I’m very lucky that Nic and I live in Ottawa near our parents. The Saturday before Mother’s Day, I invited my moms out to lunch. We had an amazing brunch at Wild Oat in the Glebe (definitely going back!) and enjoyed a walk through Ottawa’s Tulip Festival.
I got the wild breakfast plate, two eggs, homemade bread (with their own jam!), yam hashbrowns, and sauteed vegetables. SO good. I can’t wait to go again!
I definitely love being back in Ottawa again – great to be with family, and the city is so beautiful!
One of my grandma’s neighbours was very mad I took this picture.
Canadian Museum of Human Rights
Patio lunch at Beachcomber’s in the Forks
Canadian Museum of Human Rights
On Wednesday night, Mom, Dad, and I flew into Winnipeg for some time with family and my cousin’s wedding! On Thursday we explored the Forks with my Oma, and had dinner with my Grandma and some other relatives.
My cousin’s daughter and I loved chasing Casey around the farm
Checking out the farm
Cousin’s little baby
Dad on the unicycle
On Friday we went out to my aunt’s farm to visit with my mom’s family. It was a beautiful day full of sunshine, sprinting after the dog, and lots of babies!
Nic in front of the Manitoba Legislature
Oh Doughnuts and Fools and Horses
BDI for ice cream!
On Saturday, Nic and I took a walk from the Manitoba Legislature down to the Forks. We picked up doughnuts from Oh Doughnuts and Fools and Horses on Broadway. In the afternoon we had lunch with my parents and Grandma, then picked up ice cream. My cousin’s wedding was in the evening.
Looking for something fun to do in the spring in Ottawa? The Central Experimental Farm has lots of baby animals that you can meet. Obviously one of my favourite things to do!
We went to the farm with Nic’s family, and the piglets, baby goats, lambs, kits (baby bunnies), calves, etc., were so adorable. For lunch we went to Rosa’s on Dow’s Lake, then walked around Hogs Back Falls.
I started my first powerlifting program (Layne Norton’s PH3) in March 2016. Since then, I have gained 100 lbs on my deadlift, 75 lbs on my squat, and 55 on my bench. I am insanely proud of those baby gains! Of course, I won’t be able to continue to go in that exponentially, and this journey hasn’t been without pain and challenges. When I hit my 200lb squat in March (without pain, too!), I cried. After herniating my L4-L5 disc 6 years ago, I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do that. Next goal? 2 plates (225 lbs).
First Powerlifting Phase: March-May 2016
I LOVED Layne Norton’s PH3 programming, as you can read here. I was working 5 days a week at GoodLife, so I had time to be in the gym 5+ days a week, which this program requires. I liked working on percentages, but I also noticed that I would re-calculate every week, instead of keeping it steady for the whole month. Probably lifted heavier than I needed to at the start. It was also a very humbling process. I worked on my form, and sometimes super light weights felt incredibly challenging, and I’d be out for a week.
Second Phase: May-August 2016
Cutting. Yuck. I’ve never tried an actual cut before, and it wasn’t fun. But I managed to drop from 20% body fat to 16%. That involved lots of high reps lower weight (also to recover my muscles a bit), skipping, and box jumps. Also, I ate less dessert. I hate that about diets.
I also adapted Jim Wendler’s 5-3-1 programming to my needs. I still worked 4-5 days a week, but had gotten bored of PH3’s incessant accessory work that drove me insane. I wanted a bit more variation.
Third Phase: September-December 2016
Yup, didn’t do much. I gained 10 lbs and 5-6% body fat (including Christmas bloat) from when I started grad school. Stepping on the scale January 2 was a shock. I didn’t get the hang of 3 courses in grad school, 2 part-time jobs equaling 20 hours, 2 choirs, and being a youth sponsor AND having time for myself. I hit some heavy weights, but did not have the consistency to gain much strength. My energy also got super low. However, with the bulk came a bigger butt. I mean, not necessarily in a good way, but definitely bigger. It was a real, dirty bulk.
Fourth Phase: January 2017-Now
What’s going to be the best phase: a slow cut for some weddings, but hitting some awesome numbers. Within a month of cutting (more healthy food, less dessert, jumping rope most days, and more gym sessions) I had lost the 10 pounds, and dropped 2% body fat. I’m at a very comfortable spot, but I’m looking to lose a bit more body fat before a spring wedding. I expected that I would lose strength, but I easily used up my Christmas carbs hitting my deadlift and squatting goals.
I’m happy with my consistency at the gym despite not having a specific program for the past 6 months. I start co-op in May, and it’s a long commute, so hopefully I figure out a good schedule that will keep this momentum going. Then again, it’s not like I can pretend I haven’t had back or hip pain during this term. I definitely put on weight that I didn’t need to, and suffered. I think now that I’ve hit the 200 lb mark for both squats and deadlifts I’ll take a step back and work on higher reps lower weight to go with my cut.
Yes, these are considered baby gains, since they’re my first year of powerlifting. I don’t think I’ll be at a 300 lb squat March 2018, considering my back. But I’m very proud of the numbers I’ve finally hit, and can’t wait to see if my body can go further than this.
On that note, as I mentioned above, my back hasn’t been super happy the whole time. I’ll tweak it by bending over, or putting on 10 lbs more than I should have. Pretty dumb of me. It seems like I haven’t learned anything. Now that I’ll be backing off, I’ll be making sure that I continue to do my physiotherapy to increase my stabilization strength, and focusing on recovery. Like baths, rolling out, and going to massage and chiro. I only have one back, and I’ve been given so many second chances on back health. Maybe I’ll try sumo deadlifts and see if my back likes that more!
Deadlift 2 plates (225 lbs)
Squat 2 plates (225 lbs)
Bench 1 plate/body weight (135 lbs)
Pull-ups (I’ve been doing sets of 10 with the assisted band for months, I should really be ready soon, but it’s frustrating)
For summer drop 3% more body fat (but I get so angry when I limit dessert)
Let me know how your powerlifting journey has gone!
This term (January-April) I have been taking 2 courses for grad school (full-time), working as Mennonite Central Committee Canada’s Ottawa Office research internship, still at my part-time House of Commons job (30 hours of work a week total), singing in Cantata Singers of Ottawa and church choir, as well as volunteering as a youth sponsor for church. Sometime between all that, I get to the gym, hang out with my husband, family, and friends, and attempt to keep up with hobbies.
You read that right.
No wonder I haven’t felt interested in posting here.
I have to admit it though, I have missed having this outlet to share my life. Get ready for hopefully one post a week.
On top of my regular school work, this term I have to submit my research proposal. More on that later.
Looking forward, this summer term (May-August) I’ll be on co-op. That’s going to be my first time working full-time for the whole summer. That seems strange considering all the jobs I’ve had, but sometimes it’s been a couple part-time jobs combined, or working at camp 2 months of the summer only. Obviously the paycheck is going to be phenomenal, as well as having weekends off (last summer I worked Saturday morning and Sunday evenings) to go camping or to the cottage.
Sunday night, my home church finally voted on a statement of affirmation for the acceptance and participation of queer Christians in church membership, baptism, leadership, and pastorship. It’s been a long, emotional year for our congregation, and I’m so happy to see that we got an 89% acceptance of the affirmation statement. I can’t wait to see where this takes our church!
I had prepared a statement to read at the congregational meeting. I knew that I was mostly talking to a small number of families who were not affirming, but I needed to remind them how much OMC (and churches in general) should be a place of refuge. I also took the time to thank everyone in our church for being my home. Of course, I was in tears the whole time. And managed to get a lot of other people to tear up.
OMC has been my home my whole life. I was born and raised in this church, was baptised here, was married here, and every time I come back, I feel comforted. I was accepted when I was angry at God for injuries and mental health, and encouraged to seek healing in God’s word. There are so many wonderful, loving people in this community who have shaped who I am, and I am thankful for that. I see so much potential in our church for living into our Christian faith through our words and actions. A large part of this means supporting the statement of affirmation in each of the four aspects. God made us in his image, and loves us for who we are. The church is supposed to be the safest, most encouraging place in the world. Jesus taught us to love each other, without fail. I urge you to consider what we are teaching our youth and children about God’s love if we even remotely consider excluding queer Christians from church participation. This year has been so hard for those in the congregation who are queer or an ally. This morning, we sang about having the strength to love our brothers and sisters: for some of you, this process will be very scary, but OMC should be a welcoming home for all of us. I pray that God will mend our broken hearts so we can move forward in his Kingdom.
I’m so proud of so many people who stood up and expressed their feelings. There were so many beautiful “mic drop” moments, and the youth and young adults started doing poetry slam “snaps” to cheer people on silently. Thanks for all the words of encouragement after the meeting. Thank you to Carrie for being so strong throughout this, we’re all indebted to you. Thank you to the Discernment Committee and Church Council for the challenging work done over the last year.
I’m so ready for queerness to not be a thing, and people to just love each other for who they are. Like I said, God made us, and loves us. Let’s love each other.