“Me” Day

I’ve been spending some quality time with the girls over the past few days and I think Rina has appreciated spending a bit more one-on-one time with her Mommy and Daddy. Last night, she came to me with this sweet love note:

Rina <3<3<3<3<3 maman

Rina <3<3<3<3 maman

Last night, I was getting ready to not be able to sleep before my night shift tonight, but the husband had arranged for the girls to spend most of the day with his parents so that I could get some alone time and do whatever I wanted with my day, including nap before night shift! #hesawesome ! I quickly changed gears and planned my day accordingly! On my to-do list:

  • cook a healthy meal for night shift. During the holidays, I see a crazy amount of treats in (and out) of our break room and if I don’t plan my meals accordingly, it’s easier to fall off the wagon. Although my Whole30 is officially over since last Saturday, I have yet to have a “cheat meal”. It’s going to happen tonight with this recipe from Inspiralized
Image credit to inspiralized.com

Image taken from  inspiralized.com

  • Do a little laundry
  • Tidy up the house
  • Wrap-up Christmas presents
  • knit, if I have time left-over!

While I was slowly enjoying a late breakfast, the doorbell rang. I went to open the door and it was a flower delivery!

Photo 2015-12-22, 9 09 41 AM

The husband surprised me with a nice floral arrangement “just because” this morning! <3! More brownie points for him! I cleaned up breakfast, helped getting the girls ready and packed for the day and Ben drove them to my in-laws. I got going on the laundry and just finished cooking the Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potato Noodle Bowl with Pomegranate and Maple-Sesame Vinaigrette (long title, delicious meal!) hence, where I will be breaking my Whole30 (maple syrup isn’t compliant to the Whole30). I did add some cooked chicken to the recipe for my night snack in order to bump up the protein content of the meal. I cleaned up my dishes and am now about to wrap up some presents all while attending to the laundry, and it’s not even noon yet! #score

I begged Ben to bring the girls back home for dinner as I will otherwise be away from them for close to 24hrs and I can’t remember when I’ve been apart from them for so long. At the same time, it makes me realize that maybe I SHOULD make it a point to take more time for myself once-in-a-while… Food for thought!

Enough blogging, I have a full day ahead and I plan on making the most of it!



Rina-ism #107

All is quiet in the house as I’m getting ready for work in the early morning. Suddenly, I hear Rina go to our bed to cuddle up to Ben and watch Netflix on the iPad. I go snuggle up to her and whisper to her how I will miss her today, how pretty she is and how much I love her.

She looks me in the eye with what I interpret as a loving look and starts to lean in towards me (for what I think will be a loving hug). She stops about 1″ form my face and blurts out:





No Longer Afraid

I’ve been thinking a lot about my Crossfit journey lately. What it has brought to me, how it has changed me and the benefits of it all.

For the past 21 months, I have been (mostly) attending the 0600 class, which means that I have been waking up at 0500 in order to go workout. I know, right? For some people, this seems unfathomable and a little on the cray-cray side of things. It is what works for me and my family and obviously, if I’ve stuck to it for so long, it’s because I enjoy it!

I remember the first few months, how I was apprehensive about the WODs. Now, I don’t even think about checking in advance what the workout will be. Sometimes, I will, just to make sure I have everything I need in my bag or to compare the weights I used previously in order to go heavier. I no longer apprehend WODs, instead, I strategize and plan to be efficient. Proof is, I tackled Fight Gone Bad over the weekend without any prep and we just tackled Nancy this morning.

To say that I am more mellow is something only the people close to me will notice. I am still the spirited (ahem), unfiltered French girl amongst the “anglos” around me, but I no longer let the little things get to me. I tackle struggles in strides, one rep at a time, one step at a time. Don’t get me wrong, I still stand out with my personality, I have just mellowed down a bit!

Yep! Still the same, just muted down a bit!

Yep! Still the same, just muted down a bit!


I can now lift heavy things or people by myself. A few months ago, I deadlifted one of these puppies at work to help out a co-worker move the ventilator tubes from underneath the wheels. Mind you, I only deadlifted the one side so probably about half the weight of this beast, but it’s still about 140lbs! :


The Giraffe Omnibed incubator by GE

The Giraffe Omnibed incubator by GE

I can also carry both my kids upstairs on my body when bedtime comes around, even when I’m sick. Last week, Rina wanted me to pick her up while Béatrice wanted to hang onto my back to go upstairs at bedtime. I had kept Nanny around because I was nauseous and not feeling well. She was impressed when she saw the monkeys hanging off me while I made my way up the stairs. That is 60lbs of little humans to carry upstairs! I can also move furniture without my lovely other half around. The downside of this is I also assume everybody else should be able to do the same… I need to learn to lower my expectations! 😉

Today's WOD Source

Today’s WOD

Speaking of expectations, I had none for Nancy this morning. I had only ever done the 3 rounds of Nancy previously and it was terribly scaled down for the OHS weight. You can see by yourself:

Dowel only or training bar

As you can see on my results, I was using the wooden dowel only or a dowel with a 10# plate on it x 15 reps for the OHS  and only doing 3 rounds of the whole thing (running 200m on my 1st attempt and running 400m on my second). Can you say I’ve progressed tremendously since then? Lol!

Here’s how I modified it today. Still not RX, but getting closer.

5 rounds of:

  • 400m run
  • 15 OHS @ 45#

I split up my OHS mostly into sets of 8 reps, followed by 7 reps. I probably could have done 55#, but I don’t think I would have been able to split my OHS like I did today. Nancy sounds easy when you look at it on paper (or on the screen), but when you really analyze it, it’s a 2km run with 75 OHS. If you want to look into it even deeper, the way I scaled it today was 2km run and squatting overhead 3375 lbs (total)! Yeah… It was a tough one! I was happy to finish sub 25 minutes at 23:17, even though it was scaled. I added on way more weight on that bar and did way more reps too, so to me, this is REALLY, REALLY good!

Skill: Power Clean 8×2 EMOM

Since we were keeping the same weight throughout, I chose 60# for all my reps. I was really focusing on jumping (getting my feet off the ground and landing wider)the bar up, all the while maintaining contact on my thighs on the pull.

I came back home, made pancakes for the little ones, showered, did 3 loads of laundry and folded 4 (Nanny was nice enough to give me a head start on my laundry last night before she headed home), cleaned upstairs, picked up Rina from preschool and got everybody lunch. To say that I’m looking forward to sitting on the couch before I go nap (I’m working a night shift tonight) is the understatement of the year. I thought for sure I would be sore in the legs tonight around 10pm. My prediction was so wrong… It’s barely 1pm and my hips and butt are already killing me. Fun night at work tonight, I’m sure! 😉



Reverse Psychology

I was desperately trying to fall back asleep at 0430 this morning, but poor Ben kept coughing next to me, so that was that for my night. I got up and got ready for the Box:

Skill: Deadlift 5×3 E90S

I based my weight on my 5×5, but I should have gone heavier. It still felt really easy on the last round. I’ll know better for next time!


WOD: Ballox

Yay! Wallballs! Said no short person ever! However, I was determined to do this one Rx and I even managed to use some reverse psychology on my whiteboard:

It got wiped out and so did I!

It got wiped out and so did I!

I’m really trying to convince myself that I Luuuurve wallballs. Don’t know that it worked today, but I think I only no-repped myself on 3 or 4 out of 60, so that’s not too bad! I broke the wallballs into sets of 5. The push-ups were equally as hard. Surprisingly, the step-down box jumps were where I could recover a bit and catch my breath. I didn’t break any time records by any means, but I managed to finish under 15 mins… Barely! I finished at 14:59! I did all my push-ups standard, but I have a hard time doing them consecutively. I broke them into 5 and 3, would rest a bit, and pick it back up. I was just happy to be done, really! It’s always the WODs that look like they’re not going to be too bad that kick you in the gut! Kevin came to me after I was done and said something really sweet:

Skinny Val is way tougher than bigger Val!

I take that as a compliment, my friend and thank you for the encouragement! Speaking of skinny, I know I have to do my body shots, they will come later this week, when I get off work.

I came back home to have a long hot shower, and then hug and kiss the girls. Then it was the whirlwind of breakfast, pre-school, laundry, dishes and now I have to go clean the upstairs, before folding laundry and hopefully, napping before work tonight. I’ve had 2 busy day shifts and I’m hoping things settle down today… Or maybe, I should hope for things to pick up so that they really settle down?!? Does reverse psychology work on patient assignment? Lol!

Feeling Slightly Buck!

After the Skills Plus class yesterday, I made sure to fuel up properly for the rest of the day so that I would have energy for today’s WOD. For some reason, the WODs have been tougher over the past month so I always make sure to keep my nutrition and hydration in check as much as I can. I’m also looking into getting some meals delivered to my house that I would just need to warm up and would fit into my macros. I’ll keep you posted if and when I go with the delivery service.

Here’s what we did today:

No skills on the board as we just warmed up appropriately for the WOD.

WOD: Buckshot

We had to split the class in 2 as there was 17 of us at the 0600 class. I was happy I got selected to start with the 2nd AMRAP as I thought I would struggle more with the Thrusters than the Hang power cleans. Turns out, the struggle was pretty much equal! 😉

I decided to go with the FG because I still don’t have my TTB and 65# felt like a lot to do the thrusters with. I loaded my bar with 55#  and planned to do hanging knee raises. Off we go! I managed to finish 4 full rounds and did 2 thrusters into the 5th round for a total of 98 reps. I was just glad I managed to not trip on the box jumps over! I was wearing my wrist wraps that I bought on Etsy, from BravoWraps. I have the Turquoise skulls like the ones in the picture below and I really like them. I like that they are well made, easy to wash, easy to adjust (tighten or loosen with just a twist of the fabric) and I’ve gotten a few compliments on them whenever I wear them for Skill Plus class or during the regular classes. I find they help a lot for the snatch, the thrusters and my HSPU! Check them out, they are not super expensive and she has tons of different models available.

For the 1st AMRAP, we were to keep the same weight on the bar and I stuck to 55#. The hang power cleans proved to be harder than I originally thought. I kept trying to get my hook grip on and had a hard time hanging onto the bar. My index fingers barely make it over the bar and on top of my thumbs and then, I’m so focused on that I don’t know what to do with the rest of my fingers! #crossfitterproblem! I managed to get 4 full sets and the timer stopped after while I was completing my 2nd barhop burpee from the 5th set for a total of 73 reps (I didn’t count the 2nd burpee). I lied down for about 5 seconds on the floor before I picked myself up onto all fours. I hate lying down after a WOD. I feel like if I lied down, the WOD has won over me and until I RX all my WODs, there is no reason for me to lie down after a WOD! #stubborn. I was pretty happy with my final score of 171. Not quite up there with all the people doing the Rx, but no super far behind either. I came home and just before I entered the shower, I noticed my chin was all black. I guess you can say I went totally flat for the burpees. So flat, that I got my chin on the ground for every rep and picked up the dirt from the black mats on the floor! Ha! Can’t say I didn’t do my burpees according to form! 🙂

We still have some errands to run today and Rina is suffering from her 2nd bout of Hand, Food and Mouth disease in about 2 months. She is under the weather so I think that once we are done with our errands, we will cocoon up on the couch and be mellow for the rest of the weekend. I’m back to work Monday and have to work a few shifts before I get to celebrate Christmas with our little family and my in-laws! Yay!

Glutton For Punishment

After I had a lay-in (let’s be real: with a 4 year-old and a 2 year-old, there’s no such thing as sleeping in. You can lie in bed, but you sure as heck aren’t sleeping in!) this morning, We had a lovely breakfast of Nutella French toast topped with bananas (it’s Saturday, I’m working night shift tonight, leave me alone) and coffee and then I got to the usual laundry, dusting, cleaning toilets, vacuuming and mopping the floors while  Ben took the girls on the weekend errands (mainly Home Depot and Costco). For some silly reason, I thought I should get a workout in before my afternoon nap in order to be tired and actually sleep on my nap. You see, I,m working 13hrs tonight. My usual shift is 12hrs, but because of the time change, I get to work a whole extra hour! Not looking forward to it. It was too late for the Saturday WOD at CFVC, but I laced up my shoes and decided to go for a short run up to the Smith Hill Reservoir.

I’ll give you a minute to re-read the last sentence and let it sink in.

That’s right! I went running… Of my own free will! Not as part of a WOD or anything, I just took it upon myself to go out and hit the pavement. Sometimes, you have to work on your weaknesses and running is a major weakness of mine. In order to really tackle this one, I thought I’d make it even more challenging by adding elevation to it! It was pretty much uphill from our house until I reached the reservoir, then I galloped around on the trails at the summit and made my way back down home. It was a short one (time: 21:07, distance: 2.63km, average pace: 8:02, total climb: 108m) but I had to stop for a few walking breaks during the climbs at times. And it was better than to stay at home and be tempted by the leftover candies from last night! Pretty proud of myself for actually getting out of my comfort zone and doing something I’m not particularly fond of. Just working on my mental fortitude!

I have to say, I wore an outfit that completely didn’t match, but I didn’t care. I was comfy, my capris stayed in place the whole time and I was warm (it was only 10º outside). Speaking of my capris, I really like them. They are the Camacan Capris from Fabletics. I was also wearing the Ayni Sports Bra from them and it managed to keep all my jiggling parts in place. Just enough compression and support to avoid the dreaded jiggling sensation of having your bits shaking all over the place while you run.Perfect for they BabyMama!

Fun print and fun to wear!

Fun print and fun to wear!

I’m off to go fold the laundry and Ben just texted me a picture of the girls, stuffing their faces with poutine and hot dogs from Costco. Life couldn’t get any better for these two!

Happiness in a meal!

Happiness in a meal!


6 AM Conversation With Rina

Rina: So Mommy? How’s work?

Me: Good! It’s busy

R: What do you do?

Me: I take care of little babies

R: What happened to them?

Me: They are sick so mommy takes care of them.

R: What do you do?

Me: I change their diapers, I give them medications, I give them bottles and I wrap them up in warm blankets.

R: You forgot to put their pyjamas on!

Me: You’re right! Mama’s silly!

R: I go tell Daddy what you do with the babies.


If only my days were that simple at work! 😉


I never blog about my job for the simple reason that I can’t discuss my patients as it would be a huge breach of confidentiality.

Today, I will make an exception. I won’t be talking about my patients, but I will be talking about work. Today, I come home dog bone tired. It has been an exhausting 2 days of constant non-stop at work. The kind of days spent making sure patients kept on breathing (breathing is ALWAYS mandatory on my shift!), making sure the parents of my patients feel confident and secure in their totally alien environment. Today was spent answering alarms, preparing food and feeding patients, choosing to help out co-workers when I had 3mins to myself instead of sitting down to catch my breath. Today was filled with unpleasant things like copious amounts of mucus and exploding poop, but it was also filled with thunder moments of witnessed cuddles. Even though I was ready to go home at 1400, my wonderful co-workers and I managed to sing and make up silly dances to keep us going. We pulled up our sleeves and kept chugging along.

I am a nurse, but more than that, I am a NICU nurse to my core. It’s in my nature to make sure everybody else is fine before I can think about myself. It’s the profession I have chosen for myself, but it’s more than that. Often I come home and find myself thinking about my patients. Will they be there when I come back tomorrow? Will they be better? Worst?  I take care of babies at work and come home to take care of my very own babies (ok, mine are not such little babies anymore, but you get my jist).

There are days when I wonder if I’ll be able to do this job for the next 25 years. Some days are harder than others. Some days are easier. Some are laid-back, some are non-stop action packed. I never know what I will walk into when I go to work, but I always know that I come home to hug my girls, whether they are awake and screaming or peacefully asleep, and I am lucky to be able to do so.

I’m not quite sure where I’m going with this post. It’s hard to write about my job without talking about my job! This week is nurses’ week. Today, the parents of one of our “graduate” patient brought lunch for the entire staff to say thank you. It was the perfect pick me up needed in the midst of this busy day. Sometimes, we hug parents to comfort them. Sometimes, we get comforted in return, whether it’s with tears, a smile or a simple thank you. I am lucky to be a part of so many people’s lives. This week is nurses’ week. If you know a nurse, just say “thank you”. These words mean so much to us. We don’t have “holidays off” or “weekends off”. We sacrifice our family lives in order to make yours better, we work 12-hr shifts days and nights. Just because we chose the profession doesn’t mean it’s always easy. So, if you think about it, this week, thank a nurse for all her/his hard work and dedication, I’m sure it will be appreciated!

We don't always get to cuddle babies, but when we do, we make sure we get good cuddles.

We don’t always get to cuddle babies in the NICU, but when we do, we make sure we get good cuddles. This was a patient of mine in 2007 with his mom and I when he got discharged to go home. I used to carry him in my hoodie “kangaroo style”. Smiles like his mom’s are the reason I love my job!

Early Morning

After a draining day at work yesterday, all I wanted to do was come home to hug my girls. Instead I find myself facing a visibly distraught and heartbroken Nanny. Her boyfriend dumped her over the weekend and she is upset. Instead of hugging my girls, I find myself hugging Nanny. She is young and I know that she’ll get over it in time, but right now, I don’t say  aching and I hug her while she sobs in my shoulder. Once she is calmed down and has left, I get to my needs and my girls. We have long hugs and cuddles and I put them to bed. I’m exhausted and looking forward to a good night of sleep.

0430. Béa is whimpering and I wait to see if she’ll settle herself or if she’ll escalate. I’m out of luck. She’s escalating and I get up to go get her. I could have slept for another 75mins. After the emotionally charged day yesterday, I wish I had. Instead, I find myself giving a bottle to my BeZU while she twists my hair in her little fingers. Upstairs, I hear my neighbour rocking her son back to sleep. We live in the ground floor of a house and upstairs are our neighbours. The house has never been sound-proofed and you can hear everything. Usually, that would drive me bonkers. I’ve said it before, we have outgrown this suite and I am more than ready for a place all our own. In this early morning, I find comfort in knowing that I’m not the only one up before the sun with my little one. Mothers unite! Next to me is a completely oblivious Ben, snoring away. I wish I could do the same. Dualities of motherhood!

I put Béa back to bed where she stays quiet. As I’m about to fall asleep, I hear the low “Whirr” of the breast pump upstairs. Being a NICU nurse, I know recognize that sound. Being a mom, I know that sound too well for having had to pump for 8 weeks when Rina was born. How I despised that pump! Good on you neighbour, you’re a good mama!

As I ponder this, Rina gets up and joins us in bed. I guess I should get up too if I don’t want to be late for work. I am exhausted and am already counting the hours until bedtime. Only 15 more hours to go. I can do this. Right now, the prospect of waking up at 0500 tomorrow for Crossfit is daunting, but it is a commitment I have made with myself and I know I’ll go no matter what. For now, I just need to get through the day. Here’s to hoping it’s a good one. And if not, I can always go kiss my girls in their sleep when I come home.



How I Miss My Sleep!

I finished my 1st set back to work and the thought of having to go back on Saturday isn’t helping. No sooner had I set foot in the house that I received a call asking if I would go back tonight for an extra shift. I never did overtime before I had kids, not about to start now! Full-time is enough for me. I have missed my girls and plan on sneaking in extra cuddles between now and Saturday!

I was apprehensive about working my night shifts (with good reasons). Sleep is such an important part of my life and going on without it kills me every time. After my 1st night, it had been 26 hours since I had last slept and I only managed to do so for about 4h30. It wasn’t much, but I managed to make it to my break, get another hour of shut-eye on my break and I slept for 5hrs today.

Arsenal for a successful day of sleeping!

Arsenal for a successful day of sleeping!

Ear plugs, eye mask and a hot water bottle are mandatory in order to get some decent sleep when trying to do so during the day. I’m seriously thinking of investing on custom-fit earplugs. That’s how much I value my sleep and I figure, if I used them for the rest of my nursing career, they would definitely be an investment!

I had all the best intentions in the world of going to the noon class at Crossfit today, but I chose to sleep instead. No point in risking an injury because of lack of sleep and I would have had to get up at 1100 which meant only 2.5hrs of sleep. No can do! Heck I’m barely functioning after 9hrs over the past 2 days. I’m hoping to bank a decent night tonight, get up to my beloved 0600 class tomorrow and Friday. I haven’t yet given up on my 3 day/week subscription at the Box. I’ll see how it goes this month and make a decision after. Here’s to a new routine and trying to balance it all out!