Monday, August 31, 2015

See you on the flip side!

Okay, I'm still working out the bugs.....but the new site should be up and running by tomorrow. Please find me at then!


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Breast Envy and Mission Statements

Have you seen that movie Good Luck Chuck? In the movie he's having sex with tons of different women and one girl tells him that he can't touch her breasts because "they're for the baby."
Now this woman doesn't have a baby and isn't pregnant, but she is still alluding to a phenomenon that I like to call function over form. However, in our society we think about breasts a lot more in form over function.

It's been almost a year since I stopped breastfeeding my youngest. It's really hard to believe that it's been that long and yet so short ago. He seems so much older now and yet I still feel him snuggle up to me in that same position from time to time and I half expect him to ask for milk. My breasts have meant different things to me over the course of my life and now I'm kind of trying to decide what their role is after being done with kids. This is just one of the many things I randomly think about when living and meditating on life. It plays somewhat into my mission statement that I plan to share below as a bit of a preview for the upcoming launch of my new site on September 1st and I hope you will join me. The full announcement of where I'm going will come this weekend and I will keep both sites up for a bit so that you can find me where you're used to at first.

But, before I go any deeper into this post, I want to thank Amanda at Running With Spoons for her open forum to unload my breast issues with you today and for all the traffic she has supplied to my site and the great reads she's brought into view. So, without further ado, enjoy another
The Story of My Breasts

When I was a young girl I dreamed of having breasts....until the time my mother took me shopping with my grandmother (my dad's mom) and some strange woman measured me in the middle of a department store (like on the floor) while on vacation. After that point I always assumed that I had pretty average breasts and continued to buy bras without being measured so as to avoid the humiliation I had suffered at age 10! It wasn't until I was in college and preparing for my first wedding that I actually had myself measured at Victoria's Secret and found out that I was not a 34B as I previously thought, but a 32C....and things just kept going up from there. My max size has been somewhere in the E range when I was pregnant/breastfeeding. And even now I settle right around a 32 D or DD depending on the bra. The thing about having large breasts (for me) now and even before kids was that I had to decide what to do with them.

I thought a C was a huge thing back then.
I, like many a dumb college girl, assumed early on that breasts were to make you more attractive to men and therefore, I showed them off every chance I got. I'm not talking in the flashing for beads type way, but I definitely chose tight tops with deep v's to take advantage of the attention. Triangle bikinis were my best friend in high school and college summers. I was tall and thin and tan and had large breasts. I felt on top of the world. My first trip to Wildflower Triathlon I even bared all and hugged a famous triathlete or two. I mistakenly thought that that type of act was me being in control of my own body. Instead, it was me letting someone else take pleasure in the sight of my breasts. I ended up working for the Design College at my university as a nude model. There I felt a whole different appreciation for my breasts. They looked happy, perky, full, and colorful in the drawings. I started to feel like maybe they weren't for show.

I remember still showcasing them at my first wedding and many a day during that marriage. I remember when we were trying to have a family wrestling with the thought of breastfeeding. It seemed like such an unnatural thing for me. My breasts were MINE and I wasn't about to share them with some tiny creature. They were perky and I didn't want them to flop around because some baby had used them up. Even after my divorce I wrestled with what these breasts were about. I started dating and again felt the urge to flaunt them. They were huge by now, at least to me, and I wore them proudly....or so it seemed. See, being an athlete, one thing I'd always secretly wanted was small breasts. It hurt to run with these monsters and no bra seemed to contain them just right...not even the pretty ones for day to day life.
My 21st Birthday....strong with big breasts?

Then I met my husband and he wasn't a "breast man". I mean, it was a plus in his book, but not the driving factor behind his physical attraction to me. When we got pregnant with our first son the obvious signs were there....I was late and my breasts had exploded in size. I really should have been able to figure it out.
During my pregnancy my husband's family continually commented on the size of my breasts. A friend of mine told me that they were some of the most beautiful breasts she'd ever seen. I was excited at the thought of being able to breastfeed now and yet, terrified still that the horror stories that people had told me were about to come true. I didn't want nipples the size of teacups or for them to turn dark or grow hair. I didn't want deflated balloons or stretch marks (purple or white). I just wanted my old perky breasts back. Well, that didn't fact, because I took fenugreek and pumped like crazy to prepare for my wedding trip and being away from my baby for a week, they just got bigger and bigger and bigger. I did all the things I could think of to protect them including wearing bras that fit tightly to keep them in line and supported, wearing sleep bras at night to keep them in place, and in general, just trying to keep them in order. What happened? They eventually deflated when he weaned and then perked back up slightly and then filled up again when I was pregnant again and then deflated and now are somewhat firm....but LOWER than they have ever been.
Yeah...that's not my normal size.

There have been many times that I have visited this website and considered the laser bra lift procedure.  But, I always come to the same won't change how I feel about myself. I worry a lot about how my sons will think about breasts in the future. Will it be form over function for them? Will they be like my husband and not really care? Will they be like the loads of other guys that wanted to see mine and millions of other women's? Will they be like my first husband and be pro breastfeeding or push a girl into it because they experienced it? Will they be like my dad and forbid their wife to do it because it disgusted them?

I worry about the girls they will date and how they will think about their own breasts. Are they going to be overly concerned with selfies that showcase their breasts over their face? Will they be sexting pictures of their breasts to my children? And is it ever okay for a woman to want to show off her breasts? I mean, what's really wrong with them being for form over function if you're comfortable and in control of the situation? I'm back and forth on this issue all of the time.

I worry about breast cancer and losing my breasts. My dad's mom (not biological) had a mastectomy the summer of my first wedding. She decided to go that route because my grandfather told her that he didn't want to watch them take her a piece at a time. So, she went all in. My great grandmother on my mom's father's side had both of her breasts removed really young. Would I feel like a whole woman without my breasts as I've spent so much of my life focused on them?

When I go to concerts I'm sometimes envious of the women there who sport tank tops and no bra....I can't get away with that like I did at 17. It doesn't feel comfortable to me any more. I hear those same girls in the bathroom stalls clicking their phones and taking photos and I wonder which one of us has lower esteem about our breasts...the girl needing validation or the girl who wishes hers still faced north?

Then I consider purchasing the Enhancing Shape Bra by Soma. I also remember a commercial for a bra when I lived in Colorado that was said to "train your breast tissue back into place". Apparently for some of us our tissue will migrate into upper back fat around that region and it can be forcibly pushed back into place over time. I even purchased Agnes in the hopes of maintaining their position during my runs. Sadly Agnes has proven to be not the perfect bra I thought she was. She is firm around the band, but I can't adjust the straps and she now sags down with use. I do push-ups to help and still stare in the mirror after every shower and consider their migration and wonder where it will end.

I feel like it's not very "yoga" of me to look down at my body (literally) and think....this is not my body. Breasts or no breasts, firm or floppy...this is my body. It is the body that I have earned through 34 years, two marriages, two children, 6 states, many athletic events, and all the hell and high water that has come with me.

Mission Statement
So, that brings me here. I am launching my new site next week and I want you to really know what it will be about. And it's simple like all good business mission statements should be: Living a Yoga Life. I am sticking with my original title for this blog and I've chosen to focus on the breath because breathing is something we all do every day until we die. Sometimes it's easy and sometimes it's labored. Sometimes it's a conscious choice and sometimes we just let biology run its course. I plan to live a yogic life for the rest of my life and I plan to present to you how I do that throughout the continuation of my blog in its new home. I will be writing about the practice of yoga, my life, teaching, traveling, and of course fitness. Think of it like this: yoga teaches us to breath, accept, and honor. Couldn't you use a little more of that in your life? If so, make sure that you come and follow us on the new site! Yoga is a community and I want you to be a part of mine.

Thanks again to Amanda for allowing me a place to unload something that doesn't always fit!

What's your story?

More posts of mine on breasts, bras, and breastfeeding:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The New Nanny and Other Changes in August

I have so much to tell you all about, but I'm running out of time before we move over to the new site. I can't believe August is half over, but here's what's been going down so far this month! Thanks Amanda for another
1. Another trip for NETA! I stayed in state this month and traveled to the Yadkinville YMCA on the other side of the state. The workshop was wonderful and hosted by a really great staff and very entertaining group of future fitness professionals! Thanks again to Missy and Cirilo (I got your name right this time) and the rest of the gang there for hosting! You can check out more about the workshops that I do (here, here, here, and many other places on this blog).

2. Moving Up the Ranks....Did I mention that I've moved up into a Lead Timer position with RTE? If you hadn't caught on about them lately, I work for this wonderful company that times races all over NC. My boss James and I go way back to my graduate school internship and he has recently promoted me to handle some of my own races. My first race was the Temple Builder's 5K and it was a small race with fantastic people hosting the event. My sister is now my Assistant Timer and it's fun to be able to see her more often and work with her. You can find me at some races in the future either assisting James or running the show for the day!

3. PRE-SCHOOL - Oh yeah, Ike had his first day of school already. I can't even tell you what that was like because he just walked right in like it was no big deal and then came back out at the end of the day and said, "I LOVE SCHOOL!" Eli, on the other hand, is having a little of a depressive problem with being away from his big brother twice a week. We will see how that goes in the future, but I'm trying to come up with new things to do with just him to make him feel special. For instance, Tuesday we went to the beach so I could FINALLY take his 2yo photos. Yes, I know his birthday was almost 3 months ago, but he's still 2!

After pictures we were headed away from the beach and this woman's poodle poo'd on the beach next to the boardwalk. Eliot was fascinated with what was going to happen to the poo and I kept reassuring him that she was coming back to pick it up. When she did come back he was watching her and she said, "Do you want to get it?" I thought she was being funny at this point, but his response was, of course, "No." To which she replied, "Then don't worry about what I've got to do."
I'm glad I continued to walk away, but she really ticked me off! Instead we went to one of Eliot's favorite breakfast places (no judgement here....remember....good for you) for a special shared treat: Wake N Bake. It was on the way to the rest of our errands. We shared the Loopy Morning, his favorite. He only likes to pick the fruit loops off the top because he never gets cereal like that at home and it's a novelty item.

4. The New Nanny....I know you've all scrolled right down to here to find out what the heck I'm talking about. I'm a stay at home mom....they don't have nannies! Well, this one does now. Over the summer we have employed two different friends to watch the kids while I taught yoga in the morning and during various other situations that are more regular than just a babysitter. However, as fall was approaching, neither of them was really equipped (mostly due to scheduling and/or vehicles) to handle our Tuesday mornings. Starting next Tuesday I will be teaching in the mornings for the city, followed immediately by 4 hours at CFCC. During that time someone has to be in charge of the kids and get Ike to school. I will be home in time to get him from school.

So, we ventured into our first time finding someone other than a friend or family member to watch our boys. This was a nerve racking experience for me and I am happy to say that we all came through like champs. I used Craigslist (did not hire anyone on there), (also did not hire anyone from there), word of mouth through friends and family, and posted jobs to the community college and university's student job boards. We had a variety of applicants and settled on one girl that the whole family loved, had amazing references, and who will be here for awhile. We don't want to go through this again any time soon.

I will keep you updated as to how it all goes, but so far we've enjoyed getting to know her and the kids have warmed up to her quite easily. Fingers crossed!

5. This is my final note for today's post, but expect another one soon. TRAINING Woes....If you've followed me on MapMyRun you've noticed that I haven't done jack this summer! Why? Because it's been too hot and humid here for normal training. I haven't wanted to hurt myself or make myself sick. Although Monday I went for a run and had to do a funny walk home because the heat got to me and I thought I was going to be sick all over myself and the kids! I've written about training in the heat before and I just don't recommend doing it! Instead I've spent more time with yoga, Pilates, and other resistance training. I've done a few extra HIIT workouts and used the cardio machines when I could be indoors at such a facility. I feel my training has really suffered, but I've not just stopped doing it. I'm also remembering to just remain active throughout the summer so that I don't ever feel like I'm "off" my training.

My next post will be all about the new site and the changes coming for the blog. They aren't drastic, just more personal and focused on why I started this in the first place. You'll also get a preview of what the fall has to offer! Until then....

Where have you traveled this summer?
Anything new at work?
Are you ready for your kids to go back to school?
Was that lady a jerk or was it just me?
Thoughts on a nanny?
Did you run all summer or workout indoors?

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Getting Dirty and Other Happenings of July

It's been a hot minute since I posted anything and I've also been remiss in reading other bloggers the last few weeks....why? Well, summer happened and I already told you I'd be taking a short hiatus in prep for my new launch on my own site. This is still coming and I'm holding firm to my September 1st date. But, I thought I'd take a few quick seconds to let you know about a few things that have been on my mind and my calendar last month.

July 3 - I ate steak.....I do not like steak, but I ate some bloody red steak at a friend's house. Why? Because I don't believe that others should have to cater to my taste preferences. I do, however, request that they don't cook with mushrooms or peaches because I'm allergic to the former and my oldest to the later. Food issues can be weird with friends. I mean, they're friends, so they should be okay with you saying "I don't like that", but on the other hand, if you choose not to eat something....don't make everyone else suffer because of it. If I had a friend who was a vegan, I'd make sure there was one dish he/she could eat when they came over, but I'm not going to plan my whole menu to suit their chosen eating preferences and I don't expect others to do that for me. I just eat what I like and leave the rest.

July 4 - My husband serenaded the neighborhood....and they loved it! He brought his guitar and amp downstairs and played the Star Spangled Banner Jimmy Hendrix style while our neighbors set off a mass of fireworks. It was totally impromptu and it was fabulous! Life should be like that sometimes....kind of spur of the moment and all falling in place.

July 10-12th - I traveled to Irving, NY for a workshop with the FANTASTIC people at Cattaraugus Community Center, part of the Seneca Indian Nation. They were so much fun to work with and I got to see Lake Erie for the first time in my life. However, as expected, I was delayed flying home, but still made it in on Sunday. While I was gone my hubby stayed home and sent the kiddos to his parents' house for the weekend. This is when the infestation began.....

Our squash plant had started to droop and soon our pumpkins followed. My husband was sure they needed more water, so we watered more. However, it didn't help. While I was gone he asked a neighbor with a great garden to come and check ours out. She said she thought we had squash bugs....she was kind of right. We had Squash Borers. EW!
My husband spent the whole weekend cutting these nasty grubs out of our plants and we eventually lost the whole squash plant and most of the pumpkins.
They are still on the rebound....

Recently we have had problems in our cucumbers and guessed it....more bugs! This time it is Pickle Worms. More ICK!
We went out and cut off everything that might have eggs on them and worms in them. I have been doing that every morning for weeks. This morning I went out to find my sweet potato leaves with holes all through them. Want to guess what nasty thing has hatched now? Flea Beetles. GROSS! I have since made my own garlic spray and hope that will get rid of them. My tomato plant from the store seems to be suffering from tomato wilt and our little pepper plant is coming back and currently has one pepper on it. But the surprise of the season has been the magic tomato plant that grew out of our compost bin. The one thing that's doing well and we didn't even plant it!

July 15-18th - We spent the weekend at my husband's aunt and uncle's "mansion" while I worked a race for RTE. Check out their schedule of events and come see me at one this fall! It was an unusually quiet weekend at their house as their kids and the hubby's parents usually join us to make it a small family reunion for the summer. We lounged by the pool, ate way too much food, and got a little extra sun. Plus, the family FINALLY came to visit me at a race and that was the first time in over 5 years that I've been timing events. I worked a few other events in July for RTE and one was "rained out. Then, it was the end of the month before we knew it.

July 25th - We had friends over to celebrate hubby's 37th birthday. It was a fun filled evening with burgers, pool time, and cookie cake. Normally I make all the birthday cakes for the family, but this man really loves a store bought cookie cake with frosting. So, the kids picked out one and had it decorated with a guitar and it read "Happy Birthday Daddy!" All the kids at the party helped him blow out his candles and then we devoured that chocolate chip madness.

July 28th - I gave my final for the summer session of Fit and Well for Life that I taught online. I also had to hear the words I dreaded from Sarah, our sitter.....she has class during the time that I will be teaching this fall and we will have to find a new person to watch the boys so I can work. Thus started our journey into finding our first nanny that wasn't friend or family. More about that in my next post. (Look for it this coming Thursday over at Running With Spoons!)

But, now we're mid August and I've got so much more to tell you about a lot of things, so expect the posts to start coming more regularly before we move over to the new page. My training has fallen off for the summer due to heat and scheduling and all around other things taking priority. But, life is changing all around me this month and I've got some exciting things up my sleeve for you! So, stay tuned!

What did you do this July?
Do you have certain food preferences and do you make other cater to you?
Have you had any gardening issues or are yours flourishing?
What's your favorite birthday cake or are you a no cake kind of person?
Who watches your kids?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Good for you....

Hello all! I'm sitting in my hotel room in Dunkirk, NY on one of my traveling weekends and I really miss my kids! When I'm away from them I have serious FOMO feelings. I mean, look at them over there when we went to the railroad museum this last week. Wouldn't you just want to be with them always?!

This is one of the reasons that I decided to continue staying home with the kids as they grew. I will eventually return to the work world full time, but for now my adventures in travel and work are enough for me to sustain my thirst for a career while also satisfying my need to be close to my boys. This weekend they are at their grandparents' house and having a lot of pool time. As a swimmer and swim coach, I really want to be the one to teach them how to swim. However, in a pool on the driveway, I know I can loosen up and feel secure that they're not going to become champions without me.

So, I thought I'd share a few mom thoughts that have been on my mind of late to get me out of my funk. Plus, it's been awhile and soon I will be telling you about where the blog is moving and all kinds of exciting things in that regard.

Parenting that Annoys Me
As you know, I watch the TODAY show....or rather have it on in the morning when I'm attempting to get life together and out the door. One thing I do know though, is that I would never let my child be the dictator of our routine in the morning or otherwise. I did not like this segment I watched the other day where the woman said that toddlers are dictators. Here is one of those places that I will use the "Good for you; not for me" attitude. For me it's about being in charge, but having fun with my kids. I don't talk down to them, but they are not in charge. We call each other best friends, but I am not trying to be their best friend when they're older and need me to set the boundaries. And I want to live a little! I let my kids run around the house and our fenced in backyard without hovering over them 24/7....because that's what my mom did and now I'm an independent 34year old.

On the Flip Side
So, two weeks ago we were at the Children's Museum in our town and this dad totally flipped out on his 5/6 year old kid for not participating in a science experiment. The kid was crying, the dad was threatening, and eventually he hauled him out of the room by his arm. Then, he brought the kid back in and just left him at the table crying. The kid was a mess and he was right next to my kid, so I couldn't help but over hear his name. I tried to offer a statement of encouragement and reassurance. But, I didn't do what I really wish I had done: Stand up for the kids.

Listen, I'm no parenting expert, but I do know that if you have to flip your lid, you do it in private. Kids don't always cooperate and parents can't be expected to keep it together all of the time. However, what I wanted to say was, I'm sorry that the two of you can't get along right now, but can you take it somewhere else....You're SCARING MY KID!
Like this...only not funny!
Ike and I talked about it later and he was "surprised", but okay. It was really a missed opportunity on my part and it has haunted me ever since.

Not...No Excuses, But
Okay, so trying not to be judgmental, but really? This is Why Mom's Can't Work Out at Home I love Mommy Shorts, but I can't get behind the support of this video. I know it's a parody and I should probably just lighten up and go with it, but really? I'm not one of those Fitspo snobs, but really? I tend to lean more toward Caitlin's perspective here, but really moms? There is no excuse for not putting your health first and taking the time to take care of yourself!
See my posts about that here:
Kid Lifts
Mommy vs Me

Thank you Traci!
Like I just said, take care of yourself....but don't play a martyr or feel guilty for doing so. I've done plenty of it to tell you that no one is worshiping your ability to sacrifice yourself for the good of your children's ballet lessons. Also, did your parents do that for you? There's something to be said for backing off and letting kids be kids from time to time and allowing you to be you....instead of just mom. Why are we so concerned with this "superwoman" image these days of the mom who does it all, but does nothing for herself?

Other moms who are doing it for themselves:

Mommy Guilt
The Balance Between Being Mommy and Wanting a Career

More of my posts:

What have you done for you lately?
Do you miss your kids when you're away?
Why have you chosen work or stay at home as your path?

Monday, June 29, 2015

That 3-4 Gear is a Sticky One!

Saturday I went for a 14 mile bike ride with the boys in the trailer. It was hot and humid and I ran into one of the women I teach yoga to on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Other than that, the ride was pretty uneventful. I was able to ride the entire first half of the ride in the big gear up front and somewhere around 4-5 on the little set. But it kept sticking and shifting was a constant necessity. I brought it back down to the middle gear up front on the ride home into the wind. You can see my ride here on MapMyRun.

However, the entire time I was riding I was thinking about my life with a bike and came up with this list of Things that Cycling has Taught Me and metaphors on life.

  • In life something is always spinning around.
  • When we bike, like in life, we either go forward or stay still. You can backpedal if you like, but it doesn't change the forward progress.
  • There will always be uphills and downhills and even the flats aren't as easy as you think.
  • Sometimes you're locked into the pedals and sometimes you have freer movement.
  • You can always go home, but even after a short ride, you're always a different person than when you left.
  • There are other riders around you on their own journey, some on the same path who are having a different experience, and then there are the people out there who aren't paying any attention to you and might mow you down.....BE AWARE! not....beware.
  • Head protection is key....just like the right fit.
  • Even the same path looks different each day; enjoy the variety that life offers even if it seems mundane and repetitive.
  • Sometimes your bike is old, sometimes it is new, sometimes it's borrowed from a friend who supports you.....sometimes it's blue
I know that my thoughts aren't very eloquent or unique, but one thing that cycling has given me over the years is a sense of empowerment. Who didn't feel like they could conquer the world when they learned how to ride a bike?

In 2009 I rode my bike for 175 miles in 2 days to support fundraising for Multiple Sclerosis. It was a great cause and I enjoyed the challenge of the ride. However, after going through a divorce, a break up with my first serious boyfriend post-divorce, and quitting my job, the ride was much more to me. I went on this ride alone. I had no friends as a support team to meet me along the way. There wasn't anyone to sit in my hotel room at night and watch tv as I ached and dreaded the second day. At the end of the event I packed up my bike myself and got in my car and drove the hours and hours back to my little house where my two Great Danes waited for me and we rested together. There wasn't any fanfare orver my completion....just me and a bike and the random people I met along the way. I took this picture of myself at the end of the event.
A selfie of self-assuredness. I had no real plan for my future that day and it would be 12 more days until I met my husband and almost 2 months more before I was accepted into grad school again. I had no job, no anything, just me. And I was so happy and sure that that was aneough to make life good!

Now I ride with my boys behind me. The big guy will soon be riding beside me and I couldn't be happier. But I know, that even if things hadn't turned out the way they did, that I would have been okay on my own too. I think every person needs to have that lesson. You need to know that you can do it all by yourself. I'm curous....

What taught you that you're okay on your own?
What has your experience with cycling been like?

For more of my posts on cycling:

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Eat It!

Today is the first day of Summer and I couldn't let it pass without a quick note on the new foods I'm going to be incorporating into our diet for the next few months. A long while back I mentioned an article on eating with the seasons and I've tried to do a fair job of incorporating certain foods at certain times of the year to best fuel our bodies. As summer has officially hit, here's what's going on the plates for the next couple of months:

Bitter foods: romaine, watercress, endive, escarole, Swiss chard, asparagus, celery and quinoa to support the liver

Fruits: watermelon, apricots, plums, and cherries to stay hydrated

Beans: mung, soybean, kidney, and navy beans that have a cooling nature

Heart healthy foods: halibut, salmon, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts

And we're also going to ditch some of the grilling and try to eat more quick cooked or raw dinners. Think salads with fruit and nuts and cheese instead of burgers and beans all of the time.

Want more posts about seasonal eating? Find them here!

Appreciation for Smarties
Kathleen, you are a lone reed.
A Delicious Three Way
Attack of the Holiday Cookie Monster
Simple Simon Sunday: Menus of Greatness
Simple Simon Sunday: Soup and Chili
Has Spring Sprung Into Your Diet?
New Cookies!