‘Uncategorized’ Category

  1. I Failed Today

    March 29, 2017 by Melanie Faris

    I got out of bed at 8 am today, but first I woke up at midnight, then 2 am, 3 am, 5 am, and 7 am. It was a long night with a newborn, and my energy was lacking for the day before it even began. I could hear my sick little girl coughing down the hall, and soon after, little pitter pats on the floor making it’s way to my room. The day was about to begin, and I’ve missed my opportunity to shower.

    With greasy hair and a milk stained shirt, I roll out of bed and make my way to the bathroom to brush my teeth and throw my hair in a ponytail. If I don’t get dressed now, chances are I will stay in my pajamas until noon. So I put on some clean clothes and a quick swipe of mascara. I probably won’t leave the house today, but someone might show up here and I should look like I’ve got my act together. Even if my only visitor is the FedEx guy bringing me something I just can’t leave the house to buy.

    I see the overflowing laundry bin out of the corner of my eye while I hurriedly brush my teeth – the laundry that I’ve been ignoring for days. I haul it out of my room and put it near the top of the stairs so that I can’t ignore it anymore. At some point today I will bring it down to wash. Or that’s the intention at least.

    I go back to my room to grab the baby, and on the way, I pick up the dirty diapers I tossed carelessly on the floor throughout the night. I’m scanning the room for any diapers I missed when suddenly I see my toddler wiping her boogers all over my bed sheets. I guess I need to wash those at some point now too.

    She’s reaching for the baby. Not the baby!!!

    “Hi baby Ben!” she says, as she pats his little head with her booger fingers. How sweet. I panic that the newborn will catch her nasty sickness, so I drop everything and run to grab him.

    With a baby in one arm, and a toddler hanging onto my leg crying for a banana, we finally make our way to the stairs. I try to carry them both, but the toddler insists she wants to walk down by herself while carrying two of her favourite blankies and her stuffed dog. So we slowly make our way down the stairs, one toddler step at a time.

    My husband is running around trying to make breakfast, coffee, and clean up yesterday’s dishes. He’s late for work. I’m tempted to ask him to hold the crying baby or wipe some boogers, but then I remember… he was up at 12 am, 3 am and 5 am reassuring a sick little girl that she is going to be alright. He ended up sleeping in bed with her. We all survived another night, but the day was just beginning…

    I wasn’t sure how the day would pan out, but I knew it would involve The Wiggles on replay, every crayon we own being tossed on the floor, picking up the shredded the toilet paper that’s bound to be all over (toddlers do this best), intermittent vacuuming, all the while nursing a baby and wiping toddler boogers…oh and possibly a nap. Dear God, please let there be a nap.

    After a long day, I can’t wait to lie down and sleep. Between a sick toddler and a hungry baby, I don’t know how much sleep is in store for this Momma. I remind myself how short this phase of life is. There’s many years of sleep ahead of me, just not this year. The days are hectic, but I’m treasuring these busy, not always easy moments with my two precious children.

    I wonder how people survive with twins, or how they get anything done with more than two kids…I admire Mothers. Especially those who have time to shower AND blow dry their hair. I’m not there yet, but one day I will be. In the meantime, I’m accepting the fact that I’m not perfect at this whole Mommy thing. It’s not easy. It’s really not easy. If I need to put the TV on to entertain my toddler so I can nurse a crying baby, then I will.

    This isn’t forever, but it’s today. 

    If failing means I don’t get the chance to put on my makeup, or keep a clean house, or make a homemade meal, then I choose to fail. Failing is so worth it. And even though I feel as if I failed today, there are two innocent, sweet children who look at me like I’m their whole world. Because I am. And that’s the greatest reward there is.


  2. My Second Birth Story – Benjamin

    February 22, 2017 by Melanie Faris

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    On February 1st, 2017 our second child was born. We named him Benjamin. I had a feeling it was a boy throughout my pregnancy. Although my gender instincts weren’t as strong as they were with my first pregnancy, I was still pretty sure that a boy was the miracle growing inside of me. From the way I carried to the way I pictured our family, and that our boy name was decided on while our girl name was a constant struggle. Benjamin is now born into the world and into our family, and we couldn’t be happier.

    Leading up to the labour and birth of our second child was different this time around. I didn’t have time to focus on every little detail of my pregnancy like I did with my first. My pregnancy App was hardly used, and I even missed entire WEEKS of not knowing the specifics of my growing baby (insert screams). Was he or she the size of an orange or mango? Gosh, I just didn’t know. My world didn’t revolve around being pregnant, it revolved around running a household and keeping my toddler busy, happy and well fed.

    The last weeks of pregnancy I was nesting non-stop. I was determined to keep my house spotless, even though it would soon be destroyed by my toddler running wild and free. I felt like I was chasing her around all day with a cloth and broom. Perhaps I went a little crazy on keeping things clean, but it helped to pass the time when I didn’t want to leave the house because it was just too freakin’ cold to go outside. Did I also mention what a chore it was to put on my boots?

    As I mentioned in my last pregnancy blog, I was waking up in the night with contractions for weeks leading up to my labour. It was a bit annoying because I would prepare myself mentally each time to give birth to this child, and the contractions would just stop. I would then proceed with another day of pregnancy, chasing my toddler around and checking things off of my to do list.

    I wasn’t in any rush to have this baby. I was just so prepared that I was tired of being ready and not knowing when it was going to happen. Does that make any sense?! All my type A people get me. My husband is not type A, which makes for some good laughs in our house. He was happy to book appointments and make plans for every day leading up to, and after my due date, even though the baby wasn’t born yet. I however, would never make plans because I was PREPARED at any moment to give birth, and plans would get in the way of my preparedness. HA! I’m weird…I know.

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    On January 31st, one day after my due date, labour finally began (picture was taken in early labour). Before contractions started, I went in to see my midwives for an appointment and check-up. I had bloody show in the morning, so I was prepping myself for labour to begin at any moment. Once I asked the midwife if it meant I was certainly going into labour within the day, she smiled and said nothing is certain. GAaaaaaghhh. I was 1 day overdue, and it was killing me not knowing when this baby would arrive.

    By dinner time, I was starting to get contractions and was praying they wouldn’t go away. Thomas had an appointment booked for 6:30, and I wasn’t sure whether he should go or not. We decided it was best to cancel, just in case things picked up quickly and this was the real deal. We sent Norah to bed, and I headed to the bath as contractions were getting more painful. I applied 2 drops of Young Living’s Clary Sage oil to my belly, and soaked in a bath with Frankincense, Myrrh and Cedarwood Essential Oils. I listened to my pre-made labour playlist (yep, told you I was prepared), and dealt peacefully with each contraction as they came. I was feeling calm and ready.

    At 10pm, my parents arrived so they could be with Norah. My contractions were coming frequently, but a little unpredictable and some weren’t lasting long. Ex, 6 minutes apart lasting for 45 seconds then 3 minutes apart lasting 30 seconds…some even 2 minutes, but the pain was still manageable so I knew I was not ready to go to the hospital.

    By 10:30, we paged the midwife to see if we should head over to the hospital. I kid you not, the contractions basically stopped once she was on the phone. I remember this happened with my first labour when we called the midwife. My contractions shut off. I think I have a fear of being wrong, or waking her up from a nice sleep and it being a false alarm. My midwife waited on the phone for a while to see how I was dealing with contractions, but I only had one contraction, and it was mild. “I swear I’m not lying!” I said. I remember feeling a bit silly. So we hung up and Thomas crawled into bed for a little rest. Needless to say, he didn’t get much rest. Within minutes contractions were back and I was yelling “Push on my back. Do something. Get up. Help me!” Only a few contractions later, I was shivering and yelling to get our bags in the car, NOW.

    In a bit of a panic, we grabbed our things and headed out the door. I was in the zone now, making strange noises and trying not to think about the snowy roads, or every red light that we seemed to hit. By the time we got to the hospital at midnight, my whole body was shaking and I couldn’t do much more than close my eyes, breathe and pray. This baby needed to come out.

    The midwives checked me once we arrived. I can remember ripping my clothes off with no shame and saying, “I better be at least 7cm, please tell me I am at least a 7.” Much to my surprise, she said I was ready to push if I felt the urge to push. “But my water hasn’t broke yet!” I proclaimed. She said it would break when I was pushing, or she kindly offered to break it for me…but that meant the baby would be coming now, and I wasn’t quite ready to accept more pain, even though it was inevitable. So we waited.

    My back labour was getting intense, and no position was helping to ease the pain. This baby was not in the ideal position, and my back labour only confirmed that. I didn’t move for a long time, because I just didn’t want to. It hurt! Finally after one hour I said, “Okay break my water, I’m ready.”

    Thomas was there with cold cloths for my forehead, water and gentle words of encouragement. They offered me laughing gas to ease some pain, but I was already this close to the finish line, so I declined and persevered. I kept reminding myself that all this pain was a good thing, and my body was doing exactly what it was designed to do. That helped me tremendously. 

    After breaking my water, my body began to push on it’s own. During this stage, the pain was a bit easier to deal with. I could smile between contractions knowing our baby would soon be in my arms. It took one hour of pushing with a lot of support and direction from my team, and at 2:03am, our little Benjamin was born. His head came out sideways, and his little face was a tad bruised, but he was perfect. 9lbs 1oz of pure joy.

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    We are now adjusting to life with 2 children. It’s amazing, hectic, stressful, exciting and busy all in one. I can remember crying the first week, feeling overwhelmed, but mostly hormonal. I just didn’t know how I was going to do this. My crazy post-birth hormones have settled and our little family has survived thus far. We are growing closer, and enjoying our new way of life. Norah has at last decided she is okay to share her Mommy and Daddy with someone new and someone very special; her little brother Benjamin.

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  3. How I lost all of my baby weight

    February 19, 2016 by Melanie Faris

    During my pregnancy I gained around 35lbs, give or take a few. But even before I got pregnant, I was higher on the scale since I let my diet slide a bit and wasn’t working out as much as I used to before I got married. So overall I was about 45 pounds heavier by the end of my pregnancy than my pre-marriage weight 3 years ago.

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    Before I got married and had a baby, I was exercising on a very regular basis and made the gym my #1 priority. Now meal planning and a strict exercise regimen is just not practical, and that’s okay with me! But yet, here I am today weighing LESS than I did before I got pregnant. So if I didn’t follow a strict diet plan or exercise program after having a baby, how did I do it?

    For those of you who have followed me for a while, you know I love eating healthy. Over the years I have naturally geared more towards the healthier choices than french fries and fast food. I guess you can say I eat healthy for the most part, but don’t get me wrong, I am totally happy to enjoy pizza on the weekend and a nice slice of cheesecake occasionally. I don’t limit myself, and I don’t really diet, but I do enjoy eating healthy most of the time. For me, I know that has helped me make consistent progress. Eating healthy for me no longer means egg whites for breakfast, or counting calories throughout the day. It works for some, just not for me at this point in my life. And it’s certainly not how I lost my baby weight…

    I have never been good at sticking to one thing. It’s going to be difficult for me to tell you EXACTLY what I did to lose my baby weight and the cellulite off my thighs (which I’ve had for a long time, and no longer do). I’m a bit of a squirrel and often start one thing before finishing the last ten things I started. I get distracted and excited about new things all the time, so you won’t find a list of things I did consistently to lose weight. I will give you a general idea of my days postpartum and peek into a “normal day” in the life of Melanie (if there is such a thing), and hopefully that can help you with your goals as well!

    1-3 Months Postpartum

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    Once I had Norah, I didn’t care about getting my pre-baby body back right away. I was more enthralled with this new precious being than I was over what I ate in a day. To be honest, I didn’t have the time, nor the energy to cook. I was happy with take out, something in the freezer, or heck – PB&J would suffice. I didn’t exercise much at all for the first 3 months of Norah’s life. The most exercise I did was a walk around the neighborhood with my new baby, the very occasional run, or grocery shopping (that counts right?). I didn’t care if I held onto those extra pounds for those first few months, I was just loving every moment of being a new mom.

    I had to wait until Norah was 3 months before I could leave her at the gym daycare. Once I could bring her with me, I started going to the gym and doing very light/easy workouts. I did mostly body weight exercises, and it was enough for me! I did very basic exercises and found that I only needed to be there for 30 minutes to get a good workout. Plus I had a very hungry baby who I couldn’t leave much longer than that amount of time.

    I did not do ANY ab exercises for approx 5 or 6 months postpartum. I waited a while so that I didn’t risk having diastasis rectus abdominis (which is basically when your abs stay separated postpartum). I could feel a space between my abs for a while postpartum, so I waited until it was no longer there before doing any crunches.

    Tip #1. Go easy. Don’t rush into an exercise program after having a new baby. Your body needs time to adjust and figure out how to function without having to grow a baby anymore. Besides, you will be so busy with your new little one that exercise isn’t a top priority…not in those first few months at least. Give yourself rest, and try to eat well. Light exercise is fine, but don’t jump into anything too intense at this point.

    4 + Months Postpartum

    Now that I was settled into motherhood and had a bit more flexibility with my days, I was going to the gym more and able to cook most of my meals again. I was doing a Jamie Eason program called “From Flat to All That”  for about a month, which was awesome and got me to the gym on a more regular basis, but that only lasted a short while (told you I’m a squirrel). I sometimes go back and do her workouts, but I haven’t been consistent with them since having a baby to care for.

    At this point, I have been going to the gym or exercising at home around 3 days a week, sometimes 4. There are weeks I don’t go at all, but I do feel a bit sluggish if I skip an entire week.

    Tip #2. You don’t need to follow a program to get results. However, programs will fast-track your results since you have something to work towards and follow. Even if you don’t complete a program, try one out for a while and get yourself back into regular exercising during the week. Try to be consistent and build up your strength again, but don’t feel bad if you miss a workout. Baby’s get sick, Mommy’s get sick, and life throws curve balls. Just go with it and don’t throw the towel in. Pick up where you left off once you are able to.

    9 Months + Postpartum

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    Still not following any special program at this point. I am comfortable at the gym lifting weights again and go 3-4 days/week. Occasionally I will run on the treadmill at home, but it is not something I do on a regular basis.

    A Typical Workout

    Warm-up for 5 minutes on treadmill or elliptical. *If I feel like doing more cardio, I will stay on for 20 minutes.

    3 sets of 10-15 repetitions of each: squats, machine chest press, tricep-dips, shoulder press, dumbell bicep curls, lat pull-down machine & calf raises. (Sometimes I will add in abs in-between or at the end).

    Tip #3. Weight lifting is what helped me to tighten up and bounce back quickly. Before I got pregnant I did mostly weight lifting over cardio – always! If you don’t know what the heck to do for weight lifting, please follow a program or go to the gym with a friend who can help you. I highly suggest trying a Jamie Eason programs (it’s free!). You will not get a “toned” look by running on the treadmill. You MUST lift weights. However, listen to your body and start off with very light weights, or even body weight exercises. Ease your way into it and then increase your weights as you go. I am so glad that I had a good muscle base before I got pregnant. I believe it is one of the reasons I was able to bounce back quickly. However, even if you didn’t do much weight lifting before having a baby, it’s never too late to start. It will be the best way to lose any extra weight you are holding onto.

    A day in the life of Melanie

    *I am not suggesting you follow this to lose weight. I am also not recommending the ingestion or use essential oils for weight loss. This is meant for a reference of my daily routine. Please do your own research before using essential oils.

    Breakfast – 2 eggs, 2 slices of rye toast with butter, 1/4 avocado + berries.

    Coffee with 2 milks 1 sugar. Yum! I like to read a bit of my Bible if Norah is napping and enjoy my coffee.

    Fill up a bottle of water with 1-2 drops of essential oil. I add one drop of peppermint oil in my water during my workouts or if I want to feel refreshed and energized. During the day I like to drink citrus fresh, tangerine, lemon, grapefruit and orange essential oils in my water. *I will only ingest pure, organic therapeutic grade essential oils. See bottom of post for more info.

    I apply peppermint essential oil to my body before exercising, and recently have been rubbing my thighs and belly with grapefruit or citrus oils. I also use a DIY coffee scrub with citrus oils in the shower occasionally. My skin and body loves the oils! They have enhanced my life dramatically!

    I get to the gym before noon and do a workout similar to what’s posted above. I sometimes stay home and run on my treadmill if I can’t get to the gym.

    Snack – usually a banana or something quick. I love snacking on “Aussie Bites” from Costco lately too.

    Lunch – whole grain sandwich or wrap with chicken lunch meat. Usually something easy. I like adding a bit of Caesar dressing to my wraps (told you I’m not counting calories). I also like adding hot sauce, a slice of cheese, lettuce and whatever else I can fit in. Sometimes I will just make a big salad and throw everything in it. If I eat a salad for lunch, I will probably have more snacks during the day. I love snacks. I love food. Who am I kidding.

    Snack 2 – large handful of healthy crackers with guacamole/hummus. I usually have another coffee here too. I will drink more water and fill up the bottle I used before.

    Dinner – I love making salmon or white fish or chicken breast + rice with tamari soy sauce (we love  organic white basmati) and a steamed vegetable with a bit of butter. I like to swap out rice for sweet potatoes, quinoa or couscous too! If I have time, I will make brown rice instead of white rice.

    Later snack – vanilla or plain greek yogurt with berries and sliced almonds (my favourite snack!). Sometimes Thomas and I eat popcorn while watching a movie or tv show. I also love snacking on grapes!! I usually only have one snack at night, plus a big cup of herbal tea.

    I always go to bed with a full belly. There is a lot of controversy over eating late at night. I have always had a bedtime snack and do not stop eating past a certain time because it will cause me to gain weight. Even when I was at my smallest weight, I had a late night snack. When you are weight lifting, you need to fuel your body. You get hungry more often as well. If you are not exercising regularly, a late night snack would not be a great idea. For me, I love my late snacks and it has never affected me negatively! I actually think it helps my metabolism and sustains my muscle mass. I certainly don’t eat chips every night, but greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or occasionally eating popcorn is something that I enjoy and will continue to do!

    So there you have it. A typical day in my life. I also clean, do laundry and hold a crying baby for a lot of my day. But I don’t think you all want to hear about those details. hehe!!

    If you are interested in using Young Living Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils,  click here to start right now or you can contact me for more info.

     


  4. DIY Christmas Coffee Scrub

    December 2, 2015 by Melanie Faris

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    For those who don’t know, my newest obsession is most definitely essential oils. I started out using cheaper brands, because who doesn’t want to save some $$?!  But after much research, I have discovered not all essential oils are created equal. I thought I was doing no harm using any old bottle of essential oil – besides, they were labelled “pure”…little did I know, most oils are FAR from pure, even though they claim to be 100% essential oil. Don’t go there girlfriend!

    I won’t get into the great debate of essential oils in this post, however, I DO want to mention my essential oils of choice – Young Living. This is the brand I trust in my home, for my baby, and on my body. Period. They are pure therapeutic grade oils. 100% goodness in a little bottle that is a piece of Heaven on earth. One smell and you will be convinced.

    With the Christmas season upon us, I wanted to do a post for all of my DIY fans! Woohoo! This is a cheap and LOVED Christmas gift that is sooooo easy to make. Go buy yourself some little mason jars and ribbon, and your cute little jar is ready to be filled with awesomeness. Your skin will thank you – Trust me! And so will the person you are gifting this to…if you don’t keep it for yourself ;).

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    Step 1. Grab a bowl

    Step 2. Mix everything in it (see pic above)

    Step 3. Package it up & give it away

    Seriously. It’s that easy! Now go do it 😉

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    I keep one of these jars in my shower so I can scrub away at my trouble areas. I swear my skin is the smoothest, silkiest and nicest it has ever been after my showers. I love this mixture. Ps. You can try this scrub with peppermint or citrus oils. They all smell wonderful!

    If you are interested in purchasing Young Living Oils and want to save 24% off retail pricing, send me a message on Facebook, email me (info@melaniefaris.com) or comment below. I would love to get you started!

    Have a Merry Christmas!!

    Melanie Faris

    YL # 2635387

     
     

     

     


  5. a letter to my daughter

    April 29, 2015 by Melanie Faris

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    Dear Norah Joy,

    I remember the day we found out we were having you. We cried with tears of joy, and now you are here. I remember the look on your Dad’s face when he saw those two lines. I remember the gasp in his breath and our screams of joy in the air. You were loved, even when you were just forming and beginning as a new life. Even in those first few weeks. We loved you. Even then.

    I remember the first couple of months as my body made a home for you. I stayed in bed all day and could hardly eat a thing. But I did, because I knew you were there and needed me. I didn’t know it then, but I needed you too. Even before I could see you or feel you inside of me. Even then.

    I remember wondering what you would look like, or if you were a boy or a girl. When your little toes and fingers were webbed together and your eyelids tightly sealed, you were still my beautiful girl. The same beautiful girl you are today. Even though I didn’t know what you were or the person you would become, you were you. The same you, just as real and beautiful as today. Even then. 

    I remember feeling my belly begin to pitter-pat. You were only 17 weeks, and already starting to kick your feet and tickle me with your fingers. I hold you in my arms today and remember the days when your movements were so small inside of me. Those small feet and fingers were practicing for the days ahead when they would do mighty things. Even as small as you were then, you were mighty in strength. Even then.

    I remember waddling around with my big belly. Even though you were so small, I felt so big. Your little body was growing and preparing for the day when we both would meet face to face. And your little heart that was beating within me, it was beating for a reason. It was beating a sound of life. It seems more real now that I can watch your chest rise and fall with each breath you take. But even before I could see you inside of my big belly, your heart was still beating life and your chest would still rise and fall. Even then.

    I remember the day when you began your journey out of my womb. You were ready to breathe on your own. You were excited to meet us, but didn’t want to come too soon. We were excited too. The pain lasted for days, but I  knew that every pain was one step closer to holding you in my arms. We didn’t know what to expect, but we knew your life would change our lives forever. But even before you were born, you had changed our lives already. Even then.

    When you entered the world and we saw your precious face, Mommy and Daddy cried. We cried just like on the day we found out you were inside of me. We didn’t cry because you were here, for you had been here all along. We cried because you were more beautiful than we ever could have imagined. We cried because we finally got to open the package of our precious gift. We cried because we could finally see your eyes, oh those precious eyes. We cried because we loved you, and will love you for the rest of our lives.

     Psalm 139: 13-16 (NIV)

    13 For you created my inmost being;
        you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
    14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
        your works are wonderful,
        I know that full well.
    15 My frame was not hidden from you
        when I was made in the secret place,
        when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
    16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
        all the days ordained for me were written in your book
        before one of them came to be.

     

     

     


  6. The Seasons of Life

    February 10, 2015 by Melanie Faris

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    Looking outside right now, it’s hard to imagine what summer looks and feels like. It’s so cold I dread the thought of getting dressed for the day and walking out the front door. Brrr! I am much more comfortable staying inside, wrapped in a blanket and watching the news. Yes, I watch the news. I am a bit of an old soul they say…

    Today I want to talk to you about the seasons. I’m not talking about the weather outside, I’m talking about the seasons of your life. Have you ever thought about your life this way? A lot of people think life comes down to luck or chance. You roll the dice and you get what you get. Everyone’s different and there’s no making sense of it. But wait – that’s not how it works at all. Sure everyone has a unique story with different circumstances, but I came to the realization that we are all similar and on this road together! I mean – I think we all can relate on a deeper level, especially when it comes to the seasons of our lives. Some people feel one season stronger than another, but we all go through them. Let me explain…

    There are many seasons of life, and here’s my take on it.

     

    Let’s start with winter (we are all familiar with this one):

    It’s so cold!!!! When does it end?! That’s the only thought on everyone’s mind. Okay, maybe not for everyone in the world, but definitely here in Canada. hehe.

    But in all seriousness, the winter season of life sometimes feels long. It feels like we could all use a little more sunshine and a lot less storm in our life. There are glimpses of beauty, but sometimes you need to squint to see it. Often you realize that you need help digging out of this mess, but don’t know where to turn. You are snowed in and it’s not always easy. As the tears flow, you might find yourself praying to a God you aren’t sure exists, or holding onto your loved ones a little tighter. Or maybe you are secluding yourself from the world, staying inside with a hope to keep warm, not wanting to face the world outside. Usually I don’t anticipate the winter to feel so cold and heartless. I don’t expect to be hit so hard all at once like a snowball in the face. You ever been there? This is a trying and difficult time in your life, and sometimes it’s hard to even imagine that spring is going to come.

     

    There is spring:

    The beautiful time where you rest after the storms of winter, knowing that all the hardships you went through before have brought you a new outlook on life. You see the sun rising and suddenly 10 degress feels SO nice. You now realize that without the cold winter, spring wouldn’t feel as nice as it does right now. It’s a transition phase. You are coming out of the storm and finally feel the warmth on your face again. There is a peace and hope for your future. A sense of contentment and optimism for what’s ahead. You aren’t sure if you are at the place you want to be yet, but you know that there’s good things coming and you are ready to start walking the path laid before you.

     

    There is summer:

    This is a time where you are reaping the rewards of handwork and dedication. Sometimes life feels almost “too good to be true” during this time. You are on fire! Think of the time when you tried on those old jeans that haven’t fit in years, only to discover your hard work at the gym has finally paid off! YES! You feel on top of the world, fired up and ready to take on whatever comes your way. You sometime worry that this season can’t last for too long, almost “searching” for something bad in your life, unable to locate it. You lie out and sunbath soaking it all in, praying for this season to last the rest of your life.

     

    There is fall:

    You have come down off your high and are realizing things aren’t exactly what you thought they would be. Maybe that new job means more hours at the office and less time with your family. Or the jeans are getting tight again, and motivation is starting to diminish. Things aren’t so perfect anymore. I find in this season I get a bit confused. I just don’t know what step to take next. You may ask yourself, where do I go from here? I can remember when I was in college feeling as if my world was crumbling around me. This isn’t what I signed up for, I thought. I just couldn’t find peace in my life. Although everything was still OK, inside there was a war going on. I felt like I needed a change, but I just didn’t know what to do or where I was heading. You might feel like you are walking without a map, lost and  unsure of who to ask for directions.

     

    You ever been in one of these seasons of life? I know you have! But what season are you in now? Sure we all know the seasons of the year, it’s pretty obvious if you are sweating from the heat, or trying to avoid frostbite from the cold. But do you know and recognize what season your life is in at any given moment? It’s possible you have a bit of a mixed bag and feel like you are in two seasons at once. But really think about it for a minute. For a lot of us, it won’t take very long to recognize where we are…

    Sometimes I can go through all of the seasons in a week, or even a day! It’s crazy how fast the weather can change. I’m not here to tell you that all good things come to an end, because I hate when someone says that to me. I also don’t think it’s true. However, there will disruptions and challenges that put us off our path in some way, at some time in our life. Don’t “expect the worse”, gosh that bugs me when someone says that, especially when you are feeling so darn great about life. My advice would be this – next time you find yourself at the grocery store with some extra cash in your pocket (i.e., it’s your summer), it’s never a bad idea to grab some canned food to put in the pantry in case you need it! Use your summer to prepare for the winter. Read, study, learn, grow – even if everything you read doesn’t apply to you right now. It will build you up and prepare you for what’s ahead. Whatever that may be!

    If you happen to be stuck in a winter season (even if you don’t live in good ol’ Canada), I want you to know that there is hope. Spring is coming. Do NOT lose sight of it. Sometimes you need to rest for a while, and just seek comfort during this time. Let the storm pass. I would encourage you to seek the best comforter I know – the Holy Spirit. God is the only one who can bring you true peace during the storms. I’m not trying to get all religious on you, I’m just speaking from experience. When I put my trust in God and a storm comes my way, all the emotions are still there and it’s still freakin cold, but I just don’t feel the weight of it. That’s what He does for me. He takes the weight of the hardship and puts it on Himself. I may still cry myself to sleep, but He is standing with the kleenex box saying, let it all out, let me wipe your tears. A good friend of mine once told me to put my worries on God, because His shoulders are much bigger than mine. It’s like trying to walk through 5′ of snow with bricks in your boots. It’s just not an easy road. Might be possible to get to the other side, but it’s not easy!! However, if you put on some snowshoes, you still have to walk through the snow, it’s just a heck of a lot easier because you just don’t have to carry so much weight. Make sense? Sort of?

    I wanted to write this post to give you hope and comfort, no matter what season you are in. If you are in summer right now, ENJOY IT. Don’t fret or anticipate something to go wrong. Just lie in the sun and tan for a while. It is OKAY for things to feel so great. You aren’t a bad person for being happy and content. I encourage you to use this time to refuel yourself and encourage others who may feel like winter just won’t end for them. If you are going through winter, or a transition season, remember that summer WILL come around, and with the right road map, you will get there a lot quicker.

    Enjoy whatever season you may be in! I for one am READY and looking forward to spring.

    Bye for now.

    Love, Melanie.

     

     

     

     

     

     


  7. I’m Back!

    January 3, 2015 by Melanie Faris

    Hey Everyone!

    I can’t believe my last post was in October. Ahh! It’s been a while hasn’t it?! Well, good news – I’m back in action. I don’t want to write an entire post on the past couple months, but I will give you a snapshot into our latest adventures and what we have been up to:

    Visited LA on our way to NZ for a “Babymoon” vacation:

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    Saw the beauty at the other side of the world in New Zealand:

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    Experienced the city life in Australia for our final week away:

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    And if you haven’t noticed, our little munchkin is busy growing in my belly (I am 26 weeks now):

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    Boy or girl, we won’t know until April, but we are so so excited. Now it’s time to prepare for baby to arrive!

    I haven’t done much cooking since November so I don’t really have any new recipes up my sleeve to share…yet. This coming week I am going to get back to the kitchen and share a brand new recipe with you. Stay tuned all you food lovers, it’s coming!

    xo Mel.


  8. The Story of Finding Out I’m Pregnant

    September 30, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    It was a typical day. Nothing out of the ordinary. I never thought I was pregnant, or at least I didn’t believe the passing thought when it came to mind…

    Note to self: Sore nipples should not last more than a week. This is a good sign you may be pregnant!

    The week before I took a pregnancy test I was at my Cousins cottage. We spent most of our time sitting on the dock, sipping on an occasional drink and munching on chips and guacamole. Yum! I guess you can say I was craving chips and popcorn before I even had a clue that I was pregnant. It was kind of funny because we joked together of the thought of either of us being pregnant. We talked about how fun it would be and when we planned on having kids. Thomas and I are going away this November for a trip, so we kind of “planned” to start having kids next year. Our last holiday before have kids has officially turned into a Babymoon, and we are totally okay with that! =)

    I knew that my period was late, but when is it ever on time? Never. No big deal. I came home from the cottage and started thinking about the wedding we had on the following day. Open bar wedding. For some reason, the thought of possibly being pregnant wouldn’t leave my mind. I would hate to drink at the wedding and soon after realize I was pregnant. I would feel awful. So to give me some peace of mind, I hopped in my car and drove to Shoppers to buy a test.

    Side note: how awkward is it when you have to stand in line with a pregnancy test in your hand?! It’s even worse when you are paying and the lady doesn’t throw it in a bag. She leaves it on the counter so the whole line can see what you are buying. I was on a mission to bolt for the door before anyone I knew showed up. Gotta love living in a small town. You can’t go anywhere without running into someone you know!

    I went straight for the bathroom and read the entire pamphlet. I’m sure peeing on a stick isn’t very complicated, but I wasn’t about to mess this up. I then proceeded to, you know…pee.

    I looked at the test and saw one big line. I knew it. Not pregnant. Then, slowly, faintly, and barely visibly was a second line right next to it. Huh? Is that?…Is it?…I scrummaged through the garbage and pulled out the pamphlet. Frantically trying to find what the results mean and if the second line “counts.” There it said, “even a faint line means you’re pregnant.”

    WHAT??!

    Suddenly excitement started to fill my entire body. It was so unexpected and not the result I expected to see. I was planning on how to surprise Thomas with the news and what I should say or do. Thoughts started filling my mind, how is this possible?! There was no “oops'”?! I don’t have any symptoms….Am I seriously pregnant?

    I then opened the second pregnancy test (yes there was two), and I peed again. This time it was a digital test. In big letter pops up the word,

    NO

     

    Well what the heck?! I was confused. After doing some research, I learned that it is not possible to get a false positive test. It IS however possible to get a false negative. This meant I was pregnant if that little faint line I saw on the first test really was a line after all.

    I called Thomas. Forget the surprise, he is picking me up another test on his way home.

    Thomas was in shock when I told him what happened. Neither of us believed it. So off to Shoppers he went, and stood in that line, awkward as can be. Thomas wasn’t as lucky – He just so happened to know the person behind him, and that person just so happened to want to have a conversation. You can’t hide the one thing you are buying! Gotta love small towns ;).

    I took the test when he came home, and to our surprise, it said:

     

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    We jumped into each others arms and I started to cry. This was the most overwhelming, exciting thing that has ever happened to us. We were both amazed and thrilled. We are going to have a baby!! Yay!

    I felt great for the first week after finding out. I was around 5 or 6 weeks pregnant at that point. It wasn’t until around week 7 that the couch became my new best friend. Along with Campbells Chicken Noodle Soup.

    And so our next chapter together begins…

     

     


  9. Big News! My secret and body transformation revealed….

    September 18, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    Hey Everyone,

    Where have I been? I know you all are probably wondering what the heck happened to me. Yes, I know, I’m so sorry! BUT, I have good reason…

    So over the past 3 months or so, I guess you can say I have “secretly” undergone a big transformation, and I will continue to do so for the next while. Hang in there, I’m going to explain.

    Not many people know about my new journey, except for a few select people. But here is “the plan” I have been following, with pics and my secret to be revealed afterwards.

    #1. Getting lots of rest. Yes you heard me. I have spent more time on the couch than ever before.

    #2. Eating very specific foods and usually changing my routine weekly to switch it up.

    #3. Walking instead of running. It is too hard on my joints.

    #4. Less time spent at the gym.

    #5. Following my feelings instead of forcing myself to “eat perfect” or exercise every day.

    That’s the basis of my routine right now. Do I sound crazy? Yes a little. But you will see how it has worked for me…

    This is me before as an avid follower of the “clean eating diet” with a very strict gym schedule and meal plan:

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    I worked hard. I did not “cheat” and exercise was my life! I was squatting as much as some of the boys at the gym and proud of it. It was fun seeing my body transform and to watch my progress.

    This was the program I followed with incredible results:

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/jamie-eason-livefit-trainer.html

    So since you are wondering what I look like now and my newest transformation, see below:

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    Oh and did I mention…

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    That is my BIG SURPRISE! We are soooo excited :). I will do a new post for you soon to give you the details on how I have been feeling and the changes I have noticed in my body. I will also tell you the story of how I found out this exciting news. I wanted to give you all a quick update so you all would know what has been going on in the life of Mel. Sorry for not posting much lately, but now that I am feeling better, I will be online more often! Be sure to check back soon.

    Much Love,

    Mel and Baby =).

     

     

     

     

     

     


  10. How to Prepare for Marriage

    August 11, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    Hey, I’m back! I have been busy with very important summer things lately (tanning, swimming, eating fresh guacamole, enjoying an occasional drink and taking long naps).

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    I know it may not seem like a valid excuse for taking a break from blogging, but it just kind of happened. But I’m back…for now.  This week I am heading up North with my Husband on a little fishing get away, so you might not hear from me for another week or so. I promise we won’t have such a long distance relationship in the future. Just for now :).

    Today I want to talk about Marriage again. I know that many people are interested in my story of how I met Thomas and what it’s like being married at a younger age. I get asked a lot about our married life and how I knew Thomas was the one, so I thought today we could have a little heart to heart. Today I don’t want to talk about me. Today I want to talk about you.

    How do you know when is the right time to get married? What sort of questions should you ask yourself before getting married? How soon should you get married after you are engaged?

    These are all important questions, and questions that I have asked myself before. The advice I’m going to give is non-judgmental of what other people do or believe. I simply am sharing what has worked for Thomas and I. Marriage is not a ‘one size fits all’ formula. No one is the same, which is why no relationship should be treated the same.

    Thomas and I have approached our relationship leaning on God’s direction, which is what I encourage you to do when making such a big decision about marriage. I know it sounds a bit weird, but it has been the best thing for our relationship. It’s not about religion and following rules…It’s ultimately about loving each other the way God loves us. Simple as that! Marriage ain’t no little thing, and it should not be taken lightly. If you get the big Guy upstairs involved, you won’t believe how beautiful your marriage can be. Remember, it is more than just a beautiful wedding day, or having babies together one day. You will both be joined and made as one when you get married…

    That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)

    Sounds a little weird – I know. It wasn’t until I was married that I realize the truth in the Bible’s explanation of marriage. You don’t have your own life anymore when you get married. WAIT. Don’t get freaked out. It’s awesome. What an amazing thing it is to be joined with someone, live with someone, share a home and life together. This leads me to the first point I want to make when we talk about preparing for Marriage:

    Turn selfishness to selflessness

    Growing up, you are nurtured, cared for, provided for and given many things. We are selfish little babies, for good reason. But people often carry this thought pattern well into adulthood. They maintain the idea that it’s all about “me me me.” I’ll admit, I still have this in me too sometimes…

    Once you are married, it’s time to take everything you have been given as a child/teenager, and give it to your spouse. It’s not about YOU anymore, it’s about the other person. Of course you are important, but if you are more focused on yourself than your partner, you will not be happy for long. For instance, I don’t always want to iron Thomas’s shirts. Why can’t he iron his own?! If I only iron his shirts because I feel that I have to, I am going to be very miserable doing it. It’s so easy for me to be selfish and think, Thomas wears the shirts, so he should do it! Then I remember how hard he works everyday. I stop thinking about me and start thinking about him. It’s about doing it for Him in love and gratefulness. It’s a little way to show him how much I appreciate him. See the difference? Either way his shirts are getting ironed, I just need to focus on him and not me and we both will be happier and more appreciative for the other person.

    I would highly recommend paying attention to your thoughts and motives now before marriage. Get a head start! Try to focus on doing things out of love for your partner or others in your life. You will be surprised how a simple thought change can affect your relationships. It’s just like going to the gym – the more you do it, the easier it gets. Train your thought muscles to start working harder for other people in your life. Think about others first and you will prepare yourself for a beautiful “selfless” marriage.

    I often see friends in a group setting, and all of the girls in relationships are dying to have a ring on their finger. They talk about how long it is taking their significant other to propose, and wonder why it’s taking so long. There is a lot of pressure for people to get married, especially when all of your friends are getting hitched. I’ve noticed for many it has become more about doing what everyone else is doing, rather than focusing on marriage. Everyone wants a wedding and that beautiful perfect day, and it isn’t wrong to think about it! The problem is when the focus is more on the wedding than the marriage itself.

    Once I was engaged, there was a lot of planning for the wedding that took place in a short period of time. It was easy to get caught up in the plans and stress of it all. I had to actually remind myself that it doesn’t matter what happens on the wedding day as much as afterwards. The only thing that really matters is saying “I do”, the rest is just details. Sounds obvious, but I’m telling you, it is easy to put WAY more thought into the day, than the rest of your lives together. You can diet, write your vows, plan you speech, have perfect hair…the list goes on. But remember after the wedding day, your Husband is the one you will wake up to everyday to with no makeup, bed-head and terrible morning breath. You better be prepared for that ;).

    Before you get married, or before you are even engaged, remember that as wonderful as your wedding day will be, it’s even more beautiful for the people who attend your wedding to watch you spend the rest of your lives together. Don’t put all of your thought into the details of your wedding day. Everything falls into place! Remember to spend time together one on one, just you two, and talk about more than your wedding plans. Especially once you are engaged, you should be kind to your fiancé and talk about more than centerpieces and bouquets. Talk about the things you want to do together as a married couple, how many kids you want to have, what part of the world you want to see together, what traditions you want to start together…etc.

    I could go on and on about marriage. I LOVE being married. I love my Husband. I am truly blessed and grateful for each day I have been given. I want you to feel the same about your marriage one day! So how do you know when the right time to get married is? For me, I had a unique experience. You can read about it on my other posts. I knew right away Thomas was the one for me. But I can understand that everyone’s story is different, and sometimes you need time with someone to really know. My only advice would be to really pray about it. Ask for clarity, direction and peace. God doesn’t want you to be confused, and it doesn’t need to be confusing!! If you are confused, unsure or have an ounce of doubt – WAIT. Don’t get married. Otherwise, pray about it. If it is meant to be, I believe it will fall into place in the perfect timing. Don’t force it, just enjoy your time together knowing it will come at the right time (not always your time).

    How soon after the engagement should you tie the knot? Thomas and I planned our wedding in 3 months. I picked a date and said, that’s it, we’re doing it! We really did not want to wait. We decided not to live together before getting married as a personal choice, so it was way too exciting for us to wait longer. I know it can be expensive or difficult to put together a wedding in a short period of time, but you can do it! My Mom planned hers in one week, so anything is possible! I think short engagements are wonderful. It’s also a pretty cool story to tell your kids one day. Plan a buck and doe to raise some money, get friends to help you plan, make your center pieces for cheap and cut back on eating out to save some extra cash. Many people will give you monetary gifts on the wedding day which will cover most of the cost of the wedding (if not all). Don’t expect gifts from your guests – then you will be pleasantly surprised and more grateful for people’s generosity. With that being said, there’s nothing wrong with waiting longer if you feel more comfortable having a longer engagement too! This is YOUR choice. I’m only sharing my experience :).

    I think I have covered most of the points I wanted to talk about. I could probably go on forever, but I wouldn’t do that to you 🙂 hehe. If you made it to the bottom of this post and found it helpful, please share it with your friends or comment below with your thoughts. I love to hear from you!

    P.s. Enjoy your single life and look forward to marriage one day. It’s all a unique and beautiful experience.

    xox.

    Melanie Faris