A little of THIS and a little of THAT

Initially I started this blog as a way of sharing my experiences overseas with those that were interested...however so much has happened over the last two years, including more travelling to foreign destinations, revelations of some kind or other, and experiences I thought others could learn from that I decided to mix it all up.

I hope that somewhere you'll find something that interests you and that you'll be able to learn from.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sometimes good things do come to those who wait....

Easter is a time of hope, a time of miracles, and a time of new life.

In the bible, it says that Jesus gave his life on the cross so that we may live, and that three days later he resurrected himself from the dead.

I believe that Jesus died, and I believe that a miracle took place and that he rose from the dead, I can’t say with certainty that he choose to die so that we may one day live, but I can believe in the miracle of it, just like I can believe in my own miracle because you can never truly believe in miracles until one happens to you, or you witness it first hand.

As many have read over the course of the last year and a half of our struggles to add to our family, I thought that now; the weeks following Easter and the season of spring would be the perfect time to share our good news, news that new life and a miracle is growing inside me, healthy and strong.

Here's hoping that all those around me waiting for their miracles receive theirs soon.

Tunis, Tunisia

Tunis, Tunisha – Club Magic Life Imperial

We expect the next nine days to be nothing but fresh warm air, sun and relaxation, and with only a few hours into our travels the prospects are looking good.

Our driver arrived promptly at 4:00am (yes bright and early) and the drive to the airport took no more than twenty minutes. Besides getting through passport control at a snails pace, we made our flight in plenty of time with the escape from Moscow to Istanbul being as smooth as one would hope air travel can be.

As always though, all good things must come to an end, our flight to Tunis was late leaving, and instead of the hour flight I had set myself up for, turned out to be two and a half. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it, but I HATE flying, we will soon find out that this won’t be our only delay.

Our arrival in Tunis, brought with it some sunshine and warm weather, but it wasn’t long before the hour drive from the airport to the resort brought us to clouds and rain.

Upon early arrival to our resort, our room wasn’t quite ready. We signed our paperwork, drank some lemonade and man was it good (I don’t remember the last time I actually drank a glass of lemonade), had lunch, and than headed to our room only to discover it had yet to be cleaned completely. We sat around and waited, impatiently wanting to tour our resort and check where everything was.

The room is not everything I expected, it’s a little outdated, however the resort its self is everything we had hoped for and remembered from Egypt; Mungo Club for Anthony is here, there are teen events for Robbie, a spa that offers pedicures and massages. The beach is pristine, the water clear, the sand soft with no rocks in sight, I can only hope that the weather warms up considerably so that we can enjoy the waves.

Our nine days in Magic Life was followed with iffy weather, the highs reaching no more than 24 degrees with it being 21 or so throughout most of our stay and a chilly wind. We did manage to sneak in some time at the beach though and even participated in some water sports. Ron and Robbie went ski doing, Robbie and I went ocean kayaking and we all went on the banana boat a couple times. In addition to that we went on the most amazing quad ride ever (of course I have nothing to compare it to), the trails started off easy and gradually increased in difficulty leading us throughout the most amazing terrain and scenery, possibly some of the best I’ve ever seen (outside of Canada). I swerved off course a couple times, but after awhile I was cruising like the rest of the family.

Little did we know the turmoil’s the rest of the world was facing outside as we enjoyed our little magic experience, this would later come into play as we tried to get back home to Moscow. The president of Poland and the first lady along with many other key members of the Polish Parliament were killed in a plane crash as well, a volcano had erupted over ____________ putting all of Europe’s air travel at a stand still. We often keep up with the news, but Internet time was hard to come by, and we actually spent our evenings on vacation early to bed instead of enjoying the nightly shows, and English t.v. was next to non-existent in our room. Either way, it was too late, we were out of country, and when we went to the airport to check on the status of our flights we were told that we wouldn’t be heading home today, and probably not for a couple days. So we went to Tunis, checked into a hotel for the night, and than decided to stay the remainder of our “extended vacation” at – Magic Life - Manar. So here we are, at one of the other Magic Life’s in Tunisia, with the promise of being here till at least Wednesday, but as of right now Turkish airlines is saying that there are 50,000 people waiting to leave out of Istanbul and we may be here till the 24th or the 25th at the very least. This is only Day 2 of our “second vacation”.

Day 3 of our “second vacation” and we get a call, flights are leaving tomorrow and we’re on it….I swear sometimes God is watching down on me. We spent the day poolside, at the beach and going for our last kayak ride, by the end of the day I have walked away burnt and looking like I just got back from vacation. I only wish that the sun and clear skies that we’ve had the last two days would have come out sooner, at least we walk away with memories of yet another family vacation.

Now we can only hope when we wake up in the morning, nothing has changed and we’re still set to go.

Morning: We’re still a go, currently sitting in the airport in Istanbul, we have a 5 hour layover – ouch, lots can happen in that time.

Lots CAN happen in that time, but thankfully, at 3am we were home and all cozy in our beds.

Friday, February 12, 2010

When TTC takes over....

So here I am, more than a year of trying for a third child. I am on that road that ends very near; I have done nearly everything I can do to increase my chances of a healthy successful pregnancy. I have taken vitamins nonstop daily; both pre natal’s and a Folic Acid supplement. I have drunken 8oz of Pomegranate juice daily in an effort to increase my uterine lining and stopped drinking caffeine and alcohol for a period. I have taken my temperature everyday for the last 6 months at the same time every morning to determine my ovulation time, taken Ovulation Prediction Kits – OPKs the last three months so see when my (surge) peak time is, and have completely for the most part forgot what it’s like to enjoy sex, instead settling for a quickie in an effort to get as many swimmers in as possible. I forgo going to the gym thinking that working out to hard in the two week wait might make me have a miscarriage (completely irrational and untrue I know).

Having another child has in essence taken over my life. I’m constantly on baby mode. During fertile week I think of quickies, during the time after the fertile week and ovulation I’m in the two week wait and wondering if this is our month, constantly watching my temperatures and if they’re going up or down, if there’s a pattern, wondering if between days 6 and 10 if I’ll have a dip in temperatures (a hopeful implantation dip), when it’s not our month and my menstrual cycle starts again, I’m heartbroken and tears fall…..after a day or two when I’m use to the dreaded bitch and her ugly face, all I can think about is the next 12-17 days when we can “try” again.

It kills me to see a pregnant woman, to walk past a baby store, and sometimes to look at a calendar at the dates of what was and what should have been. It aggravates me to hear people tell me what I should do, what I should have done, and their “words of encouragement”; maybe it’s not meant to be, maybe it’s not in God’s plan. I have gone through grief, bitterness, hate, and anger, however now I’m just at a loss. I know, aside from seeing doctors and fertility specialists (which we will not do), I have done everything I can…….and so we wait and I obsess.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

There for the right reasons?

Our first night of training we had a big opening dinner, and like all orientations we were asked to introduce ourselves, tell something unique about ourselves and why we were there, why we wanted to go to Afghanistan. “My name is Marie, I’m an amateur photography and if I do say so myself I’m pretty good at it. I’m here because I’ve been involved in one way or another with the military community since becoming a military wife, and I’d like to experience a little bit of what my husband has gone through on his four overseas deployments including Afghanistan, while at the same time supporting our troops”. Supporting our troops became a standard answer that night, there were a few military wives like myself, a few ex military, and some that had just come across the ad, or heard through a friend etc....

There were also a few college and high school graduates. Not many were honest in their answers as to why they were there, but a few, very few were annoyingly honest and said they were there for the money. Now being there to make a few extra dollars isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re willing to do your job to the best of your ability, knowing that the job you have in front of you is like no other and requires to go above and beyond, most of which those that were there for the money weren’t willing to do. You knew right off the bat once you starting working who was there and for what reason. You could tell by who would go the extra mile, who would make a quick phone call to another store for a soldier who was only in KAF for the day, but really wanted something that our current store was out of, who would take the time during slow peaks in Tim Horton’s to put a smile on a cup, or who would make fresh coffee at the Canada Houses before the first pot ran out. You could tell who were there for the right reasons just by the little things they did. There were people there looking to pay off their college and university loans, wanting to buy a car, and those that were there looking for love.


Looking for love in a place such as KAF is a little unusual. Once there, you go into a survival mode of sorts. For me, and for every soldier I have spoken to, you get into some sort of a routine while overseas. Go eat, go work, go to the gym, eat again, watch a movie, eat again, hang out with friends, email home. It’s what keeps you busy, keeps you sane and keeps you from missing home and missing your loved one.

While it’s true you might find someone there you share a unique connection with, share similarities with, or share a common bond when it comes to hobbies or life goals, it goes without saying that under most circumstances you will not find your life long partner or your forever BFF. This goes for both men and women, those who are friends and those you wish to become more than just friends with. You begin living day by day, and after awhile you’re waiting for the day you can go home, and catch a break. And since not every soldier or civilian is there for the same amount of time, American soldiers are overseas for a minimum usually of 15 months for example, while Canadians are overseas for a minimum of 6, their reasons for companionship are become different.

As with everything, nothing is impossible. I know of one couple that has got married since returning and one couple that is now living together. I, am back where I belong.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ya so um I obviously haven't updated in awhile....

I swear the updates are coming.......

Call me lazy, crazy, uninspired, call me whatever you want, I swear the updates and words of wisdom are coming, soon.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

One Year Later - Russia Update

Ok well here’s a short update for those of you back home who are always wondering what is going on with us. It’s quick and to the point. I haven’t felt much like writing lately; hence why my overseas journal hasn’t been posted in well over a few months, not much work has gone into it. I had thought about seeing if I could get it published over the summer in a magazine, piece by piece, but I have no desire right now to right up a proposal. HELP anyone. So here’s our Russian update, not well thought out, not well written out, but none the less done.

It has officially been one year since our posting to Moscow and I think it’s safe to say that we’re starting, yes just starting to settle in nicely.

We know enough of the language to get by. The basics that allow us to get what we want from the grocery store, from a restaurant or at the hairdresser. We can enjoy recreational activities with ease outside the home. This summer we had the pleasure of visiting Victory Park, Gorky Park, and the Sculpture Park, a small amusement park of sorts with rides, games, and walking trails, and the Zoo. Ron and I also got some time alone to see the Russian National Dance show and Elton John in concert. Next on our list is Riverdance.

Russia was never a spot I would have thought to come to for a vacation. After being here the last year though, I can say that if you like architecture, old European charm and culture, Russia has it all and not seeing it means you’re missing out.
We have eaten at a few restaurants in Moscow, a couple different ethnic restaurants which were tasty and priced well, our all time go to’s like Pizza Hut (well priced enough), Hard Rock Cafe (overpriced), and TGI Fridays (overpriced and wow does the service suck big time). We also have found our favourite restaurant, Chinese, super good, non greasy, but SUPER and I mean SUPER expensive. This is a once a year, maybe twice a year treat, and WITHOUT the kids.

Being here is all about knowing where to go, and what to buy. Some things are more expensive, others are cheaper. Some of the food is better than back home, some of it is not quite the same, and some of it is just worse. Between the good food here, Stockmen’s, PJ’s and good friends back home (thank you Shannon) I can get whatever I want or need within reason. There really isn’t much I can’t find or that we miss.
The people here well it’s hard to explain. When we first got here, I thought they were grumpy and mean; but the more Russian I learn and try to speak, and the more the sun shines, the nicer they become. We will see in a few weeks when winter hits if I still feel the same or not.

Being in Russia is like an extended overseas tour. You’re all excited when you get here to meet new people, excited when you’ve been here and new people come in, but then that excitement wears off and you just don’t want to be around them anymore. Thank goodness for vacations. We’ve taken three so far, Rome and Pompei, Egypt and Poland and Prague. In August we had planned to go on another vacation to Turkey, but we thought it best to go home. My grandma has not been doing well and the kids really missed Canada.

We had a great time visiting family, and taking the kids to all the places we visited when we were children. Our favourite places were Canada’s Wonderland and Marine Land. Anthony has in all his glory meeting new cousins for the first time and seeing old ones again. Robbie was just glad being able to understand people around him again, walk a few inches without mom calling him back, and going on his first real rollercoaster.

Coming back was actually easy though, and it’s kinda odd to say that we missed “home”. Yes Russia is now home for us. It’s where we live and where we are a family.

The kids this year are doing better in school. Robbie has brought home a couple lower than expected marks, his math though is doing remarkably well, and we have bribed him with a Mac Book for Christmas if he gets straight B’s on his next report card. Anthony’s teacher this year is nothing short of amazing, and I feel really good that she is the one that is around my son daily. Anthony himself is showing such an increase in his liking for school, for writing and for reading. He wants to be involved and is asking to do things like writing out words, or doing his school projects (yes even in Kindergarten they have projects to do, two so far this year), and is more confident in what he does. He is a little leader and always wants to help, no change there. Also no change is his lack of energy if that is even the right word. So far he is doing better this year, but he doesn’t like to raise his hand, and always needs to be encouraged for his work.

First break is quick approaching, ok, to be honest, it’s here. We leave in one day for Canary Islands. I’m pretty sure this is where I started off last year with our first trip. So I think this is a good place to end off for now. Update to follow.

We miss you all back home.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I don't wanna be fat no more

Ok so apparently for once my brain has fallen flat and I can't even think of a creative title for this blog. I would like to steal a friends Blog title and use "Fat No More", but didn't for three reasons. Number 1, it's his. Number 2, although it's not plagerising, it's 2 words away from plagerising, and Number 3, it's not very fitting, cause I'm still fat.

Anyway, as I was saying.

I always said I would kill myself if I my weight reached 160 lbs, of course that was when I was 18, and weighing no more than a feather. After having Robbie I was 140 lbs, twenty pounds more than when I got pregnant, and about 7 of that was post pregnancy weight as I gained no more than fifteen while carrying him to 35 weeks. I was healthy, healthier than I’d been all my life, and looking my best. My twenties suited me well.

When I got pregnant with Anthony I was still in good condition, but pregnancy didn’t suit me so well the second time around and even though I worked five days a week, and was on my feet running tables for eight to twelve hour shifts, when I wasn’t working I was exhausted and fatigued, and all I did was sleep. Over were the days of going to the gym and working out, I had even signed onto a new gym membership where I had briefly worked upon arriving to Edmonton shortly before finding out we were expecting a new baby. The first year was tough, Post Partum hit hard and the exhaustion and fatigue didn’t go away, by the time Anthony’s first birthday arrived I had well surpassed that dreaded 160 lbs, topping in at 208 – 212 as he blew out his birthday candle, most of that new found weight was put on during the his first year.

Before going overseas, (and a little more than 3 years after Anthony’s first birthday) I weighed not much less, just under 200, but I was eating healthier and going to the gym religiously. I had started running, and was enjoying it, and was feeling better than I’d felt in years, even managing to volunteer some of my free time.

Upon coming home from KAF, having watched what I ate, partly because I wanted to be more aware of what was going into my body and partly because the food wasn't very good and was quite mundane after 6 months of the same thing, and due to the midnight runs I put myself through while overseas, and the high temperatures, I went back to Canada having lost close to 30 lbs. I was sitting around the high 160's to mid 170’s. Feeling great, I continued running for the next couple months, although not as frequent.

I knew I initially gained some weight my first month in Russia, and it was quite early on when I first became pregnant. It was also during the Christmas celebrations when we expected our joyful news. I packed on a little bit more than your average Christmas party goer. We had party after party; six in total, and in anticipation that we would be expecting a baby I didn’t worry too much about the weight the holidays were beholding upon me. Well I was a little wrong and baby after baby and miscarriage after miscarriage I was naive enough to think that this would be the one and here I was a little extra cushion each time. After my first miscarriage in December I vowed to go back to the gym, but as the weather got colder (cause I'm not a real Canadian and I become a hibernating bear in the winter wanting to stay curled up where it's warm, I dared not venture outside the 5 minute walk to the gym). It is now almost 3 months since my last miscarriage and I am tired of being fat again. I go home in less than 3 weeks and the first thing I want to hear when I get off the plane in Canada from my family is NOT how much weight I've gained, and trust me when I say it has been said before.

I am starting this time at GASP............as if I’m going to say. Ok seriously in the 80’s, and I’m not talking Bon Jovi or Michael Jackson.

My task is simple; go to the gym twice a day Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and once on Wednesday and whatever I can do on the weekend. I have ick, just two weeks to loss fifteen pounds. I’m thinking maybe this is going to be harder done than said.

Looking back on some past weight loss journals I’ve kept I know that I’m capable of living a healthier lifestyle. I can eat healthy while still indulging and I can exercise and see results. I no longer have the same goal as I did two years ago when I was preparing to enlist in the military as a reservist. I’m 32 now, not 30, and with another two years still left in Russia, I can’t see myself joining and training at 34. I don’t need to do push ups anymore, an exercise which I always hated, and I don’t need to train my feet and legs for long gruelling runs. I’d still like to be able to run long distances, and even (and I’m dreaming in saying this), run a marathon or a half marathon, but what I can do for the moment and what I know I am capable is getting fit again, fit and healthy so there’s no excuses as to why I’m feeling sluggish or lazy on any given day.

So yet again here is something you can keep track of me on. I will NOT post pictures as I wouldn’t want to completely embarrass myself more than I already have or make my friends ill fated and hate me.

I think I enjoy blogging too much.