The Life of K

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!

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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.

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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!
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My mission: be the last one on the plane so I hung out with the birds.
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A little plane for Ottawa - Toronto.
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Beautiful day in Ottawa.

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Menacing clouds make for bumpy flights.

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Toronto airport.

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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.

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Lakes.

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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.

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My room with a view.
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Piedmont Park.
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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.
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Range decorations.

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


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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.

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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.

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The aquarium tunnel.

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

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Hanging with the fishes.

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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!

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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.

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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.


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Atlanta.


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Ready to go home!


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Saying goodbye to Atlanta.

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Atlanta from the air.

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Sunset over Lake Erie.


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Leaving Toronto.


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

Thursday, May 11, 2017

SupperWorks ~ A review

When I started back to work in the new year, I was on top of meal planning. I knew that I would have less time to shop, prep and cook meals so every Sunday I made myself a list. I tend to stick to the same few meals that I know everyone will eat, which is great, but then I get bored! Also, some weeks I didn't plan or I wasn't able to shop on the weekend and then my plans went out the window when I was missing key ingredients. I admit to ordering pizza more than a handful of times over the past 4 months.

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SupperWorks - Taking the work out of supper
So what's a girl to do? Enter SupperWorks. Have you heard of SupperWorks? It's a place where you go and assemble meals for the freezer. I had never tried them until the other week when I was invited to a special event for Ottawa bloggers. The owners of the Ottawa locations hosted this event to show us how it all worked and let me tell you I was impressed!

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Meal assembling stations at SupperWorks Nepean.

The Nepean location, where the event took place, is tucked away in an industrial park off Hunt Club. Easy to find and lots of free parking. The place itself is bright with stations for prepping meals, 2 meals per station. Now the genius part is that, once you've picked your recipe (which you have to do in advance), you find your station and all the ingredients are right there.

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Getting started on Ron's Flatirons.
The meat is portioned for you and the rest of the ingredients are in containers at the station so you just add everything to a freezer bag, seal the bag, and put it on your tray in the fridge. I prepped my two meals in less than 10 minutes and that included some fumbling around because it was my first time, and waiting for my turn at the second station.

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Fully assembled fish tacos.
Each meal comes with a handy label so when you pull it out of the freezer, you know exactly what's in the bag and how to prep it. Some meals are cooked in the oven, some on the stove and others on the BBQ. They all have suggestions for sides that you can buy from SupperWorks or make yourself.

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Handy meal labels.

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Easy peasy, blogger approved!
All the SupperWorks meals are taste-tested and family-approved. The recipes are meant to be frozen and thawed so you can either make them in the first few days or freeze them to enjoy later. I made Ron's flatirons and the fish tacos. We cooked up the flatirons the other week and I don't think we've had a meal that was enjoyed so much by all of us. Seriously, we were all amazed and fighting over the last few bites and sadly there were no leftovers for lunch the next day. I'm looking forward to trying to fish tacos.

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Meat on the grill.

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Tasty dinner.
Apart from entrees and sides, SupperWorks also offers prepacked meals perfect for lunch at work. I tried the pumpkin chili with mashed potatoes and want to go back for another!

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Ready-to-go meals and sides.
How is works is you go the the SupperWorks website and pick 3, 6, 9, or 12 entrees. You can add sides to your order and choose whether you'd like to split the entrees in half (perfect for 1 or 2 adults while a full sized entree feeds 4-6). Then you pick the date you'd like to assemble your meals. This is important because all the prep is done twice a week and to avoid a lot of food waste, they need to know ahead of time how much to prep.

I've done freezer meals at home before. It worked but it was a lot of work and my kitchen was a complete disaster by the end of it. SupperWorks does the planning, shopping, and chopping for you. And they'll even do the assembling for an extra fee. It really does make assembling the meals easier and less time consuming. Plus there's a bigger variety - when I did it, I stuck to recipes for the slow cooker using chicken breast.

They have new entrees every month so a lot of their customers go every month and get 3, 6, 9, or 12 meals for their families. And bonus: if you go every month, you get a discount! I was so impressed with the store and the food that I took advantage of the current special, the SupperWorks SupperSaver where you get $100 for $50. Now I just need to figure out a time to go.

And because of my background as a doula, the Stork Special really stood out for me. If you buy 6, 9, or 12 entrees in your baby's first 2 months, they will assemble the meals for you at no extra cost.

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Stork Special details.
SupperWorks has three locations in Ottawa - Nepean, Orleans and Kanata - so chances are there's one not far from you. Have you tried SupperWorks? I'm glad I got the opportunity and I'll be back!

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SuuperWorks: Helping Busy People Eat Well

What are other bloggers saying about SupperWorks? Check out their posts: A Bit of Momsense, Loulou's Views, Kids in the Capital.

Disclaimer: I was invited to the Ottawa bloggers event and got to take home two full meals and a frozen lunch. I was not otherwise compensated for this review. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

4 years and 4 months: an update

Like you can tell, I've been busy. This working full time doesn't leave much time for extra things like blogging. I have been back to work 4 months now and just passed another milestone: four years ago Friday was the first doula birth I attended. It's funny how full circle everything is feeling. Work is so much like it was before - the place, the people, the actual work now that I'm back in my old position. Sometimes it feels like I never left, like I never did the stay-at-home mom thing or the doula thing.

I'm adjusting - we're all adjusting. J works fewer hours a day and doesn't get a day off every 2 weeks. He works later hours, not getting home until after 6pm. But he seems happy. The stress of being the sole bread-winner is gone. Our income hasn't quite doubled because he makes more than I do, but it's close. Enough that you can see a difference in him.

The kids are used to getting ready in the morning with dad and having me pick them up from school. Their day-to-day hasn't changed that much.

People ask how I'm doing and I always say that work is good. I like the people and the work keeps me busy so the days go by quickly. I love NOT being on call but I do miss the thrill of birth. I miss helping new families. I miss the business but I like that at 3pm I'm done working for the day. Hardly do I think about work when I'm not there. And I love having paid vacation leave!

I recently took 2 days and made a long weekend trip to Atlanta to visit my brother and his family. My first time on a plane by myself and it was amazing! I'll be back with stories from my trip. I got back late Monday night and went into work the next morning at 7am. I spent the week tired, waiting for the weekend.

So work is going well and I do kinda miss my doula life but I won't ever forget those 40 babies.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Easter 2017

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Not the typical pastel Easter picture.

Easter weekend was just the break I needed. Four straight days off work and activities with family in town. It was a combination of loud and crazy with quiet and peaceful. I had time to myself, time to read and just be, and lots of time with family.

The kids coloured two pictures each for a contest that I missed the deadline for. I just told them they didn't win.

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Little J's.
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Little K's.
Speaking of not winning, a local radio station (Live 88.5) had a contest where if you emailed them a song request you were entered into a draw for a Nintendo Switch. Little J is OBSESSED after having seen DanTDM review it and the new Zelda game so we sent in our requests. We didn't win and that led to a very pouty boy.
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Ready to hunt for eggs!

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Dividing up the eggs.
Some of the days were sunny so we were outside and others were a rainy mess. There's a lot of flooding around Ottawa, but thankfully none where we are.

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Sandy loves the sunshine.
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We met up with J's cousin and got all the kids together.
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After dinner walks with Baby J.
At one point I saw on Twitter that April the giraffe was actually in labour. The poor thing has been pregnant forever. Little K's class has been following the live stream since before March Break. So we watched the giraffe being born. Little J was grossed out but Little K and I were fascinated.

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We also squeezed in some family yoga. Put on by Little Lotus Yoga, this Star Wars themed class was perfect for the kids. Little J especially was really into the story and kept supplying the teacher with answers.

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Girls at yoga.


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The boys doing corpse pose.
Monday night I had to remind myself how to go to work and it was a shock to the system when my alarm went off a little after 6 the next morning. It's a short week though because I'm getting set to go see my brother and his family in Atlanta. I leave Friday!