The Life of K

Friday, June 16, 2017

Coming soon: Emerge Yoga Festival!

I'm feeling energized when it's comes to yoga these days. My at-home practice is serving me well, but being with other people at events - like City of Om and the Lole White Tour - is something else!

Usually I grab my yoga mat from under my bed after the kids have gone to bed, pull up a video, and flow through some poses. It's a completely different feeling when you roll out your mat on the grass with hundreds of people, close your eyes, lift your arms up and collectively breathe in.

It's hard to put into words how it feels but believe me when I tell you it's amazing and I'm actively searching out more opportunities. Thankfully, Ottawa is a great place for festivals especially in the summer, and I jumped at the opportunity to go to Emerge, Canada's Yoga & Music Festival. (Click through to the website for all the details.)

Happening over the Canada Day long weekend, Emerge is an outdoor festival in the Laurentian Valley, about an hour and a half from Ottawa. They have an impressive line up of musical artists, vendors, yoga and meditation classes. You can camp, glamp, or just stay for the day.

What I like about the culture at events like this is how inclusive they are. This is coming from a major introvert who needs to psyche herself up to attend events and talk to people. Sure, I still need to prepare myself (Okay self, rest up because today you're going to be around people ALL day) but I have to say that I never feel like I don't belong. I never feel that I'm not bendy enough, not strong enough, not yoga enough.

There's a lot of happiness and wellness and a community feel. At City of Om I attended classes where partner work was required (for some reason, I thought I'd be fine by myself in Acro Yoga) and I had no trouble finding a partner. A complete stranger who was there to learn just like me and we supported each other, literally and figuratively, on the journey.

That's what I'm hoping for at Emerge. I'm hoping to learn, to try some new-to-me classes, to meet new people. Looking at the schedule, finding new-to-me classes won't be hard because there are so many different classes and styles to choose from. It's going to be an adventure!

UPDATE: Use code EMERGE10 for 10% off festival passes!!

Disclaimer: I was offered a one-day festival pass in exchange for writing about my experience. The words and opinions are all my own. Promise. Thank you for reading along and supporting me, this blog, and Emerge.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Mother's Day

Little K's card.
Mother's Day this year was pretty low key. J's mom was out of town and mine was resting before her eye surgery so it was just me, J and the kids.

Mad laundry skillz.
Now that the kids are in school, I eagerly wait for the cards and crafts that come home. Little K's card showed that she loves that I do laundry and Little J's gave me a shout out for my professionalism (in making dinner he later told me).

Little J's card.

Along with the cards, I was given a bookmark and a candle holder.


J and the kids got me Forbidden Island, a board game to play together. We played twice because the first time we failed spectacularly.


Our forbidden island.

And, as is tradition, I got a picture of me with the kids. Without them I wouldn't be a mother.

Pile on Mom for a picture!

Monday, June 12, 2017

My Yoga Revolution

It was a random week night over a year ago, in May. I was home and the kids were in bed, and I settled into my bed as I often do, ready to watch tv or catch up on the internet. J was out and I really wanted to do yoga. I knew there was a class at the nearby yoga studio that night. I knew, if I could go, that I would feel awesome. Instead I was stuck at home, feeling sorry for myself.

It was that night that a lightbulb went off in my head. Did I need to do yoga at a studio when it obviously wasn't working for me? I pulled out my mat and clumsily did some poses, trying to remember the order of a simple sun salutation. It wasn't pretty but I did it.

The next night, I pulled out my mat and I did it again.

I thought to myself that there must be videos I could follow along with. I searched Pinterest and found a list of the top 5 yoga YouTubers and I stumbled onto Yoga With Adriene.

Yoga With Adriene is what started my yoga revolution. That third night when I pulled out my mat, I was guided through a practice. I liked the speed, the level, the poses. I looked through her videos and found the 30 Days of Yoga series from earlier that year and dove in.

I completed the 30 days of yoga, becoming stronger and more bendy every day. Then I moved on to her Yoga Camp series, another 30 practices. I was practicing yoga almost every day and really noticing a difference in myself.

The difference isn't only physical, though my heels did touch the ground in downward dog eventually (after 9 months!) I'm much more positive about my body. I appreciate what it does and am more at peace when I can't do things. I crave the time on my mat, even if it's just to squeeze in a yoga quickie.

As I get older and learn more about myself, I know that going to a yoga class at a studio here and there isn't for me. I need to do something every day for it to become habit. So every night when I pull my mat out from underneath the bed and I click on the video I know I'm being nice to my body. I know I'm doing the right thing because I can feel it.

Adriene always thanks us for sharing our practice with her but I want to thank her for bringing yoga to me. I completed her latest series, the 31 day Yoga Revolution, and did the yoga quickie videos. I'm looking forward to longer practices again and may redo 30 Days of Yoga or Yoga Camp, or I might focus on individual poses. Or maybe this will be my year to finally get upside down.

It doesn't really matter. All that matters is that I get my body onto my mat almost every day.

Now that it's been over a year, my practice has evolved. My main focus is still my home practice, but I'm starting to see the appeal of group classes.

I signed up for and attended a huge yoga festival - the City of Om - where I got to try all sorts of different classes and did yoga with hundreds of other people. It was inspiring and really showed me that doing yoga by myself, which I love, isn't the only way to practice. I'll be writing more about my experience at City of Om later and I can't wait to introduce you to an upcoming festival, Emerge, that I'll be attending next month.

Do you do yoga?


Friday, June 9, 2017

Do you believe everything you see?

It hit me how easily my kids believe everything I tell them. Kids don't get irony or sarcasm and take everything at face value. As a parent, it's my job to teach them and I take my job very seriously. If I don't know the answer to one of their (seemingly endless) questions, I say so. I would rather leave them without an answer than tell them something wrong. My dad told me that brown cows make chocolate milk and I was embarrassingly old when I thought to question that statement. 

Now that my kids are out in the world - at school, at friends' houses, at sports and activities - they're learning from a lot of different people, and not only in typical learning environments. Our kids are constantly taking everything in. At our house, the radio is always on and I'm surprised when my kids start singing along to songs or talking about products they've heard about on the radio.

More recently they started watching videos on YouTube, and often I hear them talking about the ads that show at the beginning and sometimes in the middle of videos. We don't have cable TV with the formal advertising, but my kids still see and hear ads throughout the day. And that doesn't count things they hear at school and from friends.

They are only starting to understand the difference between the ads and programs, something this article by Ottawa Public Health points out, and now my job as parent has evolved to include conversations about advertising. The marketing is so clever that my kids often want whatever toy they saw or they want to enter a contest they heard on the radio. 

It's not a problem yet because at 6 and 7 my kids tend to want what their friends have, the latest being fidget spinners, but what happens when the ads they see start influencing the food they want or make them want to drink or try drugs? Maybe I'm being naive and they're already being influenced. Either way, I hope that our conversations about advertising will guide them in the future.      

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by The City of Ottawa - Ottawa Public Health. For more information on marketing to youth, please visit Ottawa Public Heath. All opinions are my own.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Manotick Miler ~ Race Recap

While living a life on-call as a doula, I missed a lot of events. Never a big holiday or anything, but little things here and there: a school pick-up, dinner with friends, a baseball game. Now that I'm working a regular 9-5 desk job and not on call, I promised myself I would take advantage and do more things.

Things like going to Atlanta, running races and going to yoga festivals (eee!) I've done the Manotick Miler in past years, both myself and with the family. It's a great little race not far from home. I like the community feel and the small crowds compared to Ottawa Race Weekend or the Army Run. I signed up for the 3-mile and figured out a quasi training plan (I'm not so great when it comes to training plans)

Then life happened.

The weather was bad. I went to Atlanta. I had my first ever craft show. All of a sudden the race was less than a week away and I hadn't run at all. I managed to squeeze in two runs: the first was not-quite-2 miles on the treadmill at the gym, then a wet not-even-2K run in my neighbourhood. Obviously, I was set (total sarcasm).

The forecast for Sunday was looking blah: cold and rainy. I was determined to not miss the race and got myself bundled up and left. Despite the weather, there were lots of people out. InStride does a good job with their events and this race was no exception. The start line was right on Main Street, and after taking cover next to a building, I got into the corral with J's mom and dad.

Cold and wet before the race.
When the gun went off, J's dad took off, but his mom and I stuck together. She was race-walking and I was jogging. It was a much slower pace than I'm used to, but it meant I was able to run the entire 3-miles. I was cramping near the end but crossed the line at 38 minutes. Other than the 5K I walked with Little J in the stroller while pregnant with Little K, it was my slowest almost-5K ever, but I don't care. I did it.
Warm and wet finish.

I had signed up for the 1-miler with J and the kids but we decided to skip it. None of us was feeling 100% and a run in the rain didn't feel like the best idea. Just over a week later my body has recovered and I've already signed up for my next race: the Free Spirit 5K at the City of OM yoga festival in June! It's a fun run at the beginning of a day full of yoga classes and workshops. Who knows, maybe I'll manage more than 2 training runs before then.

Maybe not and I'm okay with that.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Atlanta or bust!

The Atlanta mural is big on Instagram
Big excitement in my world: I went to Atlanta! By myself. Ahh!

Just before Christmas, my family spent some time together at a cottage. We met my niece for the first time and as soon as I saw her I knew I needed to see her more often. But my brother and his wife live in Atlanta, which is why I was only meeting Baby E at 9 months old.

She was so cute and chubby and I wanted to see her again.

The view from above.
Flying the whole family to Atlanta for a weekend didn't make sense but I could go so I figured out a few weekends that would work and set up flight alerts. When a good price came up I bought tickets. I had a few weeks to wait before my trip but the time flew by and before I knew it, it was time to go!
My mission: be the last one on the plane so I hung out with the birds.
A little plane for Ottawa - Toronto.
Beautiful day in Ottawa.

Menacing clouds make for bumpy flights.

Toronto airport.

Scored a window seat on all my flights.
That Friday, J and I took the kids to school and then he dropped me at the airport for my solo adventure. I had my purse and a backpack so I breezed through security and spent some time exploring the airport. My first flight from Ottawa - Toronto and was uneventful. Toronto - Atlanta was fine too.. a bit of turbulence when we flew through the big clouds but nothing terrible. I scored a window seat on both flights and loved seeing all the trees when we got to Atlanta.


Atlanta from the air.
I met my brother in the airport because he was flying in from New York and we drove to his place. He pointed out the sights - downtown, the old baseball stadium, mid-town, his work, the college, the new stadium, and finally their neighbourhood. We pulled in and I spotted Baby E right away because she was looking out the front window. We spent the evening hanging out.

The weather Saturday was absolutely gorgeous - sunny and almost 30 degrees - so we spent the morning at Piedmont Park along with hundreds of other people.

My room with a view.
Piedmont Park.
Me and Baby E.
We grabbed some food and had lunch before Baby E's nap. While she was napping, S and I went to the gun range. When in the South....

After a 5 minute safety video, I was ready to shoot (!) I'm so glad S knew what he was doing because that video alone was not enough. I learned that even with ear protection, some guns are loud enough that I involuntarily jump whenever they go off. Also, I didn't really enjoy the feeling of a gun in my hand. I understand why people are drawn to guns and I'm glad I went but it's not something I feel the need to do again.
Range decorations.

Thug life.
Oh yeah.
Playing outside.
We had a big dinner after Baby E went to bed and then had a bonfire in the backyard.

Backyard bonfires.
I tried my best to befriend the cats and one even thought about sleeping with me. He left minutes after I snapped this picture.

Kitty friend.
After the gorgeous weather Saturday, it poured all day Sunday. And I mean it POURED. This was no light rain, this was a torrential downpour all day. I had heard good things about the Georgia Aquarium so we went there in the morning. It was similar to Ripley's in Toronto but with fewer sharks and more big fish, like dolphins and belugas.

The aquarium tunnel.

That's me in the bottom right - the whale shark and ray are gigantic!
A wee girl and her dad.

Hanging with the fishes.

Watching the belugas with my brother.
That night we went to an actual barn for dinner. It's a famous restaurant with the best ribs - we ordered so much food and ate like kings!

Best ribs ever.
We settled in for a movie with our too-full bellies. Monday wasn't the best weather-wise either so we went to an indoor gymnastics place to let Baby E run around.

Me and Baby E.
Soon it was time for my trip home. A quick Uber to the airport and two unremarkable flights got me to Ottawa just after midnight. I was back in work not even 7 hours later. It was a whirlwind trip and my heart is full.


Ready to go home!

Saying goodbye to Atlanta.

Atlanta from the air.

Sunset over Lake Erie.

Leaving Toronto.

I'm trying to figure out where to go next!