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Sunday, August 31, 2014

What the heck is a Fitbit?

A few months ago, Tim(aka hubby), was out of town for work, and our anniversary was coming up. Over the years he has surprised me with a romance novel where we were the characters, a painting of a portrait from our wedding day, and a trip to see Phantom of the Opera in New York City. So when he texted me saying that he had a surprise for me, but that we would both enjoy it, my mind started thinking about what he could possibly surprise me with for our special day.

I wasn't really thinking about how much I had been talking about how I wanted to start getting healthy, and start losing some weight again. He landed home with two Fitbits, one for me, and one for himself. Mine sat on the table in the box for two weeks before Tim opened it up and set it all up for me. And now a few months in, I'm completely hooked. So what is it?

A Fitbit is like a little bracelet with a little chip inside that keeps track of your step, calories and even your sleep. I don't keep track of my sleep as much any more, because I have never been a good sleeper, and I don't need to be constantly reminded, but it has been interesting to note that I sleep way better when hubby is out of town(probably a coincidence, right)?

Anyone who knows me and the hubby, you know that we have always been a bit competitive, it has always kept things interesting. But today I caught him giving his Fitbit to our 5 year old so that he could keep up with me on my steps as I took an extra walk. It has made trying to get our 10,000 steps a day a bit more interesting. When we are on vacation, we are the opposite of most, and getting our steps every day was not a challenge at all, but since getting back, I haven't been hitting my daily goals at all. I am hoping that will all change again this week when the kids go back to school.

The other fun aspect of the Fitbit is that it is kind of like Facebook, and when your friends buy a Fitbit, you can add each other to your "Dashboard" and you can see if they are beating you in steps for the day and week. Each week your Fitbit will let you know who the leader was, and who was in last place. Since other couple friends have bought them, we can taunt, cheer and message each other about how the day is going, or if you are Tim, you pick on the rest who lag behind.

There is also an upgrade you can get on the website once you sign in and they will send you a food plan that you can follow to help you take off the weight faster. I am debating adding that in the next few weeks. Right now I just want to meet that 10,000 step goal for a few weeks before the weather gets cold. So if you are in Fort McMurray and want to pound the pavement, let me know, as I will be jamming some extra walks in every day, as all the way around our subdivision only gives me 3400 steps! And after not being good all summer and adding some pounds back on, I will be needing all the motivation I can get!

The Fitbit will set you back about $100, but it is a fun way to get motivated and you can even add the App onto your smart phone so you can check your steps there too! And they come in a variety of colours so that you can pick your favourite. I'm always looking for new ways to stay motivated, so if you have some good tips, feel free to share in the comments!



Monday, August 18, 2014

What's up with our love/hate relationship?

I sometimes write things, and I think I will have some response, and I never get it. And then I write other things, and I will never figure out why there is such a strong response. The blog I wrote yesterday falls into the second category.

I mentioned that I was playing with the idea of giving up social media like Twitter and Facebook for six months. I could not believe the emails that I received. People that said they too wanted to try it, or had already made the leap. Women who said they felt disconnected from their immediate families or their spouses. Men who said that they felt that they had no relationship with their kids except for on Facebook. Others who said that they were totally heartbroken by dramas that played out on the internet. Many said that they had developed "fake" friends and tiptoed around family members. And many, many who said that they felt so compelled to start their day by checking everyone's status that they had lost themselves, and needed to disconnect to try to figure out their lives.

It blew me away. We all seem to have a love/hate relationship with the technology in our life, and the relationships that we have through it.

After dealing with a few editors, I was trying to look at my Facebook more as a part of my possible writing career, and indeed, many would not have found this blog except through sharing it on a Facebook page. But it is still the random postings of someone's daily news, of how they are doing with life that keeps me most interested.

A few months ago a woman that was on my FB disappeared for a few months. I hope she doesn't mind me sharing the story here. She eventually sent me a message saying that she had been dealing with some issues, and all my "happiness" on Facebook was just too much for her to handle. I had others admit to me that they had taken me off their pages because I had kids and they didn't, and all my postings about my kids were too much. And a few said that I seemed to have forgotten where I was from and they were sick of all my posts about Fort McMurray. I am happy to say that they woman is now back on my page, and I love her contributions.

Do I have to defend myself? No, but I will. After being married for almost 20 years, and dealing with kids from all ages now, medical problems, accidents, miscarriages, depression and just life in general, I don't think I have ever said that our lives are perfect. But do I try to focus on the positives? Yes, because otherwise life would just be depressing, and I don't want to go through life feeling overwhelmed all the time. Do I love my kids, and Fort McMurray? Damn straight, but I also try to share what drives me crazy about them all at the same time.

For now, FB is my outlet, it's where I go to feel connected, where I see how everyone is doing, and if there is any news around town, across the province, around our country and from my friends around the world.

So I guess we all have our love/hate relationships, and we all need to figure out what makes us the happiest. Again, I find myself saying thank you....when I share and you respond we all feel a little less alone with our issues.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Seasonal writer.

This past week I received a lovely email from a woman in England who had googled Fort McMurray bloggers and came across my blog. Towards the end of the email she asked if I was a seasonal writer because of the nice summers here or not. I had never really thought of myself as a "seasonal writer" before, but it made some sense to me. The nice thing about having a blog that is my own is that I don't have to answer to anyone, and while the kids are off for the summer and the days are long, I have been enjoying the days with them.

But lately I have been starting to think about getting the kids back into a routine, especially Shayleen since she will be starting her first full days of school in a few short weeks. And with routine and structured days, I should have more time to write, right? I have been working more and more on my fictional work, and staying off social media more the last few weeks just to see how I felt about it. A few friends in the last few months have totally given up Facebook and Twitter, and I have to admit that I am toying with the idea. What would life look like for a six month period with no social media? There are people on my Facebook that do not interact with me either on there or in real life any more, so why not focus on the people around me that are part of my every day life? The downside of course, is that I would not be connected with people that do not live near me that I love hearing from through Facebook. I have also met many wonderful people through social media, so it is definitely something I will still have to think about before giving it up cold turkey, lol.

I am not sure if it is the fact that Shayleen will be starting full time this year and Mitchell will be graduating, but I feel that my life is moving towards a new chapter and to be honest I have dreaded this year since I was pregnant with Mitchell. But I am now suddenly determined to make it a good change and embrace it all instead of seeing it as a sad year. It will also mark our 20th year as a married couple. So there is lots of happiness in all those years. So here's to new changes, new chapters(in more ways than one) and finding my way through it all. Maybe if I keep sharing more rather than less with you all, I will find the most comfortable path through all that this next year will bring to my family.

I do know one other thing about myself that I have been honest about the last few years, and that is the fact that I struggle with some depression every year when the kids all go back to school, but I am determined that since I am now more honest about it, and expecting it, I will be able to stay busy and focused and keep it at bay this year. I am thinking that more fun is the answer! So in the next few weeks I am going to make my mental health, and staying happy a priority and I am making the commitment right here to not take on any projects that don't bring me happiness. Hold me to it!