Embracing Your Body: A Different Approach

I spend a lot of time “with” health and fitness: time at the gym, time with my fitness friends, reading about health and fitness, and time thinking of ways to make our children understand the importance of health and fitness.

As I was driving home from teaching my Monday morning strength class this week I started to think about this question, “What does it mean to be healthy and fit?”

Too often we (especially women) get caught up in a look- we believe that being healthy and fit is about the way our body looks on the outside.  I am sometimes guilty of this as well.  Being 28 weeks pregnant, I sometimes find myself thinking about when I might be able to fit into my favorite pair of jeans again or my favorite workout shorts.  We focus on having the flattest stomach for a bikini or the best arms for a tank top.  The pressure of having the “healthy and fit look” is everywhere: all over social media and sometimes right in our faces… our friends, family & colleagues.

What if we changed our mindset about what it means to be healthy and fit?  What if instead of focusing on what our body looks like when we are healthy and fit, we focus on what our body can do when we are healthy and fit?  What if when we wrote our healthy & fitness goals down they focused more on the body’s abilities to do more rather than be a certain size or a certain weight?

For me, my choice to continue to improve my health and fitness is not about making sure I can fit into all my pre-pregnancy clothes, look good in a bathing suit, or wearing the same size dress I did on my wedding day.  (Although sometimes I have to ignore the outside pressures, and remind myself what my health & fitness mission really is.)

It is about the way my body is able to carry, nourish and grow another healthy human being.
It is about the way my body gives me the strength to carry my 22 lb. almost-2 year old up the stairs with ease.
It is about the way my body ables me to get on my hands and knees and play “zoo animals” with a rambunctious toddler.
It is about the way my body allows me to climb up & down the playground creating lasting memories with my daughter.
It is about the way my body gives me the energy to teach a 60-minute long group exercise class. 
It is about the way my body will soon endure the labor of giving birth.

This runs deeper than us.  It is the example we are setting for our children.  I want my children to know that health and fitness is important in our house not because of a certain look.  It is important to take care of ourselves physically and mentally and to honor the body we have been given.  I want to make sure Claire (and baby MK)  knows that it isn’t about what her body looks like on the outside, but what her body is able to do.  God gave us these bodies, these amazing machines, these temples- embrace them for what they are able to do.

1380423_642239069141167_785600090_nThis woman on the left is a living example of embracing her temple….

Everyday she is embraces that her  ALMOST-51 YEAR-OLD body CAN run a sub 2:00 half marathon, CAN do 50 push-ups all on her toes, CAN setup obstacle courses in her backyard and DO them with all the fast little kids, CAN still join her girlfriends on the softball diamond every Thursday night, CAN keep up with her toddler granddaughter, and CAN still participate in any type of physical activity with her 3 children and their spouses…. and occasionally beat them.

Yes, my mom has taught me to embrace my body… not how it looks, but what it allows me to do!

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Round Here…

Every time I go to write a blog that gives an overview of my life after I have neglected a blog, the lyrics from “Round Here” (Counting Crows, my favorite band) run through my bed.  So here it is, another neglected blog and this time I am not starting a new one.  I make no promises here, just short update on some things that have happened:

– We have one happy, energetic and sweet little girl who is now 1… well, 15 months!  She continues to bring so much joy and entertainment to our lives.  She is walking, talking, showing attitude (not sure where she gets that from), and just had tubes in her ears yesterday.

– We continue to try and set a healthy example for Claire by living a healthy lifestyle.  Josh and I both ran two half marathons this year and several short races.  I even ran a new PR at the Fort for Fitness inSeptember! When it is warm, we really enjoy meeting Daddy at the Monon for a run during his lunch.  Claire loves to ride in the jogger and say “dog” about ten times per each dog we pass. 

– My life as a Stay-at-home-mom turned into a resignation from Warren Township schools… then to be rehired as a part-time teacher 3 days before school started!  It is a great situation for our family (most days) and we couldn’t it without the loving care of Miss Stacy cares for and nurtures Claire while I am working my 12 hours per week.  

– I just graduated from Butler University with my Masters in Education Administration.  It is a bittersweet feeling: I am so glad to be done and at the same time will miss my classmates, the challenge and the always thought-provoking conversation.   For the first time in two years, we now are free on Tuesday and Thursday nights- I am sure we will find a way to fill our time, we always do.  Although it is my name on the diploma, it was surely a team effort.  Josh did an awesome job supporting me, taking care of Claire and picking up my slack around the house.  Will 2014 be his turn to advance his education?  The verdict is still out…

– Last but not least, probably the biggest news… we bought a new home!  We have been on the “lookout” for awhile for a home to renovate- an investment property.  Our strategy changed multiple times as we discusses our goals.  With the help of an outstanding, patient realtor, we found a foreclosed home that we will be renovating.  Part of our strategy is to keep our current home and rent it out- a calculated risk we are taking.  I hope (notice the keyword) to use this blog to document this journey.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday.  From our home to yours, have a blessed 2014!

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Claire is 4 Months

Happy 4 Months (last week on the 10th) to my sweet girl, Claire Renee.  

Just like every mom, I am not sure where the last four months have gone.  It is hard to believe that my little girl is already four months.  I know it is cliche, and everyone says it, but it is the truth: she brings more joy to my life than I ever imagined possible.  

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Josh and I often joke and say, “we are just going to stop and call this a walk-off home run and not have any more kids.”  Claire is such a good baby.  She is rarely fussy, sleeps 10-12 hours a night, is a great nurser, does great at the child watch at the Y and for other people… she is just wonderful.  This past weekend, she spent the whole day Saturday with Josh’s cousin Michael and his wife, Rachel while we went to the IU game with my Mom and Thom.  Michael and Rachel said she did great, and really enjoyed spending the day with her.

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At four months old she can roll over belly-to-back and back-to-belly.  She is always smiling (besides when I took her four month pictures) and laughs a lot.  She has become so much more vocal and will try to mimic sounds you make.  She enjoys books and will sit still and listen to us read a book and help turn the pages.  She makes her teacher mommy so proud.

Besides mommy and daddy she recognizes her Grammy’s (my mom) face and voice very well.  We also FaceTime and when we do that, she grabs for the phone.  Speaking of grabbing, she is grabbing for everything these days.  The other day at lunch, she was sitting on my lap and quickly grabbed for my soup.  Now begins the days of watching her.  She is constantly grabbing my hair too.

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Claire is obsessed with her feet.  She is constantly grabbing them, trying to put them in her mouths, pulling her socks, and the bottom of her pants.  She is finally starting to enjoy toys too.  She still loves her snuggie (little blanket with the tags), but is showing interest in other toys too.  Her Godmother, Emily got her a Violet (Leapfrog Dog) for Christmas and she loves it.  She also received this little crab that has a mirror on it and she thinks it is so cool when she is doing tummy time.  She still likes her Sophi giraffe and is reaching Eric Carle lion that is attached to her carseat.  She also has the Eric Carle caterpillar, but for some reason is ALWAYS reaching for the lion instead.  I even tried to switch them around to see if she was just partial to one side, but it wasn’t that; she is just partial to the lion.

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I am so blessed to be able to be with her every day and be able to experience and see her grow and learn.  She makes my heart smile!

Baby Shower #1

Wow, do I ever feel blessed!!!

On Saturday afternoon I had my very first baby shower to celebrate the soon-to-be arrival of Baby N.  Josh’s aunts and cousins put on a wonderful day full of yummy snacks, fun games and of course spoiling this child of ours.

We played some fun games one of which they asked Josh questions ahead of time about the baby and my pregnancy and I had to guess what I thought he would say- I didn’t do so hot!   However, I was right on when the question, “What do you hope the baby’s first phrase will be?” was asked.  Of course, he said, “GO HOOSIERS!”  The guests at the shower also played along and received points when they were right on target with Josh.  My mom won the game, which didn’t surprise me at all!

I left feeling overwhelmingly grateful of all the wonderful items we received.  We were so excited that as soon as we arrived home, we starting putting things together and finding a spot in the nursery.  Man do babies have a lot of stuff!  We received a lot of the big items we needed: carseat and both bases, diaper bag, baby bathtub, baby monitor, umbrella stroller, bouncy seat, baby einstein play gym, gift card to go towards our jogging stroller and a lot of other fun toys, sleepers and goodies.  We are so thankful!

Here are some pictures from the day (And for the record, all my “hoopla” is “Mommy to Be” gear and not bachelorette gear.  When Josh walked in at the end of the shower that is what he thought it was… BOYS!)

My mom (Grandma) and me.  I think she looks pretty good for a Grandma 😉

One of the fabulous hostesses of the day.

With Josh’s aunts and cousins who all put on such a wonderful day.

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July, Friends!

I sure wish I had something excited to report this fourth of July, but alas.  We have been so busy the past 6 weeks and have spent very few weekends at home, so we are taking today to spend at home… working on our house.  After an unexpected breakfast in bed prepared by my thoughtful husband, we began working on our to-do list.  As you can see, mine isn’t going so well as I have taken a “break”.  I have officially entered the “nesting stage” and cleaned and reorganized all of our kitchen cabinets, our laundry room and linen closet.  It occurred to me the other day that with a baby comes more “stuff”: bottles, extra towels, wash cloths, bibs, and more laundry.  I have the cabinets under the sink to do and then I am finish.  Thanks to pinterest, I have come up with some great organization techniques.  

My husband on the other hand, has chosen to take on a much more daunting task this Fourth of July, he is working on our hardwood floors.  He has finished all of the ceramic tile in our bathrooms, laundry room and kitchen and is now putting down wood floors everywhere else besides the bedrooms.  Essentially, he has replaced 2/3 (maybe more) of the flooring in our house- he is awesome!  Don’t worry, before and after pictures will come once we have a final project.

I wish I had to report that this was how I was spending my Fourth of July…

but alas!  I mean, after all, I just love Jackie O pictures so much and this is one of my favorites- I thought it’d be perfect to post today.  Although, I wouldn’t mind hanging on a boat somewhere today…or any day for that matter.  

Luckily we don’t plan to work all day long.  Later we will spend some time on our back deck grilling a traditional Fourth of July meal: hamburgers, corn on the cob, salad, and strawberry shortcake.  Enjoying some fireworks is also in our plans for later this evening.  A day of productivity and an evening of American tradition is perfectly okay with me.  Not to mention, I am thoroughly enjoying being able to watch the quarterfinals of this:

As I sit here, watch Wimbeldon and think about tonight’s activities, I am not quick to forget the reason for today- our INDEPENDENCE!  Especially this year, I am reminded of the “reason for the season” and all the men and women that continue to put their lives on the line to make sure our independence in defended day in and out- for that I am grateful!

For the first time, I am not just thinking of those men and women, but also their families.  Today, I am (on a very small scale) understanding how the families feel not having their loved ones near.  I am so proud of this man who is not able to enjoy this Independence day, but instead just left yesterday for a seven month deployment.  I am proud to be his big sister!

The sacrifices these men and women make and the bravery they display is hard to put in words:  missing holidays with loved ones, milestones of children and the joys of every day civilian life to make sure that you and I continue to have the life we know and love-  incredible!  

Thank you to ALL our service men and women… past and present for making sure we can spend every Fourth of July indulging in cookout food, relaxing with our family & friends and seeing those beautiful fireworks light up in our night sky.  May we not only remember them today, but always!  

And a special “shout out” to my favorite service man, my brother: may you always remember how much you are loved, cherished and how many are so proud of the sacrifice you are making.  You are a man of honor and I feel blessed to be your sister.  May your time at sea be safe, quick and uneventful.  We look forward to your safe return!  

God Bless the USA!