Morning Power Hour Ideas

So this post from last week inspired a lot of conversation via email, twitter, Instagram, and in our office.  We’ve had a few new people join the 5 AM club for their morning power hour!  I’m stoked!  Not only because I know how powerful a morning power hour can be but because it’s an extra push in the morning if I know other 5 AM peeps like Rebecca, Karen, and Lindsay are all rolling out of bed at the same time!  You’re not alone, ladies!

I received a few requests to elaborate more on what to do in a morning power hour.  Here are some ideas to make the most of your power hour.

Tip #1 Babies are very good at interrupting you.  This is not the way to maximize your time during your power hour.  But this morning, as if to mock me writing this post, Maggie joined me at 5:06AM.

Power Hour Interrupted!

Power Hour Interrupted!

Now onto the good stuff.

1.  Start with tea.  I should really say start with stretching but it would be a big fat lie if I didn’t say I start with tea in the morning.  My new favourite is Almond Cookie from Hamley’s in Barrie.  It tastes and smells like an almond wafer.  It’s heaven in a cup when mixed with some stevia and heavy cream.

2.  Okay, now stretch for five minutes.  Stretch on your own (hmmmm, piriformis stretches are the best!) or grab a foam roller and roll out those muscles.  If you’re in Barrie, you can pick on up at our office!  Not sure how to foam roll?  Check out our video on how to do it.

…and here’s where it gets fun (really!  I promise!)

3.  Books.  I made a 2013 reading list of 24 books I want to read by the end of the year.  I’m on track to make that happen and part of it is that I not only commit to a minimum of 30 minutes each night before bed but I sometimes add in time during my morning power hour (15-30 minutes).

4.  Journal.  I used to be a collector of journals but I never wrote in them.  Until my friend and colleague, Dr. Amy Robinson, inspired me to finally fill up those pages.  She’s been journaling forever and has noted on many occasions how it has helped her stay connected, process thoughts, work through challenges, and more.  So, I now journal.  It’s also something I do right before bed if I don’t want to go to sleep with a string of thoughts running through my brain.

5.  Purpose Book.  Different than a journal.  I add to it once in a while but not often.  I created a book (picked up supplies at a local arts & crafts store) with the intention of each time I opened it I would be inspired.  The pages include (but are not limited to and continue to grow – if you have some new ideas for me, please share!)

  • A photo of my kids with the word “WHY” at the top.  Because they are my reason for working hard and creating an exceptional life.
  • A list of my values & value statements
  • My purpose.
  • A gratitude page
  • A list of affirmations
  • My kids bedtime affirmations
  • My life list (a bucket list)
  • A list of extraordinary people I want to meet
  • A list of extraordinary places I want to visit
  • Pages of quotes that inspire me
  • A list of books to read (which has since been moved to my Amazon page so that I can access it whenever I’m in a book store or just want to order online)
  • My goals for the year, broken down into quarterly objectives, both professional and personal.
  • A page dedicated to each of the following topics: health & fitness, intellectual life, emotional life, character, spiritual life, love relationships, parenting, social life, financial life, career, quality of life, and life vision.  I’ve written out what would be the ideal in each of these.  (This took a while and I’m often modifying.  I have a file in my computer with the same so I can add in/change as I see fit)
  • An ideal day in my office (my vision for what an ideal day for me is so that each time I read this, I can picture it in my mind with such clarity that as I move towards it, it becomes a reality)
  • A list of priorities for both my personal life and our office (a top ten list of things I would like to see in both areas)
  • A list of five things that would make 2013 my BEST YEAR YET (thanks Robin Sharma for this one!)
  • Pages with ideas from books I’ve read.  For example, the Six Steps of Success from Think & Grow Rich.
My Purpose Book

My Purpose Book

6.  Podcasts.  Find something relevant to your field or something that inspires you to be your best you.  Keep in mind I love inspirational information that revolves around health, parenting and self-development!  A few of my favourites are:

7.  Meditate.  I haven’t mastered this one yet.  I’m not even in the ball park.  Meditation to me often leads to sleep, which would be against the purpose of power hour.  But I’m willing to work on it.

8.  Movement.  Go for a walk.  Do yoga.  Lift some heavy stuff.  I tend to leave this stuff to my exercise routine but I like to shake things up sometimes.  If the mood strikes and it’s a beautiful morning, I’ll walk the dog down to the lake and just breathe.  It’s lovely.

I hope this inspires you and gives you some ideas to go on.  And please, share with me what you love to do with your power hour!  I’m always open to new ideas too.  I like to change things up, keep things fresh, and have fun with it.  And I never forget my tea.

My Reading List for 2013

I was asked a while back by a good friend and fellow chiropractor, Dr. Angie Meyer, to write a blog post all about my reads for 2013. I put together a goal for myself this year to read one book a month. And then inspired by my friend and other fellow chiropractor, Dr. Karen Osburn, decided that my BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal) would be 20 books this year. I’m on #13 as we speak and I still have five months to go so I might just eclipse that BHAG I set out for myself.

I have always loved to read. I used to devour books as a kid. The works of Aesop, Dr. Seuss, Judy Blume, Lynne Reid Banks, Enid Blyton, Lewis Carroll, Roald Dahl (up until a few years ago I referred to him as Ronald Dahl, my apologies), Washington Irving, Norton Juster, Ann Martin, and C.S. Lewis (amongst others) occupied my days and nights.

As I grew older I took to a variety of topics. In high school, I compared and contrasted the novels of Margaret Atwood. I wrote a paper on the love letters between Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning. I poured over the works of Shakespeare. I loved to get lost in the words.

Once I entered college, my reading became focused on text books. While not as exciting, it was necessary to digest books on anatomy, physiology, nutrition, biomechanics, neuroanatomy, and a whole bunch of topics ending with -pathology. To counteract the minutia of class after class of text after text, I took inspiration from Dr. Palmer’s Green books (I haven’t read them all…and not sure if I ever will but I read from them every once in a while) and Dr. Fred Barge as well as non-chiropractic but just as inspirational books from such authors don Miguel Ruiz, Richard Bach and others.

When our kids arrived, I found I just didn’t have the time make the time to read as much as I used to. The new year changed that and with the awesomeness of an accountability group (thanks Karen & Amy), I’m sticking to my goals of getting back to one of my passions. So, here is my (ever-expanding) list of books, some of which I had already read but wanted to re-read.

1. The Six Pillars of Self Esteem

2. The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People

3. The Four Agreements

4. The Last Lecture

5. Good to Great

6. Wheat Belly

7. The Paleo Solution

8. Steve Jobs

9. Killing Sacred Cows

10. The Charge

11. The Greatness Guide

12. The Leader Who Had No Title

13. Think & Grow Rich

14. The Happiness Project

15. Quiet

16. Breaking the Habit of Yourself

17. Jonathon Livingston Seagull

18. The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

19. The Now Habit

20. Contagious

…..and if time permits

21. Disciplined Dreaming

22. On Writing Well

23. It’s Not About the Coffee

24. Long Walk to Freedom


Something I found that has helped is that I created a Wish List on Amazon. If I learn of a book that I want to read, I add it to my book list. Right now I have 64 books on it with so many more I’m sure to add. Once I get close to the end of a book and I have none on my night stand waiting to read, I place an order or go to Chapters. It gives me so much satisfaction to have them arrive in the mail or sit neatly on the passenger seat of my car.

One of the curious things I have found is that people are very skeptical about my desire to read so many books. The number of times I’ve been told: “Oh good for you but I would never have time for that!” is innumerable. But here’s the thing. It’s totally possible if you do the following:

1. Prioritize reading in your life.

2. Choose books that truly interest you.

3. Choose a time of day that you can get alone (even if it’s – gasp – 5AM). I usually spend 30-40 minutes in the morning and then 20-30 minutes at night.

It’s not rocket science. And the more I read, the more efficient I become at getting through books. Some books drone on and I find I put them down in favour of others but I do want to get through the twenty books by December so starting one but not finishing it doesn’t count. And certainly there are days where I just don’t feel like reading. So, I don’t. But I can often carve out an hour where I plunge through a few chapters and I get caught up.

So, thanks for asking, Angie! And for everyone else, enjoy!



I got over my guilt yesterday

Sometimes I find it fascinating that the Monday to Friday workweek puts such rules and restrictions in our society.  It’s not something I think about a lot, just every Monday when I enjoy my day with the kids while my husband, and most other working people, go off to work.  Four years ago I was told by a very wise chiropractor to organize one day of the “work” week to be home with my kids.  I took it to heart and  two years later was able to prioritize my life to make that a reality.  At first it was Fridays and then once Maggie arrived it became Mondays.  I love my Mondays.  It’s my day with the kids to do whatever we want to do.  We often go to the gym (if nothing is planned in the morning) but then we also have adventures to the park, the beach, a trail, the library, a museum, our backyard, or some other exciting locale.

Usually around 2PM though, in the midst of all this fun, I feel a twinge of guilt.  Guilt that asks if I’m being too self indulgent to be home with my kids during the “work” week.  Guilt that says I could be working and making money and contributing to my family in that way today.  Guilt that says “oh, I wish Tom were here because he would love this moment….but he’s at work….ooh, maybe I should be too…..”.

Yesterday it happened in the middle of three brilliant hours of PLAY.  It was a hot (HOT!) afternoon and even the idea of packing up to get to a beach felt like too much work.  So, instead, we blew up this big inflatable crocodile in our backyard that sprays water down the head and tail slides, where it settles in a fun pool at the bottom.  The kids went up and down those slides for an hour straight and then splashed about.  While Maggie was awake, I read in the shade and toddled around with her.  When she slept, I joined in the kid fun.  I went down the slide (and by the way, the reason there is a 100 pound weight limit on that crocodile is because when you are over 100 lbs, you go flying off the side of the slide and land on the grass).  I did cartwheels (in my bathing suit).  We ate popsicles.  We played tag.  We threw the frisbee around.  We ran around yelling, screaming, laughing, and giggling.

Basically, I let go and played.  For three hours straight.  And at some point I felt that twinge of guilt.  I think it was in the midst of trying to show Caleigh how to do a handstand (which failed epically, by the way).  The adult in me said “It’s Monday!  Get some work done!”.  But when I righted myself after falling over from the handstand to see Caleigh’s look of glee on her face, that guilt vanished.


Quote from the book I’m currently reading, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  Although I’m pretty sure I’ve heard it long before this book so I’m not sure exactly who to give credit to.

One day, I am going to look back on these Mondays and be so grateful for the time I get to spend with my children.  I love what I do in my office.  I love the time I get to spend there.  Unlike most Canadian moms, I went back to doing what I love in the office six weeks after my kids were born (most Canadians moms take 12 months).  I don’t work full time but I do get this lovely balance between being at home and being at work.  It would be a lie if I didn’t say there are times at home when I wished I was at work.  It would also be a lie if I didn’t say there are times at work when I wished I was at home.  But 95% of the time, I am truly happy where I am at that moment in time.

And I hope that you can say the same.  If not, here’s a chart that might help.



Did you miss me?  I’ve been kind of sporadic with my postings over the last two months.  Mainly because we slowly lost internet access at our home.  It was slow at first – we both couldn’t get on the internet at the same time.  Then once we were on it would take F…O…R…E…V…E…R to load a site.  Then we could only get on 20% of the time.  Then we got annoyed.  So a phone call to Rogers noted that both our modem and router weren’t up to date and we needed to replace both.  And with a quick $65 purchase we’re up and running again at our home.  It’s SO AWESOME.  It literally took me less than 2 seconds to access my blog.  Last week it would take ten minutes.  Those ten minutes were interspersed with sighs, rolling of my eyes, walking way from my computer, and then finally giving up.


Funny thing is that it took TWO MONTHS for us to finally do something about it.  I think we justified it by saying we could do internet-related things at the office.  But honestly, we weren’t.  Obviously since I’ve blogged two times in as many months.  And all other social media had been put on hold.  Because when we’re at the office, we’re at the office and doing things that matter most there.  Like adjusting.  Like turning the power on for each person who lays down on our tables to get adjusted.  Like helping people express greater potential in their life.

So, would I rather adjust or would I rather blog?

No offense to my loyal blog followers but adjusting is my first love.  🙂

But back to the home issue.  We just dealt with it.  Justified it.  Tolerated it.  Until finally it seemed ridiculous to pay for a service that we weren’t able to use.  And action took place.

It caused me to wonder what else I’m tolerating in my life.  I’m reading a great book right now called “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin.  It was sent to me by my good friend and fellow Wednesday morning accountability call chiropractic mama, Karen Osburn (check out her amazing blog HERE).  The second chapter in her journey to increasing her level of happiness is all about energy.  And part of what she talks about is clearing out her clutter.  Since we’ve put out home on the market, our clutter level has significantly decreased anyhow but one thing she wrote rung true to me – “Don’t put off anything that can be done in under a minute.”

Hanging up my coat.  Putting my shoes into the closet.  Making the bed.  Folding the laundry.  Taking the laundry upstairs.  Watering the plants.  Tidying the toy box.  Straightening the books on the end table.  Wiping down the stove top.  Drying around the kitchen sink.  Taking out the recycling.  Taking out the green box material.  Folding the blanket on the couch.  Putting the dirty dish towel into the laundry room.  Wiping the bathroom  sinks down after brushing teeth.  Putting laundry away.  Drying dishes.  Putting dishes away.

All of these little things that take literally less than a minute (okay, maybe some take less than five minutes) and when I wasn’t doing them on a regular basis, it just made the home look untidy.  It would pile up – all of these little things that we would tolerate.  But by staying on top of them, I feel so much more content living in my own home.

I’ve made toleration lists for my office before.  Similar to above but basically a list of all the “things” that we’ve tolerated in our office for the last while.  And simply by drawing attention to them, we knock things off our list so much more quickly.

So, I throw out a challenge to you.  Make your own toleration list.  The list could reflect your home, your wardrobe, your relationships, your health,your business, your refrigerator, your yard, your self….. you get the idea.  And then have fun.  Knock those tolerations off your list.  I’d love your feedback on how it feels!

Bedtime Routine thanks to Robin Sharma

I read an incredible excerpt from Robin Sharma’s “The Greatness Guide” about the routine he has set for himself and his kids before bed.

First of all, I really like Robin Sharmas stuff.  I mean, not only is he Canadian (eh!) but he speaks and writes so eloquently and creates simple yet profound ideas for people to grab onto in order to help make their lives better.  My morning power hour is a result of his readings.  I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have to hear things multiple times before I really listen to the message.   In this case it was Mr. Sharma’s book.  I’ve been told many many times that getting up early (like 5AM early) to have an hour dedicated to myself is an exceptional life changing strategy.  However it wasn’t until I read it in TGG that I finally put it into practice.  And yes, it is a life changer.

Another nugget I’ve taken from his book was the missing piece to our kids bedtime routine.  Each night, after we have read our bedtime stories and talked about what was good about our days, I ask them to recite these five affirmations with me:

1.  When I grow up, I can be anything I want to be.

2.  When I grow up, I can do anything I want to do.

3.  Whatever I do, I will do it well.

4.  I will never give up.

5.  I will always remember how much my mommy loves me.  

It brings a smile to their faces.  It brings a smile to mine.  I truly believe that imprinting my kids with those empowering thoughts will make a huge difference in their lives.  I want them to know that they can achieve anything they want if they truly put their minds to it.  Right now Caleigh wants to be a part time ballerina and part time chiropractor.  Blake wants to be the guy who drives a firetruck.  When I asked him if he means to say a fireman, he says “no, just the guy who drives the truck.”


And you know what?  I know he’ll be great at it.

Coming on like Gangbusters in 2013

Firstly, I’d like to wish you all a belated Merry Christmas.  We spent some family time down in New York, visiting Dr. Tom’s family.  If you have had the pleasure of being adjusted by Dr. Tom, you’ll have picked up on his New Jersey accent.  The way he says “car” and “drawer”, it’s a dead give away.  While I was in NJ, I took the opportunity to train at CrossFit Ignite on Christmas Eve.  If you’re familiar with the people of CrossFit, you will know that they are a committed group of ridiculously energetic people (check out my blog post on it here).  Add the NJ accent and all that is good about the NJ attitude (and I DO mean that in the absolute best definition of the word, I’m married to the best thing ever to come out of NJ), and you’ve got one crazy amount of energy in a CrossFit box.


I am 100% amped up for 2013.  There is something refreshing about starting a new year.  My basic lifestyle honestly doesn’t change that much – I am already adjusted (powered up!), I eat by design, I move by design, and I think by design – but regardless I am internally programmed to be excited about a new year and the possibilities it presents.  It’s a comparison mark to the year before.  2012 was a great year.  We had some incredible growth in our office welcoming Dr. Kara Hoffsuemmer, DC and Becky Brenneman, RMT.  We elevated our Life by Design message in Barrie both in our office at our monthly seminars and in our community to many different businesses, organizations, and groups.  And most importantly we welcomed Maggie into our already amazing family.  So considering 2012 was…well, kind of awesome…I’m pretty stoked at the expectation that 2013 will be even better.

Here’s why.

I’m making 2013 my best year yet both personally and professionally.  Part of defining my purpose in my life is to define my values.  My values define who I am as a human being and also help me define my goals daily, weekly, monthly, annually, and years out (2,3, 5, 10+).  Taking a clear look at my goals, I’ve established my plan over the next few months.  To give you a taste (because honestly, the list is extensive….it’s in my purpose book that I read and re-read each morning to gain even more clarity), here are some of the goals I’ve set out for myself.

Power by Design – Weekly adjustments to keep my brain-body connection clear.  Plus, quarterly chiropractic re-assessments to make sure that my weekly care plan is meeting my functional needs.

Think by Design – I have twelve books chosen to read over the next twelve months.  One per month, at the very least, with the hopes of more added to the list when I run out of books to read this June.  I’ll be putting aside 60 minutes a day to read (think that’s tough?  Turn off the TV at night, folks) They are, in no particular order:

  • The Six Pillars of Self Esteem by Branden (I’m re-reading this one, it’s a tough read but a good one)
  • Influence by Cialdini
  • The Monk who Sold His Ferrari by Sharma
  • Outsmart by Champy
  • Steve Jobs: A Biography by Isaacson
  • The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Covey (another re-read.  I need a reminder)
  • Purple Cow by Godin
  • Made to Stick by Heath & Heath
  • The Four Hour Work Week by Ferris
  • E-Myth by Gerber
  • Think and Grow Rich by Hill
  • The Message of a Master by McDonald

Eat by Design – I eat by design 90% of the time.  However I want to become more inspired and organized in the kitchen.  Monday becomes my new food shopping day to get ready for the week.   Meals prepared the week ahead of time, food purchased and prepped, and better recipes to keep my family and friends inspired when they eat with us!  I’ll be checking out these websites regularly for meal ideas:  PaleOMG, Civilized Caveman Cooking, Balanced Bites, NomNom Paleo , Health Bent and stocking my kitchen with their cookbooks in order to get excited about food without going online.

Move by Design – If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I have three kids.  One of the common excuses I hear from moms is that they don’t have time to work out.  This is the part where I call moms on this excuse.  Sorry, ladies, but the “I have kids” card isn’t going to cut it.  We’re talking about priorities here – and so I have one question for you.  Is your physical health a priority for you?  If so (and it should be), make the time to work out.  I have a few goals for myself this year:

  • Deadlift 200 lbs
  • Do a handstand push up
  • Participate in Tough Mudder (I registered for this last year prior to finding out I was welcoming a baby and would be 5 months pregnant when the event was taking place, this year, I’m in)
  • Yoga once a week

There are more.  Many more.  The most important thing to take away from these though is that each goal has a plan in order to achieve it.  I’ve spelled out to myself how I will go about getting to the goal, given them a time frame, made sure they are attainable and realistic (it’s the age old SMART acronym for goal setting – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time frame).

In a couple of days I’ll be ringing in the new year with Tom.  We are spending a quiet evening at home, making fondue (starting with a broth for the meats and followed by a dark chocolate one for fruit….mmmmm, I’m drooling at the thought of it), reminiscing over the last year, and most importantly looking forward to the excitement of 2013.

Changing Routine on Day 8

When life gives you lemons…

It only took me 27 days to figure it out.  Actually 27 nights.  Long nights that were interrupted by feedings.  Those lovely feedings where I get to gaze at my youngest daughter and think random thoughts.  Some of those thoughts kept me awake even more than the feedings.  It’s amazing where you mind can go during the early hours of the morning.  I have trouble getting back to bed because of all the thoughts swirling around in my head.  Those thoughts I used to write down (hard to do when holding a baby) or work through in my morning power hour.

And then on the 27th night it hit me.  Maggie’s routine is different from that of my other two kids.  All three of my kids have been early risers but Maggie takes the definition of early to a whole new level.  For her, 5:00 is a wake up call.  I fought that 5:00 wake up call for the first 26 nights.  I would lie her in bed between my husband and I, then get up with her when I couldn’t get her to fall back asleep.  I’d rock her in my arms, try to nurse a full belly, check a dry diaper, gently bounce her up and down, try putting her down again…only to, in sheer exhaustion, look down at her and see wide eyes.  And yet at 6:00, when my other two early birds are ready to rise, she would fall back asleep.  The textbook “return to sleep after being awake for the first hour” of a newborn’s routine.  The difference with my first two kids is that this phenomenon happened between 6 and 7, not before 5AM.

So, a change in routine was instituted last night and damn, what a change in our lives!  I made the change  in my routine to go to sleep an hour earlier than normal and then I’m good to get up at 5AM instead of wanting to head back to bed.  Yes, still two nighttime feedings but when I can wake up feeling rested with 6 hours sleep in the early morning, it’s a whole different story.

And the best part?  The 5 AM wake up call means I get my morning power hour back.  I make a cup of tea, I nurse Maggie, and the two of read from an assortment of books.  Or maybe tomorrow morning, we’ll do some yoga.  Or I could spend time re-working my goals for when I return to adjusting in a couple of weeks.  Whatever I choose to do, the coolest part is that I get my morning power hour back and it feels great!

So, my Life by Design 30 Day Challenge DAY 8 was really fantastic.

Think by Design – Morning Power Hour spent reading from The Greatness Guide by Robin Sharma.  Nursed Maggie.  Spent quality time with all three of my kids today.  Laughed with my husband.

Eat by Design – Veggie omelette, bacon, tea w/ stevia & heavy cream, almonds, meat sticks, apple, carrot sticks, shrimp & sausage gumbo w/ veggies, lots of water & LBD supplements (fish oils & vitamin D…still need to get probiotics at house!)

Move by Design – 2 km walk with kids.  Practiced push ups.  20 knee-down push ups…ready to jump into regular push ups tomorrow (I think…)

Power by Design – heck yeah.  Adjusted by my hubby.