mommyverbs

Engaging Each Day with Action Words

Nourish. — Green Smoothies and Big Dreams

This morning, I opened the fridge and pulled out the spinach, an avocado, a lime and a banana to make my favorite green smoothie.

It is the prettiest of greens and although it might not sound good to you, it really does taste great.

I love to pour it into X’s Avenger tumbler and head off to work with it in hand. It is like my very own Incredible Hulk smoothie and I like to think I look cooler carrying this young, hip cup into the office.

cup

But more than the perceived hip factor, I also love what this green drink  does for me.

It provides nourishment.

This is good for me. This greenness in a superhero cup feeds me well. It gives my body energy…good, whole foods energy. There is nothing fake. Nothing processed. Nothing phony baloney in it. Just a serving of fruit and a serving of vegetables that I can enjoy before 9 a.m.

In a superhero cup no less.

And this is what I want 2014 to be about. This is the verb.

Nourish. To provide with food or other substances necessary for life and growth.

As Mommas, we work hard everyday to make sure we are providing our families with the “food and other substances necessary for life and growth.”  We stock the fridge and pantry with good foods.  We make sure people are fed and clothed and as clean as humanly possible in kidland. We take note that the jackets are zipped up and the shoe strings are tied before they head out the door. We’ve read with them and checked their homework. We’ve tucked them in and sang the 17 required songs and supplied the hugs and kisses needed for sweet dreams. We plan for their events and schedule the games and practices into our lives. We encourage their BIG dreams and applaud their triumphs and confidence. We cuddle them through disappointments that teach life lessons along the way. We say prayers at night for their health and safety.

We remind. We teach. We fuss. We laugh. We cry. We play. We feed. We zip and tie. We love.

All in the name of providing them with the nourishment that they need to grow and live life.

And we get up the next day and do it all over again.

In 2014, I want us Mommas to remember that we also need to make sure we are just as focused on nourishing ourselves just as much as we think about how we provide nourishment to our families.

Sometimes I think that it is selfish of me to still have BIG dreams. To still want to do ‘other’ things with my life. Sometimes I think, I had my chance. I should have done it then. I should have traveled there before. I should have pursued this goal a long time ago. Sometimes I think that my time has passed. That this should be their time. That my focus should be on them now.

But I always think of a few years ago, when the girl child was just one and I had a chance to go to NYC on a business trip. Travel is a rarity in my work world and I took the opportunity to go and be a part of this conference. While I was there, I started feeling those twangs of Mommy Guilt. Oh, my poor baby, at home with her very capable, very caring father. What have I done? Why did I think I could come to the Big Apple and be among esteemed colleagues and learn more about my profession? Why did I think I could travel and sleep, uninterrupted, in a soft bed with clean sheets and a venture down to a continental breakfast prepared for me? (And on and on and … on…)

Until my friend traveling with me, stopped me from my own self-imposed downward spiral of guilt and regret by saying this:

“By being away on this trip, you are teaching Y a powerful lesson. You are showing her that she can do it all. She can have a family when she grows up. She can have a career. She can always continue to learn, no matter her age. What a gift to show her the power that comes from pursuing a dream.”

Nourishment.

We can still be the Mommas. We can provide and love and care and comfort. And we can also learn and grow and dream and try.

And we should. We should make sure that our bodies, minds and souls are nourished. Everyday.

Eat the food. Get the rest. Write in the journal. Read the books. Listen to the music. Take the class. Be with friends. Be still sometimes.

And go after those BIG dreams, whatever they are, while you encourage your kiddos to pursue their own.

That is how a good teacher teachers. By modeling. By showing. By engaging each day with action words.

We should practice what we preach. We should walk our talk.

Eat well. Play more. Choose happy.

Dream Bigger. Make it happen.

Create the time to really nourish your body, mind and soul in 2014.

(And drink a few green smoothies, too. They are good for you. Trust me.) 

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

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Pace. — Yourself. You Have 365 of These Days.

The 2013 calendar on the wall knows its days are numbered. For real.

The 2014 calendar is sitting right there below it; staring, just waiting to take its rightful place under the pushpin on the kitchen wall.

I can’t say that this has been my best wrap up to a year though.

The last few days have been filled with a little random illness that kept me sidelined or at least subdued just a little.

I muscled on and faked the smiles and made sure the familial obligatory activities and traditions were all taken care of. But I didn’t have much else to give. I was done. I was exhausted.

All of the ‘getting ready for the holidays’ activities wore me out for the actual holiday activities.

We do that sometimes, us Mommas.

Sometimes we push too hard.

Our lists are long and we busy ourselves taking care of everyone and everything.

The MommyVerbs of our days are many:

Plan. Shop. Wrap. Bake. Create. Paint. Mail. Write. Thank. Invite. Pack. Travel. Clean.

And sometimes we just get tired and our bodies say…Enough.

Our bodies say…Time to take a break.

And we get stubborn and argue and say things like…Not now. There is still so much to do.

Our bodies respond with a sarcastic…No time to slow down, huh? Here. Enjoy this fever. That should do it.

Trumped again. Fever wins.

So. We slow down. We sleep in. We take naps.

Until we start feeling better.

Until we start making those lists again.

Until we start the fevered pace all over again.

Forgetting where this got us in the first place.

And even now, feeling better, I just created a vision board of my 2014 intentions.

It is beautiful, full of to do and to go and to learn and to make happen.

And as I was admiring it, trying to decide where I should start first, what I should do right now…

that overwhelming, exhausting feeling started to creep back in.

Until, I realized and said this out loud:

I don’t have to do it all in one day.

These are intentions for an entire year.

Enough to fill three hundred sixty-five of these days. One day at a time.

So, let’s all slow down a little.

Sleep in a little more sometimes.

Take a nap here and there.

Repeat after me.

I don’t have to do it all in one day.

Pace yourself, Tired Working Mommas, Everywhere.

You have 365 days to get it done in 2014.

Pace yourself.

Let’s All, Go. Do that.

intentions

2 Comments »

Calm. — And in the end…

and in the end

I have always said that I would never have survived the Titanic. Partly because I assumed that I would have been down in steerage and wouldn’t have had much of a chance to start with.  But mostly, because I have never seen myself as one who was all that great in crisis situations.  However, I have also always said that if I were with Felix, I would have survived, because he is like a wolf among the sheep.  He would have been the Jack to my Rose, but he would have found two doors for us to float on top of and we would have both survived. I believe that with all of my heart.

But me in crisis? Well, I’m often too busy worrying about others to see the big picture. I am usually too focused on feelings and don’t see the ways out. I don’t think three steps in advance.  I don’t always decide things in a super fast fashion because I am too busy considering all of the options first.

So, when I found myself in probably one of the scariest situations of my adult life that I can remember yesterday…I have to say that I am feeling just a little bit proud of how I handled things.

I was concerned. I responded quickly. I yelled for help. I made some things happen.

And I feel like I stayed pretty calm.

However, over the course of the next couple of hours, I was told to calm down at least four different times. Despite the fact that I felt like I was being award-winningly calm.

It seems in crisis…that calm is a relative term.

First, the 911 dispatcher told me to calm down so she could hear me. I reminded her that I was in a movie theater and was trying to be heard over the Mickey Mouse cartoon playing as a time filler in the background.

The ambulance driver told me to calm down so he could give me the hospital address in this unfamiliar town that I rarely drive around in. I told him I was as calm as I could be with four kiddos under the age of 12 (two of which do not belong to me, two of which were hysterical)  in my possession during this time.

The administrative assistant at the hospital desk told me to calm down as I explained that I was just trying to help reunite a semi -in shock family member who didn’t know what was happening with his spouse.

And then the security guard also told me to calm down. To which I looked him in the eye and responded, “I. Am. Calm. This is my calm right now.”  I give him credit…He immediately worked to reunite my family members, so I’m calling it a WIN.

Over the next few hours, I calmly kept four kiddos, three husbands, and one mother calm while we waited. I made small talk and made plans to make sure everyone was taken care of. I calmly provided a quick dinner (Thanks Papa John’s) and entertainment (Thanks hotel swimming pool) for the two extremely wild young boys and two semi-hysterical and totally exhausted, old-enough-to-understand-what-was-going-on girls for the evening.

And then, later that night, I calmly worked with my Y, through the tummy aches and the tears, as she responded much like I used to when I was her age in these situations.

As The Beatles said, “And in the end…”

On this, the last day of NaBloPoMo, Blogember, YeahWrite, BlogHer, which marks for me, 47 days of daily blogging, I can say that I survived. And I am proud of it.

I remained calm. I did it.

So, “And in the end…the love we take is equal to the love we make.”

P.S. All turned out well. All of my people are well.

4 Comments »

Attack. — Know the signs.

Here’s a story from a while ago. Yes, I’m recycling a blog post, but for a good reason.

A good reason that I’m not quite ready (still slightly traumatized, although I’m fine, everyone’s ok now…)
to tell the whole story just yet, so I may or may not try to explain another time.

For now, I’m just reminding you of the signs.

*******************************************************************************************

So, know the signs. Pay attention to the signs. Don’t ignore the signs. Respond quickly to the signs.

Elizabeth Banks teamed up with Go Red For Women in this short film on women, motherhood and recognizing the signs of a heart attack.  Just. In. Case. We’ve all had mornings like this… Know the signs.

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The phone rang.

It was a friend. But a busy, on the go friend, who is usually more likely to go for the quick text than an actual ‘stop and have a conversation’ phone call. Weird. But the conversation that came after my answering with a casual “Hey there” was even weirder.

First of all, there was a very unfamiliar panicked concern in her voice. It wasn’t right at all.

“Are you ok?” She asked me.

Yeah.

“Are you ok, really?!”  She almost…almost sounded like she was ready to cry, which started to concern me.

I responded with a  suspicious tone… Yeah. I have a little cold, but…

“Did anything bad happen today?!” I thought, well, clearly something bad has happened or you wouldn’t be calling me and asking me questions like this!

Ok, now you’re freaking me out.

“Oh my God. Ok. I’m calming down. Oh my God. Letting the cortisol come down a little….”

What in the world!? What is going on?!

“I just heard that you had had a heart attack on the soft ball field today!”

WHAT?! WHAT?!  (I’m betting that I started to sound like that Mom over the phone on “A Christmas Story” … )

The conversation continued and I reassured her again and again that I was fine. Just sitting here, relaxing on the couch. No signs of a heart attack. I haven’t been to the softball fields today. I’m not sure where this is coming from. This is crazy, but I’m fine.

Fine. But now a little freaked out at just the thought that someone out there thinks I had a heart attack. That is crazy. Right?

Y was sitting right beside me and I was too shocked to keep the conversation from her as I probably should have done. So, I used this as an opportunity to talk about rumors and how rumors get started and how rumors can unintentionally hurt or scare people…yada yada yada, …. insert brilliant parenting moment here.

But in my head, I kept thinking…Heart Attack? Me? Who would think that I could have a heart attack? How many people out there think that I have had a heart attack? Am I going to have people showing up with flowers and offers of dinner? Do I need to post something to let everyone know I’m ok?

And then it moved on to things like: I can’t have a heart attack! I’m just 40! I’m a health coach! I eat well and play more and choose happy and all that jazz! Sure, I haven’t been to the gym everyday for a while, but life’s been busy and there’s been traveling and people have had colds and fevers and such…yada yada yada, insert other plausible excuses here.

A heart attack? Me?

It took all evening and three different phone calls from three different concerned, loving friends to finally track down the origin of this story. As it turns out, a good Momma was trying to let her husband know about A’s Mom, (who is 80+ years old and might have had a heart attack). But on a noisy softball field, he misunderstood and heard “Y’s Mom” and thought … well, Me. He was shocked and shared the news out of concern to the hubs of one of my good friends who in turn, called his wife and shared the news out of shock and concern. She called a friend to see what was happening, and that is when my phone rang and this whole crazy story began.

Of course, we were all concerned about A’s Mom and keeping her close in our prayers. But we were all relieved that I was fine and this was just a misunderstanding.

And while we laughed off the whole misunderstanding of it all, I think it messed with us all just a bit. And that is when I started noticing the signs. I swear, all evening long, even while the girl child was watching the Disney channel, every other commercial on TV was something related to heart attacks or heart disease. I’m not kidding.  Then I started thinking about walking through the airport at O’Hare last week. There was a poster on the wall, that randomly caught my eye and made me stop to comment about how the ad was targeted to women.

Finally, this morning, I woke up and was having a little trouble going back to sleep. So, I checked my phone and found another sign: An advertisement about women and heart attacks.

Yeah, I think I’m supposed to share this story. Just in case. Just in case it helps one person.

More than 250,000 women in the U.S. die of a heart attack each year. Many don’t know the symptoms of a heart attack, which are often different for women compared to men, or how to prepare for them.

Warning Signs of a Suspected Heart Attack

  • Chest pressure, tightness and heaviness
  • Pain in shoulders, neck, jaw* or arms*
  • Lightheadedness
  • Paleness
  • Faintness
  • Sweating
  • Nausea*
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest pain*
  • Extreme fatigue*

*More common in women

If you suspect you’re having a heart attack call 911 and crush or chew aspirin as directed by a doctor. Aspirin, when taken as directed by a doctor during a suspected heart attack and for 30 days thereafter, can reduce damage to the heart and reduce the risk of death by 23 percent.

 Later, a friend shared that the she thought, “Crap. If Z has a heart attack, we are all screwed.” Which is funny, … but we know it happens. It has happened. So, take care of yourselves, people. Eat Well. Play More. Choose Happy.

For More Information:    www.heart.org or IamProHeart

2 Comments »

Dance. — Lessons on Life from Zumba for Kids

Open the door.

Get on the floor.

Everybody do the Dinosaur.

Boom. Boom. Shakalakalaka Boom.

Boom. Boom. Shakalakalaka Boom.

And Repeat.

This was my Saturday morning.

And here are ten things that I learned from the Zumba Kids class this morning that we can all apply to our lives:

1. Just get up and move.

It doesn’t take much. Just decide you are going to move your body and do it. No excuses. Go for a walk. Do some sit ups. You don’t need fancy equipment or an expensive gym membership. Just move.

2. It doesn’t matter what you wear or what you look like.

No need for Lululemon pants either. (Which you’d look great in, just the way you are, by the way…but who wants to give them money now? Not me!) Your old college t-shirt and some sweat pants work just fine. Of course, X needed his special ‘running clothes’ even though it was 30 some degrees outside and he was in shorts.

3. Nobody is watching you.

For reals. Nobody is watching you. They are watching themselves in the mirror. Because we all like to see how we look dancing. Because we know we look cool. Even if nobody is watching.

4. Give yourself plenty of space.

Yeah. It’s a big world out there. Be brave. Spread out. Move around. Take up some space for your own.

5. Just learn it step by step, move by move, then put it all together.

No need to get overwhelmed trying to learn everything at once. Take one step at a time. Practice each part. And then amaze others as you put all the pieces together on your way to Awesome.

6. Watch the teacher, you’ll figure it out.

If you are lucky, you’ve got a great teacher, a wonderful mentor. Pay attention to what they say and do.

7. Don’t be afraid to move to the front of the room.

Show off a little. Stand in front of others and share your gifts and talents. Don’t hide behind others. Get in the spotlight sometimes.

8. Play and laugh with your friends.

You don’t have to be so serious all the time. Go play. Have some fun. Be silly. It will keep you young.

9. Sing while you dance.

Music speaks to our souls like nothing else can. Play it loud. Learn the words. Let the music speak to you in ways that simple words just can’t manage.

10. Have a big finish that includes a fist pump in the air. Everything is better if it ends with a fist pump in the air!

Do everything you do with zest, with gusto, with energy. Or don’t do it. And you get bonus if you yell “Tada!” or “Yeah!” over your accomplishments. You’ll inspire people to want to get what you’re having a little bit more!

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

By the way, this song is dedicated to the most frightfully wondrous dinosaur in all of the bloggy universe, Rarasaur.

Today’s Action Challenge: This one is easy. Hook up your iPod to some speakers. Dust off the turntable. Crank the boom box. Find a few favorite songs or pull out that playlist you made recently.

Turn up the volume.

Dance.

Then. Dance some more.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

8 Comments »

Crave. — Your Life Is Trying To Tell You Something

This afternoon, I was sitting at my desk, counting down the hours and minutes left in this Friday, when all of a sudden I wanted something sweet.

No. I’m sorry. Correction.  I … needed … something sweet.

As I read and responded to another email, trying to catch up at the end of the week, I was completely distracted by the need for some sugary goodness something.

I began to think of the possibilities that existed to me at the moment. Where do we keep the chocolate around here? Oh yes. There is some in the filing cabinet drawer that we use for workshop treats. Oh, wait. I think there may even be some sugary nonsense leftover from the meetings of the morning.

As I was considering my few options, I started the beginnings of a plan. A plan to get a sweet treat without being noticed. How can I get to the piece of chocolate or sugary gooiness without everyone and their co-worker seeing me? I am a health coach after all.  I do have my pride and reputation to uphold, you know.

I hit send on the last email note and stood up to head for the kitchen. But instead of sneaking into the filing cabinet or dipping into the leftovers, I filled up my empty water bottle to the rim and waited to see.

Sure enough. Within a few minutes, I was back to the work, focused and getting things marked off of the eternally long to do list before the weekend.

This is how cravings work. Our bodies, our minds, our souls know what we need.

But sometimes the message gets confused and we can’t tell that what we want and what we need are not always the same things.

This is true, not just in our moments of craving sweets or potato chips or bread sticks. These are the cravings of our bodies, telling use what we are lacking…water, nutrients, vitamins, minerals.

But this is also true in our…lives.

As tired, working Mommas, we crave a lot of things.

And sometimes we look for the drawer of candy, or the sugary nonsense, or the glass (or two) of wine to help us meet these needs, supply these wants, fill these gaps, when that is not what we are really craving.

As tired, working Mommas…

We crave more time.

We crave help.

We crave quiet sometimes.

We crave downtime and ‘me’ time.

We crave freedom.

We crave more sleep.

We crave romance. 

We crave comfort.

What would it look like if we took the time and energy to explore these cravings and find out what we really need, rather than just trying to get what we think we want.

Our cravings are important messages. We need to learn how to pay attention. We need to pause and begin to ask ourselves three questions:

What is it that I am craving?

What does that tell me that I need?

How do I meet that need and cure that craving?

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

Today’s Action Challenge: What are you craving? What does your body, mind and soul tell you that you need? Does that match what you find yourself wanting? If not, make a change. Get what you need, not just what you want.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

Is THIS what you want...or what you really need?

Is THIS what you want…or what you really need? Go. Get what you need.

15 Comments »

React. — Call in The Dog or the shopvac?!

Last night at dinner, the girl-child was in a good mood and was telling us a funny story with great enthusiasm.  She swung her arms out at the exact millisecond that Felix was walking past her with a freshly cooked, full bowl of Trader Joe’s organic corn. In seemingly slow motion, but before anyone could do anything…her hand made contact with the bowl and it went flying through the air. I think it may have completed one and a half somersaults worthy of a gold medal, before it landed upside down on the wooden floor.

Corn. Everywhere.

Corn Juice. Every. Where.

It was one of those moments where we all just froze. We just stood there. Looking.

corn

I heard a tiny voice whisper, “I’m sorry.”

And then we started laughing. Well, some of us laughed. Then the girl-child got embarrassed and ran upstairs to hide in her room.

Felix and I literally stood there for a minute or two, trying to think of the best way to clean this mess up.

We really didn’t have a clue as to how to attack this kind of a mess.

X called out his suggestion of “Bring in The Dog!”, which I actually considered for a minute or two. But then I thought, it is probably not a good idea to give The Dog endless amounts of corn. I was thinking of the digestion interruptions that might cause him and then ultimately the additional messes that might make for me. Plus he will step in it and have it on his feet and then walk all over my living room. Yeah. The Dog is not the way to go.

How about the shop vac? But then there is corn in the shop vac and then we will have to clean that up later.

Broom? Map? Shovel?

We finally went with a combination of paper towels and the dust pan to scoop it up. Followed up with a mopping.

And within 20 minutes or so, it was cleaned up and we were on our way with dinner. Of course, we had to go upstairs and coax the girl-child back downstairs to finish her dinner, but all was right back on track.

I have to be honest, because that is what I do here. I’m always a little proud of us, when we don’t overreact to these messy things of life with kids.

Is it silly that I like to think that we get some points for remaining calm. We get some points for taking a deep breath and just taking care of it. We get some points for not yelling or getting upset. We get some points just for taking the messy things in life in stride.

Crazy Mess of Corn = 0.

X and Y Parents = 1.

We also get a ton of points for the time 5 years ago, when Y, innocently wrote her name on the hood of our car.

With a rock.

She was so proud of herself, completely unaware that she had not written, but scratched her name on the hood of our car.

We just looked at each other. Shook our heads. Smiled. And said, “Good handwriting, honey!” and “Good job spelling your name right.”

Her name is to this day scratched into the hood of our car. Helps us distinguish between the minivans!

🙂

So, I showed you mine, now show me yours! What is your parenting style when it comes to messes?

How do you react?

8 Comments »

Snack. — Healthy Bites and Sugar Bites: Another Balancing Act of Parenthood

sugar bites

I am far from perfect.

Stop laughing. I know it is hard to believe. But it is. Oh. So. True.

For the past year , we’ve been on a mission around here.

MommyVerbs groupies know that we have been trying to eat well and play more and choose happy.

And we are making good progress.

We have been more intentional about making time to play and do things as a family. We have started some traditions and have crossed a lot of things off of our family time bucket lists in the past year.  As a matter of fact, included in our  Summer Solstice celebrations, we will be creating our Sweet Summertime 2013 vision board this evening.

We’ve crowded out any fast foods and processed foods. We’ve added in real, whole foods.

While we are still tempted at times, I think it is easier for Felix and I.

I’ve pretty much morphed into a vegetarian. Felix got up at 6 a.m. and went for a 4.7 mile run this morning.

But when you throw the boy and the girl child into the mix of these “Eat Well” intentions, it is …  trickier. 

Trickier–because the rest of the world is not playing by the same rules.

When you are five and so-close-to-being-eight, your world is as big as you can see … only of those places and people around you.

So, they see their friends walk by with the Dr. Peppers and the Mountain Dews in hand.

They see the bags of Cheetos and Capri Suns after the ball game being handed out for snack at 10 a.m.on a Saturday morning.

They see the brightly colored cupcakes with three inches of blue and red icing at the birthday party.

They see the commercials for the sugary-delicious cereals and the ‘make your own slurpee machines’ on television.

They see the fun toys from the fun movies that they want to see that come with the fun happy meals.

They see the hot dogs and potato chips at the cookout.

And as their Momma…I see it all, too. I see X and Y watching. I see them questioning.

And I’m trying to balance it all for them. That’s what we do, right Parents? We balance. Or make our best attempts to balance. The fun and joy of childhood… with the need to give them a good solid nutritional foundation.

Childhood is not usually synonymous with flaxseed and fish oil.

But does childhood have to mean bags of sugar and bottles of soda?

I have great childhood memories of chasing ice cream trucks down the street. I mean that is the epitome of summertime, right?

So. We try to balance. If the snack that the parent so kindly brought for after the t-ball game is cheetos and capri suns. I’m not going to grab it out of their hands and replace it with a banana. But when it is our turn to bring snack, we will probably bring those bananas and maybe some apples along with some water.

If the cupcake at the super fun birthday party has 3 inches of red icing, I am not going to tell them they can’t have one while convincing them that this delicious organic red apple is better. But one is enough and I will certainly be pushing the salad at dinner.

Moderation and Modeling. That is where this Momma is right now on the topic.  There are some other Mommas that are out there…fighting the good fight everyday. Writing letters to their schools and recreation leagues. Protesting the cheetos and capri suns. They are writing fabulous blogs and leading powerful campaigns to create change. I’m inspired and in awe of them. I follow their blogs. I try their recipes. I share these with my circle of friends.

But I’m not there yet. I’m not ready to draw the line in the sand and tell my kiddos that they will never darken the doorsteps of Sweet Frogs again. I am not ready to make them miss out on the ‘goodies’ that their friends are enjoying.

Because that just seems wrong.

But I’m also not going to take them to McDonald’s and get them a fake hamburger or let them open the cabinet and see lots of brightly colored packages of sugary junk either.

So…This Momma is taking the Moderation and Modeling approach.

Everything in moderation. Yes. You can have that bag of cheetos and capri suns because your teammates are enjoying these while celebrating your big WIN today. But for lunch, we are not going to a fast food joint, but instead we are going home to have some corn on the cob and a good turkey sandwich on homemade bread.

And when we go to the grocery store, we will continue to stay on the perimeter of the store and out of the aisles and we will fill up our cart with fresh veggies and fruits. Or maybe we will go to the Farmer’s Market and buy some locally grown ‘goodies’.

At home, they will see cabinets full of non-GMO products and they will know what that means. At dinner, they will see lots of greens and good choices. They will see their parents choosing oranges over cookies and water over soda.

Moderation. And Modeling.

Instead of cringing, I will take pride in the fact that they were eating the strawberries and the cheetos at the cookout last night. There were as many carrots on their plates as there were potato chips.

A few months ago, after X asked to be excused from dinner because he was … SO FULL, he immediately asked for some ice cream for dessert. I said what us Mommas say…”Well, if you are SO FULL and couldn’t finish your corn, you can’t possibly have any room for dessert.”

He looked at me and smiled and in his cute little dimpled-smiled way, said very matter of factly, pointing at his stomach:

“I have one place for the healthy bites which is full … and one place for the sugar bites…I still have room there.”

One place for the Healthy bites. One place for the Sugar Bites.

Moderation and Modeling.

And my job is to always make sure that the Healthy Bites place is full.

6 Comments »

Swing. — The Legend of a First Home Run.

It was a stormy afternoon. A rain shower had already moved through earlier, threatening the plans for the evening.

The last softball game of the season.

I called and prepared the girl child for the possibility that it might get postponed. She’s the type that needs a little heads up when schedules might change. Yes. She’s Type A like that. She IS her Mother’s Daughter after all. When I picked her up from her last day of camp activities, I could tell she was equal parts excited and nervous about the game. She loves softball. This season has been a great one for her.

She had a phenomenal coach who really loves the game as much as these girls do. He took time to teach them the necessary skills, but also taught them … the game.  And for the first time, I think, these girls really started to understand and appreciate the game. I listened to them talk between themselves — they knew who covered bases when the ball was hit here or there; they loved when a plan came together and the throw from shortstop was caught just in time at first base; and they dreamed about the magic of the elusive double play.

She came into her own this season. She found a field position that she fell in love with…1st base. She loved the action and the responsibility of this role. She has a good glove and can catch under pressure as the runner approaches. She’s getting better about understanding that she can come off the plate to make the play, something that took her half of the season to get comfortable with.

But over the course of the season, the best part, as a parent, was watching her fall in love with the game. It is an amazing feeling to watch your child find their niche, find something that they are good at, something that they really enjoy doing all while understanding their role as a member of a team. She learned teamwork this season. What an amazing life lesson to find as a bonus on a ball field.

This was the last game of the season coupled with the fact that the last couple of games had been rained out, so they all hadn’t taken the field in about a week. The Momma in me intuitively knew however, that she might be feeling more than nerves. I could tell that she didn’t feel well. She was cold. And was lacking her typical excited energy. She walked during the warm ups instead of running. She looked a little flushed and was not hanging with the other girls eating and spitting sunflower seeds in the dugout. (Something else they all discovered this season!)

I checked her forehead and asked if she felt alright and if she wanted to sit this one out. To which I got a resounding, “NO!” And off she headed to play first base.

The opposing team was the one and only team that they lost to this season. And this game was turning out to be a little back and forth. Good hitting, but some scrambling in the infield on occasion. I’ve learned that I cannot sit down during these games. I’m a stander at the fence. I bring a chair to every game and there are usually bleachers, too. But I rarely sit. I will find something to do — help with keeping the girls organized in the dugout, help with the stat book, help with the catcher’s gear, etc. I guess that is how I keep from getting too nervous for them as they play.

In the top of the 4th inning, the girl child was on first base and her teammate fielded the ball and threw it, not realizing how close she was. She hit Y in the chest with the ball. Several of us Mommas gasped out loud as we heard the ‘thud’ of the ball. Poor little thing. I called to her and asked if she was ok and I could tell that she was holding back tears with every ounce of courage she had. She mouthed to me in silence, “That really hurts!”, but she wouldn’t come out and wanted to keep playing. Fortunately, they got Out #3 on the next play and I met her on the bench.

She melted into my arms and started to cry. I checked her out and while I believed she might have a bruise, thought she was ok. But she certainly wasn’t feeling 100%. She was tired from the week. She wanted this win so bad that it was making her nervous. She was going to be fourth at bat this inning, but I told her she could wait and skip this one. Again, a resounding, “No!” as she started to wipe away her tears. Her teammates were checking on her and I love that they were. They have all really bonded as a strong team of girls this season.

It was her turn. She donned her helmet, wiped her eyes one more time, picked up her bat and headed out to home plate. She swung at the first pitch and missed it. Poor thing, her eyes were still a little watery. The second pitch came and she was a little closer, tipping it up and behind the catcher. I thought to myself, “please don’t let her strike out…just a little hit to make her happy.”

Third pitch. She swings and it is a solid, solid hit out to right field. She took off running and I watched as the ball went past the outfielder, who was scrambling to get the ball into the infield. There were some overthrows and some confusion in the outfield and Y was still running. The third base coach signaled for her to head home.

That’s when I realized. I realized that I was actually jumping up and down, screaming in proud excitement for her. Yes. I was that Momma. 🙂

The smile on her face is something that I will never forget. I know she will always have that moment as her teammates met her at home plate to celebrate the first and only home run of the season. That is magic, my friends. Pure Magic.

I know that I will spend some years in some bleachers. Between the girl child and the boy child, I’m excited to take my turn. I had my years on the courts and in the field. I’m ready to take my turn by the fence near the bleachers. I am excited for them both. Playing and learning and loving a game can be such a wonderful experience.  I hope they both find the life lessons just as powerful as I did during my days out there.

On the way home, she was beaming. She shared that she had secretly set several goals for the season:

1) Have an undefeated season. (They came close, only losing that one game, since they won this last one!)

2) Make a double play. (This one will have to wait until next year, when they learn how to throw past runners without hitting them in the back of the head!)

and…

3) Hit a Home Run.

Success. At her last at bat. At the last game of the season. The one and only home run.

Here's the home run hitter. That's a proud smile with eyes that reveal that she wasn't 100%. And still the legend of her first home run starts here!

Here’s the home run hitter. That’s a proud smile with eyes that reveal that she wasn’t 100%. And still the legend of her first home run starts here!

Congratulations Y. So proud of you. And all that you are. Which is all kinds of awesome.
Play More!
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Trail. — Yellow Cars+Bike Rides=A Pain in the Neck.

Happy Father’s Day!

Ever since we started the Eat Well. Play More. Choose Happy. initiative, we have stopped giving gifts on special occasions and have started giving … adventures.

Last year, we rented a boat and spent an afternoon out on the lake, swimming and tubing and soaking up some much needed Vitamin D.

This year, not to be outdone, the kiddos and I planned a trip to celebrate Fix It Felix/Zen Daddy on his special day.

Since X and Y cannot keep a secret to save their lives, I knew once I told them the plan that they would spill the beans in a heartbeat.  So, as a preemptive strike, I also told them the backup story to tell Felix instead.  Of course, that didn’t work either, so I let Felix in on the bicycle trip. That also put him in charge of making sure tires were full of air and he could get the bikes loaded in the truck, etc. So. I call that a Win. Win.

We piled into the pickup, with four bikes and four helmets in the back, and headed about 2 hours south. On the way, we played a game called, Skittles.  I owe this little gem to a work colleague of mine. Sometimes I want to thank him because we have so much fun; other times I want to curse him because it causes such a ruckus in my car. The gist is this: Every time you see a yellow car, you yell out, “SKITTLES!” I don’t know why…you just do and when you do…you get a point. (Side note: It is absolutely amazing just how many people buy a yellow car! Seriously?!)

Alas, you continue to collect points until someone sees a police car and calls out, “BUSTED!” At that point, this same person collects all of the points from everyone else and the game continues.  Then you have a “Obi Wan Kenobe, You’re my Only Hope” moment…because the only thing that can help you know is to be the next one to yell, “Busted!”

I know it probably sounds lame to all of you folks who live exciting lives of theater and movies and travel and fun, fun social lives…don’t judge, we like our cheap car entertainment. It amuses us. But some of us take it extremely serious! There are rules. There are five year olds who try to make up their own rules. There are exceptions and judges and a little bit of healthy trash talking…to the point that I had to get a pen and paper to keep score.

All in all, all had fun, especially me, when I saw a “Busted” and collected all 18 points. Champion Dance, right here.

All of this to lead us to a little town whose big business is bike rentals and shuttle vans to the top of a mountain. We brought our own bikes, but caught a van for a 35 minute ride up a curvy mountain road.  Felix and the girl child have carsick prone tummies, so they sat up front, while X and I, with our abs of steel, aka, we don’t get carsick, sat in the back.  Aren’t genetics absolutely fascinating?!

family

Once at the top, we unloaded our bikes and immediately set off down the gravel path.  It is mostly a downhill trek with some flat road pedaling. The kiddos were flying down the path and the Momma in me was yelling to … “slow down!” “watch out for big rocks”, and “the loose gravel can be tricky” and other Momma-like warnings like that! I remember reading that it would take an average of 2 hours to ride down the 17 mile trail. I thought, “at this pace, we will be down in an hour.” I also had a few immediate regrets…I forgot how shaded this place is,  as Felix and I haven’t done this in over 12 years and I wished I had worn a long sleeve shirt. And while I packed water and some granola bars, watching X fly down the path on his Avengers bike, his feet pedaling as fast as they could go, I regretted not packing some band aids.

What an amazing ride.  I loved every minute of it. The scenery is beautiful and once we got out of the tree cover, we would hit patches of sunlight that were glorious and warm. As we rode lower in elevation, the air temperature increased to early summer pleasant. We took turns riding together, enjoying some conversation down the path. Felix and I had a few moments to chat. X and I discussed our plans for the week. Y and I shared a sweet Mother-Daughter moment together.

I had told the kiddos that there was an ice cream shop about halfway down the mountain and that we would stop for a treat. But once we were past the 6 mile mark, I started to question my memory. Needless to say, after a while…so did they. They started asking me when would we get to the ice cream shop; how much longer; I’m so hungry, … etc. Finally…we saw a multi-colored sign up ahead. Even the five year old, who cannot read yet, intuitively knew that this was it! This was the ice cream stop. As we got closer, I realized we were in big trouble.

It was closed. Yes. Closed. As in … out of business.

Oh my. That was more than the boy child could handle. His little legs had already pedaled more than he has ever pedaled in his life and he was promised ice cream. And now his dream was over. Over! Needless to say, he had a tiny little meltdown that was part exhaustion and part disappointment. And I have to say, completely justified.

Fortunately, this was short-lived and we were able to put him back together with some water and some peanuts and a promise, that no matter what, there would be some ice cream…somewhere!

Off we went, only stopping for a few trips under bridges, down to the stream for a little old fashioned lesson in skipping rocks. I call this magic…making memories.

skipping x   skipping y

A few more miles and we did stumble upon another cafe where we stopped for some lunch… and of course, some ice cream. Just in time to replenish the energy of a couple of kiddos.

Down the path a bit more, we talked and rode and let others pass us and looked around and enjoyed each other and laughed and kidded and lovingly teased and played and challenged and just… were. Us. A family. Together.

It was the perfect way to celebrate a man in our lives who is the most intentional, the most calm, the most playful and fun Dad I have ever known. We are so fortunate to have him in our lives. He is the best Dad and Partner E.V.E.R.!

Happy Father’s Day, Felix! We love you!

After a fun day and ride like this, there may or may not have been a second trip for ice cream, before we hit the road for the trek back. On that ride, there was a challenge issued about who could pretend to fall asleep the best…

sleepy x and y

This happened.

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