I am…..

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I am many things but figuring out what things about me make me a ninja is hard. I am the procrastinator of the group obviously since I am the last to post, and wanna be perfectionist since this is probably my 6th version of my intro. But I am much more.

My name is Kirsten, I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister and a friend. I am one of the Canadian Ninjas  and very lucky to live close to Megan in the suburbs of Vancouver, British Columbia. I work full time (plus some) for a non profit organization with children, I have a near five year old son about to enter kindergarten (get ready for cute bento lunch posts) and have been married for what seems like for-ever! (just kidding honey)

Like the others I love coffee, sushi, reading, cooking, wine and having fun.  I love to learn about nutrition but hate anything that feels like exercise. You will never find me in a gym but biking with my family, exploring the local parks & trails or hanging in my backyard with friends makes up my free time. I love to entertain, menu plan, and try new foods. I am shy but sarcastic and once I get talking I never shut up. I am never without my phone or iPad but am completely computer illiterate. This is going to be a great big adventure for me and I can’t wait to get it started with you.

Searching out a group of women online that were there to support each other in a healthy life was how we met, one fateful New Year’s Eve chat was how we connected and now we are family. Welcome to Being Ninjas.

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This crazy ninja’s life

Hi, I’m Leslie one of the Midwest Ninjas. I’ve been thinking about this introduction for weeks and really freaking out a bit about what in the world I could tell you about myself that would be of any interest at all.
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I keep coming back to, “how can I be this busy and this BORING at the same time??” and then I realize my life isn’t boring, it’s simple and it’s exactly the way I want it. Maybe not as exciting as some, or as thrilling as others, and maybe not exactly how I envisioned it would be once upon a time, but dreams change and evolve as we do, and this crazy life is my dream. Because you see I’m Momma to six of the coolest kids on the planet. They are ages 16 – 6 (three girls and three boys) and keep us laughing and entertained 24/7. I’m Wife to my high school sweetheart, who still (after 17 years and counting) looks at my disturbing pre 6 am self, or me belting out a broadway tune, or the times I’m bouncing off the walls, mad, sad, crying, at my wits end…like I’m the best person he knows. Our life is crazy and wonderful and hard and stressful and…perfect.
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Our family lives on a farm in Illinois where we run our own businesses and try to spend as much time with our kids as we can. We have five Golden Retrievers, two horses, and three cats. I love to fish and hike and read. My grandma used to spend hours with me fishing and it’s something I took for granted until I didn’t have her here with me anymore. Now I see it as a priceless heirloom memory. Give me a coffee (my favorite food group), a book, and access to my ninjas and I’m sure to have a great day! I’m good at pinching a penny until it screams, I adore cooking, I’m obsessed with office supplies (Staples, Amirite?!), schedules, and sushi. I love camping with my hooligans and being lazy at the beach. I’m a hippy and a gypsy at heart and would love nothing more than to show you some of our adventures and misadventures!
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I’m forever thankful for that New Years that brought all of us together. People ask me how our friendship started and I have to laugh as I explain “…we started chatting and just never stopped!” I’m not sure even the ninjas know just how much they mean to me. They are my sisters. Sisters that encourage, make you laugh until you cry, understand, always have a kind word, kick your rear when you need it, motivate, dig holes…I could go on and on. I can’t wait for you all to get to know them better. They are truly the best women I know and I’m a better person for being one of them. Welcome to Being Ninjas.

Becoming NINJAFIED in Indiana

The task of sitting down and writing something about yourself…..something I have fretted about for a week. I come on the tails of some of my awesome fellow ninjas who so eloquently described themselves by encompassing the sweet, multidimensional friends that they are and am approaching this blog as a tool to step out of my comfort zone. We shall start there.
My comfort zone is in a small quaint fixer upper home in the state of Indiana. FIXER UPPER being the very bane of my existence!! I can share this experience with Mark, my very sweet, hardworking husband of 5 years (7 together) that, remarkably, has made it out alive throughout this whole process and not buried in a hole somewhere in my backyard (side note, we aren’t done yet!). I would say that as the years of marriage roll past us, I have learned to love him better, work alongside him better, and be a better friend to him, better spouse. We are a very medically oriented family as I am a nurse and he is a firefighter/medic which causes our dinner conversations to be pretty interesting! I am a step momma to his four children and a momma to my two boys. His four are in another state and all out of high school and we don’t get to see them as much as we’d like. I have the pleasure of being a mom to “D” who just graduated high school and is stepping into the world and “AB” who is getting ready to walk the halls of high school for the first time as a freshman! Both boys have kept me very busy and involved with travel sports as well as school sports – baseball, basketball, track and football. Not to mention that being a mom to two teenage boys can be cause for many thought provoking conversations!

niagaraWe share our world with five fur faces and I can always tell a story of what one of them are doing! I am a tried and true animal lover. With three dogs and two cats in the mix, life can get pretty interesting! Two of my pups I rescued from the animal shelter (one was mere days away from being euthanized) and one is my golden retriever whom I got as a puppy. One could argue that I tend to feel more comfortable around animals as opposed to humans but it’s become painfully clear that those relationships can’t always carry you through the tough times!

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As I’ve embarked on this journey of an internet friendship with the ninjas, I’ve found that my life was very one dimensional a couple of years ago. I was caught up in the sport mom role. We were SO busy with travel and with school sports, I feel like that was the only time I could devote to anything. As my schedule is loosening up a bit, I find that some of the experiences the ninjas have shared have caused me to crave some knowledge about different, unique things (food, gardening, BEES). You could say that learning about others and their interests has caused me to explore some new things of my own. WINE!! I never even gave thought to wine before them and have quite the rack filled in my home now and am continuing to learn! I have taken a pretty avid role in volunteering at the local animal shelters and teaching my children what it is like to give their time. I have grown closer to my husband and we carve out time to either travel (we take a cruise every year and will be going on our 6th cruise this November!) or just hop on his motorcycle and cruise through the towns and roads of Indiana. Being less busy has definitely opened up our minds to dream about spending more time just…being.
On my days off, in the quiet still of the morning, you can usually find me drinking my very treasured first cup of coffee catching up on emails, blogs and chatting with my ninjas, talking myself into lacing up my shoes for a walk or getting the yoga mat out for a session. Nutrition and fitness are what brought me to know my fellow ninjas and quite honestly, it is still a cause for struggle in my world! I also enjoy shopping with my nieces, whom I am very close to, throwing tennis balls outside to my pups, or planning my next trip to Barnes and Nobles by myself with a cup of coffee. So welcome!!! Welcome to our zany, ADD (read: “squirrel” moments in conversation), OCD (slight), honest, REAL world that we like to call being a ninja.

Who Am I?

You know that scene in the Breakfast Club where Brian is thinking about the essay he is supposed to write. He hooks his pen on his lip and he is saying “Who are you? Who are you? I am a walrus?” Well that’s how I felt as I contemplated what to write for this introduction.

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When someone asks who you are what is it they want to know?

What do you do for a living? – I work as a librarian. Not what I had planned. The job sort of fell into my lap when I finished my undergrad degree and I needed a break and a change. That was 19 years ago. I do like my job and I’m pretty good at it (if I do say so myself) just wasn’t what I had set out to do oh so many years ago.

What about your family? I’m a fiancée to Jody, a stepmother to 2 teenagers (the boy child, 17 and the girl child, 15), a middle child, an aunt, a god-mother, a daughter, a friend and I have a large extended family full of aunts, uncles & cousins.

What are your hobbies? – I garden. I have flowers surrounding my house and several raised bed vegetable gardens. I’m crafty when the inspiration hits & I spend too much time on pinterest looking for said inspiration. I love to cook and try to make as much as possible from scratch – when time allows. And when I say from scratch I really mean it. I grind wheat to make fresh flour and Jody & I just started keeping bees this year for honey. Jody also got me involved in our local homebrew club. He does the brewing, not me, but I’m heavily involved in the club’s annual charity event. I also love to read but rarely have time so I mostly listen to books while I garden or cook.

Michelle's Garden

How did you become a ninja? Well that’s a long story probably best saved for another day & another post but I’ll give you the short version now. I’ve had weight issues for much of my life (real & in my head). I would diet and lose and gain it back. The usual yo yo cycle that so many of us have been on. In late 2012 something clicked that told me this was it & I was going to lose the weight once and for all for good. So I started keeping track of everything that went into my mouth and working out & I joined a fitness group on facebook that at one point had over 7,000 members. On New Years Eve 2012 a conversation started in that large fitness group that ended with just myself and 5 other amazing women. Well that’s not exactly true. That conversation never really ended and now it’s continuing here at Being Ninjas.

[1] photo borrowed from here

I Like Piña Coladas and Getting Caught in the Rain…

I could go for one of these (and a beach) right about now...

I could go for one of these (and a beach) right about now… (photo credit 1)

Like NinjaEm so eloquently posted the other day, the whole “Tell me about yourself” statement can be tough for me. I often try to be funny and quote the ever-so-wise Jimmy Buffett Rupert Holmes* by saying, “I like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain”, which is true, but that wouldn’t really help you get to know the woman behind the NinjaMegan posts. So…

This is an old photo, but one of my favourites - plus my hair is almost back to this colour ;-)

This is an old photo, but one of my favourites – plus my hair is almost back to this colour 😉

I’m Megan, a SAHM and one of the resident foodie Ninjas. I’ve always been into food (I do believe I was the only 10 year old to be checking out Mastering the Art of French Cooking from our small town library) and culture (I have a degree in Anthropology from the University of British Columbia). As a result, I often like to explore cultures through their food – so I love to try out new recipes and foods and play with new cookbooks. Some are hits, some well, aren’t! 😉

My husband Greg & I ran the Walt Disney World Half Marathon this past January - I have a feeling it will be the first of many Disney races!

My husband Greg & I ran the Walt Disney World Half Marathon this past January – I have a feeling it will be the first of many Disney races!

When I’m not thinking about food, you can find me doing one of the following: reading, listening to NPR/CBC podcasts and music, watching classic movies, learning about essential oils and natural health, traveling to a Disney destination, drinking wine and running. However, I haven’t been drinking wine or running lately due to the fact that I’m pregnant with our second child, though I’m hoping to restart a light exercise plan now that I’ve been cleared to do so. I like to say that I’m a dabbler in different hobbies and interests – or a friend once eloquently called me a dilettante – which is probably reflective of the fact that I was diagnosed with ADD several years ago. While my ADD can be frustrating at times, I also believe it’s an incredible gift that’s blessed me with many positive aspects as well. So if you see me jumping around topics in my posts, now you know why! 😉

Me entirely too happy to get a CBC pin outside of CBC Vancouver (yep, I'm a big ol' nerd).

Me entirely too happy to get a CBC pin outside of CBC Vancouver (yep, I’m a big ol’ nerd).

Greg and I have been married for over 10 years now (we were high school sweethearts) and I can’t imagine being married to a better husband. We definitely balance each other out! We  live near Vancouver, BC, with Monkey, who’s 3 (& soon baby #2) and we’re pretty lucky to live here as Vancouver’s a beautiful part of the world, has great outdoor activities, a thriving arts community and an interesting and diverse food culture. So from me and my little part of the world, welcome to Being Ninjas!

Cheers!
Megan

photo credit 1: nettsu via photopin cc

*Edited to add: A wise (and much more knowledgable music-wise) significant other of one of the Ninjas just pointed out to me that it was Rupert Holmes who sang Escape, not Jimmy Buffett. I always thought it was Buffett – Mind = blown!