Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 Year in Review (Part II)

What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
  • Lost 60+ pounds
  • Got pregnant
  • Tried a spinning class
  • Ran 10K
  • Placed 3rd place in my age division for a 2K

Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't think I made new year's resolutions...but I did decide to turn our health around and make a lifestyle change and if I'm allowed to blame pregnancy a bit, BEFORE the "EAT ALL THE THINGS" cravings started, I think I was doing a very good job of keeping it!  I don't know if I have concrete resolutions for this year, but I know I've got a lot of goals and plans made that the little miss can probably shatter or change in the blink of her little eye! :)

Did anyone close to you give birth?
YES! So many babies this year!  Melissa gave birth to her little Olivia five (FIVE!!!) weeks early and she's doing amaaaazing and Kristine introduced us to sweet little Mia just a few weeks ago!  There were a couple other baby births, but the question was "anyone close to me" *LOL* Babies everywhere!!!

Did anyone close to you die?
No...every day I am very thankful for that...and I hope and pray that carries on into the new year!

What countries did you visit?
Just the US this year.  When we found out about little miss it was pretty much easy to decide that our traveling days and yearly trips are on hold for now... :)

What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
I wouldn't say I lacked anything in 2013, but our little one isn't here just yet, so I'd love to meet her and have her in 2014!  I would also like to have the resolve to get back to our commitment to a healthy/fit/active lifestyle and I would also like to log more running mileage in 2014 than I did in 2013 :)

What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
May 14 - the day we found out there was going to be an addition to our little family!

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
  • Committing to losing weight and getting healthy and maintaining an overall healthier lifestyle
  • Completing the Insanity program
  • Actually losing 60+ pounds
  • Getting pregnant!

What was your biggest failure?
I feel like I could have been stronger in overcoming my "EAT ALL THE THINGS" cravings...

Did you suffer illness or injury?
No injury thank goodness and no pregnancy-related illness either, but I did inconveniently come down with shingles about two months into the pregnancy which caused quite a bit of stress!

What was the best thing you bought?
MY CAR!  I've owned it for 6 years but as of December 14th, it was officially BOUGHT and PAID FOR IN FULL by myself!  Otherwise, just a bunch of health and fitness gadgets and all of the baby gear that we think we'll need for when the little miss gets here!

Whose behavior merited celebration?
Bart's - he's just the bestest, most awesome-est man in the universe and I can't wait to see him a Daddy!

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Same as usual, I guess... *LOL* But I wouldn't go so far as depressed...just appalled!

Where did most of your money go?
Running and fitness gear/gadgets!!!  And in the tail end of 2013 - BABY things!

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I am STILL really, really, really excited about meeting our baby!  But before then I was really, really, really excited when the weight started coming off and staying off and then I was really, really, really excited about FINALLY feeling like I was a "runner" and meeting some running goals that I thought I would never get to!

What song will always remind you of 2013
  • We Are Young - Fun (this song played at Melissa's and Rory's wedding and ALL my friends who are just like family to me were on the dance floor and we were doing some weird circle dance holding hands and swaying and it was just like what the song was saying.  It was our time and we were young and had everything going for us on that day that was the mark of a new beginning and it was cornily a really epic moment that stands out in my memory quite a bit!)
  • You are My Sunshine - first song Bart sang to our baby in my belly

Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier
b) thinner or fatter? THINNER! Yee-haw, that's the first time I've been able to write that in all the year in reviews I've done!  And it's awesome that it's still true even while being 8  months pregnant! *LOL*
c) richer or poorer? Richer...on paper...but poorer because I keep spending it and now it's technically spent for the next 18 years or so *LOL*

What do you wish you’d done more of?
I wish I had blogged more, I wish I had taken more pictures, I wish I had put the electronics down and cuddled and talked with Bart more, I wish I had spent more time with friends, I wish I had become more active sooner...

What do you wish you’d done less of?
I wish I'd spent less time procrastinating...worrying...

How did you spend Christmas?
Christmas Eve we spent with my mom's side of the family! Huge pot-luck where there was too much food as usual and we opened up our secret Santa gifts and made all the kids do weird and embarrassing things for their presents *LOL* Then over to church for mass where we sang in the choir and only messed up a couple of times :) Christmas Day we went over to my parents to open up gifts together and visited my grandparents. Then for dinner, we met up with Bart's parents for our annual Christmas dinner buffet at this hotel that we've been going to for quite a few years now and I ate an indecent amount of bread pudding covered in caramel sauce.

How many one-night stands?
A whole string of 'em with my husband! *wince* TMI?

What was your favourite TV program?
Hands down: Big Bang Theory

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I'm an equal opportunist...I dislike the general population the same *LOL* Plus, hate is a very strong word...

What was the best book you read?
Hard to say...read a lot...I doubt any of them would really be classified as the BEST...plus, I can't really remember...

What was your greatest musical discovery?
Might have to pass on this one...

What did you want and got?
  • I wanted to lose weight and the body the went along with that and I got it
  • I wanted to get pregnant and got the little pink plus sign
  • I wanted a crap load of running/fitness gear and I got it

What did you want and not get?
It is humbling to know that everything I wanted this year within reason, I received.  I am blessed beyond measure.

What was your favorite film of this year
Honestly, I can't really remember all of the movies I went to see...so I'll just say the most recent film I saw was The Hobbit 2 - The Desolation of Smaug and true to the middle movie in a trilogy, it was boring.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Again, humbling to know that there's nothing more I could ask for that would make this year more satisfying...we are very blessed and in the words of Edwin McCain - I Could Not Ask For More

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
Besides the awesome fact that the size of my clothes went down?  I would LIKE to say it was ironic/hipster, but I think I purposely just tried to dress like a tool - it was fun and the knee socks are ALWAYS in!

What kept you sane?
Bart and my family and having goals to work towards

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Not one to get caught up in celebrities...

What political issue stirred you the most?
*wince* I'm not very good with political issues.  I am aware of Obama's attempt to introduce Obamacare in the US.  I am sickenly aware of all the attention that the Toronto Mayor, Rob Ford is garnering and recently, Nelson Mandela passed away...figuring out what Nelson Mandela did in order for everyone to be sad that he was gone...I found out via Wikipedia :S

Who did you miss?
I miss Bart when he's away for work at weird hours and far away from home and on days like today when the weather is rotten and the roads are bad

Who was the best new person you met?
2013 Catherine - I like her, she's spunky.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
Persistence.  Little things count.  Time goes by fast. 

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year
Tonight
We are young
So let’s set the world on fire
We can burn brighter than the sun

So if by the time the bar closes
And you feel like falling down
I’ll carry you home tonight

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

2013 Year in Review (Part I)

I know it's a bit early, but thought I'd start my 2013 Year in Reviews since things might get a little busy starting next week!  I feel like I'm all finished my Christmas shopping, but perhaps because it feels early, I have this sneaking suspicion that I'm going to realize I forgot 15 or 20 people and will have to rush out on the 24th to buy stuff.

I couldn't decide which Year in Review I wanted to do from the ones I had done previously, so I figured that since I'm really proud and happy with how 2013 went, I'd do them all and break them up into parts! *LOL*

JANUARY
Happy 30th Birthday to ME!  Celebrated with family at LaserQuest *LOL* and then with the bestest friends and family at The Flying Dog where I also celebrated my 30+ pounds weight-loss at that time!  On that note, also finished the Insanity program ON my birthday - which was the best birthday gift I could have ever given to myself!  Also became captain of my very own Ultimate Frisbee team!

Excerpts from Twitter:
Catherine B. @Si11ySkitt1es 2 Jan
Wedding in March and my bridesmaid dress now falls to the floor when I try it on. Guess I'd better do something about that...

Think I threw my hip out trying to be sexy during Zumba *wince*



FEBRUARY
Went to VEGAS, BABY!  What originally began as plans for a bachelorette party turned into a joint birthday celebration for me and Melissa instead!  Got a really good deal flying out of Buffalo but then got shuffled around a bit on connecting flights.  Made up for it at the buffets and had the BEST. TIME. EVER!  Once we got home, I invested in my FIRST pair of Skora running shoes and ran my FIRST 3.1 miles EVER without stopping.

Excerpts from Twitter:
3 Feb
First time I have almost vomited on an airplane. Not cool.

At Ye's sushi - the belt has not only been loosened, it's been removed. True story.


MARCH
Melissa and Rory got married and I was honoured to be a part of their special day!  Ended up losing enough weight to go down a bunch of dress sizes but didn't really notice the difference until I looked at this "before and after" comparison!  Also discovered the existence of VIRTUAL races and Tara and I signed up for the Happy 5K!

Excerpts from Twitter:
2 Mar
No hot water in the house. I had to wash my hair under the faucet. Like a savage.

Wake up at 6 to go to the gym. Worst . Idea. Ever. Uuugh!


APRIL
Tara and I both started keeping track of our running mileage and discovered the Nike SportWatch and the Nike Running App and the games were ON.  We both logged a LOT of mileage this month just because we couldn't stand to be ranked 2nd after the other! *LOL*  Also discovered the existence of the RunDisney races and the Princess Half Marathon!  On that note, we pre-registered for the Happy 10K! ...something TMI may have also happened this month...

Excerpts from Twitter:
6 Apr
Waiting for my to charge so I can get out for a run!

I wish it wasn't creepy to invite you all to feel my arms. I have muscles now.


MAY
Went Stateside to visit our wonderful 'Murican friends and it was full of FOOD, FUN and RUNNING!  Noticed I was a little bit more tired than usual and couldn't bang out the km's as easily as before, but ran my FIRST 10K on the treadmill!  Found out May 14th why I was feeling so tired and my running pace was slowing down: PREGNANT!

Excerpts from Twitter:
1 May
I ate chicken wings. That is all.

Reminder: I am blessed.



JUNE
Not much really happened in this month.  Once I had a giant secret I couldn't tell anyone, I had to pretty much drop off of the face of social media and whatnot.  Was really sad to have to stop playing frisbee though.  Also found out that someone else was expecting a little someone!!! WEEE!

Excerpts from Twitter:
11 Jun
Advice: There's a time and place to air your personal drama. Facebook is neither.

JULY
Still keeping the baby a secret so not a whole lot on the activity front!  Bart and I went up the Zwep's trailer to hang out and also to watch Tara and Teresa tackle the Warrior Dash (that I was originally signed up for but could now no longer do :( Boo!)

Excerpts from Twitter:
15 Jul
Shingles house arrest :(

AUGUST
Finally announced to people that we were expecting and we got to find out at the end of the month that our little munchkin is a GIRL! *SQUEAL*  Tara and I had also signed up for the Happy10K and did an easy run/walk/pee up at the trailer!

Excerpts from Twitter:
10 Aug
Baby's room, Percy Jackson, car wash and corn fest. It's been a very nice day :)

Bart: What are you thinking about?
Cat: How awesome I am.



SEPTEMBER
Happy 6th Anniversary to US!  Celebrated it knowing that the next anniversary, we would have a little baby girl to celebrate with us!  Now that the first trimester tiredness is past, able to start "running" again.  Because it wasn't exactly running, I coined some new terms for it: Woggling (waddle + jogging) and waffing (walk + shuffle).  Ran a Donkey race with my friend Josho and tried out spinning for the first time!

Excerpts from Twitter:
15 Sep
Sweet mother of all that is holy...

Oh! The other instances were questionable, but today (few minutes ago!) marks the first time Bart and I felt the little miss kick!


OCTOBER
Signed up for not one but TWO races at the Niagara Falls International Marathon weekend!  Of course, I'd signed up before I knew I was preggo, but since it was only a 5K and a 2K, I felt I could still woggle/waffle through them @ 28 weeks! Ended up finishing in 3rd place in my age group (for 2K) which resulted in a place medal - on top of the finishers medal we received! 

Excerpts from Twitter:
13 Oct
Earlier today on our woggle "run", I tripped on and almost fell 'cuz of bubble wrap. It was scary but fun and entertaining at the same time

I'm pretty sure some of my left ribs are in positions or places they're not supposed to be...

NOVEMBER
This was SHOWER month! I helped throw one for Mel and she helped throw one for me and it was all kinds of fabulous!  Our little munchkins are very, very loved and probably slightly spoiled already - as were we!  November also saw me put my cake decorator hat back on and I made a small wedding cake for the first time in a really long time!  P.S. It didn't happen to me but Paul Walker died in a car crash taking Brian from Fast and Furious with him :(

Excerpts from Twitter:
2 Nov
Today feels like a Starbucks peppermint hot chocolate WITH the whipped cream kind of day!

Confession: "...and so this is Christmas..." *change channel* :S


DECEMBER
I know it's still a bit early to be posting December (today's the 17th) since the month isn't over yet, but anticipating things to be getting busy!  This week marks my last week of work until I go back in January of 2015.  It's crazy to think about, I can barely wrap my head around it - including the fact that in exactly a month from today (well, IF she comes on time which I've heard is unlikely) I'll be meeting that little girl in PERSON.  I'm excited and terrified all at the same time.  I can barely handle it all or take it all in!

Excerpts from Twitter:
3 Dec
Especially now that I know the reason behind it, is creepy. It's like a little, festive, holiday Chucky doll watching...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Of running days past...

I had originally planned to post up my PolarLoop review in between my gift "guides" so I wouldn't look like a total greedy bastard, but of course, since it's me, it turns out it's a lot longer than I anticipated and not quite ready yet.
In the meantime, here's what's been happening lately:
Workout Round-up:
Run/Walk Two weeks ago: 3.70 miles
Run/Walk Last week: 2.69 miles
Cross-Training: BIG FAT ZERO
We've still been going to the indoor track every other day at lunch, but I'm just not able to bring myself to go any faster to get any more distance.  It was pretty much averaging out for the last month or so, but I've noticed a really steady decline these last few days.  I think the baby's at the point where she's got herself positioned in a way that's pushing up against my lungs because I can't seem to catch my breath these days and every little thing makes me sweat like I've done an actual work out when in truth, it was just me lifting up my foot so Bart can get my sock and shoe on.
I'm sad because I really wanted to be like one of those people that I had read about who just casually mention that they were out for an easy run the day they went into labor.  
I think it's a combination of self-fulfilling prophecy and just plain old laziness that I'm not in that category because I guess I could still be trying.  I've always wondered about that when I've read about other pregnant runners on their blog mentioning that they're still running easy 5 or 6 miles while being only a couple weeks behind me.  I think, is it me?  Could I actually be running instead of shuffling if I really tried or is it because I told myself that I'm pregnant and that it's okay if I'm not, that that's what's really making me shuffle instead?

I recently joined the land of Facebook Pages for my blog.  Besides wanting a bit more exposure for it (in the hopes that I'd get more of a readership that doesn't just solely include my mama and Bart, who I manually subscribed myself to receive my updates), I also thought it would be a good way to give people on my personal friends list the opportunity to decide whether or not they really wanted to see my "health and fitness" related status updates.
I don't update too much anymore, but I noticed that when I do, most of it is running or workout related and apparently, people can get tired of seeing those.  So I thought having a dedicated page where it's expected that I would post things like that there would help alleviate any irritation anyone on my list is feeling towards me when I post yet another picture of my feet in running shoes *LOL*
This past weekend, in the interest of accountability (and also to have something to say since I now have a page that needs content), I announced that I would be stuffing my face at a holiday party but that it would be okay because I was going to go work out.  In fact, I was going to go to Courtney's spin class that I haven't been to in forever.  There. It's out there.  I've told all these people (all 28 of them at the time) that I was going to do something, so I'd better go and do it.
Such was not the case and I am really upset about that.  We were out and about and we had gone to watch my old team's frisbee game and ducked out early so that I could go home and get my things ready for spin class since I had also told Bart that I planned on heading to the gym.  I got everything ready, my gym bag packed full of the things I would need - including the obligatory towel that I would lay across my spin bike's handlebars to make me look legit - and my new Skora running shoes (the white, gray and cyan ones because they would look AWESOME strapped to the pedals - like real cycling shoes!) and it was still a bit early and I was feeling a bit tired and out of breath and slightly sweaty from having gathered everything together.  So I thought I would have a quick lie down just to get a quick re-charge - to give the systems a quick little boost before heading out the door.
Sooo....three hours later and I wake up and the room is completely dark and I have completely missed Courtney's class.  At the time, I wasn't all that sad about it because I was still feeling groggy after having just woken up, but the more alert I became, the more upset I was.  
I know growing a human is tiring and takes a lot out of a person, but I still really feel like I might be taking too much advantage of that and not doing even a little bit of my part.  Couple that with the fact that I am now basically on a food free-for-all.  These last 5 weeks are going to see my little Ava-bear go from a cute little regular sized baby to like, a 10 lbs ginormous baby.  I just KNOW it.
On other, non-baby-pregnant-whining news...
I may have mentioned that I like to start blogs and then abandon them here and there.  I recently remembered about one of them that I was using during the time Tara and I started our Couch to 5K program.  Just curious, I thought I'd look back on it and it totally floored me.  Perhaps I'm being too hard on myself lately (or perhaps not) but there is nothing like looking back on actual written words/accounts to really feel a sense of accomplishment.  Before and after pictures are fine, but for me....reading what I used to think and experience when I first started out running really brought things home for me.
So much so that I got all the entries together and made them a "series" page on my blog's menu bar.  I replaced the "Recipe" bar with the Couch to 5K Series because #letsbehonest, I'm never really going to "invent" or have a "take" on a recipe because I can't bring myself to really cook anything *LOL*.  The other series I added was my journey through Insanity.  I thought it would be a good resource to look back on when (if?) I get back around to re-setting my lifestyle change journey.
Just for fun, here's a look at a few excerpts from my Couch to 5K entries:
From Dazed and Confused:
Oh how I *SO* wasn't prepared to have my ass kicked by week three.  Tara's saying when we finish a run is that we kicked asphalt, to me, it felt more like I gently nudged it with my little toe and it turned around and drop kicked me.  After the run, I was joking that while Tara was looking to see if it was safe to cross the road, I was looking for a car to jump in front of, because if I got hit by a car, I could at least stop running - maybe catch my breath.  It was BY FAR, the most difficult run ever. EVER.  It was ridonculous!  I'm still in shock how difficult it was.

...I was focused on noise of my breathing.  Tara said it's pretty much how she knew I was still behind her.  As long as she could hear me huffing and puffing away, I was still behind her - and alive. *LOL*  Imagine Steffi Graph running around looking like a complete shit show - complete with the tennis sounds.  That was me dragging my ass down the sidewalk.  It didn't help that while I was focused on huffing and puffing, I ended up sucking back a wad of my own spit and practically choked myself with breath that I didn't even have to spare!  I didn't even have time to see spots in front of my eyes, I could have pretty much went straight to unconsciousness.
This was week three folks.  If I look back on the training plan, week three is:

Only TWO repetitions consisting of a 90 second jog and a 3 minute jog and I was contemplating suicide by traffic just to get it all to stop.  This floors me and really illustrates to me that regardless of how I'm doing right now "running"-wise, I really came from somewhere.  I started out at the bottom.  Heck, I started out in a HOLE at the bottom considering I couldn't finish a 60 second jog during week one.

One more...

From Fear:
Everytime I think about running this afternoon, my tummy does a little Mexican fiesta jig and I feel like I could pee myself a little...
I fear the self-induced punishment that is waiting for me outside...

I need a paper bag.

And I know I tend to exaggerate a lot, but besides the "funny" descriptions, there really was REAL fear in all of this.  I knew I was asking my body to do things that it was literally proving to me it wasn't quite up to doing!

The thing is, there is no movie-style happy ending with this.  Not really.  I don't manage to overcome my fear and pull out this giant win in slow motion montage.  I don't get up from a beating I took from running and mutter "it ain't ova until I say it's ova" all Rocky Balboa style.  I finished the program on a treadmill because it was easier than running outside and therefore made me feel like less of a failure and after that, I dropped mostly off the face of the earth only to show up at the Niagara Falls race having barely run at all the last couple of months.

But giving myself a chance to read back on this really opens my eyes to the fact that things can always get better if you stick with it.  It may not be the leaps and bounds that you expect, but persistence really does mean something.  I'm sad now that at thirty-something weeks pregnant, I can only run walk 3 kms in a half-hour span, when before I couldn't run walk 90 seconds!  And right now, I'm just IN THIS moment.  What will I be feeling a year from now when I read all of this again?  If I just keep AT it...will I be posting that I went SLOWER than 3 kms in half an hour?  I doubt it.  Not if I keep trying and just getting out there and making the commitment, having the will and putting out the effort.  Water eventually erodes rock.  I can keep at this until I forge my own way.  Setbacks are minor moments in the long run...so long as I allow myself the chance at a long run.

Whew....I got a little after-school special inspired there.  But even THAT'S inspiring.  I inspired MYSELF!  With success!  Most people - especially now that the year is coming to a close again - I see a lot of people trying to push themselves through by guilt or shame - by looking at the things they didn't do.  You can only beat yourself up so badly that you can  motivate yourself.  After that it's a fine line until you just give up.

As much as I love getting comments and knowing other readers out there are reading and/or interested in anything I have to say...THIS shows me why I'm keeping this blog.  It's for ME!  Because I can't measure how far I've really come if I can't look back on where I started.

And despite how fun and awesome before and after pictures are (especially when there actually ARE after pictures) reading past posts and comparing them to now and then imagining what the future could hold is way more satisfying. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Santa Baby...

"Santa baby, slip a sable under the tree, for me
I've been an awful good girl
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight"

- Taylor Swift

While looking for the lyrics for this song, it's come to my attention that there are a LOT of versions of it.  I don't really know who did the original song (was it Madonna?) but I like Taylor's swing-y, country version as opposed to those sexy, breathy, pouty-er versions.  Plus, I'm in the T-Swizzle fan club *insert hands making a heart shape here*

Last time, I had started things off on a well-meaning note in that I wanted to put together some ideas to help you think of a gift to ask for or to help someone who needs to get a gift for the fitness enthusiast in their life.  After it evolved into being just a listing of things that I want, the motivation behind this post has evolved with it as well...hence the song change *LOL*

Gotta admire this song's lyrics - it makes no ifs, ands or buts about it.  She just wants stuff.  Girlfriend is keepin' it real!  Just to be clear, I actually haven't ASKED anyone for all this stuff since I'm waiting on a much grander kind of gift (to be delivered by myself, actually LOL), but it's still fun to put it out there!

So without further ado, here's the rest of the stuff I had that didn't fit into my first collage!  My Christmas Want List - PART TWO!


  1. Shakeology (approx. $129.95 USD)
    Ever since I got on the Insanity bandwagon, there's a lot of mention of Shakeology in the DVDs.  Right now, I'm still a Vega girl in that, pre-preggo days, I used to drink one Vega smoothie every day for breakfast because I was never much of a breakfast person to begin with, so this was a happy little compromise.  But y'all know how well infomercials work on me and besides just being curious about it, I'm following a lot of BeachBody coaches through social media and it just seems like something I'd like to try.  At the end of the day, it doesn't seem to differ that much in price from the Vega cannisters I've already been getting (and I hate to say it, but I don't remember Shakeology having any recalls of late for bad chemicals getting into some of their lots - in which one of my cannisters was affected and I sent them an E-Mail and have yet to hear back... *coughs*)  But don't let Shakeology being on this list fool you.  I'm not pulling a switcharoo because of a perhaps bad experience.  I still like to pick up my shake mixes in person and still hate to wait for shipping from online orders.  It's just always been in the back of my mind that I'd like to try Shakeology, that' s all. 
  2. Nike+ Kinect Training (approx. $29.83 CAD)
    With my membership in the Nike+ trifecta (owning the FuelBand, SportBand and SportWatch), and the whole idea behind their FuelPoints, I've been wanting to try out this game for a while and it's only recently been reduced in price.  I think the last time Tara and I had an interest in getting it so we can compete with each other even more, it was retailing at $49.99.  For me, it just looks like another fun alternative to staying active while at home where otherwise one may just end up sitting on the couch and vegging out.  The thing I like best about the idea behind FuelPoints is that it's like a fun game - if you think being competitive is fun, I guess.  You forget a little bit that you're moving and being active because all you're trying to do is one-up the person you're competing against.  Add a video game to the mix and it's covering a lot of bases for the techno geek in me!  I've seen the game at Walmart or EB Games (here in Canada) but I'm sure you can pick it up at a bunch of other places + online.
  3. Jogging Stroller Travel System (approx. $200 - eleventy billion dollars apparently)
    Bart and I are pretty much all set with the important necessities for the arrival of the little one.  She has a place to sleep, feed and she'll be clothed and diapered.  The one thing that will ensure that we get to take her home with us in order to do those things is having a car seat in order to transport her from the hospital to our house.  Apparently, they won't let you take baby anywhere if you don't have a car seat and as of yet, we do not.  I never imagined it would be this hard to just pick one.  And that's the thing right there.  There's so frickin' many of them.  And the price range is from super affordable (and super cheap, plastic-y looking) to astronomical.  Is it a brand name thing?  Peg Perego seems to think people can pay $1200+ for a stroller that may or may not come with a car seat and the thing is, people ARE paying it!

    Even though I don't really know how my mindset and goals will change once the baby actually comes and how I handle it, in a perfect world, I would love to be able to get back to being active with her once she's here.  Hence the reason why I want a jogging stroller above all else.  The one pictured is the Baby Trend Expedition from Babies 'R' Us (and also seen on the Sears website) and the biggest pull for me is those air-filled tires.  I pushed it around Babies 'R' Us and it seems very nice and smooth.  The problem is, there are a TON of other ones that feel nice and smooth.  How can you decide what feels nicer and smoother?  The biggest downfall for me is that the ones I've got my eye on seem to be the biggest, bulkiest and heaviest out there.  I told Bart I don't really have a problem with hauling the thing around as the reason I want it is to get back/stay in shape and I can hardly do that by complaining about the thing being heavy, can I?  But every time we set out to just go ahead and buy it, or ANY, we always leave empty handed.

    The other super shallow thing about what's taking so long is for some reason, the ones that I like and can afford always seem to come in the UGLIEST colours EVERRRRR.  And of course the pretty ones that I like are either made out of plastic and superglued together, or their worth more than the car that I will be placing the car seat IN.
  4. Nike Studio Wrap Pack aka yoga shoes (approx. $50 - $160 USD)
    Are these not the coolest things ever?!  Or do you have to be a past ballerina in order to covet these?  In which case, your opinion may then differ from mine.  They just look so pretty and dainty!  I don't yoga as much as I used to before (and #letsbehonest, I never practiced yoga that much before anyway) but even with barefeet, I always had a problem with traction on the mat and these seem like the cutest solution besides wearing those socks with the rubber grips at the bottom.

    The price range differs in that there are plain Studio wraps without the straps and ribbons.  I haven't done a lot of research on them besides squealing that I want the ones with the ribbons, but aside from that, I can't really tell much of a difference that would account for the cost increase between the two.  In any case, you can view them from the Nike store itself or perhaps find them (hopefully) cheaper online elsewhere.
  5. Spinning/Cycling Shoes (approx. I have no idea)
    I can't be all helpful in this besides the fact that I want pretty nice looking ones.  That is all.  I don't have any thoughts or advice regarding any kind of spinning shoe or why you would even want to have them in terms of how they would be beneficial for you.  I took Courtney's spinning class a few times and if you know me, you know I like my gear and looking the part.  So while I cannot say how having spinning shoes will make me any less of a newbie on my bike (especially in terms of my poor, sore butt and flowery girl bits), it will sure make me LOOK more legit on my bike (despite my poor, sore butt and flower girl bits).  Sometimes you just gotta fake it 'til you make it!  And having some sweet shoes may not only make you look better, but feel better about yourself or what you're doing.  Dropping some decent coin on certain gear may also ensure that you stick with it a little bit longer and lessen the chance of you quitting, too. *LOL*  I'm sure you can look around and check local sporting goods stores or online cycling/spinning stores for some shoes - or feel free to ask Courtney, my very own spinning guru over at Treadmill Runway.
  6. Lululemon Ta Ta Tamer (approx. $50 - $60 CAD)
    I was never one to want to spend too much on a sports bra.  In fact, I never really thought much about it as my first sports bras used to come from Giant Tiger or Walmart.  In fact, being 34 weeks pregnant, these are still the bras that I'm wearing and they seem to be doing the job just fine (although I would guess it would all depend on how...endowed you are...)  I started thinking more seriously about support when I started considering how I wanted to return to an active lifestyle (specifically to running and ultimate frisbee) as soon as possible after giving birth.  With that timeframe comes breastmilk (hopefully).  Besides the fact that I have these very odd/disturbing/vivid quick scenarios in my head of smacking my own face with my own boob or spraying milk everywhere (yeah, I know, I'm sorry! :S), I just want to make sure that my return to the active force is as comfortable as possible as I'm under the impression that it won't be a walk in the park.  Enter the Ta Ta Tamer!  Get 'em strapped down so I can go back to not having to worry or think about them at all.  Again, you can order these online through lululemon's site, or Amazon or eBay, I'm sure or just go ahead and pop into  a local store near you in case you need to get fitted properly.  P.S. Not to stay brand specific, I've also heard very good things about Moving Comfort.  But again, since I never really spared much thought on sports bras or the fact that I never wanted to spend more than $20 on one, that's about all I know about this area.
  7. Non-slip headbands (approx. $6 - $20+ CAD)
    The brand that is photographed up there is Sparkly Soul headbands and of course it grabbed my attention because hel-lo, they're GLITTERY and SPARKLY!  Mama wants her some of that!  Not even taking into consideration the fact that I can't really wear headbands.  Like at all.  And I'm not being too picky or too vain here.  I literally can't wear them.  I don't know if it's my asian-ness or just the way of the world with my head, but the back of my head is flat as a what everyone thought the world was some 100 years ago.  There is no indent or groove between my head and my neck where a headband strap can rest securely.  I slip on those circular headbands and the bottom just snaps right back up and off it comes from my head.  It's sad because I REALLY want to be a headband girl.  There are so many nice ones out there including BicBands, BondiBands, a whole bunch of somethingsomething bands!  And I can't HAVE them.  Perhaps this is where the want is more.  More out of the fact that I can't have them.  Naaah, look at them, they're so cool!  Besides the fact that they'll pick up any of the loose strands that you can't get into a regular ponytail and keep out of your face during a workout or every day life, they're all guaranteed not to slip so you spend the rest of your day adjusting it (unlike me where I spend the rest of the day trying to get it back on and then crying when it comes off and then stubbornly putting it back into place again - it's a vicious cycle, people). 
  8. Camelbak Hydration Vest (approx.$56.00 CAD)
    I was never a big thing for needing hydration during a run.  Or more specifically, needing to WEAR hydration while running.  It seemed a little...overkill to me.  However, that was during the time when I said I would never run for longer than a half hour and then after that when I said I would never run farther than 5K.  I have since changed my tune since then and also since becoming with child -

    CONFESSION: My friend Josho recently just messaged me and was like, "did you know you were pregnant" and it kind of clued into me that perhaps I keep talking about that a lot and I was like, OMG! Is that your way of saying I keep mentioning it and it's getting annoying!?  Stuff like that occurs to me...

    - I realized that having hydration on hand helps with a lot of things besides thirst (ie. running with electrolyte tabs really helped with my leg cramps - or at least that's what my head thinks!)

    But now that Tara and I have our sights set on not JUST running the Princess Half Marathon but the 10K the day before and then the 10K and half marathon in Disneyland (we're going Coast-to-Coast, baby!) I'm thinking that it might be essential that I have some kind of hydration plan, if only for my training sessions (not going to wear it during the actual run because it would totally ruin the look of my costume!)
Anywhooosers!!! So there you have it, the end of Part II of my super greedy Christmas Want List!  (It's occurring to me now that I forgot to put a sweet triathlon bike on there, but even when it's just for funsies, it feels like you CAN look super greedy! *LOL*)

At the end of the day, it was fun to go on a no-holds-barred "shopping/I want that" spree!

Q: What would be on your list if you could hunt all over the interwebs and add things willy nilly?!
Q: Is there something that you can't believe I missed?!  Tell me, chances are I'll want it! *LOL*

Monday, December 2, 2013

All I Want For Christmas...

"I don't want a lot for Christmas (lie)
There is just one thing I need (or two, or three...or a few more than that...)
I don't care about the presents (ummm, judging from this list, I kinda do)
Underneath the Christmas tree (they probably won't make it under there before I buy them myself)
...
All I want for Christmas is...
yooooou
(to get me these things)"
- Mariah Carey
Sooo, now that I've completed butchered Mariah's lovely song and the whole meaning behind it.  Onwards we go!
CONFESSION: In my defense, I never really said I was really all that humble or minimalistic...
Still have to admit that even if I was humble or minimalistic (though how I'd ever motivate myself to get out and run - what? for the pure satisfaction of it? I don't think so! #letsbehonest) you just can't help seeing things every now and again and thinking, "Oooh, I want that!"  Perhaps it just so happens that I think that quite a bit... #TeamWantALLtheFitnessGear!
In bloggy world, I don't really know how gift guides work and if there are certain rules, so I'm just going to jump in.  Plus, this isn't really a gift guide (in that I am posting it to help you give something to that fitness fanatic close to your heart) but more a compilation of all the things that I've said, "Oooh, I want that!" lately.  So, if you also just happen to say the same thing or DO get an idea on what to give that fitness person in your life, then bonus points for everyone!  
To provide full disclosure, I have recently become a Skora Running affiliate and if you do perchance (how Shakespearan of me!) click on their link and purchase something, as part of their affiliate program, I get points telling Skora how awesome I am AND the people I know (obviously, right!?), as well as a pay-per-sale percentage (10%) that will eventually assist in my obsession in purchasing more shoes from them.  I like to view that as a win-win situation because you'll get awesome shoes to run in (that look NOICE! Yes, say it that way) and I get a little help to #haveALLtheshoes!  If you are already on Team #iheartskora, don't forget to check out their affiliate program or read more about it HERE (click there).  Otherewise, everything else, I just want and there's no reason either way for you to click and purchase using the links I provide as they're just meant to be helpful direction and whatnot.  
If you do end up getting anything on my list (or if you already have it), feel free to comment and let me know so I can stew in my own jealousy totally ask you questions or your opinion, or you know, whatevs.
PicMonkey and I worked very hard on this little collage here since my PhotoShop prowess days are long behind me!
  1. Nike+ FuelBand SE (approx. $169.00 CAD)
    Yes, you are not mistaken in that I already have one of these - but it's not an SE!  And it is most definitely not that awesome rose gold colour!  To be honest, I haven't done a lot of research into what the difference is between my first generation FuelBand (which I have highly enjoyed!) and the SE version.  I know there have been a few upgrades using the online app, but besides that and the available splash of colour, I'm not really sure, but it's not stopping me from wanting it anyway.

    You can get them from the Nike store online, but because I hate buying things online (because I have to wait for shipping - yes, I'm THAT impatient), I ended up getting mine at the local Apple store (or online), which I thought was weird because I never would have put the two together, but meh, go figure.
  2. Lululemon Enlighten and Expand Tote (approx. $68.00 CAD)
    I have a serious penchant for gym bags.  Any kind, I love them all - the more pockets and zippers, the better!  I even like the ones that they give you for free when you sign up to donate at a gym.  I have duffels, backpacks, big ones, slightly small ones, totes, stylish-looking ones, serious sporty looking ones, SRSLY.  Every couple of months when one falls off the shelf of the shoe closet and lands squarely on Bart's head, he suggests I declutter and get rid of some bags and I am all aghast like he suggested I pick a favourite child to keep and let the rest go.  You just don't DO that, man!

    So besides putting up a BUNCH of bags that I like (which has now evolved to include really huge/cute/not really functional diaper bags), I went with the one that I went "Ooooh, I want that!" most recently which is the Enlighten and Expand tote from lululemon.  I heart lululemon bags.  They all seem so cool in that, 'if you have to ask for the price then you can't afford it' kind of way.  It's got a bunch of features, but really, I just thought it looked cute and is large enough to fit all the crap I always feel like I need to bring with me - all in nice little organized compartments!
  3. Garmin ForeRunner 610 with HRM (approx. $369.99 CAD) and Nike+ SportWatch (approx. $169.99 CAD)Aaah, GPS watches!  Where everyone knows the run never happened if you can't back it up with a GPS map or data (no? Just me?)  So if you don't already know, yes, I already have a Nike+ SportWatch and no there hasn't been an upgrade of the SE variety a la FuelBand, but I still can't help wanting another one.  I mean, the whole point of going out for a run is looking like a runner, isn't it? (no? Just me again?) I'd like to have a little bit of variety and the point of the Garmin is also to have a chance to compare.  I like choices and options and I want to know how similar products differ and why some runners would choose one over the other!  Plus, the white SportWatch and the Garmin Forerunner look all kinds of cool!

    I again chose not to purchase my SportWatch online, but if you have the patience, you can go ahead and do so.  I got mine at a local SportChek.  I was trying to find a link for you, but I can't seem to find any online, but I was able to find online links to BestBuy or FutureShop, so there is a bunch of places you can get them and I'm sure for cheaper than what I paid for.  The Garmin, I first saw in an E-Mail blast from the Running Room here in Canada.
  4. Runner's World Magazine Subscription (approx. $15.00 - $30.00 CAD/one year or two)
    I used to wonder how much about running people could write about, let alone carry on a magazine for as long as Runner's World has been able to.  As a non-runner (I feel awkward saying that because it implies that I think of myself as a RUNNER and I'm not sure I qualify for that, either) but I digress. As a non-runner, I used to think, RUNNING: 1. Lift leg 2. Put one foot in front of other foot 3. In a quick step motion.  I mean, what else was there?  But I've found that I periodically like to pick up a couple of magazines not only just to learn new things about running or read about ground-breaking secrets that was going to escalate me to the next level in running, but it was more about renewing my inspiration or getting re-motivated.  You look through a running magazine and you just can't help but feel legit.  Like, yes, I read running magazines because I too am a runner!  It goes over races and techniques and you feel like you could really DO them.  Like you're ONE of these insane people who like to go outside and put one foot in front of the other in quick stepping motions (because usually once you do that often enough, you can sign up for races where they put MEDALS around your neck!)

    I don't yet have a subscription but I've been drawing a complete blank about what to ask from my family secret santa (to help them out, we compile a list of 3 - 5 things that they can pick/mix and match from so they don't have to come up with something all on their own and hope we don't hate it).  Especially now that I'm nearing my due date, I feel like having that monthly delivery of a running magazine would help keep me in the loop a bit and hopefully inspire/motivate me to get my running shoes back on and head out the door with a little munchkin (and a lot of preggo weight gain) in tow!  You can get a subscription online or via mail in card if you pick up a magazine at a local grocery/drug/bookstore.
  5. Skora Phase X (approx. $125.00 USD)
    I have been coveting these FOREVER.  Or since a few months ago when they were released, same diff.  Since I had so much trouble trying to get through Couch to 5K more than three years ago and not once having a run that I enjoyed pain-free (I say pain free because I'm not really sure I've actually had a run I've enjoyed while I was STILL running and not just when it was over LOL) discovering Skora running shoes was kind of like a little miracle on its own.  I recognized that running was hard for me and because I was having such a hard time, I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that perhaps I wasn't ever going to be a runner.  Then on a whim (because I am very easily enabled), I picked up a pair after my friend Courtney from Treadmill Runway wrote a really good review AND follow-up review about them.  I thought, "Enh, why the hell not? At the very least, they look good if I can't run in them," and picked up a pair.  I put them on and got on the treadmill just to see what they would feel like and from not having run in YEARS, I banged out my first non-stop 3K.  So first, it was a miracle because I was able to go 3K at all after not having run or so long, and second, that I only stopped because I was out of breath/shape and NOT because my shins/calves were on fire.  Not to sound all infomercial-y on you, but I was legit blown away.  And that, as they say, is history. 

    I have been wanting the Phase X (you can see them in action here: http://vimeo.com/76558726) but I don't have any running buddies that I can go with at night so I've never been able to really justify purchasing them, but I just KNOW if I had them, my running totally WOULD escalate into pure AWESOME (that or I'd look pretty damn cool zoom-zooming around at night like the flash!)

    As I mentioned earlier, I have recently joined their affiliate program because I have a borderline unhealthy obsession with owning more pairs of Skora shoes and every little bit helps, so if you were curious about them or were interested in purchasing them, you can have a look-see at them using my affiliate link here or you can use Courtney's or just visit them at Skora Running.
  6. Focus T25 by Shaun T. (approx. $120.00 USD)Ever since finishing Insanity, I've kind of been on the Shaun T. choo-choo train, which I thought was weird at first because I couldn't really stomach him after trying out Hip Hop Abs.  I think it just goes to show the power of an infomercial that I ended up doing the Insanity workout because I totally thought Hip Hop Abs was a complete scam.  Seriously, hip thrusting to get rock hard abs? I wasn't sure how I fell for that *LOL*

    But nevertheless, I got sucked into the Insanity infomercial and it kept saying that it was the HARDEST workout ever put on DVD (at the time) and I was angry enough at the complete lack of health that I was in that I wanted to take on that challenge.  In my head I was thinking, even if I can't do the hardest workout of all time fully, just trying to make it through day in and day out has GOT to make me healthier than I am right now, right?  And then a calendar full of checkmarks later, I was an Insaniac believer, so of COURSE when I saw that T25 was coming out and it only requires 25 minutes of hard effort, I was on-board.  I may have asked for it as a pushing present.

    You can get it through infomercials or online, but for me, because it was just released and still pretty popular, I'm okay to hold off (especially since I feel like once I start back up after the baby, I'll almost be at ground-zero again and would want to start off more gentler, ie. another round of Insanity which is familiar) until it comes out as an "As seen on TV" purchase at Walmart or something.
  7. Lululemon Keep it Up Jacket (approx. $198.00 CAD)
    As much as I have a penchant for gym bags, I've got a LEGIT weakness for running jackets.  I even have the SAME jacket in multiple colours (CONFESSION: that match the colours in my Skora running shoes), as well as running jackets from races that I've signed up for (CONFESSION: the jackets are the REASON I signed up for the races).  As much as I've already mentioned that I don't run at night, I've got reflective jackets, bright coloured jackets, light jackets, heavier, outdoor running jackets, windbreakers and jackets that just look cool and make me look athletic.  So when I came across this one from Lululemon, it was another of those "I WANT!" moments.  Especially because it's different.  I'm a big fan of different in that it's got that angled zipper that zips off more to the size as opposed to just straight up vertical, you can get it in a pattern, although of course I would want it in black first, since I feel like me getting it in white is just asking for a whole lot of dirty trouble (GAH! The more I look at the white one, the more I WANT IT - how is it that I enabled myself?!).  I'm not sure how much I can justify the price besides saying that it's a lululemon, but I never said this want list was realistic.  Just that I wanted it! *LOL*  You can get it online here or at your local lululemon store if they have it in stock.

  8. Fun Knee Socks - compression optional (approx. $5.00 - $80.00 CAD)
    So besides the bright jackets, another "trait" of mine that makes it easy to BE me for Halloween apparently is my love of fun/bright knee socks.  I have a pretty moderate and growing collection and I'm not really entirely sure why besides the fact that it's just fun.  Running for me isn't all that FUN just yet, but going out there in fun socks and hitting the road makes it a little more so.  I find it easier to look forward to a run when I know I have fun socks that I can wear.  At first I started wearing the knee socks during Ultimate Frisbee (my other LOOOOVE!) and those were kind of for an actual need - as in I tended to dive and slide around and turf burn is NOT fun.  Bright, funny socks that protect my legs from turf burn are.  Since then, the knee socks have also spilled into my running and the bonus part is that you can get bright, fun compression ones that also provide actual benefits in terms of circulation and recovery.  For the most part, I run in generic pairs that I pick up from accessories stores (ie. Ardene's) that are 3 for $10, but I've been slooowly (due to cost) picking up some fun compression ones that I've seen around.  Among them are fun patterned ones from BondiBands as well as ProCompression.  If you find compression ones similar to the styles I like to wear at (way) less a cost, TELL ME.  I'd be all in.
  9. Compression Sleeves (approx. I have no idea)
    Since I'm now jumping onto the compression band wagon, I totally want some compression sleeves.  I have no idea what kind of benefits they offer besides the fact that they might keep you warm while wearing short-sleeves to a race (why you wouldn't just wear long-sleeves, the running n00b in me hasn't figured it out yet), but there's no denying that people who wear them in races look BADASS in them!  It's like you really know what you're doing and going out with all the proper gear and looking good is kind of half the battle isn't it?  I could walk out with all my awesome running gear and then get sweaty and then be like, "WOW!  That was an amaaazing 13.1 miles I just put in," in front of someone I walk by and they won't know the diff. (CONFESSION: Ummm...I don't do that... *shifty eyes*)
Sooo, holy cheese on a cracker that's a kind of long list...

CONFESSION: That's only SOME of the things that I've got saved up.  Part II will have to come at another time!  

Hopefully, you've been able to pick up some ideas of things if you're trying to put together a wish-list for someone to help them out or if you have someone on your list that you know is a fitness enthusiast but can't figure out what to get for them.  If they're anything like me, they may appreciate one (or more) things from this list.  If they like running for the pure joy and feeling of running and all they think they really need is two feet and a heartbeat, chances are any of these cool things will be wasted on them and you might as well give them to me.  They're one of those weirdos who like running for like...running.

Q: Was there anything that made you go, "Ooooh, I WANT THAT!"?
Q: Anything on this list that you have that you're not really all that crazy about? Why?!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Snapshot Confessionals

Since it's nearing the end of November (CHEESE ON A CRACKER, November is almost OVER?!?!) I thought I would do another snapshot confessional to look back on the things that happened this month...
Let's get to it!

I helped throw my BFF Melissa (not to be confused with my other BFF Melissa) a baby shower earlier this month and hopefully, the blue buttercream (and blue sparkly sugar) will show that her and her hubby are having a BOY!  The theme was a tea party and I made these cookie sandwiches for the dessert table.
CONFESSION: I totes ate more than one two three while I was making them.  I made them around 9 am the morning of the shower.  Breakfast of CHAMPIONS! #preggomamafail

About a couple weeks before I announced my pregnancy, some good friends of ours asked if I would make their wedding cake for their November wedding.  It was a little hard to try to explain why I wouldn't want to make the cake while seven months pregnant, so I said yes after the bride-to-be explained that they were really doing wedding cupcakes but just needed a small cake for them to cut for pictures.
CONFESSION: A few days before the wedding, I was SERIOUSLY regretting saying yes and was preparing to have 3 am fondant breakdowns where I would declare that I hated Bart's friends (yes, they would then turn into Bart's friends only as opposed to our friends).  At the end of the day, even though I hadn't made a cake in MONTHS before I made this one, everything turned out REALLY well and came together easily, so no midnight meltdowns meant that I didn't actually secretly hate them.

CONFESSION: Okay, fine! One of the BIG reasons why I also said yes to making the cake.  I needed to remain friends with these people so I could go to their wedding and attack the poutine bar.  Yes, I may have cake-whored myself out for this plate of cheesy, gravy goodness.  It's POUTINE, people!  For those of you south of my Canadian border, poutine is basically delicious fries that you sprinkle cheese curds on and then you drown the ENTIRE salty-riffic mixture with GRAVY.  It is also known as a fast-track to heart attacks.  That up there was probably my third plate.  To be fair, I kept the portions small because apparently there were other guests at this wedding who were expecting to get to eat some poutine too.  Seflish bastards.  I was about to say "and they're not even PREGNANT" but I had to stop myself, because our friends know an insane amount of pregnant people.  There were like, 10 of us!  I know because I totally counted and compared my bump and ankles and chubbiness of my face to each and every single one of them.

Last week, the big bosses of the departments in my area decided that it was time for an all-day department cleanup bonanza and scheduled it for last Friday.  Wherein we not only clean up our OWN desks and cubicles and offices and then after that, you clean up the REST of the department including shelves, storage rooms, cabinets and common areas like the break room, photocopy room and fridge.  That Hoops and Yoyo video is probably my favourite video of all TIME and we totally bust out Sarcastic Wednesday on Wednesdays.  Even though the clean-up day wasn't scheduled for a Wednesday, we still thought it was appropriate because it was memo'd that due to the all-day-ness of the event, pizza would be ordered for everyone.  

CONFESSION: There's also a contest/fundraiser happening within our departments where we are collecting socks and hats and mitts for the homeless.  We have to display them on a clothesline and hang them with decorative clothespins.  So on Friday when all the material was brought in for the clothespins, I pulled the spoiled-brat / diva /  'I'm pregnant' card and refused to do any sort of cleaning outside of my own desk (which is actually such a disaster zone that I'm convinced that the whole "clean-up" day may have been started just to get me to clean up my space).  I announced that I don't clean in my OWN house, so I wasn't really about to start doing that at work - even for a slice of pepperoni pizza! *LOL*  Instead, I hung out in the makeshift craft room and decorated clothespins which is JUST as equally important a contribution to the office since now we have lovely clothespins and we're TOTALLY going to win the contest.

Last weekend, my family and friends (my mama, my cousin Kristine and 'The Melissas') hosted a baby shower for me and Ava.  Even though they refused to let me help, I'm still that anal, obsessive-compulsive control freak that I couldn't stay out of it 100%, so I did the guest favors.  Caramilk chocolate bars with their own customized wrapper that I made myself and had printed on shiny, glossy paper.
CONFESSION: I overestimated the guests attending (perhaps on purpose) and bought more than 50 chocolate bars in the name of giving them away.  Not all of them got wrapped and in fact, some may have gotten unwrapped further.  And then eaten.  And then I hoped that there was lots leftover because then I could take the rest home and eat them.  Which there was and I did.  Thank you, indeed!

I didn't anticipate this, but there seems to be some people upset or in shock by this and I, by no means intended this to come off as trying to be better or to put others to shame.  These are my baby shower thank you cards all written up, sealed, stamped and addressed, ready to go out in the mail (they were actually put into a mailbox yesterday to go out).  
CONFESSION: I mentioned it in varying degrees because I still feel pretty bad about this, but these ones are done not really because I am a firm believer that thank you cards should go out immediately - in fact, I don't think much about thank you cards at all, but because for my wedding showers and the actual wedding itself, I never sent out thank you cards.  I think as an observation on culture - or perhaps I'm just using it as an excuse - but generally, Filipinos don't really do thank you cards.  Everyone sticks around for the gift opening at most events so they get to see their gift being opened and I generally call out who the gift is from and then thank the person right then and there.  There isn't usually a need to go ahead and say another thank you in mail-based format.  Because like myself, I don't really know what to do with a thank you card I receive after.  Do I keep them? Is there a certain amount of time that I keep them?  Do I need to send a thank you card to acknowledge that I got their thanks and that it's no problem?  Do I buy another set of blank notecards and is it acceptable to write just NP in the middle?  Stamps are expensive these days you know...seems a bit much to send back another card that says NP on it... 
ANYWHO.  While I heard nothing from my side of the family, apparently Bart's side were expecting thank you cards so I was hell-bent on sending out thank you cards this time around, if not for me, but for Ava, so she doesn't get embarrassed that her mom is an etiquette-ignoramus.  Can't start her off on the wrong foot with the other side of the fam, now can we?  Since I committed to it, I had the envelopes sitting at the front desk where guests sign in and while they were there, they were asked to just write their names and addresses on the blank envelopes so that it would help me out later on in that I could just worry about writing the cards instead of also having to find addresses for everyone (thanks to FB invites, people don't really need to know other peoples' addresses these days).  Since all the attendees had already done it, I had a nice stack of empty envelopes addressed and just waiting for a card full of written gratitude.  
Irony?  None of Bart's side of the family that were invited to the shower were able to make it, so the people who were REALLY expecting the thank you cards were non-existent.  But I had already committed, so there it was.  The very next night, after I showed Bart Ava's haul, I went through the cards and one by one systematically wrote out our thanks.  If I allowed any more time to pass, I just KNEW they would never get done again.  Then I had to make sure that I put stamps on them right away because I knew that even if they were done, if I didn't stamp them and send them out as soon as possible, they would just sit on the kitchen table until something was spilled on them and then they'd get thrown away and there goes my resolve.
Longest. Confession. Ever.
CONFESSION within a CONFESSION: There are still 7 cards still sitting here beside me because they didn't fill out an envelope with their address and they're not listed on Canada411.  I just know these ones won't make the cut and I'll bet you these are the people who are totally waiting for a thank you card and then they will secret begrudge.  I just know it.  (Or could I view this as their providing permission for me NOT to send them one because they didn't fill out an envelope, therefore telling me without words not to bother...? Hmmm...)

Speaking of Ava's haul (I know that's not really a good lead in since I mentioned Ava's haul like, three paragraphs back, so we technically weren't actually JUST speaking of it).
All joking and flippant comments aside, we are very, VERY blessed to have the people we have in our lives.  They were very generous to us and our awaited little munchkin and we are overwhelmed at how wonderful it feels to know that our little one is already so loved and excitedly expected - not just by us, but by the people who mean the most to us in our lives, too. 
Girlfriend has enough clothes to last her an original outfit change without wearing the same thing twice for at LEAST the first six months of her life (of course, I'm unrealistically pretending that she's not going to barf, spit-up, dribble or blowout her outfits within seconds of her getting into them).  Our family and friends have graciously and generously taken care of all the most important things that she will need (even attending with tools and materials to the things they can't actually provide for her since I alone have the only access to them).  I am still in awe every time I look at the things that need to be put away and are waiting on a little baby to be used.
CONFESSION: I say every time I look at the things because technically, they're still all neatly piled in that corner since I neatly piled them into that corner on Sunday night.  Her room is totally not ready.  It's not really even her room yet.  It still remains the room where we threw and dumped all our crap for the last six years and then closed the door so we could at times allow people into our house.  Currently, there is still an empty china cabinet/hutch in there (that we used to use to hold/display our bottles of alcohol and various types of alcoholic beverage glasses), a ladder, a tub of that cement stuff used to fill in holes in dry wall and a bunch of other varying degrees of crap.  Is it bad that I'm waiting for this "nesting" thing to kick in so that I'll actually feel like I want to get in there and start doing things?  I gave both my parents a key to our house each and told them that it's in case of emergencies like that one time they needed something from inside our house and Bart and I were out of town, but I'm kind of secretly wishing that they'd use the key and get into our house while we're away and surprise us by doing up the baby's room.  I mean, I asked my mom if she would retire to take care of Ava and she said no.  I ask her for ONE thing and she said no, so I think it's the the least that they could do.  *LOL* OMG, I don't even think I can joke about that.  It seems awful and I SWEAR it's 100% a joke (unless they really DID do it, in which case, I would totally send a GIANT thank you card!)
Aaaaand that leads me into the weekend!  Hope all my American friends (and dare I say readers???) are having a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend and that you are escaping unscathed the madness that is Black Friday over there!  It's not Thanksgiving over here, but all sarcastic and slightly evil comments aside, I don't need a set holiday for me to know and express how THANKFUL I am for our family and friends and for the amount of love they have showered on both my family and our soon-to-arrive little one.  We are very, very blessed and from this emerging family to you, we wish you many blessings as well!
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