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Five Minute Friday {12}: Rhythm

21 Jun

2545581891_45d59ba7eekokoperry via Compfight cc

Right now, in this moment, I’m ready to make the climb.

I am ready to rise up at the end of the longest day of the year to make a statement.

With my family by my side, the steady rhythm of our hiking feet choosing measured steps along the trail, we will make the trek to honor the path I’ve walked in the past and the recovery journey I am still taking and will continue to fight for as long as I live.

I am a warrior mom. I climb to show that I am brave, that no one should be afraid to talk about mental illness, and because I passionately believe in the mission of Postpartum Progress, the non-profit sponsoring this event and the world’s most widely-read blog on postpartum depression and all other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth: to focus on positive messages of empowerment and recovery.

Today I am reminded that every day is a climb. Every day brings new challenges to face and overcome. Every day is a gift which I am honored to receive. Every day I will answer the call to climb because making the trek to the top, however impossible the obstacles to the summit may be, will be well worth it in the end. I know now from experience that what lies ahead holds more potential than I could have ever imagined.

See you at the top.

#ClimbOut

Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker’s

Five Minute Friday

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Five Minute Friday {10}: Fall

7 Jun

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LuxICMaldives via Compfight cc

I’ve already started packing. My suitcase sits open in the middle of our bedroom and all week I’ve been tossing things in as I get ready to finish stuffing in sundresses and books, bikinis and sandals until I’ll zip it shut tomorrow evening. I’ll be wearing the perfume of coconut-banana scented suntan lotion all week, my hair will curl in it’s natural, frizzy waves as I’ll forego blow drying for air drying.

 

We’ll worry about the kids, but know that they’ll be in heaven at home with their grandparents – all four of them taking shifts so they don’t get too exhausted by the fun of it all.

Whenever we’re able to do this – to run away from the same old day-to-day for a just-me-and-you vacation, I fall back into what life was like before kids, before marriage, before the responsibilities of work and a mortgage. I feel like we’re dating again, flirting and being silly with each other. Holding hands as we walk to breakfast or dinner. Or on the beach, lounging in our sunchairs, when I look over at you and give your hand a little squeeze while we gaze out at the ocean.


Not that I need a tropical vacation to appreciate all the wonderful things about you, honey. Time on an island with you just reminds me of our honeymoon. Only now, I no longer have those anxious butterflies in my stomach, nervousness about how our future will play out. Because time has passed – almost 10 years since that week in St. Lucia after our wedding – and we’ve fallen into each other and I’m not nervous for the future anymore.

I’m only giddy with excitement, ready to fall more in love with you in the coming years than I’ve ever been before.

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Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker’s

Five Minute Friday

Brave: Five Minute Friday {5}

3 May

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BRAVE

The choice to end life. To stop living. To not go on any longer because fighting is too hard, it’s exhausting, and giving up would be so much easier.

 

The plan was made. Actions carried out.

 

The sand was slipping swiftly through the hourglass of life. Time was literally running out.

 

Then, suddenly, something awoke within her. She called out for help. And her cry for help was answered.

 

Natalie made the choice to be brave.

 

Now, she is telling her truth. I am watching her exude brave.

 

And I am so very proud of my friend.


Five Minute Friday

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Sunday, May 5th is her Live Day anniversary. I am running a 5k to recognize and celebrate her decision to choose life. In honor of Natalie’s battle to overcome suicide, I am walking The American Federation for Suicide Prevention’s Overnight Walk, June 1st-2nd.


Please visit Natalie’s blog, ItWillNeverHappen2Me.com, to read her story of what took place a year ago this weekend.

Friend: Five Minute Friday {4}

26 Apr

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What I love about my life is that I have many different types of friends surrounding me with love. Whenever life throws me a curve ball, or things are perfectly boring, or I just need to try something outside of my comfort zone to mix things up a bit because I’ve been feeling a little dull, I just reach out to a friend to reconnect and nourish my soul.

 

She makes me smile over coffee.

She lets me cry if I need a release.

She hugs me when we say goodbye.

 

I would be lost without my friends. They each hold a piece of my fragile heart in their hands and I hope they feel the same about me.

 

Because life is so much better with a friend to walk with.

Five Minute Friday

Running with the Wind

2 Apr

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Yesterday I reluctantly pulled on my running shoes, tied them up, and left my husband with the kids for a thirty minute jog. My mind was telling me to just skip it, given that the temperature had plummeted from seventy degrees earlier in the day to forty-five at 7pm when I finally made it out the front door. But it felt good to be moving after all the sugar and heavy food from Easter Sunday.

My phone provided music while I trotted along, my legs still sore from my first jog of the spring two days before. Now that the weather is changing I just want to be outside again. Too much time passed without us being able to go out due to snow, rain, or plain frigid temperatures. The air smells different when spring emerges. Trees and flowers perfume the breeze, along with the fresh mulch that neighbors spread to make everything look fresh. My favorite is the scent of hyacinth at this time of year. I slowed my pace when I ran past a house seemingly anchored in them, taking in the heady fragrance.

The wind was fierce, slapping my face with its icy coldness. But the extra oxygen I sucked in from the air flowing at me propelled me forward and it was as if I ran faster. My bad knee held out thanks to the patella strap I had pulled tight around my knee cap. The rest of my body got a thrill from being on my old route. I didn’t do the whole loop, but it was enough to remind me of last year’s jogging nights. Made me long for the strength I felt back then when I was running almost every day. I’ll get there. One step at a time.

Yesterday my second post for WhatToExpect.com’s Word of Mom Blog went live. Please head over and check it out if you have time! :)

An experiment in hugs

17 Jan

“We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” ~ Virginia Satir

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I read an article on the interwebs awhile ago via a pin on Pinterest with that quote as the subtitle. Isn’t that pinteresting? I thought, as I clicked the link. It went on to discuss ten ways in which a parent could connect with their child from the moment they woke up, during the day, and right on up until bedtime. I really enjoyed the article, but of all of the suggestions, the one that hit me the hardest was the 12 hugs one.

I am a huge hugger. I love them. It comes as no surprise to the people who know me best: I am a highly affectionate person. Hugs are perfection to me. I love to embrace a friend who I haven’t seen in a long time, my child when he or she is crying from a skinned knee, and my therapist after each monthly appointment. My family is especially big on bear hugs. I remember being hugged frequently growing up, and hugs became even more meaningful to me after I left home for college. My parents were on the verge of tears when they finished moving me into my dorm and we were hugging goodbye. Me, not so much. I could taste freedom, fun, and the excitement of being on my own for the first time in my life. But three months later when I drove home for fall break, I was the one on the teary side of the hug. Comes back around, I guess.

There is just something so wonderful about having someone wrap his or her arms around you. You immediately feel loved. It is the ultimate expression of caring for someone, in my opinion. It feels good.

Hugs are so simple. So why don’t we give them more often?

After reading the article, I made it a point to aim for twelve hugs for each of my kids the next day. I think I ended up with six or so (if even that many) hugs during the day. Wow. That was harder than I thought it was going to be. Maybe it is really important. Whenever something is hard (think eating right or exercising) then it is usually a pretty important habit for us to add to our daily routine. Plus, if hugs make us feel so much better, this is a no-brainer, right? I started thinking about my hug distribution approach.

So, four hugs a day for survival, huh? I know I give the kids each about that number a day, but shame on me, my marriage is barely surviving. I thought about our normal routine – a hug and quick kiss in the morning before he leaves for work, and another one when he comes home. Sometimes a squeeze while one of us cooks dinner, and occasionally a snuggle in bed before falling asleep. Most days we were barely getting by on our usual disbursement of hugs.

This family needs more HUGS, I thought. It was time to plan my strategy.

Mornings I can definitely get a bunch under my belt to start the day off on a good foot. I’ll give the hubby a snuggle hug in bed before we rise and shine to start our busy days. The kids will each get a good squeeze to wake them up with a smile. Once I have their breakfast ready at the table, I’ll hug them each before sitting them down to eat. In order to transition from breakfast to the next step in our morning routine, I’ll send my husband off to work with a hug and kiss and will hug each kiddo before taking them upstairs to get dressed and brush teeth. When I drop them off at Mom’s Morning Out or preschool, I’ll give each another embrace to send them off to play, and when I pick them up I’ll give them each a great big bear hug and kiss to tell them how much I missed them. At home before nap time, I’ll give each kid a cuddle hug to tuck them in, and when they wake up two hours later I’ll hug them again.

(In case you’re keeping track here, we’re up to two husband hugs and seven hugs for each kiddo.)

Whenever someone has a meltdown or in case of a sibling squabble, the fix is easily a hug. This is typically the case for us when we’re late and need to get a trip to the potty, shoes on and coats on, all within a five minute span which can be next to impossible sometimes so it usually calls for a hug to help calm the situation.

By dinnertime, we’re usually at eight to nine hugs. After dinner, we tickle-wrestle and hug before heading upstairs for bathtime and bedtime. There are hugs given as we pull the sopping wet children from the tub to wrap them in warm, fluffy towels. While reading stories in bed, we each hold a kid in our arms, wrapping them with love. And a final hug once the books are read and it is time to turn out the light. My husband and I hug again after the kids are asleep, while brushing our teeth before bed, and before closing our eyes for the night. It feels good to give and receive so many hugs in a day. Makes me feel more complete, happier, closer to my family.

This little hug experiment taught me a great deal about the amount of affection I currently share with my family and friends. Starting this year I am making it a habit to hug more, hug often, and hug with all my heart.

Why? Because I’m scared of the day when I won’t be able to hug them, when one of us is no longer here. I want to be sure to give and receive as many hugs as I can because hugs are quite possibly, one of God’s most amazing gifts that He gave us: the ability to put your arms around someone you care about to show them your love and affection, your support, your thankfulness for just being there.

Hug your spouse more, hug your kids more, hug your friends and family more. I’m pretty sure they’ll return the favor.

 

Have you had your twelve hugs today?

 

Secret Mommy-hood Confession Saturday

23 Jun

I am, quite easily, the world’s worst cook. And yet, I still try my darndest to do it because I’m a little embarrassed that my husband is ten million times better in the kitchen than I am.

Case in point: yesterday morning I went along my happy way, despite the fact that Little Man had woken me up at 5:45AM, looking up a recipe online for a whole wheat pancake mix from scratch since we were out of my favorite 7-grain mix that I usually use. Found a perfectly good recipe and set off about the kitchen, gathering up the ingredients I needed which we happened to have on hand.

Maybe it was due to being up at the ass-crack of dawn, but I doubt that I would have followed the recipe correctly if it had been 7am versus 6am. It called for 6 cups of whole wheat flour, 2 Tbs baking powder, 2 Tbs baking soda, 2 tsp salt and 1/3 cup sugar. I decided to half the recipe, measuring out only 3 cups of flour. I was letting Little Man help with the measuring, and we followed the rest of the recipe to a T, unfortunately for us.

When I took a bite of the first pancake off the griddle, I immediately knew what we had done wrong. Oops. Even with the amount of sugar for the full recipe, the double baking soda and powder was apparent. Nothing quite like bitter tasting pancakes first thing in the morning to wake up your taste buds. Bleck!

Thank goodness I had added a decent-sized handful of dark chocolate chips to each one before I flipped them over. Otherwise, I would have had to throw out the whole batch of 4 gigantic cakes that we had cooked up. I added more flour to the mix that remained, so that the early morning cooking effort wasn’t completely wasted.

My cooking tip of the day: chocolate just makes everything better. No matter how bad of a cook you may be. ;)

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Five Things Friday {3}

22 Jun

Here are the five things I’ve been loving this week:

  1. Spray sunscreen – For reals, yo. Whoever invented this stuff is a bazillionaire and is most deserving of the fortune he or she is {sun}bathing in. My daughter cannot stand to wear her sunhat, so I just hose her scalp down, in addition to the rest of her body, and she’s good to go. Her hair looks like a grease-pot, but who cares? Not like she’s trying to impress the 2-yr old boys at the pool, ya know? Let’s hope not, at least!

  2. Frozen grapes – I picked up this trick from Brandy at MannlyMama, and I am addicted! They taste like candy. So far we’ve only done red grapes, but I’m sure the green ones would be just as awesome. My kids love them at the pool, and it’s such a fun way to cool off with a healthy snack. I had also come across it on Pinterest, but not as toddler food. One pinner said to pop frozen grapes in your wine to keep it cold at a summer party. Genius!

  3. Julienne veggies – We joined a crop-share with a local farm this summer, and the past few boxes I’ve picked up have been full of yummy summer squash. I saw something a friend pinned on Pinterest, a simple photo of julienne veggies tied up neatly as a wedding reception appetizer, and I decided that slicing the squash in strips was a great way to cook them quickly. I chopped up a zucchini, a yellow squash and a couple of carrots, and cooked them in a teaspoon of olive oil and chopped garlic. Yes, they stuck to the pan a bit, and it took some good old elbow grease to scrub the brown gunk off, but I’m trying to use less {or no} oil in our cooking lately to reduce the fat in our diets, so it was worth the extra effort. It only took about 5 minutes to soften them up a bit, then I dressed them with fresh-squeezed lime juice, grated ginger, honey and soy sauce. Served over cooked quinoa, this was so yummy and easy!

  4. Fresh-picked fruit from the farm – we go out to the farm each week to pick up our box of produce, and while we’re there, we pick our bonus for the week. This week it was two pints of tart cherries, 1/2 pint of black raspberries, and a pint of blueberries. Even though it was 100-degrees, we ended up picking another 1/2 pint of black raspberries and two extra pints of blueberries because they are SO DELICIOUS {and a million times fresher and tastier than grocery store berries}. Baby girl was a superstar at sampling while I did the picking. I don’t think she even got one berry into the container because they always ended up in her mouth.

  5. P90x – the hubby and I have begun the journey. We’re only on Day 4, but already I can tell that it is going to have a major impact on our bodies. I have a Love/Hate relationship with it. Love how I feel afterwards, but Hate having to put the kids to bed then do an hour {or longer} DVD before I can finally go to bed.

    The kids and I are off to meet The Daddy at his work Family Fun Day today. Happy Friday friends!! TGIF!

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