Sunday, May 29, 2016

Take a Moment

All to often life passes us by in a quick haze of the daily grind.  We fill our calendars full of things, whether for ourselves or our families.  We are busy, too busy really.  And then we fill our to do lists with even more.  Today, everyday, every week, take a moment.

Take this moment to...

Hold your child while they sleep (even though your other child is watching tv)

To help your child, even though you know that they can do it on their own (and despite the fact that you are frustrated having to help them)

To answer the questions

To listen

To talk to God and thank him, even for the smallest things

To breath in the scent of your child, for that baby smell quickly turns into kid smell and then they are grown

To snuggle, rock, and carry them, because one day they won't ask any more

To be present with what is going on around you and in front of you (put the phone, the tablet, the distractions down)

To slow down, give things up, free your calendar

To say no to things that bring no joy and weigh you down, and yes to those that make your heart sing and bring you happiness

To give a smile away and to share laughs

To share stories

To give your loved ones a hug, a squeeze, an arm around their shoulders

To tell those most dear to you that you love them, they are amazing, beautiful, and how much they mean to you

Take a moment, this moment

Friday, May 27, 2016

When traveling, bring travel candy

My husband, for years, whenever he would go on road trips and vacations he would always get some type of candy for the ride.  It usually consisted of at least one favorite kind of candy and could withstand being left in the car.

After getting married, any time we went on vacation we would pack some type of travel candy with us.  Sometimes it what was whatever we could find in the house.  Other times, it was on the shopping list to get before we left.

Even when my husband would travel on his own, I would got out before he left and by some of his favorite candy.  Usually Mike and Ikes and Good and Plenty made the list.  But for car trips, we always get a big bag of Twizzlers for sure.

We recently continued this tradition on with our oldest son.  We went to Duluth for a few days and before we left we made the decision that we needed to go get travel candy.  We made a quick run out the day before and let him choose what he wanted.  He chose the Mike and Ikes while I grabbed the Twizzlers and Junior Mints.

My son loved the idea and couldn't wait to have the candy.  He liked it so much, we had to dig in our candy stash at home so we could save the candy for when we left.  He greatly enjoyed having bits of candy throughout our road trip.  By far he liked the Mike and Ikes and Junior Mints, the Twizzlers not so much.  That's okay, my husband and I enjoy those, so we don't mind having them to ourselves.

It's a fun little tradition to continue on with our kiddos.  I am guessing our next road trip he will be asking for some travel candy...although it will only be a 40 minute drive at most to get there.  But it will still be fun.

What road trip traditions do you have with your family?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Finding Inspiration and Motivation

With all areas in life, we need to find inspiration.  Well, inspiration and motivation.  The two concepts really go hand in hand and can really make a significant impact on the success of something or reaching our goals and dreams.

We tend to find people who are doing what we want to do or have done or have been through what we are going through before us to help guide us through our life.  A role model of sorts really.  These peoples successes and failures help us to set our goals and dreams into motion.

Healthy is a lifestyle.  It is something I am beginning to take more seriously.  My healthy is a priority and needs to be a priority.  Not just physical health and well being, but also emotional, mental, and spiritual.  All areas of our life need to be in good health.  Every now and then we need a tune up in one or more of the areas.  Life's ups and downs, and the curve balls that are thrown at us throw us off balance in one or more area.

I've tried repeatedly over the years to put my health first, especially my physical health.  I did this through modified diets, dieting, exercising, or whatever I could think of to make it improve.  However, through it all, I always failed.  I would begin something, then something would throw me off and I would put it by the wayside to be picked up later.  Well, more often than not, later didn't come.  I just left it there and time passed by.  Then, I would try something different when I felt the push again to get things back on track.

I bet, if you looked along the wayside of my life, there are a lot of things I started and just let fall off.  This needed to change.  I figured out that I was lacking inspiration to get me going and motivation to keep me going.

I knew I wanted to make some changes, but was stuck in a rut and didn't know where to begin.  Plus, the idea of trying to find time to work out with a newborn and a toddler, almost preschooler stressed me out.  I needed to find the inspiration.  I found it through my sister in law, Taylor.  She has been working out and following different programs to get her lifestyle healthy.  And her success in it shows.  Not only has she been my inspiration to get me going initially and to pick it up back up again after a break, she has been an awesome motivator too.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Getting This Fitness Going

From the time I was little all the way through high school I was in sports.  Most of the time it was gymnastics, but in high school it was track and field as well.  I was healthy and physically fit.  Then, I went to college.

In college, I didn't do as much and ate like a college kid.  A few years in, I began to do a little more on the nicer days around campus.  But still not as active as I once was.  I know I gained weight, some of it I probably needed to, but some was more than I needed.  Either way, I became less active and ate less healthy.  In some ways, the four years in college were a much needed break from daily sports.  However, when you get out of the routine of it all then your habits change.  It takes time to get rid of bad habits and replace them with better ones.

Fast forward 12 years and with time I became less and less active and didn't watch what I ate.  It happens, life happens.  Both things were not put as a priority in my life.  Add in three pregnancies and two active kids, my priorities began to change.

Every year I put getting healthy on my list of musts for the year.  I would start out strong and then as the year progressed it got pushed to the side.  Or, I would only think on it and never go anywhere with it.

With my second pregnancy I gained weight, and then some.  But then again, I gave into my food cravings and ate things that I shouldn't have on a regular basis.  As my son got older, I began to realize the benefits of eating better and being more active.  If not for myself and to keep up with him, but to model what it means to eat well and be active.

After my second son arrived on the scene I knew it was time to actually make some real changes.  I began to exercise more regularly and eat better.  Then again, after finding out that I couldn't eat dairy based products it really made it easier to eat better, as well as caffeine and chocolate.  I had to change my mindset and pay more attention to what I ate.  In the long, it made me be more creative when cooking and was able to avoid a lot of junk food.

Nearly 7 months after my youngest was born, I am beginning to see the results of my work.  I am also gaining a new perspective on things as well.  I've adopted the motto "Put good in, get good out".  I've used it for what I do, what I eat, what I want my end goal to be, and more.  Even more so, it's a phrase that I use with my oldest to get him to eat better.

So, I challenge you to put good in and get good out.  What is the first step you are going to take today?

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Some Workouts Go Like This

My oldest son is a great encourager and gets me going on days I don't want to exercise.  He will ask, and ask, and ask until I do some exercises.  Today was one of the days where he decided he wanted to help.  Only this time, he thought it would be helpful to climb on me while doing push ups.

Not really helpful, but I told him to wait and I would do some stuff that he can help with.  Nothing like doing squats, 20 seconds on 10 seconds off with a 35 pound 3 year old on your back.  He helped with a few other exercises too.  But I think he liked the squats and lunges the best.

I will admit, after getting very little sleep last night and thinking to myself "ain't no way I am going to be working out today. I think I would rather nap."  Well, I squeeze a quick workout in before nap times for both kids and then managed to lay down for a much needed rest myself.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Conversations with Kids

Before I had kids of my own, I was a teacher.  I taught 4 and 5 year olds primarily, but occasionally worked with younger kids.  Even then, listening to kids talk and share stories has always been something I've enjoyed.  But even more than listening, is the conversations they have and how deep they go on concepts.

I remember the kids in my class talking about Easter and was in awe at how much they grasped about the whole thing and hearing the perspective on it all was amazing.

Now that I have kids of my own, listening to them talk, share stories, and ask questions is one of the favorite parts of my days.  I am going to share some of those awe inspiring conversations with you under the Kid Conversations tab.  Beyond that, I will share other things said.  From the funny, to the things I never thought I would say, and to the downright serious (at least that is how they see it, but it is sometimes hard to hide the smile and laugh on our end).

It takes one step

For years I've been trying to put health into more of an important role in my life.  Sometimes it is for weight loss, sometimes it is for changing my diet to a better one, sometimes it is just to get things in better control.

I have been good at starting, but something always seems to derail me.  It isn't long before it falls to the wayside and months pass by.  Then, I give it a go again.  It becomes a cycle.  I am also at giving excuses for letting it go.

After years, three pregnancies where I've gained a lot of weight from them, feeling run down all the time, wanting energy to keep up with the day and my kids, wanting to model good for my kids, I am on my way to a healthier lifestyle.

Follow along under the health and fitness tab as I write about my journey.  The ups and downs, the reasons, the inspiration, where I started and how far I've come, and what I've found to work. 

Everyone has their own reason and has what works for them.  But I hope I can inspire you to get and move every day.

Thomas the Train and A Cup of Coffee

There are just some mornings where a little tv and a cup of coffee can really go along way.  I am finding that even though most mornings that I rise before my son, I still need a moment once he is awake to feel more ready for the day.

There are days when I am ready to go when he is, but there are other days, where an extra 20 minutes can really go along way.  And sometimes, extra snuggles on the couch together are what we both need.

I will admit, that our son watches tv and does plan an occasional ipad game.  But, I do try to keep it limited to the amount of time.  And if he uses one of them in the morning, they don't get used in the afternoon.

But lately, I've needed a few extra minutes just to feel human and be ready to go mentally for the day.  A good cup of coffee, snuggles on the couch, and watching a little Thomas helps me ease more into the day. 

If I can ease into the day, I am more on my game for the rest of the day.  When I am thrown into the day, it feels hectic and stressful all day until my head hits the pillow.  It may not look like it on the outside, but I sure feel it on the inside.

Sometimes, we all just need that extra  moment to be ready for what the day has to bring.  How do you get going in the morning?

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Today is Mother's Day

My motherhood journey began over five years ago.  It began in a way that I never knew was possible and in a way that I was not on board with.  I became a mother in December of 2010, when I found out that we were 10 weeks pregnant with our first child.  Things quickly changed from hopes and dreams and preparing for a little one, to learning how to grieve and begin to heal at the loss of our daughter at 17 weeks.

As quickly as we found out we were pregnant, as quickly as I became a mother, we found out that our daughter was going to heaven and we were going home with empty arms and a void in our hearts.  That first Mother's Day in 2011 was one that tore me to pieces, inside and out.  We kept it simple.  Raun and I got coffees from my favorite coffee shop and we walked along the river on a beautiful, warm, sunny day. We sat, quietly reflected, talked, and reconnected.

Two years later, 2013, I found myself with a one month old in my arms and many mixed feelings.  Filled with so many emotions, so many questions, and so many ways to answer.  Happy First Mother's Day, came from many people...though it wasn't my first and it was from people who knew our journey.  Oh, is this your first?  Was another question asked by many.  How does one answer this question.  For me, this was and still is, very much a loaded question.  How far into do you go?

Three years later, I am celebrating Mother's Day with two active boys (a three year old and a six month old) and our angel daughter.  It's still an odd day for me to be honest.  Moms (and dads too) put so much into their families and children, that while it's nice to have a specific day of appreciation, the appreciation should go year round.  Sometimes, it's on the hardest days, that we need it the most.

So go on, celebrate the joy of all moms in your life.  But remember, the day means something different to everyone and that today is not the only day to show our love and appreciation for those important people in our lives.  Continue the blessing and let them know often.