Wednesday, December 31, 2014

14 Things I learned in 2014

- My family is amazing – If you need them they will come running. It doesn’t matter the time or the place, they’ll be there.

- We are all stronger than we think – Especially when it comes to devastatingly impossible situations, we can make it through. This is mainly in reference to my sister; she is so brave and strong. I admire her.

- Hard work never goes unnoticed – You may think no one is noticing, but if you keep your head down and don’t complain, you will be rewarded. People are noticing, I promise.

- Travel light – There is nothing better than walking straight off the plane past the baggage claim, not paying luggage fees, not standing in line to check your luggage, and not worrying about lost luggage. It requires some planning, but it is worth it.

- Travel as much as you can afford to – It opens your eyes beyond your little bubble.

- The flu shot is not worth it – If's efficacy is typically 50%, sometimes it's less. But if you decide to get one ALWAYS go to your doctor, never from a pharmacist. I got an annoying shoulder injury from not following such advice. Wash your hands and don't touch your face.

- Communication is the most important thing in a relationship – If something bothers you speak up, otherwise it will fester in to resentment, which is toxic. But when you do speak up, make sure you speak politely and at an appropriate time (ie not right before dinner when everyone is tired and grumpy). Also, if you’re on the receiving end, listen. You may feel defensive but you can’t dismiss how the other person feels.

- It’s never too late to connect with long lost friends – If they’re your true friends you’ll pick up right where you left off.

- You can only count on yourself to be happy.

- Everything works out the way it’s supposed to – Cliché I know, but there is a story behind this lesson. Earlier in the year I had applied for an oil and gas job. I wasn’t called back and was pretty bummed, then not 2 weeks later oil prices plummeted and I was offered a promotion at my current work place. If I had gotten the job I would have been the first person in line to be laid off.

- The price tag of your wedding doesn’t matter – Focus more on the marriage rather than the wedding. At the end of the day you are getting married, it is going to be perfect I promise.

- Going on vacation while on crutches isn’t the end of the world – People were surprised in Mexico that I was smiling and happy even though I was stuck on crutches, my response “well I’d be on crutches at home in the snow and having to work, so this is a million times better.” Don’t let the little things ruin your time.

- Don’t compare your life to the lives that people post online – Facebook is not an accurate reflection of other people's lives. You will forever be unhappy if you’re constantly comparing yourself to others on Facebook.

- Be grateful– There is always something to be grateful for.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times... You only have to remember to turn on the light."

Once again this blog post starts off mentioning how I've been MIA. Unfortunately I haven't had much inspiration to write lately. The last little while has been incredibly difficult for the champs and a lot of people close to us. We have certainly been tested but we continue to carry on, stronger then ever. Despite the difficulties this past last year we have also had some amazing times, and that is what this post is about. I have chosen to look back and celebrate those wonderful times, instead of focusing on the dark and difficult times. This post could easily have been a poor me rant about life, but no one wants to read that! So, without further adieu, and in no particular order:

The top 10 high points of the last year!

1) Puerto Vallarta: We started the year with a trip back to Dreams Puerto Vallarta with my mom and step dad. This was our favorite resort, and it was going to be demolished so we went for one last hurrah! We had a great time with my mom and step dad. There was plenty of lounging, exploring and overindulging. Even being on crutches didn't slow us down!

2) Emerald Lake Lodge For Ben's big 35th birthday, I surprised him with a trip to Emerald Lakd Lodge in the mountains. It was -40 degrees, creating the perfect winter wonderland. It was a perfect weekend away from cell phones and tv, celebrating together.

3) Las Vegas As a way to celebrate my birthday, and writing the CFA level 2 exam, Ben and I decided to take a last minute trip to vegas. It was hot, we shopped, gambled, lounged by the pool, and even saw 3 doors down in concert (much to my delight). I was a little apprehensive that we wouldn't like vegas, but turns out WE LOVED IT!

4) Passing CFA level 2..... July 29th I found out I passed! What a relief!

5) Ironman Mt Tremblant In August we ventured to Mont Tremblant for Ben to to the Ironman. He did A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!! and I am so proud of him. We ventured to Montreal for the day, and spent the day in Ottawa. Both places I've never been, and they were beautiful! The icing on the cake for this trip was getting to hang out with my mom and sister who flew across the country to cheer Ben on and hang out with me! Aren't they awesome!?!

6) Ontario Not 2 weeks later we were back on the plane headed east, again! It was a great, sleepless weekend seeing our Ontario Families, whom we sadly don't get to see nearly enough. It was a whirlwind trip, with a fantastic wedding, beach time, and family time.

7) 3rd anniversary We celebrated our 7th year together and our 3rd wedding anniversary!

8) Summer! Summer is so short in Calgary, and we seemed to pack in as much awesomeness as we could. We went camping with family to pigeon lake and kokanousa, partied at the stampede, celebrated my best friend's wedding. It seems like we really enjoyed summer to the fullest; we were only home a handful of weekends this summer and even when we were home they were packed enjoying the sunshine!

9) Back Yard We finally planted some trees and put a firepit in our backyard. It's so beautiful, I love it! I can't wait to watch those trees grow as we grow older.

10) Hope ... that I will be able to do a race next year! I've found a great doctor, hopefully he can put humpty dumpty back together!

Lastly, I just wanted to end on some things that I am grateful for. I've been so caught up lately on the bad things that I lost sight for a little while of how blessed I am.

I am incredibly grateful for my husband, and my family. They are my rock and my strength.
I am grateful for mine and my husband's jobs, even though it's not always easy and is often thankless, we are lucky to have the jobs we do.
I am grateful for my beautiful home, in my wonderful community, in my amazing town of Cochrane.
I am grateful for the ability to travel every year.
I am grateful that I get to watch the sun set behind the rockies every evening on my drive home from work.
I am grateful for my health, and my loved ones health.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Blessing in Disguise?

Sunday, October 6th, nearly 5 months ago, I went for a nice easy trail run to burn off some of the amazing food that I had eaten during the early thanksgiving weekend at my mom's cabin. It was a beautiful fall day, leaves were crunching under my feet, and I was feeling fantastic, running strong. In fact, my running had progressed significantly over the summer, and I had big goals for my Ironman and Marathon that I was signed up for next season.

As I was running, I thought to myself “now be careful Jen, the leaves could be covering rocks,” and the next thing I knew I was tumbling down the trail. I never actually felt my ankle roll, and I wasn’t entirely positive what I stepped on, but I felt a snapping (which I thought was my bone breaking) and the pain was unbearable. I was alone with Rudy and I screamed for help to no avail, so I had to make my way nearly a kilometer to a nearby parking lot where I was hoping people would be to help me. By the time I could see the parking lot in the distance, the adrenaline dissipated and I collapsed screaming for someone to come help me. A lovely couple rushed over, got Rudy on a leash, called Ben, and held my leg up in the air until Ben arrived.

We went to the Cochrane Urgent Care; my mom was on her way home from the cabin by then and met us there. I got x-rays and the doctor’s response was “good News, nothing is broken. It must be a bad sprain.” He put me in a back slab and crutches instructing me to start walking in a week. Little did we know I would have been better off to have broken my ankle, even shattered my ankle… because if I had I would have healed up long ago and not spent my vacation in Mexico in January on crutches. I knew something was wrong; I’ve sprained both my ankles many times, this was different.

This started an endless parade of medical practitioners, tests, and treatment plans; 3 x-rays, a bone scan, an MRI, the MRI re-read, crutches, an air cast, a lot of pain medicine, my family doctor, 2 podiatrists, a podiatrist online in the US, 2 physio therapists, 1 sports medicine doctor, 1 ortho consult, 1 podiatric surgeon... and now they at least think they know what’s going on, but no one has ever seen it before or knows what to do about it. I messed up my spring ligament complex... a very small but very important ligament that attaches your foot to your ankle... along with a couple other ligament issues in my ankle. This has made my ankle/midfoot so unstable that my arch has collapsed. A very uncommon injury which was missed on the first MRI read, and most medical practitioners have never dealt with one before. I am headed for an ultrasound on Monday to re-evaluate the ligament and see what the next steps are, or who I get passed to next. I honestly feel like I’m just playing musical chairs with doctors.

It’s nearly been 5 months, I am still in a lot of pain, and not able to train at all, let alone walk very much. I have accepted the fact that I am not going to be able to do the Ironman in Mont Tremblant nor the Calgary Marathon, which was definitely a tough pill to swallow. However, this has allowed me to focus more on studying for my CFA level II, which has needed my extra time and concentration. Perhaps God was just trying to help me realize that I shouldn’t train for the Ironman while I do my CFA… So i'm seizing the extra time and using it to study, and spend time with my amazing Husband. Let’s hope I pass this Level II in June! In the mean time... this will be me:

Monday, December 30, 2013

Good Riddence 2013

Well, I must say I am not going to be sad to see 2013 in the rear view mirror. It has been a trying year for the champs, however, there were some good things splattered in there.

We welcomed 2013 with open arms, I was focused on studying for my CFA level 1 and doing Ironman Coeur D'alene. However, I quickly realized that I may have spread myself too thin, and spent the next 6 months tirelessly studying and training. Luckily Ben was totally supportive, and helped helped me through my darkest moments of self doubt. We decided in March to take a break, and last minute we booked a wonderful vacation to Puerto Vallarta to relax and reconnect, which was well deserved and wonderful. The weather was perfect, we fell in love with Puerto Vallarta, and we found the most amazing resort.

A few weeks after returning form our trip, our klutzy dog impaled himself at the dog park. He was rushed into emergency surgery as the wood went about 6 inches into his thigh. We then learned that our dog is a houdini, he managed to escape his cone, pull out all of his stitches and the drainage tube. Back to the emergency vet. He was stitched up, the pieces of drainage tube removed, and was on the road to recovery.

Then we hit the CFA. It was a pretty grueling exam. 6 hours plus another 2 hours between the breaks and waiting time. I left the exam feeling pretty confident, but I had to wait 6 weeks to find out if I passed.

However, I didn't have long to dwell on the exam because 2 weeks later we were hitting the road to Couer D'alene. It was at this time that Calgary was hit with the devastating floods. On the day that we were supposed to leave after work, the news started flowing in about the flooding. We rushed home at noon, and packed up hoping to get out of town and make the race. It took 5 hours more than usual and an overnight stop at the Kalispell travel lodge, but we made it safe and sound to Coeur D'alene.

(That's the highway)

Ironman was amazing as per usual. Ben became an Ironman finisher, and I completed my second one. However, my day did not go quite as planned. It was a rough one, but I perservered... kind of like this entire year.

July, I found out I passed the CFA, breathed a huge sigh of relief.

August. Well, that was a good month. We headed to Goodsoil with my family and had a great time. We went backpacking with my brother and his girlfriend. And we welcomed the birth of 2 new nieces.

Then came the dreaded fall. The last quarter of the year has been challenging. Not paying attention I slammed the car door on Rudy's tail. Just the very tip of his tail, but it exposed a piece of bone. 6 weeks, 4 surgeries, and a serious infection, Rudy pulled through although with a very short tail.

In the middle of that, I crashed Ben's car driving to work. It was written off, but this turned out to be a blessing in disguise because the insurance payment covered the remaining car loan, and was enough for a down payment on our new car, VW Golf Wagon TDI.

Then October 6, I went for a trail run after a fantastic weekend at my mom's cabin and I fell. I tore a bunch of ligaments in my ankle. I knew it was bad when I did it, but I did not expect to ringing in the new year still on crutches, but that's a story for a whole other post.

Later in October we celebrated my cousin's wedding in Kelowna. We had the greatest time, meeting up with relatives, and exploring Kelowna.

Then my Cousin, and one of my best friends gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.

We also lost 3 wonderful people this year, one tragically a week before christams. This year has definitely made me appreciate the people that are in my life. I am so blessed with all the love and people in my life. This year there has been highs, and there has been a lot of lows. My personal goal for 2013 was to pass my CFA level 1 and finish Ironman and I did both of those things which was a triumph, but the year was not without struggles.

For 2014, we're starting it right by heading back to Puerto Vallarta with my mom and step dad. Then, unfortuneately, 2014 is still up in the air. I dont feel very focused and quite frankly I feel a little burnt from our 2013. My ankle is still pretty messed up which is very frustrating, and I just can't think about cracking those books for CFA level 2 yet. So we'll just see what next year brings. The biggest thing will be what happens with my ankle. I am signed up for CFA level 2, so when we get back from mexico it will be time to start studying, and hopefully I'll be training for Ironman by march... that is if I can walk by then.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hello Fellow Bloggers

I'm not entirely sure if anyone outside of my family reads this blog, but I have started a new blog over called When Money Doesn't Grow On Trees. It's a work in progress, but while talking to family and friends, and after working in the bank, I was very surprised about just how much people don't know and were never taught about money.

It's a blog about finances for the average person, mainly for 20 something year olds.

I plan on continuing this blog about our personal life aiming to post weekly, but posting about once a week over on my new blog about personal finance related stuff.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cabin Time

"Family is not an important thing. It's everything."
--Michael J. Fox

My family has been had quite a lot on our plate lately. With a breakup, a long distance relationship, new baby, smashed car, and an insane dog, needless to say we all needed to relax.

This past weekend Ben and I headed up to my mom's cabin which is only an hour or so from our house. We headed up on Friday after work, and met my mom there around 8 pm. We had a late dinner of Tim's Pizza (seriously you have to try this pizza), and then sat around the fire until way past our bed time, drinking way to much wine.

Saturday we woke up to sunny skies and beautiful weather. We had a relaxing day around the cabin and walked down to the river. We found a four leaf clover hoping that meant our luck was changing. Around 5pm when my little brother was due to arrive, my other brother and his girlfriend and my newborn niece and nephew surprised us! We had dinner, and then once again moved up to sit around the fire, chatting, until way too late.

Sunday Ben and I decided to spend the whole day at the cabin since it is only around an hour to get home. My sister also drove up for the day since she had to work on Saturday night. The weather was beautiful and we lounged around by the river and on the lawn, reading, napping, and chatting. We had a delicious pot roast dinner (a real treat since I have made a handful of roasts in my life) before heading home. Rudy had a great time exploring outside cabin, his energy is finally returning and he is getting pretty fed up with his darn cone. Oh well, 5 more days until his stitches come out!

Overall, it was a great weekend, a little spur of the moment but exactly what we all needed. I am so blessed to have the family that I have. We're hopefully planning another weekend in October so that we all can go, all 13 of us! including my step brother, step sister and step dad. There is something about the cabin that is just so relaxing.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ironman Mont Tremblant 2014

Well on September 4, 2013, Ben and I logged in to to sign up for Ironman Chattanooga, right at 12:00 when registration opened, and guess what... neither of us got in. This race is the inaugeral Ironman in Chattanooga Tennesse and we were really excited for it, but I guess it wasn't meant to be. Luckily neither of us got in, the forums were all on fire about one friend/spouse getting in and the other one not.. That would have been brutal. So we quickly started thinking about other races. We didn't want to wait and try our luck with Florida or Arizona as those tended to sell out very quickly as well, and Ironman Lake Tahoe would be a pretty difficult race from what I'm hearing as it sits at a higher elevation than even Cochrane, and lots of climbing. We needed a later season race so that I can focus on studying, and not have the same struggle as this year when I was trying to do my heaviest studying and training blocks at the same time. I think they both probably suffered a little bit, however, I still managed somehow to pass the CFA and complete the Ironman. So we decided on Ironman Mont Tremblant. I have heard that this is an amazing race, and I have always wanted to head to Quebec since I went to french school in Junior High. Although it is 6 weeks earlier than Ironman Chattanooga, so I'll have to start training in April, at least my heaviest training will not be until June and July, after the exam.

So, on September 4th at 4 pm we signed up. Only to receive an email the next day from Ironman apologizing for the craziness of signing up for Ironman Chattanooga and offering preferred registration to Ironman Florida or Ironman Arizona. Oh well. By that point we had signed up, Ironman Mont Tremblant is our race for 2014, and we're excited!

The plan is that I'll start studying for my CFA level 2 in November (as i heard this is a whole new beast entirely and I want to have a dent in it so that I can take time off for Christmas, and our trip to Mexico for 2 weeks!), I'll start training for my Marathon in December, with 2 bikes a week, yoga once a week and 4 runs a week, then come April i'll start my Ironman training which as of right now will consist of rest mon, double workouts tues-thurs,recovery run fri, long bike sat, long run sun.

I have big goals for 2014, I think Ben and I are both Type A personalities as the next year is planned. We like to have something to work towards.

My 2014 Goals:
1) Pass CFA level 2
2) Calgary marathon Sub 4
3) Ironman Mont Tremblant Sub 14

PS an update on our poor dog Rudy. The infection cleared up, however, he was left alone for a couple hours on Saturday and Monday and he has managed to get his cone off no matter what we do. We even tied his cone to his collar, and then tied his collar to his harness, and he still managed to get everything off tearing his collar in half in the process. He needed another surgery to clean up the dead tissue, and get a clean incision to stitch up. He is now in Dog Daycare at a kennel for this week, and next week, the vet also put him on some mild sedation pills so that he will not go crazy to get his cone off. Here's to hoping in 2 weeks he's all healed up.