stuff to contend with, plus I’m feeling stressed.  I think this calls for a “carrot.”  If I meet all 6 goals, I’m taking time to go shopping for a sweater dress.  If I meet 5 of 6, I’m taking the night of the 30th off (it’s my birthday) and not studying.  If I meet 4 of 6, I’m putting aside 30 minutes to put on nail polish.

Have I mentioned that winter arrived here last weekend? I am seriously considering getting some Yaktrax so I can run outside.  Here’s the view out my front door last weekend:

Since then, we’ve had a “semi-” storm (with more snow) and temperatures have really dropped.  I think it was minus 25 Celcius the other night, and the wind chill was really nasty for a few days this week.

How’s the weather in your neck of the woods?