A letter to every hockey mom (parent) who has ever put their kid on a team bus

Hearing about the tragedy that claimed 15 young lives on a Humboldt hockey team bus in Saskatchewan this weekend has me on my knees to be quite honest.  As a parent I cannot even begin to imagine what the grieving parents and families are going through – my heart is breaking and goes out to them.

Track moms

My 4 boys all played hockey and other sports growing up.  They have all sat on team buses to go to various tournaments, meets, races, and other events.  One of them still does when he goes to various track meets with the University of Guelph.  And every time the most horrible thought or worry, crosses my mind, just for a fleeting second until I push it away because I don’t want to think about that.  The Broncos families are living that nightmare.  They have pushed that worry away hundreds of times and placed their trust in God, the driver, the coaches and told themselves not to be silly and worry.

Hockey mom, Football mom, you name it…

Every Christmas when my four boys leave here to go see their Dad and pile into the car together – I feel sick to my stomach…for a fleeting second..until I tell myself once again “don’t go there”.  And then I watch the clock and text one of them to confirm they got there safely because I know they will never remember to text me as I asked them.  Because of course to them, there is nothing to worry about.  “Mom is being her typical self and worrying too much”.  To them, it’s not even a second thought.  But to us it is.

And after a tragedy like this, it just becomes a little more real and a little harder to ignore that sick feeling inside.  The grief a parent feels at the loss of a child is unimaginable.  We are not supposed to outlive our children.  I don’t believe we were even wired to survive it or know how to deal with it.  But somehow they will, with the support of their community and each other.  They will survive the loss of their son in this tragedy.  But not without it changing their lives forever.  And in some tiny way it changes the lives of all parents, and all us hockey moms as we wave goodbye to our boys when they

Team win 🙂

head off on a bus to a tournament.  To them it is a victory that they are on the bus, so it is to us too.  To them, they are one step closer to their dream of being a hockey player ‘when they grow up’, to going all the way.  So therefore it is to us too.  So we smile and wave.  We feel happy and proud.  And as we should.  They are living their lives.  They are doing their thing.  Our job is to support them and cheer and be proud, and to wave with a smile and not let the little worry win.   Because we can’t keep them in a bubble as much as we might like to.  They are not always going to be sitting on the couch next to us, sleeping in beds in rooms next to us or sitting at the table with us.

But please, please dear God, I pray with everything I have that they are with me for the rest of my life.  And I pray that somehow, the hearts of the families involved, might feel a little lighter one day.  Please help them be there for each other and to receive all the love the community, country and world is pouring out to them.  I pray that even if only for a moment, this gives them a tiny tiny second of comfort.

The twins could not wait to follow in their brothers footsteps
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Why do you train or workout?

On top of the world – or at least my world – today. Why do you train or work out? As a personal trainer I get asked by my clients and others all the time what motivates me to exercise. Through the years my motivation, or reasons and focus have changed but I always trained for ME! Train for YOU, your goals, your health and to be your best version of you.

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In my 20’s I was mostly focused on the aesthetic. Wanted to shed baby weight etc. in my 30’s I trained more for fitness and so I could eat whatever I wanted and not worry 😉

In my 40’s I trained for strength. I was going through a divorce and needed to feel I had control over one part of my life. And my health, and fitness was that thing. I would go to the gym and lift heavy and got stronger and stronger. Not in an obsessive way at all. But I loved the strength I gained. 💥And the sense of self mastery and empowerment that came with it was unexpected but so welcome. I was the strongest I had ever been physically and emotionally. 💥💥

I will be 52 in less than a week. My focus now is good health and the fitness and strength that I need to enjoy life as I want. I never want to feel I can’t do something because I’m not fit enough or strong enough. When someone invites me on a mountain bike ride, ski trip, or a hike, I don’t want to be afraid to say yes. Even if challenging, or difficult I know I CAN say yes and will be able to complete the day.

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So I ask you again – Why do you train or work out❓ it’s so much easier to do what’s needed when you are motivated by your own wellness, health. So go train your body, have some fun and take pictures.

Remember to use #coreexpectations so we can cheer you on!! 🙌🏻👍🏻

Mom, I have a moral dilemma….

A fun mom day today.  Two calls from one of my boys.  He needed some motherly advice.  As always, I am thrilled to hear from my boys anytime and especially happy to know they still consider it worthwhile to check in with mom.

It went something like this:

Son: Hey mom, I am at Walmart, trying on work shoes, and the smaller size is too small but the bigger size is slipping in the heel.  But I am not wearing any socks, so which size should I buy?

Me: The bigger size, you can always buy a half-sole insert if they still are too big with46629038_s.jpg socks

Son:  Is it ethically wrong for me to rip open a bag of socks and try them on with a pair of socks?

Me: Not if you are going to buy the socks.

Son:  Oh, I am not buying the socks!

Me:  Then that would be wrong

Son:  Mom, it’s Walmart… anything goes here..

Me:  No it doesn’t.  I raised you better than that!

He bought the bigger shoes without trying on with socks

 

3 hours later:

Son:  Mom, I have a moral dilemma; I just went on a date with a girl who is really cool and I want to see her again

Me:  That’s great!  What’s her name?  And what’s the moral dilemma (like I didn’t know)

13283713_s.jpgSon:  I have a date tonight with another girl I don’t really care that much about but…

Me:  If you like the morning girl, don’t go out with the other girl…it’s just sex.

Son:  You’re right Mom (will never tire of hearing those words).  Thanks Mom for keeping me on the moral path today

Me:  Love you baby.

Son:  Love you too mom, phone’s ringing and I have to get it, bye.

Another girl perhaps??  Will there be another moral dilemma, another call?  I live for this – I really do.

Love,

Mom xo

 

 

The best Mother’s Day!

I will soon have 27 Mother’s Days under my belt (as a mother) and can honestly say most of them have been very nice.  For years, we would go out for brunch with our four little boys, my mother in law and her mother in law… not the most fun considering we had to keep four little ones under control, but usually the rest of the day was spent relaxing at the cottage while my (ex)husband took care of the mundane tasks of changing diapers, feeding little ones and the evening bath.  You see all I wanted for Mother’s Day was to NOT.  Not change, feed, fight, clean, cook, bathe…basically not do what I did every single day.  Other than that, I was good with spending the day with my babies.

The boys at Ambleside beach in North Vancouver 1996

But one year stands out as very special.  We were living in Vancouver, far away from family.  Their dad had gone back to Ontario on business and was staying for the weekend to see his mom.. understandable, I guess…  So, I was alone with my four boys, ages 7, 4 ½ and twins aged 16 months.  The night before, my oldest, Clayton, comes to me and looks upset.  “Mom, tomorrow is Mother’s Day.  I want to bring you breakfast in bed, but Dad’s not here to help me…and I can’t make eggs and toast on my own and look after my brothers” The look on his face was absolute loss… he had no idea what to do…or how to do it.

I had baked that weekend so we had boller (a Norwegian sweet bun) in the house as well as fruit, so I told him I really didn’t want eggs anyway, but would love a bowl of strawberries, a bolle and a glass of orange juice.  Omg, the look of relief on his face almost made me cry.  Then he asked when I wanted breakfast knowing full well his brothers, and himself, would, as usual, be up at 6 am.  I asked that I be allowed to stay in bed alone until 7 am.

Of course, I heard them all for the hour before, but Clayton did such a fantastic job of keeping the boys busy and away from me.  Have no idea what he did to keep the twins away, don’t want to know 😉

At 7 am the noise outside my bedroom door made it clear my breakfast was arriving.  And I got exactly what I wanted.  Juice, a bolle, and strawberries, plus adorable cards and big hugs from 4 smiling boys.  We had a quiet day together, just us.  It was nice to not have to pay attention to anyone else that day…  And at the end of the day, I could honestly tell Clayton when he asked how my day was – that I had had the very best Mother’s Day ever!

Thank you, Clayton, Eric, Jackson and Thomas.  Love you all so much.

Gratitude

Do you practice daily gratitude?  Do you take the time daily, or most days anyway, to remind yourself of all the things in your life that you are grateful for?

I do.  This daily practice started when I was going through my divorce almost 10 years ago.  My life was in shambles, especially emotionally, and I knew I had to bring something positive into my day.  It was a conscious effort.  Every morning as I sat up in bed from another mostly sleepless night, I reminded myself that I was so grateful and fortunate to have my health, my four beautiful boys, dear friends who were supporting me and another day to live.  And it worked!  As someone who my whole life have rolled out of bed with a happy, optimistic view on what the day may bring, it was difficult to wake up and have my first thought go to the woman my ex-husband was having an affair with, or wondering what other sh.. was coming my way that day.  This daily gratitude practice lifted my spirits and helped me focus on what I had instead of what I had lost.

Recently I have found myself wondering what life has in store for me as I enter the dreaded “middle age”.  You may have read about my “mid-life” crisis…approximately 20 or so of you did…  Are there more great experiences ahead of me?  What if I want to live a bigger life?  Or have I peaked and life has given me it’s best?  I really hope not.  I want more.  I do not feel done with growing as a person, expanding my knowledge, giving more, loving bigger.  And of course this growth does not have to stop, nor should it.  Life and love should be experienced fully in the biggest way possible with little or no regrets.

woman-writing

But herein lies the conflict;  If we are truly grateful for what we have, doesn’t that stop us from reaching for more?  Does being grateful make us settle?   Feeling discontent when I should feel the opposite.  Wanting more, despite that I have so much.

When we open our heart and mind to new experiences we can get a glimpse of “more”, or something else that lights a fire in us.  It can hit you like a ton of bricks and make you wonder why you stopped asking for that in the first place.  That’s ok.  That’s the universe letting you know you are ALIVE.

My answer has been to include both in my self-care plan.  Practice daily gratitude and make sure to notice and be thankful for what you have, or what’s the point of any of this if we don’t enjoy it.  But never stop growing as a person.   Continue to educate yourself.  Share your whole heart with those that matter and make them feel safe to love you back.

Love,

Elisabeth

Am I having a Midlife Crisis?

I think I am…. But do women have those?  I googled it and yes, apparently we can and do.  Traditionally this is something we associate with men and in fact it’s often not taken seriously at all, but rather laughed about when you hear of a guy in his 40’s or 50’s buying a new expensive car, or in a worst case scenario having an affair with a younger woman.  Cliche you say… but true none the less.

Anne Devlin, a clinical psychologist in Sydney, Australia, writes; “We call it a midlife crisis, but actually it can happen at any age, to any gender”.  She goes on to say that this midlife crisis or transition stage is often triggered by divorce, a serious illness, redundancy, an empty nest or the loss of a parent. Or it can just occur out of the blue….great…

If you have read any of my previous posts here you will probably agree with me when I say my trigger has likely been my empty nest.  It really started a few years ago, the nest thing I mean, and it has been a slow descent since then for me emotionally.

What I am finding the most difficult is this general feeling of discontent, with almost woman-contemplating-lifeeverything.  My nature is to be a very positive and happy person.  I wake up happy every day, grateful for my new day and the people in it.  And it’s not that I am waking up unhappy…I just find the day has so many disappointments now, frustrations that were never there before, and so much wondering…and for the first time in my life I think I might be feeling regret.  I have no idea how to deal with that.  Regret is stupid.  Why look back?  We can’t change the past.  We can only learn from it and move forward.  Words I have lived by all my life and taught my children.  Words I believe.

But I feel old for the first time in my life.  Like time is running out at least for some things.  How much longer will I have my health?  Will I ever be able to travel like I have always wanted?  Is there still time to make my business a success?  Will I ever feel like I have a secure future?

Turning 30 was nothing for me.  My life was full, I was pregnant with twins and happy.  40 came and went and in fact, my 40’s were liberating and wonderful.  I was stronger and fitter than I had ever been.  I shed a bad husband and married a wonderful man.  50 came and went with a trip to Montreal with my very dearest girlfriends.  I felt blessed.  But here I sit at 51 and still feel blessed, but also so unsettled and wondering if this is really all, and if so, is that enough?  Is this all I am able to achieve in my work, with my business, in my life?  Will I ever achieve the things I am so passionate about?  I hope so…

Haven’t entirely decided what to do about this “crisis”, but for now, am recommitting to writing because that always makes me feel better.  I am reading more. Trying not to turn my sweet, wonderful husband against me and leaning on some good friends who are getting an extended visit from me because I need to get away.   I might even speak to a professional…

I would love to hear your story or thoughts.  Please let me know that I am not alone.  Man or woman, this is not easy.  To finish, I will take comfort in what Devlin said; “we may find our passion and live happier, more fulfilling and less materialistic lives. It may not feel like it at the time, but a midlife crisis can be an unexpected gift.”

Embracing this day along with you,

Much love, Elisabeth

PS: The article I referred to: http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/mind-body/wellbeing/female-midlife-crisis/news-story/a5f991ed0a8b947745d3541e59de0bcc

5 Tips for surviving stress of blended and “other” families during the Holiday Season

Ok, hand up if you do NOT have a family event or gathering coming up that includes some complications, tension, stress…?  People you find it difficult to be with but have to…?  No hands… that’s what I thought.

Christmas is all about getting together with family and friends.

Christmas holiday stress
So many people and things to consider..

Spending time together under the happy, grateful “glow” of the season.  Spending time with friends is the easy part – we choose those.  It’s the family that can be challenging.   And to make things more complicated, many of us are trying to coordinate things with her/his family, blended families, in-laws, etc.  Some choose to get on a plane and skip it all while sipping colourful beverages on a beach.  I have definitely considered it…  Being a divorced, mother of 4, remarried, stepmom to 3, I have a lot of people with different expectations to keep happy.  Let me share some things I have learned about juggling it all and somehow still loving my family…and them loving me…for the most part anyway 😉

1.  Stick with the plan!   And the key word here is plan.  Talk to your close family. Get a sense of what works for everyone.  Make a plan for when/where you will all get together to celebrate.  And then stick with it.  Someone is going to complain, whine and/or accuse you of not being considerate.  Calmly explain that this is what works best for most people.  Everyone was considered.

2.  Don’t make it all about Christmas Day – Make new Traditions.  Traditionally, if we didn’t have divorces and our children were young without spouses and everything was “perfect & easy”, Christmas Day

Introducing new traditions to Stacey.  Not sure she likes it... ;)
Introducing new traditions to Stacey. Not sure she likes it… 😉

is when one gets together.  That is Christmas after all.  However, if are a lot of different elements pulling on those that are the most important to you, maybe pick a different night, day or morning and do it then.  Make a new tradition where everyone comes to your house on Boxing Day for a family brunch, fun in the snow and a casual dinner.  You are much more likely to have everyone come and you will make your children so happy one day when they don’t have to juggle you with their in-laws all on Christmas Day.  It is about being together after all.

3.  Include in preparations.  If you know that there is a child for example who is struggling with a new family scenario and new img_5689traditions or someone who feels they are giving something up by not having it at their house, then include them in the planning.  They can help you decorate, determine place settings at the table and bring their favorite traditional foods.  We always use place settings at family functions now after one fateful Thanksgiving that ended in disaster.

4.  Sometimes you can’t win – Accept it (wine helps)!  Despite all efforts and trying the strategies above, accept that you will never make everyone happy.  Sometimes you can do everything you think possible and still be accused of being selfish, hijacking all the traditions and ruining Christmas because the ketchup is in the cupboard instead of the fridge.

5.  Focus on the good things 🙂  I am a big believer in being mindful of the good things we have in our lives.  I practice daily gratitude.  And if things get tough during the holidays, I smile, sip my wine and remember how fortunate I am.  And if you are really losing it (it does happen), then take a time out.  Go for a walk, meditate… I drink more wine…

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The kids xoxo

Last year, my husband and I and our combined 7 children plus his parents, and my son’s girlfriend spent Christmas Eve together at our house, celebrating a traditional Norwegian Juleaften.  We had a lovely evening and the kids had fun together – YAY!  I was slightly drunk and all was merry – for 24 hours anyway 😉

 

I wish you and all of yours the very very best Christmas.  Be grateful for the ones you love and enjoy your time together.

Elisabeth xo

Oh, and hug your mom this Christmas.  She tried really hard.

 

Keeping the romance alive during the holiday season

romance-during-the-holidaysThe Christmas/Holiday Season is a hectic one.  Despite that it is about family and kids, we often get so caught up in the things we need to do that we don’t actually spend a lot of time with our families, kids or spouses.  Especially during the time leading up to Christmas.

Let’s bring some magic back to this very special time of year.  Because let’s be honest; we all love those cheesy, romantic Christmas movies and would love a little of that in our lives too.  So
make it happen!!  Here are some ideas for you and your significant other.

Go for a snowy walk and hold hands

What could be more romantic than a nice quiet walk with snow crunching under your boots.  Even if it’s just a short 20-30-minute walk.  Talk about your day, share a funny story or memory from when you were a kid.  Hcouple-walking-in-the-snowold hands.  Simply enjoy each other’s company.  Have the neighbour’s kid come in and watch the kids for 30 minutes.  Well worth the $10. Just do it!

Sit in front of the tree

Yes, just sit there.  Put the kids to bed and sit down for a few minutes together with a cup of tea, glass of wine or whatever.  Sit close to each other, touching.  Just enjoy being close and together.  No talk about busy stuff.  Be present and grateful for what that day has brought you and share with each other.

Plan a couple’s day

Take a day off work, or leave kids with sitter/grandparents on a weekend and plan a day together.  Many couples go Christmas shopping, which can be fun.  Add a lunch date to that and you have a fun day together.  Make a point of holding hands as much as possible.  Sit next to each other at the restaurant.  Take a moment to feel how nice it is to be just the two of you.

Do something Christmassy with the kids together;

For example; read a Christmas story at bedtime.  Let your kids see you sitting together.  His arm around you.  Kids love seeing their parents happy together.  Bake Christmas cookies together and make a heart shaped cookie with your initials in it.  Again, the kids will love seeing you two in love.

Kiss under the mistletoe

Be silly and add some humour relief during a stressful day.  Go stand there until he gets it and gives you a kiss.  mistletoeYou will likely get one from all your kids too, but that just makes it more fun.  And if you don’t have a mistletoe hanging – get it up today!

 

These are just a few ideas.  Please add in the comments which one is your favorite or if you have any other great romantic ideas.

When you focus on the ones you love in a way that makes it simple then all the other stress of the season will slip into second place where it should be.

Love and all the best to you and yours during this magical season,

Elisabeth xo

I Love Christmas!!

Anyone who knows me knows I absolutely love everything to do with Christmas.  I am a suck for sappy, bad Christmas movies; I love Christmas music (don’t tell anyone, but I have a Christmas channel programmed in and have been listening already…), and I can’t wait to decorate.  In fact, I have to make myself wait until December 1st.  Though this year I think I can make a really good case for decorating on November 27th!  First of all, it is the 1st Sunday of Advent, so I have to dig out the advent candles anyway…  Also, since it is a Sunday I have time 🙂  I will be waaaay too busy on December 1st.

My four boys have all grown up into adults now, but I remember how

My four boys, Christmas Eve, when we lived in Chicago, 2002
My four boys, Christmas Eve, when we lived in Chicago, 2002

magical young kids make Christmas.  It’s all those little moments when we would read special Xmas stories; make sugar cookies together or when the Toys’r Us catalogue came in the mail.  BIG DAY around our house!  And lots more of course.  None of that happens anymore, but I am still just as excited.

I will bake the boys’ favourite Xmas cookies as always.  I will wait for Thomas to come home from University so we can watch Miracle on 34th St

My four handsome boys Christmas Eve 2013 :)
My four handsome boys Christmas Eve 2013 🙂

together.  And for the second year now, I will practice making the perfect manhattan to have with them before dinner on Christmas Eve.  Some traditions are the same, some have changed, and new ones are being made. No one wants to help me bake anymore,  but whether they are 2 years old or 20, this mom can’t wait for Christmas and to spend time with my boys in front of the Christmas tree, celebrating, eating good food and sipping our Manhattans.

Who else is excited?? I know I am not alone…. Post below so I know you are with me 🙂

Elisabeth : ) xo

It’s my Birthday

Today I am so grateful for the time I get with the people in my life bday-girl_balloonsthat I love the most. Because it is my Birthday today I have planned to spend time with good friends and close family, and it makes me realize that the most important thing in life is just that – time with those you love. Not things, but time.

Now as I am off to start my day, I ask you for a few minutes of your time please to share my thoughts.  And then perhaps you can let me know how you like to best give your time. I would love to know! 🙂

READ MORE…

Love,

Elisabeth

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