Category Archives: motherhood

First Check-in of 2017

Hey hey hey! We are four whole days into the New Year and I have stuck with my resolutions. It’s not a huge milestone, but let’s just celebrate anyway.  Tomorrow is my planned REST day (from the gym) so today seems like a good time to take a look-back on what has been going on.

January 1: Easy yoga day at home. Let’s not start out too crazy, right? Turns out the easy start was a good idea because the day included a trip to Urgent Care with one of the kiddos.  All is well now, but I was happy to have started the day with a moment of calm and peace.

January 2: Teach Zumba class – Hey-oooh!  Starting the week off with a dance session is pretty awesome. Hop around, shake the hips, get the groove on. Good times. Plus, it’s an added bonus to see some of my favorite people in class too.

I followed up the hour of cardio with the strength training program: the Labrada Lean Body Challenge.  The Challenge is 12 weeks long and includes a detailed schedule for lifting weights and overall awesome strength building.  I’m not planning on submitting any of my information or pictures to try to “win” but I am looking forward to seeing the results and, more importantly, having a legit plan for my lifting.  Today I spent about 55 minutes lifting through three sets of 15-20 reps of a variety of chest, triceps, and shoulders exercises.

The Labrada program is kind of “old school” to me, which I am really enjoying (again, only four days in). In the past few years I spent a lot of time in the Crossfit world …. interested in reading about My Crossfit Experience… or 7 Reasons Why Crossfit is Great for New Moms*…. but I am back at the big chain gym now and it’s bringing back some fun memories of my pre-WOD days.

January 3: Ahhhhhh Leg Day. I began with a quick warm-up and then focused on quads and hamstrings. Again, it’s been ages since I was on the leg extension and hamstring curl machines and man oh man did I feel it!  I had to pause the strength portion of the day’s workout to hop into the barre class. For those of you not familiar with barre, it’s a ballet-inspired class and is awesome. This class was a perfect compliment to my strength plan… just when I thought my legs couldn’t take anymore, I did a bazillion plies! Hello calves. Hello hammies.  Why hello to you too, quads. Oh yeah, and remember my shoulders and tricep work from yesterday, well my barre instructor did some great upper-body focused work too! Hello every single muscle in my body screaming at me right now.

Last but not least, I finished the day with last bit of my Labrada plan – some glute strength work. Done and done and done.

January 4: Well, let’s just try to get out of bed today. The legs! The arms! After walking downstairs like a robot due to that my legs forgot how to function properly…. I put the kids on the bus and finally got to the gym a little later than planned.  Strength training focused on upper-body again, but this time included back, biceps, and abs.  There seemed to be more strength exercises today or maybe it just took me longer because I was jamming to my music and was bee-bopp-ing around between sets. (It helps A LOT to have a lifting buddy who encouragingly laughs at – and occasionally joins in – my impromptu dance moves.) When we finally finished up with abs,  I decided to complete the day with a little bit of rowing, a little bit of inclined treadmill walking (I HATE RUNNING), and then a WHOLE lot of stretching and foam rolling.  All in all it was a good workout but felt a little subdued since I didn’t go to a group fitness class.

And that’s it! So far so good.  Friday’s plan will be a little off-kilter because of parenting responsibilities. I’m guessing I will be at the gym without my lifting buddy and without group classes to super-motivate me. I better get a good playlist put together to keep me going!

FYI – This will be my last detailed daily work-out regimen post until the end of the month when I will compare the difference in weights and number of reps from Week One to Week Four. Yippee.

Advertisements

New Year = New Blog Intention

It’s been ages upon ages since I put fingertips to keyboard on this page. There are many reasons, but none are very interesting. I will not bore you with them.
Instead, I will start with a disclaimer for the upcoming 365 days: this blog is going to be different… shall we count the ways…design

  1. I’m actually going to write.
  2. In the past this blog has been a place for me to come when I felt like I really had something to say.  Unfortunately, that mindset also put a lot of pressure on me to say something important and resulted in me not saying much at all. Starting today, this blog will be where I journal my journey.
  3. I have some things I would like achieve – call them goals or personal growth or milestones or whatever, my husband just calls it “adulting” – and this is the space I will use to record the steps I take, the ones going forward and I’m sure a few going back.  I am hopeful this is the space that will help me learn to love the process.
  4. Most of my writing will focus on four areas I would like to improve: a. developing better healthy eating habits despite my lack of enjoyment and skill in the kitchen (burnt toast anyone?); b. consistent and effective physical fitness (I work out regularly, but it no longer feels as effective as it used to); c. learning how to -actually and truly-  follow a budget (why, oh why, is this so difficult?); d. living with purpose and intention (as opposed to my latest technique of running around like a chicken with its head cut-off).

For all of you who clicked the “Follow Me” button because I have been writing about military spouse lifestyle things or motherhood things, I thank you for showing your interest in my perspective.  I hope you will continue to hang out with me here. I am sure my journal will continue to hit on military spouse and motherhood topics since those hats aren’t coming off anytime soon!

If you have some things you would like to achieve, please join me here! Together we can get some stuff done. Or vent when it gets hard. Or refocus when the vision gets fuzzy. And always love the process.

nye

 


Teacher Appreciation – and so much more

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week and today, in particular, my eyes have been opened to the severe inadequacy of the title of this week.

Let’s start with the fact that I volunteered for lunch duty today so the Teachers at our school could grab a few extra quiet moments in honor of this special week.  For two-and-a-half hours I watched (and HEARD) 500+ students shuffle in and out of the cafeteria.  I opened approximately 20 juice boxes, 17 tubes of yogurt, and 6 cups of fruit – 4 of which squirted juice in my face.  I answered 6,483 questions – the majority of which were pretty random, reminded 172 to use their “walking feet,” and gave permission I-don’t-even-know-how-many-times for someone to use the bathroom.  I came home EXHAUSTED.

The kids at our school are GREAT kids… They listen really well and are quite polite – even the scary fifth graders who look like they could be in college! But as I watched them all come through that cafeteria, I realized how many different personalities and needs our teachers deal with on a DAILY basis. There are kids that need extra attention and kids that want to be left alone; kids that are funny and kids that are shy; kids you can be silly with and kids that need straight answers; kids that need a hug or a high-five or the “I mean business” stare… and our Teachers are able to dish those out… on demand… to the exact kid that needs that exact interaction.  “Teacher” ?!?!  I think not. Let’s go with “Mind-reading Personality-deciphering Super-human”. It’s a little wordy, but much more accurate.

Teacher Appreciation 1

Back to my cafeteria experience: let me point out my responsibilities included keeping the children from injuring themselves or others and trying to keep the noise level at a minimum.  My co-Lunch Duty volunteer and I decided to just focus on the first responsibility and let the noise level go a little bit.  I mean, priorities.

Our Teachers have responsibilities that BLOW MY MIND! They teach those kids to read and write and add and multiply and how to find the area/volume/circumference (which I may or may not have forgotten). They teach history and science and art and music and P.E. They teach how to stand in line and keep your hands to yourself. They teach how to cope when someone says or does something unkind. They teach that life isn’t always fair. They teach cooperation, patience, perseverance, self-control, integrity, kindness, selflessness, determination, dedication, generosity, friendship, love.  How do they prioritize those?! “Teacher” is an understatement. “Developer of Brain, Body, and Spirit” is more like it.Teacher Appreciation 3

 

Let’s also not forget that these Teachers have lives outside the school halls and classrooms.  They are spouses, parents, pet-owners, mortgage-payers, schedule-jugglers, budget-balancers, hobby-havers, and so much more. I know a good number of our Teachers are blazing through real-life challenges and curve-balls right now, but they continue to show-up for our kids. “Teacher”…. Pffft.  “Tough-as-Nails Focused Fighter”… that barely covers it, but it’s the best I could do in a pinch.

Teacher Appreciation 2

Teacher Appreciation Week, eh? Appreciation?! You know what I appreciate? When someone holds the door for me or let’s me scoot in front of them in traffic. For the Teachers… I am indebted to them, astounded by them, in awe of them, and yes, thankful for them.  For a week?! No way!  FOR. EVER. AND. EVER.

 

One afternoon of Lunch Duty has led me to announcing:

Teacher Appreciation 5

(AKA… Happy Teacher Appreciation Week, but I really really really mean it.)


Motherhood: The Half-Time Report

My daughter turned nine years old yesterday. She is my eldest child. When she was born into this world, I was born into motherhood. Now, this morning, the day after her ninth birthday, I realize she is closer to her eighteenth birthday than she is to the day she was born. With the revelation that I am, essentially, at the halfway point of my parenting career with her, it’s hard not to take a few moments and consider where I stand.

I stand a near-decade away from those interminable nights of lying awake wondering if my brand-new daughter was safely asleep in her crib down the hall. While she slumbered, I wondered if I should swaddle her tighter, use organic bath wash, or pay more attention to “tummy time”. I would gradually drift asleep with one thought remaining, “I guess I will do the best I know how.” My feet are firmly behind the war-zone lines where battles and wars were fought regarding which side of the slice of bread the jelly goes on, why sandals are not appropriate winter footwear, and why toddler hands do not belong near a stove-top. Those battles were sometimes long and drawn-out when the wee toddler showed the determination and stubbornness that had only been seen in the likes of… well, her father. My strides have taken me through emotional storms of postpartum hormones, seemingly insurmountable doubts of my parenting abilities, conflicting desires to hurry-up this tedious job and at the same time beg the clock to just SLOW DOWN FOR MINUTE OR TWO OR THREE!!! I have slipped and fallen; I have tripped and stumbled; and I have skipped and leaped and jumped a time or two. I have stepped along so many milestones cheering her on; first steps, lost teeth, two-wheel bikes, new schools, diving into pools. The moments have been photographed or recorded, but mostly the journey is imprinted on my heart.

I am here with nine years of parenting history behind and look out towards nine more years ahead. I just might have an idea about what the future holds for me. I will pace nervously in my bedroom during MORE endless nights wondering if she is safely asleep in her bed down the hall, or at a friend’s house, or in her college dorm. I will wonder if I should sign her up for more extra-curriculars, let her go to the movies with that boy, or insist that she make her bed every morning. I will try to find my sleep with the thought, “I am doing the best that I know how.” I will continue to try to find solid footing on battles over clothes and friends and school-work and tone of voice and curfews and music choices and music volume and cell phones and social media boundaries and car keys and which college to attend and so much more. I hope that while she may not look at me and see a friend, that she will also not look at me and see a foe. I hope our battles will be interspersed with peacetimes at coffee shops and practice fields and laying on her bed talking about whatever comes to her mind. I am confident that I will have to stride through tween/pre-teen/teen hormonal angst like none I have ever imagined. These next nine years will surely make me second-guess my mothering instincts and continue to have a love-hate relationship with the clock… it’s unfailing ability to neither tick faster nor slower. I nervously step up to the milestones that lie in front of me; school dances, wins and losses, driver’s license, first loves and heartbreaks, and so many more “real life” moments that will be so very important to her along the way. I hope I will know how to encourage while giving her space, letting her fall but giving her a place to land, letting her know she will always, always be my baby girl.

So here I stand, closer to embracing my daughter as a young woman than I am to snuggling her new-baby self.   I am not sure if I want to cry for days gone by or smile for adventures to come. For tonight, I will probably just sit down and do both.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words…
well today’s blog is worth five doodles:Nine 4

Nine 2

Nine 3

Nine 1

Nine

Today’s quote isn’t famous, but just a reminder:

“I’m going to do the best that I know how.”
– an average mother


A Shout-out to All the Bus Stop Parents

It’s the first day of school here. On this big important day of the year, it’s important to take a moment to acknowledge the people who work tirelessly through the morning hours to get our mini-people ready and on their way to educational progress…. Otherwise known as… The Bus Stop Parents.

The Bus Stop Parents come in all shapes and sizes. These are just some of my favorites:

THE “WE SERIOUSLY JUST WOKE UP TEN MINUTES AGO” PARENT
This one of my very favorites because the wardrobe of choice – who am I kidding, it wasn’t a “choice” at all… it was whatever happened to be within arms reach – is always spectacular and usually needs an explanation. “Yes, it’s August and yes I’m wearing my winter coat. You should thank me.” “Can you believe I can walk in my husband’s rain boots without falling over?! They’re actually comfortable.” “Who knew my third-grader’s flip flops fit me?!” “Yes, I am actually wearing a bed sheet.” And all these comments are said with a profound sense of victory because… hey! Your kid got on the bus and that’s a victory!Bus Stop 3

THE “GOING TO THE GYM RIGHT AFTER THE BUS COMES” PARENT

I’ve been this one many times. There’s always a far off stare happening. It’s the running dialogue if The Gym is actually going to be the destination of choice…. Maybe a trip to Target instead? Or perhaps a quick breakfast with a few other Bus Stop Parents? Or maybe just back to the couch to catch up on some shows? Sometimes it really is the gym and sometimes it’s not. Either way, your kid got on the bus and that’s a victory!Bus Stop 7

THE “OVER-THINKING” PARENT

Whether your kid is in Kindergarten or third grade…. There are a lot of things to keep track of! The little ones can’t keep track of it all because, well, they are little, and the older ones can’t keep track of it all because, well, because that’s just how it works. So you have to keep track of it all. All of it. Heaven help you if you have more than one kid! Every now and again, it’s possible to over-think and second-guess yourself. Try not to do that too often because in the end, your kid got on the bus and that’s a victory!Bus Stop

THE “MORNING BREATH” PARENT

It happens to all of us. When you are busy keeping track of all that stuff (aforementioned parent)… you may just happen to forget to brush your teeth. The “hide behind the coffee mug” technique seems to be quite effective. You could also just stand on the outside of the group of parents or at least down-wind. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone loves the smell of a fresh brewed coffee, so think of that mug in front of your face as a gift to everyone else. Plus, your kid got on the bus and that’s a victory!Bus Stop 2

THE “DAD” PARENT

We mostly had moms at our bus stop; it’s probably fairly common, especially in military communities. However, we were often joined by dads that didn’t need to go into work super early. Most of the time, the dads congregated close to each other. The moms could talk non-stop the entire time we waited for the bus and then for approximately 40 minutes after the kids drove off. The dads are always friendly and social of course, but just not quite as much as the ladies. And for some reason the kids always like to dump their backpacks by the dads’ feet. Talkative or not, it doesn’t really matter because those dads got their kid on the bus (occasionally without a backpack) and that’s a victory!Bus Stop 1

THE “WORKING/DOING SOMETHING OUTSIDE OF THE HOME” PARENT

Pretty much every day that our working moms or the ones who actually got dressed in “for public viewing” clothes, the rest of the parents would “oooh” and “aaah” over them. Almost like it was a fashion show… the dress pants! The buttoned shirt! The ballet flats! The make-up! You would think we had never seen each other before in anything other than near-pajamas. It’s very good for one’s soul to step out in skinny jeans, boots, and a sweater and be welcomed as if you are on the red carpet. Plus, you got your kid on the bus and that’s a victory!Bus Stop 5THE “CROSSFITTING PRIOR TO SUNRISE” PARENT

Some of us just rolled out of bed. Some of us have already run 8,000 meters, completed 3,789 burpees, 15,000 box jumps, and 694 pull-ups. It’s cool. To each their own. Even if those parents aren’t sporting their Crossfit t-shirts and chalk on their hands, you can probably still pick them out among the bunch; they are all gitty with post-work-out pheromones! You worked out already and got your kid on the bus, that’s a victory for sure!Bus Stop 4

I’m sure there are so many more ways to categorize the different kinds of Bus Stop Parents out there, but those are just some of the ones I relate to the most. I’m thankful for all my friends who have waited with me on steamy-humid days, through blizzards, and in downpours. The camaraderie of the bus stop certainly sends our favorite little people out into the world with a sense of security and welcomes them home with the knowledge that no matter what, today was a victory!Bus Stop 6


Military: 7 Signs You PCS’d This Summer

One month ago today we moved into our home. I’m sure there are many military families out there experiencing some of these moments right along with me….

  1. You can still spy one or two (or fifteen thousand, if you are like me) of those pesky moving stickers that never seem to EVER go away completely!
    PCS Summer 1
  2. While checking out at Bed, Bath, & Beyond (because you need stuff for your new bed, bath, and… beyond) you pause for a good ten seconds when asked what your zip code is. Zip code… right. WHERE exactly am I again?!
    PCS Summer 2
  3. The idea of going school supply shopping is entirely daunting because, didn’t we just get here?! Now I need to be organizing myself and family for a new school year?!
    PCS Summer 3
  4. Your bucket list for the summer is ten miles long. You MUST see all the new sites RIGHT NOW! Because you know, before you blink you will be looking at a new set of orders and your bucket list will still be about nine miles long.
    PCS Summer 4
  5. You assume all your neighbors have lived in the neighborhood for ages, until you remember it’s a military community and it’s summer and almost everyone is new too!
    PCS Summer 5
  6. Signing your kids up for summer camps and after-school activities feels like the ultimate test of your Mom-hood. This dance studio or that one? We missed soccer try-outs but will they still allow my child to play? Where, exactly, does that swim team compete? Wait, what time does school get out anyway?!PCS Summer 6
  7. There is a sense of immense possibility with each new person you meet and each new road you travel.PCS Summer 7

To all my fellow military spouses out there who are settling in and exploring new hometowns… may this new adventure be your best! And in the words of Matsuo Basho, remember:
“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”


Schooled in Parenting (By My 8-Year-Old Daughter)

classroomThis morning while I was getting ready for the day, my kids rolled into a very intense, very passionate argument. The likes of which I’m sure haven’t been seen (or heard!) since the days of old. Or maybe last week.  Of course, this argument was about, none other than, Minecraft.  From what I can gather from my unavoidable over-hearing, my 4-year old was continually pushing random buttons on his Xbox controller while my 7 and 8-year olds were trying to build something (apparently it was a very important “something” that could not be delayed by random button pushing). I will set the scene for you: To find out what I learned, click here


The Risk of Raising Independent Children

We recently moved to a very family-friendly neighborhood, which also happens to be a military housing neighborhood. This move has given us the opportunity to live in an ideal setting to take the risk of raising independent children. My kids are ages 8, 6 ¾ (it’s important to him to remember the ¾), and 4, which to me are ideal ages to risk the lessons of becoming an independent child.

My kids are learning the importance of being accountable for themselves. No one else can answer for the choices they make. This accountability is teaching them to think through their choices first, act second. They are testing their nerve and finding out how far they are willing to push themselves, whether it’s the speed they ride their bikes or how high they climb a tree. With that test of nerve I believe they will gain self-confidence as they realize they can do new things because they pushed themselves, not because Mom or Dad told them to try it. They are building a frame of reference on rights and wrongs. They are getting better acquainted with their morals and listening to their own conscience instead of Mom and Dad’s voice. Continue reading about the challenges of raising independent kiddos…


Minecraft: smelting by day, crafting by night

minecraft

Earlier this summer, while we were still living on the West Coast, a friend convinced me to download Minecraft for my kids. Since then, we’ve had an obsession in our house. If I had a nickel for every time I heard, “Can I play Minecraft?” I would be… many nickels richer. I could probably buy my very own crafting table, in real life! My son admitted the other day that sometimes when he looks outside everything looks like squares to him. On occasion I hear “Stampy’s” voice in my head when the kids aren’t even watching him. Friends don’t let friends download Minecraft.

That’s probably a little harsh. In fact, Minecraft afforded my husband and I sanity during our cross-country drive from California to Rhode Island. We were, in fact, that family. The two bigger kids each had a new Kindle Fire, and the littlest had our old iPad (decorated with dinosaur stickers to make it seem fancy and cool even though it wasn’t new). Our Odyssey was decked out with an extension cord, a multi-media plug-in thing that has a WHOLE BUNCH of outlets…. And…. the piece de resistance… a Hot Spot. Boom. The kids were set. More Minecraft goodness here…


7 Reasons Why Crossfit is Great for New Moms*

This was taken the day our box held "Barbells for Boobs" - a fundraising event for breast cancer research.  I was nervous about participating but it was AWESOME.

This was taken the day our box held “Barbells for Boobs” – a fundraising event for breast cancer research. I was nervous about participating but it was AWESOME.

1. If you find Crossfit intimidating, now’s the time to try it: Many people find Crossfit intimidating. That’s normal. The best time to face that intimidation is when you are somewhat starting from scratch. You’ve got nothing to lose! You’re starting out as a new mom… it’s a great time to become a new Crossfit athlete too. Remember, you can always (and you should in the beginning) modify the WOD and skills. There are always ways to make adjustments to meet your needs and your current skill/strength level. If the heavy bar is too heavy, try the lighter one… if that’s too heavy, you can literally use a PVC pipe! Starting light is the best way to establish good form and good muscle memory. Also, remember…. No matter how advanced anyone else is… it’s a difficult workout for them too. We’re all just doing the best we can.

2. You have all the motivation you need: Your new little bundle of joy can be just the motivation you need to get through your WOD. For example:

  • “This deadlift is soooo heavy…. But… if my little baby were stuck under this bar, could I lift it?!” Oh yes you could.
  • “I don’t want to row another 30 calories! But…. if I were in a row boat with my baby and a crocodile were chasing us, I could totally row her to safety – even if it was more than 30 calories!” Go.
  • “Pull-ups? You gotta be kidding me… my chin can’t get above that bar! But…. if baby’s most favorite lovey which ensures a good night’s sleep were up above that bar and it was almost nighttime… you bet your bottom dollar I would be able to pull myself up there!” Heave-Ho!
  • “This is not running… this isn’t even jogging… this is… slowly trudging… but… if my husband came home and said, ‘why don’t you go run out and have a pedicure while I watch the baby?!’ I would sooooo be running a lot faster than this. Baby’s gonna need to eat in three hours!”
  • More of My List of Reasons…


%d bloggers like this: