Sunday, July 19, 2015

Coming Full Circle

Last March I went through a personal "re-branding" when I changed the name of my blog (and corresponding social media accounts) to Write. Run. Mum.

At the time I really felt like it was the right decision.  That having the same moniker for all my online endeavours was really just good marketing. Especially if I was going to try and turn my blog into something more than just an online diary for my family and friends to read and maybe (one day) make some money from it.

Also - I really hoped the new title would help me focus on those three very important areas in my life. And for a while it worked...I guess.

But to be totally honest...it never felt right. I'm not exactly sure why that is. I suspect it's because I made the change for the wrong reasons. It wasn't a decision I made with my heart. I was trying to force this change on myself in the hopes that it would help me change my life.

And really I think it's done the opposite. I feel like the new identity has turned me into a bit of a fraud.  Well 2 thirds of a fraud at least because the Mum part was always true.

I know I won't ever monetize my blog...that was never really my intention anyways. I don't want to write reviews or do giveaways. I don't care about the number of people that follow me on social media or even read my posts for that matter.

You know...I have been thinking about making this change for months and kept wavering. But I have been finding myself more and more blocked in a creative sense. Handcuffed by the expectation I set on myself that I have to write about writing. Or running. Or parenting. And when I didn't have anything to say on those subjects...I didn't have anything to say at all.

And then today - I found this quote in my Facebook feed.  From the author of Writing Down the Bones. From the author whose book helped me find my written voice.


And I just knew this was the right time. So - it is with a renewed sense of self - and a strong conviction that I am going back to my original identity. 

I write for me. And for my girls. I write to give me an outlet and a release. And I always endeavour to ensure I am Writing Down the Bones.

And at heart...I am still my Poppa's little Kelsey Bar.

Welcome back blog...


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Scotiabank 5k - Race Report

I can't believe it's been 18 months since I ran my first 5K race.

Since that time I have run an 8k (that almost killed me) and two more 5k races. And despite my best intentions of working hard at my training and graduating to a longer distance...it just hasn't happened yet.

So that's how I found myself running alone this past weekend in the 5k event at the Scotiabank Half Marathon weekend. With a goal of running my first sub-40 minute race.
 

I was running solo in my race but I was not alone at the event. My husband and one of my best friends were both running in the half marathon.

Lindsay was running to raise money for the MS Society in honour of her dad who is battling the disease. She was the top fundraiser at the event - raising nearly $2,600! I'm so proud of her.

 

I dropped them off at the start line for the Half Marathon at UBC with a slight feeling of regret. I've been working towards my goal of being "real runner" for more than 2 years now and I really thought I would have been able to tackle a half marathon at this point.

I have no one to blame but myself of course. And I know it's not like I haven't accomplished anything. I'm proud of the medals I have earned...but still. I would have liked to have been running along with them.

Next time...red bib (?)
After dropping them off I drove over to the finish line at Stanley Park and snagged one of the last few parking spots available before they closed the roads.

And - amazingly - I got to see the first half marathoners cross the line. Just 1 hour and 10 mins after they started!  I mean that's just crazy.

As I was making my way over the start line for the 5k race I ran into my favourite morning radio team - Kevin & Sonia from The Peak. They were MC'ing the event and running for the first time.

We chatted for a while and I pretended to be a veteran 5k runner - I mean this was my 4th event - and they were kind enough to listen to what I had to say as if I was actually some kind of expert. 



Then...it was time to start.


And we were off.  My first kilometre was great. I was in a good rhythm. My playlist was rocking all my favourites. I was in the shade for most of the time.

Then we hit Second Beach and moved out onto the seawall and the full sunshine. Did I mention that it was almost 30 degrees out...at 9:30 in the morning? And the tide was out so the fishy/seaweed smell was pretty ripe.

My pace slowed considerably. My breath became ragged. And I got a wicked stitch. But I kept going...grumbling with every step.

And that's when one of the runners slightly ahead of me fainted. Another woman and her teenage daughter were right behind her and immediately stopped to help. And I did too. The lady who fainted was clearly suffering from heat stroke. She didn't have any water on her so I gave her some of mine and we tried to figure out if she was running with anyone.

I offered to run ahead and notify one of the race course marshals that there was a runner that needed first aid help. There had been marshals all along the course up to this point so I figured I wouldn't have to go far to find one with a radio. I was wrong.

For the next 2km I ran (slowly and still with a stitch) looking for someone that could help and worrying about the woman I had left behind. Finally...just past English Bay as the course moved up onto Beach Avenue...I found one and was able to relay the news.

But to be honest...the whole thing had totally messed up my run. I was off pace and stressed and hot and sweaty and the sea-smell was starting to make my stomach turn.

Of course...puking at the finish line of a race is kind of my thing...so the turning stomach part was not surprising. But I really wanted to end that tradition at this race because I was pretty sure my husband and friend would be at the finish line and that's really not the way I wanted them to see me.

Alas...that was how they saw me. Being assisted by the first aid attendant and wiping off my face.  Oh well...at least I'm consistant. 

Finish time: 45:21. 656th out of 1239 women that entered the event. Given all that I battled through...I will take it.


And it was really great to see both faces waiting for me at the end. They had both battled the heat and exhaustion through their race and I was frankly in awe that they had both run more than 21km and were still standing (and puke free)

It was time for our reward...


All in all...I have to say this race was a disappointment to me. Because I really wanted to do better. I wanted to beat that 40 minute mark. I wanted to cross the finish line with my hands thrown triumphantly in the air rather than covering my mouth.

I wanted a lot of things I didn't get. But I did get this:


And that's another one to add to a collection of medals I never ever thought I would have the strength or will power to earn. So there's that. And it will have to be enough.

For now...



Monday, July 6, 2015

Raising Girls: Building a solid foundation

When I was pregnant the first time I was desperate to have a girl. I tried convincing myself that it didn’t matter. That I would love a boy just as much as a girl. But oh how I longed for a daughter...and for so many reasons. 

I wanted the same relationship with my daughter that I had with my own mother. I wanted to do all the girly things with her. I wanted to be her best friend. I wanted to see her have her own babies.

So cue my overjoyed enthusiasm when my little girl arrived. And it was double the joy when my second lovely daughter was born 3 years later.

 
 
And now…as the mother of a 6 and 9 year old girl…I’m in a bit of a panic really.  Because I realize that I have to guide them – carefully and lovingly – into womanhood.  And that means we have to go through the teenage years first.

What if my girls turned into “mean girls”?  Or what if they fell victim to the “mean girl”?  I know I can’t keep them from getting their heart broken – and wouldn’t want to – but how do I help brace them for when it does?

I’m honestly not sure I’m prepared for that. Not that I was a terror of a teenager – on the contrary really. I was the 12 year old that spent Saturday’s clearing up her room and packing up old clothes to donate.  At 13 I got my first job and worked steadily ever since. I got good grades, stayed away from the “wrong” crowd and generally made my mother proud.

But the world that my girls will have to live in is so very different than the one I did. I don’t understand today’s youth. I find the majority of them to be lazy and entitled and just plain rude.

I know that’s a terrible generalization but I just can’t seem to prove it wrong. And so I know that I have some work to do in preparing my girls to be strong and independent and successful women but also kind and loving and caring to those around them.

So I’m starting with instilling these basic principles now:
  • Be kind 
  • Keep your promises 
  • Clean up after yourself
  • Be polite and respectful of others
  • Say you’re sorry and accept sincere apologies
  • Do your best 
  • Never give up
I look at that list and I feel pretty good about it. Confident that I am giving my girls a good start in the world. Building the foundation for them to be respectful and kind. But I know it’s not enough.

Because this is list could just as easily apply to boys. I need some girl specific tips. Some golden nuggets of advice just for them.

And so…here are the things I want to teach them.  What I want to make sure they know… 

Love yourself. You are unique and beautiful from the day you are born.  Don’t let society change that about you. Don’t base your self-worth on a dress size. And don't base it on what anyone else says to you. Be healthy. Be happy. Be active. Be yourself. 

Love deeply. Doing this means you will get your heart broken. You will think you have nothing to live for without “him” in your life. But you do have something for live for. You have the next ‘great love’ to meet. Judy Blume had the perfect quote for this:  “You can’t deny they ever happened. You can’t deny you ever loved them – love them still – even if loving them causes you pain.”  You said it sister. 

Don’t be a sheep but try not to be the black sheep either. I feel like I got through high school relatively un-traumatized because I existed on the fringes of all the “cliques” I wasn’t a princess or an athlete or a stoner or a brain or a weirdo (my kids will totally not get the Breakfast Club analogy…) but I had friends that were all of those things. I hope my girls do the same. That they befriend others for the person they are not the company they keep. 

Listen to your parents. I know this might come across as a little self serving but I want my girls to know that not only am I capable of giving good advice but I also have their best interest at heart. Even if they don’t always like what I have to say.

Trust your instincts. I know this will be a tough one because I am only just now learning how to do this myself. But it's important that we understand that sometimes the best advice comes from within. There is no one that knows us better than we know our own self.

I'm sure this list will evolve and change over the years. As I see my girls grow I will (hopefully) see what areas need more work and which ones are working out fine. 

For now...I'm going to let these stand as my guiding principles. And hope that I can help my daughters grow up to be young women that I am proud of. 

Based on these early years I have high hopes that will be the case.

 
 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Go Canada Go! Father's Day in the Fan Zone

This year Vancouver has been one of the host cities of the FIFA Women's World Cup Soccer Tournament.

This is also the year that both my girls started playing soccer. Hubby has always been a huge soccer fan so it was no surprise that he wanted to spend Father's Day soaking in the soccer atmosphere in the city as Canada took on Switzerland in the Quarter Finals.

We thought about buying tickets but - as with everything - when you have to buy for a family of 4 it gets expensive. The next best option to being AT the game was to be near the game at the Fan Zone set up by the city and FIFA.

Taking the skytrain is always one of the most exciting parts for the girls:

"the train is almost here daddy!"
 


 


We waited 45 minutes in line for this face painting. And almost got pulled into the middle of a fight between a Liverpool fan and 2 Man U Supporters during the wait. And I missed watching most of the first half.



 At least she thought it was worth it...


Canada WINS!!!!!



getting interviewed. "mummy...we might be on TV!"
 It was a pretty great way to watch the game. The place went nuts when Canada scored their lone goal. 

Plus...there were mini donuts. :)


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Graduation Day - Kindergarten Edition

I've said before that milestone moments hit me a little harder as my youngest daughter passes them. Because I know this is the last time I will experience them.

When she started kindergarten I got pretty choked up. When she learned to ride a bike without training wheels I felt a little more emotional than I thought I should.

And so when I got the invitation to her Kindergarten Grad I knew I should bring some tissues.

I was also amazed at how fast this year has flown by. The past few years have been so difficult and so filled up with ups and downs it feels like I actually missed being present in much of it.

I am glad for the photos I take to remind me of these important milestones. Because while I have vowed to be more present in the moment...sometimes my mind refuses to join me there.

Luckily on Graduation Day...I was fully present. Sitting proudly in my hard plastic chair in the front row of the kindergarten room watching my girl mark the passing of her first full year in school. Singing loudly along with her fellow classmates. Grinning all the way to accept her "graduation" certificate.

She was her beautiful, sunny, smiling self and I couldn't have been prouder.









We were so lucky to have the same amazing teacher for both of our girls!



Congratulations my little T. I love you more than words can say. And I can't wait to see the journey you take.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Reunited

As sad as I was when my contract as an event planner for a week came to an end there was definite light at the end of the tunnel.  I would get to be with my girls again.

For a week I had been absent from their lives. Staying downtown at a swanky hotel while they stayed at home.

And when I'm away from them I try not to think about them too much. It makes me sad to think of the moments I am missing so I think of myself as single and childless. It's a self preservation thing.

But as soon as the Closing Ceremony ended and I finally got to unplug from my radio and take off my suit jacket I was literally pining to see my littles.

My in-laws dropped them off to me at the Convention Centre and they literally bowled me over on the sidewalk with their hugs.  After gathering all of their assorted belonging from the car I took them on a tour of where I had been working for the past week.










Vancouver was beautiful that night. And I loved getting to see it through my girls eyes.

And getting to hold their little hands in mine after feeling them conspicuously absent for a week.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Back to the onsite life...

Over the course of my career I have worked in many different areas and for many different companies. Big ones and small ones. Giant corporations and small not-for-profits.

And through all of them I can tell you that I have never had one as satisfying as event planning. There is no bigger high than seeing the event you have been toiling over for months come to fruition.

to see people check in at registration desks that you placed on a floor plan. Receive a conference bag that you found in a catalogue.  Consult an event guide that you edited through 16 rounds of changes.

it's truly thrilling. I got out of the event planning game a few years ago and this month I was very fortunate to get to experience it again.

It was 7 days of hard work. I walked a half marathon every day. I got up at 5:30am every day and feel into bed exhausted at 10pm.

And I loved every freakin' minute of it.

Especially the laughs I shared with all of my colleagues. A fantastic group of women who made every minute fun - even the ones spent re-bandaging my poor feet.










by midweek I am always grateful for these mats in the hotel elevator because I have no clue...

half the team. sad we didn't get a picture of all of us. :(

sunset selfie.

loved this witty label...and the wine too!
 and how to you cap off a great week? with a ride down the convention centre bannisters of course.


No event planners were hurt in the execution of the conference. This time at least.

Let's all do it again soon.


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