Gratitude – Pandemic Summer Edition

Hi hi hi! It’s been a minute since I last wrote a blog just for sheer pleasure, so I decided it was due time. Last week I was having the most lovely convo with a former student, and I realized “my purpose” for all of this public stuff, and it’s my passion for writing. After the conversation, I commit to writing more, in the hopes that I can one day compile all this nonsense into a memoir, or novel of some sort.

This summer has obviously been weird. Let’s just address that before I get into my spiel about how great it’s actually been regardless. At the height of the pandemic, everyone was saying, “summer 2020 is canceled,” and I was so depressed. As a teacher, my two months off are SO SO SO SO sacred. Like, I’d definitely sell my first born to ensure I can be a lady who lunches for at least 6 weeks. (Scratch that, you never read it, please don’t call CAS on me.) Anyway, I secretly mourned the loss of my summer back in April or May, so it was very surreal in mid-June when the economy started opening up, and we all realized, “WOW, we might actually get to enjoy ourselves to some extent this summer.” But, it’s obviously a smaller scale enjoyment, with many precautions and safety measures.

Despite staying local and wearing masks everywhere we go, we’ve been doing quite a bit! My kids have become accustomed to our new lives, and have been so happy 1. spending so much of the summer as a family, and 2. doing the things we didn’t do for four months, like patio dining at restaurants, as well as going into stores and seeing friends again. Seeing their smiling little faces as they get to experience some normalcy again fills me with so much joy. The things we took for granted before are now so cherished by all of us.

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We enjoyed my daughter’s 8th (!!!) birthday on the patio at NextDoor, and they brought her the most indulgent chocolate sundae I’ve ever seen.

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My parents also bought her a Fuji Instax camera for her birthday, so we’ve been enjoying some nature walks to take some photos.

Now let’s talk travel. Obviously planes are not a thing this summer. I decided to forego my annual summer trip to NYC for a road trip to Bayfield, Ontario, population 62 (or maybe less, I dunno, it’s the smallest town ever). This was a tough one, folks. The frantic energy of NYC in the summer just calls me, and not going kind of hurts. BUT, I take comfort in knowing the city I love isn’t itself at the moment. A blogger friend of mine was there visiting and she posted stories of the empty subway, Times Square with tumbleweed rolling through, and stores and restaurants boarded up, and my heart broke. I sincerely hope the cities I love, and the world in general, can recuperate after all of this. Mentally, physically, economically, etc. It’s just all so tragic.

Anyway…Bayfield. Okay, so it’s not my fave little town and there are much cuter ones (Prince Edward County, Muskoka, Collingwood), but we decided to try something new. It’s a 2.5 hour drive, and there is one strip of restaurants and shops, but DANG the restaurants are amazing. Also, we snuck onto the private beach, and it was well worth it. No one was remotely close to us, and it was clean and quiet.

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Just casually pretending I actually ruin my hair in pools.

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The requisite blogger beach shot.

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Y’all wish you had a forever work wife as amazing as mine!

July was honestly so fun and relaxing. I feel so grateful for all the little things we’ve been doing and it’s truly been the perfect balance of self-care/time to myself, and family time. August is shaping up to be amazing too. We have a little family road trip up to Ramada Jackson’s Point to celebrate my son’s 5th birthday, and we are also celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary in late August, with a stay at a hotel downtown and dinner at an incredible restaurant! My philosophy this summer has been to LIVE. To be present, mindful, and soak it all in (safely), before the reality of “back to school” (whatever that will look like, let’s be real, a total sh*t show), and possibly a second wave.

Are you guys enjoying your summer and making the best of a really weird time? Let me know in the comments!

XO,

Athleisure Teacha OUT.

10th Anniversary of the Weird But True! Series

As an English teacher, I’ve always valued instilling a lifelong love of reading within my students. When I became a mom 6 years ago, I knew that it was so important to start reading with my daughter at a very young age, to ensure that she too fell in love with reading and books. Now, I read every evening with her and my 3 year old son, and it’s something we all look forward to after our busy days. Reading helps us decompress, allows us crucial bonding/quiet time, and just generally makes us all happy.

So when I was approached to review National Geographic’s Weird But True! series, I obviously felt it was a perfect partnership, as my values align nicely with theirs. This review is timely too, because it’s the 10th anniversary of the series, and 10 recently updated volumes have been released to celebrate! They’re available for purchase here.

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My children had such a blast reading all the fun facts from the four volumes we received! In particular, they both enjoyed ones related to animals, including facts like, “a gorilla at a zoo in Germany can walk on a tight-rope,” and “male pandas sometimes do handstands to mark trees.” Pandas are clearly adorable animals, but apparently they’re a little crazy too. Also, my son is dinosaur obsessed, so he really enjoyed facts such as, ” a t. rex could bite with 8,000 pounds of force – the equivalent of being crushed by three stacked cars,” and “the meteorite that most likely killed off the dinosaurs was the size of San Fransico, California, USA.”

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All the books in the series are so visually appealing and engaging. They’re vivid and uniquely laid out to keep the attention span of young children for quite a long time. Every night we read these, my children were able to stay focused and engaged for 10-15 minutes of reading, and they never got bored or lost interest. That’s a huge accomplishment for them, considering they’re relatively young.

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Personally, I was most interested in the food related facts, because obviously I’m a foodie, and that’s what captures my attention. After reading this page, all I can think about is someone needs to order me a bouquet of roses made from bacon ASAP. K, thanks.

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Overall, we really loved reading these books, and we think you will too! Generally I think they’re geared for children 8-12 years old, but we got a lot out of them as well! Oh also, National Geographic is currently running a contest for kids ages 6-14. Your son or daughter can submit their own accurate but weird facts about their hometown, province, or country here through January 31, 2019!

 

 

Thankful.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving friends! I know I haven’t blogged in forever, but the reason for this is threefold:

  1. I’ve been bogged down with planning and marking at school.
  2. I’ve been focusing on our podcast (episode 2 about food and nutrition as self-care is now available on the podcast app! Just search “Self-care with Lauren and Blair” to listen!)
  3. Aaaaand I just haven’t been inspired to write, unfortunately, and I didn’t want to blog for the sake of blogging.

But here we are, and damnit, I’ll try to write something relatively coherent and engaging for all of y’all, because I know my 5 loyal followers want it.

What am I thankful for this year? Like, a lot. It’s been a really good time both personally and professionally, and I need to make a list because I love lists and lists are awesome.

1. My health. Always first and foremost. How lucky am I that my body is healthy enough to allow me to do high impact exercise 3 days a week? To run around with my children? To get out of bed every day and live a productive life? I will never ever take this for granted. When I sit on that spin bike, I thank gd for my health multiple times. I also thank gd I’m not pregnant, because being in that body really freaking sucks, but that’s a whole other blog post.

2. My family. I mean, duh. I’m eternally grateful that my children are happy and healthy and not the spawn of Satan. I also feel so blessed to have a wonderful husband, the best parents, and the cutest of sisters eva.

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Apple picking when it’s still hot out is fun too. (TB to a few weeks ago…)

3. My friends. I tightened my inner circle A LOT this year and it’s been very liberating. I have the world’s most patient friends, because for the last four months, my conversations, meals, and life in general have revolved around Instagram. They don’t get to eat until I’ve photographed (or rather, they’ve photographed because I’m a shitty photographer) their meals, and my conversations with them are a steady stream of follows and unfollows, podcast plans, and asking which picture to post. I’m sorry guys. I really truly suck. You’re all amazing for tolerating me.

4. Impromptu weekend trips to NYC. The fact the most incredible city in the world is just a one hour flight away is nothing short of amazing! I don’t want to live there, but every few months I just feel the pull of the city and gravitate towards it. It’s an addiction, I suppose, but the energy, food, nightlife, and shopping are beyond magnetic.

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5. My job. I have the best students this semester. We have the most interesting class discussions, and they’re all so engaged and participatory. It’s rare to get a group where the majority of the students have strong opinions, so this is pretty much English teacher heaven for me! Also, in case people think teenagers are rude and disrespectful, I want to tell you that every morning, my students come into my class and greet me with a “hello” or a “good morning.” When they leave the class, they say “have a good day miss,” or “bye!” They’re such mensches! I really appreciate their warmth and kindness, because it keeps me in a good mood and sets a really positive tone for the day.

6. Refined carbohydrates and gluten. Pizza. Donuts. Tacos.

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This maple bacon donut from Dipped Donuts in Kensington Market is pretty much the epitome of fall in Canada, amirite? I think I am most grateful for this donut. Like, I love my family and stuff, but…donuts win.

Mommy Blogger for a Day

Let me preface this post with two things:

  1. This is the post where I officially give up on censoring my kids’ faces. That was fun while it lasted, but I’m two months into my blogging journey and now I’m too lazy, so like…meh. Enjoy their faces.
  2. I promise after this parenting post I’ll resume normalcy with my lifestyle, food, exercise and fun content.

So last week we went to Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls for two nights to celebrate my daughter’s 6th birthday. Wait. Let me pause for a second. SIX!? How have I been a mom for so long? Good lord I’m old.

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As you can see, the kids had the most amazing time! As for the adults, there are certain things you must accept if you’re going to go:

  1. The place is a cesspool of germs. I feel like all the chlorine in the world can’t kill the gonorrhea that likely exists there. Sorry to alert you all to this, but it’s a reality. So make your peace with it before you go.
  2. You can’t look cute here. Due to humidity and all activities being water related, you need to embrace looking like a homely dirtnugget for the duration of your stay. I threw my hair up in the rattiest top knot (see above for evidence) and didn’t wear a stitch of makeup. I looked like a troll for 48 hours and frankly, it’s okay. I’ll be okay.
  3. The margs at the pool aren’t strong enough. Ask for a double, because #sanity.
  4. The talking animals are scary as shit.
  5. Get comfortable dancing to Taylor Swift and doing the Cha Cha Slide in public. Likely sober. The struggle was real.

Anyway, this was my token mommy blogger post. How did I do? Now I’ll leave you with something more fun, because of course the second I got home from the trip, I needed to do some serious adulting and went for a night on the town.

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Unapologetically living my best life this summer.

Livin’ for the Long Weekend!

Hiiiiiii! Your girl is back and here to stay! I’m officially off for the summer, and expect to be coming at you pretty regularly for the next two months!

This past weekend was, in a word, magical. It was a perfect combination of rest (but not too much, because #fireworks, rage hulk smash), gluttony, and pretending I enjoy schlepping my kids from activity to activity to entertain them. [side note: I do enjoy it, please don’t judge me.]

Friday night we celebrated my last day of work with carbs, cheese, and cocktails at my favourite restaurant, Scaddabush.

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Green sangria and gnocchi Gorgonzola. Here. For. It.

¬†Also, aren’t my food photography skills improving? To get that one, I actually moved to a vacant table with good lighting. People watched me transporting my meal and normally I’d have been pretty self conscious, but I’m working on developing blinders and not GAF, because to be a blogger in this day and age, you gotta get comfortable talking to your phone in public, working angles for the best shot while people give you weird looks, etc.

Saturday we went to the splash pad with our best friends, and it was a blast! Leetle story about this playdate. While my kids played, I camped out under a tree with my best friend and her baby, and we just chat. I totally ignored my kids, and damn it felt good. I had a brief moment where a tiny voice in my head whispered, “Lauren, have another baby. They play too well independently now. They don’t need you. Find yourself another spawn that needs you.” And for a minute I actually entertained it. Then I burst into maniacal laughter, regained my sanity, and resumed my convo about all the bad decisions I’m going to make in New York City this week on my girls’ trip.

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I dare you to find a look that screams “haute couture” more than this. You wish you could pull off fash-un like this, yes? Truthfully, this mom style moment is brought to you by a solid 5 minutes to get ready, 45 degree humidity, and the known truth that wearing navy blue and black together makes you look like a bruise. (But in all seriousness, I do love me this Aritzia romper, mostly because it eliminates me having to figure out a top and bottom that semi-match. So thanks for that Aritizia!)

Sunday we had a BBQ with friends, which was so adorable. We got so lucky having friends who had a daughter four days after ours, and then a son two months after our son was born. Watching them grow up together has been so sweet!

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All dem blurred faces.

And then Monday we went to Woodbine Center Fantasy Fair, because four days of heat warnings and crazy humidity were really taking a toll on us (us being my hair).

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The sweet moments were all well and great, but I just came for the ice cream.

So there you have it. Installment #1 of the Teacher on Summer Break series. Have a great Tuesday friends! (Especially if your kids are off to camp. Especially especially if that camp is overnight.)

New Blog, Who Dis?

Welcome friends! Thanks for stopping by! My name is Lauren, and I’m a 30 something year old high school English teacher, mom, exercise, and food enthusiast. I’ve had various blogs in the past, mostly about my journey into motherhood, but I never felt they fully reflected who I was beyond being a parent. Recently, my grade 12 students asked me what type of writing I’m passionate about. “Poetry?” Definitely not. “Creative writing? Short stories?” Nope. So I told them I used to have a blog and miss writing one, and they encouraged me to rekindle the flame. “I’d read it,” one 18 year old boy mused. Now, I don’t know why that would be the case, because I don’t really think he’s my target audience, but a bunch of other students chimed in, and here we are. The Athleisure Teacher. What can you expect from this blog? Probably some self depricating humour sprinkled with a healthy dose of sarcasm. Maybe some posts about things I eat, because I really like to eat (but not cook). You’re going to hear about my workouts, but I promise you I won’t talk about my “gains.” I’ll probably want to chronicle my upcoming endeavor to become a spin instructor. I promise I won’t try to sell you something. This is not my side hustle; just a hobby. I might talk about my kids a little. The two that I have at home (a girl, almost 6 years old, and a boy, almost 3), but also the 90 I teach every semester, because they have a pretty big impact on my life too. Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading!

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