Lessons in Sport as Taught by My 8 Year Old Daughter & Her Friends

Yesterday, I learned a lesson from a bunch of grade four girls.  I’m a mom to one of those grade four girls, my daughter, Caleigh.  She and her classmates have been going to cross country practice three mornings a week for the last month.  Caleigh has wanted to be on this team from the day it was announced that all grade four kids could try out.  She’s been going for runs at home and she didn’t skip one practice, even when it was cold or rainy.

Yesterday the team tryouts were held.  I was a little nervous for her because I know how much she wanted to be on the team.  Between this and gymnastics, it’s all she can talk about.  I would get daily reports on how many laps around the track she was doing.  She was learning how to stretch properly before and after working out.  We got her proper running shoes.  She has clearly found something she’s passionate about.  I also know that she, like her mother, is not very good at defeat.  We both have trouble losing in a game of Monopoly, let alone the disappointment of putting hours of work into something and not being able to compete.

Caleigh went off to the try outs yesterday morning and I followed with her brother and sister to school an hour later.  When I approached the field, all of her friends came running over with her at the helm.

Caleigh, grinning like a fool, was thrilled to announce that not only had she made the team but she placed first in her class.  Like any proud mom, I was so happy for her.  Big hugs.  High fives.  I know how hard she had worked and how much it meant to her.  But what blew me away was how all of her friends responded.

“You should have seen Caleigh!  She did so great!  She ran so fast!”

They were so happy for her and so excited that she had ran her heart out.  A lot of them made the team and there were a lot of high fives and hugs going around.  Of course, though, not everyone could, as with any sport.  But there was no jealousy and no pouting.  And I know there will be times where Caleigh won’t make a team, even though she wants it just as badly.  That’s the tough part about organized sport.  But even the girls who didn’t make it were happy for the girls that did.

Well, isn’t that a rare thing.  As an adult, I know I wouldn’t have handled it as well.  It’s TOUGH when you work hard for something and are out beat by someone who did a better, faster, or more efficient job.  And I realize that for them it won’t always be that way, but for that brief shining moment yesterday morning, it was a beautiful thing to watch.

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Five EASY Tips to a Healthier You

Hey there!  We are well into September, almost into October in fact.  This time of year always makes me happy.  I love the cooler nights.  I love the leaves changing colour.  I love anything that smells of apples and cinnamon baking together.  Speaking of apples and cinnamon baking together have you seen THIS?  See, with just one quick link to a YouTube video I made your life instantly better today.  I personally can’t wait to blow my family’s minds when I make this for them this week {with one minor tweak…I’ll use coconut flour in lieu of wheat flour}.  Of course, I’ll have to trial run it a couple of times before…

Anyhow, to get to the point of my post, I want to connect in with people today who are struggling already with their health this fall.  As we get further into fall and then into winter {stay with me…I know it’s painful to accept winter is coming but stay with me….}, people tend to get sick more often.  Let’s clear something up though.  It’s not because there are an abundance of extra germs out there that suddenly decide to come out and play.  There are a number of causes to this phenomenon.  Let’s start first by stating the obvious.  I live in Canada, about an hour north of Toronto.  And it’s freakin’ cold here in winter.  It was so cold last year that we didn’t even get that much snow. With that massive shift in temperatures, I notice a few things amongst the general population of people I get to work with daily in my practice.

  • people are more sedentary and do not exercise as much in the colder months
  • people get less exposure to sunlight thus less vitamin D {for two reasons…firstly, there literally IS less daylight hours and secondly, reminding you that I live in Canada in the winter, it’s freakin’ cold so people do not venture outside nearly as much as they do in the summer}
  • people eat more crap – processed foods, comfort foods, carb laden foods – and less fresh foods

There are a few other things here and there but I would say that those are the top three reasons that individuals tend to be more likely to get sick in the colder months.  Combine that with other unhealthy habits and it’s a recipe for colds, flu, and XYZ infection.

But I am here to help YOU keep and stay healthy this year.  I am going to give you five easy tips that you can follow.  These will significantly increase your chances of staying healthier over the next six months.  Ready?

  1.  Get adjusted by a Chiropractor.  Wait, what?  Hold the phone.  What does a Chiropractor have to do with keeping me healthy.  In a nutshell: Chiropractors ensure your nervous system is working properly.  Your nervous system controls every single part of your body including your immune system.  Your immune system is what keeps you from getting sick.  rethink_chiropractic_infographic-600x464
  2. Improve your gut health.  Did you know that your gut has 10x more bacteria than your entire body has cells?  Think about that for a moment – you are more bacterial than you are cellular.  Your gut comprises over 75% of your immune system so if you don’t eat a healthy diet, you’re directly impacting how well your immune system works.  I can tell you to stop eating processed foods but you already know this.  I am definitely going to tell you to cut the wheat and other inflammatory grains out of your diet. If you really want to get some amazing actionable steps on how to improve your gut health, go to http://www.chriskresser.com and download his Gut Health ebook.  He talks about the benefits of fermented foods and he’s really REALLY smart when it comes to this stuff.
  3. Use Essential Oils.  Exceptional quality ones (email me at drandrearyan@gmail.com for info on the essential oils I choose and ONLY use for my family’s health).  There are so many different essential oils out there that can support your immunity and give you that extra boost when you need it.  I diffuse them into the rooms we frequent and I massage them topically into my skin {and my kids’ skin too!} so that we’ve got an all-natural, non-toxic and EFFECTIVE way to keep our bodies protected. essential_oils2-530x350
  4. Get active.  I can hear the excuses rumbling already….”I don’t have the time.” It can take as little as twenty minutes a day.  Everyone has twenty minutes a day.   “I don’t like exercise.” Too bad.  Suck it up.  You’re an adult and adults have to exercise.  Period.   “It’s too expensive to join a gym.”  You know what’s expensive?  Taking a day or a week off work or away from your family because you can hardly get out of bed.  But here’s the best part….you don’t need a gym!  You can get a workout in your own home.  You can walk around your neighbourhood.  I used to put a lot more emphasis on the type of activity people got.  I believe strongly that more emphasis should be put on building strength than on cardio {and I still believe that 100%}.  But here’s the thing…any activity is good activity if you’re not doing anything right now.  Just get up and get moving.
  5. Get Rest.  Not everyone needs the same amount of sleep a night.  Some people do well on 7 hours, some people do well on 9.  The point though is to make sure you get rest.  Your body heals when you sleep.  Think about it…when you’re sick, your body naturally wants to sleep more.  It innately knows that it needs to rest and so you do just that.  Why would you think when you’re healthy that you don’t need sleep?  Shut off your computer.  Turn off the TV.  Put down the book.

So, there you go.  Five easy tips that anyone can implement into their life today.  And while tips are great, they are nothing without action.  Just knowing them isn’t enough.  You actually have to implement these into your life.  :)  Here’s to a healthier YOU this winter.

One Week Later

Hey y’all….

See?  I went to Chiropractic college in Marietta, Georgia and thirteen years later, I haven’t lost my ability to throw out a southern drawl every once in a while.

Do you remember this post I wrote last week?  I want to share with you how impactful it was to get up and moving each day for me.

  1. I’m more awake.  I loved getting up at 5AM but diving right into reading or listening to a podcast made me tired by three in the afternoon.  Starting that 5AM with exercise made such a difference. It may have been the sunrise I get to watch.
  2. I’m feeling better about myself.  I had really missed feeling more fit.  I had started to feel out of shape, flabby, tired, and blah.  It’s funny how just a simple walk with some squats/lunges/sit ups thrown in can make me feel awesome.
  3. I was happier.
  4. I was more productive in business.  I had the best week in business than I have had in months.  I met with more new people both in Chiropractic and for Essential Oils than I have in ages.  I adjusted more people in one week than I had in a while.  I had people coming out of the woodwork who I hadn’t seen in months.   I pre-scheduled all of my social media for the week and half of September.  It was an amazingly productive week.
  5. I ate better.  Hell, no, I don’t want to ruin whatever good I got from my morning routine by eating crappy at lunch.  {I won’t lie…this basically meant I didn’t sneak chocolate at 3PM…at least most days….I did on Saturday….and Sunday}
  6. I slept better.  Getting up at 5 means that I wanted to be in bed by no later than 10, preferably 9:30.  I do well with 7 hours of sleep.   I do not do well with less than that.  Good on the people who can get by on 4 hours of sleep but it’s not for me.
  7. I had FUN with my kids and connected with each of them not only one on one but also together as a family. And I had lunch with my Mom, which we haven’t done in a long time.

Those are seven {SEVEN!} awesome immediate benefits I recognized by simply getting back to being active on a regular basis.  My mindset once again changed.  What amazed me was how quickly I got off that this summer. I know I am healthier and happier when I’m active on a daily basis.  INTENTIONALLY active.  I can walk my kids to the park and get some steps in but for me I needed to actively focus on exercise for 30 minutes a day to feel better and function better.

Oh, and I should also add that each time I was up and active early in my day, there were some pretty inspired thoughts running through my head.  Here’s the thing about 5AM.  It’s quiet.  It’s dark.  It’s not at all distracting with noise, people, vehicles, etc..  It’s just me and my thoughts.  Which is in part what led to such an amazing time last week…I can’t wait to see what the coming weeks and months have.

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Enough with the Excuses!

This morning I woke up and went for a walk.  Just a twenty minute walk.  Then I followed up that walk with 50 squats and 50 lunges at the base of my driveway.  In the dark with just the hint of a sunrise peeking out from behind the homes in my neighbourhood.

Why am I telling you this?

Because I’m owning up and admitting that I have been lazy this summer.  Seven weeks ago I injured my wrist at the gym.  I’m still not 100% sure what is wrong with it but it hurts like crazy and clearly I’ve had some type of tendinous tear or ligament injury.  The injury isn’t the important part of this story though, it just became my excuse.

I’ve been an avid CrossFitter for about three years now.  I worked out through my last pregnancy up until about 37 weeks where the sheer discomfort of carrying my third child impeded my ability to do what I wanted in the gym.  I did everything I could to heal from other smaller injuries so that I could get back to the gym as soon as possible.  I went when I was tired.  I went when I had lots on my plate.  I was hooked.

So when this wrist injury sidelined any hopes of doing any body weight exercises, let alone anything involving a bar, I chose to stop going to CrossFit.  And that really frustrated me.  So I’ve been using that excuse of not going to CrossFit to not really do anything physical all summer.

I’ve done a little…I’ve swam at the cottage.  I’ve gone for a few walks.  I’ve done some squats, sit ups and lunges here and there but in reality, it was nothing compared to what I was used to nor was it at all consistent. I just got lazy.

Two days ago I was complaining whining to my husband about how much I miss going to the gym and how “I can’t work out”.  And he called me on it.  To my face he looked at me and he called me on my excuse. {thanks honey}  Because that’s exactly what it was…an excuse.

I can work out.  I can still move. I can walk, run, do jumping jacks, jump, lunge, squat, do sit ups, sprint, and more.  Just because I can’t throw a lot of heavy weights around, do a push up, do a burpee, or pull up {allright, in all honesty, I can only do one pull up without help even before the injury but you get the point…}, it doesn’t mean I can’t be active.

So, this morning, I got up at 4:55AM.  I rolled out of bed and threw on my workout gear.  I was out the door before I could convince myself that getting back into bed would be the better decision.

And it felt awesome.  Just getting the blood pumping and actually moving felt awesome. I felt like me again.  I didn’t feel lazy, flabby, bored, frustrated, angry, or any of the other emotions that have quite frankly been far too repetitive in my brain lately.

It also set the tone for the rest of the morning.  I got back, made some tea, listened to an hour-long webinar, responded to emails, made breakfast {eggs & salsa, yum!}, had a shower, got the kids up, made dinner {crock pot jambalaya}, made lunches for the kids at day camp, fed the kids breakfast, got the kids to daycare and day camp, and then to work all before 9AM.

So no more excuses.  Just because I’m choosing to hold off on Crossfit doesn’t mean I can’t be active.  I’m embarrassed that I’m sharing my laziness with you because it sounds so silly.  But it’s true and real and I was inspired by two amazing women in my life {Thanks Karen & Ann} who have shared their some of their realness with me in the last few days and weeks.

Onwards….to once again committing to whole health.:)

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Loving the Pace of Summer

Happy Wednesday, Friends.

And happy smokin’ hot summer days!  At least, if you live in my neck of the woods.  I am soaking up every last drop of this summer.  It has been tremendous not only in terms of what we’ve been doing but also in terms of weather.  And before anyone makes a smart crack about the humidity, I just want to remind you of this:

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SERIOUSLY.  THIS. ^^^^^.  Don’t even try to convince me that six feet of snow and five layers of clothing is better.  Because it just isn’t.  Actually, I take that back.  I love winter up until Christmas.  And then it just goes downhill from there all the way through late March.  Verdict?  Summer.   Longer days, warm nights, sun-kissed tans, no parkas.  Verdict?  Summer.

I find it fascinating that I live in a part of the world that goes from -35°C in February to +35°C in July.  Five months ago I could walk across the lake at our cottage and now I can comfortably swim across it.

Mind blown.

Speaking of comfortably swimming in a lake and returning to the point of this blog post, I’ve rather been enjoying the slower pace we chose this year.  We made the conscious choice to avoid scheduling much during July and August.  I read an incredible article this spring that inspired me to schedule less but not necessarily do less.  In fact, we’ve been pretty busy. We just choose our busy-ness as we go.  Based on the whim and fancy of what we want to do that day.

Want to build a fort?  Sure!

Want to play Scrabble?  You bet!

Want to play tag in the sprinkler?  Last one in their bathing suit is IT!

The kids are in two separate weeks of day camps (one in July and one in August) but other than that, there is nothing.  No organized sports.  Few play dates.  No “bucket lists”.  Just inspired by what the day brings and what we feel like doing.  We’ve accomplished a lot.

I’ll be honest that in the beginning the thought of it seemed daunting.  Nine whole weeks of unscheduled open-ness?  I thought for sure I would crack….and I fully admit to enjoying a white wine spritzer in the afternoons on the back porch as the kids run around {virtual fist bumps for the spritzer!}.  There are days the kids get bored and I had to be okay with that.  I also had to be okay with not filling that time for them.  I asked them to come up with their own activities and most times they do without *too* much complaining.

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Here are a few ideas for those families looking to do less yet connect more in August.  Most of these activities cost little to no money and require little to no preparation in advance.

  • Build a fort (inside or outside)
  • Take a hike
  • Read a book (we love Chronicles of Narnia and are taking a few weeks – if not months – to finish it as a family)
  • Paint rocks
  • Garden
  • Go geo-caching
  • Count stars at night
  • Go to a drive in movie
  • Catch bugs
  • Go swimming in a lake or a river or the beach
  • Run in the sprinkler
  • Blow bubbles
  • Watch clouds float in the sky
  • Make a scavenger hunt in your backyard
  • Climb a tree (and please, get up there with them!  It’s fun!)
  • Play board games (we even made our own)
  • Go to the library
  • Make homemade popsicles
  • Make paper mache
  • Lemonade stand
  • Go fishing
  • Do yoga in your backyard 
  • Go on a picnic
  • Be a tourist in your hometown
  • Go on a day trip and let the kids decide when & where to turn (see where they take you!)
  • Hit up a provincial/state park
  • Make homemade ice cream

The ideas are simple and endless.  And thoroughly enjoyable.  And most importantly, we’ve found that we are seriously connecting with our kids more.  Sure, they still watch a movie here and there.  And my iPhone isn’t always turned off (how else do I share the photos of our fun but by posting them to Instagram!).  But I do find that we’re having more fun than we have in past summers.

AND with five more weeks of summer left, I’m looking for other ideas too – would love to hear about what you’re doing with your kids over the hotter months!

Taking time to enjoy life.

Hey there.  Happy Wednesday.  Happy sunny and hot Wednesday if you’re in my part of the world.  Because it’s summer.

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Two weeks ago we got back from Paris.  Do you remember how I wrote about how it was on my life list to eat French toast with the one that I love in Paris?  Funny thing about that…French toast doesn’t exist in France.  Or at least in Paris.  But you know what does?  Delicious, flaky, buttery, decadent, fresh-baked croissants.  So I modified my life list and crossed off “Eat Fresh Croissants with the one that I love in Paris”.

And eat them we did.

Here is another thing I learned about Paris, specifically about the wonderful people who live there (this may also apply to other European countries but I can only speak to France).  They relax a lot more than their North American counterparts.  One of my favourite memories of Paris was taking a cruise on the Seine at 9 o’clock at night, only to watch hundreds of Parisians line the river banks and enjoying life.  They danced, sang, played games, talked, drank, and ate.  On a Tuesday night.

It was awesome.

With intention, I have been working on slowing down myself and taking time to enjoy life.  Without sounding cliché, it’s the little things I’m focusing on.  Time with my husband.  Time with my kids.  Reading a good book outside under a tree.  Watching the clouds pass by.  Gardening.  Making homemade popsicles.  Eating good chocolate.  Drinking good wine.  Taking time to do nothing.  I’m trying to not over schedule things this summer for my family.  I want my kids to experience boredom so that they can discover the small things that they love.  We’re playing card games.  We’re going for lazy walks in the forest.  We’re swimming in the lake.  We’re staying up later.  We’re taking naps.

And it’s feeling pretty awesome.

Hoping this inspires you to do less of the busy stuff.

Paris in June

Thirteen years ago I wrote down a Life List.  It was a list of 136 amazingly-blow-my-mind things I wanted to do during my life.  Some people call it a Bucket List but considering the reason it’s called a Bucket List is that it’s a list of things they want to do before they “kick the bucket”, I couldn’t embrace that title.  To me, that sounded depressing.  I wanted to focus on life as an ever-evolving journey and not a series of steps that slowly moved towards death.

On that list, number 72 was “Eat French toast in Paris with the one I love”.

Three years ago, on our seventh anniversary, I wrote down what I wanted to see with my life in the coming five years.  I was pregnant with Maggie.  We already had a 5 year old and 3 year old.  I wrote in my journal that I wanted to celebrate our tenth anniversary in a big way…maybe even in Paris.  I remember giggling as I wrote it because in all honesty, it didn’t seem possible.  There was so much going on in our lives – building a business, raising a family, being involved in our community, and more.  Paris, quite honestly, seemed like a pipe dream.  I found that journal about three months ago and read that entry.

Tom and I leave for Paris later this month, two months shy of our tenth anniversary.

To see this come to reality is overwhelmingly exciting for me.  Some beautiful steps fell into place for us in order to make this happen.  We had an amazing opportunity with family to take part in an event in northern France.  My mother in law and my sister-in-law both are available to take care of our kids for the week that we are gone.  We are in a place in life where we can leave our practice for a week together (we own our Chiropractic practice together).  I really believe that the intention I have put into being in Paris with the one I love has allowed for all of the little pieces to fall into place perfectly.  The Universe totally conspired to make this happen and I am so so grateful for all that came together in order to for us to take this trip.

If you had asked me thirteen years ago that by writing “Eating French toast in Paris with the one I love” would lead to “Celebrating our tenth anniversary in Paris” which would lead to actually going to France with Tom this summer, I would have thought you were nuts.  But it hit me a few weeks ago, when I came across that journal entry, that the power of intention is so profound.  It wasn’t something I manifested every single day.  It was something I wrote down twice in my life.  But the intensity with which I wished for it, while writing it down,  was massive.

And today, I took some time to research and plan this trip that I have the honour of taking.  We are taking part in a ceremony in Arras, France on the 100th Anniversary of Vimy Ridge.  We will be there for the re-patriation of soil between Vimy Ridge and Base Borden.  We are attending with family – my Dad, stepmom, brother, and sister-in-law – and the ceremony aside, I’m really looking forward to family time.  After the events in Arras, Tom and I are spending four days in Paris.

All.  By.  Ourselves.  (Read: no children)

This alone is exciting and while I hate to admit it, I have a pang of anxiety with it.  I’ve left all three kids before two or three times, but never without Tom being home with them.  This is for a whole week and family is happily going to be watching them while we are on this trip.  I know they will be fine but the Mama Bear in me is feeling anxious for sure.

But while focusing on the positive…we have seven days together as a couple.  An early honeymoon in honour of ten amazing years together.  Somehow, I feel that when I hold my husband’s hand while walking along the Seine, I’ll realize that not only are our kids okay but this is good for all of us.  A little time away to celebrate the awesomeness of our relationship.

In Paris, y’all.

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