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!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

High Five a Stranger!

I'm currently in Cortland, New York for a Personal Training workshop with NETA this weekend. It was hell getting here as often my travel goes. I am hard at work on my summer goals and getting things organized with the blog, but wanted to drop you all a quick note for 2 reasons.

1. I need your help! Please send me any and all suggestions for self-hosting your own blog. I am currently trying to research the route I want to go and I want to narrow it down and I'm finding myself drowning. I want a smooth transition from Blogger to wherever I land. If you have any really great tips, please send them my way....September will be here before I know it!

2. How cool is this?!
Image courtesy of Samantha and the High Five 9
This was a street sign from our trip last weekend for the NETA Fit Fest in Kent, Ohio. The signs were everywhere and when I noticed one I decided it'd be a good idea to take up the challenge. So, I started high fiving strangers and it was AWESOME to say the least. Seriously....just start walking down the street tomorrow and giving strangers a high five and see what it feels like. I guarantee you won't regret it.....well, maybe not guarantee. Either way, get on it!

Here are some more travel related posts to make you giggle until I get back:
Running Blind
Panera Has Priced Me Out
Adventures in Breastfeeding
Delayed Again
Airport Blinders
Rigid Running and a Travel Review

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Back to Basics

Did anyone else miss National Running Day yesterday?  I feel like I'm the only one.....

Either way, this a short post. I've decided to take my blog more seriously.  I read a really great post recently by Erin at Erin's Inside Job that hit me at my heart.  Since that time (for non related reasons) I have been struggling to keep all my balls in the air.  As I've said before, I'm not Superwoman.

Therefore two things are happening.

1. I am taking the summer off. I have a lot of travel and work planned for these next three months and it could be the last summer with Ike before he enters school.  So, you may see the occasional post here and there,  and probably some commenting, but for the most part.....consider me on vacation.

2. I'm moving the blog.  At the end of the summer I plan to be fully self hosted and reassembled as a real, independent, and consistent blog.  I hope that this time off will give me the time to achieve the many goals I have for this blog.  The site will remain the same for now and you won't lose access to any of the content you've enjoyed thus far.

I'm taking the summer to reconnect with my yoga practice, my training, catch up on reading, prepare for teaching this fall, and spend some more outdoor time with the family. I promise to return with our adventures and so much more!

Until then, thanks for stopping by and see you in September!

Thanks as always to Amanda for hosting!

Superwoman posts:

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I've Lost that Lovin' Feelin'

To those of you who write blogs and hold jobs and have kids.....have you ever just needed a break from life to enjoy life?

I've decided to take that break for a little bit. It all started Mother's Day weekend when a Disney princess ruined my plans and interfered with my training. Yes, I'm talking about you Tropical Storm Ana! Since that weekend things have been off with me and my training. My travel plans have been so rigorous and tiring that I have just barely squeezed in the required every 3rd long as it wasn't pouring down rain or I wasn't attempting to catch up on sleep.

Sometimes when I fall so far behind on a project I feel the need to just flat out quit it. I'm trying really hard right now not to. We all go through phases like this in our life where something we once loved and dove head first into just starts to wane in emotion. Maybe it's a job, a relationship, a fad of some sort. But for me fitness is none of the three. It's both a career and my lifestyle.

However, for this month, I'm giving myself a pass. A pass to not meet all of my fitness goals this month. I tried and with 5 days left, I will come up short. I'm okay with that. In my lifestyle is also my practice of yoga. And yoga is a practice of acceptance. I accept the following:
  • My life is only so much in my own hands to control
  • Not everything in life should be controlled
  • Perfectionism is not the same thing as happiness
  • It's okay to fail
  • Being a fitness professional does not mean that I'm not human and don't face the same challenges that all of my clients do and will
So, because I have loved writing this blog, I still love my workouts, and I'm just in a temporary overload due to everything coming up in my life this week, I will take a little longer on this break and be back soon.

In the mean time.....I need your help in deciding where to send my hair.
Right after a run and right before I chopped it.

While I was in Iowa I chopped it off.....13 inches! I decided it was time for two reasons. Number one: my hair is very thick and with the length of my hair it was starting to become difficult to teach and run and with summer approaching it just made the most sense. 

Number two: because I like to do things for charitable causes and I'm not in the financial position to be giving a lot right now. I'd love to weed out my wardrobe and hand some things down to those who are less fortunate than myself, but I'm not in a position to be buying new clothes at this time. All I really have to give is my time my energy... and my hair. 

So today I'm going to post a reader poll. I know most of you click over here from Amanda and Running With Spoons and you're probably not regular readers of my blog or maybe you are but haven't yet subscribed, but either way, today I'd like your input. I tend to go back and forth between donating my hair, I've done this twice before, once to Locks of Love and once to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. Both take hair that is in great condition hasn't been colored too much and doesn't have too much gray. They take the hair and turn it into wigs for those who need them. Hair is something for me that is not a big priority to have. I don't use my hair to make a fashion statement etcetera, so I don't mind chopping it all off and donating it to someone else you could use it. It's the least I could do and it makes me feel more yogi. I gave my last batch of hair to a friend's sister who was going through a tough medical time.
The after...had to do the side shot to show it.

I write this blog to provide you all with lots of fitness information, but I also want to spread the word about yoga in the many benefits that it has in your life. One of the things that I've learned from practicing yoga over the last 11 years, is it it's all about that connectedness to those around you. This is one tiny way that I can feel closer to others, share my humanity, and just make myself an all around better person.

So, in the comments below I asked you to vote Locks of Love, Wigs for Kids, Children with Hair Loss, or Pantene Beautiful Lengths. Namaste and I'll be back!

Monday, May 11, 2015

My 11 Mothers

Who are the Mothers in your life? Here's a short tribute to mine on this totally made up holiday......
Those who are now gone
I had two Great Grandmothers who lived for a good chunk of my life. My first Great Grandmother (my mom's dad's mom) passed away right before I turned 18. She taught me to speak up for what I wanted in life. She never let us eat in her living room, though she ate most of her meals there. She always had cookies in tupperware on the table or counter when we came in. She was kind and had the softest skin I can remember. Education was very important to her and she paid for me to go to summer camp one year where I would have the opportunity to visit a college campus for a week. I didn't learn, until after she had passed, that she was a school teacher.

My other Great Grandmother (my mom's mom's mom) passed right after I turned 24 and graduated college. She taught me to be loving. She used to make us lemonade by squeezing lemons on a small hand! She would give us HUGE bear hugs that made you feel as though this 5' nothing woman was going to snap your spine. She was strong and opinionated, but always had the most cheerful smile. She forced my cousin and I to write letters to each other as we were growing up and we are still friends today. She had the most beautiful penmanship of any person I've ever met in my life.

Those I'm cherishing before they go
I am very lucky to still have both of my Grandmothers still alive. They both still live in Iowa, so it stinks that I don't get to see them as often as I'd like and my boys only see them once or twice a year. I grew up with two Great Grandmothers that I saw on the regular and wished the same for them.

My dad's mom is the one I vacationed with in summers growing up. She baked cakes and huge boxes of cookies at Christmas time. She made lots of interesting foods including pickle rolls and Russian meat pies, and cooked Greek food for my Grandfather even though she wasn't Greek. She wore rings on every finger and some of her toes and always had short hair. She made a lot of her own clothes and my aunt's wedding dress, plus the bridesmaids' dresses, my flower girl dress, and her own mother of the bride dress. She is a female jack of all trades and her voice reminds me of Piglet.

My mom's mom still lives on the farm that my family spends and has spent most of its holidays. She is a member of the red hot society and worked for as long as I can remember for the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library. She served tea to every president from JFK to Clinton before she retired. She has a stern look to her when she wants to and loves to play cards. She's always been very involved in her church and is a hard worker.

Those of my mom's generation
My parents each have a sister and my mom has a sister in law. My three aunts are very different and have all been there for me in differing ways. My dad's sister is not my biological aunt as he is adopted. However, I always thought that we looked alike when I was growing up and I idolized her sense of fashion. She is also my Godmother and the aunt who recently had a stroke. She is young (still at the start of her 50's) and was my first influence in the world of fitness. I have an entire post that I am currently searching or photos to complete to honor her place in my life.

My mom's sister is a quieter and more book worm version of my mom. She's political and well read and so independent. She lives in a house that she bought herself and for some reason that seems like one of the most amazing accomplishments to me. Maybe it makes me proud as a feminist to know a woman who just did her own thing with her life. She is consumed by her job and often works so much that she forgets to cash her checks or pay her phone bill. She has helped me in so many different ways to achieve my educational goals in life and I truly cherish the times when we take vacations with her, my mom, and my sister.

My mom's sister in law was at first my secret nemesis. She didn't seem to fit as she came into our lives kind of quickly and I was young enough to feel jaded by change. However, as the years went on, my aunt turned into "the cool aunt". She has a tattoo on her back....a large one. She does her own thing and kept her youngest daughter at home instead of sending her to preschool. She taught her to read and write and a whole lot more. She set the standard for many of the ways I look at parenting myself. She and I have never been close in the way my other two aunts and I are, but I miss her just the same when I don't see her for long stretches.

The one who left the door case I need it
There are some mom's in your life who aren't even a part of your "family". When I was in high school and my parents were splitting during my senior year, I found my other mom. She was my high school swim coach. She gave me a job babysitting her son when I needed to quit my other job and still have a way to make money. She told me that her door was always open in case I needed a place to get away.....literally, the back door was never locked and I was welcome to go there any time. When I was dating my high school boyfriend she told me not to fall too deep in love with someone unless I knew I could really trust that person. For me she knew that that meant really open myself up and let someone else do for me things that I normally would only do myself. When I got married the first time and I was sure I could depend on someone that much, she told me to make sure I truly knew the person so that I didn't wake up one day and roll over to look eye to eye with a stranger. That's a bit of advice I still wish I'd taken more seriously. Coach (as she's called in my family) will always be my second mom and not just mine, but all three of my siblings. She's been there for so many of our major life events and is full of life and curse words that I could never bring myself to say. It's hard to describe a love like that.

The feminist past
I seriously thought about cutting this portion of my post for today, but I think it's an important part. Like I said, I've been married before. I don't want to get into the this and that of why I am no longer married to that person, but his mom was my first mother in law. We butted heads a lot in the 8 years she was in my life. Mostly because my ex-husband was an only child of a very strong willed, opinionated, educated, and feminist woman. He then married someone just like his mom and I proceeded to take her place in his life......and that took some adjusting on both our parts. However, this woman pushed me to be more than I was when I first met her. She did her entire undergrad in 3 years and graduated at the top of her class. That way she and her husband graduated at the same time and could move forward with their lives as planned. She got a masters and then a PhD while raising my ex. She worked and worked and worked to get tenured at her job and ran almost every day. She set a high standard for me to meet and one of the greatest regrets of my divorce is that I lost that role model in my life.

The southern belle
My mother in law now is a polar opposite to the first. Both hailed from the south, but are very different in their upbringing. My mother in law now is very affectionate and hugs and kisses us every time we see her. She tells me she loves me every time I talk to her. She wears matching everything and is never seen in public without her hair done and make up on. She goes to have her nails done on the regular and watches TLC. She has 3 true loves in her life: my niece and two sons. I couldn't imagine a woman who is not me or my mom to love my children more. They are the light of her life and that makes me happy to share them with her. She is sensitive and caring and hates to have her picture taken. She loves chocolate and if you watch the Goldbergs....she's the original yenta. I look forward to many more years of watching her with my children and seeing them snuggle up to her with the same love that she exudes back at them. I know she'll always be there for me if I need her.

The one and only
So, then there's my mom. The one and only who gets that title forever. There are not enough words to express the love I have for this woman. She has been my supporter, my enemy, my friend, my shoulder, my defender, my jailer, my guiding light. My mom and I have had an up and down relationship over the years. I think I was a little more than she expected. But, throughout it all she's always been proud of me and behind me. I could go on and on about all of her many wonderful qualities (she's hardworking, loving, sweet, funny, smart, inventive....) but the pages would be endless. So, I'll just say this:
God could not be everywhere; so he created Mothers.
That sentiment hangs on a sign in my mother's kitchen and it doesn't belong anywhere more perfect than there.

Happy Mother's Day to all the beautiful women out there!
L-R: Mom, me, Mom's Mom, Mom's Mom's Mom c.1980