The human body is a wonder on all its own, don’t you think?

We have hands that can move and touch things, our fingertips can feel the textures before them. It’s so easy to forget, it’s so natural to take our bodies for granted. Holding hands helps transfer heat and warmth. An embrace can make us weak at the knees. And if we work at it, train it, and feed it well, our bodies can do incredible things and achieve the highest praise in sports and acrobatics. Our legs allow us to walk to new places whenever we wish and climb and jump. Our feet can feel blades of grass poking in between our toes, or dig themselves deeper into the cooler sand. Our stomach is wired and geared to help process anything we give it. Working tirelessly to extract what we need and purge what we don’t.

What’s most wonderful and awe-ing to me is our brains and hearts. Our minds, so full of wonder and light as babes and so complex and misunderstood at other times. Our brain allows us to find logical answers to everyday puzzles and problems that arise. It helps us decide between right and wrong, it allows us to come up with individualistic and unique thoughts. It reminds us of our past and the lessons we have learned from it. Our brains gather information and allow us to dream, to plan in advance, to shoot for the stars.

Our hearts distribute the correct amount of blood to all our organs, think about that! It’s a machine of insane power that defines if we live or if we don’t. A heartbeat, unique and special. From the moment the first ultrasound picks it up our heartbeats provide comfort to all those around us and to the woman that carries us for it means that we are living. Then there are emotions that we attach to the heart because of how it affects our heartbeat, because of how it changes in the face of the love of our lives, and family, and that thing you fear most. Love, a chemical reaction. Fear and Worry which steal our heartbeats. Excitement and Surprise that lift our mood and changes our routine.

These bodies we get to call our own are our home, they are the shelter of our soul. They allow us to experience life in our very own way. We get one body in this life, and it grows and develops inside of another human body. Talk about a miracle. Talk about the most magical experience. Carrying life. Every minute, knowing a new tiny human is growing inside. Knowing that everything you do and put into your body will make its way to them. Seeing for the first time how wonderful a woman’s body is, for it can grow LIFE. Your perspective on life changes, and will continue to, through birth, through the early years and forevermore.

Every person’s life has different chapters, and some have chapters they are missing from their story. Some families yearn to get pregnant and struggle through infertility and invasive treatments to be able to grow life. Others have gotten pregnant, had their world changed and then had it changed again when they suffered a loss. Others have had babies that are now gone. There are many other chapters, I don’t know them all but if any one of these is you, know I’m thinking of you. Through this holiday you may feel many negative emotions, it may be hard, and I want to send you a big and warm hug and tell you I’m sorry you are going or have gone through this. I’m sorry you have to watch another Mother’s day go by without your little one, and I hope that you get all that your heart desires. IVF finally works, ClearBlue tells you, YES, or the adoption application goes through.

The human body is a magical mysterious and wonderful thing we have the privilege of owning. Some are different than others, some work in slightly different ways, but regardless of it all. I hope that today you can thank your body for all that it is. Your constant vehicle through this life. Your friend and partner in crime. Something you can’t very well live without. And I hope that it sparks some thinking as to how you treat it, and talk about it, move it and feed it. I hope you think about how you feel when you catch its reflection. Is it with loathing and disappointment or is it with gratefulness and a promise to do right by it. To care and nurture it. To treat it and talk about it like you would your best friend.

Mother’s Day means many things to me, but in my personal journey, it’s a constant reminder to be grateful for my body. To forgive it for what it has or hasn’t done. To be grateful for what it can do, for what it can become, and for what I know deep in my being that it will provide.

This post is part of the New Mom Monday series! A series about moms and their advice to new moms! Books and videos can only teach us so much, but there’s something special about hearing from real life moms. Honest, true, and always beautifully inspiring!!
♥ What’s your Name?

Corinna Smith

♥ Tell us a little about yourself!
I am a wife and homeschooling mom of nine.  I live in the Deep South and try to juggle everything, every day just like all moms do.  
♥ How many kids do you have? What are their names and ages?
I have nine kids – I can’t remember all of their names and ages (kidding, mostly)
♥ How do you find your “me time”?
What is “me time”?  Seriously, though, when my husband and I can get away for a quick bite to eat or even some shopping together is when I find “me” because I don’t have to worry about meeting the needs of all the little people in my life.
♥ What is the best baby related book you’ve ever read?
 The Baby Book by Dr. Sears
♥ What’s the most useful baby product you have? Why do you love it?

My sling baby carrier.  I’m lost without it.  I love it because I can go to the store, park, zoo, state fair – pretty much everywhere and my baby will sleep, sleep, sleep while I take care of things and have both of my hands free.

♥ If you could say something to yourself when you first brought home your first baby, what would you say?
Don’t listen to anyone except yourself.  Unless you specifically ask for advice on a specific issue, you know what is best for your baby.  Oh, and take more pictures of yourself with the baby.
♥ How much planning did you do before your baby was born, and how do you think that it helped or didn’t help?

I was not prepared for the birth experience at all.  I failed to take a class or even read a book.  So, that didn’t help me as I didn’t know what to expect at the hospital.

♥ What do you believe are the top three pieces of advice a new mom or someone trying to conceive should know?

Research your options for childbirth.  Surround yourself with people who support you in your parenting decisions.  Don’t forget to take it all in and have fun!

♥ What is your best memory so far of being a mom?

So many!  I have great memories of traveling with the kids.  Love seeing new places together and old places through their eyes for the first time.

♥ Give us the short form version of your birth story.
My ninth birth was amazing.  We went to a free-standing birth center for the first time.  My water actually broke at home (also a first for me) and we quickly headed to the birth center.  A couple of hours later, our son was born.  No birth plan, no medication, and no complications.  Seven hours later we were home and able to recover in peace.  Loved it and would recommend it to anyone who is expecting or trying to conceive.
♥ Lastly, for fun, define motherhood!

Motherhood is the opposite of all things selfish and ugly.

To hear more from Corinna be sure to visit her blog The Mommy Clause and follow her on Facebook.

If you would like to participate in New Mom Mondays please feel free to message me by using my contact form! I would love to not only feature you on my blog but learn from your answers, as I’m sure many readers would too! 

 

best nine memories: friends visit
best nine memories: shakeology 
best nine memories: harry potter puzzle
best nine memories: succulent growth
best nine memories: congo
best nine memories: baseball 

best nine memories: mom and daughter trip

best nine memories: novel 
best nine memories: stag and doe 

Best Nine Memories from April

The best nine memories. Honestly so many good things happened this month, it’s hard to nail it down to the ‘best nine’. Why nine? Well, it looks good in a grid, so why not nine? Here’s a bit about all the photos above and the memories attached to them. In trying to live a more mindful life I want to document all the things I’m grateful throughout the year so that when I ask myself as I undoubtubly will, “Where the heck did this year go?” I have a place to look back on and remember.

One

It’s nice when you don’t have to say much for your friends to realize you need them. April had my emotions going all whacky, and I made a few drastic changes in my life. I was feeling unsure and my confidence was pretty low. When Karen messaged me about making the time (and that’s a lot of time because she lives so far!) to come see me simply because she knew I needed a friend, it really touched my heart. Not only that but then Beth was available the same day even though it was so last minute! It was wonderful to see them, because it doesn’t happen often, and to talk and have them be there was a big deal for me this month. We even did our daily workout together and pushed each other to get it done! Thanks girls!

Two

Shakeology. My breakfast of choice. I’d dropped the routine and had been having it as a snack, then with dinner, sometimes after my workouts, sometimes before bed. This photo was in the morning when I had now for a couple of days gotten my routine in order again and was happy to check in for a week of having it in the morning!

Three

Sometimes it’s nice to just relax and do something chill. Like a puzzle! Better yet, make it a Harry Potter puzzle! We got this bad boy at Universal Studios when we went on our East coast Roadtrip. Surprisingly though, we had yet to put it together! I knew I wanted to frame it and put it up in the home office, which is the room full of all fandom trinkets. But not having the frame kept us from opening it, until this month when we were like, what the heck, let’s do it, it’ll be fun!

Four

This is a Pinterest attempt, and let me tell you, it’s working! I followed these instructions and at first, I thought I killed the poor succulent. Stripping it of all its leaves seemed harsh and then expecting leaves to grow new plants seemed impossible! Especially knowing how great I was at taking care of green things in the past…(hint, I killed all green things) For a few weeks, it looked as if nothing happened. The leaves looked exactly the same! No shriveling up, but also no blooming going on. Then, right when I was about to give up on them, we woke up one day to notice roots and small baby succulents growing from the end of the leaves! It still blows my mind. We’re well on our way to growing a little succulent forest!

Five

This little furball is the cutest little companion. I love that I am able to take him to work with me every day. He mostly sleeps and gets some love when people come talk to me at my desk. Our little family has our routine down, Congo included! He comes down to eat while we make our morning shake and gets so happy when he sees his collar. He walks with me from the parking lot and he settles in place as soon as we get to my desk. When I hurt my back a while back and had to work from home often he lay like this by my legs as I worked.

Six

We had some beautiful warm sunny days. With baseball season here Christian and I have been getting outside and throwing the baseball around. At first, I told him to call his dad to throw the ball with him because last year I had tried to play catch and just couldn’t for the life of me catch a ball. He encouraged me to try again and we went out to our backyard and threw the ball a few times and guess what? I caught them! I’m actually half decent! Anytime it was sunny after getting home from work meant going outside with Congo and Christian and throwing the baseball around! It made me wonder if there were any adult leagues in this new city of ours. We’ve both never been a part of an organized adult sports team. We played sports and were in teams in grade school and high school, but I always thought you had to be really good to be in an adult league. Who knew there were co-ed recreational leagues? Apparently everyone but us! Luck have it we found a team with two last spots remaining and signed up, not only that but it was a fully funded team and there was no cost for it! We’re so excited to start.

Seven

In April, Christian was away for a few days to Halifax for work, and while he was gone I moved in with my mom (because I am not accustomed to sleeping on my own, and because why not move in with mom?). We had lots of fun together, and I successfully got her hooked on one of my favourite shows Once Upon A Time. I have a thing for Hook like, I can’t even describe it. He just does things to me. Since there was a holiday there we toyed with the idea of going on a drive someplace, anywhere. Just hitting the road and going nowhere in particular. As the day of this destinationless road trip came I remembered one of my favourite places! I learned about it a couple years ago. And that’s the Grotto at the Bruce Peninsula National Park. It’s about four hours away but mom was up for an adventure. We made some delicious snacks at home and packed a backpack with our water bottles, my copy of You Are A Badass, because I love that book (and so did she!) our food and some sweaters. We drove north and it was so nice to just drive and not have a certain time we needed to arrive by. Along the way we stopped at a garage sale we found in a little town and happened upon some super cheap and super beautiful treasures. Then, we found the coolest and dirtiest haha, store that sold antiques. There were some beautiful old signs there. We arrived at our location and mom LOVED it. It made me so happy to see her so happy. It’s actually a miracle we didn’t die because we’re huge clutzes and the Grotto is made of slippery smooth rocks and cliffs and just, many ways to die. So that was a huge success. We drove back home after sitting for a while and just watching the water hit the rocks, we ate our snacks and wore our sweaters. On the ride home, we read the book for the full four hours and shared stories and were badasses. Overall it was a wonderful day. Love you, mom!

Eight

These are the names of the characters of my novel. I started writing it about a year and a half ago. It’s something that brings me so much joy. It’s quite magical, the writing process. These characters are so real to me. I wish they were, I want them all in my life. Except maybe one of them. I write because I have to, it’s such a part of who I am. Communicating, with words is what I’m good at, and I also happen to have a creative mind that dislikes sleep. It’s constantly running and coming up with new things for me to do. I’ve been writing stories consistently since I was 13. Always fiction, and for the early years, a lot of it was fanfiction material. I wanted to be a part of my favorite books, so why not write myself into them? When I started high school I had a website recommended to me, GaiaOnline. I met many important people in my life on that site. And two remained friends to this day, I actually get to see them again in June and I’m super stoked about it. Who would have thought these kids I met on this writer’s forum would become friends for life? It happens. I learned so much on this website. I wrote with some incredible writers whom I learned pacing, character development, plotting and how to really embody my characters. I learned so much more than I ever did in school about storytelling and collaborating with other writers. We wrote stories together, we developed characters together and I give so much credit to this site and the people I wrote with for over a decade. Today I write on my own. Sharing chapters as they are ready with my bestie because she enjoys my style and I enjoy her commentary. Also, she’s super supportive of everything I do and I love her for it.

Nine

We had the pleasure of celebrating our friends Sean and Danielle at their stag and doe. It was actually pretty sweet as it was in the very same location we hosted our stag and doe. It’s wonderful to see friends that love and respect each other get married and I am looking forward to their wedding! I know it’s going to be stunning. Christian is in Montreal in May for the bachelor party and I know they’re going to make some memories and have a blast. We were the first of our friends to get married, and it’s been wonderful to see them all through their weddings and be a part of many of the weddings. Christian and I are celebrating our 4th fourth year of marriage this June, and our 9th year together. It’s quite fascinating how time works, and how much time you can spend with your soulmate yet still miss them when they’re away for a day.

In April I was grateful for…

  • Great weather, sun, and warmth on my skin
  • Plants that thrived and grew beyond my expectations, so much so that I needed to repot them and give them more breathing room!
  • Working from bed when my back pain was too unbearable
  • Friends who drove long distances because they knew I needed their support and hugs, I love and appreciate you.
  • Christian coming back safe and sound from his work related flights!
  • Netflix and amazing shows with spectacular storytelling
  • Work benefits, chiropractors, physiotherapists and massages to help my injured back
  • Acupressure and its working!
  • A vehicle that allows me to travel to see friends when I want to
  • The time to be able to take my mom on a random road trip and for having her near me to be able to make memories together.
  • Canada and its beautiful sights.
  • Congo’s good health and the fact that he doesn’t shed
  • Late night campfires to celebrate birthdays.
  • Another year of life for both my dad and my father in law. Grateful that they are still around and close to me.
  • Trips alone to chapters to roam the aisles aimlessly and have the time to do so.
  • Work for allowing me to organize with the help of others a road trip to see the Blue Jays.
  • Rice Paper because it’s the easiest wrap to hold all my spare veggies
  • Christian for being supportive every moment I need him
  • My cousins for keeping my spirits high, for brightening my day, for chatting daily, for being inspirational and strong beautiful women that I can learn from.
  • My home, for making me feel grounded and safe and grateful every day.
  • For Azra and how much she knows me and knows when I need her and how much I need her.
  • My makeup skills getting slightly better.
  • Kike finishing his school for the summer and doing well in school
  • Daniel being a superstar at work and allowing him and Michelle to travel the world together and make so many memories!
  • Courage to step out of my comfort zone and do something risky

Look out for another Best Nine next month to hear all about May!

Mariangelica

 

 

vegetarian, pescatarianVegan, Vegetarian, Lacto Vegetarian, Ovo Vegetarian, Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian, Pollotarian, Pescatarian, Raw, Rawtil4, Flexitarian.

Say that five times fast. You can learn more about what each of these are here. But the point is, wow. There are so many ways to label what we choose to put into our bodies. I’ve come to think about this topic because just this past March I hit 24 months of making a conscious decision as to the food I wanted to consume. My family isn’t vegetarian, or anywhere close to it. Back in March of 2015, we were a typical latin american family who gathered for parties and events to eat because really, we’re all there for the food, aren’t we?

Christian and I have this joke (but true story) we tell of one day early in our marriage when I got home to have my sweet husband tell me he had already made dinner. Steak! Yum. Oh and what else? No, just steak! We laugh about it now because of how much we have both grown and learned along the way. Food is something we experience many times a day, every day.

It is astonishing how little we used to think about it in the past. My mom always tried to get me to eat my veggies. I just wouldn’t budge and the colourful food was always left on my plate or I’d sneak it into one of my brother’s plates! Now as a married couple, cooking on our own, it didn’t seem so hard. Steak tastes good, pasta tastes good, extra cheesy hawaiian pizza with bacon tastes good. What is there to think about? Just follow your taste buds!

My sister though, who grew up elsewhere with her mom, was my first glimpse at a different way of eating. I also have a joke (but true story) I tell about how the first time I visited her in my teens I opened her cupboards to look for food and could only find what I called “rabbit food” Just seeds, and things in jars with gasp no labels?! And the fridge? A sea of mason jars with interestingly coloured things inside.

I walked over to the corner store purchased a loaf of white Wonderbread, a tub of margarine, Coca-Cola, and white cheese. Heading back up to her place with food, I put things away. But not after I made myself a nice grilled cheese sandwich with an ice cold coca cola to go with it. Food. I’m sure my sister was horrified, but she hid it well. While helping her with dinner I saw how she pulled out jars, seeds, some eggs, vegetables, and beans. No meat for this meal. How could something be a meal without meat? Instead, there were mushrooms and chickpeas and things I had always said I didn’t like, even when I hadn’t even given it a try. Typical teenager.

Through the years I continued to eat my way, with the additions that flourished when my mom made something delicious and then when I was done eating told me there had been carrots in it. Whatttt. Or when my yearly visits to Montreal to visit my sister would always end up in me trying something new that I actually liked. I didn’t try a pineapple or avocado until I was 20!

Somehow, somewhere, I started to think about food, and how there were all these things I never tried and assumed wouldn’t taste good. They were delicious, and interestingly, nutritious! If I look back, I think what I ate was never a concern because I wasn’t a large girl. I wasn’t overweight and didn’t look unhealthy. It’s a common mentality, and a wrong one, but regardless it is likely why food choices were not a common topic in my life.

In March of 2015, almost two years into our marriage, scrolling Netflix at home while waiting for my husband to come home from work I stumbled upon a documentary that changed my life. Forks Over Knives. I watched it in awe. I was horrified, alarmed, worried, interested, curious, and by the end, I was on my laptop researching many of the topics I had only just heard about for the first time in my life.

That very same day I decided to become Vegetarian. I just couldn’t unlearn what I had learned, I couldn’t unsee what I had seen. The numbers didn’t lie. Earlier in my life, I had seen those PETA videos, with the mistreatment of animals, and although I was horrified then, it didn’t make me stop eating meat. This though, data, information, and a new way of thinking for me made something happen, something click.

Originally, it came as a shock to most of my family. There were no vegetarians in our family, and it took a while for them to realize this was here to stay. “Oh, you don’t eat chicken either?” “Are you doing this to lose weight?” “You need protein, how are you going to get any protein if you don’t eat meat?” “This won’t last” “You need meat to be able to grow a healthy baby” “Think about the health of your future children” “Will your children eat meat?” “So what are you going to eat now? Salads forever?”

My mom came around quickly and to this day anytime we have an event or a gathering she’s always mindful to make something vegetarian, and to me, this is such an expression of love, love her for it. Naturally, Christian being the superstar he is supported me from day one and even made a plan to only eat meat if we were out with friends or out on an event but he would refrain from cooking it at home.

Through these last two years, he and I have learned more about food than in all the years of our lives prior. I have become obsessed with learning and trying. We have set foot in health food stores and regularly shop locally at farmer’s markets. I understand the value of food as a form of energy, health, and medicine. I have experienced incredible changes in energy, drive, motivation and positivity in my life. I had energy to begin exercising regularly, something I didn’t do often. I started helping other women in changing their life through the use of food and movement. I became passionate about helping others lead healthy lives, no matter if they ate meat or not.

Fish has been reintroduced into my diet in the last few months, and it’s actually interesting how natural this addition came back into my life. Through my research into things that I cared about, fish never made any appearances, thinking back, there were things in the first documentary I watched that I wasn’t following.

They spoke of the evils of anything that came from cow’s milk, yet although I don’t drink cow’s milk, I do consume cheese, butter and sometimes yogurt. They didn’t mention fish as a cause of many of the diseases and issues the documentary brought up yet I wasn’t eating it because it didn’t fall under the Vegetarian umbrella.

This was my lightbulb moment. In an age where we feel like we have to define ourselves to the world, labels help keep us in line and in check, because how hard would it be to explain that you’re not a vegan, but you don’t consume cow’s milk directly, and you are vegetarian, but you eat fish here and there, and you had that marshmallow during the campfire and yes it has gelatin, but… Do you see what’s happening?

The feeling to have to justify to your family, to the world, to yourself what you are is tiring and completely unnecessary. I have recently grown to understand that I am none of these labels. I choose to eat what brings me joy, and I choose to avoid some foods always or as often as I want to (looking at you gluten!)

So eat what you want to eat, but learn a thing or two about your food, whether you choose to care or not is up to you, but there’s nothing wrong with learning. I’ve been recently letting go of things that were bringing my life invisible stress and this issue had been one of them. I write on this blog for many reasons, but writing is one of my ways of getting my feelings out, and this is something I felt had to come out.

I’m happy doing me and to the person who judges or pokes fun at anyone for foods they put into their body, I simply feel sorry for you and wish for you to take a step back and rethink how to better add value to the world and to others, there are kinder ways of educating. Likewise, to those who choose to follow a strict diet and have your reasons as to why, know that not everyone is ready to change when you are, that everyone’s make up is different and although this has worked miracles for you, it may not be right for them and sometimes, just being an example to others of a healthy and happy life, how my sister was to me, does more to intrigue or help someone than flat out shaming or trying to convert everyone you meet to your way ever could.

You do you girl, label or no label.

Love,

Mariangelica

 

This post is part of the New Mom Monday series! A series about moms and their advice to new moms! Books and videos can only teach us so much, but there’s something special about hearing from real life moms. Honest, true, and always beautifully inspiring!!
♥ What’s your Name?

Samantha Bush

♥ Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m a mom of two kids ages 6 and 7.  I love the outdoors, when we’re not camping in the summer time you can catch our family out at car shows(hubby has an antique truck he enters) or just hanging out at home.  My blog is something I do to help bring awareness to other moms about the importance of being healthy and choosing the right foods for your family.
♥ How many kids do you have? What are their names and ages?
Kaitlyn is 7 and Jacob is 6.
♥ How do you find your “me time”?
I’m a WAHM so I find my me time when the kids are in school between helping clients and running errands for my mom.
♥ What is the best baby related book you’ve ever read?
What to Expect When You’re Expecting is the only book I read and with that came a lot of trial and error!
♥ What’s the most useful baby product you have? Why do you love it?

I would say the swing.  I know it’s simple but both my kids loved it when they were little, so it was a great buy because it gave me a chance to clean house or just have some down time while they enjoyed their swing time.

♥ If you could say something to yourself when you first brought home your first baby, what would you say?
Don’t stress!  And get sleep!  I tried to be the perfect first-time mom, up cleaning house, doing laundry and making dinner while she slept.  I didn’t heed the advice of sleep while they sleep!  And it drained me.
♥ How much planning did you do before your baby was born, and how do you think that it helped or didn’t help?

We didn’t go overboard on planning but we had the necessities in place by the time I was 6 months along, and that helped a lot.

♥ What do you believe are the top three pieces of advice a new mom or someone trying to conceive should know?
I lost two pregnancies before finally carrying my daughter full term.  It was a struggle because it was hard losing the pregnancies but also not really knowing what was the cause of it all.  I over stressed about it.  At the time I had a high-stress retail job that demanded a lot of me.  So my best advice would be, don’t stress.  Stress can really do damage to your body in so many ways. 
♥ What is your best memory so far of being a mom?

Last July we took the kids on their first over-night stay at a hotel to go to Lego Land.  It was such a cool experience getting to see their absolute joy by getting to stay in a hotel and travel.  Traveling is something I love to do so I know we’ll be doing that more in the years to come.

♥ Give us the short form version of your birth story.
For my daughter, Kaitlyn it was a quick birth, from start of labor to delivery was about 5 hours, which wasn’t bad.  I just had my husband in the room, he got to cut the cord of course.  After delivery, my mom and both in-laws came in to see the baby.  It was a great experience and I wasn’t nervous once everything started to happen.  Instincts kicked in.
With my son Jacob, it was a bit more planned.  I had complications in my pregnancy and passed out 3 times during my 9 months.  So I opted this time for an epidural and for the nurse to start labor.  I had Braxton hicks for 3 days before he was due and it felt different than last time.  I don’t remember how long I was in labor but it was about 10 hours and I was exhausted.  Again my mom and in-laws were with us and a friend stayed at the hospital with my family while I was in labor.
♥ Lastly, for fun, define motherhood!

It’s a huge ball of joy, excitement, worry, 2nd guessing decisions, patience and love all rolled into one.  You’ll have good days and bad days.  But you know love is there and that’s what keeps you going!

 

To hear more from Samantha be sure to visit her blog Simply Samantha Bush and follow her on Facebook.

If you would like to participate in New Mom Mondays please feel free to message me by using my contact form! I would love to not only feature you on my blog but learn from your answers, as I’m sure many readers would too!